Profile for J. K. Roberts > Reviews


J. K. Roberts' Profile

Customer Reviews: 23
Top Reviewer Ranking: 31,067,257
Helpful Votes: 102

Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
J. K. Roberts RSS Feed (Phoenix)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3
Banksy.: You Are an Acceptable Level of Threat
Banksy.: You Are an Acceptable Level of Threat
by Banksy
Edition: Hardcover
36 used & new from $30.73

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this work even more, October 2, 2014
So I was eating at a trendy restaurant at CityScape in downtown Phoenix when a drop of olive oil stained my t-shirt. While my plans that evening required me to drive right past my house, I opted to purchase a new shirt at the Urban Outfitters in the complex. As I went to pay for the Bangladeshi sweat shop goods, I noted a black book with the word “Banksy” in bold, white letters. I knew right away that my coffee table would be admired by my fellow pseudo-intellectuals.

While I’ve funded Banksy’s cause through book purchases in the past, I enjoyed this work even more. Previous works contained large pictures. To many people in my humble state of Arizona, these pictures were confusing. This one included words, which I can only assume were placed there to help those poor, confused souls understand the context of the matter. Unfortunately, those who were previously confused also trended towards illiteracy.

However, if you are one of the literate and have some sense of self awareness, this book would really look good on your coffee table. I’m sure it would serve as a call to arms of sorts, but the authors are well aware of their audience’s complacency towards doing… stuff. And this is exactly the kind of arms length, want-to-be activist I am. Truly a perfect book.

The GunBox Biometric Hand Gun Safe
The GunBox Biometric Hand Gun Safe
Price: $325.94
6 used & new from $228.16

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great product, September 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Works great, much safer than our previous safe. Thoughtful design.

Final Fantasy XIV: A REALM REBORN - PlayStation 4
Final Fantasy XIV: A REALM REBORN - PlayStation 4
Price: Click here to see our price
73 used & new from $7.25

3 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Paying for fetch quests., August 20, 2014
Would not have purchased if I knew there was a subscription cost. Feels like a waste of $40, especially since I bought the downloadable version and cannot trade it in. The game was almost getting interesting, but the first month was nothing but fetch quests and kill X amount of this kind of creature. Not worth the cost.

Toro (17") 25.4cc 2-Cycle Curved Shaft Line Trimmer - 51954
Toro (17") 25.4cc 2-Cycle Curved Shaft Line Trimmer - 51954

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Started leaking gas all over motor after two weeks, doesn't run after four months, November 24, 2011
This has to be one of the worst purchases I've made. After using it just twice, gas started to pour all over the motor and the lawn. At first, I thought that they had designed a fuel overflow on the gas tank, which seemed very stupid to me. I was wrong of course. The fuel line coming from the primer bulb had come apart somehow. I realized this several months into owning it, and by that time, the motor refused to start at all. I called Toro customer service hoping they could send me out a quick part, but no, it has to go in to an authorized repair shop. The customer service rep at Toro told me I could bring the trimmer in for repair in either Las Vegas, NV, Prescott, AZ, or Flagstaff, AZ. I live in Phoenix, AZ. So it was only a two to ten hour drive for me at this point. The rep looked for a local place and eventually found one. I called that place and they told me that the gas in Arizona was bad and had probably caused the fuel line to break. That wasn't under warranty, of course. He somehow knew this without even looking at the trimmer. I called Toro back and spoke to another rep. I relayed the story, and she once again took my info to help me find a repair center. Again, she told me to go to Las Vegas.

Eventually, they sent me a list of trimmers so that I could figure it out for myself. I'm never buying Toro again.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 18, 2012 8:54 AM PDT

Erich Von Manstein: Hitler's Master Strategist
Erich Von Manstein: Hitler's Master Strategist
by Benoit Lemay
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $31.62
67 used & new from $3.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Zeitgeist, December 17, 2010
"The German generals of this war were the best-finished product of their profession - anywhere. They could have been better if their outlook had been wider and their understanding deeper. But if they had become philosophers they would have ceased to be soldiers." - Liddell Hart.

