A New York Times technology and business reporter charts the dramatic rise of Bitcoin and the fascinating personalities who are striving to create a new global money for the Internet age.
This book gives an interesting historical overview of developments of the past decade of developments, but be prepared for some inconsistent personal views of the author as well. For example, the author claims that Ross Ulbright, the alleged founder of the online market place The Silk Road:
"In a world in which there are no agreed upon central authorities, it was natural that individual might take it upon themselves to determine what is right and wrong and to act upon those determinations on their own.It was easy to imagine that Ross, cut off from from any real contact from any members of the community, except for internet chats, began to see people as abstractions with no real life force,like characters in a video game. In this sort of world, the idea of killing these people could lose its visceral repugnance."
The author forgets that central agreed upon authorities (governments) killed 260 million of their own people in the 20th century. As he speaks, agents of this authority are commanding drones and kill people from over thousand miles away. President Obama had a bomb dropped every 20 minutes during his presidency. The biggest chance of being killed in the 20th century was being killed by your own government, a group of people given a monopoly on the initiation of force and theft. Even inside the USA, police kills 1200 people a year with more or less legal immunity from this same central authority's legal monopoly. It also locks a record amount of people in cages for mostly non violent crimes and forces others to pay for that.The question is:"Who agreed upon this central authority? Can you vote to give people the legal right to kill and steal, if you do not have the right to yourself to begin with?"
Another quote about a person more favorable to the author:
"In contrast to bitcoin's early salesmen like Roger Ver, who was still trying to renounce his citizenship, Patric (Murck) was a patriot, who had grown up in washington DC, with a mother who worked at the national labor relations board. This upbringing made him believe in the cause of fighting injustice in the world and gave him a healthy respect for the role that government could play in the process, which helped explain the volunteer work he had done for the Obama campaign in 2008"
The same government who who arrests people for feeding the homeless. The same central authority who claimed 500.000 dead Iraqi children was 'worth it' (madeleine albright) using a naval blockade to turn Iraq effectively into a concentration camps, because they no longer liked it's central authority. It is not a healthy respect, but a symptom of the Stockholm Syndrome, causing us to love our oppressors. The author casually steps over the immense pile of dead bodies caused by the governments many wars, including the drug war.
He also claimed the liberty dollar, existed to help criminals launder money. He forgets who the criminals are: those who commit violence against people who have not initiated theft, violence or fraud themselves.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful
We are bombarded with more information each day than our brains can process - especially in election season. It's raining bad data, half truths, and even outright lies. New York Times best-selling author Daniel J. Levitin shows how to recognize misleading announcements, statistics, graphs, and written reports, revealing the ways lying weasels can use them.
After a good start about statistics, to build credibility, the author continues to build the argument of authority that the NYT is a reliable source of information. He also emphasizes the government is more reliable as a source of information than commercial companies, because it lacks a profit motive (although I would not think so looking at my pay slip). But later he claims that politicians are lying since Roman times. And the government of Iran is not reliable source of information (although they also do not have a profit motive)
He is a liberal and I can't find a lot of courageous, critical thinking considering who his peers are. No controversial lie within his peer group is exposed by this author.
Peer review is also a strong plus for reliability according to him, although halve of peer reviewed research can not be replicated according to the replication crisis.
I would argue that the false aura of reliability is exactly why scammers take something over as sufficiently proven by governments,academia and main stream media.
He also tells us to look for who pays someone before believing their claims. I can not find a free market job in his CV. So I must assume his authorities are leaning towards government, academia and main stream media.
6 of 18 people found this review helpful
The author of the legendary best seller Influence, social psychologist Robert Cialdini, shines a light on effective persuasion and reveals that the secret doesn't lie in the message itself but in the key moment before that message is delivered.
Although it is interesting to see what events precede a persuasion, I had a bit of a problem with the discussion of the ethics of it. Sure it helps people arm themselves against trickery, but the author only considers trickery by companies/advertisers who try to sell something to unsuspecting consumers which they do not really want or need.
But he is very enthusiastic about instilling a sense of sacrifice into young people. Sacrifice for the greater good is something to be treasured. It opposes selfish greed. He forgets that in the 20th century alone governments killed 260 million people in world wide democides. All of them were killed by people making sacrifices for the greater good/country/society. None of them are killed by corporations for profit.
This is a typical left view that only profit based organisations who create value for willing customers, who interact on a voluntary basis with employees, customers and capital providers, are evil and the government who has a monopoly on violence, limits that evil and does prevent society from descending into chaos.
The government however gets to persuade the unsuspecting young with their education system with the pledge of allegiance and other patriotic horrors.They influence the young with terror drills and economic lies/lessons. They create the situation Lenin described:
"Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted."
Who cares if a corporation tries to sell you red wine instead of white wine in the supermarket? We are living in a 1984 world with surveillance and intimidation, a militarized police, war=peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength, slavery like taxation, if you see something say something world, a government which tortures, lies. spies and spends on debts to be payed by the next generation. Who cares about advertisers other than those advertising for war and oppression?
11 of 32 people found this review helpful
Great leaders anticipate the future. But the reality is that the vast majority of people fear the unknown. Most would rather stick with the status quo than go somewhere new, especially because they know change is hard and risky. According to Nancy Duarte, acclaimed author of Resonate, and Patti Sanchez, a communications expert, change doesn't have to be so hard. With the right communication tools, leaders can inspire others to long for a brighter future and move them to make it a reality.
