Friday, August 29, 2008

Prolong your holiday's reading with Paul Sussman

I'm in the mid of "The Last Secret of the Temple" - the fantasy/fiction/historical thriller.
It's very good, captivating reading (listening in my case :-).

The plot of the book is deeply rooted in the Middle East conflicts, that are presented quite objectively - from both sides.

If one compares this book to something well known - the good comparison is "Da Vinci Code", but this one is more realistic. (Don's Brown "reality" conflict of Opus Dei with the world is somehow inflated..)

The full review will come here, as soon as I finish it.

So far - so good - strongly recommended - good holidays reading !!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Bubble of American Supremacy by George Soros

That was my third book of Soros. In it Soros goes high with his critique of George Bush and latest events involving US on a global scene. He argues that after September 11th attacks, American government abused its principles and launched the mistaken "War on Terror". Even though I had the opposite view - I must admit that Soros's arguments are very convincing and after reading the book, one starts to questions the view that Iraq war was just war and that Bush administration was legitimate in that action....

But the book has a dose of optimism. It is in Soros constant promotion of Open Society idea.The part of the book describes his activities in promoting the Open Society in Russia and other Central and Eastern Europe countries. The book has its special meaning today - in the year of the presidential elections in US....
Strongly recommended !!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thou great star! What would be thy happiness if thou hadst not those for whom thou shinest!

Finishing reading Thomas Common translation of Nietzsche's "Thus spoke Zarathustra..." is a queerish experince while immersing into Mishnah ....

Weeks ago I read latest Polish translation of the book done by Sława Lisiecka and Zdzisław Jaskuła . But the classical English translation of Thomas Common has some different flavor.
It is a bit more poetic and more imaginative - but of course this is difficult to confirm when you can not read it in original (I can not ...).

If I was to make my final summary of "Thus spoke Zarathustra..." it is not, unfortunately, very positive. In short words, Nietzsche tries to build the meaning, the goal, the utter sense for man on the ruins of meaninglessness and nihilizm of our civilization (as it was in XIX century and was even more in XX...), but what he propheses is insufficient. His will to power, recurrence and superman related ideas, emerging from "Thus spoke..." narrative just can not be taken as apealing proposal after XX century. And it is not for trivial conotation of his superman idea and nazism... It is because of lack of any realistic ground for his new morality and new goals. His superman is a solitary hero, who attempts to find the ground in himself only. There is no God, and I could forgive him this error (sic !), but ... there is no other man - no The Other, no Other face. "I and thou" - is almost missing from Nietzsche proposal.

And when the ground is missing, the tower he built is like one errected on sand. It did not stand for historical challenge - XX century misuse of his thought ...

The only thing which I could say, after writing this post is that Nietzsche was apparently aware of his fate and the fate of his thought. I close this entry by the quote:

"I know my fate. One day my name will be associated with the memory of something tremendous--a crisis without equal on earth, the most profound collision of conscience, a decision that was conjured up against everything that had been believed, demanded, hallowed so far. I am no man, I am dynamite." (Ecco homo)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Mishnah

This entry is just a signal - not yet a review. Well how it could be possible to make a review of such Book...
I slowly, but regularly read Jacob's Neusener "The Mishnah. A New Translation." To be correct, I still read the introduction to it. And it is incredible ...

Just two citations:

"The Mishnah talks of this worldly things, but the things stand for and speak of another world entirely."

and

"This language is filled with words for neutral things of humble existence. It does not speak of holy things and is not symbolic in its substance. This language speaks of ordinary things, of things which everyone must have known. (...) but (it) expresses a deeply embedded ontology and methodology of the sacred, specifically of the sacred within the secular, and of the capacity for regulation, therefore for sanctification, within the ordinary...."

This is another reality, reality worth to know ....

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The puzzle solved: THE GREATEST MINDS & IDEAS OF ALL TIME

Of course it was William Durant choice, made in "The greatest minds & ideas of all time".
Years ago I read his "The story of Philosophy" and it was just great.
There is something about "The greatest minds ..." that is not in accord with his objectiveness...

