I bought this book for 48 cents, and it's been worth every penny. Like most anthologies this is a fairly straightforward overview of the time period (...moreI bought this book for 48 cents, and it's been worth every penny. Like most anthologies this is a fairly straightforward overview of the time period (1787-1848), covering, well, major problems in the early republic. In general, the focus is on social problems, especially categorized and presented in terms of the concerns and viewpoints of sociology in 1992; I'm not particularly for or against that, but it's fairly standard material in that sense.
The exposition and summaries by the editors are easy to read and to the point, providing good orientation to the documents. The best part of this anthology, as with any good anthology, is that the primary documents take the center stage. It's always interesting to hear (I guess, read) people in their own words with their own tone and style. It gives you a much better sense of not only what they thought on a given topic, but what their opinions were based upon and what were their deeper concerns or priorities. At 568 pages there is a lot to chew on, but just about everything is brief and concise enough to give you a good taste. (less)
Economics and finance are outside my field, so I can't make any solid claims about how this book stacks up compared to others. I can claim that this i...moreEconomics and finance are outside my field, so I can't make any solid claims about how this book stacks up compared to others. I can claim that this is the most accessible and readable book I've come across yet on the topic. To be more precise, the several topics, as Phillips ties together several intertwined threads related to international economics and finance. Perhaps most notable and interesting for today are the chapters on oil and "Bullnomics" in light of current events. But rather than just tossing these topics out there with a handful of buzzwords, Phillips craftily ties them into the other related issues that have not attracted as much attention. At least not yet.
On the cover of the edition I've been reading (2009 release) it quotes Bill Moyers as saying something to the effect of, "If you read one book on the economic crisis, read this one." I agree wholeheartedly that this is probably the best summary and explanation out there, but this book goes well beyond the issues of the most recent events and goes deeper into the causes of how all this came about (reaching back, 30 or 100 or 400 years for examples and comparisons).
Phillips's prose is light and accessible, not overly technical, and full of straight-forward examples instead of (all too common) rhetoric and abstract discussion of general principles. There are too many "get rich quick with these simple investment principles" and "how to be a hedge fund manager" books out there; this isn't one of them. He treats the material seriously and openly, and seems to have no particular axe to grind. Anyone with a high school education shouldn't struggle too much and should be able to gloss over some of the vocab without losing the message. This book sets the standard for explaining economics and finance to people who don't study economics and finance. (less)
I didn't read this one cover to cover, but I remember it was useful when I first started doing assessments. Of course, skillful interviewing is refine...moreI didn't read this one cover to cover, but I remember it was useful when I first started doing assessments. Of course, skillful interviewing is refined by experience; this book is best used as a guideline for starting clinicians to both relieve anxiety and get your bearing in the interview. Seasoned clinicians might also benefit from reviewing it and considering ways to adjust their approach. (less)
This book is translated from Ifrah's original French to English by E.F. Harding. The translation is excellent, very readable, with many additional tra...moreThis book is translated from Ifrah's original French to English by E.F. Harding. The translation is excellent, very readable, with many additional translator's notes inserted to provide useful or interesting background information.
Ifrah does an excellent job covering the hisorical record of computing, starting with an excellent overview on the history of writing and of numbers. He clearly states what is based on the history record, what is theorized from it, and what is pure speculation (at present). He covers number systems throughout the world and explains the advantages each had over others, arguing why certain ones "survived" the rest. Ifrah is a good storyteller, making the subject much more interesting and important that I expected. He covers a lot of ground in a relatively short book (410 pages for the entire span of history).
The book is at times a bit technical, which could be a turnoff to the general public. The math and the theories are not present as too difficult, brought up to show their relevance in computation and not the more "heavy" mathematics. The translator's notes made it easier to read, and the more difficult parts I did not understand were not a serious hindrance to the rest of the book.
One thing I would like to highlight: Ifrah illustrates that systems of representation and communication (such as Indo-Arabic numerals, binary code, the abacus) have been extremely important in the history of mathematics and the history of civilization. For example, the abacus made calculation of relatively large numbers possible, as did the adoption of the decimal system (we take for granted today, doing calculations in fourth grade that the best in the world could not do even 500 years ago; could you imagine counting pebbles instead of using an abacus, or writing out "345 and 2/10 and 6/100 and 8/1000" instead of "345.268" every time?). Likewise, it was only when they attempted computers with binary (its simplicity and its special properties) instead of base 8 or 10 that allowed the possibility of modern computers. If any of the above sounds interesting, then this book is definitely worth checking out. (less)
I never read this book cover to cover, but I did read a good amount and would recommend on that basis. I read the 3rd edition (not on Goodreads), prin...moreI never read this book cover to cover, but I did read a good amount and would recommend on that basis. I read the 3rd edition (not on Goodreads), printed in 1965, and I would recommend that edition; I assume the updates have only improved.
The 3rd edition is 996 pages loaded with information, but all very straightforward, readable prose. The focus is on the geography, culture and concerns at each period it covers. Geography is especially notable, as it contains many excellent maps to use for comparing political boundaries over time. There is an excellent bibliography (which I always look for with serious, scholarly texts) and appendices.
