Dave Barry’s Money Secrets

I was out at Barnes & Noble tonight, getting some coffee from in-house coffee shop, when I spotted a book I hadn’t seen before: Dave Barry’s Money Secrets. The first couple of chapters are hysterical. I quote from the introduction:

Well, no matter who you are, you need this book.

“Why?” you ask.

Because chances are that when it comes to your personal finances, you are, with all due respect, a complete moron. I do not mean that in a derogatory way. I mean it simply in the sense that, when it comes to handling money, you are a stupid idiot.

“But,” you say, “what if I follow the accepted principles of sound money management?”

Great. Except that your so-called “accepted principles of sound money management” are worthless.

“But,” you say, “what if OUCH!”

I apologize for slapping your face, but if you keep interrupting with your stupid questions, we’re never going to get through this introduction.

That was on the first page, and it was enough to get me to buy the book. You should too. It’s worth it for its discussion of the money supply alone.

The Machine Stops

I have discovered an amazing story. Written by E. M. Forster in 1909, The Machine Stops explores a world in which people are no longer able to cope with unmediated experiences. In the story, people live in small cells underground, with purified air, medical care, food, and communication all available from the vast Machine that cares for most of humanity.

They are unable to breathe the air on the surface of the earth. They regard travel and physical contact with disgust, and are frightened of the stars and sunlight. Mostly, they sit in their rooms and communicate with each other–giving and receiving lectures.

In 1909, Forster was able to write a story which seems like a cautionary tale about the isolating effect of the Internet.

You really ought to go read the story. It’s not long; it shouldn’t take much more than a half hour to read, and it’s quite insightful. Enjoy!