If there is one book you would persuade others to read, which would it be? [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

If there is one book you would persuade others to read, which would it be?

Pfloyd
02-25-2009, 12:02 AM
Pretty difficult I'd say.

I would have to say it's a tie between Noam Chomsky's "Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance" and Michael Shermer's "The Science of Good and Evil".

Which book would you force (if such thing could be done) others to read?

Ivanatis
02-25-2009, 12:07 AM
I wouldn't force anybody to read or do sth. ;)
The "Which book are you reading"-thread offers a lot great proposals.

Pfloyd
02-25-2009, 12:13 AM
I wouldn't force anybody to read or do sth. ;)
The "Which book are you reading"-thread offers a lot great proposals.

Play along ;)

buddyholly
02-25-2009, 12:54 AM
THE GOD DELUSION by Richard Dawkins

El Legenda
02-25-2009, 01:04 AM
The Autobiography of Malcolm X

i dont read books but i read this one and its amazing.

habibko
02-25-2009, 01:10 AM
well this is a good thread actually, there are many books I have read that I wish everyone I know and I don't know would read, certainly not force them but one wishes he could :rolleyes:

1- ALL the works of the great Arabic polymath Abbas El-Akkad (1889–1964) I have no idea which you must start with it depends on your field of interest, he wrote in philosophy, religion, literature, poetry, criticism, history, biographies, politics, sociology and many diaries!

2- Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (1802–1885).

3- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (1818-1848).

4- many of Agatha Christie's (1890–1976) works, two in particular are a must: (Murder on the Orient Express - And Then There Were None) they are simply brilliant.

5- As the Crow Flies by Jeffrey Archer (born 1940) just because it's the last book I read :p it's really great though.

those are the main ones, I should make a list of all the books I recommend one day :cool: but those top my list.

Fee
02-25-2009, 03:18 AM
2- Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (1802–1885).


I saw the thread title and I was just coming in here to post that very title. It's my favorite book of all time (of the ones that I've read, and I have to admit it's not nearly as many as I would like).

~*BGT*~
02-25-2009, 03:38 AM
The Harry Potter books, to convince my mom they're not evil. :p

Guy Haines
02-25-2009, 06:43 AM
Some favorite 20th century fiction:

Hour of the Star, Clarice Lispector
In Youth is Pleasure and Maiden Voyage, Denton Welch
Everything by Flannery O'Connor
Lolita :D
Another Country

Right now I'm reading Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon's Secret World by Trevor Paglen. :cool: Starting to read some translations of Roberto Bolano and Ghosts by Cesar Aira.

I've gone through some years recently of not reading much, but the last year or so I've been reading a ton.

Pfloyd is that book you mention the best Chomsky? I haven't read him. habibko, I love Wuthering Heights. Have never read Les Miserables. I want to get around to reading Hugo, too many Russian authors, and Proust...one day. :lol: Right now the boyfriend is reading Dante. :devil:

habibko
02-25-2009, 12:02 PM
^^^ you MUST try Hugo, he also wrote the ever famous "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" which is a wonderful novel in its own right (most people of my generation just watched the Disney movie :lol:).

once you feel like reading start with Les Miserables, I FORCE you :devil:

biological
02-25-2009, 06:15 PM
Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

prima donna
02-25-2009, 06:47 PM
Wealth of Nations - Adam Smith

star_of_dusk
02-25-2009, 08:19 PM
Unwind by Neal Shusterman?

I thought it was good, especially since abortion is a sensitive topic.

TNX1.0E6TOPCA
02-25-2009, 09:11 PM
Perfume by Patrick Suskind

JolánGagó
02-26-2009, 03:24 AM
I wouldn't force anyone to read anything but an awful lot of people in this forum should read 1985 by George Orwell. If that's too many pages Animal Farm would do.

Chomsky's body of work besides linguistics is a load of demagogery and apology of terrorism. After some trials, I concluded I shouldn't invest an hour of my life reading any of his books.

GlennMirnyi
02-26-2009, 03:31 AM
I wouldn't force anyone to read anything but an awful lot of people in this forum should read 1985 by George Orwell. If that's too many pages Animal Farm would do.

