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Old 08-23-2012, 09:49 AM   #1421
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I like to read non-fictions, and have problems finding interesting books to read. From earlier mentioning, I am sure Abundance is something I would enjoy.

Following are two non-fictions I read recently.

1) The boy who harnessed the wind, William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

While perusing the shelves of the local library, I stumbled across this book. William Kamkwamba (born 1987) was a boy living in Malawi, a small African country that I had to look up on a map, who had the idea of building a windmill using a common bicycle dynamo generator. People including his parents were skeptical until he showed that he could power a portable radio and have electric lights inside his house instead of oil lamps.

Kamkwamba built his windmill by scrounging for parts around his farm and at a junk yard. As he was forced out of middle school because his father could not afford the tuition, he spent time in a local library for self-study. He went to the library in midday when it was too hot to work the farm, in between morning and evening work periods.

His invention was by chance discovered by the media, and eventually he was invited to present his work at a TED conference. William received support to continue school, and to build more windmills and solar projects for his village.

The book was a moving story of triumph by a boy living in abject poverty, who struggled through famine and hardship trying to improve the quality of life for his family using what he had available. This book should be required reading for schoolchildren world-wide.

2) The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History, Jason Vuic.

This is a heavily researched book with hundreds of annotations chronicling the story behind the infamous Yugo that was imported into the US in the late 80s. Somehow, I missed this period, although I heard of this car. Perhaps it was not for sale in my state then.

Just as interesting as the car is the man behind it, a serial opportunist who constantly looked to invest "other people's money" in dubious schemes, and unfailingly lost all that money in a dozen of projects. Among his investors for one of the larger ventures was the provincial government of Nova Scotia. If one does not get to know a wheeler-and-dealer in real life, this book will give the reader a good story about one.
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:25 PM   #1422
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High praise. I read your book report. It seems like it might be like Bernstein's "Birth of Plenty". Is it?
TBOP was about history. The "Abundance" authors are writing about future possibilities...

They're both very well written, they're both entertaining, and both of their bibliographies made me check out other books/websites on the subjects.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:28 PM   #1423
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Just finished reading a fictional book called So Much for That by Lionel Shriver.

So Much for That: A Novel: Lionel Shriver: 9780061458583: Amazon.com: Books

It centers around a man's "retirement plan", and evolves into what happens when life gets in the way. If anyone has read it, or want to read it, and then discuss, I'd love to. It was brutally honest in many places, making me feel a little better about some of the ideas that run through my head.

If you're a reader, I highly recommend it.

A little more from The New York Times
Thanks for the recommendation ! I liked this book a lot .A bit too long in parts but good .
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:06 AM   #1424
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The Wild Beasts of Wuhan - another Ava Lee international business thriller.
Ian Hamilton Books - Ava Lee Novels - Crime Series - Canadian Crime Writer

The Forever War - Joe Haldeman. For a novel written in 1974 about the future, it holds up very well. Sure the dates are off a little (we weren't in interstellar spaceships by 1997, or did I miss that ? ha) but as a parable of the pointlessness of continual war it couldn't be more topical.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:36 PM   #1425
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Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, by Robert Massie.

Massie also wrote Nicholas and Alexandra, which I read when I was about 12. He is a historian who specializes in the Romanov dynasty. Anyhow, Catherine the Great is full of historical facts and is interesting as far as that goes. The problem with such remote history (18th century) is that without photographs or television, it's hard to know what she was thinking. We have to rely on the written word for the most part. So it's a bit less vivid than an account of recent history. Long book but I found it quite absorbing. Catherine II, originally known as Sophia, was a minor German princess who was brought to Russia to marry the designated heir of the Empress Catherine I. Her future husband was a relative and also came from Germany. He was, to put it politely, a useless twit, who had no allegiance to Russia, and never managed to consummate the marriage. Catherine was smart, sexy and politically savvy and became an absolutist monarch who expanded Russia's power and influence in the world. Along the way she took 12 lovers and had 3 children, none of whom she raised. After her death, her son, Emperor Paul, changed the law of succession from selection by the monarch to male primogeniture. The decks thus stacked against them, a Russian woman never again occupied the throne.

If you like history, this is definitely worth the read.
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:36 PM   #1426
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Jim Holt's Why Does the World Exist: An Existential Detective Story, is an entertaining and irreverent tour through current and historical thinking about the nature of being. If you like pondering the deep question of why is there something rather than nothing from the perspectives of priests and philosophers, quantum physicists and great novelists, you will enjoy this book. It is fun and serious at the same time. Holt even posits his own ontological proof that an infinite, mediocre world must exist, an epiphany he gets after visiting Derek Parfit, a great thinker ensconced in All Souls College, Oxford. Holt's "proof" echoes a statistical thought I had early in the book when I read of several deep thinkers' conclusion that by all lights there should be nothingness since that is the simplest solution. My immediate thought was, but there is only one possible version of nothing and an infinite variety of possible substantive universes so isn't it infinitely more likely that one of those universes would exist rather than nothing? The proof goes into a bit more detail but you will have to read it for yourself. And after it all I still wonder why...
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:40 PM   #1427
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I read 'the 4- hour work week' by Tim Ferris. It has some good principles but I've never had any luck with making money online, let alone shedloads of it like he apparently does!
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:32 PM   #1428
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I just read A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin who also wrote Rosemary's Baby. It's from the 1950's and I liked it. It's about a sociopath preying on young wealthy women. There were lots of interesting twists and turns.
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11/22/63
Old 09-25-2012, 08:56 AM   #1429
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11/22/63