General Erich Von Manstein was a typical man working within the zeitgeist of his time and culture. The world he lived is utterly alien to us, almost 80 years after the era started. However, parallels can be made to any culture across history. This book is primarily a case study in management, first and foremost. Luckily for us all, it's a study in bad management. Was it not for Hitler poor leadership, general's like Von Manstein would have lead the Germans to victory.

In a way, I can identify with Von Manstein in regards to dealing with poor leadership. Our current American culture has evolved into something similar, I fear. Von Manstein was an excellent tactician, highly intelligent, and utterly blind to matters beyond his ambition, yet the war crimes her permitted were allowed because he was simply following the current norms of the time. This is similar to the same way many current managers blindly follow the rules of their own culture. There is never a concern for anything beyond advancement. I believe there is a lesson her to be learned.

As for Von Manstein, part of this was in response to the norms of his own culture. One of the more interesting aspects of this work is how it ties in centuries of cultural norms and heritage that created the German state. Political doctrines of the past still dominated the culture, and racial stereotypes were created to confer a since of superiority by those who existence was based on those beliefs.

The German culture at that time was of an extreme conservative nature. While it was most certainly a socialist system, it has almost no relation to modern European socialist government that are based upon a more liberal notion. The lack of social balance in Germany at the time really is the cause of both the empires' rise and eventual fall. During stressful times, it's far easier for people to return to comforting norms, and that is exactly what happened after the First World War and during the following depression. And this is where the book provides yet another valuable lesson.

During difficult times, many find it easy to fall into the same traps Germany fell into. The war on the Eastern Front was driven by a since of racial superiority. The Slav people were considered less than human, and the Bolshevik way of thinking alien and, therefore, evil. To put that into perspective, modern day America is experiencing a similar backlash towards Latinos, Liberals, Muslims, etc. Examining this book shows how this path can lead to ruin, as the Wehrmacht eventually found out. The military believed that their racial superiority would lead to swift victory, and the treatment of prisoners was inhumane following capture. These German beliefs lead them to severely understate the Soviet threat, and the following occupation of East Germany was, unfortunately, deserved.

However, this is not a denunciation of conservative ideology. Indeed, it was a conservative leaning group of the military lead the resistance against Hitler. What really needs to be learned is how a balance between ideologies must be struck, lest the ideals of one be pulled to far towards the fringe. Ecologies have always been about balance, and a human civilization is no different. Different ideologies developed biologically over the existence of human history because they each offer advantages for the culture and species as a whole. The opening quote captures the essence of this concept, I believe. The German military and culture had lost balance. As excellent of a fighting force as the Wehrmacht was, it was doomed to failure because it lacked key perspectives. As for Von Manstein, the book best described his as being "The most uncomfortable general of the devil." Somewhere in him, he knew this to be true, though his upbringing would never allow him to develop this self insight.

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
by Michael Lewis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.09
653 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The problem is the culture, April 18, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Big Short is one of the best works regarding the recent market crash that I have read. Having worked in the institutional finance area for several years now, I was able to witness firsthand many of the issues that are uncovered in this book. You see, people only know as much as they are paid to know. Those who ask the hard questions are always labeled trouble makers. Large corporations cannot function if there is too much dissent among the rank. This is a necessary evil considering their business models. The largest financial institutions return obscene and undue rewards on those who are best suited to work within their business models. As is often the case, management in these large financial was often unaware what the layer beneath them truly worked on. The author of The Big Short goes into this, of course... but he focuses less on the failures of management, and more on a small group of people who simply asked "Why?"

As the author puts it, the people who ask why are the pessimists. They stood in direct competition with the optimist. The optimists were the ones who moved up the ranks quickly. They always had good things to pass on to their superiors. That was rewarded with more short term gains, which only made the lot even more optimistic. Of course, it didn't matter if reality stood in the way of what they were saying. Unfortunately... reality is always reality.

