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TigerMandingo Online
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Post: #1026
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
(03-02-2019 12:39 AM)Paracelsus Wrote:  If you can handle historical fiction, I'd strongly recommend Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series, which runs more or less from Marius through to Sulla through to the rough end of Julius Caesar's run. It comes with a lot of recommendations from historians as very well researched and pretty true to events as best we know them. And if it's any extra accolade, apparently lesbians hate it for the way it portrays women. It's not written by a man, of course, but I'd give it a pass in this case.

Bought Caesar. That book looks awesome, and I had no idea Colleen McCullough was the author of the Thorn Birds which is hugely popular in the FSU. Probably a novel I should read at some point, as well.

Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend. Sorry to tell you that mate.
03-03-2019 10:46 PM
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Post: #1027
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
(03-03-2019 10:46 PM)TigerMandingo Wrote:  Bought Caesar. That book looks awesome, and I had no idea Colleen McCullough was the author of the Thorn Birds which is hugely popular in the FSU. Probably a novel I should read at some point, as well.

Interesting factoid: the front matter of The Thorn Birds reads as follows:

Quote:There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain.... Or so says the legend.

Those of you who've read Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos and remember the tale of Martin Silenus might be wondering whether Mr Simmons has read this book.

Anyway, onward:
The Four Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss

[Image: 9780091929114_p0_v1_s260x420.JPG]

Yes, I'm a latecomer to this book. Forum thread on the book is here. Seems to have a decent number of testimonials. Seems to work based on the brothers' views here.

As for my take on it?

It's a stereotypically American book: one part useable material, one part selfishness, one part bullshit. Slightly more useful than Robert Kiyosaki's combined works.

It interfaces -- superficially -- with Seneca and stoicism, which is nice, and it's one of those things where if you've been hanging in this forum for a few years a decent proportion of it will be familiar.

Still, for me the telling part is the character of the individual who's revealed. Maybe the most glaring part is how he suggests you make yourself an expert in the eyes of the media: do two presentations, join a trade association, and then join ProfNet, which apparently is where the media look up the talking heads who appear on our screens. And of course he uses the get-out clause to avoid being sued: don't say you're anything you're not.

This is wrong. Part of the fucking problem with our world is exactly this sort of behaviour - with the perception being more important than the reality. Not that it bothers Ferriss one bit: his answer to morality and the great questions of life is: unless it impacts directly on you or is actionable, forget about it. Don't ask the big questions. Worse still that the main reason he developed that view on life was because he clearly developed existential dread and querying what exactly he'd actually achieved after having enough money to wipe his ass with it.

He defines happiness as, and I quote, whatever excites you. He modifies this later on in the book to mean whatever excites and/or you find rewarding. It does not surprise me in the least that this sort of man remains without a partner and without children; this sort of shit stops working when you have to accept the drudgery that's involved in fostering a relationship or raising kids. You can't outsource good parenting, not for lack of trying by every generation from the Baby Boomers onward.

Again, I am not questioning that, applied thick and strong according to the principles (as opposed to the instructions) set out in the book, you could maybe make a motza. In that respect the book is superior to a Robert Kiyosaki offering. But am I questioning who you'd become in pursuit of that aim.

And yeah, I've decided to start doing long reviews again. Maybe they only reveal who I am rather than reveal the book, but it's as much my own way of crystallising the thoughts I have out of reading them.

Remissas, discite, vivet.
God save us from people who mean well. -storm
(This post was last modified: 03-05-2019 09:19 AM by Paracelsus.)
03-05-2019 09:16 AM
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Post: #1028
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
I've just finished reading Generation Kill by Evan Wright, a Rolling Stone journalist who was embedded with Bravo Company, First Recon Marines during the second invasion of Iraq.
Not a bad writeup if you're interested in a grunt-level view of the invasion and enjoyed the HBO show.

I've started reading One Bullet Away by Nathaniel Fick who was a platoon commander in the same company during the war and recounts his experiences. It presents events in a more matter-of-fact way rather than focus on the characters and interactions between them.

Interesting to see different perspectives of the same events.
03-05-2019 09:28 AM
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Post: #1029
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
@Paracelsus

You do realize you are criticizing the national champion Chinese kickboxer of 1999?

