The previous reviewer pretty much nailed it on the head for me: the author enjoys writing the about the personal -- and largely irrelevant -- stories of the people profile. Had he just spent as much effort unwinding the how and why of the quants approach, I would have enjoyed this book much more. When he doesn't overthink it, the narrative is focus and informative. When he does, its push the work very close to a fictional feel.
Of course, understanding the level of hubris involved in this culture is part of understanding how and why it lead to the outcomes it did, so it was essential to cover that. Just too much of a good thing here.
One concluding suggestion: if you decide to invest your time and attention into the offering, make sure you have already done the same or will follow this title up with Taleb's "The Black Swan." Its a great counterpoint this.
I decided to give this title a shot as a preparation for a course on terrorism and homeland security. And to that extent it served its purpose. This title does do a good giving a wide prospective and historical basis of terrorism over time. It also does a good job covering the differences between nationalism, religious fundamentalism, terrorism and being a terrorist. A print version would probably be useful if want more of a reusable reference. So why downgrade it to three stars? Largely the reader. Monotone. Monotonous. Difficult to take in more than 20 minute chunks.
But to me, the rapid onslaught of new, poorly introduced characters and vast leaps in time didn't create a good story. The Science was good, the fiction -- while good -- wasn't great.
The monotone naration and bland writing style here don't help. That said, I do believe the book can help certain people enjoy having sex more. I'd recommend Kerner's "She Comes First" to this if you are looking for partical sexual advice. If you are into the Taoist practices, however, this seems to be a very good resource.
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