Book Review: The Elements Of Style [4th Edition] by William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White

The Veritable Scaffolding For Writers Of All Types

ElementsOfStyle4thEd
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 26, 2017

“If a writer wrote merely for his time, I would have to break my pen and throw it away.”
– Victor Hugo

Once  rated “one of the 100 most influential books written in English” by Time magazine in 2011, The Elements Of Style [4th Edition] by William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White is a systematic book which employs a no-nonsense approach on enduring principles of sound writing.

Cogent, concise and methodical, The Elements Of Style provides the firm foundation upon which writers can construct or improve their repertoire.

Featuring advice that is as simple as it is timeless, the book’s easy-to-follow approach allows for the incisive individual to become more robust with the principles of writing, while honing their own individual style as well.

Undoubtedly, some of these tenets will be familiar to some of you.  Even so, many are oft-overlooked and having them around to reference is quite convenient.

For a book that is nigh a century old, it still ‘packs a punch’.  Incidentally, that prior figure of speech, “packs a punch,” for instance, dances along the line of Style Rule #18: Use Figures Of Speech Sparingly.

Perhaps it shouldn’t have been used, perhaps so.  But having read this book, as a writer, I am consciously thinking of how the use of diction affects everything.  Ruminating a bit, perhaps, instead of writing that the book still “packs a punch,” I could have written “this book provides a treasure trove of insights for writers.”  Even though the first sentence gets the meaning across, the second one is smoother, and accomplishes the same thing in amenable fashion.    That is merely one example of the possibilities that this book will allow the shrewd writer to undertake once he begins to firmly inculcate its lessons and employ them therein.

Great writing, like a sound structure, can only take place with a firm foundation.  The scaffolding for that will undoubtedly require the insights of this book.  If you know all of them by heart, you’re one step ahead.  If not, then ponder getting this book.  And considering that these days, many people communicate with others through the written word on the Internet, it would be prudent to learn these tenets since they will undoubtedly help those who need to employ them.

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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: Phenomena by Annie Jacobsen

Phenomena
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 26, 2017

Phenomena -The Secret History Of The U.S. Government’s Investigation’s Into Extrasensory Perception & Psychokinesis by Annie Jacobsen is an attempt to catalogue the “definitive history” of the Government’s research into a lot of the paranormal.

Despite the book giving many facts, the information itself isn’t as interesting, nor as incisive as they could be.  There are other books that take a much more fascinating and detailed approach than this one.

If you haven’t delved into this topic at all, this book does have some starting points.  But if you have reasonable experience researching this abstruse subject, then this is going to fall way below expectations.

For starters, the book could have been written in half the pages without Jacobson being so garrulous.  A sizeable amount of the additional information covered just wasn’t necessar.  Even if you grant that, the book still doesn’t cover many of the most important historical individuals nor events within this discipline.  A few glaring issues are the author merely a cursory glance at the work of Robert Monroe, Ingo Swann and Russell Targ’s work.  Also, highly suspicious is the fact that Edwin May, who is a crucial individual in this, is missing as well.  If that were it, that would be regrettable enough, but there’s more.

Despite Jacobson using a few hundred sources detailed in the “notes” section, she fails to use proper notation – using none at all! – within the book.  It is quite laborious trying to ascertain which footnotes in the back couple to the missing notation in the front.  It’s like trying to find a treasure with the entire treasure map having hundreds of x’s all over the place, and all you need is one.  If you WANT to delve into this book thoroughly and use this information for research, you would have to expend many hours trying to do what the author failed to do before.  Seeing as a plethora of sources were used by the author, why not be a professional and note where each one applies?

Apparently, the author’s other books were great, and I am willing to give this author another chance, but this book fails considerably.  It even recently became known to me that this book is being used for a TV series as well, which may or may not have influenced the author’s take on the phenomena.

