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1. Collapse: How Societies Choose
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2. The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities
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3. Management of Organizational Behavior:
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4. The Humanities: Cultural Roots
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5. Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood
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20. Why Is Sex Fun?: The Evolution

1. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
by Jared M. Diamond, Jared Diamond
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
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Asin: 0670033375
Catlog: Book (2004-12-29)
Publisher: Viking Books
Sales Rank: 4859
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Book Description

In his million-copy bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond examined how andwhy Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them todominate much of the world. Now in this brilliant companion volume, Diamond probes the otherside of the equation: What caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin,and what can we learn from their fates?

As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond weaves an all-encompassing global thesisthrough a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Moving from the Polynesian cultureson Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finallyto the doomed Viking colony on Greenland, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern ofcatastrophe. Environmental damage, climate change, rapid population growth, and unwisepolitical choices were all factors in the demise of these societies, but other societies foundsolutions and persisted. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster toRwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite ourown society’s apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warningsigns have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana.

Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined to take its place asone of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoidcommitting ecological suicide? ... Read more


2. The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time
by JeffreySachs
list price: $27.95
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Asin: 1594200459
Catlog: Book (2005-03-15)
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The
Sales Rank: 123
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

He has been cited by The New York Times Magazine as "probably the most important economist in the world" and by Time as "the world's best-known economist." He has advised an extraordinary range of world leaders and international institutions on the full range of issues related to creating economic success and reducing the world's poverty and misery. Now, at last, he draws on his entire twenty-five-year body of experience to offer a thrilling and inspiring big-picture vision of the keys to economic success in the world today and the steps that are necessary to achieve prosperity for all.

Marrying vivid eyewitness storytelling to his laserlike analysis, Jeffrey Sachs sets the stage by drawing a vivid conceptual map of the world economy and the different categories into which countries fall. Then, in a tour de force of elegance and compression, he explains why, over the past two hundred years, wealth has diverged across the planet in the manner that it has and why the poorest nations have been so markedly unable to escape the cruel vortex of poverty. The groundwork laid, he explains his methods for arriving, like a clinical internist, at a holistic diagnosis of a country's situation and the options it faces. Rather than deliver a worldview to readers from on high, Sachs leads them along the learning path he himself followed, telling the remarkable stories of his own work in Bolivia, Poland, Russia, India, China, and Africa as a way to bring readers to a broad-based understanding of the array of issues countries can face and the way the issues interrelate. He concludes by drawing on everything he has learned to offer an integrated set of solutions to the interwoven economic, political, environmental, and social problems that most frequently hold societies back. In the end, he leaves readers with an understanding, not of how daunting the world's problems are, but how solvable they are-and why making the effort is a matter both of moral obligation and strategic self-interest. A work of profound moral and intellectual vision that grows out of unprecedented real-world experience, The End of Poverty is a road map to a safer, more prosperous future for the world.

From "probably the most important economist in the world" (The New York Times Magazine), legendary for his work around the globe on economies in crisis, a landmark exploration of the roots of economic prosperity and the path out of extreme poverty for the world's poorest citizens.
... Read more

Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Poverty and the Professor's Plan
Jeffrey Sachs, the director of Columbia University's Earth Institute and special advisor to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, tells us that about 20,000 people die daily due to extreme poverty (that's about 8 million people annually).Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than a dollar a day.About 1 billion people live on less than a dollar a day, one third of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.Thisbook makes us aware of the extent of this tragedy and it offers a global plan to do something about it.

The global plan, of course, requires big money and big debt relief.Sachs has calculated that it would take anywhere from $135 billion to $190 billion per year of donations from rich countriesover the next two decades in order to eliminate extreme poverty by 2025.

Not surprisingly, the conservative critics, such as the economist William Easterly, will disparage this plan as so much utopian social engineering and call instead for a more piecemeal approach (Neoconservatives, however, are different: they have a propensity for lavish spending and risky foreign adventures).

Sachs' plan is not entirely new.The development models of the 1960's and 70's were similar.Huge amounts of money were allocated for building infrastructure and human capital; instead this money ended up in the bank accounts of dictators and corrupt aid officials.The development focus of the 1980's and 90's was more toward ending corruption and state ownership, encouraging deficit spending and free trade.The results have been equally disappointing: still 20,000 die daily.

The Sachs' plan calls for some swift, aggressive, and large-scale "neoliberal" economic interventions.His recommendations on how this $135 to $195 billion should be spent are staggering: it goes from how to plant trees, to soil fertility, to antiviral therapy for Aids, to mosquito nets for malaria, to specially programmed cell phones, to battery charging stations - just to name a few.He proposes that the secretary general of the UN run the overall program (with the requisite oversights), and that this would lift poor countries out of the poverty trap by 2025.This is, admittedly, a tough sell in conservative circles.

It is disingenuous, however, for critics like Easterly and others in this column to call this plan utopian.The goal of ending "extreme" poverty is getting countries to the first rung of the economic ladder so that they can participate in the gobal economy.For example, Sachs considers sweatshop labor a step up from no labor at all - this is hardly a utopian goal.Ending extreme poverty only prepares people and countries for the marketplace, it doesn't make them wealthy.

It is true that an ambitious plan such as Sachs' would have its excesses and unforeseen consequences.One of Sachs' problems is that he accuses people who disagree with him of being uninformed, or, worse yet, in the case of Africa, racist.Surely, someone who became a tenured Harvard professor at aged 28 and saved a handful of countries from economic disaster is not lacking in ego.He would do well to be a little more diplomatic.

From this book one should remember the mission: to save 20,000 lives a day.Instead of labeling proposals left-wing or right-wing, liberal or conservative, we should look deeply within our technocratic selves to end extreme poverty.



5-0 out of 5 stars Fighting Poverty, says J. Wallis, is a Moral Value.
Sojourners magazine editor Jim Wallis is also an evangelical who has lately been speaking out on the current administration's politics which infer that anything having to do with fighting gay rights or abortion is a moral, Christian thing to do. Wallis says that although he cannot find many references in the Bible regarding abortion or gays, he can find thousands of verses regarding poverty, and fighting poverty is a moral, religious issue folks everywhere should do what they can to end.

Coincidentally--and I don't know whether these gentlemen has ever met--we have another popular economist, Jeff Sachs who is head of Columbia University's Earth Institute--who coincidentally has a hot book out that's causing waves. Causing waves for the end of poverty in our lifetime. Already he's been seen rubbing elbows with Kofi Annan and Bono of U2. He probably would have been a better candidate for the US ambassador to the United Nations...but, I politicize. The main thrust of this work here is that taking into account geography, infrastructure, political leanings, corruption of public officials, and other development issues, we (rich nations) can conceivably end grinding poverty by 2025 in most of the worlds under developed countries. How? By supplying medicine and education in AIDs ravaged areas of Africa and Asia, by aiding production of foodstuffs in these rural area (rather than by putting big thinking growers who tend not to understand the region and the traditions of people), by control of for example mosquitos in South Africa. We will help the poor survive and teach them how to survive.

Sachs says that by taking a pro-active stance, addressing problems that are able to likely be solved with enough appropriate effort, we can improve lives. The Millenium Project Report under the UN is designed to help these areas solve their problems.

The book is about the nature of the world's poverty (in for example Bilar, Pakistan, India, Africa) some of Sach's general observations of the poor and the steps to take to curve poverty.

Why should you read this? Even if you are not a Christian, it seems that as a citizen of this world two of your responsibilities are to feed the hungry and to help the poor. This is a valuable, current day, rational dissertation on a 'zero poverty by 2025' goal. It also teaches that civilization will be judged on how it treats its poor. Let's avoid having a bad report card.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Exciting Overview
A very exciting book.Professor Sachs describes his round the world adventures in working to solve some of the most severe economic conditions in modern history.Thrilling was his account of making his proposal to an unbathed Eastern European leader into the night (while the leader consumed a bottle of whiskey and smoked an untold number of packs of cigarettes), working through the night to have a written economic strategy proposal by morning and then, months later, watching with fingers crossed the behavior of the economy after his plan was put in place.Jeffrey Sachs is a high stakes player.The well-being of millions is often at stake.Disappointing was his account of how Russian and other world leaders ignored the majority of his proposals to transform the Russian economy.I've read books about Geronimo and Crazy Horse, climbing Everest, and revolutions, and this book was just as exciting.

Thrilling also is that it is possible to, maybe not eliminate, but greatly reduce the number of people living in extreme poverty.Disappointing is the fact that the necessary assistance from the wealthy governments of the world probably will not materialize.

This book is merely an overview of Professor Sachs's plan to eliminate the poorest of the poor.This is about how to give the absolute poorest of people (those living on less than $1 per day) a boost up to the bottom rung of the economic ladder of development.The poorest of the poor, Sachs claims, with no infrastructure, no education and no capital, are often achieving negative per capita economic growth.Sachs claims that, once on the bottom rung of the ladder, these poorest of the poor will then be able to begin climbing.

Professor Sachs suggests using "differential diagnosis" to determine the causes of deep poverty and devise a strategy to alleviate it and begin economic growth.Decades of experience have taught him that different countries and different regions and villages may be impoverished due to different causes.These impediments to growth must be first diagnosed through careful analysis followed by a strategy specifically designed to overcome these impediments.His method is not a one size fits all approach.

This book is not about enhancing development in economies that have are already on the economic ladder and growing.Countries like Bangladesh, although poor, are already on a path to economic growth and, with small accomplishments in read per capita GDP growth every year, will be able to continue to improve standards of living.

Criticism of this book began before the book was even available.It's not surprising that the harshest criticism comes from those who obviously have not read this book.Sachs is often criticized for failing in Russia.The critics never point out, probably because they are not aware, that neither the Russian government nor outside governments and institutions followed his advice.

A popular criticism of this book is that Sachs's solution involves merely throwing money at a problem.This is perhaps the most misguided criticism.Sachs's plan does involve development assistance from wealthy countries; however, the amount he suggests that is needed is no more than countries have already pledged to contribute.Moreover, Sachs is clear that financial aid without a development strategy will produce little results.Sachs proposes an analysis of the impediments to development at the village level followed by a diagnosis and strategy to overcome them.A stable, honest government is essential in carrying out the plan.

