A couple of books I’ve been reading. My copy of “Fooled by Randomness” by Nicholas Taleb arrived, and I’ve been reading the letters of William Tecumseh Sherman, who is one of the people (along with Dai Zhen, Alexander Hamilton, and Freidrich Hayek) who are people I’ve learned a lot from. The interesting thing about Sherman’s letters is that they have all sorts of seemingly boring mundane details which are only extraordinary when you remember that it was written over a hundred years ago. The interesting thing I found about Sherman is that he understood most clearly among all of the generals of his era the connection between economics and war, perhaps partly because of his being a failed banker.
As I’ve mentioned before, his “war is cruelty” letter to the city council of Atlanta is one of the most concise and passionate defenses of the “one China” policy. The other thing that I found fascinating about Sherman is that both he and Grant were deeply flawed individuals that carried out the roles that history assigned to them.