"As of this writing, Manson’s book is currently Amazon’s second best non-fiction most read"
I guess the author gets a kick back for everyone that buys this book based off the link.
It's taken me ten years to realize that amazon.com is nothing but a crappy marketing machine selling you stuff you have no need for. If you want something interesting, buy from a local bookstore (or hardware store or whatever else amazon.com is destroying). It's essentially destroying our ability to exist without it.
N.B. I say this about amazon.com specifically. AWS is great. Provides something that didn't exist before, and great competition for Microsoft, Google, and whomever else is now in that market.
I just don't like how amazon.com killed local.
Guess where I go to buy my hardware?
I shop where it's convenient for me to shop. Whether that's Home Depot or Amazon. If the local stores want my business they need to make it worth my while. If Amazon puts local stores out of business because they offer superior service, so be it.
To me, it seems the root of your concern is whether there are dangerous or negative long-term effects on society caused by this immense centralization of activity and power that we see with Amazon and other tech giants.
I don't think that personally subsidizing local merchants does much, though. Once the problem is better understood, there are likely better approaches.
But is increasing the quantity and frequency of consumer spending really necessary? These tactics may help businesses meet their end-of-quarter goals but along the way more people are drowning in debt and shit they don’t need.
If you want to live a minimal life (and you really should) more power to you but if the smiths wont to live pay check to pay check drowning in debt that's their problem.
I am not trying to come off argumentative to your statement but business offer services that people want. If they don't they go out of business. Responsibility is SOLELY on the individual not the people offering good's and services.
OBVIOUSLY i am talking about business acting in a lawful manner and only talking about discretionary spending.
There was a shortage of everything when I was a kid (not in US), so having everything in abundance is a huge plus for me.
The Mom and Pop stores need to emulate that to keep up... which takes a lot of time and effort (e.g., "Locally owned and operated since 1920.")
The books may or may not be junk. Your assessment of them is based on other objects which share certain characteristics. The books you feel are high quality share the characteristics of "book" but that doesn't mean they are in the same category to be judged together. If these books were instead called "magazines" (which have similar characteristics) then we wouldn't be comparing them to the higher quality books.
The internet enabled Amazon and it has also supercharged my ability to do further research to distinguish between good books and trash. I also prefer buying things shipped from out of sight warehouses rather than chains of big box stores.
Has Amazon really changed anything? Of every output from this world, probably most things are junk and a small percentage is valuable. The things I create is probably the same. Only rarely do I come up with something amazing. Note: we probably have to restrict this to idea space. The Iphone represents a huge ball of outputs from the army of people who are involved in creating them, but the idea space which created the Iphone was probably a drop in the ocean of bad ideas.
If it hadn't been Amazon it would have been InsertOtherNameHere. Amazon didn't kill local, consumers did. Capitalism sometimes sucks for those who swim against the main stream.
To take the example you've just mentioned, while Amazon may be more eco-friendly per transaction, as a whole it encourages much more consumption through the convenience the service brings. Somewhat similar to the Jevons paradox.
The point is that the cost of the mainstream tends to be distributed in a long term and systemic way, (for instance Amazon becoming an extraordinarily powerful monopoly, or the environment slowly reaching a critical threshold) which makes preventing them necessary but extremely difficult to do. Not to mention that the advantages of our system are also undeniable and more visible.
I have a love/hate relationship with this statement.
As a citizen, I don't like all of the local jobs that get lost when Amazon/Walmart/etc. wipe out local stores.
As a consumer, most local stores in small towns invoke an ire that could power a small sun. A local auto dealer accidentally smashed the back passenger door window while doing a repair. Okay, shrug, shit happens. Fine, I'll be back to pick up the car tomorrow afternoon then.
"Um, we can't that window until late next week."
Huhwut? I'm getting kind of angry at this point because I'm almost certain that isn't true. However, I inquire, probably a bit brusquely, as to what the issue is. And receive some excuse about it being out of stock in the warehouses. Um, are you sure? Because my next step is to call the warehouse.
"Well, it's in stock in the warehouse, but we'd have to pay a $20 fee to get it couriered any faster than our normal inventory shipment."
