everyone should read this book. concise and jam-packed with insight, it pretty much sums up what's wrong with everyone everywhere. yet somehow it come...moreeveryone should read this book. concise and jam-packed with insight, it pretty much sums up what's wrong with everyone everywhere. yet somehow it comes across as hopeful. for everyone who's ever complained about their relationships, or lack of, put down the erich fromm and dr. phil and read this first. or just skip the others entirely. (less)
had a lot of neat info on differences in behavior among various primates. clearly the way to end male physical violence is to selectively breed humans...morehad a lot of neat info on differences in behavior among various primates. clearly the way to end male physical violence is to selectively breed humans until men no longer compete for access to mates, but rather compete with each other solely through the production of massive quantities of sperm as some peaceful south american monkeys do.(less)
this book is hilarious! a breakdown of the methods women use to exploit the stupidity of men for their own gain. while it constantly credits women wit...morethis book is hilarious! a breakdown of the methods women use to exploit the stupidity of men for their own gain. while it constantly credits women with being more intelligent, resourceful, clear-headed and practical than men, it also drives home the point that in general men don't benefit from feminine influence, instead they have their energy depleted and their potential squandered. harsh, offensive to both sexes, and funny as hell.(less)
this book would probably offend a lot of people, but she makes solid arguments for all of her un-PC views. at the very least it demands that people lo...morethis book would probably offend a lot of people, but she makes solid arguments for all of her un-PC views. at the very least it demands that people look at the basis of their view of the world and question whether it is based on fact and reason or a sugar-coated, spotty overview of history and touchy-feelyness. (less)
i read this book maybe when i was 7 years old, but i still remembered a lot of it 12 years later when the movie came out. and while i love the movie,...morei read this book maybe when i was 7 years old, but i still remembered a lot of it 12 years later when the movie came out. and while i love the movie, i've found the book has some wonderful insights that didn't make it to the film. in fact, the movie really only borrows a few bits and pieces from the story Ted Hughes wrote. i just re-read it, and there's a few key details i felt like commenting on. (warning: spoilers ahead) the army is never actually called in to destroy the giant, although that option is discussed by angry farmers who's machinery the giant has eaten. instead, a young boy, Hogarth, who feels sorry for the giant after luring it into a trap (which it later escapes), proposes a less violent solution and the angry farmers agree to try it before annihilating the relatively harmless giant who's only crime is his appetite for metal. as it turns out, the giant causes no more trouble for anyone once they lead him to a scrap metal yard and his hunger is satiated. hurray for diplomatic solutions! not destroying the giant turns out to have been a really good idea later when a giant space bat angel dragon emerges from a star and lands on australia, covering the entire continent with it's massive body, and threatens to eat all life off the face of the planet. what i found most impressive was the alien's answer as to why it came to attack the earth. "It just came over me, listening to the battle shouts and war cries of the earth---I got excited; I wanted to join in." i took this to be not merely a warning of the dangers of war, but of the dangers of a culture of war. the ways we rationalize violence, and celebrate victory, will not only be heard by others; but also emulated.(less)
for the most part i enjoyed this book, and it helped a lot to explain some concepts i have read about in other books but was never really clear on. fo...morefor the most part i enjoyed this book, and it helped a lot to explain some concepts i have read about in other books but was never really clear on. for example, the meaning of all those koans, or at least why i don't get them, and the whole no mind non-being thing. there were a few chapters on the history of the various schools of buddhism and the beginnings of zen that i found somewhat hard to follow, but overall it was definitely worth the time to read. it was also brutally honest about the fact that western culture and language differ enough from the asian homeland of zen that simply transplanting zen to europe and america as it is would not work. there's no negativity or pessimism here, just practical realism. asian zen masters and western students will have to learn about each other and meet each other halfway. (less)
i have yet to read any other translations so i don't have much to compare this too, but i found thomas cleary's translation and commentary on the dham...morei have yet to read any other translations so i don't have much to compare this too, but i found thomas cleary's translation and commentary on the dhammapada to be clear and understandeable. for those unfamiliar with buddhism, the dhammapada is a collection of sayings attributed to the buddha. there's no mysticism or mythology, no supernatural focus. i personally found this book to be helpful during a time when i was under a lot of stress, and i'd recommend it to anyone, even if you're not looking for a new religion. (less)
