What we're about

You are cordially invited to join us in thoughtful conversations on The 103 Greatest Ideas of all time. These conversations are organized around the major questions raised by thinkers throughout history. Change, Courage, Emotion, Evolution, Habit, Hapiness, History, Language, Love, Imagination, Mind, Science, Time, Virtue and Wisdom are some of the Great Ideas discussed so far based on cumulative 700+ live votes of thoughtful conversationalists that participated in the conversations so far. See below for the exciting ideas coming up for discussion.

These Meetups take place on Every Saturday from 2pm to 3:30pm at Sony Atrium at 550 Madison Avenue -- 20 to 30 thoughtful conversationalists participate in these scintillating conversations.

No prior reading is necessary. Simply bring your life experience, and share your thoughts with others, hear their ideas, and engage in a thoughtful and courteous conversation--which is organized to maximize exchange of ideas. Feel free to arrive late or leave early.

Join us for the following upcoming conversations:

RSVP for Conversation on REASONING on Saturday July 1 @ 2pm

RSVP for Conversation on EDUCATION on Saturday July 8 @ 2pm

RSVP for Conversation on HONOR on Saturday July 15 @ 2pm

RSVP for Conversation on WILL on Saturday July 22 @ 2pm

RSVP for Conversation on PHILOSOPHY on Saturday July 29 @ 2pm

RSVP for Conversation on GOOD & EVIL on Saturday August 5 @ 2pm

The Great Books Project identified The 103 Great Ideas that thinkers from every field--philosophers, scientists, novelists, psychologists, economists--have written about in what they poetically call The Great Conversation. This Meetup uses their work as an inspiration to organize live conversations on the same great ideas among New Yorkers today.

Join our Meetup and Join the Conversation Now!

Upcoming events (4+)

Curious: Desire to Know & Why Your Future Depends On It by Leslie | Book Club

Full Title: Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends on It
Author: Ian Leslie
This book was suggested by Jack O.

Pages to read: 185
ISBN:[masked] (Originally listed edition)
ISBN:[masked] (Edition I am Using)

While reading the book, consider the below questions:
•What does it mean to be curious?
•Why is knowledge required to be curious?
•Why is there an information gap?
•What is the difference between diverse and epistemic curiosity?
•What is the difference between puzzles and mysteries?
•How do cultures influence curiosity?
•How to build curiosity?
•What do schools have to do with curiosity?
•What does technology provide and take away?
•How does curiosity change with age?
•Why become ignorant? How is strategic ignorance used?
•What are some differences between individuals who are curious, and individuals who are not curious?

Your questions are important and will take priority. If you have questions about the book's content or related ideas, either let me know what your questions are or raise them during the discussion.

My review of the book:
https://www.inquiryreviews.com/2021/11/review-of-curious-desire-to-know-and.html

Upcoming event:
https://www.meetup.com/Inquiry-Non-Fiction-Book-Club-for-Inquiring-Minds/events/

If you would like to help support this group and help cover the costs of running it, you can donate via Zelle, PayPal, or Venmo. You can send money to [masked]. This is not a requirement. Just an option. If you feel that you get a lot out of the events, this allows you to support the group (and me primarily) financially. It will be much appreciated.

(If my official name is need, let me know and I will let you know what it is.)

Summary from Goodreads:
Everyone is born curious. But only some retain the habits of exploring, learning and discovering as they grow older. Which side of the ’curiosity divide’ are you on?

In Curious Ian Leslie makes a passionate case for the cultivation of our desire to know. Curious people tend to be smarter, more creative and more successful. But at the very moment when the rewards of curiosity have never been higher, it is misunderstood and undervalued, and increasingly practised only by a cognitive elite.

Filled with inspiring stories, case studies and practical advice, Curious will change the way you think about your own mental life, and that of those around you.

Why Nations Fail: Power, Prosperity & Poverty by Acemoğlu & Robinson | Book Club

Pages to read: 462
ISBN:[masked] (Originally listed edition, and Edition I am Using)

While reading the book, consider the below questions:
•What is the raison d’etre of the book? For what purpose did the author write the book?
•What are political institutions?
•What are economic institutions?
•What makes political and economic institutions inclusive? What makes them extractive?
•Why do inclusive institutions create more inclusion while extractive institutions keep extracting?
•Who creates the rules? Who enforces the rules?
•What is creative destruction?
•Why are critical junctures important?
•Why is government needed?
•What is the dual economy?

Your questions are important and will take priority. If you have questions about the book's content or related ideas, either let me know what your questions are or raise them during the discussion.

My Review of the Book:
https://www.inquiryreviews.com/2021/11/review-of-why-nations-fail-origins-of.html

Upcoming event:
https://www.meetup.com/Inquiry-Non-Fiction-Book-Club-for-Inquiring-Minds/events/

f you would like to help support this group and help cover the costs of running it, you can donate via Zelle, PayPal, or Venmo. You can send money to [masked]. This is not a requirement. Just an option. If you feel that you get a lot out of the events, this allows you to support the group (and me primarily) financially. It will be much appreciated.

(If my official name is need, let me know and I will let you know what it is.)

Summary from Goodreads (Abbreviated):
Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?

Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are?

Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Otherwise, how to explain why Botswana has become one of the fastest growing countries in the world, while other African nations, such as Zimbabwe, the Congo, and Sierra Leone, are mired in poverty and violence?

