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Last post Author Topic: What books are you reading?  (Read 342033 times)

wraith808

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #925 on: May 27, 2018, 02:39 PM »
Welcome, gorens.

Your post reminded me to post.

I have recently been reading a ton of "relationship" books lately.. At least a half dozen of them.  These are self-help type books with different theories of, and advice about, relationships with your significant other.

Growing up I never gave much thought to such things, and never spent significant time "working" on having a relationship.  I just figured it would all come naturally.  And I am mostly a loner, and happy that way, so I have never been overly concerned with making a relationship "last".  Now almost 50 years old I find myself shocked that these kinds of relationship and self-help subjects aren't taught in school.  Some really useful life lessons and advice...

As to why I've been reading so much about making a relationship work lately.. Well that will have to wait for another day and another post.  But in the next few days I will try to post some mini-reviews about the books I have been reading.  I encourage everyone, whether currently in a relationship or not, to read some books on making a relationship work -- the earlier in your life the better.


Or go to a therapist or counselor.  It's amazing what you can find out just from having a safe space to talk about such things.  I wish I'd figured that out earlier.

wraith808

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #926 on: May 27, 2018, 10:56 PM »
Goodreads has a challenge this year that I'm going to try to complete: You tell how many books you are going to read this year, and aim to do so.  I'm aiming for 12.  I think I could do more, but decided to hold back.  I'm on my fourth one in the two months since I joined, so maybe I sandbagged a bit.

Currently, I'm reading a series called the World of Ruin.  I thought I'd posted about the first that I read a bit ago:

world of ruin 1.jpg
Shadow of the Winter King

I'd really liked it, but not kept up with it- because the next two came out, and I'm on the third one.

world of ruin 2.jpgworld of ruin 3.jpg
Shield of the Summer PrinceMask of the Blood Queen

I also read the finale to another series that I'd been reading - the Demon Cycle

core.jpg
Core

They're both fantasy series, but both have a definite twist on what a fantasy novel is.  I'd definitely recommend either.

Dormouse

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #927 on: May 28, 2018, 08:34 AM »
I've never contributed to this thread; and feel that  I probably should have done if I'm doing a thread on writers' tools.

So I'll add some post on books I've read over the last 6 months or so.

This is a really good (real life) story about the development of a font. A bit of a who dun it. Higfhly recommended, especially if you have some interest in font design. I didn't know I had, so discovered quite a lot.

514rHdhwmnL._AC_US436_QL65_.jpgWhat books are you reading?

And coincidentally fonts played quite a big part in another book I read recently. Not as good, but light and quite charming. I found it a bit tedious in the stretches when it was describing tech stuff and companies that I already knew; and it wasn't always correct. There seem to be follow ups, but I feel that what I have read is complete on its own.

51DEU2i9BtL._AC_US436_QL65_.jpgWhat books are you reading?

And while I'm on the subject of libraries, I enjoyed the start to this fantasy/steampunk series (I'm saving the others for later). Easy reading, nothing profound.

61eipzF7IHL._AC_US436_QL65_.jpgWhat books are you reading?
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 08:45 AM by Dormouse »

tomos

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #928 on: May 28, 2018, 11:35 AM »
This is a really good (real life) story about the development of a font. A bit of a who dun it. Higfhly recommended, especially if you have some interest in font design. I didn't know I had, so discovered quite a lot.

[ Invalid Attachment ]

This (Marcel's Letters) sounds like my cup of tea, thanks!
Tom

Dormouse

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #929 on: May 29, 2018, 09:30 AM »
This (Marcel's Letters) sounds like my cup of tea, thanks!
And seems to be on offer today!
tbh I bought it on an offer myself, a while ago.

mouser

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #930 on: June 01, 2018, 04:16 PM »
Ok here is a summary of some of the best (partner/marriage) relationship books I have been reading lately:



If I had to pick only one general best one, it would be "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work" by John Gottman.  This is a book by someone who has studied relationships academically, and he has written many books on the subject.  His observations and advice are not groundbreaking, but they are useful, and have been well developed and honed.  His main hook is the idea of "bids" -- small mundane interactions where one person is making a bid for their partner's attention -- and the reactions to such bids, and how improving how you react to such bids can yield large improvements.

sevenprinciples.jpg



And if you are interested in relationships that extend beyond your partner -- to relatives and even work, he applies the same concepts in another book that also covers partner relationships but others as well, called "The Relationship Cure".  There's a lot of overlap so I wouldn't recommend you get both.

