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Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow
Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow
by Jennifer Eremeeva
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.95
41 used & new from $4.00

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything you wanted to know about Dachas and glassed-in balconies, February 27, 2014
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Jennifer Eremeeva is quite the writer. I don't think that I ever went more than a paragraph or two without without at least cracking a smile. She has a wit that is always present but variable enough that it doesn't get tedious. She often writes beautifully too. On more than one occasion, I found myself reading a sentence over simply because it was phrased so well.

All of which is good because the stories that she tells are somewhat uneven, and their appeal depends, I suspect, on your familiarity with post-Soviet Russia. Don't get me wrong, many of the tales are universally interesting and offer fascinating glimpses into Russian culture. However, some of them struck me as inside baseball for the expat set. The chapter on what you should know about Russian women based on their first names might be uproarious for people who have encountered many Irinas, Elenas, Olgas, Natashas, Svetlanas, Marinas and Valentinas in their natural environment, but for me a three page discourse on each one was too much.

If you are an expat in Russia or spent any time as one, this is probably a five star book. For the rest of us, it's a solid four star.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 20, 2014 9:02 AM PDT

Romance Is My Day Job: A Memoir of Finding Love at Last
Romance Is My Day Job: A Memoir of Finding Love at Last
by Patience Bloom
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.17
73 used & new from $0.01

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Powerful, February 7, 2014
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From high school to middle age, Patience Bloom recounts the history of many of her relationships--romantic, professional and familial. Throughout the book she compares and contrasts the daily ups and downs of her life to those of the heroines of the romance novels she edits as part of her job at Harlequin books. As a result, there is plenty of absurdity, but it is of the kind where Patience invites us to laugh with her. There are also a few devastating setbacks that are confronted with brutal honesty. The author has an authentic voice, a keen awareness of self and a willingness to share some really painful experiences with her readers. On one level this is a breezy read with a lot of humorous incidents and more than one laugh out loud moment. On another level though, this is a fascinating story about how relationships influenced an individual over a lifetime and led to no small amount of personal growth. That is the reason why, for me, this is more than just a good book to read during a day at the beach.

InstallerParts Flat TV Corner Mount 37"~63" Black -- For LCD LED Plasma TV Flat Panel Displays -- Articulating Dual Arm Full Mount Wall Bracket
InstallerParts Flat TV Corner Mount 37"~63" Black -- For LCD LED Plasma TV Flat Panel Displays -- Articulating Dual Arm Full Mount Wall Bracket
Offered by InstallerParts
Price: $63.99
6 used & new from $58.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't work for my 46" TV, January 31, 2014
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This mount is described as "supplied with mounting hardware and instructions for both wood stud & concrete/brick installations."

First of all, you should know that it doesn't come with instructions. A pictogram illustrating how to put an anchor into a concrete wall doesn't qualify in my book. Any advice as to the ideal distance to mount from the corner to best fit TVs of the most common widths assuming standard placement of studs? No, forget that. Figure it out yourself. Also, it doesn't have hardware that is suitable for drywall. IT has screws and anchors for solid walls. Unless you are only going to attach the two screws that can go into a stud on each side (which I wouldn't recommend), you will need to find some drywall anchors to attach the rest of the bracket to the wall. Finally, if your studs aren't in the ideal location, you are out of luck. Because the mounting plates aren't very wide, I wasn't able to install this mount in such a way that my 46" TV would not have stuck way out into the room. The design of the mount really works better for concrete walls rather than stud/drywall. Unlike many flat wall mounts, Installation is definitely a two person job because the two mounting plates make the whole thing rather unwieldy.

Assuming you can get it on the wall in a location that works for you, this mount should work well. The build quality is very good and the brackets that attach to the back of the TV have enough spacers and bolts that they could be made to work with most TVs. If actual installation instructions had been provided and the product description had been more accurate, I might have rated this mount higher even though it didn't work for me. I would still be reluctant to recommend it to anyone looking for a solution for stud/drywall though.

No Title Available

3.0 out of 5 stars Actually 11.5" x 20", June 6, 2012
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This print is of decent quality, but the dimensions are actually 11.5" x 20" so it is hard to find a frame.

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
by Alexander Osterwalder
Edition: Paperback
Price: $21.22
281 used & new from $10.95

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gives you the canvas but doesn't teach you to paint like da Vinci, April 24, 2011
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This book is getting buzz in the startup community these days. I read through it a week or so ago, and it is a useful addition to the entrepreneur's library.

The book has five major sections. In the first, the authors introduce their notion of a business model canvas broken down into nine constituent parts. Some of these parts are obvious things that anyone trying to think about a business model would examine such as customer segments, value proposition, channels, customer relationships and revenue streams. The canvas adds in the other pieces (key resources, key activities, key partnerships and cost structure) and adds an organizational overlay that lends itself to analysis. The second major section takes a look at five different business models and fits them into the canvas. The third section, called "Design," describes various techniques such as visual thinking, ideation and prototyping, "that can help you design better and more innovative business models." The Strategy section then takes the earlier concepts and combines them with other strategic approaches such as SWOT analysis and Blue Ocean strategies in order to determine where opportunities for improving models may lie. In the final major section, "Process," the authors lay out a roadmap for running a business model design initiative.

