Monday, November 29, 2010

Best Unpublicized Business Book of 2010

I devoured Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris and the Fall of Merrill Lynch, and the Near Collapse of Bank of America by Greg Farrell. It read like a corporate soap opera with elements of dirty politics, revenge, treachery, greed and backstabbing.

I picked the book up at Borders without reading or seeing any mention or review of it anywhere. This book as well as Too Big To Fail were my favorite business books of 2010.

The book focused on the executive managements at Merrill Lynch with John Thain and Bank of America with Ken Lewis. What struck this reader was how the direct reports of Thain and Lewis were treated. I would not have wanted to work for either guy.

This is a great read---like a novel---and well researched.

Friday, November 26, 2010

My World "Series" of Books

I read Painted Ladies, the last book of the Spenser series, written by Robert B. Parker before his death. I enjoyed the book, the characters and I'll miss the Spenser series. It led me to consider a list of the best series of action-adventure books that I enjoyed. Listed below are series that I enjoyed in the past and today:

  1. The James Bond Series by Ian Fleming, Raymond Benson, Sebastian Faulks and Kingsley Amis
  2. John Rain series by Barry Eisler
  3. Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch westerns by Robert B. Parker
  4. Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon 
  5. Jack Reacher series by Lee Child
  6. Lucas Davenport series by John Sandford

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic's Quest by Michael Krasny

When I saw the title of the book, I knew I had to read it. I also experience spiritual envy. Krasny describes the struggle and issues that "seekers" experience. I've excerpted some interesting points in the book:

"Agnosticism is a position that denies the existence of absolutes and hidden spiritual forces behind the natural or material world until they can be empirically proven. Agnosticism welcomes proof, craves it, demands it. It does not say there is no God. It also does not say there is one." (pg. 6)

"Studs Terkel, the famed oral historian, once told me that he was an agnostic and added that his definition of agnostic is a cowardly atheist."(pg. 65)

"Many in the past century addressed or wrote about agnosticism, including Pope Benedict XVI. The then Cardinal Ratzinger claimed that agnosticism was indicative of the desire for comfort. Since when do not knowing and uncertainty provide comfort?" (pg. 98)

Like Krasny, I began to question my religious beliefs in high school. In fact, it was spurred by my conversations (sometimes heated) with a priest who taught my Religion class. I envy my friends and people who have faith in God. One day, I hope to arrive at some type of resolution, but in the meantime, I resume my search for truth.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Couldn't Put This Thriller Down

I really enjoyed The Capitol Game by Brian Haig. I stayed up till 1:00 a.m. on a work night to finish it. I liked the story and the ending tied all the loose threads of this thriller together.

Haig combines the intrigue and treachery of Wall Street with the seamy side of government and politics. Do the good guys (and gals) win?

This book reminded me of the old Mission Impossible series...