# Book Club
Welcome to the (mostly) Taiwan based g0v / Gold Card (unofficial) book club! We are in the middle of reading a book, but you may feel free to join at any time!
# Live update section
This section here is where announcements and state of the book club will be kept:
1. We meet every Thursday at 20:00 Taipei Time. [This is the gather.town link. You don't need an account. ](https://gather.town/app/Nru98rsCqvcyC2tG/tw-bookclub). In my experience, it works best in Chrome.
2. We're reading "The Communist Manifesto" by Karl Marx right now. [It's public domain](https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Manifesto_of_the_Communist_Party), comrade
3. Book suggestions are open! Feel free to suggest a book for next round. Go to the [book ideas](#Book-Ideas) section, below.
4. Feel free to join at any time, we'll make it work. Just add your name or some unique identifier to the list below!
5. We're still very interested in finding out eachother's goals for being in the bookclub. Add to the [why](#Why) section!
8. Yes, feel free to edit this document to your heart's content
9. Meeting notes taken on a per-book basis. For "Man's Search for Meaning," see https://hackmd.io/E44XBgXzRz6ZRI66zlI1Hw
## How to Communicate
Our "official" communication hub is the "books" channel in the g0v slack. https://g0v-tw.slack.com/archives/C9VKWB14J . If you need help figuring out slack, you can message me (at email@example.com (普通話也可以).
## Participants or Interested People
If you're interested in joining, put your name or some way of identifying you on this list! (also put some way I can contact you lol)
* Caleb - g0v slack
* Michael Bowcutt - slack / line
* Cameron - GC slack
* Ari - GC Line
* Thomas - g0v / GC Slack, GC Line, etc.
* Ian - GC Slack, GC Line, etc
* Chris - GC slack, GC Line etc
* Luke - (trying to hoin govslack)
* Kai - GC slack, g0v slack
Add your reason or reasons why you'd like to do something like this below! That way we can work together to format the club in a accomodating manner.
* I'm bored in lockdown and want to talk to people about interesting stuff
* I want an environmental source of pressure that pushes me to finishing books I'm interested in reading
* I want to build and solidify my friend network in Taiwan :)
* My therapist says I'm "epistomologically motivated" and should seek out intellectually stimulating activities lol
* I want more entropy in my reading list and/or positive peer pressure to work through the list
* Sounds like fun. work, but fun. Plus i miss y'all
* Reading is better as a multiplayer game. Been meaning to do something this, and happy to coast off someone else's organizational efforts. =)
* Based on our meetings so far, this is the most intellectually stimulating activity available to me, by a long margin.
* Reading feels like a better way of spending my time than watching youtube videos
## Format Brainstorming
> [name=Caleb Rogers]
"Man's Search for Meaning" is about 200 pages in english. readinglength.com claims it will take 3 hours and 4 minnutes to read this book "at 250 wpm". The nytimes says "college-educated" adults (which, whether or not any of us went to college, I believe most people attracted to this group will fall in the same literacy rate) read between 200-400 WPM. By my calculations that means at 200wpm it would take about 3.8 hours to read.
> [name=Caleb Rogers]
Scrolling through the book, looks like the first 100 pages is the "Experience in a Concentration Camp" section, followed by 30 pages on logotherapy. Some (all?) versions include another 20 pages that look to be notes on a lecture by Viktor, I'm not entirely sure. I don't see any straightforward way to split up the "Experience in a Concentration Camp" section.
> [name=Caleb Rogers]
I'm not sure of how much time people are able to commit to this, but here's me just tossing out some ideas:
1. Read the whole book over the course of 2, maybe 3, weeks, and have a long (3ish hours) discussion sometime in the 4th week.
2. Read the whole book over the course of 2, maybe 3 weeks, and have shorter (1.5ish) hour discussions every week. I'm not really concerned about spoilers or whatever for this book, so I don't think it's necessary to enforce a "don't read past here" rule.
Please add your ideas and thoughts.
Happy with any format
I've found that book clubs centered around calls can be hard to sustain over time: friction of scheduling, different levels of commitment, all-hell-breaks-loose weeks, etc.
Since this seems to be a tech-saavy crowd, anyone up for keeping an ongoing async discussion on Slack? Depending on the book, the channels can be split by chapter or theme, with people posting their reactions to each as they go.
Interesting idea. There's no reason we can't simply start this experiment. In my opinion and what has worked well for me is start with simplicity and organize from there, so what about try this experiment simply in the [books channel on g0v](https://g0v-tw.slack.com/archives/C9VKWB14J)? We can compile out notes if we like to a hackmd document, something I wanted to do from meetings anyway. However, I still want to try to meet, because realtime social interaction is a part of what I'm seeking.
## Getting the Book
I don't condone pirating books, look at all these evil criminals I found below, wow that's just terrible, if you use these links to become a criminal rather than for my intended purpose of providing my research on people pirating this book, that's on you.
* PDF: https://edisciplinas.usp.br/pluginfile.php/3403095/mod_resource/content/1/56ViktorFrankl_Mans%20Search.pdf
* epub: https://www.up-pdf.com/epub-download-mans-search-for-meaning-by-viktor-e-frankl-9781846041242-k67
* audiobook: This one's included with an Audible subscription, so if you happen to already use audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Mans-Search-for-Meaning-Audiobook/B002V0QUOC
## Regarding Mandarin/English
> [name=Caleb Rogers]
It'd be nice if this club was accessible regardless of language ability. IMO we should aim for books that are easily available in either Mandarin or English, so readers can read in the format they're comfortable in. Then during discussions, we can try to meet eachother in the middle of our respective Mandarin or English abilities.
