How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly — and the Stark Choices Ahead, by Dambisa Moyo (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25)
How the West Was Lost offers a bold account of the decline of the economic supremacy of the West. Dambisa Moyo, author of Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is Another Way for Africa, examines how America's flawed decisions and blinkered policy choices around capital, labor and technology — key ingredients for economic growth and success — have resulted in a geopolitical seesaw that's now poised to tip in favor of the emerging world.
Harlem Is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America, by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts (Little, Brown and Co., $24.99)
For a century, Harlem has been celebrated as the capital of black America, a thriving center of cultural achievement. As gentrification encroaches, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts examines the epic Harlem of official history and the personal Harlem that begins at her front door, introducing us to a wide variety of characters, past and present. At the heart of their stories, and her own, is the hope carried over many generations, hope that Harlem would be the ground from which blacks fully entered America's democracy.
Open City: A Novel, by Teju Cole (Random House, $25)
Along the streets of New York City, Julius, a young Nigerian doctor doing his residency, wanders aimlessly. The walks meet a need: They are a release from the tightly regulated mental environment of his work, and they give him the opportunity to process his recent breakup with his girlfriend, his past and his present. Julius crisscrosses social territory as well, encountering people from different cultures and classes who will provide insight on his journey — taking him to Brussels, to the Nigeria of his youth and into the most unrecognizable facets of his own soul.
Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other, by Sherry Turkle (Basic Books, $28.95)
Alone Together is the result of MIT technology specialist Sherry Turkle's 15-year exploration of our lives on the digital terrain. It is a story of emotional dislocation and risks taken unknowingly; it is also a story of hope. For even where digital saturation is greatest, people are asking hard questions and returning to what is most sustaining about direct human connection. At the threshold of what Turkle calls "the robotic moment," our devices prompt us to recall that we have human purposes and, perhaps, to rediscover what they are.
Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes, by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson (Random House, $26)
Have you ever gone to the "dark place" after a fight about who does the dishes more often? Do you worry that your job is destroying your marriage? Have you ever sat up at night, remembering how much more fun married life used to be? Two journalists from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times present a new idea: Every marriage is its own little economy, a business of two with a finite number of resources that need to be allocated efficiently.
Rebecca Walker is a frequent contributor to The Root.