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Whenever you finish a book, post it here
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brick tamland Offline
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Post: #676
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
So I'm working on a multi-book review. I'm planning to have it completed around the time of the 3rd year of my membership here.
The first book I've reviewed is below, with the review in two parts due to the length of my review. I decided to try the first one, in order to possibly learn what works. The remainder of my reviews will be shorter.

Title: The Power of Focus
Authors: Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen & Les Hewitt
Publisher: Vermilion (London)
Year of publication: 2000

Number of pages (excluding addenda, forewords, acknowledgments etc.): 298

(Part 1 of 2)

I bought this book about 5 or 6 years ago, and have both read and referred to it many times. Although it falls in the category of business/personal development, it is quite easy to read and contains many refreshing insights, although the true value that can be extracted comes from the activities (action steps) that one can work through after each chapter.

Two of the authors (Canfield and Hansen) are better known for writing the best-selling ‘Chicken soup for the soul’ series of books, which I have not, and likely will never, read.
So what is the book about? The cover displays the words ‘How to hit your business, personal and financial targets with absolute certainty’. This is the subject matter in a nutshell.
The reason that focus is a key idea is explained by the authors as follows: Lack of focus is the foremost thing that prevents people from getting what they want – people who focus on what they want are prosperous, while those who are not focused struggle.

The book is mean to be practical and contains many exercises to work on and at the end of each chapter there are action steps for the reader to work through in order to achieve goals in relation to each area covered by the book. The book is divided into 10 focusing strategies (as chapters) namely (I paraphrase in some parts): Successful Habits; Focus on your strengths; See the big picture and design your crystal-clear future; Create optimum balance; Build excellent relationships; The confidence factor; Ask for what you want; Consistent persistence; Taking decisive action; and Living on purpose.

Chapter 1 – “Habits”

The state of one’s life is the outcome of the day-to-day choices he makes. These choices are either based on successful habits or on unproductive habits (bad habits). Thus successful people have successful habits and unsuccessful people do not. However any person can begin to adopt successful habits immediately although it takes some time for these to stick.
In order to adopt and to succeed with the key habits such as saving and investment , it is necessary to have a ‘no exceptions policy’, which means committing to the habit every single day. This relates to how consistency is a key element in success. The no exceptions policy means maintaining a habit no matter what happens.
Life always gives consequences. No one has a choice about this. But we have a choice about habits. Every habit has an invariable and predictable result. The longer one has practised a habit, the longer it will take to change it, meanwhile there is a danger of slipping back into old habits, before the new one takes root. The sum total of your life is made up of your entrenched habits and hundreds of things you do that form unchanging routines. A person’s outward behaviour is the truth, whereas his inner perception of the truth is often an illusion. The authors discuss how to change bad habits by studying the habits of successful role models – this includes studying successful people; interviewing such people; reading their autobiographies and biographies; and listening to audiotapes. Lastly one should develop the habit of changing one’s habits.

Chapter 2 – “Focus on your strengths”

If you own a business or are planning to own one in the near future the key is to invest most of your time every week doing what you do best, and to let others do what they do best. In order to avoid high stress levels, time pressures and burnout, focus on the things you do brilliantly and from which you produce extraordinary results. Also focus on your natural talents. Follow priority focus and do the things you are brilliant at, knowing that there are many other things you need not get involved with. Those should be done by skilled people. These tasks should be delegated. Keep practising your strengths and discover and nurture your natural talents.
Most people are either starters or finishers. Identify which one you are. Starters create new projects, and are full of ideas, but do not enjoy the later, mundane parts of the work. Meanwhile finishers are good at completing projects.
Priority focus means setting new boundaries and applying self-discipline in order not to cross them. The boundaries are for oneself, for other people, and for intrusions such as phones. One of the worst habits is watching TV, with the average American (as at the writing of the book) spending about 11 years of their life watching TV.

Chapter 3 – “Seeing the big picture”

Successful people have a clear image about their future. Schedule time regularly to think about a better future. Most people do not consciously set goals, and do not write down their goals and targets for the weeks, months and years ahead. This chapter amongst others goes on to list the 10 point checklist for setting successful goals; how to devise a Master Plan; and how to prioritise one’s list of goals in order to find only the most important goals.
7 categories of goals are listed, namely financial, business, career, fun time, health and fitness, relationships, personal and contribution.

