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WANTED: Quality non-fiction book suggestions for December and January! 
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Post WANTED: Quality non-fiction book suggestions for December and January!
What non-fiction book would you like to read and discuss, as a group, in December and January?

Please only make suggestions if you have 25 or more posts on our forums AND you plan to actually participate in the book discussion.

Give us the title, author and maybe a review or your own explanation for why you think your non-fiction book suggestion would be great for our December 2011 and January 2012 discussion.

Again, don't make suggestions if you don't have 25 or more posts on our forums.



Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:30 am
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Post Re: WANTED: Quality non-fiction book suggestions for December and January!
Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow
http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Fast-Slo ... 93ACAPET5P

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In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.


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“Daniel Kahneman is among the most influential psychologists in history and certainly the most important psychologist alive today. He has a gift for uncovering remarkable features of the human mind, many of which have become textbook classics and part of the conventional wisdom. His work has reshaped social psychology, cognitive science, the study of reason and of happiness, and behavioral economics, a field that he and his collaborator Amos Tversky helped to launch. The appearance of Thinking, Fast and Slow is a major event.” —Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Better Angels of our Nature

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“This book is a tour de force by an intellectual giant; it is readable, wise, and deep. Buy it fast. Read it slowly and repeatedly. It will change the way you think, on the job, about the world, and in your own life.” —Richard Thaler, University of Chicago Professor of Economics and co-author of Nudge


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“Daniel Kahneman is one of the most original and interesting thinkers of our time. There may be no other person on the planet who better understands how and why we make the choices we make. In this absolutely amazing book, he shares a lifetime’s worth of wisdom presented in a manner that is simple and engaging, but nonetheless stunningly profound. This book is a must read for anyone with a curious mind.” —Steven D. Levitt, William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago; co-author of Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics.



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Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:57 pm
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Post Re: WANTED: Quality non-fiction book suggestions for December and January!
Excellent suggestion, Dexter. And Steven Pinker endorses this one. Thank you!

I try my hardest to be a System 2 thinker as much as possible but sometimes I slip.


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Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:51 pm
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Post Re: WANTED: Quality non-fiction book suggestions for December and January!
Chris, can we take a look back at some of the books that were proposed for the last read. I remember that there were some good nominees last time that we might want to reconsider.



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Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:20 pm
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Post Re: WANTED: Quality non-fiction book suggestions for December and January!
Yes, we certainly can. Do you want to look through them and post the ones you personally liked.

I don't think we should just grab them all because the people that suggested them may no longer be active and may not plan to participate. It would be better if we only grabbed the ones that we personally like. Anyone can go to older suggestion threads and repost past book suggestions.


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Post Re: WANTED: Quality non-fiction book suggestions for December and January!
I think that Chris proposed this book for our last read. I think it should be nominated again, so here it is.

Death by China: Confronting the Dragon - A Global Call to Action by Peter W. Navarro and Greg Autry

Book Description
China is now the #1 danger facing America. Best-selling author and economist Peter Navarro exposes every form of "death by China"—from lethal products to espionage, imperialism, and nuclear proliferation through China's relentless attack on the U.S. economy. A must-read book for every American, by the best-selling author of The Coming China Wars.

China is now the greatest threat to America.

Soon to be the world’s largest economy, China is attacking on every front, with every available weapon—from protectionism and currency manipulation to cyber attacks and espionage. Around the globe, China is also doing whatever it takes to capture crucial resources—even if it means promoting nuclear proliferation by the world’s most dangerous regimes. Inside the United States, Americans are being injured or killed by the Dragon’s dangerous exports: poisoned food, spiked drugs, toxic toys. Meanwhile, huge U.S. corporations have allied with China’s state-owned enterprises to destroy American manufacturing—and, ultimately and ironically, destroy themselves.

It’s an incredible and incredibly shameful story, and Death by China tells it all. But understanding the reality of China’s assault on America is only the beginning. Leading economists Peter Navarro and Greg Autry offer a complete plan for surviving the global power shift China has already engineered—and halting the Dragon’s onslaught before it’s too late.



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Post Re: WANTED: Quality non-fiction book suggestions for December and January!
I nominated this one last time and now propose it again. I thought that we had several very interesting nominations last time. If any of you who did nominate would like to bring your book up again for consideration, please do so.

