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What Book Has Had The Most Impact On You?

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For me, it's "When I Say No, I Feel Guilty" by Manuel J. Smith.

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  • RayanSajjadRayanSajjad 18 Pts   -  
    Argument Topic: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

    This book really resonated with me on a deeper level. 
  • BoganBogan 302 Pts   -  
    The book which had the most impact on me, and which began my transformation from a young left winger to a person who could appreciate the right side of politics, is "Eastern Approaches" by Fitzroy Mclean.     Fitzroy McLean was truly an exceptionally brave and intelligent young man.     It is believed that David Fleming who knew Fitzroy modeled his fictional James Bond character on him.

    The book begins in 1937 where Fitzroy, as a young diplomat in Russia in the British embassy, attends the show trials of the top Communist Party leaders who Stalin wanted dead.     After the trials, Fitzroy travelled to Soviet Central Asia as a tourist and we can see the effects of communism on this fascinating and at that time, almost unknown part of the world.      At the beginning of WW2, he tried to enlist in the army but he was refused leave from the diplomatic service who threatened him with prosecution if he tried to resign.     Undeterred, he then did the only thing that would get him sacked from the diplomatic service, he stood for parliament and won.      He then enlisted as a private.     It did not take the army long to realise that Fitzroy had an abundance of brains and they made him an officer.

    The second part of the book sees Fitzroy in Cairo where he bumps into his friend david Stirling, who offers him a job in a new outfit he is creating called the "SAS".      Fitzroy then accompanies Stirling on some hair raising raids into German occupied Libya, along with David Stirling and that incomparable British warrior, Paddy Maine. (4 MM's but no VC).    He is then sent to Iran to prevent the Iranians from joining the Axis, which he succeeds in doing.  

    The third part of the book sees Fitzroy McLean MP parachuted into Yugoslavia at the request of Churchill to meet up with Tito's partisans and to assess whether the communist partisans were worth giving military aid to.    Fitzroy's report to Winston Churchill was that this was very much the case.    Fitzroy noted that Tito's partisans were holding down 14 German and Italian divisions all by themselves using only captured military equipment, while the entire British Commonwealth armies in Africa were engaging a paltry 2 German and 2 Italian divisions, and losing.     Fitzroy McLean became a personal friend of Tito and he accompanies Tito on many adventures in Yugoslavia.     This book was instrumental in making me realise that a committed communist could be a very admirable and intelligent man worthy of great respect.   So too, Fitzroy McLean was an example of the sort of people that made the Empire.    Intelligent, daring, and brave, he was the sort of patriotic young man who Churchill once quipped :were "the gentlest of men who ever cut throat or scuttled ship."

    An extremely interesting and fascinating book of some of the great events of history seen through the eyes of an intelligent young man, who enlists in the army as a private and ends the war as a general.  
  • DreamerDreamer 172 Pts   -  
    Argument Topic: Charles Mann 1491.

    Wow, I knew almost nothing about American Indians before hand.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 5050 Pts   -   edited May 17
    Most likely this one: "Mathematics can be fun" by Yakov Perelman.

    My cunning parents sneaked it into my bedroom when I was around 8. At that time I was just a silly kid who liked running around and getting into trouble, but also was crazy about all kinds of puzzles, board games and the like. I loathed math at school and thought it an exercise in the ability to tolerate the most boring stuff in the Universe.

    But, as it happens, eventually I got my hands on this book; I was 10 or so. What can I say... It shook my entire world. I found indescribable beauty in all those examples of seemingly complicated problems solved easily upon making a neat observation such as some unexpected symmetry. I remember very well the chapter describing a method of telling how much money is in a pile of coin by simply weighting it and then applying an algorithm based on the fact that all numbers in question can be "primized" (i.e. bijectively converted into primes). So many ways to approach the problem, so much complexity - and such an elegant solution based on one simple property that any child can understand.

    I have delved in quite a few STEM fields, but if I were to describe myself in as concise a way as possible, I would call myself an "applied mathematician". I love taking a complicated problem from a field I have only recently familiarized myself with, building a mathematical model of the relevant objects, noting some non-obvious properties (requiring a well developed intuition which can only come as a consequence of thousands of hours put into this kind of thinking) and simplifying the model as a consequence, then letting the model run and seeing what happens.

    Needless to say, without that book, I would never have become what I am. I would probably have chosen some money-making career in finance or something, never discovering that one's job can be one's hobby, something they would do for free, yet something others are willing to pay fortunes for. Can you think of many other hobbies like that, easily monetizable?! Few people make fortunes by playing hockey, or doing rock-climbing, or eating delicious cheesecakes. But logical puzzles encompassed in applied mathematics - why, people are spending billions of dollars just so we could have a lot of fun and write a report or two at the very end. We have the privilege of going to work as if we were going to a cinema theater or a chess club, getting paid exorbitant amounts, having a blast throughout the whole process - and then, as the last benefit, having everyone tells us how smart we are. "You are a mathematician? Wow!!! You must be very smart!" The latter is a lie: I am secretly a huge dumbass. But I happen to be somewhat decent at what I do, and I am all too happy to "upplay" it.
  • @MayCaesar

    If I may ask a question. Why are algebra letters used the way they are in mathematics? In Calculus the letters a,b,c,d,e,f,g do not have the same meaning as the letters z,y,x,w,v,u,t, in calculations why? As algabra is a introduction to calculus does the same rule apply?

    I am going to go with the science on this one. The book which has made the largest impact on me was the book with the most mass.:)

  • SwolliwSwolliw 1530 Pts   -  
    @JulesKorngold For me I think it would have to be the Bible that has had the most impact on me for the very reason that I have never seen another publication so full of gratuitous violence, perverted sex, exaggerations and utter lies.

  • Calculus made Easy, 1st addition 1910. The questions are not a fallacy, and they may or may not be relevant. " We classify all quantities into two classes constants and variables, we generally denote algebraically by letters from the beginning of the alphabet, such as a, b, or c, while those which we consider as capable of growing, or (as mathematicians say) of varying, we denote by letters from the end of the alphabet, such as x, y, z ,u, v , and sometimes t."

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