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David:

One of my favorite writer's - always used and use him when I teach and when I taught. Yes. S.F. in the Embarcado area.

What I did not know and discovered because I wanted to check where he was a longshoreman, is that he lost his sight from 7 yrs old until he was 15:

Early life

Hoffer was born in New York City in 1902, the son of German-Jewish immigrants. By the age of five, he could read in both German and English. [2] When he was age five, his mother fell down a flight of stairs with Eric in her arms. Hoffer went blind for unknown medical reasons two years later, but later in life he said he thought it might have been due to trauma. ("I lost my sight at the age of seven. Two years before, my mother and I fell down a flight of stairs. She did not recover and died in that second year after the fall.I lost my sight and for a time my memory").[3] After his mother's death he was raised by a live-in relative or servant, a German woman named Martha. His eyesight inexplicably returned when he was 15. Fearing he would again go blind, he seized upon the opportunity to read as much as he could for as long as he could. His eyesight remained, and Hoffer never abandoned his habit of voracious reading.

Hoffer was a young man when his father, a cabinetmaker, died. The cabinetmaker's union paid for the funeral and gave Hoffer a little over three hundred dollars. Sensing that warm Los Angeles was the best place for a poor man, Hoffer took a bus there in 1920. He spent the next 10 years on Los Angeles' skid row, reading, occasionally writing, and working odd jobs. On one such job, selling oranges door-to-door, he discovered he was a natural salesman and could easily make good money. Uncomfortable with this discovery, he quit after one day.[4]

In 1931, he attempted suicide by drinking a solution of oxalic acid, but the attempt failed as he could not bring himself to swallow the poison.[5] The experience gave him a new determination to live adventurously. It was then he left skid row and became a migrant worker. Following the harvests along the length of California, he collected library cards for each town near the fields where he worked and, living by preference, "between the books and the brothels." A seminal event for Hoffer occurred in the mountains where he had gone in search of gold. Snowed in for the winter, he read the Essays by Michel de Montaigne. Montaigne's book impressed Hoffer deeply, and he often made reference to its importance for him. He also developed a great respect for America's underclass, which, he declared, was "lumpy with talent."

Adam

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His style kind of reminds me of the style employed by Nietzsche in some of his works, such as Beyond Good and Evil, The Antichrist, etc. Very condensed and aphoristic.

Edited by Michelle R
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Looking for Spinoza by Antonio Damasio

The Art of Thinking by Harrison and Bramson

Patent it Yourself by David Pressman

Lotus Sutra (Reeves Translation)

In Search of Memory by Eric Kandel

What is Life? by Erwin Shrodinger

Jim

Can you give a mini-review of Schroedinger? Always thought about reading that book.

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What Ba'al raises is critical to me. I carry on extended "discussions" with the future reader of my book, including me, in the margins and in different colors, mostly in pen.

(*wince*) Desecration!

I've written in textbooks, but NEVER, EVER in my own private books. Not even in workbooks that provide space for you to comment as you work through them; in those I always, always write on a separate piece of paper.

And if I read a book after someone else has, I don't WANT to read that person's comments; they'd distract me from the book.

I do remember one textbook in which I couldn't help making comments and large exclamation points to a great extent. It was about twentieth-century law and Roosevelt's court-packing program. It horrified my libertarian soul. I then turned around and sold that book at the end of the semester, which I hadn't expected to do during the course. The guy who bought it from me probably got a mini-primer on libertarian thought without bargaining for it.

Judith

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I am now reading Victor Hugo’s *The Toilers of the Sea* -- for the first time, as it was out of print for so many decades. It is the last of his major novels for me to read, and I will finish reading it tonight. Hugo could really write, and I am loving this book thus far, finding out just how much I miss reading him. This novel seems to be “slower” than his others, in that lacks the early snappy plot developments of, say, *Ninety-Three,* but I’m not minding that a bit.

Early, snappy plot developments of "Ninety-Three"? Slower than his others?

Yikes.

I'll have to pass. I've never, ever been able to get beyond two or three chapters of any of Hugo's books. I've tried "Les Miserables" about twenty times, but I get bogged down with the bishop and the candlesticks every time. I've tried "Hunchback". I've tried "Ninety-Three". Same thing, about the same length in. His prose is DEADLY. I expected more from someone loved by Ayn Rand, whose prose was tight and compulsively readable.

