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Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany
Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany
by Norman Ohler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Hitler, 11 July 2017
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Over the years opinions of Adolf Hitler has changed from evil genius to skilled public speaker that was militarily incompetent and suffered from comically bad flatulence! This book adds another piece to the puzzle of understanding Hitler, it claims that he, the civilians and army where smashed out of their heads on drugs.

This tale of woe starts with Dr Theodor Morell been accused of being a Jew which is not a good thing in Nazi Germany. In order to deal with this he joined the Nazi Party which resulted in him becoming more successful.

One of Morell's specialties was vitamin injections. Little was know about vitamins at the time and obviously somebody suffering from vitamin deficiency needs vitamins but Morell's vitamin injections had a little extra, he added a stimulant, for men he added testosterone (causes energy and muscle building) and for women he added nightshade( for energy and seductive eyes). Morell's spiked vitamin injections soon became popular with German high society with people such as athletes, politicians and movie stars flocking to his practice for their energy boost.

Morell met Hitler at a dinner in the villa of Heinrich Hoffmann, and when Hitler complained about stomach pains that he had for years, Morell suggested a cure. A few days later at a private conversation with Hitler Morell suggested that Hitler's stomach problems could be fixed with a dose of healthy gut bacteria and Hitler could be given energy boosts with injections of heart, liver, chalk, iodine and vitamins. Hitler did not like doctors who questioned him to find the root of his problems with Morell there was none of this, just a quick injection and Adolf felt better again. The first years of Morell's treatment cured Hitler of his stomach pain and the vitamin shots gave him energy.

Germany's economy was doing well meaning plans for war became more realistic.

Germany at the time was the world centre of drug development, amazing world changing discoveries such as aspirin where been made but unfortunately when drugs are first discovered the side effects can take years to figure out, leading to situations such as Heroin initially been sold as a remedy for headaches!

The German firm Temmler found a way to synthesize meth and started mass producing it under the name Pervitin. The effects on the user include feeling wide awake, increases in energy, intensified senses, increases in self confidence, euphoria and subjectively faster thinking.( this is similar to the effects of adrenaline which makes sense as meth is chemically similar, but meth works more gently and lasts longer) Because meth is long lasting it damages the mind at higher doses as the mind cannot handle such intense activity over a long time. At the time the side effects were not known and Temmler did not bother to research, Pervitin was marketed on such benefits as a energy boost, depression cure and female libido enhancer.

Pervitin became a massive success, everybody was taking it including the Nazi Party. It became a symptom of the developing high performance society.

Otto Ranke, the leading defence physiologist in the Third Reich was interested in figuring out a cure for fatigue and decided to give Pervitin proper testing. Medical officers where given either Pervitin, caffeine or placebos(fake pills) and tested on maths and logic problems through the night until 4pm the next day. The people given Pervitin were still wide awake and ready after over 10 hours of concentration but the test sheets showed some problems, people on Pervitin were worse at abstract thinking, calculations were performed faster but more mistakes were made, concentration and attention during more complex questions had not improved and only small increase in less high-level tasks. Pervitin kept people from sleeping but it did not make them any smarter. Ranke recommended it for rousing weary soldiers.

Despite the results, the government where not interested in larger studies but news spread among young medical officers who started using it as a performance enhancer but unfortunately students that took Pervitin did worse in their exams not better. Ranke canceled another Pervitin experiment and sent a letter to the other institute directors about possible dangers of addiction. As the invasion of Poland loomed closer, medical officers snapped up all the Pervitin they could, the invasion of Poland would be a large scale uncontrolled use of Pervitin without the understanding of correct dosages.

The invasion of Poland on meth went well, the soldiers reporting effects such as alertness, energy, confidence and euphoria but concerns remained.

Among the German civilian population Pervitin was been used for a huge number of things such as hay fever, shyness, seasickness, depression, baby blues, basically anything that caused discomfort. In autumn, the Reich Health Officer Leo Conti stepped in on concerns that the entire nation were becoming addicts and long term side effects, he made Pervitin prescription only in November 1939 but the chemists ignored him so the ban made no difference and the military were not bothered either.

The Nazis planned for the invasion of France, the Germans lacked the resources for a long war and the French had what was considered the best army in the world and help from the English meaning the Germans were outnumbered as well. The Nazis decided on a risky surprise attack via the poorly defended Ardennes, hopeful they could burst through this weakly held point and rush forward quickly before the French and English could respond. Based on the experience in Poland, Pervitin was expected be vital for the attack, it would allow the army to rush forward day and night, not stopping for rest.

The attack on France was a stunning success, the Nazis charged forward with their tanks and did not stop day and night, the stunned allies could not handle such as relentless drive forward expecting the Germans to stop for supplies, securing the ground they gained and to rest, but no, thanks to Pervitin there was no need for rest and the Nazis swept through the entire country in just 17 days.

