The books that I have almost finished, trying to buy time to kill the last few pages or chapters include:
"On the Wealth of Nations" by P.J. O'Rourke- I usually really enjoy P.J. This one reads like he was writing for the paycheck and didn't really understand the material ( Smith's "The Wealth of Nations") or why he was writing it.
"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout, PhD. Good stories and occasional brilliant insights, but in a goo of non-standard definitions and what seem to be an idea to reject any definition of conscience that doesn't fall back on a divine spark.
"Guards, Guards" by Terry Pratchett. This is the one book that I have been told (ad nauseam) will get me to enjoy fiction again. So far, I appreciate Pratchett's way with words (though it is wearing thin now that I've read several others) and there are two concepts I think he has explained as well as anyone. But as far as fiction telling deeper truths... not seeing it.
"Leadership and Training for the Fight" by MSG Paul R. Howe (ret). Someone really needed to write this book as an antidote for all the books written by managers on the subject of leadership that don't know there's a difference. It is raw, written for himself and those who want to follow in the Master Sergeant's footsteps. There are almost as many lessons in how it is organized as there are in the stories or specific points.
Those are the books in progress.
The next one's from the library, so has to be read next:
"America's Secret War" by George Friedman. Up close, the situation in Iraq looked completely different to me than it did from a distance. More coherent, more positive. It was also clear that our last president knew Arabic culture far more intimately than our current one (Arabic culture, not Muslim. Know the difference.) It's also abundantly clear that people with definite opinions are basing them on even less information than I have. So Stratfor's take on it should be at least interesting and well-documented. We'll see.
Then, and the point of this post, I received some very thoughtful gifts in San Francisco from Maija and Dale. Almost everything above was my excuse that I won't be able to get to them for awhile:
"Values for a New Millennium" by Robert L. Humphrey, J.D. Dale tells me this is the ethical underpinning of what he teaches his Bujinkan students. People I respect speak highly of the late Mr. Humphrey, so I'm eager to get to it.
"Shop Class as Soulcraft" by Matthew B. Crawford. I like things (people, stuff and skills) that are useful. This one should be cool. And I just now noticed the card. Thanks, Maija
"Dirt" by William Bryant Logan, subtitled "The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth" I suspect that dirt, like walking and breathing is one of those basic things that most people don't look at very closely.
"Oak The Frame of Civilization" also by William Bryant Logan intrigues me, much like the books Cod and Salt-- little things of immense impact in history.
On top of writing. Editing "7". Lectures at a private college tonight and tomorrow. Prepping for the private lessons and seminar in NY next week. Conflict Communications in Minnesota and a second-level seminar in Seattle in June...
Busy, but the kind of busy that I like.