Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tout Robuchon (Joël Robuchon & Vincent Noce, Georges Pouvel, Eric Bouchenoire, François Benot)

Tout Robuchon, aka the Holy Bible of French cuisine

If you need only one French cookbook, this is the one. From blanquette de veau to poulet basquaise, from boeuf bourguignon to lapin aux pruneaux, this book brings together everything you will ever need to know to become a good home-style French cook. All the classic recipes are included and there's no daunting long lists of ingredients. Careful though, this is not a book for beginners; despite the fact that it includes quite informative sections about the choice of ingredients and their preparation, this book presupposes some knowledge of basic cooking techniques. If you think a bain-marie was one of the favourite beauty treatments of Marie-Antoinette, this book is not for you.

The picture above features the French edition published by Perrin. The English version is available from here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means (George Soros)

We were used to Soros thinking of himself as a genius of financial markets - he's been pretty successful (read: lucky) at dodging black swans, you can't take that from him... Now meet the Soros who thinks of himself as a genius of economic theory - one step short of a genius full stop. He confesses to having started "reading classical philosophers in [his] early teens" (!) and now rubs his 2 neurons together to try and deliver a holistic theory of financial markets through a rather shallow and messy analysis of the participants' behaviour, their interaction, and their impact on the market. The whole effort is quite laughable - the only thing he clearly demonstrates is an unbelievable megalomania (I would love to see a review of this book by a psychoanalyst...) and a propensity to deliver nuggets like "I contend that social events have a different structure from natural phenomena" (no sh!t, Sherlock ??). I still gave the book half a star (on a scale of 1 to 5...) as the author actually did read Popper (and reminds you so every other page). Now come on, Georgie, just because you coughed up a few half-digested concepts borrowed from some eminent (and far more articulate) thinkers and renamed them with your own concocted terminology does not make you an original thinker, or even a good read - the word plagiarism springs to mind...