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Well now, fancy that

Fear of a Labour government is driving down mansion prices as ultra-rich buyers cite a potential tax grab by Sir Keir Starmer when haggling with sellers.

Wealthy buyers in the market for properties worth at least £15m have started using Labour policies as a bargaining chip in negotiations, according to Beauchamp Estates.

Markets are forward looking, are they? Someone should study this, write a book about it maybe.

A self-published book on economics

As a starting point this is clearly true:

By Rick Teller, a long term follower of mine across different platforms and magazines. Not read it in full but as I say, that’s a good start. Must be – it agrees with PJ O’Rourke on the point.

True story

‘I repeatedly failed to win any awards’: my doomed career as a North Korean novelist

No, that’s not me. But this next is. I was once offered a job sorting out the memoirs of Kim Il Sung. When I was in Moscow. They had an “English” translation and wanted it turned into an English translation. They knew I was doing some writing back then. So, would I take on the job?

“Maybe. How much?”

“$100”.

“$100 per what?”

“$100 for the book, about a thousand pages”.

“Err, no.”

This is hardly news

Arthur Conan Doyle secretly resented his Sherlock Holmes creation, says historian

He killed him off so that he could stop writing about him after all.

Author blamed literary success of the fictional detective for his highbrow historical novels ‘lying unread’

Then brought him back as no one read his other guff anyway…..

Pr Spinnery

The reason Judy Finnigan no longer watches This Morning
Having co-presented the programme for 13 years, she explains why she won’t appear on it to talk about her new book

Because the bastards won’t have me on, you cretin. Now, how to get this into the papers to sell the book anyway?

It can take me some time

In hte Tom Holt novels there’s an Alan Partridge sorta character, Danny someone, who keep connecting everything to international conspiracies.

Many of which refer to the International Milk Company – or the Milk Marketing Board perhaps. It’s just a background gag in several of the novels. But never really understood the background to the gag.

Ah, Wonder Woman battles the International Milk Company…..that’s where the gag comes from then….

Since when did we have censorship?

The short version is that if you know trans people, you’re much more likely to oppose hateful anti-trans legislation.

This is why they want to ban books about or by us, and why they want to erase us from public life. Because as the cliché goes, to know us is to love us.

Ban? Erase? Whut?

Nobody knows!

But I’m a professor and I’ve a book to sell!

Karl Pillemer, a professor at Cornell University and author of Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them, found that in 2020, 27% of Americans over the age of 18 were estranged from a family member. That’s more than a quarter, although the actual proportion could be much higher because many people are still reluctant to discuss such a personal and stigmatized topic. Although there is a lack of long-term research, Pillemer believes estrangement rates are increasing in the United States and other Western countries, especially in white and non-immigrant people under the age of 35.

Just a little memory

Sharpe went in 1952 to South Africa where he spent the next ten years as a social worker, teacher and photographer. The suffering of people under apartheid radicalised him. A play he wrote about it led to his expulsion from the country. The notebook and tapes in which Verdaguer recorded his life contain more detail about his life in South Africa, where he first jotted down observations that he used in his early works such as Riotous Assembly.

Decades back, I’m working as a waiter in London. South African girl also working there. Chatting away in a slow period, as you do, ask if she’s read Riotous Assembly etc. No,…..ah, they’re by Tom Sharpe, grossly parodic but very funny etc.

Oh, I didn’t know he’d written novels. My parents knew him – actually, he took my baby pictures.

It’s a small world etc.

Hmm

A woman retreats to a forest in northern Italy in an immersive first novel that explores what it means to inhabit a female body yet reject femininity

There’s a reason I don’t read literary novels.

Hendon is a place on Earth

This, then, is how we were brought up, my older brother, Anthony, my younger sister, Tamara, and me. A Hendon childhood, buying records in Hounsom’s on Watford Way and stationery in Batty’s nearby; playing tennis and mini golf in Shirehall Park; going camping with the 7th Hendon Scout group; holidaying in British seaside towns and in cottages on windy moors; learning about British kings and queens; having Mum read us stories about Paddington and Winnie-the-Pooh.

My parents had a full social life but also a simple one — once a week or so, a couple of friends round for dinner or cake. The company they most enjoyed was each other’s. An evening in eating (inexplicably) boiled eggs in tinned curry sauce with rice; a morning trip setting off in the car to the coffee bar attached to the local supermarket. Suburban life.

