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What are your favourite non-fiction books/genres ?


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I'm a bit obsessed with anything on social psychology, especially cognitive biases, why we make dumb decisions and how we are influenced by outside forces, usually without knowing it.

I read Influence by Robert Cialdini a decade or more ago and saw there was an updated version.

Even though the original was brilliant I wasn't too bothered about the newer version until I heard Cialdini being interviewed and realised it had been extended and updated with a lot of new research.

Utterly brilliant. So much so, that I bought the hard copy as well as the audible version to take notes in.

If more people learned why and how we make decisions and how marketers and authority figures (like Governments for example) manipulate that process to guide people to make decisions in their favour, then the less we'd all get conned.

Most people think they make logical decisions, but if you don't know what influenced that process it's literally impossible to know that.

This book will make anybody smarter, if perhaps a tad more cynical.

I used to read a LOT of fiction, but rarely do these days and with the help of Audible get through about a book per week, so always interested in suggestions.

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I read lots of books on WW2. Usually split into key battles/campaigns. My usual go to authors are Anthony Beevor and James Holland.

They are both forensic in their research, ploughing through soldiers memoirs and military records. They offer little in terms of philosophy or emotions, but faithfully plot out the most important years of the 20th century. 

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Rock musician bio/auto bio. Pete Way, Dave Ghrol, Bon Scott, Bob Daisley, Tony Iommi, Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy bassist at same time as Randy Rhoads) are good examples. In addition Noel Monk who managed Van Halen during the early years is also worth a read. Even if you are not a fan of that genre of music, these give a good insight into life on the road and behind the scenes.

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16 minutes ago, sage said:

I read lots of books on WW2. Usually split into key battles/campaigns. My usual go to authors are Anthony Beevor and James Holland.

They are both forensic in their research, ploughing through soldiers memoirs and military records. They offer little in terms of philosophy or emotions, but faithfully plot out the most important years of the 20th century. 

I have Operation Mincemeat on the go at the moment. Fascinating stuff and incredibly well researched too.

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10 minutes ago, TimRam said:

Rock musician bio/auto bio. Pete Way, Dave Ghrol, Bon Scott, Bob Daisley, Tony Iommi, Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy bassist at same time as Randy Rhoads) are good examples. In addition Noel Monk who managed Van Halen during the early years is also worth a read. Even if you are not a fan of that genre of music, these give a good insight into life on the road and behind the scenes.

For somebody as insanely into music as I am I've read very few books on the topic and I know I would enjoy them>

A biography of The Jam and Boy George's autobiography are all that come to mind.

With the latter I was reading it on my honeymoon and in it he outed George Michael. I turned to my wife and said 'As if George Michael is gay!" She responded with 'Yeh, facial hair, always wearing a white vest and leather trousers, prances about on stage with another guy, how could he be gay?"

Apparently I was the only person who didn't know he was gay.

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13 minutes ago, Bob The Badger said:

I have Operation Mincemeat on the go at the moment. Fascinating stuff and incredibly well researched too.

Interestingly, I'm just starting a book on the Sicily Campaign and expect the deception involved to feature heavily. I bought this one as it's the part of the war I know least about.   

Edited by sage
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It wont surprise anyone on here to discover I read very little.

When I do... usually when lounging around on a Spanish villa terrace... It's been a while!... it is almost always a biography.  The odd comedian, but more often than not, a footballer, and again mostly Rams related.

 

I currently have the following downloaded to my 'phone, but to my shame, I haven't clicked on any of them since before shutdown 1...

ROY MAC 
Pride
Peter Crouch - How to be a footballer
Frank Lampard - Totally Frank
Steve Bloomer - Destroying Angel

A chapter to go on The Roy Mac one, not even "opened" the others yet!

With my reading history, that little lot should keep me going well into my 80's!  🤣  (I blame this forum... offers me all the reading material I could desire!)

 

Favourite so far? 

This... arguably "Without a doubt"... Obviously more to it than just footy, footy, footy, but what an absolute legend and a true gent!

51p7lsiyeKL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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9 hours ago, Bob The Badger said:

For somebody as insanely into music as I am I've read very few books on the topic and I know I would enjoy them>

A biography of The Jam and Boy George's autobiography are all that come to mind.

With the latter I was reading it on my honeymoon and in it he outed George Michael. I turned to my wife and said 'As if George Michael is gay!" She responded with 'Yeh, facial hair, always wearing a white vest and leather trousers, prances about on stage with another guy, how could he be gay?"

