These are my notes from books I read. Each page’s title is also a link to the corresponding GoodReads entry. You can see my GoodReads lists here.

Thinking in systems: a primer

A system is something that is composed of parts that have interrelations between them. Each system has purposes, and those purposes may have nothing to do with stated goals. For example, if a government says it wants to protect the environment but allocates few resources to that goal, its purpose is not to protect the environment, but something else. A university may have the purpose of teaching students, while the components of the university have different goals: the student is trying to get good grades, the professor is trying to produce good research, and the administrator is trying to balance the budget.
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Bowling alone: the collapse and revival of American community

the trends permalink politics: There is now more money in politics, and less individual involvement. There are more total associations, but they look more like the AARP and Greenpeace, instead of unions, churches, bridge clubs, rotary. religion: Attendance has definitely gone down in the last 40 years, even if the number of people who profess stays nearly the same. (This has changed since the book was published on January 1, 2000.
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The whole-brain child: revolutionary strategies to nurture your child's developing mind

The “refrigerator sheet” found here has a nice summary of the 12 strategies presented in this book. This was a great book full of really insightful strategies to approaching mental integration. My only complaint is that they claim the strategies are neuroscientific, when in fact what they’re doing is using brain metaphors to teach real concepts. The left- and right-brain metaphor is taken too far in popular culture, and I think this book over-emphasizes the importance of these metaphors in order to argue for the parenting strategies here.
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The right side of history: how reason and moral purpose made the West great

The main text below is my summary of the points in the book, and I’ve put my commentary in sidenotes. If you want a Marxist, postmodern response to these ideas from the devil himself, check out Jordan Peterson & the meaning of life by Philosophy Tube. Reason and moral purpose come from Athens and Jerusalem, and without those things the West would not be where it is today. Socialism means taking handouts from the nanny state, and while our society continues to function with capitalism bearing the weight of socialist programs, it’s in the process of crumbling.
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Killing sacred cows: overcoming the financial myths that are destroying your prosperity

This book made me cringe pretty often. I’ll leave exclamation points (!) on particularly cringe-worthy ideas, just so you can see how based I am. This book functions on the idea that if we accept a new set of words: poverty mindset, abundance mindset, etc, we’ll become wealthy. Zero-sum mindset: any critique of “success”, including environmental devastation Scarcity/poverty mindset: saving your way to wealth, judging or being jealous of those who have things, being too safe or too risky with your money, avoiding the risk of seeking your dreams, any ideas that make you make bad decisions If more people live with an abundance mindset, we will all experience less hardship.
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