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What's on your night stand that's good to read?

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I finished "Markets Don't Fail!" a few days ago. Definitely a good read. Moreover, while I'll do a proper book review elsewhere at some point, I'd like to point out here that some of the hypotheticals he offers for a laissez-faire world are already for real in Australia. For example, in reference to worker safety, Australian and New Zealand standards are formulated by a private organisation and there are no less than EIGHT privately run firms that provide certifications to those standards - examples include SAI Global (who is also the prime distributor of the standards), Lloyds, and SGS. What Australian laws and regulations do is just give Standards Australia Ltd a near monopoly on the standards formulation business, saying that such and such standard (eg AS/NZS 4801) is the minimum legal requirement. As coincidence would have it, I finished MDF on the train going to and from an OH&S Essentials training course, which is where I learned about the exact nature of the relationships of these businesses to the law.

For extra juicy Objectivism promotion, I met an intelligent young woman at this course who said to me that she was cheesed that the law (on the topic of who had the onus for proving what) was stacked against employers. I recommended MDF to her. From there I hope she'll get interested in Objectivist philosophy proper, which I will suggest to her in email in due time. Wuahahahaha <_<

Anyway, I am now re-reading Michael Gerber's "The E-Myth Revisited" (which is now a bit dated but still useful), and bought Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion" and am about 1/3 through that. It is fascinating to read something that skirts so close to a great many Objectivist positions while giving the appearance of not even being remotely familiar with what Objectivism has to offer - for example, the primacy of existence and rejection of the question of infinite regress by starting with what is plainly observable than hypercomplex and thoroughly contradictory notions of supreme consciousnesses. Judging from what I've read so far, if (and it's a really big if) we could just get some Objectivist he respects to have a big long chat and discuss Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology he'd take them on board in a snap and taking the next step to ethics and politics would be a cakewalk. The whole thing would be very considerably easier, imho, than trying the same thing with Dr Carl Sagan (who was clearly too emotionally attached to unsavoury political theories and held Aristotle in contempt [though for legitimate reasons, I might add]). If... *sigh*.

JJM

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My actual nightstand is basically empty, but I do have an extensive pile of books on my "to read" list. In no particular order:

1) A bunch of SF by Charles Stross: The Family Trade, The Hidden Family and The Jennifer Morgue. His novel Glasshouse will go onto the pile once the paperback comes out. Most of the rest of his fiction is in my "recently read" pile.

2) A bunch of SF by Neal Asher: Prador Moon, The Skinner, The Voyage of the Sable Keech and Cowl. Again, much of the rest of his fiction is in my "recently read" pile.

3) Stephen Hunter's Point of Impact.

4) The last two books of Ed Cline's Sparrowhawk series: Revolution and War. I'll probably reread the earlier books in the series as well, since it's been a while.

5) From The Notebooks of Dr. Brain by Minister Faust.

6) Natan Sharansky's Fear No Evil.

7) Ruth Garrett Millikan's On Clear And Confused Ideas: An Essay About Substance Concepts.

8) Realism Rescued: How Scientific Progress Is Possible by Jerrold L. Aronson, Rom Harre and Eileen Cornell Way.

9) The most recent issue of The Objective Standard.

I will also be reading Reaper's Gale, the latest volume in Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series, once my friend has finished it and lends it to me, as well as The Prefect, the latest novel by Alastair Reynolds. Oh, and I have a copy of a novel called Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman on pre-order from Amazon; when it arrives it goes into the stack as well. And the last Harry Potter novel comes out in July, I think.

Memo to self: Stop messing around on the net and get back to reading!

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Finished the God Delusion - interesting and disappointing at the same time. Finished The E-Myth Revisisted. Now I am getting stuck into Professor Tara Smith's "Viable Values," while listening to economics lectures by Richard Salsman and making a mental note to buy Say's treatise.

JJM

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Books I finished recently:

The Case of the One-Eyed Witness, by Erle Stanley Gardner. A Perry Mason mystery. Gardner is the best selling mystery writer of all time. The Perry Mason tv show was one of Ayn Rand's favorites. The first season and a half are now available on DVD.

The Merry Anne, by Samuel Merwin, co-author of Calumet K. I was rereading this book for a third time. Because you just can't find this kind of novel anymore, where businessmen are the heroes.

Books next in line to read:

Monetary Policy in the United States, by Richard H. Timberlake. " . . . chronicles the intellectual, political, and economic developments [from the founding of the country] that prompted the use of central banking institutions to regulate the monetary system." His perspective is anti-central banking.

A Secret Life, by Benjamin Weiser. A biography of a Polish intelligence officer during the Cold War who was a double agent for the CIA. "A spy story for the ages, one that is not cynical, but uplifting. The anti-Le Carre."

