A Bookworm's Definitive Story

I hate books. It takes time and energy to read a book and finish it. Why do I join booklikes and write a blog about book? Why do you think people exercise in the gym knowing it takes time and energy to get a great body?

Reading progress update: I've read 260 out of 352 pages.

The Economics Book - DK Publishing

A man who has my respect once said, "Humans always try to understand who they are and the context of where they are. History is an effort to achieve this. Some have followed human history through kingdoms, others through wars and battles, still others through art and music."

 

This book is actually an effort to explain who we are from the perspective of economics as it was born and developed overtime, and reading it has been a very rewarding adventure for me. From Aristotle's idea of private property to Karl Marx's socialism theory -- all the economic debates and disagreements that shaped our world as we know it today -- they are precious international knowledge that will help you see a world within the world, beauties that you could never have imagined before. 

Unleashing the Ideavirus: Stop Marketing AT People! Turn Your Ideas into Epidemics by Helping Your Customers Do the Marketing thing for You.

Unleashing the Ideavirus: Stop Marketing AT People! Turn Your Ideas into Epidemics by Helping Your Customers Do the Marketing thing for You. - Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell The few ideas used for example is good for inspirations.

The Wood Beyond the World

The Wood Beyond the World - William Morris The slow pace got me bored at time, but a good story nonetheless

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride - William Goldman Wonderfully and Sentimentally entertaining. It revived a part of me that has been left in the dark corner of the shelf and start gathering dust. The part of me that I first discovered when I read Narnia and The Lord of the Rings. The joy was overwhelming. I love this book.

Growing a Business

Growing a Business - Paul Hawken Love it. Love it. Love it.

Walden

Walden - Henry David Thoreau In a world of fast paced activities, Thoreau is a friend that won't mind to sit with you in your solitude. There is a time to act and decide, there is a time to stop and think. This book helps you do the latter. I wish I can have my own cottage one day.

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) - Seth Godin Be number ONE on that ONE thing you really care about.
Be GREAT at ONE thing that you're most passionate about.

That's pretty much sums up The Dip :)

The Pareto's Law and the long slog is the part I love most about this little book.

Brave New World

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley The idea behind the book is interesting, but the story, the setting and the author's voice is stupid and depressing.

Sorry, but by the fourth chapter I closed the book, and reading the summary plus comments from some website I decided to ditch this.

I wanna read book filled with hope, realism and optimism. This book only offers you insanity or lunacy.

Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder

Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder - Richard Dawkins I never want to do what the scientists do, but I do want to know what if feels like to be a scientist.

And this book do just that.

David and Goliath: The Triumph of the Underdog

David and Goliath: The Triumph of the Underdog - Malcolm Gladwell The book Outliers was the book that cemented my love for non-fiction books.
I never knew back then that non-fictions could be so powerful and thought provoking.

While this book maintained Gladwell's unique talent to find unique subjects, it was not as moving and emotional as Outliers final pages (the Epilogue part.)

I have to confess, I have expected more from Gladwell, especially since I saw one of his interview on Youtube.

The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible's Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love

The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible's Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love - John Shelby Spong Richard Dawkins said in his The God Delusion that religious readers who open his book will be atheists when they put it down.

Well, his book was exciting and wonderful, but I'm still a Christian. You don't leave religion easily after been attracted to it for 3 years.I decided to read this book, which was mentioned by Dawkins himself in The God Delusion.

And now I'm convinced to keep my Christian identity maybe for about another fifty years.

It's hard to put into words the feelings that I felt when I read this book. It's very very liberating.

C.S Lewis said that he "had crossed a great frontier" after reading Phantastes.

This book did the same thing to me.

80/20 Principle

80/20 Principle - Richard Koch I've always disliked books about business in general, partly because most of those books only talks about things that everyone knows like:

-Hard work
-Perseverance
-Set goals
-Use time wisely
-Set priorities
-etc.,etc., and etc.

