EppsNet Archive: Books

2023: The Year in Books

 

These are the books I read in 2023, roughly in the order listed. The ratings are mine. They don’t represent a consensus of opinion. Books of the Year: The Life Before Us by Romain Gary (fiction), and Where Are the Customers’ Yachts by Fred Schwed (non-fiction). My Library at LibraryThing Read more →

The Three Keys to Success by Claudine Gay

 

View this post on Instagram A post shared by President Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) Read more →

True and False Statements About Trans People

 

Report: Trans People Seven Times More Likely Than Cisgender People to Experience Violence In California An annual report detailing how many Californians were the victims of violence over the past year finds a slight dip in reported violence among most populations, but a sharp increase in reported violence against transgender people. — sfist.com (emphasis added) Nothing I say here is intended to disparage trans people . . . I’m fine with adults doing what they want, dressing the way they want, acting the way they want, with a few minor restrictions — keep your hands to yourself, that sort of thing. I don’t really care about trans people. But I take exception to being lied to by people advancing an agenda. That said, the report mentioned in the article above is based on the fourth annual California Violence Experiences Survey, conducted by UC San Diego and Tulane University. If you… Read more →

Book Banning

 

Biden administration to appoint anti-book ban coordinator as part of new LGBTQ protections — cbsnews.com Oh, I’ve got the perfect candidate! This guy: Seriously though, what does LGBTQ have to do with book banning? Book banning has a long history completely unrelated to LGBTQ, and the book banning that is attributed to LGBTQ seems to be either fake or due to the age-inappropriateness of the material. Read more →

There Are Only Individual People

 

Why not . . . hold that some persons have to bear some costs that benefit other persons more, for the sake of the overall social good? But there is no social entity with a good that undergoes some sacrifice for its own good. There are only individual people, different individual people, with their own individual lives. Using one of these people for the benefit of others, uses him and benefits the others. Nothing more. What happens is that something is done to him for the sake of the others. Talk of an overall social good covers this up. (Intentionally?) To use a person in this way does not sufficiently respect and take account of the fact that he is a separate person, that his is the only life he has. He does not get some overbalancing good from his sacrifice, and no one is entitled to force this upon… Read more →

2022: The Year in Books

 

These are the books I read in 2022, roughly in the order listed. The ratings are mine. They don’t represent a consensus of opinion. Books of the Year: On the Edge of Reason by Miroslav Krleža (fiction) and Night Train by Martin Amis (contemporary fiction). My Library at LibraryThing Read more →

Individuals Have Rights

 

Individuals have rights, and there are things no person or group can do to them (without violating their rights). So strong and far-reaching are those rights that they raise the question of what, if anything, the state and its officials may do. . . . Our main conclusions about the state are that a minimal state, limited to the narrow functions of protection against force, theft, fraud, enforcement of contracts, and so on, is justified; that any more extensive state will violate persons’ rights not to be forced to do certain things, and is unjustified; and that the minimal state is inspiring as well as right. Two noteworthy implications are that the state may not use its coercive apparatus for the purpose of getting some citizens to aid others, or in order to prohibit activities to people for their own good or protection. — Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia Read more →

EppsNet Book Reviews: Night Train by Martin Amis

 

A police officer investigates the apparent suicide of a longtime friend. There are layers here. Peel them away and each one is darker than the last. If you have someone on your gift list who you’d like to see become so depressed that they end their own life, give them this book. Rating: Read more →

The Management of the Life of the People

 

Even in [1931] the Macmillan Report could already speak of “the change of outlook of the government of [England] in recent times, its growing preoccupation, irrespective of party, with the management of the life of the people” and add that “Parliament finds itself increasingly engaged in legislation which has for its conscious aim the regulation of the day-to-day affairs of the community and now intervenes in matters formerly thought to be entirely outside its scope.” — F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom Read more →

It Wasn’t Much Good for Reading, But . . .

