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Book Review: My First 10 Books of 2020

Phillip SchneiderJul 17, 2020, 10:04:32 PM
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The other day, Dr. Cassone made a very interesting post about reading habits in the United States. According to the infographic which is based on a survey conducted in 2003 by a company called The Jenkins Group, one-third of high school graduates never read another book in their entire lives, and 42% of college graduates will never read another book after college.

That’s pretty frightening considering the fact that those people vote on policies which inevitably influence the future of the country for us all. So, I’ve decided to make light of a little competition I am having with TrevorlyHills. Each of us are on a mission to read 20 books in 2020 before the year is over. I’ve read 10 books thus far and decided to do a little review of them all.

I tried making this batch of books fairly well-rounded. There are novels along with philosophy, religion, history, and self-help/entrepreneurship. Hopefully, at least one of these books will interest you, especially if you’re among the large number of Americans who haven’t picked up a book in a long time.

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

The One Thing is a self-help/entrepreneurship book by Gary Keller, an entrepreneur and founder of the world’s largest real estate company Keller Williams. In the book, Keller explains how to turn your passions into a career. It was actually given to me by my editor over at Waking Times last year, but it took me until early 2020 to finish.

This book helped me orient myself more successfully as a writer and to better keep myself on track by cutting out unnecessary distractions, not letting other aspects of life such as exercise, social time, and spirituality become a void, and setting aside time to work on my One Thing (that’s the book’s lingo for your passion).

“Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls - - family, health, friends, integrity - - are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.” – Gary Keller, The One Thing

Proof of Heaven

Proof of Heaven is a fascinating book about a neurosurgeon named Eban Alexander who’s profound near-death experience led him to regain his spiritual connection with God. I find this book to be truly remarkable because it bridges the scientific and the spiritual in a modern context. While Eban was Christian in his youth, he became more of an atheist as his interests turned to science.

Eban was in a coma due to an E coli infection in his brain. After the infection was cured and he reunited with the living world, the neuroscientist recalled one of the most interesting experiences I have ever heard; journeying into an underworld-like realm he called the “earth worm eyes view” and then rising up into a place of pure bliss with no memory of his physical self, he interacted with what he called Om, an intermediary between himself and God.

“Pitch black as it was, it was also brimming over with light: a light that seemed to come from a brilliant orb that I now sensed near me. An orb that was living and almost solid, as the songs of the angel beings had been…This being was so close that there seemed to be no distance at all between God and myself.” – Eban Alexander, Proof of Heaven p.47

The Second Amendment Primer

If you are an American, this is your history. The Second Amendment Primer by Les Adams discusses the philosophy which led to the eventual drafting of the amendment, going all the way back to Aristotle and feudal China. It also presents a record of news articles about gun rights from the colonial era of America as well as the history of English gun laws going all the way back to pre-colonial Great Britain.

This book presents a clear argument that the Second Amendment was written with the intent of allowing all Americans to protect themselves from tyrannical government if need be, as well as to defend themselves and their families from unlawful robbers, killers, and assaulters of any kind. At the time of writing, “well regulated” meant “well-functioning”, indicating that the Second Amendment was intended to apply both collectively and individually and was not simply an authorization of the national guard, as some argue.

If you want to be an expert on the Second Amendment, read The Second Amendment Primer by Les Adams. Your forefathers intended for you to fully exercise your right to keep and bear arms and this book puts that into perspective very well.

“A strong body makes a strong mind. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind…Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.” – Thomas Jefferson

You can pick up The Second Amendment Primer at the Infowars store for just $12.95. It’s a steal if you want to win debates about the Second Amendment.

Ubuntu Contributionism: A Blueprint for Human Prosperity

Ubuntu Contributionism by Michael Tellinger is a very interesting book because it mixes the truth about the financial domination by powerful banking cartels with what I believe to be a very dangerous philosophy. Tellinger posits as the foundational axiom of the book that the use of money is what causes nearly all of the evil perpetrated by humanity.

Simply put, this book argues for an entirely new social structure oriented around sharing rather than trade. Michael bullet points all of the terrible things he believes would vanish from the face of the earth if money were to be gotten rid of.

