Friday, January 09, 2009

Do You Squidoo?

This is a cross post from:

Book Recomedations

I read, a lot. I love it when someone recommends a book to me or appreciates it when I do the same for them. So here is a list of books separated into three sections, Taichi books, Non-Fiction, and Fiction. Let me know what you think or leave a recommendation that you think I would like, thanks.

Jordan's Choice Tai Chi Books

I do Tai Chi, a lot. These are some must haves for you taiji library

Yang Style Traditional Long Form T'ai Chi Ch'uan: As Taught by T.T. Liang

Gordon studied directly with Master Liang from 1981 until 1988 and then spent several more years working with senior students. At the time of its writing Gordon had more than 20 years experience with Yang style Tai Chi. His understanding of the art is not based solely on work done on the long form but also on his intense practise with Cane, Broadsword, Sword and the two person exercises including Push Hands, Ta Lu and San Shou.

Amazon Price: $11.53 (as of 09/08/2009) Buy Now

Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method (Volue One: Theory)

This is a long waited book. The author of the book, grandmaster Hong Junsheng studied from grandmaster Chen Fake for 15 years and was the only disciple who lived with the grandmaster from time to time. Hong spent his entire life practicing and writing this book on the Chen Style Taijiquan. Many of his views, opinions and experiences are rare, authentic and traditional. There simply is not another master who could compare.

His disciple Chen Zhonghua did an excellent job of translating this book. An English teacher and translator in Canada by profession, Chen rendered this book in both loyalty to the original and in readability for the Western readers.

This is definitely a book that all martial artists must have.

Amazon sells this book for $210. Find it Cheaper here:

Amazon Price: (as of 09/08/2009) Buy Now

T'ai Chi Ch'uan for Health and Self-Defense: Philosophy and Practice

T.T. Liang was Gord Muir's Yang Style teacher, this book is known as a modern classic too.

Amazon Price: $9.60 (as of 09/08/2009) Buy Now

Hunyuan Qigong

This is the only authorized English translation of Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang's Hunyuan Qigong book. This book has the full content of the 12-Form Hunyuan Qigong exercises in detailed explanations. Translated by his disciple Chen Zhonghua. Text and pictures are both provided.

This book is currently unavailable on Amazon. Find it here:

Amazon Price: (as of 09/08/2009) Buy Now

Way of Hunyuan: a Personal Odyssey

This is an essential book for anyone practicing Qigong. Its contents are mainly based on the Hunyuan Qigong of Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang and the personal experiences and explorations of Master Chen zhonghua. Many rarely discussed aspects of Qigong are included in this book. There is a glossary of Qigong terms that are useful to all Qi Gong practitioners.

Amazon prices this book at $125. Find it cheaper here:

Amazon Price: (as of 09/08/2009) Buy Now

Great Stuff on Amazon


We all love non-fiction, it is the stuff of life (how descriptive!). Here are a few of my picks, (I can't wait to pick my Fictions).

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

This is a life changer. A great supplement to the Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. My description of this this book could not do it justice, so I'll let Chris Anderson's (Wired Magazine) review speak on my behalf:

Four hundred years ago, Francis Bacon warned that our minds are wired to deceive us. "Beware the fallacies into which undisciplined thinkers most easily fall--they are the real distorting prisms of human nature." Chief among them: "Assuming more order than exists in chaotic nature." Now consider the typical stock market report: "Today investors bid shares down out of concern over Iranian oil production." Sigh. We're still doing it.

Our brains are wired for narrative, not statistical uncertainty. And so we tell ourselves simple stories to explain complex thing we don't--and, most importantly, can't--know. The truth is that we have no idea why stock markets go up or down on any given day, and whatever reason we give is sure to be grossly simplified, if not flat out wrong.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb first made this argument in Fooled by Randomness, an engaging look at the history and reasons for our predilection for self-deception when it comes to statistics. Now, in The Black Swan: the Impact of the Highly Improbable, he focuses on that most dismal of sciences, predicting the future. Forecasting is not just at the heart of Wall Street, but it's something each of us does every time we make an insurance payment or strap on a seat belt.