Of course, at this moment I went non-linear. And pulled $20 out of my wallet and growled "Get ... the damn ... part. TOMORROW!"
Unfortunately, this is the kind of consumer non-service I now expect from any business in a small town.
Living in London, I tend to follow one of two patterns. Either go to a part of town known for some large department stores, eventually navigate to the right bit, and pick the option that's most appealing from the smallish selection on offer. Assuming they have anything to choose from... There's a famous place that I now refer to as "Never Knowingly Stocked".
With the Amazon option, I've already tried several search terms to get an idea of what's available. I look at sales rank, and click on the link for "best sellers in category". I have a few browser tabs open for different product options. I read reviews... three stars first, then work my way up. (I seldom bother with the one-star reviews, because you have to filter out the batteries-upside-down no-hopers). I usually have a tape measure handy if I want to double-check dimensions. When the choice has been whittled down to two or three alternatives in their own browser tabs, I'll have a quick look on YouTube to see if there are any reviews, and to get a feel for how it operates in practice. Finally, I might have a quick check on eBay to see if a cheaper price or quicker delivery is possible.
If anything I think I'm putting more effort in, spending a similar amount of time as the trek to Oxford Street would take, but arguably sourcing better stuff.
They're also selling their own "Rabbit Hole Summary" of it, which I'm guess is like a Cliffnotes version. But if it's as terribly written as this article...
Other than the obvious convenience that Amazon has delivered on, what the demise of local stores tells me is that the vast majority of the population is perfectly happy buying the default vanilla options. They aren't looking for a novel, intriguing, unexpected thing. They're happy just reading NYT Bestsellers, so if we want unique things to thrive/survive, the people who care about those things are going to have to go out of their way to support people who can deliver on that.
I haven't thought about this much, but I'm sure copywriters, (etc.) have.
Sample here: https://www.overdrive.com/media/2534908/the-subtle-art-of-no... (click "read a sample" on the left)
My issue is with the content. The book is summarized within 2 paragraphs which I personally don't find too interesting, but OK, maybe other people do.
But when I read something like this:
> Buddhism is hardly mainstream in Western culture – most would think of Asian monks or those who Kung-fu while wearing robes. Buddhism is a lot of things, but one way of looking at it is to see it as a belief system for contentment.
And I think of the HN crowd and how many people here have some idea about meditation or Buddhism I just find the article below mediocre at best.
It then gives a very very very -- 1 paragraph or 2 -- short primer on Buddhism and then does 2 other paragraphs tying in how Buddhism corresponds to the book.
> What’s insightful about Manson’s treatment is his ability to tie in the issues with practical psychology, and biology as it relates to survival. This is apparent when he makes the argument that emotions are overrated.
Manson may have written it insightful, but the author of the blog post doesn't show me how it is insightful. Buddhism itself -- especially modern texts -- are in fact already practical psychology, (pseudo-)biology and survival. This is nothing new.
I find that there's very little meat here. If I may suggest a more interesting thing about Buddhism, survival and biology, then read Chade-Meng Tans blog and buy the book Search Inside Yourself. Here is a simple example blog post: http://chademeng.com/me/how-the-dalai-lama-surprised-me-agai...
Note: I'm just voicing my opinion. I'm not asking for the content to be removed, I'd have flagged it otherwise but I respect the submission and the idea that my view of what should or should not be posted on HN differs from other people their views.
P.S. I personally find the blog of the person who submitted it more interesting: http://www.williamha.com/ -- I mean no harm, I'm just genuinely surprised and maybe I'm venting a little, my apologies.
Hosted on bluehost, amazon affiliate id wilha-20... great that this bubbles up.
Apart from that: I read the book earlier this year and had some good laughs. Nothing new, but really well written. I think this is what people need these days. Better this than have them watch/read another "The Secret".
I don't know why it's getting so much traction, it's really quite poor in content, writing style (and skill) and full with filler material.
It could not be any lamer.
He has a bunch high-level-also-book-publishing-friends, who are helping out with a massive amount of marketing, it seems.
It's a great example of a poor product, marketed the heck out of it.
If anyone does visit, please let me know of your experience.