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What non-fiction book should we read next? (probably in Oct. & Nov.) 
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Post What non-fiction book should we read next? (probably in Oct.
What non-fiction book should we read next? (probably in Oct. & Nov.)

As you can see from our menu of book discussions we now have books chosen for several months in advance. This wasn't the original intention. When "The Extended Phenotype" was selected a group of us discussed the need to read "The Selfish Gene" first. These two books are meant to be read in sequence. By adding both books to the upcoming book schedule it really filled out the calendar for most of the rest of this year.

We can read more non-fiction books!

We don't have to stick with just the currently selected non-fiction books: "The Selfish Gene" and "The Extended Phenotype." We can read additional non-fiction books right along side these two books.

This thread is for gathering suggestions for additional non-fiction books

What would you like to read next? Not everyone is a science nut so the Richard Dawkins books might not excite you. Would you like to read a history book? How about a philosophy or current events book?

Please make suggestions here in this thread. And even more important than making suggestions is to leave feedback on the suggestions your fellow BookTalk.org members have made.

If you're a brand new member (less than 10 posts) or an author just here to tell us about your books please do NOT do so in this thread. Your suggestions will be deleted. This thread is for members that will actually participate in the book discussions and not for advertisements. Authors and publishers are welcome to plug their books, but please create a new thread.

So what non-fiction book would you like to read next?



Last edited by Chris OConnor on Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Sun Aug 02, 2009 2:23 am
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Idolatry by Moshe Halbertal, Avishai Margalit and Naomi Goldblum (Translator) http://www.amazon.com/Idolatry-Moshe-Ha ... 0674443136

If philosophy, linguistics, history of religion, in-depth and critical scriptural analysis, the politics of ideology and psychology of group identity interest you...then Idolatry is a book you'll enjoy reading. This is an extraordinary intellectual examination of what turns out to be a crucial term in the development of Western Civilization: Idolatry. This term has been used to shape the belief, practice and identity of millions: keeping guard of the right way to think about and worship God...and patrolling the borders of heresy, blasphemy, falsehood and the worship of alien deities. The authors describe how the term has shaped communities and evolved over time, finding application across multiple religious traditions and even utilization by secular enlightenment critics of religion. Although their main emphasis is upon the use of Idolatry in the history of Judaism, they make great effort to show linkages across Christianity, Islam and other dominant ideologies in Western Civilization.

A top-notch piece of scholarship that brings a well-worn term into consistently new, fresh and illuminating contexts.


Reviews

Quote:
An absorbing and ingenious book.
--Frank Cioffi (Times Literary Supplement )

A remarkably hard-nosed and often profound inquiry into the way Judaism in particular has constructed its concept of false or deviant worship...The authors' discussion consistently illumines familiar texts and ideas with fresh questions and insights drawn from a variety of contemporary philosophical traditions...[This book] will stimulate discussion.
--Martin Jaffe (Religious Studies Review )

If hatred were affected by logic, Idolatry would put an end to holy wars...Together Halbertal and Margalit have created a remarkable book, which tells us, more thoroughly and persuasively than anyone has done so far, why and in what ways religions hate one another...In view of the mass slaughter taking place in the name of religion, far to much of it glibly and falsely explained by arguments about 'fundamentalism,' this is a very important book.
--Wendy Doniger (New York Review of Books )

This is a very important book, supplying substantially to a crucial but unrecognized void in scholarship. It is a rare book, joining philosophic analysis with a mastery of rabbinic texts.
--Jerome Eckstein (International Studies in Philosophy )

This is a book of a very high quality, which contributes substantially to our understanding of a crucial topic in Western religion, filling thereby a gap in modern scholarship... The conceptual approach is fostered by detailed textual analyses, excellent in themselves, which contribute not only to the understanding of the topic of idolatry, but also to a better understanding of these texts in themselves, especially those related to the thought of Maimonides... An outstanding contribution to the analysis of religion in general, original and audacious.
--Moshe Idel (Hebrew University )

The discussion throughout is of a very high order... The outstanding contribution of the book is that it both defines and helps to solve the difficulties surrounding the notion of idolatry on one hand, while using this discussion to shed light on the multiple developments of the notion throughout our history on the other. Philosophical analysis is being used here to good effect to illuminate an important thread of our religious and cultural tradition... One great value of the book is thus that it brings philosophical analysis to bear on the issues of idolatry. Another important contribution is that it draws on a deep knowledge of the Talmudic literature and discussions. This makes for a double bonus. Christian theologians have tended to ignore the Talmud, and so have those Jewish writers conversant with modern philosophy.
--Charles Taylor (McGill University )

