What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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VictoriaF
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF » Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:40 am

A Fairly Honourable Defeat by Iris Murdoch. Murdoch is a fantastic author. On one hand, when I read her I am severely humbled in my own writing ambitions. On the other hand, I am incredulous that not everyone is reading and admiring her.

This book, as Murdoch's other novels, has a relatively small number of characters interconnected in unusual ways. Just as you think you have seen everything, Murdoch gives you a new twist that makes you to scream Ouch! on behalf of an affected character. I am close to finishing the book and intentionally extending the pleasure. Thus, I still don't know the key answers. I have some guesses, of course, and I can't tell if I am wishing more to have my guesses right or to get new surprises.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by bertilak » Sun Aug 30, 2015 10:54 am

VictoriaF wrote:Just as you think you have seen everything, Murdoch gives you a new twist ...

I am going through my Agatha Christie Poirot paperbacks. Dame Agatha of course throws in a lot of twists. Another thing she does is get playful with the reader. She manages to work in comments from various characters about the conventions of detective stories (and how silly they are). In the one I just finished one character mentioned that in stories the murderer always turns out to be the least likely suspect. Well Dame Agatha ends this book with the a twist (or is it?): the obviously least-likely suspect is the murderer! But she does make you think otherwise at least a couple of times along the way, even to the point of having another suspect confess with a very solid story on how the seemingly impossible job was done. Of course Poirot wasn't fooled, just everybody else, including the reader -- even after being warned. Like a cat, she toys with us!

Interesting Agatha Christie fact: She was born in Torquay, the home of Faulty Towers.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Aug 31, 2015 7:32 am

bertilak wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:Just as you think you have seen everything, Murdoch gives you a new twist ...

I am going through my Agatha Christie Poirot paperbacks. Dame Agatha of course throws in a lot of twists. Another thing she does is get playful with the reader. She manages to work in comments from various characters about the conventions of detective stories (and how silly they are). In the one I just finished one character mentioned that in stories the murderer always turns out to be the least likely suspect. Well Dame Agatha ends this book with the a twist (or is it?): the obviously least-likely suspect is the murderer! But she does make you think otherwise at least a couple of times along the way, even to the point of having another suspect confess with a very solid story on how the seemingly impossible job was done. Of course Poirot wasn't fooled, just everybody else, including the reader -- even after being warned. Like a cat, she toys with us!


I shall re-read Agatha Christie. As a relatively recent retiree I am still discovering things that I can now do at will. My recollection of Christie's novels is that they have clever plots and twists and turns, but the characters are relatively superficial. Murdoch, in contrast, weaves her characters in intricate patterns so that you feel that you know them personally, that they are as different as other people you know personally, and that, unlike people you actually know personally, you know so much more about them. And so you get to know this group of people and then they start getting into strange and dramatic situations. As with other people you know, you wish to figure out how they would get out of the mess they got themselves in. And then they do it in the ways you could never have guessed. There is an element of mystery in Murdoch's novels, but it's not a mystery of murder but a mystery of personal relationships which are frequently deadlier than the death itself.

bertilak wrote:Interesting Agatha Christie fact: She was born in Torquay, the home of Fawlty Towers.


Is this causation or correlation? With Christie and Cleese, one never knows.

Victoria
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jdb » Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:49 pm

Just finished Landfalls by Naomi Williams. Fascinating historical novel based upon the ill fated French Laperouse naval exploration in 1780's where two ships loaded with scientific instruments and botanists and other men of science embarked on circumnavigation of globe trying to emulate the voyages of Captain Cook and perhaps discover new lands. Each chapter of book describes separate landfalls during the expedition. As Sir Joseph Banks told one of the French officers before the voyage, "Write everything down. And then, come back. It's very important that some of you come back". Wonderful writing, and seeing world through eyes of 18th century explorers is real treat. Highly recommend.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by pezblanco » Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:52 am

Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb.

It was a time of unregulated madness. And nowhere was it madder than in Chicago at the dawn of the Roaring Twenties. Speakeasies thrived, gang war shootings announced Al Capone’s rise to underworld domination, Chicago’s corrupt political leaders fraternized with gangsters, and the frenzy of stock market gambling was rampant. Enter a slick, smooth-talking, charismatic lawyer named Leo Koretz .....

