Blog Smith

Blog Smith is inspired by the myth of Hephaestus in the creation of blacksmith-like, forged materials: ideas. This blog analyzes topics that interest me: IT, politics, technology, history, education, music, and the history of religions.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Peter Thiel, PayPal, Palantir Technologies, Zero to One



Peter Thiel on what works at work (from the Washington Post)

Peter Thiel is often described in techno-hyphenated words: Techno-philosopher. Techno-libertarian. Techno-utopian. Technology, after all, is how he first made his name and built his billions. Yet his reach has since stretched beyond that, with his political opinions now getting him nearly as much notice as his tech investments.
Thiel, 46, was born in West Germany and moved to California at age 10. He was the first outsider to invest in Facebook ($500,000 for a 10 percent stake), the co-founder and chief executive of PayPal, and now serves as chairman and co-founder of data-analytics company Palantir Technologies. He’s also the author of Zero to One, a manifesto on how to create American progress.
This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. You can also listen to the conversation with Thiel in the latest episode of our new On Leadership podcast. (You can listen on the Post's site or on iTunes.)
Q. What’s a question you always hope you’ll be asked in interviews, but no one ever seems to ask you?
A. There are all these questions about what’s working in Silicon Valley today, what’s not working, that I think are really interesting. There’s something about the software businesses built in the last 30, 40 years that works incredibly well for actually capturing value. And I think it’s interesting to explore how unusual that is relative to many other areas of technology, because there are so many innovations that were good for society but the people who came up with them ended up with very little. The Wright brothers built the first airplane—they didn’t make any money on that.
Q. So is this something we’ve cracked the code on now?
A. I don’t know if we’ve really cracked the code. Innovation is a very strange thing in general, because it’s so hard to know what to learn about it or how to study it. Every moment in the history of business, in the history of technology, happens only once. And so there’s no formula.
A lot of business books are these pseudo-scientific books that say, “These are the five steps to follow and you will make a lot of money.” But if you have no formulas, you will be open to some new possibilities, some new ideas.
Q. Some people outside Silicon Valley see it as a place that is not really in touch with the rest of the country. Does that ring true to you in any way?
A. There is a big disconnect, because you have this sense of stagnation and slow growth in many other places, and you have this incredible boom in Silicon Valley.
Also, I do not think we live in a scientific and technological age, as a society. I think most people do not like science and technology. They’re scared of it. All you have to do is watch science-fiction movies — they all show technology that doesn’t work, or they’re dystopian. I watched "Gravity" last year, and it’s like you’re so glad to be back on a muddy island. You never want to go into outer space.
There’s something about our society that’s incredibly conservative, in the sense of not wanting things to change. So I think there’s a cultural disconnect with Silicon Valley that’s pretty big.
Q. You’ve written that you doubt the efficacy of MBA programs to prepare future business leaders. What would an effective MBA program look like?
A. The question is, what substance of business are you focused on? The conceit of the MBA is that you don’t need to have any substance at all. It’s just this management science, and you can apply that equally well in a software company or an oil drilling company or a fashion company or a rocket company. That’s the bias I’d want us to cut against. So for the degree, people would learn substantive things and then on the side you’d pick up some business skills. But you wouldn’t treat the business degree as the central thing.
I think one challenge a lot of the business schools have is they end up attracting students who are very extroverted and have very low conviction, and they put them in this hot house environment for a few years — at the end of which, a large number of people go into whatever was the last trendy thing to do. They’ve done studies at Harvard Business School where they’ve found that the largest cohort always went into the wrong field. So in 1989, they all went to work for Michael Milken, a year or two before he went to jail. They were never interested in Silicon Valley except for 1999, 2000. The last decade their interest was housing and private equity.
So there is something about the way in which business school is decoupled from anything really substantive that I’d want to rethink.
Q. Even though you don’t agree with teaching management in and of itself, were there any lessons you learned as CEO that you would share with others?
A. One is that competition is overrated. People should try to do unique things. As a business, you want to have a monopoly, not be in a company where you have cutthroat competition. Google is a better business than opening a restaurant, for example.
The internal management application of this is that it’s always a bad idea to set one’s employees too much against one another. You want to find ways to differentiate people’s roles. Frame it this way: If you were a sociopathic boss who wanted to create trouble for your employees, the formula you would follow would be to tell two people to do the exact same thing. That’s a guaranteed formula for creating conflict. If you’re not a sociopath, you want to be very careful to avoid this.