Another popular criticism is that aid has shown to be inadequate in addressing the problems of development.Sachs addresses this issue in the book.His argument is that the amount of aid has been so low in the most impoverished countries that it could not possibly have a significant long-term effect.The governments in the United States invest 30% of GDP in public goods - roads, bridges, ports, police and courts, education ($10,000+ per student in many areas) - in order to achieve a growth rate of 2% in real per capita GDP.Should we be surprised that an investment of a few dollars per citizen is ineffective in Africa?

Sachs is also criticized for suggesting that aid be given to corrupt governments where the money will merely end up in an off shore bank account.Sachs is very clear throughout the book that it is imperative that the recipient countries devise and implement a poverty reduction strategy and stick to it.Countries that are not committed to this "need not apply".

In the end, Professor Sachs has made a good proposal that WILL be effective in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of deep poverty and a track record to prove it.Unfortunately, his plan WILL NOT be implemented primarily because of resistance from Washington.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at development economics
Professor Sachs gives a great tour of the world and its economic problems.He gives personal accounts of helping the economies of Bolivia, Poland, India, Russia and to a limited extent China.Most attempts at helping were successful (Russia, which had deeper and more entrenched problems, was a notable exception).Sachs gives sound advice on what works and what doesn't in really really poor countries.He also lays out how little it would take from America and other developed nations to make it all happen.

The one downside is that for Sachs' plan to work, foreign governments have to be willing to cooperate.It's kind of a Catch-22.The US is not willing to donate large amounts of money if it is used poorly, and foreign governments aren't going to be able to spend wisely if they don't have very much. But really - we are spending hundreds of billions fighting the war in Iraq to "help the Iraqi people".But we could help many more people much more efficiently if we just committed to do it.

Overall, one of the most interesting economics books I have ever read (and I have read a few).

3-0 out of 5 stars A few problems
If there is a more tireless and indefatigable advocate for the poor and downtrodden, and a more vigorous campaigner fighting the evils of poverty in dozens of countries around the world than Mr. Sachs, I don't know who it is. Sach's book provides a sweeping and compelling overview of the dire effects of poverty and the possibilities for aid and assistance, economic reform, and development in third world countries, discussing the successes and failures in many countries and how and why they either failed or succeeded.

Before I get into the rest of my review, I should say something about my own prior and perhaps naive views on foreign aid. Before reading Mr. Sach's book, I believed in helping poor countries as much as possible and putting as much money into it as one could afford. Unfortunately, after reading his book, I was somewhat dismayed to find that so much of what he said could just as easily be used to argue against it. So, like a number of the reviewers here, although I agree that some sort of action is necessary, most of these solutions unfortunately still seem to come down to throwing more money at what in many cases have already turned out to be bottomless pits, lining local dictator's and beaurocrat's pockets and accomplishing very little else in the way of long-term gain. One shudders at the number of countries in Africa where aid is desperately needed and yet so little seems to reach the actual populace, not to mention several former Soviet countries, such as Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, and countries like Cambodia, that have similar if not worse situations.

One of Mr. Sach's favorite countries, for example, is Ethiopia, one of the world's poorest nations, where less than 1 dollar is spent per year per person on medical aid. However, Ethiopia still has not come to grips with its population problem, and every generation or about 20 years, there is another famine and the world sends vast amounts of food and money to rescue the starving populace.

This happened back in the 60s, and again in the 80s. That one I remember well because of all the TV ads featuring actors/actresses like Sally Struthers, one of the stars from the TV sitcom, All in the Family. While this generosity is commendable, nothing had changed since the 60s, and Ethiopia was again starving as a result of a couple of years of crop failures. Again, the U.S. and the world again sent huge amounts of aid, which did save many lives, but again, it just postpones Ethiopia's need to deal with the population issue in a more realistic and timely way.

Although I learned much about the different circumstances and strengths and weaknesses of many countries around the world in regard to their economic problems and opportunities, sometimes the book tantalizes as much as it explains. For example, Mr. Sachs discusses the amazing progress China has achieved, contrasting that with the failure of many Latin American countries to continue to progress, not to mention the problems of Russia. He attributes the success of China to the development of TVEs (township and village enterprises), which became small but dynamic production and profit centers, as opposed to the inefficient Soviet state operations, and the failure to develop true capitalistic institutions where profits are plowed back into capital spending, growth, and expansion rather than into the new elite industrial leadership's pockets.

However, this doesn't really explain why local village enterprises in China really succeeded over the larger state concerns in Russia. Larger operations enjoy certain advantages such as economies of scale and access to governmental funds for loans. Deciding to follow up on the question, I did a Google search and came up with the following excerpt from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization document number 4536 (I apologize for the long quote but it provides info that Sachs leaves out, and also, I'm going somewhere with all of this):

"China's township and village enterprises (TVE) are rural, collective economic organizations established at the township or village level. They also include the city branches of township enterprises. TVEs had become a major component of the Chinese economy, contributing significantly to GDP, employing large numbers of people and contributing to social development.

The development of TVEs has varied across China's regions and economic sectors. TVEs in some sectors are hi-tech or export oriented, and they face regional and international competition. However, TVEs in the brick, cement, coking and metal-casting sub-sectors were set up primarily to absorb rural labour, to provide essential low cost products, and to contribute to improving livelihoods in a localised area. In these sectors TVEs relied heavily on direct interventions from local governments for access to resources and marketing opportunities. As a result of the limited exposure of TVEs in these sectors to the market and to market forces, development in these sectors was characterized by expansion, without technology and technique development.

Despite their general dynamism and growth, TVEs still have many disadvantages compared to state owned enterprises (SOE). A key one is the shortage of workers having significant professional skills. Another is the lack of access to finance. These gaps are also found between TVEs in Central China and those in the coastal regions.

While the building material, coking and metal casting sectors provide key inputs to China's economic development and have been a major contributor to China's economic growth over the last 20 years (TVE provide more than half of the total output from these sectors), the level of technology in these sectors is low. Accordingly, TVEs in these sectors are characterized by high pollution levels. Notably, these four TVE sectors account for a staggering one sixth of China's total emissions of CO2. Their average relative energy consumption is 30% to 60% higher than state-owned-enterprise sector using currently available technologies. In addition, the low quality of their products leads to additional energy inefficiencies in product use (notably, poor building materials have low insulation levels, leading to heat loss in buildings). TVE are also major contributors to local air and water pollution and health hazards for employees."

Unfortunately, the impression I get from this article in the way of explanation is that this apparent miracle won't last. The most likely explanation to me for the success of the TVEs is that the interior of China was so backward (it consisting mainly of literally of tens of thousands of small and relatively isolated villages) is that almost any improvement in industrial capability and capacity was a big improvement over what had existed before in the region. The same thing happened in the Soviet Union, where initially industrial output increased due to some fairly simple and basic improvements in manufacturing technology and production. Like the TVE's, they also initially seemed a big success, only later peaking and going into decline. However, the interior of both countries was so backward industrially that almost any improvement was likely to succeed in the short term, whether it was more collectivized as in the case of the Soviet Union, or smaller scale, more private enterprise type operations as in the case of TVE's.

My point, unfortunately, is that we still don't know whether TVE's will truly succeed or not in the long run, as much of the profit can also be explained by the low cost of labor. If labor is cheap enough, you can still make a profit not matter how inefficient and low tech and non-competitive your operation is.

So overall, although I applaud Mr. Sach's willingness to be an advocate for eliminating poverty around the world, we still don't really know what we're doing in many cases economically, and the practical problems are still daunting. Development economics is itself a developing academic area (by the way, John Kenneth Galbraith, an advisor to many U.S. presidents, did his Ph.D. dissertation on farm economics, although he became known mainly for his book, The Age of Affluence), and hopefully we will continue to learn more and be able to apply more rational and scientific solutions to the elimination of poverty in the future.

In the short-term, however, our efforts continue to be hampered by inefficient and corrupt governments and inefficient aid organizations--although I still believe that we must continue to provide help despite the small percentage of it that ultimately reaches those most in need. ... Read more


3. Management of Organizational Behavior: LeadingHuman Resources (8th Edition)
by Paul Hersey, Kenneth H. Blanchard, Dewey E. Johnson
list price: $110.00
our price: $110.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0130175986
Catlog: Book (2000-10-03)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 2743
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Used by more than a million people throughout the world, this highly readable book provides a comprehensive examination of the applied behavioral sciences, and focuses on fundamental ideas which have stood the test of years of application in academic, business, not-for-profit and administrative environments.Complete coverage of motivation and behavior, situational leadership, building effective relationships, planning and implementing change, leadership strategies, the organizational cone and integrating situational leadership with the Classics.For individuals interested in expanding their knowledge of, and proficiency in leadership strategies. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Management of Organizational Behavior: Leading Human Resourc
Used by over 1 million students worldwide, this book provides a comprehensive examination of the applied behavioural sciences, and focuses on fundamental ideas which have stood the test of years of application in different environments.

5-0 out of 5 stars Goes where few texts dare to go: the real-world
I recommend this to managers as much as students.

Sure, the price seems like a lot of cash to shell out at first. But trust me, it is worth it. I had to read it for a Management class, and it started of like a typical OB text, illustrating the history of management studies (Taylor to Maslow to Mayo to Likert to ...). Good stuff, but pretty dull. Then, Hersey et al went where most scholars, even the supposedly worldly MBA types, fear to tread: real-world application!

The text covers all of the material covered Blanchard's "One Minute Manager," "Putting the One Minute Manager to Work," and a shelf load of other books. It also does a great job introducing Blanchard and Hersey's Situational Leadership, where the manager matches leadership behavior to a report's ability level and motivation. This replaces "Leadership and the One Minute Manager," and delves much deeper into the topic.

Hersey et al also cover:
- Behavioral shaping, and positive and negative reinforcement quite nicely
- Communications skills necessary to lead reports
- Power building, and using effective power bases ...
- The list literally goes on and on.

I use the concepts I was first exposed to here day in and day out. They work. My OB professor told us that, if he would be limited to just one book on management, he would choose this one. And, five years later, I agree. I am very glad that I did not sell this book back to the campus bookstore. I consult the book at least once a week while pondering both thorny and maundane problems with my employees.

