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1. Everything Bad Is Good for You:
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2. Freakonomics CD : A Rogue Economist
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3. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
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4. Assassination Vacation
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5. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side
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6. Star Wars And Philosophy: More
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7. Don't Eat This Book: Fast Food
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8. The Paradox of Choice : Why More
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9. Can't Stop Won't Stop :A History
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10. Stranger Than Fiction : True Stories
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11. American Idol Season 4: Behind-the-Scenes
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12. The Cannabis Grow Bible: The Definitive
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13. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
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14. Bewitched Forever: 40th Anniversary
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15. Molvania: A Land Untouched By
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16. Travels with Barley: A Journey
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17. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs :
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18. Superheroes And Philosophy: Truth,
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19. The Culture of Fear: Why Americans
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20. Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters

1. Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter
by StevenJohnson
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573223077
Catlog: Book (2005-05-05)
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover
Sales Rank: 130
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From the author of the New York Times bestsellerMind Wide Open comes a groundbreaking assessment of popular culture as it's never been considered before: through the lens of intelligence.

The $10 billion video gaming industry is now the second-largest segment of the entertainment industry in the United States, outstripping film and far surpassing books. Reality television shows featuring silicone-stuffed CEO wannabes and bug-eating adrenaline junkies dominate the ratings. But prominent social and cultural critic Steven Johnson argues that our popular culture has never been smarter.

Drawing from fields as diverse as neuroscience, economics, and literary theory, Johnson argues that the junk culture we're so eager to dismiss is in fact making us more intelligent. A video game will never be a book, Johnson acknowledges, nor should it aspire to be-and, in fact, video games, from Tetris to The Sims to Grand Theft Auto, have been shown to raise IQ scores and develop cognitive abilities that can't be learned from books. Likewise, successful television, when examined closely and taken seriously, reveals surprising narrative sophistication and intellectual demands.

Startling, provocative, and endlessly engaging, Everything Bad Is Good for You is a hopeful and spirited account of contemporary culture. Elegantly and convincingly, Johnson demonstrates that our culture is not declining but changing-in exciting and stimulating ways we'd do well to understand. You will never regard the glow of the video game or television screen the same way again.
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Video games are good for you and Reality TV is smart
This is one hell of a thought-provoking book that decimates the oft-repeated phrases that have become cliches. Video games make you stupid, TV makes you stupid, society's going down the drains. The author knocks each of these ideas off their pedestals in clear, convincing prose that entertains while enlightening the reader. In terms of how this book affected me, personally, I would say that it makes me want to go buy a television and a Playstation 2, but honestly, I doubt I would take its' conclusions that far.

5-0 out of 5 stars Eye opening
Very good book, written from the perspective of a teenaged gamer made good.

Johnson played games as a kid, baseball strategy games, as well as Dungeons and Dragons, and one can detect a certain bias in his outlook.However, his statistical references and footnotes make this book a scholarly look at popular culture - in particular movies, TV and videogames - and is a nice refutation of the "our culture is going into the toilet" crowd.

Johnson argues - to me, convincingly - that even though modern mass market entertainment may appear "dumbed down", it really isn't, and that at a basic physical level, our brains are being made to work harder, get more exercise if you will, and develop higher cognitive functions as a result.

A very complex book written in easy to read language with convincing data to back up the arguments - disguised in a very palatable dialogue that doesn't seem like science at all.He even takes Marshall McLuhan to task on at least one of his conclusions - very daring, and in this case, pays off.

Johnson does miss out on one or two things - the ascendance of message boards is glossed over, or perhaps incorporated into "Internet" "email" and "IMs" in the discussion of why males watch about 1/5 as much TV as they did as little as five years ago.

As a fellow who grew up playing Advanced Squad Leader (arguably a set of rules even more dense than AD&D), I could relate to his argument that kids will learn horribly complex procedures in the name of fun (as he did with his baseball games and D&D sets) and may very well be better for it.

Overall, even if one disagrees with Johnson's arguments or conclusions, the book is fun to read; brings back memories for those who grew up in the 70s and 80s, presents logical arguments, well constructed, easy to understand, and supported by corroborating evidence - including scientific testimony about how the physical (hi Shannon) human brain works.Would love to read a rebuttal, though Johnson has personally sold me over hook, line and sinker.If nothing else, a comforting book amidst doom and gloom prophesies about the fate of our intellect in the hands of TV producers.Well done, Mr. Johnson.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is Your Brain. This is Your Brain on Pop Culture.
...Lily Tomlin is caught dreading in one of her routines aboutwhether drug consumption has made us think we are more creative than we really are....

Steven Johnson is a tech writer for Discover and Wired. He has come up with an observation he calls the Sleeper Curve, based on the Woody Allen movie Sleepers where things that are considered bad for you nowadays--like too many steaks, too much hot fudge, smoking--will be healthy years in the future.

Case in point, television. The Boob Tube. He says that nowadays series like 24, The Sopranos and The West Wing require the viewer to pay more attention than in the days of yore where like in the 70s Starski and Hutch series there was basically one story line per episode. You don't have to recall much about those except that ocassionally they would use Huggy Bear to get info from the street.

Johnson states that the complexity required to keep up with the many story-lines in the tv programs and the spatial/dexterity intellect required for the video games like Grand Theft Auto has perhaps, to paraphrase Tomlin, "made us more smarter than we originally thought we were..."

What should society do with this information? Well, for one thing we should stop the badmouthing of popular culture. Apparently--and we intuitively know this--it ain't all bad.
Plus, we should reassess not only how intellect is measured, but also how to integrate this style of learning into something that will help our young, say, go back and read some pieces of great literature so that it helps them become well rounded, contributing individuals.

The idea about some forms of entertainment inciting violence in youth, is not covered very decently--Johnson talks of specific heirachy of skills acquired with these forms of entertainment. When a Columbine or a Grand Theft inspired criminal act occurs...we also must assess why. ... Read more

2. Freakonomics CD : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
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Asin: 0060776137
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 287
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Economics is not widely considered to be one of the sexier sciences. The annual Nobel Prize winner in that field never receives as much publicity as his or her compatriots in peace, literature, or physics. But if such slights are based on the notion that economics is dull, or that economists are concerned only with finance itself, Steven D. Levitt will change some minds. In Freakonomics (written with Stephen J. Dubner), Levitt argues that many apparent mysteries of everyday life don't need to be so mysterious: they could be illuminated and made even more fascinating by asking the right questions and drawing connections. For example, Levitt traces the drop in violent crime rates to a drop in violent criminals and, digging further, to the Roe v. Wade decision that preempted the existence of some people who would be born to poverty and hardship. Elsewhere, by analyzing data gathered from inner-city Chicago drug-dealing gangs, Levitt outlines a corporate structure much like McDonald's, where the top bosses make great money while scores of underlings make something below minimum wage. And in a section that may alarm or relieve worried parents, Levitt argues that parenting methods don't really matter much and that a backyard swimming pool is much more dangerous than a gun. These enlightening chapters are separated by effusive passages from Dubner's 2003 profile of Levitt in The New York Times Magazine, which led to the book being written. In a book filled with bold logic, such back-patting veers Freakonomics, however briefly, away from what Levitt actually has to say. Although maybe there's a good economic reason for that too, and we're just not getting it yet. --John Moe

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner Answer The Significant Seven

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, author and co-author of this season's bestselling quirky hit, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, graciously answered the Significant Seven questions that we like to run by every author.

Levitt and Dubner answer the Significant Seven questions

... Read more

Reviews (118)

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting, but not rocket science
Unlike a lot of economics books this book is pretty fair and unbiased. I don't think it is as funny as some readers thought, but the subjects are interesting. Most of it is common sense. Like that teachers cheat to make their students look smarter on standardized tests and real estate agents won't necessarily being doing everything they can to help you. As a graduate student in economics, I find is reasoning for the decline in crime being attributed to abortion highly speculative. Common sense would tell you that "aborting" fetuses that are likely to become criminals will reduce crime, only if that mother doesn't have as many children as she would if abortion were illegal. The author does a good job of staying away from the politics of abortion.

This book is good for the layman but is nothing new to the average economists. I personally think that it has been given too much praise and attention.

3-0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking but falls a bit short
While Levitt has the propensity to ask many interesting and thought-provoking questions, his data analysis is often suspect to the same tunnel vision which he attributes to many academic studies. Levitt seems so intent on proving the "conventional wisdom" wrong that he immediately accepts data from a single source as long as it provides a sensational conclusion. For instance, just about all of Levitt's conclusions on education and parenting come from a single ECLS study conducted 15 years ago. The early chapters on information and cheating are quite solid and alone may be worth the price of the book. However once Levitt tackles education, crime, and parenting his down-to-earth anecdotal approach becomes insufficient to explain these complex issues. Freakonomics is similar to many other pop-science bestsellers in that it makes its subject more approachable through oversimplified explanations and conclusions.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great, Quick Read, Perfect for Summer
I very much have enjoyed reading this book.As a grade school teacher, it doesn't surprise me that teachers cheat on their students' end-of-the-year assessments; what is surprising is that this is rarely talked about and people seem to be shocked and surprised when, on the rare occasion, someone gets caught.With the pressure to have one's students earn high scores coming from both parents and administrators, how could it not happen?Much more is expected of teachers today, and not all are up to the hard work, time and energy.But this book isn't only about teachers--you'll learn about drug dealers and how they organize their gangs quite similar to corporations; you'll be surprised that sumo wrestlers cheat (I actually hadn't thought about them or the game, but there is a way they can cheat), among other topics. Perhaps the most controversial notion is about what brought down crime levels in the 1980s, a time when everyone predicted crime would rise.It's an interesting idea, but Levitt doesn't provide much support, which was disappointing.

4-0 out of 5 stars Layman's LanguageAnalyses of Various Social Canards
Too often articles or books written by economists are couched in arcane verbiage and statistics.Levitt avoids this, and the result is a very interesting, though-provoking review of several social myths.

He begins by summarizing the status of crime in the mid-1990's - high, and projected to go much higher with the coming "teenager boom."Instead, it began a long, steep decline.The most common "explanations" were "roaring economy," "gun control," and "innovative policing." Levitt then goes on to summarize data that convincingly reture them all.For example, a good economy might decrease economic crimes, but why did violent crimes drop even more?Further, why didn't crime also fall during the booming '60s?As for innovative policing, Levitt reports that the declines began prior to this initiative, and that its prime contribution was through adding policeman (accounting for about 10% of the drop).Similarly he refutes the logic for crediting increased rights of citizens to carry guns, and gun buy-backs, while the drop in crack prices is credited with 15% of the drop.

Levitt then reports the results of Romania's strong anti-abortion posture in the 60s - a large contingent of resented children, many of whom became serious problems when they grew up.Finally, the "shocker" - Levitt presents various data that provide a solid case for concluding that the drop in crime was primarily due to Roe v. Wade making abortions available to lower-income women - many of whom would have had problems raising the unwanted children.

Other topics addressed by Levitt include documenting cheating associated with "high-stakes" (eg. potential job loss, raises, school closure) pupil testing (estimated at about 5% in Chicago Public Schools), documenting and explaining the lack of drug traffic profits for most of those involved (rakeoffs by those at higher levels).Another interesting and useful topic covered is how society often misplaces efforts into low-payoff efforts to protect children (eg. child-resistant packaging, flame-retardant pajamas, avoiding being seated near front-seat airbags, and keeping their children out of homes with guns), instead of the much higher-payoff of keeping children away from homes with swimming pools.

Throughout the book, Levitt carefully summarizes supporting data, while also informing readers of how similar data are often misused.His "bottom-line," so to speak, is for the reader to become more aware of the effect of incentives, and the frequent lack of factual bases for conventional thinking.

