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Recent General Interest Book Reads and Reviews



Sum - Forty Tales of the Afterlife 

by David Eagleman

Forty bite-size speculations on the afterlife. No, it's not religious, but parts of it utilise some religious stereotypes. Certainly thought-provoking - which is something I do like. It made me smile and ponder over several of his conceptions. He is a neuroscientist, though the book is by no means scientific. Not a heavy read.


Outliers - the Story of Success

by Malcolm Gladwell

An interesting exploration of the the reasons for personal success (measuring it on the money/fame scale), spanning for example the US industrial barons of the 1800's, the New York Jewish legal fraternity, the Beatles, and Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft. The basic premise is 10,000 hrs of practice and historical serendipity. A thought provoking and well-researched book, but then, I enjoy this sort of thing!


Status Anxiety

by Alain de Botton


This book puts our modern Western view of success, as measured by wealth and fame into a context of other scales of measure which have applied historically - for example the warrior culture of Sparta. It made me re-assess my views of some of the people I've known, and has, I hope, re-set my perspective so that I am less judgemental of new people I meet now.


The Consolations of Philosophy

by Alain de Botton

This is a book which helped me put my view life into a more objective framework. It would help those of us who look deeply inward to take a step backward to see the wood from the trees. He's a skilled writer, with a good reference list, though occasionally I feel his books are somewhat padded. For me though, that does not detract from the content. I think that one of his other books, "Status Anxiety", partners it quite well. See below.