You see, Dr. Davis? Some of us do listen.

5-0 out of 5 stars All about Leadership!!! Must read!
This book is one of my favorites! It leads you first through a complete review of management and leadership theories, then introduces the authors' famous SITUATIONAL LEADERSHIP model and theory. This book goes into great depth about the sit-lead model and theory, and is a great read. Want to be a better leader??? Read the book by the experts! ...

5-0 out of 5 stars Organized!
I was first introduced to Situational Leadership in the military quite a few years ago. This book did a great job of dusting off the cobwebs in the memory and proving that Situational Leadership is still a viable means of leading your people.

The book provides an overview of various management and human behavior theories, such as Maslow, Herzberg, Schein, Argyris, and McGregor. Then, fits them into a nice model deemed Situational Leadership. I must say that I've read the majority of the theories already and they do fit. Plus, if followed, the model is very effective in helping a leader in real world situations.

If you buy this book, you receive a host of valuable information. I think, besides involving you with the Situational Leadership model, the best attributes are the extensive lists of additional reading that are provided to you at the end of each chapter, and at the end of the book. If you're on a journey to better yourself as a manager and leader, the exhaustive list is well worth the price of the book. It saves you from buying the duds and "fadish" management/leadership books on-line without the ability to have them in your hands prior to purchase. Plus, the book gives you a good preview to the information contained in a book before you buy it.

All in all, if you're going to invest some time and money in a management/leadership book, definitely buy this book. You need to know this information and have it at your fingertips if you're going to survive in the organizational human behavior world as a leader.

4-0 out of 5 stars How it is all linked
(!! This comment is based on the 7th edition !!)
If you know your way around organisational theory, and if you were surprised by the straightforwardness of 'The One Minute Manager', than this may be your next best buy.
The authors not only bring together several theories, but they also explore how they are linked, and what they mean in practice (after all, they are behaviorists).

If you are looking for a more theoretical underpinning of 'why the story of The One Minute Manager is so true!', you may find the answers in this book. ... Read more


4. The Humanities: Cultural Roots and Continuities
by Charlotte Vestal Brown, Roberta Ann Dunbar, Frank Tirro, Ronald G. Witt
list price: $83.16
our price: $83.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618045376
Catlog: Book (2000-08-01)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Sales Rank: 254598
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Book Description

The Humanities provides an overview of the liberal arts, including literature, art, music, philosophy, and history. The book comes equipped with numerous pedagogical aids, including a web site that features 50–60 art images.

Each volume begins with a "Chronicle of Events," which provides a timetable of key events in world history. "Continuities" sections—which cover political life, religion, art, music, and writing—summarize each part of the text by reviewing the lasting contributions of each society.

... Read more

5. Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood
by KorenZailckas
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670033766
Catlog: Book (2005-02-07)
Publisher: Viking Adult
Sales Rank: 1260
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From earliest experimentation to habitual excess to full-blown abuse, twenty-four-year-old KorenZailckas leads us through her experience of a terrifying trend among young girls, exploring howbinge drinking becomes routine, how it becomes "the usual." With the stylistic freshness of a poetand the dramatic gifts of a novelist, Zailckas describes her first sip at fourteen, alcohol poisoningat sixteen, a blacked-out sexual experience at nineteen, total disorientation after waking up in anunfamiliar New York City apartment at twenty-two, when she realized she had to stop, and all thedepression, rage, troubled friendships, and sputtering romantic connections in between.Zailckas’s unflinching candor and exquisite analytical eye gets to the meaning beneath theseeming banality of girls’ getting drunk. She persuades us that her story is the story of thousandsof girls like her who are not alcoholics—yet—but who use booze as a short cut to courage, astand-in for good judgment, and a bludgeon for shyness, each of them failing to see how theiremotional distress, unarticulated hostility, and depression are entangled with their sociallycondoned binging.

Like the contemporary masterpieces The Liars’ Club, Autobiography of a Face, andJarhead, Smashed is destined to become a classic. A crucial book for any woman whohas succumbed to oblivion through booze, or for anyone ready to face the more subtlerepercussions of their own chronic over-drinking or of someone they love, Smashed is aneye-opening, wise, and utterly gripping achievement. ... Read more

Reviews (67)

1-0 out of 5 stars A LOT OF RAMBLING
I HAVE NEVER READ A BOOK WHERE THERE IS SO MUCH SIDE TRACKING.THE AUTHOR DOES SO MUCH RAMBLING THAT I FORGOT WHERE SHE WAS GOING WITH THE STORY.

5-0 out of 5 stars A courageous memoir and an outstanding book
This book was amazing, engrossing, and highly thought-provoking.It seems so many people, including many "reviewers" on this site, are so quick to label somebody as an "alcoholic" or whatnot.Is the author an alcoholic?Truth is, it really doesn't matter.Zailckas examines her life and her drinking from an intellectual and partly feminist point of view.Her clarity and, more importantly, her objectivity when discussing her own situation and her deep, dark secrets lead me to believe that she is as free from the grips of alcohol as a bird is from prison bars (and I, for one, loved her use of metaphors and similes).Just baring these deeply, deeply personal stories in the hopes of relating to others who have been in or are in her situation is something I find highly admirable.And it worked.As a female college student, I can relate to so much of what she talks about.I can see it in myself and in so, so many of my friends.It is an issue that, in my experience, most girls inevitably face at some time or another.And depending on certain factors, including heredity, self-image and self-esteem, personality, availability, peer pressure and so on, many girls will unfortunately spin out of control and not even realize it until weeks, months, or years of their lives have been washed over with the rank stench of alcohol.I believe she is on to something when she implies that it is indeed a women's issue, an American issue, and a cultural issue.It is all of these things and more.Unless you are in college RIGHT NOW, you have no idea what it is like.Drinking is present and highly encouraged at 95% of the social functions that most college kids attend.It is so easy to abuse it, and nearly no one sees it as dysfunctional.I had begun to ponder this incessantly over the past year and reading this book comforts me that I am not alone, or insane.

This book was intensely personal and yet, at the same time, widely cultural.Zailckas takes a deep look at her alcohol abuse and the effects that it had on her emotional and social development.Society seems to care so much about labels.Is she an alcoholic?I don't know.I am not an addiction counseler, and I doubt any of you who were so quick to label her are, either.The IMPORTANT thing is that she finally realized the detrimental effects of her drinking and had the brains and the willpower to quit.Whatever it took to get her to see that, and however long it took, is irrelevant.We all march to the beat of our own drum.And the fact that she was able to create a beautiful, if sad, piece of writing from it was amazing.The fact that it has reached out to people, in particular, girls like me who desperately needed someone to relate to, nothing short of a miracle.

5-0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and Disturbing
I read through the book in less than two days.The style is comfortable and flows logically through this troubled young woman's adolescence into adulthood.The descriptions of her relationship with alcohol are profound and, often, hard to understand.What would create such a need, in an attractive, articulate young girl who doesn't seem to have experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse as a child, to medicate so much pain?One wonders if something might have been left out, but given the frank descriptions of her drinking and sexual encounters when drunk, it doesn't seem likely that she would sugar coat the rest of her life.

I was left with a lot of questions. Here are a few: Although the author spends a signficant amount of time describing her college experience, there is hardly a mention of going to class or studying.How in the world did she graduate?It would have been interesting if she would have discussed the impact her drinking had on her learning and the quality of her work.Another thing that amazed me was her account of her parents.Here is a girl who had her stomach pumped at 16 from alcohol poisoning, who continues to have severe life, health, and safety-threatening issues with drinking through college, and yet her Mother insists on buying her a drink for her 21st birthday celebration, and her Father gives her hard liquour for a Christmas gift that year.I believe it was the same brand that she almost died from at 16.What in the world were these people thinking?Lastly, although she mentions she is Catholic, the only mention of God is when she refers to the "freedom" that comes to you when you stop believing in God.I think there is a lot more there to explore, and maybe in the context of her need to drink.

Overall, a stunning work, and well worth the time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought pricking
Not often are we provided with stories that touch a rising problem in society. Binge drinking is a problem society can no longer ignore. It is endemic in countries like the UK, Ireland, and USA, and Cameroon, parts of the world like continental Europe, North America, South East Asia, and Latin America.

Smashed is an amazing story of this problem of alcoholism that is prevalent amongst young women. It is quite a scary book that will make many readers cringe when they read about the problems alcohol caused for Zailckas. This book may be a little bit too much for parents because it certainly is frightening and shocking for them to learn that heavy drinking is common amongst the young at such a young age. But as some one who went through that phase, I can relate to the story. It is a problem that should be confronted.

I like the way Zailckas did the narration. Her voice is strong in the writing and her style is unique. Poetic and fast flowing, one gets the story without drowning in compassion for her. After all, it is a past she shrugged off. That is why I think many people will find it interesting reading about this experience of alcoholism or binge drinking from the perspective of a young woman. It has lots of lessons to be learnt. Anybody can become an alcohol addict at an early stage in life. But with courage, determination and support, anybody can bit the addiction, whether as an alcoholic or a binge boozer.THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES,THIS IS ME AND WHERE I AM, THE UNION MOUJIK are other gripping stories.

5-0 out of 5 stars Served Up on a Plate
"Smashed" is a authentic slice of life. There are definite similarities to "My Fractured Life", "Dry" and "Nightmares Echo" but with a unique slant. This is an up and down roller coaster life and the writer has the delivery to match ... Read more


6. Public Health, Third Edition : What It Is and How It Works
by Bernard J. Turnock
list price: $62.95
our price: $62.95
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Asin: 076373215X
Catlog: Book (2004-09-25)
Publisher: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc.
Sales Rank: 145029
Average Customer Review: 3.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This book is a straightforward introduction to the complex, multidimensional field of public health and how it functions in modern day America. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars Inaccurate and vapid
If you've ever had any actual experience in public health, you will probably recognize this book for the sham it really is. Public health systems in the real world just don't behave in the idealized way that Turnock describes. Moreover, Turnock is far too uncritical of HMOs, which consitently fail to provide actual assitance (not just theoretical assistance) to patients who need it. There is also no understanding at all here about the ways in which class differences affect dstribution of health care coverage, or any discussion of what we might be able to do about it.

