Feature

Dick Morris

Dick Morris, a columnist for the New York Post and author of Behind the Oval Office (Renaissance Books, $16.95), lists seven of his favorite books on politics, power, and the human condition.

The Phenomenon of Man by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (HarperTrade, $13). The most important book I’ve ever read. It describes human evolution as an ongoing process in which learning and acquisition of knowledge play the role that involuntary mutation once did in evolving the species. It shows how man is moving toward a point of perfection: “The Omega Point.” The author says that eventually we will all subordinate self-interest to common interest because of the need to survive on this self-contained planet. How have we avoided nuclear war and how we have to deal with climate change are cases in point. Written in the ’30s, it was suppressed by the Vatican (he was a Jesuit) until after his death, and published in the ’50s.

Nonzero by Robert Wright (Vintage Books, $13.50). This takes off where Teilhard de Chardin left off. It explains how evolution is tending toward the perfection of the species. He says that all human history is an evolution from a zero-sum (I win, you lose) view of the world to a nonzero-sum view (we both win or we both lose).

The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy (Vintage Books, $15). The best overview of the history of the world, tracking the rise of global powers as they work hard and live right, and their fall when they overreach and try to bully the rest of the world.

Presidential Character by James David Barber (Prentice Hall, $16). Written in the ’70s, it divides presidents up by their character and decides that the two qualities that determining if a president is good are his optimism and his enjoyment of the job.

The Power Game by Hedrick Smith (Random House, $14.40). Written 20 years ago, this book is still the best guide to the power politics of Washington DC.

Diplomacy by Henry Kissinger (Simon & Schuster, $18). Explains the two forces that compete to shape American foreign policy: morality and values vs. imperialism and national interest

Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan (MIT Press, $17.95,). Still the best book for understanding modern advertising, polling, and politics.

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