Chapter 4 – Create optimum balance

More and more people struggle to create a healthy balance between career, personal and family life. This chapter has a 6 point system for creating balance every day, planning a day, and keeping track of, and focused on, goals.
07-17-2017 05:32 AM
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Post: #677
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
(Part 2 of 2)

Chapter 5 – Build excellent relationships

This section is about building personal and business relationships. The authors use the concept of a spiral to illustrate a point. Life can be an upward spiral. Here, life goes well, confidence is up and life is rewarding, while important relationships are healthy and prosperous. The opposite is life as a downward spiral where things are unravelling, communication is poor, life is difficult and stress increases, and relationships are polarized. Some things to consider about relationships are: stay away from toxic people – these people are constantly negative; be careful and do some homework (and scrutinise) the person/people you are about to enter a business or personal relationship with. The 3 questions to ask about people are listed, and these are quoted from none other than Warren Buffet.
The authors advocate that all worthwhile relationships should be based on the philosophy of win-win. Meanwhile, business-people must build excellent core client relationships. Related to that is the need to limit the time dedicated to peripheral clients (clients who use up a lot of time and energy but give little business in return). Ironically, in reality core clients receive less time than they should and are usually taken for granted, meaning the relationship usually remains stagnant. For personal relationships, the same applies – there are core relationships that deserve, and that will benefit from, more time dedicated to them, and on the other hand there are less important people who deserve less time or no time at all.
The authors then discuss how to unconditionally give extra in a worthwhile (core) relationship, and how to ask for feedback to enrich relationships. Lastly the chapter concludes with how to find great mentors, how to form a Mastermind group, and how to build a fortress (insulate important parts of your business and personal life from external disruptions).

Chapter 6 – The confidence factor

This chapter is about building confidence and using it as a shield against negativity, fear and worry, and using it for progress and momentum. The starting point is to resolve unfinished business – there are messes that almost everyone has not dealt with and carries around with them as dead weight. These often snowball and will overwhelm and drain energy and halt one’s progress. The solution is to confront unfinished business, which most people avoid doing due to fear of confrontation, yet one must go ahead in spite of fear in order to resolve unfinished business. Unfinished business is never-ending – there will always be new unfinished business. The authors refer to a powerful philosophy – ‘everything you want is on the other side of fear’. It takes a leap of faith to overcome fear. A fundamental question to ask (and to write down the answers to) is ‘what do I really fear?’ Make a long list of each and every type of fear. Now comes time to overcome each and every fear. The chapter contains over a dozen strategies to get over the most common fears (such as losing a job, death, an uncertain future, failure, and poverty). The stronger the fear, the more confidence one needs. Discussed as part of resolving unfinished business is forgiveness. Forgiveness allows one to totally release himself from the baggage of the past. This means forgiving everyone no matter the harm they caused to one. The second part of forgiveness is forgiving oneself, similarly, for any and every thing.
The next part of the chapter is about attitude and building confidence, with 6 strategies given for building confidence. Finally, faith is discussed in the forms of spiritual connections and religion, where studies have shown that the relatively small group of deeply committed believers are amongst the happiest, most giving, most tolerant and most ethical people.

Chapter 7 – Ask for what you want

Children understand perfectly that they can get what they want simply by asking repeatedly, for as many times as it takes to get what they want. However, beyond childhood, people quickly lose this understanding and become inhibited, and by the time we are adults, we no longer believe that asking gets you what you want. According to the authors though, the world responds to people who ask, and those who seem not to be getting what they want are likely not doing enough asking. The chapter concludes with a discussion of 7 ways to boost business by asking, and the 5 ways to ask effectively.

Chapter 8 – Consistent persistence

This is the character trait of successful people. It takes consistent and persistent action to achieve big results. One must display consistency daily. The authors illustrate the point with an exercise for the reader that proves that one feels very differently about things one has to do, as opposed to things one chooses to do. The key truth is that in life not one single person has to do anything. No one has to even pay taxes. Yes, not paying taxes will lead to prison or a fine, but if you don’t do it that’s the end of the story. Most people have negative feelings about the things they have to do – paying taxes, working 10 hours a day, reorganising their office or home etc. Most people do not look forward to the things they have to do and thus procrastinate. The feelings about these things (anxiety, worry, frustration etc.) drain vital energy and lead to under-performance. By contrast there is a world of difference when it comes to things one wants to, and chooses to, do. They produce positive feelings (such as excitement) and positive energy. The important point made is that absolutely everything in life is a choice (as illustrated above, to do or not to do). The authors urge that one elect to live in a choose-to reality instead of a have-to reality. The latter causes pressure, resistance, resentment and drains energy. Lastly the authors discuss one of the most important principles found in the book related to integrity - agreements and accountability:
“All broken relationships can be traced back to broken agreements”.
This includes business deals, marriages, family and others. The answer is that true integrity means upholding all your agreements.

Chapter 9 – Taking decisive action

This chapter is about the very common habit, procrastination, and how to get rid of it. Many people put off many things, even their dreams, to some day that never arrives, until one day they reach the end of their lives. As they are about to pass on, they are filled with regret and reflect on the missed opportunities. Next is a discussion of the 6 reasons for procrastination. Procrastination is usually caused by a lack of motivation. The chapter concludes with a method for approaching major decisions; a method for solving problems; and a discussion about money, finances, and creating wealth.