Hitler was struck by the massive success of the attack, he had actually done little in the attack as the tank groups have operated independently of him. Fearing the army would take all the glory Hermann Göring suggested the German air force be allowed to finish off the allies at Dunkirk, Hitler agreed and ordered the army to stop so the air force could deliver the final blow. The plan did not work very well as clouds blocked the planes view and the RAF provided air cover to the allies, the army begged Hitler to change his mind but he did not, Hitler would show the army he was in charge not them and so the allies managed to escape. (The halt at Dunkirk remains controversial among historians and I not sure this book covers all the details)

The side effects of such heavy meth use started to become apparent, some older officers had died from heart problems. Low drive and depression were reported, the more the user had used Pervitin the worse they were, but no worries just take some more Pervitin to sort the problem out! Of course, this only makes the side effects worse meaning you need even more Pervitin. Ranke whitewashed the inquires on Pervitin and ironically he himself was now addicted.

Morell started manufacturing vitamin tablets containing rosehip powder, dried lemon, yeast extract, skimmed milk and refined sugar. Using Hitler as a celebrity endorser it became very successful.

The English press reported the German use of drugs, the Germans denied it saying only individuals had used it in small quantitys. Rising concern over side effects caused Conti to declare Pervitin to be an intoxicant but the civilians and military just ignored him.

In the autumn of 1941 Hitler's performance took a dip and he appeared to be in a "narcotic trance", could it be something to do the Morell's pills and injections?

When the Germans invaded Russian they used the same tactic of relentless charge forward with tanks relying on Pervitin to not have to rest, initially they did well but Russia was too big a country to be charged through quickly, even troops on meth have to rest eventually. Despite huge losses the Russians started to offer effective resistance, the tide of battle turned and the Germans started losing.

Adolf Hitler fell ill and Morell's normal injections did not work, Morell switched to stronger stuff such as the steroid glyconorm. Hitler got better but Morell was concerned Hitler might fall ill again so switched to more harder stuff such as Orchikrin(anti depressant), Homoseran (body building supplement), Tonophosphan(metabolic stimulant) and Testoviron(libido and vitality).
The exact combination of injections changed from day to day so Hitler never had the impression of becoming dependent on any one thing, a total of over 80 different substances(some of which were psychoactive) from steroids to quack remedies were injected into Hitler.

As a person gets used to a drug their tolerances build up and to get the same result requires higher doses but higher doses cause more health problems. By not wanting to switch from quick fix solutions Morell was slowly poisoning Hitler.

Hitler became increasing out of touch with reality refusing to accept the fact the Germans were starting to lose. He had now pretty much given up on public speaking, the high from mass ovations replaced with highs from Morell's needle.

Hitler was ill again and Morell's treatment did not work. Morell wanted to use the opioid Eukodal but was worried that Hitler would get addicted, but he had no choice as Hitler had an important meeting with Mussolini coming up. The Eukodal injection worked wonders and Hitler was full of energy taking three hours non stop at the meeting. Morell's records say he gave Hitler 24 Eukodal injections by the end of 1944 but there may have been more, Morell had bought a firm that produced opium allowing him to get all the opium he wanted without prescription.

German leaders came to the bunker to discuss increasing allied air raids on German cities, Hitler gave a speech about his unshakeable conviction about imminent victory, the guests return to their bombed out cities thinking Hitler's confidence was the result of some special innovation, when in reality it was drug fueled delusion.

Hitler was increasing hostile towards anybody that looked tired or ill. He fired people simply because they looked unwell. Because there was no sick room in Hitler's bunker, Morell was the person staff turned to for pick me ups, getting in their good books. Pervitin was considered the most effective substance for a general to survive a briefing with Hitler.

Hitler started having problems with shaking hands and Morell was increasing popular with Nazi high command resulting in tiredness so he started taking his own stuff.

A attempted assassination of Hitler by bomb left him badly injured with numerous injures such as burst eardrums. Dr Erwin Giesing, a ear, noise and throat specialist started treating Hitler with cocaine( a common pain killer at the time) Hitler really liked the cocaine( it gets rid of self doubt and encourages megalomania) and Giesing became concerned and stopped treatment despite Hitler's wishes. Hitler went on strike refusing to take interest in the situation in the east and Giesing gave in as long as Hitler consented to a full medical examination. Hitler got his cocaine in such a high dose he lost consciousness.

By mid October 1944 Hitler had dropped coke and was relying on Eukodal whose dosage had doubled in comparison to the previous year to 0.02 grams, almost 4 times the typical medical application.

Giesing became concerned that Hitler's megalomania and bad heath was the result of Morell's anti-gas pills. Morell demonstrated the pills had nothing to do with him but concern was also expressed over Morell cleaning his needles with alcohol. Analysis of the pills showed toxic substance levels too low to matter and Hitler trusted Morell's new cleaning needles with alcohol method.

Hitler's shaking was getting even worse and his veins were now so wreaked that even a expert shot giver like Morell could hardly penetrate them. Morell wanted to stop injecting for a while so previous puncture marks could heal but Hitler refused.