Taking all into consideration, the inquisitive individual is far better off starting elsewhere on this subject.  There are quite a few books out there, one notable being Jim Marr’s Psi Spies, that should be a great starting point for anyone venturing into this subject.  Another researcher that’s been doing yeomen’s work into the field of consciousness and paranormal is Tom Campbell.  Campbell, who is a former physicist, worked with Robert Monroe in his nascent stages, and has been doing research into much of this for over 30 years.  Campbell has a few hundred youtube videos as well, some of which cover this very phenomenal as well.

For what it’s worth, while the author collates much curious data, the book just isn’t as keen as it could be, it’s not the “definitive history” that it was claimed to have and promoted to be, it’s far too garrulous for its own good, and doesn’t even do a decent job at undertaking proper footnotes.  Recommend readers to give this book a pass and begin elsewhere.

Make sure to do ample research because there are a LOT of avenues to follow within this entire topic, so be warned.

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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: A History Of Reading by Alberto Manguel

HistoryOfReading
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 17, 2017

“Real books disgust the totalitarian mind because they generate uncontrollable mental growth – and it cannot be monitored.”
John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, p. 82.

“So often, a visit to a bookshop has cheered me, and reminded me that there are good things in the world.”
– Vincent Van Gogh

“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whether you are a reader, student, a teacher, a writer, a researcher, an editor, a scholar, or someone who loves books, you have undoubtedly experienced the feeling of being swept away by words.  Individuals of all types, who use the written word as a form of expression, often showcase in one way shape or form, a new world, a different world, one of possibilities, one of vision, one of depth.  Such instances often leave the reader feeling  thankful for having experienced what they just did.

In similar fashion, the author of the following book, Mangel, paints a historical picture with such clarity and precision that it allows the reader to journey through the pages of time as if we were right there with other readers, even sampling actions and thoughts at times.

A History Of Reading by Alberto Manguel is an intriguing and in depth overarching overview of most circumstances that involve reading throughout the pages of history.

The book is essentially a conjunction of two different elements: part personal diary and part scholarly research.

Cogent and incisive, Manguel does not hesitate in delving into the full spectrum that encompasses a bibliophile’s delight, weaving through countless historical instances which home in on crucial events around the history of books and reading.

For instance, the author not only covers absorbing anecdotes, individuals and the origins of reading, but also curious ventures of prominent individuals who had prodigious libraries of all types, one of which insisted on having his library travel with him.

Manguel notes:

“In the tenth century, for instance, the Grand Vizier of Persia, Abdul Kassem Ismael, in order not to part with his collection of 117,000 volumes when travelling, had them carried by a caravan of four hundred camels trained to walk in alphabetical order.”[1]

A bibliophile to boot, no doubt!

Beyond that, the book also features intriguing anecdotes of a wide range which infuse into the reader full range of emotions that readers of all types experience.  Regarding this topic, the author states:

“The act of reading establishes an intimate, physical relationship in which all the sense have a part: the eyes drawing the words from the page, the ears echoing the sounds being read, the nose inhaling the familiar scent of paper, glue, ink, cardboard or leather, the touch caressing the rough or soft page, the smooth or hard binding; even the taste; at times, when the reader’s fingers are lifted to the tongue.”[2]

Manguel also does a fine job of making sure the reader gets a taste of what it would have been to be a reader throughout other distinct  time periods.

Additionally, Manguel covers the Library of Alexandria, book thieves, reading the future, ancient librarians, and much more.

Another noteworthy historical point of consideration examined  was the relentless censorship that governments have undertaken of books.  Such immoral instances show the inherent fear governments have of educated individuals due to the salient self-sufficiency and power that books can impart.

As the author soberingly contemplates:

“As centuries of dictators have shown, an illiterate crowd is easiest to rule; since the craft of reading cannot be untaught once it has been acquired, the second-best recourse is to limit its scope.   Therefore, like no other human creation, books have been the bane of dictatorships.”[3]

Given that we are in an age where censorship of the written and spoken word is increasing across social media platforms and through many media outlets as well, such words should be ruminated upon deeply.   Modern society is once again entering into an crucial age of censorship, and in this new age the excuse for it is the meme of “Fake News”, which is being bandied about relentlessly . This is leading to an unprecedented tidal wave  of censorship by those in power.  And as history shows, it’s probably going to get much worse.

