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    #198136 - 08/08/14 05:43 AM books for adults
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2591
    Loc: MA
    There are book threads for various age ranges, but I'd like to start one for adults (and those of adult mental age). This year I have read a few biographies -- "Steve Jobs" by Isaacson, "Gates ..." (1994) by Manes and Andrews, and "Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist" (1995) by Lowenstein. The Jobs biography was great, and the Gates biography while good left me looking for a book to bring me up to date on Gates and Microsoft. My 10yo, who likes to program, read the Jobs book twice and some of the Gates biography.

    Lowenstein's biography gives an insight into how Buffett thought about business and investments but also his thoughts on politics and philanthropy. There are interesting slices of Midwestern Americana, for example the story of Rose Blumkin. Lowenstein's "When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management" (2001) is also good. "The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life" (2009) by Alice Schroeder is a more recent and longer biography of Buffett that I may try next. Buffett is known for his essays on business and investing, which explain complicated topics to laymen, and I may read "Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders, 2013".

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    #198138 - 08/08/14 07:23 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2269
    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

    New Seeds of Contemplation.
    _________________________
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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    #198282 - 08/11/14 07:42 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    ohmathmom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/27/13
    Posts: 161
    Loc: Ohio
    Here are some of my favorites:

    Neal Stephenson's Reamde which ties with The Baroque Cycle books for my favorites of his books

    Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being

    An oldie but goodie, Christopher Moore's Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

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    #198610 - 08/16/14 01:37 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4144

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    #198613 - 08/16/14 02:39 PM Re: books for adults [Re: indigo]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: indigo


    I should point out that plants have a much more limited vocabulary than people.

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    #198614 - 08/16/14 03:10 PM Re: books for adults [Re: JonLaw]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3457
    Originally Posted By: JonLaw
    Originally Posted By: indigo


    I should point out that plants have a much more limited vocabulary than people.


    Then it ought to be a quick read.

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    #198616 - 08/16/14 03:34 PM Re: books for adults [Re: aeh]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    Originally Posted By: JonLaw
    Originally Posted By: indigo


    I should point out that plants have a much more limited vocabulary than people.


    Then it ought to be a quick read.


    They speak in chemicals, so there's a lot of translation work.

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    #198619 - 08/16/14 05:19 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    ndw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/29/13
    Posts: 314
    [SPAM] Ellenberg.

    Won't be a surprise to the maths among you but helping me keep up with DD. Quite funny in parts too.

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    #198620 - 08/16/14 05:22 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    ndw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/29/13
    Posts: 314
    Oh, why did that spam?

    [SPAM] Ellenberg wrote How not to be wrong. It's subtitled The hidden maths of everyday life.

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    #198624 - 08/16/14 06:37 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    LAF Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/15/14
    Posts: 469
    I liked this one for serious reading http://www.amazon.com/Life-Natural-History-First-Billion/dp/037570261X

    But I also really enjoyed The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan (and it was a quick read). Farm City by Novella Carpenter was good too.

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    #198625 - 08/16/14 06:42 PM Re: books for adults [Re: JonLaw]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3457
    Originally Posted By: JonLaw
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    Originally Posted By: JonLaw
    Originally Posted By: indigo


    I should point out that plants have a much more limited vocabulary than people.


    Then it ought to be a quick read.


    They speak in chemicals, so there's a lot of translation work.


    Apparently in mRNA:

    http://news.discovery.com/earth/plants/new-plant-language-discovered-140814.htm

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    #198626 - 08/16/14 06:57 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    ndw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/29/13
    Posts: 314
    For light reading try The Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch who is a Whoovian author. You will see the similarities in his writing.

    The Rosie Project has shades of Big Bang Theory. Be warned it is Australian but as far as I can remember there are no cringe worthy references to iconic landmarks or marsupials. Just an Aspergian looking for love in all the wrong places.

    I will add Secret Life of Plants to my reading list.

