During my forty year career in Investment Services, I hardly ever read a book, and then only an occasional one that was generally work-related.  Approximately six months ago, however, I began reading books from our County Library, on a multitude of topics.  So far, I’ve had great luck in my selections, and I would like to list a few of them.  OVER TIME, I WILL MAKE ADDITIONS TO THIS LIST.  If you don’t find one that might interest you, perhaps consider another!


Epic Measures, by Jeremy N. Smith.

Christopher Murray, a Harvard-trained M.D, with an Oxford, Ph.D. in Medical Health Economics, challenged the Global Health Establishment and won.  His tool is a data base of virtually every known disease, broken-down by country.  Knowledge of country-specific diseases enables more accurate, disease-specific appropriations.  The free on-line “GMD Compare” is linked, as follows:

Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder.

Paul Farmer, a fellow resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, with Chris Murray (cited above), and Jim Yong Kim, all three vowed to “Save the World,” and they are still working toward that goal.  Farmer and Kim, through their Partners in Health, also challenged the Establishment, and appear to be winning, as well.  PIH is providing high-quality health care to some of the poorest and remotest locations on Earth:  Haiti, Mexico, Rwanda, and a Siberian Gulag.


Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act will improve our terribly complex, blatantly unjust, outrageously expensive, grossly inefficient, error prone system: by Emanuel, Ezekiel J.

Dr. Emanuel is a Professor of Oncology and Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, and was a key architect of the Affordable Care Act (derisively called “Obamacare” by the Republicans).  This program currently provides health insurance to some 25 million previously uninsured Americans.  Dr. Emanuel acknowledges that any Health Care, or Insurance, System can always be improved upon.


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari

A great historical and scientific explanation of Who we are, Where we came from, and How we got here.  The obvious idea is to understand our past in order to contemplate our future.


The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway

Two scientists have written this science fiction novel, which predicts what the Earth, which Mankind is currently passing on to successive generations, might be like.  We must change direction, in order to avoid assured destruction.


Stress Test: by Timothy F. Geithner

Tim Geithner was President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at the beginning of the crisis and, then, he moved over to take Hank Paulson’s place, as Secretary of the Treasury during the First Obama Administration.  The FRB-NY implements the Federal Reserve Board’s Monetary Policy.  The book reveals the thinking from inside the Obama Financial Team.

Too Big to Fail:  the inside story of how Wall Street and Washington fought to save the financial system from crisis–and themselves,  by Andrew Ross Sorkin

Respected Wall Street journalist—as a reporter for the NY Times and a morning host on CNBC-TV—Mr. Sorkin describes the crises from outside the Government, with numerous excerpts of discussions and interviews with the Wall Street and Government participants.

Historically based Racism in America:

Freeman, by Leonard Pitts, Jr.

In this well-researched historical novel, Mr. Pitts describes life, in the Deep South, given the uncertainty of what life had actually become, in the vanquished south, immediately after the Civil War.

The Plot Against America,  by Philip Roth

A historically fictional novel, as told through the eyes of eleven year-old “Philip”, growing-up in a Jewish neighborhood of Newark, NJ, during pre-World War II America.  The hypothetical situation assumes that famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, an avid Nazi-Sympathizer, defeated incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt, for the Presidency, in Isolationist America.  Published in 2005, the ironies with the current political environment abound.

Mankind, and our Sense of Humanity:

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, by Sebastian Junger.

Tribe is a wonderful book, that calls on a number of academic fields, in order to describe Mankind’s search for a sense of belonging.  Mr. Junger traces this Tribalism from Colonial America, the WWII London Blitz, returning war veterans with PTSD, the lasting psychological effects on rape victims, etc.  The outstanding review, from the Guardian (UK) is linked, as follows:

War and Misunderstanding:

My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath,  by Seymour M. Hersh

Sy Hersh won a Pulitzer Prize for uncovering, what I believe, was the very darkest hour of the U. S. Army.  Elements of the Army’s Americal Division massacred some 550 Vietnamese old men, women, children, even suckling babies—for no other reason, perhaps, than “scoring body counts”.  The Courts Marshall went nowhere in what seems to have been a massive cover-up–by many men, up-and-down the Chain-of Command.

Feel-Good Books:

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

This book tells the stories of a multitude of people—victims of sexual slavery, non-existent health care, domestic abuse and murder, decade’s-long civil warfare, etc.  Once they found a way-out, they had the humanity to, then, help others.  You might find other, similar books by this husband and wife team of interest.

The Rosie Project,  by Graeme Samson

A hilarious fictional novel about a middle-aged professor of genetics, with Asperger’s Syndrome, deciding that he needs to find a wife, for his “Wife Project”.  So, he draws-up a 16 page questionnaire for candidates to complete.  Need I say more?  Bill Gates’ wife, Melinda, suggested that he read it, since it deals with the structured mind of a logically-focused person.

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies,  by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

This book describes how today’s Technological Revolution–the Digital Age–is taking-over where the Industrial Revolution had left-off.  Now, as then, innovation often doesn’t necessarily precede applications, the two of which might come in either order, or even simultaneously.  And in same cases, intermediate inventions or applications might be required.

