Any books really change your outlook on life?

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am
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Any books really change your outlook on life?

Post by am » Sat Dec 25, 2010 12:44 pm

Always looking for great books to read.

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DaleMaley
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Re: Any books really change your outlook on life?

Post by DaleMaley » Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:21 pm

am wrote:Always looking for great books to read.


More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places by Michael Mauboussin.

Although it has now been 4 years since I first read this book, I still think about it now in regards to investing and my engineering job.

I have read over 200 books on investing over the years, and this one probably stretched or exercised my brain the most!

His discussion about non-normal distributions, or power law distributions has been invaluable to me because I work with both normal and non-normal distributions almost every day.

Here is my Amazon book review:

Excellent Brain Food, November 18, 2006
By Dale C. Maley "Index Fund Investor" (Fairbury, IL United States)

This review is from: More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places (Hardcover)

What impressed me about this book was that it made me think about applying some of the author's findings and theories to many different situations. I am really amazed at how well read the author is with regards to many different fields of study. The author's whole premise is that a multi-disciplinary approach is required to solve our big problems.

Some previous reviewers have criticized this book because of no specific information that can be applied to investing. I have actually read this book 3 times in the last couple of months, because each time it causes me to think of different applications for some of the author's ideas. I make notes each time I read it, and after this 3rd time of reading the book, I disagree with reviewers about no specific things to apply to investing.

Some of the specific ways of applying this books ideas to investing include:

Recognize there are stock market bubbles of speculation on a periodic basis that are driven by investor psychology. When these bubbles appear, take actions to protect yourself from the inevitable bursting of the bubble including withdrawing from the market or use stop-loss type orders on stocks.

Once a company reaches the Fortune 50, its annual growth usually stops. If your stock has done well and reached the Fortune 50, it is probably time to sell. The historical data shows that is almost impossible to continue double-digit growth rates once you hit this company size.

Use asset allocation (diversify your investments) to avoid the risk of a fat-tail stock market loss dramatically shrinking your portfolio value. Bonds help to reduce this risk. Although not mentioned in the book, a lot of recent research indicates that low cost immediate annuities also reduce portfolio risk by shifting the fat-tail risk to the company providing the annuity.

The Power Law (also called the 80:20 Rule, or Pareto's Law) can be applied to many things in investing. For example, you can simplify your investment portfolio to only 4 asset classes versus 12 classes because these 4 classes provide 70% of the benefits of diversification.

Use index funds as the core of your portfolio. Index funds almost always win over active mutual funds.

Be aware of reversion to the mean and that it happens to almost all companies.

And last, watch CNBC for its entertainment value only. It is a form of financial pornography that does you no good with regards to investing.

I would suggest companion books to supplement this book including The Richest Man in Babylon, Bogle on Mutual Funds, The Millionaire Next Door, The 4 Pillars of Investing, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, the Coffeehouse Investor, the Bogleheads Guide to Investing, and All About Asset Allocation.
Most investors, both institutional and individual, will find that the best way to own common stocks is through an index fund that charges minimal fees. – Warren Buffett

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Post by bttn_2010 » Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:27 pm

Herman Hesse's Siddhartha and Glass Bead Game.

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Post by Balance » Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:27 pm

I like nutrition books as I feel nutrition has the biggest impact on my life as well as investment literature. This year I have read:

Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf
Good Calories, Bad Calories - Gary Taubes
Investing in Real Estate - by Gary Eldred

For fun I also re-read Harry Potter, The Deathly Hallows before the movie came out.

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Post by Grasshopper » Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:46 pm

The Science of Mind by Earnest Holmes
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
Power vs Force by David Hawkins
Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living By Pema Chödrön
Last edited by Grasshopper on Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Any books really change your outlook on life?

Post by bob90245 » Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:47 pm

Re: Any books really change your outlook on life?

Many years ago, I read Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. Maybe didn't change my "outlook". But I made changes in myself in other ways.
Ignore the market noise. Keep to your rebalancing schedule whether that is semi-annual, annual or trigger bands.

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Raybo
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Post by Raybo » Sat Dec 25, 2010 4:52 pm

Two books that changed my thinking was Ernst Becker's Escape from Evil and Will and Ariel Durant's The Story of Civilization (14 volume set).

Ray
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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NAVigator
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Post by NAVigator » Sat Dec 25, 2010 5:39 pm

The books that have affected my outlook on life are;
    The Power of Positive Thinking - Peale
    How to Win Friends and Influence People - Carnegie
    The Millionaire in You - LeBoeuf

"When you sell a man a book, you don't sell him twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life." - Christopher Morley

Jerry
"I was born with nothing and I have most of it left."

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Coffee
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Post by Coffee » Sat Dec 25, 2010 6:56 pm

Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude by W. Clement Stone and Napoleon Hill.

