📚 The Reading Journal #067
The Matter of Everything, Wanting, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Poor Charlie’s Almanack
F. Scott Fitzgerald, best known for his classic novel "The Great Gatsby," struggled with finances throughout his life despite the acclaim of his literary works. In order to support himself and his wife Zelda, Fitzgerald often wrote short stories for magazines. Interestingly, he once confessed to his editor that he wrote the stories purely for money, while his true passion lay in his novels.
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📚️ Staff Pick of the Week
The Matter of Everything: How Curiosity, Physics, and Improbable Experiments Changed the World
"The Matter of Everything" by accelerator physicist Suzie Sheehy explores the quest of physics to comprehend the essence of matter and the universe, delving into the challenges of manipulating particles at the smallest scales. Sheehy introduces us to the remarkable individuals who orchestrated groundbreaking experiments, from the serendipitous discovery of X-rays to efforts to challenge Einstein's theories. These experiments, driven by genius, tenacity, and luck, have revolutionized science and transformed our lives, contributing to advancements such as medical imaging, telecommunications, and the internet. Sheehy demystifies the practice of physics, highlighting the role of experimentalists using unconventional tools and techniques. Ultimately, the book underscores the importance of human curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge in propelling progress and innovation.
🎥 Reading Talk's
📈 Rising Quickly - Week of October 23, 2023
Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life
In "Wanting," Luke Burgis explores a little-known psychological force as influential as gravity, shedding light on how it shapes human lives and societies. Drawing from the theories of René Girard, Burgis reveals that human desire is inherently mimetic, meaning we imitate the desires of others, impacting our choices in relationships, careers, and even our identities. This mimetic desire explains phenomena like the enduring relevance of Shakespeare's works and the competitive nature of our interconnected world. Burgis argues that conflicts stem from our shared desires rather than our differences, and he offers practical strategies to transform blind wanting into intentional wanting, enabling individuals to gain more control over their desires, be less influenced by trends, and find greater meaning in their lives. Ultimately, "Wanting" guides us in reshaping our desires for a better future.
🪄Most Talked About Fiction - Week of October 23, 2023
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox--the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.
Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? Why do we spend so much time between wearing digital watches? For all the answers stick your thumb to the stars. And don't forget to bring a towel!
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📚️ Most Talked About Non-Fiction - Week of October 23, 2023
Bibi: The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu
This biography delves into the complex life and career of Benjamin Netanyahu, the long-serving leader of Israel, offering insights into his tumultuous personal journey and controversial public role. Born shortly after the establishment of Israel, Netanyahu's story reflects the experiences of various ideological underdogs within the Zionist movement, including right-wing Revisionists, Mizrahi Jews from Arab countries, and the new urban middle class. He is also deeply influenced by his American upbringing, shaped by the affluent East Coast Jewish community and the Cold War conservatism of his generation. Netanyahu's leadership mirrors Israel's blend of ancient fears and modern technological aspirations, tribalism, and globalism. Despite facing opposition both at home and abroad, he has persevered and continues to dominate Israeli politics, making him a central figure in Israel's history and the Jewish narrative of the twenty-first century.
🆕 New and Noteworthy
Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Essential Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger
Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up,” Charles T. Munger advises in Poor Charlie’s Almanack. Originally published in 2005, this compendium of eleven talks delivered by the legendary Berkshire Hathaway vice-chairman between 1986 and 2007 has become a touchstone for a generation of investors and entrepreneurs seeking to absorb the enduring wit and wisdom of one of the great minds of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Edited by Peter D. Kaufman, chairman and CEO of Glenair and longtime friend of Charlie Munger—whom he calls “this generation’s answer to Benjamin Franklin”—this abridged Stripe Press edition of Poor Charlie’s Almanack features a brand-new foreword by Stripe cofounder John Collison.
Poor Charlie’s Almanack draws on Munger’s encyclopedic knowledge of business, finance, history, philosophy, physics, and ethics—and more besides—to introduce the latticework of mental models that underpin his rational and rigorous approach to life, learning, and decision-making. Delivered with Munger’s characteristic sharp wit and rhetorical flair, it is an essential volume for any reader seeking to go to bed a little wiser than when they woke up.
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