It’s Election Day tomorrow. Tonight, I’m going to an “End of the World” party. Tongue-in-cheek party name? I really hope so.worst apocolyes.jpg

Most people have made up their minds already regarding the upcoming US election. I don’t want to get on a soap box. The world is slippery with soap boxes already. I also don’t want to tell anyone what to think. I just want people to think.

As a writer and a lover of books, Facebook and Twitter are not places that I go for my political information. Not that I don’t love the jokes and pithy commentary. (I really do! And I get the irony of using a social media platform to comment about the shortcomings of social media.) I am not saying social media can’t be used for good. But, I am saying it shouldn’t be the only source for information if you want to have a real understanding of issues. (There really should be no one source at all, right?)

sheldon
Sheldon: At best I have 60 years left. 60 only gets me here. I need to get here. Leonard: Where’s there? Sheldon: The earliest estimate of the Singularity, when man will be able to transfer his consciousness into machines and achieve immortality. Leonard: So, you’re upset about missing out on becoming some sort of freakish, self-aware robot.

On that note, I’d like to highlight the power of reading books and thoughtful articles to make you think about the world beyond twitter (I know, it exists right? Crazy). This is just a small list of a few pieces of writing that may make you think about now and what the world could be in the next 2, 10, 20 or 50 years. (Or until we reach the Singularity and transfer our consciousness into machines, solving the majority of our problems. Sheldon from the ‘Big Bang Theory’ says it’s going to happen soon!)

 

History repeats itself, even if we learn about it, apparently
The famous saying goes that unless we learn history we are doomed to repeat it. Do you know who said this? George Santayana, Spanish philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist. That’s right a novelist gave us this oft-used piece of wisdom. So my question is, we learn history in school and through reading. Why do we continue to repeat it? Here are some suggestions it keep us learning.rise-of-athens

 

“egomaniac who ‘only loved himself’ — a narcissist with a taste for self-dramatization …characteristic fondness for superlatives.” – Excerpt from the  New York Times Book Review of Hitler: The Ascent by Volker Ulrich

“How does a democratically elected leader become a dictator? First he gets elected, then he behaves like a dictator.” – American Enterprise Institute 

Novels, fiction and non-fiction, can teach you thinks too
I write fiction and, therefore, it’s probably not a surprise that I feel fiction, and it’s non-fiction cousin memoirs, can sometimes be a better mirror of our successes and failures as humans than even our own history. Here are a few books that opened my eyes to the world. Perhaps they will do the same for you.

Now, let’s all get to 11/9 in one piece, OK?

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