Denver, NC United States | Member Since 2002
This book should be required reading in every high school in the country. It explains very simply why a market economy is the most efficient and thus delivers the highest standard of living for its participants. It points out where much that passes as common knowledge is wrong and why. Even those of us in the business world start to believe some of the common statements in the media about economics as we all here them day in and day out. It was nice to feel grounded again to be reminded how and why the system works and what happens when government tries to circumvent the market. Read it then give it to your kids.
The presentation style.
The presentation was outstanding.
This made me very sad. The act of hate which Booth carried out caused so much suffering for the people of the south because those who replaced Lincoln were far less forgiving then he was.
If you or your children think history is dry and boring this is a great audio book to give them.
It is a unique approach to the moral issues of life.
The final toast was a particularly thoughtful insight into our current society. And the evils innate in many of our current practices.
The section where Screwtape describes how humans can be made to argue in such a way that they can take rightful indignation while offering to forgo something they do not really care if they got or not.
Many of the reviews on this book are either by Christians, who love it, or non Christians, who generally do not like it. I am a solid deist but a shaky Christian at best. This offers many insights to commonly miss-held perceptions (many of which I carry) about God.
The other thing that surprised me was that some people found the book funny. There is no doubt that it took a great wit to write it but while there is much in it to make you think there is very little at was to me laugh out loud funny.
If you do not see yourself somewhere in what Screwtape says about humans you are either not looking very hard at what he says or at yourself.
I have waited a while before writing the review. I will be more charitable because of the wait. This is the book you would expect from a reporter at MSNBC. It tows the standard media line on the financial crisis and never waivers. The regulators did not have enough power, wall street was greedy, everyone else was a victim. Why this happened now when the regulators have more power than ever and wall street is as greedy as ever is, of course not covered. None the less there is good and interesting information in this book. It has a lot of truth but not the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
For the other side read (listen to) Sowell’s book “The Housing boom & Bust”. Listen to them both and then make up your own mind.
With his usual clarity and abundance of data Sowell takes what happened apart to show you why we are in this mess. If you are unhappy with the standard media answer of "corporate greed" read this analysis. Anytime something like this happens and is blamed on greed of one group or another I always ask why is that group greedier now than in the past? Sowell lays out with backup data the time line of this mess and what was contributed by each of the players (republican, democrat, corporate and regulatory). If you believe more regulation will prevent this from happening again pay particular attention to the role of the regulators in this debacle. This is a must read for anyone wishing to understand the nature of our current economic times.
This is probably a good primer on Austrian School Economics is you are not familiar with it. It falls into the trap, like most books with political messages, of being a bit sarcastic and dismissive towards the arguments of the other side. I try to read each viewpoint and for the opposing one I would recommend "The Great Crash of 1929" by Galbraith, which also tends toward sarcasm.
I believe the best point of this book is to give us a lot of questions to think about before we spend the equivalent of a warehouse full of 100-dollar bills that we do not have. While it may be too late for this bailout/stimulus we better think long and hard about the questions raised in this book before we do it again. This is a good introduction to the school of economics dismissed as "supply side" by the popular press but it falls short as an in-depth look at the very serious issues we face. If you want to know more a good next step is Sowell's "Applied Economics".
This is a well-written book that brings up some important things to think about. Gladwell's conclusion that you need to be lucky as well smart and hardworking to be hugely successful is probably true. To get really far out on the bell curve you need for everything to go right, or wrong, depending on which side of the curve. Still it is dangerous to draw too many conclusions from extreme outliers, at least when dealing with a standard bell curve. If you are interested in what makes rich people rich read "The Millionaire Next Door", it deals with the more applicable part of the curve for most of us. Drawing conclusions from relatively few data points is always risky but Gladwell shows clearly the a small head start can get you far ahead.
This is not light listening. It is best on long trips, as it is difficult to follow some of the deeper arguments if you take it in 20-minute commute segments. It is a great book, actually a collection of essays, but like any philosophy it takes some thinking to follow. Though I cannot say I subscribe to Ms. Rand's views on all things the clearness of her arguments are difficult to refute. Ms. Rand is pretty rough on both the right and the left and points out the hypocrisy in both positions. If you are not willing to examine your political beliefs then stay away as they will be challenged. Finally it should be noted that most of these essays were made in the late 60s and early 70s. Ms. Rand promotes that America is great because of its beliefs, but that it is vulnerable because it does not understand the premises behind those beliefs. I suspect she would look at America today as an opportunity for greatness lost.
I read this book to see what could be applied from the 29 crash to the present one. It is too early to tell how close the parallels will track. One place where Galbraith was clearly wrong was that regulatory controls could prevent such a thing. Today we have even more controls than he suggests in the book and still crash. I enjoyed the history though I remain unconvinced that socialism breeds prosperity. If you take the political comments with a grain of salt and concentrate the history, it gives food for thought in our present circumstances.
I am one of those people who seldom read current political stuff. The vitriolic nature of most current political commentary is more than I can take.
This book is different. Not an attack on any one person but what our system has become. If nothing else he asks all the questions we should ask ourselves. Ron Paul will challenge your political comfort zone no matter where it is.
It is often said that Ron Paul is a radical. I would agree. So were Washington, Jefferson, Franklin... Now that the Presidential "show" is over do yourself a favor and read something with some meat. I do not agree on every issue but I admit his views are well thought out. You will probably even learn some history along the way, not a bad thing.
I would like to think that a man like this could be elected president some day. After witnessing the Campaign of 08 I no longer think a decent, intelligent, thinking man like Ron Paul has a snowball's chance in hell.
This book is roughly equal thirds of history, clever and funny comments on that history, and the author's comments on modern political events in light of the history. The first is interesting, the second is entertaining, and the third you just hold your nose and get through.
The political circumstances in and surrounding the founding of the Massachusetts colony and the players in it are an important and very often misunderstood part of our history. This book has interesting insights to the period and personnel of early Boston. The author makes numerous clever comments about the happenings of the time and strange way we commemorate things.
If you were not already aware that the original Native Americans fared very poorly at the hands of the conquering Europeans this book will set you straight. Much of that information provided in regards to Indian treatment is not really related to the subject at hand.
The author's commentary on how little we actually teach history and the sanitized and grossly inaccurate portrayals that are popular culture is humorous for a while but gets tedious after a while. One more mention of the Brady Bunch sitcom would have done me in.
Finally the commentary on modern politics is typical liberal academia stuff. The conservatives are a bunch of idiots and the left are the second coming of god, that is if the author believed in god, which she tells us on no uncertain terms that she does not. If you are interested on how both the right and the left have misused the rights of the American people listen to "Legacy of Ashes". Listen to this book if you want to learn about Early New England. The political stuff is the price you have to pay to get the knowledge. It is a shame this could have been a really good book.
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