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See all 17 books that Gwern is reading…

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Donald Michie by Donald Michie
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(A posthumous anthology of edited excerpts from Donald Michie’s corpus.)


Donald Michie was one of those men who, perhaps thanks to living through WWII & the Cold War, lived an absurd-seeming life. Originally a classics scholar, he was roped into B

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Mr. Wilson's Cabinet Of Wonder by Lawrence Weschler
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Steps Toward an Ecology of Mind by Gregory Bateson
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Curves and Angles by Brad Leithauser
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The Unholy Consult by R. Scott Bakker
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The conclusion to the Second Apocalypse’s “The Aspect-Emperor” tetralogy, an extended double-book of The Great Ordeal/The Unholy Consult. After thousands of pages exhausting the reader in a ‘slog of slogs’, the two threads of the plot, the wizard and

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The Cultural Revolution by Frank Dikötter
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My Journey to Lhasa by Alexandra David-Néel
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The Origins of Political Order by Francis Fukuyama
" I have no idea what would be a truly adequate preparation... It's such a sprawling work. Greer (https://scholars-stage.blogspot.com/) and Razib Khan ( ...more "
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Robert Bakewell and the Longhorn Breed of Cattle by Pat Stanley
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(ebook) Robert Bakewell and the Longhorn Breed of Cattle, Stanley 1995, is one of the few books on Robert Bakewell, who I discuss in my essay/book review “Origins of Innovation: Bakewell & Breeding” .

While Bakewell is better known for his sheep,
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I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.
“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
Jorge Luis Borges

Gene Wolfe
“We believe that we invent symbols. The truth is that they invent us; we are their creatures, shaped by their hard, defining edges. When soldiers take their oath they are given a coin, an asimi stamped with the profile of the Autarch. Their acceptance of that coin is their acceptance of the special duties and burdens of military life—they are soldiers from that moment, though they may know nothing of the management of arms. I did not know that then, but it is a profound mistake to believe that we must know of such things to be influenced by them, and in fact to believe so is to believe in the most debased and superstitious kind of magic. The would-be sorcerer alone has faith in the efficacy of pure knowledge; rational people know that things act of themselves or not at all.”
Gene Wolfe, Shadow & Claw

Lewis Carroll
“Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll
“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Jorge Luis Borges
“A man sets out to draw the world. As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face.”
Jorge Luis Borges, The Aleph and Other Stories

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