Manguel speaks about this same issue:

“Absolute power requires that all reading be official reading; instead of whole libraries of opinions, the ruler’s word should suffice.”[4]

And the ruler’s words, in modern times, comes mostly through the mainstream media.

Nothing frees a mind more than a book, for it allows readers to be self-sufficient and be able to be free to the fullest extent of the word.  That’s why historically, books have always been dangerous.

With that said, the book covers much more than mere censorship, and censorship is only a fraction of the totality collated by the author.  The book still covers a kaleidoscope of information to satiate the curious reader.

Regardless though, books are to be enjoyed, and the ironic part is that, reading a book about reading made me want to read even more than ever before.  And perhaps, this book can do the same for you.

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Source:
[1] Alberto Manguel, A History Of Reading, p. 193.
[2] Ibid., p. 244.
[3] Ibid., p. 283.
[4] Ibid., p. 283.

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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

BenjaminFranklinAutoBiography

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 14, 2017

Having John Taylor Gatto recommend this book in one of his interviews, it felt natural to want to avail myself of this historical information and its insights.

The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin is an overarching glance  at the inner ruminations and significant instances of Franklin’s life, but not all.

Although smaller in size than most hardcover books, the book still feels like a high quality book to boot.

Offering a map to most of the intriguing areas of Franklin’s life, though not all, this autobiography  offers anecdotes of all types within his life.  In one of these instances Franklin mentions how his father used to have guests over for dinner and conversation, and how that offered immense value to him.  As the following passage alludes:

“At his table he liked to have, as often as he could, some sensible friend or neighbor to converse with, and always took care to start some ingenious or useful topic for discourse, which might tend to improve the minds of his children.  By this means he turned our attention to what was good and just, and prudent in conduct of life…”[1]

Not only did Franklin learn in such a manner, but he also learned from watching others partake in their craft quite often.  Beyond that, Franklin also sought many a book to sharpen his mental faculties.

Fortuitously, during a discussion about writing with his father, Franklin was told by him that although Franklin was quite proficient in spelling and such, he still fell quite short in “elegance of expression”.  Realizing this to be true, the help his father gave allowed Franklin to become more attentive and polished in writing.

Soon thereafter, Franklin found a volume of Spectator which provided the impetus for Franklin to employ self-learning at a scale he had not undertaken before.  This in effect lead to Franklin creating a system of deliberate practice that allowed him to become proficient in writing.

To observe how precisely Franklin accomplish this, please note what Geoff Golvin stated in Talent Is Overrated – What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else:

“Significantly, he [Franklin] did not try to become a better essay writer by sitting down and writing essays.  Instead, like a top-ranked athlete or musician, he worked over and over on those specific aspects that needed improvement.  First came sentence structure which he attacked precisely in accord with deliberate practice principles.  His method of summarizing and reformulating Spectator sentences y one by one was designed ingeniously for that purpose.  He repeated that routine at high volume…and he got immediate feedback by comparing his sentences to the original.  When he decided to work on another element of performance, vocabulary, he again designed a brilliant practice structure, versification, with high volume and immediate feedback. “[2]

Following that, knowing that he lacked a wide-ranging vocabulary, Franklin showed is intellectual versatility  when he chose to employ poetry to increase his writing repertoire.

The fact that Franklin used self-teaching to achieve unparalleled self-sufficiency in this regard shouldn’t be glossed over because there’s much to glean from it !!!!! considering that that is a keen quality to have but which public schools and even Universities fail to teach.

Another intricate aspect of Franklin’s life was how he employed  persuasion.  In respect to this, Franklin delves into his insights in persuasion and argumentation, which  allowed him to speak to others in various disputes and conversations in a way that helped him foster sound judgment and more profitable interactions with other individuals.