W. Clement Stone was a self-made millionaire who lived to be 100 years old.

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touchdowntodd
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Post by touchdowntodd » Sat Dec 25, 2010 8:21 pm

since i wasnt raised to save or invest, and i used to HATE reading.. the following 2 basics surely changed my life

- automatic millionare
- coffeehouse investor

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HomerJ
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Post by HomerJ » Sat Dec 25, 2010 8:33 pm

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

and then

Illusions

both by Richard Bach...

But I was 18 at the time... I don't know if they'd have the same effect on a 40-year old... I reread them not that long ago... still good, I could still remember how they affected me, but no longer the same...

Misquoting Jesus was a book that opened my eyes as well

Financial Books:

The Millionaire Next Door
Random Walk down Wall Street
The Four Pillars of Investing

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Post by p_qrs_t » Sat Dec 25, 2010 8:48 pm

bttn_2010 wrote:Herman Hesse's Siddhartha and Glass Bead Game.


I would like to second Herman Hesse's Siddhartha. To Kill a Mockingbird is also a favorite...!

Anuj

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Post by Bulldawg » Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:10 pm

The Bible
The Pathfinder by N. Lore( career planning/aptitudes)
The Millionaire Next Door
The Bogleheads Guide
" IN GOD WE TRUST " ( official motto of the United States )

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nisiprius
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Post by nisiprius » Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:17 pm

Stars: A Little Golden Nature Guide, by Herbert S. Zim. Well, I was six years old at the time, and I came running to Mom with the interesting news that one of the planets had the same name as the Earth. She explained to me that the Earth was a planet. It blew my mind...

Cosmic View: The Universe in Forty Jumps, by Kees Boeke. This book is a series of forty illustrations, each on a scale varying by a factor of ten from the one before it, online here. It is better known today from several works that it credit Boeke as their inspiration: the (two) films Powers of Ten by the Office of Charles and Ray Eames, and the book of the same title by Philip and Phyllis Morrison.

Flatland, by Edwin A. Abbott.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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BigFoot48
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Post by BigFoot48 » Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:33 pm

"Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence" by Joe Dominguez. Not for the investing advice, but the kick in the pants to leave working life as soon as financially able.

12 years in - so far, so good!
Retired | Two-time in top-10 in Bogleheads S&P500 contest; 12-time loser

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Post by hudson » Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:09 am

Aerobics, Kenneth Cooper, 1968

Aerobics Program For Total Well-Being: Exercise, Diet , And Emotional Balance [Paperback]
Kenneth H. Cooper (Author) ....1985....Although much of it is out of date, I still use the appendix to compare results of my annual physical. I think this book came out before statins were developed.

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Cernel
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Post by Cernel » Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:24 am

The Leadership Challenge by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner
The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon
Who Moved my Cheese?

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Post by likegarden » Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:09 am

Books changed my outlook on life? Probably none. I read the Bible, classical literature, but my parents and grandparents formed my outlook on life. I did allright, was motivated enough.
Books changed my outlook on investing? all books by Mr. Bogle, Malkiel, the authors of this forum, but that was only recently. Sorry that there were not such books and this forum 30 years ago.
Happy holidays and new year!
Bernd

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Post by Erwin » Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:44 am

Viktor Frankl's Man's Search For Meaning
Erwin

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Post by rustymutt » Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:52 am

You Can Be Financially Free
by George J. Fooshee

I read this book back in the 1970's and hated debt ever since.
Knowledge is knowing that the Tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing better than to put the tomato in a fruit salad.

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Post by SamB » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:02 am

Random Walk about 1977-

Sam

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Post by SpringMan » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:36 am

I read Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" from an old copy I picked up at a garage sale. Unlike others I did not care for this book. It seemed to advocate being phony regardless of the truth. Tell people what they want to hear. Give false compliments. Do this to get ahead. I know this book is highly regarded but I found many things about it distasteful.
Best Wishes, SpringMan

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Post by bttn_2010 » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:50 am

bttn_2010 wrote:Herman Hesse's Siddhartha and Glass Bead Game.


Add: Rudolf Steiner's The Philosophy of Freedom

Not a book but:
Confucius "Great Learning" from Analects

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Scott Peck

Post by bcboy57 » Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:23 pm

The Road Less Travelled- by Scott Peck

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Post by Judsen » Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:26 pm

Proverbs
Be the change you want to see in the world

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Post by Noobvestor » Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:30 pm

nisiprius wrote:Stars: A Little Golden Nature Guide, by Herbert S. Zim. Well, I was six years old at the time, and I came running to Mom with the interesting news that one of the planets had the same name as the Earth. She explained to me that the Earth was a planet. It blew my mind...