relationshipcure.jpg



One of the major insights I got in reading these books is how large a role the differences between introverts and extroverts can play in a relationships.. I found the following book very helpful, and would highly recommend it to anyone in a relationship where one person is an introvert and the other is an extrovert:  "The Introvert and Extrovert In Love by Marti Laney  and Michael Laney".  I think it will help each person see their partner in a new more positive light.

introvert.jpg



As one might predict, some relationship self-help books seem to sometimes be directed at an audience of people who might be said to have unusually difficult times in relationships, or who have major issues that they feel they need to overcome.  While I don't find myself in this category, one interesting book for those who think that their are childhood issues getting in the way of them having healthy relationships was "Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples by Harville Hendrix". There is plenty of advice and insights that would apply to all relationships, but there is also quite a bit of a focus on repairing childhood issues that may have been caused by parents.  I'm not sure I agree with some of his theories but there were some thought provoking ideas.

gettinglove.jpg



If you have an appreciation for buddhist/zen approaches, as I do, another book that I quite liked was "How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving by David Richo".  I would say, like the Hendrix book above, this one has more of a focus on people who may have deeper issues to resolve, but it is unique in the books I've read in combining practical advice and insight, with a constant thread of being mindful (aware of, non-judgemental, acknowledging but not struggling against) about the world around you and your fears and issues.

adult.jpg



If you're more interested in the sexual/romantic side of relationship building and relationship struggles, a book I found quite thought provoking was "Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel".  Esther Perel is a couple's therapist. This is a slightly unconventional book with a distinct theory and approach.  I guess the best shorthand explanation for the author's theory is that couples need to pro-actively create a kind of healthy tension in their sexual relationship, being careful not to let loving/comforting/nurturing attitudes interfere with it.  So she stresses the importance of independence,which isn't too controversial, but also suggests value in not taking for granted that your partner will always be around and will never leave you.  There is also some insightful discussion about cultural effects on sexual taboos, and why people have certain sexual preferences and the healthiness of play and fantasy.

mating.jpg



Another book that I find quite illuminating was recommended to me by a donationcoder member who shall remain anonymous: "Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love by Dorothy Tennov".  This is a very narrowly focused book by an academic, on a particularly intense phenomena of falling madly in love, that seems to only effect a minority of the population.  The author describes the emotional state of limerance as a very intense desire for someone (often someone who the subject does not know well), with intrusive thoughts and preoccupation, that can generate a richly satisfying and addictive kind of attachment.  And the attachment and feeling of love and need is typically heightened by the unavailability of the object of one's affections.  I'm probably not doing it justice here, but the bottom line is that if these kinds of feelings resonate with you and describe the kinds of experiences you have had falling madly in love with someone you barely know, you may find this book a revelation and incredibly helpful.  It may also help you put things in perspective and snap out of a silly fixation on someone who, by their very nature, is not going to be good for you.

limerence.jpg



Here's an early good book I read that I forgot to add to my initial write up.  "The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts" by Gary Chapman.  This one seems to have really hit home with people and has spun off a few additional related books.  The take home theory of this book is that different people (and very often men and women) may have different ways that they need to hear that they are loved. Different things that affect them most strongly.  For some people it's touch, for some people it's shared activities, etc.  And that people tend to think that the way *they* want to have love expressed to them is *not* the same as the way their partner needs to hear it.  So that it's important to figure out how your partner needs to feel loved in ways that are different from the way you need to.  Pretty cool.

langauges.jpg



Some final closing thoughts on relationship books is that just the act of reading and discussing these with your significant other seems like it is such a good healthy thing, and taking an active interest in improving your relationship skills seems like something we could all benefit from -- it's something I wish I had been encouraged to examine earlier in my life.

In general, all of these books are way too bloated with the same information repeated over and over again...  All of them could have half of their pages removed without losing anything.  And I think you could probably get 90% of the benefits by reading any random relationship book -- the overlap in the ideas is substantial..  So the bottom like is just: Care enough about your relationships to read about the subject!  Even for people who have a great relationship, I think seeing something written down that confirms things you already know and do will be useful.



Anyone else have relationship book recommendations?
« Last Edit: June 05, 2018, 04:17 PM by mouser »

IainB

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #931 on: June 02, 2018, 02:38 AM »
@mouser:
I tend to be careful about giving advice, on the basis that I could well be wrong in what I say.
Having studied human and animal psychology to some extent, I would suggest that one probably needs to be especially careful about dishing out or "recommending" personal marital/relationship advice, whether it is from first-hand experience, or from secondhand experience via other peoples' quoted experiences, or from the thoughts of "professional" or "expert" authors on the subject.

