Thursday, April 19, 2018

April Classic of the Month: One-Way Pockets by Don Guyon

"The circulation of a mere rumor that the Morgan interests are accumulating Steel or that the Standard Oil crowd is getting out of St. Paul is sure at any time to create a market following. Most of the tips that are hawked about the Street are based on the supposition that somebody-or-other of consequence is buying or selling certain stocks. I do not know of a single case where anyone has been able to make money consistently by following information of this character, even when the information comes to him first hand.
--from A Speculative Decision

In honor of tax refunds coming our way, we are highlighting One-Way Pockets: The Book of Books on Wall Street Speculation by Don Guyon as our April Classic of the Month.

In 1917, an insider at a Wall Street brokerage firm took a close look at his company's most active traders and analyzed their trades to glean the secrets of their success... and what he found is still applicable today.

Writing pseudonymously, he here offers a wide range of sage advice about: 

- buying on the way down
- determining trends
- how a bull market starts 
- the correct use of stop orders
- when and what to sell short 
- and much more


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Guest Post from Paul Breiter: Ordinary Mind is the Way

Meditation hall of Wat Pah Nanachat/Wikimedia Commons
We are happy to publish a guest post from Cosimo author and Buddhist Paul Breiter, entitled "Ordinary Mind is the Way." Enjoy!

Wat Pah Nanachat Bung Wai, International Forest Monastery of Bung Wai District in northeast Thailand, could also be named Forest Monastery of Detachment or something of that order. The influence of its founding abbot, Ven. Ajahn Sumedho, seems to pervade the woods and illuminate the forest paths.

Now noisy from the nearby highway, busy with monks, trainees, and visiting laypeople, still an atmosphere of serenity pervades the place. In the first days after arriving, the mind mulls over preferences and thinks about how things should be. Then I hear Ajahn Sumedho in my head, saying, “That’s just creating more self (atta),” or, “You don’t need to create concepts around the experience,” or, “All that does is create more suffering (dukkha).” Maybe the fact of the impermanence of outer and inner happenings is so obvious that I didn’t need to hear him mention that other characteristic of conditioned phenomena.

“Ordinary mind is the way” is a well-known saying in Zen circles, attributed to the Tang Dynasty master Nan Chuan. The different schools of Buddhism might give slightly different interpretations, but they would all agree that what it doesn’t mean is that following one’s impulses and letting conceptual thinking run wild is the way.

There is also a famous Zen dialogue in which someone asks a teacher, “What is the meaning of the Buddha’s way?” and the answer is, “Do good and refrain from evil.” The questioner counters, “Even a three-year-old child can say that,” to which the master replies, “A three-year old can say it, but a sixty-year-old can’t practice it.” Ajahn Sumedho’s instructions have always been both understandable and practical, offering an entry into the Dharma here and now, no matter what the individual’s circumstances may be. They often don’t seem to amount to much on paper, but when imbued with his presence, or the memory of his presence, they come to life. He visited the monastery ten days after I arrived there and one night gave an informal talk to a small gathering of monks and trainees.

It began with a simple enough question about difficulties with food. Forest monks subsist on one usually enormous meal per day, taken at 8 or 9 in the morning. The northeast Thai staple of glutinous rice can weigh one down even more and bring serious drowsiness, and it can take a few years to find a middle path with this most basic requisite for living.

After some reminders about use of the requisites of robes, almsfood, dwelling place, and medicines, Luang Por, as he is now known, went on to talk about states of mind and the three categories of craving (tanha). Desire for food and sex, the biological urges, is kama tanha, sensual craving. He pointed out that they are natural to the animal bodies we are born into; the way to handle them (especially for those who have taken ordination vows) is to neither indulge nor suppress, not to glorify them or feel guilty about them, but to observe their arising and ceasing and not view them as oneself or one’s own. With guilt or negative attitude toward them, we fall into vibhava tanha, desire not to be, which can only produce conflict and unhappiness. The original question, about the troubling effects on meditation practice caused by too much, too little, or the wrong kind of food, led him to point out the suffering involved in wanting things to be other than they are and in taking our experience personally.

Fear and aggression, he said, are also animal impulses related to survival. “If you were a primitive human hunting for your food in a jungle, fear and aggression would be useful emotions.” That was an interesting take on those things, which we usually judge to be entirely harmful and negative.

Bhava tanha is translated as “desire for becoming,” i.e., desire to be something. In meditation practice, it manifests as the laundry list of things we feel we should be experiencing and attaining, and is basically just a distraction from being aware of what is going on. Such desire is just that, desire, and it isn’t a self or a person but only a source of delusion and suffering.

