What we’re reading: Tough questions

Can we trust even the most seemingly reputable public figures? How will we address the needs of our aging population? Can destroying 70,000 homes actually make a city a better place to live? And, for good measure, what is real? Our staff has a lot to think about this week.

 

Five Dialogues (Plato)— What is and what isn’t? How do we define our beliefs? What is conviction? In Plato’s Five Dialogues, one of Western Philosophies forefathers takes you on a journey forcing you to ask and answer difficult questions.—Michael Aumiller, Research Assistant

USG struggles for profit amid housing slump (Chicago Tribune/Wall Street Journal)—A look into how the housing crisis has brought down a diverse range of companies, and a warning against over-investing in one part of the world.—Beverly Berryhill, Office Manager

Destroying Detroit (in Order to Save It) (GQ)—On Detroit’s to-do list: demolish 70,000 deeply blighted homes. At a rate of about 3,000 per year, that’s going to take awhile. GQ’s Howie Kahn takes a ride with the people who are out at all hours of the night trying to reach that goal.—Katie Buitrago, Policy and Communications Associate

Kerner: The Conflict of Intangible Rights (Bill Barnhart)—Barnhart traces the rise of a champion of racial justice and one of Illinois’ most beloved public figures to his fall from grace on charges of fraud and bribery.—Tom Feltner, Vice President

Shock of Gray:  The Aging of the World’s Population and How It Pits Young Against Old, Child Against Parent, Worker Against Boss, Company Against Rival, and Nation Against Nation (Ted Fishman)—By 2025, there will be 66 million Americans above the age of 65, and I’ll be one of them. This book looks at the diverse implications of the growing older population.—Dory Rand, President

Climbing 164 Stairs in Medellin, Colombia (The City Fix) – A city built on the side of a mountain already uses ski lifts to help people get from place to place.  Now they are thinking about installing an outdoor network of urban neighborhood escalators to replace stairs.—Geoff Smith, Senior Vice President