Books for 2021

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The world is changing rapidly, and it is very important to understand what is going on. If we can understand the change, and the reality of the world, then we can pursue our goals effectively.

These very different books all illuminate the situation from different angles. Throughout the past year, I find myself going back to them again and again. I highly recommend reading them, and taking their lessons to heart.

Walden

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Author: Henry David Thoreau

Free Ebook: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/205

Free Audiobook: https://librivox.org/walden-by-henry-david-thoreau/

If I can recommend one book for everyone to read, it has to be Walden. This masterpiece by Henry David Thoreau is a clear cut critique of modern life. This book has aged like a fine wine. Over 150 years after it's publication in 1854, it is even more relevant and true than ever.

If there was a manual for "the pursuit of happiness" that the founding fathers of the United States spoke of, it would be Walden. It describes how Thoreau lived self-sufficiently in the wilderness for 2 years. He goes into incredible detail of how much time he spent building his shelter, growing food, etc.. If you ever feel trapped in your job, or the consumerist lifestyle, you must read this book, to understand how simple, easy, and joyful life can really be.

Finally, this book is a lesson in civil disobedience, which Thoreau wrote extensively about. If you think that governments have gone too far, Thoreau has the answer.

"Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, and obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board. The hospitality was as cold as the ices. I thought that there was no need of ice to freeze them. They talked to me of the age of the wine and the fame of the vintage; but I thought of an older, a newer, and purer wine, of a more glorious vintage, which they had not got, and could not buy. The style, the house and grounds and “entertainment” pass for nothing with me. I called on the king, but he made me wait in his hall, and conducted like a man incapacitated for hospitality. There was a man in my neighborhood who lived in a hollow tree. His manners were truly regal. I should have done better had I called on him."

The Sovereign Individual

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Authors: James Dale Davidson & Lord William Rees-Mogg

Purchase: https://www.bookdepository.com/Sovereign-Individual-Mastering-Transition-Information-Age-James-Dale-Davidson/9780684832722

This book is a good primer in the transformation going on in the economies of the world, and the balance of power between individuals and governments. While it gets some details wrong, the general themes have been proven by technological advances like Bitcoin, peer to peer information sharing, and the rise of on-site power generation. Governments and institutions grasp harder and harder for power, even as they become less necessary and relevant.

While Walden gives a much clearer and more practical guide to life, The Sovereign Individual gives a modern and global context. Combine the philosophy and fundamentals of Walden with the modern technological and legal strategies outlined in The Sovereign Individual to achieve the potential of both.

"Technology will make individuals more nearly sovereign than ever before. And they will be treated that way. Sometimes violently, as enemies, sometimes as equal parties in negotiation, sometimes as allies. But however ruthlessly governments behave, particularly in the transition period, wedding the IRS with the CIA will avail them little."

Virus Mania

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Authors: Torsten Engelbrecht, Dr. Claus Kohnlein, Dr. Samantha Bailey, Dr. Stefano Scoglio

Purchase: https://www.powells.com/book/virus-mania-9783752629781

The opening paragraph of this book says worlds about modern medicine:

"People are very susceptible to the idea that certain microbes act like predators, stalking our communities for victims and causing the most serious illnesses like
COVID-19 (pulmonary infection) or hepatitis C (liver damage). Such an idea is thoroughly simple, perhaps too simple. As psychology and social science have discovered, humans have a propensity for simplistic solutions, particularly in a world that seems to be growing increasingly complicated. It also allows for a concept of the “enemy at the gates” allowing individuals to shift responsibility for their illnesses to a fungus, a bacteria or a virus. “Man prefers to perish rather than change his habits!” the author Leo Tolstoy once said."

As an avid reader of scientific papers, I find the authors' skepticism and insistence on rigorous experimental procedures refreshing. Too much weight is given to authority of "scientists" with far too little weight given to the scientific method.

The authors may or may not be right about the existence and contagiousness of viruses, but they do not claim to be. It is the other side which makes unsubstantiated, and unscientific claims. The current COVID-19 pandemic is so hollow of solid science it would make any researcher into a conspiracy theorist.

More generally, germ theory fails miserably to address many aspects of health, such as the fact that there are more bacteria cells in our bodies than human cells, and that we don't even understand our own internal ecological "terrain." This book opened my eyes to a whole theory of medicine (terrain theory) which empowers individuals and microbes both. This book is for you, if you have an interest in nutrition, alternative medicine, or even simply have had bad experiences (as I have) with modern prescriptions of antibiotics and other sledge hammer treatments.

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