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DOSBODS Book Club


spunko
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I read a fair amount, but never fiction - just not my thing really, more interested in political science/commentary/history/plays, but we all have varied tastes.

The current book I'm reading is Our Culture, What's Left of It by Dalrymple. I saw PJW mention him in one of his videos and picked up a used copy off eBay for a few quid. A brilliant book but utterly depressing as well - this summary saves me the effort of typing out my review:

Dalrymple has, it must be stressed, written an urgent, important, almost an essential book. Our Culture, What's Left of It needs to be read and acted on by policy-makers, by opinion-formers, and anyone who wants to grasp why Britain has become so much less pleasant a country in which to live. The book is elegantly written, conscientiously argued, provocative and fiercely committed... His measured polemics arouse disgust, shame and despair: they will shake many readers' views of their physical surroundings and cultural assumptions, and have an enriching power to improve the way that people think and act.

--

He comes across as a bit didactic at times but I'd recommend all DOSBODers give it a whirl. I love a book that makes you think, and shake the foundations of what you think is true. He's written shit loads of books so will be trying out a few more soon.

Can any DOSBODers recommend similar books that they've read with these kinds of themes? Some related books I read before it (by Raheem Kassam, Milo, Jordan Peterson) I found to be a bit basic but enjoyed nonetheless.

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reformed nice guy

Thanks for the recommendation.

For something a bit more foundational, I recommend "Plutarchs parallel lives". Its a classic in which a Roman author compares one of his (relative) contemporaries with a classical Greek. In it you will find the start of many major political themes and ideologies (ie collectivism and Lycurges)

 

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I read almost exclusively non-fiction, mainly accounts of sports, science or space exploration.

The one book that made me re-think how the world works was "No One Would Listen" by Harry Markopolos.

It is the story of how the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme was uncovered.  Markopolos was tasked by his bosses to work out how Madoff was getting such high returns so that they could copy him.  Initially, Markopolos couldn't understand how Madoff could be making so much money, and concluded that Madoff's business was fraudulent.  When Markopolos eventually uncovered proof, no one would believe him as Madoff was so well respected.  It took about another 10 years for Madoff's scheme to collapse.

Now for the scary part.  This book made me realise that the ownership of all assets is just an opinion, usually based on a database of some sort.  Whilst an asset may be physical, the record of the ownership of that asset is just information.  If the relevant authorities conclude that information is wrong, you have nothing.

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My reading tends to be 3 parts Sci-fi/Fantasy to 1 part Sci-fact/Self Improvement.

On the recent non-fiction side I found "Incognito: The secret Lives of the Brain" by Neuroscientist David Eagleman to be a fascinating read. I was surprised to find it actually left me feeling a little more compassionate toward my fellow human being.

I like his idea that there is no 'real you' but rather a democracy of competing thoughts that whirl around inside your mind before reaching a consensus. So for instance, you're not necessarily showing your true colors when you're drunk, instead the author suggests that the more moderate voices in your consciousness become subdued during this time leaving the radicals to have their way. Anyway, it's packed with lots of insights that build upon each other leading to his conclusions on the present state of crime and punishment in the modern world and what changes he would like to see - I couldn't disagree tbh. Highly recommend (although fair warning - some of it was a bit gruesome, eg I was not familiar with the term 'Hemispherectomy' before reading this book!)

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goldbug9999
On 23/03/2019 at 12:13, Lipid said:

  If the relevant authorities conclude that information is wrong, you have nothing.

Thats why we invented bitcoin

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3 hours ago, goldbug9999 said:

Thats why we invented bitcoin

I think you've slightly missed my point due to me not being specific enough.  I wasn't just referring to physical assets that are primarily a store of wealth (perecious metals, hard cash, works of art etc.), but also to useful physical assets such as cars, and in particular, property.  That's what I find truly scary.

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Hail the Tripod

The corruption of capitalism - Guy Standing

Interesting book on the proliferation of “Intellectual Property” and its pernicious effects.

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  • 1 year later...
SomersetMatt

Can any DOSBODers recommend similar books that they've read with these kinds of themes? 
 

@spunko I’d recommend: 


1) The Madness of Crowds by Douglas Murray (the bete noire of the academic left). 
 

2) The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson (see Douglas Murray) 
 

Two authors who challenge the current narrative in political and historical academia. 

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The previous post has reminded me of this:

image.png.822523b5ba39f6a8ee90b12ed1334a50.png

The Profanisaurus is superb. I keep a copy on my toilet cistern.

Recommeded reading:  "boston pancake", "bottom of a ratcatcher's mallet", "california tan", "camper's kebab" and the series of definitions beginning with "up to the apricots".

Edited by Lipid
Profanisaurus stuff
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2 hours ago, sarahbell said:

Well I think it's a great book

2020-08-26 21.19.25.jpg

Buzz by Thor Hansen is fairly readable - you’d probably get more from it, than me, as you’re a bonafide bee botherer.

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On 25/08/2020 at 23:17, The XYY Man said:

The only book that any cunt ever needs...