How dare you sir?!??!!

“The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of its parents.”

Carl Jung
03-05-2019 11:39 AM
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Post: #1030
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
The 4 Hour Work Week to me is an essential mid 00s book. That stuff was DONE after the financial crisis. It's not a bad book per se, quite inspiring, but the risk is actually buying into his ideology of rootless modern man.
03-05-2019 01:56 PM
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Post: #1031
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
The Tower of the Swallow, Andrezj Sapkowski

[Image: 9781473211575.jpg]

Well, this got a lot better. Pretty much have to accept most of the book is about Ciri, but it's a mud-splattered, blood-soaked, sweaty trip that turns your guts.

The points of view constantly shift between past and present, which in most other books you'd think were a pain in the ass, but it's actually a fun ride. You're often getting the story through very biased eyes, but Sapkowski does it basically to keep you entertained, not to Experiment With Narrative Foundations And Challenge The Patriarchal Place Of Literature or shit like that. It's a good, solid, fast read. And the preview they give you of The Lady of The Lake is enough to make your hair stand on end. Looking forward to the last one.

Remissas, discite, vivet.
God save us from people who mean well. -storm
03-10-2019 10:44 AM
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Post: #1032
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer

Shirer was CBS's correspondent in Berlin 1934-1941 and left the country a few days before Pearl Harbor. Fascinating perspective on how Hitler came to power, how he built the nazi war machine and how it all came down. Only time I've ever really read a survey book about WWII and it was absolutely impossible to put down.
03-10-2019 11:23 AM
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Post: #1033
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
(12-11-2016 03:46 PM)iam1albertan Wrote:  Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell

Definitely must reads in today's society.

Just finished "1984," having somehow gotten through school without reading it. Probably goes without saying, but the Orwell's prescience was incredible given the present surveillance and media culture in the US. Hard to believe he wrote it in 1947.
03-24-2019 10:13 AM
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Post: #1034
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Just finished "Miami" by Joan Didion. It was a lot of inside baseball stuff about Cubans immigrating to Miami and the politics they brought with them. Surprised to learn how much CIA activity and small scale terrorism occurred in 1980s Miami. A lot more crime overall back then. Seems Miami is way better now.
03-24-2019 12:22 PM
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Post: #1035
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Here are my books that I have finished so far this year alone except the 5th one last one, just started..

1. Creativity by Ed Catmull (January)
- Wasn't that great, talks about Disney and how it was a very innovative/creative company.
- Didn't get much out of it as it was just more like "bragging", maybe I had too high of an expectation.

2. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (February)
- Another book that disappointed in me, made me not to read any more "psychology" or any books related to "subconsiouness".
- I could expect how the next sentence or the next chapter will play out, didn't get much out of this book.
- no action steps on how to improve your life, very fluffy.

3. Principles - Ray Dalio (March)
- Maybe I am highly interested in Finance and that's why this book stuck with me, but I really enjoyed this book.
- One of my favorites this year if not favorite of all time.
- Listening to Ray Dalio's perspective on how to build a company, how to live a life, it's just on a different level.
- Not saying money is everything, but the author does have almost $20bil in his pocket.

4. Tactial Guide to Women - Shawn T. Smith (End of March)
- Great book, many concepts/ideas are already on the internet, but it's always a great refresher to read a book like this to cement the red pill into your soul.

5. Dealing with People You can’t Stand by Dr. Rick Brinkman & Dr. Rick Kirschner (April)
- Just started, will get back later.

6. Crucial Conversations by Patterson & Grenny & McMillan & Switzler (Last week of March & Beginning of April…)
- Fucking amazing book! It shows you how to balance being an asshole & being nice without sacrificing your own self-respect and killing the relationship. It shows the SMALL nuances of conversations.
- Not entirely pickup related, but very useful in relationships/marriages and in corporate world.

"Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."
- Heat

"That's the difference between you and me. You wanna lose small, I wanna win big."
(This post was last modified: 04-03-2019 01:45 AM by bgbusiness.)
04-03-2019 01:43 AM
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Post: #1036
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Forgot to post this before...some of the books that I have finished last year...