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I love discussing books!

Books that I have that are presently on my reading list:

In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power by Daniel Pipes.

Your Doctor is not in by Jane Orient.

The Chilling Stars: The New Theory of Climate Change by Henrik Svensmark.

Old Soldiers Never Die (A biography of Douglas MacArthur) by Geoffrey Perret.

Other books that I am presently planning on reading this summer:

Markets Do Not Fail! by Brian Simpson.

Six Days of War by Michael Oren.

Contemporary Political Philosophy by William Kymlicka.

My reading list is usually around 20 - 25 books wrong, but I might as well not reveal my full bibliophilia.

Edited by DarkWaters
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  • 2 weeks later...

I finished reading The Robbers by Schiller over the weekend. I needed a break from Sturm und Durang, and so I came upon a book that finally was available at the library - one that I wanted to read for research.

I never knew that this book was going to be this - biographical - this exponentially helpful to the novoul that I am writing! I'm so excited, all because of this:

The Teeth of the Lion: The Story of the Beloved and Despised Dandelion by Anita Sanchez

Though I'm only halfway through since I just got it tonight before work - the way that the author writes this book - it goes straight to my paper heart. I've read some attempts at poetically written non-fiction before - but this book - is no attempt - it's a wonderful success!

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Yes, I searched and know that there are 2 threads, here and here, that already ask what you read, in general.

I'm more interested in what you're reading right now.

I have a bad habit of starting lots of books simultaneously, so here goes:

The Objectivist Forum - great read. Highly recommended.

Viable Values (Rand's Normative Ethics is on deck)

John Adams - McCullough's great bio

A Town Called Alice - Shute (recommendation from TOF)

Triathlon Training Plans (yes, I have the bug again)

My Treo is loaded up with Cooper's Leatherstocking series (thanks tjgl!), of which I just finished The Deerslayer while on vacation.

Your turn.

-Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes= by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein.

This is absolutely the funniest book I have read in the past ten years. If you plan to read this book be sure to urinate thoroughly before each read.

-Euclid's Window : The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace- by Leonard Mlodinow

A perfect introduction to Geometry and its applications in Physics for those who are not heavily trained in mathematics.

Bob Kolker

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As I've mentioned before, I'm new to all of this, so I just put Atlas Shrugged away and have The Fountainhead literally sitting on my nightstand waiting for me. I'm also three chapters into Cesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems, by Cesar Milan (Yes, he's The Dog Whisperer on The National Geographic Channel. I'm fascinated by his effective techniques and how he acquired them through simple observation.) And on deck, I plan to re-read The Shangri-La Diet: The No Hunger Eat Anything Weight-Loss Plan, by Seth Roberts PhD. (I read it a year ago and have lost 40 lbs since then, so now I want to read the revised edition.) Weird mix, huh? :D

Oh, and I've got a book about Winston Churchill and the few years leading up to WWII, that my neighbor loaned to me. I cannot remember the name or the author right now, but I'm very interested in the fact that he pretty much stood alone in thinking that the Nazis were a threat during those years.

Edited by K-Mac
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As I've mentioned before, I'm new to all of this, so I just put Atlas Shrugged away and have The Fountainhead literally sitting on my nightstand waiting for me. I'm also three chapters into Cesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems, by Cesar Milan (Yes, he's The Dog Whisperer on The National Geographic Channel. I'm fascinated by his effective techniques and how he acquired them through simple observation.) And on deck, I plan to re-read The Shangri-La Diet: The No Hunger Eat Anything Weight-Loss Plan, by Seth Roberts PhD. (I read it a year ago and have lost 40 lbs since then, so now I want to read the revised edition.) Weird mix, huh? :D

Oh, and I've got a book about Winston Churchill and the few years leading up to WWII, that my neighbor loaned to me. I cannot remember the name or the author right now, but I'm very interested in the fact that he pretty much stood alone in thinking that the Nazis were a threat during those years.

Not a weird mix at all. I've actually got Rand, health & fitness, and a few dog training titles on deck myself.

TF is my highest recommendation! ;) If you loved AS, you'll love TF, maybe even more.

As a someone who trains dogsmyself, I am mixed on Cesar Milan. Some of his stuff is good and addresses issues you can't get at easily with positive reinforcement. Some of it is "old school" stuff. Its a great show tho.

How was the Shangri-La Diet? It looks a little faddy to me. My personal pick is the Best Life Diet, which is about the most rational, common-sense approach I have seen in a while, which means it looks fairly obvious, but with lots of great ideas for implementation.

I am reading The Count of Monte Cristo right now. It is every bit as amazing as the movie was! Its chock full of heroes, villains, and revenge.