"Life As Politics" by Asaf Bayat.
"Life as Politics provides a strategy through which to recognize the multiple ways that large numbers of urban residents across the Arab World deploy common practices to reshape the everyday conditions of urban life and re-socialize prevailing institutions of governance. Bayat tunnels across the familiar demarcations of territory, social attribution, and political identity to detail collective forces of 'ordinary people' using assumptionsof shared interests and background to implicitly act in concert, and without self-conscious mobilization. Instituting themselves in urban public spaces with the courage to act despite constraint, these forces materialize incremental openings and opportunities for residents to demonstrate ways in which disparate facets of life can be assembled, particularly through thediverse ways in which Islam is put to work. As such this is an enormously valuable contribution to how we think about urban life and what it ispossible to do with it."—AbdouMaliq Simone, Goldsmiths, University of London
http://www.amazon.com/Life-Politics-Ord ... 972&sr=1-1



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Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:14 pm
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Post Re: WANTED: Quality non-fiction book suggestions for December and January!
Where is everyone? We have very few people participating in this book suggestion thread.


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Post Re: WANTED: Quality non-fiction book suggestions for December and January!
Hi Chris. We are only one third of the way through Arguably by Christopher Hitchens, and I would prefer we keep it as the only non-fiction book for December.

The book proposed earlier which I think would be best for January-February is Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Amazon wrote:
http://www.amazon.com/Infidel-Ayaan-Hir ... 0743289684

Book Description
Publication Date: February 6, 2007
Ayaan Hirsi Ali captured the world’s attention with Infidel, her coming-of-age memoir, which spent thirty-one weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of today’s most admired and controversial political figures. She burst into international headlines following the murder of Theo van Gogh by an Islamist who threatened she would be next; and she made headlines again when she was stripped of her citizenship and forced to resign from the Dutch Parliament.

Infidel shows the coming of age of this elegant, distinguished—and sometimes reviled—political superstar and champion of free speech—the development of her beliefs, iron will, and extraordinary determination to fight injustice done in the name of religion. Raised in a strict Muslim family, Hirsi Ali survived civil war, female circumcision, brutal beatings, an adolescence as a devout believer, the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and life in four countries under dictatorships. She escaped from a forced marriage and sought asylum in the Netherlands, where she fought for the rights of Muslim women and the reform of Islam, earning her the enmity of reactionary Islamists and craven politicians.


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Post Re: WANTED: Quality non-fiction book suggestions for December and January!
http://www.amazon.com/Peoples-History-U ... 768&sr=8-1

A People's History of the United States (P.S.) [Paperback]

A classic since its original landmark publication in 1980, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is the first scholarly work to tell America’s story from the bottom up—from the point of view of, and in the words of, America’s women, factory workers, African Americans, Native Americans, working poor, and immigrant laborers. From Columbus to the Revolution to slavery and the Civil War—from World War II to the election of George W. Bush and the “War on Terror”—A People’s History of the United States is an important and necessary contribution to a complete and balanced understanding of American history.




I think this may be worth reading to push ourselves in the direction of the new enlightenment.



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Post Re: WANTED: Quality non-fiction book suggestions for December and January!
I might be interested in "A People's History of the United States." :3 We also have quite the eclectic group of options this time around! I'm going to suggest....


A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Link Between Leadership and Mental Illness by Nassir Ghaemi

Here's a (slightly long) description of the book from amazon.

Quote:
An investigation into the surprisingly deep correlation between mental illness and successful leadership, as seen through some of history's greatest politicians, generals, and businesspeople.

In A First-Rate Madness, Nassir Ghaemi, who runs the Mood Disorders Program at Tufts University Medical Center, draws from the careers and personal plights of such notable leaders as Lincoln, Churchill, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., JFK, and others from the past two centuries to build an argument at once controversial and compelling: the very qualities that mark those with mood disorders- realism, empathy, resilience, and creativity-also make for the best leaders in times of crisis. By combining astute analysis of the historical evidence with the latest psychiatric research, Ghaemi demonstrates how these qualities have produced brilliant leadership under the toughest circumstances.

Take realism, for instance: study after study has shown that those suffering depression are better than normal" people at assessing current threats and predicting future outcomes. Looking at Lincoln and Churchill among others, Ghaemi shows how depressive realism helped these men tackle challenges both personal and national. Or consider creativity, a quality psychiatrists have studied extensively in relation to bipolar disorder. A First-Rate Madness shows how mania inspired General Sherman and Ted Turner to design and execute their most creative-and successful-strategies.