 

P1040886.thumb.jpg.3cb19ba2d79edaca6683ac159d0787d4.jpg

 

 

XYY

Have you noticed that regular Popular spec Heineken seems to have morphed into what was previously Ghia trim level Heineken Export?

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3 minutes ago, The XYY Man said:

Yes I have.

The stuff my local Co-op sold was a always bit poor until the COVID. 

But as they only sell chilled lager and not beer, I regularly bought the odd one to drink while I was waiting for my proper beers to chill in our fridge. It's 5% abv, so it has the alcohol I crave, if not the taste.

And a few weeks into the COVID, I bought two bottles - and when I drank the second one the difference in taste was phenomenal. I struggled to understand why, until I compared the two bottles.

The good one had the words "Heineken Original" on the top of the label like the bottle in my photo. The shit one had something different. 

But it was the back of the bottle that answered why. The shit one was brewed in Northampton, whereas the good one stated it was brewed in Amsterdam and imported by Heineken UK via Edinburgh.

Presumably the Co-op have been second-sourcing due to the COVID over-loading Northampton....?

The good stuff is fucking excellent for a lager...

 

XYY

Think it’s everywhere as I picked some up in a Tesco Express, when there wasn’t anything else. My memory of Heineken was almost the epitome of piss weak 3% cooking lager. Until I noticed it was an import my initial thought was ‘Christ the other lagers must have got really shit if Heineken tastes this good’.

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22 hours ago, The XYY Man said:

Yes I have.

The stuff my local Co-op sold was a always bit poor until the COVID. 

But as they only sell chilled lager and not beer, I regularly bought the odd one to drink while I was waiting for my proper beers to chill in our fridge. It's 5% abv, so it has the alcohol I crave, if not the taste.

And a few weeks into the COVID, I bought two bottles - and when I drank the second one the difference in taste was phenomenal. I struggled to understand why, until I compared the two bottles.

The good one had the words "Heineken Original" on the top of the label like the bottle in my photo. The shit one had something different. 

But it was the back of the bottle that answered why. The shit one was brewed in Northampton, whereas the good one stated it was brewed in Amsterdam and imported by Heineken UK via Edinburgh.

Presumably the Co-op have been second-sourcing due to the COVID over-loading Northampton....?

The good stuff is fucking excellent for a lager...

 

XYY

Went to a party and noticed the hosts stellas didn't have a raised print graphic design you could feel with your hand compared to the ones I brought, turned out one was brewed in the UK and the other in Belgium and they did taste different, although not majorly so.

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Critical Mass by Philp Ball

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/ad/Critical_Mass.png

Talks about the "physics of society".  Statistical mechanics , that were developed by the victorians to study population were co-opted by quantum physicists to explain particles and probability. Following that work, they've now been reapplied to people.

I read it back before the 2007/08 crash, so was entertained by the story of "quants" being poached from their physics phd's and put to work in the banks to apply the same equations back to people/money.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

In lockdown I read some heavy stuff.

If it's crushing totalitarian misery you are after then I can heartily recommend Stalin. Written by the magnificently monikered Simon Sebag Montefiore: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stalin-Court-Simon-Sebag-Montefiore/dp/178022835X

I found it fascinating. The sheer terror the regime instilled and the fact that the adherents hated it as much as anyone else but were too shit-scared to stand up to it. It's Animal farm. An utter humanitarian tragedy. it should be on the curriculum. All kids should read this.

 

Having read that, my thirst for totalitian nut-jobs wasn't yet quenched and so I read this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mao-Story-Jon-Halliday/dp/0099507374/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=mao&qid=1600638688&s=books&sr=1-1

 

I have to be honest, this was a slog. I'm not sure I can recommend because it's hard going. The unrelenting granular detail. Again, this needs to be taught in schools. History is full of charismatic lunatics unleashing untold misery. But Mao... Mao was ... just awful. The sheer human misery that man unleashed...

 

Next up was Kaputt. I was properly ill when I read this which maybe colours my judgement. I couldn't stop reading it. It's a true story but I think some of it was embellished. It was difficult to read yet impossible to put down.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kaputt-York-Review-Books-Classics/dp/1590171470/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=kaputt&qid=1600639211&s=books&sr=1-1

It left me feeling a bit grubby to be honest.

It seems I am a war-bore this year and I am half way through Max Hasting's book on the Korean war. My knowlege of the Korean War doesn't get beyond MASH. So it;s good to read up on the reality  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Korean-War-Pan-Military-Classics/dp/0330513656/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=max+hastings+korea&qid=1600639773&s=books&sr=1-1

 

 

 

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reformed nice guy
16 hours ago, Bandit Banzai said:

 

In lockdown I read some heavy stuff.

If it's crushing totalitarian misery you are after then I can heartily recommend Stalin. Written by the magnificently monikered Simon Sebag Montefiore: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stalin-Court-Simon-Sebag-Montefiore/dp/178022835X

I found it fascinating. The sheer terror the regime instilled and the fact that the adherents hated it as much as anyone else but were too shit-scared to stand up to it. It's Animal farm. An utter humanitarian tragedy. it should be on the curriculum. All kids should read this.