Where you say:
...This is a book by someone who has studied relationships academically, and he has written many books on the subject. ...
- I would respectfully suggest that this could implicitly seem to be:
  • a non sequitur ("it does not follow"; or irrelevant conclusion). Just because someone has "studied relationships academically", or "written many books" on a subject does not, in and of itself necessarily mean that they are a good choice of advice. They might be the opposite of what you suggest. At most, all it may indicate is that they have written many books on the subject, but whether they have learned anything from their "academic study of relationships" is unknown.
    For example, a friend of mine once directed me to an interesting book "Are you the one for me?" written some years back by one Barbara De Angeles PhD. Her photogenic face was on the cover, and she was easy on the eye. Her book was reputedly a "#1 BESTSELLER". I thought her analytical approach was novel but lacking in love/humanity.
    However, if you follow her biography, you will probably find that she seems to have been somewhat of an unlucky serial relationship breaker, with a trail of shattered personal relationships in her wake. But perhaps she is still earning money from a gullible audience desperately seeking answers to real human problems but who may have looked no deeper than the cover of her book(s) - I gather she has written several.

  • an argumentum ad verecundiam (appeal to authority; conventional propriety). Just because someone has (say) a Ph.D and writes on the subject, it does not follow, in and of itself, that they are  necessarily a good choice of marital/relationship advice. If they have been able to show a genuine trail of success - e.g., (say) genuine testimonials from many happy recipients of their psychiatric relationship counselling - then that would be a positive indicator, certainly. Similarly, one of the books below says on the cover that it is "A practical guide from one of the country's foremost relationship experts." Yeah, right. This is a meaningless, improven and unprovable statement - regarded in (UK) contract law as a marketing "puff" - a permissible unproven promotional statement which can be used to nimbly skate around any consumer complaints of false representation inducing them to buy the book. Of course the publisher is going to punt his wares, and should be permitted to do so with glowing praise if he wishes ("accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative", etc.). Caveat emptor.

  • an argumentum ad ignorantiam (forwarding a proposition without any certain proof). Just because one might have a high opinion of a book does not, in and of itself necessarily mean that it is a good choice of marital/relationship advice/guidance.
    There are a lot of con men and intelligent idiots about (e.g., many seem to be in psychology and other "social sciences" and "climate science"), many of them even qualified and published in some field or other, believing themselves to be, or appealing to others as self-styled experts. They can do a great deal of damage to a society's store of Truth/Knowledge - e.g., Trofim Lysenko (Lysenkoism) and other fakers such as the German physician Franz Joseph Gall, who devised the Phrenology hoax, or the amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson and Arthur Smith Woodward (Keeper of Geology at the Natural History Museum) who were the  architects of the Piltdown Man hoax, come to mind. Learned men all. The proof of their worth is not in (say) a paper qualification or their position in a hierarchy, but only in the pudding - i.e., what they do with their lives and what they produce that is or has been beneficial to humanity/science., or which has contributed to the store of human knowledge.

Having said that, I have just once given some indirect "relationship advice" to someone - a woman who was the IT Manager and my boss (sponsor) on a consulting assignment that I was independently contracted for in 2004. I'll call her "Anne" (not her real name).
Anne had recently married, but frequently had to work late - often on the critical projects I was engaged upon, and she described how she found that her husband - who worked from home as a self-employed architect) disliked this and when she got home they would keep getting into an argument about it that always spiralled down into an inconclusive/unresolved stasis. It seemed to be repetitive, where the same things/points were said/put by each person.

I told Anne that, quite by coincidence, I had a book with me that I kept to read in the lunchbreaks - it was a psychology textbook written by a man and wife team (2 academics and psychologists) who had expanded in the book the theoretical boundaries of what is called TA ("Transactional Analysis") - a psychoanalytic theory and method of therapy. I was reading it simply out of interest and to get up to speed with the current methodology, having studied and been very interested in the earlier development of TA (sort of "I'm OK, You're OK").

