The Black Book Of Communism By Stephain Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panne, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosek, Jean-Louis Margolin

The Black Book Of Communism By Stephain Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panne, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosek, Jean-Louis Margolin

The Black Book of Communism is an important work by a group of western European academics to fully document the horrible crimes, terror, and repression committed by communist around the globe. So much work as gone into documenting the atrocities committed by Hitler and his Nazi regime but full documentation of the atrocities committed by communist painting the picture of a far greater number of people terrorized and murdered. This group of academics used archives newly released in the 90’s and do exhausting work of documenting many details of these atrocities.

The result is a very real picture of the impact of communism around the world which is a very horrible and dark picture full of atrocities and 10 times more people murdered by the communist regimes than by the Nazi’s. It’s a very important documentation of the real impact of communism.  I highly recommend this book for those who seek the truth. However this is not for the light reader, it’s a very detailed 760 page work. So as usual Hit The Books, They Don’t Hit Back!


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Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is in the very similar vein as the bestseller titled Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner except what really got my attention was that  it is all based on the “new data” referred to these days as “big data”. The kind of data derived from millions even billions of people from the google search engine and many other internet portals. This data is extremely insightful not only due to it being such a large data set but also because people more honestly share what is on their minds when they believe they are anonymous at the keyboard.

This has always been a fascinating area of great interest to me for two reasons. I’ve always been interested in the truth vs. what people want to show themselves to be. More importantly the complete erection of big brother and snooping through technology and all the privacy and ethical issues that go with it has been an interest of mine for quite  some time.

This book is a fun, easy, and quick read. You learn a lot of interesting things about what is really on the mind of people based on what they search most often on google and other sites. The author even does touch on the privacy issues in one section, which I was glad he did. However, that part of the issue is something many books have been written about and is a complex and deep subject. So it was great he touched on it but barely scratches the surface in that regard.

This book is a fun and accessible look the topic of big data, technology, and privacy in our modern digital age and certainly worth your time so as usual Hit The Books, They Don’t Hit Back! 

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The Bed Of Procrustes by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Bed Of Procrustes by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Bed Of Procrustes by Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a very fun and quick read of his philosophical aphorisms presented as a book of quotes. It’s literally a book you can read in one sitting. However please DO NOT choose this as your first book to read by this author.

Nassim is one of my favorite authors, a brilliant thinker and writer that doesn’t write unless he has something to say. Unusual for authors of bestsellers that once they reach that level of success churn out books for their publishers and for profit. I highly recommend you introduce yourself to this brilliant thinker’s writings by his first three books.   His first book, The Black Swan, brought the term “black swan” into our modern lexicon the way Malcom Gladwell did so with “tipping point”. I would start with The Black Swann and if you enjoy it read his second and third books, Fooled By Randomness, and Antifragile.  All are excellent books and have been reviewed on this site.

I normally would not read a book of quotes but was craving more from this author and did enjoy The Bed Of Procrustes. That being said it’s not a “must read” book for me as his others are but is a nice serving of his thinking.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a scholar, mathematician, statistician, and author that is an expert on randomness, risk, risk evaluation, and risk management that offers incredible insight for our modern times of big data and our supposed technological ability to predict and model everything.  His thinking is so important to keep our technological arrogance in check. So as usual Hit The Books, They Don’t Hit Back!

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Transcending Fear by Brian Germain

Transcending Fear by Brian Germain

Transcending Fear by Brian Germain is an interesting book in the self-help genre that I had to check out since I know Brian. In my early skydiving years he and I both spent numerous years on the same drop zone. He has since built a great career and empire in designing parachutes, coaching, writing, and speaking.

My undergrad and grad degrees are in psychology which I think is why I’m often turned off by the peddlers of self-help books. Many of the people I have run into in psychology field need more help than the buyers of their books.

However, Brian has lived a life of thrill seeking and doing so, I had to check out his twist on overcoming fear. All that being said about my lack of appetite for self-help books, he actually wrote a useful book that cuts to the chase with some good advice from a person that has walked the talk in his own life. Fear holds so many people back from achieving their dreams and to me demands examination as the author does in this book.

His book references a lot of the great works in psychology but he delivers a more to the point, easy to understand book that to me is more along the line of great performance coaches used by top athletic competitors. His supporting stories from his own experiences are fun and illustrate his points well. A useful book in this genre that is worth your time. So as usual Hit The Books, They Don’t Hit Back!

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The PARACHUTE And It’s PILOT by Brian Germain

The PARACHUTE And It’s PILOT by Brian Germain

The PARACHUTE And It’s PILOT by Brian Germain is a book for those in the sport of skydiving, a much narrower audience than usual for my reviews. That being said it’s an important book filling a previously unmet need in the sport of skydiving and the skydiving literature.

I’m a rule breaker, and that may very well be why I skydive but is absolutely why I hate to say “should be required reading in skydiver training”. Not one to advocate more requirements or rules for sure however I will say this book is certainly a great resource and recommended reading for all skydivers since it addresses the most critical part of skydiving………..safely piloting our canopy to the ground without injury.

The book in a short and precise manner addresses techniques, skills, safety issue, navigation issue, design issues and even psychological issues involved in parachute piloting. Sounds like a lot but Brian put it in a concise, clear, quick read.

For those of us that want to push the limits for more thrill seeking, this book gives very sound training advice, that’s well backed up, for Swoopers and Swooping, something the skydivers out there know what that means. His advice will help you enter the world of Swooping with better chances of surviving.

