Sunday, June 24, 2007

The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

The author who outsources a variety of business and personal tasks may be happy to find out that I bought and read his book on my own.

I liked it. He taught this "old dog" a few business tricks. Now I'm not saying that I can reduce my work week to four hours but he does offer some very good ideas on being more productive.

This book is more geared towards those entrepreneurial souls who are willing and capable of taking career and financial risks. So this book was a bit of a fantasy for this 50+ year old with a wife to support and retirement close by.

Ferriss recommends a rigid information diet. He suggests reading a fiction book before bed (and his book). He advises the reader to avoid daily newspapers (ask a waiter if anything big is occurring today) and news from the web, periodicals etc.

Ferriss does offer some very good tips on the following business issues that any employee or entrepreneur should consider:

* scheduling and attending meetings
* reviewing and responding to e-mails
*prioritizing tasks and projects
* time management
It's an easy read with plenty of anecdotes and lists of resources....

Friday, June 22, 2007

Hard Rain by Barry Eisler

Hard Rain by Barry Eisler was a great read and hard to put down.

I think I have definitely found my successor to the James Bond series written by Ian Fleming and Raymond Benson. John Rain is a harder edged assassin than Bond. There is plenty of action, swerves and intrigue. Rain's villains are as dangerous and formidable as 007 had to combat.

Bond had gadgets and weapons to fight the bad guys. Rain uses his head and martial arts. In this book, Rain combats a merciless killer named Murakami who is more dangerous and evil than Oddjob from Goldfinger.

I recently bought Eisler's third book in the John Rain series, Rain Storm that I look forward to reading.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child

This was the first book I read by Child. Not too bad. A lot of action. Some swerves. Jack Reacher is not your conventional hero. He travels by bus. He eats at Denny's and dresses like a street person. But boy can he fight and handle a gun. He's joined by members of his old group in battling arms dealers and international terrorists.

There's even a love interest for Jack. Thankfully it's brief. Let the violence begin.

The villian(s) get their comeuppance in the end and how!

This is a very good beach book for guys.

Bob Atchick, a friend of mine, also recently read and enjoyed the book. Bob is an aficionado of mystery and spy stories.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Sopranos Finale

Imagine that you've been reading a mystery novel and when you get to the end of the book, the last two pages are ripped out that identified the killer, how the crime was committed and whether the killer gets justice.

You contact the author who says that he left enough clues for the reader and figures that the reader could use their imagination as to how the story should end.

That's how I felt about the Sopranos finale.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Alex's Lemonade Stand

I don't read children's books. But if I did, Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand by Liz, Jay and Alex Scott is what I would read.

Alex Scott was such a courageous little girl who fought and ultimately lost to cancer. Her story is an inspiration no matter how old you are. She lived a very short life but she contributed so much to the best of the human spirit.
Bravo to the Scotts for keeping Alex's dreams alive!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Blame It on The Sopranos

I struggled with two books this past week. I just could not get into them and each new page wasn't an invitation to enjoyment as much as it was a chore. Sometimes the books suck. Sometimes I'm not in the right frame of mind or receptive for reading.

I usually give an author 30-40 pages to hook me (maybe more if I bought the book).

I sped read Black Maps, a John March novel by Peter Spiegelman. March is a hard boiled NYC PI who is as comfortable using his fists as he is understanding the intricacies of the financial world where this case occurs. I wouldn't say this is an easy beach read as it slows in certain spots. The reader will get an education in financial services operations and practices as well as a good mystery story. I fast forwarded to the end of the book...

I hope to return to Buddha Is As Buddha Does: The Ten Original Practices for Enlightened Living by Lama Surya Das. I just wasn't receptive to the Buddha's teachings this week...

I have to admit that I'm much more interested in seeing the finale of The Sopranos than I am in reading....

Saturday, June 2, 2007

An Un-Spun Review on Un-spun by Jackson and Jamieson

We can find "spin" everywhere. From our candidates and politicians chasing office. From advertisers wanting us to buy products and services. From our doctors in providing us a diagnosis. From our bosses in telling us why we can't get a raise or how the company is doing.

Un-Spun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation by Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson will help you translate and handle the various spins that you experience daily. This book provides the reader lessons in reasoning and critical thinking, particularly when reading an article, watching a debate or hearing anyone express an opinion.

The book is relatively short (185 pages) and easy to read. I finished it within three days.

Most of the book focuses on examples of political spin. The authors did a reasonable job of avoiding partisanship so Republicans and Democrats won't necessarily feel put upon or singled out.

My own bias is that the current Republican administration is awful at spin. Even if they told the truth, very few people would believe it.