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Rare Earth by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee:

If I were a creationist, I would probably love this book. It talks about all the chance happenings that are required for life to evolve on earth. It focuses on our solar system's formation from a nebula, until the time earth gains a stable environment to support life. It also discusses many different mass extinction events in earth’s history, and their possible implications. I love this book, but it's a bit of a wet blanket for all the Star Trek fans out there who believe there is intelligent life just waiting to be found at the next star.

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The Lucifer Priciple by Howard Bloom:

This book dealt heavily with groups of people coming together under certain ideals or causes, and then rising up against each other. It talked about social classes, religions, governments and other social groups and how they work together and against each other to increase themselves in the pecking order. Bloom also suggests that Darwin doesn't pay enough attention to what Bloom and Dawkins refer to as a "meme", in the selection process. A meme is an idea that brings people together, such as a religion, or social class. I think that social selection plays a large role and can work much faster than sexual selection in the elimination of weaker individuals.

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The Human Zoo by Desmond Morris:

This is an interesting look at humans in the city, as compared to caged animals at the zoo. There are many interesting comparisons from anxieties to sexual frustrations and exagerations and social interactions among others. This book was interesting from beginning to end. It's such a simple concept that many of the truths stated within it hold true today. Definitely an interesting insight to the human animal.

Quote:"A rational solution is to do away with the powerful leader figure, to regulate him to the ancient, tribal past where he belongs, and to replace him with a computer fed organization of independent, specialized experts."

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The Sociology of the Philosophies, A Global Theory of Intellectual Change
by Randall Collins:

What a great book this was, all 880 pages of it. I'm actually reading it again. The information it contains is invaluable. The theory basically follows the passing of the baton of intellectual change. This group passed to that group, who opposed another group. The information it offers up, in a sequence of world history is important because people generally are so myopic in vision, that reading this book gives you a world's eye view geographically and historically. This should be required reading for every citizen of earth. Good job Dr. Collins.

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Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

This was a very interesting book, but I feel like in some sense it glamorizes hard work. His social fact presentation I felt was very accurate. Personal success is a measure of persistence, opportunity, culture, upbringing and geographic location, and relevant time periods. The problem I have with this kind of outlook is that there is a far higher number of people who work hard their whole lives and do not become all that successful, and are forced to "believe" they are successful when they simply have exhausted their opportunities and drives. I have a bit of a problem with people who romanticize hard work, because it drives this kind of idea that success is always hard to reach, and that hard work is just a given. Any Buddhist will tell you differently, even as far as to say attachment to those goals is the very essence of suffering. A very interesting read, but heavy work ethic romanticization.

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Madness and Civilization by Michel Foucault:

This was a good book. I didn't like it much, but it was a good history lesson on the history of madhouses and confinement of maniacs as the method transforms from confinement to a more "talking cure". I found the book intermittently interesting, and partly boring. I think that's because I'm just not into it right now. I found all the sections that dealt with actual psychology pretty interesting, and Foucault is an amazing writer also.

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The New Penguin History of the World by JM Roberts

I'm used to reading more specialized books, but since I had already studied African History, Russian, American, Balkan, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Indian it was fun to read the sort of zoomed out view of how it was thought they came together by Roberts. Thumbs up, but quite a long book, over 1000 pages.

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The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

This book is ridiculously amazing and repugnant. He waxes on about his simplistic writing style at the beginning, which set me skeptical, but truly the prose is amazingly simple for such detrimental subjects. I see this book as the guide to what man, as a high level animal could be, but nothing more. No transcending the brute natures of man, but, how to conquer and kill as a high level animal. While genius, this book is dated, until society breaks down significantly, because men can communicate now over distance, easily.

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The Balkans by Misha Glenny

This was a long ass read. I think it took me six months to get through it. Like most history books, it was packed with so much information, I probably remember about one tenth of it. What I took from the book is a better understanding of what can happen when you divide states by geography, splitting different people's up there is often resentment, irredentism, and then piled on top of that religious intolerance, and violence from uneducated rural peoples. You also see the crazy complexities of conflicts that break out of many different issues at one time. There can be five different peoples, fighting for different agendas in the same conflict. It's just a mess, seriously, and that's why I think people always refer to it as a case of what not to be, especially in American politics.

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A People's Tragedy by Orlando Figes

If you know about the Russian Revolution, then you know its a very intersting point in history for study. While the brand of communism that Lenin brought to Russia was brutish and authoritarian, controlling and oppresive. There still is some positive ideas that can be derrived from what was attempted, but not so much what ended up happening. This is a must read for anybody who wants to at least know something about history.

