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Common Sense
Thomas Paine
0486296024
Apr 1997
Paperback
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Book Review
"These are the times that try men's souls," begins Thomas Paine's first Crisis paper, the impassioned pamphlet that helped ignite the American Revolution. Published in Philadelphia in January of 1776, Common Sense sold 150,000 copies almost immediately. A powerful piece of propaganda, it attacked the idea of a hereditary monarchy, dismissed the chance for reconciliation with England, and outlined the economic benefits of independence while espousing equality of rights among citizens. Paine fanned a flame that was already burning, but many historians argue that his work unified dissenting voices and persuaded patriots that the American Revolution was not only necessary, but an epochal step in world history. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From...


History of Philosophy
Julian Marias
0486217396
June 1966
Paperback
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Book Description
Thorough and lucid survey of Western philosophy from pre-Socratics to mid-20th century—major figures, currents, trends. Valuable section on contemporary philosophy—Brentano, Ortega, Heidegger, others. "...brevity and clarity of exposition..."—Ethics.


Sophie's World
Jostein Gaarder
0425152251
Mar 1996
Paperback
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Book Review
Wanting to understand the most fundamental questions of the universe isn't the province of ivory-tower intellectuals alone, as this book's enormous popularity has demonstrated. A young girl, Sophie, becomes embroiled in a discussion of philosophy with a faceless correspondent. At the same time, she must unravel a mystery involving another young girl, Hilde, by using everything she's learning. The truth is far more complicated than she could ever have imagined.

From Publishers Weekly
This long, dense novel, a bestseller in the author's native Norway, offers a summary history of philosophy embedded in a philosophical mystery disguised as a children's book-but only sophisticated young adults would be remotely interested. Sophie Amundsen is about to turn 15 when she receives a...


The Art of Living
Epictetus
006251346X
May 2004
Paperback
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Book Review
"Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can't control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible." The Stoic philosopher Epictetus was born on the eastern edges of the Roman Empire in A.D. 55, but The Art of Living is still perfectly suited for any contemporary self-help or recovery program. To prove the point, this modern interpretation by Sharon Lebell casts the teachings in up-to-date language, with phrases like "power broker" and "casual sex" popping up intermittently. But the core is still the same: Epictetus keeps the focus on progress over perfection, on accomplishing what can be accomplished...


The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions
Karen Armstrong
0375413170
March 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Having already recounted "a history of God," the redoubtable Armstrong here narrates the evolution of the religious traditions of the world from their births to their maturity. In her typical magisterial fashion, she chronicles these tales in dazzling prose with remarkable depth and judicious breadth. Taking the Axial Age, which spans roughly 900 B.C.E. to 200 B.C.E., as her focal point, Armstrong examines the ways that specific religious traditions from Buddhism and Confucianism to Taoism and Judaism responded to the various cultural forces they faced during this period. Overall, Armstrong observes, violence, political disruption and religious intolerance dominated Axial Age societies, so Axial religions responded by exalting compassion, love and justice over selfishness and hatred. Thus, the...


God Created the Integers
Stephen Hawking
0762419229
Oct 2005
Hardcover
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Book Review
"God created the integers," wrote mathematician Leopold Kronecker, "All the rest is the work of Man." In this collection of landmark mathematical works, editor Stephen Hawking has assembled the greatest feats humans have ever accomplished using just numbers and their brains. Each of the 17 sections opens with a historical introduction of the featured author, and proceeds to a faithful translation of their most famous work. While most mathematicians will already have complete editions of Isaac Newton's Principia or Georg Cantor's Contributions to the Founding of the Theory of Transfinite Numbers, this book is unique in presenting just the best bits of these and other theoretical works. The collection spans 2,500 years and covers a vast range of theories: the parallel postulate, Boolean logic, differential...


Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers
Michael Connelly
031615377X
May 2006
Hardcover
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Book Review
Book Description:
From No. 1 bestseller Michael Connelly's first career as a prizewinning crime reporter--the gripping, true stories that inspired and informed his novels. Before he became a novelist, Michael Connelly was a crime reporter, covering the detectives who worked the homicide beat in Florida and Los Angeles. In vivid, hard-hitting articles, Connelly leads the reader past the yellow police tape as he follows the investigators, the victims, their families and friends--and, of course, the killers--to tell the real stories of murder and its aftermath. Connelly's firsthand observations would lend inspiration to his novels, from The Black Echo, which was drawn from a real-life bank heist, to Trunk Music, based on an unsolved case of a man found in the trunk of his Rolls Royce. And the vital...


History of Western Philosophy
Bertrand Russell
0671201581
May 1976
Paperback
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Ray Monk
"A History of Western Philosophy remains unchallenged as the perfect introduction to its subject. Russell...writes with the kind of verve, freshness and personal engagement that lesser spirits would never have permitted themselves. This boldness, together with the astonishing breadth of his general historical knowledge, allows him to put philosophers into their social and cultural context... The result is exactly the kind of philosophy that most people would like to read, but which only Russell could possibly have written."

Book Description
Since its first publication in 1945? Lord Russell's A History of Western Philosophy has been universally acclaimed as the outstanding one-volume work on the subject -- unparalleled in its comprehensiveness, its clarity, its erudition, its grace...


Zero
Charles Seife
0140296476
Sept 2000
Paperback
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Book Review
The seemingly impossible Zen task--writing a book about nothing--has a loophole: people have been chatting, learning, and even fighting about nothing for millennia. Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, by noted science writer Charles Seife, starts with the story of a modern battleship stopped dead in the water by a loose zero, then rewinds back to several hundred years BCE. Some empty-headed genius improved the traditional Eastern counting methods immeasurably by adding zero as a placeholder, which allowed the genesis of our still-used decimal system. It's all been uphill from there, but Seife is enthusiastic about his subject; his synthesis of math, history, and anthropology seduces the reader into a new fascination with the most troubling number.