Ghaemi's thesis is both robust and expansive; he even explains why eminently sane men like Neville Chamberlain and George W. Bush made such poor leaders. Though sane people are better shepherds in good times, sanity can be a severe liability in moments of crisis. A lifetime without the cyclical torment of mood disorders, Ghaemi explains, can leave one ill equipped to endure dire straits. He also clarifies which kinds of insanity-like psychosis-make for despotism and ineptitude, sometimes on a grand scale.

Ghaemi's bold, authoritative analysis offers powerful new tools for determining who should lead us. But perhaps most profoundly, he encourages us to rethink our view of mental illness as a purely negative phenomenon. As A First-Rate Madness makes clear, the most common types of insanity can confer vital benefits on individuals and society at large-however high the price for those who endure these illnesses.


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Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:33 pm
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Post Re: WANTED: Quality non-fiction book suggestions for December and January!
President Camacho,

What is this "new enlightenment" you speak of?


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Post Re: WANTED: Quality non-fiction book suggestions for December and January!
I think that the protesting is the first sign that America as a nation will start thinking again about what kind of country America should be and new political philosophies may emerge from it. We may start looking at our government and our country with sober, responsible, and attentive eyes.

I'm hoping for impressive political and philosophical discourse rather than the crap we've been fed on bookshelves by authors such as M. Moore and Bill O'Reilly. (Not that these books are totally void of merit)

I'm excited for what I feel may happen. There's definitely the opportunity for it.

I have another suggestion:

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal [Paperback]
http://www.amazon.com/Fast-Food-Nation- ... 494&sr=8-2

Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled American cultural imperialism abroad. That's a lengthy list of charges, but Eric Schlosser makes them stick with an artful mix of first-rate reportage, wry wit, and careful reasoning.

Schlosser's myth-shattering survey stretches from California's subdivisions, where the business was born, to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike, where many of fast food's flavors are concocted. Along the way, he unearths a trove of fascinating, unsettling truths -- from the unholy alliance between fast food and Hollywood to the seismic changes the industry has wrought in food production, popular culture, and even real estate.



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Post Re: WANTED: Quality non-fiction book suggestions for December and January!
I'll throw in another suggestion if you don't mind, to see if one of them will drum up some interest

Bill Bryson, At Home: A Short History of Private Life
http://www.amazon.com/At-Home-Short-His ... 93ACAPET5P
Quote:
Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2010: Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything) turns his attention from science to society in his authoritative history of domesticity, At Home: A Short History of Private Life. While walking through his own home, a former Church of England rectory built in the 19th century, Bryson reconstructs the fascinating history of the household, room by room. With waggish humor and a knack for unearthing the extraordinary stories behind the seemingly commonplace, he examines how everyday items--things like ice, cookbooks, glass windows, and salt and pepper--transformed the way people lived, and how houses evolved around these new commodities. "Houses are really quite odd things," Bryson writes, and, luckily for us, he is a writer who thrives on oddities. He gracefully draws connections between an eclectic array of events that have affected home life, covering everything from the relationship between cholera outbreaks and modern landscaping, to toxic makeup, highly flammable hoopskirts, and other unexpected hazards of fashion. Fans of Bryson's travel writing will find plenty to love here; his keen eye for detail and delightfully wry wit emerge in the most unlikely places, making At Home an engrossing journey through history, without ever leaving the house. --Lynette Mong


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From Booklist
Bryson, author of A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003) and A Walk in the Woods (2009), lives in a Victorian parsonage built in 1851. He uses the old house with its long history and mundane domestic items to explore the evolution of the home. His detailed tour is a seamless meandering from room to room, subject to subject, with fascinating digressions. He touches on how the hall evolved from a grand room, the most important in the house, to just a place to “wipe feet and hang hats”; how rooms developed based on changing notions of utility and privacy; how the development of the fireplace led to the development of the second floor. He offers historical and cultural origins of the names of rooms and common household items: table, chair, cookware, bedchamber, closet, study. He details how the development of different materials—bricks to make chimneys and coal for fuel—changed housing construction. The chapter on the kitchen prompts a discourse on food contamination, ice and mason jars, cookbooks and measuring utensils. A beautifully written ode to the ordinary and overlooked things of everyday life in the home. --Vanessa Bush


Quote:
"An exuberant, shared social history. . . . Told with Bryson's habitual brio. . . . A personal compendium of fascinating facts, suggesting how the history of houses and domesticity has shaped our lives, language, and ideas." -The New York Review of Books


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Last edited by Dexter on Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:39 pm
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Post Re: WANTED: Quality non-fiction book suggestions for December and January!
What do you all think of the suggestions made so far?

Hopefully we can generate more suggestions and more feedback.


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