An interesting, useful two-hour read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Revelations?!only if you're the type to wear shades at night
while interesting, the subject matter of this book is not sublime, the questions are not revolutionary and the 'answers' are soooo not comprehensive. though a contribution is likely, to claim that crime went down simply because of abortion is silly. and duh swimming pools are 'more dangerous' if you look at data collected from past incidences. but you cannot claim this to be true of the inherent/accidental potential for danger of a swimming pool compared to a gun. this book seems to ignore that probability is only predictive if circumstances are equal. and that sometimes a name might carry significance beyond where it can get you in life. but perhaps that one is more than what can expected of educated white men. Still... fun reading, great cover. And I'm sure levitt's classes are more intellectually engaging than this book. ah! one more thing: drug dealers live at home because 'Gator boots, with the pimped out gucci suit/ Ain't got no job, but I stay sharp/ Can't pay my rent, cause all my money's spent/ But thats ok, cause I'm still fly/ Got a quarter tank gas in my new e-class/ But that's alright cause I'm gon' ride/ Got everything in my moma's name/ But I'm hood rich da dada dada da' - Still Fly by Big Tymers ... Read more

3. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas : A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream
by HUNTER S. THOMPSON, Ralph Steadman
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
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Asin: 0679785892
Catlog: Book (1998-05-12)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 1684
Average Customer Review: 4.66 out of 5 stars
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Heralded as the "best book on the dope decade" by the New York Times Book Review, Hunter S. Thompson's documented drug orgy through Las Vegas would no doubt leave Nancy Reagan blushing and D.A.R.E. founders rethinking their motto.Under the pseudonym of Raoul Duke, Thompson travels with his Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo, in a souped-up convertible dubbed the "Great Red Shark." In its trunk, they stow "two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half-full of cocaine and a whole galaxy of multicolored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers.... A quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls," which they manage to consume during their short tour.

On assignment from a sports magazine to cover "the fabulous Mint 400"--a free-for-all biker's race in the heart of the Nevada desert--the drug-a-delic duo stumbles through Vegas in hallucinatory hopes of finding the American dream (two truck-stop waitresses tell them it's nearby, but can't remember if it's on the right or the left). They of course never get the story, but they do commit the only sins in Vegas: "burning the locals, abusing the tourists, terrifying the help." For Thompson to remember and pen his experiences with such clarity and wit is nothing short of a miracle; an impressive feat no matter how one feels about the subject matter. A first-rate sensibility twinger, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a pop-culture classic, an icon of an era past, and a nugget of pure comedic genius. --Rebekah Warren ... Read more

Reviews (292)

5-0 out of 5 stars Grab a fifth and enjoy the ride
This isn't a book for the Disneylandified Vegas crowd. This is for the off-strip, I've been up for 72 hours, get me another beer, the light is too bright, let it ride crowd.

Hunter is at his best covering a race in the desert, attending a drug prevention convention (the irony!) and taking as much alternative substances as his body can handle. And then some. Lost in the world post-60s, he decries (with fear and loathing, of course!) what he sees happening as society backs off of "the high water mark".

It's a book about the falacy of the American Dream. Vegas - land of illusion - is the perfect setting for a story that pops the balloon that is the American Dream. Travel with Hunter, and you are there, parking the boat he calls a car onto the sidewalk. You're there chatting it up with the law enforcement officers from Podunk Illinois. You're hoping your ODing mammoth of a friend is calming down.

Sometimes runny, this gonzo journalism will surprise you with cutting observations of what is happening to society. Awesome read, that will poke holes in your view of Americana.

5-0 out of 5 stars More truer now than it was originally!
I personally live just outside of Las Vegas, and just about everything the good doctor wrote about is still true (especially Circus Circus). I can only imagine what he'd think of the quasi-Disneyland attractions that are there now.

The drug content was to be expected at that era. The world was still in a white picket fence mode and "creative chemistry" was seen as a tool to escape from it (or at least, take a different view).

The stream-of-consciousness writing style is a wonder to behold. You can practically feel your mind bob-sledding through the ether-induced haze, coming to a landing on both feet.

As for weither or not it was real, get over it. Just wallow in the genius of the work; how it dissects the "American Dream" and how we were so rudely woken from it.

And if you've seen the film, READ THE FREAKIN' BOOK AS WELL! You will discover a favorite quote or two that you'll find yourself using over and over again. I laughed so hard reading it the first time, my face hurt!

It's a classic document of the tail end of the "flower power" generation, and the beginning of the narcisism of the 1970's. Classic American literature with sheer outright BALLS that's so dearly lacking in today's pop culture.

I am certain that when Dr. Thompson reaches his final reward, he will have a never-ending orgy held in his honor, just for writing this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mindblowing at the very least!
This nonfiction account of Hunter S Thompson's search for the American Dream is a trip you won't soon forget. It is not for the meek or squeamish. The substance abuse is staggering. I imagine there is some degree of exaggeration. Thompson himself has admitted as much in interviews. I must warn that the consumption in this book will be shocking if not scandalous to many.

FEAR & LOATHING rocks with an unerring intensity. This book is written like a typewriter tanked on meth. The road trip, the hitchhiker, the booze and the drugs, spending an employers money destroying hotel rooms. It is a full force assault on the senses. It left me dazed and confused. It is hilarious at times but in that guilty way when you know that you really shouldn't be laughing. Raoul Duke is like Jerry Seinfeld in that you know he's a jerk but you can't help liking him.

Thompson was an extreme individual. He was notorious for missing deadlines. Reading this book makes it easy to see why. He was very absorbed in the moment. He seemed more intent on getting hammered than on writing the book. But in the end, his extraordinary talent allowed him to produce an amazing book.

The description of drug use will be disturbing to many readers. LSD, mescaline, cocaine, ether. Thompson doesn't seem to be very discriminant in what he'll introduce to his bloodstream. His consumption assumes staggering proportions here.

The writing is surprisingly good. Thompson is able to convey the sensation of being there as all this insanity unfolds. He had a fine grasp of the English language and a deftness at cutting a good sentence. The carefree excitement of youthfulness is captured here. I always feel more alive when I finish this book. It is also a book that I refer to a lot. It is fun to read a single paragraph and then put it away.

This book is for students of the 60s and for readers who like an intense, tumultuous trip into madness. It is shocking and even offensive to some but it is a great ride for those that like a bit of shock value in their entertainment. Truly great -- don't miss it! Along with FEAR & LOATHING, I also recommend THE LOSERS CLUB by Richard Perez, a book whose writing was obviously strongly influenced by Thompson

5-0 out of 5 stars OPPOSITES ATTRACT
The beauty of a free country and free artistic expression is that it allows polar opposites to find themselves. Bill "Spaceman" Lee once told a conservative political audience that "I'm so conservative I eat road kill" and "I'm so conservative I'm standing back-to-back with Chairman Mao." Funny? Doesn't seem that way, but you never heard such laughter as responded to Lee's delivery. The same goes for my love affair with the writing of Hunter S. Thompson. You could walk the fruited plain from California to the New York Island and not find somebody more different from Thompson than me. Thompson would read my opinions and pronounce that I am an "enemy of the people." If I spent a weekend at his cabin in Woody Creek, however, we'd find common ground. I'm an absolute Reagan conservative, a total Christian, a flag-waving American patriot, an admirer of the military (particularly George Patton), a devotee of law'n'order...and a giant fan of Jim Morrison and Thompson!

"Fear and Loathing" is so brilliant, so funny, so biting in its commentary, so revolutionary that I cannot do it justice herein. Thompson is just plain awesome. An insane writer, in the admirable as well as the literal sense.

How to describe this book? "The '60s meets the John Birch Society"? "The American Dream meets the American nightmare"? I don't have it in me to analyze Hunter. He's too good, too out there. Just admiration, that's all I have left for him. The only thing left is mystique, because Thompson, despite years of stories and in-depth analyses, is still very much unknown. Can he be the guy he describes and survive? The truth, or the Truth as Hunter might call it, is that he probably is putting on a little act, but it is just questionable enough to leave doubt, or Doubt!

I think Thompson is what Michael Moore wishes he was.


5-0 out of 5 stars Unescapble Excursion into the American Aorta
The movie is a good work. Hunter S. Thompson is an interesting man, but the novel is an entirely different world, a world where Don Juan and mysticism mesh with the concrete experience of conservatism.

The world which the protagonist Rauol Duke lives in is one where people are "pigs and creeps" and drugs are an integral part of the daily experience. Fear and Loathing is not a linear tale of reckless abandon in the City of Sin but a convoluted tale of the thin line that exists between sucess and failure in the aftermath of the Acid Culture. Although Thompson claims that this piece of work is non fiction the sheer absurdity and subjective dialogue makes it hard to accept the validity of that claim.

If you are an informant for the DEA, strong Christian, or live in the bible belt this book will only infuse anger in your soul, but if the world of chemical experimentation exposed through the use of masterful english and a corollary to the Great Gatsby expose then you are in for a treat. ... Read more

4. Assassination Vacation
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743540050
Catlog: Book (2005-04-04)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 6755
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Sarah Vowell exposes the glorious conundrums of American history and culture with wit, probity, and an irreverent sense of humor. With Assassination Vacation, she takes us on a road trip like no other--a journey to the pit stops of American political murder and through the myriad ways they have been used for fun and profit, for political and cultural advantage.

From Buffalo to Alaska, Washington to the Dry Tortugas, Vowell visits locations immortalized and influenced by the spilling of politically important blood, reporting as she goes with her trademark blend of wisecracking humor, remarkable honesty, and thought-provoking criticism. We learn about the jinx that was Robert Todd Lincoln (present at the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley) and witness the politicking that went into the making of the Lincoln Memorial. The resulting narrative is much more than an entertaining and informative travelogue--it is the disturbing and fascinating story of how American death has been manipulated by popular culture, including literature, architecture, sculpture, and--the author's favorite--historical tourism.

Though the themes of loss and violence are explored and we make detours to see how the Republican Party became the Republican Party, there are lighter diversions into the lives of the three presidents and their assassins, including mummies, show tunes, mean-spirited totem poles, and a nineteenth-century biblical sex cult.


Conan O'Brien Robert Todd Lincoln
Eric Bogosian John Wilkes Booth
Stephen King President Abraham Lincoln
Dave Eggers Mike Ryan
Catherine Keener Gretchen Worden
Jon Stewart President James A. Garfield
Tony Kushner John Humphrey Noyes
Brad Bird Charles Guiteau & Emma Goldman
Daniel Handler President William McKinley
Greg Giraldo President Theodore Roosevelt
David Rakoff Leon Czolgosz ... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wierd but Funny - A Great Way to do History
This book is just a touch wierd. Who would take a vacation with the specific intent of going to see where the presidents got shot?

OK, I'll admit having visited the Texas Book Depository building in Dallas. But that was because of the publicity that was high at the time regarding who actually shot him. An aside -- anyone who has ever gone rifle shooting can look out the window he used and will think, "I could have made that shot."

Still, her dry wit can't help from coming through, "Going to Ford's Theatre to watch the play is like going to Hooters for the food." She makes the study of history come alive much better than the dry history books I remember from school.

As now the author of five books, television appearances on several shows, and the voice of Teenage superhero Violet Parr in "The Incredibles," Ms. Vowell is a budding great voice in American literature.

1-0 out of 5 stars For Presidential History Geeks Only
I like Sarah Vowell's personality and normally enjoy reading her books and listening to her on This American Life.Plus she kicked ass in The Incredibles.

I found this book really dull reading though. Unless you, like Sarah, are obsessed with the tiny details of President Garfield's presidency (and other subjects equally dry) you may be as bored as I was. She herself keeps saying how the companions she brings along on her research trips are bored to tears by the subject matter.

I look forward to her next book and a return to more interesting territory.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's No Coincidence...
This book is great! The wit and humor of Vowell's essays, collected in Take the Cannoli and The Partly Cloudy Patriot, translate well to this more focused tale of her visits to sites related to presidential assassinations. Filled with Vowell's quirky observations and animated by the rapid-fire connections her mind makes, Assassination Vacation is a page-turner AND a history lesson at the same time. Vowell's deep appreciation of and enthusiasm for her subject matter is infectious. Highly recommended, especially if you're planning a trip that includes visits to historic sites. Vowell's viewpoint will give you a new way of enjoying them that will definitely enhance your experience!