Chapter 10 – Living on purpose

This chapter is about a question that every person will eventually ask themselves – what is the purpose of my life (or the purpose of life or living)? Purpose is larger than goals. The chapter shows how to discover a purpose, how to learn to live on purpose, and how to create your own personal statement of purpose.
Lastly, the topic is an interesting concept called Level of Being, which involves the 3 stages of human evolution (in the sense of personal growth); and the various levels of Being are defined.
07-17-2017 05:34 AM
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Post: #678
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Just finished the Art of the Deal, the first Donald Trump autobiography.

It's a great book about lots of winning. I learned a lot, especially about how it's okay to seek a deal and how important it is to protect the downside.

I want to try and get my hands on the sequels, the Art of Survival and the Art of the Comeback.

A beginner's guide to jobhunting and networking

"Amateurs study strategy. Professionals study logistics."

"If you don't feel a little nervousness or butterflies that your price is too high, your price is too low" - 456.
07-17-2017 02:05 PM
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RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel
Book by Tom Wainwright

This book has a fascinating perspective on the drug trade as it comes at it from the angle of economics. The following are my very rough notes that I took.



Supply Management.

Cartels manage the drug supply chain in a method similar to that of Walmart. Walmart, being the massive company that it is, has great sway when it comes to negotiating with its suppliers. For a supplier, even though their profit margin will be smaller when selling to Walmart, they would have no one else to sell to, if not to Walmart.
In the drug trade, the local coca farmers are the suppliers that sell their leaves to the massive cartel corporation. For them coca provides the greatest revenue and is easier grown than other plants such as coffee, thereby providing them with the incentive to keep producing coca.
Governments have tried to disrupt the supply chain of drugs by eliminating then at the source. In economic theory, if supply is reduced, price will increase meaning that less people will buy it. Surprisingly however, the price at the end destination ( ie, on the streets of the the western world) the price has remained relatively the same. Cartels are the dominant purchaser, therefore they dictate the prices at which they will buy coca leaves at.

Any loss of the crops due to eradication and other factors would be financially bore by the farmer themselves. Just as the supplier’s profit margin is squeezed by Walmart, so is the farmers margin squeezed by the Cartels.
Coca growing land has been reduced in recent years, however technical innovation in agriculuture and drug manufacturing has increased efficiency which has also allowed for relative stability in prices.

Supply chain process and prices
350 kilos of dried leaves = $385 converted into
1 kg cocaine sells in Colombia for $800
Leaving Colombia = $2200
Imported into USA = $14500
Midlevel dealers = $19800
Street level dealers = $78000

Competition vs. Collusion.
Mexican cartels are shown as the example of competition. The increase in violence in Mexico, especially near the border is due the competing cartels aiming for control of key ports. As the majority of the drugs are transported through a few major ports of entry into the USA, having control of them is crucial. Cartel competition meant that groups would have to compete on prices or by eliminating rivals. For this very reason, violence in Mexico is at an all time high leaving many innocents caught in the middle of it.
On the other hand, El Salvador which had one of the highest murder rates in the world, saw an immediate decrease in violence when the 2 warring clans agreed on collusion. The MS – 13 and Barrio 18 discovered that colluding would benefit both groups financially and by reducing the deaths in each group. Members collude by coming to an agreement that they will each conduct their operation but based on location or other factors. In the case of El Salvador, each group would indeed conduct their operations in uncontested sectors. With this decrease in competition, collusion allows each member to charge more for their “services.”

Gang membership in a competitive economic environment depends on who pays higher wages. This could also result in defection for a higher payout. In the case of El Salvador, after collusion, their was no fear of betrayal as each gang would have the exact oppurtunities for recruitment and pay.

Cartels and Recruitment.

Recruitment must occur in an industry where employee – employer contracts cant legally be enforced and the entire market is based in secrecy. Hiring low skilled, incompetent workers who are prone to sabotaging the operation wont bode well.
Prison is the main avenue where recruitment occurs. There is a strong correlation between the living conditions of prisons and an increase in gang recruitment. In a study conducted in Dominican Republic, prison recruitment and gang formation decreased when the prison conditions were not as harsh.
Tough conditions means people will form groups as a way of protection and camaraderie.
Violence, even though portrayed in media as the first solution to missteps, is not always the consequence of real world failures. The networks and connections that people have with each other are hard to come by which means that only in the case of betrayal or theft would people resort to violence. Other inconveniences and accidents are dealt with in a professional manner. Like legal firms they will check to see if mishaps were due to fraud or bad luck. Controlling the input of fresh recruits means that the employees would be paid a higher wage and would be less likely to face violent backlash from someone higher up in command.
Regarding race, the main reason for this mode of division is due to the ability to enforce the contract on their family members. It is easier to take revenge on someone mothers in El Salvador vs. a white person’s family in the USA, ( if you happen to be from El Salvador). An interesting statistic found was that there was less resorting to violence when dealing people with the same ethnicity vs. someone with a different ethnicity.



