Two books that influenced me.

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Two books that influenced me.

Postby Event Horizon on March 10th, 2018, 12:33 pm 

Book one comes from when I was at university and doing some supplemental reading. The book was a study mission to the Galapagos islands where the researchers were looking at how altering conditions forced the population of finches there. It's a book about the evolution of the birds. It's an easy read about the empirical study of evolution in action. Anybody in biology would benefit from this book as supplemental reading I think. The book was "The beak of the finch" but I cannot recall the author

Another book that became a real treasure was Bill Bryson's "A short history of nearly everything" If you want a beautifully crafted book that explains how and why the universe functions as it does, without the use of complicated math or jargon, you could do a lot worse than giving it a read. It really helped crystallise what I thought I knew, and other things I wasn't very familliar with. It is another book that does not assume prior knowledge. For a travel writer of high repute, this was a bit of a departure, but don't let that put you off. This is a highly enjoyable book that I think should be required reading in high-schools.
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Re: Two books that influenced me.

Postby Serpent on March 10th, 2018, 5:42 pm 

In my late teens, I picked up
King Solomon's Ring http://theblackletters.net/king-solomons-ring-by-konrad-lorenz-1949-e/

by Konrad Lorenz. He reassured me that I was not crazy or wrong to know what I knew about other animals, and then taught me a lot about why they behave the way they do. A later book, Behind the Mirror is also invaluable. It doesn't hurt that he had a very engaging style. He's in my pantheon, alongside Kurt Vonnegut and Jane Jacobs, I read
The Economy of Cities https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/the-economy-of-cities-by-jane-jacobs/
shortly after moving to Toronto. It certainly opened my eyes to the new environment.
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Re: Two books that influenced me.

Postby amanduh on August 29th, 2018, 8:33 am 

I've always just been a fiction reader. And as cliched as it sounds, J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey has had quite an influence on me. Although the narrator, Buddy Glass, claims it's not a religious book but a love story, to me, it's intensely spiritual.

And bizarrely, Conrad's Heart of Darkness too.
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Re: Two books that influenced me.

Postby wolfhnd on August 29th, 2018, 10:07 pm 

Konrad Lorenz was a must read 40 years ago but science moves on. In fact advancements today come so fast that books do not seem appropriate in the internet age. Grand narratives are the only books that interest me these days. That said once I start, and that is rare, I may read a 400 page novel in a day. There is so much to learn and so little time I kind of feel guilty reading novels but the experience is interestingly different from even an audio book.
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Re: Two books that influenced me.

Postby Forest_Dump on August 30th, 2018, 8:11 am 

I definitely prefer physical books and journals, etc. Never could get much satisfaction from reading anything electronic.

One real golden oldie that still influences the way I think about things is Galbraith's "The Affluent Society". Although dated it still makes me think about why I might want to buy things.
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Re: Two books that influenced me.

Postby BadgerJelly on August 30th, 2018, 11:06 am 

Forest_Dump » August 30th, 2018, 8:11 pm wrote:I definitely prefer physical books and journals, etc. Never could get much satisfaction from reading anything electronic.

One real golden oldie that still influences the way I think about things is Galbraith's "The Affluent Society". Although dated it still makes me think about why I might want to buy things.


I was about to PM about an Anthropology reading list. I guess I’ll but this on my “to buy” list. If you could suggest anymore I’d be VERY greatful forest.
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Re: Two books that influenced me.

Postby Event Horizon on August 30th, 2018, 5:11 pm 

I think the author for big sweeping modern sci-fi is a chap called Ian Banks. I have heard good things. I have one of his novels, but am currently reading an account of the 8th Army's exploits in WWII.

I just thought that if members can give an overview of the book, it will help put things in context for those of us not familiar, and make it a bit more inclusive. If that's okay with everyone, can we do that?

On the other hand, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was most interesting. I think it did influence me. But good luck if you want to try and explain what it's all about!
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Re: Two books that influenced me.

Postby BadgerJelly on August 30th, 2018, 6:13 pm 

Banks is great. There are few authors I’ve returned to over and over in the fiction genre. He’s one of them.

I can give an overview of one of his novels, The Player of Games. Not that it has really “influenced” me though.

It’s about a future human society (his Culture series) in which no humans work anymore and live a life of lesuire looked over by “guardians” (basically super intelligent AI who plan out thr course of humanity.) The Player of Games features the best human strategic mind in games who is sent to a hostile alien homeworld to compete in a complex game to undermine their entire political system (based on a rather complex game by which all citizens are given their place in society - the winner being the supreme ruler of the whole species.)

It’s highly entertaining, the AI characters in his novels are haughty and comical, as well as dark and tending towards the blackest humour.

He does touch on some really interesting ideas, but overall it’s to be enjoyed rather than studied.

Zen is a nice book too. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes to think beyond the day-to-day humdrum of life.
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Re: Two books that influenced me.

Postby wolfhnd on August 30th, 2018, 6:29 pm 

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was definitely a book that influenced my world view but that was a very long time ago.
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Re: Two books that influenced me.

Postby Event Horizon on August 30th, 2018, 8:41 pm 

I'm not even sure how you would even make a film of Zen and... I can imagine it would end up being in the mould of "The Life of Pi" or something. I have read a lot of Asimov, from which we given the insight of the three laws of robotics. Arthur C Clarke was another author of note, having experience in the space industry if I recollect. He write the Ringworld trilogy, which is an epic struggle for power in this amazing construct. That again might be worth filming. Ridley Scott would be my choice of director.

I think the concept of drones may have been an Arthur C Clarke thing, but that would be almost impossible to verify. Sci-fi has an uncommon habit of being brought into reality. It has me wondering why all these great titles aren't filmed really.

Edit: Nearly forgot the space elevator. People are still working on the idea. Was that Arthur C Clarke again?
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