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If I may recommend a book that really will make most people change their perspectives it's "The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy"

Rarely have I read a book which made me think about a subject I thought I had a pretty good understanding of completely different. And if that is not enough it's probably one of the few books which doesn't have a moral/ethical agenda but merely seeks to inform about how the crisis happened (and what money really is)

For me it's one now on my list of books about important fundamentals in this world.


What other books do you consider as important fundamentals?

Obviously these lists are subjective but a couple of examples would be:

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (Evolution)

MindStorms by Seymore Papert (Education)

Structure of Scientific Revolution by Thomas Kuhn (Scientific Method/ Philosophy)

Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas R. Hofstadter (Formal Systems)

The Innovators Dilemma by Clayton Christensen (Entrepreneurship)

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Peter F Druckert (Entrepreneurship but most likely because I had a quite crazy experience while reading it)

They are all books written by what I consider careful thinkers i.e. people who are able to avoid confusing what they want the world to be with what they actually observe.

They don't have to be right and can be highly subjective as long as their premise is clear and they are aware of it.

I took a philosophy of science course in college and still never got what it was that Kuhn was saying. My memory is the professor spent many lectures telling us what he was not saying, but I never figured out what he was saying beyond a "science goes through fads" simplistic interpretation. Is there a good short overview of it?

My take from this book is that:

- scientific knowledge is embedded in some intellectual ether made of underlying hypotheses often not explicitly stated called paradigms

- paradigms follow a Darwinian evolutionary process, i.e. better paradigms evolve out of not-so-good previous paradigms

- paradigm replacements start with an epistemological crisis , i.e. facts that the current paradigms don't explain well enough.

Hope it helps !

Great summary but also important to note that Kuhn didn't believe (unlike Popper) that science moved towards some final destination or explanation. Instead he saw each paradigm as optimal for what it was trying to express.

Yeah, I think I was struggling with this aspect. I recall my professor saying something like "it's not that general relativity is correct and newtonian mechanics was wrong, it's that when a general relativist says 'mass' they are talking about something different than when a Newtonianist says 'mass' - after all, you have to measure mass differently in those two things, they behave differently, etc. It's more that general relativity doesn't say anything at all about Newtonian mass." But I never bought that (even if they were talking about different things, it seems like they were trying to talk about the same thing), so I figure I'm missing something from Kuhn's argument.

Think about it like this.

If you believed the world is flat you can still get from one village to the next one and you wouldn't fall of the earth. It's true enough for what it is trying to accomplish. If you want to navigate longer and longer distances or go to the moon however this believe will meet it's limits.

The primary thing people struggle with in general with science and philosophy of science is actually more fundamental in other parts of life to which is Truth.

Popper thought science helped us approach the some objective Truth. Kuhn realized (and I agree) that truth is always depending on the context in which it's defined.

We don't need truth we just need useful.

Personally, I learned to think of scientific ideas along two axis - precision and usefulness. To reuse your professor's example, in so far as you accept that Einstein and Newton were really talking about the same concept of "mass", general relativity is much more precise than newtonian mechanics - but newtonian mechanics is much more useful than relativity, is the sense that it's precise enough for 99.9% of applications (including sending spaceships around the Solar System) while also being significantly easier to use.

Thanks! I would also consider "A brief history of time" and "Wealth of nations" to be part of fundamentals.

Agree both great books.

Ha-Joon Chang has very approachable books about capitalism and economics.

* Twenty-Three Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism [1]

* Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism [2]

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Things-They-Dont-About-Capitalism/dp/...

[2] https://www.amazon.com/Bad-Samaritans-Secret-History-Capital...

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