This book affected me a lot. I think I internalized a lot of what it said, about the techniques used by cult leaders to influence their followers. I'm...moreThis book affected me a lot. I think I internalized a lot of what it said, about the techniques used by cult leaders to influence their followers. I'm finding that now I'm a lot more aware of people using guilt or pressure to manipulate me. I notice these methods of manipulation at work in daily life all the time now, only on a smaller scale and usually not all together as they would be in an abusive relationship or cult environment. anyways, I found this book informative and easy to read, and i think the info contained in it could be useful to a lot of people.(less)
I only gave this book 3 stars because it was so tedious and repetitive. I actually have some things to say in defense of the usual criticisms, but mo...more I only gave this book 3 stars because it was so tedious and repetitive. I actually have some things to say in defense of the usual criticisms, but more on that in a minute. Whether or not you agree with her philosophy, Ayn Rand does make some good points in favor of her argument. I can forgive it for it's exaggerated depiction of socialism as a system which rewards the weak and lazy and parasitizes the intelligent and productive. Honestly, if you install any system which allows people to thrive as parasites, plenty of people will take advantage of it. It's just human nature. Unfortunately, this book only seems to be aware of human nature where it guarantees the failure of the system it's trying to shoot down. It never takes into account the inevitable abuses of capitalism by fallible human beings. Special interest groups, politicians making laws which favor corporations they hold stock in, sweat shops, the whole military industrial complex, etc. While the author's point of view is understandable given the communism she came to america to escape, and the fact that the issues I listed above probably weren't in the news as much back then as they are now, I still don't think her long long long argument holds up. The brilliant, attractive, articulate, morally perfect industrialist heroes of Atlas Shrugged are not real people. Ayn Rand herself said, in defense against her critics, they are not man as he is, rather man as he should be. Which would be great in another book, I have no objection to admittedly portraying non-existant ideals if it makes a good point. If such people really existed capitalism could work. Ayn Rand seems perfectly aware of the shortcomings of human nature when they manifest themselves under communism, but then offers as an alternative another system which could only actually work for the non-existant ideal men she made up. So as a piece of propaganda, It doesn't fully convince me. I suppose if I were completely on the nurture side of the nature vs. nurture debate on human behavior, I could have simply bought the idea that installing an economic system based on moral principles could create a better culture and thus better people. Though if there's anything history shows us over and over again it's that no new belief or set of rules has ever succeeded on that front. As a novel, well, it's full of excessively long-winded monologues and drags on. But, it did keep me interested enough to see it through to the end, and forced me to think so I have to give it some credit. (less)
Well, I learned a lot about elephants from this book. It's written by Cynthia Moss, who spent 13 years living alongside several families of wild afric...moreWell, I learned a lot about elephants from this book. It's written by Cynthia Moss, who spent 13 years living alongside several families of wild african elephants. I was drawn to it because elephants are very intelligent creatures with complex social lives, but are unlike primates in some ways. When I read about chimpanzee behavior it never seems like there's much difference between them and us, other than the amount of time we spend rationalizing what we do.
I enjoyed this book a lot, it was informative without feeling cold and scientific. The author gets the necessary bits of biology in but the focus always remains on the living elephants and their story. Even though the protagonists aren't human, and in some ways differ from us(i'd say their male/female relationships are unlike ours, but that depends on who you are), their intelligence, playfulness, and outpouring of emotion is easy to relate to.(less)
I guess it should be expected that the only human culture to have continuously existed over 10,000 years(maybe over 40,000 years), and without any wri...moreI guess it should be expected that the only human culture to have continuously existed over 10,000 years(maybe over 40,000 years), and without any writing, would have boiled down their observations of the world into some of the most insightful and concise statements. This book is a collection of dreamtime stories, each one with brief commentary helping to explain some of the content of the myths. I found the commentary to be very helpful, as some of the events in a few of the myths had specific meaning to the aboriginal people which would have been lost on me, having not been raised in their culture and having as much difficulty as i have in finding anything written about them.
I would definitely recommend this book to everyone, moreso than any other on my list. It offers a rare glimpse into the beliefs of a society who's point of view is often far removed from our own. Wise Women is a fast, easy read and written so anyone can get a lot out of it, without prior knowledge of aboriginal culture, anthropology or world mythology. (less)