Now that is a great book. I did it in reverse so I was worried the movie wasn't going to do the book justice. I think it was a pretty good representation, but still like the book better. ;)

Edited by KendallJ
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Oh, and I've got a book about Winston Churchill...

Found the name and author...The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, ALONE (1932-1940), by William Manchester

How was the Shangri-La Diet? It looks a little faddy to me. My personal pick is the Best Life Diet, which is about the most rational, common-sense approach I have seen in a while, which means it looks fairly obvious, but with lots of great ideas for implementation.

The Shangri-La Diet (SLD) is weird, but the science behind this theory and the diet seem to be working for me. The book is so short and so easy to read, it's well worth a look. I've lost 40 lbs by simply taking 4 tbsp of extra light tasting olive oil per day, so it's super cheap and easy. If you choose to read the book (and I would suggest the new revised edition), be sure to read the appendix. I read it first to familiarize myself with the science and it made the remainder of the book more understandable. On the surface, it does appear to be just another fad diet, but once you dig a little, you will find that it makes a lot of good, common sense.

http://sethroberts.net/science/index.html

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Oh, and I have a copy of a novel called
Soon I Will Be Invincible
by Austin Grossman on pre-order from Amazon; when it arrives it goes into the stack as well.

Really? I saw this at the bookstore and I was tempted to get it because I like superhero themes, but I have no patience whatever for the kind of dreck that you usually get out of people that write comics.
Wicked
was the last book I read that claimed to have "novel ideas about good and evil" and it was AWFUL.

I might check this one out though.

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I just added another one to my nightstand...Faces of Evil: Murderers, Kidnappers, Rapists and the Forensic Artist Who Puts Them Behind Bars by Lois Gibson and Deanie Francis Mills. Lois Gibson drew a picture of the guy that robbed my husband and I in our home back in Houston in 1994. We took her drawing all over our neighborhood and got a positive ID from a waitress at a nearby bar. We picked him out of a police line up the next day and he was convicted several months later. Lois and I still keep in touch and she is an amazing person. She barely survived a brutal rape years ago and her story really helped my husband and I move past our traumatic ordeal. If you enjoy crime stories at all, this will be a good one!

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Really? I saw this at the bookstore and I was tempted to get it because I like superhero themes, but I have no patience whatever for the kind of dreck that you usually get out of people that write comics. Wicked was the last book I read that claimed to have "novel ideas about good and evil" and it was AWFUL.

I might check this one out though.

I kind of enjoyed it. I wouldn't say it had "novel ideas" about good and evil, but I wasn't looking for anything deep. It was a cut above the direct comics-derived dreck like The Death and Life of Superman. I particularly enjoyed the sections written from the perspective of the villain, Doctor Impossible.

If you're interested in this sort of superhero-themed book, you might also check out the other book I mentioned From the Notebooks of Doctor Brain by Minister Faust. It's basically about a bunch of dysfunctional superheroes going through therapy, but it's got a solid psychological core to it. I mean, really, anyone who dresses up with his underwear on the outside and fights crime isn't going to be entirely normal, psychologically speaking.

I also have to put in a plug for the classic graphic novel Watchmen by Alan Moore, although I suspect you'll have read it already.

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Just finished: Jarhead, by Anthony Swofford.

Currently reading: Generation Kill, by Evan Wright.

The first one is a marine's first person perspective of his experience during the first gulf war as a scout sniper with the STA Platoon of 2nd Battalion 7th Marines.

The second is an embedded reporter's perspective of his experience during the 2003 invasion of Iraq with the USMC 1st Reconnaissance Battalion.

Both are very insightful books that give you a good idea of the kind of people that choose to become marines, and how the USMC in turn becomes a part of them. Jarhead is superior in terms of writing, and it is much more intimate and personal book that is essentially a memoir of Anthony Swofford. Generation Kill, as expected by something written by a reporter, is essentially just a detailed pseudo third-person accounting of the war and its soldiers.

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Hm, reading 'Dangerous Liaisons' at the moment, alongside a couple of Chekhov's plays (almost finished The Seagull - may re-read it afterwards). I'm waiting till the 17th July, when it's my birthday, and I'm going to get my Objectivism CD-ROM, you know, the one with all of Ayn Rand's work and some of Peikoff's. That'll keep me occupied for a good long while. :dough:

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  • 3 weeks later...

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (as of Saturday morning :lol: )
  2. The Outline of History, by H.G. Wells
  3. Because He Could, by Dick Morris...don't really want to read it, but my dad gave it to me for Christmas about 3 years ago, and I feel bad for not reading it yet.
  4. The Gulag Archipelago
  5. some book that I have yet to find that gives a good, broad overview of Middle Eastern history...any suggestions would be appreciated
  6. A History of Christianity (Paul Johnson), Hatred's Kingdom (Dore Gold), Right to Exist (Yaacov Lozowick), Why I am Not a Muslim (Ibn Warraq), and What the Koran Really Says (Ibn Warraq)...alll books that I tried to read before but abandoned, due to the fact that I did not have a decent understanding of general Middle Eastern history...this problem should be remedied by the above book.