Vi veri universum vivus vici.... By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe. And that is exactly what the protagonists of the book have done. A handful of people used the truth to sift through the web of lies Wall Street had created. Starting in the 1970's, a new gaming system had been created. These gentlemen saw the fraud and abuse. At first, a few had spoken out about the system... only to find that there are no rewards for this. Considering that the optimists were the ones making obscene profit from the abuse, there was no reason to listen to the warnings.

Follow this logic. You are smart enough to understand how and why a CDO works. You understand the concept of a CDS. And you know that the SEC doesn't regulate the bond market in the same way they do in the equity market. With that in mind, it would be a reasonable assumption to realize that you are in an extreme minority. Smart enough to understand the system and smart enough to know how to profit from the system. Being the minority, you would have no chance of stopping or changing the system. You are, however, in the perfect position to punish those responsible.

And that is the true beauty of this work. The good guys couldn't stop the collapse, but they exacted retribution. By quietly maneuvering themselves into position, they literally brought down Wall Street. Many of the companies involved are now defunct. While many lost their jobs, most left with more money than any of us will see in our lives.

This work should be a must read for anyone looking towards financial reform. The problem people focus on is often rules and regulation. It almost never covers culture. People continually fail upwards. A worker who has no clue what he is doing can often make it based on a cheery disposition alone. I see this first hand every day at my own place of business. Highly unqualified people with little to no understanding of the process or products are catapulted to the top. Obvious problems are ignored rather than solved. Issues are actually covered up using more effort than it would have taken to do correctly the first time around. Thousands of dollars are lost daily due to inefficiencies. Sadly, the company I work for is perhaps one of the best run with the highest of ethical standards. The others can only be worse. This book delves into how rotten the whole system has become.

The reason is simple. The banks are playing with someone else's money. These traders are making $25 million a year, why would they care that they are taking advantage of the average person in order to make a dollar. As long as there is that much incentive to game the system, everyone will lose in the long run.

The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power
The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power
by Jeff Sharlet
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.12
147 used & new from $0.01

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Family, February 1, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Romans 13:1. "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God." The Family, and its Fundamentalist base, put this concept above all others. They are no different than any previous incarnation of Church. Al-Shaitan, the Arabic basis for the word Satan, translates in English to become "The Adversary". The Adversary is any opposing power structure that competes for the authority, period. It has never mattered if the opposing power is religious, political, corporate, or even one person... that power structure must be destroyed. The Family is the top tier of the Fundamentalist movement to create and control a theocratic American Empire. This creation has been the slow, methodic work of the power elite for generations.

The Family believes that God has chosen the wealthy as favored, and that Jesus has a special message reserved for the powerful alone. Because of the success of the wealthy elite, they are the only ones who can be entrusted to run the world for God. Because of this divine edict, the elite are to be followed without question. This is the social order that the Fundamentalist and Evangelical faiths are striving to create. If you are not a servant, you are a rebel to be crushed. The faith of the Family believes that disobedience causes poverty, and even goes as far as to believe that the poor spiritually unfit to vote.

To achieve the aims of building their empire, the Family utilizes its power political and corporate contacts to entrench themselves in the highest levels of society. The Family has crafted a Fundamentalist organization based on previous efforts deemed as successful. The Nazi party's organization is greatly heralded. Stalin is envied for his ability to grip power so securely. Indeed, the Family structures itself into `cells', in an effort to capture the essence of the Communist spread across the world. The Family sees no harm in emulating the tactics of dictators. After all, it was God's design will that placed these men in power. This is also the reasoning on why the Family has chosen to engage with the likes of mass murders such as Pinochet, Suharto, and countless other despots. An example of this flawed logic; Abraham Vereide, founder of the Family, befriended the Lutheran pastor named Gustav Gedat. Gedat was a Nazi who was prosecuted by Germany in WWII for not believing that the Aryans were a master race. Gedat's argument was simple, he did not believe in a master race... just in a master class chosen by God to rule the rest of the world. This is the ideology the Family follows.