1. Art of the Deal - Donald Trump (May 2018)
- What more can I say? It's the book by the pimp real estate mogul, Mr.Trump's thoughts, words, and actions combined in one book.
- His way of thinking, being analytical and street-smart at the same time.
- Must read for businessman. Very inspirational & can tell how he started forming the philosophies that he has right now since the books gives good details on how he grew up...

2. Manipulated Man (May 2018)
- super quick read, less than 100 pages.
- very, very red pilled book. Won't hurt to read it.

3. Art of Seduction - Robert Green (August 2018)
- Maybe I had too high of an expectation after reading 48 laws of power...
- This book was pretty hard to finish. I mean it is a very dense/thick book, but it just seemed very dry for me.
- Wouldn't hurt to read it, but not my favorite...

4. Influence
- A little bit outdated concepts, but a quick read. Got some good ideas out of it.
- Reminded me of 48 laws of power, how to win friends & influence people, pick up concepts like social proof/pre-selection all included in here.

5. Be Obsessed or Be Average - Grant Cardone (September 2018)
- Quick, powerful, motivational read.
- A lot of fluff & motivational talk, but was a fun read. Recommended.

6. Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg (November 2018)
- This book was good, but that's it. Not astonishing, I personally think that it was overrated.
- Many concepts & ideas, but does not provide any concrete actionable steps and most of them were pretty common sense...Too high expectation on my part.
- Doesn't hurt to read it though, quick read also.

"Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."
- Heat

"That's the difference between you and me. You wanna lose small, I wanna win big."
04-03-2019 01:55 AM
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Post: #1037
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
(10-14-2018 03:12 AM)Paracelsus Wrote:  Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

[Image: 1ec7cd5b-f07a-4918-a0c5-542a537bddb9.png]


- You get more out of Taleb's books than this shit.

Understood.
I have heard a lot of bad reviews of this book, I don't know why people like it. After reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, I decided not to read any of his other books.

"Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."
- Heat

"That's the difference between you and me. You wanna lose small, I wanna win big."
(This post was last modified: 04-03-2019 02:04 AM by bgbusiness.)
04-03-2019 02:04 AM
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Post: #1038
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Capitalism without Capital by Jonathan Haskel & Stain Westlake
https://www.amazon.com/Capitalism-withou...op?ie=UTF8

This book describes how the everything is changing from tangible assets to intangible assets and companies are becoming "leaner", but more efficient than ever.

One of the only business books that was recommended by Bill Gates, so I had to pick it up and read it.

I would encourage for people to read this book who are in the business world, very informative and the author breakdown technical terms easily for people who doesn't have a lot of knowledge in business/accounting/econ.

"Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."
- Heat

"That's the difference between you and me. You wanna lose small, I wanna win big."
(This post was last modified: 04-15-2019 11:43 AM by bgbusiness.)
04-15-2019 11:42 AM
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Post: #1039
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Digital Gold:Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaire Trying to Reinvent Money.

https://www.amazon.com/Digital-Gold-Bitc...219&sr=8-2

Not going to lie, this book was a heck of a read even though I knew a lot of the content. Couldn't put it down unless I was going to sleep or eating.
The author did a great job of writing this book except towards the end where it becomes pretty repetitive with a lot of fillers. However, the author seems like he has done that probably because he doesn't know which event will be significant in the future.

The book was written in 2015, so a lot of materials are outdated, but it's always great to read about something that you are going to invest in. It's like reading up how a business or a company started from scratch, which is why I highly recommend to everyone interested in cryptocurrency and investing in this space.
If you don't have basic knowledge of business/econ/finance or crypto some topics might be confusing...

"Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."
- Heat

"That's the difference between you and me. You wanna lose small, I wanna win big."
04-15-2019 11:19 PM
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Rorogue Offline
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Post: #1040
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Just finished Dostoyevsky's 'The Humiliated and Insulted'

Absolutely heart-rending and tragic- explores the deepest elements of the human soul and psychology.

Tragic elements of stories like this help you make sense of the things going on in today's world- you realize tyranny and misery have always existed.

In this novel, it was almost like the natural state of life is catastrophe and great loss.

Anyone who has taken 'The God Pill' should read Dostoyevsky. He goes deep.