5-0 out of 5 stars quirky history tour
Very informative, hilarious and even moving at times. One other reviewer mentioned Vowell's Bush bashing, but they should read or listen to more than a snippet. The "current president" only pops up a couple of times and briefly. The rest of the book is for the most part a quirky nonpartisan journey through American political history. Vowell's narration in the audiobook abridgement is broken up with some interesting guest voices. Stephen King as Abraham Lincoln for instance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Charming, Witty and Funny
I just, today, discovered Sarah Vowell's work. It is a wonderful treat. She looks at history in an amazingly honest way. Her history is never boring, of course. I was fortunate to see Sarah do an author presentation on C-Span2 BookTV.

She presents history in a quirky, honest and humorous way. This book is about the history of the people and events surrounding the assassintions of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. You will learn historical details that you never knew or even thought that you wanted to know. You will be very pleased with Sarah's look into history. ... Read more

5. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
by Eric Schlosser
list price: $14.95
our price: $8.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060938455
Catlog: Book (2002-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 253
Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled American cultural imperialism abroad. That's a lengthy list of charges, but here Eric Schlosser makes them stick with an artful mix of first-rate reportage, wry wit, and careful reasoning.

Schlosser's myth-shattering survey stretches from California's subdivisions where the business was born to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike where many fast food's flavors are concocted. Along the way, he unearths a trove of fascinating, unsettling truths -- from the unholy alliance between fast food and Hollywood to the seismic changes the industry has wrought in food production, popular culture, and even real estate. He also uncovers the fast food chains' disturbing efforts to reel in the youngest, most susceptible consumers even while they hone their institutionalized exploitation of teenagers and minorities.

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Reviews (1014)

5-0 out of 5 stars McInteresting Look at Fast Food
I read this book knowing I was not going to learn any new and cheery anecdotes about how Ronald McDonald got his start..... instead I read this to solidify the notion that fast food was not a healthy choice. And boy, did this book give you reasons it is not, and I'm not just talking nutritional value here.

I found this book fascinating for the detail was great, well researched, and given to the reader straight. It was an eye opening book. Who knew that due to the meat industry being run just by a few corporations, essentially we are eating the same meat from the same feedlots and slaughter houses whether we buy it at a fast food chain or the local supermarket, and perhaps even the nicer restaurants. I also found some of the content appalling. Cattle are fed cats, dogs, other cows, even old newspaper! If this doesn't outrage you enough, just wait to you get to how these same meat conglomerates treat the low paid, low skilled employees of the slaughterhouses.

This book is insightful and unbelievable, and will make you question how the fast food giants sleep at night.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm Supporting What?
I've been trying to write a review for this book and end up not being able to grasp the profound effect it has had on me. I'm left will a feeling of being too small to actually do anything about the "wool" being pulled over America's eyes. From basic human rights to our nation's safety (e.coli, salmonella, etc.), the fast food industry has been able to break laws, cover up incidents and some how flourish, making billions of dollars a year.

I devoured this book, it is easy to read, accurate and eye opening. The contents in this book is something that every American should be familiar. Fast food customers need to be informed of what goes on to deliver that "happy" meal on to that plastic tray from beginning to end. I'd like to thank Eric Schlosser for writing this book, his research has caused me to take a look at what I'm supporting and risking by consuming meat. I for one will not support these arrogant corporate giants and have chosen to stay away from fast food. I have seen the light and it's not from the glowing golden arches down the street!

5-0 out of 5 stars Appalling. Read it and weep.
Since many other reviewers cover the more repulsive details of Schlosser's book, I will stick to pointing out something I think deserves even more attention: one of the themes of the book is that the fast food industry has its tentacles in EVERY aspect of Americans' lives. Changing this goes far, far beyond bypassing a Big Mac...boycotting fast food is not the same thing as boycotting the fast food industry, when industry practices have made the USDA powerless against meatpackers, advertisers target children as consumers, and schools are taking money for corporate sponsorship.

This a fantastic book and it touches on a lot of areas that I don't normally think of relating to fast food, such as the plight of abused migrant workers in the slaughterhouses and the economics of teen labor. Everybody should read it, even if you never eat fast food, because you're affected too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Disturbing... Will never eat fast food again!
I must warn the reader that you'll never want to eat fast food again after you read this book. I've never been a big fast food junkie, though I've eaten it if there isn't anything else around, but I won't again take a bite of the same even if I'm starving during a road trip and the only food available is a drive-thru burger joint. Eric Schlosser's book is an impressive, albeit disturbing dissection of the fast food industry in the United States, one that examines each aspect of said industry with unflinching, well-researched facts. The result is an unflattering picture of an industry that has changed US business and eating habits in an almost secretive fashion. The book is a fascinating look into the business and talks about the process of hiring, franchising, purchasing and other practices. The most fascinating and disturbing chapters concern, however, the beef served at fast food restaurants and how it gets there. I warn you that it is not a pretty picture. If you care about the food you eat, these chapters will sicken you. You must read this book (unless you never eat fast food at all). The quality of the food aside, this book is extremely critical of the fast food industry and I believe that if you are a fast food lover, this book will disturb and upset you. As I said above, the picture Schlosser paints isn't pretty, nothing is sugarcoated. This is well-researched and well-written book and I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars KNOW WHAT YOU EAT AND SUPPORT

6. Star Wars And Philosophy: More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine (Popular Culture and Philosophy)
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812695836
Catlog: Book (2005-03-10)
Publisher: Open Court Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 4385
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Star Wars films continue to revolutionize science fiction, creating new standards for cinematographic excellence, and permeating popular culture around the world. The films feature many complex themes ranging from good versus evil and moral development and corruption to religious faith and pragmatism, forgiveness and redemption, and many others.

The essays in this volume tackle the philosophical questions from these blockbuster films including: Was Anakin predestined to fall to the Dark Side? Are the Jedi truly role models of moral virtue? Why would the citizens and protectors of a democratic Republic allow it to descend into a tyrannical empire? Is Yoda a peaceful Zen master or a great warrior, or both? Why is there both a light and a dark side of the Force? Star Wars and Philosophy ponders the depths of these subjects and asks what it truly means to be mindful of the "living force." ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thinking about the Force
The Popular Culture and Philosophy Series can be hit or miss as it tries to wrap in familiar characters or stories in the teaching of philosophers throughout the ages. This volume stands as one of the best produced so far. The Star Wars films have always held some deeper meanings than what appear on the surface, from the concepts of good and bad, light and dark, interconnectedness in the Force, and downfall and redemption.Decker and his fellow authors mine this rich source and bring up many topics or ideas that will make the reader go "Hmmm." Definitely riding on the wave of growing Star Wars mania, this book contains numerous references to the upcoming Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith film and the dark story that lies in the fall of Anakin. Being that this is a series with it's own resident philosopher in the wise Yoda, the writers have been able to spread out and discussion actions and thoughts of other characters in the Star Wars universe. Surprisingly, and somewhat disappointingly, they mine many of the same characters over again, so that while Anakin and the Emperor are well represented, of course, as are Yoda, Luke and Obi-Wan, characters such as Leia, Padame and Chewbacca get the short shrift. Maybe something for volume 2 perhaps? This is a great book for sitting back and letting you experience the saga at a whole different level. And if you are not as familiar with philosophy, this is a great introduction, relating a deeper subject to something so familiar and beloved. May the Force Be With You.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Love this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My dad kevin edited this book and i read is so cool!!! while i want to tell you about the book, you should read it if you like star wars! thanks for the great book dad, i love you!!!

This is truly a marvelous book that uses the Star Wars saga to explain many of the different philosophical viewpoints from around the world.It also applies this same concept to many of the philosophical questions that man has been asking for years.All of this is done through the lens of the Star Wars saga, which has been perceived by many to not only be great enjoyment but great philosophy.I believe that fans of Star Wars and lovers of philosophy will both find this book very hard to put down. ... Read more

7. Don't Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America
by MorganSpurlock
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399152601
Catlog: Book (2005-05-19)
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Sales Rank: 351
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The literary debut of the funniest and most incisive new voice to come along since Michael Moore-and the acclaimed director of the film phenomenon of the year.

Can man live on fast food alone? Morgan Spurlock tried to do just that. For thirty days, he ate nothing but three "squares" a day from McDonald's as part of an investigation into the effects of fast food on American health. The resulting documentary won him resounding applause and a worldwide release that broke box-office records. Audiences were captivated by Spurlock's experiment, during which he gained twenty-five pounds, his blood pressure skyrocketed, and his libido all but disappeared.

But this story goes far beyond Spurlock's good-humored "Mc-Sickness." He traveled across the country-into schools, hospitals, and people's homes -to investigate school lunch programs, the marketing of fast food, and the declining emphasis on health and physical education. He looks at why fast food is so tasty, cheap, and ultimately seductive, and what Americans can do to turn the rising tide of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes that have accompanied its ever-growing popularity. He interviewed experts in twenty U.S. cities-from surgeon generals and kids to lawmakers and marketing gurus-who share their research, opinions, and "gut feelings" on our ever-expanding girth and what we can all do to offset a health crisis of supersized proportions.

In this groundbreaking, hilarious book, "benevolent muckraker" Morgan Spurlock debuts a wry investigative voice that will appeal to anyone interested in the health of our country, our children, and ourselves.
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars This Book is Great
Funny as all get out.If you liked super-size me the movie, read this book.

I am already a vegetarian, but now I don't want to eat anything that I didn't see grow myself.Also has a great listing of companies in the back that are owned by giant Tobacco companies.

Also gives great examples of how if people get off their butts and speak out, they can change how foods are served and prepared in our schools and in our supermarkets.


1-0 out of 5 stars Who gets the money if we buy their books and films???
I'm a nutrition student going to be graduate in Dec. After I watched his "Super size me" I felt like the content is baised and not "realistic". Yes , fast food is bad for you and obesity is growing to become a nationwide and a global health problem. But we all responsible for what we eat and how much we eat. I don't think blaming McDonald is right. Demand and Supply, if we - Consumer- didn't support the business, they will force to close down. So the better thing to do is choose wisely if you have to eat McDonald, choose salad and put less dressing on it yourself. Choose Grill chicken sandwich instead of double cheese burger. And the registered dietitian and other health professionals in the film had warn him to stop because of the declining of health. I wouldn't want to buy this book to contribute money to Morgan Spurlock. If he really cares, why not donate the money he make from the film and books to research institiute to help better understand the obesity epidemic in this nation!!

2-0 out of 5 stars Stop Blaming Others and DO SOMETHING!
If you want to play the blame game for your weight problem, then buy this book.If you want to do something about your weight problem, you should check out "The Overfed Head" by Rob Stevens.After I read his book, I was able to lose weight without worrying about carbs, fats, proteins, or any sort of diet.I actually lost 15 pounds during the month of December and I still eat fast food!Stevens demonstrates that you don't need to know all of those food facts to lose weight, you just have to pay attention to what your body actually wants.That's how we all did it when we were born.You're smarter than you go out and get "The Overfed Head" instead!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book- better as a companion piece to Super Size Me
Being a fan of the film "Super Size Me", when walking through a book store, I stumbled across this (having not known it was on its way) and picked up a copy.Had some time to read it.While I suspect it will stand alone reasonably well, this is in reality a companion piece to the movie "Super Size Me"-- it makes a number of references to the movie, and pretty much assumes you've seen it.

Essentially, Spurlock discusses his impetus to go on the project-- 30 days of nothing but McDonald's food and decreasing his physical activity to match that of an "average" American.The results are astounding-- I won't ruin the movie (or the book) by discussing it in depth, but suffice to say that the increased consumption of saturated fats, calories, and lack of nutrients has an overt negative effect.Spurlock also discusses the difficulty he had afterwards with shedding the excess weight he gained.

