The short fiction reading list is testimony to the fact that I value content rather than style, plots or drama. Put another way, I'm more engrossed in my plot than others, and why limit yourself to 2.5D novelist character depictions when you can understand real life characters. The 2 exceptions below are because these 2 books were very educational to me when I was young, and their romanticist content is still appealing today. I still laugh when I read the dialogues.
- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand: This book is a romanticist depiction of the decline of US society. It has its heroes (enlightened capitalists) and villians (despotic & fence-sitting collectivists). This book was less of a novel and more of a philosophical expose, which appealed to me. Its a bit drawn out (at 1200 pages), but it was very compelling reading.
- The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: This book manifests in a court room drama placing the architectural standards of the day, and the moral values which underpin them in question. The fundamental values in question are egoism vs collectivism. Its a compelling concretisation of values, though I feel the characters lack empathy.... I suggest because the author did. I found it necessary to flick though some of the descriptive content because its overdone, and repetitive. Though that may reflect my preference.
I have always preferred non-fiction over fiction. This reflects my ambitions, and desire to find values that I can draw upon in my own life. I wondered around the Macquarie University and NSW libraries and never founded another philosophy so compelling....but then I've needed to add to it where I was not satisfied with it. The better philosophy books were:
- The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand: This is a very well-written and compact explanation of the Objectivist philosophy. It includes an essay by the current chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Dr Alan Greenspan on the role of government. His current policy is a diversion from that.
- The Philosophy of Objectivism by Leonard Peikoff: This book captures the fundamental schemes of Objectivism in a single book. Leonard Peikoff is the intellectual & commercial heir to the Ayn Rand legacy.
- Objectivism - taped lecture courses: A number of years ago I did a number of taped lecture courses by Leonard Peikoff. It was educational & humoress. The subjects were: Introduction to Objectivism, Understanding Objectivism, Philosophy of Education, Introduction to Logic, History of Ancient Philosophy, History of Modern Philosophy. See Second Rennaissance Books Online or the Ayn Rand Institute www.ari.org.
- Capitalism Online by George Reisman: This book is being distributed online. Its a long read, though I found his arguments terribly rationalistic. But it stands as a valuable summation of the current state of economic debate. I think its less solid than alot of the Objectivist material.
- The Roaring 2000's by Harry Dent: This was an interesting explanation of the relationship between market booms and population demographics.
- McDonalds - Behind the Arches by John Love: This was an interesting exploration of the development of McDonalds. It works as a business system, but food retention is still an issue for me.
- Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman: This was a good read. It highlighted the importance of empathy to me - applied to the realm of management theory. I was not swayed by the underlying values though, just by the practical need to 'get along' , to be practical. But its too late for me. I triedbeing nice when I was 17yo. It just didn't fit. Honesty seemed like the only intelligible standard to me.
- The E-Myth Business by Michael Gerber: This is an interesting book on how effective organisations should be structured.
- Sony – The Private Life by John Nathan (1999): This was good because it outlined the Sony philosophy. Revolutionaries at Sony by Reiji Asakura (2000): This looked more at the people responsible for the ascension of Sony Corp.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey: This was a good book on time management.
- Principle-Centered Leadership by Stephen Covey: I found this book as valuable, but his Christian values undermine its depth and integrity.
Self Improvement / Health
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki: Kiyosaki is a 2nd generation Japanese American. He makes a compelling argument for changing your life goals - with the focus being on investment. He writes simply. Read the books, but dont go to the lectures. That's his value adding - not yours.
- Life Strategies by Dr Phil McGraw: Dr Phil was 'discovered' by Oprah Winfrey, and he now has his own show. He writes simply & effectively on relationships, though I think other authors do a better job on 'life strategies'. He's a Christian, so the intellectual content only goes as deep as his best professor...people he often quotes.
- The Life Factor by Dr Ross Walker: This was a useful self-improvement book.
- The Energy Edge by Pamela Smith: This was a great book for nutritional & dietary info.
Japan in Focus
Anyone that knows me, knows I have a particular interest in Japan. This would surprise anyone who knows my politics, but in a way its a more interesting experience.
- Kawari by Milton Ezrati: I learned alot about the Japanese economic organisation from this book.
- Madame Butterfly by Karen Ma (1996): This is an older book, but was interesting to understand Japanese culture.
- The Japanese Mind by Robert Christopher (1983): This was a good book on understanding Japanese society.
My favourite movies are either offering intellectual content, have strong moral characters (heroes).
- The Thomas Crown Affair (1990s): This is a remake of the old version with Steve McQueen. The new version has a stronger story and scrip, and more real characterisation. It stars Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. Its perhaps my favourite.
- The Fountainhead (1956): This movie is in desperate need of a remake, but this is a great attempt.
- Braveheart: Starring & directed by Mel Gibson. Its a great story.
- The Shawshank Redemption: This is another good story, but it doesnt strike me emotionally.