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    #198644 - 08/17/14 12:26 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    Madoosa Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/20/11
    Posts: 710
    Loc: South Africa
    Book that I found refreshing as it's written in a unique style is a novel by Helen de Witt entitled "The Last Samurai". It is more enjoyable as the story is about a HG/PG mom raising a PG son on her own in a foreign country and about his journey to attempt to find his biological father.

    Funny, heartwarming, sad and endearing. And the writing style is so unique and different it just really appeals to me over and over again
    _________________________
    Mom to 3 gorgeous boys: Aiden (8), Nathan (7) and Dylan (4)

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    #200767 - 09/12/14 07:39 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4144
    Trauma Red: The Making of a Surgeon in War and in America's Cities, by Peter Rhee

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    #200770 - 09/12/14 09:34 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    ElizabethN Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/17/12
    Posts: 1390
    Loc: Seattle area
    The Martian, by Andy Weir.

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    #200824 - 09/13/14 06:21 PM Re: books for adults [Re: ohmathmom]
    raptor_dad Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/21/12
    Posts: 100
    Loc: Minnesota
    Originally Posted By: ohmathmom
    Here are some of my favorites:

    Neal Stephenson's Reamde which ties with The Baroque Cycle books for my favorites of his books



    Stephenson's books are all very lush, partially meaning they lack a good editor. "Reamde" is the weakest of the recent books.

    "The Baroque Cycle" is very enjoyable... it is like Braudel's Capitalism cycle reimagined as a made for TV movie.

    "Cryptonomicon" defines the 90's in a similar way to "Bonfire of the Vanities" for the 80's.

    However, Stephenson's books all mix BIG Ideas with too much kinky sex for young audiences for my taste. Stross's "Accelerando" has the same problem as does anything Pynchon has ever written.

    For sci-fi, my choice would be Gibson's "Pattern Recognition" which might be THE defining post 9/11 book. "Spook Country" and "Zero History" are weaker books in the triptych in that universe.

    "Pattern Recognition" is clean and spare. However, one of the best books I have read in the last few years is "Wolf Hall". It is such a spare book... it is beautiful, like some eastern work of art. If you can catch when the protagonist and his widowed SIL end up sleeping together, your reading skills are at college level. "Bringing up the Bodies" is in a different style... I hope the third book is more like the first.

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    #202246 - 09/29/14 06:36 AM Re: books for adults [Re: ElizabethN]
    SFrog Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/07/11
    Posts: 155
    Loc: IA, USA
    Originally Posted By: ElizabethN
    The Martian, by Andy Weir.


    Thanks for the recommendation. I just finished this over the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I'd make a recommendation back, but most people seem turned off when I say the genre is "Italian epic poetry".
    --S.F.
    _________________________
    For gifted children, doing nothing is the wrong choice.

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    #202430 - 09/30/14 04:46 PM Re: books for adults [Re: SFrog]
    ElizabethN Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/17/12
    Posts: 1390
    Loc: Seattle area
    Originally Posted By: SFrog
    Originally Posted By: ElizabethN
    The Martian, by Andy Weir.


    Thanks for the recommendation. I just finished this over the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it.


    I'm glad you enjoyed it! You might also like this interview with the author.

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    #202434 - 09/30/14 06:50 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2269
    Originally Posted By: SFrog
    I'd make a recommendation back, but most people seem turned off when I say the genre is "Italian epic poetry".


    Not me! smile
    _________________________
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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    #202477 - 10/01/14 08:29 AM Re: books for adults [Re: aquinas]
    SFrog Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/07/11
    Posts: 155
    Loc: IA, USA
    Originally Posted By: aquinas
    Originally Posted By: SFrog
    I'd make a recommendation back, but most people seem turned off when I say the genre is "Italian epic poetry".


    Not me! smile


    In that case, I highly recommend the Barbara Reynolds translation of Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso" (it comes in two parts).

    Furioso is a continuation of Boiardo's "Orlando Innamorato". Both are excellent, but I fell in love (no pun intended) with Furioso first.

    --S.F.