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The Byzantine Empire by Charles W.C. Oman:

This book was kinda lame. It did give good information. I will read it again, so I can understand it better. The author had a sense of egotistic aggrandizement. He made derogatory presumptions about other historians, and even hypothetical readers. The publishing company also made the book with ridiculously large margins, and frivolous designs all through the book, obviously to waste pages and charge more money. Extremely annoying. The historical data was clear, but all this other stuff kinda ruined it.

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The Rise and Fall of Alexandria by Justin Pollard and Howard Reid:

What a great book this was. I just studied Greek and Roman history, so I naturally became curious about Carthage, Alexandria and Byzantium. It turns out that the Alexandrian story rivals all the great stories of Ancient Greece in lessons and historical significance. I really think it illustrates the beauty of knowledge, and the tragedy of thoughtless believers puppetted by arrogant religious leaders that destroy what is universally useful, for what is particularly masturbatory. If you are an academic the story will make you ill in the end, it really is analagous to the decline of America we are living in now, as extremists rise up in their terrible failures.

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History of Greek Culture by Jacob Burckhardt:

It seemed like it took forever to get through this book. Though it was interesting, it seemed a bit hard to concentrate on. It gave a great feeling of what the Greek culture was like, back in the time of Plato, and Socrates and though he didn't say much about the myths in this book, he did talk a lot about democracy, oratory, philosophy, poesy, theater, the polis and other amazing subjects.

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The Romans for Dummies by Guy de la Bedovera:

I didn't really know much about the Roman times, and some of the treatises I saw in the bookstore were massive. I didn't want to drudge through four thousand pages of lineage and geneology that I would never remember, so I bought this book for dummies. Now I do know a bit more about the Romans, mainly a little about the major points but for sure you are left wanting. I'll have to read a few more books on the times.

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Discipline and Punish, The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault:

This book tied together prisons, hospitals, the military, schools, government, and religious institutions in such a way that helps you understand the development of the current day's collective of knowledge. It helps you to understand the subtlety of freedom, and the deprivation of freedom as the symbolic punishment. The legal institutions had to be free from the crimes they were prosecuting, in the eyes of the people, before they could have a normative ground to stand on with the people. For me the book is a bit of a tedious read. My friend Scott seemed to like it, but it was difficult for me to concentrate on, and at times, I felt like I was dredging through it. You know Foucault; massive amounts of information to take in. Reading Foucault is a lot like stepping into a god-mode. You become omniscient for a time, in comparison to what you were.

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The Fate of Africa by Martin Meredith:

What a good writer Meredith is. This book was interesting from beginning to end. I did not know much about Africa when I started into this book. It was easy to follow for somebody with limited knowledge, and I feel I have a very accurate picture of what is going on there. Let me just say, no religious painting of a lake of fire, or eternal pain can touch the reality of the genocide in Rwanda, or the famines in Ethiopia. Human greed is defined in its most repugnant possibilities in Africa. You read about absurd UN failures to uphold urgency over bureaucracy which lead to thousands of deaths. You'll learn how atrocious war is in Africa. It's not just about killing your enemies, but raping, plundering and doing things like forcing one family member to watch the rape and killing of their family before their own tortuous death. It seems violence, nor diplomacy has been able to set up lasting responsible states in Africa, and it seems to me that human greed, selfishness and immorality are the strongest drives, at least of those who get a chance at power in Africa. This book really brings the repulsive truth about the depths of depravity mankind is capable of, seriously.

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Vietnam, a History by Stanley Karnow:

There was so many ideas I did not understand about Vietnamese history until now. It was quite helpful because I work with many Vietnamese people. One idea that struck me was the idea of a democracy fighting against communism. The Americans have to deal with popular sentiment far more than the North Vietnamese. For the Americans it's a dual battle for public support, and military gains. With Chinese and Russian support for the North Vietnamese, even though it began to wane toward the end, even if the Americans had won, it would seem to me that there would be no real way to hold the position. A very enlightening book that provides a person with the tools to understand the way modern day decisions are made also. Highly recommended for anybody who actively seeks to have a real position.

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Astronomy and the Universe

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking:

What is the origin of everything? Who dares to ask this question? Hawking does a great job of starting out his book with basic astronomy, and works his way up to the theories of the universe from about a few years ago. This book is not really recent, but if you’re not a specialist in the field, it won’t make a difference to you, trust me. It only took me about three days to read the whole thing. It's short and full of information. A great lesson on relativity.

