Sunday, September 28, 2008

Two Recommendations and One Endorsement

First, I recommend that people read The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008 that describes people, activities, and events in the Bush Administration regarding the Iraq War. The book is well written, well researched and lays out a sad but interesting story on how foreign affairs was conducted the past two years. If you are a Bush supporter or an avid neo-con, you might want to pass on this book as it may destroy what remaining delusions you have about this Presidency, the Administration's competence and the conduct of foreign affairs.

I am very impressed by Woodward's ability to locate sources , get the sources to open up and then develop a fascinating narrative based on the information provided.

Second, I recommend that any few remaining Americans who believe that Sarah Palin is competent to be Vice President much less President of the U.S. read Kathleen Parker's article published last week. Kathleen Parker is a conservative Republican and early supporter of Mrs. Palin until....

She saw what a disaster Palin was in several low key and no pressure interviews.

Mrs. Parker's view of Mrs. Palin's performances, "If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself. " Ouch!

Third, realistically there is no choice who to vote for in the Presidential election. If you voted 90% of the time in agreement with the disastrous policies of the current Administration, you are automatically disqualified for being the next President. John McCain, this nation owes you thanks for your great sacrifice for this country....But....

You're out of touch. You can't be trusted. It's time for new energy, new good ideas and new leadership....

Obama for President 2008!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Reading at Midlife

The older I get, the harder it is for me to find a good book, particularly those that are business or career related. At 56, most of the fitness books aren't right for me either. They are geared to a younger generation, who still have the stamina, energy and motivation to perform exercises that would put me into an emergency ward or traction.

Self help books are hard to find for midlife men. There seems to be plenty of books for midlife women to survive menopause, or the loss of their youth and looks.

Readers my age can find a large number of books that offer advice on retirement and financial management for senior citizens.

I think there is a market for books, particularly novels, to readers with some gray in their hair and a lot of candles on their birthday cakes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Block" Party

A Lawrence Block party in fact....

I just read two of Block's "Keller's Greatest Hit" series, Hit Parade and Hit and Run. I don't recall reading any books by Block before. The main character is Keller. Keller is a hit man, evidently a very good one as he is constantly sought for contracts on various people. Keller is aided (at least administratively) by Dot, his girl Friday. Based on my initial reads, Keller's penchant for completing his stamp collection represents his financial incentive for his type of work.

I prefer the John Rain series by Barry Eisler if you're looking for a lot of action, violence and machismo. In a battle of hit men, I think Rain would win out. Keller's hits are more run of the mill and pedestrian.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Off The Deep End by W. Hodding Carter

As someone in midlife, I was looking for a book that was inspirational in terms of getting fit or being athletically competitive. Subtitled "The Probably Insane Idea That I Could Swim My Way Through a Midlife Crisis-And Qualify For The Olympics," I did not get motivated from reading Carter's pursuit. Maybe it was because this book was primarily about swimming....

The most interesting part of the book was about Mark Spitz and his failed attempt to qualify for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

If Dina Torres (US. Silver Medalist in swimming) writes a book, that might motivate me....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Blue Blood and Mutiny by Patricia Beard

This book ranks with Barbarians at the Gate as one of my favorite business books that provides an inside account of the events and people surrounding turmoil within a company. Since most of the people covered are CEOs, Directors and Senior Executives, it's instructive how fallible, vain and gullible they can be.

Beard's book starts off a bit slowly as she provides a brief history of Morgan Stanley before she gets into the main story. Subtitled The Fight for the Soul of Morgan Stanley, Beard entertainingly describes the tenure and turmoil behind the management of CEO Phillip Purcell. As someone whose company is involved in a merger, I identified a few similarities of experience with those described in the book.

This book describes a merger gone bad. You'll read about dirty corporate politics, duplicity, greed, very bad business decisions and poor leadership.

Beard does a great job of capturing the personalities and mindsets of the major characters. This book flows like an excellent business novel.