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Author Topic: What is the stupidest book you have ever read?  (Read 11376 times)
Tetro Kornbluth
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« on: February 10, 2010, 01:39:43 pm »
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I was thinking alot the literature I have read which has utterly frustrated me I would be interested in hearing yours (cue lots of "Finnegan's Wake" type posts followed by "My pet goat" type posts)... I'm really more interested in non-fiction really.

Anyway two come to my mind which were so mind-booglingly stupid that they still annoy me to this day:

How the Irish Saved Civilization - Thomas Cahill
The Blank Slate - Steve Pinker

What I have read of it The Rebel Sell (can't remember the authors) would also be pretty close.

This reminds me that if burnt all the pop-psychology/pop-history/pop-sociology available then the world would be a better place.

Come on people, name and shame.
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Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'

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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2010, 02:21:06 pm »
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Hard to say. Hitler's Willing Executioners (Goldhagen) is pretty fucking stupid though (and in several different ways). I remember reading it and finding it hard to believe that it was for real. But I've almost certainly read more idiotic non-fiction books over the years... can't quite remember any at the moment, but they'll come.
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"I have become entangled in my own data, and my conclusion stands in direct contradiction to the initial idea from which I started. Proceeding from unlimited freedom, I end with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that there can be no solution of the social formula except mine."
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2010, 01:01:44 pm »
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Oh how could I forget.... The Seven Basic Plots - Christopher Booker. Basically an incoherent 700 page conservative (in all senses) piece on storytelling which leads into a bizarre personal rant against Proust (seriously) and how modern culture is poisonous and against the principles of good storytelling and humans are losing touch with 'nature' (which happened after the French Revolution, apparently) thus we are all going to hell in a handcart, blah, blah, blah..
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Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'

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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2010, 01:10:30 pm »
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The title is certainly a good indication that it's probably pretty stupid. You must now provide details of the idiocy of the books mentioned in first post.
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"I have become entangled in my own data, and my conclusion stands in direct contradiction to the initial idea from which I started. Proceeding from unlimited freedom, I end with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that there can be no solution of the social formula except mine."
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2010, 01:23:42 pm »
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The title is certainly a good indication that it's probably pretty stupid. You must now provide details of the idiocy of the books mentioned in first post.

Yes I knew I was forgetting to do something...

How The Irish Saved Civilization: Written by a Jesuit 'historian' (he has a bibliography... practically all his sources are by Jesuits...) about how Irish Christianity helped keep alive the Classical tradition in the period laymen still refer to as the 'dark ages'. The thesis is historically dubious in itself (though admittely isn't totally without merit), indeed it repeats practically all the long debunked myths about Irish history in that period (which is basicallly all Irish history in that period). But hum-ho, what makes it really stupid is his bizarre tendency to use events from the 5th Century to underline moral points about today. The logic goes... The Huns were migrants to Western Europe, they destroyed 'Roman Civilization' therefore illegal immigration is bad (Were the Huns illegal?). While this is a common trick of pop history, it doesn't mean it isn't offensive and moronic rubbish especially considering that this is actually a big selling book which is where alot of people learn about early Irish history. I'm surprised by the amount of people who have read it.

The Blank Slate: I've mentioned this one before. It is a written by an 'evolutionary psychologist' professor of linguistics at Harvard(? A major university in the US anyway... where do they hire these guys). Basically what Pinker does is attack, without doing any basic research beyond it seems barmat quotations of 'big thinkers', every single intellectual movement in the 20th Century (including some he plainly makes up) that doesn't agree with him... as they 'deny' 'human nature'. Human Nature seem to be a uniform, Clinton-era, ah shucks aren't humans just evil? type complacency mixed with the sort of neo-"darwinist" bollocks you occasionally find in business books about how entrepreneur's are trying to improve their evolutionary fitness and genes. Basically telling people what they want to hear but with new added 'science'. Because science explains everything, even if it isn't very scientific but hey that's the 'science'. It is the bizarrest example of anti-intellectualism I've ever read. The book sold millions of copies and Pinker has one of "the biggest brains on the planet" according to The Sunday Times Brian Appelyard.

Oh yeah Samuel Huntingdon's book on the clash of civilizations was pretty bloody dumb.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 01:27:03 pm by The Goy's Teeth »Logged



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Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'

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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2010, 07:59:26 pm »
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This reminds me that if burnt all the pop-psychology/pop-history/pop-sociology available then the world would be a better place.

Come on people, name and shame.

I'll start the kindling with a blast from the past:  Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.
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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2010, 08:30:45 pm »
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How about The Secret

Heard about an hour on tape (involuntarily I might add Tongue). Basically, it was: "If you want something badly enough, you'll get, but you can't specify a time because that ruins it"
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« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2010, 09:35:54 pm »
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Mein Kampf (I stopped reading after one page due to the massive s**t I saw there). I don't agree with any of the s**t written there, I just wanted to see into the mind of a massive maniac.
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« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2010, 10:05:25 pm »
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The Da Vinci Code is up there with some of the worst.
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« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2010, 10:08:55 pm »
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The Da Vinci Code is up there with some of the worst.