We have this ideological understanding of conflict, where we say it happens when people want different things. But I think it actually happens when people want the same thing — the same promotion, recognition for doing the same job well, the same toy as a kid.
One of the rough rules I had at PayPal was that people were responsible for one primary thing. I wanted to be really clear that the job descriptions for everybody were different, so you would not have this endemic conflict. I think that was very powerful.
You still end up having conflicts in all these startups because the roles are very fluid and things change a lot, but it’s something you want to really avoid. For a lot of these businesses, the most common cause of failure is that they blow up internally when people don’t get along.
An executive once told me she thought that if you had three good friends at your office then you’d never leave. If you had no good friends, you were a very at-risk employee. It’s a really good question: How do you build a company culture where people have strong friendships with at least a few people at work? That’s healthier than having a super professional approach where there’s this low-level chronic dislike everybody has of everybody else, and it somehow functions but people are unhappy — which I think is true of a lot of law firms or investment banks.
Q. Did you figure out any good ways to support that fostering of friendships? Aside from some of things we immediately associate with Silicon Valley companies, like ping-pong tables and free food.
A. You try to hire people you think you could become friends with. I’m personally very skeptical of the ping-pong tables and all these corporate perks. I think the company culture is always best organized around the mission of what the company does.
Q. What did you find the hardest part of being CEO?
A. As CEO, you’re somehow both the total insider and the total outsider at the same time. In some ways you’re at the center of the organization. In other contexts, you’re like the last person to know anything.
Q. What’s your basic philosophy on how to effect change in a society?
A. I’m biased to the model that change happens in small groups, in small organizations. I’m skeptical of solo efforts, and I’m skeptical of mass movements. This is why I like the Silicon Valley startup, or the Constitutional Convention of the United States. You have a small group of people who come together, united by a purpose.
In theory, everything should be solved within large existing organizations — governments, large companies, large nonprofits. They have more resources, they have longer time horizons. Yet there’s always a need to start small new organizations, because the politics in these large organizations slow things down too much.
Q. What’s a trait you possess that you really value?
A. I’ve built some great friendships over the years with people I’ve worked with. And I think that’s a really important part of what enables one to be successful in the long run in our society. There are ways people can succeed without doing that, but I think it’s very underrated. My friend Reid Hoffman always says it’s hard to know what the meaning of life is, but he thinks it has something to do with the people you spend time with.
Q. What about the flip side? Is there anything you’ve had to work at over the years, some trait you’ve had to tweak?
A. There are all these things that you never know whether they’re features or bugs—in a company or organization, or even in a personal trait. I’m interested in lots of different things. I’m interested in business but also economics and philosophy and literature. I always like to rationalize that as helping me think about things better, or that these things are interdisciplinary. But maybe it’s just being a dilettante or procrastinating and not ever really getting focused.
Q. When you were young you were a U.S.-rated chess master. Has chess influenced your strategic thinking outside of the game?
A. When I was in high school, one of the intermediate learnings in chess is that you should always have a plan. Even having a bad plan is better than no plan at all. I think something like that is true in a lot of business contexts, where even a bad plan is better than randomly going from day to day. But I suspect in general it’s a mistake to try to say that life is too much like chess. It’s a lot more complicated.
Q. Who has had the biggest impact on shaping you?
A. I grew up in this very middle-class context where there was sort of this mindset that if you worked hard, you could get ahead. That was a sensibility that I powerfully picked up from my parents.
Q. What’s it like to be a billionaire?
A. Well, you have a lot of money, and there are sort of good things and bad things that go with that. You certainly have a lot more freedom. There are fewer financial worries. On the other hand, one of the strange dynamics with extreme wealth is you always have these questions — are people interested in talking to you because of your money? — and all this second-guessing that can happen to varying degrees. I try not to worry about that stuff too much. My experience was not that different from many people in Silicon Valley, where it happened virtually overnight. It was this very fast and very strange change.
Q. What’s your concept of what it will mean to have lived your life well?
A. People always say you should live every day as though it's your last. I sort of have taken the opposite tack, where I think you should live every day as though it's going to go on forever. You should treat people like you're going to see them again in the future. You should start working on projects that may take a long time. And so I want to live every day as though it's going to go on forever.