Critical Counterintuitive
(This post was last modified: 04-16-2019 09:08 AM by Rorogue.)
04-16-2019 09:06 AM
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Post: #1041
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Hey I’m torn between which style of book to read first. I like to categorize them as storage vs processing. Storage being books that help you remember things and may give you techniques to do so. Processing gives techniques to help you think and and process ideas.

The 3 books I’m interested in are

Storage:moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer, and unlimited memory by Kevin horsley

Processing: Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.
04-16-2019 03:02 PM
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Post: #1042
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Winston Churchill Reporting: Adventures Of A Young War Correspondent by Simon Read.

Solid book about Chruchill's time spent covering wars of empire in Cuba, India, the Sudan and South Africa. Churchill was seen by many, especially in the military as a glory seeker but after proving himself in some epic battles he won the respect and admiration of those in the military and civilians back home in the UK. I picked this book up in a bargain bin for under $10, I'm going to read up some more on Churchill especially during his time as Prime Minister of the UK during WWII, if anyone can recommend a book on the subject it would be appreciated.

God damned them all, I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold, we'd fire no guns-shed no tears, now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier, the last of Barrett's privateers!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIwzRkjn86w
(This post was last modified: 04-18-2019 09:30 AM by scotian.)
04-18-2019 09:26 AM
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bgbusiness Away
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Post: #1043
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
[Image: yXhVYWB.jpg]

Lying by Sam Harris.

Very short book about how Lying is bad and can ruin the relationships in the long-run.

"Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."
- Heat

"That's the difference between you and me. You wanna lose small, I wanna win big."
04-21-2019 06:04 PM
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Post: #1044
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
An Altcoin Trader's Handbook by Nik Patel

[Image: 4fadMpL.jpg]

The first 1/3 is the story of the author and how he made almost 100x of his money just from handful of trades.
Next 2/3 is all of his technical analysis and a little bit of fundamental analysis on how to trade alt coins.

Even though the author's desired path of career was to become a write, he is pretty young and does not have the experience or the skills to write beautifully. However, it does the job and he keeps it really short.

Even though it's 200 pages, the fonts are huge and the pages have many graphs. The book it self is pretty small like a notebook.

I would recommend for anyone investing in cryptocurrency especially anything else than bitcoin.

"Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."
- Heat

"That's the difference between you and me. You wanna lose small, I wanna win big."
(This post was last modified: 04-21-2019 06:10 PM by bgbusiness.)
04-21-2019 06:10 PM
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Post: #1045
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
[Image: e4nq6n3.jpg]
EQ by Daniel Goleman.

Relatively short book, the audiobook is only couple hours.
There is the 2nd version of this book, but couldn't get a hold of it.
Just another psychology book, not sure why I read it, but doesn't hurt at all.

He doesn't talk much about HOW to improve one's social skills or EQ for that matter, but just argues that EQ can be more important than IQ especially in the near future due to advancement in technology, globalization, etc. (The book was written in 1995, so he is probably talking about right now.)

I do agree with the author, every job that I go to, I am going to be able to learn pretty much 95% of the job within couple years. After that it's a a lot of politics, social skills, and how to lead/persuade/motivate other people for me to get the next level/promotion.

"Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."
- Heat

"That's the difference between you and me. You wanna lose small, I wanna win big."
04-21-2019 06:22 PM
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Post: #1046
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
(04-03-2019 02:04 AM)bgbusiness Wrote:  
(10-14-2018 03:12 AM)Paracelsus Wrote:  Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

[Image: 1ec7cd5b-f07a-4918-a0c5-542a537bddb9.png]


- You get more out of Taleb's books than this shit.

Understood.
I have heard a lot of bad reviews of this book, I don't know why people like it. After reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, I decided not to read any of his other books.

Gladwell is a terribly overrated intellect. I've read 4 of his books and found them to be lacking in gravitas. I decided I could squeeze all the relevant information contained in each book into a haiku.

