Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Books: some recent acquisitions

First, try these Google searches, they're great:
"at * we are passionate about *"
50 million+ hits returned, right?  Now this one:
"at * we are passionate about innovation"
282,000 results returned.  These are the great horrid clich├ęs of our time.  Too funny.

I'm so worn down by the fanatical overuse of "innovation" and "innovative", particularly among the promoters and publicists of all categories of business, that I went out and ordered a 1st edition of Edward Shils's classic essays on Tradition this week.

Edward Shils, Tradition

A great response to the cult of Progress that rules today, the late Professor Shils reminds us of what is lasting or permanent, why it is important, and why we need it.  I had this in student paperback, but I decided to get the hardcover ed. before the Treasury complex collapses and things go full-on Mad Max.

I bet Jim Kunstler would appreciate this book, a lot.

I picked up a first of Shils's Torment of Secrecy, too.  I mentioned this book and Fukuyama's comments on it last week.  I had not read this old book (1956) before, but am enjoying it now.

Edward Shils, The Torment of Secrecy

This one, I already had on my shelf; I read it many years ago.  It was sort of a gateway drug to finding Mises's Human Action and discovering the Austrian School of political economy.  The book occupies that strange land of very formal social theory in the mid-Twentieth century at places like Chicago and Harvard.  It's dry but good reading, if you have a taste for what they were trying to do here, establishing a "general" theory of human action and of society.  The book is still in print on Amazon.com.

Parsons and Shils, Toward a General Theory of Action

Finally, I found a nice copy of a Theodore Dreiser novel, a memorial edition published in 1946 after his death.  Mencken wrote the bawdy introduction, which proceeds to point out all of the flaws in both Dreiser the man and this greatest (in Mencken's estimation) of his novels.

Theodore Dreiser, An American Tragedy

I actually stumbled across this volume at a bookshop in Pike Place Market, where they mostly sell tourist books and trade paperbacks.  "Here's a hot one," I asked the bookseller as I checked out.  "Moving a lot of Dreiser today?"

We're big on the American realist novelists here in Deflation Land, the Dreisers, Frank Norrises, James T. Farrells, the Nelson Algrens.  They are always welcome.

Financial markets?  We're still heading up, end-of-quarter window dressing and all.  There are two gaps overhead -- and I bet we close them both before selling off again, per the chart I posted last night.


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