Ray Dalio Is Giving Away Free Copies of His New Book Principles for Dealing with the Changing World to High School & College Teachers and Their Students

As we noted back in March, investor Ray Dalio has published his latest bestseller, Principles for Dealing with the Changing World: Why Nations Succeed and FailA history of the rise and fall of empires over the last 500 years, the book uses the past to contemplate the future, particularly the fate of the United States and China. Today, for Teacher Appreciation Week, Dalio has announced that he’s willing to give a copy of the book “to any high school or college educator who wants it—and to all of their students if they intend to have them read it.” He writes:

Since releasing my book and animated video [above], Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order, many people have told me that both would be helpful for teaching history in schools and asked me if I would help make that happen. So, during this Teacher Appreciation Week I will give a copy of the book to any high school or college educator who wants it—and to all of their students if they intend to have them read it. And if there’s a lot of interest, I’d be happy to extend the offer past this week. Of course, the Youtube video is already free and easily available and I encourage you to check that out if you want an overview of what’s in the book.

When you sign up, let me know if you’re interested in me hosting a live online session for classrooms, which I’ll do if people would like it. If you are not an educator but know some who might be interested in this offer, please share this link with them.

To access the offer, click here.

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The New York Public Library Provides Free Online Access to Banned Books: Catcher in the Rye, Stamped & More


Each year in mid-September, we celebrate Banned Books Week, and each year I see a handful of people arguing that the celebration, or memorial, is self indulgent and out of touch. No one in the U.S. seriously tries to ban books, right? Book banning — as Gayle King said last September on CBS Mornings — is “an issue we tend to associate with the past.”

Yet even before the recent moral panics over “critical race theory” and gender and sexuality issues, teachers and librarians would have strongly disagreed that attempts to ban books ever went away. Books are challenged all the time in front of school boards, and have, many times in the recent past, appeared on lists handed around by state and federal legislators.


The latest round of book bannings represents an escalation, rather than a return, of the tactic. Not that lawmakers are likely to have read any of 850 or so books on a recent list of suspects. But too many seem eager to endorse bills that restrict what students can read, teachers can teach, and libraries can lend — legislation solely based on the standard of “comfort.” As in… if the facts of American history make some students (or their parents) uncomfortable, then damn the facts of American history…..

Ta-Nahasi Coates — whose Between the World and Me was banned in some communities in 2020 — tells King that this is no coincidence. “For most of American history,” he says, “African American authors have not had the purchase on the American conscience that they do right now.” The same goes for LGBTQ authors and writers from other marginalized groups, whose books are challenged and banned in schools and libraries with aggressive frequency.

What Coates calls a “purchase on the American conscience” is what we might also call empathy — a quality that good writing inspires in curious readers, and that many people seem to find threatening. Every democracy, however, must learn that it is “ignorance [that] is dangerous,” as president of the New York Public Library Tony Marx writes, “breading hate and division.” Learning about, and caring about, the experiences of others does the opposite.

To keep banned books freely available to readers who want access to them, the New York Public Library has partnered with publishers in a project called Books for All to reach readers wherever they may be. Marx emphatically states the need for such an effort:

The recent instances of both attempted and successful book banning — primarily on titles that explore race, LGBTQ+ issues, religion, and history — are extremely disturbing and amount to an all-out attack on the very foundation of our democracy…. The Library’s role is to make sure no perspective, no idea, no identity is erased.

There are currently four books offered under the project’s aegis through the end of May, and they’re available to readers across the United States:

Speak | Laurie Halse Anderson (Square Fish / Macmillan Publishers)

King and the Dragonflies | Kacen Callender (Scholastic)

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You | Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / Hachette Book Group)

The Catcher in the Rye | J.D. Salinger (Little, Brown and Company / Hachette Book Group)

To access these titles, all of which have faced bans or challenges, you will need to download the NYPL’s free reader app, SimplyE, for iOS or Android–all from the Books for All site. Then you can read the book right away “with our without a library card,” the library notes. “No waits, no fines.”