Chomsky's body of work besides linguistics is a load of demagogery and apology of terrorism. After some trials, I concluded I shouldn't invest an hour of my life reading any of his books.

1984, you mean, right, boludo? :p

JolánGagó
02-26-2009, 09:31 AM
haha yeah, time to reread it I guess :o

gulzhan
02-26-2009, 11:05 AM
haha yeah, time to reread it I guess :o

try at least to read the title :p even that would teach you a lot!

JolánGagó
02-26-2009, 11:10 AM
don't be bitter sweetie, why don't you get some holidays in America, you seem to need it :lol:

please don't contaminate the whole forum with your incoherent mumbling, restrict the stalking to the relevant threads if you please.

MisterQ
02-26-2009, 02:19 PM
The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan

Byrd
02-26-2009, 04:10 PM
'Of Mice & Men' By Steinback and 'The Alchemist' by Coelho, both deliver a strong message to the reader, and a decent read.

habibko
02-26-2009, 04:20 PM
'Of Mice & Men' By Steinback and 'The Alchemist' by Coelho, both deliver a strong message to the reader, and a decent read.

this in particular was such a disappointment for me, I don't want to spoil the book on anyone so don't read this last paragraph if you haven't read the book and don't want it to be spoiled:


such a realistic and well written story and plot but when it turned into a magical tale of becoming God and wind and such nonesense I couldn't relate to the story anymore and it was such a shame, Coelho's excessive sense of optimism gets on my nerves in many ways so I might be biased.

Psichogauchovna
02-26-2009, 04:34 PM
The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald
any book by Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde

Jōris
02-26-2009, 05:37 PM
If someone forced me to read their book of choice, I would throw it in the fireplace... then I would make them read John Stuart Mill's On Liberty. ;)

Byrd
02-26-2009, 06:00 PM
this in particular was such a disappointment for me, I don't want to spoil the book on anyone so don't read this last paragraph if you haven't read the book and don't want it to be spoiled:


such a realistic and well written story and plot but when it turned into a magical tale of becoming God and wind and such nonesense I couldn't relate to the story anymore and it was such a shame, Coelho's excessive sense of optimism gets on my nerves in many ways so I might be biased.

I found it a good read because I was able to relate to it at the time as I was going through a transition period and didn't really know what I was doing with myself, but the book allowed me to look at myself, and determine what to do with my life. However your entitled to your opinion mate, and I respect that.

GlennMirnyi
02-26-2009, 06:24 PM
Paulo Coelho? Argh.

Worst writer ever. Makes me wanna puke.

habibko
02-26-2009, 06:32 PM
I found it a good read because I was able to relate to it at the time as I was going through a transition period and didn't really know what I was doing with myself, but the book allowed me to look at myself, and determine what to do with my life. However your entitled to your opinion mate, and I respect that.

thank you and I know many who loved the book too, maybe I wasn't really in the right mood when I read it :)

habibko
02-26-2009, 06:33 PM
Paulo Coelho? Argh.

Worst writer ever. Makes me wanna puke.

for once I agree with you, well not the worst thats for sure, but among my worst list.

Byrd
02-26-2009, 06:36 PM
Paulo Coelho? Argh.

Worst writer ever. Makes me wanna puke.

Isn't he Brazilian?, where's the love mate :p

JolánGagó
02-26-2009, 08:26 PM
Paulo Coelho? Argh.

Worst writer ever. Makes me wanna puke.

ditto. i once read like half of one of his books and that was enough, the guy is like two fingers deep down your throat.

Byrd
02-26-2009, 08:46 PM
ditto. i once read like half of one of his books and that was enough, the guy is like two fingers deep down your throat.

He's that bad? haha...Guess I'll stick to only reading one of his 'classics'.

habibko
02-26-2009, 09:10 PM
He's that bad? haha...Guess I'll stick to only reading one of his 'classics'.

well his Eleven Minutes was quite good, the only novel of his that I didn't regret spending time on.