The above blurb is from Amazon. A throughly enjoyable book .... the man who perfected the Ponzi scheme before Ponzi. :D

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by pezblanco » Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:53 am

jdb wrote:Just finished Landfalls by Naomi Williams. Fascinating historical novel based upon the ill fated French Laperouse naval exploration in 1780's where two ships loaded with scientific instruments and botanists and other men of science embarked on circumnavigation of globe trying to emulate the voyages of Captain Cook and perhaps discover new lands. Each chapter of book describes separate landfalls during the expedition. As Sir Joseph Banks told one of the French officers before the voyage, "Write everything down. And then, come back. It's very important that some of you come back". Wonderful writing, and seeing world through eyes of 18th century explorers is real treat. Highly recommend.


Thank you for this! Just obtained the Kindle version.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by cfs » Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:58 pm

Walking Guide to The Via de La Plata

Done reading Columbus, The Four Voyages, by Laurence Bergreen (2011). Begreen did a great job on this book, a lot of historical data based on the writings of Christopher Columbus, his son Ferdinand Columbus, and Fray Bartolomé de las Casas.

Now reading Walking Guide to the Via de la Plata and the Camino Sanabres: from Seville to Santiago and Astorga, by Gerald Kelly (2015). This guide is a short one (102 pages) when compared to John Brierley's guide for Camino Frances (287 pages). The guide includes the stages for a loop from Santiago to Cabo Fisterra, Muxia, Dumbria, and back to Santiago. This is a non-colorized version of a camino guide, with no photos included, but the maps are legible and easy to follow. The guide includes plenty of information on albergues, but some of the information is coming from secondary sources (based on his "positive reports" comments), I need to verify some information with the author (will do so via email).
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jebmke » Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:17 am

March Violets by Philip Kerr
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by sschullo » Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:35 am

Just finished "White Coat Investor" by our own Boglehead, James Dahle, MD. For those that don't know "emergdoc," or his outstanding work, I wrote a review on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2LK8PX3P8GXD1/ref=cm_cr_pr_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0991433106
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Angst » Wed Sep 02, 2015 12:20 pm

kommisarrex wrote:Just finished The Martian. Despite the hype, it was pretty disappointing. The science was pretty interesting, but the author spent basically zero time on character development. The genre of castaway fiction begs for some introspection by the protagonist and there was basically none in this book. It was more of a how-to survival guide if you ever get stranded on Mars. A missed opportunity.

I too just finished "The Martian", and although I couldn't agree more that Andy Weir is no Victor Hugo or Daniel Defoe, I did enjoy reading his book! The protagonist was something of a jerk and the prose was almost comically stilted at times, but the fun and the thrill of the overall experience and the seemingly realistic science involved more than compensated for it.

The best thing I can say, however, is that with the right screenwriter, I think this book could be transformed into a wonderfully exciting film. I'm crossing my fingers!

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:46 pm

cfs wrote:Walking Guide to The Via de La Plata...

May I recommend continuing the discussion in this thread? The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Update: See my post below.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by cfs » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:57 pm

LadyGeek wrote:May I recommend continuing the discussion in this thread? The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago

Concur and you can move the last couple of notes to the discussion on your link. Thank you.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:38 pm

You're welcome. I have moved the last few notes into: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Bustoff » Thu Sep 03, 2015 5:59 am

Currently reading Falling Short: The Coming Retirement Crisis and What to Do About It, by Charles Ellis, Alicia Munnell and Andrew Eschtruth. The authors contend that the golden age of retirement is a thing of the past. Longer lifespans, rising healthcare costs and the disappearance of employer sponsored pensions mean we will need much more income during retirement. In other words, Americans are going to be poor in retirement. The authors assert the only viable solutions are to work until at least 70, save more and spend less.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by crg11 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 6:12 am

Finished a couple of books recently:

Revolutionary Summer: The birth of American Independence by Joseph J. Ellis, which focuses on the crazy summer of 1776, including: King George escalating the Revolutionary War, George Washington's defense of New York City that almost destroyed the Continental Army if it weren't for some clever and lucky maneuvers at the right moment, the drama that resulted in the Declaration of Independence being written/signed, and more. Very well written with a lot of great information I had not heard before.

Grey Mountain by John Grisham, which follows Grisham's template for a lawyer who tries to help out the little people, this time in coal mining country. I thought the end wasn't as well done as his past books, but it was still a good read.

Currently working on: Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by stemikger » Thu Sep 03, 2015 6:44 am

Charlie Munger the Complete Investor - by Tren Griffen

I just started it, I am enjoying it, but not loving it yet. It came out a little earlier on Kindle.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by a » Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:30 pm

Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan

The ancient Greeks are honored with inventing systematic
thought in realms from ethics to geometry. This clarity of
thought
is captured in their words, which (also in Latin rooted
words) show careful division of concept.

