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The Denial of Death, by Ernest Becker, in which the author argues that human civilization is an elaborate, symbolic defense mechanism against the knowledge of our own mortality.
"What man needs most is to feel secure in his self-esteem. But man is not just a blind gob of idling protoplasm, but a creature with a name who lives in a world of symbols and dreams and not merely matter. His sense of self-worth is constituted symbolically, his cherished narcissism feeds on symbols, on an abstract idea of his own worth, and idea composed of sounds, words, and images, in the air, in the mind, on paper. And this means that man's natural yearning for organismic activity, the pleasures of incorporation and expansion, can be fed limitlessly in the domain of symbols and so into immortality. The single organism can expand into dimensions of worlds and times without moving a physical limb; it can take eternity into itself even as it gaspingly dies."
"Suckers try to win arguments, nonsuckers try to win." — Nassim Taleb
"We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us." —McLuhan
The abstractions and processes of thought, from how we approach play (Finite and Infinite Games) to knowledge creation (The Beginning of Infinity) to confidence (The Inner Game of Tennis).
From the origins of man (Sapiens, Homo Deus), to speculations on artificial intelligence (Superintelligence, How to Create a Mind), to how we perceive time (Why Time Flies, Felt Time).
Space operas, dystopias, gender speculations, cyber wtf-ery, temporal gymnastics, and killer fungi, ranging from accessible page-turners (Atwood, Ishiguro) to mega-laser geekery (Banks, Vinge).
"Poker is a game of making decisions under conditions of uncertainty." — Annie Duke, Decide to Play Great Poker
"Again the bell and again and you and your opponent so evenly matched it’s impossible to see your opponent is you …” — Joyce Carol Oates, On Boxing