Henry Chinaski
02-26-2009, 10:57 PM
Some favorite 20th century fiction:


Pfloyd is that book you mention the best Chomsky? I haven't read him. habibko, I love Wuthering Heights. Have never read Les Miserables. I want to get around to reading Hugo, too many Russian authors, and Proust...one day. :lol: Right now the boyfriend is reading Dante. :devil:

I preferred Manfacturing Consent and Culture of Terrorism among others.

His books are pretty heavy going with about 20 footnotes per page so some of the collections of interviews that have been published would probably be a better place to start. Imperial Ambitions or 9-11 for example.

I probably don't need to tell you to ignore TrolànGagò

GlennMirnyi
02-26-2009, 11:14 PM
Isn't he Brazilian?, where's the love mate :p

You have no idea about the amount of scorn he gets in Brazil. :p Basically I don't know anyone with some good judgement that likes him. :p

JolánGagó
02-26-2009, 11:44 PM
I probably don't need to tell you to ignore TrolànGagò

Let people make their own ignoring choices mate.

fast_clay
02-27-2009, 12:03 AM
I read The Alchemist after 6 years of not reading a book... it was insisted that i should read it by a girl and i relented after a year... like byrd, i was at a crossroads.. in hindsight, the hook in it is the symbolism that allows you to relate anything to anything in your own life... especially for the traveller... one of those books you could shape it to mean whatever you would wish it...

not sure of the guys other subject matter... i have not read since....

habibko
02-27-2009, 12:14 AM
I read The Alchemist after 6 years of not reading a book... it was insisted that i should read it by a girl and i relented after a year... like byrd, i was at a crossroads.. in hindsight, the hook in it is the symbolism that allows you to relate anything to anything in your own life... especially for the traveller... one of those books you could shape it to mean whatever you would wish it...

not sure of the guys other subject matter... i have not read since....

it makes sense since you are a non-regular reader, bookworms who read more than best-selling books often disagree :cool:

fast_clay
02-27-2009, 02:24 AM
it makes sense since you are a non-regular reader, bookworms who read more than best-selling books often disagree :cool:

i've read some of the classics mate... dont worry... ;)

to find a writing style, i chose not to be influenced...

michellej
02-27-2009, 06:02 PM
The Autobiography of Malcolm X

i dont read books but i read this one and its amazing.


You might like Dreams from my Father....Obama's autobiography....(he's a great writer too)


PS I saw him in Ottawa in Byward Market...big smile, tall, just like on TV.
And he was shaking hands and having his pic taken with a lot of the students who work there.

reggie1
02-27-2009, 08:28 PM
If I could I would make it mandatory for every country's leader to read "The Diary of Anne Frank."
"Slaughter House Five" is an astonishingly moving/shocking read. I first read it when I was 17 and parts of it even "haunt" me now.

michellej
02-27-2009, 09:58 PM
THE GOD DELUSION by Richard Dawkins

On the same theme, The Magic Animal..Philip Whylie. (religion as superstition, likely out of print)

This book had a great impact/affirming for me, but is only of value for those who are open /searching and have a mind open to the thesis as with your book.

I've read so many books and I've learned something from each of them. Lucky us readers. Always learning. Life is exciting.

out_here_grindin
10-26-2011, 07:10 PM
I would make every child read The Litte Prince.

Or Levy
10-26-2011, 08:23 PM
Habibko - Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (1818-1848). Really? Never quite managed to really like that book.

With you on Les Miserables.

cristalmeister
10-26-2011, 08:29 PM
Dont know which one to choose but one of these two:

The emigrants- swedish book translated into english.
Das Vorleser- took me by surprise (and actually gave me a semi-lobon).

it makes sense since you are a non-regular reader, bookworms who read more than best-selling books often disagree :cool:

That sounds like something someone who wants to look educated/advanced reader/rly cultivated/bla bla would say.

jonathancrane
10-26-2011, 08:36 PM
The Open Society and Its Enemies (Karl Popper)
Changed totally my mind about Plato and Marx. Impressive, best thing I've read against totalitarianism

Novel: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Funny, smart and much deeper than it looks

Gagsquet
10-26-2011, 08:42 PM
L'étranger (The Stranger) - Albert Camus.