Legal Highs.
Manufaturers play a game of cat and mouse with the authorities. They will create a substance with a slightly altered chemical state, which will at htat point in time bypass any prohibitions. As that drug becomes more prevalent in the market, maybe resulting in some adverse effects on consumers, the government will ban the drug. This means that manufacturers are only after creating a new substance to accumulate as much profit as possible. They don’t have the time to test the concoction out before releasing it into the market.

Under a regulated market, manufactures would have a grerater incentive to patent and perfect a chemical rather than try and create the next law avoiding drug.

Legalization.

Legalization allows for a regulated market for drugs where the chemical is created under strict and efficient means. Horticulturists and chemists precisely measure everything to allow for a potent drug where the exact amount of active chemical is known.
Marijuana tourism has increased in places such as Colorado.
For cartels to deal with these standardized products, they would need to compete based on price, severly cutting into their profit margins.
If marijuana became more mainstream and faced full legalization, big players who enter the market would benefit the most due to economies of scale in production and research.
07-29-2017 06:16 PM
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Post: #680
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
There was a book I read a decade ago that I never got around to discussing with anyone. It was called The Emerging Black GOP Majority by Earl Ofari Hutchinson. Yes, he's a leftist journalist, but you shouldn't discount what they have to say, you might learn something. The book and it's idea are pretty much irrelevant when Obama got elected.

It basically talks how Black Americans were starting to be more open to the Republican Party around 9/11 and started to identify less as Democrats. Bush Jr tried doing what conservatives did earlier, make a Black Conservative Majority to counteract the Civil Rights Activist Majority dominance that was in the Black Community since the 1960's. Earl forgot that most black Americans voted Democratic since the 1930's, but the vote was split 70-30 and 60-40. It was the 1964 election that he somewhat alludes to is why black voters vote 80-95% Democratic in elections.

The first 1/2 goes into Ronald Reagan's presidency as he tries to convince he's not bigoted with appointing Black Americans to the higher parts of his office. I'm well aware he wasn't too fond of the Civil Rights movement and was reluctant in getting the MLK Jr Holiday signed into law.

The second half goes into the 2000 election where Republicans tried to push a more inclusive image after the 1996 Republican National Convention showed a lack of diversity. Bush Jr tries in 2004 and wins Ohio because of black voters agreeing on same-sex marriage. Their next step was to get more Black Americans elected in the Senate and Congress for 2006. The Democrats were actually quite concerned about this.

Then Katrina happened in 2005 which pretty much had the President painted as Bull Connor's reincarnation. That's where the story ends. The 2006 elections didn't pan out so well for the candidates. There were still issues on outreach. The Democrats put blacks in high positions in Congress in 2006 and Obama's run and win was the final nail in the coffin for Republicans to get credibility with Black America.

It's my own idea with Obama running, it was to end competition for votes. It wasn't a coincidence he just happened to run around the 40th anniversary of Dr. King's death painting himself as the dream. Some Democrats (and Republicans too) love to brag with smugness how black voters are lost to Republicans and Republicans don't try. As a result, no one else bothers to compete for their vote. So, they're left with two places: One that doesn't bother to engage them and the other that takes them for granted.

It's impossible for Republicans to do anything right with black voters and it's impossible for Democrats to do anything wrong with black voters.
07-31-2017 07:09 PM
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Post: #681
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Just finished 'The strange death of Europe' by Douglas murray.

Not a bad book, starts well with a neat summation of European history of immigration and Islam to this point and then onto more recent history with lots of stats and first hand evidence of what's happening right now in Europe with regards to immigration.

The stats contained in the book are staggering. It's a proper invasion, make no mistake and it's very deliberate on behalf of the politicians of Europe.

Unfortunately, the book takes a rambling detour into art and religion which was pretty dull and spoiled the end of the book for me.

Recommended just to get some accurate stats on what's really going on.
08-01-2017 02:19 PM
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Post: #682
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
I just finished "kitchen confidential" by Anthony bourdain.

After watching his show its hard not to read it in his voice.

I finished it in 2 dAys, there's some boring bits but a great perspective is offered by him in this book . Has anyone else read it? I so, any recommendations of books on similar subject matter ?
08-04-2017 05:05 PM
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brick tamland Offline
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RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Title – The flat Earth conspiracy

Author – Eric Dubay

Year of publication – 2014

-------------------------------------------

Quote:“In the Middle Ages people believed that the Earth was flat, for which they had at least the evidence of their senses: we believe it to be round, not because as many as one percent of us could give the physical reasons for so quaint a belief, but because modern science has convinced us that nothing that is obvious is true, and that everything that is magical, improbable, extraordinary, gigantic, microscopic, heartless or outrageous is ‘scientific.’” - George Bernard Shaw

To the uninitiated, the flat Earth theory (‘FET’) has its own thread here. https://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-36254...flat+earth

Some think FET is credible, others are incredulous, and the rest seem to be undecided.