The reader is left with a blinkered and rather utopian model of our current public health system - one that glosses over existing problems and presents only the most simplistic assessments. You might learn something if you're just beginning your public health studies, but for the rest of us, this book just isn't worth its exorbitant price tag.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow...
Boy, I'm surprised at the reaction the book is getting! I have this book, and it's really quite good - I'm an MS-Epidemiology candidate, and it's really helped me with the fundamentals of the field. Incidentally, in response to the implication that Dr. Turnock is less than qualified to put forth an effort such as this, you might want to investigate that, you can find his impressive accompishments at the school's website. Board certified in Preventive Medicine and Public Health, and former director of the IDPH, to name a few? Sounds qualified to me. I'd recommend this book to any PH student or someone looking to learn the basics...I don't hesitate to rank this right up there with Gordis. Cheers!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good guide to understanding Public Health
This book really tells us what the Public Health is and how it works, as the title suggests. Even though data or statistics cited are somewhat outdated, you can understand the fundamental meaning of PH. ... Read more


7. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
by Anne Fadiman
list price: $15.00
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Asin: 0374525641
Catlog: Book (1998-09-28)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 1141
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction

When three-month-old Lia Lee Arrived at the countyhospital emergency room in Merced, California, a chain of events was set in motion from which neither she nor her parents nor her doctors would ever recover. Lia's parents, Foua and Nao Kao, were part of a large Hmong community in Merced, refugees from the CIA-run "Quiet War" in Laos. The Hmong, traditionally a close-knit and fiercely people, have been less amenable to assimilation than most immigrants, adhering steadfastly to the rituals and beliefs of their ancestors. Lia's pediatricians, Neil Ernst and his wife, Peggy Philip, cleaved just as strongly to another tradition: that of Western medicine. When Lia Lee Entered the American medical system, diagnosed as an epileptic, her story became a tragic case history of cultural miscommunication.

Parents and doctors both wanted the best for Lia, but their ideas about the causes of her illness and its treatment could hardly have been more different. The Hmong see illness aand healing as spiritual matters linked to virtually everything in the universe, while medical community marks a division between body and soul, and concerns itself almost exclusively with the former. Lia's doctors ascribed her seizures to the misfiring of her cerebral neurons; her parents called her illness, qaug dab peg--the spirit catches you and you fall down--and ascribed it to the wandering of her soul. The doctors prescribed anticonvulsants; her parents preferred animal sacrifices.
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Reviews (140)

5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of medical anthropology
What makes this rather eclectic work so utterly fascinating? Is it the exceptionally good writing? The universal appeal of an encounter with an a completely alien culture? The meticulous research that continually informs the reader? Fadiman's book catches you and forces you to question your preconceptions, prejudicies, and complacency. The author makes you care, deeply, about what it means to be Hmong -- not an easy feat given the polarity between the Hmong world view and our rationality-based, Western civilized frame of mind. The Spirit Catches You is a must read for anyone whose work involves contact with people from a very different little understood culture. This is a tale of what happened to a beautiful Hmong child when fear and misunderstanding between her parents and the medical community of Merced resulted in a tragic, and very likely avoidable, outcome.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Heartbreaking Tale of Cultural Clashes
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman is a wonderful book that explores the complex subject of cultural competence in the U.S. health care system. It raises awareness for the urgent need of health care providers who have knowledge about other cultures (specifically non-Western cultures) and are also willing to adapt to the cultural traditions and beliefs of their patients.

This narrative tells us the story of Lia Lee, an epileptic child born to a Hmong family who immigrated to the U.S. After a series of unfortunate events that stemmed from cultural clashes between the hospital and the Lee family, Lia eventually ended up brain dead in a comatose state. The lack of communication between the doctors and the Lee family, in addition to their inability to understand each other, linguistically and culturally, made cooperation impossible, and eventually ended up with devastating results.

From the beginning, Nao Kao and Foua Lee (Lia's father and mother) had difficulties with adapting to the ways of the Western medical system. Lia was the first child that was born in the United States. She was also the first to be born in a hospital, as traditionally Hmong women gave birth at home without the assistance of medicine. As a result, Foua was unaccustomed to the all of the events that occur in a hospital when a baby is born. For instance, once Lia was out of the womb, she was whisked away by the nurses and given all kinds of medical tests to determine if she was healthy or not. Being that this was Foua's fourteenth child, Foua was used to having the baby in her arms immediately after birth and caring for her from then on. Having this abrupt separation between mother and child was not normal to her.

Also, there is a Hmong cultural tradition that women follow soon after birth. The act of burying the placenta has cultural significance that is related to one's soul and life after death. Foua, however, did not get to bury Lia's placenta; it was incinerated at the hospital. Not that she would have been able to even ask anyone about it because there was no one present during her delivery who spoke Hmong. Thus, this was another traditional Hmong practice that conflicted with the practices of Western medicine.

As the story progresses, you see the endless struggle that plays out between the Lees and the doctors at the hospital. One only wishes that the providers would be more sensitive to the beliefs and traditions of the Hmong culture. Sadly, this never comes to fruition as the story ends up in tragedy.

The book goes into great detail about the Hmong culture and the history of the Hmong people. Sometimes, however, this seems to distract the reader from the main story of Lia. Although this information is placed in the book to provide the reader with a better understanding of the Hmong, it seems a bit too much at times. However, overall this book was quite an engrossing read. The story pulls you in and makes you become a part of the Lee family's ordeal with the Western medical system. This is a highly recommended book for anyone, especially those who are interested in cross-cultural interactions between doctors and patients.

5-0 out of 5 stars I liken this to the literary world
Fadiman in a journalistic style of writing captures how different belief systems class in the world of the hmong and American medicine. What strikes me about this book is that it is translatable to the literary world. Madness is a much talked about subject in the genius of writing, but madness is run from by the Literati. The world is different now. As Alexandra Johson and others stated on memoir back in the late 90's, writing is more about having a writer with an agent, that is once was where a writer had a therapist. To wit: madness is perceived as an illness, when it used to be perceived by the writing world as a gift to the creation of art. Now in the writing world where agent matters, you get books like punctuation in Shoots and Leaves rather than about being and what it is like to BE in this day and age. And what's also true about this book and the American Medicine is that the doctor's like the literati are well meaning.

4-0 out of 5 stars The need for empathy
As a student looking to go to medical school, I found this book to be an eye opening experience. It really points out the need for empathy for other cultures, languages and religions in the medical establishment. Although I know I am more open minded than most pre-med students, I think that anyone who reads this book can develop an appreciation for culture and religion as it relates to health and healing. It is a great read and I recommend it for all pre-med students.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sometimes Prejudice Isn't Evil, Only Ignorant
I may be too optimistic, but I've grown to believe that bigotry isn't always practiced by bad people, but often by good people ignorant of cultures other than their own. This was certainly the situation in the case that Anne Fadiman writes about. People from two cultures, each believing they are correct, clash and a small child gets caught in the middle.

Prejudice begins to break down in the light of true communication. Unfortunately for this child, true communcation was too big of a hurdle to cross. Fortunately for the reader, we can learn from reading about this experience.

This book will touch your heart and open your mind. The lessons learned within its pages will stay with you. This book is worth purchasing. ... Read more


8. The Art of Being Human (7th Edition)
by Richard Paul Janaro, Thelma C. Altshuler
list price: $86.67
our price: $86.67
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Asin: 032109316X
Catlog: Book (2002-08-07)
Publisher: Longman
Sales Rank: 248387
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Art of Being Human introduces readers to the ways in which the humanities can broaden their perspective, enhance their ability to think critically and creatively, and enrich their lives.This highly-respected book has been lauded for its scope of topics, accessibility, and lucid writing style. Chapter topics include myth, literature, art, music, television, cinema, and the theater. Also discussed are provocative issues in the humanities - religion, morality, happiness, death, freedom, and controversies in the arts.The thematic organization of the book allows readers to concentrate on one artistic mode at a time. More than 160 black and white photos and two eight-page full-color photo inserts give readers a visual appreciation of the arts.For those interested in the appreciation of the humanities. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for the Human mind & General Humanities
This book is used at West Ottawa High school for a Humanities class. I have found it very interesting and keeps you reading until you can't read no more. It isn't to hard of reading and gives your information with examples quickly and efficantly.

5-0 out of 5 stars I still own this book and love it!-dlb
Ever human should know the art of Being human. Let's revel in our humanity - Execellent book for promoting this!

1-0 out of 5 stars What review?
The supposed review that is on the web site is about half a sentence long.There is no way to see the rest of the review.You need to fix your web site.

3-0 out of 5 stars Excellent reading
Apollonian and dyonisus comparisons are grea ... Read more


9. The Sciences : An Integrated Approach
by JamesTrefil, Robert M.Hazen
list price: $95.95
our price: $95.95
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Asin: 0471219630
Catlog: Book (2003-07-11)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 99044
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Design to be used alongside Trefil:  The Sciences, 4E, this Study Guide contains many elements that foster student success.  Included are chapter reviews, learning objectives, key chapter concepts and key concept charts. The ties between science and math are reinforced with key formulas and equations. Links to scientists and their findings are outlined to help improve your comprehension of key subject area concepts. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great for non-Science major
As a business major, satisfying a Science requirement, I have found this book to be informative, interesting and great fun. I believe it to be will written and thorough. Information is wonderfully balanced by illustrations, fyi's and interesting supplemental facts. I have one significant complaint to register with the authors/publishers of this text. The review and discussion questions should be answered either at the end of the book or in the review book. It is extremely disappointing that these answers are not available. As a student with a 3.86 average, I take my education very seriously and find it discouraging and somewhat insulting that I can not check my own work. I would STRONGLY suggest that those answers are made available within the text or on web. Thanks! ... Read more


10. Physiology of Behavior, with Neuroscience Animations and Student Study Guide CD-ROM, Eighth Edition
by Neil R. Carlson
list price: $109.20
our price: $109.20
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Asin: 0205381758
Catlog: Book (2003-07-25)
Publisher: Allyn & Bacon
Sales Rank: 42260
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11. The Creative Impulse: An Introduction to the Arts (6th Edition)
by Dennis J. Sporre
list price: $84.00
our price: $84.00
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Asin: 0130447404
Catlog: Book (2002-04-12)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 202303
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12. Case Study Research : Design and Methods (Applied Social Research Methods)
by Robert K. Yin
list price: $28.95
our price: $28.95
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Asin: 0761925538
Catlog: Book (2002-12-24)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Sales Rank: 9087
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This new edition of the best-selling Case Study Research has been carefully revised, updated, and expanded while retaining virtually all of the features and coverage of the second edition. Robert Yin's comprehensive presentation covers all aspects of the case study method--from problem definition, design, and data collection, to data analysis and composition and reporting. Yin also traces the uses and importance of case studies to a wide range of disciplines, from sociology, psychology and history to management, planning, social work, and education.

