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Q1 2007 Nonfiction Book Poll! 
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Post Q1 2007 Nonfiction Book Poll!
Official Q1 2007 Nonfiction Book Poll!


Q1 2007 = January, February & March


Please read these directions BEFORE you vote! ::44




How many nonfiction books will we be reading?

This poll will select 1 nonfiction book for community discussion. The Q1 2007 Freethinker Book Poll will select another book. So we're reading a total of 2 nonfiction books where one is of general interest and the other advances issues of importance to freethinkers. Periodically, there will be some overlap of these two sections.

How long will the poll stay open?

This poll is opening on Friday, December 15th, 2006 and will be closing on Sunday, December 24th, 2006. This is a total of 10 full days. I'll probably shut the poll down in the middle of the day on the 24th seeing is this is Christmas Eve and Santa is coming the next morning. So cast your votes early!

::116

Who can vote?

All active members are invited and encouraged to vote and participate in our book selection process, but please follow these simple rules:

Only cast a vote if you have 10 or more posts on our forums. If you don't have at least 10 you should have no problem jumping into some discussion threads and meeting this rather relaxed criterion. You can meet this requirement in one day.

Don't vote if you don't plan on participating if your book wins. Again, if you vote for a book and it wins we really hope you participate. You should not be influencing the direction of the community if you're not actively involved.

If you vote for a book and it does not win we still hope you read and discuss the winning book with us, but we understand if you opt to not participate. Please try to get involved no matter which book wins, as this is all about education AND entertainment. We can all learn from our book selections and from each other, and reading a book you typically would never have even picked up is a great way to expand your horizons and perspective on life.

How do I vote?

If you are an active member with 10 or more total posts AND you plan on participating in the Q1 2007 discussion if your chosen book wins THEN you are permitted to cast a total of 3 votes. You can use your three votes however you see fit, which could mean assigning all three votes to just one of the book choices, or distributing the three points over the book choices according to your own interest level for each book. No half-points assigned to books. ::204

You should make a brief post to this thread telling everyone how you wish to distribute your three votes.

Nothing further needs to be said, however you're welcome and encouraged to be as verbose as you like. Just make it crystal clear how you are voting.

It is inevitable that some people will either forget to cast all three votes or will not have read this entire post. They will simply vote on one book. If this happens I will be assigning all three of their votes to the one book they selected.

You are permitted to change your vote at any time during the voting period, but not after I close the poll. The poll is closed on the last day of the polling period as stated above.

This thread can be used as an open discussion of the books on the poll. You're welcome to try to sell people on a particular book, or dissuade them from another.

NOTE:

As always, we will need a discussion leader that is willing to be active in the reading and discussion of the winning book. If you are up to the task please let us all know in this forum by making a post and stating your interest.

Or, if you are only interested in being the discussion leader if your choice of books wins the poll, you may wait to see if it wins and then let us know of your interest in the forum that is created to discuss that book. But please consider volunteering! ::80

Being a discussion leader does not entail being an authority on the subject matter or defending the author's position. You simply need to attempt to stimulate discussion.

And here are our NONFICTION book choices for 1st Quarter 2007 (January, February & March). Please read about all books before casting your votes. Think hard about which book will be the most educational, entertaining, and worthy of discussion. May the best book win!

Drum roll please...

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 12/8/06 3:25 pm



Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:17 pm
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Post Re: Q1 2007 Nonfiction Book Poll!
BOOK 1: The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal by Jared M. Diamond

Amazon.com
Jared Diamond states the theme of his book up-front: "How the human species changed, within a short time, from just another species of big mammal to a world conqueror; and how we acquired the capacity to reverse all that progress overnight." The Third Chimpanzee is, in many ways, a prequel to Diamond's prize-winning Guns, Germs, and Steel. While Guns examines "the fates of human societies," this work surveys the longer sweep of human evolution, from our origin as just another chimpanzee a few million years ago. Diamond writes:

It's obvious that humans are unlike all animals. It's also obvious that we're a species of big mammal down to the minutest details of our anatomy and our molecules. That contradiction is the most fascinating feature of the human species.

The chapters in The Third Chimpanzee on the oddities of human reproductive biology were later expanded in Why Is Sex Fun? Here, they're linked to Diamond's views of human psychology and history.

Diamond is officially a physiologist at UCLA medical school, but he's also one of the best birdwatchers in the world. The current scientific consensus that "primitive" humans created ecological catastrophes in the Pacific islands, Australia, and the New World owes a great deal to his fieldwork and insight. In Diamond's view, the current global ecological crisis isn't due to modern technology per se, but to basic weaknesses in human nature. But, he says, "I'm cautiously optimistic. If we will learn from our past that I have traced, our own future may yet prove brighter than that of the other two chimpanzees." --Mary Ellen Curtin

From Kirkus Reviews
Plenty of provocative ideas in this grand sweep of evolutionary biology and anthropology: not surprising for this MacArthur ``genius'' Award-winner, Natural History columnist, and UCLA Medical School physiology professor. With only 1.6 percent difference between the human genome and the genomes of two species of chimps, Diamond declares that we should call ourselves ``the third chimpanzee.'' (Curiously, he fails to mention neoteny as making a world of genetic difference.) Diamond first reviews human evolution, ending with the great leap forward that he attributes to language. New in this area is a discussion of animal art and communication (e.g., bowerbird constructions, vervet-monkey talk) and creolization (the development of sophisticated human languages from pidgin forms). With respect to other human features, Diamond reprises all the theories you've ever heard about sexual behavior, selection, menstruation, menopause, etc. Ditto for aging. He steers a common- sense course between extremes, opting for the games-theory approach of optimizing one's genes and of group survival. Old-but-not- fertile elders are essential imparters of knowledge for the group. A chapter on self-destructive behaviors (smoking, drinking, drug abuse) offers the peculiar theory that we do it to advertise that we are really superior because we can flaunt handicaps! No mention is made of the fit of the chemicals to receptors in the brain and to circuits evoking pleasure. Later, drawing on his special knowledge of New Guinea, Australia, and Polynesia, and his research on birds, Diamond provides a fascinating if overwhelmingly pessimistic view of human predation through genocide, species and resource destruction, and potential nuclear disaster. Conclusions of continued human, species, and planetary destruction are inescapable, in spite of Diamond's optimism that we can learn from the past and some modest success he has had with conservation programs. Quirky arguments at times, yes, but generally Diamond is as sharp as his name.




Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:34 pm
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Post Re: Q1 2007 Nonfiction Book Poll!
BOOK 2: Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon by Robert Fisk

Book Description
With the Israeli-Palestinian crisis reaching wartime levels, where is the latest confrontation between these two old foes leading? Robert Fisk's explosive Pity the Nation recounts Sharon and Arafat's first deadly encounter in Lebanon in the early 1980s and explains why the Israel



Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:38 pm
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Post Re: Q1 2007 Nonfiction Book Poll!
BOOK 3: Changing Minds: The Art And Science of Changing Our Own And Other People's Minds by Howard Gardner

From Publishers Weekly
Gardner, a psychologist and professor at Harvard, examines the factors involved in changing minds on significant issues, in politics, science, business and art. He identifies seven key elements, including reason, research and real world events, that are part of the decision-making process. Certain facets are more heavily weighted in some fields than others: "leaders of large groups often rely on the appreciable resources at their disposal but are buoyed or undercut by real world events," says Gardner (Frames of Mind), who believes this explains why a politician or a CEO will disregard advice in the face of larger issues and popular perceptions. To prove his theories, Gardner analyzes the behavior of several individuals including President Bush, Britain's Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, and South Africa's Nelson Mandela. Gardner doesn't limit his examination to politicians because he also believes that artists, writers, musicians and teachers can change people's minds. While the discussions and real-life examples are intriguing and do clarify Gardner's theories, the book doesn't fully deliver on its promise. Although Gardner does offer suggestions on how someone can influence others, he doesn't include a detailed prescriptive strategy for decision makers in the business world. Readers must draw out insights on their own, which, given the complexity of the material, may be difficult.

Book Description
Think about the last time you tried to change someone's mind about something important: a voter's political beliefs; a customer's favorite brand; a spouse's decorating taste. Chances are you weren't successful in shifting that person's beliefs in any way. In his book, Changing Minds, Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner explains what happens during the course of changing a mind



Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:41 pm
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Post Re: Q1 2007 Nonfiction Book Poll!
Those are the 3 choices so research them and cast your votes soon. You can hold your mouse over the book title to see a copy of the book cover. Again, the poll might come down early on the 24th since this is Christmas Eve.




Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:43 pm
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Post Re: Q1 2007 Nonfiction Book Poll!
I'll cast three votes for The Third Chimpanzee. This is supposed to be a good'un, and I was planning on reading it eventually, anyway.




Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:41 pm
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Post Pity the Nation
Hi, everyone. I dropped out for a while, since I've been busy at work and this quarter's suggestions didn't appeal to me.

As it turns out, I'm almost done with Pity the Nation, with one chapter to go. I'll give it 3 votes, so I'd get a chance to discuss it. However, it's a long book, and all the violence makes it a tiring read. If you aren't a history buff, you might not care for it. Still, the Lebanese civil war and the inability of occupying powers to control things provides insight to what's going on now in Iraq.

[Speaking of which, I recently started George Packer's excellent book Assassin's Gate, regarding the current Iraq war, which would be an excellent choice to discuss here.]

Third Chimpanzee is well-written, covers some important topics, is much less onerous to read. It's probably a better fit for this group, since more people would actually read it.

Edited by: JulianTheApostate at: 12/9/06 12:19 am



Sat Dec 09, 2006 12:17 am
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Post Re: Pity the Nation
3 votes for The Third Chimpanzee




Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:00 am
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Post Switching to Third Chimpanzee
I'm switching my 3 votes to Third Chimpanzee. Now that I've thought about it, Pity the Nation is too long and depressing for this group.

Edited by: JulianTheApostate at: 12/10/06 9:29 pm



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Post Re: Switching to Third Chimpanzee
I want to read "Changing Minds"...but I think Third Chimpanzee is a good choice. Then I'll have the trilogy (!).

3 for the Chimp.

"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."

Loricat's Book Nook
Celebrating the Absurd




Sun Dec 10, 2006 4:45 pm
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Post Re: Switching to Third Chimpanzee
Diamond has another book out, Loricat, called "Why Sex Is Fun", also about human evolution. But if you want to keep thinking of his books as a trilogy, you can just consider that last one the series' "The Hobbit".




Sun Dec 10, 2006 10:54 pm
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Post Re: Q1 2007 Nonfiction Book Poll!
Last call on new votes or vote changes. There doesn't appear to be much chance of anything other than Third Chimpanzee winning this poll, but the book looks awesome and this is a good thing. ::80

I'm going to see "It's a Wonderful Life" at Tampa Theater with my fiance right now, but when I get back I'll close both Q1 polls. Check out this beautiful theater...

www.tampatheatre.org/images/LobbyColor72.jpg

www.tampatheatre.org/images/auditoriumCott72.jpg

www.tampatheatre.org/images/auditoriumKlavens72.jpg

We go every year.





Sun Dec 24, 2006 2:51 pm
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