Probably as a result of frequent Eukodal, Hitler had terrible constipation so Morell prescribed camomile suppositories which had explosive results which Morell documented in great detail.

By the second half of 1944 the Nazis were in full retreat, Pervitin proved useful again but this time for non stop day and night retreats.

On 19 December 1944 Hitler requested Pervitin due to excess of work, and Ernst Gunther Schenk (Heinrich Himmler's nutrition adviser) claims that Hitler was taking it before then as well.

On 24 February 1945 Hitler gave a speech to district leaders. A shortage of drugs caused by allied bombing meant Hitler was going cold turkey, his shakes were much worse and he was bowed and drooling. Hitler had little of the charisma he once had, he promised new super weapons that would turn the tide but the crowd were not convinced.

Hitler's condition worsened, his skin was yellow, his teeth decayed and started falling out and he rambled about subjects like Churchill and the Jews. Morell wanted to try bloodletting to give Hitler some relief, but due to fatty, hormone-saturated pig's liver injections Morell had administered, Hitler's blood was as thick as jelly and clotted immediately.

On 19 March 1945 Hitler ordered the complete destruction of Germany, but the order could not be carried out due to lack of resources. Morell continued injecting Hitler with what ever he could find, which was not much. On the 17 April with the Russians closing in, Hitler ordered Morell to leave and go home and about two weeks later Hitler shot himself.

The Americans tracked down Morell and interrogated him for nearly two years, but he was incoherent with little useful information so they let him go outside central station in Munich, The once great doctor to Hitler cowered shoeless until a half-Jewish Red Cross nurse took pity on him and put him in a hospital where he died about a year later.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 27, 2017 11:02 AM BST

When We Were Bouncers: Famous Actors, Athletes And Others Tell Insane Stories Of Their Days Behind The Velvet Rope
When We Were Bouncers: Famous Actors, Athletes And Others Tell Insane Stories Of Their Days Behind The Velvet Rope
Price: £4.17

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 18 Mar. 2016
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This book is a collection of actors/stuntmen/ professional fighters experiences when bouncing. I think it is best summed up with an example, so here is one from Pat Miletich

"Back in the early 90s, I was working with two other bouncers at a club whose name I forget -- it was up on the hill in Davenport [Iowa], on Harrison St. The place was owned by a guy named Little Joe, who also owned a bunch of strip clubs in the area. For some reason, Joe thought it would be a good idea for this particular club that I was working at to have a Hip-Hop Night.

Now, I warned him against it, since there was a lot of gang activity in the area and I figured there’d be a lot of fights and stuff, but he went on ahead with his idea and had his first Hip-Hop night during a massive snowstorm. Sure enough, a bunch of gang-bangers from nearby Rock Island [Illinois] -- which we used to call “Little Chicago” -- rolled in, along with some other bad guys from Davenport. Pretty soon the place was packed, with me and the other two bouncers being the only white guys in the joint.

It didn’t take long before some rival gangs got into it, and of course the three of us had to dive in to try to break it up. But the crowd didn’t take too kindly to some white boys trying to break up their fight, and so they all joined forces against us!

As soon as the brawl kicked off, I had no idea what was happening to the other bouncers because I was totally preoccupied with fending for myself. Right away I got clamped in a side headlock by somebody, which actually ended up working in my favour because the guy’s head was pressed against mine and protected me on that side.

A lot of the guys were wearing their coats inside, so I was able to fight back by grabbing them by their jackets. Every time I got hold of someone, I’d pull him in and put his head on one side of mine with the headlock-guy’s head still pressed against the other. That protected me on both sides, and it kept anybody from getting clean shots on me.

Who I had by the jacket, I’d pull his lapel across his throat and choke him unconscious with it. Then I’d drop him, grab another guy, and repeat the process. I left a trail of four or five bodies as I worked my way toward the door, with the dummy who was headlocking me never realizing that he was helping me out the whole time. When I finally got to the door, I slid backwards out of the headlock and snatched the guy in a standing rear choke, then backed outside while using him as a human shield.

In spite of the giant snowstorm, a bunch of the gang-bangers were already outside, waiting to jump any bouncer who made it out of the club. I kept my head down as they swarmed me, and dragged my guy out to the middle of the street by which point he’d gone completely limp.

I was just letting him slide out of my arms, when someone came up on my blind side and smashed me in the side of the head with a brick! Lucky for me, I instinctively managed to roll with it, and even though it put a pretty good lump on my head it didn’t hurt me too bad.

The guy yelled out “YEAH!!!”, thinking that a shot that solid would put me down, but I just turned around and looked at him and his jaw dropped like he’d seen a damn ghost! (laughs) He didn’t even have time to raise his hands as I rifled a straight right into his face, and he was still collapsing to the pavement when three squad cars came flying up the street.