Judith

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Judith:

Ditto on Hugo.

I understand the *wince*. And it is marking an original, so I am marring the book, the only real desecration is on the enemies books, lol.

I used to write questions in the margins of the IQ, Regents, Midterm, Final, SAT, GRE exams.

Sometimes I would ask the person why he or she would be a good German destroying children's minds with epistemologically incorrect questions.

I loved poking fun at those exams.

I developed a theory at about 12 years old that all of these ridiculous mass tests always had an essay component.

So I developed a basic story built around the 1958 flood where our town in Pennsylvania was literally almost wiped out. We could not evacuate because the three main roads were under about 30 feet of water and the proverbial bridge was out on the one mountain road across the Delaware. It was pretty bad.

I realized that I could always plug that basic story into one of the generic groups of essays. I was always done early, lol.

Adam

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I suspect technology is the reason Hugo is so hard to take nowadays; we're used to movie and TV pacing, just as we're used to spoken dialog on the screen, and we just can't get back to what earlier generations found normal. I find him an amazing stylist but redundant and way too slow.

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Ninety Three is his best paced book, and the translation matters. You have to get the version with the Ayn Rand intro, other translations read as stilted.

As for writing in books, it is sacrilege. If I absolutely must do it I buy a second clean copy.

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'Toilers of the Sea' is my very favorite of Hugo's. I had some trouble with 'Les' but managed to make it through it; Jean Valjean made it all worth while, but 'Toilers' reminds me of Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata..clean and pure and concise and quite wonderful (except for the ending).

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I used to write questions in the margins of the IQ, Regents, Midterm, Final, SAT, GRE exams.

Sometimes I would ask the person why he or she would be a good German destroying children's minds with epistemologically incorrect questions.

(*laugh!*) Too bad it's unlikely no one ever read them! Would have been a hoot!

So I developed a basic story built around the 1958 flood where our town in Pennsylvania was literally almost wiped out. We could not evacuate because the three main roads were under about 30 feet of water and the proverbial bridge was out on the one mountain road across the Delaware. It was pretty bad.

Johnstown? I've driven through there on my "scenic" route back from Pittsburgh once or twice.

I suspect technology is the reason Hugo is so hard to take nowadays; we're used to movie and TV pacing, just as we're used to spoken dialog on the screen, and we just can't get back to what earlier generations found normal.

I do have similar problems with Dickens, but I have other books written in the late 1800s with which I have no problems whatsoever. In fact, I like them a lot better than many of the books written today, filled with slang that will be obsolete in five years. And I can't bear TV. I literally watch zero hours a year. Some of the more recent films -- even if one could call 1991 recent with Stone's "JFK" -- I find hard to follow with the rapid scene shifts and jerky camera movements and apparent lack of continuity (often coupled with rapid and difficult to understand dialogue). One doesn't have those problems with films like "Spartacus" or "Ben-Hur" (1960 and 1959, respectively, if memory serves me correctly).

Judith

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(*wince*) Desecration!

I've written in textbooks, but NEVER, EVER in my own private books.

As for writing in books, it is sacrilege. If I absolutely must do it I buy a second clean copy.

You guys would be horrified to see my private books. Kat is always teasing me about not getting my mitts on her books.

I don't consider marking a copy of a book as desecrating the book since there are oodles of unmarked copies all over the place. On the contrary, the copy I mark is my property. A part of my thoughts—a slice of me—gets on record right where it happened when I mark my copy of a book.

I also find my margin notes, underlinings, circling of words, and so forth extremely useful for clarifying thoughts and pointing to things that did not settle in my mind when I reread. There are passages I often want to cite later in a discussion or article and marking them makes them easier to find later. Sometimes long and boring stretches of dreary text take on new life when I highlight an outline.

A final benefit is that my markings are a great memory jog when I have not thought about a book for a few years.

I could not imagine life without being able to mark my books. The joy would evaporate from my existence...

Michael

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Victor Hugo is definitely a 19th century writer. Pacing was different then.

Les Misérables took a long time to get going for me. His other novels (I've read all but the two earliest ones) didn't give me the same trouble.