So who is Eric Dubay? Surprisingly, there isn’t a lot of readily available information about Dubay – for instance, he does not have a Wikipedia page. One important question I asked myself while reading the book is ‘why did Dubay write it?’ It is accepted that FET has experienced a recent resurgence on the web – I need not repeat the well-written descriptions of what FET is, or the debates about it, that are both found in the thread.

After reading about two thirds of the book I started to question what its value was. I already knew that I wasn’t taking its contents at face value. I am as sceptical of FET as I am sceptical about NASA. This book didn’t convince me that the Earth is flat, but whether by design or by coincidence, a small part of the book’s content is indeed thought-provoking.

Back to Dubay – there is a major difficulty related to his credibility and thus the credibility of the subject matter. The difficulty is that Dubay does not declare why he wants to convince readers that the Earth is flat. To expand, it would make some sort of sense if Dubay had been an educated and experienced scientist and researcher who was telling us that he is questioning or changing his beliefs. Unfortunately he is not an expert, and neither does he have a background in science, thus one would think that FET is an interest that he picked up at some point, for unknown reasons.
Most tellingly, I am not aware that Dubay has independently completed original research of FET. He relies on the writings and work of others.

It goes without saying that Dubay believes, in his own words, that the popular and widely believed idea of a globe Earth is the greatest lie of all time, foisted on the naïve masses for nearly 500 years by an elite cabal of Sun worshippers.
This book is very wordy, almost needing a bit too much attention to keep pace, in light of the fact that it is not a scientific paper. There are an endless number of quotes interspersed throughout the whole book, with Dubay making assertions and claims here and there, as the book moves through different topics.

Dubay says ancient civilisations the world over believed Earth to be a flat, immovable centre of the universe. Only recently have agents such as astronomers, NASA and the Freemasons made the world believe that the Earth is a ball revolving around the sun.

Just over half of the book is dedicated to presenting evidence of FET. The points made are familiar to anyone who has looked into the topic online or watched some videos on Youtube. After the first half or so, there is an interesting twist as the book turns its attention to NASA’s activities and its link to Freemasonry. Discussed, amongst others, are the meaning behind NASA’s logo, and the symbols NASA has used, for instance for its Apollo mission patches.
The first source of the idea of a sun-centred universe is said to be Pythagoras, who apparently was the first Freemason. The next part of the book is about NASA’s deception, where the premise is that all the moon and Mars landings, and images of the globe Earth, and all space stations, and satellites, and all images from the Hubble telescope are hoaxes. Here too, evidence of NASA’s deception is presented, with quite some detail in respect of the supposed hoaxes that are the moon and Mars landings.
Things get more interesting in the next section of the book which refutes the theory of evolution. This is the most thought-provoking part of the book.

Quote:The popular modern scientific-materialist-atheist worldview propagated by NASA, the mainstream media and the public education system is that you are here because nothingness for no reason exploded and created everything! Before time, space, matter, consciousness, intelligence, and life, there was nothing. Then the nothingness exploded, and instead of destroying things like every other explosion ever, this explosion created things, created everything! The nothingness explosion somehow created space, time and all matter in the universe in an instant and for no reason at all. Then all the creationary explosive debris flying outwards at over 670 million miles per hour for 14 billion years culminated to create you!

Next is a refutation of the existence of dinosaurs. This type of animal was apparently first thought of in 1842, during the heyday of evolutionism, before a single dinosaur fossil had ever been found. Only thereafter was any proof of these long-lost creatures found for the first time.
According to scientists, dinosaur fossils have supposedly existed for millions of years, yet they had never been found by, or known to, any civilisation until the mid-19th century. Afterwards, suddenly dinosaur fossils were found all over the world.

The next part of the book is about the existence of giant human beings during the course of human history. Reference to giant human beings is apparently found in many cultures, historical accounts, and religion, amongst others.
Dubay discusses a number of archaeological discoveries of giant human beings, and how there is a wide-ranging effort to conceal evidence of these.

In the next part of the book Dubay discusses the Bible.

Quote:The Bible claims that Darwin was not the first to ever present the theory of evolution to humanity, but that Satan was. In the garden of Eden, Satan tells Eve if she eats from that tree ye shall be as gods. The idea that man can progress, evolve and become like gods, the foundation of Darwinism, Scientism, Transhumanism and the New Age movement, is in a biblical context, Satanism. The Bible also talks about a great deception that Satan would enact in the final days, which would result in people increasingly disbelieving in God and the Bible, a hoax that would “deceive even the very elect!” The modern Atheist Big Bang Heliocentric Globe-Earth Chance Evolution paradigm has accomplished just this by removing God, or any sort of intelligent design, and replacing purposeful divine creation with haphazard random cosmic coincidence.