Besides his youth, Franklin also covers his desire to master virtues of self-mastery  in order to increase his quality of consciousness, and even designed a small system of implementation for himself in order to bring it about.  And although Franklin continued growing as an individual, he still was savvy enough to realize he was still quite proud, and even then sought to attain more humility, even though it at times seemed paradoxical.

For instance:

“In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride.  Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.”[3]

Such a passage will go show that although Franklin had much pride, he still sought to attain humility as much as possible, even if he might never quite attain it.

Even though Franklin covers some successes in life such as business, some of his philosophy, and even idea of individuals attaining freedom through the employment of handwork and wisdom, the book doesn’t extend into his life during the Revolution.  That was quite unfortunate for his ruminations on that would have been valuable.

Another point not covered by Franklin is his membership to the Freemasons.  This would have also been significant, but it’s also not surprising that he did not cover it.  That said, the book to a large extent covers what Franklin saw as valuable at the time at key junctures of his life.  Franklin’s insights into virtues and dealings with other individuals and his creation of a system of deliberate practice shows this best.  To some extent, the book almost reads like a self-help book, but not quite so.

Irrespective of all that, the book does have some bite to it, but it’s not the end-all be-all of Benjamin Franklin’s life.  As an introductory volume in understanding the man in his own words, it’s quite invaluable, if garrulous at times.

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Sources:

[1] Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin, p. 9.
[2] Geoff Golvin, in Talent Is Overrated – What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else, p. 107.
[3] Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin, p. 99.
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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: Talent Is Overrated – What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin

TalentIsOverrated
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 14, 2017

Talent Is Overrated – What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin is a discerning book that aims to home in on the salient differences between the very top tiers of individuals in a variety of fields and the rest.  With a rather unorthodox approach, the author poses a new theory about why so many individuals are great,  and what got them there.

Colvin delves into why Ben Franklin, Tiger Woods, The Polgar Sisters, Jerry Rice, and many others rose to become the crème of the crop.  Gleaning from them, the author also shows how individuals can finetune their personal repertoire to gain insights and learn to practice in similar fashion.

In his quest for answers within abstruse subject, the author samples various disciplines in society in his effort to get to the bottom of what ‘talent’ really means given all the talk about it.

Colvin does an reasonable job of arguing the case for deliberate practice and other ideas.  Be that as it may, the book could have used some more scientific evidence or studies referenced just to bolster the argument and bring more fuel to the fire.

Irrespective of that, though, the matter talent might boil down to the individual and their inherent mental faculties and the beliefs they themselves hold.

As the author ponders in his own words:

“What do you believe?  Do you believe that you have a choice in the matter?  Do you believe that if you do the work, properly designed, with intense focus for hours a day and years on end, your performance will grow dramatically better and eventually reach the highest levels?  If you believe that, then there’s at least a chance you will do the work and achieve great performance.

“But if you believe that your performance is forever limited by your lack of a specific innate gift, or by a lack of general abilities at the level that you think must be necessary, then there’s no chance at all that you will do the work.

“That’s why this belief is tragically constraining.  Everyone who achieved exceptional performance has encountered terrible difficulties along the way.  There are no exceptions.  If you believe that doing the right kind of work can overcome the problems, then you have at least chance of moving on to ever better performance. “[1]

That’s what most people want, a chance, an opportunity.  And why wouldn’t that opportunity be there for the taking?  It’s merely a choice.