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The Chomsky/Foucault Debate on Human Nature by Chomsky and Foucault

For some reason I was under the impression that Chomsky and Foucault got into a disagreement at this debate, but it just seems like they have different approaches to their studies. I view Chomsky as a believer in an a priori type limitation on knowledge, and Foucault is more of a relativist who believes that values are determined by the norms of where the live, and the transfer of power. Interesting study though.

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Nature Studies and Evolution

The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin:

Is this book 100% fact? Definitely not. But Darwin is the first to admit it. Anyone who discards Darwin's theories without actually reading the book is irrational at best. There are many tests and observations by Darwin that are 100% true and factual that can benefit anybody. I really enjoyed it and am proud to say I've read it.

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The Descent of Man by Charles Darwin:

This is definitely a tedious read. I can only imagine that the naturalists of today look to Darwin as a rare mind. I found it hard to believe while I was reading about the development of the mind, I was seeing it first hand in its rarest form as Darwin's studies. If you read one of his books, I suggest Origin of Species, because I feel it's a better and a more informative read on the whole. In The Descent of Man, Darwin doesn't even really talk about man that much. He talks mainly about sexual selection in animals, as it would help us to understand man's selection. Not an easy read by any means.

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The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins:

This guy's pretty funny. It's hard to take him seriously at first, but after being bombarded with facts for a while you start to realize it's all in good fun. One thing I learned from this book was that other theories bring forth plausible arguments for their ideas. After reading any one of the theories he deconstructs, I totally thought that the originator of the theory had a good point, and each time it was proven to me how much I really know about selection and genetics. Unless you’re really strong on the subject you could understandably be swayed. Dawkins himself admits there is possible minor discrepancies with the Darwinian theory, and sometimes odd facts that turn science upside down, but, as Dawkin states, even if the evidence did not support Darwinian theory (but it does), it's still the best theory out there right now, and on this subject I whole heartedly agree with him.

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God, the Devil, and Darwin by Niall Shanks:

Interesting book. They talk about self forming molecules that take a hexegon type form when you boil water, and they also talk about self forming circuits that form when certain chemicals are put together in a dish. They basically explain why the current Intelligent Design theories are actually quite explainable. I'm not a professional biochemist, or quantum physicist, so it's really hard to know where fact ends and theory begins. Interesting ethics read though.

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Chance and Necessity by Jacques Monod

I really liked this book. He claims that your DNA is only a transmitter of information, it can't take any cues from the nervous system about the environment. He claims that mutation occurs, causing chance based evolution, because of "white noise" moving around the DNA causing minor "knockouts" and causing the DNA to mutate and make copies of itself with that mutation. I really like that theory, but I'm not a professional biologist so, I don't really know the whole story, but very interesting.

Quote:"As for the highest human qualities, courage, altruism, generosity, creative ambition, the ethic of knowledge, both recognizes their sociobiological origin and affirms their transcendent value in the service of the ideal it defines."

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Warped Passages by Lisa Randall

This book reminds me of reading Hawking's, A Brief History of Time. It starts out with basic lessons that are understandable, and intuitive, and gradually moves off into crazy crazy mathematical space. I think for the last 25% of the book I was hanging on by a thread. Randall describes many ideas that could be very interesting if you are a person who has fun thinking about metaphysics, because, these particle physics theories are like mathematical metatheories. It's fun to look at the world around you, and think about these dimensional theories, because there is so much we can understand, but we just can't put our finger on. I think the shadows of dimensions we don't comprehend have an effect on what we do see, just as the wind effects the trees.

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Sleep and Dream Science

Dreaming by J. Allan Hobson:

I actually bought a few books on dreaming. This one seemed to be the easier to read of them so I started with this. It's very interesting, the recent studies of consciousness. This book explains the chemical reactions in the brain that send you from waking consciousness, into the dream states. Hobson points out the different areas of the brain that become active or shut down as you move from waking through the different stages of sleep. This is a very good introductory book into the modern dream sciences.

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The Good Fight by Ralph Nader:

What can I say? I totally agree with Ralph Nader. All the points about corporate control, his points about the Bush administration and the growing gap between the rich and the poor are right on. The examples of medical insurance companies, workman’s compensation and credit card companies providing little to no service in exchange for you paying outrageous rates is something we feel everyday. When you leave your house worried about your bills, your future, your retirement, your family's future, the people who are causing you to carry these worries with you everyday have no idea how you feel because they themselves are rich, and can by no means empathize or even adequately sympathize with you without endangering their profits. After reading his book I'm convinced that this so called "democracy" is every man for himself, and I'm also convinced that ignorance is delusional bliss.

