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Boyle, David 1958- (David Courtney Boyle)

Boyle, David 1958- (David Courtney Boyle)

PERSONAL:

Born May 20, 1958, in London, England; son of Richard and Diana Boyle; married; wife's name Sarah; children: Robin, William. Education: Clifton College; Trinity College, Oxford, M.A., 1980.

ADDRESSES:

Home—London, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, editor, economist. Oxford Star, Oxford, England, arts editor, 1983-85; Town and Country Planning, London, England, editor, 1985-88; Radical Economics, editor; Rapide Productions, London, manager, beginning 1988; New Economics Foundation, London, England, associate, became fellow; London Time Bank, founder; Time Banks UK, cofounder.

WRITINGS:

Building Futures: A Layman's Guide to the Inner City Debate, W.H. Allen (London, England), 1989.

(Editor) The New Economics of Information, New Economics Foundation (London, England), 1989.

What Is New Economics?, New Economics Foundation (London, England) 1993.

World War II: A Photographic History, Rebo/Barnes & Noble (London, England), 1998.

Funny Money: In Search of Alternative Cash, HarperCollins (London, England), 1999.

The Tyranny of Numbers: Why Counting Can't Make Us Happy, HarperCollins (London, England), 2000, published as The Sum of Our Discontent: Why Numbers Make Us Irrational, Thompson and Texere (New York, NY), 2001.

Renaissance Art: A Crash Course, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2001.

(Editor) The Money Changers: Currency Reform from Aristotle to E-Cash, Earthscan Publications (London, England), 2002.

(Editor) The Little Money Book, Fragile Earth Books (Barrow Gurney, Bristol, England), 2003.

Authenticity: Brands, Fakes, Spin, and the Lust for Real Life, Flamingo (London, England), 2003.

(Editor) African Americans, Barron's (Hauppauge, NY), 2003.

(Editor) Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto, Barron's (Hauppauge, NY), 2004.

(With Anita Roddick) Numbers, Anita Roddick Books (Chichester, NH), 2004.

The Troubadour's Song: The Capture and Ransom of Richard the Lionheart, Walker (New York, NY), 2005, published as Blondel's Song: The Capture, Imprisonment and Ransom of Richard the Lionheart, Viking/Penguin (London, England), 2005.

Also editor of Community Network, 1987-88, New Economics, 1987-98, New Democrat International, 1989-91, and Liberal Democrat News, 1992-98.

SIDELIGHTS:

David Boyle is a British economist who writes nonfiction books dealing with history, politics, business, and the future of money. As he notes on his Web site, regardless of the specific title, the overriding theme of his work is "the importance of human-scale institutions over centralised ones, human imagination over dull rationalism, and the human spirit over technocratic reduction." In his 2000 title, The Tyranny of Numbers: Why Counting Can't Make Us Happy, published in the United States as The Sum of Our Discontent: Why Numbers Make Us Irrational, Boyle delves into the history of numbers and statistics to argue that mere numbers alone should not replace one's instincts about public matters. Paul B. Brown, writing in Inc., called the work "an engaging history of numbers, which [Boyle] uses to demonstrate the futility of trying to use numbers to consistently control, or even explain, the world around us." Brown further noted of The Sum of Our Discontent: "If ever an academic work could be said to be entertaining, it's this one." Boyle traces our fascination with numbers back to the Victorian penchant for measuring and quantifying, putting intellectuals such as Jeremy Bentham, Robert Malthus, and John Maynard Keynes under the lens of his historical scrutiny. A Publishers Weekly contributor was less positive about the book, noting that "Boyle revels in … broad indictments, damning entire professions for popular or politicized misperceptions." However, David Rouse, writing in Booklist, felt Boyle's "fascinating observation that the very act of measuring something changes its nature and often turns it into something else" was one of the most important contributions of the book. A critic for the New Internationalist also found the same work "an entertaining potted history of number-crunching."

