You have to wonder if Orwell would have been so keen to write a critique of the Soviet myth of the ideal Socialist society if he knew that it would beYou have to wonder if Orwell would have been so keen to write a critique of the Soviet myth of the ideal Socialist society if he knew that it would be misinterpreted as anti-Socialist.
In Animal Farm, the animals of Manor Farm hold a revolution and overthrow the oppressive Farmer Jones. At first life without humans fulfills their socialist dream. Then as the pig Napoleon becomes power-hungry, that dream becomes corrupted: "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others." Once the corruption starts, information is controlled and the pigs power strengthened until the reasons for the revolution have been blurred.
A casual reading of Animal Farm would see it as an attack on socialism. This would be a reading that ignores facts: Orwell was a socialist. Despite his political beliefs, one thing overruled any ideology: the truth. When I was in my first year at La Trobe University, I discovered Orwell's Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters. He impressed me with his intellectual bluntness (which he described as brutality). He believed that socialism could make life better for most people, but that gain should never come through sacrificing the truth.
Animal Farm is one of those rare must-reads, suitable for everyone. It pays a dividend of an intellectual attack on corruption far beyond the investment of time needed to read it. ...more
One of my favorite series growing up was Elyne Mitchell's Silver Brumby books. No author would have been a better choice to turn the screenplay of TheOne of my favorite series growing up was Elyne Mitchell's Silver Brumby books. No author would have been a better choice to turn the screenplay of The Man From Snowy River into a novel. She's a master of drama and characters, and knows and loves horses. I'm so delighted I made time to read this and now I want to find copies of the Silver Brumby books....more
I discovered this series when John F. Demartini praised it. I understand why: it's a history of wealth, and there are practical timeless lessons to beI discovered this series when John F. Demartini praised it. I understand why: it's a history of wealth, and there are practical timeless lessons to be learned from reading it and applying what you learn....more
I went into my reading of The Quiet American blind. War never interested me until this past year, so I cared little for the details of war in Vietnam.I went into my reading of The Quiet American blind. War never interested me until this past year, so I cared little for the details of war in Vietnam. As I started reading this, I thought I was reading about what Americans describe as the Vietnam War.
Perhaps my blindness mirrors that of soldiers going to fight in a war not their own.
On the surface, this is a novel about a love triangle. But it ends up saying a lot about war and morality.
Fowler is the viewpoint character. He's an old and cynical British reporter. He cares for the Vietnamese girl Phuong because he fears being alone. Pyle is a naive, but not innocent, American, who wants to steal Phuong from Fowler.
Unlike George Orwell - everything is political - Fowler thinks he can report on the war without taking sides. It's only when something violates a morality he didn't know he had, that he takes action.
Greene gives a haunting, unromantic portrayal of the suffering of Vietnam at war. At first the war is only a backdrop; a sense of atmosphere. But bit by bit we see more and more until we're walking in blood, looking at twitching legless torsos.
Written before America involved itself in the war, you can understand why it's seen as a prophetic critique.
Something about the style of this book -- haunting, humid and exotic -- reminds me of Peter Carey's My Life as a Fake. If you like action-packed novels, you won't like this one. But if you like character-driven, intelligent books, read it....more
Even though I don't agree with every single point WJ King makes, I've still given it five stars. My reasoning, if you're in business -- as an employeeEven though I don't agree with every single point WJ King makes, I've still given it five stars. My reasoning, if you're in business -- as an employee, manager, CEO or owner -- you'll get many takeaways from this book....more
Even while hidden from the world, Mandela maintained an uncharacteristic dignity and nobility that leaders would do well to model.
In Long Walk to FreeEven while hidden from the world, Mandela maintained an uncharacteristic dignity and nobility that leaders would do well to model.
In Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela tells his journey from how he became involved in the struggle for freedom to his inauguration as South African president.
In just one example of the system he fought, families were ripped apart because a brother appeared to have a lighter or darker skin tone than his sister.
While Mandela prefered nonviolence, as modeled by Mahatma Gandhi, he felt the South African situation was different.