I expect they are hard to translate into English, and need to be redone every generation or two. I've read them in French. There's no substitute for it, if you know the language, even though he will make you work, and will stretch your vocabulary. The passage from The Man Who Laughs that Rand translated (for "The Comprachicos") gives an English-speaking reader some idea of what he could do.

Robert Campbell

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I could not imagine life without being able to mark my books. The joy would evaporate from my existence...

Michael

I rarely write anything in fiction books.

Non-fiction is a different story.

Marking up psychology and philosophy books is my substitute for conventional note-taking, which I've always been desultory at.

Robert Campbell

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I am now reading Victor Hugo's *The Toilers of the Sea* -- for the first time, as it was out of print for so many decades. It is the last of his major novels for me to read, and I will finish reading it tonight. Hugo could really write, and I am loving this book thus far, finding out just how much I miss reading him. This novel seems to be "slower" than his others, in that lacks the early snappy plot developments of, say, *Ninety-Three,* but I'm not minding that a bit.

Early, snappy plot developments of "Ninety-Three"? Slower than his others?

Yikes.

I'll have to pass. I've never, ever been able to get beyond two or three chapters of any of Hugo's books. I've tried "Les Miserables" about twenty times, but I get bogged down with the bishop and the candlesticks every time. I've tried "Hunchback". I've tried "Ninety-Three". Same thing, about the same length in. His prose is DEADLY. I expected more from someone loved by Ayn Rand, whose prose was tight and compulsively readable.

You might try "Ninety-Three again, Judith. It's not that long and the climax is incredible.

--Brant

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QUOTE (Selene @ Jun 1 2009, 03:38 PM) *

So I developed a basic story built around the 1958 flood where our town in Pennsylvania was literally almost wiped out. We could not evacuate because the three main roads were under about 30 feet of water and the proverbial bridge was out on the one mountain road across the Delaware. It was pretty bad.

Johnstown? I've driven through there on my "scenic" route back from Pittsburgh once or twice.

Ouch! No, lol - those were in 1889 and 1977.

"The dams that surround Johnstown, stretching throughout the Conemaugh Valley, were unsuspecting accomplices in the Great Flood of 1977. They were duped by the instigator - the rain.

When they failed, six dams poured more than 128 million gallons of water into the Conemaugh Valley Twenty million gallons were unleashed on Johnstown when the South Fork Dam burst in 1889.

A phenomenal amount of rainfall - 11.82 inches In 10 hours was too much for both the dams and the sewers in the Conemaugh Valley The rainfall and the dam failures created the Great Flood of 1977."

This was the one I was referring too in 1955

"Flooding: The Delaware has experienced a number of serious flooding events as the result of snow melt and/or rain run-off from heavy rainstorms. Record flooding occurred in August 1955, in the aftermath of the passing of the remnants of two separate hurricanes over the area within less than a week: first Hurricane Connie and then Hurricane Diane, which was, and still is, the wettest tropical cyclone to have hit the northeastern United States. The river gauge at Riegelsville, PA recorded an all time record crest of 38.85 feet on August 19, 1955."

August 19th was my birthday - I used it for a regents essay that roughly dealt with their most amazing birthday! lol

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Barbara - I ADORE Agatha Christie! I have read most of her novels, though it has been several years. I discovered her at my grandparents house when I was 10 years old. The first one I read was Crooked House, and I was hooked! In my late teens, I bought the The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Agatha Christie and just wore it out. Great companion to her books. Unfortunately, in my early 20s, I purged a lot of books, and gave many of my novels of hers away. Thank goodness we have Half Price Books stores around here so I can build my collection back up after I replenish the book fund!

The past several weeks I have been reading books on personal finance. I read these over the past two weeks:

9 Steps to Financial Freedom, Suze Orman

Financial Peace, Dave Ramsey

Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert T. Kiyosaki

Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey

Rich Dad's Guide to Becoming Rich...Without Cutting Up Your Credit Cards, Robert T. Kiyosaki

Rich Dad's Increase Your Financial IQ: Get Smarter with Your Money, Robert T. Kiyosaki

With the exception of the last one, I borrowed all these from the library.

It has been interesting, because I think Orman's book, though it is about 11 years old, is the most specific and balanced in terms of good advice and information. All three authors have some interesting ideas, though - I don't agree with some of Ramsey's and Kiyosaki's ideas, but I am getting a lot out of all the books.