But perhaps more importantly-- Spurlock discusses nutrition and fitness, in our homes, in our school systems.He discusses what makes a successful lifestyle change (and note that he doesn't really talk about diets per se-- his comment is that any diet is invariably doomed to failure due to the temporary nature of it).He also evaluates any number of fad diets, including a good slam at the low carb craze and Atkins diet (which caused me to be confused as to why a previous reviewer seemed to indicate he was advocating a low carb lifestyle). He also discusses Jared and the Subway diet and really analyzes why Jared lost so much weight-- the conclusions are what most people trying to lose weight doesn't want to hear-- the only way to lose weight is to eat better and exercise more.

But really its the school system bit thats most interesting, about how fast food/junk food companies are taking over our school systems by offering funding that the schools desparately need to get in the door and then turning out generation of brand-imprinted kids.And he points out how the junk food dealerspush personal responsibility onto the eight year olds ("the parents need to teach good choices" as though any parent will convince an eight year old that carrots are a better idea than Oreos....).

Spurlock also doesn't leave anyone out to dry-- his book is full of suggestions for lifestyle changes, and contact information for model school systems and driving change in our own environments.

Most importantly, Spurlock presents this in an easy to read manner injected with humor and wit, and the book is a fun read.And yeah, it is pretty goofy his diet, but I think it made its point pretty well.For anyone interested in nutrition, and certainly for anyone whose seem "Super Size Me", this is essential.

Oh, and if you haven't seen "Super Size Me"-- go out and rent it!You won't regret it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Spurlock Strikes Again With 'Supersize Me'-Styled Book
The infamous Morgan Spurlock. You remember him, don't you? He's that, uh, ah...I mean man who decided to make an independent documentary called Supersize Me where he embarked on a month-long journey to see what would happen if all he ate for 30 days in a row for every meal was food from McDonald's. After watching weight rise and his health decline, I think he made his point loud and clear.

The movie had an extremely good run at the box office in a very limited theater release last year and garnered Spurlock an Academy Award nomination as well as high praise from people who want to do something about the obesity problem in the United States. Carla Gray's book entitled "The Low-Carb Fast Food Diet" notwithstanding, we could all stand to skip a few meals at the Golden Arches and this DVD will certainly do the trick!

If you are a carb addict and think there's no way you'd ever stop eating anything at McDonald's, then just watch this movie once and I guarantee it will break you of that habit real quick! But Spurlock wasn't content to rest on his laurels and simply bask in the glory of his box-office success.

Oh no! Now he's written a book! Uh-oh!

It's called "Don't Eat This Book" and released to the public late last week.
For fans of his movie, Spurlock includes a lot of the same jovial flair in his 308-page book regarding the state of health in America and around the world. Subtitled "Fast Food and the Supersizing of America," he continues to make a direct link between groups such as the American Dietetic Association with fast food industry bigwigs. He makes a compelling argument that they are only looking out for their own best interests and not for the health and well-being of people.

Noting that 1.3 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese, Spurlock writes in his book that this epidemic is "making the world safe for diabetes."

If you are livin' la vida low-carb like those of us (...) then you have to appreciate Spurlock's voice in this debate over health and weight issues. He's shining a light on a problem we are so astutely aware -- we are eating way too much food and it's usually in the form of loads and loads of carbohydrates in the excessive amount of bread, french fries, milkshakes, sodas and sugar-loaded desserts. Low-carbers should applaud Spurlock for encouraging Americans to make better lifestyle choices regarding the foods they eat, the amount of exercise they get and healthy living in general.

Be sure to check out his web site for reviews and even a blog from Spurlock, where he reveals he recently finished working on an upcoming reality television show on FX called "30 Days."
And he's still not without controversy, as evidenced by the lastest $40 million lawsuit lodged against him last week by a company who claims they were promised one-fourth of the film's profits. Am I missing something here? Since "Supersize Me" grossed less than $30 million, how can this company expect to get $10 million more than that? Me thinks it is THEY who are out for the money, not Spurlock.

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8. The Paradox of Choice : Why More Is Less
by Barry Schwartz
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060005696
Catlog: Book (2005-01-01)
Publisher: Ecco
Sales Rank: 51176
Average Customer Review: 4.28 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Whether we're buying a pair of jeans, ordering a cup of coffee, selecting a long-distance carrier, applying to college, choosing a doctor, or setting up a 401(k), everyday decisions -- both big and small -- have become increasingly complex due to the overwhelming abundance of choice with which we are presented.

As Americans, we assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of excessive choice: choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis, anxiety, and perpetual stress. And, in a culture that tells us that there is no excuse for falling short of perfection when your options are limitless, too much choice can lead to clinical depression.

In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz explains at what point choice -- the hallmark of individual freedom and self-determination that we so cherish -- becomes detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being. In accessible, engaging, and anecdotal prose, Schwartz shows how the dramatic explosion in choice -- from the mundane to the profound challenges of balancing career, family, and individual needs -- has paradoxically become a problem instead of a solution. Schwartz also shows how our obsession with choice encourages us to seek that which makes us feel worse.

By synthesizing current research in the social sciences, Schwartz makes the counter intuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives. He offers eleven practical steps on how to limit choices to a manageable number, have the discipline to focus on those that are important and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.

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Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars If choices are making you crazy read this book
Dr. Schwartz has exposed the difference between the best and good enough. He tells us that "maximizers" are people who want the absolute best, so they have to examine every choice or they fear they are not getting the best. However, looking at all the choices is usually frustrating and takes too much time. A "satisficer" is a person who looks at the options and chooses an option that is good enough.
Maximizers may look at satisficers and say, "they're lazy or they're compromisers", but Dr. Schwartz points out that satisficers can have high standards. Dr. Schwart points out that the satisficer with high standards is internally motivated. The maximizer is more externally motivated because they are not looking at themselves, they're looking at others to see if what they have is better. Dr. Schwartz points out that social comparison brings unhappiness.

5-0 out of 5 stars Having Problems choosing books to read chose this one.
In The Paradox of Choice Barry Schwartz provides evidence that we are faced with too many choices on a daily basis. He also presents impressive facts of psychological evidence about how more looking actually makes us less happy with our final decisions. In the beginning of the book it talks about shopping at a grocery store and the number of options there. As the number of options increases, the psychological stakes rise accordingly. This book is helpful in many ways; it shows us how to reduce stress in decision-making. Faced with numerous options in today society Schwartz provided information on leaving your losses behind and focus on the future. He also touched on the topic of regretting, because it's hard to go through life regretting every decision you made because it might not have been the best possible decision. I recommend this book to anyone whose been faced with decision making.

After reading The Paradox of Choice I realized the over-whelming amount of choices I came across within the next hour, and how I had a difficult time deciding on what to do. Even with the number options I had to choose from I couldn't pin point on just one. This book is a tool that everyone should use in coping with day-to-day decisions.

5-0 out of 5 stars Choose This Book!
The counterintuitive title of this book makes sense by page two, which is only the first of many wonders Schwartz makes happen over the course of this deceptively thin and breezy tome. Paradox explains why we feel like we have less time even as technology continues to promise to make life easier. In a nutshell, it's because we have too many choices and invest great amounts of time and mental capital in making decisions that were far simpler or simply didn't exist in the past. Schwartz start with examples like buying jeans--slim fit? baggy fit? classic fit? relaxed fit? tapered leg? button fly? zip fly?--or choosing phone service--AT&T? MCI? countless baby Bells? myriad cellular providers?--but quickly demonstrates that our choices in every area of life, including where to live, who (or whether) to marry, what to do for a living, and much more have expanded to a degree that we not only spend more time contemplating our choices, but experience far more regret afterward--or sometimes, he argues, choose not to choose at all because thinking about all the choices we must forego in order to choose just one paralyzes us--or makes the option we like the best seem less appealing.

Schwartz also notes that the increased array of choices combines with the human imagination in dangerous ways that make us sadder. Life gives us choices with fixed qualities--a good job with potential in a city far from home or a decent job with little potential that's close to home--but we compose our own options by assembling aspects of the real choices into fictional options that we then compare with reality. What a surprise that, as we learn of more and more choices, reality falls further and further short! I can't have it all: live close enough to family and retain the freedom to use distance as an excuse to avoid obligations, live in Minneapolis and also in a house with Brad, work with people I loved working with and also return to Illinois. Yet in times of distress, I (and all of us, Schwartz says) tend to compare the situation that troubles me not with a real alternative but with a fantasy constructed from several conflicting components. This is not a useful way to deal with whatever it is that troubles me, or any of us.

Fortunately, Schwartz closes the book by offering useful suggestions for understanding the problems unlimited choices pose in our society and dealing with them in our own lives. His book isn't perfect--it gets a bit redundant at times--but it's a fascinating take on a topic that plays a bigger role in modern life than many of us realize.

5-0 out of 5 stars Feel better about your decisions...
Schwartz takes an interesting perspective on the decision sciences, exploring not how we could make decisions better, but instead how we can feel better about the decisions we do make.

He explains that we live in a world with overwhelming choice, where every activity from buying a box of cereal to choosing our ideal job offers us an almost unlimited set of options. But although these increased choices often make us better off objectively, they don't necessarily make us feel any better. Instead, we get anxious while making the decision and then feel regret once it's made, wondering if we made the "right" choice. Schwartz helps us understand the psychological underpinnings of our anxieties regarding choice, and then offers some simple but useful suggestions on how we can feel better in the world we live in.

I really enjoyed this book...and as a "maximizer" I found it very helpful. It's a quick read, so if you're at all intrigued by the title then I'd definitely buy it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and helpful
I am deeply thankful to live at a time, in a country, where I enjoy unprecedented freedoms; I would never want someone else to restrict my choices. And I'm not sure that the author and I agree on this point.

However, "The Paradox of Choice" has certainly helped convince me that I could benefit from somewhat limiting my own options in certain areas, as I see fit. What I liked best about this book is the fact that its last chapter is devoted to giving readers practical, customizeable ways to control the ways in which choice can sometimes be paralyzing.

Worth skimming, at least. ... Read more

9. Can't Stop Won't Stop :A History of the Hip Hop Generation
by Jeff Chang
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 031230143X
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 2844
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Many good books have been written about the history of hip-hop music and the generation that nurtured it. Can't Stop Won't Stop ranks among the best. Jeff Chang covers the music--from its Jamaican roots in the late 1960s to its birth in the Bronx; its eventual explosion from underground to the American mainstream--with style, including DJs, MCs, b-boys, graffiti art, Black Nationalism, groundbreaking singles and albums, and the street parties that gave rise to a genuine movement. But the book is about more than beats and rhymes. What distinguishes his book from the pack is Chang's examination of how hip-hop has shaped not only pop music, but American history and culture over the past 30 years. He shows how events such as urban flight, race riots, neighborhood reclamation projects, gang warfare in the Bronx and Los Angeles, and grassroots movements that influenced political agendas are as integral a part of the hip-hop story as the music itself. He also charts the concurrent rise of hip-hop activism and the commodification of the music and the ideological clashes that developed as a result.

Based on hundreds of interviews and over a decade of work as a respected music journalist, Chang offers colorful profiles of the lives and influences of "the trinity of hip-hop music"--Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, and DJ Kool Herc--along with many other artists, label executives, DJs, writers, filmmakers, and promoters. Impressive in its scope, Can't Stop Won't Stop is a lively and sharply written exploration of the power of hip-hop to unite people across generational, racial, and economic lines. --Shawn Carkonen ... Read more

Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice Culture, Biased Politics
Jeff Chang has written an amazing book that truly justifies the scope of its title. The writing is fresh and original in both the journalistic and prose senses of the word. As someone who has witnessed many of the events of this book unfold during my own lifetime, I was amazed by the clarity with which Mr. Chang was able to conjure such a rich account of a cultural movement so few people in our society really understand. It is a well researched and truly amazing addition to the essential cause of preserving hip-hop culture as it is and not what pop culture is continually making it out to be.

