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Discussion on: What are your favorite non-programming books?

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Michael Powe

Halldor Laxness. Independent People. Bjartur Jónsson worked as a farmhand for 16 years to save the money to buy his own farm in the Icelandic wilderness of the early 20th C Iceland. What's it really like to be truly a "self-made" man, totally independent? (Hint: it's not like on TV.)

Ivan Doig. This House of Sky. Memoir of growing up in early to mid-20th Century Montana. In the days before highways and cheap cars, before social security and readily available medical care, life was precarious. His mother died when he was still very young, of an illness that would have been easily treated by a doctor. Beautifully written, moving account of life when you worked until you dropped (Doig's grandmother worked until she died, at age 80.)

Roland Huntford. Shackleton. Biography of the greatest polar explorer, renowned as a leader. Famously, he never lost a man on an expedition. To this day, he is held up as an exemplar in leadership training courses.

Anthony Trollope. He Knew He Was Right. A subtle account of a husband driven mad by sexual jealousy. Out of trivial disagreements of a newly married couple, we see how seemingly innocuous choices by both lead to a tragic denouement.