The weakness of this book is the same criticism I have about most other Western Civilization books that claim universality. There is some coverage of Asian and US history, but mostly it focuses on Europe (little to no mention of Africa, South America, Oceania, etc.). They should just call it a History of Modern Europe and its Circumstances. Also, the perspective is disproportionately weighted toward the 20th century and the immediate antecedents. Maybe it's my own bias or sentiment, but I feel more apologetic for this text than other related work (such as The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, which seems more deliberately biased). I hope that the more recent editions have corrected this bias. With that being said, I still feel this text is a good cut above its peers with the weight that it does give to the past and non-Western history, especially given that it was printed in 1965. (less)
An oversize book of 279 pages, lavishly illustrated with some of the most interesting tattoos and other body art I've ever seen. I never read this boo...moreAn oversize book of 279 pages, lavishly illustrated with some of the most interesting tattoos and other body art I've ever seen. I never read this book cover to cover, but I was very impressed with what I read. The prose was scholarly, but still fairly accessible, and Bianchi maintained neutrality with value judgments about body art. Furthermore, he also explained his choice of language, based on how some terms reflected prejudice and bias against other other cultures and people.
If you're interested in body art or its cultural and historical background, this one is worth checking out. (less)
As you might expect, I've never read all the works in this book, let alone gone through it cover to cover. However, I have read most of the "important...moreAs you might expect, I've never read all the works in this book, let alone gone through it cover to cover. However, I have read most of the "important" works (most cited) and this edition does a good job at the translation. I don't remember there being much if anything of a background included in this to put the work in context or to explain the terms or choice for translation. I do know that this is pretty standard for Plato as a text in college. In fact, I specifically remember my professor of ancient Greek philosophy using this as an example of "building up your personal libraries," as a proper concern for young college students. Of course. (less)
Lowry delivers what he promises, giving an introduction to customs of Japanese martial arts, particularly karate. This book is what you would expect f...moreLowry delivers what he promises, giving an introduction to customs of Japanese martial arts, particularly karate. This book is what you would expect from Lowry's other writings, in tone and content. (less)
An excellent translation. This book is, to my knowledge an unabridged translation of the Digha Nikaya. There are some minor omissions in that sections...moreAn excellent translation. This book is, to my knowledge an unabridged translation of the Digha Nikaya. There are some minor omissions in that sections that are repeated verbatim (traditionally done to help memorization when Buddhist texts passed along as an entirely verbal tradition) are indicated by an ellipsis instead of recapitulating the entire passage twice or more; but that is for most reader a blessing and a minor technical issue.
Walshe does an excellent job to give background information and includes all kinds of "reference" material (such as listing all the various realms, types of beings discussed in the text, general explanation of karma) to help the reader follow along. There is a substance amount of end notes to help understand the text, and personally I would have preferred footnotes to ease reading, but that's a minor issue.
There are probably better, simpler texts to start with for an introduction to Buddhism (such as Old Path White Clouds, but for a direct translation this is remarkably accessible and straight-forward. To my knowledge no one has since written a comparable translation. (less)
An excellent book exploring the socio-cultural role that psychotherapy plays in society today, and a reminder to keep an open mind about just what is...moreAn excellent book exploring the socio-cultural role that psychotherapy plays in society today, and a reminder to keep an open mind about just what is going on in therapy.
Frank's central argument is that the psychotherapist is the most recent occupant of the traditional role of mental/emotional healer in society. When people are sick, they know to seek out society's experts so for help and guidance. Accordingly, society awards special prestige and qualifications on the role of healer, and that is the basis for this trust in the therapist. Frank also brings into question just how much importance a particular school of therapy or modality of treatment is necessary for "healing" to take place in light of his central argument.
An excellent technical resource for psychologists, explaining therapy from the Behaviorist school. I consider Wolpe the master of this topic, clarifyi...moreAn excellent technical resource for psychologists, explaining therapy from the Behaviorist school. I consider Wolpe the master of this topic, clarifying the issues and terms. It is rather dry and it is not a good introduction for the general reader. However, every psychologist should have at least a passing familiarity with Wolpe's writing, as his does justice to the school.
Perhaps Wolpe has done better writing, but this book serves its purpose well. (less)
Exactly what it promises. Minimal background or explanation of the functions of brain structures. This book is a tool to help familiarize you with bra...moreExactly what it promises. Minimal background or explanation of the functions of brain structures. This book is a tool to help familiarize you with brain structures by identifying and coloring them one page at a time. Probably best used as a secondary text to "flesh out" a neuroanatomy course. Very detailed. (less)
An excellent introduction to mental illness by showing the experience from the point of view of someone suffering from each of 50 "types" of mental il...moreAn excellent introduction to mental illness by showing the experience from the point of view of someone suffering from each of 50 "types" of mental illness. These are not all proper diagnostic categories, but that is really beside the point. Hicks does an excellent job to introduce the general public to the reality of mental illness and suffering.
Each chapter starts with a brief paragraph, written as someone with that illness narrating his or her inner thoughts. The remainder of the chapter gives a thorough and rounded background of that illness, without getting too technical. (less)
This book is an excellent anthology of articles on the the philosophy of science. The central theme of this book is exploring the definition of "Scien...moreThis book is an excellent anthology of articles on the the philosophy of science. The central theme of this book is exploring the definition of "Science" and how to differentiate it from "pseudoscience," and what exactly that means. The tone and format are somewhat different that Arthur Zucker's Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, but the quality of the selections is comparable. I remember that the selections and the tone were polarizing in the college class where I first read this, and I would expect the same from the general public; for example, one of the first selections is "Against Method" by Paul Feyerabend, discussing why science is limited by its dependence on defined methodology. Overall, this book was carefully organized and deserves credit for that alone. I often feel disappointed by science books that are poorly organized or poorly written.
I would not expect everyone to agree with the viewpoints expressed or even enjoy the articles. However, they do serve as a good starting point for conversations on the topic and for testing ideas about science in general. Also, students of philosophy, especially the philosophy of science, should have awareness of the issues and the arguments contained here. (less)