For those that might wonder if people are really born with talent,  Colvin elucidates:

“…a hundred years later, abundant evidence showed clearly that people can keep getting better long after they should have reached their “rigidly determinate” natural limits.  The examples were not just great writers, artists, business people, inventors, and other eminences producing their best work three or four decades into their careers.  By the late nineteenth century, scientific research was showing repeatedly that ordinary people in various lines of work could keep getting better even after their performance had apparently plateau.  Typists, telegraph operators, typesetters – highly experienced workers in all these jobs, whose performance hadn’t improved in years, suddenly got markedly better when they were offered incentives or given new kinds of training.  This evidence was obviously a big problem for the you’ve-got-it-or-you-don’t point of view.”[2]

Such data is actually quite refreshing, because it shows that this is not merely an issue of being born with talent.  On the flip side, it is also not as simple as merely working hard, because most people work hard.  The main takeaway is that as long as proper practice is designed and undertaken, progress and growth can be developed in countless professions.

Given all the data collated that shows how certain individuals became extraordinary, the information presented by the author is worth ruminating upon at length.  And seeing as Colvin also gave individuals a jump-off point, the book does hold a lot of significance one way or another.

If you wish to read a book that offers value, ideas to ruminate upon which might just change your life, and also want to know what separates the top tier from all the rest,  get this book.

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Sources:

[1] Geoff Colvin, Talent Is Overrated – What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else, p. 205.
[2] Ibid., p. 63.
___________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: The War Of Art – Break Through The Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

TheWarOfArt
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 11, 2017

The War Of Art – Break Through The Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield is a very innovative way to look at the resistance individuals face when attempting to walk the path of a creatively conscious life.

Because resistance is something that we all face in one way shape or form [i.e. procrastination], this book is a book that stands to help everyone in their own unique way.

Pressfield minces no words in his apt definition of what holds creative individuals back:  Resistance.

Resistance is what leaves most of us feeling like abject failures after we’ve lost multiple bouts with it.  The paradox of this conundrum is that Resistance isn’t as untouchable as it might seem at first blush.  Yes, Resistance is the paradise of procrastination on the creative path, it is the ultimate obstacle, the veritable Darth Vader.   As such, resistance is the epitome of self-sabotage.  But, therein lies the key to this curious conundrum: self.

Maraudering deep within our darkest realm, Resistance is the ultimate enemy which seeks to slay every one of our hopes, and cast limitations into each and every one of our dreams.

As Pressfield points out:

“Resistance is a bully.  Resistance has no strength of its own; it’s power derives entirely from our fear of it.  A bully will back down before the runtiest twerp who stands his ground.”[1]

In other words, if the percipient individual – guided by the self – is to overcome this ruthless opponent, they need to face it head on.  As the saying goes, fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.  Like the ego, it only grows when you feed it, so cutting Resistance of at the pass is crucial.  And this is where this book shines.

The War of Art is split into 3 parts.  In Part One, Pressfield shows a plethora of ways in which Resistance can be better understood.  Thereafter, Book Two features ways that the individual can tackle resistance in myriad ways, while Book Three goes beyond into deeper ruminations on invoking the ever-elusive Muse.  He also covers what separates amateurs from professionals, and an unorthodox – but refreshing – look at the artist and how the artist fits into the grand scheme of things.  The book yields more, but those are the core concepts.

As the author aptly notes, if Resistance couldn’t be overcome, the great works that humanity has wouldn’t be available these days.

If you are an individual who runs head on into Resistance daily – and who doesn’t? – or needs a healthy dose of inspiration, this book will definitely help you handle those in spades.  And if you seek to live a more creative life, whether by hobby or profession, then this is a must read.

Pressfield’s unorthodox approach to invoking the Muse is a breath of fresh air, and one that we can all relate too.  In his own words:

“When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication.  She approves.  We have earned favor in her sight.  When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings.  Ideas come.  Insights accrete.

“Just as Resistance has its seat in hell, so Creation has its home in heaven.  And it’s not just a witness, but an eager and creative ally.”[2]

After reading the book, my only regret was that the book was not longer.  That’s the sign of a good book.

If you want an active ally to accompany you in your personal battleground against Resistance and need a spark to light the tinder of action, get this book.
__________________________________________________________
Source:

[1] Steven Pressfield, The War Of Art, p. 99.
[2] Ibid., p. 108

___________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

March Book Haul 2017

MarchBookHaul.jpg

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 6, 2017

This month there were some serendipitous finds within the realm of books and reading that help feed the addict’s voracious hunger.  The topics are wide in scope as they are intriguing, and have made for some thought-provoking reading when I’ve had the time.