Quote: "Farts disturb more people than oderless pollution or global warming. Thoughtless ethnic slights rile more people than widespread lead poisening of children and skyrocketing levels of childhood asthma."

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Hegemony or Survival by Noam Chomsky:

This is a really crazy, and also scary book. If you are a lap dog for the US, and you don't have a dissident bone in your body you should definetely change your knowledge base. Even if your a dove, you should have at least some critical knowledge of your government and this book could provide it for you. It speaks eloquently of the US's policy of imposing it's international legal norms on other countries, while breaking those same international laws themselves, even more than any other country. Another thing that might well sicken you is the amount US's abstanations and vetos in the UN against a unanimous world. I'm proud this current administration doesn't represent me personally.

Quote: "It is easy to dismiss the world as "irrelevant" or consumed by "paranoid anti-Americanism," but perhaps not wise."

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Everything You Know is Wrong by Russ Kick

I think this is a good book for the beginning watchdogs. It goes into so many different subjects, but it doesn't really go into each one of them enough. They are basically short essays that give you the tip of the iceberg, but not much of the base. But, if your an unquestioning believer most of the time, you might at least start to acquire that sense of doubt that's necessary to critically understand our media, and government, and other interest groups. You can't believe the headlines all the time. I wonder myself if you can believe them at all, since their success is driven by whether or not the general population approves of the subjects they write about, and the government leads the general population along with it's "path of least civil resistance" limited information. Anyway, the book goes into some examples of this. If you’re already an intermediate hawk, I wouldn't waste your time, but there is a good book review section at the end.

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The 911 Comission Report by The National Commission of Terrorist Attacks

There was a lot of interesting information in this tome. It was quite tedious though. What was interesting was the way you felt like you had a God's eye view of what happened, like a dream that you could see things happening but you were powerless to see them coming. The stories about the first responders on 911 was riveting, and engrossing. This is the closest thing to actually being in the buildings rescuing people. Another thing I learned is George Bush was not actually the leading suggestor of the Iraq war. I'm no Bush supporter, for sure, but Wolfowitz is the ass munch that was adamant about going into Iraq. According to the commission Bush resisted this idea at first because he wanted to focus on Afghanistan. I respect that position, although he ultimately caved in, which I am disappointed about. Wolfowitz should fucking die. I'll throw a party, and laugh too. I do believe it is every American's duty to read this book. That is why I read it, I feel it is our duty to know the government failing, and to understand the current threats better.

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Philosophical Studies

The Oxford Guide to Philosophy by Ted Honderich

This was about a 1000 page, edge of your seat intellectual entertainment. It actually was more interesting to read than you'd think a dictionary would be, but it has all it's philosophical terms, and concepts and writers in alphabetical order, so while you read through it jumps around. It keeps you interested.

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The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

I'm giving this book a 5 simply because there is not enough recognition of books like this, and even though I was disappointed that it was written as if it was an article on steroids, rather than a profound philosophical text, I think it deserves privilage just because we are living in a time of the Middle Ages, and technology at the same time because some are just basically sick. I do agree with 99.9% of what he says, but at some points gets a little dogmatic. I do think that if he is more likely to be coincidentally correct than a dogmatic religionist, but I think it concedes too much to lazy thought, though I know he absolutely does not suffer from this.

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Teach Yourself Ethics by Mel Thompson

I plowed through this book in no time at all, but I took a Cheetah's leap forward in my understanding of philosophical groups. I will definitely read it again later. I am now more familiar with Natural Law, Consequentialism, Relativism, Logical Positivism, while learning more about what I already knew about like comparative religious values, utilitarianism and various ethical debates. Very wonderful.

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A Little Flesh, A Little Breath, and A Reason to Rule All- That is Myself
by Marcus Aurelius

This is a beautiful book. This will teach you how to be a good person through inward contemplation. His views on suicide, and death are very similar to my own. Though he talks about the Gods, he does so in a reasonable sense, also arguing different points of view out of agnosticism. He is far more enlightened than many people today who think they understand. I'm going to use Marcus as a model while I try to better myself. I highly recommend this book.

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The Universal Exception by Slavoj Zizek

Zizek can be hard to understand sometimes. He always seems to look at things backwards. He always uses a kind of pedantic, over the top language that takes study to understand, but, at the same time he makes comparisons that no other philosopher that I have read to date does. While reading him I get the feeling that if he would just tamp it down a bit, he would reach a wider audience, and he would make more accessable sense.