The cops barely managed to get out of their cruisers before the crowd had them completely surrounded, and then I realized that I was the only bouncer who’d even made it out of the club. It was just me, five cops and three German Shepherds standing in an outward-facing circle, surrounded by swirling snow and a hundred screaming, cussing people trying to attack us from all sides.

Somehow, we managed to hold them off until enough additional cops arrived to get things under control, but to this day I still think about how ugly that scene could have gotten. Thankfully, the other two bouncers ended up being okay, and I went home that night with nothing worse than a big lump on the side of my head. "

As you would expect there is lots of violence, gruesome injures, drugs and other things that bouncers have to deal with. A lot of the stories are not as interesting as the above example but overall I found the book to be a interesting read.

Snapping: America's Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change
Snapping: America's Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change
Price: £7.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Terrifying, 12 Mar. 2016
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I think that this book is best summed up with this quote
"Almost every major cult and cult-like group we came upon teaches some form of not thinking or “mind control” as part of its regular program of activity.The process may take the form of repetitive prayer, chanting or speaking-in-tongues, self-hypnosis or diverse methods of meditation. As countless studies have shown, such techniques, when practiced in moderation, may yield real physical and mental health benefits, feelings of inner peace relaxation and a calming of nervous tension. Extended practice may bring on euphoric transcendent states: emotional highs, feelings of bliss, and a pleasing lightness of mind and body. In such states, a person may have sensations of being in intangible realms or alternate realities. He may see divine visions, receive spiritual communications, or experience breakthrough moments of revelation or enlightenment.

Prolonged stilling of the mind, however, may wear on the brain physically until it readjusts, suddenly and sharply,
to its new condition of not thinking. When that happens, we have found, the brain's information-processing capacities may be disrupted or enter a state of complete suspension, producing states of mind that incorporate many other symptoms of information stress and disease: disorientation, detachment, ongoing altered states, hallucinations, delusions and, in extreme instances, total withdrawal."

The book has numerous non magical explanations from what is going on in the brain, for example certain breathing techniques can cause hallucinations from hyperventilation. There is some theories on how the mind works and Chaos Theory is suggested as a way of understanding what is going on.There is some very interesting observations on the similarities of non thinking techniques to sensory deprivation. Snapping caused by information overload, stress along with the similarities to PTSD is covered. Famous cult events such as the Jonestown Massacre and Waco siege are covered. There is also a very interesting study of ex cult members concerning the long term mental damage such techniques can cause to somebody's mind.

I find the thought that somebody's mind can be attacked and controlled under the pretense of becoming enlightened, stress reduction, self improvement etc to be terrifying and a grim example of why getting involved with these groups to "see for yourself" is a very dangerous thing to do.

The Confidence Game: The Psychology of the Con and Why We Fall for It Every Time
The Confidence Game: The Psychology of the Con and Why We Fall for It Every Time
Price: £5.22

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's a sucker born every minute?, 30 Jan. 2016
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This is a book about cons, here is a rundown of each chapter's contents along with what I think are the most important parts.

This chapter introduces the grifter( conner) and mark(victim), are some people born grifters, it is nature or/and nurture that creates them? Contrary to what you might think there is no such thing as a typical mark, different people fall for different scams and emotional turmoil can make people more susceptible to scams in general.

This chapter covers how the grifter finds the mark and discovers their weaknesses. Familiarity and trust are used to seduce the mark. Fake fortune tellers are used to illustrate these points.

This chapter is how powerful emotions can override people's logic and reason, when delivered through a compelling narrative it makes for potent stuff. Different emotions effect people in different ways effecting how they can be duped.

The rope is the persuasion used by the grifter, some examples are claiming to be an authority figure(because people respect and obey authority figures), asking for a small amount then once the mark says yes asking for a large amount ( works better than just asking for a large amount because giving a small amount puts the person in a giving mood), or the opposite asking for a huge amount that is rejected then asking for a smaller amount ( works better than just asking for the smaller amount because the mark feels guilty for turning down the large amount). The that's-not-all where the grifter keeps bolting claim on to claim making the purchase sound better and better, this approach gets better sales than just hearing the offer right away. Or the grifter can just try overwhelming the mark with too much information rendering them unable to make sensible decisions.

The average person thinks their above average and can spot a scam, other people might fall for those kind of things but not them, this is their lucky break, they deserve this great opportunity because they are special. Unfortunately this kind of thinking makes people easier to scam, and most tragically of all when the scam is over the "I am too clever to fall for scams" belief makes it harder for people to admit to themselves they have been scammed.

People have a unrealistic bias towards a happy future so if things are going well now they believe it will continue in the future, the Ponzi scheme is a classic example of a scam that works well until it eventually fails, "well it appears to be working" would be valid justification only in the short term. Also people don't want to jump ship on something doing well, the thought of losing out on something they could have had is not nice.

When the mark starts losing out, they have a dilemma, do they drop out or keep going? The mark can often double down thinking they can endure the current problems actually deepening their commitment, having to admit they are been scammed can be painful and conflict with their current beliefs (cognitive dissonance).