I explained to Anne that it is/was so relevant and useful that I even taught TA theory to my wife and children, so that they could better understand how we as a family might interrelate, and also to better understand relationships with others, and why people (oneself included) might tend to behave/do/say under certain circumstances, depending on their ego-states (basically, Parent, Adult, Child). We each can speak from these ego states, and in our interrelationships we will tend to flicker between them. We are usually unaware that this is happening, but becoming aware can help us to balance our responses in the Adult state - if we want. If our ego is stuck in another state though, it will literally protect itself and resist such self-adjustment. The therapist's task is to help his/her client on the journey to realise/come back to the Adult state, and to take responsibility for consistently maintaining that behaviour pattern. Not necessarily an easy task!

She was an intelligent woman, so I thought she could understand and I told her that what she had described as her repetitive dialogue with her husband was described in some detail in the textbook - it was a classic case of what was/is called "running/acting a script". Simply put, the thing would basically tend to repeat indefinitely until either:
  • (a) One or the other partner attacked the relationship with the other partner, blaming them as being the cause of the perceived problem ("You're NOT OK") - thus damaging the relationship.
  • (b) Both partners realised that they were acting out a classic example of the theoretical life script in the textbook, and that they were not obliged to act out the script and had the option to adapt to and maintain Adult ego state behaviours, which would enable them to perceive and take responsibility for successfully resolving whatever the real problems might be (if any) in their relationships.

She asked if she could borrow the textbook. I gladly handed it over. Two weeks later she gave it back to me and thanked me profusely. The book had enabled them to understand what they were doing to themselves, and why, and they had intelligently modified their behaviours to Adult ego state, and held them there. This had enabled them to collaboratively work to resolving their real/root causal relationship problems, which they had not previously even been able to perceive as problems.

So that seemed to be a good result, though it probably did some psychotherapist out of their potential fees. But that is really what most therapists do - they help the client to take responsibility for seeing what is wrong, for fixing themselves up, and give them a method to do it. Most people need a therapist for that, but if one is not too ego-bound, one can do it oneself - always given the relevant knowledge.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 07:25 AM by IainB »

tomos

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #932 on: June 02, 2018, 03:31 AM »
it was a psychology textbook written by a man and wife team (2 academics and psychologists) who had expanded in the book the theoretical boundaries of what is called TA ("Transactional Analysis") - a psychoanalytic theory and method of therapy. I was reading it simply out of interest and to get up to speed with the current methodology, having studied and been very interested in the earlier development of TA (sort of "I'm OK, You're OK").
You dont name the book?
Interesting post -- well, the second part. First part is a worthwhile warning, especially for this type of topic, but is overstated which leaves the danger that people simply stop reading and miss the second part (I nearly did).
Tom

tomos

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #933 on: June 02, 2018, 03:42 AM »
I dont have any recommendations re relationship books myself. Was interesting to read your recommendations mouser :up:

In general, all of these books are way too bloated with the same information repeated over and over again...  All of them could have half of their pages removed without losing anything.
I'm reminded of two 'self-help' books from years ago:
  • Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
  • End the Struggle and Dance with Life
both by the same author (Susan Jeffers). I found the first one helpful and bought the second. Both books were extremely repetitive in content. Both books are perfectly summarised in their titles. So you just need to remember the title and apply the advice at the appropriate moment, and you're sorted...
Tom

Deozaan

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #934 on: June 02, 2018, 10:27 AM »
IainB, I would respectfully suggest that (in my opinion) your pointing out of potential logical fallacies in mouser's statement is misplaced.

(1) Dr. Gottman has spent decades academically studying (i.e. scientifically researching) relationships, so it does follow that what he has to say about them is worth hearing. Therefore it's not a non-sequitur.
(2) Dr. Gottman has spent decades studying relationships, so he actually is the country's foremost expert on relationships and what makes them successful or not. Appealing to authority is not necessarily a logical fallacy, especially when you're talking about their area of expertise.
(3) mouser's "proof" of the validity of the content of the book he recommended is not based merely on his opinion. It's based on the fact that Dr. Gottman has spent decades studying relationships and is the foremost expert on them. Therefore it's not forwarding an opinion in ignorance.





I also recommend Dr. Gottman's book (The 7 Principles). :Thmbsup:

Another book that may be helpful in learning how to communicate and understand each other is The 5 Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman.

mouser

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #935 on: June 02, 2018, 10:55 AM »
Let me elaborate on why I thought it was useful to point out that he "studied relationships academically". It probably would have been more helpful if I said this originally.

