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Tag Archives: book review

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

Book Review: Secular Cycles

I. There is a tide in the affairs of men. It cycles with a period of about three hundred years. During its flood, farms and businesses prosper, and great empires enjoy golden ages. During its ebb, war and famine stalk … Continue reading

Book Review: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

Ken Kesey, graduating college in Oregon with several wrestling championships and a creative writing degree, made a classic mistake: he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to find himself. He rented a house in Palo Alto (this was the … Continue reading

Book Review: Why Are The Prices So D*mn High?

Why have prices for services like health care and education risen so much over the past fifty years? When I looked into this in 2017, I couldn’t find a conclusive answer. Economists Alex Tabarrok and Eric Helland have written a … Continue reading

Book Review: The Secret Of Our Success

[Previously in sequence: Epistemic Learned Helplessness] I. “Culture is the secret of humanity’s success” sounds like the most vapid possible thesis. The Secret Of Our Success by anthropologist Joseph Henrich manages to be an amazing book anyway. Henrich wants to … Continue reading

Short Book Reviews April 2019

I. Method of Levels Timothy Carey’s Method Of Levels teaches a form of psychotherapy based on perceptual control theory. The Crackpot List is specific to physics. But if someone were to create one for psychiatry, Method of Levels would score … Continue reading

Book Review: Inventing The Future

I. They say “don’t judge a book by its cover”. So in case you were withholding judgment: yes, this bright red book covered with left-wing slogans is, in fact, communist. Inventing The Future isn’t technically Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams’ … Continue reading

Book Review: Zero To One

I. Zero To One might be the first best-selling business book based on a Tumblr. Stanford student Blake Masters took Peter Thiel’s class on startups. He posted his notes on Tumblr after each lecture. They became a minor sensation. Thiel … Continue reading

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