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I have a Substack called One Could Argue where I do just this — jot down my thoughts about whatever books I'm reading and movies I'm watching to force myself to practice writing and editing. The next entry will include mention of The Aeneid of Virgil, which I just finished reading yesterday, and the Billy Wilder film Double Indemnity, which I recently watched for the first time.

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founding

Several books that might be up your alley based on the screenshot you posted:

The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis

The Coddling of the American Mind by Jonathan Haidt

A Crack in Creation by Jennifer A. Doudna

The War on Normal People by Andrew Yang

Doing Justice by Preet Bharara

Lost in Math by Sabine Hossenfelder

The Space Barons by Christian Davenport

Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried

The Tangled Tree by David Quammen

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willink

When by Daniel H. Pink

Army of None by Paul Scharre

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Dec 28, 2022Liked by Sarah Haider

So you are a Rome addict like me! My late husband and I lived there for two years in the mid 1950s (he was a composer), and revisited for a few weeks in 2009. You might love, as he and I did, the extraordinary book "Roba di Roma", by William Wetmore Story, a 19th century sculptor (his father was an American supreme court justice). It is my favorite and most treasured book, about his life there for many years. It encapsulates with details the daily life, culture, politics, etc. that he and his wife experienced. It has been reprinted very badly just from the original copy with very small print. Our copy is from the 19th century, discovered by my husband in his mother's house nearby; she was an out of print book seller from her home after she retired from teaching. Look for a copy. You wont regret it. You will love it! It is the book I grab when the house is on fire and I have to get out fast.

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founding

Black Rednecks & White Liberals by Thomas Sowell. Really thought-provoking read.

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Been really interested in "Finding Meaning" as a way to fight off the "Need for religion" crowd. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

I do recommend The My Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh for anyone that is too engulfed in social media/entertainment. It'll help you feeling better about yourself.

Side note: my first book gift was when I was in middle school. A Brief History of Time by Stephanie Hawking. Books were and still are my favorite gifts. Most of the books I was gifted were theology and jurisprudence books, though.

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I’d give you The True Believer by Eric Hoffer. From Amazon: “Its theme is political fanaticism, with which it deals severely and brilliantly.” —New Yorker

The famous bestseller with “concise insight into what drives the mind of the fanatic and the dynamics of a mass movement” (Wall St. Journal) by the legendary San Francisco longshoreman.

A stevedore on the San Francisco docks in the 1940s, Eric Hoffer wrote philosophical treatises in his spare time while living in the railroad yards. The True Believer—the first and most famous of his books—was made into a bestseller when President Eisenhower cited it during one of the earliest television press conferences.

Called a “brilliant and original inquiry” and “a genuine contribution to our social thought” by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., this landmark in the field of social psychology is completely relevant and essential for understanding the world today as it delivers a visionary, highly provocative look into the mind of the fanatic and a penetrating study of how an individual becomes one.

I’d also recommend True Grit, by Charles Portis. From Amazon: Charles Portis has long been acclaimed as one of America’s foremost writers. True Grit, his most famous novel, was first published in 1968, and became the basis for two movies, the 1969 classic starring John Wayne and, in 2010, a new version starring Academy Award® winner Jeff Bridges and written and directed by the Coen brothers. True Grit tells the story of Mattie Ross, who is just fourteen when the coward Tom Chaney shoots her father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and $150 in cash. Mattie leaves home to avenge her father’s blood. With one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshal, by her side, Mattie pursues the killer into Indian Territory. True Grit is eccentric, cool, straight, and unflinching, like Mattie herself. From a writer of true status, this is an American classic through and through.

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Ace in the Hole was based on true story of trapped spelunker Floyd Collins (who is referred to briefly in the film). A music theater piece was composed by Adam Guettel, son of the late Mary

Rodgers, daughter of the late music comedy writer Richard Rodgers. Whip smart dialogue. Failed journalist asks Collins' wife (a floozy blonde played by Jan Sterling) (played by Kirk Douglas) if she attends church. Response: "No, kneeling bags my nylons". (earlier on Film was called The Big Circus but Ace in the Hole is perfect). Wilder said it was his best. One of the best American films I have ever seen. Incredible sarcastic look at American fixation on tragedies and accidents.

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Bad Blood (John Carreyou); War of Two (John Sedgwick); short stories of Katharine Anne Porter but mainly Noon Wine (devastating) and Pale Horse, Pale Rider. (about the 1918 flu epidemic).

Always time to re-read Lolita, for greatest writing ever. And Virginia Woolf's Orlando, overlooked but very special charm and humor (we named our first dog after her hero/heroine). Stephen Vincent Benet short stories, creates of which is The Devil and Daniel Webster....an allegory, made into an opera by Douglas Moore.

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I would gift "Dibs in search of self". This is a book that I tend to gift very often. Also, as someone who consciously reads very less, I would like to know your take on reading less yet reading truly profound things vis-a-vis reading a lot. (this video explains this debate a bit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCTHrBC2zSw).

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The last book I read is very different from anything you're reading currently, but it *is* nonfiction, and I can't help thinking it might tickle your interest? It's Existential Physics by theoretical physicist and youtuber Sabine Hossenfelder. It covers various popular philosophical and science questions, and provides a brief answer according to physics. According to physics, she makes a fairly strong case, we do not have free will. Absolutely worth a read, whether you're somewhat familiar with physics or, like me, just here to learn. I thoroughly enjoyed this article, easily one of my favorite pieces from you.

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I have a very conflicted relationship with books. I used to read novels and I stopped suddenly and never went back. I am way too deep in my head to read about fiction. With a recent obsession about Russia (and a university class), I read a lot of articles. The only books I finished in the past 9 years are Meghan Daum’s most recent (the Unspeakable and the Problem with Everything). Now, the very embarrassing part is what I am trying to read at the moment as a mental Challenge. I could gift it to you and we could hate it together... White Fragility. Contrary to you, I hate gifts, receiving and giving, especially receiving books, because no one seems to get me. Thanks for this.

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I'd give you The Myth of the Rational Voter by Bryan Caplan. Mostly because I thought it were very good. The ideas in it helped explain several mysteries about human behavior that I've been puzzled by. I also think you might be interested in it since irrationality seems to be relevant to your interests, and it contains a great framework for thinking about irrationality.

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The End of the World is Just the Beginning by Peter Zeihan. It's a very thought-provoking look into geopolitics and demographics, and what they mean for the next 30 years or so. Assuming Peter is correct (he predicted the invasion of Ukraine back in 2014, although thought it would happen in 2020), it's going to be a very, very interesting next decade. Highly recommended.

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"I once recommended a book about the art of writing to a young man..." The last two words reveal the problem 😀

As for books, since Elon Musk is and is likely to remain extremely consequential, one of the books from the Culture series by Iain M. Banks. The actual prose is fine, it's serviceable but it's the world building that's really interesting and that has had a large influence on Musk's world view and his vision for humanity.

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Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

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The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World

by Maya Jasanoff

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