Ramsey has good advice on getting out of debt and helping you figure out how to live a bit below your means. However, although his references to church and quoting scripture are not really intolerable, my guess is that he wants people to be more focused on just "peace" and the after life, and that is why his program doesn't allow people to take risks. If you ever listen to his talk show, I think he mostly gives out good advice, but I don't think there is a one size fits all plan for everyone. (For example, he states that people should NOT contribute to their 401k until they are debt free, except for their house in MOST cases. I don't think that is smart.) Also, he constantly talks about high rates of returns on certain types of investments that I think are unreal to be consistent given the types of investments they are. To me, Ramsey's books are perfect for those that are willing to take a very strict approach to "snowballing" their debt if they can stomach it.

Kiyosaki...haha..this has proved interesting. I think there are valid criticism out there that his books are basically teasers for his seminars. However, he admits that the whole point of writing his first book was to explain what his game Cash Flow was all about, and it ended up becoming a best seller. And, I he admits he goes for sensationalized titles - for example, in the Guide to Becoming Rich, he does actually state that for some people, cutting up their credit cards may be necessary until they can control their personal finances better. There is also a question as to whether the "Rich Dad" actually was one person or a combination of people, or if he existed altogether. I don't care either way. I have found his books to be very entertaining, and I think there is enough good things for it be worth the read. Actually, I signed myself and the husband up for one of the 3 day courses at the end of the month. Sure, sure - I know about 40% of it will probably be more of a sales pitch for the "advanced" course they offer - but I think it would be fun. Even if it sucks, I got a bunch of cds, the IQ book, and some neat work books and a how to invest in real estate book for enrolling. The cds so far are really good - so I don't feel like I would have lost any money.

Going back to Orman - wow! All I can say is that she has a lot of information packed in that book. I downloaded her latest book for free off Oprah's website a few months ago, but haven't read it yet. I am definitely going to pull it up and read it when I get some time later this week.

I read Your Money or Your Life several years ago, and will probably re-read it again after the books are back on the shelves. (We are finishing up a thrifty - as in DIY- remodel of the living room and I had to pack several bookshelves of beloved volumes away. It is painful, I tell you!) That book changed a lot about what I thought about money in general, and if one can stomach the self sacrifice and service platitudes, then one can get a lot out of it.

If anyone has other personal finance or investing books that they have enjoyed, please let me know. It's my new reading kick. I needed a break from hard core Objectivist books for a bit. My little mind was getting over loaded. =)

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We - Yevgeny Zamyatin

Edited by Michelle R
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Gerald Loeb's The Battle for Investment Survival is still around after 74 years; I haven't read it myself. He was a friend of AR, though never her broker or financial adviser.

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Gerald Loeb's The Battle for Investment Survival is still around after 74 years; I haven't read it myself. He was a friend of AR, though never her broker or financial adviser.

Thanks - I will look for it!

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We - Yevgeny Zamyatin

Ah, what a miserably depressing book.

Have you read The Master and Margarita?

Not yet.

Should I?

As to being depressing, nothing sours my mood quite like Brave New World. It's the greatest satire ever written and a joy to read, purely on a literary level. But whenever I read that book and then happen upon something like Jerry Springer, I just go into a slump for the rest of the day.

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We - Yevgeny Zamyatin

Ah, what a miserably depressing book.

Have you read The Master and Margarita?

Not yet.

Should I?

As to being depressing, nothing sours my mood quite like Brave New World. It's the greatest satire ever written and a joy to read, purely on a literary level. But whenever I read that book and then happen upon something like Jerry Springer, I just go into a slump for the rest of the day.

Not necessessarily. Someone lent it to me, I read about half with some amusement before, due to an unexpected job opporutnity, I had to retyurn the book. Much better than We. But them, anything would be better than We, including late term abortions for fun. I read Brave New World at about age 14 or 15. Struck me as very literatury, not as good as 1984. Never felt the desire to reread either.

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We - Yevgeny Zamyatin

Ah, what a miserably depressing book.

Have you read The Master and Margarita?

Not yet.

Should I?

As to being depressing, nothing sours my mood quite like Brave New World. It's the greatest satire ever written and a joy to read, purely on a literary level. But whenever I read that book and then happen upon something like Jerry Springer, I just go into a slump for the rest of the day.

