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The Ten Most Beneficial Books Of The 19th/20th Century

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Well, I guess we all agree on Atlas Shrugged.

I would include "the origin of the species" and definitely more science-books.

Any suggestions?

-A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism- by James Clerk Maxwell (1873). Maxwell corrected the equations for electrical and magnetic fields to include the Displacement Current. This implies that moving charges create fields that propagate through space at a certain speed (it turns out to be the speed of light). Not only did this Treatise establish electromagnetic propagation, it also was the first Lorentz Invariant field theory. It was this work that inspired Einstein to create what became known as the Special Theory of Relativity. Maxwell died, not too long after he finished his Treatise and he never lived to see how Hertz experimentally verified his theory. Hertz' experimental apparatus was the first radio transmitter and receiver. It was the device that both Marconi and Tesla adapted for communication.

In a sense, Maxwell and Faraday invented modern technology and in this Treatise that Maxwell incorporated Faraday's vision of fields in space and made the matter mathematically rigorous. Maxwell is regarded by many as the greatest physicist of the nineteenth century and his genius matched that of Isaac Newton. Between Newton and Maxwell there were no greater physicists and no one exceeded Maxwell's genius until Einstein.

Bob Kolker

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On economics, since we're limited to the 19th and 20th centuries, I cannot name Adam Smith. Most of the more modern ones are useless.

"Socialism", "Human Action" and "Theory of Money and Credit" by Ludwig von Mises. These three books influenced the economists of post-WWII Japan and Germany and you can see all the beneficial products and people that have come out of that.

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The most beneficial book for me was 'The Selfish Gene' by Richard Dawkins

It is about the fact that genes (and memes) are "selfish", they don't profit (in terms of frequency in the gene pool) if a different gene of the "host" is selected. It also explains the conflict between the individual (as a person) and the genes, i.e. why people act sometimes altruistically on instinct.

Very well written and made me understand how nature works.

While dealing with rather specific issues the book provided me (and million others) an entry into the world of evolution, I learned much more than in 5 years of biology in school :lol:

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"Socialism", "Human Action" and "Theory of Money and Credit" by Ludwig von Mises. These three books influenced the economists of post-WWII Japan and Germany and you can see all the beneficial products and people that have come out of that.

Do you have more information on this claim? I have never heard that intellectuals in post WWII Japan and Germany were captivated by Austrian Economics.

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Do you have more information on this claim? I have never heard that intellectuals in post WWII Japan and Germany were captivated by Austrian Economics.

I believe the ruler in West Germany who got rid of the price controls was influenced by Austrian-style economic theory. I don't know of any link in Japan though.

The Road To Serfdom

-F.A. Hayek

The Law

-Frederic Bastiat

Basic Economics

-Thomas Sowell

(It was published in the 21st Century...so sue me)

Edited by Solid_Choke
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