2009 H1 results

On the Tips page of Statefree-Learning.org, I suggest keeping track of what you have read as a motivational tool. I do, and it is helpful. I track my progress in an excel spreadsheet. Here is a summary for the first half of calendar 2009. Only books are included, not academic articles, etc. Although it takes a lot for a book to make it onto my to-read list to begin with, inclusion on read lists does not necessarily imply recommendation.

Words added to idea journal: 13,844
Pages of paper books read: 4,377
Hours of audio books listened to: 125
All books completed: 23

Titles completed (paper and audio)
Visions of Liberty
The Partner
Defending the Undefendable
Politically Incorrect Guide to American History
The Probability Broach
A History of Money and Banking in the United States
Democracy: The God that Failed
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution
Unweaving the Rainbow
The Dark Cloud
Dark Universe
Against Intellectual Monopoly
The Flight of the Barbarous Relic
Education: Free & Compulsory
The Persistence of Vision
Weapons of Mass Instruction
Economy, Society, and History (Lecture series)
The Cinder Buggy: A Fable in Iron and Steel
Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays
The Ethics of Money Production
Alongside Night
The Pillars of the Earth

My year by the numbers

While the application of false but popular economic theories continues to wreak havoc on civilization, it is comforting at least to know that there are a lot of people out there who have better ideas than the ideas that have led directly to the need for the current depression (a depression, by the way, which is essential to correct all the damage that was already done during the boom).

I'm trying to do my bit to learn and eventually make a contribution. Just for fun, I thought a short quantitative performance review of my year might be good for New Years' Eve, especially since so much of my work is highly qualitative in nature. So I put together some numbers.

Review of 2008 profession-related achievements by the numbers

Number of English words of investment research reports translated out of Japanese (this is my "day job," read: the one that generates a current cash flow). This equates to roughly 800 pages of text.

Number of words of notes, ideas, and observations added to my New Ideas file for future project development.

Number of non-fiction books read

Number of blog posts published

Number of fiction books read (on paper)

Number of fiction books listened to (thanks Audible)

[43: Book total]

One of the problems today is people not reading enough books. Even reading a lot of Web pages and blogs on a regular basis, which I also do, cannot equal the systematic development of knowledge and understanding available in books. Blogs are also good for connecting ideas with current events and for discussing new ideas, but systematic understanding is essential, and it is this that is most lacking today. It takes time to read a book. It is an investment. It pays off. Especially if you choose the titles wisely.

2009 Goal
To greatly increase the number of non-fiction books read!

What can one person do?

To start with, one person is the only one who can do anything, ever. So get over it.

This one person is getting toward the end of reading Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles (pdf) by Huerta de Soto.

This book cannot be recommended too highly. For what it's worth, reading this enables one to understand the exact manner in which the financial elite, the state, and their pet money-crank academic economists are entirely responsible for manufacturing economic crises, including the current particularly disastrous one.

They should know better because the economic theories driving current policy in the banking industry have been refuted either decades or centuries ago, depending on the particular issue. It is special interests which have the big stake in maintaining popular falsehoods for their own benefit.

Understanding is the first step in change. If all you can do is understand, do start by doing that please. It's not that hard anymore. Just turn off that non-sense machine, the media, and start reading a decent book.

Admittedly, an easier introduction to start with would be The Mystery of Banking (pdf), but it is also really worth it to take the whole 812-page ride with the Man from Madrid if you can manage it. Another brand new book in this field is The Ethics of Money Production (pdf). Although I have not had the opportunity to get too far into it yet, I'm venturing a guess that it will be going onto my recommended list after I do.