In the last part of the book Dubay states what he believes are the truths of the flat Earth.

Conclusion

All in all this book is mixed bag. Dubay does a decent job of presenting the globe Earth theory, evolution, and space travel as weapons against creationism, spirituality and religion. But even here he is not the most credible advocate thereof, as he admits in his own words that he is not a devout Christian.
As for presenting the science of FET, or refuting the science of ball Earth, Dubay unfortunately is in no position to do so convincingly. He is not a scientist and has done no original research on FET, as mentioned earlier, hence his almost excessive use of numerous quotes from other people’s writings.

The question then is why has he taken up this project as one of the front-men of FET? One can only speculate, but it is hardly possible to venture possible reasons for Dubay’s involvement with FET (about which I have not made any conclusions) without delving into the realm of conspiracy theories about FET (which one can easily Google).
(This post was last modified: 08-07-2017 09:41 AM by brick tamland.)
08-07-2017 09:39 AM
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Post: #684
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
After seeing the movies in cable, i got the first three novels of Comissar (Captain?) Montalbano, by Andrea Camilleri. La forma dell'acqua, Il cane di terracotta and Il ladro di merendine, all in one book. I love it, and in a way, its a very good form to get a little more into the mind of the southern italians, wich we have a lot here in Bs As. Sometime i found myself reflected in the ways of the Sicilians.

"What is important is to try to develop insights and wisdom rather than mere knowledge, respect someone's character rather than his learning, and nurture men of character rather than mere talents." - Inazo Nitobe

When i´m feeling blue, when i just need something to shock me up, i look at this thread and everything get better!

Letters from the battlefront: Argentina
08-07-2017 01:06 PM
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Post: #685
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
[Image: p22-hornyak-edge-of-tomorrow-b-20140713.jpg]

Some pretty good wedded to some nails-down-chalkboard bad.

Very different to the Tom Cruise movie, for a start.

The Emily Blunt (who did look eminently bangable in the film) character is 19 and a kickass powered-armour warrior ... buuuuuut in her defence she's been through a time loop more than the protagonist has, and has therefore had a shitload more chance to practice than any woman or man alive. So you can at least grit your teeth and push through it on that basis.

Despite myself I liked it. It's stripped down, not a hell of a lot of hard SF as such, it's more like Groundhog Day with mechs and aliens. There is something ... I guess you'd call tranquil ... about the way the author writes it, and it's a short, fast read, won't tax the neurons very much. Check it out if it's in a bargain bin.

Remissas, discite, vivet.
God save us from people who mean well. -storm
(This post was last modified: 08-10-2017 02:20 AM by Paracelsus.)
08-10-2017 02:19 AM
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sterling_archer Offline
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Post: #686
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Interesting, didn't know that was originally a book.
08-10-2017 03:49 AM
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Matrixdude Offline
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Post: #687
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Red Platoon by Clinton Romesha

[Image: mXS7OqS.jpg]

Great memoir of the battle of Combat Outpost Keating, some context here:
(Not a fan of this interviewer)



Listened to the audiobook. If you're considering the military, it is a must read because you get redpilled of not only the day to day experiences of men in a combat zone on an impossible/defenseless position against incredible odds, but also the logistical fuckery needed to get them the hell out of dodge -- and steadfast leadership. Clinton Romesha did extensive research to find out every detail of that battle including the air support struggles unbeknownst to the men fighting on the ground. Though quite tragic, I would equate this to a modern day "Storm Of Steel". Really puts things into perspective. 5/5

https://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/romesh...scape.html
Here is the battlescape, it compliments the book. It really helped me visualize the events. But don't spoil the book by reading the names on the casualty list...
(This post was last modified: 08-10-2017 10:48 AM by Matrixdude.)
08-10-2017 10:31 AM
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Alsos Offline
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Post: #688
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Niven and Pournelle's "The Mote in God's Eye", followed by Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress". Re-reading some science fiction classics I haven't read in a while.

"Mote": was not bad but nowhere near as good as I remembered, nor as it is hyped to be. The sole female (human) character's infamously "traditional" statements about sex and the role of women are hilariously overblown when read in context (she's a minor aristocrat in a monarchy with very traditional, conservative attitudes, one focused on stability after emerging from three centuries of civil war and dark ages...so, yeah, she and everyone else has pretty unremarkable K-selected attitudes perfectly fitting the backstory of the fictional universe). Coupled with that, there's a lot of traditional masculinity on display - most of the characters are military, which is portrayed in a positive light, and the one human villain is a treacherous and cowardly weasel who fits the gamma stereotype in all but the fact that he's an immensely successful merchant.