Thomas Hobbes may have been a Greek in a former life as
his book Leviathan displays the same carefulness of
linguistic discernment. For example, although I took Latin,
I never had explained to me that pulchrum, usually
translated beauty, is really one third of a triple division
of the idea of efficacy: that something is appealing
because it seems like it will give us something good.
It is kind of like future tense of giving good.
The second third is jucundum,
which is like present tense giving good, literally "delight."
(He also points out that the reason 'delight' and 'youth'
(juv-) have the same root is that the Latins/Greeks noted
that anything we seek, ultimately, "because it's good" is
because we feel it restores our youth!) The past third is
utile, meaning it has proven that it did give good after all
(past tense). The negative correspondents are turpe,
appearing to 'promise evil' as Hobbes says, molestum which
means actually is producing evil, and inutile is past produced
evil.

Words (to Hobbes, "names") should
partition the entirety of the world. That is they should not
overlap in meaning. He acknowledges that in reality words do
carry auxiliary effects such as evoking emotions, which is
necessary for art.

Another example: pedantic has a specific meaning to Hobbes.
It is not merely denigrating a shallow, fact-based type of
intelligence - it means specifically those
people who do not think for themselves! Pedantry says Hobbes
is the act of acting slavishly upon something an external
source has told us, whereas true wisdom is when things are
thought through from first principles. (A wonder of Hobbes is
how he elucidates many of the concepts that today seem like
new ideas. Elsewhere he also mentioned that respice finem
- if you want to achieve a goal the best way is to focus on
the end and don't try to think of how - and that one of the
great benefits of writing is that it frees our mind from having
to revisit old logically deduced trains of thought - i.e.
it is a Brain-Cycle saver.)

Another example: pusillanimity, usually translated as weak
spirit, since animus is generally translated as spirit, but
also animus/anima is really more of a "mind" idea. Hobbes
elucidates that the proper meaning of pusillanimity is not
fearfulness but rather a SMALL minded ness; he
gives the example that someone who focuses their mind on saving
10 cents here, a dollar there is pusillaminous - small minded!
Whereas magna animus (magnanimity) is someone who is
concerned only with big deals.

Hobbes has an organized way of thinking about
human virtues or behaviors too that I tend to equate with
Richard Garriott and his Ultima computer game series. Richard
Garriott broke down human virtue into three non-overlapping
sectors truth, love, and courage. He noted that the idea
came from the Wizard of Oz in the scarecrow, the tin man, and
the lion. It is also seen in the Godfather where, as Francis
Ford Coppola said, "I've always thought of the Godfather as
the story of a great king with three sons, one of whom got
the king's strength, another his heart, and the last his
intelligence." (paraphrase) And also in the
"cloud-capped towers" 2 lines in The Tempest. Hobbes
might give them a run for their money though: An
example:

"Aversion, with opinion of hurt from the object, fear.

The same [aversion], with hope of avoiding that hurt by
resistance, courage.

Sudden courage, anger."

He puts fear, courage, and anger as left to right on a
spectrum of reactances to a potential harm. This is why I
don't prefer to label the (when using the Richard Garriott
triumvirate) strength virtue courage: ability to effect,
to translate desire into reality, seems better.

There's a lot more. This first part (the only
part I have seriously read yet) that talks about basic
humanity is full of interesting spins on words I thought I
knew. Luxury:

"Love of the same [pleasing the senses] acquired from
rumination, that is, imagination of pleasure past, luxury."

Is this true that the reason luxury (usually translated
excess) seems a vice to us, is that it is a childish trying
to hold on to a past enjoyment by buying objects that we HOPE
will replay that enjoyment like a phonograph (as opposed to
continually out-seeking new progress that will give the true
joy)?

http://www.dhspriory.org/kenny/PhilText ... than-a.htm
(later chapters are contained in "leviathan-b.htm", etc.)

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by nisiprius » Thu Sep 03, 2015 3:10 pm

"X", by Sue Grafton. Part of her "alphabet" mystery series. Everything else had the pattern "[letter] is for [word]," A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar, etc. but she probably hadn't planned ahead to "X" when she started the series. It's pretty good, although it's the kind of mystery that I think harks back to being a kid and prowling around the house opening the drawers in your parents' bureau. She spends a lot of time digging into really complicated family dramas, and by the time she gets to the end I've forgotten everything about the plot and the crime and the clues and what mystery Kinsey Millhone was originally trying to solve, but it doesn't matter because she's been such good company.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:44 pm

I have been reading Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Woman's Prison by Piper Kerman.