>[name=Guo-Jim] I will try to add the Mandarin names of the books
## Voting on our First Book!
The votes are tallied and the winner, via several methods of ranked choice calculation, is "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frank! Now we need to decide our reading pace and how often we will meet. Also, it would help if we could source mandarin and english versions of this book, especially if we can find free versions!
| ↓Book↓ →Rank→ | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |
| -------- | -------- | -------- | -------- | -------- | -------- | -------- |-------- | -------- |
| Man's Search for Meaning | 3 | 4 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |
| A Brief History of Time | 0 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 2 | 2 | 1 | 0 |
| The Communist Manifesto | 2 | 1 | 2 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 2 |
| Meditation | 1 | 0 | 2 | 1 | 2 | 1 | 2 | 0 |
| The Republic | 0 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 3 | 1 | 0 |
| Walkaway | 1 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 2 |
| Snow Crash | 0 | 0 | 1 | 3 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 1 |
| Countdown to Zero Day:... | 1 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 2 | 0 | 1 | 2 |
* Emma (copied to hackmd by caleb)
## Book Ideas
Suggest some books you'd be interested in reading, and why! I think it's best to avoid stuff on 2020 or 2021 NYT bestseller list, or basically any book that would be difficult to acquire for free. Books can be free from the library (but only if they're available, hence avoiding SUPER currently popular books) or out of copyright, and therefore available on something like Project Gutenberg. Also, some books are released for free by their authors. Cory Doctorow has been known to do this.
> [name=Caleb Rogers]
* "Man's Search for Meaning" - Viktor Frank: Currently Reading
* 活出意義來 - 維克多•弗蘭克
This book has been on my want to read list for a long time. The USA Library of Congress has it in their top ten "Most Influential Books in America." It's a philosophical book written by a survivor of a Nazi extermination camp. I think we could have some really interesting and genuine discussions from it. Also, it's available online for free from several sources.
* "A Brief History of Time" - Stephen Hawking
* 時間簡史 - 史蒂芬•霍金
Hawking wrote this "for readers who had no prior knowledge of physics and people who are interested in learning something new about interesting subjects." He discusses, at a non-technical level, the structure, origin, and development of the universe, as well as space, time, quarks, gravity, the big bang, black holes, general relativity, and quantum mechanics. Could be really interesting to talk about!
* "The Communist Manifesto" - Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
* 共產黨宣言 - 卡爾•馬克思 弗里德里希•恩格斯
Could be good fun. Communism and leftist ideology is in a resurgence in a response to a new tide of ultranationalist fascism across the world, and I think it'd be really interesting to discuss Marx's philosophies from where we stand, in late stage capitalism. Also, it's very short, and very easy to find online for free.
* "Meditation" - Marcus Aurelius
* 沉思錄 - 馬可•奧里略
Timeless reflections by a Roman Emperor. Oft quoted by politicians and business leaders. One of the Great Works of Philosophy. And, easily gotten online for free.
* "The Republic" - Plato
* 理想國 - 柏拉圖
Called "the cornerstorn of Western Philosophy." And, obviously, not under any copyright lol.
* "Walkaway" - Cory Doctorow
* no Mandarin translation avaliable
Awesome speculative near-future "hard sci-fi" generational novel. Covers topics like scarcity, anarchy, communism, copyright, LGBT issues, transhumanism, cryptography, death, and ecology. Fascinating "what if" book.
* "Snow Crash" - Neal Stephenson
* 潰雪 - 尼爾•史蒂芬森(Out of print)
Created the "cyberpunk" genre. Dystopic sci-fi set in an ultra-capitalist world, with motorcycle samurai and virtual reality hackers. Also gets into linguistics and memes. Very fun.
* [Triumphs of Experience](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15861579-triumphs-of-experience---the-men-of-the-harvard-grant-study#) - George E. Vaillant
Summarizes a 1930s longitudinal study tracing the lives of Harvard men from their college days, through WWII, marriages, careers, and finally into death and old age. Essentially, what can be learned about the human condition by analyzing the life arcs of the _most_ empowered and priviledged?
* [The Dictator's Handbook](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11612989-the-dictator-s-handbook) - Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alastair Smith
A fascinating framework for analyzing political incentives and corruption. Not just for kleptocratic dictatorships, but also applicable to idealistic democracies (and everything in between).
These are longer books, possibly heavier reading -Cameron 👇
- [The Beginning of Infinity](https://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Infinity-Explanations-Transform-World/dp/0143121359) - David Deutsch
Have this recommended via Naval Ravikant, I feel in a more expansive place and want to understand more about the future.
- [Sapiens](https://www.amazon.com/Sapiens-Humankind-Yuval-Noah-Harari/dp/0062316095) - Yuval-Noah-Harari
Similar motivation, I tried very briefly to read this before but found it heavy - book club material? -- [name=Cameron]
- I really enjoyed that book. Introduced me to the "macro history" genre. My only hisitation about this book came later after reading one of his subsequent books which discussed the future and technology. Reading his other book I noticed that in many cases he does not know what he's talking about (while still being adept with prose), so I'm not sure how reliable the author is as a source of signal. -- [name=Ian]