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it). Korea, to take just one of their fascinating examples, is a remarkably homogeneous nation, yet the people of North Korea are among the poorest on earth while their brothers and sisters in South Korea are among the richest. The south forged a society that created incentives, rewarded innovation, and allowed everyone to participate in economic opportunities. The economic success thus spurred was sustained because the government became accountable and responsive to citizens and the great mass of people. Sadly, the people of the north have endured decades of famine, political repression, and very different economic institutions—with no end in sight. The differences between the Koreas is due to the politics that created these completely different institutional trajectories.

Why Nations Fail will change the way you look at—and understand—the world.

Everybody Lies: Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz | Book Club

Full Title: Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are

This book was suggested by Jan

Pages to read: 187
ISBN:[masked] (Originally listed edition)
ISBN:[masked] (Edition I am Using)

While reading the book, consider the below questions:
•What is the raison d’etre of the book? For what purpose did the author write the book?
•Why is it hard to understand what people think about?
•What can the internet reveal that other methods cannot?
•What are the benefits of big data?
•What are the limits of big data?
•What are the limits of traditional sources and the internet as a source?
•How can big data be misused?
•Why do people deceive others?
•Where can people be honest?
•What is the use of experimentation?
•What do Americans think of racism?
•Do newspapers have a bias?
•Do people go into echo chambers on the internet?

Your questions are important and will take priority. If you have questions about the book's content or related ideas, either let me know what your questions are or raise them during the discussion.

My Review of the Book:
https://www.inquiryreviews.com/2021/12/review-of-everybody-lies-big-data-new.html

Upcoming event:
https://www.meetup.com/Inquiry-Non-Fiction-Book-Club-for-Inquiring-Minds/events/

f you would like to help support this group and help cover the costs of running it, you can donate via Zelle, PayPal, or Venmo. You can send money to [masked]. This is not a requirement. Just an option. If you feel that you get a lot out of the events, this allows you to support the group (and me primarily) financially. It will be much appreciated.

(If my official name is need, let me know and I will let you know what it is.)

Summary from Goodreads:
Blending the informed analysis of The Signal and the Noise with the instructive iconoclasm of Think Like a Freak, a fascinating, illuminating, and witty look at what the vast amounts of information now instantly available to us reveals about ourselves and our world—provided we ask the right questions.

By the end of an average day in the early twenty-first century, human beings searching the internet will amass eight trillion gigabytes of data. This staggering amount of information—unprecedented in history—can tell us a great deal about who we are—the fears, desires, and behaviors that drive us, and the conscious and unconscious decisions we make. From the profound to the mundane, we can gain astonishing knowledge about the human psyche that less than twenty years ago, seemed unfathomable.

Everybody Lies offers fascinating, surprising, and sometimes laugh-out-loud insights into everything from economics to ethics to sports to race to sex, gender and more, all drawn from the world of big data. What percentage of white voters didn’t vote for Barack Obama because he’s black? Does where you go to school effect how successful you are in life? Do parents secretly favor boy children over girls? Do violent films affect the crime rate? Can you beat the stock market? How regularly do we lie about our sex lives and who’s more self-conscious about sex, men or women?

Investigating these questions and a host of others, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz offers revelations that can help us understand ourselves and our lives better. Drawing on studies and experiments on how we really live and think, he demonstrates in fascinating and often funny ways the extent to which all the world is indeed a lab. With conclusions ranging from strange-but-true to thought-provoking to disturbing, he explores the power of this digital truth serum and its deeper potential—revealing biases deeply embedded within us, information we can use to change our culture, and the questions we’re afraid to ask that might be essential to our health—both emotional and physical.

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond | Book Club

This book was suggested by Marc W.

Pages to read: 539
ISBN:[masked] (Originally listed edition, and edition I am Using)

While reading the book, consider the below questions:
•What is the raison d’etre of the book? For what purpose did the author write the book?
•Why did great societies of the past collapse?
•What role did environmental have in shaping societies?
•What choices did societies make to survive their situations?
•What are the contributing factors to a societies collapse?
•How do environmentalists want to use resources?
•How do businesses want to use resources?
•What are the differences between the short-run and long-run views on resources use?
•Can alternative resources and technology be me available?
•What are failures of group decision making?

Your questions are important and will take priority. If you have questions about the book's content or related ideas, either let me know what your questions are or raise them during the discussion.

My Review of the Book:
https://www.inquiryreviews.com/2021/12/review-of-collapse-how-societies-choose.html

Upcoming event:
https://www.meetup.com/Inquiry-Non-Fiction-Book-Club-for-Inquiring-Minds/events/

If you would like to help support this group and help cover the costs of running it, you can donate via Zelle, PayPal, or Venmo. You can send money to [masked]. This is not a requirement. Just an option. If you feel that you get a lot out of the events, this allows you to support the group (and me primarily) financially. It will be much appreciated.

(If my official name is need, let me know and I will let you know what it is.)

Summary from Goodreads:
In Jared Diamond’s follow-up to the Pulitzer-Prize winning Guns, Germs and Steel, the author explores how climate change, the population explosion and political discord create the conditions for the collapse of civilization

Environmental damage, climate change, globalization, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of societies around the world, but some found solutions and persisted. As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe, and weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Collapse moves from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite our own society’s apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana.

Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide?

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