The Tipping Point
when enough people
take a liking to something
it becomes trendy

Blink
some of our hunches
are really quite logical
others not so much

Outliers
people who are good
have practiced a whole lot more
than other people

David and Goliath
surprising results
do happen now and again
with innovation
04-21-2019 06:32 PM
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Post: #1047
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
(04-21-2019 06:32 PM)Brother Abdul Majeed Wrote:  
(04-03-2019 02:04 AM)bgbusiness Wrote:  
(10-14-2018 03:12 AM)Paracelsus Wrote:  Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

[Image: 1ec7cd5b-f07a-4918-a0c5-542a537bddb9.png]


- You get more out of Taleb's books than this shit.

Understood.
I have heard a lot of bad reviews of this book, I don't know why people like it. After reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, I decided not to read any of his other books.

Gladwell is a terribly overrated intellect. I've read 4 of his books and found them to be lacking in gravitas. I decided I could squeeze all the relevant information contained in each book into a haiku.

The Tipping Point
when enough people
take a liking to something
it becomes trendy

Blink
some of our hunches
are really quite logical
others not so much

Outliers
people who are good
have practiced a whole lot more
than other people

David and Goliath
surprising results
do happen now and again
with innovation

Wow, Yeah, I mean the books are not going to 'damage' my brain or lower my IQ, but the time/money spent on them wasn't really worth it.
It's really hard to go through the book when you know most of the content already and it's a lot of fluffy material just recycling every other psychologist. Nothing original. Definitely would be interesting books for people who are younger age or have less knowledge in these fields..

I am not trying to put you on the spot and I appreciate your input.
However, why did you continue to read his other books when his first book didn't ROCK your world?
I am just curious though, I agree that the author is overrated.

"Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."
- Heat

"That's the difference between you and me. You wanna lose small, I wanna win big."
(This post was last modified: 04-21-2019 10:32 PM by bgbusiness.)
04-21-2019 10:31 PM
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Post: #1048
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Blockchain: The Next Everything by Stephen P. Williams.

[Image: QBwvDf2.jpg]

In the beginning, the author portrays a little bit of left-wing ideologies, which kind of threw me off. However, I managed to continue reading and he has a simple way of describing things without getting too complicated.

His analogies are great, but doesn't necessarily help you understand how the actual underlining core technology works, which was fine with me because I am not interested in how to code and nitty details.

Second half of the book he really delves into how the world will change and gives several examples of it. My assumption of how emotional intelligence or soft skills such as leadership/motivating will be more important in the future has solidified after reading this book. Intangible assets are going to be also more important in the future as even industries that are heavily invested in tangible assets such as real estate will have to evolve and adopt to new technologies.

Overall fast read and worth reading for the money and time spend on it. Finished in couple hours. I don't want to give too much of the book, but one of the most interesting point of the book was about how the definition of "branding" will change as companies will have to be transparent and honesty about their logistics/supply chain. Ex. An egg can be organic and USDA approved, but due to blockchain technology, the consumer at the end of the chain can find out when and how the chicken were raised and how the eggs were brought all the way from the farm to the grocery store.

https://www.amazon.com/Blockchain-Everyt...way&sr=8-2

"Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."
- Heat

"That's the difference between you and me. You wanna lose small, I wanna win big."
04-23-2019 02:29 PM
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Sisyphus Online
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Post: #1049
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Just finished a 6 week slog through Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco (referenced earlier in the thread). I knew nothing about the book before buying it at a used book store. I needed a book for a trip, and the description "an intellectual adventure story, as sensational, thrilling, and packed with arcana as Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Count of Monte Cristo" piqued my interest. Too bad only the third adjective phrase turned out to be true.

First the good - there's some good writing, some emotional and poignant passages, some cool surreal scenes (kind of like the Witches' Sabbath scene in Midnight Cowboy), and some relevant takeaways which I'll discuss later. Also a bit of clever dialogue and amusing satire (but not much). Several of the relationships between characters are actually interesting, but these don't get enough attention.

The bad: there are dreadfully boring long passages going into excruciating detail about the history of the Templars, Rosicrucians, etc. in some cases actually passed off as dialogue! At one point there's a bullet point list of several pages detailing every scrap of information related to the Rosicrucians - I had to skip that. For a "thriller" the pace is excruciatingly slow and there isn't really any action until about 500 pages in. A lot of fat could have been trimmed. It's my policy to finish books that I start, but it was very difficult for me not to give up.