New to the3rd Edition:

  • Additional examples of case study research
  • Discussions of developments in related methods, including randomized field trials and computer-assisted coding techniques
  • Added coverage of the strengths of multiple-case studies, case study screening, and the case study as a part of larger multi-method studies
  • Five major analytic techniques, including the use of logic models to guide analysis

This edition also includes references to examples of actual case studies in the companion volume Applications of Case Study Research, 2nd Edition (Sage, 2003).

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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for scientists, under- or graduate students
Read it to prepare for my master's thesis and probably will use it for my doctoral thesis as well. Brings the detailed methodology for case study research in perfectly synchronized chapters. Extremely valuable information! Sometimes even Mr. Yin has so many info to provide he has some difficulty putting it all together, but after all everything makes a lot of sense. Has dozens of very good examples. I am purchasing "Applications of case study research" (the "sequel") because I was really satisfied for what I got in reading Case Study Reasearch (3rd ed).

5-0 out of 5 stars A complete and detailed guide for conducting case studies
This book offers a very complete and detailed guide into conducting case study research, which is not only useful for researchers in social sciences, but also for business research. It is virtually the only book on case study research at this level and practically helps researchers that are planning to conduct case study research to avoid the pitfalls that are luring for this complex and difficult research strategy/design and which pitfalls have made the case study approach not so popular in the academic community that deals with business research. ... Read more


13. Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means
by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi
list price: $14.00
our price: $11.20
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Asin: 0452284392
Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 4185
Average Customer Review: 4.05 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A cocktail party.A terrorist cell.Ancient bacteria.An international conglomerate.

All are networks, and all are a part of a surprising scientific revolution. Albert-L&aacuteszl&oacute Barab&aacutesi, the nation's foremost expert in the new science of networks, takes us on an intellectual adventure to prove that social networks, corporations, and living organisms are more similar than previously thought. Grasping a full understanding of network science will someday allow us to design blue-chip businesses, stop the outbreak of deadly diseases, and influence the exchange of ideas and information. Just as James Gleick brought the discovery of chaos theory to the general public, Linked tells the story of the true science of the future.
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Reviews (60)

5-0 out of 5 stars Dimensions and Implications of Global Interconnectedness
Frankly, I found this to be an unusually challenging book to read the first time and therefore re-read it before organizing my thoughts for this review. The Five Star rating correctly indicates my high regard for what Barabasi has accomplished as he attempts to help his reader to think in terms of networks in new and different (probably unfamiliar) ways. His book "is about how networks emerge, what they look like, and how they evolve." With meticulous care, he presents "a Web-based view of nature, society, and business, a new framework for understanding issues ranging from democracy on the Web to vulnerability of the Internet and the spread of deadly viruses." Along the way, Barabasi challenges the concept of "The Random Universe," asserting instead that everything is connected to everything else. He devotes most of his book to explaining the significance of that global interconnectedness to business, science, and everyday life.

As a non-scientist, I am unqualified to comment on much of the material which Barabasi shares. Perhaps he wrote this book for non-scientists such as I who nonetheless struggle to understand what Barabasi characterizes as the "mystery of life" which begins with the intricate web of interactions and thereby integrates the millions of molecules within each organism. "The enigma of the society starts with the convoluted structure of the social network....[For that reason] networks are the prerequisite for describing any complex system, indicating that complexity theory must inevitably stand on the shoulders of network theory. It is tempting to step in the footsteps of some of my predecessors and predict whether and when we will tame complexity." Given all that has been accomplished thus far with regard to disentangling the networks following the discovery of scale-free networks, Barabasi concludes, "Once we stumble across the right vision of complexity, it will take little to bring it to fruition. When [in italics] that will happen is one of the mysteries that keeps many of us going."

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Mark Buchanan's Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Science of Networks, Stanley Kaufman's At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity as well as The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution, Steven Strogatz' Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order, Duncan J. Watts' Six Degrees: the Science of a Connected Age, and Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science.

I probably should add Ed Regis' The Info Mesa: Science, Business, and the New Alchemy on the Santa Fe Plateau. Regis devotes almost all of his attention to individuals and events who and which, over several decades, had a profound impact on essentially the same subjects as those discussed in the books previously recommended. Also, Regis examines in much greater detail than do the other authors how core concepts about networks and their complexity were introduced to the commercial marketplace by various entrepreneurs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great explanatory power!
Nowadays, everybody talks about networks. Yet, what networks really are and how they function, often remains rather vague in conversations. This book offers great insight into the evolution, the structure and the relevance of networks. The author, Albert Barabási, himself a creative and important contributor to network science, makes the rapid and fascinating advances made in this field comprehensible.

Our world is filled with complex networks, webs of highly connected nodes. Not all nodes are equal, however. In fact, in many real-world complex networks, there is a typical hierarchy of nodes (called a POWERLAW DISTRIBUTION). This means there are a few extremely well connected nodes (these are called HUBS), there are quite a few moderately connected nodes and there are large numbers of tiny nodes (having very few connections to other nodes). The Internet, for instance, has only several hubs - like amazon.com and Yahoo - and countless tiny nodes -like my own website :-(.

The structure of networks with a powerlaw distribution is called a SCALEFREE TOPOLOGY. Such a scale free topology is found in networks that 1) are GROWING (extra nodes and links emerge), and 2) are characterised by PREFERENTIAL ATTACHMENT (this means that some links are far more likely to get linked than others). Preferential attachment, is driven by two factors: 1) the number of links the node already has (this is in fact the first mover advantage: a nodes that has been there since the early development of the network gets the biggest chance to get connected), and 2) the node's fitness (for instance a new website offering a truely unique service has an excellent chance to get many links).

A fascinating characteristic of scale free networks is the following. The density of the interconnectivity paradoxically creates two properties at the same time: 1) ROBUSTNESS (removing nodes will not easily lead to the breakdown of the network, precisely because of the fact that all nodes are connected. Only simultaneous removal of the largest hubs will break down the network), and 2) VULNERABILITY TO ATTACK (because of the fact that all nodes are indirectely connected to each other failures, like viruses, can very easily spread through the whole network. This phenomenon is called 'cascading failures'.

Reading this book made me realise that the recently acquired knowledge about networks is revolutionizing many fields of science, like biology, medical science and economics. Also, the practical applications will be numerous, like protecting the internet, fighting terrorist networks, finding a cure for cancer (!), and developing new organizational forms.

5-0 out of 5 stars A complex world in simple words
This is an excellent book. The author is extremely able to explain difficult concepts about complex systems in a simple and precise manner, using examples from a variety of domains. The richness of applications -- ranging from spread of epidemics to the internet-- is the first strength of the book and of the theory of scale free networks that appear to be a very promising and original tool to understand the web of interactions of complex systems. The second strength is the clarity of writing: a rarity in the scientific world. This book is an example of good writing with the objective of being understood and making science accessible.

5-0 out of 5 stars A captivating read
I first heard the author speak on NPR. Not only was I enthralled with his intelligence and clarity of thought, I was captivated by the promise of a new perspective on the connectedness of all things, from the sizes of stars in a galaxy to the revolution in internet search engines to the biology of the cell. This book delivers on that promise with insight, wit and style.

3-0 out of 5 stars Reduction to nodes and links
Albert Barabasi presents the lay reader with a stimulating description of the origins of network theory and recent applications. He describes random networks, small world and scalefree networks. In nonrandom networks the importance of hubs is emphasized. Small world networks are the ones with a well defined averge number of links, and in scalefree ones the density of links scales as a power law. For the many interesting examples discussed, I would like to have seen graphs showing scaling over at least three decades in order to be convinced of scaling. However, in practice, whether a network scales or not may not be so important. I liked best the discussions of terrorism, AIDS, and biology. If one could locate the hubs, then a small world network could be destroyed, but as the author points out there is no systematic method for locating the hubs. Also, destroyed hubs in a terror network might be replaced rather fast, whereas airline hubs could not be replaced so quickly. The book might be seen as indicating a starting point to try to develop a branch of mathematical sociology. For example, the maintainance of ethnic identity outside the Heimat is discussed in terms of networking. Now for a little criticism.

I did not find the discussion of ‚the rich get richer' very helpful because network theory at this stage deals only with static geometry, not with empirically-based dynamics. In fact, the dynamics of financial markets have been described empirically accurately without using any notion of networking. In the text the phrase „economic stability" is used but stability is a dynamic idea, and there is no known empirical evidence from the analysis of real markets for any kind of stability. The absence of dynamics on networks means that complexity is not described at all: there is nothing complex about the geometry of a static network! Suggesting that cell biology can be described by networking is empty so long as dynamics are not deduced from empirics. Nonempirical models of dynamics will probably not be of much use for making advances in understanding or treating cancer, e.g. Everything we know about cell biology and cancer was discovered via reductionism, by isolating cause and effect the way that a good auto mechanic does in order to repair a car.

Unfortunately, the author lets his enthusiasm get the best of him when he proclaims „laws of self-organization" and the need to go beyond reductionism. First, there are no known laws of „self-organization". The only known laws of nature are the laws of physics and consequences deduced from the laws, namely, chemistry and cell biology. Worse, every mathematical model that can be written down is a form of reductionism. Quantum theory reduces phenomena to (explains phenomena via) atoms and molecules. All of chemistry is about that. Cell biology attempts to reduce observed phenomena to DNA, proteins, and cells. Believers in self-organized criticality try to reduce the important features of nature to the equivalent of sandpiles. Network enthusiasts hope to reduce phenomena to nodes and links. In order to try to isolate cause and effect, there is no escape from reductionism of one form or another, holism being an empty illusion. So I did not at all like the assertion on pg. 200 that globalization (via deregulation and privatization) is inevitable, because there is no law that tells us that it is.