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  • 1 month later...

Funny the topic should come up - I finished reading the His Dark Materials trilogy last week. Good read.

I have nearly finished 'Tyrant' by Valerio Manfredi, about Dionysius The Elder of Syracuse. I am enjoying it immensely, and thought about buying all of Manfredi's other historical-novels. I searched for and found some good recommendations here, so now that plan is a definite.

JJM

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Yes, I searched and know that there are 2 threads, here and here, that already ask what you read, in general.

I'm more interested in what you're reading right now.

I have a bad habit of starting lots of books simultaneously, so here goes:

The Objectivist Forum - great read. Highly recommended.

Viable Values (Rand's Normative Ethics is on deck)

John Adams - McCullough's great bio

A Town Called Alice - Shute (recommendation from TOF)

Triathlon Training Plans (yes, I have the bug again)

My Treo is loaded up with Cooper's Leatherstocking series (thanks tjgl!), of which I just finished The Deerslayer while on vacation.

Your turn.

I see you are reading things by Nevil Shute. Good choice!

Nevil Shute is one of the truly, truly honest authors of our time. Here is a book you have Got To Read: Slide Rule. Nevil Shute (his real name is Nevil Shute Norway) was an aeronautics engineer and his book -Slide Rule- is about the construction of the dirigibles R-100 and R-101 (back around 1930). R-100 was built by a private firm that became Vickers Aviation and leading firm in the design and construction of aircraft. The R-100 was designed by Barnes-Wallace the world's greatest boffin, he who created the underwater bombs that were used to blast the Ruhr valley dams during WW2 (see -Dam Busters-).

R-101 was a government run project to build an airship to get into competition with the German Zepplins. R-101 was screwed up from the git-go. It was like something out of -Atlas Shrugged-. In fact I finally appreciated how on point -Atlas Shrugged- was *after* I read -Slide Rule-. Dayummm! Things like this really -do- happen!

In any case, R-100, the privately built dirigible completed transatlantic flights between England and Canada safely and well. R-101 was behind schedule, over budget and grossly underpowered for the weight she carried. R-101 had only fifty tons freeboard lifting power. That means she could only load fifty tons of cargo or load to produce a total weight equal to her lifting power. It was ludicrous! R-101 crashed on her maiden flight. She was to take the air minister to India (then part of the British Raj) preparatory to him becoming the Viceroy. R-101 crashed in France, all 48 souls aboard lost including the air minister himself. Shute tells the story in a very understated manner but he makes the points quite definitively. After the disaster, R-100, the Vickers built airship was dismantled, her aluminium frame melted down and her construction plans destroyed. No evidence was left to show how the private project outperformed and outclassed the government project.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R-100

In addition to -Slide Rule-, pray do read -No Highway- and -On the Beach-, both of which were made into fine motion pictures.

Bob Kolker

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I'm near completion of "Founders at Work" and it was a very fun, and inspirational, read.

Each chapter is an interview with a founder of a technology startup that was important for some reason (most succeeded, but some were stories of what causes a company to crash and burn).

There are some pretty high profile companies in it: Apple, PayPal, Adobe, Hotmail, and Yahoo are some of the biggest companies in the list. Adobe's war with Microsoft and Apple was a fascinating story about how putting out the superior product resulted in Adobe's domination of the graphic design market. Some of the people interviewed in this book achieved what could almost be viewed as super-human work ethics: the one guy that had 6 months to complete and project and for those 6 months, he would work for 44 hours, then sleep for 4 hours, all in the name of completing his project on time.

Each story is relatively light reading, and the book would probably work as a bathroom reader, if you're a fast enough reader.

It's one of those rare books that, like Atlas Shrugged, makes me more excited to work. And more importantly, it points out that the people who start these companies and make tons of money aren't "special" or "lucky," but are normal people who simply took the risk and had the drive to follow through on their dreams. If that's not inspirational, I don't know what is.

If you're a programmer type and considering a startup, I would definitely recommend this.

Edited by Chops
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Just finished 'Deathly Hallows' recently and I am currently reading Tara Smith's 'Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics' on my work-breaks and James Bartholomew's 'The Welfare Stae we're in' at home.

The last book is a very insightful and well-researched investigation into the appalling scale of destruction visited upon our (British) medical, educational, and financial systems by the Welfare state and how these, and social security/housing/pensions developed from their beginnnings here.

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