I'm currently the middle of this book by Stephen King. Love it so far. It occurred to me this book would appeal to lots of folks around here because of the fascinating descriptions of America in the 50s and 60s.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:39 AM   #1430
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I'm currently the middle of this book by Stephen King. Love it so far. It occurred to me this book would appeal to lots of folks around here because of the fascinating descriptions of America in the 50s and 60s.
I enjoyed that one too. King is still a great storyteller.
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:28 AM   #1431
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I enjoyed that one too. King is still a great storyteller.
Can't wait for Doctor Sleep. Check out the description on Stephen King's website here:

StephenKing.com - Future Works
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:53 AM   #1432
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I just finished Now Face to Face by Karleen Koen. It is a long historical novel (just the type I love) but it had an interesting aspect for those in the stock market. It covered the time during the South Sea Bubble that occurred in England during the early 1700s. Reminded me alot of the .com bubble and govt. inspired bubble that we've got going on now. History just repeats itself.
South Sea Company - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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"The price of the stock went up over the course of a single year from about one hundred pounds a share to almost one thousand pounds per share. Its success caused a country-wide frenzy as all types of people—from peasants to lords—developed a feverish interest in investing; in South Seas primarily, but in stocks generally.
The book is based partially in Virginia and partially in England, early eighteenth century. It is a good story for those who like historical novels.
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:27 PM   #1433
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I'm currently the middle of this book by Stephen King. Love it so far. It occurred to me this book would appeal to lots of folks around here because of the fascinating descriptions of America in the 50s and 60s.

Am I missing something? Like the title.
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:29 PM   #1434
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Am I missing something? Like the title.
It was in the title line of my original message so wasn't repeated when I was quoted. The book is titled: 11/22/63
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:37 PM   #1435
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Just finished up "Skydog-The story of Duane Allman"

Great read, with tons of information on him and the band. Loved it.
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:20 PM   #1436
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Eurabia, by Bat Ye'or. I should keep this secret, as it may be considered political. Of course I also had pulled pork for lunch, could that be a political statement?

Ha
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:03 PM   #1437
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I'm currently the middle of this book by Stephen King. Love it so far. It occurred to me this book would appeal to lots of folks around here because of the fascinating descriptions of America in the 50s and 60s.
Stephen King lives in Casey Key which is close to Sarasota so he signed that book at our local Barnes & Noble. He occasionally does local lectures . Great story teller & nice guy !
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:53 PM   #1438
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The Ancestor's Tale - Richard Dawkins

Tracing the evolutionary history of the human race all the way back to the first life forms to emerge on this planet. Some of the science was a bit over my head (way over actually) but it was still very readable and interesting.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:29 PM   #1439
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The Ancestor's Tale - Richard Dawkins

Tracing the evolutionary history of the human race all the way back to the first life forms to emerge on this planet. Some of the science was a bit over my head (way over actually) but it was still very readable and interesting.
Now I'm torn about where to start. My knowledge and background in this stuff is pretty shallow. Previously I was planning on tackling this book: Deep Ancestry: Inside The Genographic Project: Spencer Wells: 9781426201189: Amazon.com: Books , and a brief description:
Quote:
In this concise and well-written work, Wells (The Journey of Man) provides an accessible introduction to genetic anthropology, the study of human history using genetic evidence. Wells is the director of the Genographic Project, which collects DNA samples from a wide array of world populations to better understand human history over the last 200,000 years. Wells does a fantastic job distilling both genetics and genetic anthropology into straightforward topics, presenting sophisticated material accessibly without oversimplification. He gives the reader the basic concepts (Y chromosomes, mtDNA, haplogroups, genetic markers) and then proceeds to step through genographic research from its 19th-century origins to the present day. In so doing, he takes the reader back to the 170,000-year-old female genetic ancestor of every person alive today: the so-called African Eve. It is a remarkable journey that will appeal to readers of all backgrounds interested in exploring the science and research behind human evolution, although those with more experience in the sciences may find some of the material elementary.
Here is what is said about Ancestor's Tale:
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The diversity of the earth's plant and animal life is amazing—especially when one considers the near certainty that all living things can trace their lineage back to a single ancestor—a bacterium—that lived more than three billion years ago. Taking his cue from Chaucer, noted Oxford biologist Dawkins (The Selfish Gene, etc.) works his way narratively backward through time. As the path reaches points where humanity's ancestors converge with those of other species—primates, mammals, amphibians and so on—various creatures have tales that carry an evolutionary lesson. The peacock, for example, offers a familiar opportunity to discuss sexual selection, which is soon freshly applied to the question of why humans started walking upright. These passages maintain an erudite yet conversational voice whether discussing the genetic similarities between hippos and whales (a fact "so shocking that I am still reluctant to believe it") or the existence of prehistoric rhino-sized rodents. The book's accessibility is crucial to its success, helping to convince readers that, given a time span of millions of years, unlikely events, like animals passing from one continent to another, become practically inevitable. This clever approach to our extended family tree should prove a natural hit with science readers.
Maybe The Ancestor's Tale would be a better one to start with? Opinions?
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:04 AM   #1440
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Sorry, but I haven't read Spencer Wells so I can't offer a view on which is "better".

That said, it sounds as though Wells is focused on the last 200,000 years while Dawkins goes back much earlier to the very beginnings of life on earth?
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