A wonderful book, brilliant and important... It has a kind of straightforward wisdom, a solid, common sense approach that is both charming and entirely persuasive. It is a book about pluralism and intolerance, about the logic and illogic of the arguments that religions make against one another. This is a fascinating and critical topic in these dark days of religious warfare.
--Wendy Doniger (The Divinity School, University of Chicago )



Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:04 pm
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ILuvBookz13 Praises Die Trying: One Man's Quest to Conquer the Seven Summits:
ILuvBookz13 wrote:
Die Trying: One Man's Quest to Conquer the Seven Summits is an amazing story. Bo Parfet had one of the worst lives you could ask for, he was dyslexic, physically inadequet, and unhappy with life. But Bo possesed a power that can alter the lives of anyone and everyone; courage, motivation and optimism. Bo's rough life brought him to understand the little things in life that make the big difference, and he learned to overcome obstacles, even when things got really tough, which they usually did. He motivated himself to achieve what nobody thought, believed or even suggested him achieving. He managed to maintain a 2.7 GPA in college and even worked on Wall Street successfully for a while, but he learned later on that his life was in mountain climbing. It can be viewed as ironic that he climbs all of his mental mountains, and now, he is climbing physical mountains? Bo's story is inspiring, touching and humoresque at times. This book inspires you to learn how to climb both physical and mental mountains, no matter how tough it gets." - ILuvBookz13





Other Praise for Die Trying: One Man's Quest to Conquer the Seven Summits:

Ruth Langs, Amazon.com Customer Review wrote:
Out of all the climbing books out on the market today, Die Trying: One Man's Quest to Conquer the Seven Summits is on the cutting edge of the highest mountain of good books. This one I will re-read and read again. Bo's physical,personal and spiritual struggle bring to life my own inner dreams to conquer the summits of life!
- Ruth G. Langs, Amazon.com


Jason Vanburen, Amazon.com Customer Review wrote:
Parfet's story is a deep and raw account of his painful struggle with dyslexia. Through toil and toughness he learned to deal with his learning disability which subsequently created a foundation fueling his motivation to tackle the seven highest continental peaks including Mt. Everest. Simultaneously he was working his way through college, obtaining multiple degrees and securing a coveted role with JP Morgan Chase on Wall Street where he consistently logged intense 100-hour work weeks. Unlike many of today's greed stricken investment professionals Parfet balanced his success by an innate commitment to civic leadership establishing numerous educational scholarships for young students here in the U.S. and internationally. The skills obtained along the journey empowered the 30 year old Parfet to leave the self interested dull drums of Wall Street to create and play principal roles in three thriving businesses including one venture focused on energy efficient (green) building development, a sector critically vital to today's energy independence and overall national security. The stories of his mistakes and learned humility are lessons everyone can relate to and easily embrace. The life and death experiences in Die Trying are tragically heartfelt, will guide and inspire the reader to inwardly reflect on one's own interpersonal life.


Midwestern Book Reviews, Amazon.com Customer Review wrote:
When he left for Kilimanjaro in 2003 author Bo Parfet was an overweight Wall Street investment banker with little experience - not your usual candidate for mountain-climbing. None of his fellow climbers thought he'd make it to the top, but despite many ailments he reached the top of the mountain - and decided to climb all seven summits. His story is an inspiration to any who are not neo-professional athletes.





Back Cover Testimonials
Omar Samra, the First Egyptian to summit Mt. Everest wrote:
There are two kinds of expedition: ones with Bo and ones without...You want to be on the former! While his climbing ability and mental toughness are exemplary, his charisma and boundless energy will lift you in freezing conditions, amid high winds and very little oxygen. Those who'll never go an expedition with Bo should read this box...it is really the next, best thing!


Dr. Ken Kamler, author of Doctor on Everest and Surviving the Extremes wrote:
Though i've climbed only one of the Seven Summits, Bo Parfet's vivid account of his adventures on every continent makes me feel like i've climbed them all.


