I started off the new year of reading with some philosophy. After reading Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, I began to read The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought by Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff. This book was the next one on my Ayn Rand to-do list, and it was a collection of published essays and lectures she and Peikoff gave to students and businessmen.
My favorite essay was “Apollo 11,” where her infectiously enthusiastic writing describing her witnessing the shuttle launch made me feel the pride and excitement shared by the entire American population that day. I loved her descriptions of how hard working, dedicated, and thoughtful all the scientists and staff of the mission were. This was a perfect, extremely visual example of the power of man’s mind and productivity to shape his life and the world around him through reason and hard work.
I also really liked the essay, “Medicine: The Death of a Profession,” which explained through some very poignant examples how government involvement in healthcare is strangling doctors and hurting the care of patients, especially those that the government is claiming to help.
Finally, I greatly enjoyed the Epilogue, “My 30 Years With Ayn Rand,” because it gave me a brief glimpse into what it would’ve been like to hang out with her and hear her talk about philosophy off the cuff, something I can’t really sense from her polished writing.
Overall, it was a really interesting read and has given me a lot of food for thought.
I heard about Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Steven Kotler and Peter Diamandis on some blog post and thought it was an intriguing idea. I am typically optimistic and think there has been so much progress made in civilization, and I was curious to hear why the authors of this book were optimistic too.
The book was effectively a long catalog of many of the exciting technologies people have recently launched or are actively working towards across many fields such as robotics and medicine. It was nice from the one hand to hear about the many big problems facing the world and the different initiatives people are taking to fix them. But I found the book to be too descriptive of the current solutions and approaches, and so I think it will be quite dated in a few years. I would have preferred more detail on the actual problems because those are the entry points to real opportunities.
Even though I expected a bit more depth to the various arguments and less cataloging of examples, it was still an interesting read.