The send is where the mark is recommitted, that is asked to invest increasing greater time and resources into the con artist's scheme and in the touch, the con finally comes to fruition and the mark is completely irrevocably fleeced. The sunk cost fallacy means that people stick with things because they have already invested in it and do not want to lose what has been invested already. Once we have invested heavily it comes hard to be objective and warning signs are ignored. The things we have gain the "endowment effect" becoming all the better just because we own it.

The blow off is how the con ends and the fix is dealing with the angry mark, The mark may not realise they been duped so then no fix is needed and even if the mark does realise they have been had they might decided to do nothing for fear of social embarrassment of having been conned.

This chapter focus on religious cons, specifically cults as the ultimate example of the con.
"Nobody joins a cult, Sullivan repeated often and emphatically. People join something that will give them meaning. “They join a group that’s going to promote peace and freedom throughout the world or that’s going to save animals, or they’re going to help orphans or something. But nobody joins a cult.” Nobody embraces false beliefs: we embrace something we think is as true as it gets. Nobody sets out to be conned: we set out to become, in some way, better than we were before.

Con artists, at their best and worst, give us meaning. We fall for them because it would make our lives better if the reality they proposed were indeed true. They give us a sense of purpose, of value, of direction.
That, in the end, is the true power of belief. It gives us hope. If we are endlessly skeptical, endlessly miserly with our trust, endlessly unwilling to accept the possibilities of the world, we despair. To live a good life we must, almost by definition, be open to belief, of one form or another. And that is why the confidence game is both the oldest there is and the last one that will still be standing when all other professions have faded away.

Ultimately, what a confidence artist sells is hope. Hope that you’ll be happier, healthier, richer, loved, accepted, better looking, younger, smarter, a deeper, more fulfilled human being— hope that the you that will emerge on the other side will be somehow superior to the you that came in."

This book is a very interesting read not just for the information about cons but about the nature of belief. I could nit pick some parts and religious people may find the book offensive but I thoroughly recommend it.

Philosophy for Any Life: an open-source self-help book
Philosophy for Any Life: an open-source self-help book
Price: £3.30

5.0 out of 5 stars American Stoic, 22 Jan. 2016
This is a self help book based on an american take on the Stoic school of Hellenistic philosophy.

I think that the book is best described with a example chapter


The Social Animal

Look at who they really are, the people whose approval you long for, and what their minds are really like. Then you won't blame the ones who made mistakes they can't help, and you won't feel a need for their approval. You will have seen the sources of both – their judgments and their actions.

—Marcus Aurelius

To accept the imperfection in other people is essential to freeing yourself from the hold of negative emotion. It is a matter of tempering your expectations, learning to live with the flaws of others just as you learn to live with your own flaws. Until they no longer bother you or surprise you.

And so, too, must you not be concerned with their opinion of you. To not be surprised if someone takes what you say and gets the wrong idea. What can their opinion do to hurt you? The approval of others does nothing for you once you die. And it does equally little in this life. So why do you care so much about their opinion of you? Simple – we’re programmed to live in groups. But that notion is no longer related to our survival, and as a result we can – and often do – go too far

You no longer need to worry about what others think of you. It can be useful to, sure, and in most cases helps to trust your instincts and your evolution. Your social life demands this of you. But when differences of opinion occur or situations escalate, consider stepping back until you understand what’s going on. Don’t learn passivity, but learn understanding. It may very well turn out that you are justified in your actions or negative opinions of others. But more often than not, you will find out that your opinion is simply not necessary. There’s nothing objective about it – you’re submitting to your ego in place of reason. If you’re honest with yourself, the negativity is a product of your own actions. You can eliminate that negativity and be free of these negative emotions whenever you decide to.

Ill will is a positive-feedback loop with a grossly negative effect. If you look for mistakes in anything you will surely find them. If you look for reasons to dislike people, they’re easy to find. To expect otherwise – that no one will ever act in a manner you don’t like – is to hold a fundamental delusion about the way the world is. It is unrealistic. It is natural to watch others and see what they do, and even natural to be disappointed. But to judge their actions, to say that what they do is truly good or bad beyond a gut reaction you feel, is to entertain a delusion: that things should be the way you want them to be, instead of the way they actually are.

It’s about power, and others are not within yours.

It’s about control, and learning to give this up. Or rather, realizing that it was never in your control to begin with, and accepting that it’s not. It’s useless to try and control others. It’s destructive to even try, and the moment that you attempt to, you become the aggressor, and your character is tarnished. Or rather, your character is revealed or made public, and in this clear light it is seen to be bad.
Bad actions stem from mistaken notions, which are always against what is good and natural in the world. In a way, it is not anyone’s fault that they are mistaken about what is good and natural. It’s up to all of us to figure out what that is, and once we do, to show others. Not in a demanding way, or through criticism, but to lead by example and to gently suggest when it’s appropriate. Aurelius writes
So in each case you need to say: ‘This is due to God.’ Or: ‘This is due to the interweavings and intertwinings of fate, to coincidence or chance.
Or: ‘This is due to a human being. Someone of the same race, the same birth, the same society, but who doesn't know what nature requires of him. But I do. And so I'll treat them as the law that binds us – the law of nature – requires.With kindness and with justice. And in inconsequential things? I'll do my best to treat them as they deserve.’

