Audio, Video, and Books


Inventions of the Great War audio pdf/txt
  • interesting book full of ww1 know-how
  • claims the best submarine-detection techniques used in the war are still classified at the time of writing, and are thus missing
  • the tone predictably follows the maxim about the winners writing history, and is slightly dismissive of german innovations
  • in the public domain
The Right Way to Do Wrong audio pdf/txt
  • reminders that most crime doesn't pay much
  • detailed techniques of professional criminals of the era
  • in the public domain
A German Deserter's War Experience audio online
  • invasion of Belgium
  • battle of the Marne
  • examples of casual kindness and casual cruelty perpetrated by both soldiers and civilians
  • overall seems more realistic than most accounts of ww1
  • in the public domain
Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity audio text
  • befores and afters of financial panics since the 1980s
  • describes moods and general assumptions at the time of each upheaval
The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements audio text
  • explicitly generalizes to both religious and political ideologies
  • key behavior of true believers is independent of specific dogmas
  • several insights into the dynamics of intense personal belief
  • several insights into the dynamics of group behavior
  • many of the smaller points are detabable
  • followers as potentially exchangeable/convertable among competing movements, especially those which are most violently opposed to each other; arguably not always true empirically, but gives interesting examples in favor of this point
  • repeatedly hits too close home for many people: plenty could easily despise this book out of sheer denial
  • Mr. Eisenhower and Mrs. Rodham-Clinton have both recommended the book to staff and collaborators, deeming it a strategically valuable guide
The Lessons of History audio text
  • philosophical points about history
  • tries to reach very high-level insights and stay general
  • the goal of equality in society is doomed to biological/ecosystem failure: the authors get it, which is a rare achievement
The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature audio text
  • evolution keeps requiring more to stand out, so to speak
  • the sexes as nothing more than an evolved truce (self-enforced physical separation in different chromosomes) among gene groups after a long and extremely wasteful competition
  • rat-race-like dynamics apply not just to biological evolution, but also to business, culture, and society
  • 1993
    The Selfish Gene audio text
  • much of human/animal behavior has ultimately biomolecular roots, despite plenty of naysayers
  • author seems commited to honesty, even to the point of coming at odds with his own political beliefs
  • there is no conscious manipulation of living creatures, since nucleotide chains (genes) have no conscious desires: all such talk is a metaphor
  • 1976
    Fooled by Randomness audio text
    • luck plays a greater role in life than commonly acknowledged
    • we're not wired to intuitively tell luck (good or bad) from skill
    The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable audio text
    • the non-linear dynamics of society
    • luck is like a great multiplier of talent
    • claims a few rare events have disproportionate impact on history and societies, compared to much commoner and more predictable ones
    • the analogy of Mediocristan vs. Extremistan: in the first, the mean is a useful summary, while in the latter it's a meaningless metric due to its highly skewed winner-take-all nature

    Tutorials, Lessons, and Interviews


    A Star is Born
    • original movie which inspired 3 later remakes
    • in the public domain
    • also on YouTube
    Amadeus a fictional movie about Mozart's life 1984
    F for Fake
    • a clever movie about deception
    • philosophical musings about life and reality
    War and Peace arguably the best movie adaptation of the famous russian novel 1966
    The Truman Show unknown to him, the protagonist's life, both private and public, is a reality tv show which has been going on since his birth 1998
    Goodfellas widely regarded as one of the most realistic movie depictions of mafia gangsters 1990
    2001: A Space Odyssey sci-fi movie with religious/mystical undertones 1968
    • a largely historically-accurate depiction of Napoleon's final defeat
    • enormous cast used for the battle scenes
    Solaris sci-fi movie focused more on character psychology than crazy gadgets and special effects 1972
    Flags of Our Fathers the events behind the mythology of the iconic flag photo from the battle of Iwo Jima 2006

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