Summarizng: there is no complexity without dynamics, there are no known „laws of self-organization", and reductionism is the only hope for doing science. Anyone who disagrees with this is welcome to explain to me and others the alternative (jmccauley@uh.edu). ... Read more


14. Criminology Today: An Integrative Introduction - Update, Third Edition
by Frank Schmalleger
list price: $91.00
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Asin: 0131777106
Catlog: Book (2003-06-11)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 457861
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Book Description

The American crime picture has changed, and this informative book has been updated to reflect these changes. It includes the most recent coverage available of terrorism, white-collar crime, and other issues of major concern to readers at the start of the 21st century. Interesting, timely, and relevant, this book helps readers draw their own conclusions about the American crime problem, enabling them to prepare for the future and learn to make informed personal decisions.Criminology Today, 3/e has been updated and expanded to reflect the latest trends and spectacular events that are covered in the media today, including the latest corporate crimes, organized crime, high-tech crimes, the D.C.-area sniper case, capital punishment, and the Moscow theater hostage stand-off. It includes the most up-to-date crime statistics and coverage of the latest US Supreme Court decisions. The crime picture, crime causation, crime in the modern world, and responding to criminal behavior are topics that are covered thoughtfully and comprehensively.An excellent resource for those involved in the criminal justice system, including police personnel, attorneys, social workers, psychologists, and others.0 ... Read more


15. The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies
by Richard Heinberg
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Asin: 0865714827
Catlog: Book (2003-04-15)
Publisher: New Society Publishers
Sales Rank: 3026
Average Customer Review: 3.65 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The world is about to run out of cheap oil and change dramatically. Within the next few years, global production will peak. Thereafter, even if industrial societies begin to switch to alternative energy sources, they will have less net energy each year to do all the work essential to the survival of complex societies. We are entering a new era, as different from the industrial era as the latter was from medieval times.

In The Party's Over, Richard Heinberg places this momentous transition in historical context, showing how industrialism arose from the harnessing of fossil fuels, how competition to control access to oil shaped the geopolitics of the 20th century, and how contention for dwindling energy resources in the 21st century will lead to resource wars in the Middle East, Central Asia, and South America. He describes the likely impacts of oil depletion, and all of the energy alternatives. Predicting chaos unless the U.S. -- the world's foremost oil consumer -- is willing to join with other countries to implement a global program of resource conservation and sharing, he also recommends a "managed collapse" that might make way for a slower-paced, low-energy, sustainable society in the future.

More readable than other accounts of this issue, with fuller discussion of the context, social implications, and recommendations for personal, community, national, and global action, Heinberg's book is a riveting wake-up call for humankind as the oil era winds down, and a critical tool for understanding and influencing current U.S. foreign policy.

Richard Heinberg, from Santa Rosa, California, has been writing about energy resources issues and the dynamics of cultural change for many years. A member of the core faculty at New College of California, he is an award-winning author of three previous books. His Museletter was nominated for its "Best Alternative Newsletter" award by Utne Reader in 1993.

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Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars Up The Creek Without A Paddle!
This volume begins with a discussion of what energy is and how it has been used to develop our industrial way of life. Brief histories of wood, coal, and oil use are also included. Much of this book centers around the amounts of oil, coal, and natural gas remaining to be harnessed in the future, with several experts giving their predictions for the peak production of the world production of oil, not far away by most accounts. The United States had it's oil production peak in 1970 (predicted in 1956 by M. King Hubbert) and has been in decline since, with a slight temporary increase in the 1980's due to Alaskan oil.

As Richard Heinberg emphasizes continually in this book, the decline in world oil production seems imminent, along with the ensuing decline in national industrial economies which rely on oil, the United States being by far the biggest example. Per capita energy use by Americans is five times the world average, Heinberg writes, and he makes it abundantly clear that this waste and extravagance cannot continue much longer, and no number of Iraqi type excursions will make a difference. Heinberg writes that this decline of energy availability and use can be achieved peacefully with individual countries cooperating with each other, or violently with nations squabbling over the remaining oil. However, one thing stands out very clearly now, back in the 1970's during the initial problems with energy shortages due to the Arab oil embargo, it should have been a wake-up call to our leaders to develop sustainable energy sources then, it was not done, our short-sighted leaders failed us. But as Heinberg says, corporate leaders are also at fault, with their massive self-interest at risk, they could make less money if the country shifted more to alternate energy sources, and their lobby is very strong on Capital Hill in Washinton, D.C.. If that alternate energy program was began on a massive scale in the 1970's we would probably be in much better shape now, in terms of our energy future, but as Heinberg states in this book, at this late stage our options are limited. The massive industrial military machine the United States has is given attention here also, as Heinberg writes, this massive allocation of resources can and should be directed to more pressing concerns, the citizens of the United States do not need a military budget that equals the rest of the world combined (we are'nt going to fight the Soviets, that is now clear).

This volume also covers alternate energy sources today, and what they can do to help us in the future, again, as Heinberg says, we have began with too little and too late to prevent a collapse of our industrial way of life. How large of a collapse will it be? No one is certain. Heinberg also touches on the subject of overpopulation and immigration. Did you know that approximately 90% of the population growth in the United States over the next 50 years will be due to immigration? This is an area that has been neglected, and as Heinberg says, it is politically sensitive and politicians rarely stick their necks out in areas such as this. Also, in terms of overpopulation, have we, due to the use of oil in creating a large world food supply, exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet? This is another area Heinberg writes much about.

Heinberg envisions, after the world oil supply peaks and begins it's inevitable decline, a slower paced, more idyllic lifestyle, and as he says, probably a more agreeable one, at that, to most people.

5-0 out of 5 stars Chilling Examination Of Coming Crisis In World Oil Supply!
As someone who now has the time and energy to watch current world events with interest, I have puzzled over what seem to be possible ulterior motives for our aggressive intervention in Iraq. Yet, given its rich supply of so much marker (or high quality) crude oil, this well documented book by author and academic Richard Heinberg book gives one a new perspective as to why we seem to be taking the actions we are to consolidate the stranglehold the Western world needs to guarantee a continuing and uninterrupted flow of it in its various forms. The author makes a strong and persuasive case for the notion that the world is running dangerously close to serious shortfall and consequent disruption in the overall supplies of crude oil for variety of reasons.

In "The Party's Over", Heinberg threads an argument that the world is quickly running out of inexpensive oil, and that the world economy as it is currently oriented around the premise of such cheap sources of oil is about to undergo a relatively sudden sea change. In fact, he argues, within the next few yeas the high mark of such oil production will peak, much to the dismay of consistently expanding requirements for ever more total production. Given this gradual but consistently greater historical requirements for oil and its products, momentary gluts on the world market are more representative of temporary relaxation of segments of the world oil market rather than indicative of an overall trend, which slowly but surely increases from decade to decade. To wit, Heinberg argues, the Western world is about to enter a new era, one that will dramatically change the nature of international commerce and the increasingly unified world economy, in which a sneeze in Asia gives Canadians a cold.

Thus, posits the author, even if the Western democracies are willing and able to initiate conservation programs and develop strategies for switching to alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power, the overall effect of the declining availability of crude oil over the coming decade or so will be to force a de-facto decline in the total availability of energy for overall consumption. Such a set of circumstances could prove to be a serious challenge to the attempts to grow the global economy, and may also seriously damage overall standards of living, especially in modern post-industrial societies like our own that are so intensively energy dependent. According to Heinberg, we may well be on the cusp of a new era as different from our current culture of extravagance and plenty as the times after the industrial revolution were from the feudal era. Yet this time the progress may be in the opposite direction.

What all this represents is a massive transition placed in its proper historical context, illustrating the several ways in which our long dependence on fossil fuels and its corollary development of corporate forces with immense geo-political influence may face a fractious and much more difficult future in the face of such dwindling sources of overall supply, including the possible of resource wars in the Middle east and elsewhere as well. Given our seemingly obsession with SUVs and all the other petroleum intensive products of modern life, the impact may be one that is especially difficult and troublesome for affluent societies such as our own. This is a troubling yet quite informative book, and one I highly recommend. Enjoy! .

3-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining. . .
If I were rating this book solely on entertainment value, I'd have given it 4 stars. . . it was a very enjoyable read. That said, I'm not sure I could even give the arguments in the book 2 stars. I found it particularly ironic that while he repeatedly disparages economist, he liberally quote Paul Ehrlich, who was so thoroughly embarrassed in his 1980's bet with the economist Julian Simon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read it then Judge
Notice how almost all of the criticism of the book is not directed at what is said in the book but at some doomsayers from 30 or so years ago. Since the 1970's technology has given us a much better handle on what we have in the ground. We know from such innovations as 3-D seismic mapping that only 40% of the world's land and oceans have any potential for oil discovery and that there is a 50% chance that less than 1 trillion barrels of recoverable oil are in this 40%. This is something we had no clue about before the 1990's. As technology has enabled us to become more efficient at extracting the oil we know we have, it has ominously showed us how little is actually left. Heinberg's greatest success is in showing how the energy returned must exceed the energy spent when analyzing a source of energy. Hence it does not matter how cheap all these renewables get. Since oil is needed to build solar panels and ethanol plants and nuclear plants, we will not have enough cheap oil to upgrade the infrastructure in time to prevent a collapse.