When Piper Kerman was sent to prison for a ten-year-old crime, she barely resembled the reckless young woman she'd been when she committed the misdeeds that would eventually catch up with her. Happily ensconced in a New York City apartment, with a promising career and an attentive boyfriend, she was suddenly forced to reckon with the consequences of her very brief, very careless dalliance in the world of drug trafficking.
Kerman spent thirteen months in prison, eleven of them at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, where she met a surprising and varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances. Kerman tells the story of those long months locked up in a place with its own codes of behavior and arbitrary hierarchies. (Summary compiled from various sources.)

The book is quite different from the series, at least Season One of the series, which is the season I have watched thus far. I cannot recall any of the incidents that took place in the book as having occurred in Season One of the series or any of the incidents that took place in Season One of the series as having occurred in the book. The book could have used a “Cast of Characters,” because so many individuals float in and out of the story that it's difficult to remember who is who.

Having said all that, I really liked the book.
Gordon

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by bertilak » Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:07 pm

stemikger wrote:Charlie Munger the Complete Investor - by Tren Griffen

I just started it, I am enjoying it, but not loving it yet. It came out a little earlier on Kindle.

Just finished it.

I'm glad I read it and did get a few things out of it, but not as much as I'd hoped.

It is all about "Value Investing" and that's why I wanted to read it. I think the main takeaway I got is that Value Investing is more of an art than a science and that only the top 3 or 4 percent of investors will be able to do it profitably. I was looking for actionable advice and I guess that's actionable! Didn't see much else. Lots of REALLY GOOD platitudes, but platitudes none the less!

It did clear up the difference between "Value Investing," a form of active, fundamental analysis (what the book is about) and "Value Factor Investing," a form of (or tweak to ) index investing.

One insight: Only do the easy stuff. If something is hard to figure out, put it into the "too hard" pile and move on. MOST things go into this pile. (That clarified my thoughts on slice-n-dice factor-tilt investing!) Unlike baseball you don't need to "swing at every pitch." (Tilt to every factor?) Your fortune isn't made incrementally but by (Bogle-like) just standing there until (un-Bogle-like) you see an easy pitch and swing with all you've got. The trouble is there is a lot of skill involved in recognizing those rare opportunities. I guess that's the "art" as opposed to "science" and why only the top 3 or 4 percent can do it. IF I was in the top 5 or 6 percent the book might have pushed me into that 3 or 4 percent but I am too far down the scale for that.

The book also points out that those top 3 or 4 percent investors have no interest in working for us poor stiffs! Perhaps that's why there is a BIG section in the middle of the book reads like a sales pitch for Berkshire Hathaway!

There is a big section (more than one chapter) on behavioral aspects of investing. He calls it "psychology" (one chapter) or the "Right Stuff" (two chapters).

How does one "value" a company? The book gives a formula, the only one in the book. Not all terms in the formula are discussed nor is any example given of how to use it. It was basically just mentioned in passing. I was going to show that formula here, but that brings up a failing of the book: NO INDEX so I couldn't find the formula! (I forget if the formula was part of a Munger quote or supplied by the book's author.)

FINALLY: The book IS about Munger and not investing per se so my complaints probably aren't legitimate.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jginseattle » Fri Sep 04, 2015 8:01 pm

I'm halfway through Goldeneye, Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming's Jamaica. Well researched and highly entertaining.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by black jack » Fri Sep 04, 2015 9:41 pm

Finished As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, by Cary Elwes (who played Westley/The Dread Pirate Roberts) and Joe Layden (professional ghostwriter?). In double-checking the title just now at Amazon, I see that although published only 11 months ago, it has over 1,000 reviews, mostly five-stars. It was pleasant to read about the making of one of my favorite films. This is definitely not a "warts and all" account, because apparently there were no warts: everyone seems to have liked each other and enjoyed the experience of making the movie (except Wally Shawn, who apparently was convinced that he was going to be replaced by Danny DeVito at any moment). One of the many tales in the book is about the swordfight between the Man in Black and Inigo Montoya: neither Elwes or Mandy Patinkin had any experience with fencing before the film, so Rob Reiner (the director) hired two of the best fencing instructors in the world and scheduled the swordfight for late in the shooting schedule, and the actors trained during every free moment throughout the filming to prepare for that scene, sincerely wanting it to be the greatest swordfight ever filmed.