Cosmic View: The Universe in Forty Jumps, by Kees Boeke. This book is a series of forty illustrations, each on a scale varying by a factor of ten from the one before it, online here. It is better known today from several works that it credit Boeke as their inspiration: the (two) films Powers of Ten by the Office of Charles and Ray Eames, and the book of the same title by Philip and Phyllis Morrison.

Flatland, by Edwin A. Abbott.


I second Flatland, but wanted to say thanks, Nis, for making me aware of Cosmic View - I had no idea Powers of Ten was based on/inspired by anything - now it is on my must-read list. For anyone looking for the Clif's Notes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fKBhvDjuy0
"In the absence of clarity, diversification is the only logical strategy" -= Larry Swedroe

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Re: Any books really change your outlook on life?

Post by Toons » Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:30 pm

bob90245 wrote:Re: Any books really change your outlook on life?

Many years ago, I read Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. Maybe didn't change my "outlook". But I made changes in myself in other ways.



Me Too :D :D
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:36 pm

SpringMan wrote:I read Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" from an old copy I picked up at a garage sale. Unlike others I did not care for this book. It seemed to advocate being phony regardless of the truth. Tell people what they want to hear. Give false compliments. Do this to get ahead. I know this book is highly regarded but I found many things about it distasteful.


I second the above. Having integrity,character, ethics and compassion gets thrown out the window with the useless advice this book offers. I suspect many of the problems we have today have been compounded by the suggestions this book offers.

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Post by gd » Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:00 pm

"Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television", by Jerry Mander. Remove the influence of television on your thoughts and lifestyle for a few years and modern society starts looking very different.

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Post by Ricola » Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:10 pm

The Big Three in Economics, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes, by Mark Skousen

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Post by four7s » Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:15 pm

"Yes, I Can" the autobiography of Sammy Davis Jr. I read it in the late 1960's during the Civil Rights movement and it opened my eyes to the reality of segregation. Later in life I met Mr. Davis and it was really a thrill.

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Post by bob90245 » Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:23 pm

gd wrote:"Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television", by Jerry Mander. Remove the influence of television on your thoughts and lifestyle for a few years and modern society starts looking very different.

Agreed. Kicked the TV habit many years ago. The improvement on my outlook was immediate.
Ignore the market noise. Keep to your rebalancing schedule whether that is semi-annual, annual or trigger bands.

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Oh, I love this topic.

Post by anncatchingup » Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:43 pm

Off the top of my head, some of my most influential:

Your Money of Your Life, Vicki Robbins & Joe Dominguez

How Much Is Enough? The Consumer Society and the Future of the Earth, by Alan Durning

Affluenza by John De Graaf, et al

The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing and The Bogleheads' Guide to Retirement Planning

John Boggle's books & others recommended on this site: The New Coffehouse Investor, The Only Guide to a Winning Investment Strategy You'll Ever Need

Anything by Pema Chodron, like Start Where You Are, The Wisdom of No Escape, No Time to Lose, Taking the Leap, among others

Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth and The Power of Now

The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, Mad Cowboy by Howard Lyman and Dr. Neal Barnard's books (Made me go from a semi-vegetarian to a vegan -- I've never felt better!)

The End of Overeating by David Kessler, MD

Anti-cancer - A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD

Overdosed America by John Abramson, MD; The Truth About the Drug Companies by Marcia Angell, MD; Selling Sickness - How the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All into Patients by Ray Moynihan. I'm in the healthcare field and these books changed my thinking about the drug and health industry.

The Myth of Osteoporosis by Gillian Sanson. I have osteoporosis, but don't believe I need to take drugs for it (see above also).

Stuff - Compulsive Hoarding & the meaning of things by Randy Frost and Buried in Treasures by David Tolin. I come from a family of hoarders and these are very insightful.

Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Poetry by Mary Oliver

I could go on...

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Post by gkaplan » Sun Dec 26, 2010 3:35 pm

I don't know if any one book changed my life. I have enjoyed some books enough to read them over again - in some cases more once. Various versions of The Diary of Anne Frank and several of the books of Jane Austen and George Eliot come to mind.
Gordon

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Post by tj218 » Sun Dec 26, 2010 3:47 pm

The Caine Mutiny is probably one of the few books I could put in this category. It's easy to see the world in black & white, but geez this book shakes things up quite a bit.

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Post by gkaplan » Sun Dec 26, 2010 4:10 pm

The Caine Mutiny is another book I've read more than once. In fact, I've probably read several of Wouk's books more than once, like Winds of War, War and Remembrance, and Youngblood Hawke. I guess you could say I like potboilers.
Gordon

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dratkinson
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Post by dratkinson » Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:21 pm

A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson.

