After this section of book summaries, I stopped reviewing books for a while. However, don’t despair, I shall pick up the reviewing again later this fall.
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, c 2008, by Alice Schroeder.
To start with, if you’ve ever had a little curiosity about Warren Buffett, The Snowball will more than satisfy you. If you don’t know who he is you will still enjoy this speedy, entertaining story. If you’ve grown up in a dysfunctional family — no, I take that back and replace it with “If you’ve grown up with a neurotic, perhaps psychotic family member; and especially if that member was your mother” — you will be amazed at Warren Buffett’s story. I found it fascinating, shocking, enthralling, appalling, confusing, sad, and magical. Get on with it! (Get a copy and read it!)
The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century, c 2009, by George Friedman.
Do you remember Alvin Toffler’s best seller, Future Shock? Mr. Friedman takes on the same challenge, focusing upon the United States primarily, and providing a general sense of global geopolitical power for the next 100 years. With all the current dismay and fears about the U.S. losing its way, you will get a strong dose of inspiration from reading The Next 100 Years. To get to the point, Friedman sees the U.S. right now as just entering its ascent. No one can ultimately harm the U.S. during the next ten decades although it most likely will be attacked by a coalition of two or more countries in about 2050, but will survive and thrive and be the dominant power in space and on the oceans. Friedman believes that the world will definitely change, that Turkey, Poland, and Mexico will be rising powers, and that Japan and the UK will still be strong. He foresees bases on the moon (several nations), and U.S. space military bases, “Battle Stars.” Except for the war which Friedman lays out in general scenario with imaginative details, the U.S. will primarily be challenged by changes in population (decrease) and shortage of labor, immigration (increased at first to satisfy labor, and then blocked as technology is infused with robotics), and challenged by technological growth (robotic developments, communications, solar space power,) and black ops that will allow U.S. to prepare in the coming decades to situate itself clandestinely to fight off such a surprise space attack (from earth nations) as Friedman describes. The only thing I notice about Friedman, Toffler, and the like, is they don’t mention much about the silent growth, or movement, going on in people’s evolution — spiritually or emotionally. Everything is military, social issues, practical challenges. However, I suppose those things are easier to project forward in time. While I find the book stimulates thinking and imagination about the future, I also found it rather depressing to keep reading about wars and war technology — even though it is through them that we get some (not all –Black Ops) technology passed down to we the people. It is a shame that war is the venue for human advancement. I’m envisioning that we will eventually turn a corner and become more civilized and advance technologically, socially, spiritually, because it is fulfilling and thrilling. But, if we must war, then yes, I hope that humankind does benefit materially. But isn’t it like getting scraps from the tribal chief’s table?
If you are concerned about your children and grandchildren, read these two books and you will have hope again. Not only because of the cycles of growth that Friedman describes (a golden opportunity begins in the 2070’s) but also the story of Warren Buffett holds a huge amount of both faith in human versatility and solid, principled investing while firmly standing in one’s margin of safety.
I’d like to mention The Essentials of Real Love Workbook by Greg Baer. Or, the regular non-workbook, Real Love. I may as well add a companion title, Real Love for Wise Men and Women: the Truth About Sharing Real Love also by Greg Baer. I’ll keep this short and just say that these titles are complementary to the book I wrote about a while back called The Servant Leadership Training Course by James C. Hunter. All of these books help us to change our perspective in relationships in work, school, family, all of life, to become more concerned about others than ourselves. The realistic principles include boundaries and free choice, which together mean one is not a doormat; and the choices one makes are not out of obligation, guilt, or shame; and all that stuff, all that baggage we can freely leave behind. These books describe adult maturation as always working on strengthening both one’s own self-love and self-interest, and serving others from a position of inner love being-ness. Being in love is not infatuation, but standing abundantly and vibrantly in self-love, with such overflow that one loves life and others with no expectations of being loved in return. However, one does hold faith that love is available constantly, one resides in that faith, swims in it; it is always around you. More importantly one acts upon that. It is being in a state of god’s grace and love inwardly. A goal in learning Real Love is to grow up and grow out of the pursuit of getting love or seeking love from others, to move away from “getting” behaviors and “protecting” behaviors, and rather to move toward nurturing the growth of others. And this is something one does all of one’s maturing years; it is never accomplished, but rather a state of being a person continually learns and refines. The author calls these people “wise” men and women; and he says that we should have contact with them in person or by other means every day, especially when we are starting out on this journey.