Welcome back.  I hope everyone is finding the book selections interesting and/or entertaining.  I hope my descriptions on why these books are important aren’t boring anyone.  If they are….well too bad.  It’s my blog and we only have 7 more books to go. :-)


In seventh place is a book that may be the most important one I’ve read over the last year or so.  It’s called Terrestrial Energy and it’s written by William Tucker.  What makes this book so important?  It posits the single best energy plan that I’ve seen to date.  It explains why we need to rethink the types of energy we are using mainly due to the relative energy densities of these technologies.  Mr. Tucker starts out with a detailed discussion of global warming.  He gives what is the most complete and fair discussion of the topic I’ve seen.  He talks about the scientific theory behind the arguments for and against man made global warming.  Although I don’t necessarily agree with his conclusions that man is definitely warming the planet and that this could progress to a runaway situation that would be disastrous, I at least feel that the entire subject was rationally addressed and while his arguments show some reason for concern, he doesn’t give weight to those who treat man made global warming as a new religion.

The rest of the book is just phenomenal.  He goes through the entire history of human energy use, from wood, to coal, to oil, to nuclear and everything else that is being tried.  He talks about the good and bad points of each type of energy.  He debunks the “green energy” crowd by showing that the impact to our environment would be larger due to them than due to the energy we have today.  He shows clearly where we went wrong by fearing nuclear energy and not working to make the technology safe for many years thanks to Jimmy Carter’s decision to stop reprossessing spent nuclear fuel and the hysteria created by the movie “The China Syndrome” and the Three Mile Island incident and the Chernobyl disaster. While the failure mode posited by the China Syndrome has never been physically possible in an American nuclear plant, it happened at Chernobyl due to poor reactor design.  Carter’s fear that plutonium from reprocessing could be used to create weapons is shown to be nonsensical since Carter, as a nuclear engineer for the Navy, should have known that no one could separate the 4 isotopes of plutonium resulting from reprocessing.  This decision creates a much larger nuclear waste problem than there needs to be.  If France can solve these problems, why can’t we?

In the final analysis, Tucker proposes that we convert our base energy generation to nuclear (including reprocessing) with solar energy to be used for “peaking power” as the only possible way to wean ourselves off of coal (eliminating the biggest contributor of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere) and oil (the reasons for this are obvious).  If you’re not sure this book would be of interest to you the at least read Mr. Tucker’s article entitled “There’s No Such Thing As Nuclear Waste” available in many places on the internet by searching Google, or by clicking the link I’ve so thoughtfully provided.


In sixth place we have an all time classic.  It’s Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People.  This is the book that started the whole field of Human Relations.  Every single leadership, team building, team work or interpersonal skills training course I’ve taken over the years, and I’ve taken a rather large number of them, has used this book as it’s basis.  Mr. Carnegie was a genius at figuring out how to deal with people.  What’s interesting is that it all makes common sense when you look at it, but the lessons are not always intuitive.  Recently, one of my posters brought up the “Platinum Rule”.  Do unto others as they would want you to.  This pretty much sums up the tome in one sentence.  The main concepts discussed in the book are:

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six Ways to Make People Like You
1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
2. Smile.
3. Remember that a man’s Name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
5. Talk in the terms of the other man’s interest.
6. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.

Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
1. Avoid arguments.
2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never tell someone they are wrong.
3. If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
4. Begin in a friendly way.
5. Start with questions the other person will answer yes to.
6. Let the other person do the talking.
7. Let the other person feel the idea is his/hers.
8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
9. Sympathize with the other person.
10. Appeal to noble motives.
11. Dramatize your ideas.
12. Throw down a challenge.

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
2. Call attention to other people’s mistakes indirectly.
3. Talk about your own mistakes first.
4. Ask questions instead of directly giving orders.
5. Let the other person save face.
6. Praise every improvement.
7. Give them a fine reputation to live up to.
8. Encourage them by making their faults seem easy to correct.
9. Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.

I could try to explain how helpful this book can be, but years of success by the many people who have read this book speak louder than I can.  Just suffice it to say that if everyone read this book and implemented even half of the concepts, this would be a much more pleasant and productive world.



In fifth place I have a toss up.  Two books by the same author, either of which I could put in this spot.  The author is Brian Greene, a brilliant theoretical physicist from Columbia University.  The first book, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory is the easiest read of the two books.  Of course, neither would be considered an easy read by the average person.  However, this book starts out by providing the single best explanation and visualization of the various Laws of Relativity I’ve ever heard of.  Mr. Greene has the ability to take concepts that are as complicated as the most accomplished scientists deal with, and make them somewhat understandable to readers with an interest in science.  I mean really.  While this book didn’t introduce me to a 10 dimensional universe, by the time I finished reading it, I felt that not only did I finally really grasp Einstein’s theories of General and Special Relativity, but I also could follow conversations about String Theory, Brane Theory, Calabi-Yau manifolds, and quantum gravity.  Now at one time in my life, I earned an engineering degree.  However, it has been some time since I did so my mathematical skills have atrophied.  This book provides an understanding of the basic concepts of theoretical physics without requiring a PhD. in mathematics.

The other book by Brian Greene that belongs here is The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality.  This book is even more interesting than the first one, but much more mind bending.  Mr. Greene really takes on a challenge here discussing whether or not there is a true reality or not.  This book borders on philosophy, but uses actual physics theories to discuss the topic.  These theories were not available to the philosophers of the past and make for some very interesting comparisons.  The complexity is continually expanded to include the nature and direction of time, trying to apply string theory as a unifying Theory of Everything to finally unite the cosmological and quantum worlds, the origin of the universe and supersymmetry.  I’m aware that much of this will sound like gobbledygook to most people reading this, but this book is the one that really started me thinking about time, the nature of time and the possible purpose of time.  This directly led to my thinking about what being outside of time would have to mean to a Creator of the universe.

While these two books are near the top of my list of books everyone should read, I have to admit, they are not for everybody.  These books should be read by people with a basic understanding of scientific principles and theories.  Having an interest in understanding the ultimate nature of the Universe helps as well.  However, their importance to me in understanding enough of current theoretical thinking on the ultimate nature of the universe can’t be understated.  For this reason, I’m including them both here.

Next up we have some more entertaining entries in spots 4, 3 and 2.