This is the Family's dream for the world. Complete dominance by the power elite. Using propaganda and vast sums of unending corporate money, the Family has crafted a Fundamentalist and Evangelical base of some size. The followers are brainwashed in an ideology that reinforces submission and obedience to the few. This base believes that the divine give righteousness to their cause, and will rise against all opposition. The Fundamentalist sect are managed by the power elite in a manner that keeps them ignorant of the realities of the world, through homeschooling and texts that edit out all but the truth the Family chooses. According to the Family, this is the natural order for the world. This is a unique form of fascism; for fascism is something the family admires as well. The realities of the world are of no concern to the power elite, because they will be the ones who suffer least in the world they are attempting to create. This is not a conspiracy; this is a glimpse of the future. And sadly, it is a glimpse of our past.

Whoever is in power will write tomorrow's history. This is a fact we must accept. Seeing the world without illusion is the only way one can hope to overcome tyrannies like this. Sadly, those who have written the history of these people have sanitized the facts, as they always must. This leads the author to jump between facts, which lost me at times. Within three pages, one could have bounced from many a topic. I assumed this was due to the lack of research material, but the result is one having to wonder what skew was placed on the topic. This will give ammunition to those who disagree, either by design or indoctrination. This is the primary weakness of this work. These people and their followers will assail any who oppose, and they have the virtue of writing history going for them.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 27, 2010 2:15 AM PST


11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hardware is complete junk, company would not honor warranty, October 13, 2009
This review is from: BARSKA GREEN TAC LASER (Misc.)
The product took over a month to finally arrive. The mounting for this product contains cheap, soft metal bolts. Upon installing for the first time, the allen head rounded. In order to remove, it needed to be drilled out. I contacted Barska about a warranty replacement. They would not honor their one year warranty, and wanted $10 for replacement parts. The bolts themselves could have only cost pennies to replace, and the low weight would have cost next to nothing to ship. Barska refused to budge on the product. After this experience, I will no longer purchase their products. I have purchased other items of theirs, and noted a similar cheapness to their parts. Be warned, these are not quality pieces.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 20, 2009 3:05 PM PDT

U.S. Versus Them: How a Half-Century of Conservatism Has Undermined America's Security
U.S. Versus Them: How a Half-Century of Conservatism Has Undermined America's Security
by J. Peter Scoblic
Edition: Hardcover
138 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Positive understanding of the Conservative mindset, August 6, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
First off, start by reading the 1 star reviews. No, seriously... I will wait for you.

Now, after reading them, you'll have a clue what this book is about. The conservative movement, as described by this book, is one where the only choices are black or white, hot or cold, up or down, us vs them. This is the underlying problem with the ideology. There is no in between. And since there is no in between, facts must either fit into the world view, or facts must be discarded when they do not fit. In addition, since the desired outcome is already known, facts may not even be needed. Sure, that may be fine if you are the guy who shopped at Costo, picked up the book, flipped to the middle, read one page, and then decided to post a one star review of the book here. Unfortunately it is not fine if you are in a position on world leadership. Ignorance never is.

The negative reviews from this book are actually a bit startling. They are basically attacks at on opposing view. The book, however, is fairly straight forward, and does little to attack the conservative mindset itself. Quite often, it rationalized the behavior and applied praise for a necessary political voice. I found myself a bit more open and understanding as to the how's and why's of the mindset. I actually read portions to my conservative co-workers, and they agreed with much of the author's points. This is a book that conservatives should read, to be honest. It gives understanding and insight, without the typical drama seen in right wing vs left wing literature.

Unfortunately, one of the points made in the book is that education and understanding are needed to return to rational discourse. After seeing the reviews of others here... I'm again forced to come to the conclusion that conservative people will never find value in education, nor will they ever appreciate those who have taken on the difficult task of understanding.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 20, 2011 7:06 PM PST

How To Shoot Your M16/AR-15 In Training And Combat
How To Shoot Your M16/AR-15 In Training And Combat
by U.S. Army
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.96
45 used & new from $7.55

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, simple to follow, July 31, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Simple to use for the novice. It covers maintence and repairs, practice drills, and preperations for the battlefield.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3