Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Muser's Handbook: Essential Bellamy Books

Credit: erato1
It was no secret that The Resistance (2009) was inspired by George Orwell's 1984 but have you ever wondered where some of Matt's other crazy ideas have come from? Wonder no more, for this is THE most comprehensive and current book list that I have come across to date! Try and guess which song/album each book inspired :P
"The books mentioned below have either been read by the band members or mentioned by them in various interviews and articles. Many of these are known to have influenced songs and even the whole albums; for example...Michio Kaku's Hyperspace... had a distinctive impact on the creation of Origin of Symmetry (2001).

They call Muse's music 'Rock For Clever People" and not without a reason. Just have a look at Matt Bellamy's reading list, impressive, yeah?"

by Donella H. Meadows

From Publishers Weekly:
Updated for the second time since 1992, this book, by a trio of professors and systems analysts, offers a pessimistic view of the natural resources available for the world’s population. Using extensive computer models based on population, food production, pollution and other data, the authors demonstrate why the world is in a potentially dangerous “overshoot” situation. Put simply, overshoot means people have been steadily using up more of the Earth’s resources without replenishing its supplies. The consequences, according to the authors, may be catastrophic: “We… believe that if a profound correction is not made soon, a crash of some sort is certain. And it will occur within the lifetimes of many who are alive today.” After explaining overshoot, the book discusses population and industrial growth, the limits on available resources, pollution, technology and, importantly, ways to avoid overshoot. The authors do an excellent job of summarizing their extensive research with clear writing and helpful charts illustrating trends in food consumption, population increases, grain production, etc., in a serious tome likely to appeal to environmentalists, government employees and public policy experts.

by Richard Dawkins

From Bookmarks Magazine:
“Like a detective reconstructing a crime” (San Francisco Chronicle), Dawkins amasses a mountain of evidence in this richly illustrated, enormously readable explanation of the theory of evolution. Though Dawkins may have softened his attitude toward those who can reconcile their religious beliefs with evolution, he still harbors great hostility toward its detractors, equating them to Holocaust deniers—a label that riled the New York Times Book Review. Objecting to Dawkins’s abrasive dogmatism, many critics felt that the biologist is at his best when he forgets his opponents and focuses on the science. He is indeed a master of explaining complex scientific ideas to nonscientific readers, and though The Greatest Show on Earth may not be his best book, it is a well-written, captivating review of the science behind the theory.

by John Gray, Ph.D. review:
Relationship counselor John Gray focuses on the differences between men and women–men are from Mars, and women are from Venus, after all–and offers a simple solution: couples must acknowledge and accept these differences before they can develop happier relationships. In this unabridged version, Gray gives a spirited delivery of his message, especially when role-playing typical male/female interactions.

by Dan Brown

From Publishers Weekly:
Brown’s latest thriller (after Angels and Demons) is an exhaustively researched page-turner about secret religious societies, ancient coverups and savage vengeance. The action kicks off in modern-day Paris with the murder of the Louvre’s chief curator, whose body is found laid out in symbolic repose at the foot of the Mona Lisa. Seizing control of the case are Sophie Neveu, a lovely French police cryptologist, and Harvard symbol expert Robert Langdon, reprising his role from Brown’s last book. The two find several puzzling codes at the murder scene, all of which form a treasure map to the fabled Holy Grail. As their search moves from France to England, Neveu and Langdon are confounded by two mysterious groups-the legendary Priory of Sion, a nearly 1,000-year-old secret society whose members have included Botticelli and Isaac Newton, and the conservative Catholic organization Opus Dei. Both have their own reasons for wanting to ensure that the Grail isn’t found. Brown sometimes ladles out too much religious history at the expense of pacing, and Langdon is a hero in desperate need of more chutzpah. Still, Brown has assembled a whopper of a plot that will please both conspiracy buffs and thriller addicts.

(because I defs had to look this up)

…as sobering as it is timely… — American Spectator, David Aikman

At its best, The Grand Chessboard makes permanent contributions to the national debate over American foreign policy and power. At its worst, it demonstrates the need for contemporary statesmen and political thinkers to immerse themselves more deeply in the rich tradition of Anglo-American strategic thought that brought first Britain and now the United States to global preeminence at an astonishingly low cost. — The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review, Walter Russell Mead

Brzezinski has now stated and restated his concerns. His books are there for any political leader to use as material for future policy declarations. But it is difficult in the current situation to imagine much of a competition to take up Brzesinski’s ideas, however well they are argued here. — The New York Times Book Review, Bernard Gwertzman

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb review:
Bestselling author Nassim Nicholas Taleb continues his exploration of randomness in his fascinating new book, The Black Swan, in which he examines the influence of highly improbable and unpredictable events that have massive impact. Engaging and enlightening, The Black Swan is a book that may change the way you think about the world, a book that Chris Anderson calls, “a delightful romp through history, economics, and the frailties of human nature.”

Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Though the 10th Dimension
by Michio Kaku review:
How many dimensions do you live in? Three? Maybe that’s all your commonsense sense perception perceives, but there is growing and compelling evidence to suggest that we actually live in a universe of ten real dimensions. Kaku has written an extraordinarily lucid and thought-provoking exploration of the theoretical and empirical bases of a ten-dimensional universe and even goes so far as to discuss possible practical implications–such as being able to escape the collapse of the universe. Yikes. Highly Recommended.

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
by John Perkins review:
John Perkins started and stopped writing Confessions of an Economic Hit Man four times over 20 years. He says he was threatened and bribed in an effort to kill the project, but after 9/11 he finally decided to go through with this expose of his former professional life. Perkins, a former chief economist at Boston strategic-consulting firm Chas. T. Main, says he was an “economic hit man” for 10 years, helping U.S. intelligence agencies and multinationals cajole and blackmail foreign leaders into serving U.S. foreign policy and awarding lucrative contracts to American business. “Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars,” Perkins writes. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is an extraordinary and gripping tale of intrigue and dark machinations. Think John Le Carré, except it’s a true story.

Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control 
by Kathleen Taylor review:
The term ‘brainwashing’ was first recorded in 1950, but it is an expression of a much older concept: the forcible and full-scale alteration of a person’s beliefs. Over the past 50 years the term has crept into popular culture, served as a topic for jokes, frightened the public in media headlines, and slandered innumerable people and institutions. It has also been the subject of learned discussion from many angles: history, sociology, psychology, psychotherapy, and marketing. Despite this variety, to date there has been one angle missing: any serious reference to real brains. Descriptions of how opinions can be changed, whether by persuasion, deceit, or force, have been almost entirely psychological.

Crossing the Rubicon
by Micheal C. Ruppert review:
The attacks of September 11, 2001 were accomplished through an amazing orchestration of logistics and personnel. Crossing the Rubicon discovers and identifies key suspects – finding some of them in the highest echelons of American government – by showing how they acted in concert to guarantee that the attacks produced the desired result.
Crossing the Rubicon is unique not only for its case-breaking examination of 9/11, but for the breadth and depth of its world picture – an interdisciplinary analysis of petroleum, geopolitics, narco-traffic, intelligence and militarism – without which 9/11 cannot be understood.

9/11 Synthetic Terror Made in USA
by Webster Griffin Tarpley review:
Understanding how synthetic terror works, we see the weakness of the muddled “blowback” theories of terrorism and the spurious leads to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia that have marred many critiques of 9/11. Tarpley’s model makes it clear that figures like Osama bin Laden are patsies or double agents who were selected for their ethnic coloring as the basis for launching a “Clash of Civilizations,” and it is absurd to imagine that such tools of US intelligence agencies could turn around and infiltrate or overwhelm US defenses unaided.

9/11 Synthetic Terror is also firmly grounded in Great Power geopolitics. It shows that the wars on the Islamic world, the Soviet-Afghan, Kosovo and Chechen conflicts, as well as US-UK-NATO synthetic terror incidents like 9/11, Beslan or 3/11 in Madrid, have been contrived to continue the Cold War, in pursuit of the centuries-long campaign for Anglo hegemony over Eurasia and the world.
For a principled refutation of the 9/11 propaganda myth in all its parts, Tarpley’s work is indispensable.

by George Orwell review:
Novel by George Orwell, published in 1949 as a warning about the menaces of totalitarianism. The novel is set in an imaginary future world that is dominated by three perpetually warring totalitarian police states. The book’s hero, Winston Smith, is a minor party functionary in one of these states. His longing for truth and decency leads him to secretly rebel against the government. Smith has a love affair with a like-minded woman, but they are both arrested by the Thought Police. The ensuing imprisonment, torture, and reeducation of Smith are intended not merely to break him physically or make him submit but to root out his independent mental existence and his spiritual dignity. Orwell’s warning of the dangers of totalitarianism made a deep impression on his contemporaries and upon subsequent readers, and the book’s title and many of its coinages, such as NEWSPEAK, became bywords for modern political abuses.

Rule by Secrecy
by Jim Marrs review:
In this astonishing book, celebrated reporter and New York Times -; bestselling author Jim Marrs painstakingly explores the world’s most closely guarded secrets, exposing clandestine cabals and the power they have wielded throughout time. Defiantly rooting out the truth, he unearths starting evidence that the real movers and shakers covertly collude to start and stop wars, manipulate stock markets and interest rates, maintain class distinctions, and even censor the six o’clock news. And they do all this under the mindful auspices of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderbergers, the CIA, and even the Vatican.

Drawing on historical evidence and his own impeccable research, Mars carefully traces the mysteries that connect these modern-day conspiracies to humankind’s prehistory. The eye-opening result is an extraordinary synthesis of historical information -; much of it long hidden from the public -; that sheds light on the people and organizations that rule our lives.