    Edited by SFrog (10/01/14 08:29 AM)
    Edit Reason: grammar

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    #202496 - 10/01/14 11:45 AM Re: books for adults [Re: SFrog]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2269
    Originally Posted By: SFrog
    Originally Posted By: aquinas
    Originally Posted By: SFrog
    I'd make a recommendation back, but most people seem turned off when I say the genre is "Italian epic poetry".


    Not me! smile


    In that case, I highly recommend the Barbara Reynolds translation of Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso" (it comes in two parts).

    Furioso is a continuation of Boiardo's "Orlando Innamorato". Both are excellent, but I fell in love (no pun intended) with Furioso first.

    --S.F.


    I'll definitely look into that. Short of learning Italian, an accurate translation is the next best thing.
    _________________________
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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    #202718 - 10/04/14 02:41 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4144
    Dr. Ben Carson, author of "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story" (1996) and "America The Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great" (2013), has authored "One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America's Future" (May 2014)

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    #214422 - 04/17/15 09:25 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2591
    Loc: MA
    Freeman Dyson: By the Book
    New York Times
    April 16, 2015

    Physicists and mathematician Freeman Dyson discusses his favorite books. Below is an excerpt where he talks about math and science books, but in the article he also mentions works of history, religion, and fiction. Other NYT "By the Book" columns are at http://www.nytimes.com/column/by-the-book . Dyson has written several books for a popular audience himself.

    Quote:
    Whom do you consider the best contemporary writers on science and mathematics?

    On science, my favorite is Edward Wilson. In “The Ants” (with Bert Hölldobler) and “On Human Nature,” he describes ants and humans with equal insight. On mathematics, my favorite is Robert Kanigel, who wrote “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” a biography of the Indian mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan. It is impossible to write a readable book about real mathematics for nonmathematical readers. The best anybody can do is to write about a real mathematician.

    What are the best books about mathematics for the lay reader? The best books about physics?

    The best books that I know about mathematics and physics are almost a hundred years old: “Men of Mathematics,” by Eric Bell, published in 1937, and “Space, Time and Gravitation,” by Arthur Eddington, published in 1920. Bell’s book seduced a large number of kids of my generation, including me, into becoming mathematicians. Eddington’s book was the main reason why Einstein was better understood and admired by the general public in Britain and America than he was in Germany. No comparably clear account of Einstein’s ideas existed in German.

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    #214426 - 04/17/15 10:05 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    deacongirl Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/03/10
    Posts: 948
    Wolf Hall is on my list. I'm rereading Open Veins of Latin America.

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    #214427 - 04/17/15 10:15 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    suevv Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    I am a book re-reader. Over the years, I can't count the number of times I've re-read the following. Some are junky but fun (and yes - I know Hunger Games was not really intended as an "adult" book). One is very sad.

    Interesting - they are all coming of age stories that involve what appear to be highly gifted children/young adults. As I raise my PG son, these take on new and evolving meanings for me.

    Pride and Prejudice
    Ender's Game
    Little Women
    Hunger Games
    The God of Animals (very sad)
    Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

    I guess my favorites are a little pedestrian. But they make me happy - old friends. P&P is my go-to answer for "the one book I'd want if lost on a deserted island."

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    #214430 - 04/17/15 10:32 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    Curiouser Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/03/13
    Posts: 155
    Loc: NJ
    Some of my particular favorites: Atlas of Love, Time Traveler's Wife, The Fountainhead, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Flowers for Algernon, Mr. Vertigo, Dresden Files, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, The Chronicles of Amber...

    And in case anyone is interested...sci-fi/fantasy recommendations from my husband (he was a bit overzealous!):
    Andy Weir - The Martian
    Dan Simmons - Hyperion Cantos; Ilium/Olympos saga
    Steven Brust - Dragaeran novels/Khaavren Romances
    Philip K. Dick - anything, really
    Dave Duncan - Tales of the King's Blades
    David Eddings - The Belgariad & The Mallorean
    William Gibson - anything
    Weis & Hickman - The Death Gate Cycle
    Tom Holt - anything
    Guy Gavriel Kay - The Fionavar Tapestry
    Patricia McKillip - anything, especially the Riddlemaster of Hed
    L.E. Modesitt - The Saga of Recluce
    Neal Stephenson - Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon
    Garth Nix - The Old Kingdom novels
    Sheri S. Tepper - anything