And so the fundamental distinction appears again: if another is mistaken and you are able to show them this fault (not for self-serving reasons or a desire to be right, but out of kindness for the other) and it is appropriate for us to do so, then we must. But if the matter is inconsequential, indifferent to anyone’s well-being, or if our saying something would be inappropriate given any number of factors, then you justly refrain. Aurelius is particularly insightful here – you know this thing is inconsequential; it doesn’t matter. So why do you keep focusing your attention on it? You already know it is inconsequential, so act like it and treat inconsequential things as such.

You can’t help that these things appear. You can’t change how other people are. But you can change how they affect you, “That sort of person is bound to do that. You might as well resent a fig tree for secreting juice. (Anyway, before very long you'll both be dead – dead and soon forgotten).”

It’s your fault for trusting a fool. It’s your fault for expecting someone else to be at all concerned with your feelings. If they’ve shown you concern before, that’s their choice to do so. But at any moment they may revoke it. So you must be prepared, you must know how to be indifferent to the actions of others, if you choose. Reflect on how fickle your own mind is, changing and doubling back without good reason. Other people are like that, but less forgiving than you are of yourself. Instead of taking issue with the person themselves, take issue with the nature of the human mind, “How their minds work, the things they long for and fear. Events like piles of sand, drift upon drift – each one soon hidden by the next.”

This does not cheapen your relationship in the slightest. On the contrary, it allows you to fully appreciate each gesture. To truly understand and accept someone, including all of their faults is the apex of honesty. Anything less is delusion. “To feel affection for people even when they make mistakes is uniquely human. You can do it, if you simply recognize that they're human too: that they act out of ignorance and sometimes against their better judgment. And that you'll both be dead before long. And, above all, that they haven't really hurt you. They haven't diminished your ability to choose.” You’ve diminished your own abilities – by dwelling on their actions, by letting them affect you, by losing sight of what is up to you and what isn’t.

Their mistakes point out what you shouldn’t repeat. Nothing more.

I am a big fan of Stoicism and any half decent stoic book is going to get good reviews from me, I was disappointed that certain cool stoic ideas are not in the book (for example using self-deprecating humor to defuse insults) but this is a good read for people wanting to learn stoic theories about life.

What Kind of Creatures Are We? (Columbia Themes in Philosophy)
What Kind of Creatures Are We? (Columbia Themes in Philosophy)
Price: £13.06

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 1 Jan. 2016
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This book is written by linguist and activist Noam Chomsky. The first three chapters are based on the Dewey lectures that Chomsky delivered in 2013 at Columbia University.

CHAPTER 1: What is language?
This chapter covers Chomsky's theories of language, subjects covered include the claim that language is a product of thought not communication and he defends his theory that all languages share a universal grammar.

CHAPTER 2: What can we understand?
This chapter is about the limits to our understanding of the world and the understanding that some problems may be mysteries("the new mysterianism") that may not be understandable by humans

CHAPTER 3:What is the common good?
This chapter covers Chomsky's political views such as corporations being oppressive organisations that need to be replaced with worker controlled groups. There is other related subjects such criticism of health care in the USA.

CHAPTER 4:The Mysteries of Nature: How Deeply Hidden?
This chapter continues with the limits of understanding and the acceptance of mysterianism.
Creating theories that don't explain certain things became acceptable based on the assumption that we can not know everything.

I think the layman may find the book a bit hard to follow at times, here is a example:
"A broader thesis is that linear order is never available for computation in the core parts of language involving syntax-semantics. Linear order, then, is a peripheral part of language, a reflex of properties of the sensorimotor system, which requires it: we cannot speak in parallel, or produce structures, but only strings of words. The sensorimotor system is not specifically adapted to language in fundamental respects: the parts essential for externalization and perception appear to have been in place long before language emerged. "

This book contains many profound statements about language, politics and science but at 200 pages about half of which is bibliography and index this book is brief and lacks detail on complex subjects which along with some hard to understand parts means I think this book is poorly suited to the casual reader but it will be liked by people following Chomsky's work.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 9, 2017 6:08 PM BST

My Pink Pals - Spider Vacuum - Limited Edition - PINK! - Vac's/ Sucks up live bugs!! Easily remove spiders from your home without touching them! - UK's Number 1 Spider Catcher Vacuum
My Pink Pals - Spider Vacuum - Limited Edition - PINK! - Vac's/ Sucks up live bugs!! Easily remove spiders from your home without touching them! - UK's Number 1 Spider Catcher Vacuum
Offered by SK Depots
Price: £19.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insect Vacuum, 1 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This product allows you to suck bugs up without hurting them, you can then deposit the insect outside. A common complaint of products of this type is the suction is not very strong, as far as I can tell this is deliberate design feature because strong suction risks injury to the insect.

