A long list of books | MetaTalk

Hi, I’m responsible for Septivium and put the list together from the original thread. To respond to some of the points above…

Did you filter out some of the selections? I only ask because my own immortal contribution to the thread seems to be missing.

Yes, I did filter the list somewhat. I’m most interested in how to find the very best books about a topic. One way of doing that is to get recommendations from people who know the field well, which is what the original thread was all about. But some of the responses didn’t do much more than name a book. I wanted to stick solely to books where the poster gave some indication (however vague or brief) that they’d read other, lesser, books on the topic or that they really knew the subject well. I also filtered out some books that were on really, really specific subjects, purely because the nature of my project (how to learn about everything) is looking at broader fields of study. Both ways of filtering were probably a bit hit and miss and arbitrary, so please don’t be offended if I missed a contribution.


I have no idea… I just copied the term from the original post and assumed that those who knew about biology would understand it. Obviously not :)

Didn’t this get brought up before and pointed out that he’s using his affiliate link to make a bit of cash off this list? I don’t have a problem with this when the original person did the work, but he’s just meta-mining and replacing meta’s link with his amazon link.

I’m sorry if I’ve offended anyone with my last minute decision to use my affiliate link rather than Metafilter’s. I couldn’t decide whether to do that or not at first and made the choice I did simply because I usually err too far on the side of being nice and cautious. (As a direct example, five years ago I wrote a post asking some bloggers what books they were reading. If they had an Amazon affiliation set up, I added it to their links even if they didn’t send them to me that way. They seemed pleasantly surprised.)

I’m not sure what to add that I haven’t said already in the comments on that post. It is a tough call. If I’d copied the entire original post and changed the affiliate links that would have been very wrong in at least two ways. But I thought it would be a useful thing for people to have the list in a more easily browseable format, and after doing the work of compiling the list I felt a little more justified in changing the affiliation. If Matt or someone had put their foot down then of course I’d have been happy to change them back.

And don’t get the impression I did it to make my fortune… I’ve been using Amazon affiliate links sporadically on my array of little-trafficked sites for years and can’t remember the last time I received any money from them!

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13 May 2009 at Twitter

  • 9:12pm: @mattb Online radio should have interference filters to let you make it sound like FM, MW, LW or SW.
  • 8:57pm: bbc.co.uk's Apprentice Predictor gave away that I didn't pick the firee before the firing actually took place. Spoiler. Won't use again.
  • 12:50pm: Mugs acquired at good old Waitrose. Good size, comfy handles. Plus: tea, milk and biscuits. The full kit.
  • 11:32am: @tomtaylor Robert Dyas a good idea... although the website suggests I might end up with Winnie the Pooh and Friends...
  • 11:26am: If I wanted to buy some mugs near Silicon Roundabout, where would I go? Argos doesn't do them (unless you want two Playboy mugs for £8.79).
  • 8:11am: Responding to critics.
  • 7:30am: Blimey, I had no idea a film was made of Nicholas Mosley's 'Accident' (I like) with a screenplay by Pinter. And it's re-released next month!
  • 7:01am: Everyone was swimming clockwise this morning. Surprisingly disorienting.

13 May 2009 in Links