“Crime, Hunger, Homelessness, Greed, Gluttony, Extortion, Hording, Debts, Hierarchy, [and] Control” are a few of those evils. It goes without saying that there is no scientific or psychological basis for any of this. It is all just ideology and assumptions about human nature, similar but not exactly the same as Marxism, which Tellinger claims to have never read about.

On the other hand, Michael discusses some very interesting archeological discoveries such as the Sumerian Tablets, which seem to be the first known use of money and debt, potentially used by the descendants of today’s banking elite.

I agree with Michael when it comes to fighting back against the current debt-based, top-down system of banking, but where I differ is in the solution. I believe in auditing the Federal Reserve, then regulating it or ending it entirely, not get rid of money altogether.

Michael Tellinger now heads the Ubuntu Party of South Africa with the goal of eliminating money from society.

“The American Revolution exploded primarily over the Currency Act of King George 3rd, which forced the colonies to conduct their business by using printed bank notes borrowed from the privately owned bank of England, at interest. After the revolution, the new United States adopted a very different economic system in which the government issued its own money, so that private banks like the Bank of England were not siphoning off the wealth of the people through interest bearing bank notes.” – Michael Tellinger, Ubuntu Contributionism p.22

Middie’s Memoirs: A Personal Journey of Discovery

This book is special to me because it was written by my Grandpa, my mom’s biological father. In Middie’s Memoirs, Middie Lee Stetter (real name Charlie Middlestetter) talks about his journey of escaping from the confines of the Christian religion into his late worldview of Secular Humanism. His wife, Mary, used to be a nun but left that life to be with him many years ago.

The most interesting chapter of the book discusses the tax code. According to Middie (or as I called him, Grandpa Charlie – Middie was a nickname most people called him, including his wife), you actually are not required to pay income tax. Nowhere in the tax code does it say that you must pay such a tax; instead, the IRS relies on ‘voluntary’ payments (i.e., they will come after you with everything they’ve got if you refuse) until you actually file taxes or sign a W2 form.

He also discusses the history of the United States banking system, similar to what Michael Tellinger talks about in Ubuntu, but Middie goes into much more detail, calling out the Rothschild's and praising Ron Paul for his stance on the Fed.

You can buy this book on Amazon for $13.95.

“[I was] bothered by [my] mother’s refrain, ‘God will provide for us,’ when in fact [I] was doing all the providing.” – Middie’s Memoirs

When Google Met Wikileaks

When Google Met Wikileaks is a dialogue between Julian Assange and Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google. In the discussion, Assange and Schmidt discuss the role of technology in 21st century journalism, exposing government secrets, and the philosophy of government transparency which his website Wikileaks has thrived upon since its debut in 2006.

Wikileaks has a long history of holding governments accountable for abuses of power, especially in the military. Some of their most powerful work has been with Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) in exposing illegal torture during the Iraq occupation.

Julian Assange is currently on trial in the United States after being extradited from his embassy in Ecuador. He faces as many as 175 years in federal prison over a total of 18 charges, mostly for publishing classified documents exposing government corruption. Assange also makes it a point not to publish material which could severely damage the national security of any nation, but routinely published content threatening the political security of career politicians, placing an enormous target on his back.

“The last forty years have seen a huge proliferation of think tanks and political NGOs whose purpose, beneath all the verbiage, is to execute political agendas by proxy.” – Julian Assange, When Google Met Wikileaks

America and its Presidents

America and its Presidents is an easy read for anyone wanting to know a little more about American history. The book gives an overview of the lives of every U.S. president from George Washington to Richard Milhouse Nixon.

This book is a great as a starting point. You’ll likely read about presidents you didn’t even know existed like James Knox Polk and Franklin Pierce (which likewise are not considered among the best presidents). In the beginning, many of our presidents were highly sophisticated yet revolutionary gentlemen like Thomas Jefferson (who wrote the Declaration of Independence, John Quincy Adams, and James Madison (who wrote the Constitution), but as soon as Andrew Jackson was elected there came a slough of rough Americans raised in log cabins on hard work.

Upon reading, the book gives a much greater respect for the country’s history and you’ll likely know more than most people who grew up raised in the public-school system.