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    #214436 - 04/17/15 11:09 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    madeinuk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1440
    Loc: NJ
    Godel, Escher,Bach - An eternal golden braid
    By Douglas Hofstadter

    Is definitely one of the best and thought provoking books that I have ever read - probably a bit date nowadays but still worth reading IMO

    It was the book that got me into AI
    _________________________
    Become what you are

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    #214438 - 04/17/15 11:51 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    Platypus101 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/01/14
    Posts: 659
    Loc: Canada
    Been meaning for ages to pull Godel, Escher, Bach out of the depths for DS - Thanks for reminding me I owe myself a shot at it first!

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    #214447 - 04/17/15 01:50 PM Re: books for adults [Re: suevv]
    deacongirl Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/03/10
    Posts: 948
    Originally Posted By: suevv
    I am a book re-reader. Over the years, I can't count the number of times I've re-read the following. Some are junky but fun (and yes - I know Hunger Games was not really intended as an "adult" book). One is very sad.

    Interesting - they are all coming of age stories that involve what appear to be highly gifted children/young adults. As I raise my PG son, these take on new and evolving meanings for me.

    Pride and Prejudice
    Ender's Game
    Little Women
    Hunger Games
    The God of Animals (very sad)
    Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

    I guess my favorites are a little pedestrian. But they make me happy - old friends. P&P is my go-to answer for "the one book I'd want if lost on a deserted island."


    You would be kindred spirits with my dd14 well except for Hunger Games!). She feels the same about P&P.

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    #214451 - 04/17/15 02:30 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    My family does not, in general terms, understand my obsession with Umberto Eco. Pretty much any of Eco's novels.

    I can live with that. DD at least didn't mock me for wanting my photo taken with the pendulum-- no, the Foucault pendulum, really-- while we were in Paris. So there is that.
    I deeply regret not buying that French translation of Foucault's Pendulum from a Left Bank book stall, however.

    I don't generally re-read much of anything, because I'm a narrative person, and my memory for narrative detail is simply too good, so the "story" is more or less ruined for me after the first read, unless I read it fast-fast-fast and while tired. There are exceptions to that, but those are the books that I love and truly treasure. I'm kind of promiscuous in my reading tastes, but there are some things that I'd read again and again just for the delight of it.

    Some books that I love, find haunt me, or have spoken to me at various times in my life;

    Jonathon Livingston Seagull-- really, a very powerful metaphor for life as an HG+ person (if one chooses to read it that way). One of my most prized possessions is a signed first edition that was a gift from my father-- it's a lovely memento of a perfect rainy day spent in a rare book crawl with him-- and one of the last of (many) such memories, when I was a teen.

    Pillars of the Earth. Love this book-- love the rich and accurate FEEL of the character development, and the grimy, sort of desperate THINKING and actions of those characters. Both horrifying and fascinating. Made me think very deeply about how brutish and traumatic life used to be for all but a tiny minority of human beings, and inspired my wonder at the collection of world heritage sites and cultural treasures that exist in spite of that fact. Still amazing after all this time. I can't say that I recommend the "sequel" which I wasted 14hr of my life reading with great eagerness... I cared not one bit about ANY of the characters in that book, and was sorry to have wasted the 1000 pages-- something that I rarely, if ever, have to say about any book. LOL.

    Another all-time favorite is Helprin's epic fantasy, The Winter's Tale. Love that book. It's not a great story, not a great work of prose (by any means), not great in ANY way-- but it was great for me when I first encountered it as a teen a bit older than my daughter. It was, for me, the right book at the right time. I think that The Night Circus reminded me somehow of this book-- I enjoyed that novel very much, and so did DD.

    I also love Pushkin, Kafka, and Tao Te Ching, but only in lovely translations that preserve sense (and, I suppose, sensibility).