[hr]

A great book i'm reading, actually won it in Contest #7. I wrote a little praise on it, then looked up some others for you to read. I encourage anyone that enjoys adventure to read this. A lot of you will perceive this as a boring biography, but please, take a moment or two, to read the praises or get the book at your local library and read the first few pages and see if you like it. I've found that it starts slow, because he has to introduce himself and his life in 23 pages, but after that it is pure gold! You'll enjoy it, trust me :)


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Last edited by Iluvbookz13 on Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:25 pm
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Iluvbookz13, have you read that book? I think it's a great suggestion, but I was hoping to hear your thoughts on it.



Sun Aug 16, 2009 1:36 am
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I think the suggestion given for the book "Die Trying" sounds interesting. I personally am out of shape, pushing 40 and very interested in hiking and climbing. I would love to hike the Appalachian trail one day...and maybe I will. It would be great to read about someone who faced their weaknesses and won. I vote for it!



Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:39 pm
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I agree about Die Trying.



Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:42 pm
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The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic?

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Review
"The contemporary return to the theological most dramatically occurs in this book, as Zizek fully realizes his earlier Hegelian and Lacanian theological work, a work that Milbank can essentially know as a uniquely modern expression of nihilism. Nonetheless Milbank enters into a genuine theological dialogue with this nihilism, and a truly new theological discourse occurs. This effects a paradoxical union between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, and between radical orthodoxy and radical heterodoxy, which is perhaps the deepest motif of the contemporary return to the theological."
—Thomas J. J. Altizer, author of Godhead and the Nothing

"In this dazzling dialogue, Zizek and Milbank change words and cross swords, until the point where both recognize that Christ and Hegel, in their monstrosity, look very much alike. A phenomenal achievement!"
—Catherine Malabou, Maître de Conferences, Philosophy Department, Université Paris-X Nanterre

Product Description
What matters is not so much that Žižek is endorsing a demythologized, disenchanted Christianity without transcendence, as that he is offering in the end (despite what he sometimes claims) a heterodox version of Christian belief.
—John Milbank

To put it even more bluntly, my claim is that it is Milbank who is effectively guilty of heterodoxy, ultimately of a regression to paganism: in my atheism, I am more Christian than Milbank.
—Slavoj ÂŽižek

In this corner, philosopher Slavoj Žižek, who represents the critical-materialist stance against religion's illusions; in the other corner, "radical orthodox" theologian John Milbank, an influential and provocative thinker who argues that theology is the only foundation upon which knowledge, politics, and ethics can stand. In The Monstrosity of Christ, Žižek and Milbank go head to head for three rounds, employing an impressive arsenal of moves to advance their positions and press their respective advantages. By the closing bell, they have proven themselves worthy adversaries--and have also shown that faith and reason are not simply and intractably opposed.

ÂŽižek has long been interested in the emancipatory potential offered by Christian theology. And Milbank, seeing global capitalism as the new century's greatest ethical challenge, has pushed his own ontology in more political and materialist directions. Their debate in The Monstrosity of Christ concerns nothing less than the future of religion, secularity, and political hope in light of a monsterful event—God becoming human. For the first time since ÂŽižek's turn toward theology, we have a true debate between an atheist and a theologian about the very meaning of theology, Christ, the Church, the Holy Ghost, universality, and the foundations of logic. The result goes far beyond the popularized atheist/theist point/counterpoint of recent books by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and others.

Žižek begins, and Milbank answers, countering dialectics with "paradox." The debate centers on the nature of and relation between paradox and parallax, between analogy and dialectics, between transcendent glory and liberation.

Short Circuits series, edited by Slavoj Žižek

:book:



Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:19 pm
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The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist's Guide to Success in Business and Life by Avinash K. Dixit and Barry J. Nalebuff

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[hr]

Product Description
The authors who brought you the bestseller in game theory, Thinking Strategically, now provide the long-awaited sequel. Game theory means rigorous strategic thinking. It's the art of anticipating your opponent's next moves, knowing full well that your rival is trying to do the same thing to you. Though parts of game theory involve simple common sense, much is counterintuitive, and it can only be mastered by developing a new way of seeing the world. Using a diverse array of rich case studies—from pop culture, TV, movies, sports, politics, and history—the authors show how nearly every business and personal interaction has a game-theory component to it. Are the winners of reality-TV contests instinctive game theorists? Do big-time investors see things that most people miss? What do great poker players know that you don't? Mastering game theory will make you more successful in business and life, and this lively book is the key to that mastery. .

