zurich



2014

Title Author Rating Comments
Bad Science Ben Goldacre An enlightening book. Why people so firmly believe so much crud is quite amusing.
Spinoza: Philosophy in an Hour Paul Strathern A plain description of the philosopher's ideas.
How to Speak Money John Lanchester A good introduction to the financial world and its terms.
Infidel Ayaan Hirsi Ali This is a really good read except it sometimes drags a bit, but maybe this is necessary in order to get the message across? I can only say my rejection of any kind of religion is so supported by this autobiography. How anyone, and especially any woman can support any religion is simply beyond me. The control exercised over women and society as a whole by religions has been and in many instances contiues to be devastating. I remember seeing the film she made with Theo Van Gogh - before some religious murderer killed him in the street with a knife. (He is serving a life sentence without parole.)
The prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power Daniel Yergin This is a long book covering the initial discovery, engineering and politics of Oil, right up to nearly the present day. (Where we see the Saudis bidding for market share come what may, before the Climate Change debate bites them.)
Who owns the Future? Jaron Lanier A man whom I recognize from the VR world expounds on the current and future issues with the every increasing digitalization. A penetrating read.
The Atheist Universe David Mills Very well-presented. Shame most religious folk won't get to read this. Minds that are brainwashed when young rarely get to change.
The Unwinding George Packer I found this to be somewhat confusing. It is a set of loosely-related stories, well episodes, about what is going on in the US in the past few decades. Profiles of individuals.
The Establishment Owen Jones An exceptional book on the level of Piketty's book. This has to be read if you want to understand what is broken, and needs to be fixed about the UK system. Recommended-
My Uncle Oswald Roald Dahl An unexpected read covering moneymaking and coitus. Fun! As always, well written.
Forty Two Reasons to Support Scottish Independence Adam Ramsay Excellent treatise on why yes. It all makes great sense to me and adds up to one really good question - why would you want your life decisions made by people who have a different viewpoint, do not have your best interest at heart and live a long distance away - the fools in Westminster?
The Entrepreneural State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths. Mariana Mazzucato Well put-together book with much information on what states used to do and the role they should/could play in innovation. This fits in well with my feeling we should be doing better at the management/administration of public good and services. This then could be applied to failed states in Africa, rather than simply sending aid to compensate for their failings.
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky Heidi W. Durrow   Basically a waste of time, confusing and poorly written. A story of a young girl whose family have been killed. I didn't finish this book.
The Year of the Hare Arto Paasalinno A wonderful, charming look at the relaxed atmosphere of Finland. Full of quirky, funny observations. It seems to me to be a fairly correct (based on my experience of the country and several of its people) view. A delight to read, a superb writer. Recommended.
This Boy Alan Johnson Auotbiography set in Notting Hill in the 1960s up until the time he gets married and adopts a young girl. So many shared memories - the Beales of course - I mean there's the title right?
The West without Water B. Lynn Ingram and Frances Malamoud-Roam Well put-together read about the climate situation in California, how there have been ups and downs for centuries.
The Bees Laline Paull A disapointing read which didn't live up to the review in The Observer. Strange inventions as to how bees engage with each other.
Capitalism in the 21st Century Thomas Piketty A very well-written tome and well worth the read. His last effort caused the whole inequality debate even though it took 10 years to gestate. I can imagine this will have a similar effect if the general voting peoples can bother to take an interest in how the elites are raping them and all their offspring. I don't hold out much hope to be frank. Recommended
The Four Seasons of Greek Philosophy Maureen O'Sullivan Very small print so taking some time to get through. The lanuage is quaint and the content interesting. Still, with slaves all around and the women to look after all man's needs, some of them had time for philosophs didn't they?
Flash Boys Michael Lewis This is the scoop in HFT. Makes the mind boggle that people had any justification for this behaviour. Capitalism gone mad. The system is broken.
Lourdes Emile Zola A dated look at Lourdes, but having been there it seems to ring true. Such a waste of human effort, but one can see how giving people hope is positive, at least in the short term. The converse is how people are cheated by telling them untruths - I wonder how this affects people in the long run?
Nikola Tesla: Imagination and the man that Invented the 20th Century Sean Patrick An interesting book about the man, his trials and tribulations. What really comes across is the sense of the man as a good human being in spite of the misdeeds of other such as Edison and US corporations. So what is new?
The Scandinavian Element in the United States Kendric Charles Babcock You want to know why there are so many people in the Mid-West who are from Scandinavian stock - here are some answers. An interesting read.
The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett Well, who would have thought this would be a thing? Too obvious to my mind.
Ice Blink: The Tragic Fate of Sir John Franklin's Lost Polar Expedition Scott Cookman An account of captain Franklin's disasterous attempt to find the Northwest Passage. They all died.
Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilisations Fail William Opbuls A rather good book with a number of good references as to why civilisations don't last, at least in this day and age.
A Wanted Man Lee Child Loosing credibility now.
Worth Dying for Lee Child Same stuff. Turn those pages
A Manual for Creating Atheists Peter Boghossian Excellent manual, so many valid points with a huge amount of research and background.
Mother Earth Edited by Emma Goldman A "booklet" written in 1906, one of several written in the context of depression from the late 1890s and the Robber Barrons of the US industrial elites.
Quote: "THERE was a time when men imagined the Earth as the center of the universe. The stars, large and small, they believed were created merely for their delectation. It was their vain conception that a supreme being, weary of solitude, had manufactured a giant toy and put them into possession of it."
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark Carl Sagen An erudite and delicately-written book, which begins with a usefull description of how science has dramatically changed our world since 1870.
 
 



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