#1: The Nuclear Axis: Secret Collaboration Between West Germany & South Africa by Zdenek Cervenka & Barbara Rogers

The title says it all. This book details the connection between West Germany and South Africa, which is actually more disturbing than at first blush.  The book also delineates which other countries were involved in this fiasco besides South Africa, and shows that Germany, who went on record never to create nuclear weapons post World War 2, became in fact a de-facto nuclear power.  Then again, it shouldn’t be shocking considering that Germany’s attempted world domination in three previous instances.

#2:  Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee’s Wisdom For Daily Living by Bruce Lee

Knowing that Bruce Lee is the epitome of Individuality, reading about him has been something that I’ve wanted to do for quite some time.

This book has been an inspiring read.  Due to its format, the book can be read straight through, or just broken up into small pieces given that it’s not a book which builds on itself like most non-fiction books.  For me the latter method has worked better.

Usually just slice off a few pages on a daily basis as the aphorisms give one much to ponder about in unexpected ways.  Granted, some of the aphorisms are fairly straight forward, but there’s plenty of insights to be had if one remains open minded.

#3Culture As History: The Transformation Of American Society In The Twentieth Century by Historian Warren Susman

Wishing to learn more about the change culture American culture has gone through, this book felt like a natural pick considering it was mentioned in Susan Cain’s Quiet – The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking.  In Quiet, Cain mentions how in her book Culture As History historian Susman covers the transition between the culture of character to a culture of personality.  Seeing the results of this change in modern times, thought it prudent to go back in time and see where society began changing.  Predictably, there was serious social engineering and propaganda taking place to bring this about.   I am definitely looking forward to research this topic further down the line.

#4:  The War Of Art: Break Through The Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles  Steven Pressfield

This book barely became known to me a few weeks ago.  Being the book-addict that I am, initially, I told myself not to purchase this or any other book for that matter until catching up on some reading, but after about a week of pondering, I just couldn’t resist.  This merits a shout out to all bodacious bloggers that feed that addiction!  [If you got time and want to check out another fellow wordpress blogger on all things writing, click this link to check out Calliope Writing]

This book is like the Art Of War but doused with much inspiration and creativity.  If there’s even one cell of creativity within you, ruminate upon getting this book.

#5:  Speed: Facing Our Addiction To Fast & Faster – And Overcoming Our Fear Of Slowing Down by Dr. Stephanie Brown Ph.D.

This book covers society’s addiction to living at the vanguard at Warp 9.  This book brings about quite a few different concerns, especially considering that a sizeable portion of society follows the actions noted in this book to a tee, particularly the younger generations.  If you have young ones or know of anybody that might be plugged in to the matrix 24/7 so to speak, considering having them get this book.  There’s a review of it here.

#6:  UFOs for the 21st Century Mind by Richard Dolan

If you’ve ever wondered about where to start regarding the abstruse subjects of UFOs, START HERE.  Even if you have, this book still offers a lot of value given the severity of the subject.  Having read dozens of books on this subject, many books usually end up leaving the reader wanting more.  Additionally, there really isn’t anything as comprehensive and detailed as this.  The book is sourced to the hilt, is written in an easy to follow manner and considers a serious topic in a sobering and yet thought provoking way.  There’s a review that was written on this here.

#7J.R.R. Tolkien’s: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter

Having binged on many Tolkien books in February, and having heard from John Taylor Gatto that reading many biographies allows individuals the foresight to see things they might have not seen, thought getting this book would be a prudent choice.  Haven’t delved into it, but hopefully am able to within the next month or so.

#8:  The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

Along the same lines as the above, this book was purchased in order to brush up a bit on one of the Founding Fathers through the autobiographical lens.  It’s definitely fascinating getting an inner look at one of the people responsible for helping create America.  It helps put things into perspective in a way that history books lack.   Review will come up soon.

