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 Post subject: Re: Reading
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:54 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Reading
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:20 am 
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I forgot I have Game Change and the Sookie Stackhouse series (wife insists that I read them) in my backlog too. I need to take a time out and catch up on my reading.


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 Post subject: Re: Reading
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:38 pm 
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Thought I'd toss this in, easy 5 min read.
http://mises.org/books/TRTS/

For those that don't read

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 Post subject: Re: Reading
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:15 am 
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knuckles_95 wrote:
I forgot I have Game Change and the Sookie Stackhouse series (wife insists that I read them) in my backlog too. I need to take a time out and catch up on my reading.


Did you ever read the Song of Ice & Fire series or just gonna leave it at watching Game of Thrones?

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 Post subject: Re: Reading
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:43 am 
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I wanted to add a book a I read a few months ago "Moneyball"

It was an entirely new way to look at baseball. Excellent book. Haven't seen the film yet, but it couldn't possibly be as good as the book.

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 Post subject: Re: Reading
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:12 pm 
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NefariousKoel wrote:
knuckles_95 wrote:
I forgot I have Game Change and the Sookie Stackhouse series (wife insists that I read them) in my backlog too. I need to take a time out and catch up on my reading.


Did you ever read the Song of Ice & Fire series or just gonna leave it at watching Game of Thrones?

I have the first book but I am seriously backlogged. Between work, doing peer review for proposals, homework for my Masters program, girl scouts, boy scouts, violin, chess club for my daughter, and my honey do list (currently putting in hardwood floors and stairs) I'm swamped. I'm going to take a vacation here soon and do nothing but kick back with a beer and read.


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 Post subject: Re: Reading
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:34 pm 
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abradley wrote:
Thought I'd toss this in, easy 5 min read.
http://mises.org/books/TRTS/

For those that don't read

For that literate intelligentsia who can read, here are strips.

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:shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Reading
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:57 pm 
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knuckles_95 wrote:
I'm going to take a vacation here soon and do nothing but kick back with a beer and read.


Sounds like you need it, with that laundry list of stuff. :?

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 Post subject: Re: Reading
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:40 pm 
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Just starting Civilization: The West and the Rest:
Quote:
http://www.amazon.com/Civilization-West ... 1846142733
4.0 out of 5 stars Niall Ferguson - The killer "apps" or cultural arrogance; you decide.,, March 1, 2011
By
Red on Black (Cardiff) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)
This review is from: Civilization: The West and the Rest (Hardcover)
While I suspect that David Starkey would violently object the two current giants of television history in the UK in terms of providing a worldview are the left leaning Simon Schama and the combative neo conservative Niall Ferguson. Their dust up at last years Hay Literary festival in Wales was a colourful sparring session between two big intellects firing verbal potshots at each other and a joy to behold. Schama concentrated on providing a robust defense of Barack Obama while Ferguson spent much of his allotted time dissing the President's now famous speech delivered in Cairo in 2009. Indeed he has described it as "touchy feely nonsense" and has in recent weeks sent out lurid warnings about Obama's failure to anticipate the demise of Mubarak and to come to terms with what Ferguson sees as the potential rise of the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt and the possible "restoration of the caliphate and the strict application of Sharia". Strong stuff, but Ferguson does like a good row. (see his feud with the nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman)

These themes above are the heart of this new book "Civilization: The West and the Rest" since Ferguson comes from the controversial standpoint that Western dominance has on the whole been a progressive force and that on the basis of a cost benefit analysis the good outweighs the bad (it is a constant theme in all his books). He recently argued that "the rulers of western Africa prior to the European empires were not running some kind of scout camp. They were engaged in the slave trade. They showed zero sign of developing the country's economic resources....and the counterfactual idea that somehow the indigenous rulers would have been more successful in economic development doesn't have any credibility at all." This is a bold, confrontational, contentious and provocative thesis and his new book reinforces these arguments postulating that there were six killer "apps" which propelled the West to a position of predominance. These were competition, science, property, modern science, consumption and work ethic all with a dedicated chapter in the book.

Space precludes a detailed debate on each theme but for example he contrasts how China was the world's most advanced civilization in the 15th century but stagnated and was overtaken by Dutch mercantilism and the rise of capitalism employing his six "skills". He will equally generate a furious response to the view that scientific development was "by any scientific measure, wholly European". Other ideas that the spread of the market was as influential in the rise of the West as the role of force tends to neglect that the often were inseparable and rather evil twins. Just look at the bloody history of German East Africa prior to the First World War, But even more close to home Ferguson has himself previously recognized in another part of his prodigious output that "When imperial authority was challenged - in India in 1857, in Jamaica in 1831 and 1865, in South Africa in 1899 - the British response was brutal".

That said all Ferguson books, whether you love or hate his arguments, are immensely readable and his historical sweep is vast. There is little doubt that he relishes the big strategic themes and his tone is one of super confidence and often compulsively provocative not least in his view that the West must relearn some of its old tricks to maintain its position. His ability however to take a small example and write it large often leads to accusations of research selectivity and the fact that the successful Chinese business city Wenzou also has 1,400 churches is used to tie some of his "apps" together in what is a very unconvincing argument. The title for this narrative is oddly lifted from another very recent book by the conservative philosopher Roger Scruton albeit the latters theme was Islamic terrorism. Similarly other historians such as Ian Morris, Eric Ringmar and John A Hall have covered these issues with much more subtlety and nuance. Yet Ferguson's strengths are his readability, populism and his headlong assault on some sacred cows. His weaknesses are the employment of the sweeping generalization and a strong streak of cultural arrogance. You can clap loudly or boo vehemently at Niall Ferguson when the television series to accompany this book commences on US television.
And a pdf transcript of a Ferguson lecture about the book is here: http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/defau ... rguson.pdf

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 Post subject: Re: Reading
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:03 pm 
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Sounds interesting Abradley. Thanks for sharing! Would love to hear your review once done. I am adding this to my wish list for the future.

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