Thursday, December 27, 2007

Reality Show by Howard Kurtz

Ever wonder what the major TV anchors like Brian Williams, Katie Couric, Charles Gibson and Dan Rather are like off camera?

Kurtz's book provides a good deal of insight into the backgrounds and passions of the network news anchors. With the possible exception of Dan Rather, just about all the anchors were portrayed favorably in this book. Brian Williams, in particular, comes off as an authentic, nice guy who is devoted to his job, co-workers and family.

This book is very well written and researched. It's a bit lengthy (434 pages) but there are very few dull spots so the reader is engaged from beginning to end.

The reader also gets an overview and history of the network news business at NBC, CBS and ABC. Plus there are a lot of stories about back office intrigue and politics to keep the reader entertained.

Highly recommended.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Write It When I'm Gone by Thomas M. DeFrank

The sub-title of this book is Remarkable Off the Record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford.

My guess is that if you are not into recent history or the history of our Presidents that you may ignore this book.

However I was fascinated by ex President Ford's observations on Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

Ford was more sympathetic to Nixon than most people. He felt that Nixon's biggest problems were the people around him. Ford particularly loathed John Dean.

Ford was not a fan of Ronald Reagan for political and personal reasons. Ford wanted to run against Jimmy Carter in 1980 and felt Reagan usurped his role in running for President. He also felt that Reagan was not intellectually up for the job.

Ford noticed that Bill Clinton had a wondering eye but admired his intellect and political skills.

DeFrank's book is an easy and interesting read about the candid feelings of Gerald Ford. His Presidency was short but Ford did restore integrity to the White House after Nixon and Watergate.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Now and Then by Robert Parker

This Spenser series novel was an easy read. Short chapters. Easy dialogue. Fast paced action. Some shoot-em-up and violence.

I usually finish a Spenser novel in a day or two. I knocked off this book in a few nights reading.

The book starts out like an episode of the TV series, Cheaters. Spenser is hired to follow a client's wife to see if she is fooling around. She is. She gets killed. The client is dead. Spenser cleans up the mess.

The villain does make the big mistake of targeting Susan as a means of intimidating Spenser. Big mistake!

The best feature of any Spenser novel is the dialogue among Spenser, Susan (his main squeeze), Hawk (his best friend and muscle) and any other allies and villains in the story.

I wonder why they don't have the old Spenser shows (with Robert Ulrich) on TV Land or A&E??

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Think Big and Kick Ass: In Business and Life by Donald Trump and Bill Zanker

I should start out by saying that I have not bought a book about or by Donald Trump. I have borrowed books about and by him from the library.

I have not found books "authored" by Mr. Trump to be informative or useful, particularly to my career or financial circumstances. I am not in his league or pedigree. (Very few people are...)

So when I picked up "Think Big and Kick Ass," I was not disappointed. I leafed through it in about 45 minutes. Trump's business advice escaped me. I can't relate to it, particularly now after 35 years of corporate life.

What amused me were his opinions on celebrities like Martha Stewart, Mark Cuban, Rosie O'Donnell etc. I give Trump points for his candid opinions on people.

I was particularly surprised at his comments on Carolyn Kepcher, who used to work for him and assisted him on the TV show, The Apprentice. I guess that relationship soured.

Trump is better on TV. He is a much better interviewee than author...

If you're looking for useful business or career advice, I'd pass on this book. If you like exploring the personality of "The Donald," you may find this book entertaining.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Race by Richard North Patterson

A white war hero Republican candidate for President? Dating a black actress who mirrors Halle Berry? Rejects the politics and support of evangelicals? Votes for stem cell research?? His closest confidante? A former black Secretary of State who seems a lot like Colin Powell.

You know this is a book of pure fiction but an interesting one.

Corey Grace is the Republican war hero who decides to run for President. You won't mistake Grace for George W. Bush or Mitt Romney. He does have similar family issues like Rudy Giuliani. (He is divorced and estranged from his teenage daughter).

Very good page turner. Excellent ending as I did not see that coming.

This book is much better entertainment than a Republican Presidential debate or a Fred Thompson stump speech.