What I didn't like this time around was being distracted by Niven's annoying topic obsessions, and as a result coming to question the premise on which the alien society encountered by the humans is built. I read pretty much all of Larry Niven's novels and short stories when I was in high school and college and loved them. But then didn't re-read anything for about ten years. When I did so, I noticed that everything he writes - solo or with partners - contains themes or elements from a very short list: overpopulation, resource depletion, civilizational collapse, solar sails, weird sex (including borderline pedo stuff), weird reproductive processes, either naturist-style nudity or the polar opposite, water monopolies, using spacecraft engines to melt roads or other useful features on planet surfaces, medical immortality, autodocs, fiery "independent" women, arcologies, Los Angeles or California in general, fan culture, coffee snobbery, and perhaps a half-dozen others. Not all in each work, but about 2/3s of the list appears in everything he writes. It's hard to explain briefly why the premise becomes questionable, but it's a matter of it being hard to suspend disbelief when that premise just seems to be a vehicle for Niven to inject his obsessions with weird reproductive processes and Malthusianism into the story.

"Mistress": the writing was much more detailed and nuanced than what I remembered, and far, far better prose than in "Mote". It's even more loaded with political theory and moral philosophy digressions than "Starship Troopers", which gives it more depth than any SF I've read in the past couple years. Compared to "Mote" it comes across as a real science fiction novel, rather than a Regency romance with horny aliens, masquerading as mil-SF. For all his own faults and obsessive themes, Heinlein was just a better writer: in "Mote" the main character is forced to destroy his warship, but it doesn't have much emotional resonance with the reader - typical, there is nothing that really grabs you in the book; in "Mistress" even when minor characters only mentioned second-hand are killed, you as a reader feel it.

That said, "Mistress" is still a Heinlein work, so it suffers from his obsession with pedestalizing women and his bizarre sexual interests. Far less so, though, than the books he published after it, but it's still there. For example, the sex imbalance in the Lunar colonies leads not to the expected mate-guarding and cutthroat competition for women as property, but rather to a much less realistic quasi-matriarchal society, in which every woman is strong and independent and every man is a white knight seeking to join her polyandrous harem. Of course, this means that there are no standard marriages in the colonies, but instead every conceivable variation on multiple marriage, the workings of a few of which he describes in minute, spergy detail (this being one of the author's personal obsessions). Since it's an older book (written in 1963, IIRC), the pedestalized women are not the ball-busting Mary Shrews you'd see in a modern equivalent, say one by John Scalzi - the male characters are still the focus, they're still the ones doing all the important action, etc. But, yeah....it's Heinlein, so you get what you get.

All that said, both books are still worth reading. I'm just a little hard on them because of noticing these irritating tendencies in their authors. Either one still beats anything on the recent Hugo winners lists.
08-12-2017 09:44 PM
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sonoran_ Offline
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Post: #689
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Blockchain Revolution, Don and Alex Tapscott

This book showcases the different innovations and startup possibilities that are at present in the Blockchain realm. It is still quite theoretical in nature which made it a little harder to understand. That could also be due to me being a visual learner and this being just words and no images.
08-12-2017 11:37 PM
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brick tamland Offline
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Post: #690
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Title: Rich Dad Poor Dad
Authors: Robert Kiyosaki (with Sharon Lechter)
Publisher: Warner Books
Date of publication: 1997
_____________________

So this review will be brief because this book was on the bestseller list for several years, therefore many have read it, or at least have heard about it. It was published in the non-fiction category, which has led to some criticism of Kiyosaki, some of which is described below.
Unfortunately Kiyosaki has been embroiled in a bit of controversy recently, but I don’t think it should detract from the value of the book. Kiyosaki was accused of fabricating some things in the book, such as the illustrative lucrative business deals which some say are fictional or greatly exaggerated. He is also said to have made up the Rich Dad character, with some journalists apparently having looked through old records in Hawaii and not finding a business owner who could have been Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad” in line with Kiyosaki’s descriptions. Kiyosaki himself has not cleared up the issue, seemingly sitting on the fence, and once being quoted as seeming to suggest that Rich Dad is a fictional character, while at another time, a man came forward and claimed to be Kiyosaki’s friend in the book, Mike, who was the son of Rich Dad. Kiyosaki also had a multi-million judgment granted against one of his companies, which then was taken into bankruptcy, after apparently failing to pay commissions to his erstwhile promoter, the Learning Annex.

With that out of the way, it really doesn’t make a big difference if one perceives the book as a parable, even though it was published as a non-fiction title.
The book sets out to tell the reader “what the rich teach their kids about money, that the poor and middle class do not”.
Kiyosaki begins by describing the two dads – Poor Dad was his biological father, a long-time civil servant who held a Ph.D. Rich Dad was a school dropout, who over many years survived through his wits, methodically building an empire from nothing, running various businesses in various sectors. These two dads had some things in common, like good values, and Kiyosaki respected and admired them both. When Kiyosaki became interested in money at a young age, he was fortunate to be mentored by Rich Dad, who put him and Mike in situations where they had to learn by working for him and he tested their resolve early on, pushing Kiyosaki to the verge of quitting a few times. When he realised what he was learning, Kiyosaki decided to choose Rich Dad, over Poor Dad, as his role model in money matters. Over the years, Rich Dad continued to advise Kiyosaki as he became a young adult, and the fortunes of Rich Dad and Poor Dad eventually differed sharply in later years, as the former became wealthy, while the latter did not prosper.