Currently reading Level Zero Heroes, The Story of U.S. Marines Special Operations in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan, by Michael Golembesky (Marine) and John Bruning (professional ghostwriter?). Am over a third of the way through the book, and so far it's covered about seven days - at almost an hour-by-hour level of detail - of what is supposed to be a six-month assignment of a small (22-man) team of Marine Special Operations soldiers to a very remote outpost near the Turkmenistan border of Afghanistan. The author is a self-described hippie college graduate who joined the Marines after 9/11 and served in Iraq before going to Afghanistan with this unit. For me, with no military experience, it's an interesting look at modern military operations and technology at a small-unit scale.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by NYsenior » Sat Sep 05, 2015 6:05 am

My new favorite author is Richard Paul Evans. Last year I read two of his books and loved them both - Grace and Promise Me. I just finished his five book series "The Walk" and I hated for it to end. It traces his year-long journey from Seattle to Key West by foot, as he met challenges and very interesting people.
Before that I read and enjoyed The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. It was very long and I found myself skipping sections, which I have never done before, but I did enjoy the story.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by bertilak » Sat Sep 05, 2015 6:42 am

NYsenior wrote:Before that I read and enjoyed The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. It was very long and I found myself skipping sections, which I have never done before, but I did enjoy the story.

I read Donna Tartt's first Novel The Secret History. I found it fascinating, but probably not in the way it was intended. Much of the novel depends on the psychology of the main characters, many (most?) of whom were male students. What I found fascinating was the, to me, complete unreality of her male characters. It was almost like being in some alternate universe where people (males, anyway) were inhabited by strange creatures with slightly "off" personalities. Almost science fiction -- like invasion of the body snatchers, but less blatant. A bit disturbing. (That's how I remember it but it has been over 20 years!)

Anyway, it was unusual enough to hold my interest through the whole book but I was never tempted to read anything else by her.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by stemikger » Sat Sep 05, 2015 8:17 am

bertilak wrote:
stemikger wrote:Charlie Munger the Complete Investor - by Tren Griffen

I just started it, I am enjoying it, but not loving it yet. It came out a little earlier on Kindle.

Just finished it.

I'm glad I read it and did get a few things out of it, but not as much as I'd hoped.

It is all about "Value Investing" and that's why I wanted to read it. I think the main takeaway I got is that Value Investing is more of an art than a science and that only the top 3 or 4 percent of investors will be able to do it profitably. I was looking for actionable advice and I guess that's actionable! Didn't see much else. Lots of REALLY GOOD platitudes, but platitudes none the less!

It did clear up the difference between "Value Investing," a form of active, fundamental analysis (what the book is about) and "Value Factor Investing," a form of (or tweak to ) index investing.

One insight: Only do the easy stuff. If something is hard to figure out, put it into the "too hard" pile and move on. MOST things go into this pile. (That clarified my thoughts on slice-n-dice factor-tilt investing!) Unlike baseball you don't need to "swing at every pitch." (Tilt to every factor?) Your fortune isn't made incrementally but by (Bogle-like) just standing there until (un-Bogle-like) you see an easy pitch and swing with all you've got. The trouble is there is a lot of skill involved in recognizing those rare opportunities. I guess that's the "art" as opposed to "science" and why only the top 3 or 4 percent can do it. IF I was in the top 5 or 6 percent the book might have pushed me into that 3 or 4 percent but I am too far down the scale for that.

The book also points out that those top 3 or 4 percent investors have no interest in working for us poor stiffs! Perhaps that's why there is a BIG section in the middle of the book reads like a sales pitch for Berkshire Hathaway!

There is a big section (more than one chapter) on behavioral aspects of investing. He calls it "psychology" (one chapter) or the "Right Stuff" (two chapters).

How does one "value" a company? The book gives a formula, the only one in the book. Not all terms in the formula are discussed nor is any example given of how to use it. It was basically just mentioned in passing. I was going to show that formula here, but that brings up a failing of the book: NO INDEX so I couldn't find the formula! (I forget if the formula was part of a Munger quote or supplied by the book's author.)

FINALLY: The book IS about Munger and not investing per se so my complaints probably aren't legitimate.


Awesome review. I still haven't finished it, but you really hit it on the head. Your review is better then the reviews I read on Amazon thus far. Thanks for weighing in. I really enjoyed Damn Right by Janet Lowe.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:04 am

LadyGeek wrote:You're welcome. I have moved the last few notes into: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago


While discussions of the Camino belong to another thread, in this book thread I'd like to share that a reputable Outdoor guide is now available in English. Outdoor is a German publisher, and among Camino pilgrims there is a strong preference for Outdoor in comparison to, say, Brierley. Until very recently Outdoor guides were available only in German. On 30 June 2015, Spain: Way of St. James Camino Francés (The Way is the Goal Book 23) Kindle Edition became available in English. Hopefully, more titles and editions will follow.