Because of the weak suction you often have to get point blank range to suck the insect in, preferably putting the tube over the insect trapping it inside the tube, if the bug has anything to grip on to it can resist the suction( eg a curtain provides better grip than a glass window) and you will have to gently move the tube about to cause the insect to lose its grip and get sucked in.

I have caught a one inch spider on a table using this, I had to get very close and the spider managed to run away a couple of times before getting sucked in.

When sucking up spiders I recommend you clean out the tube afterwards to make sure there is no spider silk left behind as insects sucked in afterwards can get tangled up in the silk.

The device uses a spinning fan to generate suction with a grill at the bottom of the tube to stop the insect being sucked in to the fan. I recommend if you're going to use this on insects small enough to slip through the grill, switch off the suction as soon as the insect is sucked in otherwise they may slip past the grill into the fan.

Care must be taken when trying to get the bug out of the tube, one time I was tapping the tube against a wall to shake a spider off the end of the tube and I accidentally squashed the spider's leg against the wall.

It comes with two tubes that can be linked together to increase reach, which comes in very handy when trying to get bugs high on the ceiling.

It is also sometimes possible to coerce insects inside the vacuum without using suction which saves on battery, this comes with a free battery by the way.

I was not impressed by the turbo feature, it's just a smaller opening to the vac.

I have yet to try it on big spiders, personally I doubt it will work on a big spider unless they walk in of their own accord. I had a blue version of this product for about two years before it broke when the battery connector wire tore off and this pink one seems identical so I expect the same from this. Overall, I am happy with this product and would recommend it.

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words
Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words
by Randall Munroe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.89

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simples!, 24 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book is an attempt to explain complex subjects using very simple language and pictures.

The explanations are informative and it is amusing how the author uses simple language to explain things, for example a helicopter is called a "sky boat with turning wings" and described as follows
"Normal sky boats have to go fast so the air hits their wings hard enough to hold them up. If they fly too slow, they fall (Sometimes falling makes them go fast enough to fix it!) This boat works just like those sky boats, but it uses a cool idea: instead of the whole boat going fast, only its wings go fast. The rest of the boat can go as slowly as it wants- or even stop and sit in one place in the sky. If a normal sky boat had wings that went faster than its body, the wings would fly away, but this boat's wings go in a circle. That keeps them near enough to hold on to while still going around fast enough to fly".

The kindle version suffers from the fact that some subjects use a double page spread but you can only see one page at a time on my tablet (I have found that turning the tabled so it is in landscape position causes both pages to be shown but this makes the text quite small and harder to read). My tablet has an 8 inch screen and I suspect the book is lot larger than that thus on my tablet the text will be smaller than the author intended making it hard to read unless you zoom in. Also you cannot select any of the text in the kindle version which is annoying and the text does not look so great when you zoom in(I suspect both these problems are because the text is actually just pictures of text not actual text?).

This book is a fun read but it is only 64 pages long and with hindsight I would have bought the real book as the kindle version is not designed for small screen tablets.

Fight Like a Physicist: The Incredible Science Behind Martial Arts (Martial Science)
Fight Like a Physicist: The Incredible Science Behind Martial Arts (Martial Science)
Price: £6.17

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Martial Arts For The 21Century, 10 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book is an attempt to understand the martial arts using science and is split in to two sections.


This section covers how your center of mass effects the martial arts, the difference between energy and momentum and how this effects blows, the use of circle and straight movements and angled blocks, what levers and wedges are and how they are used in the martial arts along with using a opponent's energy against them.

The chapter about research in to brain damage in sports suggests brain damage comes from sudden rotation of the head not linear motion as previously thought.

The chapter about how boxing gloves create an illusion of safety describes such things as how gloves create a larger surface area lessening facial injury (because the impact is watered down over a larger area) but does not lessen the brain damaging effects of the punch.

The chapter with a detailed analysis of the effects of different types of head protection on safety is very interesting.

The chapter about unrealistic depictions of gun and knife violence in movies has some useful information such as the odds on surviving been shot and dealing with weapons.

The QI and pseudoscience in martial arts chapter debunks the no touch knockout, QI demonstrations such as bending a spear on your neck which is in fact nothing more than a magic trick, and the lack of credible evidence for the existence of QI.

It would have been nice if the book was a lot longer, but there is enough good content here to make it a recommend read for the serious martial artist.

In the Name of Self-Defense:: What it costs. When it's worth it
In the Name of Self-Defense:: What it costs. When it's worth it
Price: £5.63

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality Check For The Martial Arts, 7 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book is meant to give martial artists an understanding of the unpleasant aftermaths of using violence such as getting thrown in jail and revenge attacks. I find it hard to summarise this book as it has so many good points, but here goes.

