The Grand Design

The Grand Design puts across the latest theories on the beginning of the universe in an easy-to-follow fashion, all with the benefit of no equations whatsoever. I liked the fact that it covers many subjects with ease and accessibility, with no prior knowledge of mega-level physics necessary. It did teach me a few things (I was interested to learn that Quantum Physics really only affects things at the molecule level and not anything bigger), and is certainly worth a re-listen at some point, as I know that I missed several things.

There seems to be a lot of controversy over the fact that this book makes the statement that God is not necessary to have created the universe, and if you can get your head around there being multiple universes (and the fact that we will probably never be able to fully comprehend such things), it makes a lot of sense. I'd recommend this book to anyone with an interest in such things.

Animal Farm

Having studied the beginnings of Soviet Russia for around 3 years at school, I found it very interesting to re-read Animal Farm for the first time since I read it in English class when I was 15. Incidentally, it is the only book that I can remember reading in school that I want to read again. But reading it and trying to place who was each animal (aside from the obvious two), which countries the two farms represented, what historical events each part of the book was based on... this all added to my enjoyment of this short novel. I think that it has to be one of the cleverest books ever written, and if many issues were boiled down in this way (think the Israel-Palestine conflict), it would add a level of perspective to many who are currently ignorant of the reasons behind them.

Quite simply, an excellent book that I look forward to reading again in 10 years or so.

Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar... Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes

I have never really cared much for philosophy, but this book appealed to me as a simplified presentation of the different schools of thought that exist. In that respect it works fine, I found it to be a very readable and great introduction to the world of philosophy. However, I don't feel like much of it has stuck with me - but on the other-hand, I would not be adverse to browsing through it again one day.

Perhaps that is a little cruel as I am more aware now of what Zen actually is, Existentialism etc so I do think it is a good introduction to the topic. I'm just not moved to read anything in-depth upon the topic.


1984 is a pretty sick book. Sick in the 'well good' sense, not the 'what the hell am I reading' sense. Most people will know of the novel itself, so I shan't go into details aside from it really is a great read and can be quite frightening, especially when you see aspects of the story already in real life. Really would recommend everyone to read this as it is just great.

Bits that I highlighted:

  • Here were produced rubbishy newspapers, containing almost nothing except sport, crime, and astrology. (Reminded me of The Sun).
  • "I expect you were a beastly little swine in those days," she said indistinctly. "All children are swine."
  • In philosophy, or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when one was designing a gun or an airplane they had to make four.
  • All past oligarchies have fallen from power either because they ossified or because they grew soft. Either they became stupid or arrogant, failed to adjust themselves to changing circumstances, and were overthrown, or they became liberal and cowardly, made concessions when they should have used force, and once again were overthrown.

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