One hopes the Books for All project will expand to offer more titles from the increasingly greater number of books being pushed out of public view because they make those in power uncomfortable. Or, better yet, one hopes that dozens of similar projects will arise; that the slogan “books for all” can become a reality, regardless of who makes policy. Learn more and sign up for your free SimplyE account at the Books for All site.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

“Europe’s Big Lie About Ukraine,” According to Stephen Fry

“We’ll go down in history as the first society that wouldn’t save itself because it wasn’t cost effective.”
–Kurt Vonnegut

When Russia invaded Ukraine, the West responded with sanctions, arms shipments, and lots of moral support. But then it drew a line. Europe (particularly Germany) stills buys Russian gas and oil in vast quantities, effectively bankrolling Putin’s bloody military campaign. It shows no inclination to make hard sacrifices, including cutting fuel consumption or potentially putting jobs at risk. And forget about a No-Fly zone. All of this leaves some wondering about Europe’s real motivations and calculations. Above, writer and actor Stephen Fry lays out his skeptical take in a 14-minute video.

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How Ukraine’s Works of Art Are Being Saved in Wartime–Using the Lessons of World War II

Much in Ukraine has been lost since the Russian invasion commenced this past February. But efforts to minimize the damage have been responding on all fronts, and not just geographical ones. The preservation of Ukrainian culture has become the top priority for some groups, in response to Russian forces’ seeming intent to destroy it. “Cultural heritage is not only impacted, but in many ways it’s implicated in and central to armed conflict,” says Hayden Bassett, director of the Virginia Museum of Natural History’s Cultural Heritage Monitoring Lab, in the Vox explainer above. “These are things that people point to that are unifying factors for their society. They are tangible reflections of their society.”

This very quality made them a sadly appealing target for Russian attacks. As the video’s narrator puts it, Vladimir Putin “has made it clear that identity is at the ideological center of Russia’s invasion,” ostensibly an effort to reunify two lands of a common civilization. For Ukraine, the strategy to protect its own cultural heritage during wartime involves two phases of work.


First, “identify what needs protecting,” already a requirement of the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (known as the “Hague Convention). In Ukraine’s case, the list includes no fewer than seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Step two is to secure these cultural treasures, whether they be paintings, sculptures, buildings, or anything else besides. This requires the collaboration of “government agencies, militaries, NGOs, academics, museum institutions,” says Bassett, as well as of volunteers on the ground physically safeguarding the artifacts. This often involves hiding them whenever possible, and “if history is any indication,” says the narrator, “collections have moved underground or outside of major cities, or outside the country entirely.” So it was in Europe under the marauding of Nazi Germany, including, as seen in the France 24 segment above, with holdings of the Louvre up to and including the Mona Lisa. The state of world geopolitics today may have us wondering if we’ve truly learned the lessons of the Second World War, but at least the fight to save Ukrainian culture reminds that we haven’t forgotten them all.

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Why Russia Invaded Ukraine: A Useful Primer

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Pink Floyd Releases Its First New Song in 28 Years to Help Support Ukraine

“I rang Nick up and said: ‘listen, I want to do this thing for Ukraine. I’d be really happy if you played on it and I’d also be really happy if you’d agree to us putting it out as Pink Floyd.’ And he was absolutely on for that.

In 2015, David Gilmour was scheduled to play a concert in London with the Ukrainian band BoomBox. As he explained in a recent statement, the band’s lead singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk had trouble with his visa, leaving the rest of the Boombox to back Gilmour on a version of “Wish You Were Here.” That song’s sentiments took on an entirely different kind of urgency last month after Russia invaded Ukraine.

“Recently I read that Andriy had left his American tour with BoomBox, had gone back to Ukraine, and joined up with the Territorial Defense,” said Gilmour. “Then I saw this incredible video on Instagram, where he stands in a square in Kyiv with this beautiful gold-domed church and sings in the silence of a city with no traffic or background noise because of the war. It was a powerful moment that made me want to put it to music.”