As one contemporary Zen teacher said about “Ordinary mind is the way,” if the positive states and qualities we wish for are to appear, they have to appear in a now, and it would be best if they appeared in the now we have now--even with a busy highway near the monastery and a new 7-11 at the entrance to the once-bucolic, middle-of-nowhere village. Luang Por Sumedho always reminds us to deal with the mind we have now and not think longingly about the mind we wish we had or think we should have. Observing the conditioned mind in the present, we watch it arise and cease, arise and cease; we note that it is nothing more than a collection of conditions, something impermanent and impersonal; and not attaching to the conditioned will allow the unconditioned to appear. Staying in the monastery, shedding compulsions about what I should be doing or attaining, but just eating my food, washing my clothes, and doing sessions of formal meditation, a sense of spaciousness naturally grew. The timelessness of the Dharma was hinted at even as I ticked off the days remaining on my short stay: just to live like that, without concepts of the future, of how things should be or how I should be, I considered, might come as a great relief. Indeed, without such a viewpoint, isn’t one just living in the worldly extremes of hope and fear, in a fantasy realm?

Paul Breiter

About the Author Paul Breiter was born in Brooklyn in 1948. In 1970, he became ordained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, where he met Ajahn Chah and became his student. After disrobing in 1977, Breiter returned to the US and continued Buddhist study with masters in the states. Breiter's books include One Monk, Many Masters, A Still Forest Pool, Venerable Father: A Life with Ajahn Chah, Being Dharma, and Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

April Series of the Month: A Library of the World’s Best Literature

One of the great achievements of the book world, A Library of the World’s Best Literature edited by Charles Dudley Warner, is our Series of the Month this April!

A Library of the World's Best Literature includes poetry, short stories, letters, and novel excerpts, with essays about the author or the subject of the text. There are also sections that discuss a series of works grouped by subject matter, era, or nationality. The collection lives up to its ‘worldy’ description, including everything from the work of his friend, Mark Twain, to chronologies that detail the great authors of Polish, Swedish, German, and Swiss literature, to name a few. It’s a truly comprehensive series of world literature, covering centuries of great writing, and a helpful introduction to the breadth of literature available to interested readers.

About the Author
Popular American essayist, novelist, and journalist Charles Dudley Warner (1829-1900) was renowned for the warmth and intimacy of his writing, which encompassed travelogue, biography and autobiography, fiction, and more, and influenced entire generations of his fellow writers.

Cosimo offers Warner's impressive series by individual volume at various online bookstores or as a full set in hardcover or paperback. This is an unique and voluminous series, but could transform your reading room, living room or library into a den of knowledge: great for collectors, librarians and readers who like to expand their personal library. If you are interested in purchasing the full set, please contact us.

The hardcover retail list price for the series is $1,609.54, but now: our price: $1,289.99  (you save $320 or a 20 percent discount)

The paperback retail list price: $899.55, but now: our price: $699.99 (you save $200 or a 22 percent discount)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

April Book of the Month: Natural Power by Rock Brynner

Celebrate Earth Day this April with our Book of the Month, Natural Power by Rock Brynner!

Natural Power: The New York Power Authority's Origins and Path to Clean Energy tells the story of the history, mission, and values of the Power Authority of the State of New York. Beginning with the birth of generated electricity in New York State, Natural Power emphasizes the role of inventors like Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse; investors like J. P. Morgan; and government figures like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower played in helping to spread electricity from a luxury to a necessity in America.

At its core, the Power Authority played an essential role in establishing public power over the private sector and greatly influenced the development of power from natural resources. It created affordable, sustainable alternatives for citizens across the state with the construction of the Niagara Falls and St. Lawrence River power plants, and provided a template for the rest of the country to establish public power services. Today, this essential public service provides almost a quarter of New York State's power, dedicates much research and development to environmentally-friendly power sources, and consistently leads the vanguard of utilities in sustainability and modernization in the 21st century. This book includes a Foreword by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, evidence of the importance of this matter to New York and national policymakers.

Natural Power is a fascinating read for readers, historians, environmentalists, journalists, and policymakers interested in the birth of electrification, the founding of the New York Power Authority, its role as a public entity and the importance of clean energy when the threats of climate change are obvious to New Yorkers.

About the Author 
Rock Brynner is a writer and historian who lives in Pawling, New York. He earned an M.A. in Philosophy at Trinity College, Dublin, and a Ph.D. in U.S. History at Columbia University and has taught US history at Marist College and Western Connecticut State University. This is his tenth book.

About New York Power Authority
New York Power Authority  is the country's largest state public power organization, producing some of the cheapest electricity in North America. NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency and the use of renewable-fuel technologies.