A must-read in my opinion. Camus wrote the most outstanding novel about absurdity.

ssin
10-26-2011, 08:43 PM
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

Huxley was a pure genius. He was right, Orwell was wrong.

wiki: On 21 October 1949, Huxley wrote to George Orwell, author of Nineteen Eighty-Four, congratulating him on "how fine and how profoundly important the book is". In his letter to Orwell, he predicted:

Within the next generation I believe that the world's leaders will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging them and kicking them into obedience


Wiki: Social critic Neil Postman contrasts the worlds of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World in the foreword of his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death. He writes:

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that our desire will ruin us.


and this must go with this:

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us - if at all - not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

....

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long
Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.



We are lucky, we still live in a world where we can see things with our own eyes, although it's becoming increasingly difficult. Take the Gaddafi story for instance. Our grandchildren will not have this option, people will suffer less, they will even be much happier, but also much duller. Less suffering and less character, less variegated world. This is the future and people will embrace it wholeheartedly. We will love that new form of slavery. Cheers! :)

MTwEeZi
10-26-2011, 08:44 PM
Kama Sutra

buddyholly
10-26-2011, 08:49 PM
The Open Society and Its Enemies (Karl Popper)
Changed totally my mind about Plato and Marx. Impressive, best thing I've read against totalitarianism

Novel: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Funny, smart and much deeper than it looks


Now that is scary. I felt my valves flutter. I just clocked into this thread to say that nobody should be forced to read anything. But everyone should be encouraged to read "A Confederacy of Dunces.''

Last year I walked around New Orleans, found the clock, the alleyway where the ladies' art was displayed and the gay confrontation took place, the street where Ignatius lived and the location of the hot dog cart storage.

Better than Bloomsday tours any day.

Pirata.
10-26-2011, 08:49 PM
I would make every child read The Litte Prince.

One of my favourite books :hug:

Roadmap
10-26-2011, 09:04 PM
Kama Sutra

:haha:

Roadmap
10-26-2011, 09:11 PM
I read The Bible Code from Michael Drosnin. A Fascinating read but clearly based on bollocks.

Filo V.
10-26-2011, 09:12 PM
It's OK to be different.

A kids book that every kid should be forced to read, so they grow up to be mentally healthy adults.

Edda
11-14-2011, 01:09 AM
The Cleveland Amory Cat series (The Cat Who Came for Christmas, The Cat and the Curmudgeon and The Best Cat Ever)

The Perfect Mile, by Neal Bascomb

Strokes of Genius, about Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and the 2008 Wimbledon final

Snowwy
11-14-2011, 01:09 AM
The Boy Who Wore Striped Pajamas

LawrenceOfTennis
11-14-2011, 01:11 AM
I bet the majority here read rubbish like Da Vinci code and other best sellers.

Smoke944
11-14-2011, 01:24 AM
I bet the majority here read rubbish like Da Vinci code and other best sellers.

Read the thread and decide for yourself.

Sham Kay
11-14-2011, 01:32 AM
For something a little hard hitting: Disgrace

For something un-put-downable: The shining

For something with a challenging context: Surfacing

But of course, it'd just be easier to forget books and sleep.

Topspindoctor
11-14-2011, 01:34 AM
Dean Koontz: Twilight Eyes

MaxPower
11-14-2011, 08:31 AM
hah reading some of the replies here it's funny i had a teacher that forced me and the rest of the class to read

1984
of mice and men
the great Gatsby

and a few other classic. All great!

I suggest "The Idiot" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (or how you like to spell the russian author)

Har-Tru
11-14-2011, 09:24 AM
1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (though I suspect it loses much of its appeal during the translation process)
The Lüneburg Variation by Paolo Maurensig
I, Claudius and Claudius the God by Robert Graves
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

Goldenoldie
11-14-2011, 02:05 PM
I don't know about "force", but I would try to "persuade" Christians to read the Koran and Muslims to read the Bible.