See the list of 10 greatest poets he selects: Homer, David the Psalmist, Euripides, Lucretius,
Li-Po, Dante, William Shakespeare, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Walt Whitman
I have not to say that Keats, Shelley or Whitman were not great poets, they were...
but if they are here - where is Goethe, Pushkin, Baudelaire ?
I think his selection was a bit biased...

And all the book seems to me a bit pompous and overoptimisitc....

Friday, August 08, 2008

The New Paradigm for Financial Markets - conclusions

The book itself is not very long, so I could finish it while coming back from Paris.
In the later part of the book Soros elaborates on his theory of reflexivity and how it helps in the understanding of the current financial crisis. The theory replaces traditional "equilibrium" theories that laid ground to strong market fundamentalisms - that claim that market are always right. He proves that sometimes they are not.....
The book concludes with interesting suggestions, addressed particularly toward market regulators. One of his propositions says that regulators should care more about credit expansions and not just about monetary face of financial system.

The book is great - a year ago I read Alchemy of Finance, but for me it was more technical, so I even did not dare to post a review here. The "New Paradigm" is different. It is intriguing and breathtaking.....

Last but not least - it's nice to hear Soros talking about the ideas and about the size of the crisis.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/jan-june08/soros_05-13.html

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Reading while in Paris: Gorge Soros's "The New Paradigm"

"The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crash of 2008 and What It Means"

This is the book I started to read in Paris. It's quite different from my "holiday's readings" that you can see here. Soros analysis of what we perceive today as the financial crisis is deep. No question about that.

Traditionally, we think the current crisis is just "subprime" lending crisis. It is not. This is just the effect. The cause is deeper and has roots in processes and trends almost 10 years old.

Particularly I was intrigued by the conclusion that the cut of the rates of federal funds by Fed (from 6.5% to 3.5%) in the course of just few months of 2000, caused by Internet bubble, and the trend that get it down to 1% by 2003, has created a long term bubble in housing markets....
The examples he gives, are just breathtaking and almost unbelievable....

As in "Alchemy of Finance" he writes about his life's experiences and how thay influence his philosophy and activity. I know, Soros is controversial. But he explicitly says about the philosopher who was his master: Karl Popper. For this very reason I value Soros, as I'm also a pupil of Popper, and his Open Society ideas ....

I'm in the mid of the book now, I will write more when finished.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Shadow of the Wind - The Aftermath

Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Shadow of the Wind is indeed a great and powerful novel. In addition to fantastic reading experience it offers a lot of philosophical and moral implications.
And all with a dose of good humor and in very imaginative way.
I also strongly advice to read/listen to Carlos' interviews. One of them (in English) is added to Audible.com audio version of the book.
What is interesting there is to discover how honest and humble to us, his readers is Carlos.

And, finally - all is about the Love ....

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Shadow of the Wind - Power of imagination - Power of Spirit

I started to read Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Shadow of the Wind.
Increadible book. Imaginative and captivating. I promise to write more when I finish it - I hope in few days ...

Kate's Sepulchre - The After Reading Impressions

I finished it - mixed impressions ... Too many ghosts and devils but ... the plot's constructions and the implications (your family roots do matter ...) are the real values. Besides that - as I wrote before it was fantastic reading for vacations. The ending of the book - the book-in-the-book idea is used in a very good and unexpected way.

Finally - I gave my good recommendation for this book to all of you.

Four days of silence ....

I was outside any "connected world", outside any electronic books...
I was in total solitude canoeing on two wild rivers Bukowina and Łupawa in Northern Poland.
Pictures (about 300 ...) will come later.
The only things I was reading deep into the nights, against starry sky were: Tomer Devorah and Mesillat Yesharim by Moshe Luzzatto. At this moment I will not comment about these lectures ... Too deep feelings ....
After the silence I finished the Sepulchure (see next entry) and started to read "Shadow of the Wind" - the second after an advice from my beloved daughter.... See next entries ....