About the Author
Avinash K. Dixit is John J.F. Sherrerd University Professor of Economics at Princeton University, where he offers his popular freshman course in game theory. He is among the world’s leading economists, having made fundamental contributions in several major fields, including Game Theory. He is world famous. He is the author of many books, including Thinking Strategically (Norton, 1991), Investment Under Uncertainty (Princeton UP, 1994), and The Art of Strategy (Norton, 2009).

Barry J. Nalebuff is the Milton Steinbach Professor at the Yale School of Management. Nalebuff applies game theory to business strategy and is the co-founder of one of America's fastest-growing companies, Honest Tea.

[hr]

Review By J. Kim "A Political Methodologist"
Quote:
Of course. It is an updated version of their best selling book [Thinking Strategically]. I have taught an introduction to Game Theory course to college undergraduates for years and used their earlier version "Thinking strategically" as a textbook. Nalebuff and Dixit's effort on updating their classic became less than good news to college students. They put too much materials about their ABC documentary which was taken under Dr. Nalebuff's guidance while trying to put too much materials in otherwise a simple-clear book. I strongly recommend you to go to the bookstore and buy their earlier version "thinking strategically" rather than this 'confusing/messy" version.


Review By Matthew L. Sadler
Quote:
If you like "game theory" -- or want to know what game theory is -- this could be the best book out there. Certainly there are more scholarly pieces on game theory, but this book is an A+ for its accessible writing, its use of examples that are interesting and a clear approach to point out how game theory comes into play every day for every person, whether we realize it or not. This book helps you understand the decision process in cooperative and competitive situations. It is better to know the "game" and how it is being played, than having the game played on you unwittingly. Highly recommended.


Review By Totes Magotes
Quote:
Nalebuff is a genius that not only studies and teaches strategy, but applied it himself to build an international beverage company (Honest Tea) recently acquired by Coca-Cola. Any chance to learn from him is well worth it, including this outstanding book with myriad applications to anyone's work and day-to-day life.


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Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:41 pm
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Well, I would have to stick with my choice.

I think that if we were to read a mountaineering book it should be one of Reinhold Messner'sas he was obviously the greatest mountaineer/author the world has ever know.



Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:58 pm
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Grim wrote:
I think that if we were to read a mountaineering book it should be one of Reinhold Messner'sas he was obviously the greatest mountaineer/author the world has ever know.


Hmm maybe I should look into him if he writes good mountaineering books :) although the reason I picked Die Trying was not mountaineering, but because it was one of the most interesting Non Fiction books i've read. In fact, it's one of about 10 nonfiction books i've read :hmm:


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Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:31 pm
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Post The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society
The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society

The Age of Empathy by Frans de Waal

Reviews:
http://www.economist.com/books/displays ... d=14361802
http://www.emory.edu/LIVING_LINKS/empat ... forum.html

I have not read but, but it looks very interesting and I would like to read it soon.



Wed Sep 09, 2009 3:56 pm
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Interesting choice, we just finished debating a De Waal book. Personally I found it rather shallow and self-contained. I would much rather engage in a Zizek title mostly because he is so awsome and much more relevant and reliable than de Waal has proven to be.

A new age of empathy?

I honestly think I would rather watch an Opera episode.

http://www.paradigmpublishers.com/books ... tID=180330

I especially enjoy that the book "[p]rovocatively analyzes American race relations by challenging the typical view of Winfrey’s 'transcendence of race' a rich analysis of what might seem a 'fluffy' subject."

Thanks for the suggestion.

:book:



Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:11 pm
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Post Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of the Christ by DM Murdock (Ach
DM Murdoch (Acharya S) is a controversial contemporary American writer who is dedicated to rational enquiry into mythology and religion. Here is a review she has just received of her new book Who Was Jesus? I'm sure she would welcome the opportunity to discuss this book on Booktalk.

From http://tbknews.blogspot.com/ (longer version of Amazon review)

Quote:
Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of the Christ -
http://stellarhousepublishing.com/whowasjesus.html

An important and enlightening book
5.0 out of 5 stars (September 10, 2009)
By Donovan Haagensen (Johannesburg, South Africa)


At first, it would seem almost needless that the Bible should be examined and dissected to such an extent as to reveal its seemingly obvious man-made fabrication. After all, there appears to be no need to apply the same painstaking investigation into debunking the works of Hans Christian Andersen, or the Brothers Grimm, or C.S. Lewis, or any children's fairytales, considering that they have long been unquestionably accepted as fictional creations originating from the minds of the authors who wrote them. And it doesn't take a learned academic to spot the apparent similarity of the writing styles of these fictional tales and the texts contained in the Bible, the most predominant resemblance being the abundance of verbal exchanges between characters whose names, incidentally, change according to the language they’re translated into – something you don’t generally find in historical accounts.

