Best Book You Read This Year?

Good thread.

Got around to reading Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came To Rule The World.

Very insightful book. Kind of unfortunate that bankers aren't often discussed as inspirational individual men. Some of them have extraordinary personal stories.

Here is an interesting excerpt from the book about the rags to riches story of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
 

Peregrine

Pelican
Gold Member
Seth_Rose said:
I really picked up reading the last few months. It's hard to pick a favorite, but here are a few that stood out:

-The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
-The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
-The Lincoln Deception by David O. Stewart
-Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

I think the Brothers Karamazov has to take the cake though. It was a long and powerful (no pun intended) book. It really gave me new perspectives on Christianity, good vs. evil etc.

The Mike Tyson autobiography seems interesting, I'll have to check it out.
Karamazov's on the list for 2014. In 2013, it's probably a tossup between Man's Search for Meaning and Antifragile.
 

Libertas

Crow
Gold Member
The 48 Laws of Power. Worldview totally changed by reading that book.

If that was only one great book on Roosh's "10 Books Every Man Should Read" the other nine must be very promising indeed.
 
This sounds like nonchalant musings of an underappreciated pseudo scholar. But to be fair you would have to define the term "smart".
 

LeBeau

Ostrich
Gold Member
I go through a lot of books each year so I will probably add more, but most recent one off the top of my head:

 

Cyr

Kingfisher
I read a lot this year compared to 2012 and 2011 (about 30 books), but my two favourites were Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, and Black Swan by Taleb. I thought Gun, germs and steel was incredible, because it was such an in depth study and there were lots of interesting points and case studies (such as why Tasmania was the most primitive country on earth). There were a few things which weren't explained (such as why England was the most successful European country when it lacked the advantages of many mainland nations, but overall I learnt a lot, and it triggered further reading as I want to learn more about Polynesian, South American history etc.
 
One book that really made me think hard this year:


Why? I'm 25,and her TED talk piqued my interest. IDGAF what you guys think/say about TED, but some seriously informative presentations and discourse have came on TED.

The main message is that people generally settle too much. Especially this generation, that are told "The world is YOURS!" and cannot make up their minds. Everyone ends up either settling in one way or another, whether it's marring the first "eligible" partner you see, settling for that crappy and uninspiring job, or lacking outright ambition and drive to get what you want. Your 20s is the time to plant your seeds in terms of career, travel, and finding that person of interest. Its a good read.
 

Nascimento

Ostrich
Gold Member
A Storm of Swords was the most enjoyable.

Lone Survivor as well.

A Dead Bat in Paraguay was also great. It's the first travel memoir I've read and there was no better place to start.
 

Baldwin81

Kingfisher
Hard to pick just one. I read some good ones this year and I'd like to share them with you all (in no particular order):

1. Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham:

http://www.amazon.com/Of-Human-Bondage-Signet-Classics/dp/0451530179

This book is worth a read just to see how Maugham puts a story together . It's autobiographical in nature and, in addition to great storytelling, the characters feel lifelike. Good read.

2. Journey to the End of the Night, Louis Ferdinand Celine

http://www.amazon.com/Journey-End-Night-Louis-Ferdinand-Céline/dp/0811216543

Celine writes in a very direct, combative style. I'm sure it's even more dope in French, but the no-holds-barred style that comes through in translation makes Journey to the End of the Night worth a read. Celine rips society apart here and his criticisms (as one can imagine) ring true today.

3. Albert Camus: A Biography, Herbert Lottman

http://www.amazon.com/Albert-Camus-Biography-Herbert-Lottman/dp/3927258067

This book is like 800 pages long and very well researched. Even with all the details I found myself reading large chunks at a time. Lottman did a great job of making such detailed book readable. I've always liked Camus and, if you do too, this is a must-read. If you only have a passing interest in Camus then skip... this book has more information than you'd ever need to know. PS Albert Camus was a sharp-dressed, stone cold player who would make The G Manifesto proud.

4. Madam Bovary, Gustave Flaubert.

http://www.amazon.com/Madame-Bovary-Classics-Gustave-Flaubert/dp/0553213415/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_2

If you purchase this book, make sure you get the above translation. If not, at least avoid the Penguin Classic translation is widely reported as being crap. I don't remember if I read this book this year or last year, but, either way, this book was a trip. Flaubert profiles the modern western female 150 years ahead of her time. I'm 99% sure that the linked edition includes essays by Emile Zola and some others on Flaubert.

5. Antifragile, Nassim Taleb

http://www.amazon.com/Antifragile-T...Z7W_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388515361&sr=1-1

Plenty of discussion on this book already and I don't have much to add save for the following: Fifty some-odd pages in I'm like, "Man, this guy is one cocky bastard." He is and it's all good. This book will change the way you look at the world unless, you know, you're one of those "Soviet-Harvard" types.
 

Alpharius

Kingfisher
Gold Member
Fiction - Ex-Hero's by Peter Cline was pretty awesome. Superheros versus zombies? You know I'm in.