#9:  The Elements Of Style [4th Edition] by William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White

This book was purchased with the intention to grow and learn as a writer.  Being an autodidact and seeking to teach myself more on this lengthy subject, this seemed like a prudent place to start.  BOY WAS IT WORTH IT.  The book, although small in size, offers much knowledge to glean from it.  If you’re a writer, you need to get this book for the tenets within it will undoubtedly help you grow.  That said, there is a newer version of this book available.  Found this out about a week after purchasing the first one, go figure!  Given that it isn’t in my hands yet, I can’t vouch for it, YET, but once it gets here it will be read and reviewed in due time.

Why read a book similar to one just read?  Great question.  Because the 4th Edition of Elements of Style offered so much, I thought that if the new book followed through and offer even more information than the previous book, why not give it a gander?  Might end up gifting the other one out to a friend, but either way, the investment will be well placed.

#10:  The Book Of Virtues: A Treasure Of Great Moral Stories by William J. Bennett

A veritable treasure trove of insights on virtue from countless angles, this book homes in on many of the core tents that used to get taught in society but don’t get taught as much nowadays.  It seems like a great place to seek historical sources that showcase virtues within literature.

#11:  Sekret Machines: Gods: Volume 1 Of Gods Man & War by Tom DeLonge & Peter Levenda

I reviewed this book a few weeks ago and predictably, it is being censored by Amazon, as per usual.  If you want to read how to verify the censorship, read the next bracketed paragraph, and if not, just skip it for the synopsis.

[This can be verified simply.  Click on the link above, scroll down to the reviews, and then take a look at the two pictures to the right of customers who took pictures of the book.  The picture on the right under the name ZyPhReX, was the review done by me.  As you can see from the picture, I gave the book 3 stars.  Now, when you go back into the original book link, and click to check on all reviews that gave the book 3 stars, my review will NOT be showing whatsoever.  My contention is that not only is my review critical of this book in sobering fashion, but it also outlines alternative books to this topic, and that’s something the consortium hates to hear.  Regardless of the reason, the Book Review being censored is ludicrous since it follows all guidelines by Amazon, and the review is even shown under the picture.  And no, this isn’t the first time and its happened and doubt it will be the last.]

My original thoughts were that since Peter Levenda is a top-notch researcher, of whom many books I own, and seeing as DeLonge seems to have a genuine curiosity on the subject, the book might be a good read.  Boy was I wrong!

Although the book does feature intriguing information, the authors paint a picture that’s quite bleak of humanity, even using the parlance of “Cargo Cult” for humans and even go on to write about humanity as if wholly incapable, even there’s plethora of evidence showing otherwise.

Moreover, the authors take a very narrow point of views in explaining UFOs, which is quite detrimental.  Not that beings from another place visiting the Earth is out of the question, far from it, but to use a one dimensional approach to explain a multi-dimensional issue served to make this book a catastrophe.

As I noted in the review of this book:

“… one particular point that was quite disconcerting is the fact that the authors take a unilateral point of view of making it seem like UFOs can only be explained by the alien mythos.  While this is certainly one possibility, and one with some solid grounding, it is not the only one, and not by far.  Dr. Joseph P. Farrell, Walter Bosley, and others have come up with an equally arguable case that argues for human ingenuity as one possible way to explain some UFOs.”

Lastly, a rather unexpected find was being able to get almost 20 National Geographic magazines, each for 10 cents at the library.  I am sharing this in hopes for people to realize that sometimes at local libraries there are incredible deals if you happen to venture there at the right time.

That said, did any of you purchase any intriguing books recently?  If so, what were they?  I am always genuinely curious as to what other individuals read and find intriguing. A significant portion of what I choose to read is because of what other people have made known to me, either directly or indirectly, and  this is my attempt to pay it forward.

Hope you are all well and have a great week.

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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.