Did you think the movie was bad as well?
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2010, 09:47:43 am »
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The Da Vinci Code is up there with some of the worst.

Did you think the movie was bad as well?

Redundant question is redundant.
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"I have become entangled in my own data, and my conclusion stands in direct contradiction to the initial idea from which I started. Proceeding from unlimited freedom, I end with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that there can be no solution of the social formula except mine."
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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2010, 09:51:33 am »
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Mein Kampf (I stopped reading after one page due to the massive s**t I saw there). I don't agree with any of the s**t written there, I just wanted to see into the mind of a massive maniac.

Mein Kampf is certainly one of the worst books ever published, but I'm not sure if 'stupidest' is quite the right word. I mean, sure, it is a very stupid book on many levels, but I think the turgid insanity of it all is its main feature.
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"I have become entangled in my own data, and my conclusion stands in direct contradiction to the initial idea from which I started. Proceeding from unlimited freedom, I end with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that there can be no solution of the social formula except mine."
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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2010, 09:52:48 am »
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...according to The Sunday Times Brian Appelyard.

As a recommendation for 'idiocy' I think that that would have done on its own...
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"I have become entangled in my own data, and my conclusion stands in direct contradiction to the initial idea from which I started. Proceeding from unlimited freedom, I end with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that there can be no solution of the social formula except mine."
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2010, 10:02:01 am »
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Mein Kampf (I stopped reading after one page due to the massive s**t I saw there). I don't agree with any of the s**t written there, I just wanted to see into the mind of a massive maniac.

Mein Kampf is certainly one of the worst books ever published, but I'm not sure if 'stupidest' is quite the right word. I mean, sure, it is a very stupid book on many levels, but I think the turgid insanity of it all is its main feature.
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Tetro Kornbluth
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2010, 11:59:30 am »
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...according to The Sunday Times Brian Appelyard.

As a recommendation for 'idiocy' I think that that would have done on its own...

This is of course true.

Anyone else? Try to avoid anything obvious (like The Da Vinci Code or The Secret).
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Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'

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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2010, 01:23:33 pm »
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Yeah, Mein Kampf is really a quite interesting book if you're willing to look past the turgid prose.

Can't think of anything particularly stupid right away, but I do remember Proust as being a total waste of time.
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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2010, 01:27:57 pm »
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Yeah, Mein Kampf is really a quite interesting book if you're willing to look past the turgid prose.

As a book it isn't at all interesting (or, rather, no more interesting than a deranged rant on Stormfront). As a primary source, aha. That would be a different matter entirely.

But the writing style though. Christ. I don't think, and this is no exaggeration, that I have ever read worse.
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2010, 01:48:03 pm »
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I once read an Ann Coulter book.
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« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2010, 06:08:53 pm »
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Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel seemed to be entirely speculation, and I was able to point out several things in there that were incorrect.

EDIT: I also forgot to include Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, which I found ironic given that he attacks liberals in the introduction for accusing their opponents of fascism and then devotes the rest of the book for attacking liberals for having some valid, but mostly vague similarities to fascism. For example, he accuses Malcolm X is being a fascism due to his focus on race issues.
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« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2010, 06:15:09 pm »
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Pat Buchanan's Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War

While Buchanan pointed out some things about Churchill that evades the common opinion of the man, most of his entire book were blanket statements and rampant speculation (This certainly would happen!) based on his personal opinions of WWI and WWII and how we are falling into another trap with China playing Germany. It was pretty dumb, to be honest.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2010, 06:17:12 pm by Assemblyman Willkie »Logged

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« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2010, 06:16:43 pm »
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Pat Buchanan's Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War

While Buchanan pointed out some things about Churchill that evades the common opinion of the man, most of his entire book were blanket statements based on his personal opinions and not actual fact.

Aw, come on, you may disagree with his conclusions, but Pat's books are always well-researched and supported.
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« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2010, 06:19:10 pm »
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Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy.
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« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2010, 06:23:35 pm »
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Pat Buchanan's Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War

While Buchanan pointed out some things about Churchill that evades the common opinion of the man, most of his entire book were blanket statements based on his personal opinions and not actual fact.

Aw, come on, you may disagree with his conclusions, but Pat's books are always well-researched and supported.

Perhaps, he did make some serious points, however I failed to see much of a coherent argument. He claims to be a supporter of Reagan in the book and then shows a clear lack of understanding his beliefs.

While some of the ideas exposed were noticeably ill-adept for Britain, most of those shown (Excluding the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and some others) were pretty much preordained. The really interesting part was an expose on Churchill's Keep England White Ideas.
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« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2010, 06:26:02 pm »
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Well, perhaps there are dumber books I've read, (like the one that argued Pat Buchanan was a neo-progressive, lol) but the conclusions written here just seemed so... in touch with common belief (Bush is pushing Russia's Putin into China, which consequently Buchanan fears is like a second Germany).
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« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2010, 06:31:27 pm »
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Michael Moore's books. Seriously. I read them when I was younger and was first developing an interest in politics, and I think it was that that ended up making a conservative out of me. Even today, reading them, the arguments are so stupid a child could refute them.
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