These relationship/self-help books tend to be written by 3 different kinds of people:
1) People who are presenting theories and advice primarily based on their PERSONAL LIVED EXPERIENCES.
2) Therapists who have been trained in psychology or similar fields, and have treated clients, and have had experience with a few dozen clients, etc.
3) Academics who have conducted large scale studies of hundreds of people and published peer reviewed papers.

Now I do *not* claim that one type of author is better than another.  However, the kinds of advice and insights presented by these different kinds of authors -- and more significantly the evidentiary basis for them -- seem to be qualitatively different.  When Gottman suggests strategies or presents observations, they are presented in terms of "when we studied the couples reactions, over large numbers of couples, here is what we found common in the relationships that worked.."  Whereas an author who is writing from personal experience does not have access to such things, and their presentations are much more personal and anecdotal.

This can be important because sometimes the lived-experience authors tend to over-generalize and their observations and advice can sometimes be inapplicable to your circumstance or personality.  The academic authors can be more convincing in their observations and advice - but as you might expect when talking about patterns that apply to large populations, they may miss the opportunity to address more personality-specific issues.

Dormouse

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #936 on: June 02, 2018, 02:56 PM »
Last week I finished The Great Siege of Malta by Bruce Ware Allen. It was a surprisingly exciting account for a history book with a substantial proportion of its pages with footnotes and references. Many references drawn from contemporary eye witness accounts.

51sCRwN8BJL.jpgWhat books are you reading?

I read it because it was a pivotal (long) moment in the history of Europe at the transition between the mediaeval and modern ages (1565), and because I'd recently become aware of how little I knew of the detail of Italian history in the post-Roman and mediaeval periods. This was drawn to my attention when I read Tim Powers' The Drawing of the Dark, which I read a few months ago. This brilliant fantasy was based on the Siege of Vienna in 1529 - another successful resistance to an Ottoman attack. Tim Powers was known for using contemporaneous evidence and recorded history to provide a basis for his fantasy fiction. I was surprised that it had not been extended into a series (everything had been set up for it), but had not realised that it had been first published in 1979 before series were the accepted way for authors to make money.

615vivfMaTL.jpgWhat books are you reading?
« Last Edit: June 02, 2018, 03:03 PM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #937 on: June 03, 2018, 03:54 AM »
Dr. Gottman has spent decades studying relationships and is the foremost expert on them.
Hesitate to weigh in here, but I think it is an exaggeration to call John Gottman the foremost expert on relationships. Or an academic. He was a clinical academic, which is quite a different thing. His research and statistical approaches were somewhat problematic, although that isn't unusual in clinically oriented research. If you want an academic view, you could try one of the books by Steve Duck (though his interests have widened in recent years).

Steve has written or edited 60 books on relationships and other matters and was the founder and, for the first 15 years, the Editor of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. His book Meaningful Relationships: Talking, Sense, and Relating won the G. R. Miller Book Award from the Interpersonal Communication Division of the National Communication Association. Steve co-founded a series of international conferences on personal relationships. - Excerpt from Amazon

Disclosure - I knew him personally some years ago (acquaintance rather than friend).
PS I'm not recommending the books, (a) because I probably haven't read the ones you'd consider and (b) because a book by a pure academic is rarely what people are looking for when they are looking for books on relationships.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 06:06 AM by Dormouse »

IainB

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #938 on: June 03, 2018, 05:53 AM »
@tomos:
1. Name of the textbook: Sorry, but I don't recall it. It wasn't mine. I had borrowed it from someone or a local library. I did a quick duckgo search just now and came up with a l-o-n-g list of likely books on the subject of TA. One that looked similar to what I recalled was: Ta Today: A New Introduction to Transactional Analysis. (Second Edition) Ian Stewart, Vann Joines
The reviews for that on Amazon mention the breakdown of the PAC ego states into subgroups (e.g., Adapted Child) - and that (the subgroups) was a new thing to me at the time and was one of the reasons I was reading the book (to learn from it). I expect there are lots of books on TA, but this one looked like it could be useful. The thing to focus on would probably be not so much the title as the content - i.e., coverage and understanding of the modern, newer theoretical aspects of TA and how they might be applied in practice (psychotherapy).

2. Qualities of my post: The first part may have been overstated in its suggestions, as you say, but I don't know. I just try my best and was in a bit of a hurry as I was about to go out to a farmers' market.
The second part was something of an afterthought when I realised that I had effectively referred someone to a book on the subject, but it was done inadvertently. At the time, it struck me as quite an extraordinary coincidence that Anne was describing her real-life script-acting, almost exactly as it was described theoretically in the book that I had been reading.