Echoes
11-14-2011, 02:53 PM
Not very original but yeah Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World are masterpieces. Which can very much be compared, besides.


La France contre les robots by Georges Bernanos (not sure there is an English version though). Les grands cimetières sous la lune (The Great Cemetaries under the Moon) has been translated, I think. And interesting to compare with Orwell's Homage to Catalonia.

The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene.
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Impasse Adam Smith by Jean-Claude Michéa
The English : Portrait of a People by Paxman

Books I just ... recommend lol.

Edit: oh and how could I forget about Balzac's Lost Illusions and Dickens huh well everything ...

Har-Tru
11-14-2011, 03:41 PM
I don't know about "force", but I would try to "persuade" Christians to read the Koran and Muslims to read the Bible.

I find them to be very good literary works as well.

I especially like the part of the Bible where some guys call a prophet "baldhead" and he invokes some bears that devour 42 of them.

fast_clay
11-14-2011, 03:56 PM
I find them to be very good literary works as well.

I especially like the part of the Bible where some guys call a prophet "baldhead" and he invokes some bears that devour 42 of them.

yes i liked that one... but, after pausing for thought i found it a bit too hollywood... i skipped forward a few pages until i found where it didn't feel as if it was being written for spielberg...

book of job is a cracking bit of work tho

Har-Tru
11-14-2011, 05:14 PM
yes i liked that one... but, after pausing for thought i found it a bit too hollywood... i skipped forward a few pages until i found where it didn't feel as if it was being written for spielberg...

book of job is a cracking bit of work tho

The part where, after being spared of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the righteous (:spit:) Lot's daughters get him drunk and take turns to have sex with him is quite the scene too. They got pregnant and had two sons (their bothers, and sons) who are said to be the fathers of some ancient peoples, forgot which ones.

GOAT = Fed
11-14-2011, 05:31 PM
The Great Gatsby. A truly wonderful, short book. It really does show what materialism can do to people :sad:

Edda
11-15-2011, 12:40 AM
Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human, by Temple Grandin, animal scientist who overcame autism. She talks about the benefits of pets and animals not just for those with autism, but for everyone. These books integrate two of my topics of interest.

tennizen
11-15-2011, 01:09 AM
The collected signatures of tennizen-vol 1.

Hewitt =Legend
11-15-2011, 01:19 AM
The collected signatures of tennizen-vol 1.

I have saved every signature you have ever created and used them at parties to voice my social dominance and pick up chicks.

tennizen
11-15-2011, 01:43 AM
I have saved every signature you have ever created and used them at parties to voice my social dominance and pick up chicks.

Precisely the kind of change I was hoping they would bring about in young lives such as yours:lol:

But it occurs to me, maybe I should start collecting royalty every time you score?

Hewitt =Legend
11-15-2011, 04:15 AM
Precisely the kind of change I was hoping they would bring about in young lives such as yours:lol:

But it occurs to me, maybe I should start collecting royalty every time you score?

I spose we could work something out... oh and you're rich btw ;)

Pfloyd
11-15-2011, 08:34 AM
Another vote for "1984".

"Letters to a Young Contrarian" by Christopher Hitchens is quite good, this is before he transformed himself into an unbearable neo-con.

At least some parts of Robert Fisk's mammoth but amazing book "The Great War for Civilization".

Pfloyd
11-15-2011, 08:55 AM
Oh, I almost forgot, although this is not a book but an essay, a must read is Bertrand Russel's "In Praise of Idleness"

Such a good read: http://www.zpub.com/notes/idle.html

Har-Tru
11-15-2011, 12:43 PM
Say what you want about Hitchens, but he's not a neo-con.

Now that you mention him, another vote for "The God Delusion" and "The Greatest Show On Earth" by Richard Dawkins and "The Moral Landscape" by Sam Harris.

Pfloyd
11-15-2011, 01:03 PM
Well, you are right that he is very hard to define as of now.

He labels himself as "anti-totalitarian", but at the time of the Iraq war, he did not mind the neo-con label which he later dismissed.