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Why I am not a Christian by Bertrand William Russell

Russell has a very smooth writing style. His ideas on the destructive nature of Christianity, and also what is good about it, and why it is good are very similar to my own. They would probably be similar to any reasonable, open minded, critical thinking individual. When you read about how he was prevented from teaching at university because of his views, you feel repugnant that American law can be bent and destroyed so obviously in the name of American conservatism. This all took place around 1940's.

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Introducing Romanticism by Duncan Heath, and Judy Boreham

I learned a lot about what I didn't know about Romanticism in this book. I found the stories about The Grand Tour very interesting. I actually bought Rousseau's The Confessions to read about his experience on The Grand Tour. What I learned was that Romaniticism was first despised, then accepted, then despised, then accepted again, and is about to become despised again in my opinion. I don't support exaggeration of what is observable, but I support individuality. According to the book the search within is a romantic pursuit. I don't consider myself romantic, but I am searching out my individuality, so I remain agnostic and ambiguous about this. I highly recommend the book. It's very short.

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Contingency, Hegemony, Universality by Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau, Slavoj Zizek

This was sweeeeet. If you are interested in cutting edge psychology, philosophy, government, sociology, etc. then this book is definitely in the now. I have read a few Zizek books, so I new what to expect. Anyway, I'm working on a utopian ideal government model myself, so this book was very valuable to me. It talks a lot about Hegel, and Lacan. The universals in social change, and in hegemony are definitely focused on. I definetely have a better grasp of freedom, Kant, symbolsim, and writing styles. For anybody who spends any time in a philosophy forum, this is the forums on steroids; uber-forums.

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One Hundred Philosophers by Peter J. King

The title is pretty self explanitory with this book. It basically takes you through early greek, through Eastern, and African philosophies. There is women philosophers as well as men. It tells you what each philosopher was known for, gives you their birth and death dates and where they lived, and who their influences were. It's basically the kind of book that any philosopher wishes he had committed to memory.

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For the New Intellectual by Ayn Rand

This book scares the shit out of me. If you really want to feel insignificant about who you are as a person, I mean if you really want to know the truth of your standing then this is the book for you. I didn't really agree with some of the concepts, but alot of them I did. Essentially this book makes you want to study all aspects of philosophy and life so you don't fall into the traps that she describes. Really a deep book. Not for the meek of heart. If your going to read this book, be prepared to either defend yourself from a life change, or be ready to accept it as it comes. I'm still pretty tripped out about what I've read.

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Critique of Religion and Philosophy by Walter Kaufmann

This was a great book. It also contributed to my ideal of Evolutionary Panentheism by touting certain Theologians such as Tillich. I cannot recommend this book enough. It talks all about similarites between different religions, and histories. Written perfectly and unbiased, but directed at people with a desire for unslanted agenda ridden opinions. Great great book. I'll probably read it again. Thanks Kaufmann!

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Return of the Primitive/The Anti-Industrial Revolution
by Ayn Rand and Peter Schwartz

Basically this book will make you hate liberals and environmentalists. After reading it I can't really imagine what any liberal or environmentalist could ever say to me to believe in their cause. Essentially what they're saying is environmentalists hate technology because ultimately they're primitivists, but they never acknowledge that man has gained almost 50 years on his life due to technology, all they do is talk about destruction of the environment. Man has no right to exist on earth for himself, he must commit what amounts to industrial suicide, or technological regression. It's definitely an interesting perspective.

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The Philosophy of Nietzsche Edited by Geoffrey Clive

Nietzsche was obviously a profound thinker. This book divides his work into interesting subjects such as art, religion, morality, music etc. I really love his writing. The writing doesn't necessarily make me change my point of view, but it helps me add more significance to the beliefs I already have. I could easily read this book five more times and find many new ideas every time. I have an augmented sense of respect and value now, with Nietzsche's help, and he is the first person I will project these feelings upon.

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Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche, Translation: Walter Kaufman

Of course an amazing book. I like how Nietzsche seems to be able to look into the future, by studying closely the great thinkers, and he seems to be able to simulate what will happen in future thinking. Definitely gives you the feeling of "God mode".

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The Portable Plato Edited by Scott Buchanan

This portable Plato had Protagoras, The Symposium, Phaedo, and The Republic. One thing's for sure, Socrates is a wind bag. I can see so many places to refute his arguements, but his partner in discourse rarely questions him. All they ever say is, "So right.", or "Undeniably." Anyway, aside from the fact that you want to jump in and ask questions, and you can't, it was pretty interesting. One of the most interesting things about reading Plato is you read about many things that you see in society today, that you knew no history about, and now they are clear. I like that.