Please, these are all just mumbo-jumbos, and anyone that think this kind of book is great certainly never experienced the real world of business and marketplace.

Oh, I haven't. I'm still in college trying to get my bachelor degree, but even right now, easy, one sided answer never satisfy me. The surface of the water might be calm, but you just don't know whether it contains a goldfish or a crocodile.

If hard work generate wealth, than don't you think the farmers ought to be the wealthiest people on earth?

Well no, they don't. And that's why the Pareto Principle a.k.a the 80/20 Principle really makes sense.

I don't want to spoil the book. Suffice to say that this book talks about focusing our time, energy and money to that which are most important for our happiness in life.

All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World

All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World - Seth Godin As a marketer, Godin is a Purple Cow.

As a book writer, he is a mess.

"By telling you a story about how my books fit together,
I make it easier for you to understand the big picture,
to spread the ideas, and, maybe, to buy some more books."


This book is pretty much like those seminars about entrepreneurship and finance: spent your money for the seminar where the speaker talks about things that everyone knows plus a bit that seems like new and interesting, and in the end, spent even more for the workshops, where the real training began.

The seminar is just the skin of the topic, and the workshops are the internal organs.

That's what this book is, a little bit of the big cookie, designed to introduce you to marketing, and then to many more of Godin's books that deals with various parts of marketing.

Why not create a one volume book out of three, or four short books that he wrote instead of telling me how I need to buy and read all of 'em to understand about marketing?

I don't know about other people, but I do felt cheated and lied.

The God Delusion

The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins Novelist Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy wrote in Writing Fiction For Dummies:

"Nobody ever bought a novel because they wanted to change their economic theories, switch political parties, or convert to a new religion. Nobody"

I think this is actually true, not only to novels, but to all books in general. We might read a book that we already know disagrees with our view on the topic, but none of us ever read something to change our mind.

That is, except a few crazy people that are extremely curious.

One Christian pastor once said to me that atheists were formed because those who are theists are "not a good" theists.

Hitler and Stalin might be atheists, but they did not murder people in the name of atheism, unlike the Crusade in which it was clear that both sides of the war killed in the name of (respectively) their God.

It was based on this two premises that I finally decided that no matter how wrong atheism may be, it deserves to be heard, for those who are atheists were born because of bad-- or evil if you would-- theists.

This book is not a "rant". It is a thoughtful case written in a friendly tone, not to eradicate the existence of religion, but to point out many of religion's destructive causes that people who identify themselves as theists should consider before snuffing out someone's life.

Some part about science, like quantum mechanic, atoms and microorganisms are a bit hard to digest, but they were there because Dawkins wanted to show how wonderful science is, and in my view, it is remarkable.

I enjoyed reading this book as I enjoyed reading [a:Malcolm Gladwell|1439|Malcolm Gladwell|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1224601838p2/1439.jpg]'s books. My only complaint is that the last chapter on the topic of science as inspiration ends all to abruptly. It's just not a fulfilling climax like [b:Outliers: The Story of Success|3228917|Outliers The Story of Success|Malcolm Gladwell|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1344266315s/3228917.jpg|3364437].

The Barbarian Way / Soul Cravings

The Barbarian Way / Soul Cravings - Erwin Raphael McManus After listening to several sermons by Erwin, I decided to try out some of his books. This one is the first.

The Barbarian Way:

Erwin is trying to clearly make us see the difference between what Christianity as a movement and Christianity as a part of the culture. Well, I have nothing much to say about this book. It's pretty much the same as his sermon on the topic: that there is a gap between what Jesus want his followers to become and what the community that bear his name is missing out on.

Two thousand years ago, the institution (read: religion) that bore the name of Yahweh, God of the Old Testament, was turned upside down by Jesus (not, not the Messiah, but the Human Jesus), culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in the year 70 AD.

Now, two thousand more years have passed. Will something similar happens to Christianity? That remains to be seen...