You liked "The God Delusion?" I mean, did you find it to be persuasive?

I thought it was OK, even better than Hitchen's own "God is not Great".

Though, I must say all these new Atheists are too militant for me in there views on religion, however there scientific work is quite good (Dawkins and Harris).

I quite liked "The Blind Watchmaker" by Dawkins.

Har-Tru
11-15-2011, 01:09 PM
Well, you are right that he is very hard to define as of now.

He labels himself as "anti-totalitarian", but at the time of the Iraq war, he did not mind the neo-con label which he later dismissed.

You liked "The God Delusion?" I mean, did you find it to be persuasive?

I thought it was OK, even better than Hitchen's own "God is not Great".

Though, I must say all these new Atheists are too militant for me in there views on religion, however there scientific work is quite good (Dawkins and Harris).

I quite liked "The Blind Watchmaker" by Dawkins.

I find The God Delusion a tad too science-oriented, but brilliant and yes, very persuasive. I find Hitchens a bit overrated though.

Why do you think they are too militant? Though that's going a bit off-topic.

Sophocles
11-15-2011, 01:25 PM
Well these are some of the books that have been most important to me.

Philosophy: Plato's Parmenides, Aristotle's Nicomachaean Ethics, Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, Nietzsche's Beyond Good & Evil.

Poetry: Homer's Iliad, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Donne's Songs & Sonets, Pope's Dunciad, Blake's Songs of Innocence & Experience, T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets.

Fiction: Cervantes's Don Quixote, Laclos's Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Bronte's Wuthering Heights, Dostoyevsky's Crime & Punishment, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Joyce's Ulysses.

Short Fiction: Boccaccio's Decameron, Gogol's Petersburg Tales, Poe's Tales of Mystery & Imagination, Maupassant, Chekhov, Borges's El Aleph.

Drama: Sophocles's Antigone, Aristophanes's Lysistrata, Shakespeare's King Lear & Macbeth, Ibsen's The Wild Duck, Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? .

Other: Tacitus's Annals of Imperial Rome, Montaigne's Essais, Dr Johnson's The Rambler, Gibbon's Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire, Boswell's Life of Johnson, Freud's Interpretation of Dreams.

Pfloyd
11-15-2011, 01:33 PM
I find The God Delusion a tad too science-oriented, but brilliant and yes, very persuasive. I find Hitchens a bit overrated though.

Why do you think they are too militant? Though that's going a bit off-topic.

It's fine to go off topic, we are talking about books anyway :p

Well, they treat logic and science almost in a religious manner, which is to say that they treat religion the same way extreme religious zealots treat ordinary people, I think it is the wrong path to follow. Although they don't outright state this, they act as if science will one day reveal all mysteries, and after Immanuel Kant, I find this attitude perplexing.

I think it is okay to say that religion is not based on reason, and that quite a few religious doctrines are harmful, but to insult religion and act the way they act about it, is self defeating in a small way.

Carl Sagan, in his book "Demon Haunted World" talks about religion in a much more well behaved and even rational way.

His brief essay, "The Dragon in my Garage" is a case in point. Bertrand Russell in "Why I am not a Christian" and even Dawkins's ex-rival Stephen Jay Gould had a much better tone when talking about the subject.

That is not to say that most of what they are saying is correct, but the way the say it does not help them

For example Dawkins describes God as a dictator, evil, etc. , etc. But also ignores some of the good aspects in Christianity of which contains both good and bad things...

Would you say Dawkins has made you reconsider your own views?

Har-Tru
11-15-2011, 04:27 PM
[QUOTE]Well, they treat logic and science almost in a religious manner, which is to say that they treat religion the same way extreme religious zealots treat ordinary people, I think it is the wrong path to follow. I think it is okay to say that religion is not based on reason, and that quite a few religious doctrines are harmful, but to insult religion and act the way they act about it, is self defeating in a small way.

Religious zealots treat ordinary people by telling them they are godless heathens who will burn in hell, for starters.