The difference between fighting (eg step outside and let's settle this like men) which is illegal and self defence is important:
"Learn the following and never forget it: Your words and actions before, during, and after an incident will be gone over with a microscope as officials seek misconduct. And the raw truth is they don't usually have to look that hard. Way too many people believe they act in self-defense when they are—in fact—fighting. And that is where most people don't just step on their d***s, but pogo stick on them. While self-defense is legally justifiable, fighting is illegal. So, too, is a one-sided assault. As is excessive force and other similar procedures. Those actions, not that they defended themselves, are what get people into trouble. After crossing certain lines what people did is not legal self-defense, but illegal violence. That is the crime they are confessing to when they claim self-defense."

The legal concept of reasonable force is incredibly important, for example MMA style ground and pounding someone or stomping a downed opponent are both illegal in most situations because once the opponent is down/mounted they are no longer a serious threat:
"The ignorance about the limitations of self-defense is appalling. It's bad enough when it's yahoos on the Internet spreading the misinformation. It's more terrifying when it's from a so-called self-defense instructor. Things like teaching a neck break from behind on a downed and helpless opponent. (When he saw my horrified expression, the Tae Kwan Do instructor explained the move was “only for self-defense.”) Or teaching you to pull a knife and stab a downed opponent to finish him. And of course, always shoot him to the ground. These little excursions into manslaughter convictions are if not cavalierly then casually taught. Mere details to finish the job as it were."

"These different elements are commonly overlooked aspects of self-defense training. This is dangerous because teaching just the physical part is like giving you a high performance car without teaching you how to drive or an understanding of traffic laws. Mixing it with ideology and pop psychology is like giving people whiskey before handing them the car keys."

"A raw reality here, folks, if you have to act in self-defense, life as you know it is over! But here's the counterpoint: If you don't act, life—as you know it—is still over. Finding yourself in a self-defense situation is simple: All your options suck. You need to embrace the suck. If you act, you're going to do horrible, hurtful things to another person. If you don't, those horrible hurtful things are going to be done to you. You're damned if you do. You're damned if you don't.

But you'll be doubly damned if you didn't act within self-defense boundaries. And this is why we're going to spend so much time on:

1. Understanding violent situations
2. Knowing what subconscious processes get us into them
3. Staying out of these situations in the first place
4. Staying within self-defense parameters
5. Understanding and coping with the aftermath.

Believe me, it's still going to suck, but at least it won't kill you. Or put you in prison. Like I said, pick your poison. And yes, this book is an antidote. It will help you to survive choosing the self-defense poison. But just because an antidote will keep you from dying doesn't mean the process isn't going to be a rough ride. Knowing that self-defense is like drinking the least toxic poison will go a long way to keep you out of unnecessary situations."

The way the brain is built (with lizard brain, monkey brain and human brain) is important to understand. In violent situations the human brain shuts down, leave only monkey and lizard, the stupid monkey brain is obsessed with saving face and must win, but fortunately lizard has no problem running away.
"Many amateurs who claim self-defense have fallen into this very trap. They get caught up in this monkey-brain game of escalato (what Rory Miller calls “the Monkey Dance”). While busy attacking each other, they both are convinced they are 'defending themselves' from the unprovoked aggression of the other person. What's scary is how people go speeding down this road and then are shocked that things went physical. Really? Where did you think behaving this way was going to end up?

But the monkey doesn't believe that. In fact, the monkey is protecting something it considers much more important—feelings. The importance of this goal blinds it to all other considerations. An excited, out-of-control monkey protecting itself sees no problem with going to extremes. So, here is something else to write on the wall: Overwhelmingly, physical violence is about someone's feelings. That is a simple but profound truth. And that truth remembered in the heat of the moment can save your life. Not just in the sense of keeping you from getting killed or crippled, but out of prison. Violence committed over feelings is categorically illegal. If you fall into this trap, what you're doing isn't self-defense, it's a crime."

"This is why there is no one-size-fits-all response. That's another scrawl-it-on-the-wall note to self. Here's why: What works with one is a disaster in others. There is a time for empty-hand techniques, there's a time for weapons. There is a time for bone-breaking combatives, and there's a time for grappling, submission, and control. There's a time for fighting, and there's a time you have to kill someone quickly and effectively. (Not only before he or she kills you, but so he or she can't take you with them.) Some violence can be resolved through words, some by use of force, and other types by running like hell."

"Your behavior must be consistent with any actions culminating in self-defense. If you act strategically beforehand, you're going to have an easier time explaining to the cops why what you did really was self-defense. For example, communicating you didn’t want trouble combined with a good faith effort to withdraw, but he followed you. You did everything in your power to steer clear of it, and you can truthfully articulate what you did to avoid a physical confrontation."

Anybody interested in martial arts or legal use of force must be aware of the topics covered in this book, I think it is ridiculous that the martial arts do not include this kind of information making this book a must read to fill in the gaps of your martial arts training.

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