1-0 out of 5 stars a huge oversupply
...of bad books on the coming shortage of oil. Other reviews point out the flaws in the book including a lack of adaquet knowledge of alternative sources of fuel. For example, many reading this book may not realize that the cost of renewables has gone done 50% each decade since the 1970s. The energy future is much brighter than Heinburg portrays, and his book will soon stand next to my copy of The Coming Collapse of 1993! ... Read more


16. Media and Culture Fourth Edition 2005 Update : An Introduction to Mass Communication
by Richard Campbell, Christopher Martin, Bettina G. Fabos
list price: $78.95
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Asin: 0312416849
Catlog: Book (2004-05-12)
Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
Sales Rank: 20958
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17. The Urban World
by J. JohnPalen, J. John Palen
list price: $86.88
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Asin: 0072875410
Catlog: Book (2004-07-23)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
Sales Rank: 148326
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Urban World the leading text in urban sociology. Through five editions the book has presented a complete, balanced, up-to-date, cross-cultural look at cities and suburbs around the world. It offers a coherent overview of the changing urban scene, covering evolving urban patterns and the changing nature of urban life. The Urban World combines current scholarship, by one of America's leading urban sociologists, with a readable style that students appreciate. ... Read more

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4-0 out of 5 stars our surroundings
this is a great book if you would like to know how the city and others cities have changed .the many changes you will learn about is transportation, the economy, population and anything else ther is to dowith the world changes. ... Read more


18. Diffusion of Innovations, 5th Edition
by Everett M. Rogers, Everett Rogers
list price: $35.00
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Asin: 0743222091
Catlog: Book (2003-08-16)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 11971
Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Since the first edition of this landmark book was published in 1962, Everett Rogers's name has become "virtually synonymous with the study of diffusion of innovations," according to Choice. The second and third editions of Diffusion of Innovations became the standard textbook and reference on diffusion studies. Now, in the fourth edition, Rogers presents the culmination of more than thirty years of research that will set a new standard for analysis and inquiry.

The fourth edition is (1) a revision of the theoretical framework and the research evidence supporting this model of diffusion, and (2) a new intellectual venture, in that new concepts and new theoretical viewpoints are introduced. This edition differs from its predecessors in that it takes a much more critical stance in its review and synthesis of 5,000 diffusion publications. During the past thirty years or so, diffusion research has grown to be widely recognized, applied and admired, but it has also been subjected to both constructive and destructive criticism. This criticism is due in large part to the stereotyped and limited ways in which many diffusion scholars have defined the scope and method of their field of study. Rogers analyzes the limitations of previous diffusion studies, showing, for example, that the convergence model, by which participants create and share information to reach a mutual understanding, more accurately describes diffusion in most cases than the linear model.

Rogers provides an entirely new set of case examples, from the Balinese Water Temple to Nintendo videogames, that beautifully illustrate his expansive research, as well as a completely revised bibliography covering all relevant diffusion scholarship in the past decade. Most important, he discusses recent research and current topics, including social marketing, forecasting the rate of adoption, technology transfer, and more. This all-inclusive work will be essential reading for scholars and students in the fields of communications, marketing, geography, economic development, political science, sociology, and other related fields for generations to come. ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Packed With Knowledge!
Why would a villager draw polluted drinking water from a canal where a dead donkey floats instead of using a nearby tap to get clean drinking water? Why did it take hundreds of years for the British Navy to give sailors oranges and lemons when tests had proven that citrus fruit cured the scurvy that killed sailors and left vessels under-manned? Why do eminently sensible things not happen? If you've ever wondered, this book will give you the answers. It's a thick, heavy, academic tome, but spiced with abundant anecdotes and observations that make it an easy, enjoyable read. This is the rare book that combines solid intellectual content with thought-provoking entertainment. We highly recommend this classic from 1962 to all audiences, but especially those whose business it is to understand and use the social mechanisms through which innovations must diffuse.

5-0 out of 5 stars great book for researchers
this is one of a kind book that researchers in sociology, psychology and business can use. great to be used in determining the audience impact, use of certain media, tools, ideas, etc. the model used is exactly an innovation that researchers can't resist in using. a new paradigm shift in research methodology. the book is full of illustrative stories to use in related literature of a study. E. Rogers is an excellent scholar. i give him a five star award for his innovation. From: Prof. Rudy P. Divino, DBA(cand)

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterful Treatment
Well organized and full of relevant real-world case illustrations, this book is exceptionally well-done. Both educational and thoroughly entertaining. As complete as a textbook on the subject yet highly readable.

1-0 out of 5 stars bleeahh.
Tedious psycho-babble, and a waste of time and money.

4-0 out of 5 stars Narrowly Focused, But Very Solid
Professor Rogers begins his book by really getting to the heart of the matter. "Getting a new idea adopted, even when it has obvious advantages, is often very difficult," he writes. "Many innovations require a lengthy period, often many years, from the time they become available to the time they are widely adopted"

I have often wondered why getting new ideas adopted is so difficult, not only in business and technology, which is Professor Roger's primary area of research, but also in the arts, music, painting, and literature. It seems that whenever someone has a really innovative concept, it gets attacked, trashed, savaged, and often sabotaged by the mainstream? Why?

Professor Rogers never really answers this question, and this is my only complaint about an otherwise exceptional book. His primary interest is in figuring out ways to "speed up the rate of the diffusion of an innovation." Within a narrow context of business and policy objectives, he is successful. The strengths of this book are its very competent and exhaustive research, which include case studies, criticisms, and policy discussions. It is a worthy book if you are interested in the focused academic topics it attempts to address.

I thought that Malcolm Gladwell did a better job, with a much simpler book, in explaining why and how new ideas get introduced. Still, many questions remain to be answered about innovations. I'd love to read an equivalent book about innovations in the arts. If we are lucky, someone as competent and as thorough as Professor Rogers will take up the topic. ... Read more


19. The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot
by Russell Kirk
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Asin: 0895261715
Catlog: Book (2001-10-01)
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Sales Rank: 139633
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The book that launched the modern American conservative movement, now available in trade paperback. ... Read more

Reviews (23)

4-0 out of 5 stars This book defines the principles of conservatism.
Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind is a catalog of the thoughts of men, both British and American, whom Kirk regarded as eminent (albeit sometimes obscure) conservatives. They range in historical sequence from Edmund Burke (1729-1797) to contemporary scholars. Although this book is not an instruction manual for conservative politicians and activists, it will provide conservatives with both a clear understanding of conservatism's basic principles and a cogent defense of those principles. One of the major insights that this book offered was the central role of religion in society: Revealed religion is the source of Western morality; law was created to enforce that morality; the state enforces the law, so the state is an instrument of religion. Another insight was the hubris of nineteenth and twentieth century reformers, who thought that they could legislate happiness and freedom, but who instead created industrial slums and domineering central governments. The overall tone of the work is pessimistic, often despairing: the repeated theme is that from an idyllic, aristocratic, agricultural society united under Christianity the world has decayed to a lonely, atomized, atheistic, cold-blooded industrial society. In the face of such decline, the conservative can only try to salvage or resurrect bits of traditional society -- manners, customs, faith in Providence, etc. Again, the book is of limited practical value: The author's aim is merely to define conservatism, which he does explicitly only in chapter one. He offers neither explicit criteria for distinguishing desirable from undesirable change, nor strategies for forestalling the latter. The book is difficult both because Kirk provides no biographical information about his subjects and because he assumes a detailed knowledge of history. The author's style is literary rather than academic. When he outlines another author's work, it's not always clear where the summary ceases and Kirk's comments begin. Despite these shortcomings, no one should call himself a conservative until he has read this book and understands the principles that he's defending.

5-0 out of 5 stars Images of Order
The late Milton Hindus, who followed Russell Kirk as editor of the Library of Conservative Thought, recognized that Burke and Rousseau had a feel for the main tendency of their times and wrote accordingly. I found this to be a useful way of looking sympathetically at two figures who occupied opposite ends of the bookshelf.

Kirk, too, had a feel for the main tendency and gave his age what it needed, noting where was excess and where there was need for balance. He wrote The Conservative Mind under the impression that conservatism had been on the retreat for many years. In making his case, he was not content merely to repeat what had been said, though the book is thoroughly documented; instead, his moral imagination moved conservatism forward. He articulated conservatism in a way that had not been done before, yet in a way in which its principles were familiar across a broad spectrum. Kirk shaped a nonideological world view that transcended politics. T. S. Eliot, perhaps, would have approved of the way in which Kirk's individual talent had absorbed tradition and moved beyond it.

Kirk was skeptical of manifestoes, wary of bibliolatry, and scornful of schemes of earthly perfection. His book was a defense and explanation of a certain type of character, almost an anthology of brief, intellectual biographies, which, like all good biographies, contained emphatic, even poetic, passages.

But rather than plunder private lives, he took a set of general principles and revealed their continuity in the work of diverse literary and political figures. He began with Burke and continued through Coleridge and Walter Scott; John Adams, John Randolph, and John Calhoun; Tocqueville and James Fenimore Cooper; Orestes Brownson and Nathaniel Hawthorne; Disraeli and Newman; Henry Adams, Irving Babbitt and Paul Elmer More; George Santayana and T. S. Eliot.

Kirk wrote that certain principles endured over time, having arisen from centuries of trial and error in human experience. They included: 1) belief in a transcendent order and natural law; 2) affection for variety and mystery over uniformity, egalitarianism, and utilitarianism; 3) recognition of natural hierarchies and talents over equality; 4) belief that freedom and property are connected; 5) preference for prescription, custom, and convention over rational or economic planning; and 6) awareness that change and reform are not identical. These principles helped form a conservative world view.

Although writing is a conservative act, most writers get their politics wrong, and most conservatives lack the artistic skills and the intellectual depth required to make a persuasive case. Conjuring images and metaphors, Kirk followed his own observation that men are moved far more often by their feelings and passions than by logic and reason. By demonstrating his point, rather than merely asserting it, he wove a symmetry between form and content.

Two thousands years ago, Cicero wrote that to remain ignorant of what came before one's own life was to remain a perpetual child. In his introduction, Kirk wrote that his intention was to remind people of their inheritance. I believe he succeeded.

5-0 out of 5 stars L. Ron Hubbard
Churchill once said something like, a man who is 20 and is not a liberal has no heart; A man who is 40 and is not a conservative has no brain.

Mind you, Churchill was a womanizing alcoholic, but he may have been on to something there.

In this book, you can learn how to be a conservative. I liked this better than Dianetics and will probably love to be a conservative more than a scientologist.