 

I recently read Omon Ra, a Russian novel that I’d heard good things about. I didn’t really like it at all. This afternoon, I saw some kind of a large black pincher bug on the living room carpet. My copy of Omon Ra was lying nearby and I picked it up and smashed the bug with it. So I can’t say that the book was a complete waste of money . . . Read more →

A Moment of Love

 

Everything was worn out about people: they complained about debts; they were involved in gossip; they had five-storied houses built; they traded in large objects; they bought ships, mines, vineyards; at bridge parties they lamented worriedly and falsely about being too busy; everybody talked about his work, whereas, in fact, nobody did anything; people played bridge and for whole nights groaned for a moment of love. — Miroslav Krleža, On the Edge of Reason Read more →

You Can Get Away From Envy

 

I am earning, let us say, a salary sufficient for my needs. I should be content, but I hear that some one else who I believe to be in no way my superior is earning a salary twice as great as mine. Instantly, if I am of an envious disposition, the satisfactions to be derived from what I have grow dim, and I begin to be eaten up by a sense of injustice. . . . The man who has double my salary is doubtless tortured by the thought that some one else in turn has twice as much as he has, and so it goes on. If you desire glory, you may envy Napoleon. But Napoleon envied Caesar, Caesar envied Alexander, and Alexander, I dare say, envied Hercules, who never existed. You can therefore not get away from envy by means of success alone, for there will always be… Read more →

Envy is the Most Unfortunate

 

Of all the characteristics of ordinary human nature envy is the most unfortunate; not only does the envious person wish to inflict misfortune and do so whenever he can with impunity, but he is also himself rendered unhappy by envy. Instead of deriving pleasure from what he has, he derives pain from what others have. — Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness Read more →

Here Comes Your 19th Nervous Breakdown

 

One of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important and that to take a holiday would bring all kinds of disaster. If I were a medical man, I should prescribe a holiday to any patient who considered his work important. — Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness Read more →

How to Know if You’re Doing the Job

 

When I give a speech at a corporate event, I often ask those in attendance, “Do you know how to tell if you’re doing the job?” As heads start whispering back and forth, I provide these clues: “If you’re up at 3 A.M. every night talking into a tape recorder and writing notes on scraps of paper, have a knot in your stomach and a rash on your skin, are losing sleep and losing touch with your wife and kids, have no appetite or sense of humor, and feel that everything might turn out wrong, then you’re probably doing the job.” This always gets a laugh, but not a very big one. Those executives in the audience recognize there is a significant price to pay to be the best. That price is not something they laugh at. — Bill Walsh, The Score Takes Care of Itself Read more →

Utterly Different From What We Expected

 

We are ready to accept almost any explanation of the present crisis of our civilization except one: that the present state of the world may be the result of genuine error on our own part and that the pursuit of some of our most cherished ideals has apparently produced results utterly different from those which we expected. — Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom Read more →

P.J. O’Rourke, 1947-2022

 

Like many men of my generation, I had an opportunity to give war a chance, and I promptly chickened out. I went to my draft physical in 1970 with a doctor’s letter about my history of drug abuse. The letter was four and a half pages long with three and a half pages devoted to listing the drugs I’d abused. I was shunted into the office of an Army psychiatrist who, at the end of a forty-five minute interview with me, was pounding his desk and shouting, “You’re fucked up! You don’t belong in the Army!” He was certainly right on the first count and probably right on the second. Anyway, I didn’t have to go. But that, of course, meant someone else had to go in my place. I would like to dedicate this book to him. I hope you got back in one piece, fellow. I hope you… Read more →

God Hates Children?

 

“God hates children.” For a moment Viking Man is too lost in his reverie to have heard, but then he turns to the other man. “Can’t say I ever thought of it that way, vicar.” “God is always killing children in the Bible, or threatening to,” says Vikar. “He kills His own child.” Viking Man nods slowly. “That’s a hell of an observation,” he says. — Steve Erickson, Zeroville Read more →

2021: The Year in Books

 

These are the books I read in 2021, roughly in the order listed. The ratings are mine. They don’t represent a consensus of opinion. Books of the Year: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (fiction), Zeroville by Steve Erickson (contemporary fiction) and Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects by Bertrand Russell (non-fiction). My Library at LibraryThing Read more →

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