I read this after reading the Unabomber Manifesto and I wanted to learn more about the author. It was useful to read because it reminded me that the UI read this after reading the Unabomber Manifesto and I wanted to learn more about the author. It was useful to read because it reminded me that the Unabomber was pretty obviously clinically mentally ill (in a way that fwiw was not obvious to me from reading his manifesto, despite his having arrived at a pretty extreme conclusion that I thought was a pretty bad idea, but which was at least possible to see as a logical conclusion to some logical thoughts). It was also interesting to learn about similarities/differences between the unabomber and his brother.
But ultimately it wasn't super well written. and the while I agree with the author's general thoughts about how society needs to treat the mentally ill better, I've seen those thoughts better expressed elsewhere, and didn't get anything out of reading them again here. ...more
ok so of course there is a lot in this book to disagree with. in particular: -his characterization of leftists and how evil and awful they are -his thok so of course there is a lot in this book to disagree with. in particular: -his characterization of leftists and how evil and awful they are -his thought that the right way to accomplish what is best for the world (reversing technology) by blowing people up to get attention
But there is also a lot that is interesting and thought provoking and true (I think) and prescient. Basically I agree with a lot he says about the structure of modern life and how it serves to deprive people of meaning and purpose and freedom; and why this is the case. It is similar to a lot of things published recently about the rise of AI / the robots, but of course was written a couple decades earlier.
I particularly liked his description of the power process that what is satisfying is accomplishing something with meaningful effort (which has elsewhere been called "progress against perceived challenge) and I think we are seeing now where people including myself are getting some satisfaction from games where various forms of leveling are basically designed to maximize that sensation), and how the structure have life and society have evolved in a way such that we are engaged in that process far less than in the past. ...more
Hillbilly Elegy I think is two things: (A) an early entrant into the set of things that liberals read in order to understand the Trump phenomenon becaHillbilly Elegy I think is two things: (A) an early entrant into the set of things that liberals read in order to understand the Trump phenomenon because it attempts to describe a segment of poor white America (B) a memoir of a particular person
The book does A well but is not obviously better than plenty of other things, mostly much shorter, that have been written on the topic in the last six months. It was actually a little disappointing in this way, not because it wasn't good, but because of my inflated expectations after hearing that it was essential reading in this regard
I thought B was the stronger aspect of the book, I just really enjoyed hearing his description of his life. It difficult in a memoir to avoid seeming overdramatic while conveying fairly dramatic events and the author does this very well, describing his complicated and chaotic upbringing in a way that sounds like honest and insightful reporting and also not generally describing people (including the author) as heroes or villains. ...more
+Learned a lot about Mormon history which was quite interesting + A lot of specific history and some thoughtful commentary about how personality based+Learned a lot about Mormon history which was quite interesting + A lot of specific history and some thoughtful commentary about how personality based sects / religions / groups are prone to splinter groups. + Jon Krakauer is a really engaging author
- The book has this whole afterword complaining how the official Mormon response was to hate and disagree with the book and claim it was anti-Mormon, and he was so confused that they reacted that way (he loves Mormons) until he remembered that they had a whole history of persecution and so tended to be really defensive, plus he thought almost all his facts were well supported. I don't know about the facts (if I had to guess, the Krakauer version is less biased than the LDS version of Mormon history) but he is either being disingenuous or quite naive about his claim that the book is not negative on Mormonism. He includes a sentence in the afterward about how he knew a lot of Mormons growing up and he liked and admired them, but otherwise the book is clearly taking a negative view and painting a negative picture. About the only positive thing he says is how happy many Mormons are, buthe puts that in the context that are happy because their lives are more black-and-white and they don't have the burden of thinking for themselves (he doesn't phrase it quite that strongly but it isn't far off). ...more