Book Summaries and Reviews
This list comprises all of my book review and book summary posts (except for the parenting book summaries located here.)
Smedley Butler was one of the most decorated generals in American history. Butler's moral courage was a match for his physical courage. When he retired from the military, he took the unusual step of pointing out that war is a racketeering scheme in his 1935 book, War is a Racket. I review the book here.
Most of what we know about ethics is wrong, and unless we get our act together soon, humanity is doomed. That is, according to The Zombies (On Morality), a just released book by Josh Bachynski. Our lack of appropriate ethics is the basis of all of our problems. The Zombies is available for free. See my full review and video interview here.
In Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes, Ellul diverges from previous scholarship - he considers propaganda to be a sociological phenomenon that we cannot live without. This post summaries Ellul's book and shows how to escape propaganda.
“Who says organization, says oligarchy," states Robert Michels, a German historian who produced one of the most scathing assessments of government ever written. Michels is best known for Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy, published in 1915. The book positively begs us to examine the maxim that power corrupts. Read more here.
Book Round-Up Posts
These posts provide summaries of multiple books:
These books changed my perspective on politics. Here are the best 5 books to read for a deeper understanding of government and political events.
This popular guest post was written by philosophy professor Greg Sadler. Here he lists the absolute best 10 books for beginning philosophy readers.
Common Sense Ethics' Recommended Reading List
Want to know what's on my bookshelf? This list of my favorite books comprises a partial bibliography of sources that I have used to write the Blog. Everything here I highly recommend buying and reading. Click to view on Amazon. (I may earn a small commission from any book purchases).
The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future.
Riane Eiseler. 2011.
The partnership society enjoyed by the Minoans in ancient Crete could serve as a model for a future where one gender or group doesn't attempt to exploit others.
Delphi Complete Works of Cicero.
Marcus Tullius Cicero.
I can't say enough about the quality of this translation. And the price is unbeatable!
Musonius Rufus: Lectures and Sayings.
Essential text by my favorite Stoic, the "Roman Socrates," about the education of children, Stoicism and women, the proper role of a Stoic practitioner, and more.
Philosophy as a Way of Life; Spiritual Exercises From Socrates to Foucault.
Pierre Hadot, 1995.
Moving, thoughtful book about Western philosophy as mediation and spiritual exercise, not just academic discourse.
Plato Not Prozac! Applying Eternal Wisdom to Everyday Problems.
Lou Marinoff. 2000.
Philosophy - the original form of therapy and self-analysis - can help us to lead better lives. Appendix is particularly interesting and useful.
Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes.
Jacques Ellul. 1973.
One of my all-time favorite books by the erudite Frenchman, Jaques Ellul. More frightening than Orwell, Ellul explains how through technology, modern propaganda has become all encompassing.
Plato's best known work. An essential Socratic dialog about how we should best organize our political community.
Stoicism (Ancient Philosophies).
John Sellars. 2006.
Pretty much the most authoritative scholarly overview of Stoic philosophy drawn from all of the surviving works, with interpretation, written for both experts and novices.
Classical Thought (A History of Western Philosophy).
Terrence Irwin. 1988.
Covers 1000 years of Classical philosophy from Homer to Augustine.
The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence.
Gavin DeBecker, 1998.
When is it OK not to be polite? Fundamental victimology text on how to avoid potentially dangerous people and situations.
One of the world's most famous books, Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius' journal has long inspired me and millions of others.
Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations.
Jules Evans, 2013.
How the author used a combination on ancient philosophy and therapy to overcome mental illness.
Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy.
Robert Michels, 1915.
This incredible work, one of the classics of sociology and political science, is just as mind-blowing today as when it was first published a century ago.
Reason and Responsibility: Readings in Some Basic Problems in Philosophy. 11th Ed.
Joel Feinberg. 2001.
Introductory reader for teaching yourself philosophy.
Romancing The Shadow: A Guide to Soul Work for a Vital, Authentic Life.
Connie Zweig. 2009.
How accepting your own darker tendencies can be a path to healing, emotional richness and vitality.
Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier.
Robert Emmons. 2008.
How to put the emotion of happiness into practice by focusing on what you can control.