My issue with this book is the racial slant. As someone who is no stranger to "cutting-edge activism," I was disappointed to see Mr. Chang's book follow the popular course in contemporary activist literature by portraying whites as a generic, dubious mass. There is no way to discount what has happened to People of Color in this country. It's not even an argument to say that these are the Americans who have suffered most in our attempt at democracy. Crediting members of these ethnicities with the lion's share of the work in getting hip-hop started is also an irrefutable truth.

Still, as with a lot of other activist literature, the message here goes beyond setting the record straight and presenting a solid exhibition of pride. In contemporary race politics, I am finding that the message of "pride" is taking on an increasingly separatist tone. Authors who speak of the achievements of People of Color are doing so more and more with the undertone that such achievements are not only BY but exclusively FOR People of Color (and in some cases, specifically, especially and definitely NOT for whites.) While the specific nationalities of People of Color are routinely documented and respected, whites are just as often shamelessly relegated to being generically white. Such an inequality of form only furthers the sentiment that whites are devoid of culture altogether. That's racist.

As a white male who grew up in and around the events of the era detailed in this book, his writing leaves me feeling a bit like a second class citizen in my own childhood. I do not expect him to water down the experiences of other races in order to seem on a par with mine. I do wonder, however, if Mr. Chang, along with a bulk of his contemporaries, can't work a little harder to exact his message to its fullest extent without simultaneously vilifying whites by either casting them as a generic mass or presenting only the worst cases when specifics are applied.

For example: from Billie Martin to Thurman Munson, seemingly only the worst kind of "white" people were considered for the first chapter of this book. I do not suggest omitting their inexcusable racist remarks from the record, but the author nonetheless has a responsibility to maintain a balance of fairness if he is going to be true to his goal of combating racism. Presenting two such outright white racists right-off-the-bat is just as bad as casting an African American as a mugger for the opening sequence of a film. For a book whose chronology begins in the 60s, this sort of staged 1977 opening smacks of clear agenda-setting from the get-go.

If racial reparations are the true underlying intention of this book, the author would be better suited by dealing honestly with his readers than with veiling his motives. Chang's "us and them" mentality is exactly the sort of reactionary mindset the power elite of this country love to see (divided we fall, etc.) Such an attitude also clearly exhibits the abuse of selective history as a means for sewing ostensible authenticity into numerous "points" that are really of the author's sole invention. As a first generation Irish American, I can say with total assurance that neither I nor any of my ancestors ever performed a clitoridectomy or bound a woman's feet. Sadly (for "whites"), such facts are inadmissible in the court of political correctness at this time.

I do stand by my initial remarks about the quality of this work as a lively piece of hip-hop history. What I reject almost completely is Chang's politicization of hip-hop on such subjective, racial terms. He seems absolutely obsessed with racial tension as the predominant causation for America's failed democracy when any political science professor (without the same chip on their shoulder) will tell you that our problems stem primarily from class division. In Chang's worldview, I sense that even an argument on those grounds would illicit the same divisive stance. As that is pure conjecture, I won't go any further on the point.

In closing, I fully understand that comments such as these fly in the face of what contemporary political correctness teaches us. Still, I do hope that anyone who responds to this post will take the time to actually read what I have said and form a studied response instead of spontaneously erupting from a position they deem to be the exact and total opposite of mine. I apologize if such a disclaimer sounds unfairly disarming but I do live in San Francisco after all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thank you Jeff Chang!
I picked up this book expecting another (yawn) re-telling of the history of hip-hop - you know the one - Kool Herc plays two recordsat the same time in the South Bronx and then Tupac and Biggie get shot!What I found, thankfully, is a well informed and well written book by someone who really loves and understands hip-hop, and realizes it's importance as, among other things, a youth movement and political force.Filled with everything a good hip-hop book should have - drama, discographies, quotes, and editorializing - this book deserves to be on your shelf, in between your dvd of "Style Wars" and those cds by The Coup you should be listening to!

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't sweat it
Mr. Chang, don't sweat any negative reviews. This is the book that Hip-Hop's been waiting for. IMHO, Hip-Hop is now in it's "teen years" so to speak. We've already gone through all the environmantal discovery that a child goes through, all the playing and such. But now in the teen years we are becoming more aware of ourselves, and Hip-Hop is growing it's own consciousness more than ever. In such a drastically changing time, we need a guide to know where we've been. You'll find that guide/mentor in this book. I've learned more from this book than I have growing up in tha LBC and surrounding areas.

This book is essential and vital.

We've been talkin it up over at

And as a writer, I love Mr. Chang's use of words and masterful imagery that BOOM! explodes thru the pages.

If you want an education, start here.

Peace and one luv,

~ LordShen

5-0 out of 5 stars From The Author
Unfortunately I think the previous reviewer may have missed the point of my book.

As I've said, in the book and in talks I've given on the book, I never set out to do a "definitive" history of hip-hop culture, let alone one simply about rap music. I don't believe that any one book could capture the breadth and depth of the hip-hop generation's contributions to culture and politics.

In 14+ years of writing on hip-hop from the street level around the globe, working (and often battling) in an international cipher of incredibly talented, passionate, and committed hip-hop artists (not just rappers), journalists, activists, writers, and scholars, I have developed a very strong opinion on this point: there are millions of ways to tell the story of the hip-hop generation. Mine is but one version. It's not "the" history, it's just "a" history.

I want to point everyone to some of the incredible writing that is available-in anthologies edited by people like Raquel Cepeda, Oliver Wang, and Rob Kenner, in books by Joan Morgan, Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, Bakari Kitwana, Raquel Rivera, Michael Eric Dyson, Mark Anthony Neal, S.H. Fernando, Adisa Banjoko, and Cheo Hodari Coker, and in fiction by Danyel Smith, Black Artemis, Erica Kennedy, and Adam Mansbach. There are classics of hip-hop writing by Tricia Rose, Brian Cross, Steven Hager, David Toop, Greg Tate, Billy Upski Wimsatt, James Spady, Jim Fricke and Charlie Ahearn. As I write this, I know of future classics still coming by people like Dave Tompkins, Brian Coleman, and many others. Nor am I trying to exclude the many other worthy and important writers out there-trust me, I've only scraped the surface of this expanding field of hip-hop generation (not just rap) books. Before long, our shelves should be bending from all the great stuff.

Let me talk about this book. In Can't Stop Won't Stop, I wanted to explore the notion that hip-hop is one of the big ideas of my generation. It's a powerful idea that unites us, divides us, that we feel deeply passionate about, that for many of us helps to define our identity, around the world.

So what I've tried to do here is to present the emergence of the hip-hop generation, through the cultural and the political changes that we've made and that have made us. In doing so, I chose to tell many less-told stories, both because I wanted to add to the shelf of books above and because each of these stories revealed a certain truth about the generation we have come to be.

I wanted the book to be a window on the last three decades of the 20th century, the so-called American Century. In another three decades, this will sound like common sense even if it doesn't right now: you can't talk about America without talking about hip-hop. And you can't talk about hip-hop without talking about America. This is why the book moves back and forth between hip-hop's content and hip-hop's context. I think they are inseparable. Understanding one only helps the understanding of the other.

Personally, I came to hip-hop as a young boy growing in Honolulu in the early 80s, so I am a product of the culture's global reach, and I document its global roots beginning in Jamaica and moving through to its role now as both a indispensable commodity for the multinational media corporations and a grassroots community movement that bridges people and places all over the map.

Finally, I've tried to capture and celebrate the joy that this culture has given to me and to millions of others-not just through rap, but through all of the aesthetic forms hip-hop has moved through and transformed. All throughout the book, my generation's promethean creative powers are on full and glorious display.

Hip-hop has grown from being a local culture to something bigger, something that frames the very way that we see and live in our world. So I wanted Can't Stop Won't Stop to be a history that also begins from the neighborhood level and expands into a generational worldview, with a lot of dope stuff to move to and think about along the way.

Thanks for reading this and please do check out some of the other books I've mentioned above.

2-0 out of 5 stars Informative yet oddly incomplete
Jeff Chang has written a massive volume with lots of interesting information, much of it based on interviews with hip-hop's originators.The early part of the book, which focuses on Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, and Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, and the Furious Five, provides a fascinating glimpse into how the music and hip-hop culture got started in New York.The book then moves to the west coast to chronicle the development of "gangsta rap."However, this is where the book narrows its focus and loses its perspective.

There is so much of an emphasis on the history of gang wars and the "right-wing" 1980s Reagonomics/social policy of the 1980s that it comes at the expense of properly placing the artists and their music in the context of broader musical, economic, and societal shifts.While the book claims to cover the period from the 1970s to 2001, it is strangely selective in the history of hip-hop's more recent years.While Public Enemy, NWA, Ice T, and Ice Cube rightly receive lots of attention, more recent artists such as Tupac and Biggie, no less newsworthy than their predecssors, seem to be mentioned only in passing.The accomplishments of Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys are glossed over.Naughty by Nature, Busta Rhymes, Eminem, and the FuGees are not mentioned at all; Suge Knight, Lauryn Hill, 2 Live Crew, the Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, Puffy, Missy Elliot, Jill Scott, India.Arie and Meshell Ndegeocello are some of the artists/producers mentioned almost as an afterthought, many of them lumped together, towards the end.Many others are left out.

The overemphasis in the book on the difficulties of living in the 'hood and the LA riots ultimately does a disservice to all the artists and their accomplishments.There is no discussion of hip-hop's global reach- i.e., DJ Krush, MC Solaar, Russel in "Gorillaz"- that positively illustrate just how far from the 'hood hip-hop artists have come and the economic power they hold in today's economy.Very little is written about how media-savvy individuals such as Puffy and Jay-Z have used the elements of hip-hop to build empires.In the many pages describing "youth oppression," there is no comparison to the grunge movement in the 90s, no contrast about the survival of rap vs. grunge, no talk of rap's influence on artists like Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit, no discussion of artists like Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, and Gwen Stefani looking to "urban" music to broaden their appeal.There is very little devoted to the changes in technology that drove much of the development of both new wave and rap- synthesizers and samplers- and mass culture- MTV and the Internet.Discussion of these related topics would have brought the book into the present day, added a much-needed positive spin to this often deadly-serious book, and really showcased the magnitude of what the hip-hop generation has accomplished.As it stands, the book does not do much to explain why rap music is so appealing to those who didn't grow up in the 'hood.

Overall, a highly informative and at times excruciatingly detailed book; for a more inclusvie overview of rap music and hip-hop culture, I would look elsewhere.

... Read more

10. Stranger Than Fiction : True Stories
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385722222
Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 2972
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thank god for paperback
I think the term stranger than fiction fits this book just fine. And now, like a blessing from god the book has finally come out in paperback. The hardcover copy was sort of a hasle for me because I'm such an abid traveler.
This book, much like Palahniuks other books is delightfully disturbing, but if your a new Palahniuk fan I recommend you start out with his earlier work like Fight Club or Invisible. My personal favorite story from this book is the fist, I really think it sets the tone for this great non-fictional book. I hope all who buy this book enjoy it as much as I did. ... Read more

11. American Idol Season 4: Behind-the-Scenes Fan Book : Prima's Official Fan Book
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0761549463
Catlog: Book (2005-04-13)
Publisher: Prima Games
Sales Rank: 1339
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Well worth the money-Entertaining, colorful & well-written!!
I love American Idol and I loved reading this book. The photos are great and so are the interviews. I read stuff in this book that I didn't hear anywhere else. Anyone who is an American Idol fan will really enjoy the inside look that this book provides. Kudos to the author and the photographer! The book gives great insight into the whole audition process and what it's really like to be a contestant trying out for the show. The free poster was a great bonus too!

5-0 out of 5 stars I love American Idol!!!
This book is awesome. It has tons of great interviews and photos. I love this show and I love this book. If you want to learn all about American Idol and see behind-the-scenes stuff, read the book!!! ... Read more

12. The Cannabis Grow Bible: The Definitive Guide to Growing Marijuana for Recreational and Medical Use
by Greg Green
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1931160171
Catlog: Book (2003-10-27)
Publisher: Green Candy Press
Sales Rank: 3760
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This guide offers methods for growers who want to maximize the yield and potency of their crop. It explains the "Screen of Green" technique that gives a higher yield using fewer plants, an important development for American growers who, if caught, are penalized according to number of plants. The Cannabis Grow Bible is an authoritative source that features almost 200 color and black-and-white photographs, charts, and tables. With an emphasis on the day-to-day aspects of maintaining a garden and European expertise, this book ensures that growers will enjoy a successful harvest. ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars You will learn much here to keep you growing for years
If growers do not learn something new from every page in this book then they have slept through it. Every single section I have read has something new for me. This book really is that good. The layout is done like a growing plant. There is a list of good referrals for potent seeds in the back sections. The text is authoritative and does not go off topic. Many readers may find this too scientific but if you are a grower then you will know how important this science is. It will not teach you how to get a green thumb but it will give everything you need to know about cannabis and how to grow it. I recommend it for the attention to detail and procedure type descriptions. A very professional marijuana book to own.

5-0 out of 5 stars A grow book from a good grower
This is a grow book from a good grower. That is really all you need to know because there is nothing else like that if you have done your research right. The Cannabis Bible reads and looks like a proper book. If you have been sick of reading books that are strung together by bad binding or look self published then do not let that put you off this one. This is a very different book to those. This book reads and looks like a proper growing manual and the bulk of the work is dedicated to growing. This book is a very big book but big on the information. Point to any page, line or passage at random and learn something new about cannabis. It is like that. This book does not beat about the bush and instead shows you how to grow great bushes. If there is any book you want to read then this is the book that you really want. Why settle for anything less than a grow book from a grower for growers who want to grow.

On closing this review I leave a link to what I produced using this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
I got sick and tired of buying an oz every month, so I decided that I would roll up my sleeves and turn my thumbs green. I bought a professionally built grow cabinet with a Turbo Tank and a 400watt HPS. I searched local bookstores, but none carry any books of this nature, so I turned to Amazon. Anyway, the book is great! I was a first time grower, with little knowledge about the marihuana cultivation. The book contains very detailed information regarding the different growing processes. From seed germination all the way to cooking recipes are in this book. I would HIGHly recommend this book to a first time grower! Growing was the easiest thing I have ever done!

5-0 out of 5 stars The best book for people who have an interest
This book is simply amazing. Green supplies all the facts a new grower needs to turn out a successful crop. I purchased this book only as a reference, and it has boosted my knowledge about the cultivation of cannabis, and about the plant itself. If you are looking for an easy to read, informative book about Cannabis, than this book is for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars I prefer this book
This is the newest cannabis grow book with the latest information. The deep hydroponics chapter was what I really needed to read the most but beside that I also learned much more. This book also has outdoor growing, so it is not just an indoor book. It is now the most used in my marijuana book collection and I would direct anyone to try this book out before anything else. It is the most understandable one of the lot and will show you how to directly obtain potent seeds. You can't go wrong with it. ;) ... Read more

13. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
by Tom Wolfe
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553380648
Catlog: Book (1999-10-05)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 1757
Average Customer Review: 4.61 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Tom Wolfe's much-discussed kaleidoscopic non-fiction novel chronicles the tale of novelist Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters. In the 1960s, Kesey led a group of psychedelic sympathizers around the country in a painted bus, presiding over LSD-induced "acid tests" all along the way. Long considered one of the greatest books about the history of the hippies, Wolfe's ability to research like a reporter and simultaneously evoke the hallucinogenic indulgence of the era ensures that this book, written in 1967, will live long in the counter-culture canon of American literature. ... Read more

Reviews (98)

5-0 out of 5 stars Electric? It Sure Was
This book probably gives the most detailed and essential guide to the sixties. Being a teenager now, i have no idea what the time period was like, but after reading Tom Wolfes book, i have a pretty good idea.

The book delves into the heart of 60's America, giving (in as much detail as possible i think) a wierd and wonderful account of people, pranks and LSD. The book is written in a style i have never come across before, Wolfe using very inventive terms. The style itself is used mainly to re-create the feel of the time period, getting the feel of being 'On The Bus', and providing fantastic results.

Kesey and the Merry Pranksters aren't given bias either. They aren't praised or put down and that gives the book an extra strength. Wolfe using a 3rd person account, simply tells a story (and what a story).

Some parts of the book are somewhat longwinded, but on a whole its a masterpiece, quite simply a classic. Its certainly different, sometimes providing a somewhat LSD account of things, but wasn't that the sixties in a nut-shell? Probably. This is what Tom Wolfe set out to create, and how well he manages it.

Reading it now you'll think, "Wouldn't it be great to experiance the sixties for myself. Being on the bus, grooving with Kesey and the Pranksters, playing the cops and robbers game..." and then you realise you only went and got born in the 80's!

Still, opening the book again will transport there in the comfort of your own home. 'ELECTRIC' and 'KOOL', a must-read.

4-0 out of 5 stars FURTHUR
I suppose the style of writing Tom Wolfe chose to adopt for this book was an attempt to try and capture the turned on and tuned in mind state of it's characters. Whether said style has aged well is besides the point. THE ELECTRIC KOOL-AID ACID TEST is still a fascinating glimpse into the lives of a group of cultural renegades known as The Merry Pranksters. Their lysregic-fueled adventures are chronicled here in all it's joyous and unpleasant detail. This was the beginning of the 60's drug culture and the cast of characters aboard the bus are fascinating. An entertaining read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Tour Guide to the 60's
Although I bought this book when it was first out in paperback, I didn't actually get around to reading it until 1993. I wondered at the time if I would have appreciated it more as a teenager or as someone in his 40's. I'm of the opinion that it works better as a retrospective on an indulgent generation rather than a "how to" book for on-going hedonism. I'm sure that there are other opinions on this, however. I must admit that it is really an enjoyable book and one wonders about the extent of detachment or involvement of Tom Wolfe. He obviously spent a great deal of time with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters and hung with them long enough to see a beginning as well as an end. I think that the ability of the book to bring things to a conclusion was helpful. Nonetheless, the journey Wolfe takes us through is fast paced and exciting and we meet many familiar names along the way. Perhaps the most surprizing familiar name for me was Larry McMurtry whom I did not associate as one who might have followed that crowd. It was certainly a time of awakening although often in ways that may have been better to sleep off. There is an electricity to the book (as there was to the era) and Wolfe certainly helps keep it charged up. For those who don't know much about the 60's, this book is essential to understanding those times. To those who lived it, this book is a reminder of how much fun it was as well as how lucky most of us were to survive it. Things are different now. As evidence of that, consider our recent president who "smoked but never inhaled". Tom Wolfe wrote something that many of can now read with a red-faced smile. Who knew anyone was taking notes at the time?

5-0 out of 5 stars Drug Culture Simplified
Tom Wolfe did an incredible job with this book. The book is interesting because of its' content and also Wolfe's style of writing. Not many subjects can be written about in this fashion: almost broken and incoherent, but completely attatched and perfectly sensible. The books chronicles the lives of Ken Kesey's group of Merry Pranksters with day-to-day happenings and character insights. It tells of where the Grateful Dead got their start, and also catches the great beat generation writer, Jack Kerouac, in his later days. Alan Ginsberg, arguably one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century also appears from time to time throughout the book. This book is a must-read for any aficionado of modern day literature. Read The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test! Another Amazon quick-pick I liked: The Losers Club by Richard Perez

5-0 out of 5 stars Liked it very much
While not an enormous fan of Tom Wolfe's writing style, I like this book nevertheless. After a few chapter I really got into it, and because of the quirkiness of the situation and characters, I found myslef unable to put it down. It's not your average book. If you like books like "Gravity's Rainbow," "Water Music" by Boyle, or "Bark of the Dogwood," you'll proably get into this work. ... Read more

14. Bewitched Forever: 40th Anniversary Edition
by Herbie J. Pilato
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1930819404
Catlog: Book (2004-10)
Publisher: Tapestry Press
Sales Rank: 56119
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

It's magical:Bewitched is Nickelodeon's most popular series in the network's ten year history. Pilato has chronicled the classic witchuation comedy in BEWITCHED FOREVER, an enchanting television companion that mixes more than 150 photos, behind the scene facts, and twitch-bits, as well as exclusive cast interviews, including one up close and personal one about when Herbie met Elizabeth and their ongoing friendship. Everything you ever wanted to know about the series and the people is here. The book includes episode summaries, anecdotes, and biographies of the entire cast and crew, plus a special section on the television sequel Tabitha, which starred Lisa Hartman. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Be Bewitched
As we await the release of the upcoming Bewitched movie, we have been enjoying great tie-in features. I have all the Bewitched books and can tell you that you should just stick to Bewitched Forever, Bewitched: Behind the Magic and Elizabeth Montgomery, A Bewitching Life. They are three great, fun spellbinding books. ALSO, you MUST get the Bewitched DVD's. And if you really want a complete Bewitched experience, go for the Tabitha DVD, too. All are available on Amazon at the best prices.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun and Fresh!
From the author that inspired a renewed interest in Bewitched, and dozens of classic TV websites, comes this 40th Anniv. Edition of Bewitched Forever. Presented in a clean and crisp manner, I found it incredibly easy to look up whatever bit of data or trivia was interesting me at the moment.

Yes, there's a lot of Bewitched websites out there now, but there's nothing like curling up with a real honest-to-goodness book on a rainy or snowy day.

5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful, absolutely wonderful
wow! this is the only word that can describe Herbie J Pilatos book. i received it three days ago and read the entire book in only 3 hours. i was an absolute pleasure to read!

2-0 out of 5 stars Agree
This is the year of Bewitched. I received my third Bewitched book this month and am now posting reviews. Actually I had this book for a while, but never posted a review until now. After reading the review that complained about the book not really having a lot of actual show information, I had to go get mine and see just how many pages we were talking about. I hate to admit it but that review is correct. There are well over 225 pages devoted to an episode guide and cast and crew biographies but much less to actual show history. Maybe these were relevent years ago, but with the internet now boasting many Bewitched and television sitcom sites, all with episode guides, this does seem something of a rip off now. Without those two sections, this would have been a very small book. Also, I disagree that there are tons of photos. There are aa lot of photos, but nothing candid or really overly interesting. Most are promo shots. Of course when this book first came out 13 or 14 years ago, it was the only Bewitched item around. NOW it has been overshadowed by the internet sites and other works.I will always have a soft spot for Bewitched in my heart and am looking forward to the film and other related items.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE Bewitched Bible
Though this review comes from my review of the previous edition, it still pertains to this new 40th Anniversary edition, which has a little bit about the upcoming movie.