 

Having read that, my thirst for totalitian nut-jobs wasn't yet quenched and so I read this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mao-Story-Jon-Halliday/dp/0099507374/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=mao&qid=1600638688&s=books&sr=1-1

 

I have to be honest, this was a slog. I'm not sure I can recommend because it's hard going. The unrelenting granular detail. Again, this needs to be taught in schools. History is full of charismatic lunatics unleashing untold misery. But Mao... Mao was ... just awful. The sheer human misery that man unleashed...

 

Next up was Kaputt. I was properly ill when I read this which maybe colours my judgement. I couldn't stop reading it. It's a true story but I think some of it was embellished. It was difficult to read yet impossible to put down.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kaputt-York-Review-Books-Classics/dp/1590171470/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=kaputt&qid=1600639211&s=books&sr=1-1

It left me feeling a bit grubby to be honest.

It seems I am a war-bore this year and I am half way through Max Hasting's book on the Korean war. My knowlege of the Korean War doesn't get beyond MASH. So it;s good to read up on the reality  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Korean-War-Pan-Military-Classics/dp/0330513656/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=max+hastings+korea&qid=1600639773&s=books&sr=1-1

 

 

 

We read very similar books.

Max Hastings book on Vietnam is a similarly good overview of that conflict.

 

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7 hours ago, reformed nice guy said:

We read very similar books.

Max Hastings book on Vietnam is a similarly good overview of that conflict.

 

Ah I've also read that. it's excellent. I can see some parallels between the Korean conflict (still halfway through) and Vietnam in that the locals were simply not good enough. The South Koreans folded under attack from the north and it took the Americans (well, UN, but lets be honest, it was the Americans) to stop the advance. Prior to that the North were crushing it. And it was all going very nicely until Mao decided to throw huge amounts of hapless Chinese lives into the mix.The 38th parallel wouldn't be a thing today if it wasn't for Mao. What an ocean-going cunt that man was...

Initially Hastings is withering in his assesment of the US forces (it may change as I read more). But I bet he upset a few American readers.

I like Hasting's approach -  a factual timeline interspersed with anedotes. Very readable.

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hapax legomenon

Not non-fiction but I highly recommend Michel Houellebecq as an author. His books on the decline of the West are sobering if a little depressing. Submission is probably one of his most famous works but I enjoyed Atomised and Seratonin. Submission deals with the Muslim Brotherhood winning the French general election and bringing about sweeping changes which many in France embrace as they get to be MINO whilst enjoying its benefits.

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Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall.

I have to admit his programmes now seem cloyingly Hurrah Henry and aged. The topics no. Just the series layout.

His and his associated books lose this tone. They are heavy as a full direct reading run through. Reading a chapter or even a segment is better. They are scattered around the house strategically for browsing.

I have worked most of my way through The River Cottage Cookbook, Meat and Curing and Smoking. Throughout there are recipies that are interesting to read as a stand alone.

Fish is awaiting me at the Post Office.

When they are read, its far more hospitable than on the screen, as most of his major work are based on TV series. It loses, in a good way, the air of stuffiness.

 

 

Edited by The Grey Man
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Hail the Tripod
On 25/08/2020 at 22:40, SomersetMatt said:

Can any DOSBODers recommend similar books that they've read with these kinds of themes? 

“Liberal fascism” by Jonah Goldberg is a masterwork on the run up to the politics of today.

Quote

Today the word 'fascist' is usually an insult aimed at those on the right, from neocons to big business. But what does it really mean? What if the true heirs to fascism were actually those who thought of themselves as being terribly nice and progressive - the liberals?

Jonah Goldberg's excoriating, opinion-driving, US bestseller explains why. Here he destroys long-held myths to reveal why the most insidious attemps to control our lives originate from the left, whether it's smoking bans or security cameras. Journeying through history and across culture, he uses surprising examples ranging from Woodrow Wilson's police state to the Clinton personality cult, the military chic of 60s' student radicals to Hollywood's totalitarian aesthetics, to show that it is modern progressivism - and not conservatism - that shares the same intellectual roots as fascism.

This angry, funny, smart and contentious book looks behind the friendly face of the well-meaning liberal, and turns our preconceptions inside out.

For a more lighthearted general read on the long history of unbelievable government stupidity, “March of folly” by Barbara Tuchman.

Quote

From the distinguished American historian whose work has been acclaimed around the world, a major new book that penetrates one of the most bizarre and fascinating paradoxes in history: the persistent pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own intersts. Across the march of thirty centuries, Tuchman brings to life the dramatic events which constitute folly's hallmark in government; the fall of Troy, symbolic prototype of freely chosen disaster; the Protestant secession, provoked by six decades of spectacularly corrupt papcy; the British forfeiture of the American colonies; and America's catastrophic thirty year involvement with vietnam.

 

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I am surprised no one mentioned this yet as it's referred to in quite a few posts on this forum:

Ayn Rand - Atlas Shrugged

Fiction wtitten in 50s and, like 1984, quite scary how relevant it still is. 

Very long, similar word count to War and Peace. 

Edited by Bear Hug
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