Wednesday, August 14, 2019

So many subjects

Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief by Jordan Peterson.   The kind of book a person needs to read more than one time, to try to discern for its depth.  He lays out how we've been shaped by language and ideas to map the world as we do - shaped as much by culture as the reality we see/perceive.  A book I'll need to re-engage, for sure.  From the wikipedia page about the author: Peterson is a "Canadian clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His main areas of study are in abnormal, social, and personality psychology, with a particular interest in the psychology of religious and ideological belief and the assessment and improvement of personality and performance. . . . .The Architecture of Belief (1999), examined several academic fields to describe the structure of systems of beliefs and myths, their role in the regulation of emotion, creation of meaning, and several other topics such as motivation for genocide."

The Bonanza King: John Mackay and the Battle over the Greatest Riches in the American West by Gregory Crouch.  I learned about mining, San Fransisco, Gold, California, Industry and so much more in this great book.  This review is from an Amazon customer: "John Mackay, as presented in the Bonanza King, is certainly a fascinating story of immigrant rags-to-riches in the wild West and a refreshingly honorable, though human, role model for hard work, personal conduct, and leadership. But it is Greg Crouch's entertaining and easy-reading authorship that make this book truly one of the best biographies I've ever read. Crouch has distilled what was obviously a vast body of research on the subject into both a great story of John Mackay's life and an accessible education on topics like mining practices and corporate governance of the 19th century. From the newspaper reports of the time, Crouch has pulled plum witticisms and sprinkled them throughout each chapter, which add a wry grin at every turn and keep the whole thing feeling like a rollicking good tale rather than a pedantic history. Vignettes of other historically notable characters and events of the region and nation during the period are woven into the telling of Mackay's incredible rise, adding both entertainment and perspective. The ethnic/racial/gender/environmental injustices of the day are not glossed over, but neither are they used for story-distracting sermonizing from our two-century-removed vantage point. The only other mining-themed book I know of that is written as well is Wallace Stegner's fictional Angle of Repose, but Bonanza King has the advantages of being both factual and more uplifting! Stegner himself once said that "hard writing makes easy reading", so thanks to Greg Crouch for doing all the arduous word-mining, panning, and amalgamating that brought forth such a pure nugget of enjoyment."

The Number: A Completely Different Way to Think About the Rest of Your Life by Lee Eisenberg.  Choose a number of $ you want to retire, calculate it and plan for it - and it won't be enough (is the essence of this book.  People steward poorly and markets/economies change (in potentially exponential ways).  From an Amazon review:  "This book is a 200 page rant about the waste and fraud in the retirement financial planning industry. According to the author, the industry is set up to take advantage of boomers who are too dumb to know what to do when they retire. Yet, the book provides no useful retirement information itself. On the the last page of 200+, he finally gets around to telling you that there is no Number anyway. It's a illusion, for all you suckers who bought this book. Too late now, no returns are available. If, in the author's opinion, you're a real stooge, you can actually calculate your retirement number. Take your expected retirement income and take 4%. Live on that, he says. But it's more important to find your meaning in life. Money doesn't matter."

The Chickens**t Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives Hardcover by Jesse Eisinger.    I knew I wouldn't like this book based on the title - and the summary found prior to reading it.  It narrates how unethical practices are permitted by those in power.  A good read - yet, tragic of America will live into her best ideals and best future.  From information about the book found online:
From Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Jesse Eisinger, “a fast moving, fly-on-the-wall, disheartening look at the deterioration of the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission…It is a book of superheroes” (San Franscisco Review of Books).
Why were no bankers put in prison after the financial crisis of 2008? Why do CEOs seem to commit wrongdoing with impunity? The problem goes beyond banks deemed “Too Big to Fail” to almost every large corporation in America—to pharmaceutical companies and auto manufacturers and beyond. The Chickenshit Club—an inside reference to prosecutors too scared of failure and too daunted by legal impediments to do their jobs—explains why in “an absorbing financial history, a monumental work of journalism…a first-rate study of the federal bureaucracy” (Bloomberg Businessweek).
Jesse Eisigner begins the story in the 1970s, when the government pioneered the notion that top corporate executives, not just seedy crooks, could commit heinous crimes and go to prison. He brings us to trading desks on Wall Street, to corporate boardrooms and the offices of prosecutors and FBI agents. These revealing looks provide context for the evolution of the Justice Department’s approach to pursuing corporate criminals through the early 2000s and into the Justice Department’s approach to pursuing corporate criminals through the early 2000s and into the Justice Department of today, including the prosecutorial fiascos, corporate lobbying, trial losses, and culture shifts that have stripped the government of the will and ability to prosecute top corporate executives.
“Brave and elegant….a fearless reporter…Eisinger’s important and profound book takes no prisoners (The Washington Post). Exposing one of the most important scandals of our time, The Chickenshit Club provides a clear, detailed explanation as to how our Justice Department has come to avoid, bungle, and mismanage the fight to bring these alleged criminals to justice. “This book is a wakeup call…a chilling read, and a needed one” (

The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West by Peter Cozzens

A powerful tale of what the emerging "Americans" in what would become the United States did to natives in the land.

From the web:
"A detailed recounting of random carnage, bodies burned, treaties broken and treachery let loose across the land. . . . Cozzens admirably succeeds in framing the Indian Wars with acute historical accuracy. . . . [D]emonstrates vast knowledge of American military history." —Douglas Brinkley, The New York Times Book Review 
"[S]ets a new standard for Western Indian Wars history. . . . [T]he most comprehensive, insightful synthesis of the conflict between the Western tribes and the United States government and citizens published by a popular New York press in decades. . . . Like William Manchester’s The Glory and the Dream . . . [Cozzens’] brilliant thesis and detailed narrative will sustain the reader…from the prologue to the conclusion. . . . [S]uccinctly seeks a sharper understanding of the cause and effects of the American government’s policies, citizen relations with the tribes, intertribal history and warfare, and the United States’ massive immigration into the West during and after the Civil War." —Stuart Rosebrook, True West Magazine

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