Q. What’s your best piece of advice?
A. Always prioritize the substance of what you're doing. Don't get caught up in the status, the prestige games. They're endlessly dazzling, and they're always endlessly disappointing.

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Reading since summer 2006 (some of the classics are re-reads): including magazine subscriptions

  • Abbot, Edwin A., Flatland;
  • Accelerate: Technology Driving Business Performance;
  • ACM Queue: Architecting Tomorrow's Computing;
  • Adkins, Lesley and Roy A. Adkins, Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome;
  • Ali, Ayaan Hirsi, Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations;
  • Ali, Tariq, The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads, and Modernity;
  • Allawi, Ali A., The Crisis of Islamic Civilization;
  • Alperovitz, Gar, The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb;
  • American School & University: Shaping Facilities & Business Decisions;
  • Angelich, Jane, What's a Mother (in-Law) to Do?: 5 Essential Steps to Building a Loving Relationship with Your Son's New Wife;
  • Arad, Yitzchak, In the Shadow of the Red Banner: Soviet Jews in the War Against Nazi Germany;
  • Aristotle, Athenian Constitution. Eudemian Ethics. Virtues and Vices. (Loeb Classical Library No. 285);
  • Aristotle, Metaphysics: Books X-XIV, Oeconomica, Magna Moralia (The Loeb classical library);
  • Armstrong, Karen, A History of God;
  • Arrian: Anabasis of Alexander, Books I-IV (Loeb Classical Library No. 236);
  • Atkinson, Rick, The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 (Liberation Trilogy);
  • Auletta, Ken, Googled: The End of the World As We Know It;
  • Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice;
  • Bacevich, Andrew, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism;
  • Baker, James A. III, and Lee H. Hamilton, The Iraq Study Group Report: The Way Forward - A New Approach;
  • Barber, Benjamin R., Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism's Challenge to Democracy;
  • Barnett, Thomas P.M., Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating;
  • Barnett, Thomas P.M., The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century;
  • Barron, Robert, Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith;
  • Baseline: Where Leadership Meets Technology;
  • Baur, Michael, Bauer, Stephen, eds., The Beatles and Philosophy;
  • Beard, Charles Austin, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (Sony Reader);
  • Benjamin, Daniel & Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam's War Against America;
  • Bergen, Peter, The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader;
  • Berman, Paul, Terror and Liberalism;
  • Berman, Paul, The Flight of the Intellectuals: The Controversy Over Islamism and the Press;
  • Better Software: The Print Companion to StickyMinds.com;
  • Bleyer, Kevin, Me the People: One Man's Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America;
  • Boardman, Griffin, and Murray, The Oxford Illustrated History of the Roman World;
  • Bracken, Paul, The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics;
  • Bradley, James, with Ron Powers, Flags of Our Fathers;
  • Bronte, Charlotte, Jane Eyre;
  • Bronte, Emily, Wuthering Heights;
  • Brown, Ashley, War in Peace Volume 10 1974-1984: The Marshall Cavendish Encyclopedia of Postwar Conflict;
  • Brown, Ashley, War in Peace Volume 8 The Marshall Cavendish Illustrated Encyclopedia of Postwar Conflict;
  • Brown, Nathan J., When Victory Is Not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics;
  • Bryce, Robert, Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Independence";
  • Bush, George W., Decision Points;
  • Bzdek, Vincent, The Kennedy Legacy: Jack, Bobby and Ted and a Family Dream Fulfilled;
  • Cahill, Thomas, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter;
  • Campus Facility Maintenance: Promoting a Healthy & Productive Learning Environment;
  • Campus Technology: Empowering the World of Higher Education;
  • Certification: Tools and Techniques for the IT Professional;
  • Channel Advisor: Business Insights for Solution Providers;
  • Chariton, Callirhoe (Loeb Classical Library);
  • Chief Learning Officer: Solutions for Enterprise Productivity;
  • Christ, Karl, The Romans: An Introduction to Their History and Civilization;
  • Cicero, De Senectute;
  • Cicero, The Republic, The Laws;
  • Cicero, The Verrine Orations I: Against Caecilius. Against Verres, Part I; Part II, Book 1 (Loeb Classical Library);