    The Making of the Atomic Bomb, All the President's Men, and A Beautiful Mind all speak to me.

    I like poetry. My favorite modern poet is probably Billy Collins, but in terms of older poetry, I have a deep appreciation for Langston Hughes (my daughter is the one who hooked me!!) and Riley (because of my dad's fondness for him).

    I also return fairly often to my out-of-print anthologies of Ray Bradbury's short stories, and his magnificent Dandelion Wine. I know that it's not strictly an "adult" novel, but it is remarkable nonetheless.

    Another "children's" author that I adore is George MacDonald. Oh, and Betty MacDonald's Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, because they are just a delight in every possible way.


    My desert island author is probably Shakespeare, though. There is just so much gravity and compassion about human nature and the ways that human beings relate to, or interact with, others. I can't think of another playwright that seems to grasp and convey both light and dark so well.
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #214454 - 04/17/15 02:50 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    madeinuk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1440
    Loc: NJ
    I really enjoyed Foucault's Pendulum too and Baudolino too.

    Mary Renault's Persian Boy and the Patrick O'Brien Jack Aubrey/Maturin were some of my favourite historical fiction.

    Anything by Studs Terkel is basically de rigeur for anyone interested in 20th century us social history.

    Both Steinbeck and George Orwell,

    Also cookery books by Jane Grigson - her delightfully pithy prose has been demonstrated to lower my blood pressure.

    Anything by Terry Pratchett - although reading his books now just fills me with melancholy given his tragic disease and death.


    Edited by madeinuk (04/17/15 02:51 PM)
    _________________________
    Become what you are

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    #214494 - 04/18/15 09:26 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    Appleton Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/14
    Posts: 100
    Two of my favorites are the dystopian book This Perfect Day by Ira Levin, and the post apocalyptic Malevil by Robert Merle.

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    #214495 - 04/19/15 06:35 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4144
    Reading of dystopias reminded me of a new book, copyright 2015, by Ben Carson, MD (whose early life, some might say, was a dystopia). Having overcome many obstacles, Ben Carson became a world-renown surgeon and is now a well-respected author, often encouraging others to avail themselves of opportunities to pull themselves up by the bootstraps.

    Written for young adults (but seemingly helpful for anyone needing affirmation while they work to turn their life around, step it up a notch, or make a big decision), You Have a Brain: A Teen's Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. is a new best seller.
    Quote:
    T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. ... Talent, Honesty, Insight, being Nice, Knowledge, Books, In-depth learning, and God

    This book is based on his 1996 work, Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence

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    #220830 - 08/14/15 07:12 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4144
    Based on discussion in another thread, Ruby K. Payne's book Crossing the Tracks for Love may be of interest. Amazon offers a "Look Inside" feature so prospective customers can glimpse the flavor of the book prior to making their purchase decision. Several of Ms. Payne's other works also appear as related/recommended on the Amazon page.

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    #230966 - 05/21/16 04:40 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2591
    Loc: MA
    Here is a list of influential books in the social sciences, although not necessarily good ones. Students planning to major in the social sciences could find it interesting.

    What are the most cited books in the social sciences?
    by Tyler Cowen
    May 18, 2016

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    #231223 - 05/28/16 10:54 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    Skepchick Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 05/24/16
    Posts: 30
    Just saying it because no one else has so far:

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

    One of the best non-fiction books of the last decade IMO.


    Edited by Skepchick (05/28/16 10:54 PM)

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    #231229 - 05/29/16 08:12 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Skepchick]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4144
    Originally Posted By: Skepchick
    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

    One of the best non-fiction books of the last decade IMO.
    It is good to see The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks added to this thread of books for adults. This is an important work, contemplating ethics in health care and research, among other issues.