As for recommending such a book to someone, well, I'm not so sure.
These sorts of books can be quite challenging to the ego as they generally indicate (to be of any use for self-help) the need for a more open mind and a willingness to change oneself and, as J.K. Galbraith so adroitly put it:
“Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.”
That is, recommending therapy - rather than a book - might be more likely to produce a positive/beneficial result for the individual concerned. Egos can be both terrible and pretty fragile things.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2018, 05:57 AM by IainB »

rgdot

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #939 on: June 03, 2018, 10:45 AM »
I guess a whole other topic as far as DC goes  :tellme:

DcTnlBEVAAEduQk.jpgWhat books are you reading?

wraith808

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #940 on: June 03, 2018, 12:14 PM »
That is, recommending therapy - rather than a book - might be more likely to produce a positive/beneficial result for the individual concerned.

If my statement above doesn't indicate this well enough, let it be known that I agree with that statement.

rjbull

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #941 on: June 03, 2018, 03:53 PM »
[...] I read Tim Powers' The Drawing of the Dark, which I read a few months ago. This brilliant fantasy [...]
I hope you are also aware of Tim Powers' The Anubis Gatesw.  I only read it once, long ago, but it seemed to me a fantasy masterpiece.

rjbull

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #942 on: June 03, 2018, 04:04 PM »
If anyone remembers mentions of Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus series and Heroes of the Valley, much earlier in this thread, and wondered what he's been doing since, this is it:
Lockwood&Co.jpg
A quintet of YA horror-with-a-touch-of-humour novels, plus a shorter ebook (I've not read that last).  Great entertainment.  Here's the blurb for the first in the series, taken directly from Jonathan's Stroud's web site:
The Screaming Staircase

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2018, 04:09 PM by rjbull »

rjbull

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #943 on: June 03, 2018, 04:43 PM »
Another YA SF (well, fantasy in an SF wrapper, perhaps); the concluding volume of the trilogy - Railhead, Black Light Express, and now Station Zero. More great entertainment. Raises questions about the wisdom of committing too much to benevolent AIs, and at what point sentient machines are equivalent to humans, doing so in a lighter and more enjoyable manner than some 'adult' SF.
Philip Reeve's web site (out of date)
StationZero.jpg

mouser

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #944 on: June 05, 2018, 04:18 PM »
Edited my post to add another relationship book.

wraith808

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #945 on: June 05, 2018, 06:04 PM »
Read(ing) two anthologies.

exalted.jpgWhat books are you reading?

Exalted: Tales from the Age of Sorrows

Very disappointing.  As an anthology based on an RPG, I didn't expect much.  But it didn't even deliver to that level.

kikhanga.jpgWhat books are you reading?

Ki-Khanga: The Anthology

My second time attempting to get through this - the formatting of the e-book and editing are atrocious.  But once I got past that, the stories themselves were pretty good.

Dormouse

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #946 on: June 06, 2018, 06:23 AM »
I hope you are also aware of Tim Powers' The Anubis Gatesw.  I only read it once, long ago, but it seemed to me a fantasy masterpiece.
I became aware of it when I checked out what else he'd written. Haven't read it yet, but intend to. Glad to see a recommendation.

My method for selecting books is partly random. I acquire books (paper and ebooks) when they seem very good value (usual), or I want to read them NOW (less usual), and I use access to other people's books whenever I can. If I'm staying at a B&B with books, I will try to read one of them (preferably finishing before I leave) and will browse books at coffee shops and pubs that have them.

At home, I choose what I want from the shelves or use a random number generator to select a book from our shared ebook library. If it lands on a series, I choose the earliest book I haven't read. If I don't feel like it, I'll look at the list again by author or recency, and then reroll. I prefer to switch genres and subjects to avoid staleness. I also like trying lots of stuff I would never have deliberately chosen. And varying quality levels, and styles.

Dormouse

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #947 on: June 10, 2018, 06:14 AM »
Yesterday I read Greylady (Clan Wars 1) by Peter Morwood; first published 1993. The start of a prequel series to the Horse Lords. The second (Widowmaker) was published but the mooted third in the series never appeared and neither did projected extensions to his Horse Lords series. Some joint writing with his wife, but his own writing seems to have come to a stop around 20 years ago. Apparently now 'consults on modern militaria and medieval European weapons'. He and his wife, Diane Duane, appeared at the Discworld Convention in Warwick on 22nd July last year and will be back again this year.