  • Cicero, The Verrine Orations I: Against Caecilius. Against Verres, Part I; Part II, Book 2 (Loeb Classical Library);
  • CIO Decisions: Aligning I.T. and Business in the MidMarket Enterprise;
  • CIO Insight: Best Practices for IT Business Leaders;
  • CIO: Business Technology Leadership;
  • Clay, Lucius Du Bignon, Decision in Germany;
  • Cohen, William S., Dragon Fire;
  • Colacello, Bob, Ronnie and Nancy: Their Path to the White House, 1911 to 1980;
  • Coll, Steve, The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century;
  • Collins, Francis S., The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief ;
  • Colorni, Angelo, Israel for Beginners: A Field Guide for Encountering the Israelis in Their Natural Habitat;
  • Compliance & Technology;
  • Computerworld: The Voice of IT Management;
  • Connolly, Peter & Hazel Dodge, The Ancient City: Life in Classical Athens & Rome;
  • Conti, Greg, Googling Security: How Much Does Google Know About You?;
  • Converge: Strategy and Leadership for Technology in Education;
  • Cowan, Ross, Roman Legionary 58 BC - AD 69;
  • Cowell, F. R., Life in Ancient Rome;
  • Creel, Richard, Religion and Doubt: Toward a Faith of Your Own;
  • Cross, Robin, General Editor, The Encyclopedia of Warfare: The Changing Nature of Warfare from Prehistory to Modern-day Armed Conflicts;
  • CSO: The Resource for Security Executives:
  • Cummins, Joseph, History's Greatest Wars: The Epic Conflicts that Shaped the Modern World;
  • D'Amato, Raffaele, Imperial Roman Naval Forces 31 BC-AD 500;
  • Dallek, Robert, An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy 1917-1963;
  • Daly, Dennis, Sophocles' Ajax;
  • Dando-Collins, Stephen, Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar's Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome;
  • Darwish, Nonie, Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror;
  • Davis Hanson, Victor, Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome;
  • Dawkins, Richard, The Blind Watchmaker;
  • Dawkins, Richard, The God Delusion;
  • Dawkins, Richard, The Selfish Gene;
  • de Blij, Harm, Why Geography Matters: Three Challenges Facing America, Climate Change, The Rise of China, and Global Terrorism;
  • Defense Systems: Information Technology and Net-Centric Warfare;
  • Defense Systems: Strategic Intelligence for Info Centric Operations;
  • Defense Tech Briefs: Engineering Solutions for Military and Aerospace;
  • Dennett, Daniel C., Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon;
  • Dennett, Daniel C., Consciousness Explained;
  • Dennett, Daniel C., Darwin's Dangerous Idea;
  • Devries, Kelly, et. al., Battles of the Ancient World 1285 BC - AD 451 : From Kadesh to Catalaunian Field;
  • Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations;
  • Digital Communities: Building Twenty-First Century Communities;
  • Doctorow, E.L., Homer & Langley;
  • Dodds, E. R., The Greeks and the Irrational;
  • Dostoevsky, Fyodor, The House of the Dead (Google Books, Sony e-Reader);
  • Dostoevsky, Fyodor, The Idiot;
  • Douglass, Elisha P., Rebels and Democrats: The Struggle for Equal Political Rights and Majority Role During the American Revolution;
  • Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, The Hound of the Baskervilles & The Valley of Fear;
  • Dr. Dobb's Journal: The World of Software Development;
  • Drug Discovery News: Discovery/Development/Diagnostics/Delivery;
  • DT: Defense Technology International;
  • Dunbar, Richard, Alcatraz;
  • Education Channel Partner: News, Trends, and Analysis for K-20 Sales Professionals;
  • Edwards, Aton, Preparedness Now!;
  • EGM: Electronic Gaming Monthly, the No. 1 Videogame Magazine;
  • Ehrman, Bart D., Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scriptures and the Faiths We Never Knew;
  • Ehrman, Bart D., Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why;
  • Electronic Engineering Times: The Industry Newsweekly for the Creators of Technology;
  • Ellis, Joseph J., American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson;
  • Ellis, Joseph J., His Excellency: George Washington;
  • Emergency Management: Strategy & Leadership in Critical Times;
  • Emerson, Steven, American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us;
  • Erlewine, Robert, Monotheism and Tolerance: Recovering a Religion of Reason (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion);
  • ESD: Embedded Systems Design;
  • Everitt, Anthony, Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor;
  • Everitt, Anthony, Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician;
  • eWeek: The Enterprise Newsweekly;
