César Molinas, an author with a deep formal economics and mathematics background, has written a very interesting book entitled "What to do with Spain?" --"¿Qué hacer con España?" in Spanish--. The book is somewhat the natural continuation of a series of much-read political articles he has published in top circulation media like El País.
Molinas has a very unusual background for a Spanish essay writer. Yes, the Barcelona-born author has been part of the local university ecosystem, and he has accumulated significant experience as a government official, particularly in EU-related matters, as well as in public sector management. This much he has in common with a majority of political non-fiction authors in the country. But he has also been an asset management banker with Merrill Lynch in London; he has founded his own consultancy firm; he has advised international hedge funds; and, last but not least, he has carried out his personal investments in biotechnology start-ups.
I bring this up because, despite some of the criticisms received --which I basically share--, about the 'light' argumentation of a good number of the points he tries to bring across, these shortcomings, I find, are clearly outweighed by the accumulation of a very rare number of virtues.
For one thing Molinas engages with the reader. The book clearly shows that its author did not set out to simply put some words to paper. To highlight this feature might sound strange to a non-Spaniard, but our local non-fiction standards, dominated by an obscure sense of what academia entails, are quite depressing in this respect.
Beyond the engagement, the most refreshing thing about ¿Qué hacer con España? is that it says something. Yes, a surprising remark too, I guess, but infrequent again in our country. For the most part Molinas states a series of well defined views, and, on the contrary, he disagrees with the alternative ones --although this becomes less clear when he comments on paragraphs included in Enric Juliana's latest book, for instance--.
Lastly, Molinas is ambitious in his scope and analytical in his approach. He dissects, understands, connects thoughts and demonstrates a unique ability to think daringly beyond the obvious. His book is not a mere compilation of events, one after the other, like, for instance, the last chapter of Mercedes Cabrera and Fernando del Rey's "The power of businessmen" --"El poder de los empresarios" in Spanish--.
I will not go into details about Molinas' argumentation. I will simply note that he covers vast ground: where is the world heading towards?, where does Spain come from? and what to do with Spain? And in all three aspects the book truly portrays original views. Read it if you can!