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Global Values 101: A Short Course [Paperback]

Ann S. Kim , Kate Holbrook , Brian Palmer
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 1, 2006 0807003050 978-0807003053 1
Global Values 101 grew out of one of the most popular courses ever offered at Harvard University, in which some of the most original thinkers of our day sat down with students and explored how ideas have made them-and can make us-more engaged, involved, and compassionate citizens. In these engrossing, essay-length interviews, which address the topics of war, religion, the global economy, and social change, Amy Goodman, host of the popular radio program Democracy Now, speaks about the role of the independent media as gatekeeper and witness; Lani Guinier, author of Tyranny of the Majority, reveals that students' SAT scores more accurately describe the kind of car their parents drive than the grades they will earn in college and shows the way to a more equitable college admissions system; Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States, explores the American Dream and exposes the myth of the "good war"; economist Juliet Schor, author of Born to Buy and The Overspent American, explains why Americans are willing to sacrifice quality of life to attain financial success; former "mall rat" Naomi Klein, author of No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, urges readers to go global while fighting global conglomerates; and Katha Pollitt, author of Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism, employs her incisive wit to explore what it really means to be a feminist in the Twenty First century.

For anyone who has been moved by idealism and longed to become a more proactive citizen, this collection offers a range of stories on how progressive ethics can inform, inspire, and ultimately transform lives.

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

"What is the value of literature in ethical and political discussions?" "Does there need to be a shift in identity . . . for women to . . . gain power in political decision making?" Such monumental questions of individual and universal human behavior are just par for the course in Harvard professor Brian Palmer's seminar on "Personal Choice and Global Transformation." Scheduled to debut on September 12, 2001, the events of the previous day immediately endowed Palmer's curriculum with an urgent imperative, one he and his students explored with the help of guest speakers who represented the vanguard of their particular spheres of influence. From linguist Noam Chomsky to former secretary of labor Robert Reich to legal scholar Lani Guinier to Partners in Health founder Dr. Paul Farmer, the speakers responded to students' probing questions with earnest candor and decisive intensity. The 16 interviews gathered here form a cohesive, essential primer on what it means, and what it takes, to be a responsive and responsible world citizen in today's turbulent times. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


A compilation of interviews from a popular, top ranked Harvard class. The guests, such as Robert Reich and Lani Guinier, provide thoughtful and thought provoking concepts and insides on today's world. The insights serve to open the reader's mind and encourage thoughtful reflection.—Donna O. Dziedzic (PLA) AAUP Best of the Best Program

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; 1 edition (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807003050
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807003053
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #622,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brian Palmer is a social anthropologist and scholar of religion at Uppsala University in Sweden. Previously he held the Torgny Segerstedt Guest Professorship at Gothenburg University, and before that he taught at Harvard. His courses there on civic courage and engagement attracted as many as 600 students per term, and in 2002 Brian was awarded the Levenson Prize as Harvard's best lecturer.

Brian's latest book, written together with Ola Larsmo, is 101 historiska hjältar (101 historical heroes). It was published in October, 2013 by Historiska media (Lund); a softcover version and English and Korean editions are being prepared.

The book Global Values 101 is based on Brian's Harvard courses. His doctoral dissertation, also at Harvard, explored Swedish conceptions of solidarity. In 2006, he and Per-Anders Forstorp wrote a book about rhetoric and symbolism in Swedish political campaigns. Brian has also done a study of how time pressures are recasting Swedes' inner lives.

Brian was the research director of the Raoul Wallenberg Calendar, a collection of 365 accounts of individuals who took great risks for human rights, peace and democracy. The work was published internationally, with more than 100,000 copies printed in three languages; it was also serialized on Radio Sweden on every day of 2013.

Brian was a summer host of the radio program Sommar i P1 in 2004. He lectures in Sweden and internationally more than forty times per year, with a focus on civic courage and what Susan Sontag called "the simultaneity of wildly contrasting human fates." His website is

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reading March 6, 2006
By Homie G
"Democracy is what the people do; it's not what the government does" - H. Zinn.

I was amazed that three pages into this book Zinn touched right on the point my Anthropology teacher was making in class the night before.

Any chance to read thoughts by Zinn, Goodman, Chomsky is definately worth every penny.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Thoughts Made Accessible October 3, 2006
This book summarizes the conversations held between Harvard students and some of our most innovative thinkers. The students were asked to read and analyze works by these guest speakers and pose thoughtful questions to them. This relatively small book contains astute insights into politics, the economy, environmental issues, and human rights. It is written in precise, accessible language without over simplifying the concepts which are explained.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun interviews with global thinkers March 2, 2006
As a college student interested in the state of the world, this book caught my eye. It is full of interviews with the superstars of current debates about globalization, war and peace, work and family and religion. People like Paul Farmer, Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Juliet Schor, Robert Reich, and Howard Zinn. I had read many of these guys before, but what struck me is that they are even more interesting in interview format than in their own books. More spontaneous and funny, and you get to see them struggling with some difficult questions. And they were interviewed by young people (in a super-popular course at Harvard), which means that you get some really wild questions; I found myself thinking at times, 'Who would have been so stupid and rude as to ask THAT?!' This makes for lively reading. My main complaint is that the book only includes 16 of these interviews (plus an introduction), when many more were done in the course and would have been welcome in the book. But it makes for good reading on a long plane flight, when you want to think about the troubles and joys of the planet you are flying over, rather than about the screaming infant in the seat behind you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book - fantastic ideas! July 31, 2006
By Lola
I picked up this book not really knowing what it was about and discovered a gem. It interviews great activists and thinkers in an informal, intelligent style that brings out the best in them. Katha Politt's interview was one of my favorites. I recommend this book to any serious students of the world. It deals with the idea of a global morality that passes over religious, ethnic, or racial lines - something crucial in these times of globalization.
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