Working as an editor, Boyle gathered seventy-three essays on money and economics spanning two millennia of such writings for the 2002 The Money Changers: Currency Reform from Aristotle to E-Cash. Boyle groups the essays under chapter headings such as "The Trouble with Money" or "The Failure of Money" and "Create Your Own Free Money." Alistair McConnachie, writing for Propserityuk.com, called the book "supremely encouraging." McConnachie also praised Boyle's contribution to the collection, "Why London Needs Its Own Currency," as a "great essay."

In Authenticity: Brands, Fakes, Spin, and the Lust for Real Life Boyle "contends that the everyday struggle to define and experience ‘authenticity’ is becoming a central characteristic of our age," according to a reviewer for Management Today. Boyle begins his study with a troubling juxtaposition: Japan's Ocean Dome, an artificial beach with 13,500 tons of water, was built quite near an actual beach on the Pacific Ocean. The Management Today reviewer further noted: "The guts of [Boyle's] argument are that we need to find a new set of relationships between democracy, individualism and capitalism." Charlotte Raven, writing in the New Statesman, felt the author "undermines his credibility by suggesting that an unsullied, hype-free version of authenticity—‘real real’ as opposed to ‘fake real’—is available to those with the will and drive to seek it out." However, the Management Today critic had a higher assessment of Authenticity, concluding that the book's "wide range, well-written examples and lively style offer something for us all."

The prolific and eclectic Boyle turns to medieval history with his 2005 The Troubadour's Song: The Capture and Ransom of Richard the Lionheart, also published as Blondel's Song: The Capture, Imprisonment and Ransom of Richard the Lionheart, in which he attempts to make historical fact out of legend. In 1192, England's King Richard, returning to his home after the Third Crusade, was captured, imprisoned, and set for ransom in a castle along the Danube. There, legend has it, the troubadour Blondel found him by singing the king's favorite song outside the walls and attracting the king's attention. Boyle, while he cannot completely prove the factual basis of this legend, does provide a mass of historical fact about medieval society, from the economic impact of the demanded ransom for the king, to the role of troubadour in medieval society. Library Journal contributor Benet Exton thought the book offered an "engrossing narrative," while a Kirkus Reviews critic termed it "pleasant, light reading." Higher praise came from Booklist reviewer Jay Freeman, who believed "readers will find this tapestry of medieval life both informative and enjoyable."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, June 1, 2001, David Rouse, review of The Sum of Our Discontent: Why Numbers Make Us Irrational, p. 1809; October 15, 2005, Jay Freeman, review of The Troubadour's Song: The Capture and Ransom of Richard the Lionheart, p. 22.

Inc., July 1, 2001, Paul B. Brown, review of The Sum of Our Discontent.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2005, review of The Troubadour's Song, p. 951.

Library Journal, April 1, 2001, Russell T. Clement, review of Renaissance Art: A Crash Course, p. 96; May 15, 2001, Harold D. Shane, review of The Sum of Our Discontent, p. 158; October 1, 2005, Benet Exton, review of The Troubadour's Song, p. 92.

Management Today, August, 2003, review of Authenticity: Brands, Fakes, Spin, and the Lust for Real Life, p. 20.

New Internationalist, April, 2001, review of The Tyranny of Numbers: Why Counting Can't Make Us Happy, p. 31.

New Statesman, August 4, 2003, Charlotte Rave, review of Authenticity, p. 34.

Publishers Weekly, May 28, 2001, review of The Sum of Our Discontent, p. 70; August 22, 2005, review of The Troubadour's Song, p. 50.

School Library Journal, December, 2003, Diane Olivo-Posner, review of African Americans, p. 164.

ONLINE

David Boyle Home Page,http://www.david-boyle.co.uk (February 21, 2007).

Propserityuk.com,http://www.prosperityuk.com/ (February 22, 2007), Alistair McConnachie, review of The Money Changers: Currency Reform from Aristotle to E-Cash.

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