If, ever, you have been watching 'Bewitched' and wondered just who is that pretty little witch with a twitch or who her party pooper of a husband is, or even if you do know (I'm assuming you read the credits at the first of the show) and you want to know more about them this book is THE definitive and extensive source for all things Bewitched. With tons of pictures and numerous interviews with the original cast all combined into a fun read Herbie J. Pilato brings all the magic of Bewitched to the written word. All 254 episodes are shared along with a small section devoted to Bewitched's little known spin-off Tabitha. This book is recommended to anyone who has ever fallen under the magic spell of Samantha and her family. ... Read more

15. Molvania: A Land Untouched By Modern Dentistry (Jetlag Travel Guide)
by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Rob Sitch
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1585676195
Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
Publisher: Overlook Press
Sales Rank: 526
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16. Travels with Barley: A Journey Through Beer Culture in America
by Ken Wells
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 074323278X
Catlog: Book (2004-10-06)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 823
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17. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs : A Low Culture Manifesto
by Chuck Klosterman
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743236017
Catlog: Book (2004-07-02)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 4415
Average Customer Review: 3.97 out of 5 stars
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There's quite a bit of intelligent analysis and thought-provoking insight packed into the pages of Chuck Klosterman's Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, which is a little surprising considering how darn stupid most of Klosterman's subject matter actually is. Klosterman, one of the few members of the so-called "Generation X" to proudly embrace that label and the stereotypical image of disaffected slackers that often accompanies it, takes the reader on a witty and highly entertaining tour through portions of pop culture not usually subjected to analysis and presents his thoughts on Saved by the Bell, Billy Joel, amateur porn, MTV's The Real World, and much more. It would be easy in dealing with such subject matter to simply pile on some undergraduate level deconstruction, make a few jokes, and have yourself a clever little book. But Klosterman goes deeper than that, often employing his own life spent as a member of the lowbrow target demographic to measure the cultural impact of his subjects. While the book never quite lives up to the use of the word "manifesto" in the title (it's really more of a survey mixed with elements of memoir), there is much here to entertain and illuminate, particularly passages on the psychoses and motivations of breakfast cereal mascots, the difference between Celtic fans and Laker fans, and The Empire Strikes Back. Sections on a Guns n' Roses tribute band, The Sims, and soccer feel more like magazine pieces included to fill space than part of a cohesive whole. But when you're talking about a book based on a section of cultural history so reliant on a lack of attention span, even the incongruities feel somehow appropriate. --John Moe ... Read more

Reviews (30)

4-0 out of 5 stars Sex, Drug and Cocoa Puff-a-rific
Yeah, that title pretty must covers it.

Klosterman's essays are chock full (and I hate to use this term) of Gen-X references to everything we've grown up loving.

Now, these aren't essays ON Saved by the Bell and Pamela Anderson, but rather, he uses cultural icons as a jumping off point for rambling, funny and (uh-oh) thought provoking discussions. Klosterman is the kind of guy that you would want to hang out with at a party. Look. You're either going to love this book or you're not. You're either to find the tangential, rambling essays endearing and interesting, or simply tangential and rambling.

So what kinds of subjects are you in for? How about the Tori Paradox in which Klosterman deconstructs the idea of Tori on Saved by the Bell? One season, after Tiffany Amber Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley had left for more naked pastures, Tori shows up. And then, just before a graduation special that was to air on NBC, Tori was gone. And Kelly and Jessie were back. Klosterman argues that Saved by the Bell is a lot like life. First people are there, and then they're not - gone. Only to be forgotten and at the most, vaguely remember. Of course, Klosterman explains much better than me.

Just the pure assault of pop-cultural references was enough for me. It's not uncommon for Klosterman to reference such diverse items as the music of Radiohead, Who's the Boss and Trix cereal all in one essay. And I wouldn't be exalting his references if he was just throwing them out. They actually mean something to the people that grew up in the post-Boomer era...

3-0 out of 5 stars A Fun Read
"When I get up in the morning nothing seems to make sense. At night everything has meaning and seems to be connected. That's why I hate to go to sleep." That's how Chuck Klosterman introduces his series of essays about popular culture, "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs." He has a real knack of teasing profound meanings out of the seeming trash of pop culture. And unlike a lot of other critics who start out writing about rock, he's not trying to prove he's in the Red Guards. He's a philosophical and temperamental moderate. In fact, his analysis of the 1980's rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the L.A. Lakers says that it was a ideological competition between right-wing individualism (Celtics) and corporate liberalism (Lakers); and he sheepishly confesses he's a Celtics man.

He also writes about John Cusack's irresistable attraction for the women of his generation (and how we love the image of romance, not the real thing.) He proclaims Billy Joel's greatness in spite of Joel's lack of "coolness." He trashes soccer in a very satisfying way for those of us who hate it. He analyzes the strange mythic appeal of "Saved By The Bell"; it's the stupid popular kid's dream of what life should be like. He theorizes that the doom and gloom of "The Empire Strikes Back" could have influenced the famous pessimism of the entire so-called Generation X. On these many subjects Klosterman isn't quite as funny as Kevin Smith or Quentin Tarantino, but he's more articulate. There's much fun to be had in this book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Meh
It was impossible to read these essays and not imagine that they were typed as spouted, realtime, by a smart, overcaffeinated english major sitting on a couch in a dormitory. You can almost see the (cheap, industrial) carpeting and hear the 'k-cchunk' of the vending machine in the background.

This can be fun, but what we all learned in college is that it's important not to take couch-speaker-guy's opinions as seriously as he takes them. That's the case here, too. Klosterman guesses at things when ninety seconds of googling would have given him the facts; he makes assertions and then, rather than backing them up, goes on to further assertions, possibly in hopes that you'll be too busy trying to keep up to start poking holes in his argument; and every now and then, despite his open contempt for people who use words without understanding their meanings, he does this himself (e.g. describing this collection as a 'manifesto').

3-0 out of 5 stars Tasy Cereal....but with an aftertaste
"Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs" is an essay collection that draws comparisons between popular culture and important social and interpersonal issues. It also happens to be extremely witty at times. Chuck Klosterman is a writer for Spin magazine, so he clearly knows pop culture and can write quality essays. The best of his work here truly encapsulates life. Who cannot relate to this quote? - "Every relationship is fundamentally a power struggle, and the individual in power is whoever likes the other person less." That profundity, by the way, is from an essay that discusses the merits of "When Harry Met Sally"; another section proffers the genius of Billy Joel. Yes, Klosterman is a bit of a hipster geek.

Pop culture references are sprinkled throughout the book, but sometimes it stretches a bit too much for the sake of a clever analogy. In the forward, Klosterman assserts that, at times, he feels as though "everything is completely connected." Unfortunately, he is not adept enough to make all of his essays into a cohesive whole (as other reviewers have noted). Ultimately, the book feels like a loose collection of unrelated but very funny skits. Although that debit doesn't sink the book, it does lessen its impact. In addition, Klosterman is sometimes too self-aware for his own good; several times, he makes reference to liking something "unironically" - such as "Saved by the Bell." His definitive goal seems to be achieving irony. While this credo certainly makes "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs" a funny read, it can become rather tedious as well. Overall, I'd recommend this book, but with reservations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible
Klosterman's collection of essays never failed to be anything less than humorous, insightful, and thought-provoking. I literally laughed out loud while gaining a new perspective on everything from breakfast cereal, MTV's The Real World, serial killers, sports journalists and born-again Christians. I definitely think everyone should give this book a chance. ... Read more

18. Superheroes And Philosophy: Truth, Justice, And The Socratic Way (Popular Culture and Philosophy)
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812695739
Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
Publisher: Open Court Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 44393
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Book Description

The comic book superheroes — Superman, Batman, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, X-Men, and many others — have proved to be a powerful and enduring thread in popular culture, a rich source of ideas for moviemakers, novelists, and philosophers. Superheroes and Philosophy brings together 16 leading philosophers and some of the most creative people in the world of comics, from storywriters to editors to critics, to examine the deeper issues that resonate from the hyperbolic narratives and superhuman actions of this heroic world. The comic book narratives of superheroes wrestle with profound and disturbing issues in original ways: the definitions of good and evil, the limits of violence as an efficacious means, the perils of enforcing justice outside the law, the metaphysics of personal identity, and the definition of humanity. The book also features original artwork specially commissioned from some of the most popular of today's comic book artists. ... Read more

19. The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things
by Barry Glassner
list price: $15.95
our price: $11.16
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Asin: 0465014909
Catlog: Book (2000-05)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 3999
Average Customer Review: 3.82 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In late 2002, Barry Glassner appeared in Michael Moore's Academy Award-winning movie, Bowling for Columbine, to discuss The Culture of Fear. The reaction to Glassner's appearance, and the message of his book, were overwhelming.

As Glassner describes, the American public remains fascinated by the specter of fear in their lives. Be it the proverbial dark-faced bogeyman, or a more recent epidemic of child snatchings, Americans allow their lives to be affected by a perceived and recurrent onslaught of tragedy, death, and fear.

A national bestseller, The Culture of Fear explains why Americans are afraid, exposing the people and organizations that manipulate our perceptions and profit off our anxieties: politicians who attempt to win elections by heightening concerns about drug use and crime; advocacy groups that raise money by exaggerating the prevalence of particular diseases; and finally and perhaps most perniciously, the media that peddle new scares each week in desperate attempts to garner ratings.

Written in a vivid, entertaining style, The Culture of Fear does more than debunk prevalent myths of impending doom, it also asks us to reconsider our participation in the national charade of fear and suspicion which, according to Glassner, is eroding the trust necessary to truly ensure safety in the public square. ... Read more

Reviews (127)

5-0 out of 5 stars look askance at major media
Glassner took 5 years off from teaching sociology at USC to write "Culture of Fear." It certainly shows. This book is a meticulously-footnoted indictment of mass media's distortion of reality. Among the things that Glassner skewers is the media's portrayal of teen moms & young black men as destroyers of American society, road rage, plane crashes, & health woes related to breast implants. The basic premises that Glassner covers are these:

1) Mass media creates panics & hysterias from a few isolated incidents. 2) Anecdotal evidence takes the place of hard scientific proof. 3) The experts that the media trots out to make comments really don't have the credentials to be considered an expert. 4) Entire categories of people are christened as "innately dangerous" (like the aforementioned teen moms and young black men)

Sometimes Glassner's tone towards media is very snide, which may turn the reader off. Nonetheless, I came away with a new distrust of nightly news magazines, the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and others. Glassner goes for breadth rather than depth; many of the topics that he covered could be books in their own right. If you lean towards the Christian Conservative side, you won't like this book. Same goes for 2nd Amendment proponents, some Republicans and Libertarians.

4-0 out of 5 stars Well researched and even more relevent now
In the course of reading Barry Glassner's "The Culture of Fear," I was surprised that Glassner took a more balanced view than I had at first expected. After being featured in left-wing muckracker, Michael Moore's latest film, "Bowling for Columbine," I had assumed Glassner, too, had produced a one-sided liberal rant about the corporate-controlled media interests. I was wrong.

While some of Glassner's conclusions may be questionable, like his statements without clear evidence that the availability of guns are almost entirely to blame for the nation's violence, much of his book is filled with example-after-example of familiar media-propagated scares of the 1990s along with well-researched statistics to debunk the myths. After reading the book, the pattern became clear of how the media spins its stories to make them deliberately misleading in order to sell fear and keep viewers and readers plugged in. I believe this educational experience has made me a more savvy and skeptical consumer of the news.

While Glassner's primary target in "The Culture of Fear" is the media, other groups are also shamed along the way (and they aren't all conservatives, either!) For instance, he spends a fair amount of time accusing feminists of propagating the silicone breast implant scares for symbolic gains even as study-after-study, some very large, involving tens of thousands of women showed no increased evidence of medical problems due to the implants.

One trend that I found amusing in many of the scares is that genuine experts are often ignored in the propagation of the fears. When genuine experts are consulted and disagree with the media's spin, their rational hard-facts explanations are often dismissed with a brush of the hand from the interviewer and followed by a, "but what about all the children?" or "but you can't deny people are suffering?" when there may be no connection between the suffering and the purported cause or the chances of the threat occurring being several times less likely than being struck by lightning. Instead, for airline safety stories, we rely on "seasoned traveler" Joe Blow, as if by riding an airplane a couple times a month Joe is an expert or we rely on college student and self-proclaimed researcher, Marty Rimm, for all that is known about Cyberporn and our children's exposure to it. (Rimm achieved earlier fame by manipulating the media in high school with a trumped-up scare of teenagers spending time in New Jersey casinos. Later debunked, you'd think the media would be more skeptical of him when he applied his manipulation tactics again.) The pattern is similar: when reporters are trying to propagate a scare, they find whomever they can to agree with their pre-decided point-of-view, not matter their dubious qualifications, and ignore anyone who casts doubt on the sensationalized arguments, regardless of their authority.

Yes, I am sure there are conclusions within the book that will make conservatives irate, like the observation that it is poverty that causes crime, not race or crack, but it is interesting to find out that in an era when crime rates were dropping, coverage of crime increased 600%, thus creating an impression on the public that crime is out of control. And, no, things aren't any worse now than they were before...a lot of bad things happened in the past, too, like kids killing kids, but it is the media coverage, not the trend that is growing.

