April 8, 2012

The Reading Files - Taking it slow

It might be a coincidence but I just realized that I am reading more books during weeks when I present IMM posts compared to those when no new books arrive. That said, I only got two books read this week, but in my defense, the second one was a bit on the heavy side - with both page count and content!

The Secret - Das Geheimnis (Rhonda Byrne)
Original Title: The Secret
Source: bought used
Genre: Non Fiction / Self Help / Spirituality

Fragments of a Great Secret have been found in the oral traditions, in literature, in religions and philosophies throughout the centuries. For the first time, all the pieces of The Secret come together in an incredible revelation that will be life-transforming for all who experience it.
In this book, you'll learn how to use The Secret in every aspect of your life -- money, health, relationships, happiness, and in every interaction you have in the world. You'll begin to understand the hidden, untapped power that's within you, and this revelation can bring joy to every aspect of your life.
The Secret contains wisdom from modern-day teachers -- men and women who have used it to achieve health, wealth, and happiness. By applying the knowledge of The Secret, they bring to light compelling stories of eradicating disease, acquiring massive wealth, overcoming obstacles, and achieving what many would regard as impossible.

Title & Cover: Love the mysterious vibe!
Story: Positive thinking taken to the next level. Visualize what you want and you'll receive it (if not, you're doing something wrong).
Narrative: Lulling and full of promise (until things start getting weird)!
Characters: People who're in the know aka know The Secret!
Thoughts: Basically your thoughts are responsible for everything in your life. Sounds good to me.Then the author makes claims along the lines of as long as you think "thin" you can eat as much as you want and you won't gain weight. While this borders on funny, the next step is that negative thoughts and worries can come true as well ... yep, it's your own bloody fault when you don't recover from illness or get hit by a truck! Uhm, right ...

Debt: The First 5.000 Years (David Graeber)
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Non Fiction / Culture / Economy

Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systems—to relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? There’s not a shred of evidence to support it.
Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that for more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods—that is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors.
Graeber shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Italy to China, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections. He also brilliantly demonstrates that the language of the ancient works of law and religion (words like “guilt,” “sin,” and “redemption”) derive in large part from ancient debates about debt, and shape even our most basic ideas of right and wrong. We are still fighting these battles today without knowing it.
Debt: The First 5,000 Years is a fascinating chronicle of this little known history—as well as how it has defined human history, and what it means for the credit crisis of the present day and the future of our economy.

Title & Cover: A bit basic, but I do like how a receipt has been used here!
Story: A fascinating and informative study from an anthropological and historical perspective on what debt is.
Narrative: Long winded, really really long winded ...
Characters: Debtors and creditors.
Thoughts: What intrigued me about the book (and made me request it in the first place) is the anthropological approach taken here - this certainly made for a colorful read. So if you're looking for some dry survey of the evolution of debt, this book isn't for you.


  1. They both sound like heavy reads. I've been having a few slow weeks lately myself and cant really put my finger on why. It will passed and I hope it does for you too.

    Safari Poet

    1. Heavy indeed! As much as I like reading non fiction, some are harder to digest than others.

  2. I think having a constant stream of books arrives does spur you into action a bit. It's still nice to have weeks to do things other than read though :)

    1. You're right about that! I mean, I love to read, but when new books arrive the pressure is on so those TBR piles don't grow too much.

  3. That secret sounds like complete mumbo-jumbo. It might start out ok with positive thinking and all but you have to draw a line somewhere. But then, gullible people are everwhere.

    1. Yep, pretty much! It's a lot like those "Bestellungen beim Universum" books if that tells you anything.

  4. The Secret was huge here in the states a couple years ago. It achieved an almost cult-like following, at least that's what I perceived. I haven't read it, it seemed hokie to me. But many people proclaimed it was life changing.

    1. It was pretty popular around here too a few years ago. Everyone talked about it and admittedly I was curious ... the only thing it changed for me is that I'm now out of a whooping € 1,00 (I bought it used).

  5. Didn't like The Secret!! Enticing words so I can see how some people might fall for it but absolute crock!