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Hegel, A Very Short Introduction by Peter Singer

This was alot of good insite to Hegel. I've read about him second hand in other people's writing, but never studied him directly. Obviously he's very interesting. I don't really agree with his ideas on free will, but other ideas I did. It's cool too because in order to explain Hegel in such a small book, the author had to give you a crash course in things I'm still trying to understand, so it was a good general philosophy book also. Pretty cool.

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The Pleasure of Hating by William Hazlitt

This was a very short "Penguin Books" amalgam of Hazlitt's articles and writings. The first story was about a boxing match, the second was about a juggling Indian, and a few stories about government and the people. The last piece I felt was unbearably negative, and while I do support the idea that cynics, and pessimists could possibly have more possitivity to offer creatively than the optimists, and rainbow, flower and sunshine happy people, I think this piece by Hazlitt was genuinely degrading to the human race as far as an overall judgemental accusation about violence and character. I never support human haters and have been known to call them "Human Traitors", and I am on the verge of putting Hazlett in this category.

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Pensees by Blaise Pascal

Too disgusting, seriously. Nothing but one long Christian apologetic masturbation. One paragraph he talks about how his way is right, and others are foolish, then, a paragraph later he's talking about the humbleness of his life. Blegggghhhh....

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Postmodernism For Beginners by Jim Powell

This was an interesting read, though I'm not sure I really like the author. This book gives you a pretty good picture of postmodernity though. Before I read it I was annoyed by the many points of view that constitute postmodernism, but now I have a pretty good idea. It seems to be the age old discussion about universality vs. relativity. Of course postmodernism is relative. It is a mixture of culture, and ease of information travel, and advertisements. It's about the mixing of culture in architecture, and art, and a redifining of the real. While the book tries to say universality is over, basically, which was annoying to me, I believe the balace is to be found in a mix of universatily and relativity. Postmodernity is only the representation of the infatuation with the escape from the universal, but the productive truths of the future will come from a conscious synthesis of the two.

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Introducing Heidegger by Jeff Collins and Howard Selina

I like these kind of analyst books. Sometimes you do not necessarily want to read all the particulars of a philosophy, you just want to understand the key points, from an elevated perspective. I didn't know Heidegger was a Nazi. His writing style is a bit "abstruse" as the book suggested. He was driven to redefine language, as he thought the limitations of understanding where contained in the limitations of language. This may be true, but, in order to escape those limitations, you have to move to a more personal interpretation which is increasingly difficult for the reader to understand. I doubt I'll study him that much further.

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The Pig that Wants to Be Eaten by Julian Baggin

Meh....if you are really into philosophy, don't buy this book. It's so watered down, it has no flavor. That's probably why it is a best seller.

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Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill

I'm going to read this again. It provides tremendous clarity in the distinctions between law, and morality as it pertains to justice. Utilitarianism is a bit more difficult to understand, as it is perpetuated in every day morality. At this point, I agree with some of its moral drives, but I'm not sure about it in entirety.

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A Brief History of the Paradox by Roy Sorensen

Super cool book. When studying Zeno, and Parmenides I became enamoured with paradox because the idea that common sense contradicts itself seems ridiculous. By the same thinking that says, "Well, it's 2 miles to the store, so I should be there in 5 minutes.", I can use basic logic to prove in fact that it is impossible for you to arrive at the store at all, and in fact you will never leave. Anyway, the book is great in expanding your view of paradox. I know of many more than I did before, and I think now, more than ever that linguistics is a huge player in many of their resolutions.

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Alternative Philosophy

The Fundamentals of Thought by L. Ron Hubbard

I heard from alot of people that Scientology was strange, and weird. I rememember someone picking us up when we were kids and showing us a movie and we all laughed at it. I never really understood it. So I'm reading it now to know why people don't accept it on a large scale. It started out very interesting with basic philosophy, and mathematics of feelings and such and I was actually starting to like it. Then, out of no where it shot way off into left feild talking about the spirit and such. They have some interesting hypothesis about lying, and mental conditioning but I would definetely lable it as mysticism when it talks about the spirit. They claim it's all proven by laboratory studies, but there's really no research notes, or dates or names of doctors conducting the studies or anything like that, so you definitely have to be cautious with your beliefs. I always am anyway. If your easily impressionable, I suggest you read some of the major religions before you subject yourself to reading this type of philosophy.

Quote:"Where the affinity level is hate, the agreement is solid matter, and the communications....bullets."

