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Tag Archives: book review

Book Review: The Precipice

I. It is a well known fact that the gods hate prophets. False prophets they punish only with ridicule. It’s the true prophets who have to watch out. The gods find some way to make their words come true in … Continue reading

Book Review: Hoover

You probably remember Herbert Hoover as the guy who bungled the Great Depression. Maybe you shouldn’t. Maybe you should remember him as a bold explorer looking for silver in the jungles of Burma. Or as the heroic defender of Tientsin … Continue reading

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Book Review: The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work

I. John Gottman is a legendary figure, and the legend is told best by John Gottman. He describes wading into the field of marital counseling as a young psychology postdoc, only to find it was a total mess: When we … Continue reading

Book Review: Just Giving

I. Traditional book reviews tend to focus on a single book, such as Just Giving by Rob Reich. We ought, however, to be reviewing a broader question: what is the role of books in a liberal democratic society? And what … Continue reading

Book Review: Human Compatible

I. Clarke’s First Law goes: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. Stuart Russell is only 58. But what … Continue reading

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Book Review: All Therapy Books

[Related: CBT In The Water Supply, Scientific Freud, Book Review: Method Of Levels, Different Worlds] I. All therapy books start with a claim that their form of therapy will change everything. Previous forms of therapy have required years or even … Continue reading

Book Review: The Body Keeps The Score

I. The Body Keeps The Score is a book about post-traumatic stress disorder. The author, Bessel van der Kolk, helped discover the condition and lobby for its inclusion in the DSM, and the brief forays into that history are the … Continue reading

Book Review: Against The Grain

Someone on SSC Discord summarized James Scott’s Against The Grain as “basically 300 pages of calling wheat a fascist”. I have only two qualms with this description. First, the book is more like 250 pages; the rest is just endnotes. … Continue reading

Book Review: Ages Of Discord

I. I recently reviewed Secular Cycles, which presents a demographic-structural theory of the growth and decline of pre-industrial civilizations. When land is plentiful, population grows and the economy prospers. When land reaches its carrying capacity and income declines to subsistence, … Continue reading

Book Review: Reframing Superintelligence

Ten years ago, everyone was talking about superintelligence, the singularity, the robot apocalypse. What happened? I think the main answer is: the field matured. Why isn’t everyone talking about nuclear security, biodefense, or counterterrorism? Because there are already competent institutions … Continue reading