The song Khlyvnyuk sings is “Oh, the Red Viburnum in the Meadow,” a “1914 protest song,” The Guardian reports, “written in honor of the Sich Riflemen who fought both in the first world war and the Ukrainian war of independence.” Gilmour decided to go further and use the “big platform” of Pink Floyd to release a single by the band – their first original song in 28 years. He called drummer Nick Mason and they recorded the track in Gilmour’s barn with bassist Guy Pratt and keyboardist Nitin Sawhney.

Released as “Hey, Hey, Rise Up” – with Khlyvnyuk’s approval (Gilmour says it took some doing to track him down) – the track’s proceeds will be donated to the Ukraine Humanitarian Relief Fund. It’s probably safe to say that this is not a Pink Floyd reunion. Gilmour insisted the band was done when keyboardist Richard Wright died in 2008. “This is the end,” he told the BBC, and there’s little reason to think he’s gearing up for a tour or a new Pink Floyd album now.

Instead, “Hey, Hey, Rise Up” is part of a larger protest by Gilmour, who writes of his Ukrainian daughter-in-law Janina, his grandchildren, and his “extended Ukrainian family” as a very personal connection to the news of the invasion. But he also wants to give young Ukrainians like Khlyvnyuk – who had no idea the world was watching – a larger voice and give voice to the shock and horror felt the world over as civilian deaths and atrocities mount. As he wrote in his statement:

We, like so many, have been feeling the fury and the frustration of this vile act of an independent, peaceful democratic country being invaded and having its people murdered by one of the world’s major powers… We want to express our support for Ukraine and in that way, show that most of the world thinks that it is totally wrong for a superpower to invade the independent democratic country that Ukraine has become.

Gilmour has pulled all his solo records and Pink Floyd’s catalogue post-1987 from streaming services in Russia. As for speculation that Roger Waters blocked the removal of earlier Pink Floyd material, or controversies over Waters’ statements to Russia Today and other outlets – “Let’s just say I was disappointed and let’s move on,” says Gilmour.

He’s more interested in talking about the war and Khlyvnyuk’s experiences. “He said he had the most hellish day you could imagine,” when Gilmour spoke to him and sent him the song — a day spent “picking up bodies of Ukrainians, Ukrainian children, helping with the clearing up. You know, our little problems become pathetic and tiny,” he says, “in the context of what you see him doing.”

See the English translation of the song just below:

In the meadow a red viburnum has bent down low
Our glorious Ukraine has been troubled so
And we’ll take that red viburnum and we will raise it up
And we, our glorious Ukraine shall, hey—hey, rise up—and rejoice!
And we’ll take that red viburnum and we will raise it up
And we, our glorious Ukraine shall, hey—hey, rise up and rejoice!

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: An Animated Video Explaining Key Ideas in Ray Dalio’s New Bestselling Book

Over the past five years, Ray Dalio, one of America’s most successful investors, has published a series of books, each meant to impart wisdom to a younger generation. The first book, Principles: Life and Work, shared the unconventional principles that have guided his life and career. It became a bestseller, selling well over one million copies. Next came Big Debt Crises, a study of financial crises and how nations navigate them. Finally, he has just published his latest bestseller, Principles for Dealing with the Changing World: Why Nations Succeed and Fail. A history of the rise and fall of empires over the last 500 years, the book uses the past to contemplate the future, particularly the fate of the United States and China. As was the case with Principles, Dalio has produced an animated video that explains key ideas in the book. Released in early March, the video has already been viewed 8.6 million times. Watch it above, and consider pairing it with his other animated video, How the Economic Machine Works.

If you would like to get Open Culture post’s via email, please sign up for our free email newsletter here.

And if you would like to support the mission of Open Culture, consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere. You can contribute through PayPal, Patreon, Venmo (@openculture) and Crypto. Thanks for your support!