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Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard

This is actually a pretty interesting book, though it is quite long. It talks about two different parts of the mind, the analytical mind, and the reactive mind. The reactive mind records feelings of pain, and any other environmental stimulus that may be present. Then, later in time, any of the environmental stimuli could trigger the somatic pain, or whatever feelings were present at the time. There's a lot more to it than that, but that's a basic idea in the larger picture of what he talks about. Don't confuse this book with Scientology. The practice of Scientology did come out of Dianetics, but there is nothing strange or unusual about Dianetics itself. It seems like it could be helpful. I know a lot of people think it's crazy, and I bet almost all of them have never read it. It could do a better job of listing studies, doctor’s names and dates and information like that. They basically just tell you to believe that they did the studies. I don't really like that. Anyway, it could be a good book to read if you’re interested in alternative psychology and philosophy.

Quote:"No self-interest can be so great as to demand the slaughter of mankind. He who would demand it, he who would not by every rational means avert it, is insane. There is no justification for war."

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The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LaVey

Meh.... nothing really special about this. It seems like it was just basically put together to spite the religions of Jesus. The rituals and basic philosophies in the book are basically just opposite absolutes of Jesus' teachings. I do believe in the pursuit of carnal pleasure as explained by the what little philosophy is presented in this book, but I consider it to be more of a humanist philosophy adopted by this esoteric cult writing. There was a couple nice history lessons about Greek and Roman gods, and an interesting history lesson on the origin of Satan that I have to check a second source to verify, but it seems that a great number of the rituals and practices performed by the Catholic and Christian churches of today are taken directly from Pagan ritual. It's a testament to the twisting and contorting of the true untainted teachings of Jesus by the religious groups. In my opinion no religious group today follows true to form.

Quote:"The angel of self-deciet is camped in the souls of the "righteous"--The eternal flame of power through joy dwelleth within the flesh of the Satanist!"

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Intelligent Design by William A. Dembski

This was a good book. I really like the way Dembski uses people from the past to argue his points. I've seen many people do this, but he seems to do it very well. While I do accept his academics as an individual, what he is suggesting is not proof, or definitive in any way, though it does give this illusion. If you've already got momentum, heading in Dembski's direction, more than likely you'll feel vindicated, and you'll feel like science is your enemy. While I will agree that science might make some political decisions sometimes, and say they are based on fact, when it comes down to empirical evidence, everything is put to public scrutiny. This is what gives science its integrity. The creationist wants you to believe that this is all a conspiracy theory, and science is a secular religion. This is totally unfounded, since the word religion means to worship a god, which science doesn't. Science is the antithesis of theology. Theory is not theology.

Quote:"Is it a fact that the full panoply of life has evolved through purposeless naturalistic processes? This might be a fact, but whether it is a fact is very much open to debate."

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Literary Studies

Looking Awry by Slavoj Zizek

Crazy, crazy book. Basically this book takes shows from today, and the past and compares them to the mind, philosophy and psychology. It reads like training for writers on how to construct their stories. The best thing I learned from this is "The Golden Rule", "Do unto others as you'd have done to you.", is all misleading. Everybody is different. What you'd have done to you, might be very offensive to someone else, so watch your step, and do your best not to infringe on the other persons fantasy. That is how you can be virtuous. Really get to know the people around you, and bend to make their lives easier for them.

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The Puppet and the Dwarf, The Perverse Core of Christianity by Slavoj Zizek

If you asked me to tell you exactly what the entire book was about, it would definitely be difficult to sum up. It moved in so many areas, it was more of a broad picture, than an articulated single point.To all the theists out there, don't judge a book by its cover. Especially with this one. While you might think from the title it is a Christianity bashing book, it actually pin points the ideas that make Christianity valuable, while highlighting the parts of it that are destructive and should be dissolved. For all of you fundamentalists who think that the Christian bible is perfect exactly the way it is, because of "divine intervention", do your history homework. Blind faith wont give you the moral high ground outside your esoteric group of other "blind faithers" any more.

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Historical Documentary

The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough

This was a good book. There is a lot of graphic descriptions of people surviving, or not surviving life or death struggles. You really feel like you are there, more than you would with any movie I'm convinced, and I hate it when people constantly say,"The book was better than the movie."

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The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

This book demonstrated a great concept in my opinion. Dan Brown takes historical places and stories, then layers his theory on top of that, then he layers a fiction story on that. So basically it goes history; theory; fiction. For me this is exactly how our consciousness is structured. We use ideas we think we know (history) and we try to predict the future (theory) and we also posit mythology (fiction) outside of reason and theory. I think Dan Brown's conception fits the human mind like a key. I don't see any point in arguing what is true and what isn't in the book, because, just like most anoying arguements, at this time it is all subjective at its end.

