“You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid monotonous work, chances are you’ll end up boring, stupid and monotonous. Work is a much better explanation for the creeping cretinization all around us than even such significant moronizing mechanisms as television and education. People who are regimented all their lives, handed off to work from school and bracketed by the family in the beginning and the nursing home at the end, are habituated to heirarchy and psychologically enslaved. Their aptitude for autonomy is so atrophied that their fear of freedom is among their few rationally grounded phobias.”
Discussion about books that have changed people’s perspective, starting with original poster’s experience with Freakonomics. Quite a few interesting book recommendations in this thread.
A few recommendations I liked include: Peter Watson’s Ideas, Jonathan Haidt’s Righteous Mind, Donald Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things, Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication, Ramachandra Guha’s India After Gandhi, and Bruce Beuno de Mesquita’s The Dictator’s Handbook.
After reading the discussion, I thought it might be worthwhile to start a Key Books page on this site.
“A project to hand-transcribe the entire Qur’an according to historic Islamic traditions and to illuminate the text with relevant scenes from contemporary American life. Nine years in the making, the project was inspired by a decade of extended travel in Islamic regions of the world.”
“The reason Hershfield was accepted at Project Blowed, said Caldwell, was that he arrived with an open mind, and he listened and learned. ‘That’s one wonderful thing I like most about black American communities,’ he said. ‘As long as you don’t try to tell them how to do their own culture, you’re good.’ Ever since Dr. Rapp’s days, performers from all races and backgrounds have jumped onstage, added Caldwell. But the moment they stutter or slur, it’s always the same:
Last year, I tried a reading list experiment. The goal was to narrow down my ever expanding list of books to read to a manageable set for the year by selecting a 101 books. It was too much. So, this year, I’ll try the same, but reduce the number to one book a week, counting the six books that are less than 100 pages as one book.
Albertine, Viv. To Throw Away Unopened. 320 pgs.
Bardugo, Leigh. Six of Crows. 465 pgs.
Bardugo, Leigh. Crooked Kingdom. 536 pgs.
Bourdain, Anthony. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. 312 pgs.
Bowden, Charles. The Red Caddy. 120 pgs.
Bui, Thi. The Best We Could Do. 329 pgs.
Bujold, Lois McMaster. The Curse of Chalion. 490 pgs.
Bujold, Lois McMaster. Paladin of Souls. 470 pgs.
Bujold, Lois McMaster. The Hallowed Hunt. 423 pgs.
Chiang, Ted. Stories of Your Life and Others. 281 pgs.
Davis, Eleanor. You & a Bike & a Road. 172 pgs.
Díaz, Junot. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. 335 pgs.
Doucet, Julie. 365 Days. 360 pgs.
Egan, Greg. Dichronauts. 312 pgs.
Epicurus. The Art of Happiness. 288 pgs.
Farrukhzad, Furugh. Sin: Selected Poems of Furugh Farrukhzad. 136 pgs.
Feinberg, Leslie. Stone Butch Blues. 308 pgs.
Fisher, B. K. Radioapocrypha. 82 pgs.
Gwynne, S. C. Empire of the Summer Moon. 384 pgs.
Hart, Tom. Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir. 272 pgs.
Howe, Fanny. The Winter Sun: Notes on a Vocation. 196 pgs.
James, Marlon. The Book of Night Women. 417 pgs.
Jos, Charles. feeld. 80 pgs.
Kraus, Chris. Aliens & Anorexia. 244 pgs.
Lester, C. N. Trans Like Me. 240 pgs.
Lispector, Clarice. The Complete Stories. 640 pgs.
Madhubuti, Haki R. Run Toward Fear: New Poems and a Poet’s Handbook. 68 pgs.
Morgan, Richard K. Thin Air. 400 pgs.
Moore, Elizabeth Anne. Sweet Little Cunt: The Graphic Works of Julie Doucet. 214 pgs.
Myles, Eileen. Not Me. 202 pgs.
Nelson, Maggie. Bluets. 98 pgs.
Pink, Sam. The Garbage Times/White Ibis. 272 pgs.
Pollan, Michael. How to Change Your Mind. 480 pgs.
“The first all-nonfiction McSweeney’s issue is a collection of essays and interviews focusing on issues related to technology, privacy, and surveillance.
The collection features writing by EFF’s team, including Executive Director Cindy Cohn, Education and Design Lead Soraya Okuda, Senior Investigative Researcher Dave Maass, Special Advisor Cory Doctorow, and board member Bruce Schneier.
We also recruited some of our favorite thinkers on digital rights to contribute to the collection: anthropologist Gabriella Coleman contemplates anonymity; Edward Snowden explains blockchain; journalist Julia Angwin and Pioneer Award-winning artist Trevor Paglen discuss the intersections of their work; Pioneer Award winner Malkia Cyril discusses the historical surveillance of black bodies; and Ken Montenegro and Hamid Khan of Stop LAPD Spying debate author and intelligence contractor Myke Cole on the question of whether there’s a way law enforcement can use surveillance responsibly.”
“Once there was a fish and a turtle who were friends. They had been living in the same lake together for some time. One day the turtle decided to visit the land surrounding the lake. She had a good look around and came back to tell her friend the fish of the wonders she had seen. The fish was very interested and asked the turtle what it was like on land. The turtle answered that it was very beautiful. The fish then wanted to know whether it had been transparent, cool, rippling, shiny, smooth, good for gliding, buoyant, and wet. When the turtle said it had none of these attributes, the fish said, ‘What can be beautiful about it then?'”