Disturbing, provocative, and utterly compelling, Rule by Secrecy offers a singular worldview that may explain who we are, where we came from, and where we are going.

The 12th Planet: Book One of the Earth Chronicles 
by Zecharia Sitchin review:
Zecharia Sitchen’s The 12th Planet is the starting point on a quest that spans six books and 20 years worth of ancient aliens, genetic manipulation, and scrutiny of linguistic minutiae. If we trust Sitchen’s translation abilities, we must be prepared for the imminent return of an alien race who created us some 300,0×00 years ago. The 12th Planet is perhaps the best written of Sitchin’s Earth Chronicles series; full of example after example of ancient Sumerian passages, astronomical observations, archaeological finds, and technological coincidences supporting his theories. The price we pay for all this evidence is a bit of a dry read at times, but the ideas Sitchin proposes are more than scintillating enough to make up for the overtly scholastic tone of his text. –Brian Patterson
Born To Run
by Christopher McDougall review:
Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.

Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence. With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder.

With a sharp wit and wild exuberance, McDougall takes us from the high-tech science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultrarunners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to the climactic race in the Copper Canyons. Born to Run is that rare book that will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that the secret to happiness is right at your feet, and that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

Virtual Organisms
by Mark Ward

Publishers Weekly Review:
Artificial intelligence research has tried to make machines that think; the newer and in many ways more exciting field of artificial life (“ALife”) seeks computers and computer-driven machines that work likeAor arguably in some sense areAliving things. ALife “encompasses software simulations, robotics, protein electronics and even attempts to re-create the world’s first living organisms.” This compelling and easy-to-follow volume from the Daily Telegraph (U.K.) tech journalist Ward picks up where Steven Levy’s Artificial Life (1992) left off, surveying recent and classic ALife work in all its subfields. Bell Labs researcher Andrew Pargellis’s “computer simulation of a primordial soup” produces “working, replicating programs” analogous to the self-replicating molecules that colonized the early Earth. John Horton Conway’s computerized “Game of Life” produces “Cellular Automata,” self-perpetuating, evolving patterns that model biological evolution. Cambridge scientist William Walter’s 1950s robots “Elmer” and “Elsie,” he claims, chased each other like cats and learned tricks like dogs: inspired by them, MIT’s Rodney Brooks makes robots that can explore the real world, “solving the same problems that animals face.” Programs that replicate, mix with other programs and generate somewhat different successors mimic the sexual reproduction that has made possible much of our evolution: these programs, called “agents,” may someday run telephone networks and other large electronic systemsAwith catastrophic consequences if they evolve in ways that are bad for us. Though he includes some scary scenarios, Ward is largely upbeat about the scientific and practical future of ALife in all its manifestations. After his sometimes exciting, always accessible exposition, his satisfied readers may learn to love it, too.

The Elegant Universe
by Brian Greene

Amazon review:
There is an ill-concealed skeleton in the closet of physics: “As they are currently formulated, general relativity and quantum mechanics cannot both be right.” Each is exceedingly accurate in its field: general relativity explains the behavior of the universe at large scales, while quantum mechanics describes the behavior of subatomic particles. Yet the theories collide horribly under extreme conditions such as black holes or times close to the big bang. Brian Greene, a specialist in quantum field theory, believes that the two pillars of physics can be reconciled in superstring theory, a theory of everything.
Superstring theory has been called “a part of 21st-century physics that fell by chance into the 20th century.” In other words, it isn’t all worked out yet. Despite the uncertainties–”string theorists work to find approximate solutions to approximate equations”–Greene gives a tour of string theory solid enough to satisfy the scientifically literate.

Though Ed Witten of the Institute for Advanced Study is in many ways the human hero of The Elegant Universe, it is not a human-side-of-physics story. Greene’s focus throughout is the science, and he gives the nonspecialist at least an illusion of understanding–or the sense of knowing what it is that you don’t know. And that is traditionally the first step on the road to knowledge.

Check out the original post by my favorite Muse blogger, erato1, at Random Musings of a Curious Mind


  1. Hahaha! "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" was at the club book sale. We were wondering about the credentials of John Gray, and according to Wikipedia, he received his PhD through a correspondence course from Columbia Pacific University, an unaccredited university, and in 2000 CPU was closed by court order because they were not authorized to award degrees!

  2. lol, when I saw "Men are From Mars..." on this list I thinking 'damn, I shoulda grabed it!'. I remember the little study we did into Mr. Gray, did we ever even sell his 'uncertified' book? :P

  3. I was wondering that myself! I don't recall if we sold that gem. My instinctive guess is no. It's probably still there if you'd like to start your collection of mattastic books. :D

  4. Thanks for your share! very impressive!

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