I think book recommendations are in order to balance all the recent (and upcoming) beauty-related in here.
These two books I can recommend for those who are interested in geopolitics, politics and/or history. This truly is a balancing act.
The first one is (surprise, surprise) something my advisor a.k.a. dad had recommended. The book is by geopolitical forecaster George Friedman and it's called Flashpoints, the Emerging Crisis in Europe. It's a great history lesson of European geopolitics combined with present-day crises. A couple of years back I read Friedman's the Next Decade - another interesting book that I can highly recommend, as you get to reflect his writing on what has happened since it was written.
The second (or should I say third) recommendation is Martin Meredith's the State of Africa, a History of the Continent Since Independence. In high school I took all history courses possible, but somehow I didn't find the most recent African history that fascinating. Not that a lot of attention was given to it anyway. However, I've recently discovered a new interest in African issues and to brief myself decided to get this book at the airport in Johannesburg. It gives an overall glimpse of 700 pages on the history of African countries since their independence. A huge bonus of this book is that several maps of Africa are included in its first pages. I went back and forth while reading to make sure I learnt (at least some of) the locations and capitals. Beware - a lot of difficult names as well as cannibalism is involved.
My family used to play this board game called World Tour where you learn the countries and their capitals etc. by picking up a card presenting a flag of one of the world's countries. These books make me want to play that again.