Overall, it is a good read and well-documented. Most of the spin is transparent enough to separate it from the interesting factual data contained within it. If you are living in fear of terrorism or any of the other scare-du-jour, this book is definitely worth a read.

1-0 out of 5 stars Be Careful, Junk Science
The author obviously has an agenda to protect Hollywood. Ill bet he lives in an upscale neighboorhood where all the police have to worry about are cats in trees. He tries to convince the reader that violence in the USA is because of the News. He steers you away from vulgar RAP music, the Gangsta culture, senseless violent movies, schools that are purposely dumbing down kids and the glorification by the media of alternate lifestyles, which are designed to weaken the family structure thus producing more crime. I recommend Four Reasons for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander, it is much more objective.

5-0 out of 5 stars For anyone who wishes that the media would just go away.
I first became interested in this book through the movie "Bowling for Columbine" by Michael Moore. The movie expands on the concept of the book: America has become a culture that's afraid of its own shadow. We've created diseases, epidemics, criminals, and escalating crime rates in our imaginations that the media has gladly expounded upon in order to gain profits.

Barry Glassner does an excellent job of taking false statistics and exaggerated television reports and exposing them for what they really are: fraudulent mediums to increase profits and to increase control over American mindsets.

One thing that Michael Moore and Barry Glassner do not have in common is this: Barry Glassner doesn't seem to be making an attempt to blatantly manipulate his audience. Glassner did a thorough investigation and covered all areas of his subject, finding a plethora of information to support his thesis rather than a few mere tidbits. His research was well-founded and his argument is both convincing and trustworthy. I can't say the same for all of Michael Moore's work.

A must-read.

(Just a side note: For as much as I hate the media, I find it interesting that the only way I became aware of this book was actually through the media - i.e. Michael Moore's movie "Bowling for Columbine." Moore used the media in order to tell his audience that the media is the reason that they're so afraid of everything. Don't you just love irony?)

1-0 out of 5 stars Down for a Far Left, Us Vs, Them Diatribe? Game On!!!
It's ironic. The crux of this book is supposed to be that the media is misleading the masses for their own sinister purposes.

And here it is that I was misled into believing that was really what the book was about for the author's own sinsiter purposes. The moral is never trust the presentation of a book, even a book which encourages you to distrust.

What I got instead were far left tamtrums about conservative right wing oppression.

Apparently, I was astonished to learn, if there were no handguns, no one would die. Ever. The evil that is the handgun is all that stands between this miserable society and utopia. But I digress.

What could have been a fascinating study about the distortion of information, in the book and now in this review, instead became a thinly veiled Us Vs. Them manifesto.

Any of you leftists out there feel free to click no, under "Was this review helpful to you?". ... Read more

20. Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters
by DickStaub
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0787978949
Catlog: Book (2005-03-11)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 2284
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Written by award-winning radio personality Dick Staub, this compelling book is filled with anecdotes from the Star Wars films that serve as a launching pad into rediscovering authentic Christianity. Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters also contains quotes from revered “Jedi Christians” such as Thomas Merton, Teresa of Avila, the Apostle Paul, G. K. Chesterton, and other theologians, mystics, writers, and philosophers. The author sheds new light on the struggles and challenges of living faithfully in postmodern life and offers a reintroduction to what C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien called the “one true myth,” Christianity. ... Read more

Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars About time Christians stop critiquing Star Wars!
When I was a teenager, I remember at Sunday School, we used material from Focus on the Family (Dr. James Dobson's organization) and when one lesson critiqued Star Wars as a pagan-influenced film and "Empire" especially for its "Buddhist concepts", our Sunday School class voted to drop use of Focus on the Family for our lessons. That was back in 1989 and I've never liked Dr. Dobson since (as I've learned more about him).

In the late 1990s, when I learned about how George Lucas was inspired by Joseph Campbell and his study of ancient mythologies to create the brilliant "Star Wars" saga, that got me interested in learning Joseph Campbell. There's nothing "evil" or "pagan" or even "anti-Christian" in learning about how other mythologies influenced story-tellers and religions through the ages. Unless Christians realize this fact, they will continue to lose out to popular culture and become as irrelevant as Zeus and Medusa.

I saw this book and it piqued my curiosity. I wanted to see if the writer had an anti-Star Wars bias or was he willing to examine the ideas in the film series in relation to Christian viewpoints. Fortunately, he is not like James Dobson...that is to say, he's not threatened by the big ideas presented by Star Wars. This book is amazing and necessary, as the writer ties in ideas to Christian ideas without stretching the point to where it doesn't fit. Fortunately, the writer seems to be advocating a kind of Christian life I'm familiar consistent with Jesus' call to help the poor and afflicted, the commitment to peace and nonviolence, etc. He doesn't try to distort the message of the Star Wars films by advancing the conservative/fundamentalist Christian line that supports wars, unfiltered capitalistic greed and compassionless economics...he sticks with the Jesus of the New Testament and early Christians who stood up to the Roman Empire. Thus, the writer has good credibility with me and this is a book I'd love to teach in my church's young adult Sunday School class.

The reason I subtract a star is because the writer totally got "karma" wrong. In one chapter, he criticizes George Lucas for his decision to change Han Solo's firing at Greedo first in the special edition of "Star Wars: A New Hope" because Lucas believes that killing without reason means there can be no hope of redemption (which isn't true if you follow the trajectory of Anakin Skywalker to his ultimate redemption). The writer tries to say that this view is what karma is. That is not true. Karma is simply the Golden Rule...a universal law much like the law of physics (for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction). Karma is any action that returns to the originator of such action. If you do evil, evil will come back to you. If you do good, good will come back to you. That's all it is. To distort it as something else hurts one's credibility a bit. To me, it seems like a lot of Christians are threatened by karma...even though no one should be. Jesus taught a principle of karma and if we all lived by the law of karma, we would have nothing to fear. Only people who commit evil acts want karma to be untrue, because they don't want to pay the price of their sins.

Other than that one glaring error, I recommend this book for study, as it will help people become better Christians and that is a good thing. Too many people have fallen away from Christianity because of the hypocritical leaders. Anything that helps people understand what Jesus really was about is a good thing.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Unique Integration of Theology and Culture
At the end of the 20th century, Paul Tillich tried to integrate theology and culture so that a world come of age could connect with Christian faith.While his attempt was brave, his failure may be explained by a departure from the concrete and radical teachings of Jesus, favoring instead the obscure language of ambiguous religion.

Dick Staub's book is successful precisely because his integration of Christian theology, history, philosophy, culture and biblical text embodied within the popular Star War myth retains the radical claims of Jesus for thinking and living Christianly.

As I read the book, I felt I was immersed in a meditation or devotional guide for the day.The reader is introdcued to mini-vignettes of church history, world culture, spirituality, history, politics and philosophy as the Jedi story is woven throughout the book.At other times I felt as though I was offered a study guide in refreshing language into the basics of Christianity with no requirement of prior religious knowledge.

Whether part of the Jedi following or not, Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters assures the reader that her quest for spiritual reality is only superceded by God's historic seeking of all humanity through the cross of Jesus Christ.The Gospel is conveyed to both mainline liberal, conservative evangelical or for most others who are spared the use of religious labels---all of whom desire spiritual fulfillment created by the nihilism of North American consumerism barely challenged by an equally commodified Christian(?) church.

What Dick Staub has accomplished is a new paradigm for communicating the historic Gospel story of God's love for the world.His book is an effective interplay of both medium and message without the one subsuming the other.Its fast-paced, succinct medium written humanly and vulnerably strips away the usual barriers that often accompany usual theological discourse.At the same time, its message is precisely retained without regrettably dumbed-down reduction that often characterizes today's religious parlance in a misguided attempt to trade off truth for "relevance."

All future 21st century theological discourse is now challenged to grapple with Staub's linguistic paradigm when confronted with contextualizing the Gospel into an increasingly post-human culture.

Paul O. Bischoff, Ph.D.
Wheaton, Illinois

5-0 out of 5 stars Rare Jewel on Today'sBookstore Shelves

Excellent!Practical!A Rare Find On Today'sBookshelves!!

Storytelling is the oldest form of passing wisdom from one generation to the next.The elder tells the story of his experiences, weaving in lessons he has gleaned.While the younger listens, the story becomes part of his/her mental landscape.Then when a similar situation arises, VOILA!The story is remembered by the youth.... and the lesson is applied.

Dick Staub is the consummate teacher/mentor in Wisdom of the Jedi. With a heart longing to reach the younger generation, he forges powerful metaphors and analogies from Star Wars for a generation who finds itself in an abyss of society's smorgasbord of sense overload and material possessions.

Today there is much talk of one's "spiritual journey" or "path", but not much evidence of radical transformation.Christianity `lite' doesn't seem to have questions about God......No Holy Mystery......No Awe.....just answers in fill in the blank Bible studies or in systematic theology.

Staub challenges the average Christian with Star Wars metaphors offering transformation, hope, and a sense of meaning.Those who choose to look at their relationship with God through the Star Wars lens will glean unexpected riches....and will finish the book with an excited mind and spirit.

Each generation has to discover God for itself. If Dick Staub had lived 100 years ago, he would have been an old man in the chimney corner passing down the faith through creative he urged young listeners to co-create with their Creator.Go buy the book. Itpierces the soul with laserlike precision and makes everything else, except being a follower of Jesus Christ, as exciting as a dial tone!

May the Creator of the Force be with you.

Sharon Newman Bordine, Ph.D.
NASA Teacher in Space representative

5-0 out of 5 stars A Metaphor for Life's Journey in Faith
The great success of this book rests not only on Dick Staub's ability to challenge his audience, but also his knack for persuading readers to challenge themselves.Mr. Staub rightly exposes the superficiality and hypocrisy that plague what he calls "Christianity-lite," and encourages us to move beyond that trap in search of a more authentic and transforming faith in and through Jesus Christ.Anecdotes and scripture verses abound, encouraging readers to continue their exploration of the "One True Myth" once they've turned the book's final page.Although the Star Wars metaphors will no doubt irk some cultural isolationists within the fundamentalist community, I highly recommend this book to anyone in search of genuine spirituality.

Note:If you simply wish to further your understanding of Jedi lore and philosophy, I suggest that you refer to the Tales of the Jedi series from Dark Horse Comics.Not only are they excellent reads, they also contain insight into the history of the Jedi Order, the rise of the Sith, and origins of the conflict between the two.However, don't expect "Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters" to resolve Star Wars continuity gaps, or provide you with a lengthy discertation on the theology of the Jedi.It's simply *not* the author set out to do with this book.As for the alleged "crass commercialism" of this work, I find it hard to reconcile such a notion with a careful reading of Mr. Staub's work.He is actually quite pointed in his criticisms of the gimmick mentality pervasive in today's "Christian" subculture, and challenges his readers to seek something deeper and more authentic than flavor-of-the-week faith.

1-0 out of 5 stars Caveat emptor
This work is nothing short of a cheap attempt to not only jump on the bandwagon, but to eat the donkey as well.It seems as if Staub wrote this book as a Christian philosophy piece without regard to Star Wars then, when no one took interest in it, added the Star Wars reference to drum up attention.
His comparisons of Christian philosophy to ideas posited in the Star Wars movies are entirely unconnected.The book uses Star Wars as an enticement so that the author can then move into his own Christian philosophy, but never relates the ideas in a meaningful way.
After reading the work I am forced to wonder if Staub bothered to watch Star Wars at all.In chapter 3 Staub describes Yoda as, "...a strange, bluish, big-eared, wizened little creature."Yoda, sweet friends, is green---not blue.
As a book of Christian philosophy this work is pedestrian, but as an analysis of the philosophy of Star Wars this book is nothing less than a contemptible swindle that uses a reference to popular movies to sell an unrelated book.
... Read more

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