  • Federal Computer Week: Powering the Business of Government;
  • Ferguson, Niall, Civilization: The West and the Rest;
  • Ferguson, Niall, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power;
  • Ferguson, Niall, The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000;
  • Ferguson, Niall, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Decline of the West;
  • Feuerbach, Ludwig, The Essence of Christianity (Sony eReader);
  • Fields, Nic, The Roman Army of the Principate 27 BC-AD 117;
  • Fields, Nic, The Roman Army of the Punic Wars 264-146 BC;
  • Fields, Nic, The Roman Army: the Civil Wars 88-31 BC;
  • Finkel, Caroline, Osman's Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire;
  • Fisk, Robert, The Great War For Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East;
  • Forstchen, William R., One Second After;
  • Fox, Robin Lane, The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian;
  • Frazer, James George, The Golden Bough (Volume 3): A Study in Magic and Religion (Sony eReader);
  • Freeh, Louis J., My FBI: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton, and Fighting the War on Terror;
  • Freeman, Charles, The Greek Achievement: The Foundations of the Western World;
  • Friedman, Thomas L. The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century Further Updated and Expanded/Release 3.0;
  • Friedman, Thomas L., The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization;
  • Frontinus: Stratagems. Aqueducts of Rome. (Loeb Classical Library No. 174);
  • Fuller Focus: Fuller Theological Seminary;
  • Fuller, Graham E., A World Without Islam;
  • Gaubatz, P. David and Paul Sperry, Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America;
  • Ghattas, Kim, The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power;
  • Gibson, William, Neuromancer;
  • Gilmour, Michael J., Gods and Guitars: Seeking the Sacred in Post-1960s Popular Music;
  • Global Services: Strategies for Sourcing People, Processes, and Technologies;
  • Glucklich, Ariel, Dying for Heaven: Holy Pleasure and Suicide Bombers-Why the Best Qualities of Religion Are Also It's Most Dangerous;
  • Goldberg, Jonah, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning;
  • Goldin, Shmuel, Unlocking the Torah Text Vayikra (Leviticus);
  • Goldsworthy, Adrian, Caesar: Life of a Colossus;
  • Goldsworthy, Adrian, How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower;
  • Goodman, Lenn E., Creation and Evolution;
  • Goodwin, Doris Kearns, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln;
  • Gopp, Amy, et.al., Split Ticket: Independent Faith in a Time of Partisan Politics (WTF: Where's the Faith?);
  • Gordon, Michael R., and Bernard E. Trainor, Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq;
  • Government Health IT: The Magazine of Public/private Health Care Convergence;
  • Government Technology's Emergency Management: Strategy & Leadership in Critical Times;
  • Government Technology: Solutions for State and Local Government in the Information Age;
  • Grant , Michael, The Climax of Rome: The Final Achievements of the Ancient World, AD 161 - 337;
  • Grant, Michael, The Classical Greeks;
  • Grumberg, Orna, and Helmut Veith, 25 Years of Model Checking: History, Achievements, Perspectives;
  • Halberstam, David, War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals;
  • Hammer, Reuven, Entering Torah Prefaces to the Weekly Torah Portion;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, An Autumn of War: What America Learned from September 11 and the War on Terrorism;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Between War and Peace: Lessons from Afghanistan to Iraq;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, How The Obama Administration Threatens Our National Security (Encounter Broadsides);
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Ripples of Battle: How Wars of the Past Still Determine How We Fight, How We Live, and How We Think;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, The End of Sparta: A Novel;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Wars of the Ancient Greeks;
  • Harnack, Adolf Von, History of Dogma, Volume 3 (Sony Reader);
  • Harris, Alex, Reputation At Risk: Reputation Report;
  • Harris, Sam, Letter to a Christian Nation;
  • Harris, Sam, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason;
  • Hayek, F. A., The Road to Serfdom;
  • Heilbroner, Robert L., and Lester Thurow, Economics Explained: Everything You Need to Know About How the Economy Works and Where It's Going;