3-0 out of 5 stars Should have been called Our Struggle
The Conservative Mind is one of the sorts of books I like reviewing because it doesn't fit neatly into any single category. It's a challenge. There's plenty to recommend here to any reader who can follow it, and that may be easier said than done. Russell Kirk likes using large words, and even more, he likes making his allusions without reference and dropping names without background. I think it's unlikely that many readers will follow every statement without work, myself included I confess, but at least Kirk dispels the myth that all conservatives are anti-intellectual illiterates. Of course Kirk would be the first to deny that he is one of those nasty intellectuals, so I'll specify here that I use the term to mean an articulate, educated and well-read person who centers his life on affairs of the mind.

I do recommend Kirk. Conservatives troubled by the neo-con trends today may like to read a philosophically erudite survey of the foundations of their beliefs. And liberals and otherwise uncommitted readers ought to know just how scary and truly deranged conservative thinking really is. I recall back to my high school days when I was learning to express myself philosophically. I told my conservative friends that conservatism meant living in the past, being unwilling to accept new ideas, and generally shutting themselves off from the world as it is today. Over time I had to abandon this attack because it seemed that no actual conservatives used the dictionary definition. And unlike conservatives, if I'm debating someone, I like to avoid straw manning them. How refreshing it is to see that I was right all along, but for Kirk this is not even a slur (though he would phrase it all differently). Rather than devote his time to specific ideologies, he examines conservatism as a broader mindset. It starts with Edmund Burke in the late eighteenth Century and extends roughly to the middle of the twentieth, so any mention of current events is entirely absent. Actually, most actual history is absent.

The biggest problem I see here is not Kirk's fraudulent or delusional statements of liberal principles. It is not that he takes specific stances against a particular expression of human decency. The biggest problem is that I can't tell where Kirk stops and the various men discussed here begin. Kirk himself is ever present in nearly every page, stamping his approval or lack thereof on every word of every quote. He is a human filter, taking that aspect of conservatism in each man that he likes best and stamping it with the Kirk seal of approval. And after hearing what he wants to hear, he disregards the rest as so-and-so's deviation from true conservatism. I suspect that some of this is the subject matter. After all, according to Kirk and myself, there's not really that much variation in conservative thought. Heard one, heard them all, especially with true, old-fashioned conservatism (the neocons can still produce shock and awe). Is it coincidental that Kirk's favorite is Edmund Burke, and that Burke gets the largest chapter and the most references in later chapters? By Kirk's own ideas, this would not be unusual or wrong.

In a nutshell (Kirk's), conservatives believe in the wisdom of man over the wisdom of a man. Hence their willingness to accept the order that has come down from their ancestors and their unwillingness to change except in the slowest and most thoughtful manner possible. Better the devil you know, I suppose. I wonder how Kirk would react if anyone ever asked him a specific question. If Kirk's thinking had prevailed in 1860, would we only now be granting emancipation after slow and careful consideration? I began reading The Conservative Mind as news reports celebrated the ten-year anniversary of the end of Apartheid (a conservative system if ever there was one). What, I wonder, would Kirk have suggested they do instead? Just ending a four hundred year old system like that? Sacrilege! Shouldn't they have carefully thought out the problem, and incrementally changed things so slowly that society as a whole never has to feel disjointed? It there's one thing Kirk makes clear, it is that aristocrats should never be made to feel worry about the great unwashed masses. When I said earlier that Kirk is scary, this is what I mean. His adulation for aristocratic and anti-democratic societies seems anachronistic and would be humorous if people didn't take it seriously.

Kirk has wisely limited his vision to American and British conservatives exclusively (aside from Alexis de Tocqueville), likely fearing what would happen if he tried to defend other societies. After all, they have their ancestors too. I mentioned South Africa. There are others. One could say that the late Soviet Union was ruled by conservatives, adoring the legacies of Marx and Lenin. I doubt Kirk would praise them. Perhaps he would praise the Czarist system instead? On second thought, maybe he really would. It would fit with other passages. The Czarists respected private property (another conservative trait Kirk mentions prominently), especially as only a few people owned property in that system. I could go on, space permitting.

But I still recommend reading this stuff. Despite the wordiness, it's not unfathomable. True, following the references can be tough, but it's not essential because Kirk really only makes a half dozen or so points early on and repeats them endlessly. This is old style conservatism. The conservatism of the old Victorian House of Lords, or perhaps the Prussian Junkers. It praises a classed society, a strictly religious one, and one that is not open to change. It is socially Darwinist, but not industrial. In fact, it is anti-scientific (and never let scientists lead). It is anti-educational, because too much learning makes the masses uppity. It is the stale, sneering, demon of closed minds in charge, desperate to avoid the real world. Read the book, but don't let this happen to you.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book Every Conservative Must Read
"The Conservative Mind" is the book that created the modern conservative movement and is a book that every conservative should read. It isn't an easy read, it does deal intimately with the nuances of conservative thought all the way back to the 18th Century Whig politician Edmund Burke, but at the same time it explains in depth why conservatism developed the way it did and what the philosophical roots of conservatism are.

Even those who aren't conservative but have an interest in truly understanding conservative political philosophy would do very well to read this book.

In order to be an effective advocate for or against any position, it is critical to first understand what the position is. "The Conservative Mind" is a seminal look into conservatism as an ideology and as a political movement, and is critical to an understanding of what conservatism really is. ... Read more


20. Why Is Sex Fun?: The Evolution of Human Sexuality (Science Masters)
by Jared M. Diamond
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Asin: 0465031269
Catlog: Book (1998-11-01)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 16683
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

3-0 out of 5 stars Why Sex is Sex
There is a minor truth-in-advertising issue regarding Why Is Sex Fun?: The Evolution of Human Sexuality, by physiologist Jared Diamond: The title question is never really addressed. The true theme seems to be How Sex Came to be Sex as We Know It. Not that this isn't interesting in its own right, of course. It's just that the original question is worthy of discussion too.

Why is Sex Fun? reads like a lecture series rather than a book. Apparently intended to provide the reader with an overview of the latest thinking on the evolutionary aspects of the subject, this short work includes sections on different sexual (and mate) selection strategies employed by males and females (presumably based on unequal "investments" in the methods of getting one's genes into the next generation); lactation (why milk is produced by females, but not, as a rule, males); how and why humans, almost uniquely, came to engage in engage in recreational sex; the unequal domestic roles played by males and females, particularly in child rearing; female menopause (which is, again, nearly unique to humans); and sexual signaling (Diamond considers penis length in human males to be a prime example, but not necessarily a signal directed at females).

As fascinating as these subjects are, there is much more that is left out. Any full discussion of human sexuality, especially with the high-order concept of "fun" in its presumed abstract, needs to deal with that odd species' whole gamut of non-procreational expression: homosexuality, old-age love, and sex-as-power, for non-inclusive example. But Why is Sex Fun? treats the very large subject of recreational sex only from the "selfish gene" point of view. Even then, there is at least one major methodological criticism: Most evolutionary biologists and evolutionary psychologists go to great lengths to bring out the importance of "ancestral environment". That is, gene-based behavioral tendencies have evolved over a great deal of time, so it doesn't do a lot of good to consider them only from the standpoint of a modern participant. This problem crops up in Diamond's discussion of male hunting strategies. In a modern hunter-gatherer society, men typically go for the "big kill" (a large mammal, for instance), while women are more content to gather roots and so on. Diamond makes the point that the male strategy makes no sense nutritionally, so the answer must be found in differential sexual strategies. However, the possibility is not mentioned that hunting patterns may have evolved when big game was, in fact, rather more plentiful than it is today.

All this is a pity, because we know, from the author's other works (especially the wonderfully told Guns, Germs, and Steel), that he is quite capable of a fully formed presentation. Sex deserves it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Why This Book is Fun
This short work by the author of the classic "Guns, Germs, and Steel" seeks to explain the evolutionary paths of distinctive human sexual characteristics. It does not, however, attempt to explain all sexual behavior in humans, focusing instead on general sexual behavior between men and women. Masturbation, homosexuality, and many other types of sexual behavior are not touched upon here, so if you find any of them fun, you will have to look elsewhere for reasons explaining why.

Humans have several sexual traits that, even if not unique, are still highly unusual in animal species -- concealed ovulation in females, near constant female receptivity to sex, recreational sex, and female menopause. Diamond shows the most likely evolutionary explanations for why humans possess these traits. Some of the explanations are more plausible than others, but almost all of the arguments are interesting to read.

As usual, Diamond writes well; the book is clear and concise and can be finished in an evening. Also, as usual, Diamond can't help but let his politics show in his writing; in one chapter, he gives a bizarre boost to male lactation and the notion that men might someday help their wives breastfeed their young.

1-0 out of 5 stars Weak as lolly water...
Why are others so impressed with this book? Beats the heck outa me - the book is *speculative* - and the author admits it right up front in the preface. Yet I have seen it referred to as an authority on sexuality - go figure.

Diamond spends much time discussing the sexual habits of other species but never really shows why this is relevant or instructive in connection with human sexuality. He demonstrates that human sexuality is different from that of other species: But so what? How does that advance our understanding of sexuality in humans? Diamond is unable or unwilling to elucidate. A strictly lightweight book suitable only as a coffee table decoration.

The bottom line: The author does not even answer his own question posed in the title. Why is sex fun? Read this and you will be none the wiser...

4-0 out of 5 stars A quickie from Diamond
A short, fun book from physiologist Diamond. Not up to the standard of the Third Chimpanzee or Guns, germs and steel, but a worthwile addition to the Science Masters series

3-0 out of 5 stars A fun read, but not as fun as sex!
While reading this book, one cannot help but compare it with Diamond's earlier works, in particular, Guns, germs and steel (GGS). While GGS comes across as a work of a life time, this book seems hastily written, to cash in on GGS's fame. Now, don't get me wrong, there are a lot of interesting trivia that you end up learning about sexuality: both human and animal. However, the fundamental theme of "Why sex is fun?" seems to be lost amidst all the interesting trivia. The facts, theories and hypotheses about sexuality in the book resemble more a program on MTV with fast and random style editing and closeup shots that lacks a principally sound story. Having said all this, I would still recommend that the book be read, since it throws interesting light on a topic that occupies a good part of human thought and behavior: Sex. ... Read more


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