Life after having survived the Holocaust, the Gulag, the Bloodlands.

I have a memory (doubtless edited, as memories always are) of Danny the Fink insisting that the British suburbs are indeed that heaven. Not that real heaven of unparalleled joy etc, but the apotheosis of the human experience at least. Simply because they are that petit bourgeois life where nothing very much – other than love, life, family, children – ever really happens.

Snigger

It brings a much needed sociological method and rigour to an issue

We can use that as the dictionary definition of oxymoron, can’t we?

The paradox in the title has dogged politicians for generations: why does the wealthiest country in the world also have the highest rate of poverty among industrialised nations?

It doesn’t. So much for rigour then, eh?

It does have more inequality, which might mean that inequality is a necessary part of being richer. But actual poverty not so much.

When properly compared, after taxes and benefits, including goods and services in kind, and at PPP FX rates, the bottom 10% of Amerians have an average living standard higher than the bottom 10% of Swedes or Danes. So, they’ve not got more poverty, have they?

Yet one in 10 Americans is officially poor. According to the US Census Bureau, the official poverty rate in 2021 was 11.6%, with 37.9 million people in poverty (an example definition being a family of three with income below $21,559).

That, of course, is measuring things before most of what is done to alleviate poverty. So much for rigour.

Anyone care to measure European poverty rates before welfare and benefits?

Rank suggests that America’s anaemic welfare state – including an anomalous lack of universal health care – can partly be explained by the interplay of race and poverty.

Werid, innit? The poor are the one group of Americans who do have universal health care. Called Medicaid.

So, consign this to the usual pile of tossers then.

Men in sheds, men in sheds

Some think that Sir Pterry wrote fantasy novels.

A retiree built an eight-foot-long remote-control transporter lorry complete with a tank on it as his wife had taken up golf and he was “bored to tears”.

Roland Hopper, 79, used the controls to drive the lorry around his garden this week, though he said the tank has not been driven for some time.

The pensioner said he bought the 1:6 scale model kit to build a Sherman Firefly tank from British firm Armortek, after learning about them through his nephew’s friend.

Mr Hopper, who lives near Saffron Walden, Essex, put together thousands of pieces to complete the tank.

It’s probably closer to the truth that he wrote a combination of documentaries, satires and utopian insistence of how the world should be.

Tsk

But behind all the hoo-ha is a really interesting question: how had an entire industry come up with this apparently huge – but hitherto unannounced – breakthrough? The answer can be found in The Nature of Technology, an extraordinarily insightful book by Belfast-born economist W Brian Arthur, first published in 2009. In it, Arthur explains that many of the biggest technological advances arise because there comes a moment when a number of necessary but unconnected developments suddenly come together to create entirely new possibilities. Instead of the legendary eureka moment, it’s a process of what one may call combinatorial innovation.

The much, much, better simile is “Steam engine time”. From the Science of Discworld series.

Serendipity

That Iranian lithium find, I wrote about it at the ASI. To gain a comment from a pissed off Iranian. Just fun how this all happened just as I’d been told about my emergence as an internationally best selling author:

“Tim Worst, what is your problem? Why so jealous of Persian’s windfall. British know how to steal anyway. They stole hundreds of billions worth of oil( all recorded). Iran’s Lithium finds have been confirmed by 3 credible sources and agreement for exploration has already been executed. Find a coward way to steal and then pay the price to the end of time.”

You might well not know this but I used to write for Donya-e-Eqtesad. In fact a past economics editor of that organisation spent last weekend staying with me. There’s even a book of mine published in Farsi. Currently in its second edition. Sadly, I can’t work out how to get Persian script into this software we use here at this website but you can see the book cover here:

So, my best selling book title then

You need Chapter 2 of that book which covers this point of reserves, resources and so on.

Isn’t there a book about this?

Statues of “old white men” such as the Duke of Wellington and Admiral Lord Nelson could be hidden or destroyed to create the “right historical narrative”, according to Welsh government guidance.

A bloke whose job it is to rewrite all the old stuff so that it conforms to the modern narrative? The 38th day of the new razor blade, Victory Gin and all that?