Not necessessarily. Someone lent it to me, I read about half with some amusement before, due to an unexpected job opporutnity, I had to retyurn the book. Much better than We. But them, anything would be better than We, including late term abortions for fun. I read Brave New World at about age 14 or 15. Struck me as very literatury, not as good as 1984. Never felt the desire to reread either.

I like We. It's a clever little novel that set the template for one of the twentieth century's most influential literary genres.

1984 is alright, but you only really need to read it once. Fascism bad. Got it.

Animal Farm is definitely the superior Orwell novel.

Brave New World is great because it's one of those few examples of capital L Literature that is actually fun to read. The writing style is probably the best I have ever seen. It would definitely be the example I'd use if someone asked me to show me a book that is extremely well-written. Moreover, the characters all pop, the plot is hilarious and disturbing in turns, and it becomes more and more socially relevant as time goes by. Most novels are artifacts of the past, but BNW is continually fresh. The sci-fi in the book such as genetic engineering and cloning is only just becoming an issue today. The vision of a dumbed-down and doped-up society of whim-worshipping puppets who hold nothing as sacred and have no notion of individuality mirrors our own decaying society disturbingly well. And this was a book published in the early 1930s!

The book is almost perfect. It's only problem is that Huxley seemed to be a fairly pessimistic individual during this period and offered the savage no alternative between primitivism and collectivism, the mud hut and the "great social stream." Faced with this kind of a choice, it is no wonder he ends up doing what he does at the end.

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We - Yevgeny Zamyatin

Ah, what a miserably depressing book.

Have you read The Master and Margarita?

Not yet.

Should I?

As to being depressing, nothing sours my mood quite like Brave New World. It's the greatest satire ever written and a joy to read, purely on a literary level. But whenever I read that book and then happen upon something like Jerry Springer, I just go into a slump for the rest of the day.

Not necessessarily. Someone lent it to me, I read about half with some amusement before, due to an unexpected job opporutnity, I had to retyurn the book. Much better than We. But them, anything would be better than We, including late term abortions for fun. I read Brave New World at about age 14 or 15. Struck me as very literatury, not as good as 1984. Never felt the desire to reread either.

I like We. It's a clever little novel that set the template for one of the twentieth century's most influential literary genres.

1984 is alright, but you only really need to read it once. Fascism bad. Got it.

Animal Farm is definitely the superior Orwell novel.

Brave New World is great because it's one of those few examples of capital L Literature that is actually fun to read. The writing style is probably the best I have ever seen. It would definitely be the example I'd use if someone asked me to show me a book that is extremely well-written. Moreover, the characters all pop, the plot is hilarious and disturbing in turns, and it becomes more and more socially relevant as time goes by. Most novels are artifacts of the past, but BNW is continually fresh. The sci-fi in the book such as genetic engineering and cloning is only just becoming an issue today. The vision of a dumbed-down and doped-up society of whim-worshipping puppets who hold nothing as sacred and have no notion of individuality mirrors our own decaying society disturbingly well. And this was a book published in the early 1930s!

The book is almost perfect. It's only problem is that Huxley seemed to be a fairly pessimistic individual during this period and offered the savage no alternative between primitivism and collectivism, the mud hut and the "great social stream." Faced with this kind of a choice, it is no wonder he ends up doing what he does at the end.

We was a slog. The only reason I kept reading it was because I figured such a miserable story must be redeemed by heroic action and a happy ending. It wasn't. I can't recommend it at all to anyone. The friend who recommended Margarita did so when seh saw I was reading We, she said it was much better, and although I didn't finish it, she was right about the first third.

I read BNW so long ago, and well before I was mature enough to appreciate Shakespeare. It struck me as on the same level as Lord of the Flies, worth having read, but not something I would want to repeat, like I would, say, Time Enough for Love, or Chapterhouse Dune.

Of Orwell's books, I disliked Animal Farm - too obvious. I enjoyed 1984 mostly because I am a linguist. But my favorite books by him are Down and Out in Paris and London and Homage to Catalonia. And to his fiction I prefer his essays, which I have collected in four volumes.

Currently I am reading:

Caesar and Christ, Will Durant

The Puppetmasters, Heinlein

Chesterton Collected Works Vol IV

Ordeal of the Union, Vol I, Allan Nevins

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