Soul Cravings:

If you're a Christian, or just a person who's familiar with Christianity, I'm certain that you know some preachers in this world claimed to have seen hell and, yes, sometimes, heaven.

The funny thing is, when you hear them preached in the church, they would regularly speak about "How you can be a blessing," or "how to have the right spouse," or "how to be a good person," or "how you can be more blessed."

I don't say that it's impossible for a person to be brought to hell and heaven by God. I'm saying that if you really has ever seen heaven or hell, you would preach about something more than those practical and bland talk. You would talk about something that is more mysterious and hard to digest, something that is disturbing and real, rather than preaching about what most of the Christian preachers preached about: easy to digest, practical to everyday lives, and yes,

BORING

Erwin once said, "Before a person follow your God, he/she has to become a follower of you. They wouldn't come to your God if they don't like you. And if they don't like you why would they want to know whatever that makes you the way you are? To find an unknown and mysterious God they need a guide [you]."

It is this thing that kept me from believing what preachers said. They are just not trustworthy. They can talk all the good things, sometimes so much good that they have preached their own version of God, because if you've read the Bible, you know there's so much chaos and darkness in the Bible.

I wanted a conversation that is thoughtful and honest, and as long as I don't see that, I will not be convinced with whatever those hell and heaven travelers said about.

Now to begin, I don't like how this book opens up. It used the "21 grams" issue that is being used by propagandists all around the world to say, "There is more to you than flesh and blood" (do your research, Erwin!)

But after that, the book just gets better and better. The conversation moves from what is bland into that which is heartfelt and almost personal. It's not the kind of book that says "you need God" although that was what being argued here. Erwin is not your lousy-stupid-next-door-preacher, who preached that GOD-IS-ALL-GOOD-AND-GREAT-AND-LOVING-AND-CARING. He has his own doubts, even his own son had his doubts, and he is a pastor of a church!

He is also honest enough to share those doubts in this book. Every human being needs to know that somehow someway their lives are meaningful. That there is a purpose to their existence in this world. It is not really a harmful impulse to desire meaning for our lives. What is harmful is when that impulse to have meaning drive us to believe what is false but consoling, rather than the truth which is harsh and merciless.

The 'truth'
That the Bible
Might just be
A human creation

That Jesus
Might just be
A false Messiah

That Christianity
Is nothing more
Than another dead end

People all around the world are trying to make sense of life. To understand who we are and where we are. Some went out alone, and in the journey discovered things that are disturbing and grotesque.As John Gray, an English Political Philosopher puts it, "Not everything in religion is precious or deserving of reverence."

Making sense of life
Asking questions
Even questions
About the existence of God

I've set out a few years ago to find answers. I'm progressing very-very slowly now, and in those times when I'm tired of asking, I'm just glad to find a person who can talk about all the deep issues in life like this Erwin.

On Fairy-Stories

On Fairy-Stories - J.R.R. Tolkien, Douglas A. Anderson, Verlyn Flieger "Fantasy, the making or glimpsing of Other-worlds, was the heart of the desire of Faƫrie."

I don't have any background on English literature (and any other literatures) so please forgive me when I said the language in this book is a bit confusing. But yeah, overall I understand what Tolkien is trying to say:

That the land of Faerie is mystical not in the RPG-game-world-sense.

That fantasy is a natural human taste, since we imagine things, like seeing a face on a tree, or cursing the heaven for seven days without any rain.

That fantasy is an art that has been left in the attics for a very long time

I was reminded of LeGuin's From Elfland to Poughkeepsie and I think those who loved LeGuin's essay would love this one as well.

Currently reading

The Blue Fairy Book (Dover Children's Classics)
Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy
Douglas A. Anderson, Frank R. Stockton, Johann Ludwig Tieck, Richard Garnett, H. Rider Haggard, Andrew Lang, William Hope Hodgson, E.A. Wyke-Smith, David Lindsay, Clemence Housman, George MacDonald, Arthur Machen, A. Merritt, L. Frank Baum, Kenneth Morris, William Morri