This may or may not be true

Tim, you need to write a novel which has a better chance of “bringing in the sheaves”. I’ve bought all of your books written in English that I know of & I think you are a good writer. I’m a mathematician & knew little about economics until I started reading you. I’m not as smart as Stanislaw Ulam so things economic were not as trivial to me until I learned from you.

The novel should be based on your extensive knowledge of the failures of governments, which seems timely now. Perhaps serious but there’s a lot to laugh about should you be inclined & comedy often gets points across quite nicely.

That’s from Tex.

As it happens over this weekend I found out that Iran has a thriving beer and wine making scene. Yes. the Mullahs don’t approve but the Persians do. Like anything illegal you’ve got to know who and where but once you’re on the inside booze is entirely and easily available.

Also, Christians are legal to have it – for personal use. Thus Armenians – over and above the normal trading instincts – are a nexus of the trade.

We tossed around the idea of a novel based upon this premise. Obviously, it’s a road trip, our pair must meet danger, solve problems, get into scrapes in their quest for the perfect beer. We even got far enough to have the first two chapters sketched out:
///////////////////////////////////////

The conversation turned serious, as it always does at the fifth pint.

“So, your Pitchfork, is it a golden bitter with floral, citric hop aroma, a predominantly hoppy flavour which is slightly sweet and fruity? “

“It is, it is, as it always is. And your Old Green Tree, brewed for this very pub, is it the epitome of a session bitter?”

“As ever. But this liquid bread idea, whadda you think?”

“Humans turned to agriculture and settled into villages not for bread, but for beer? That static nature after the mobility of the hunter gatherer society was caused by wanting to be around the barley when it ripened?”

“That’s the one, saw it in the paper, the wossname, Mail.”

“Wanna be careful about that source Jimmy, careful.”

“Yeh, but think about it. Where’s the best beer in the world going to be?”

“Depends on the landlord, how he keeps it, obviously. Could be here. The Star does alright, Bass from the barrel. See, depends. Might be some place at Combe Down even, tho’ of course that’ll not be the full pint.”

“Har, har. No, what I mean is if civilisation started with beer then where’s the best beer goin’ to be? Werl, stands to reason, it’s goin’ to be where civilisation started. Where they’ve been making beer this past 10,000 years. Innit?”

“You have logic on your side. An’ I know what’s about to come next. You think we should go to this cradle of civilisation so that we can have this best beer in the world, am I right?”

“Yep”

“You’re on”

Jimmy booked the tickets that evening.
////////////////////////////////////////

“CAMRB”

“Sorry, my English is not so good. CAM what?”

“CAMRB, the Campaign for Real Beer.”

“I have heard of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, I did my degree at Salford. But CAMRB?”

“Yes, poncy twats at CAMRA. Fools as well. All that mither about cask conditioned ale and pubs with no music. Poncy twats. Ale has no hops, beer has hops. We are, both of us, CAMRB.”

“And this CAMRB, this is a large organisation?”

“I just said both of us are CAMRB”

“Ah. So, what does this organisation actually do?”

“We campaign for real beer. By drinking it. Creating the demand and as we all know, once there is demand there will be supply. Basic obviousness that is.”

“Indeed so, indeed so. We too have read Mr. Chian. And what is the purpose of your visit?”

“Liquid bread”

“The idea that the cradle of civilisation has been making beer longer than anywhere else therefore must have the best beer?”

“Well, it would have been ale to start with, but yes.”

“Your visas are in order, you have return tickets, allow me just to get everything stamped”

“Hop to it”

“I’m sorry, did you just say that? You told the uniformed officer, the border guard, to “Hop to it”?”

“It’s our slogan, CAMRB, “Hop to it”. It’s a pune, a play on words, see?”

“Landlords across the world must belly laugh to your wit”

“No, no, it’s a pune, a play on words, not meant to be funny now, they never are.”

“How useful it is that you are aware of that. Gentlemen, welcome to the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

So, my best selling book title then

Madsen Pirie did once tell me that writing books was no way to make money.

At which point, the cover of my best selling book so far:

This is the only one to make it into a second edition. The first edition was 1,000 copies – therefore sales are over 1,000 copies then.

That it’s in Farsi, that I don’t get royalties, that if I did they’d total $60 for both full print runs, irrelevances. Still my best selling book so far.

WOOT!