Hillbilly Elegy, by J. D. Vance

After World War II, many people from Appalachia moved-up, to southern Ohio and Indiana, searching for a better way-of-life. But, they retained their Hillbilly culture—extreme poverty, lacking job skills or a respect for education. Actually, Appalachia moved north with them. This is J. D. Vance’s personal story about how he escaped, gained a good education and began a successful career; but, he still shares many of those same Hillbilly values.

The Rothschilds : a family portrait, by Frederic Morton

The true story of a poor man, who sends his five sons to the major capitals of Europe, creating a global financial dynasty.  There are many financial lessons to be gleaned from this book:  the origins of global banking;  the reasons for some of the most basic securities laws;  business intelligence (Intel);  and the relationship between commerce and politics.

The Hunt for Red October,  by Tom Clancy

Yes, the fiction adventure movie was great, but the book was even better.  American naval forces compete with Soviet naval forces to find and “destroy” (retrieve) a run-away technologically state-of-the-art Soviet sub.  All the while, the Americans don’t know if the Skipper has gone berserk, or is trying to turn it over to us.  Once again, the Pentagon wonders where Clancy gets his spot-on information.






  1. #1 by Richard on January 2, 2017 - 2:11 PM

    Nice list, but not much fiction. For guys our age I recommend Jim Harrison. His love of N.Michigan, the outdoors, good food and drink and women and travel. Best of all most of his stuff is in novella form, so he gets right to the point

    • #2 by cheekos on January 2, 2017 - 2:56 PM

      Richard, thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. Fiction doesn’t really interest me. There’s so much of Who, Why, When, How and What does that all mean. Tribe describes why: many American Colonists who had been “rescued” from Indian captivity, returned to live with the Indians; the fact that during the WWII London Blitz, there were almost no admissions to psychiatric wards, while admissions in the suburbs hadn’t changed; and why some GIs just never re-acclimate to civilian life, after combat deployment.

      To me, Tribe, as well as Pulitzer-winner Leonard Pitts’, well-searched in the Library of Congress, description–as close as we can tell–to what life in post the Civil War Era might have been like, was truly fascinating.

      These stories, at least to me, are much more compelling than some fabrication about what might happen, and what the so-called “morale of the story” was–IF there even was one. To me, especially given today’s political reality, I don’t wish to wallow in greatness, ideology and outright fabrication. I’ll continue to focus on the Real Thing, reality–past, present and potential future.

      Richard, there is nothing wrong with reading Fiction. My point is that I prefer to go in another direction. And, isn’t that why there are so many flavors of ice cream?

  2. #3 by Richard on January 7, 2017 - 10:12 PM

    Just finished Hillbilly Elegy. Since I live in Ohio I have crossed paths with Appallacia before. While this memoir explains certain things it does not paint a hopeful solution.

    I plan to go out and get Tribe by S.Junger. I’ve worked with PTSD, homeless and veterans before and find their is an unspoken community that goes unreported

    I still recommend Harrison drinking whiskey and reporting on birds around Lake Superior as a healthy escape from our so called political ”reality’ LOL

    • #4 by cheekos on January 7, 2017 - 10:32 PM

      Richard, “War”, by Sebastian Junger is also a great book. Like Tribe, his discussion takes you behind the scenes, so to speak, and into the minds of the front-line grunts.

      Also, if you have an interest in PTSD, with regard to vets, a prior post, on veteran suicide rates might be of interest to you. It’s linked, as follows:

      Also, be sure to read the Steve Rose blog, linked in para. 3.

    • #5 by cheekos on January 9, 2017 - 12:20 AM

      OK, Richard. I added the Tom Clancy thriller, The Hunt for Red October. Satisfied? HA!

    • #6 by cheekos on January 15, 2017 - 4:03 PM

      Richard, here’s another Tom Clancy novel for you to consider. I grabbed it at the local library just to fill-in a weekend. Although not up to the quality of Red October, “Op-Center” does have some relevance to the current political arena.

      I did spot a few flaws in Clancy’s tory-telling, such as referring to Taiwan as being in East Asia. Although its government and economic development are closer to those of Japan and South Korea, it truly is located much more toward the south of China. And, in a still agriculturally-dependent economy, the milder climate is a game-changer.

      Op-Center, is somewhat of a combination of Delta Force, with direct DoD and Intel participation, as well as state-of-the-art Technology. Although one of its own, plus a trusted Korean KCIA #2 man are convinced otherwise. The President, pissed that he looked foolish not preventing a Hezbollah attack in Hollywood, prefers to shoot first, asking questions afterward, on the Korean Peninsula.

      Previously, the Pentagon has wondered where Clancy gets his spot-on ideas.

  3. #7 by cheekos on January 2, 2017 - 2:41 PM

    RVETTE454, thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. I’m not sure what your Comment is. I have taken ideas of books to read from numerous directions: the Bill Gates Book List (The Rosie Project and Epic Measures); just perusing the Stacks at the County Library; columnist I read regularly, like Pitts (Freeman) and Kristof (Half the Sky); ones I had read about (Tribe); books about a key character described in another (Mountains Beyond Mountains); books written by writers that I had read other books by, such as Seymour Hersh (My Lai4) and Michael Lewis (to be added, once I read book on-hold at Library; and, of course, Roth’s Plot Against America; etc.

  1. BOOKS THAT I RECOMMEND: – rvette454

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