For skydivers this book is definitely worth your time.  So as usual Hit The Books, They Don’t Hit Back!


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The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe

The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe

The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe was published in 1997 and after it was recently mentioned in the press as a book that Steve Bannon was enthralled with I had to check it out. A very deep and insightful work on generations.

When we get little bites in the press about the generations we normally get a small piece on The Boomers, Millennials, Tweeners, or Generation Xers presented in a fashion almost like the daily astrology blurbs.

This book dives into Generational differences in a deep fashion over history showing how the generations impact the next generation in a way that produces four archetypes that very consistently repeat themselves throughout history. They take this work back to biblical times all the way through the present showing this amazingly consistent pattern.

They also illustrate how there are consistent turnings within the archetypes. One of the archetypes regularly becomes disenchanted and dismantles what previous generations have done, to chart a new course. This fourth turning in the cycle consistently matches the specific archetype and coincides with major crisis points such as wars, great depressions, and other major upheaval events.

This book is a thorough and fascinating look at generational cycles that challenges the linear modern western view of time. Written in the late nineties, it was accurately predictive of what we have encountered since and are still in the midst of today. According to their timelines the current Fourth Turning is not over and is still playing out as we speak. How will it turn out? No one knows for sure but what we learn from history is that we are surely do for the major crisis and shifts that will forever change things.

A very worthwhile read, so as usual Hit The Books, They Don’t Hit Back!

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Bellevue by David Oshinsky

Bellevue by David Oshinsky

Bellevue by David Oshinsky is a very well written history of the famous Bellevue hospital in New York City. This book is wonderful taking us through one of the nation’s oldest and largest public hospitals in the one and only New York City.

Bellevue is wonderfully written telling the Bellevue story in detail while it also in part tells the story of the evolution of American medicine from archaic butchery to the innovative high tech science of today.

The author masterfully tells the detailed story of Bellevue including the many key figures that shaped it while at the same time including the macro issues of politics, funding, and more that give it full context.

A fascinating historical work for all history buffs, as well as those interested in medicine, to enjoy. So as usual Hit The Books, They Don’t Hit Back!

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The Hunt For Zero Point by Nick Cook

The Hunt For Zero Point by Nick Cook

The Hunt For Zero Point by Nick Cook is a book I became aware of when it was referenced in Empire Beneath The Ice (also reviewed on this site). The author, a long time career journalist in the Military and Defense world, investigates the leads supporting the idea that the Nazi regime was working on anti-gravity technology and flying saucers in their secret military research programs.

He follows the leads pointing to the possibility that the U.S. may have indeed grabbed some of their top scientist in this field and continued the work as we did in missile technology after the end of WWII.  One of the interesting pieces of evidence is how the phenomena of UFO sightings really took off in the U.S. after the war which would correspond with when we acquired and continued the anti-gravity technology research and development. This book presents another interesting piece of history and possibility of what has gone on in the super-secret military technology research programs. So as usual Hit The Books, They Don’t Hit Back!

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Documentary: Sour Grapes (2016) directed by Reuben Atlas & Jerry Rothwell


Documentary:  Sour Grapes (2016) directed by Reuben Atlas & Jerry Rothwell

Sour Grapes (2016) directed by Reuben Atlas & Jerry Rothwell is a very interesting look into the world of fine and rare wines and how a con man bilked tens of millions maybe even over $100 million from the wealthy with counterfeit wines.

Most wine lovers would find this documentary very interesting. It gives you a glimpse into the very highest echelon of wine collectors. The kind that buy rare wines for $20,000 a bottle. This documentary also gives you a very fascinating glimpse into how easily many were swindled with counterfeit wine. One French wine maker even showed up at one of the big American auctions to call them out on it himself. This wine maker jotted around the world to try and track down the counterfeiters.

To me one of the more interesting pieces in this documentary was how clearly the victims at some level wanted to believe, making it possible and even easy for the fishy character behind the con to pull it all off. An unbelievable true crime story that all wine lovers will surely enjoy but also be terrified by. So hit the Netflix, Hulu, or Prime and enjoy!

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Empire Beneath The Ice by Stephen Quayle


Empire Beneath The Ice by Stephen Quayle

Empire Beneath The Ice by Stephen Quayle is one of the key recent books in the conspiracy world. Stephen Quayle is a known figure in the conspiracy and biblical prophecy arena. In this recent book he writes about many years of work looking at the possibility that Hitler and other key Nazi leadership staged Hitler’s death and escaped at the end of WWII to a secret base they had been preparing in Antarctica.

Also key to this story is they had developed anti-gravity technology that is behind the UFO craze that swept the world post WWII when all the UFO sightings began. This is one of the big hot conspiracy theories today. With Secretary Kerry, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, even former President Obama visiting Antarctica in past couple years there has certainly been some increased buzz around numerous conspiracy theories surrounding Antarctica.

Clearly this book is not for everyone. I’m always willing to entertain the conspiracy theories since every once in a while they hit on some truth and I enjoy exploring them. I would say if you are one of those that enjoyed watching the Hunting Hitler series on The History Channel this book would be of great interest to you. For those that automatically discount conspiracy theories out of hand as crazy without entertaining the facts presented, skip this one for sure. So as usual Hit The Books, They Don’t Hit Back!

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