Blake’s Quest to Read Many Books

and watch less TV (where appropriate)

Archive for the ‘Non-Fiction’ Category

#03 Freakonomics

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Freakonomics

Who knew that it would take 20 years to fall in love with my major in college?  If only they had let me know that economics can be about finding the true cause and effect of everything around us, I may not have fallen asleep during discussions of the Laffer Curve.  I was actually pretty fascinated by this book because was enough psychology as well to pique my other interest, which was also to be my minor had I not gone overseas and lost out on the 2 more classes I needed.  No regrets.

The book is presented in a series on focused, yet meandering chapters, that set out to make a single point through seemingly incomparable circumstances.  For instance, comparing the incentives of KKK members to real estates agents to show that they both derive their advantages from information control.  A particularly entertaining chapter on the life effects associated with the name you give your child reveals that the name really has nothing to do with a child’s success or failure, the parents do.  In one case, a parent name one child Winner and one Loser only to have Loser become a successful businessman and Winner ended up in jail.  The sobering fact was that a bad parent is more likely to yield a bad child no matter the name.

Now, I realize that the propositions set forth in this book are the theories of one man, yet whether they are completely accurate or not present a fascinating different perspective on many subjects.  A very quick and easy read that is entertaining despite the subject matter.

I will leave you with this tidbit that may be enough to make you want to know how this could be connected….the biggest theory in the book is that the precipitous drop in crime in the 1990’s can be traced to one woman: Norma McCorvey.  Look her up, you know her by another name.

Written by ellavsky

February 20, 2010 at 4:10 am

#02 – In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

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In the Heart of the Sea

It has been a long while, but life has started to come back to where we like it.  As a result, my reading picked up (a work trip with a couple long flights did not hurt either).

This is the true story of an unbelievable ordeal that befell a group of Nantucket whalers in 1819-20.  Rammed by a sperm whale more than 2000 miles off the coast of South American, these whalers endured over 90 days at sea in 25 foot rowboats.  The book reads well and in a way that is not purely historical, but almost like a novel.  There are a surprising number of facts that exist about the experience.  I also read The Perfect Storm a while back and, while good, it was mostly conjecture on what may have happened on their voyage.  I cannot imagine how anyone survived 96 days at sea with virtually no food or water.  The story does take a very dark turn towards the end of their time.

If you are into ships, harrowing ordeals, whales, the sea, starvation, and/or good historical drama…then this book is good for you.  I do like 4 of those things, so it worked for me.

I give it 3 stars.

Written by ellavsky

December 15, 2009 at 6:26 am