Author Topic: What are your favorite biographies?  (Read 1541 times)


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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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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

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.


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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.


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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


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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.