Apparently I was the only person who didn't know he was gay.

He gave my wife a kiss, and signed her jeans after a gig once. 

I always point out she probably turned him gay.

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Currently reading Will Buckingham - 'Hello, Stranger' (how to find connection in a disconnected world.) It explores stories of loneliness, exile and friendship, both ancient and modern and from a wide variety of cultures and looks at how we set aside our instinctive distrust of strangers  and instead embrace a love of strangers and newness. It is a fascinating book, easy to read and full of insight. It's an uplifting antidote to a world which sometimes seems to be increasingly fragmented. Please give it a go. 👍

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Books about walking particularly in the mountains if ever in need of a pick up then any of Wainwright’s Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells do it for me. Having said that favourite book is Waterlog by Roger Deakin arguably the catalyst for the wild swimming craze we have today, a spellbinding read.

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I've recently read 'Uncommon People', by David Epworth. Basically, he takes one year from the birth of Rock and Roll, and focuses in on the most important story of that year, from Little Richard to Nirvana. Great read, if a little out of date.

Then I read 'Englands Dreaming', by Jon Savage, his account of the Sex Pistols and Punk.

Now in its 3rd reprint and update, but a great read for those interested in that period.

 

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Sage, have you read' The Feather Men' by Ranulph Fiennes?

It is a novel based on the aftermath of the secret war in Oman during

the 1960s

In 2001 I had to fly back to the Uk for my fathers funeral, and picked this up at

the LA Airport bookstore, hoping to find something to take my mind off the Journey.

It really is a fantastic read,  the edge of your seat stuff, and also good for the

history buff.

I can definitely recommend this - was blown away to find out that it is true life and

not fiction as i had supposed.

 

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2 hours ago, DesertRam said:

Sage, have you read' The Feather Men' by Ranulph Fiennes?

It is a novel based on the aftermath of the secret war in Oman during

the 1960s

In 2001 I had to fly back to the Uk for my fathers funeral, and picked this up at

the LA Airport bookstore, hoping to find something to take my mind off the Journey.

It really is a fantastic read,  the edge of your seat stuff, and also good for the

history buff.

I can definitely recommend this - was blown away to find out that it is true life and

not fiction as i had supposed.

 

No. Not read it. Its not something I know tonnes about. I want to go to Oman one winter, so will buy it then. I like to take 2 books on holiday, 1 of which is set where I am going. Usually a fiction one, but this could work. 

Thanks for the tip.

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I mostly read political theory and history with some novels and other politics books thrown in too. On the history side I tend to dig into American political history, intellectual history, modern middle eastern history, the second world war, and ancient history. 

I am trying to read more novels than I used to so I can diversify my reading list somewhat. I do love the wolf hall trilogy (not an overall fan of Hilary Mantel), a bit of Dostoyevsky, Aldous Huxley, William Boyd, Hannah Yanagihara, Alaa Al Aswany, Hans Falada, Charles Dickens, Michel Houellebecq, Martin Amis (for the correct novel) william Boyd, and Bill Bryson (not fiction but he's such a fun read). 

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On 02/10/2021 at 09:30, Bob The Badger said:

I'm a bit obsessed with anything on social psychology, especially cognitive biases, why we make dumb decisions and how we are influenced by outside forces, usually without knowing it.

I read Influence by Robert Cialdini a decade or more ago and saw there was an updated version.

Even though the original was brilliant I wasn't too bothered about the newer version until I heard Cialdini being interviewed and realised it had been extended and updated with a lot of new research.

Utterly brilliant. So much so, that I bought the hard copy as well as the audible version to take notes in.

If more people learned why and how we make decisions and how marketers and authority figures (like Governments for example) manipulate that process to guide people to make decisions in their favour, then the less we'd all get conned.

Most people think they make logical decisions, but if you don't know what influenced that process it's literally impossible to know that.

This book will make anybody smarter, if perhaps a tad more cynical.

I used to read a LOT of fiction, but rarely do these days and with the help of Audible get through about a book per week, so always interested in suggestions.

I publish nonfiction books, so a great thread obviously!

Cognitive bias isn't really my area, even though it's interesting, but Robin Hanson is one of my authors so I started The Elephant in the Brain off, but knew I was leaving the company so made sure he had a good editor to take it over: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elephant_in_the_Brain. His Overcoming Bias blog and the partner site Less Wrong by Eliezer Yudkowsky are also well worth a deep dive.

Edited by Carl Sagan
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