Came up on my random number generator, and I thought I'd check Goodreads before diving in. 3.89 - not good. None of his individual books were as high as 4 - not at all good. Worth bothering? I thought about it, but decided to check it out. And actually it was good. Rich sonorous prose. Somewhat derivative setting, but very little isn't. Too slow for modern pace junkies, but they would surely stop after a few pages, realising it wasn't for them. So looked to be worth a higher rating (OK, not by me - but I'd probably rate 1-2 points lower than the average rater). Not very, very good. Deus ex machina shows, hurrying some transitions. No tension build, and no sense  of impending resolution either; can be OK, but not usually in this genre. All tweakable. And, I think, still is. Up to 90%.

Greylady.jpgWhat books are you reading?

But then a massive flaw. Six missing months. And it simply jumps into the new present. Fine in some books, but this style was about reflection and internal development as well as external. Those six months may have had no big external events, but personal events were moving apace.
And at the very end the protagonist does something he simply wouldn't have done.

Why? The short answer is rank bad editing. The book shouldn't have gone out like this. The author is probably culpable too.
Options:-
  • Fixed word target, and the book was cut down to fit.
  • The natural end was thought not to draw readers on to Book 2.
  • Author boredom. He'd demonstrated an interest in his settings and that he saw action as scenes, visually, and maybe saw the missing six months as rehashing.
Poor editing in any event. Either poor executive decisions about how the book should be, or a failure to direct or persuade the author to address the issues. No idea if he how much editing he did himself or how much input there was from his wife.
Not read any of his other books, so it is hard to know whether they have similar issues - I'm pretty sure the writing quality would be similar.

I'd still recommend it; always a good sign if a book is finished in a day.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 07:45 AM by Dormouse »

IainB

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The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organisation - 2nd Ed, (2006) Pub. Random House Business Books. This ed. revised and updated with 100 new pages since the earlier (1st.) Ed. (1992).
My rating:  :Thmbsup:  :Thmbsup:  :Thmbsup:  :Thmbsup:  :Thmbsup:

11_462x646_E6957807.pngWhat books are you reading?

Not sure whether it is the same publisher (it has a slightly different cover), but the Amazon page for this book is here. <https://www.amazon.com/Fifth-Discipline-Practice-Learning-Organization/dp/0385517254>
There is an E-book version and an Amazon audible version (featuring the author as narrator) - the latter is here. <https://www.amazon.com/Fifth-Discipline-Practice-Learning-Organization/dp/B0000640E9>

The covering blurb for the book says:
Completely Updated and Revised
This revised edition of Peter Senge’s bestselling classic, The Fifth Discipline, is based on fifteen years of experience in putting the book’s ideas into practice. As Senge makes clear, in the long run the only sustainable competitive advantage is your organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition. The leadership stories in the book demonstrate the many ways that the core ideas in The Fifth Discipline, many of which seemed radical when first published in 1990, have become deeply integrated into people’s ways of seeing the world and their managerial practices.

In The Fifth Discipline, Senge describes how companies can rid themselves of the learning “disabilities” that threaten their productivity and success by adopting the strategies of learning organizations—ones in which new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, collective aspiration is set free, and people are continually learning how to create results they truly desire.

The updated and revised Currency edition of this business classic contains over one hundred pages of new material based on interviews with dozens of practitioners at companies like BP, Unilever, Intel, Ford, HP, Saudi Aramco, and organizations like Roca, Oxfam, and The World Bank. It features a new Foreword about the success Peter Senge has achieved with learning organizations since the book’s inception, as well as new chapters on Impetus (getting started), Strategies, Leaders’ New Work, Systems Citizens, and Frontiers for the Future.