Non-fiction - A tie between The Second World War by Anthony Beevor or RN by Richard Nixon
 

pitt

Hummingbird
Gold Member
blkgatsby said:
One book that really made me think hard this year:


Why? I'm 25,and her TED talk piqued my interest. IDGAF what you guys think/say about TED, but some seriously informative presentations and discourse have came on TED.

The main message is that people generally settle too much. Especially this generation, that are told "The world is YOURS!" and cannot make up their minds. Everyone ends up either settling in one way or another, whether it's marring the first "eligible" partner you see, settling for that crappy and uninspiring job, or lacking outright ambition and drive to get what you want. Your 20s is the time to plant your seeds in terms of career, travel, and finding that person of interest. Its a good read.
I was just about to buy this book on amazon..and no kindle offer..damn.
 

The Lizard of Oz

Crow
Gold Member
I'll name two very different ones:

Jon Roberts' memoir, "American Desperado". This is the guy from the great "Cocaine Cowboys" documentary who at one time was importing more coke from Colombia to Miami than anyone. An incredible story, and a must for anyone who loves Miami (which means a lot of guys on the forum).

Jeremiah Denton's memoir, "When Hell Was in Session". Denton is a great American hero who endured more torture in North Vietnam more valiantly than any other POW (by general agreement). An unforgettable book.

It would be instructive to read these two books in relatively close proximity. One by a ruthless criminal, another by a great and saintly man. I believe that to love life to the utmost, one has to be able to take both of them in with complete absorption and sympathy. The world is a various place and it rewards a various mind.
 
'Filters Against Folly' (1985) by Garrett Hardin is a brilliant book.



http://www.amazon.com/Filters-Again...8539326&sr=8-1&keywords=filters+against+folly

I also read 'Living Within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos' (1995) by him as well.



http://www.amazon.com/Living-within...=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388539367&sr=1-3

That book was recommended by Charlie Munger (the multi-billionaire investment partner to Warren Buffett).

Here is what Munger said about 'Living Within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos':

It is a summary of the major things Hardin has learned in a lifetime. He is a real thinker. That is a fabulous book.
I advise you to read it twice (which I did)...because it is the condensed wisdom of a very smart man.
http://favobooks.com/investors/55-charlie-munger.html

They are both very interesting books. Hardin has an amazing ability to think clearly from first principles when thinking about subjects. As such he comes to novel conclusions which are easy to follow and surprising. He is an incredibly smart guy who writes very clearly.

I am halfway through 'Filters Against Folly' and it is one of the best books I have read. Hardin has some amazing thoughts about the nature of economics, immigration and poverty. And the strange entropy like process which means you will always have poverty even in an economic system which starts out with an exact equal share of resources.

He also analyses the misuse of concepts surrounding the nature of inifinity in political debates. He also discusses the best way of preserving natural goods (such as forests) from being destroyed in the pursuit of rational economic growth. He is neither left or right in his analysis. And he often makes provides ingenious ideas for left and right type proposals which I have never considered before. Another obsession of his is his look at the strange otherworldy nature of exponential growth which underpins alot of economic ideals. He is also interested in the battles in society between the pessimists and the optimists. And he is interesting when he points out that the pessimists are often killed off (when the disasters they warned of occur) - and as such, their wisdom and outlook is rarely preserved for the future.

Hardin is an ecologist and as such is interested in the interaction between humans and the enviroment. Such an interest also means he has to ry and come to grips with the limits of human understanding when dealing with incredibly complex systems. In the chapter on this he goes into some detail about how even the most expensive system with the best people working on it will eventually go wrong. Since human nature is far from infallible.

Incredibly - the example he gives is NASA and the American Space Programme. He talks about the near misses involved in the programme and how it is inevitable that something will go disastrously wrong with it. Even though the smartest people in the world are working on it. Due to the complex technology involved in which the risks involved are multiplied through the system (Hardin is pessimistic about alot of the claims made about technology).

It is incredible since Hardin wrote the chapter (in 1985) exactly a year before the terrible Space Shuttle Challenger disaster which killed 7 crew members in 1986 when a single O-ring broke. It is rare you see such a prescient warning in print.

I can't wait to finish off the rest of the book. I am still reading the book so it is hard to give a coherent overview. But - I just hope the above is enough to convince some of you to check out this guy's work.

Cardguy

PS The two books above pretty much collect all of his major writings.
 
pitt said:
blkgatsby said:
One book that really made me think hard this year:


Why? I'm 25,and her TED talk piqued my interest. IDGAF what you guys think/say about TED, but some seriously informative presentations and discourse have came on TED.

The main message is that people generally settle too much. Especially this generation, that are told "The world is YOURS!" and cannot make up their minds. Everyone ends up either settling in one way or another, whether it's marring the first "eligible" partner you see, settling for that crappy and uninspiring job, or lacking outright ambition and drive to get what you want. Your 20s is the time to plant your seeds in terms of career, travel, and finding that person of interest. Its a good read.
I was just about to buy this book on amazon..and no kindle offer..damn.

Sure it does. At $8.99, that's money you'd spend on ONE drink at the bar. I'd rather spend that money on a good book that you'd remember years from now vs a drink you'd forget about days later.
 
Top