August 18, 2009

Summer reading list

Too many books, too little time.

I have been in a book club for over two years now. It has been pretty enjoyable meeting every other month to discuss the latest reads. We've read classics, chick lit, short stories, memoirs and even a couple clunkers. We've all been exposed to books we probably never would have picked up otherwise. We've spun off on other topics when we get together, and last month we were laughing 'til we cried.

But it is ironically cutting into my reading time. The stack of books I want to read is getting larger, not smaller. I have a physical pile of books sitting on top of the CD rack, an electronic stack of 40 books on, and a "Save or Later" file on the Kindle. Plus, several authors have been giving away free Kindle versions of their books as a promotion, and I have been snapping up lots of those as well. I don't know when I'll get to them all.

But I keep adding to the stack. Some are recommendations, books I've seen reviews on, but some just grab me with their titles. #40 and 41 are The Myth of the Rational Market:
The efficient market hypothesis—long part of academic folklore but codified in the 1960s at the University of Chicago—has evolved into a powerful myth. It has been the maker and loser of fortunes, the driver of trillions of dollars, the inspiration for index funds and vast new derivatives markets, and the guidepost for thousands of careers. The theory holds that the market is always right, and that the decisions of millions of rational investors, all acting on information to outsmart one another, always provide the best judge of a stock's value. That myth is crumbling.

and In Praise of Doubt.
The answer, according to world-renowned sociologists Peter Berger and Anton Zijderveld, is doubt. Not the stupefying doubt of relativism where we become incapable of any decision because we are overwhelmed by options, but a virtuous use of doubt that allows us to move forward boldly with strong moral convictions without caving in to the fanatic's temptation of seeing everyone who disagrees with you as the enemy. How we as individuals and as a society can find this ideal balance is the subject of this deceptively simple but revolutionary work.

Both sound pretty interesting and topical. I'll let you know if they're any good, whenever I get to them.

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