Why did the Church reject the use of zero? How did mystics of all...



A History of Pi
Petr Beckmann
0880294183
September 1989
Hardcover
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Review
"A pure delight . . . Entirely offbeat, which gives it its charm." --The Denver Post "A very readable account." --Science "A cheerful work." --Scientific American --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description
The history of pi, says the author, though a small part of the history of mathematics, is nevertheless a mirror of the history of man. Petr Beckmann holds up this mirror, giving the background of the times when pi made progress -- and also when it did not, because science was being stifled by militarism or religious fanaticism.


Basic Writings of Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
0679783393
Nov 2000
Paperback
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Book Review
A better title for this book might be The Indispensable Writings of Nietzsche. Indeed, the six selections contained in Walter Kaufmann's volume are not only critical elements of Nietzsche's oeuvre, they are must-reads for any aspiring student of philosophy. Those coming to Nietzsche for the first time will be pleased to find three of his best-known works--The Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good and Evil, and On the Genealogy of Morals--as well as a collection of 75 aphorisms drawn from Nietzsche's celebrated aphoristic work. In addition, there are two lesser known, but important, pieces in The Case of Wagner and Ecce Homo. Kaufmann's lucid and accurate translations have been the gold standard of Nietzsche scholarship since the 1950s, and this volume does not disappoint.

Anyone who has slogged their way through the swamps of...



Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson
Mitch Albom
0385484518
January 1997
Hardcover
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Book Review
This true story about the love between a spiritual mentor and his pupil has soared to the bestseller list for many reasons. For starters: it reminds us of the affection and gratitude that many of us still feel for the significant mentors of our past. It also plays out a fantasy many of us have entertained: what would it be like to look those people up again, tell them how much they meant to us, maybe even resume the mentorship? Plus, we meet Morrie Schwartz--a one of a kind professor, whom the author describes as looking like a cross between a biblical prophet and Christmas elf. And finally we are privy to intimate moments of Morrie's final days as he lies dying from a terminal illness. Even on his deathbed, this twinkling-eyed mensch manages to teach us all about living robustly and fully. Kudos to author and acclaimed...


A Beautiful Mind
Sylvia Nasar
0743224574
Dec 2001
Paperback
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Book Review
Stories of famously eccentric Princetonians abound--such as that of chemist Hubert Alyea, the model for The Absent-Minded Professor, or Ralph Nader, said to have had his own key to the library as an undergraduate. Or the "Phantom of Fine Hall," a figure many students had seen shuffling around the corridors of the math and physics building wearing purple sneakers and writing numerology treatises on the blackboards. The Phantom was John Nash, one of the most brilliant mathematicians of his generation, who had spiraled into schizophrenia in the 1950s. His most important work had been in game theory, which by the 1980s was underpinning a large part of economics. When the Nobel Prize committee began debating a prize for game theory, Nash's name inevitably came up--only to be dismissed, since the prize clearly...


The Universe Next Door
James W. Sire
0830827803
June 2004
Paperback
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From AudioFile
This fourth edition of Sire's work continues his investigation into, and comparison of, different world belief systems or "worldviews" ("Weltanschauung" in the German.) The author examines and explains the basics of such "isms" as theism, deism, existentialism, "New Age" philosophy, and postmodernism. Grover Gardner, who is never one to disappoint his readers, doesn't miss a beat in this production. Sire's work is an easy-to-read work, and Gardner reads as though he is the author. He has the confidence of someone who has command of his subject. His subtly expressive voice is deliberate, but never pedantic. M.T.F. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Book Description
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Essays and Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Peter Norberg (Introduction)
159308076X
March 2004
Paperback
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Fermat's Enigma
Simon Singh
0385493622
Sept 1998
Paperback
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Book Review
When Andrew Wiles of Princeton University announced a solution of Fermat's last theorem in 1993, it electrified the world of mathematics. After a flaw was discovered in the proof, Wiles had to work for another year--he had already labored in solitude for seven years--to establish that he had solved the 350-year-old problem. Simon Singh's book is a lively, comprehensible explanation of Wiles's work and of the star-, trauma-, and wacko-studded history of Fermat's last theorem. Fermat's Enigma contains some problems that offer a taste of the math, but it also includes limericks to give a feeling for the goofy side of mathematicians.

From School Library Journal
YAAThe riveting story of a mathematical problem that sprang from the study of the Pythagorean theorem developed in ancient...


Essays and Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Ralph Waldo Emerson
1593083548
August 2005
Hardcover
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Descartes' Secret Notebook
Amir D. Aczel
0767920333
Oct 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. What Aczel did for mathematician Fermat (Fermat's Last Theorem) he now does for Descartes in this splendid study about the French philosopher and mathematician (1596–1650) most famous for his paradigm-smashing declaration, "I think; therefore, I am." Part historical sketch, part biography and part detective story, Aczel's chronicle of Descartes's hidden work hinges on his lost secret notebook. Of 16 pages of coded manuscript, one and a half were copied in 1676 by fellow philosopher and mathematician Leibniz. For him, Descartes's inscription of the cryptic letters "GFRC" immediately revealed his association with the occult fraternity of the Rosicrucians—Leibniz was also a member. The notebook also revealed to Leibniz a discovery made by Descartes that would have transformed...

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