While imprisoned, he continued the fight: educating his jailers. In Long Walk, Mandela makes you feel like he’s talking to you one-on-one. As an elder statesman I expected him to write with the formality of an academic textbook. Instead, Mandela writes as if he’s chatting with a friend.
He explains why he took some of the positions he did, letting you glimpse into his mind. He acknowledges his mistakes, and how he got back on track toward his goal after making them.
He almost treats you, his reader, as if you’re someone he’s mentoring in leadership. Long Walk to Freedom lets you learn from a leader who held a long-term vision and persisted with it until he achieved it....more
My best mate picked this up for me to match the Tintin paraphernalia that he bought me for me during his travels in Europe. As a boy, I loved going frMy best mate picked this up for me to match the Tintin paraphernalia that he bought me for me during his travels in Europe. As a boy, I loved going from one adventure with Tintin to the next (and I was also a fan of Asterix the Gaul). I've had less sleep than I'd like over the weekend and this book gives me a fun read that also helps me step toward my goal of reading 133 books this year. It has all the elements I remember - especially the laugh-out-loud characters - but the deus ex machina made it falter in the end. Still, it is enjoyable....more
What if you could find a way to handle the thoughts that derail you and the emotions that overwhelm you?
This book introduces Acceptance and CommitmentWhat if you could find a way to handle the thoughts that derail you and the emotions that overwhelm you?
This book introduces Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as that solution. Think of it as a workbook for fully experiencing life.
The three parts of ACT are: • Defusion: where you see all thoughts as just stories and so unlink yourself from them. • Expansion: where you make room for uncomfortable feelings and sensations rather than seeking to avoid them. • Connection: where you bring your awareness to the present.
In a sentence: ACT teaches you to take action – regardless of how you think or feel – toward creating a fulfilling life.
I came across the original “The Happiness Trap” when I started work with an ACT psychologist in 2010. Applying it helped free me from an addiction that had controlled me since 1996.
When I found this cartoon version, I wondered how much of the original content they’d be able to condense. Would key ideas vanish?
What I’ve found is that everything’s there, and perhaps a little more. This version is just as helpful as the original.
Aimed at people who are so depressed that reading is hard, it meets their needs. But it’s helpful for anyone who lets emotions or thoughts control their lives.
This is the first time I’ve received a digital review copy and then bought the print book. It’s a fun, enjoyable and helpful guide that you’ll want to have on hand. ...more
Each edition of The Warren Buffett Way has been widely regarded as the authoritative guide to how Warren Buffett selects the businesses he buys.
It staEach edition of The Warren Buffett Way has been widely regarded as the authoritative guide to how Warren Buffett selects the businesses he buys.
It starts with a chapter on the people who taught Buffett how to think about investments, Benjamin Graham, Philip Fisher and Buffett’s business partner, Charlie Munger.
Hagstrom then outlines 12 immutable tenets for buying a business and gives examples from Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio.
The remainder of the book explores the psychology of investing. Many people who seek to model Buffett’s strategies miss this critical part: when he buys a business or shares – the two are the same in his mind – he never plans to sell.
Part of the reason why the book is authoritative is that it’s comprehensive. Similar books I’ve read have skimmed over the ideas they present, leaving you feel like you’ve snacked rather than digested a full meal. Because you’ve eaten well, you put the book down knowing what actions you can take.
He tells readers that they won’t be Buffett, but they can use his investing approach to improve the performance of their investments. Hagstrom’s website reinforces your education.
VERDICT: Required reading for sharemarket investors of any level. ...more
Sometimes fiction uncovers a common experience and tells a story about it before the vocabulary exists to describe what’s happening and link people goSometimes fiction uncovers a common experience and tells a story about it before the vocabulary exists to describe what’s happening and link people going through it together.
Laura and Clare are sisters who seem destined to be victims. Their father died; their mother abandoned them. Laura cares for the younger Clare.
Things look set to change with the arrival of the older Felix, who seems caring, attentive and successful. But he’s no knight in shining armour. After marrying Laura, his alcoholism surfaces and he’s unstable, abusive and controlling.
The Watch Tower shows the challenges of living with an addict, and the choices people make to remain victims. Harrower does this, as Joan London says in the introduction, before we had the words “misogyny”, “abuse” and “co-dependence” to label these experiences.
This book is set in Sydney, Australia in the 1940s at the outbreak of the Second World War, and was published in 1966. This is the first Australian novel I’ve read from the 1960s and the first describing Australia in the 1940s.
It deserves its place as a Text Classic and on the list of the “Top 50 [Australian] Books You Can’t Put Down.”...more
If you get put off by size, the 518 pages of this book will intimidate you.
Fear not. This book flows so well that even the slowest reader will be ableIf you get put off by size, the 518 pages of this book will intimidate you.
Fear not. This book flows so well that even the slowest reader will be able to get through it in a few hours of dedicated reading.
This book started life as a series of books, and Collier answered reader questions in later volumes.
His idea in a nutshell: all the riches you can ever need lie ready for you to claim them when you can use them.
Since The Secret popularised New Thought and the Law of Attraction in 2006, Christians have had to ask themselves whether Christianity and the Law of Attraction are opposed to each other.
This book gives a satisfactory answer. Your ability to use the Law of Attraction comes through an involuntary connection to the Holy Spirit.
While that connection will come whether you want it or not as you pursue your main goal, this book gives you tools to keep connected to the Holy Spirit all the time.
The Life Magnet is as readable today as when it was written nearly 100 years ago. It will suit anyone interested in the Law of Attraction, but especially those who want to reconcile their Christian faith with the practice of the Law of Attraction....more
You know “those” people – the ones who attract trouble and then insist on sharing it with you? Jane Eyre is one of those.
The book starts in the same pYou know “those” people – the ones who attract trouble and then insist on sharing it with you? Jane Eyre is one of those.
The book starts in the same place as the first Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone book: Jane Eyre’s parents are dead and the people she lives with dislike her and put her through hell. Also like Potter, Eyre is sent to a boarding school – but despite this book’s Gothic tones and ghost scares, you won’t find any supernatural elements. At the school a teacher believes in Eyre, pushing her to build character and competence. When Eyre finishes, she becomes a governess with dreams of building her own school.
In evaluating this book, you have to remember when it was written. It breaches literary “rules” often, the kind that would never get past a slush pile editor today: sentences that are adjectival train wrecks (in one sentence I counted six adjectives to modify one noun), authorial intrusion (when you’re a fair way into the book, suddenly Bronte starts addressing the reader directly), and she calls readers stupid (“I cannot expect the reader to have the same intuitive perception, so I must repeat his explanation”).
While Bronte’s writing skills are poor, and her storytelling average, this book became a classic because of its characters. Love them or hate them, you’ll want to get to know them at least once....more
The bookseller who showed me where this book was located said that it was a really good read.
College professor Ezekiel Farragut is sent to prison becaThe bookseller who showed me where this book was located said that it was a really good read.
College professor Ezekiel Farragut is sent to prison because he's a heroin addict and sexual adventurer. This novel tells of his time in prison before his trial.
The prose to this has a nice rhythm and it's one of those books that you need to read many times to fully appreciate. I can see it's good, and I like it, but I can't put my finger on why on this first reading. One thing I liked was that despite dealing with heroin, drug addiction, sexual misadventures and life in prison, it's not a depressingly heavy read.
The introduction in my edition describes it as "The Great American Novel" -- if not in all of US history, then certainly of the past 40 years -- and for this reason alone it's worth reading at least once....more
From a philosophical viewpoint, I knew what to expect from this book. But I wasn't expecting it to be such an enjoyable fiction.
Dagny Taggart, committFrom a philosophical viewpoint, I knew what to expect from this book. But I wasn't expecting it to be such an enjoyable fiction.
Dagny Taggart, committed capitalist, starts a rail line with the sole view of making a profit.
Philosophically, capitalism should never be divorced from service to a genuine need or wish, and you should always do good as you make a profit. As a novel, it's overlong and nothing is gained from the extra length. While I enjoyed it and it's a fast read, I don't see why it couldn't be trimmed to 300 pages.
It's worth reading because of how influential it is....more