Author Topic: What are your favorite biographies?  (Read 4072 times)

Liberty

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Re: What are your favorite biographies?
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2018, 07:34:41 AM »
Too many...

But if you haven't, you should probably read 'With the Old Breed' by E.B. Sledge. It's a memoirs.
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Cigarbutt

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Re: What are your favorite biographies?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2018, 07:30:46 AM »
Just finished: Gorbachev: His Life and Times by William Taubman
https://www.amazon.com/Gorbachev-Life-Times-William-Taubman/dp/0393647013/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1527084124&sr=8-1&keywords=gorbachev+taubman

Detailed, well researched and fairly balanced (IMO).
Fascinating account of the last Soviet period.

Useful for those interested in capitalism versus other potential systems, international politics or the man himself who remains an enigma.

Some highlights:

-The Soviet regime contained the seeds of its own destruction and despite its inclination for authority and self-preservation nominated Gorbachev, a man who accelerated the chain reaction. Fascinating.

-Interestingly, the introduction of glasnost increased the popularity of Gorbachev for a while but created a context that strenghtened oppositions (on both sides of the spectrum) and eventually undermined the potential perestroika reforms. Reforms threatened the central state that held the system together.

-The Chernobyl disaster revealed how the system was rotten from the inside.

-The rivalry between Gorbachev and Yelstin, the unusual populist champion of change, is very well covered.

-Transition to a democratic system requires a solid institutional foundation.

-Ethnic discontent can destabilize a cautious and calculated approach.

-The way Putin ("black box") eventually consolidates his power with oligarchs is alluded to. State strengthened at the expense of individual freedoms. This happens to be the norm, rather than the exception, in regime "changes".

-Gorbachev's goal was to play the game in order to change it using a "dual consciousness". In the end, he was overwhelmed by the task.

-The author concludes by qualifying Gorbachev as a "tragic hero".

-After 693 pages, you can come up with your own conclusion.






DCG

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Re: What are your favorite biographies?
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2018, 09:13:21 AM »
Shoe Dog was pretty fun and a very quick read.  (Phil Knight of Nike)


I gave up about half way through this book.I found the book being in chronological order, as well including so many minute details and stories, super boring.

TorontoRaptorsFan

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Re: What are your favorite biographies?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2018, 11:59:47 AM »
Washington -  A Life - Ron Chernow
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller - Ron Chernow
Poor Charlie's Almanack - Charlie Munger
Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist - Roger Lowenstein
Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin
AAPL, BAC, BAM, CMG

doughishere

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Re: What are your favorite biographies?
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2018, 12:40:55 PM »
Anything on US. Grant. The new one by Ron Chernow is a good one to start with.

writser

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Re: What are your favorite biographies?
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2018, 02:35:44 AM »
Too many...

But if you haven't, you should probably read 'With the Old Breed' by E.B. Sledge. It's a memoirs.

Thanks for the tip. Impressive read. 'Defying Hitler' was another good WWII memoir, written by a 'nobody' in Germany who describes the rise of Hitler during the interbellum. 'Night' by Eli Wiesel was also a crazy read.

FWIW like many others I really enjoyed 'Titan' and 'Snowball'. I found the Isaacson books to be a bit boring, I didn't even finish 'Einstein' and I'm in doubt as to whether I should buy the da Vinci book. 'Faraday, Maxwell and the electromagnetic field' was great. 'The Wright Brothers' was enjoyable. The Shannon book and Thorp book were also ok.

At some point I'll probably try a few other Chernow books.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 02:44:40 AM by writser »
When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful and difficult for others. The same applies when you are stupid.

doughishere

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Re: What are your favorite biographies?
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2018, 09:58:29 AM »
Too many...

But if you haven't, you should probably read 'With the Old Breed' by E.B. Sledge. It's a memoirs.

Storm of Steel is a good one if your a war enthusiast.

Liberty

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Re: What are your favorite biographies?
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2018, 10:45:25 AM »
Too many...

But if you haven't, you should probably read 'With the Old Breed' by E.B. Sledge. It's a memoirs.

Storm of Steel is a good one if your a war enthusiast.

'American Caesar' (about Douglas MacArthur) and 'Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War' and  by William Manchester are also recommended.

'Strong Men Armed' and 'Helmet for my Pillow' by Robert Leckie, about the U.S. Marines in the Pacific during WWII were also very good, as was 'Ghost Soldiers' by Hampton Sides.

I also quite liked the biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird ("American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer").
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doughishere

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Re: What are your favorite biographies?
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2018, 09:06:31 AM »
I've read the Leckie book 100% due to BOB.

The thing that I found compelling about Steel is that it more or less just copies and pastes from the notes that junger took during the war. Much different style than the others that i feel are edited.

The feel of Steel in my view is much more like reading the raw un-polished thoughts where as the others explains things to the readers and is just a different style.

But Im a sucker for letters and diaries vs a polished book.

« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 09:16:33 AM by doughishere »

Liberty

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Re: What are your favorite biographies?
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2018, 10:27:56 AM »
That sounds great. I ordered Storm of Steel. I already had it on a list somewhere, but there's a better chance I'll get to it within the next decade if I own it..
"Most haystacks don't even have a needle." |  I'm on Twitter  | Interesting podcast (new link)