The best books on how the world works

Norman Baker Author Of ...And What Do You Do?: What the Royal Family Don't Want You to Know
By Norman Baker

Who am I?

We all need to understand more about how the world ticks, who is in control, and why they act as they do. And we need to salute those of courage who refuse to go along with the flow in a craven or unthinking way. I was an MP for 18 years and a government minister at the Department for Transport with a portfolio that included rail, bus, active travel, and then at the Home Office as Crime Prevention minister. After leaving Parliament, I became managing director of The Big Lemon, an environmentally friendly bus and coach company in Brighton. I now act as an advisor to the Campaign for Better Transport, am a regular columnist and broadcaster, and undertake consultancy and lecturing work.

I wrote...

...And What Do You Do?: What the Royal Family Don't Want You to Know

By Norman Baker,

Book cover of ...And What Do You Do?: What the Royal Family Don't Want You to Know

What is my book about?

The royal family is the original Coronation Street – a long-running soap opera with the occasional real coronation thrown in. Its members have become celebrities, like upmarket versions of film stars and footballers. But they have also become a byword for arrogance, entitlement, hypocrisy, and indifference to the gigantic amount of public money wasted by them.

In this book, former government minister Norman Baker argues that the British public deserves better than this puerile diet. … And What Do You Do? is a hard-hitting analysis of the royal family, exposing its extravagant use of public money and the highly dubious behaviour of some among its ranks, whilst being critical of the knee-jerk sycophancy shown by the press and politicians. Baker also considers the wider role the royals play in society, including the link with House of Lords reform, and the constitutional position of the monarch, which is important given Prince Charles’s present and intended approach.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Flat Earth News: An Award-Winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media

Why did I love this book?

A highly perceptive if rather depressing examination of how the British media works, how expensive investigative journalism has largely given way to opinion columns and trivia about so-called celebrities, how stories are often not stories, how papers dress up partisan opinion as fact. In short, an exposure of the falsehoods, distortion, and propaganda that have corrupted the media. Nick Davies was a journalist at the Guardian.

By Nick Davies,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Flat Earth News as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Does 'fake news' really exist? Find out from the ultimate insider.

After years of working as a respected journalist, Nick Davies, in this shocking expose, reveals what really goes on behind the scenes of this contentious industry.

From a prestigious newspaper that allowed intelligence agencies to plant fiction in its columns, to the newsroom that routinely rejected stories due to racial bias, to the number of papers that accepted cash bribes. Gripping, thought-provoking and revelatory, this is an insider's look at one of the most tainted professions.

'Meticulous, fair-minded and utterly gripping' Telegraph

'Powerful and timely...his analysis is fair, meticulously…

Book cover of Helen Suzman: Bright Star in a Dark Chamber

Why did I love this book?

This is a heart-warming true story of the courage of one woman you have probably never heard of but you need to. A woman of great courage and integrity who took on the South African apartheid regime and for a while as a liberal was the only opposition member (and I think the only woman) in the racist all-white parliament. Some are naturally courageous, some have courage thrust upon them. Nelson Mandela and the ANC took on the racist regime from outside, Helen Suzman almost single-handedly took it on from within parliament. A real hero.

By Robin Renwick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Helen Suzman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The task of all who believe in multiracialism in this country is to survive. Quite inevitably time is on our side...' Helen Suzman was the voice of South Africa's conscience during the darkest days of apartheid. She stood alone in parliament, confronted by a legion of highly chauvinist male politicians. Armed with the relentless determination and biting wit for which she became renowned, Suzman battled the racist regime and earned her reputation as a legendary anti-apartheid campaigner. Despite constant antagonism and the threat of violence, she forced into the global spotlight the injustices of the country's minority rule. Access to…

Book cover of Gun Baby Gun: A Bloody Journey into the World of the Gun

Why did I love this book?

An astonishing well-researched and detailed analysis of the arms trade and the omnipresence of guns in the world today. Full of startling and worrying statistics, for example, that there are 12 billion bullets produced every year which kill at least 500,000 people. The book reveals how in some places it is easier to get a gun than to get a glass of water. Solo killers, the military, the hunters, the paranoid suburban Americans, they are all here, and it is not a pretty picture.

By Iain Overton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gun Baby Gun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'A brilliantly researched journey, capturing the gun's strangely accepted place in human life and, far too often, death' JON SNOW


There are almost one billion guns across the globe today - more than ever before. There are 12 billion bullets produced every year - almost two bullets for every person on this earth. And as many as 500,000 people are killed by them every year worldwide. The gun's impact is long-reaching and often hidden. And it doesn't just involve the dead, the wounded, the…

Book cover of How To Be Right: In a World Gone Wrong

Why did I love this book?

A revealing dive into the minds of those who phone into radio progammes from this LBC presenter, with directly quoted dialogue from the calls. Is the average person who rings in particularly ill-informed and unable to absorb facts and apply logic, or it that a condition that applies to all of us? The book is funny, depressing, and worrying, but always revealing about the state of mind of the British public

By James O’Brien,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How To Be Right as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The voice of reason in a world that won't shut up.

The Sunday Times Bestseller
Winner of the Parliamentary Book Awards

Every day, James O'Brien listens to people blaming hard-working immigrants for stealing their jobs while scrounging benefits, and pointing their fingers at the EU and feminists for destroying Britain. But what makes James's daily LBC show such essential listening - and has made James a standout social media star - is the incisive way he punctures their assumptions and dismantles their arguments live on air, every single morning.

In the bestselling How To Be Right, James provides a hilarious…

Book cover of The Sense of Being Stared at: And Other Unexplained Powers of Human Minds

Why did I love this book?

Have you ever sat on the top deck of a bus and stared hard at someone on the pavement below. It is surprising how often that person will then look up at you. How does this work? Rupert Sheldrake’s book delves deeply into such matters, ones for which there must be scientific explanations but which the traditional conservative scientist in a white coat dismisses without looking into the matter. Too many scientists, it seems, prefer the comfort of the status quo. We haven’t really moved on much from when Galileo was rubbished for suggesting the earth goes around the sun. Rupert Sheldrake reveals more about the human than we knew before.

By Rupert Sheldrake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sense of Being Stared at as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Explores Rupert Sheldrake’s more than 25 years of research into telepathy, staring and intention, precognition, and animal premonitions

• Shows that unexplained human abilities--such as the sense of being stared at and phone telepathy--are not paranormal but normal, part of our biological nature

• Draws on more than 5,000 case histories, 4,000 questionnaire responses, and the results of experiments carried out with more than 20,000 people

• Reveals that our minds and intentions extend beyond our brains into the world around us and even into the future

Nearly everyone has experienced the feeling of being watched or had their stare…

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