Note that much of the book relies heavily on concepts and work originated by others. This is actually a great strength since it pulls together a lot of different theories and presents them in an easily digested form. The writing is accessible, and it may be that many of the concepts are more easily absorbed here than in the original source materials (all of which are conveniently referenced in case you want to explore further).

The notion of the canvas is new, and it does have an organizational elegance about it that is appealing. One of the points in the first section is that the first five constituent parts of a business model are all about value, whereas the final four are all about efficiency. This makes it easy to see why it made sense for Amazon to unbundle its businesses into an e-commerce line and an IT infrastructure management line.

Aside from a few styling miscues (tiny white print on a black background on some of the pages, really), the major complaint about the book from me -- and many others -- is that it lacks depth. Most of the case studies are short and the answers are dished up without consideration of the iterations that must have been required to get there. This book is trying to present a generalized way of looking at business models -- and I would say that it succeeds very well at that task -- but nothing beats seeing the concepts applied in real time rather than in retrospect. For people that are interested in seeing the canvas in action, I highly recommend reading about the Lean Launchpad project at Stanford on Steve Blank's blog. Think about it as an advanced class after you read the book in the introductory class.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 25, 2011 4:11 PM PDT

Diabetes Rising: How a Rare Disease Became a Modern Pandemic, and What to Do About It
Diabetes Rising: How a Rare Disease Became a Modern Pandemic, and What to Do About It
by Dan Hurley
Edition: Hardcover
52 used & new from $0.01

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Send it to your Senators and Representative, January 18, 2010
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Medical journalist Dan Hurley has written an engaging and important book. He divides his book into a prologue, three major sections, and a conclusion. In the prologue, he introduces us to the prosperous town of Weston MA which illustrates two things about diabetes in the United States today: it is increasingly common and we are not doing enough to track it. He then broadens the perspective so that the reader can understand that we are really dealing with a global pandemic. Then, Part One of the book gives an accounting of the history of diabetes, from ancient times when it was rare, to the current day when the rates of both Types 1 and 2 have exploded. He concludes this section with a detailed discussion of the state of Type 2 today and a visit to Logan County WV, the county with the highest incidence of diabetes in the United States, where 14.8% of everyone over the age of 20 has been diagnosed with the disease. In Part Two of the book, the author outlines the five theories as to the likely causes of diabetes that he finds most compelling. In Part Three, he examines four different approaches that may ultimately lead to significantly better management, to a cure, or to significant rates of prevention. He wraps up with a brief conclusion. Please note that while you will learn things about what might be smart to do (take 2,000 IU of Vitamin D3 each day, for instance), this is not a guide on how to manage diabetes on a daily basis. If you are looking for a book on how to calculate basal rates and boluses or cook low-carb dishes, this is not it.

Much of the information in this book will be at least somewhat familiar to those who follow the disease. Very few people, however, will be familiar with all of it. For those who don't deal with diabetes on a daily basis, this book is a great way to gain some insight. Many of the quotes and experiences bear vivid witness to what diabetics have to endure, from the description of diabetes as "the baby that never stops crying" to the hypoglycemic episode described by the author where his nine year old daughter had to spoon Marshmallow Fluff down his throat. One diabetic woman who attended and worked at the Clara Barton diabetes camp for girls states that she believes "that there is something about being a teenage girl and having diabetes that just makes life infinitely more difficult. Most of the girls I know who've had diabetes through puberty have really struggled with some form of depression, anxiety, even self-mutilation or diabulimia." (Note: diabulimia is the practice of not taking as much insulin as needed. This leads to weight loss - hence the bulimia reference - but it also leads to high levels of glucose in the blood that can cause death in the short term or significant complications in the long term.)

Mr. Hurley's discussion of the potential causes of and solutions to the diabetes epidemic in Parts Two and Three are interesting and thought-provoking. The diabetes world is one that is rife with hype, but at no time did I feel like the author was overstating the evidence or drawing conclusions too broadly. In fact, he takes pains to present the evidence on both sides of each issue. My one disappointment with the book was the conclusion. I was expecting a major call to action with detailed recommendations. Instead, his wrap up was just over two pages long. In it, he calls for mandatory reporting of new cases so that they may be better tracked and an end to the bureaucratic dithering by the FDA and medical device companies that has delayed the introduction of better technology to manage blood glucose levels (namely the "artificial pancreas" that can be built by integrating existing technology). While he doesn't come right out and say it, he clearly feels that the ADA has failed to be an effective advocate for diabetics and so calls for a new advocacy group. The author asks why none of America's 23 million people with diabetes are demanding a federal investigation into the rising number of cases and agitating for a cure. The answer is probably that not many people know where even to start. After doing all of the work of researching and writing his excellent book, Mr. Hurley probably has as good an idea as anyone about what is needed, but it would take more than two pages to describe it.

The desire for a more fully fleshed out action plan aside, this is a great book and well worth reading. The implications of the diabetes epidemic are profound. Even if you and your loved ones manage to avoid developing it, you will feel its effects indirectly. The United States and most other major countries in the world will find more and more public policy decisions driven by the need to treat millions of people suffering from this chronic disease at great expense. The cost components to the health insurance debate currently taking place in the United States are early indicators of this unavoidable fact. If you don't know much about diabetes, you don't know much about where a big chunk of the economy is heading. I haven't come across a better way to get up to speed on diabetes, let alone to get smart quickly, than by reading this book.

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