About two thirds of the book covers six lessons, namely:
1. The rich do not work for money;
2. Financial literacy;
3. Understand business;
4. The history of taxes and the power of corporations;
5. The rich invent money; and
6. Don’t work for money.

The remainder of the book discusses what needs to be done to get started on the path to financial freedom.

The value of the book is to prompt the reader to break the mould. The rat race is one that employees can never win – a salary does not deliver wealth or financial freedom. Most salaried employees are headed down the same path, irrespective of their income. Acquiring assets and earning an income from them is the key. Meanwhile the prospects for financial prosperity are bleak for most employees. Most people don’t know what an asset is. The school system does not teach financial literacy. That's why most people become unthinking consumers, spending money on nice-to-haves, and paying everyone else first, in other words the government (in the form of taxes), and creditors. Most people get into debt to acquire goods that they think are assets, such as cars and their homes. Meanwhile almost all of their income goes towards paying the government (paying taxes), paying for consumer debt, and paying for living expenses. As a result, they do not have assets. On the other hand financially literate people buy assets and pay themselves first.
The other value of the book is how Kiyosaki illustrates how one should always be looking out for business deals, as they are all around, yet few people can spot them. His examples mainly focus on his property deals, where for example he has bought in slow or depressed markets, installed tenants, and derived a passive income, while in other cases he has acquired bargain properties in a slow market, and profited by holding them for a while and selling during an upturn. There are other examples by Kiyosaki, this time focused on profiting from buying and selling stocks.

Parable or not this book can really help to give one a different perspective on money and financial success. It mainly starts with understanding money, and seeing how it can be made (the opportunities are always there in good and bad economies), and then taking action.
08-15-2017 02:45 AM
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Paracelsus Offline
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Post: #691
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
^^^^

All I'm going to say to that one is: Google John T. Reed and Robert Kiyosaki.

Remissas, discite, vivet.
God save us from people who mean well. -storm
08-15-2017 03:29 AM
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El_Gostro Away
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Post: #692
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.
Owed myself this one for a very long time having been awestruck by Narciss & Goldmund several years ago.
This one does not disappoint as well.
Hesse's indagation into the motives and search of significance through whatever means by the soul always feels like a knife twisting and turning on the heart.

We move between light and shadow, mutually influencing and being influenced through shades of gray...
Yesterday 09:43 AM
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Kurgan Offline
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Post: #693
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Vampire$ by John Steakley, a sci-fi/horror novel that came around 1991. It was made into a mediocre movie by John Carpenter called John Carpenter's Vampires.

Basically, a vampire hunting team sponsored by the Vatican gets almost wiped out by a master vampire after a celebration of killing vampires. They learn different ways to kill vampires, but it's also seen that hunting does an effect on team members. They have to do the dirty work when most of the world doesn't believe in vampires. It seems very red-pill culture in bits and it's still a better story than Twilight. The movie tends to put the story in more of a religious direction while the book takes more of a scientific approach. For example, the team traps a vampire in a building by luring it with pig's blood since in that book they share similar traits with humans and lace it up with drugs. They do manage to kill vampires at night as they always had to kill them during the day.

Jack Crow is just a red-pill guy through and through.

Overall, not a bad story.
Yesterday 06:29 PM
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Alsos
Alsos Offline
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Post: #694
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
(Yesterday 06:29 PM)Kurgan Wrote:  Vampire$ by John Steakley, a sci-fi/horror novel that came around 1991. It was made into a mediocre movie by John Carpenter called John Carpenter's Vampires...
You might like his other book, "Armor", from 1984. It is in some ways a post-Vietnam reimagining of Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" - different story, but could take place in the same fictional universe. Unlike other Vietnam-influenced mil-SF, though, it's not a heavy-handed allegory or preachy in tone, but focuses more on the individual psychological aspects of war than the moral or social or political.

The similarities to Heinlein are superficial, though, and not weakly imitative like Scalzi's "Old Man's War". It's still one of the most original and inventive SF books I've ever read, and Felix is one of my all-time favorite characters. Definitely worth reading.

(Yesterday 06:29 PM)Kurgan Wrote:  ...Jack Crow is just a red-pill guy through and through...

Apparently Steakley wasn't all that creative with his character naming, as Jack Crow is also the name of the rakish POV character in "Armor"'s framing story. Heh.

Steakley died about 7-8 years ago. It was rumored then that he'd been working on a sequel to "Armor", but I've never seen anything more about it.
Yesterday 11:17 PM
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