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Ben Collins

Recommended Books

10 books on the list
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Meme Wars book cover
Meme Wars
The Untold Story of the Online Battles Upending Democracy in America
Joan Donovan, Emily Dreyfuss, Brian Friedberg - 2022-09-20
Goodreads Rating
Discover the power of memes in shaping modern politics with Meme Wars. Leading experts Joan Donovan, Emily Dreyfuss, and Brian Friedberg delve into the digital underworld, revealing how far-right operatives use memes to push conspiracy theories, disinformation, and white nationalism into the mainstream. Explore the tactics of provocateurs such as Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos, and understand the impact of the "Stop the Steal" movement. Meme Wars is a political thriller and cautionary tale about the dangers of online extremism in modern America.
Ben Collins
@Alex_Roarty There is mountains of literature on how platform manipulation (through influencers and trending topics) dictated news cycles off platform. This recent book is a good summation. I can't believe I still have to explain this.      source
Meet Me in the Bathroom book cover
Meet Me in the Bathroom
Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011
Lizzy Goodman - 2017-05-23
Goodreads Rating
This book tells the thrilling oral history of the decline and rebirth of the New York rock scene in the 2000s. Follow the journey of iconic rock bands such as The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, and Vampire Weekend, and witness how they became the anthems for a new generation. Through original interviews with musicians, journalists, artists, and more, this book offers a fascinating portrait of the cultural forces that shaped modern rock-and-roll.
Ben Collins
@katienotopoulos If you need historical proof of this, read this book:      source
Also recommended by
Edgar Wright
We Are Proud Boys book cover
We Are Proud Boys
How a Right-Wing Street Gang Ushered in a New Era of American Extremism
Andy B. Campbell - 2022-09-20
Goodreads Rating
Discover the shocking story of America's most notorious far-right group in We Are Proud Boys. Investigative journalist Andy B. Campbell delves into the origins and rise of the Proud Boys, exposing their bizarre rituals and violent reputation. Using groundbreaking reporting, Campbell showcases how they became the unofficial enforcement arm of the Republican Party and how their ultimate goal of desensitizing Americans to political violence has succeeded. This gripping and frightening narrative serves as a necessary insight into the playbook of domestic extremism and how to push back against radicalism before it engulfs our democracy.
Ben Collins
You can buy the book here. It's very, very good.      source
Off the Edge book cover
Off the Edge
Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture, and Why People Will Believe Anything
Kelly Weill - 2022-02-22
Goodreads Rating
Discover the explosive rise of the Flat Earth movement in Off the Edge by Kelly Weill. Beginning with its origins in the 1830s, Weill explores the reasons behind human divergences in belief and shows how social media has powered the movement's growth. Through firsthand accounts at Flat Earther conferences, Off the Edge introduces us to an eccentric cast of characters and reveals the dangerous consequences of this divisive conspiracy theory. A must-read for anyone interested in the psychology of belief and the impact of social media on our reality.
Ben Collins
I cannot stress how horrifyingly prescient the history of the Flat Earth movement is to this moment. I didn't believe it until I read it in this book, and I can barely believe I'm writing this sentence. It's just such a good read.      source
All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers book cover
All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers
A Novel
Larry McMurtry - 2002-10-02 (first published in 1972)
Goodreads Rating
"Travel with Danny Deck as he sets off on a road trip from Houston to California in search of artistic inspiration. Along the way, he encounters a colorful and unforgettable cast of characters on a journey that will leave readers laughing and crying. This classic novel is hailed as one of the best portraits of America's fourth-largest city and captures the bittersweet essence of friendships and the struggles of the artistic life. Larry McMurtry's unparalleled storytelling technique will have you hooked until the end."
Ben Collins
RIP to Larry McMurtry, who wrote one of favorite books ever, All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers, a beautiful thing. From Jim Harrison’s review in 1972: “He visualizes his success as evil, the dream defiled, mucked-up, mundane.”      source
Dark Passage book cover
Dark Passage
David Goodis - 2003-09-01 (first published in 1946)
Goodreads Rating
Experience a haunting tale of urban fear and loneliness in this American noir classic, now available in authoritative e-book editions from The Library of America. Follow the story of a man, falsely accused of his wife's murder, as he assumes a different identity after escaping from prison. David Goodis's work is a must-read for fans of the crime genre. Check out other Goodis classics such as Nightfall, The Burglar, The Moon in the Gutter, and Street of No Return.
Ben Collins
It is also imperative you read "Dark Passage" by David Goodis. Is this book a 60-year-old noir about a guy who gets facial reconstruction surgery to evade murder charges? Yes. Is it a "good" book? Probably not. Did I enjoy it? Yes, therefore canceled.      source
The Inevitable book cover
The Inevitable
Dispatches on the Right to Die
Katie Engelhart - 2021-03-02
Goodreads Rating
Discover the urgent issue of the Right to Die movement in The Inevitable, a captivating book by Katie Engelhart. With a focus on doctors, patients, and activists, Engelhart delves into the quest for a "good death" as the world's population grows older, and the fight for the right to die with dignity. Delve into the lives of six individuals, including doctors and patients, as they meticulously plan their final hours away from medical offices and hospital ethics committees. With deeply reported portraits of people across Australia, North America, and Europe, The Inevitable is a wide-ranging and incisive exploration of this ever-growing issue.
Ben Collins
I also recommend you pick up @katieengelhart's deeply researched and heartrending book on the right to die before the liberal gestapo raise the prices at Barnes & Noble, effectively canceling it.      source
Also recommended by
Anne-Marie Slaughter
Culture Warlords book cover
Culture Warlords
My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy
Talia Lavin - 2020-10-13
Goodreads Rating
Go undercover with Talia Lavin, a smart and unapologetic Jewish woman who takes on the online world of hate in Culture Warlords. Journey into the heart of white supremacy and discover the extremists hiding in plain sight, from Incels to Christian extremists. In this shocking and humorous book, Lavin exposes the tactics and ideologies of these hate groups and shows us how we can fight back against online hate.
Ben Collins
I really recommend this book.      source
My Year of Rest and Relaxation book cover
My Year of Rest and Relaxation
Ottessa Moshfegh - 2019-06-25 (first published in 2018)
Goodreads Rating
A darkly funny and savage novel that follows a young, privileged woman as she attempts a year-long experiment in sleep and pharmaceuticals to escape the disappointments of her life. Set in a glittering New York City in the year 2000, the book is both merciless and compassionate, exploring themes of loss, love, and the search for meaning in a world where wealth and success seem so easy. A New York Times bestseller, this showcase of a major young writer is not to be missed.
Ben Collins
Favorite book of the decade.      source
When Prophecy Fails book cover
When Prophecy Fails
Leon Festinger - 1964-01-01 (first published in 1956)
Goodreads Rating
Exploring the fascinating behavior of individuals in social movements with specific, unfulfilled prophecies, this study sheds light on the psychological and societal impacts of failed predictions. Based on theoretical work and a chance discovery, the book offers a compelling examination of how people react when their beliefs are challenged.
Ben Collins
@sequinpants Here's a really good book on just that! It's basically like the gambling term "pot commitment," plus some other psychology.      source
Also recommended by
David Heinemeier Hansson