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M. Hyman "Artist at large" RSS Feed (Seattle, WA USA)
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The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book
The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book
by Peter Finn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.04
66 used & new from $14.98

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting history, June 24, 2014
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This is a rather interesting book that explores the heavy governmental involvement .. from both the Soviet and American side .. that revolved around the novel Doctor Zhivago and its author Boris Pasternak. It is a tale about how literature and art were used by both sides of the cold war as a weapon for hearts and minds, and how in this case Pasternak (who won a Nobel literature prize primarily as a result of this novel) was caught in the middle. The book mixes a portrayal of Pasternak's life and the oppression he faced, as well as how the novel got published (an interesting and twisted tale) as well as the CIAs involvement in getting it produced and distributed. It isn't the fasting moving book, but it is an interesting portrayal of a side story in the Cold War.


The Collection of Heng Souk
The Collection of Heng Souk
Price: $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good first effort, June 16, 2014
Please note: this is a self published book, so the 4 stars I give it shouldn't be compared to say, the 4 stars I would give more established authors. Having said that, there are a lot of dreadful self published novels and this is not one. The book takes a look at an interweaving tale of an unhappily married North Vietnamese woman who learns about her estranged uncle; the estranged uncle who was an interrogator in the war; a British man going through a divorce who wants to learn about his father who was an aviator in the Viet Nam war. This is centered around a found diary. The book weaves well between the various characters and periods of time, and is a reasonably well paced novel with engaging characters.

At times I found some of the sequences to be a bit stretched (some of the letters read much better if it were written with currents mores than it would have at the time), and there are some other sections that I found overly dramatic or forced, but altogether the story, especially that of the woman, holds together. It will only improve as the author continues to tweak the story and I hope he will write another novel.


Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth's Climate
Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth's Climate
by Stephen H. Schneider
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.16
132 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book from the insides of the climate change fight, June 16, 2014
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This book takes a look at what it was like to be a climate scientist struggling under attack by the well monied climate change deniers. The author is a famous scientist who devoted his career to climate change, and talks about the various discoveries and changes to the science. Climate scientists are often attacked for "first you said we're cooling, now you say we're warming, make up your mind we can't trust you" and the book shows how science evolved (e.g. what happened after computers enabled models to get more complex), and why some of these attacks are ludicrous. (Hey, before you said no one can travel faster than sound, so stop it already...) It also looks at the personal toll of the endless attacks against the science, how complex and hard it is to drive to multinational reports, and why the reality of climate change is far more concerning than gets boiled up. Although the writing style isn't gripping, it is an important look at the inside of science in our current times, and how challenging it can be to focus on what is right when it conflicts with powerful lobbies. A worthwhile read.


Now, Discover Your Strengths
Now, Discover Your Strengths
Price: $14.97

4.0 out of 5 stars interestng book, June 16, 2014
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The premise behind this book is a very interesting one: too many HR systems and companies focus on trying to shore up employee weaknesses rather than focusing on improving strengths; too many try to have a cookie cutter approach, rather than managing individuals so as to maximally leverage their strengths. This book focuses on a very different and very interesting approach to management, and one that is based on extensive statistics and not feel good theories. (Although the theories do feel good)

Thus, the underlying theories are very good. A lot of the book then goes into identifying 34 different key employee strengths and how people with those strengths act. Also very interesting.

After that is a section on how to manage the various employee types. For me this was the weakest section, in that it really is a work shop and not a book at that point. It's pretty hard to read, so it really should just be treated as reference material.

Altogether a very interesting book with some powerful ideas.


Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City (Vintage)
Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City (Vintage)
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars interesting personable history of amsterdam, June 16, 2014
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Amsterdam is a fascinating city, and too often visitors don't get beyond the marijuana and red light districts to understand the incredibly rich history of the country and the critical role it played in modern finance. This book takes a tour through the city looking at various parts of history, ranging from the early foundations, the establishment of the commerce system, the wars with spain, through to World War II, the 60s, and modern times. It is a very approachable book, mixing in the author's own experience as an ex-pat living in the city with history, which helps the history come alive. Altogether quite interesting.


The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting rant, June 16, 2014
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I found the book quite interesting... basically it hypothesizes that the US has increasingly divided itself into two nations ... that ruled by the ultra wealthy (think hedge fund managers) that can do anything they want, and that of the poor, who have the legal system rigged against them. The book takes a look at many different cases, say of a bank embezzling billions and getting a slap on the wrist, and a small bank with some questionable practices (that don't result in money loss) where people went to jail; folks getting thrown in jail for smoking on the sidewalk, and others being released after bankrupting pension funds. It is an interesting read and covers some fascinating things about the police, justice, and welfare systems. Along the way, the book attacks everything in its path, including both the left and the right, and especially any one in power.

The book is a fast and interesting read. For me, stylistically, I tend to like books with a different tone (so Too Big To Fail, e.g., I find more interesting than this book's coverage of some of the issues with the banking industry) -- the book could easily be ready yelling. At times it really comes across as a gigantic rant -- screaming, although for a reason, screaming, although with facts, and when in doubt, screaming.

Still, very worthwhile. I suspect it will resonate much more strongly with the left than the right, but both sides should find plenty to think about.


The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery
The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: $12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent science history, June 11, 2014
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I'm quite fond of books on neuropsychology and science history, and this book blends both for a romping tale of the discovery of a mix of various diseases and how they were discovered. It takes a look at traumatic brain injuries throughout history, ranging from a king who died from a jousting injury, to presidents and many others, and along the way looks at theories of brain functioning, plasticity, and various odd conditions such as people that can't recognize their relatives when they see them, but recognize them fine if they speak on the telephone. An interesting exploration of brain theories and discoveries, all within a fast paced historical framework.


Day of the Oprichnik: A Novel
Day of the Oprichnik: A Novel
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $8.89

4.0 out of 5 stars A rather curious book, June 11, 2014
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This is a rather curious book that reads very similar, in many respects. to A Clockwork Orange, but where the state apparatus is playing the part of the merry droogs, raping and pillaging the citizens. I'm told the original Russian is very flowery, which doesn't quite come across in the translation. It tells the tale of a security officer in a futuristic post-Putin Russia, where the state is a mix of Tsarist and Stalinist Russia, a blend of totalitarianism and religion, and where the government exerts its violent forces as it sees fit. It is part 1984, part dystopian Sci Fi, and part just crazy. A bit tough at times, surrealistic throughout, but sadly predictive of many things that are going on in Russia today.


Blue-Eyed Boy: A Memoir
Blue-Eyed Boy: A Memoir
by Robert Timberg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.93
41 used & new from $10.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, June 11, 2014
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This is an engaging story about a Viet Nam Marine officer who, 13 days before the end of his tour, runs over a land mine and is severely burned leading to permanent severe facial scarring. The autobiography discusses his service, his recovery, the impact on his family, and how he pulled himself out of depression and became a leading journalist in author. Along the way he gets married (twice), has four kids, gets divorced (twice). This is both a study in tenacity and overcoming obstacles as well as a look back on the author's life. I haven't read his other books, although they sound interesting as well.

Altogether it is well written. There are times where it drags along a bit and there are other times when it is very fast. But overall I'm glad to have read it.


Poolmaster 18616 Basic Ribbed 16-Feet Telescopic Pole with Posi-Lock
Poolmaster 18616 Basic Ribbed 16-Feet Telescopic Pole with Posi-Lock
Price: $35.71
4 used & new from $34.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very lightweight, June 7, 2014
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I've used a lot of extension poles. This one is the easiest to use and lightest weight of all of them. well worth the price to be able to carry it easily, extend it fully, and not have the weight overwhelming.


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