Of making many books...

There Is No End

book review Based on his previous book on how to learn Japanese characters (reviewed here), Heisig has teamed with Richardson, wbo wrote his doctorate on adapting Heisig's method to Chinese, to produce a guide to learning the first 1500 characters. There is also a version for traditional characters, and volume 2 of each text (when they eventually appear) will cover another 1500 characters. Heisig and Richardson have a page on their publisher's website with a free download of the introduction and the first few chapters, and also of the errata to date. more...

Much darker than Carey's "Terre d'Anges" series, this series (without explicitly mentioning it) presents the story of Lord of the Rings from the viewpoint of the other side. Not that the characters or the places have the same names, but the similarities are made obvious enough for the reader not to be in any doubt, The story is considerably changed (otherwise it would be a rather boring book), so Banewreaker in part is based on The Hobbit and part on The Fellowship of the Ring. more...

The book is very well illustrated with numerous photos and diagrams, and would be worth buying just for the photos alone. The author is a retired professor of architecture from one of the leading universities in China (Tsinghua), and the book has the tone of the professor personally taking the reader on a guided tour of the architecture: where to look, what to see, the historical events that happened there. The author fills in numerous insights, especially by comparing the architecture to its western equivalents. more...

Reinert bases the book on two sources of evidence, his collection of pre-Ricardo economic texts and his personal experience as an entrepreneur and development economics academic expert. He asks, what did the rich countries believe about economics when they were becoming rich? He looks at the English before Ricardo, the Dutch in the 1600s, and the Germans from the 1600s to the 1900s. He also looks at the Morgenthau plan (the Allies' initial plan in 1945 to return Germany to a purely agricultural economy) and the later Marshall plan (to re-industrialise Germany, later applied to other European countries, Japan and Korea). more...

This book serves as an introduction to the history books of the Penguin Classics series. It introduces historians from Herodotus to the present day. It looks at each historian on theor own terms, showing how their objectives varied widely. Earlier historians were principally concerned to record events that might otherwise be forgotten, to serve both as a commemoration of meritorious actions and as a warning of the bad. Later historians, beginning in the nineteenth century, began to look back beyond their own days to reconstruct the past from archives and other sources, so changing the nature of the historian's task. more...

Enthusiastic about his subject, Robin Lane Fox traces Alexander's military expedition from Macedon to India and back to Babylon. Fox's strengths are his command of the sources and his willingness to challenge existing interpretations. Fox is uncritical of Alexander's aggression and cruelty, seeing these through (as far as he can) the mores of Alexander's own time. more...

Now it might be said that Taleb's argument can be simply put as, Do not assume a normal distribution. But then, so much of the quantative analysis that underlay financial risk models (and the consequent assurances of financial stability) were based on just that assumption. As far as I could tell, the only justification anyone ever presented was that it made the mathematics possible. Possible, but delivering predictions that did not match up to what actually happened. more...

This is a different approach to most courses in kanji, the rely on brute-force memorisation, or draw cute little pictures that are supposed to resemble the character. The problems is that there are too many characters to memorise that way, and most characters are not pictoral, so little drawings do not work. Heisig's approach is to break down each character into 'primitives', which are simple 'mini-characters' with about five strokes (these may be characters in their own right, or radicals, or obsolete characters). more...