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Castiel233

Best Book you have every read

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For me, it is The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

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You have me thinking. Right now I can't narrow it down to a single book. In the last ten minutes I've thought of at least 20 that were powerful or influential. Some fiction, some non-fiction. I tend toward those with strong social messages or revealing historical narratives. 

 

My three most recent reads are:

The Art of War, by Sun Tzu (the Michael Nylan translation). Written 2500 years ago, it is a short but insightful discussion of how to anticipate the strategies and motivations of our competitors. Useful not just for war but for any competitive endeavor. And it shows how we continue to fail to understand our enemies and even our friends.

 

Galileo's Daughter, A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love,  by Dava Sobel. While the relationship between Galileo and one of his daughters is the pivot point for this work, it is as much about the repression of science and the oppression of the Catholic church in the 17th century. And one can read into it a warning for the return of such repression if we allow our education to be dominated by special interests.

 

 Longitude, The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, also by Dava Sobel. In the early 1700s the Greenwich Observatory was established to solve the problem of determining longitude on ships at sea. Astronomers tried but failed to come up with a means of using the predictability of the stars. It took a carpenter to come up with a clock that was accurate enough to do the job. And the result of this was the English dominance of the seas for at least 100 years.

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Dune.

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I think the best I ever read was The Demon-Haunted World: Science As A Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan. It piqued my interest in science and critical thinking.

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So many options...

 

...well I'll pick two. Two groups really.

 

Scifi: Two of the good old BattleTech novel trilogies, the "Blood of Kerensky" one (Lethal heritage, Blood legacy, Lost destiny) and the "Jade Phoenix" one (Way of the Clans, Bloodname, Falcon Guard). Fascinated with both the artificially-created society of the Clans, and the coming of age of the next generation of interstellar leaders in the first trilogy.

 

Gritty fantasy: Andrzej Sapkowski's "Witcher" books, all eight of them (a rather recent addition to my library). Very down-to-earth world, characters and stories, a hero who's really more of a non/anti-hero, and lots of dry humor, just the style I love.

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