The problem, Nassim explains, is that we place too much weight on the odds that past events will repeat (diligently trying to follow the path of the "millionaire next door," when unrepeatable chance is a better explanation). Instead, the really important events are rare and unpredictable. He calls them Black Swans, which is a reference to a 17th century philosophical thought experiment. In Europe all anyone had ever seen were white swans; indeed, "all swans are white" had long been used as the standard example of a scientific truth. So what was the chance of seeing a black one? Impossible to calculate, or at least they were until 1697, when explorers found Cygnus atratus in Australia.

Nassim argues that most of the really big events in our world are rare and unpredictable, and thus trying to extract generalizable stories to explain them may be emotionally satisfying, but it's practically useless. September 11th is one such example, and stock market crashes are another. Or, as he puts it, "History does not crawl, it jumps." Our assumptions grow out of the bell-curve predictability of what he calls "Mediocristan," while our world is really shaped by the wild powerlaw swings of "Extremistan."

In full disclosure, I'm a long admirer of Taleb's work and a few of my comments on drafts found their way into the book. I, too, look at the world through the powerlaw lens, and I too find that it reveals how many of our assumptions are wrong. But Taleb takes this to a new level with a delightful romp through history, economics, and the frailties of human nature. --Chris Anderson

Amazon Price: $18.48 (as of 09/08/2009) Buy Now

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

This is the prequel to the Black Swan, but it is almost more enjoyable because Taleb uses less complicated examples from his years of study. Very conversational and easy to read.

Amazon Price: $18.48 (as of 09/08/2009) Buy Now

Cash: The Autobiography

Speaking of randomness, this is a book I read on the recommendation of John Cusack's character in High Fidelity. He put it as number one on his all time fav's, and it really is a great read.

Amazon Price: $12.47 (as of 09/08/2009) Buy Now

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Another book that can be considered a supplement the the Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell. Ever wonder why some stories become memes, and others disappear? This book can answer that, and help you write to beat the band.

Seth Godin put this on his booklist, and I want to be like him.

Amazon Price: $17.16 (as of 09/08/2009) Buy Now

Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme

I am reading this right now, but my Dad read it and it changed his life. Not one of those "New-Age" self-helpers, but a scientific look at how information becomes part of our culture.

Amazon Price: $15.89 (as of 09/08/2009) Buy Now


Choosing five all-time favorite fictions is not an easy feat. I could easily choose five per author, but instead I'll try and narrow it down to choice pieces by author.


One of the most surreal books I have read. The plot jumps from host to host, from Mongolia to Japan, as if the book was written by a ghost. There was a huge fuss in the literary community about Mitchell a few years ago, I wonder where it went?

Amazon Price: $10.17 (as of 09/08/2009) Buy Now

Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Finishes this a few weeks ago, and I enjoyed it more than I can describe. Actually, the hardest part of reading this book was describing the plot to others. Unicorns, code shuffling, and detached shadows = Awesome strangeness.

Amazon Price: $13.07 (as of 09/08/2009) Buy Now

The Slide: A Novel

The first book by Kyle Beachy, released earlier this year. Cardinals, water coolers, and baseball, are the themes threaded through the summer of Potter Mays, a twenty-something year old guy going through family and love issues. This book contains some mature themes, but Beachy does a great job of writing a book that anyone will enjoy.
"Something, something, teach me./ I may be a writer, but I'm no Kyle Beachy" - David Cohn, aka Serengeti

Amazon Price: $10.40 (as of 09/08/2009) Buy Now

Cloud Atlas: A Novel

I managed to get another Mitchell on the list. This one is really six different books, drifting together like cumuli clouds. From vampires on tall ships to post-apocalyptic Hawaii, this book covers every literary genre, and is a postmodernists wet-dream.

Amazon Price: $10.17 (as of 09/08/2009) Buy Now

Dance Dance Dance

"I often dream about the dolphin hotel.", the opening line from the book sums it up. This book will linger with you like a strange dream that throws your day off kilter. An amazing tale of gangsterism and love, the way only Murakami can.

Amazon Price: $10.17 (as of 09/08/2009) Buy Now

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