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Sam Baker - Bookseller in Manchester

Although I read fiction from time to time and I especially love science fiction, I am primarily a non fiction guy. My interest and reading in non fiction spans many sections within the Northshire Bookstore including: MBS (mind-body spirit), History, Management-Finance-Economics, Political Science, Current Issues, Science, Nature Literature and Art. Subsections that interest me within those sections include philosophy, religion, spirituality, self help, creative studies, psychology (all in MBS), world history, ancient history, complexity science and chaos theory (Physics), education (Current Issues), China (Current Issues) and futurist studies (Physics). Having said that, my favorite books and authors are usually interdisciplinary and thus tend to defy category. For example some of my favorite books at Northshire include the Tao of Physics by Frijof Capra (in Physics), On Trials by Robert Moor (in Nature Lit), anything by Nassim Taleb (Anti-Fragile and Skin in the Game -- both in Philosophy), The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt (CI) and Out of Your Mind by Alan Watts (Philosophy).


The best thing for being sad," replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake in the middle of the night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world around you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting."
T.H. White (from the Once and Future King)

Why Poetry by Matthew Zapruder - Book Review

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Why Poetry Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062343086
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Ecco - June 12th, 2018

There is no question mark in the title of this wonderful, provocative book: Why Poetry. And for good reason. According to Matthew Zapruder poetry not only plays a unique -- dare I say (my word) magical -- purpose in human culture but also in our individual human journeys through life by being "usefully useless"! In one of my favorite passages in the book, Zapruder describes a poets' job as "refusing to do what others find useful." Poetry is an antidote to our modern scientific materialistic culture that has become unbalanced: obsessed as it is with efficiency, reason, certainty, productivity, accomplishment, control and action. Poetry has always been a reliable source of frustration and bafflement for me. Thanks to this lovely book, I appreciate how the inherent mystery of poetry is not a bug but an abiding, important feature of this vital art form. ~ Reviewed by Sam Baker

Underground: A Human History of the Worlds Beneath Our Feet by Will Hunt - Book Review

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Underground: A Human History of the Worlds Beneath Our Feet Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812996746
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - January 29th, 2019

Will Hunt's profoundly wise book -- his first -- is much more than a history of underground spaces: the catacombs and sewers beneath paris, the subways beneath New York City, the ancient caves in the old world and the new world where humans have sought spiritual solace and access to the hidden world behind this one. This book is an interdisciplinary tour de force. It weaves edge-of-your-seat biographic adventure narrative with a fascinating tapestry of intellectual delights : the neuroscience of sensory deprivation, religious studies, cross cultural mythology from across space and time, anthropology, art history, and even a wonderful detour into the world of the legendary graffiti artist Revs. The result is immensely fulfilling journey into an often forgotten and unfairly denigrated dimension of our human experience: the dark world beneath our feet as well as deep in our subconscious minds! ~ Reviewed by Sam Baker

Rule of Thumb by Andrew Whyte - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780692107294
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Andrew - April 24th, 2018

Have you ever dreamed of quitting your job and taking off on a hitch hiking adventure into the great unknown? If you are young enough to still do it, read this book for inspiration! If you are already settled down and the days of hitch hiking dreams are long gone, read this book for endless vicarious pleasures of harrowing adventure, camaraderie, existential angst, love and lust, self discovery and even some real magic. ~ Reviewed by Sam Baker

Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Book Review

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Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780425284629
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - February 27th, 2018

Reading Taleb is often disorienting as he challenges core beliefs underpinning modern Western culture. It can also be frustrating as he jumps around from one idea to the next, causing the equivalent of intellectual whiplash. Skin in the Game is no exception. But, ultimately, the extra effort and commitment required to read the book – like taking a cold shower – is bracing and thus eminently worthwhile. Dare to read this book. ~ Reviewed by Sam Baker

Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life by Eric Greitens - Book Review

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Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544705265
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - May 3rd, 2016

Greitens distinguishes himself as an author in a crowded genre: ex-military authors who promise to distill the lessons of war into usable wisdom for living a full and meaningful life. The key to Greiten's unique contribution is his wonderful integration of ancient wisdom, especially of classical Greek philosophy and literature into a current message about thriving in a world of constant challenges and change. I loved this book.

Recommended book pairing:
Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow by Elizabeth Lesser ~ Reviewed by Sam Baker


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