Mastering the disciplines Senge outlines in the book will:
 • Reignite the spark of genuine learning driven by people focused on what truly matters to them
 • Bridge teamwork into macro-creativity
 • Free you of confining assumptions and mindsets
 • Teach you to see the forest and the trees
 • End the struggle between work and personal time

Covering blurb copied from: <https://www.amazon.com/Fifth-Discipline-Practice-Learning-Organization/dp/0385517254>

I first came across Senge's 5th Discipline when I was working on a contract with EDS, where his book (the 1st ed.) was required reading for management because EDS were at the time implementing the management philosophy of the 5th Discipline in the 3rd wave of an impressively ambitious 5-waves of planned change. Unfortunately, management either couldn't read, or didn't seem to understand it all, or maybe they just felt threatened by it, but they started to frustrate the implementation - seeming rather like the classic rejection of the "not invented here" syndrome. The rest, as they say, "is history" - after EDS stock was hived off from the parent corporation (General Motors) by it being floated in an IPO (Independent Public Offering) , EDS' performance/profitability and market share started a progressively accelerating downwards slide, ending in HP buying-up the failing EDS, keeping the strategically useful bits they wanted and closing down the rest, asset-stripping what they could on the way. Lots of redundancies - the HP euphemism for which was "WFR" ("Work Force Reduction/Resizing").

I am highly skeptical of the extent to which the "dozens of practitioners" in the organisations mentioned in the covering blurb have in fact actually properly implemented the 5th discipline in any sustainable form, since, from firsthand experience I know of two of them that have categorically failed to do so, but have instead turned those principles into a toxic form of management control ("toxic" here being a term that I gather was used by Senge) and which has been seriously detrimental for the organisations concerned.
This is not to say that the 5th Discipline is rubbish - far from it - but it does seem to indicate that we as a species may be unable to learn how to pragmatically implement its principles until we have unlearned most/all of the garbage that we have been brought up to believe or have been "educated" to believe.

This situation is kinda summed up in the Introduction to the Revised Edition, where Senge writes:
The Prevailing System of Management
...a short paragraph written by Dr [W. Edwards] Deming [as a comment for the book jacket of the 1st 1990 ed.]...
"Our prevailing system of management has destroyed our people.
People are born with intrinsic motivation, self-respect, dignity, curiosity to learn, joy in learning. The forces of destruction begin with toddlers - a prize for the best Halloween costume, grades in school, gold stars - and on up through the university. On the job, people, teams and divisions are ranked, reward for the top, punishment for the bottom. Management by Objectives, quotas, incentive pay, business plans, put together separately, division by division, cause further loss, unknown and unknowable."

This could largely explain the EDS toxic management syndrome. Perhaps unsurprisingly, management seemed incapable of seeing/assessing the value of the pearls of wisdom (the 5th Discipline) strewn before them, and naturally fell back on learned (toxic) behaviours.

As far as I can see, this described destruction of humanity's potential continues unabated. For example, a sizeable majority of the people reading the above Deming quote could probably misunderstand it (or be unable to perceive and internalise the truth of it) as they will have already been damaged. There's some discussion about this on DCF:
The exemplary dogmatism and intellectual deafness of US business management schools and their inability to learn new things was - and still seems to be - egregious, with Harvard Business School arguably being there steadfastly leading the way back into darkness, most of the time.
- and:
...mentioning W.E. Deming. I've pretty much read his entire corpus and found 99% of his thinking spot on. His "seven deadly diseases" of business still rings true despite them being so widely ignored.

The 7 Deadly Diseases
The "Seven Deadly Diseases" include:
  • Lack of constancy of purpose
  • Emphasis on short-term profits
  • Evaluation by performance, merit rating, or annual review of performance
  • Mobility of management
  • Running a company on visible figures alone
  • Excessive medical costs
  • Excessive costs of warranty, fueled by lawyers who work for contingency fees

"A Lesser Category of Obstacles" includes

  • Neglecting long-range planning
  • Relying on technology to solve problems
  • Seeking examples to follow rather than developing solutions
  • Excuses, such as "our problems are different"
  • Obsolescence in school that management skill can be taught in classes[27]
  • Reliance on quality control departments rather than management, supervisors, managers of purchasing, and production workers
  • Placing blame on workforces who are only responsible for 15% of mistakes where the system designed by management is responsible for 85% of the unintended consequences
  • Relying on quality inspection rather than improving product quality


« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 12:09 PM by IainB »

Dormouse

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Re: What books are you reading?
« Reply #949 on: Today at 06:03 PM »
I have just finished Orconomics: A Satire by J. Zachary Pike.

Orconomics.jpgWhat books are you reading?

It's an exploration of the economics required for D&D to exist in the form it does. Alludes to the financial crisis, and is probably slightly more enjoyable if you have some understanding of economics and finance but it is at a very simple level and not needed to enjoy the story at all.
Describes itself as a 'satire' but it isn't really; certainly not a viciously derisive satire in the Swiftian tradition and far more of a light persiflage full of warmth and fun.
Something that I think would be enjoyed by many RPG players.