Greg Lathrop
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What are you reading?

“I just finished Turning the Tide: How a Small Band of Allied Sailors Defeated the U-Boats and Won the Battle of the Atlantic, by Ed Offley. I thought it was fascinating. The U-Boats were like wolf packs — they called them that —and they went about attacking the convoys going between North America and England. The book is about how the military, with a limited number of ships, tried to fight them off on the perimeters, and then chased them down.”

How did you come to read it?

“I was walking down the street in San Francisco. People put free books out all over the place, and I saw this one. It looked halfway interesting, and I saw that it was brand new, so I thought, Okay, I’ll have a look at it.”

Have you read anything else lately?

“I started reading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged again. Oh, God, I love that book; I’ve read it three times. It’s probably the best book ever written. It’s a thousand pages, but it’s a very easy read. She’s a storyteller, but what she does is, she sends a hidden message while she’s telling the story, and so she sucks you into the message. It’s very subtle, but it’s coming through all the time. I see it as being about individualism, about taking care of yourself, looking out for yourself, doing things for yourself. Not becoming part of the masses, but being an individual and taking control of things. They’ve recently come out with a movie that covers the first third of the book.”

What book or work has been most life-changing for you?

Annapurna, by Maurice Herzog. I took up mountain climbing after reading that book. He was the first man to successfully climb an 8000-meter peak and live. He’s lost almost all of his fingers and almost all of his toes. I met him once, at a gathering with Sir Edmund Hilary and about 40 other people who had climbed to the top of Mount Everest. I paid $250 for the ticket to go, but he signed my book, the whole thing.”

And how did you come to read that one?

“A friend gave it to me. I think it’s like Atlas Shrugged, in a sense. It’s about individualism and survival and getting ahead. I used to go around to all the used bookstores and buy all the copies I could. I would give them to friends, to my daughter, to anybody I thought needed inspiration.”

Who is your favorite author?

“Chris Bonington. He’s an Englishman — probably a gifted writer, but primarily a mountain climber. Everything he writes is an easy read, but so thrilling. You feel like you are right there.”

Do you read any newspapers/magazines?

“I used to read Time and Newsweek. But now, all I read is The Week. It’s a weekly magazine that summarizes the newsgathering from all kinds of other sources. It pools the liberal and the conservative. It has a section on real estate, a section on cooking, something about what’s on TV, movies, plays on Broadway. I have been hooked on it for four years now.”

Do you have people you talk to about books you’re reading?

“No.”

Name: GREG LATHROP | Age: 61 | Occupation: RETIRED/MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT

Neighborhood: KENSINGTON | Where interviewed: KENSINGTON LIBRARY

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Comments

Jeff Smith Aug. 3, 2011 @ 8:32 p.m.

Oh splendid Annapurna! Herzog says in the last line: "there are other Annapurna's in the lives of men." No, Maurice, you just lived a singularity!

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