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Please suggest some non-fiction books
Old 11-19-2017, 09:29 PM   #1
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Please suggest some non-fiction books

I've read a lot of books about financial literacy, healthy eating and psychology. I find that I tend to learn a lot more from the first one or two books on a new subject than from the next 20. For 2018, one of my goals is to read a dozen books about new non-fiction subjects. Could you please recommend good starter books and describe what subject they cover? I'm looking for introductory kind of books on pretty much any subject. (For instance, what's the equivalent of Bogle's "The Little Book of Common Sense Investing" but for subjects like science, culture, music or whatever?) Thanks.
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Old 11-19-2017, 09:44 PM   #2
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Currently reading "the Advent of the Algorithm" by David Berlinski. Good primer on that subject.
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Old 11-19-2017, 10:51 PM   #3
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Although kind of old, you might read "The Singularity is Near" by Ray Kurzweil. Kurzweil describes his law of accelerating returns which predicts an exponential increase in technologies like computers, genetics, nanotechnology, robotics and artificial intelligence. Once the Singularity has been reached, Kurzweil says that machine intelligence will be infinitely more powerful than all human intelligence combined. Afterwards he predicts intelligence will radiate outward from the planet until it saturates the universe. The Singularity is also the point at which machines intelligence and humans would merge.
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Old 11-20-2017, 04:08 AM   #4
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If you are interested in WW2 history:
I was deeply touched by "the last stand of the tin can sailors..." with a review, below.

Reviewed by Dennis J. Ringle
By James D. Hornfischer
Bantam Books, New York, 2004


In this naval version of “David versus Goliath,” author James D. Hornfischer masterfully brings to life the heroic actions of a handful of officers and sailors. The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors is a fresh look at the men, ships and events that shaped one of the U.S. Navy’s finest hours, the monumental naval engagements of October 23-26, 1944, known collectively as the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The author’s ability to combine official reports and eyewitness accounts in novellike prose makes this book a must read for those who are interested in naval history and ships that go into harm’s way.
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Old 11-20-2017, 05:27 AM   #5
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I have found lots of ireading nspiration and many new suggestions in the thread What have you read recently?
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Old 11-20-2017, 10:27 AM   #6
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I am about to start

"A World Ablaze: The Rise of Martin Luther and the Birth of the Reformation"

Reviews say that it is not written as a ponderous work for academics only. It provides context to Luther the monk with enough information about the political climate to help the reader understand the moving parts around Luther that allowed him to survive and succeed.
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Old 11-20-2017, 10:36 AM   #7
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If you like history, anything by David McCullough. So far I've read "Path Between the Seas" on the , building of the Panama Canal"The Johnstown Flood" and "The Wright Brothers".He's also written "Mornings on Horseback", a bio of Teddy Roosevelt, "1776" and "John Adams". He's a great storyteller and his works are well-researched.
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Old 11-20-2017, 10:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by athena53 View Post
If you like history, anything by David McCullough.
+1
I've read most of his books. Just in the middle of Truman right now.

He's also great at narrating his works, so if you get the audiobook versions you gain quite a lot IMHO. Listening to his narrations of 1776 and The Johnstown Flood was awesome.
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Old 11-20-2017, 10:40 AM   #9
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The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons (fallability of human perception and memory)
the signal and the noise by Nate Silver (difficulty or impossibility of predictions)
Nudge and Misbehaving by Richard Thaler (irrationality of humans)
1948 by Benny Morris (the real story of how Israel was created and the human cost)

Investment Related but not investment advice:

When Genius Failed by Lowenstein (failure of Long Term Capital Managment hedge fund)
Where are the Customers' Yachts? by Fred Schwed (investment humor)
Confessions of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre (published 1923, more investment humor)
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Old 11-20-2017, 10:45 AM   #10
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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee / Empire of Summer Moon / Indian Giver. Here are a few Native American books I enjoyed.
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Old 11-20-2017, 11:01 AM   #11
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"The Man Who Could Be King" by John R Miller. Good telling of George Washington's managing of his troops at time of potential mutiny, and more telling - an outline of his character. Easy read too.
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Old 11-20-2017, 11:21 AM   #12
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This one has been around a while:

The Four Agreements

Quote:
Ruiz, a shaman and healer, instructs us in the four agreements that ensure right conduct. Be impeccable with your word, Ruiz urges. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best.
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Old 11-20-2017, 12:04 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by athena53 View Post
If you like history, anything by David McCullough. So far I've read "Path Between the Seas" on the , building of the Panama Canal"The Johnstown Flood" and "The Wright Brothers".He's also written "Mornings on Horseback", a bio of Teddy Roosevelt, "1776" and "John Adams". He's a great storyteller and his works are well-researched.
McCullough is always great. Another favorite is Simon Winchester. His work on Krakatoa is just awesome. Also, check out "The Map that Changed the World," an explanation how an 1815 geological map of England's coal deposits laid the groundwork for the theory of evolution.
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Old 11-20-2017, 04:30 PM   #14
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I enjoy the "Don't Know Much About" series of books. Very easy to read. Love David McCullough, also Doris Kearns Goodwin.
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Old 11-20-2017, 04:48 PM   #15
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Stamped from the Beginning: the definitive history of racist ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi (2006).

Award winning. Hard to read, brilliant and depressing. Over 500 pages.
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Old 11-20-2017, 05:06 PM   #16
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Incognito, The secret life of the brain

It talks about our subconscious brain and just how it does most of "our" thinking for us unbeknownst to our conscious minds. Fascinating read.

If behavioural economics interests you, then in addition to Thaler's books mentioned above, try Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow

If you're interested in racism & history of asians in the America's, Lee's book is fascinating The Making of Asian America: A History
by Erika Lee
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Old 11-20-2017, 05:15 PM   #17
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currently reading "always hungry?" by a Dr. Ludwig. Most useful diet book I have ever read, and it has jump started my previously moribund weight loss. Very good scientific description, in layman's terms mostly, about how our fat cells operate. Worth a read whether one needs to lose weight or not, as we all I expect have family/friends who do need to lose.

Otherwise, i would recommend perusing ones public library 's selection of new nonfiction (fiction too if interested) books to get ideas of what to read.
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Old 11-20-2017, 10:50 PM   #18
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Sapiens - About the rise of Humans. Super interesting account of howe we can to dominate: Main premise is that sapiens came to dominate the world because it is the only animal that can cooperate flexibly in large numbers and our unique skill is not in our ability to reason but in our ability to "imagine"..ie concepts such as money.

Other interesting facts are that most animals got to the top of the food chain over a LONG time. Sapiens rose to the top at lightning quick speed and we've left a wake of destruction wherever we've gone.
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Old 11-21-2017, 12:17 PM   #19
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Some of these other titles reminded me of one that often reference: "The Righteous Mind" by Jonathan Haidt. It's less about politics and more about how humans thinking is predictably flawed, lol!

Quote:
As America descends deeper into polarization and paralysis, social psychologist Jonathan Haidthas done the seemingly impossible—challenged conventional thinking about morality, politics, and religion in a way that speaks to everyone on the political spectrum.Drawing on his twenty five years of groundbreaking research on moral psychology, he shows how moral judgments arise not from reason but from gut feelings. He shows why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have such different intuitions about right and wrong, and he shows why each side is actually right about many of its central concerns. In this subtle yet accessible book, Haidt gives you the key to understanding the miracle of human cooperation, as well as the curse of our eternal divisions and conflicts. If you’re ready to trade in anger for understanding, read The Righteous Mind.
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Old 11-21-2017, 12:24 PM   #20
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Whack a Mole by David Marx. It changed the way I think about justice, fairness and when to console, coach or punish when things go awry.
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