Dawkins and Harris have never, as far as I know, insulted anyone. They qualify people, and everyone who wants to be is easily offended. But they never attack persons, they attack ideas, and always with the most careful language and tone and using only rational thinking and logic as weapons.

I believe you might have bought into the general consensus that religion is to be respected more than any other position like politics or literary tastes. I'm willing to hear a good reason as to why that should be the case.

The big 4 address this issue at the beginning of this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuyUz2XLp1E

Although they don't outright state this, they act as if science will one day reveal all mysteries, and after Immanuel Kant, I find this attitude perplexing.

Actually, they have both stated the opposite several times.

Dawkins mentions the debate among scientists and philosophers of science, some saying science will be able to explain everything at some point and some saying that it can't possibly, himself saying he doesn't endorse a specific position.

In The Moral Landscape, Harris criticises those who equate a specific discipline not being able to account for everything with it being useless.

That is not to say that most of what they are saying is correct, but the way the say it does not help them

Are you sure?

For example Dawkins describes God as a dictator, evil, etc. , etc. But also ignores some of the good aspects in Christianity of which contains both good and bad things...

No he doesn't.

http://cdn.cloudfiles.mosso.com/c148211/atheistsForJesus.jpg

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/20-atheists-for-jesus

He must have said Christianity has good sides thousands of times. He and Harris the religious contribution in arts is massive, he said the Sermon on the Mount is "way ahead of his time", etc.

Would you say Dawkins has made you reconsider your own views?

When I started reading the book, I was a believing Christian. By the time I put it down, I was an atheist. Would you say that qualifies as "reconsidering my own views"?

Sunset of Age
11-15-2011, 04:50 PM
Glad to see people mentioning Dawkins. "Atheists for Jesus" - I like that. :worship:
Yes, The God Delusion is awesome, but his The Selfish Gene is even better imho.

As for a lighter touch - Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

Sophocles
11-15-2011, 04:56 PM
Many of the best arguments in The God Delusion come from Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

Gagsquet
11-15-2011, 05:09 PM
Jean Jacques Rousseau: Discours sur l'origine de l'inégalité parmi les hommes (Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men)

star
11-15-2011, 05:17 PM
Today, along the lines of this topic, I would recommend: The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer.

http://www.michaelshermer.com/writing/wp-content/uploads/bc_believing_brain_cover.jpg

This book shows how brains are formed in order to find patterns and meaning in events. Sometimes the brain forms patterns which are not consistent with reality. Sometimes those pattern are even held to be reality by a majority of the populace, e.g. the sun revolves around the earth. Sometimes people find such bizarre patterns in events that we find they are insane. Sometimes, a person finds a pattern that no one else has ever found, and that person gets a Nobel Prize.

It is a fascinating book about how the brain actually works and what part of the brain is being used when we defend our positions and deeply held beliefs. It’s not the analytical part of the brain, but the emotional centers of the brain that are engaged. Sometimes for me the book was difficult and uncomfortable when it touched on areas of my deeply held beliefs, but that to me was a sign that my emotions were engaged rather than my reasoning.

Here’s a part of a blurb:

Dr. Shermer also provides the neuroscience behind our beliefs. The brain is a belief engine. From sensory data flowing in through the senses the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning. The first process Dr. Shermer calls patternicity: the tendency to find meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless data. The second process he calls agenticity: the tendency to infuse patterns with meaning, intention, and agency.

We can’t help believing. Our brains evolved to connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen. These meaningful patterns become beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which adds an emotional boost of further confidence in the beliefs and thereby accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive feedback loop of belief confirmation. Dr. Shermer outlines the numerous cognitive tools our brains engage to reinforce our beliefs as truths and to insure that we are always right.

Interlaced with his theory of belief, Dr. Shermer provides countless real-world examples of belief from all realms of life, and in the end he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not a belief matches reality.
http://shop.skeptic.com/merchant.mvc?&Screen=PROD&Store_Code=SS&Product_Code=b144HB

There are so many fascinating nuggets of information in the book that I could go on forever about it. For instance, people who have strong beliefs in the paranormal have more dopamine in their systems than people who are strongly skeptical of paranormal activity. There is even a genetic component to this.