The book takes everything taught in high school sciences about the universe (the natural laws/elements, galaxies, solar system, Earth, life,...) and makes it coherent. Only book I've read twice in one year.

(Added) Agree a single text will never replace multiple high school subject-specific text. Removed forum-specific questionable examples of some of the ways it changed my thinking on life.
Last edited by dratkinson on Mon Dec 27, 2010 4:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Sunflower » Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:12 pm

"Autobiography of a Yogi." It "presented itself" to me in my 20's and it was what I needed during the difficult time of becoming secure in my shedding the beliefs I was raised in and accepting what I felt to be true. Decades later it is still close to my heart and I'm in a good place now.

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Post by stemikger » Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:15 pm

Bambi - Walter E. Disney
Green Eggs and Ham - Dr. Seuss
The Little Engine that Could
The Automatic Millionaire - David Bach
Forrest Gump - Winston Groom
The Exorcist - William Peter Blatty

The above books changed my way of thinking for the following reasons:
Bambi taught me to never trust man;
Green Eggs and Ham taught me to never read another Dr. Seuss book as long as I live;
The Little Engine that Could taught me to never give up;
The Automatic Millionaire taught me that I could invest without liking numbers or budgeting;
Forrest Gump taught me that love conquers all and
The Exorcist taught me that religion is funny and to not play with Ouji Boards just in case the Devil is real

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HomerJ
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Post by HomerJ » Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:20 pm

tj218 wrote:The Caine Mutiny is probably one of the few books I could put in this category. It's easy to see the world in black & white, but geez this book shakes things up quite a bit.


Yes, great book... makes me cry everytime I read the father's letter.

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Post by White Coat Investor » Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:47 pm

I've read a lot of books, but "changed my life?" I can only think of a few. Matthew....Mark....Luke...John to name some of them.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

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HomerJ
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Post by HomerJ » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:13 pm

nm

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KarlJ
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Post by KarlJ » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:47 pm

Besides many of the previously mentioned books, I would add Walden by Henry David Thoreau.

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LH
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Post by LH » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:18 pm

SpringMan wrote:I read Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" from an old copy I picked up at a garage sale. Unlike others I did not care for this book. It seemed to advocate being phony regardless of the truth. Tell people what they want to hear. Give false compliments. Do this to get ahead. I know this book is highly regarded but I found many things about it distasteful.


I thought that as well the first time I read it. Read it again in a few years.

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Post by Peter Foley » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:31 pm

1984 - I read it for a second time in the 1970's and was struck by the manipulation of language. It has influenced my perception of many aspects of modern life. I'm sure I've read it a half dozen times.

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Post by saurabhec » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:36 pm

SpringMan wrote:I read Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" from an old copy I picked up at a garage sale. Unlike others I did not care for this book. It seemed to advocate being phony regardless of the truth. Tell people what they want to hear. Give false compliments. Do this to get ahead. I know this book is highly regarded but I found many things about it distasteful.


Interesting point of view. My reaction was not as negative, but yes, it is something of a struggle between being truthful and having a personality that makes a broad spectrum of people like you. As someone who has probably tended towards making a fetish of integrity, my observation as I approach mid-life is that if you want a more pleasant and enjoyable social life experience, it is better to de-emphasize integrity and be more charming. It dramatically improves one's family, work, friendship and romantic lives. Most people value likability over integrity, and who among us has not been swayed one time or another by those with the gift of charm? I am not sure that what one thinks of as representing truth or integrity is always a matter of black and white, so why not be a bit more pragmatic? Granted, I have not really been successful in adopting this attitude as much as I would like.

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Post by tetractys » Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:24 am

The Book of People and The Book of Nature. -- Tet
RESISTANCE IS FRUITFUL

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Re: Any books really change your outlook on life?

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:03 am

am wrote:Always looking for great books to read.


Man's Search for Meaning - Victor Frankel

The Misbehavior of Markets - Benoit Mandelbrot

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Post by Valuethinker » Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:07 am

[quote="dratkinson"]"A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson.

The book takes everything taught in high school sciences about the universe (the natural laws/elements, galaxies, solar system, Earth, life,...) and makes it coherent. Only book I've read twice in one year.

--long controversial opinions about formation of the universe and greenhouse gases deleted--


I am sorry you had to use this Forum here, in contravention of forum rules, to unleash your screed.

Just about everything you say has been addressed eg the water vapour point by climate scientists.

Read Spencer Weart's 'The Discovery of Global Warming' (it is available online if you do not feel like paying for it).

--religious comments deleted--

As to Bill Bryson, well, it's popular science and he makes mistakes. It's one of those books science students are *not* encouraged to reference.

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Post by happytrades » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:27 am

Bhagavad Gita

If one can conquer oneself, everything else is a piece of cake.

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