This book probably mostly appeals to a certain very dreary type of individual. If I had to give a general profile it would be aged 19-24, male, does a lot of drugs, has convinced himself that THE ANSWER to EVERYTHING lies in occult symbolism, but is more interested in indulging a hedonistic lifestyle than reading and learning or actually putting any knowledge into practice. Talks incessantly about said occult symbolism, the Illuminati, Freemasonry, has a conniption fit every time he spots a triangle (you know, one of the most fundamental shapes whose mathematical properties were explored thousands of years ago) in a public setting, rails against the nefarious forces who employ and disseminate the symbols (who also secretly control every institution of power in the world) at every opportunity regardless of what the conversation is actually about without every actually specifying what they accomplish by displaying the triangles. Doesn't understand that Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath were WAY too busy doing drugs and debauching groupies to actually read books in any depth. I could go on, but hopefully you get the point. Also includes psuedo-intellectual celebrities who claim to "study the Kabbalah" like Madonna.

Ultimately the strength of this book is that it seriously questions the values and motivations of these people, and in my interpretation concludes that their purported quest for ultimate knowledge is a fool's errand and ultimately dangerous. It's a bit odd that the book criticizes the people who are mostly likely to get excited about it. After the horrifying climax, the narrator shaken to the core, experiences a jumbled nightmare scenario and comes to this conclusion. Here are some bits and pieces of the relevant passages... "We offered a [redacted to avoid spoilers] to people who were trying to overcome a deep, private frustration. What frustration?...There can be no failure if there really is a Plan. Defeated you may be, but never through any fault of your own. To bow to a cosmic will is no shame. You are not a coward; you are a martyr...Take stock market crashes. They happen because each individual makes a wrong move, and all the wrong moves put together create panic. Then whoever lacks steady nerves asks himself: Who's behind this plot, who's benefiting? He has to find an enemy, a plotter, or it will be, God forbid, his fault. If you feel guilty, you invent a plot, many plots. And to counter them, you have to organize your own plot. But the more you invent enemy plots, to exonerate your lack of understanding, the more you fall in love with them, and you pattern your own on their model."

Earlier the narrator notes that if you look for the boogeyman everywhere you will certainly find him: "We invented a non-existent Plan, and They not only believed it was real but convinced themselves that They had been part of it for ages, or, rather, They identified the fragments of their muddled mythology as moments of our Plan, moments joined in a logical, irrefutable web of analogy, semblance, suspicion." It's easy to see people falling into these intellectual traps - one need go no further than this forum. I think this is the most crucial message of the book, and one that is entirely relevant at this moment.

Now the audience I described is not the only group of people who may enjoy the book. Personally, I was never able to get too deeply into this line of knowledge because I could never understand how studying connections between various secret mystical societies could actually help to improve my life. I failed to see a difference between spending all my time reading about it and memorizing statistics for leaders in home runs, batting average, RBI, ERA, strikeouts, walks, stolen bases, saves, and so on. Both seemed to fulfill the function of distraction and one could argue that the latter is less of a dead end because at least it's tangible and finite. In my experience, most people who go on about the Illuminati don't gain any satisfaction let alone advantage from it. However that's not to say that you're wasting your time learning about these topics. If you're getting something positive out of it then good for you. I avoid absolutes so I won't say that these subjects are a complete waste of time and that you're some kind of burnout or malcontent if you choose to spend your time that way. Maybe you'll enjoy the book and reach a different conclusion.

It's rather ironic for the author to make these assertions after clearly devoting an extraordinary amount of time to researching the subject. The bio says he was a professor of semiotics. I had to look that word up, but it's defined as "the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation." Maybe one day he realized he had wasted his intellectual capability and decided to profit off of it by putting it into fictional form? The narrator discovers that this is in fact what the true main character (who turns out not to be the narrator) in the book was attempting to do. It reads as though the author created the character of the narrator to create some distance to psychoanalyze himself and his life choices.

So in conclusion the book makes some significant and relevant statements and there is some satisfaction to be gained from reading it, but you really have to wade through a veritable bog of dense intellectual quickmud in order to obtain it. I'm relieved to finally be done with it.
Today 03:19 PM
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