Also Shermer states that the brain is very good about defending deeply formed connections it has already made. Darwin even had to fight against this phenomenon . Darwin said that he had great difficulty in remembering ideas or data that contradicted the theory of evolution that he was in the process of delineating — so much so that Darwin had to be rigorous in writing down every iota of contradictory evidence at once, so that he would not overlook it.

Or as Feynman, Noble Prize Laureate, once said: The easiest person to fool is yourself.

I think the book informed me and humbled me, but also gave me a new way of looking at debates and conflicts although I can’t say that it converted me to any particular belief. And I guess that’s perfect for a book that wants to promote skepticism.

shiaben
11-15-2011, 06:29 PM
Beautiful thread.

For me it has to be "A Brave New World".

I think a lot of what Huxley was implying through this book came out to be true. Instead of the world censoring information to weaken people's potentials, they try to use extraneous information by releasing it in the form of "spam".

Echoes
11-15-2011, 07:00 PM
"Letters to a Young Contrarian" by Christopher Hitchens is quite good, this is before he transformed himself into an unbearable neo-con.



How can you believe in "transforming". Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde in a way. I think the support for the War in Iraq perfectly fits in his doctrine. He always already believed in this war.



On another note I agree with Shiaben. If I compare Huxley to Orwell, I think the former's novel is much closer to present-day society than the latter, which is logical since Orwell's novel was not meant to be anticipating.

Har-Tru
11-15-2011, 07:06 PM
I read 1984 during the Bush years, after 9/11 and right during the first weeks of the Iraq war, and I thought it did fit that society perfectly.

Pfloyd
11-15-2011, 08:12 PM
Yeah, I went through that strict atheist phase too and with good reason, I was in an extremely fundamentalist Christian country, as the Dominican Republic is.

Dawkins comes out to me as too intense, it may have to do with the tone I percieve him to take at certain occasions. In any case, as far as the arguments against religion go, I prefer Harris to Dawkins.

Sure there are plenty of religious extremists that are way off, and it's always a good idea to aim for rational thought and believe what is real.

However, there are certain situations in which people who are suffering, like I've seen in the DR, or any other place in the world where there is no way out of the misery, in which talking about religion being mindless or wrong is simply not the correct moral position.

Now when we are in non-desperate situations then I'd agree that it it good to challenge these views.

Most strong believers simply won't stop believing, a small minority due change like you (or me for that matter), but I think it is much better to debate an honest doubter than a religious leader, imo.

And yes, Jesus is much more liberal than the Christian tradition usually shows in many ares. It is not incompatible at all to be for Jesus while being an Atheist so I agree.

Yes, you have changed your views. The reason I phrased the question this way is because I was not sure if you were still a Christian.

Edit: Anyway, it has a lot to do with me not liking Dawkins personally, but his argumentation vs. religion is correct. In any case, you are right that this is getting this thread off-course.

GOAT = Fed
11-15-2011, 08:15 PM
Also the Canterbury Tales is a lovely piece of poetry. It's much longer than a book, but it's not prose, but rather poetry. I would definitely recommend anyone to read it. The medieval English takes a bit time to get used to, but once you do Chaucer's work is really lovely. :hearts:

Clashcityrocker
11-15-2011, 08:39 PM
uncle tom's cabin

Echoes
11-15-2011, 09:31 PM
I read 1984 during the Bush years, after 9/11 and right during the first weeks of the Iraq war, and I thought it did fit that society perfectly.


Oceania's puritanism is no longer topical (where I'm living at least). Huxley describes a hedonistic materialistic world, with each individual being predetermined by "Technique". He was right.


The discursive analysis in 1984 - Newspeak - is of course still topical (and a brilliant one) . But that's an everlasting issue.

But I repeat, Orwell had no intention to make an anticipation novel. He first intended to name his book The Last Man in Europe or 1948.


Edit: A great book I could add to my list is "Dear Jihadists" by Philippe Muray (English version exists). :yeah: