20 - A tour of the library

A tour of the library
Photo by Susan Q Yin / Unsplash

Another week of typically cool and cloudy weather here in Northern Ireland, while the rest of the world seems to be basking in warmer weather - oh, well!

This week we had the (in)famous 12th of July celebrations with the inevitable bonfires on 11th. By all accounts it seems to have passed off relatively peacefully (see here) and we did have a relaxing hour or so watching the parade pass from our foldable seats at the side of the road.

Recent weeks and for the coming month or so I am busy with family things and important birthdays. Recall that I am interested to talk if you have experience of services in support of independent living for elderly parents. So far I have found Bluebird Care (office in Holywood!) and it seems interesting - if you have information on this or other such services in Northern Ireland - do reach out.

This past week we have also moved house again. Being refugees from the madness in HK we still only have our suitcases and each other - so moving is not such a big deal. Nice new location in Belfast - handy to the train and public transport. A few more moves are already in the pipeline and regrettably but realistically I do not see normality or reason returning to HK (and many other places) any time soon. Each of you can take steps to push back on the nonsense and if everyone would we might even avoid the worst of what will otherwise come.

Fun and useful re-discovery of the week is that you can delete the character in front of the cursor (on Mac) holding down the "fn key" (bottom left) and typing the "delete key" (top right). This is so useful and I am sharing it here in attempt to lock it into my mind - I do keep forgetting it!

A tour of the library

A few readers and site surfers have commented on how much they like the links and references in the newsletters and how interesting it is to get such material curated and shared. So this week I will give you a tour of my library and point out some of my favourites for you to enjoy and learn. Do read to the bottom!

Being refugees it might not seem obvious to have a library however digitally many things are possible and even some are even easier! BUT... even though Kindles are great and handy you do need to be wary about the use of DRM (Digital Rights Management) that renders your future access less than guaranteed even though you have paid to own it - you have been warned. For this, tools like Calibre with Alf's tools can help; I can do explainer for those who need. If you were in any doubt about why this is important, look no further than James Corbett's article and video on the Library of Alexandria being on fire.


I am not a great reader of fiction books but the following are some of my all-time favourites and some of them are still "work in progress". Usually I like to read (or listen to) fiction in the evening - it is good way to unwind and better than social media!

  • Harry Potter Series At first sight this this is the story of Orphan Harry who learns he is a wizard on his 11th birthday when Hagrid escorts him to magic-teaching Hogwarts School. As a baby, his mother's love protected him and vanquished the villain Voldemort, leaving the child famous as "The Boy who Lived." With his friends Hermione and Ron, Harry has to defeat the returned "He Who Must Not Be Named." Books 5, 6 and 7 in the series have quite some subplot - perhaps you have seen it?

    For the ultimate in Harry Potter Stats and Facts click below:
400+ Harry Potter Facts & Statistics from the Books, Movies, and More
Test your knowledge of the Wizarding World with our definitive list of 400+ Harry Potter facts and statistics from the books, movies, and more!
  • Carpet People - In the beginning, there was nothing but endless flatness. Then came the Carpet . . . The Carpet is home to many different tribes and peoples, and there’s a new story in the making. The story of Fray, sweeping a trail of destruction across the Carpet. The story of power-hungry mouls—and of two brothers who set out on an adventure to end all adventures when their village is flattened. It’s a story that will come to a terrible end—if someone doesn't do something about it. If everyone doesn’t do something about it...
  • Guards! Guards! - The story follows a plot by a secret brotherhood, the Unique and Supreme Lodge of the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night, to overthrow the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork and install a puppet king, under the control of the Supreme Grand Master. Using a stolen magic book, they summon a dragon to strike fear into the people of Ankh-Morpork. Once a suitable state of terror and panic has been created, the Supreme Grand Master proposes to put forth an "heir" to the throne, who will slay the dragon and rid the city of tyranny. You might recognise this technique in real life if you look around...
  • Pyramids - Conservatives vs progressives was, even in this version of ancient Egypt, a hot topic and Pratchett ridicules the arguments of antiquated minds by exaggerating their prime goals and authorities in general. Today everything seemingly needs to be more woke, politically correct and state-media approved. Stand back a bit and look at the headquarters of any large company, bank or seat of government and it is not hard to imagine suffering, neoconservatism, neoliberalism and exploitation,… leading to superpowerful states able to construct useless monuments of oldfashioned thinking based on nationality, patriotism, and megalomania. There is yet another unspoken story here as to the purpose of the pyramids - that is for another newsletter!
  • Illuminae - by Annie Kaufman and Jay Kristof. This is science fiction: Two teenagers are thrust into fast moving situations that they are totally not prepared for. The book is written/delivered in a wildly unusual layout and style See Hayleigh's review here. Book 2 of the series is in my queue to read but you need to have the physical copy or Kindle on iPad due to the unconventional layout.
  • Sherlock Holmes - Ultimate Collection - I have been absolutely loving this complete collection read by Stephen Fry. At nearly 63 hours of audio you get your money's worth. It is all of the books read in a sensible sequence with Stephen's expert commentary and guidance interspersed between the readings.

In my TBR queue (to be read):


I love to learn from and be challenged by other, wiser peoples' perceptions and informed insights. Non-fiction tends to be my read of preference. While at school I was consistently last in the class at history and could just never be interested; older and wiser now I realise that history is one long unbroken tale of large groups of humans being manipulated by much smaller groups of humans in ways which benefit the smaller groups, and that tale continues to this day. Propaganda and other forms of narrative control are used to manufacture consent for status quo models of governance, economic and monetary systems, and foreign policy which benefit an elite few at the expense of the general population. Time to wake up!

Historical Explainers

  • The Creature from Jekyll Island - by Edward Griffin. This classic expose of "The Fed" has become one of the best-selling books in its category of all time. Where does money come from? Where does it go? Who makes it? The money magician's secrets are unveiled. Here is a close look at their mirrors and smoke machines, the pulleys, cogs, and wheels that create the grand illusion called money. It reads like a detective story - which it really is, but it's all true. This book is about the most blatant scam of history. It's all here: the cause of wars, boom-bust cycles, inflation, depression and prosperity. Your world view will definitely change. Putting it quite simply, this may be the most important book on world affairs you will ever read.
  • When Money Dies - The Nightmare of Deficit Spending, Devaluation, and Hyperinflation in Weimar, Germany.. This is the classic history of what happens when a nation's currency depreciates beyond recovery. Expensive cigars, artworks, and jewels were routinely exchanged for staples such as bread; a cinema ticket could be bought for a lump of coal; and a bottle of paraffin for a silk shirt. People watched helplessly as their life savings disappeared and their loved ones starved. Germany's finances descended into chaos, with severe social unrest in its wake. Money may no longer be physically printed and distributed in the voluminous quantities of 1923. However, quantitative easing, that modern euphemism for surreptitious deficit financing in an electronic era, can no less become an assault on monetary discipline. Whatever the reason for a country's deficit - necessity or profligacy, unwillingness to tax, or blindness to expenditure - it is beguiling to suppose that if the day of reckoning is postponed economic recovery will come in time to prevent higher unemployment or deeper recession. Germany in 1923 provides a vivid, compelling and sobering tale for what happens when cans can no longer be kicked down the road...
  • The Fiat Standard - by Saifedean Ammous. How money works - what you were never taught at school. The act of creating money by simply issuing debt is the most insane concept conceived by humans. This book explains how increasing the money supply, screws the holder of the currency. The lender, the borrower, the bank are all safe, but the risk is dumped on all the holders of the currency. This inevitably leads to the cyclic booms and busts in the economy, inflation, and financial crises, leading to more injection of money, leading to an ever-growing debt cycle, ending in a "great deleveraging". In case you had not realised - we are now in the "deleveraging" phase and it will not be "beautiful".. Listen to Saifedean talk you through all the chapters of the book
  • Report from Iron Mountain - On the Possibility and Desirability of Peace. You might be surprised to read the conclusions from a 1967 US government panel which concluded that war, or a credible substitute for war, is necessary if governments are to maintain power.

Informed analysis and extrapolation/projection

  • The Sovereign Individual - written in 1997 the authors did predict personal computers, mobile phones, cryptocurrencies and even the current pandemic situation along with all the current widespread unrest and government overreach. I cannot recommend this book too highly - you must read it.
  • The Price of Tomorrow - written in 2019 - our economic systems were built for a pre-technology era when labor and capital were inextricably linked - an era that counted on growth and inflation and an era where we made money from inefficiency. That era is over, but we keep on pretending that those economic systems still work. The only thing that was driving growth in the world was easy credit being created at a pace that was hard to comprehend and with it, debt that we will never be able to pay back. The consequences of this should be well apparent now. Jeff Booth, the author, details the technological and economic realities shaping our present and our future, and the choices we face as we go forward - an alarming, but potentially hopeful situation. Choices must be made with open eyes and informed minds..
  • The Fourth Turning - The authors look back over 500 years and uncover a distinct pattern: Modern history moves in cycles, each one lasting about the length of a long human life, each composed of four eras - or "turnings" - that last about 20 years and that always arrive in the same order. In The Fourth Turning, the authors illustrate these cycles using a brilliant analysis of the post-World War II period. First comes a High, a period of confident expansion as a new order takes root after the old has been swept away. Next comes an Awakening, a time of spiritual exploration and rebellion against the now-established order. Then comes an Unraveling, an increasingly troubled era in which individualism triumphs over crumbling institutions. Last comes a Crisis - the Fourth Turning - when society passes through a great and perilous gate in history. Together, the four turnings comprise history's seasonal rhythm of growth, maturation, entropy, and rebirth. We are clearly well into the 4th turning...

Ancient Widsom

  • Mythos read by Stephen Fry is a "must do". This has got to be one of the best books I have ever read! Fabulously interesting and insightful - I had always wondered what the Greek Gods got up to and could never have imagined so much!
  • Meditations - Marcus Aurelius. Timeless advice from a Roman Emperor's personal diary. A short read - you can read it easily in day but you will keep wanting to dip back into it in future. Odolena's review here and see also Einzelgänger's review here

Personal skills and development

I have long recognised the importance of using tools that help to leverage and expand the capabilities of your mind an intelled. Below are some of the more important ones that I have learned and used over many years.

  • The Mind Map Book: How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain's Untapped Potential - Listen to Tony Buzan (the inventor) explain: How to Mind Map For a summary of practical applications - see here
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - One of the most transformative books that I ever read. Refer back to Issue 13 for my full review that also demonstrates the practical use of mindmaps!
  • Six thinking hats - I was well known in my professional circuits for leveraging this technique often. You will find it helpful to organise your own thoughts on any topic of importance. With a bit of practice you will be amazed at hou useful it is when used with groups of people to organise thinking and decisions on business topics.

Bitcoin - practical and educational

  • The Bitcoin Standard - the original show-starter from Saifedean. While bitcoin is a new invention of the digital age, the problem it aims to solve is as old as human society itself: transferring value across time and space. Saifedean takes you through the history of technologies performing the functions of money, from primitive systems of trading limestones and seashells, to metals, coins, the gold standard, and modern government debt. Exploring what gave these technologies their monetary role, and how most lost it, provides you with a good idea of what makes for sound money, and sets the stage for an economic discussion of its consequences for individual and societal future-orientation, capital accumulation, trade, peace, culture, and art. Compellingly, Saifedean shows that it is no coincidence that the loftiest achievements of humanity have come in societies enjoying the benefits of sound monetary regimes, nor is it coincidental that monetary collapse has usually accompanied the collapse of a civilization.
  • 21 lessons by Der Gigi - Falling down the Bitcoin rabbit hole is a strange experience. Like many others, I feel like I have learned more in the last couple of years studying Bitcoin than I have during two decades of formal education. Read and listen for free at the link above or else buy the book here
  • Bitcoin Audible by Guy Swann - this is just the best source of readings of all sorts of educational and informative material on bitcoin. Listen and learn.

Current affairs

Surprise find and bonus for this week is Caitlin Johnstone. She is fabulously prolific, her articles having voice-over by her husband, Tim. Refreshing, informative and though-provoking - thanks!

Caitlin clearly describes how Our Entire Civilization Is Structured Around Keeping Us From Realizing We Can Do This

Did you read this yet? Revelation Ch13 v16-18. Hidden in plain sight. You might want to check back Issue 8 in early February - predictive programming courtesy of "The Economist" since December 2018.

Joe sees an early sign: De-Dollarization from Nigeria - watch for others following..
..already India perhaps too? (hint you are watching Monopoly being played out worldwide)

Recall from Issue 9 in March that Zoltan Pozsar of Credit Suisse explained rather clearly how the global money system is being reset by the Empire and his article outlines a likely way forward - Bretton Woods III. His paper is somewhat dense, heavy reading and you might prefer to listen to Luc Gromen's more conversational explainer with Marty

Meanwhile Guy Swann helps you to see what Cantillionaire's are doing

That's it!

No one can be told what The Matrix is.
You have to see it for yourself.

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