Thursday, September 29, 2011

Smartest Things I've Read Today.

The United States needs a reality check and ideas on how to resolve the economic mess we face, particularly as it concerns our massive unemployment and underemployment.

If you want to read about solutions, check out Seth Godin's blog entry on The Forever Recession (and The Coming Revolution.)

For a much more detailed analysis and study of our economic peril and prospects, check out That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back by Tom Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum. Hopefully the sad sack of candidates running for President may read and incorporate the ideas of these authors.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My Review of The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin

I should preface this review by pointing out I am not a Sarah Palin fan. I do not believe she is qualified for any national office. I think she is a celebrity just like Snooki, the wives of Beverly Hill and now, her daughter.
I think Joe McGinniss sums up his feelings about her at the end of his book. " Sarah Palin practices politics as lap dance and we're the suckers who pay the price. Members of our jaded national press corps eagerly stuff one hundred dollar bills into her G-string, even as they wink at one another to show that they don't take her seriously."
He doesn't have much good to say about her as a wife, mother, friend or politician. If you dislike Sarah, you'll love this book. If you're a fan, you will be outraged and should skip it.
I got the book from my local library. If you have been paying attention to the various news stories about this book, then you know the tone and venom in it.
Read Tom Friedman's That Used To Be Us instead.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Can Resist Everything Except Temptation-- Oscar Wilde

Since I exhibit so little lately, I read Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy Baumeister  and John Tierney. I learned a few things to help improve my willpower such as:

  • Decision making depletes your willpower. If your work requires you to make hard decisions all day long, you will reach a point where you will be depleted.
  • Willpower is finite.
  • Since stress decreases willpower, focus on one project at a time.
  • To lose weight, set realistic goals, monitor your progress by a log, weigh yourself every day and brush your teeth early in the evening to discourage late night snacking.

This book provides tips to improve your willpower that are backed by science and research. It's not just another self help tome. Easy to read. The authors use some great examples to get their points across.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New & Upcoming Books I'm Looking Forward to Reading.

1. That Used to Be Us by Thomas Friedman

2. Steven Jobs by Walter Isaacson

3. Tension City by Jim Lehrer (book about Presidential debates)

4. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

5. The Detachment by Barry Eisler (return of John Rain!)

6. Arguably by Christopher Hitchens (essays)

7. Other People's Money by Justin Cartwright

I may skim through Joe McGinnis's book about Sarah Palin but I've heard enough from TV plus I read Doonesbury who published excerpts of it. Pat Buchanan has a book coming out as well as "new rules" from Bill Maher.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

SAT reading scores drop to lowest point in decades

Why? I would guess there are too many distractions. You can't say it's a money issue. Library books are free.

1. Video games

2. Television

3. Twitter

4. Poor attention span

5. Text messaging

6. Parents don't read either.

7. Netflix (why read the book?)

8. Youtube

Monday, September 5, 2011

My End of the Summer Reading List (Business, Religion and Fiction)

Beach reading was not on my agenda for the summer. I did some minor mental lifting instead..

To improve my business writing, I read Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little by Christopher Johnson. If you are trying to improve your communication skills, branding and career prospects, you'll find this book very helpful with practical writing tips. It's an excellent resource for web and social media communications.

Since I chair some business meetings, I was curious to review Read This Before Our Next Meeting by Al Pittampalli. He offers some valid business advice on when to call a meeting, how to develop an agenda and who to invite. His advice not to invite someone to the next meeting who comes to a meeting but does not participate seems a bit politically risky to me. However he was preaching to the choir to this reader who finds 80% of meetings a waste of time.

Based on a New York Times book review article, I skimmed through Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology, The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion and Render Unto Rome, The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church by Jason Berry. Both books appear to be very well researched and I found both books to be well written and interesting. The Berry book, in particular, will raise your eyes if you are a Catholic. There is obviously a need for much better financial management, use and control of money donated by the faithful.

I felt like I came into the middle of a bigger story as I began Cold Vengeance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Since I had not read any of the preceding books in the Agent Pendergast series, I was at a disadvantage. Pendergast searches for his wife who was believed dead. I enjoyed the action sequences though some seemed very implausible, particularly Pendergast's escape after being shot in a swamp. I did not like the ending either.

I could not get into All Things Shining: Reading the Western Canon to Find Meaning in a Secular World by Hubert L. Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly.  Dreyfus and Kelly are philosophers and attempted to write this book for a general audience. However this book was too much mental lifting for me at this time.