Age of Enlightenment

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I enjoyed reading this book.  It is well written, easy to read, and interesting.

Here are a few of the main points:

  • Enlightenment was born of the idea that all human beings share the same basic needs and as such should enjoy the same rights and privileges.
  • Enlightenment began around the 1680s and lasted until the early 1800s.
  • Enlightenment was the direct result of the Renaissance and the Reformation.
  • The Scientific Revolution would never have taken place had it not been for the philosophical groundwork of the Enlightenment.
  • Enlightenment was simply an idea; the idea that a better understanding of our world and the people who occupy it, could lead to the progression of our species and the betterment of the human condition on earth.
  • While the leading figures of the Enlightenment were considered philosophers rather than scientist, many of these figures had backgrounds in science.  Scientific advancement is only possible through empirical processes and rational thought, as such became strongly associated with the reason-based philosophies of Enlightenment thinkers.

Against Corruption

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This is an interesting book to read, because of the differences among the authors.  They were able to discuss corruption from different cultural, educational, and economic backgrounds/viewpoints.

Here are a few of the main points:

  • Corruption hurts life outcomes in a variety of ways.  Economically, it diverts resources away from their most productive uses and acts like a regressive tax that supports the lifestyles of the elites at the expense of everyone else.
  • Corruption incentives the best and brightest to spend their time gaming the system, rather than innovating or creating new wealth.
  • As the difficulties and risk of corrupt behavior rise, fewer people will behave corruptly.
  • While auditing doesn’t sound like a glamorous nation-building activity, it is a critical part of ensuring that governments are spending public money responsibly and effectively.
  • Corruption is a cancer.  At first, it can look small and harmless.  Before you know it, it has taken over your entire body.  Likewise, the losses from corruption can start small, but in the end the damage is enormous.

After the Shock by Scott Nicholson

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Massive solar flares hit Earth and soak the planet in radiation.  The radiation destroys all electronic devices and kills over half of the population.  The survivors fall into two groups:

  1.  People that survived the solar flares, but the radiation scrambled their brains and turned them into mindless killing machines.
  2. People that survived the solar flares and seem to be unaffected by the radiation.  They are forced to find a way live in their new post-apocalyptic world.

I enjoyed reading this book.  The characters were interesting and relatable.  Also, the story flowed well, which made the book easy to read.

Politically Correct Bedtime Stores

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The book Politically Correct Bedtime Stores by James Fin Garner is hilarious and written in what I thought was a tactful manner.

Here are a few examples:

The Big Bad Wolf told Little Red Riding Hood it was not safe for her to walk alone in the woods.  Her response:

I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop you own, entirely valid worldview.

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The three codependent goats named Gruff decided to travel up the mountainside, so “they did not overgraze their valley and kept their ecological footprint as small as possible.”

However, they had to cross a bridge that was home to a “hairy, dirt-accomplished, and odor-enhanced” troll.

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Instead of helping the city of Hamelin by removing rats, the Pied Piper was hired to remove the residents of the trailer park.

The trailer park on the edge of Hamelin was a civic embarrassment.  Not only was it a terrible eye-sore, with its rusted pickup trucks and trash heaps in every backyard.  Within it dwelled some of the most unregenerate and irredeemable people you could ever imagine – murders of non domestic animals, former clients of the correctional system, and off-road bikers.  With their plastic daisy pinwheels, loud music, and drunken weekend brawls, they sent a shudder through every respectable person in town.

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The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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I enjoy reading Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, so I decided to read The Lost World.  I figured it would be an enjoyable book.

The story is about a scientist that finds a remote plateau in South America, and the conditions there have allowed dinosaurs to thrive.  However, the scientist is mocked by his peers and the public, when he tries to publish his findings.

He manages to convince one of the naysayer scientist to join him on a second expedition.  The team also includes a guide, various workers, and a journalist.

I thought the story line was interesting and the way it was written was plausible.  The characters were well developed and relatable.  At times, the book was suspenseful and at other times it was humorous.

It’s a great book and well worth reading.