Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Champions Mind by Pete Sampras

Pete Sampras the tennis player was great. Pete Sampras, the author of A Champions Mind is OK.

If you watched a Pete Sampras tennis match, you would be watching a performance that was workmanlike, not fancy, few frills, no histrionics, and very competent. Sampras wasn’t a complainer, screamer or showman.

Sampras’s book was just like his tennis, largely straightforward. In large part, it read like a war history. He outlined some of his more major tennis battles and his strategies whether he won or lost.

There’s nothing in the book that should generate any controversy. He doesn’t back stab any opponents though he does offer some instances where players (by word or deed) pissed him off.

Sampras doesn’t offer any tennis tips to make you a better player. There is no special workout regimen or diet that will make you as US Open or Wimbledon winner.

Sampras comes off as a modest and decent guy who is very proud of his tennis accomplishments. He would put himself in the Top 5 Greatest Tennis Players of all Time (with Laver, Federer, Lendl and Borg).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

116 Ways to Improve Your PC and Technology Skills

I’m always on the hunt for good ideas on being more productive and using technology wisely. Gina Trapani’s Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, Better fits the bill. She offers 116 useful Hacks (workarounds or shortcuts) including:

* Empty Your Inbox and Keep it Empty
* Craft Effective Messages (E-mail)
* Organize Your Documents Folder
* Organize Your Digital Photos
* Build Your Personal Wikipedia

Trapani’s book is generally user-friendly though certain sections left me lost. The book can be used for both PC and MAC users. Trapani references a number of websites and software programs to enhance and improve your computer experience.

Ultimately the book will make you a more organized and productive employee, manager or businessperson.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Bond is back! Better than ever? Hmmm, maybe…

I was very anxious to buy Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks. It’s been a long time since I read a James Bond novel. The last one I read was authored by Raymond Benson. I had previously read all the Bond novels by Ian Fleming and John Gardner.

This Bond adventure was very good. It is great escapist fun for any man. There is action, violence, beautiful women, travel, sex, evil villains and a decent plot. I read some criticism that the book started slow and I agree it did. But Bond is such a fascinating character, that the descriptions of what he eats, how he dresses and what he does to stay in shape is very interesting.

Bond faces off against Dr. Julius Gortner, an egomaniac in the legacy of Dr. No and Goldfinger. Bond first engages Dr. Gortner in a tennis game that may remind readers of Bond’s golf challenge against Goldfinger.

The Bond girl in the novel is Scarlet Papava, who provides a number of interesting twists in the story. Keep in mind that the novel takes place in the late 1960’s, about the time of Ian Fleming’s last Bond adventure.

Bond appears a bit more vulnerable in this adventure. He’s even mulling retirement. He’s a shade slower and more reflective.

As for me, I hope James Bond never retires. I hope it’s not another 10 years between Bond novels. I enjoyed this book and look forward to more from Faulks.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Reading: It Does a Mind Good

Reading is to the mind what eating is to the body. For the benefit to both body and mind, it’s important to maintain a good and healthy diet. When feeding the body and mind, it’s important to maintain a balanced diet and not rely on “junk.”

Good eating habits foster good health and energy. Good reading habits foster knowledge, ideas and truth.

When it comes to books, a main staple of the mental diet, one should seek balance. I read books on various non-fiction subjects including politics, current events, business, philosophy, sports, religion and psychology. I also add a touch of fiction and literature to my plate.

There are some people who may feel they need to read only one book. For them, this book holds all the answers they need for life. I prefer to indulge in different tastes or perspectives. One needs to try different recipes (or perspectives).

Just as some foods need to be savored slowly for enjoyment, so do some books. However one will often find books that are like fast food, temporarily satisfying but not really good for you.

Ultimately, we need to avoid poison in our physical or mental diet. Poison is branded on the box or container. We know to avoid it. However there are books that are poison to the mind. Based on lies and deceit, they may create prejudice, hate and lead those who buy into it to poor decisions.