But the difference is, innocent children's fables are not the basis for world-dominating cults or religions; and if they were, most people would surely think it to be absurd, fanatical, and outrageously extreme, or, in simple terms, just plain crazy. Yet, is it not just as crazy and ludicrous that millions upon millions of people on this planet are doing exactly that when it comes to these religious texts?

Sacred allegories historical events?

However, since the vast majority of the world actually believes these sacred allegories to be authentic records of actual events, it is therefore necessary to expose the folly of such gullibility in logical and easily understandable terms, which is what D.M. Murdock has quite clearly done (in this case, focusing specifically on the four Gospels of the New Testament) in her book Who Was Jesus?: Fingerprints Of The Christ.

"Murdock reveals the obvious erroneousness and fictional nature of the Gospels in a very rational and objective manner."

Not only has she revealed the obvious erroneousness and fictional nature of the Gospels, but she has "dismantled" and carefully laid out all the essential elements and clues on the table, so to speak, focusing on each individual component, and plainly demonstrating, in a very rational and objective manner, the indisputable facts, as well as highlighting the evident flaws. Even if the information she divulges seems obvious to anyone who has long been suspicious or sceptical of the content contained within the "Good Book", it is nevertheless a riveting and enjoyable read – uncomplicated and coherent, and free of condescension and convolution. Furthermore, she does not express personal opinions, make speculative judgments, or attempt to sway anyone to a particular school of thought, but instead applies the same acumen and impartialness that any scholar or scientist would be expected to employ in the investigation of any subject under examination. In short, Ms. Murdock’s conclusions, which are reached by use of logical deduction and rationale, appear to be incontrovertible.

"Murdock’s conclusions, which are reached by use of logical deduction and rationale, appear to be incontrovertible."

Personally, I believe that all it takes to be suspicious of the Bible’s claims is to read it with an objective approach, and it will soon become apparent that it does not follow the natural laws of logic, reason, common sense, or consistency, and very much of it has no correlation with the real world. In addition, it is written in a blatant puerile fashion, is replete with implausible events, and, more importantly, contains no dates whatsoever (which suggests to me that its writings are very unlikely to be historical records). Surely it would be naturally expected that anyone recording such events, or authoring the so-called letters, would include the dates in their accounts, such as any historian or custodian of historical records would do. And if "God/Yahweh" was indeed the actual guide behind these writings, then surely they would have been put down in such a way as to appear a lot more convincing and indubitable, and not riddled with confusion, vagueness, and ambiguity. Surely, these issues alone provide enough food for thought and legitimate questions concerning its validity.

If the same people who are convinced that these bizarre tales are inerrant truths are also capable of accepting the fact that children’s fairytales are clearly made up fantasies, then perhaps it’s about time that they apply the same logic when examining the Bible. And although this would normally be apparent simply by reading the Bible with an open mind, Ms. Murdock has gone the extra mile by not only stating the obvious, but also showing, in meticulous detail, how things just don’t quite add up (or, conversely, how certain things DO add up).

Regrettably, in this modern age, faith is just no longer an acceptable justification, when common sense and methodical enquiry demonstrate otherwise. And this is why it is important, if not essential, that more people read books by authors like D.M. Murdock, in the hope that these outdated and primitive notions will be appropriately seen for what they really are, that the "penny will drop", just as the Flat Earth was eventually rightfully "corrected".

Who Was Jesus? is an important book, essential in the ongoing enterprise of exposing the truth and enlightening the world, so that we may have a future where morals, ethics, integrity, and simple goodness are the order of the day.

D. Haagensen
Johannesburg, South Africa

Who Was Jesus? is available at http://stellarhousepublishing.com/whowasjesus.html



Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:59 pm
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Who was Jesus? Only a man.
This reminds me of a particular song.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjXOpQxL5f0[/youtube]
Classic. The best part is at the end when he owns Jesus for the dunk.
Thanks for the suggestion RT!

:book:



Sun Sep 13, 2009 2:59 pm
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I recommend J. Otmer's ADLAND. I think he will be glad to make himself available for book discussion of his book. Let me know if you want me to ask him and also please let me know how I should approach him with liason between booktalk and the author.



Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:20 am
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