Leonard Armstrong

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Book Review: The Better Angels of Our Nature

Book Review: The Better Angels of Our Nature

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has DeclinedThe Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book reads like the PhD thesis from a student who knows he has selected way too broad of a topic for his dissertation. Its goal is to convince that all manner of violent crimes and interpersonal actions have diminished over the years since... well, pretty much since the start of recorded history. Additionally it throws in the kitchen sink to make its point using everything from logistic regression to neurological biography to clips from The Honeymooners and lyrics from John Lennon. (Yes, I did say clips from The Honeymooners.)

Honestly, I should have known better. This audio book made its way to my reading list despite violating my rule of no books over 30 hours. In my experience, *any* audio book over 30 hours (approximately 600 pages) needs a better editor. And this one was not an exception. With good, editing this book could have come downs to its base positions with probably a 40% reduction of content volume. It gets 2 stars because behind what I saw as the self-indulgent facade of the author, there are a few good points and interesting positions taken.

But the real failure of this books comes near the end when a position is taken that, after the George W. Bush administration, non-intellectual leadership, nationalism and other forms of isolationism is a thing of the past. (My words, I don't recall the author's exact words.) In the Trump era this shows itself to be not only incorrect, but laughably so. In a mere 8 years of growing partisanship and tribalism, the complete antithesis of intellectual leadership is back is a way no one but a satire such as Idiocracy could have imagined. (If this book can site The Honeymooners in its text, I can site Idiocracy in my review.) Furthermore, the leadership of Donald J. Trump and the modern GOP is making quite obvious that worse angels of our nature can take forms of oppression to a more modern high.

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Book Review: Bad Blood - Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Book Review: Bad Blood - Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup