now i get the concept of reading for pleasure”), but for more cerebral reasons.Conquest of Happiness is a very silly title, it’s like “how to force the boy/girl of your dreams to love you” or something – the title, but not the book, suggests a self-defeating strategy.But the book has saved me in times of depression, and was a key reading while I was figuring out how to quit my job.I’d go on to read many of his books (The Star Thrower, All The Strange Hours, The Firmament of Time…what great titles) paying attention to how me made everything seem interesting, mysterious and wonderful simultaneously. He was the first essayist I read, and i soon discovered Emerson, devouring his collections (I’ve read self-reliance a dozen times or more), and wandering my way towards Montaigne, Thoreau, and other classics.I learned wisdom and philosophy could be funny, angry, scary, fulfilling, emptying, and dozens of other things I’d never thought about philosophy before. Not sure how or when I discovered Russell, but he’s one of my strongest influences.The best writer among the philosophers, choosing plain language, passionate charm, and clarity of thought above all else, something few philosophers have the talent, desire or courage to do.His books made me realize my lust for using and making technology could not achieve many of the things I wanted out of life.It led me to books like Information Anxiety, The end of patience and Data Smog By Shenk, and on down the line through an honest view of what technology can and can not do.I read it many times also trying to figure out the machinery. I found this strange, scary looking book cover in the science section of a used bookstore in the mid 90s.I will always remember the endings of Updike’s Rabbit Run, and Malamud’s The Natural, even though I didn’t particularly enjoy either book – the later allowed me to discover how any story can be many different stories with just a few surgical changes (e.g. I picked it up and and it blew me away, because although it pretended to be a science book, his magical sense of wonder was unexpected and put me on my heels.