    This book has been recommended on other threads, including:
    - Book recommendations: Appropriate adult fiction, where the poster mentioned that this book was non-fiction
    - Books for 13 yr old

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    #231250 - 05/30/16 12:15 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    alcyone Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 05/20/16
    Posts: 11
    Loc: Seattle area, WA State, USA
    I see a work by Ruby Payne listed above. I've successfully used Ms.Payne's "A Framework for Understanding Poverty" to enhance my understanding of middle class thinking and norms--kind of reverse engineering, as I didn't grow up in the kind of middle class that is her baseline; and I'm too much of a nerd to believe, for instance, that talking loudly is inherently bad. It helped me make some sense out of certain puzzling behaviors on the part of middle-class authority figures that had come across as patronizing, disloyal, arbitrary, rigid and self-serving. I could see them as more functional when the framework within which they originate was set against both poverty and wealth frameworks.
    _________________________
    A polymath all my life; extreme measures never managed to diminish it. Happy to discuss being PG.

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    #238973 - 06/25/17 06:12 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4144
    The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong
    by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull
    Copyright 1969, 2008, 2009
    HarperCollins Paperback, 2011

    Originally Posted By: excerpt from pages 33-34, Hierarchical Exfoliation
    Miss E. Beaver, a probationary primary teacher, was highly gifted intellectually. Being inexperienced, she put into practice what she had learned at college about making allowances for pupils' individual differences. As a result, her brighter pupils finished two or three years' work in one year.

    The principal was very courteous when he explained that Miss Beaver could not be recommended for permanent engagement. He knew that she would understand that she had upset the system, not stuck to the course of studies, and had created hardship for the children who would not fit into the next year's program. She had disrupted the official marking system and textbook-issuing system and had caused severe anxiety to the teacher who would next year have to handle the children who had already covered the work...

    This book provides descriptions of widespread incompetence throughout society, and analysis of why incompetence tends to be rewarded... while raising the bar tends to be discouraged/punished. If you may have witnessed this phenomenon IRL, reading this book can be rather affirming. smile

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    #240404 - 11/09/17 11:51 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4144
    Confucius Never Said, by Helen Raliegh (2014) is a MUST-READ for those interested in an eye-opening book on cultures, society, sacrifice, values, immigration, freedom, opportunity, success, appreciation, families, the American Dream, and more.

    "A four-generation family journey from repression and poverty to freedom and prosperity."
    Originally Posted By: Confucius Never Said, back cover
    My great-grandfather...
    My grandfather...
    My father...
    I grew up in China and immigrated to the United States. I sought freedom and the American Dream, and I found both... only to witness my fellow Americans throwing their freedom away with both hands.
    The concept of Americans throwing their freedom away reminds me of this old post discussing the irony of the 2 meanings of FREE (as they are at odds with each other): free meaning without cost at point of service -vs- free meaning having personal liberty. It seems that many people are interested in giving up BEING free in order to GET something for free.

    Originally Posted By: Confucius Never Said, pp 93-94
    totalitarian worldview... "We recognize nothing private."
    ...
    they want absolute control, and the only way to gain that is to control people's intimate thoughts and behaviors.
    ...
    no regard for people's right to privacy, because there is no "individual" in communism. The regime accomplished the invasion of privacy by enforcing conformity in every aspect of people's lives... Everything was designed to replace individual choices with the government-sanctioned collective way of living and thinking. "Conscience was no longer a private matter but one of state administration."
    ...
    One way to fight back is to think independently. It takes tremendous courage to be an independent thinker.
    ...
    Why is privacy important to a free man? ... Having privacy is part of being human: We are entitled to keep our own intimate thoughts and deeds from outside world invasion ... Without privacy protection, people will feel their personhoods being threatened and they will censor their thoughts and expressions.

    This book encourages thinking and connecting the dots.
    - In light of this passage, consider where we are headed with the data collection on students in US public schools, ushered in by Common Core.
    - data collection is used to force equal outcomes
    - The forced uniformity reminds me of this old post on collectivism.

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    #240405 - 11/09/17 01:00 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4144
    The satire, The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis (1941), and its prequel, Screwtape Proposes a Toast (1959).