One of the few books I could not manage to finish despite my 'I paid for it, so I will finish it' attitude' All empty business rhetoric on hope and change, mistaking latching on to each and every meme floating around as wisdom and probably being paid way to much for it. Condescending tone about leaders who have to hold the led by the hand to prepare them for change. Nothing but repetition on change.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful
In Wealth, Poverty, and Politics, Thomas Sowell, one of the foremost conservative public intellectuals in the country, argues that political and ideological struggles have led to dangerous confusion about income inequality in America. Pundits and politically motivated economists trumpet ambiguous statistics and sensational theories while ignoring the true determinant of income inequality: the production of wealth.
The author discusses the strange effect that if a group of people is pampered, they drift lower and lower, while if a group of people meet harsh conditions they become stronger and stronger. In this sense it has parallels to the book 'anti fragile' by Taleb.
All backed up by geographical and historical examples.
In his giant New York Times best seller, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, Mark Steyn predicted collapse for the rest of the Western World. Now, he adds, America has caught up with Europe on the great rush to self-destruction. What will a world without American leadership look like? It won’t be pretty—not for you and not for your children. America’s decline won’t be gradual, like an aging Europe sipping espresso at a café until extinction. No, America’s decline will be a wrenching affair marked by violence and possibly secession.
Of course it is nice to hear the author spout all the criticism on liberals and expose their hypocrisy. But what remains most after reading this book is a sense of desperation of a lost battle for liberty. A noble but hopeless cause which can no longer be won. Liberty is dead.
The case for conservatives against the nanny state is also pretty hard to defend. Because he criticizes the nanny state when it bosses its own subjects around, but glorifies the same state when it runs the empire and bosses foreign subjects around. Nanny state is good nanny state is bad. That is why the libertarian/anarchist position packs more punch. It argues consistently against any intrusion with force of one human being in the life of another one. Both by liberals with their nanny state and political correctness and by conservatives with their empires and scary bearded foreigners which need to be fought before they conquer us with their primitive societies.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
As physicists work toward completing a theory of the universe and biologists unravel the molecular complexity of life, a glaring incompleteness in this scientific vision becomes apparent. The "theory of everything" that appears to be emerging includes everything but us: the feelings, meanings, consciousness, and purposes that make us (and many of our animal cousins) what we are.
Remind me to never buy a book about consciousness again.
They always get stuck in their own unclear definitions and baseless assumptions.
2 of 9 people found this review helpful
George Friedman has forecasted the coming trends (politics, technology, population, and culture) of the next century in The Next 100 Years, and focused his predictions on the coming ten years in The Next Decade. Now, in Flashpoints, Friedman zooms in on the region that has, for 500 years, been the cultural hotbed of the world - Europe - and examines the most basic and fascinating building block of the region: culture.
It already starts on the wrong foot: The EU was created to never have war in europe again.
No the EU was created to have a war again. That is why they steal money from some subjects and give it to the rulers of some other subjects. Of course this creates hate.
Just another author who does not see the difference between rulers and ruled in a nation. He has nations 'wanting' things and 'fearing' other nations. News: nations do not have feelings. A country is just a tax farm. You can not say that the rulers and the ruled 'want' something. They want different things.
He states that trade might draw people closer together and prevent war, but can also cause war as 'nations try to get the upper hand over other nations'. He never read the wise words of Goering after WWII:
"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
-- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials
Rulers want to go to war. Governments are a monopoly on violence. Their language is violence.The problem is not difference in cultures. It is the approval of a bunch of people to initiate force. They will always run up debts and create crisis so they have more power in the hands of fever people.
Friedman sees nationalism as the problem, and a new world order or one government as a solution. More power in the hands of fever and fever people, is not a solution. It is a recepy for disaster.
So new crisis in europe: yes, but the reasoning behind it is all false.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful
Jimena Canales introduces listeners to the revolutionary ideas of Einstein and Bergson, describes how they dramatically collided in Paris, and traces how this clash of worldviews reverberated across the twentieth century. She shows how it provoked responses from figures such as Bertrand Russell and Martin Heidegger and carried repercussions for American pragmatism, logical positivism, phenomenology, and quantum mechanics.
Poor Einstein who had to deal with this pompous french pseudo intellectual who was fighting relativity theorie with 'psychological time' which does not slow down and telepathy which is not limited by the speed of light.
This book is way to long and celebrates this pompous arm chair philosopher calling Bergson "the " philosopher.
0 of 11 people found this review helpful
This provocative book has found renewed popularity in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks: Is this the onset of the Crisis - the Fourth Turning - of which the authors predict? Hear it and decide for yourself. An audible.com audio exclusive.
I read an article on zerohedge about the fourth turning en thought the article was very good, so I bought this book immediately.
However , it is full with generalities like generation X wants this from generation Y. Like they are acting and thinking entities. He also wants to combat the coming crisis by emphasising young people to be less individualistic and more collectivist and make sacrifices. A strong government is a good thing he says. The young will be more dependent on government. Yet he wants to avoid fascism. In my view making collectivist, sacrificing obedient youth a recepy for fascism. I am sorry I sponsored it.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful