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What our readers want you to read!


Kids can be so very very useful. Skyler took the entire recommended books list y'all made in comments on The Book I Wish People Would Read post, and she made a single post out of it. With links to you, if you included one. No links to the books, though, but I'm sure there's nothing you couldn't find on Amazon or Google.

Thanks again for these wonderful recommendations (and thank-you Skyler), and if you are on this list but we didn't include a link to your blog/site/whatever and you want us to, please leave a comment with that link. And remember that many of these recommendations came with brief explanations, so you might want to revisit the original post for more details (in the comments).


Russ Stalters
The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge

The Gift of Fear
Fall on Your Knees

The Great Siege: Malta 1565Ernle Bradford
Eye In The SkyPhilip K. Dick

Drew Bell
The Elements of Typographic StyleRobert Bringhurst
The Journal of Albion MoonlightKenneth Patchen

Yehuda Berlinger
Any book by Miss Manners
What Katy Did at SchoolSusan Coolidge

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
Anything by Dana Stabenow

Narrative Medicine Rita Charon
Complete Poems's of Emily Dickinson

Bruce Johnson
The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century Thomas Friedman
Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means Albert-Laszlo Barabasi
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason Sam Harris
Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Jared Diamond

The End of Faith Sam Harris
Catwings Ursula LeGuin

1984 George Orwell
Nonzero Robert Wright

Chris Eidhof
Gödel, Escher, Bach - An Eternal Golden Braid
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Douglas Adams

Shang Lee
Zen in the Art of Archery
Dark Materials Philip Pullman
1984 George Orwell

Joachim Klehe
Thick Face, Black Heart Chin-Ning Chu
The Force of Reason Oriana Fallaci
Shelley's Heart Charles McCarry

Ward Harold
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (2e) Abelson and Sussman
If on a winter's night a traveler Italo Calvino

Phoenix Rudner
Big Moo Seth Godin
Web of Life Fritjof Capra
Good News for Change David T. Suzuki and Holly Dressel
The Meq Steve Cash

The Origins of Conciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out Of The Box

Kathleen DeFilippo
The Year of Magical Thinking Joan Didion
Maverick Ricardo Semler
Watership Down Richard Adams
Jitterbug Perfume Tom Robbins

Paul Blystone
John Adams David McCullough
Linked Albert-Laszlo Barabasi
Eucalyptus Murray Bail
"Master and Commander" through "Blue at the Mizzen" Patrick O'Brian
The Debt To Pleasure John Lanchester

Stephan H. Wissel
Getting to YES, Negotiating Agreement Without Giving InFisher/Ury
The Tao Teh Ching Lao Tzu
The Path of The Peaceful Warrior Dan Milman
The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Geetha Krishnan
any good dictionary
How Would You Move Mount Fuji William Poundstone
Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon

Improv Wisdom
The Science of Disworld
the Discworld series Terry Pratchett
the Gap Series Stephen Donaldson

Malcolm Sparks
The Fabric of Reality

Jan Wikholm
Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions Gary Klein
The Player of Games Iain M. Banks

any Calvin & Hobbes Bill Watterson
Innumeracy John Allen Paulos
The Garden of Forking Paths Jorge Luis Borges
The Rum Diary Hunter S Thompson
Franny and Zooey J.D. Salinger

Glen C.
Underground History of American Education

Getting Things Done David Allen
Monte Walsh Jack Schaefer

Vincent van Wylick
Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky
Any Human Heart William Boyd
Long Walk to Freedom Nelson Mandela
The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell

Cooking Under Wraps Nicole Routhvier
Declare Tim Powers

John Dodds
Gonzo Marketing Chris Locke
Something Happened Joseph Heller

Cyndi L
The Bible
Lord of the Rings

Fabio Bertone
"Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character
One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand Pirandello
Rendezvous with Rama Arthur C. Clarke

Alex Iskold
Complexity Mitchell Waldrop
Wind-up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murakami

Phil Manijak
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Sources of Power

Andrew Skegg
Maverick Richardo Semler
The Design of Everyday Things

Jitterbug Perfume Tom Robbins
Who Moved My Cheese Spencer Johnson

Blue Ocean Strategy
Earth David Brin
State of Fear Michael Crichton

The Art of Possibility Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
Factotum Charles Bukowski

The Seven-Day Weekend Ricardo Semler
Peopleware Tom Demarco and Timothy Lister
The Little Prince Antoine de Saint Exupéry
Winnie-the-Pooh A. A. Milne

Jason Peck
My Personal Best John Wooden
The Moviegoer Walker Percy

America the Book Jon Stewart
1984 George Orwell
V for Vendetta

La Gana Fred Deux
The diary of Franz Kafka

Greg B
Tao Te Ching Lao Tzu (Stephen Mitchell trans.)
Tropic of Cancer Henry Miller

Radhakrishnan Mukkai
The Seven Day Weekend Ricardo Semler
Any novel by P.G. Wodehouse!
Lord of the Rings

Linda Zdanowicz
If Aristotle Ran General Motors Tom Morris
Integrity Dr. Henry Cloud

Letter to a Christian Nation Sam Harris

CI Scott
Looking Like the Enemy Mary Matsuda Gruenewald
Gift of a Letter Alexandra Stoddard

Dave N.
Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior Chogyam Trungpa
Collected Short Stories Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Ryan Fox
The Bible
Ender's Game

Michele Miller
The Daily Drucker Peter Drucker
Middlesex Jeffrey Eugenides

You Are Being Lied To: The Disinformation Guide to Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes and Cultural Myths ed. Russ Kick
The Koran

My Grandfather's Blessings Rachel Naomi Remen

Illuminatus Trilogy Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea
A People's History of the US

Kurt Graustein
What Color is Your Parachute? Richard Bolles
The Goal Eli Goldratt

Desert Queen
The Art of War
Forgotten Realms R.A. Salvatore
Dragonlance Margret Weiss & Tracy Hickman.


Steve Dalton
Good News for a Change David Suzuki & Holly Dressel
1984 George Orwell

Jennifer Apple
The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity Alan Cooper
A Man Oriana Fallaci

Borderless World Ken Ohmae
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy John Le Carre
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Ken Kesey

Raw Spirit Iain Banks

Haroun and the sea of stories Salman Rushdie
Eragon and Eldest Christopher Paolini

Gary Pyke
Blink Malcom Gladwell
Pirates Gideon Defoe

Get Back in the Box Douglas Rushkoff
The World According to Garp John Irving
Spin Robert Charles Wilson

Martijn Gorree
Last Chance to See Douglas Adams
Who ordered this truck load of dung Ajahn Brahm
Dark Knight returns Frank Miller

Malcolm X biography Alex Haley
Detectives Salvajes Roberto Bolaño

Seth Wagoner
Darwin's Dangerous Idea Daniel C. Dennett
Manufacturing Consent: The political economy of the mass media Chomsky/Herman
Use of Weapons Iain M Banks

Jan Korbel
Law, Legislation and Liberty: A New Statement of the Liberal Principles of Justice and Political Economy Friedrich August von Hayek

Kristine Shreve
Team of Rivals Doris Kearns Goodwin
Stephanie Plum series Janet Evanovitch

JIm Rait
Solving Tough Problems Adam Kahane
Products of our Time David Redhead
Invisible Cities Italo Calvino

Sam Aaron
The Art of Happiness Dalai Lama and Dr. Howard Cutler
The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Kevin Behringer
The Bible
The Last Disciple series

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Motorcycle Maintenance Robert Pirsig
The collected Calvin & Hobbes comics

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Bertrand Russell's collected works
Jonathan Livingston Seagull Richard Bach
Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand

Peopleware DeMarco/Lister
Getting Things Done David Allen
Lord of the Rings trilogy

The Art of War Sun Tzu
The Illuminatus! Trilogy Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea

Mike Mangelson
The Long Tail Chris Anderson
1776 David McCullough
Les Miserables Victor Hugo

The Continuum Concept Jean Liedloff
Illegal Aliens Phil Foglio and Nick Polotta

Petr Ruzicka
Play as if Your Life Depends on It Frank Forencich
Ishmael Daniel Quinn

Into Thin Air John Krakauer
Dark Tower series Stephen King

The National Wildlife Federation's Guide to Gardening for Wildlife Craig Tufts, Peter Loewer
Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust Immaculee Ilibagiza
Don't Shoot the Dog Karen Pryor
Winter's Tale Mark Helprin
Crossing to Safety Wallace Stegner

Ed Borasky
Performance By Design Menasce, Dowdy and Almeida
Cities in Flight James Blish

Dylan Schleicher
Persian Fire Tom Holland
The God Who Begat a Jackal Nega Mezlekia

Karen Demerly
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen R. Covey
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Jonathan Safran Foer

Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain

The Piano Shop on the Left Bank Thad Carhart
Reading Lolita in Teheran
I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman Nora Ephron
Friend of My Youth Alice Munro
The Cairo Trilogy Naguib Mafouz

To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight James Tobin
Carter Beats the Devil Glen David Gold

Matt Jaynes
Rapid Development Steve McConnell
Peter Pan J.M. Barrie

The Penguin History of New Zealand Michael King
One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Lonesome Dove Larry McMurty

Getting Things Done David Allen
A Plain Life Scott Savage
Plain and Simple Sue Bender
Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes Bill Watterson

Joe Taylor
All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
Johnny Got His Gun Dalton Trumbo

Innumeracy John Allen Paulos
Les Miserables unabridged version
Different Seasons Stephen King
Dolores Claiborne Stephen King

The Science of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Michael Hanlon

Jay Cross
Getting to Yes
Anything by Carl Hiassen

Living in Italy
Breaking the Spell Daniel Dennett
Pride & Prejudice Jane Austen

Tom Armitage
On Photography Susan Sontag
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch Philip K Dick

Marc Rettig
The Systems Bible John Gall

Sean Cribbs
The Power of Myth Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers
The Magus John Fowles

Natural Capitalism

The One Thing You Need To Know... About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success Marcus Buckingham
The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, and Something Rotten Jasper Fforde

Philip Wilkinson
Rich Dad, Poor Dad Robert Kiyosaki
Lord of the Silver Bow David Gemmell

Which Lie Did I Tell William Goldman
Pillars of the Earth Ken Follet

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values Robert Persig
The Phantom Tollbooth Norton Juster

Heather Acton
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! Richard Feynman
A Fine Balance Rohinton Mistry
Blindness Jose Saramago

The Design of Everyday Things Donald Norman
Another Roadside Attraction Tom Robbins
To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee

Where The Truth Lies (Franz Moewus and The Origins of Molecular Biology) Jan Sapp
Life Before Man Margaret Atwood

Theresa Cunnington
Lord of the Silver Bow
The Sandman Neil Gaiman

MT Heart
The Millionaire Next Door Thomas J. Stanley
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick

Cluetrain Manifesto Locke et al
Losing My Virginity Richard Branson
How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People Jonar Nader
J-Pod Douglas Coupland
Revelation Space Alastair Reynolds

A Conscious Mind David Chalmers
The Sea Wolf Jack London
The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

The Transparent Society David Brin
Hackers and Painters Paul Grahm
Old Man's War John Scalzi

Small Wonder Barbara Kingsolver
The Sparrow Mary Doria Russell

Rajendran Dandapani
First Break All the Rules Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman
Jonathan Livingston Seagull Richard Bach

The Pragmatic Programmer Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt
Last Chance To See Douglas Adams

Garry Peerless
The World is Flat Thomas L. Friedman
Mediterranean: Portrait of a Sea by Ernle Bradford
Birdsong Sebastian Faulks

Joe McCarthy
Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility James P. Carse

The Introvert Advantage Marti Laney
The Dragon Knight Gordon R. Dickson

The Birth Of Britain (Zrod Británie) Winston Churchill
Fury Salman Rushdie
Four Meals (Bes) Sheir Malev
Narrenturm Andrzej Sapkowski
Norwegian Wood Haruki Murakami

Peter Bromberg
Change the Way You See Everything Kathryn Cramer
Fletch Gregory MacDonald
Flynn Gregory MacDonald

Diadorim João Guimarães Rosa
The Devil to Pay in the Backlands João Guimarães Rosa

Bhagavad Gita S Radhakrishnan
What they dont teach you at Harvard Busines school Mark McCormack
The Innovators dilemma Clayton christiansen
A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess

Seasons of Grace: The Life-Giving Practice of Gratitude Alan Jones & John O'Neil

Bird by Bird Anne Lamott
Disgrace Coetzee

The Artists Way Julia Cameron
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee

Damian Croft
Istanbul Orhan Pamuk
Ploughing Songs

Nils Davis
Fab Neil Gershenfeld
Jack Reacher series Lee Child
The Number One Ladies Detective Agency series Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander Kjerulf
Nonzero Robert Wright
Cryptonomicon Neal Stephenson

keith ray
Are your lights on? Gerald M. Weinberg
Glory Season David Brin

Johnnie Moore
Punished by Rewards Alfie Kohn

Buster Williams
The Soul of Black Folk WEB DuBois
An Alchemy of the Mind Diane Ackerman
Parable of the Sower Octavia Butler
A Game of Thrones George R. R. Butler

Dave Weaver
Stumbling on Happiness Daniel Gilbert

Paul Dana
Collapse Jared Diamond
The Singularity is Near Ray Kurzweil

Steve Shervais
Multiple Perspectives Hal Linstone
Warriors Apprentic Lois Bujold
Tam Lin Pamela Dean

Luddite Geek
Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
A Short History of Nearly Everything Bill Bryson
Jurassic Park

The Truth About Stories Thomas King
Children of God Mary Doria Russell

Don't Make Me Think Steve Krug
Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe

Mindy Haidle
Telling Secrets Frederick Buechner
Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens

Rebecca Kelley
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers Mary Roach
Ultra Marathon Man Dean Karnazes
Catch-22 Joseph Heller

Gary Bloom
Steps to an Ecology of Mind
The Once and Future King

Matt Moran
Emergency Sex And Other Desperate Measures

Refactoring Martin Fowler
Mill on the Floss George Eliot

Laurel VanWilligen
A World Lit Only by Fire William Manchester
The Fountainhead Ayn Rand

Ed Brenegar
Leadership and Self-Deception the Arbinger Institute
Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackery

Steve R
Meditations Marcus Aureliu
Moby Dick

The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway
What Do You Care What Other People Think? Richard Feynmann

Posted by Kathy on December 6, 2006 | Permalink


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There is so many good books in that list, that it is totally depressing... I feel like I couldn't read even a sizeable fraction of them in my life time.

My favorite is Wayne's suggestion for Dragonlance. I've inherited like 50 or so books from my brother, and I keep trying, but keep failing at reading only the first one. It is insane! It takes the discipline of someone willing to read the dictionary (which, coincidentally, Geetha recommended).

What I plan to do is to read from this list the things I know I will enjoy. As such, this list is extremely useful, I don't think I would have navigated comments to get it. Thanks a bunch Skyler.

Posted by: Michel Parisien | Dec 6, 2006 12:19:40 PM

Very cool! Lots of favorites there.

Hey, here are two others I didn't see from anyone above:

- "Influence" by Robert Cialdini (in which he catalogs the six principles of persuasion)

- "Blink" by Malcom Gladwell (about how we're conditioned to make snap judgements) (I noticed this was in your illos at the top)

Great stories in both books.

Posted by: John Windsor | Dec 6, 2006 1:17:10 PM

Maybe the first book on the list should be 7 Day Speed Reading by Evelyn Wood :)

I cranked up my reading speed to 2000 wpm and my wife is pretty close to that and it makes a big difference. A disadvantage is that single book stories tend to be too short now and we prefer trilogies and longer to really get into it.

Posted by: Stephan F | Dec 6, 2006 1:24:01 PM

I saw the graphic in my feed reader and opened it up expecting a post about how to manage the deluge of things we want to read/learn/practice. This is pretty good too.

Although the comment on 7 Day Speed Reading might be helpful...

Posted by: Chris Norris | Dec 6, 2006 2:34:30 PM

Thanks for compiling this list. Some of this will definitely add to every one's personal "Books to read before I die". Nowadays, getting through the list has become easier by using audio instead of spending time turning the pages, though the latter is much more satisfying. Finally, if I may say, it may be interesting to take this list and allow users to give ratings from 1 to 5 and see how it goes.

Posted by: Krishna Kumar | Dec 6, 2006 2:59:14 PM

Out of Control
The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World by Kevin Kelly


Posted by: Jake Lockley | Dec 6, 2006 4:24:13 PM

From the "better late..." department:

Another vote for Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Out Of The Crisis by W. Edwards Deming

Posted by: Tom Guarriello | Dec 6, 2006 5:01:07 PM

Oh my. Every time books are brought up, so many people have awesome suggestions.

Can anyone say "passion bookclub"?

Posted by: Michel Parisien | Dec 6, 2006 8:47:35 PM

I don't quite understand. Did you read all of these books and determine that they were good, or is this just a recompilation of the books listed in the comments from the last post?

Posted by: Ryan Fox | Dec 6, 2006 9:37:25 PM

The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins
The End of Faith, Sam Harris
Freedom Evolves, Daniel C. Dennett

Posted by: Robby Russell | Dec 6, 2006 11:22:10 PM

Hello. the link to my blog is missing the http:// from the start -> it is trying to link to a page under your domain.

so http://jw.fi/ instead of just jw.fi


Jan Wikholm

Posted by: Jan Wikholm | Dec 7, 2006 5:06:43 AM

Nooooooooo.......... I need more hours in the day.
Good job Skyler :)

Posted by: Murray | Dec 7, 2006 5:36:24 AM

I'm completely pathological about taking notes. I've kept a daily journal since 1992 and have notes preceeding that by another decade. So I KNOW how many books I read each year. As others have said, it's a depressingly small figure.

In fact, if I just read the books on this list, it will take me until the rest of my projected life to (just barely) read them all.


I gotta figure out how to read more efficiently. This won't do! But such a list definitely helps to choose the few remaining books (relatively speaking) that I'll read.

Oh yeah.. there are books to be written too! I need even MORE hours now!

Posted by: Dan Russell | Dec 7, 2006 6:23:50 AM

In reply to my first post and Dan's latest post: that is depressing, until you walk into a library and look at the number of shelves. Now *that's* depressing.

But you know, if you were somehow a human with no personality or characteristics, whatever books you read in your lifetime would completely shape you, and it would be a completely different set of books from anyone else.

Francois Mauriac once said (in French) "Tell me what you read and I will tell you who you are, that's true, but I would know you better if you told me what you read again."

Posted by: Michel Parisien | Dec 7, 2006 8:28:23 AM

This is a great list. On the OUPBlog we are gathering the favorite books of Oxford employees, you should check it out.http://blog.oup.com/oupblog/2006/12/our_favorite_bo.html

Posted by: Rebecca | Dec 7, 2006 11:34:21 AM

I really should add my favorites:
Getting Everything You Can From Everything You've Got by Jay Abraham
The Mythical Man-Month by Fred Brooks
DragonSinger Anne McCaffrey
My Enemy, My Ally Diane Duane

There are far too many books out there to read right now and there are 400 new books published every DAY. Fortunately most of them are trash, so don't worry about not being able to read them all, now we just have to find the really great books. This list is a really good place to start.

A Someday/Maybe project of mine is to read the four great minds on economics: Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Ludwig von Mises, and John Maynard Keynes. To compare and contrasts them since they shaped the modern world. So far all I've gotten done is a download of Wealth of Nations from Gutenburg. Someday. Maybe.

Keep on reading.

Posted by: Stephan F | Dec 7, 2006 12:08:01 PM

And if you want to see if libraries near you own these books, search for them at www.worldcat.org (a shameless plug for MPOW and the world's largest database of free books)

Posted by: Alane | Dec 7, 2006 1:54:26 PM

Hey Kathy!

Great list!

How ironic. I just posted a long list of products my readers had submitted as gift ideas for the holiday season. It took so long to do it with all the links that for some reason, I flashed on you since you always seem to have the most thorough, well-constructed and link-filled posts of anyone I know.

I mentioned that in the end of my post and linked to your blog ... not knowing that your current post is a massive summary list with links.

Love it when that happens!

Thanks for taking the time to compile it.

Forever in your fan club,

Posted by: Pamela Slim | Dec 7, 2006 2:02:31 PM

Perhaps, it may be little far fledged for your beliefs, But I remember vividly that I dreamt, that I saw your new website. It had a tinge of lemon yellow,fading from the header towards the page. The dame who asserts " scoble is good for sex life" still in there!....just to emphasize how much you are embedded in me..I have never written to you or even commented on your mentally arousing articles...The dream prompted me to write this..Please post if you intend to visit NY area..I owe you a hug!!

Posted by: mani | Dec 7, 2006 2:28:55 PM

Oh, and I must have missed by skimming fast that your daughter compiled the post - even better!

Do you think I could teach my 20-month old son Josh to do the same? :)


Posted by: Pamela Slim | Dec 7, 2006 3:20:16 PM

Christopher Moore: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Friend

Posted by: Clay | Jan 16, 2007 8:02:12 AM

Here are some more that I've read recently.

The Stoic Art Of Living
The Kindness Revolution
Getting Out Of Your Own Way At Work
The Power of Nice

Posted by: Linda Zdanowicz | Jan 23, 2007 8:54:16 PM

The Speed of Trust
Stephen M.R. Covey

In Stephen M.R. Covey's new book he makes the case for the idea that "trust" is the one thing that changes everything and that today trust is the new currency.

I produced a few interviews with Covey and people like Steve, Rubel, Jack Trout and Chris Anderson on the new value of trust. It's an interesting new spin on and old idea

Posted by: Errol Smith (Speed of Trust Radio) | Feb 6, 2007 9:50:27 AM

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