September meeting report

At our August meeting, we read and discussed chapter 1 – “Arrival on Himmel Street” up to chapter 2 “Saumensch” of “The Book Thief”.  The page references in this blog are to the 10th anniversary Black Swan edition  of 2016.

For next time, we will read up to the end of Part One – The Gravedigger’s Handbook. Next time will be Wednesday October 4th.

Some of the ideas and themes we discussed in our August meeting were:

  • the final solution, an expression which now has only one, stark, meaning for all Jews and Europeans everywhere.
  • “the nothingness of life moving on with a shuffle” (p.28) is perhaps a reference to Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” speech in which he says

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause”

August meeting report

Update:

At our August meeting, we read the Prologue of “The Book Thief“.

Our next meeting will be on September 6th, where we will read and discuss chapter 1 – “Arrival on Himmel Street” up to chapter 2 “Saumensch”.

Many thanks to Okuda-san for making all those copies at the last minute.

Our August meeting will be held on Aug. 2nd at the usual place and time. We may have a few new people joining us today.

I apologize for not contact you all earlier. I was very busy with classes and final exams until Monday 31st.

As for the choice of book, not everyone commented, but it seems “The Book Thief” is the popular choice, so we will go with that.

Could those people who have the book “The Book Thief” make a copy of chapter 1 in case people attend who do not have a copy of the book? I only have a digital version of “The Book Thief”.

I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday.

June/July meeting

Our June meeting was held July 5th. Our next meeting will be August 2nd at 15:15 in Rifuan as usual. We may have some new visitors.

We read and discussed chapter 5 of “How an Economy Grows and how it Crashes”.

We discussed what to read next, but could not come to any decision. Please leave your suggestion in the comments.

The titles suggested are below:

  1. 84, Charing Cross Road 1,595 yen. 112 pages.   Japanese translation 2,808 yen   http://amzn.to/2tpOil2
  2. The Book Thief: 10th Anniversary Edition  1,372 yen. 576 pages.
    1. Okuda-san’s comment: “I bought The Book Thief, which consists of 536 pages.I read  about 50 pages so far and find the book is relatively easy to read,and more importantly, very enjoyable, so much fun to read.” Japanese translation is a little expensive , from 3,000 yen up. http://amzn.to/2ut9QlI
  3. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything  1,054 yen. 384 pages.  Japanese translation 1 yen, 568 pages.  http://amzn.to/2tTjE6V

Also mentioned was The Signature of All Things 592 pages, 919 yen.  This does not appear to have been translated into Japanese yet.

May meeting report

Today we read chapter 4 of “How an Economy Grows and How it Crashes”. Next time we will read chapter 5.

Next month’s meeting will be held on the first Wednesday of June, June 7th.

Today we also discussed what to read after chapter 5 and several novels were suggested. We will decide at the next meeting which one to read.

The titles suggested today are below:

  1. 84, Charing Cross Road
  2. The Book Thief: 10th Anniversary Edition
  3. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything

Also mentioned was The Signature of All Things

See you next time. Until then, enjoy this beautiful season.

 

 

April meeting report

In our April meeting, we finished reading “The Tuttle Twins and the Road to Surfdom”. It was judged to be an easy and interesting introduction to basic economic ideas.

Our May meeting will be held on May 10, and we will read chapter 4 of “How an Economy Grows and How it Crashes”. After that, we will take a break from economics books for a while.

Hope you are enjoying Golden Week.

March meeting report

April meeting: April 11th sorry 12th (Wednesday) at 15:15 as usual. We will read the beginning of “The Road to Surfdom” and chapter 4 of “How an Economy Grows and how it Crashes”.

(The Road to Surfdom is a simplification of the ideas in Friedrich Hayek’s classic, “The Road to Serfdom.”  Here’s a short video that introduces the book’s key ideas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONATaFzi82I   )

We read “The Tuttle Twins and the Miraculous Pencil” and discussed some  key economic terms. Have you already read the book? Be sure to read the original essay or watch the video! http://tuttletwins.com/pencilvideo/

Rapeseed oil (also called Canola) was mentioned. Where does the name come  from? Wikipedia tells us: “The name derives from the Latin for turnip, rāpa or rāpum, and is first recorded in English at the end of the 14th century”.

Here are the key concepts from the book:

central planning: control and regulation of the masses by a limited number of people using government to enforce their decisions and alter the behavior of other individuals.

Competition: multiple producers or service providers trying to attract more customers by lowering their price, improving their product or service, or otherwise setting themselves apart.

Economy: a network of individuals who produce, distribute, and use goods and services.

Division of labour: a production process involving many different people, each of whom specializes in and works on a different task, thereby collaborating to do something greater than any one of them could do alone.

Spontaneous order: when social harmony and market efficiency  are achieved through the independent decisions of countless individuals, each guided by their own desires and self-interest.

 

February Meeting Report

Today’s session

We  finished reading and discussing chapter 3. There was much discussion about political decisions regarding financial matters, and the government’s ability to create money out of thin air and to limitlessly increase debt or deficit spending.

As I did not have copies of chpater 4 with me, I provided copies of a non-fiction book for children about the division of labour. It is based on a famous essay by Leonard Read called “I, Pencil”.  The original essay is available online at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) here: http://bit.ly/2k1Yvo3

Our March session will be held on March 8th. We will read the story about the MIraculous Pencil, then continue with chapter 4 (I will bring copies).

December meeting report

Our December meeting was held today, Dec 7th. We finished reading chapter 1 and almost finished chapter 2 of  “How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes” by Peter and Andrew Schiff.  (There is now apparently a Japanese translation, too!)

Our January meeting will be on January 11th. We will finish chapter 2 and read chapter 3. Depending on members’ interest, we may continue to chapter 4 or we may choose something else.

Thank you to all of you who attended today, and thank you to all of you who have attended this year.  I hope you have enjoyed our meetings as much as I have.

I wish you a very happy Christmas and New Year and I look forward to seeing you again in 2017.

 

A blog for my informal reading group