Books I Read in 1996
Books are listed in reverse chronological order
by David Carradine.The
star of my favorite television show when I was a teenager, Kung Fu, tells
all--in 647 entertaining, well-written pages. The original manuscript was
longer but the publisher told Carradine to cut it down. I could have easily
read a few hundred more pages about this man's unbelievable life, which
might be described aptly as one continuous adventure.
Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. I know, you
are dumbstruck that I somehow managed to wait this long to read this classic.
(But I'm 42 now, so isn't it appropriate?) Actually, I really have been
meaning to read this book for a long time because I was getting stuck in
the computer game for the Apple IIe based on the book and I thought reading
it might help. Also, I really enjoyed Adams's book, Dirk Gentley's Holistic
Detective Agency. However, someone had already given away the answer
to the Ultimate Question, so I lost one reason for reading the book. I'm
glad I finally read the book and I was highly amused by the fake ultimate
question concocted at the end of the story. I look forward to reading the
rest of Adams's "trilogy."
a Son, by Don and Jeanne Elium. My wife, Carolyn,
is always on the lookout for books about raising sons because we have four
boys. For better or worse, I am usually more prone to acting and reacting
instinctively toward my boys as opposed to finding and applying formulas
suggested by others. I read this book anyway and it did not persuade me
to change my ways. The book is a crazy quilt of ideas, a mishmash of oversimplified
biochemistry and evolutionary psychology, Jung, Piaget, psychotherapeutic
odds and ends, and men's movement ideology.
The Moral Animal,
by Robert Wright. The title is intended to be ironic. This
is an accessible book overviewing evolutionary psychology. Wright uses
an unusual device I found quite engaging: He presents annecdotes from Charles
Darwin's own life that illustrate the general evolutionary principles he
describes. The book is so well-written and informative that I may assign
it in one of my psychology classes. Here's a good review
of The Moral Animal.
Odyssey of Michael Jordan, by Bob Greene. I love
biographies. I love basketball. (I used to love baseball, too, until my
Clemente, died.) I would rather play basketball than watch it or read
about it, but Greene tells the the story of Michael's move from one sport
to the other and back again with a nice, understated style. My favorite
part of the entire book is a quotation from Michael Jordan that resonates
with my own views on morality : "I can't understand
that kind of thinking," Jordan said. "That I can be called selfish because
I want to do something with my life-- but that the people who would have
me do something else, because they think it provides them pleasure, aren't
selfish. Is that what they're saying--that if they want me to do something
to please them, and I don't do it, then I'm the one who's being selfish?"
... "I just don't like being told I'm selfish because I do something that
I think might be good for me. ... How many people get called selfish for
making decisions about their own lives? It's crazy." (p. 185).
Restoring the American Dream, by Robert J. Ringer. The
for Self-Government sent me this book (and a lot of information about
Libertarianism) when I sent them an $8.00 donation. I wasn't sure I'd like
it enough to read it; like a lot of other communalists, I dissed Ringer
(author of Looking Out for #1) throughout the 80s for glorifying individualism
and ignoring communal needs. But, three chapters into the book, I got hooked.
I don't agree with everything he says, but 90% of his remarks are so reasonable
that they are absolutely compelling.
Books DrJ read in 1995
Why Government Doesn't
Work, by Harry Browne.
Browne authored one of my all-time favorite books, How I Found Freedom
in an Unfree World, a book I often assign to students in my Personal
Well-Being and Adjustment class. I flipped out when I discovered he was
running for president. I'm a registered Democrat, but this Libertarian
definitely has my vote.
Books DrJ has read this year
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John A. Johnson