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    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.

    Last edited by madeinuk; 04/17/15 02:51 PM.

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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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.

    Last edited by Skepchick; 05/28/16 10:54 PM.
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    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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    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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    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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    Confucius Never Said, by Helen Raleigh (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."
    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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