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The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein by Robert A. Heinlein

Heinlein is an interesting writer. He seems fascinated with science fiction, temporal paradox, and other odd themes. I was rather annoyed with his reoccurring concept of psychosomatic manipulation. It only happens because you believe it happens, and so forth. Some of the concepts are rudimentary, but others are highly creative. I guess that is what makes it real. Anyway, definitely worth reading if your a Sci-Fi buff.

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The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein

I wasn't as impressed with this book, as with the Fantasies compilation. The Puppet Masters to me was the basic simplistic premise that is done again and again of somebody involuntarily taken over by some creature, or in some other way and the consequences and issues that come up. I also though he alluded too much to the hot chic in his story going on and on about how hot she was. It became a bit annoying to me after a while.

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Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick

Definitely an amazing concept book. Great science fiction, and paradox formula. The way it is set up keeps you wondering unitl the end. I don't always like that, being in question for the whole novel, but in this case it worked because you had to feel the questions of the main character to identify with him.

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Religious Studies

Atheism- The Case Against God by George H. Smith

Quite a devastating book for theists. Before I read this book, I thought to myself the theist clearly had it ass backwards in the logic department, and was very aware they were not Truth seekers, though they claim to be. Their "truth" is only by coincidence, and the negative reverberations of their actions continue out unchecked by them. This book went so much farther by using the basic logic of contradiction to show how essentially every theist argument stems from some contradiction or missvaluation. It becomes so painfully obvious that the same logic you use to brush your teeth, drive to work, go shopping, and go to bed each night is the same logic that renders religious doctrine pathetically impotent. You literally have to be a hypocrite at the most basic level to live a faith based life. Aside from being a hypocrite, it shows how fundamentally these types of people are detrimental to all who surround them. Before, I just was sickened by religious life. Now, unfortunately in some sense, it seems pathetic. I can't feel sorry for these people because they do it to themselves, and damage those around them, but I do wish the would disappear so the rest of us can get on with a peaceful life.

The Quotable Atheist by Jack Huberman

I had a few good laughs. Some of the quotes are hilarious, at religion's expense. I am personally fed up with dangerous irrationalists, so I was very ready to laugh. The book itself was basically filled with info that would be free on the web, so in that sense it was a bit of a waste of money.

Catholicism and Christianity

The Holy Bible


The Qur'an


The Four Noble Truths - Venerable Ajahn Sumedho

The Meaning of Life - Venerable Chan Master Sheng Yen

Buddhism, You too can Understand - Clement Yat-Biu Ching

Good Question, Good Answer - Venerable S. Dhammika

Zoroastrians and Their Religious Beliefs and Practices by Mary Boyce

Zoroaster founded the fundamental religious tenents that we have in the world today contrary to what people might believe. One idea I though was cool, is that the book mentions while the rest of other religions spent their time praying on their knees bowing in fear before their God, the Zoroastrians stand up tall with pride. They also burn eternal fires in their temples, and hold the earth sacred. In ancient times the put their dead in towers with open roofs so birds would eat the bodies. Zoroaster, as far as we know, lived 3000 years ago.

Quote: "Zoroaster was thus the first to teach the doctrines of an individual judgement, Heaven and Hell, the future resurrection of the body, the general Last Judgement, and life everlasting for the reunited soul and body."

Finance and Management

How to Get Rich by Donald Trump:

This was an interesting book if you’re into the self-help type of book. It tells you how to act positively and how to deal with people on a management level. The part I found most interesting was when he talked about a week in his life. You'd be amazed at how many phone calls this guy takes every day. Over 100! When reading this part I became convinced that I would go mad!

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How to Make Money in Stocks by William J. O'neil:

This books seemed like an endless plug for the website that works hand in hand with it, but it was definitely prestigious and taught me alot about the market. It's definitely a good book for the beginning individual stock trader.

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The 100 Best Trends of 2005 by George Ochoa and Melinda Corey:

It seems like nano-technology is definitely taking off. They've got some crazy new metal made out of carbon atoms that's stronger than steel, and far more light. There's also interesting insight into religion, government and pharmacy technology.

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Comics and Fantasy Novels

Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo / Volumes 1-6:

This was a literary masterpiece. The style of these books is “Manga”, which means "comic" in Japanese. The perspective illustrations, and the story line are amazing. It's about 2000 pages long and it was written in about 10 years. That's about four pages a week, which seems impossible to do when you see how intricate the artwork is. I could never say how great this was, you'd have to read it. It's better than any movie. It's also very different and more detailed than the animated movie made after it.
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