📚 The Reading Journal #066

Determination, Hard Sell, The Dark History of Germany's Wealthiest Dynasties and Courage Is Calling

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Jane Austen, the beloved English novelist known for classics like "Pride and Prejudice" and "Sense and Sensibility," initially published her works anonymously. Her novels were credited only to "A Lady" on the title page. It wasn't until after her death that her brother Henry revealed her true identity as the author of these literary masterpieces. Austen's decision to publish anonymously allowed her to navigate the social norms and expectations of her time while gaining recognition for her remarkable storytelling talent.

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📚️ Staff Pick of the Week

The Hard Sell: Crime and Punishment at an Opioid Startup

In the early 2000s, pharmaceutical entrepreneur John Kapoor capitalized on the opioid boom by developing a potent formulation of fentanyl through his company, Insys Therapeutics. Kapoor, a brilliant immigrant scientist, assembled a determined team of salespeople, including an unconventional but persuasive leader who went to great lengths to close deals, even recruiting an exotic dancer. They targeted willing and questionable doctors while deceiving insurance companies, expanding the drug's use beyond its approved niche for cancer patients in dire need. As Insys became a Wall Street sensation, some insiders blew the whistle, triggering a far-reaching investigation. Evan Hughes' "The Hard Sell" exposes the pharmaceutical industry's tactics, offering unprecedented insight into the Insys saga and shedding light on the alarming practices surrounding opioid sales at the doctor's office, ultimately highlighting the government's efforts to hold the drug industry accountable for the opioid epidemic.

🎥 Reading Talk's

📈 Rising Quickly - Week of October 16, 2023

Nazi Billionaires: The Dark History of Germany's Wealthiest Dynasties

In 1946, Günther Quandt, the patriarch of Germany's influential industrial dynasty and the current controllers of BMW, faced arrest on suspicions of Nazi collaboration. He claimed to have been coerced into joining the party by Joseph Goebbels, and he was acquitted. However, it is revealed that Quandt lied, and subsequent generations of his family, along with other Nazi-affiliated billionaires, have seen their wealth grow while their connection to this dark past remains largely unacknowledged. Investigative journalist David de Jong sheds light on how Germany's wealthiest business dynasties accumulated vast wealth and power by supporting the Third Reich's atrocities. De Jong uncovers how they seized Jewish businesses, exploited slave labor, and intensified weapons production for Hitler's army, all while benefiting from America's political expediency, resulting in a hidden legacy that continues to stain the German and global economy.

🪄Most Talked About Fiction - Week of October 16, 2023

The Fragile Threads of Power by V.E. Schwab

Once, there were four worlds, nestled like pages in a book, each pulsing with fantastical power, and connected by a single city: London. Until the magic grew too fast, and forced the worlds to seal the doors between them in a desperate gamble to protect their own. The few magicians who could still open the doors grew more rare as time passed and now, only three Antari are known in recent memory―Kell Maresh of Red London, Delilah Bard of Grey London, and Holland Vosijk, of White London.

But barely a glimpse of them have been seen in the last seven years―and a new Antari named Kosika has appeared in White London, taking the throne in Holland's absence. The young queen is willing to feed her city with blood, including her own―but her growing religious fervor has the potential to drown them instead.

And back in Red London, King Rhy Maresh is threatened by a rising rebellion, one determined to correct the balance of power by razing the throne entirely.

Amidst this tapestry of old friends and new enemies, a girl with an unusual magical ability comes into possession of a device that could change the fate of all four worlds.

Her name is Tes, and she's the only one who can bring them together―or unravel it all.

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📚️ Most Talked About Non-Fiction - Week of October 16, 2023

Courage Is Calling: Fortune Favors the Brave

Ryan Holiday's bestselling trilogy, comprising "The Obstacle Is the Way," "Ego is the Enemy," and "Stillness is the Key," gained immense popularity among a diverse range of professionals, including athletes, CEOs, politicians, and entrepreneurs, introducing Stoicism to millions of readers. Now, in the first installment of a new series exploring ancient philosophy's cardinal virtues, Holiday delves into the foundational virtue of courage. He explores fear, cowardice, bravery, and valor through stories of historical and contemporary leaders, from Charles De Gaulle to Florence Nightingale and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as lesser-known figures like Helvidius Priscus, Frank Serpico, and Frederick Douglass. In a world dominated by fear, Holiday emphasizes the need for courage, activism, and truth-telling, urging readers to step into the arena and make a difference.

🆕 New and Noteworthy

Determined: A Science of Life without Free Will

In "Determined," Robert Sapolsky builds upon his previous work, "Behave," to challenge the comforting notion of a separate self guiding our biology. He provides a comprehensive synthesis of our understanding of consciousness, weaving together reason, emotion, and the intricate relationship between stimulus and response. Sapolsky systematically dismantles arguments for free will, navigating the complexities of chaos theory, quantum physics, and philosophy, revealing how the history of medicine has progressively shifted blame away from individuals for conditions like seizures once attributed to demonic possession. He explores the implications of this perspective on issues of punishment, morality, and societal coexistence, ultimately arguing that acknowledging our lack of free will can lead to a more compassionate and humane world, even if it proves to be a challenging realization in our daily lives.

✍️ Quote of the Week

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

Aristotle, Metaphysics

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