Victoria
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jginseattle » Sat Sep 05, 2015 7:35 pm

jginseattle wrote:I'm halfway through Goldeneye, Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming's Jamaica. Well researched and highly entertaining.


I forgot to mention that the author is Matthew Parker.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Ricola » Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:50 am

Recently finished Tom Clancy Full Force and Effect (A Jack Ryan Novel) by Mark Greaney and Tom Clancy, now on Tom Clancy Support and Defend by Mark Greaney. Wasn't sure if the Mark Greaney version of Tom Clancy novels would be good, but after the first one I thought it was good enough to follow through and read the others.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by pezblanco » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:14 am

The West Of Billy The Kid by Frederick Nolan.

The story of New Mexico's most famous outlaw which includes the events leading up to and culminating in the Lincoln County War. Well researched but very very detailed. If you don't already know the general outline of his life and times, I would recommend starting with another source .... you will definitely lose the forest for the trees on this one.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by bondsr4me » Sun Sep 06, 2015 2:14 pm

JB's "The Little Book of Common Sense Investing".

Next up......"Charlie Munger The Complete Investor"..

Don

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by MP173 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 2:47 pm

The Bone Farm by Patricia Cornwell. Kinda like her series of novels on Dr. Kay Scarpetta the Medical Examiner.

Next up is a new author for me - Linwood Barclay's - Broken Promise.

Ed

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by pezblanco » Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:17 pm

Origins of Life (audio lectures)

Professor Robert M. Hazen Ph.D.
George Mason University

I found this to be a super interesting Great Courses Lecture Series. I enclose the blurb from the web site. I had to dig pretty deep into my taken long ago chemistry and biochemistry (one course) courses to get through this.
Super interesting field ... the only drawback is that the lectures are from 2005 and I was left wanting to know what they've done in the last 10 years!!


Four billion years ago, the infant Earth was a seething cauldron of erupting volcanoes, raining meteors, and hot noxious gases, totally devoid of life. But a relatively short time later—100 to 200 million years—the planet was teeming with primitive organisms. What happened?

Professor Robert M. Hazen, one of the nation's foremost science educators and leader of a NASA-supported team that is studying the origins of life in the universe, leads you on a 24-lecture expedition to find the answer to this momentous question.

The search takes you from path-breaking experiments in the 19th century proving that the molecules of life are no different from other chemicals, to the increasingly sophisticated understanding in the 20th century of how the chemistry of life works, to the near certainty that the 21st century will see spectacular and unpredictable developments in our understanding of how life began.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gatorking » Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:21 pm

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard Thaler
Makes for a great companion to Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, but much more applied.
"If it weren't for color printers, and man's need to find patterns where there are none, investment advisers would be a whole lot poorer." - yobria

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:45 am

gatorking wrote:Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard Thaler
Makes for a great companion to Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, but much more applied.


I read both books and greatly enjoyed both of them. However, comparing them on applicability is not straightforward. Psychology, Kahneman's domain, is a more fundamental science. Behavioral Economics, Thaler's domain, applies research in psychology to economics. If you want to develop applications that build upon BE, then Thaler's book can be more useful. If you are interested in the quirks of the human decision making, then Kahneman provides a useful background.

Victoria
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by cfs » Mon Sep 07, 2015 11:17 am

VictoriaF wrote:
LadyGeek wrote:You're welcome. I have moved the last few notes into: The cost of walking el Camino de Santiago


While discussions of the Camino belong to another thread, in this book thread I'd like to share that a reputable Outdoor guide is now available in English. Outdoor is a German publisher, and among Camino pilgrims there is a strong preference for Outdoor in comparison to, say, Brierley. Until very recently Outdoor guides were available only in German. On 30 June 2015, Spain: Way of St. James Camino Francés (The Way is the Goal Book 23) Kindle Edition became available in English. Hopefully, more titles and editions will follow.

Victoria

Thanks to our shipmate Victoria for the link. I have read good reviews about this book (from users of both Brierley's and Joss' books), they like "the yellow book" based on the format and all the information. Hopefully the paperback version, when available, is a short one.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by htdrag11 » Mon Sep 07, 2015 7:14 pm

The English version of The Three-Body Problem, 1st part of the trilogy. The book has won the 2015 Hugo Award in the sci-fi category, a nice diversion from James Lange's book on Retire Secure.

