Knowledge: A few sources

doorMascha Bloemer

Knowledge: A few sources

By Srdjan Miletic

Whether you want to do well in debating or in life, it helps to know things. There are many articles out there on knowledge in debating and how to get informed, what I write here is my personal take on what is worth reading and a few choice sources I doubt are very widely known. Enjoy.

Current Affairs

By current affairs I mean news on what is happening today and analysis of why it is happening and what it’s implications are. While the sources below are by no means entirely trustworthy, together they do provide a variety of viewpoints and narratives, each of which reveals an aspect of the truth which, at the very least, can be put to work in a debate.


General Knowledge

Not everything here is directly applicable to debating but the sense of perspective a well rounded knowledge of the world can give you is. These books and series are a few of my favorites.

Mascha Bloemer
ASDV Bonaparte | + berichten

Mascha is een alumnus van de Amsterdamse Studentendebatvereniging Bonaparte. Zij was redacteur van SevenTwenty (2012-2013) waarna ze in 2013-2015 de rol van hoofdredacteur op zich pakte.

Over de auteur

Mascha Bloemer administrator

Mascha is een alumnus van de Amsterdamse Studentendebatvereniging Bonaparte. Zij was redacteur van SevenTwenty (2012-2013) waarna ze in 2013-2015 de rol van hoofdredacteur op zich pakte.

2 Reacties tot nu toe

DaanGeplaatst op7:10 pm - mrt 9, 2015

Could you tell me why you found these specific books interesting?
Why, for instance, do you prefer Guns, Germs and Steel over Why Nations Fail? Certainly given the essentialist defeatist narrative of the former, I cant see it of being of much use to debating IR.

Srdjan MileticGeplaatst op2:11 am - mrt 10, 2015

I found these books interesting because I thought that they provided a well rounded introduction to their fields while remaining accessible and a few were particularly useful for debating. As for why I haven’t included other books like Why Nations Fail, the simple answer is that either I haven’t read them so I can’t know how good they are or I have read them but found them too complex or not useful enough to merit inclusion given I was limiting myself to 10 books.

On The Books I recommended and why I found them interesting:
The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: On of the best general histories of the western world that I know of. Importantly, it covers both economic and governmental developments and ties them into IR which is something few books I have read do and none do so well. Note that everything he writes about the world post 1950 is questionable.

Guns, Germs and Steel: The effects of ecology and environment on human civilization and the role of crop yields in explaining the European miracle is something I found highly interesting.

Crash Course: World History: A great and fairly deep intro to the history of the human race.

Man, State and War: What causes war. Vital to debating IR well.

Bad Samaritans: Very good argumentation against free trade, particularly useful in economic liberalization debates and often a guaranteed first against middling teams.

International Macro: Just a decent Macroeconomics textbook. A basic understanding of Macro will let you argue better for the effects (or lack thereof) of sanctions and give you an understanding of how the economy actually works

All the anti-Orthodox books: .There are two things I like about each of these books. One, they are clearly written and, in the case of Chomsky and the miners, make use of extensive sources to support largely persuasive arguments. Two, they are shocking enough to prompt revaluation of the positive image of their states most debaters, being middle class and relatively liberal, will have.

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