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When Stalin Starved Ukraine

Since its launch last month, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sent observers around the world scrambling for context. It is a fact, for example, that Russia and Ukraine were once “together” in the communist mega-state that was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. But it is also a fact that such Soviet togetherness hardly ensured warm feelings between the two lands. An especially relevant chapter of their history is known in Ukraine as the Holodomor, or “death by starvation.” Spanning the years 1932 and 1933, this period of famine resulted in three to six million lives lost — and that according to the lower accepted estimates.

“It was genocide,” says the narrator of the Vox “Missing Chapter’ video above, “carried out by a dictator who wanted to keep Ukraine under his control, and would do everything in his power to cover it up for decades. That dictator was, of course, Joseph Stalin, who accompanied brutal methods of rule with tight control of information. “In 1917, after the fall of the Russian Empire, Ukraine briefly gained freedom,” the video explains. “But by 1922, it was forcibly integrated into the newly formed Soviet Union.” A rural and highly fertile land, Ukraine was known as “the breadbasket of the Soviet Union” — hence Stalin’s desire to nip any potential revolution there in the bud.


First came a “widespread, violent purge of Ukrainian intellectuals along with priests and religious structures.” At the same time as they advanced this attempted dismantling of Ukrainian culture, Soviet higher-ups were also implementing Stalin’s five-year plan of industrialization, consolidation, and collectivization, including that of all agriculture. This was the time of the kulak, or “wealthy peasant,” the label invented to disgrace anyone resistant to this process. Any kulaks known to Stalin faced a terrible fate indeed, including exile, imprisonment, and even execution; those farmers who remained then fell victim to the dictator’s engineered famine.

Under the pretext of enforcing deliberately unrealistic grain-production quotas, Stalin’s enforcers seized farms across Ukraine in order to sell their products to the West. Before long, “Soviet police began seizing not just grain, but anything edible.” Farmers were stopped from leaving their homeland, where Stalin intended them to starve, “but even in this unimaginable suffering, Ukrainians fought for their lives and each other.” This video incorporates interviews with a grandson and granddaughter of two such Ukrainians who left behind personal records of the Holodomor. A story of endurance and survival under the very worst circumstances, and ultimately a return to national independence, it goes some way to explaining how and why Ukraine continues to put up such a valiant fight against the forces that have descended upon it.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Marina Abramović Brings Back Her Iconic Performance Art Piece, The Artist Is Present, to Raise Money for Ukraine

For a couple of months in 2010, Marina Abramović spent her days wordlessly and motionlessly sitting at a table in the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art. Any visitor could sit in the chair opposite her, for as long as they liked. In response, Abramović said nothing and did almost nothing (even during visits from Lou Reed, Bjork, or her long-ago lover and collaborator, the late Ulay). The whole experience constituted a piece of performance art, titled The Artist Is Present. As with many works of that form, to ask why Abramović did it is to miss the point. Nothing like it had been done before, and it thus promised to enter uncharted artistic, social, and emotional territory.

A dozen years later, the artist will be present again, but this time with a highly specific motive in mind: to raise money for the besieged nation of Ukraine. “Abramović has partnered with New York’s Sean Kelly Gallery and Artsy to offer a performance art meet-and-greet… or at least meet-and-silently-stare,” writes Hyperallergic’s Sarah Rose Sharp.


“Through March 25, interested parties can bid on one of two opportunities for a limited restaging of Abramović’s epic performance The Artist Is Present.” These meet-and-silently-stares “will be captured by photographer Marco Anelli, who documented almost all of the 1,500 participants in the original performance.”

Proceeds “will go to Direct Relief, which is working with Ukraine’s Ministry of Health to provide urgent medical assistance as well as long-term aid to the many lives devastated by the war.” Last month, when Russia launched its invasion, Abramović released the video statement above. In it she explains having done some work in Ukraine last year, which afforded her an opportunity to get to know some of its people. “They’re proud, they’re strong, and they’re dignified,” she says, and an attack on their country “is an attack to all of us,” an “attack to humanity.” If you feel the same way, have some money to spend, and missed out on the first The Artist Is Present — and if you think you can hold your own across from the formidable presence glimpsed in the video — consider making a bid of your own.

via Hyperallergic

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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