Taleb has a bone to pick. Apparently, it's with air conditioners, insurance companies, dietitians, economists, and academics (a group in which he, himself, must be included). He thinks that all of these people/things keep us from suffering enough to be strong. Save yourself the time and pick up anything by Gladwell, it'll be a better read with much less hateful navel-gazing.
Pinker's take on the reduction of violence, backed up with a good statistical backing, is heartening. Understanding the history of violence lets us better interpret the new we receive about the world around us.
So, there really isn't a plot, the language is beautiful (in a grotesque way), the characters bounce around enough as to make them impossible to follow, and the imagery will make your hair stand on end. I read it for Banned Books week, got to the end of the first file and decided I'd had enough.
Nothing particularly appealing about the book. It gives glimpses into the life of an addict, but never enough to really get a good feel for what the heck is going on.
Sedaris has written far better books than this. His humor came across, but was blunted and made silly by the odd anthropomorphic characters. The lack of depth in the characters was also a problem for me. Overall, it's not a terrible book, but compared to his previous work, this was a dud to me.
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