    The Saturday Evening Post offers a free download of the Toast, published nearly 60 years ago. In proposing his toast, the character Screwtape provides prognosticator's insight into how changes in society and especially education may help bring about the downfall of humanity. A few brief excerpts follow:
    the individual has willed (though he did not know it) whatever the Government tells him to do.
    ...
    What I want to fix your attention on is the vast, overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence - moral, cultural, social, or intellectual.
    ...
    individual differences must be disguised. This can be done on various levels. At universities, examinations must be framed so that nearly all the students get good marks. Entrance examinations must be framed so that all, or nearly all, citizens can go to universities, whether they have any power (or wish) to profit by higher education or not. At schools, children... [who are not learning] languages and mathematics and elementary science can be set to doing the things that children used to do in their spare time. Let them, for example, make mud pies... Whatever nonsense they are engaged in must have... "parity of esteem." ... Children who are fit to proceed to a higher class may be artificially kept back, because the others would get a trauma... by being left behind. The bright pupil thus remains democratically fettered to his own age group throughout his career, and a boy who would be capable of tackling Aeschylus or Dante sits listening to his coeval's attempts to spell out A CAT SAT ON A MAT.
    ...
    Incentives to learn and penalties for not learning will vanish. The few who might want to learn will be prevented: who are they to overtop their fellows?*
    ...
    Of course, this would not follow unless all education became state education. But it will. That is part of the same movement. Penal taxes, designed for that purpose, are liquidating the Middle Class, the class who were prepared to save and spend and make sacrifices in order to have their children privately educated.

    * reminds me of the article small poppies, in which the author saw flowers which towered over others being topped off, leaving a bare stalk, to give the impression, when viewed from a distance, of all flowers growing to a uniform height.

    The forced uniformity reminds me of this old post on collectivism.

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    #240698 - 12/12/17 09:38 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4144
    UNDOCTORED, by William Davis, MD copyright 2017

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    #240727 - 12/14/17 11:23 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    RRD Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/04/16
    Posts: 278
    Just some of my favourite non-fiction:

    - A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (laugh out loud funny)

    - A Short History of Nearly Everything (for anyone NOT with a science background mostly, but very funny with tons of anecdotes)

    - The Brain that Changes Itself (on neuroplasticity)

    - Life and Death in Shanghai (political prisoner in the Cultural Revolution)

    - The Walmart Effect

    - The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz (why too much choice can be a bad thing)

    - Guns, Germs and Steel

    - Collapse (lesser known but amazing by Jared Diamond about how and why societies collapse)

    - Bitter Chocolate by Carol Off (about the not so lovely history of the chocolate industry)

    - The Brain that Changes Itself

    - My Stroke of Insight

    - Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin

    - Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin

    I could add more but I'll stop here for now! smile

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    #240733 - 12/14/17 08:35 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    ElizabethN Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/17/12
    Posts: 1390
    Loc: Seattle area
    I haven't read it yet myself, but I bought a book for my mother on the strength of a few reviews, that might be a good one for people here: Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II

    I knew about the people at Bletchley Park in the UK, but I had no idea there were women doing similar things in the US.

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    #240734 - 12/15/17 05:41 AM Re: books for adults [Re: ElizabethN]
    RRD Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/04/16
    Posts: 278
    Originally Posted By: ElizabethN
    I haven't read it yet myself, but I bought a book for my mother on the strength of a few reviews, that might be a good one for people here: Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II

    I knew about the people at Bletchley Park in the UK, but I had no idea there were women doing similar things in the US.

    Love this recommendation, I'm going to pick it up. And that reminds me of a similar (and fascinating) read:

    The Code Book by Simon Singh

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    #240742 - 12/15/17 06:08 PM Re: books for adults [Re: indigo]
    Archie Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 12/08/16
    Posts: 40
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    *reminds me of the article small poppies, in which the author saw flowers which towered over others being topped off, leaving a bare stalk, to give the impression, when viewed from a distance, of all flowers growing to a uniform height.


    Or of Livy's account of King Tarquin cutting down the tall poppies.

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    #242629 - 05/10/18 04:55 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2591
    Loc: MA
    Looks interesting. Amazon link.

    ‘In Defense of Troublemakers’ Review: Rocking the Boat
    Wall Street Journal
    By Philip Delves Broughton
    May 9, 2018 6:40 p.m. ET

    Quote:
    If you want anyone to pay attention to you in meetings, don’t ever preface your opposition to a proposal by saying: “Just to play devil’s advocate . . .” If you disagree with something, just say it and hold your ground until you’re convinced otherwise. There are many such useful ideas in Charlan Nemeth’s “In Defense of Troublemakers,” her study of dissent in life and the workplace. But if this one alone takes hold, it could transform millions of meetings, doing away with all those mushy, consensus-driven hours wasted by people too scared of disagreement or power to speak truth to gibberish. Not only would better decisions get made, but the process of making them would vastly improve.

    As Ms. Nemeth demonstrates, peer pressure can be a major motivator in business. Marketers use majority opinion to staggering effect, and recommendations prompt our natural instinct to follow the herd, nonsensically sometimes. (Just think of Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” feature.) But for management, peer pressure can lead to bad ideas going unchallenged as people fear that disagreement could imperil their jobs.

    Ms. Nemeth, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, has spent decades studying the effects of groupthink in multiple settings. Her original research was in decision-making by juries—how they went about reaching them and whether their verdicts were correct. What she found was that juries that included dissenters “considered more facts and more ways of viewing those facts.” Consensus, she found, “narrows, while dissent opens, the mind.” In the process of her research, she also discovered how susceptible we all are to majority opinion. Even when we think we aren’t being swayed, we are being subtly yanked by our desire to stand with others rather than alone with our crackpot views.

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    #242632 - 05/10/18 09:27 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2269
    Viktor Frankl- "Man's Search for Meaning"

    This short read is divided between Frankl's personal experience as a psychiatrist/neurologist interned at Auschwitz, and the meaning-based school of psychiatry he spawned from it which was inspired by the ability of some concentration camp survivors to maintain hope and humanity.

    It's a fascinating book that should be mandatory reading for passage into adulthood.
    _________________________
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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    #244702 - 01/24/19 04:14 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4144
    More books for adults:

    Digital Minimalism (2019) by Cal Newport, author of Deep Work (2016), How to be a High School Superstar (2010), and several other books on defining and achieving success. Related thread here.

    Everyday Millionaires (2019) by Chris Hogan. Related thread here.

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    #244707 - 01/25/19 05:13 AM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    mckinley Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/03/18
    Posts: 114
    Gifted Workers: Hitting the target by Noks Nauta. There aren't a lot of books that deal with gifted adult issues. This is a nice one that goes through about 11 case studies presenting the issues experienced, reflection, and proposed solution with followup.

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    #245503 - 05/14/19 05:17 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4144
    Passion-Driven Education: How to Use Your Child's Interests to Ignite a Lifelong Love of Learning, by Connor Boyack (2016)
    with foreword by John Taylor Gatto, author of
    Weapons of Mass Instruction (2010)
    and
    Dumbing Us Down - 25th Anniversary Edition: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling (2017)
    and
    The Underground History of American Education, Volume I: An Intimate Investigation Into the Prison of Modern Schooling (2017)

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    #245780 - 06/29/19 12:00 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    silver moon Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/20/15
    Posts: 5
    Hidden Figures: The American Dream and t...t Lee Shetterly

    The NASA Archives. 60 Years in Space
    This is a heavy, expensive coffee table book but it's worth it.

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    #245784 - 06/30/19 01:47 PM Re: books for adults [Re: Bostonian]
    silver moon Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/20/15
    Posts: 5
    I thought of a few more books:

    Uprooted by Naomi Novik
    Spinning Silver also by Naomi Novik

    Anything by Neil Gaiman. He did a nonfiction book I really like called The View From the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction
    Gaiman is a strong supported of libraries and I have a library science degree and use the library all the time. He has a lot of interesting things to say.

    He is friends with the musician Tori Amos. Which brings me to my next book:
    Comic Book Tattoo: Tales Inspired by Tori Amos This was a joint project by Gaiman, Amos, and the artists who illustrated her songs.

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