Free E-books For Pleasure Reading

Every day, Longreads and Longform post long, well-researched articles. But sometimes people write whole books and just post them to the Web, which apparently are too long even for these sites. Here are some great non-fiction, fascinating e-books that are free to download.

The Great Internet Conspiracy: The Role of Technology and Social Media in the 9/11 Truth Movement

The Boy Who Cried Wolf is, in modern parlance, a simple “troll.” He delights in posting inflammatory material in public spaces to cause unnecessary concern, and he then laughs at the angry reactions he provokes. In the fable, he only gets away with this once before his village brands him as a troublesome nut. The rest quickly ignore him, leaving him to experience poetic justice in short order. But on the Internet, this could not happen.

With social media at his fingertips, the Boy’s alarm message would spread well beyond his village. Some people would find his initial posting at once, while others would find it much later. A few would accidentally revive it years after the fact. But to pick a time at random, say one week after he had his fun, both the initial “fake” alert and the later “real” warning would be available simultaneously, with no way to predict which would be more widespread and more likely to come up on a search engine. Both would also be mixed in with a bewildering array of angry posts, some by people who had been duped, others noting that he was actually right.

The Broken Buddha: Critical Reflections on Theravada and a Plea for a New Buddhism (Some knowledge of Theravada Buddhism is a must.)

A man I know attended a Thai temple in Singapore for fifteen years before becoming one of my students. He could chant the five Precepts but couldn’t name any of them and didn’t know that what he was chanting referred to morality. He did know however, that every time he went to the temple that he should give an hung pow (monetary donation) to the monks. Young well-educated Asians have often told me that they got their first real understanding of Dhamma when they joined a Buddhist group at the university where they were studying in the West…

The Esperanto Book

Esperanto is sometimes criticized for using compound words where a “real” or “natural” language would have a “real” word. What constitutes a “real” word, as distinct from a compound word, turns out not always to be apparent to such critics. One Esperantist reported the case of a woman who, informed of the use of mal- to create antonyms, cried out in dismay: “You mean Esperanto has no basic word for unhappy?”

Posted: February 13th, 2012 | Books, Dharma