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Body-Proble ... FWHYFKZQFF

From Amazon:
Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Katie » Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:53 pm

The Nature of the Beast, Louise Penny's latest Gamache mystery.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by cfs » Tue Sep 08, 2015 4:49 pm

Done reading.

Gardens of Hell: Battles of the Gallipoli Campaign, by Patrick Gariepy (2014). I plan to be in the area in a couple of weeks and needed a quick refresher on The Battles of Gallipoli and the Dardanelles Straits area. All is quiet on the Western Front--not for these troops. More than forty-two thousand British and Dominion servicemen, as well as twenty thousand Frenchmen, plus sixty-five thousand Turks lost their lives in this "fruitless campaign."
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ChrisB » Tue Sep 08, 2015 4:55 pm

Just returned from a three week vacation (and succeeded in keeping the internet off almost the entire time - did I miss anything? :) )

I wanted to say "thanks" for some great book recommendations that I got from this topic!

Read Wool, by Hugh Howey; The Martian, by Andy Weir; and Flash Boys, by Michael Lewis.

With a 2 ½ year old it is not often that I get to read these days. Having some fun books to read was such a treat.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of these books.

I thought Wool was very well written, entertaining, and an interesting concept. Looking forward to reading Shift and Dust.

The Martian took a little getting into as the writing style is a little different. I loved the idea and and the technical aspects.

Flash Boys was intriguing, interesting, and completely maddening all at the same time. Very well written and captivating story.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Sat Sep 12, 2015 10:47 pm

Last week, I started reading Courage Under Siege: Starvation, Disease, and Death in the Warsaw Ghetto by Charles G. Roland. Roland, a physician and historian, provides the first history of the medical disaster that took place in the Warsaw Ghetto.

I couldn't read past seventy pages or so. Too many statistics and just too depressing overall.

This morning, I finished reading Random House Puzzlemaker's Handbook by Mel Rosen and Stan Kurzban. The first forty pages or so gives a background to crossword puzzles: their history, noted composers of puzzles, and noted editors of puzzles. The rest of the book is divided about 1:2 between solving puzzles and composing puzzles.

The book originally was published in 1981 and updated in 1995. Twenty years later, in 2015, it is woefully outdated. For instance, it provides only brief information about software packages that make it much easier to compose puzzles. The book also lacks an index, is not particularly well written, and could be better illustrated. Reference sources (atlases, dictionaries, and so on) for use by puzzle composers are briefly mentioned in the text, but it would have been much better if they had been set out separately in an appendix. Another useful appendix would be a list of organizations, websites, and so on that would be of interest for current and prospective composers of puzzles. All in all, this book was really disappointing.
Gordon

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Sid » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:56 pm

I just finished reading "Seed to Harvest" by the late science fiction author Ocatvia E. Butler. This was a compilation of four of her books. It was excellent.

For some reason I only discovered her writings about 8 months ago, but I am really enjoying her books now. Before this one I read "Lilith's Brood" which was also a compilation, and it was a fantastic read. I don't know how I can claim to be sci fi fan and only recently discovered her writings. Odd. Anyway, I highly recommend her books.
Sid

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Blues » Sun Sep 13, 2015 7:12 am

"Weapons Of Chess" by Bruce Pandolfini
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” - Sun Tzu | "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by nisiprius » Sun Sep 13, 2015 8:45 am

Sailing to Sarantium, by Guy Gavriel Kay. One minor problem is that I don't know the real history behind his books as well as I should. His books are at a very curious midway point between history and fantasy. I can get by with Wikipedia articles and such, but I'm a little surprised that nobody has written a "Kay Companion" that would, I don't know, set out his fantasy universes side by side with the real history in parallel columns. Oddly enough I've been nibbling/slogging my way through Robert Graves' Count Belisarius, which is set in the same place and time--more or less--I'm so foggy on history that I can't quite tell for sure....
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by pezblanco » Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:18 am

And A Bottle Of Rum by Wayne Curtis. This is a great book! Well written, funny, great history vignettes. An erudite author writing about an EXTREMELY important subject. :D

Here's the Amazon blurb:

And a Bottle of Rum tells the raucously entertaining story of America as seen through the bottom of a drinking glass. With a chapter for each of ten cocktails—from the grog sailors drank on the high seas in the 1700s to the mojitos of modern club hoppers—Wayne Curtis reveals that the homely spirit once distilled from the industrial waste of the exploding sugar trade has managed to infiltrate every stratum of New World society.
Curtis takes us from the taverns of the American colonies, where rum delivered both a cheap wallop and cash for the Revolution, to the plundering pirate ships off the coast of Central America, to the watering holes of pre-Castro Cuba, and to the kitsch-laden tiki bars of 1950s America. Here are sugar barons and their armies conquering the Caribbean, Paul Revere stopping for a nip during his famous ride, Prohibitionists marching against “demon rum,” Hemingway fattening his liver with Havana daiquiris, and today’s bartenders reviving old favorites like Planter’s Punch. In an age of microbrewed beer and single-malt whiskeys, rum—once the swill of the common man—has found its way into the tasting rooms of the most discriminating drinkers.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Dave55 » Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:25 am

