Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Annotated Table of Contents: Society 02

Minority Report: HL Mencken's Notebooks. If you have not read something by H.L. Mencken, you have missed one of the truly memorable misanthropes in civilization, who wrote in a style that infuriated most of his readers. He is a wall-to-wall critic of almost everything to be encountered in American society in his own day and today, and each of his shafts brings from readers the response, “Damn it, he’s right!” Well, half-right anyway.

 Selling Sickness. Ray Monihan and Alan Cassels. Ordinary people with common complaints are being turned into patients by pharmaceutical companies who market drugs through doctors and directly to consumers.

 The Road Ahead. William H Gates, III. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, predicts the changes in the world that will happen because of the computer and the Internet—in 1995. He is almost dead right. “ There will be a day, not far distant, when you will be able to conduct business, study, explore the world and its cultures, call up any great entertainment, make friends, attend neighborhood markets and show pictures to distant relatives—without leaving your desk or armchair.”

Solitude: A Return to Self. Anthony Storr. An in-depth analysis of the nature and uses of solitude. Interesting anecdotes. However, the author concludes that happiness comes from both personal interrelationships as well as  solitude. Took a whole book to arrive at what appears to be plain common sense.

 Some Good in the World: A Life of Purpose. Edward J. Pyszek with Jake Morgan.  This book, little known, perhaps, outside of the Philadelphia, Pa, area and possibly in Poland, is the great American success story. Emphasis on “life of purpose.”

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