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.” – Abraham Lincoln

Daniel Boone

The story of Daniel Boone is the story of how America came to be. A young hunter, Boone was raised in the Yadkin of Colonial Pennsylvania by his Father Squire Boone and Mother Sarah Morgan Boone along with his 10 siblings. He had a knack for trapping and hunting but was taught to read and write as well by his mother and sister. During his teenage years, he fought alongside George Washington against the Spanish and the Indians. Soon thereafter he met a woman named Rebecca Bryan who became his wife.

Ever since hearing about a land called Kentucky, where hunting was especially good, he planned to set out for this new frontier. In his quest to conquer Kentucky, several of his close friends were killed including his own son. He was captured by Indians and made one of their own only to later escape and fight them and the British at his settlement called ‘Boonsborough’ which is now a tourist attraction.

After successfully winning Kentucky for the Americans, he journeyed further West out of newly claimed United States territory into what then Spanish Louisiana territory but has become modern day Missouri. He worked as a judge, a military leader, and a member of the Virginia House of Representatives until he died in 1820.

Without Daniel Boone, America would not be the same as it is today.

“’I’ll fight till I die,’ Squire Boone said simply. ‘I’ll never give up.’ The other men were equally determined. Not a man favored surrender. ‘You have decided as I knew you would,’ Daniel Boone said, ‘and I’ll fight and die with the rest, if die we must.’” – Daniel Boone p.172

Modoc

Based on real events, Modoc is about a young elephant trainer named Bram who loses his elephant Modoc after the circus family had worked for all his life sold to a shrewd businessman.

As Modoc was being taken away, Bram stowed away on the ship which had its course set for America. Along the way, the ship was wrecked by a hurricane and Bram and Modoc found themselves traveling through India, attempting to escape from the circus master, Mr. North.

It’s a great novel but not a light read like you may expect. There are some really sad moments and brutal scenes. This book might change the way you look at animals.

“If the animal doesn’t know what it is doing is foolish, then only the person who thinks it is suffers those feelings. As long as the animal enjoys what it’s doing and is not forced into something it doesn’t want to do, then it’s okay.” – Modoc p.134

12 Rules for Life

12 Rules for Life is an absolute must read by the greatest public intellectual of our time, Jordan B. Peterson, who worked as a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto for many years and as a clinical psychiatrist for patients with depression, anxiety, paranoia, and other serious conditions. Jordan has become an internet icon due to his activism against the anti-free speech bill C-16 in Canada, which would fine citizens for not using the ‘preferred pronouns’ of gender confused individuals, effectively compelling speech at gunpoint; if you don’t believe that you can change your gender, then you’ll be forced to lie.

In this book, Peterson lays out ’12 rules’ for a better life, which he has formulated from his practice as a psychiatrist, as well as from lessons from the Bible and other ancient texts and philosophies like the powerful Yin and Yang symbol, and his analysis of the dangerous pathology of the radical left.

“Clean up your life to clean up the world” might be a good way to sum up this book. Peterson lays out very profound and simple lessons like ‘Tell the truth’, ‘Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping’, and ‘Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world’. Backed by an intensely sophisticated analysis of psychology and history, Peterson helps you set your life in order so that you can enjoy what it has to offer and manage the inevitable suffering which occurs along the way.

Jordan Peterson posits that a meaningful life is always preferable to an easy life. Meaning comes from responsibility; from the undertaking of burden to improve the lives of others comes true fulfillment, rather than expedience and safety.

“There is no faith and no courage and no sacrifice in doing what is expedient. There is no careful observation that actions and presuppositions matter, or that the world is made of what matters. To have meaning in your life is better than to have what you want, because you may neither know what you want, nor what you truly need. Meaning is something that comes upon you, of its own accord. You can set up the preconditions, you can follow meaning, when it manifests itself, but you cannot simply produce it, as an act of will. Meaning signifies that you are in the right place, at the right time, properly balanced between order and chaos, where everything lines up as best it can at that moment.” – 12 Rules for Life p.200

Conclusion

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. The books I am currently reading are The Republic by Plato, which is a dialogue between Socrates and a few other philosophers of their time, and yes, The Bible. I’m hoping to get through at least the old testament by the end of this year.

Let me know if you've ever read any of these books, or if there's something you think I would like to read.

Happy reading!

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