  • Hempel, Sandra, The Strange Case of The Broad Street Pump: John Snow and the Mystery of Cholera;
  • Hinnells, John R., A Handbook of Ancient Religions;
  • Hitchens, Christopher, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything;
  • Hogg, Ian V., The Encyclopedia of Weaponry: The Development of Weaponry from Prehistory to 21st Century Warfare;
  • Hugo, Victor, The Hunchback of Notre Dame;
  • Humphrey, Caroline & Vitebsky, Piers, Sacred Architecture;
  • Huntington, Samuel P., The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order;
  • Info World: Information Technology News, Computer Networking & Security;
  • Information Week: Business Innovation Powered by Technology:
  • Infostor: The Leading Source for Enterprise Storage Professionals;
  • Infrastructure Insite: Bringing IT Together;
  • Insurance Technology: Business Innovation Powered by Technology;
  • Integrated Solutions: For Enterprise Content Management;
  • Intel Premier IT: Sharing Best Practices with the Information Technology Community;
  • Irwin, Robert, Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents;
  • Jeffrey, Grant R., The Global-Warming Deception: How a Secret Elite Plans to Bankrupt America and Steal Your Freedom;
  • Jewkes, Yvonne, and Majid Yar, Handbook of Internet Crime;
  • Johnson, Chalmers, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire;
  • Journal, The: Transforming Education Through Technology;
  • Judd, Denis, The Lion and the Tiger: The Rise and Fall of the British Raj, 1600-1947;
  • Kagan, Donald, The Peloponnesian War;
  • Kansas, Dave, The Wall Street Journal Guide to the End of Wall Street as We Know It: What You Need to Know About the Greatest Financial Crisis of Our Time--and How to Survive It;
  • Karsh, Efraim, Islamic Imperialism: A History;
  • Kasser, Rodolphe, The Gospel of Judas;
  • Katz, Solomon, The Decline of Rome and the Rise of Medieval Europe: (The Development of Western Civilization);
  • Keegan, John, Intelligence in War: The Value--and Limitations--of What the Military Can Learn About the Enemy;
  • Kenis, Leo, et. al., The Transformation of the Christian Churches in Western Europe 1945-2000 (Kadoc Studies on Religion, Culture and Society 6);
  • Kepel, Gilles, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam;
  • Kiplinger's: Personal Finance;
  • Klein, Naomi, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism;
  • KM World: Content, Document, and Knowledge Management;
  • Koestler, Arthur, Darkness at Noon: A Novel;
  • Kostova, Elizabeth, The Historian;
  • Kuttner, Robert, The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity;
  • Lake, Kirsopp, The Text of the New Testament, Sony Reader;
  • Laur, Timothy M., Encyclopedia of Modern US Military Weapons ;
  • Leffler, Melvyn P., and Jeffrey W. Legro, To Lead the World: American Strategy After the Bush Doctrine;
  • Lendon, J. E., Soldiers and Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity;
  • Lenin, V. I., Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism;
  • Lennon, John J., There is Absolutely No Reason to Pay Too Much for College!;
  • Lewis, Bernard, The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror;
  • Lewis, Bernard, What Went Wrong?: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East;
  • Lifton, Robert J., Greg Mitchell, Hiroshima in America;
  • Limberis, Vasiliki M., Architects of Piety: The Cappadocian Fathers and the Cult of the Martyrs;
  • Lipsett, B. Diane, Desiring Conversion: Hermas, Thecla, Aseneth;
  • Livingston, Jessica, Founders At Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days;
  • Livy, Rome and the Mediterranean: Books XXXI-XLV of the History of Rome from its Foundation (Penguin Classics);
  • Louis J., Freeh, My FBI: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton, and Fighting the War on Terror;
  • Mackay, Christopher S., Ancient Rome: A Military and Political History;
  • Majno, Guido, The Healing Hand: Man and Wound in the Ancient World;
  • Marcus, Greil,Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes;
  • Marshall-Cornwall, James, Napoleon as Military Commander;
  • Maughm, W. Somerset, Of Human Bondage;
  • McCluskey, Neal P., Feds in the Classroom: How Big Government Corrupts, Cripples, and Compromises American Education;
  • McCullough, David, 1776;
  • McCullough, David, John Adams;
  • McCullough, David, Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt;
  • McLynn, Frank, Marcus Aurelius: A Life;
  • McManus, John, Deadly Brotherhood, The: The American Combat Soldier in World War II ;
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