1. "Make Me" by Lee Child..the newest Jack Reacher book
2. "A Wealth of Common Sense" by Ben Carlson

Both Excellent
Dave

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by bertilak » Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:55 am

pezblanco wrote:And A Bottle Of Rum by Wayne Curtis. This is a great book! Well written, funny, great history vignettes. An erudite author writing about an EXTREMELY important subject. :D

Here's the Amazon blurb:

And a Bottle of Rum tells the raucously entertaining story of America as seen through the bottom of a drinking glass. With a chapter for each of ten cocktails—from the grog sailors drank on the high seas in the 1700s to the mojitos of modern club hoppers—Wayne Curtis reveals that the homely spirit once distilled from the industrial waste of the exploding sugar trade has managed to infiltrate every stratum of New World society.
Curtis takes us from the taverns of the American colonies, where rum delivered both a cheap wallop and cash for the Revolution, to the plundering pirate ships off the coast of Central America, to the watering holes of pre-Castro Cuba, and to the kitsch-laden tiki bars of 1950s America. Here are sugar barons and their armies conquering the Caribbean, Paul Revere stopping for a nip during his famous ride, Prohibitionists marching against “demon rum,” Hemingway fattening his liver with Havana daiquiris, and today’s bartenders reviving old favorites like Planter’s Punch. In an age of microbrewed beer and single-malt whiskeys, rum—once the swill of the common man—has found its way into the tasting rooms of the most discriminating drinkers.

Sounds intersting!

Rum comes in a very wide range of qualities -- from cheap mixers to very expensive sipping rums. I've tried a few at all levels.

Many years ago (1966, I think) I was on a holiday in Puerto Rico and took the Bacardi tour. The sweet smell of cane sugar and the various steps of distillation in gigantic open vats was overpowering. They were giving out free drinks at the end of the tour but I couldn't bring myself to drink anything for fear of "not holding my liquor." (Literally!) It was over 20 years before I considered trying a rum drink and now it is a favorite, but the good stuff is an expensive habit -- like single malt Scotch or top Bourbon.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by TimDex » Sun Sep 13, 2015 2:14 pm

Wedgwood,The First Tycoon....by Brian Dolan. Excellent book, how Wedgwood rose from an apprentice potter. Fascinating man, tremendous energy, experimental chemist, member of the middle class dissenters circles which included Joseph priestly. Much about the intellectual ferment in England in late 18th century. This book is worth a long slow read. Tim
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon » Mon Sep 14, 2015 1:06 pm

Just finished American Nations, by Colin Woodward. His point is that the culture of 11 regions of North America reflects the initial European settlers of each region. His analysis seemed superficial to me, and not very informative or persuasive.

This same idea is more thoroughly supported and better presented in Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, by David Hackett Fischer, The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan . . . , by Robert Shorto, and Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America, by Jim Webb.
Last edited by ruralavalon on Mon Sep 14, 2015 2:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon » Mon Sep 14, 2015 1:34 pm

Just finished Lewis Wetzel, the renowned Virginia ranger and scout, by Robert Meyers. Wetzel (1763 - 1808) is a controversial figure, either a protector of frontier settlers or a vicious killer. In 1777 at age 13 he and a younger brother were taken prisoner by Indians, but managed to escape. Wetzel was shot in the leg during the capture. Several members of the Wetzel family were the victims of an ambush in 1786, his father and brother George were killed. Wetzel spent his early adulthood seeking revenge, fighting and killing Indians in western Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by pezblanco » Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:23 am

The Map Thief by Michael Blanding. From the Amazon blurb:

Once considered a respectable antiquarian map dealer, E. Forbes Smiley spent years doubling as a map thief —until he was finally arrested slipping maps out of books in the Yale University library. The Map Thief delves into the untold history of this fascinating high-stakes criminal and the inside story of the industry that consumed him.

I really liked this book. Interspersed with relating the events of the moral downfall of Smiley are fascinating sketches of the history of maps and why maps matter .... Includes some very nice illustrations of the maps that were stolen and of their historical significance. Highly recommended.

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