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Making a Submarine Officer - A story of the USS San Francisco (SSN 711)
Making a Submarine Officer - A story of the USS San Francisco (SSN 711)
Price: $4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for Junior Officers and Young Managers, September 20, 2014
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What an excellent read! I am generally not a big fan of memoirs, but this one would well-written and there are a lot of great leadership lessons if you read closely. Alex provides a candid description of life as a junior officer onboard a submarine and trying to survive in a seriously dysfunctional organization that seems to penalize the little guy at every turn. There are great tips here for any young military officer or even young managers starting out at a big company. I also served as a junior officer onboard a sub around the same time frame and this is about as accurate account as you can get without upsetting the Pentagon censors. Great job, Alex!


Ebook Formatting: KF8, Mobi & EPUB
Ebook Formatting: KF8, Mobi & EPUB
Price: $5.97

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Handy Resource, July 12, 2013
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As Mr. Harrison advertises, this book is not some slipshod guide to push a word .docx file or InDesign file through some magical conversion program. This is a no-frills technical reference for folks who are serious about learning the nuts and bolts of eBook development: HTML, CSS, and XML that conforms to the EPUB2 spec. Mr. Harrison has serious geek creds, and it is reassuring to know that someone like him is interested in making eBooks more functional for all devices on the market in a sea of ugly, broken eBooks. If only the major eBook vendors would actually provide this type of technical details about their platforms. 5 stars!


In the Shadow of Greatness: Voices of Leadership, Sacrifice, and Service of the Naval Academy Class of 2002
In the Shadow of Greatness: Voices of Leadership, Sacrifice, and Service of the Naval Academy Class of 2002
Price: $16.17

5.0 out of 5 stars The Reality of Having Served, March 16, 2013
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In the Shadow of Greatness is an excellent collection of first-hand narratives about their time as junior officers in the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. Society's portrayal of modern veterans of the War on Terror seems to fall into two categories: soporific hero worship and victimization. Neither of these two stereotypes are accurate in telling the civilian public what it was really like.

There are a wide variety of perspectives from men and women in all the major warfare communities in this book: the dull reality of war punctuated by moments of sheer terror, the frustration that serving as a Marine Corps or Naval officer is not as "great" as the recruiting videos made it out to be, and the stinging feeling of self-doubt. While it is difficult as a junior officer to recognize your sacrifice and contributions as you are getting yelled at by your executive officer on day 112 of an underway, the reflection provided in these stories tells a great and compelling series of tales in hindsight.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in becoming a military officer or Americans who are interested in learning more about what a day in the life of the military is like. While I was an Officer Candidate School guy, I too received a commission as a Naval Officer in 2002 and was very proud to have served with this men and women and done my part. 5 stars!


Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $4.99

28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Great Conversation Starter, but Not a Great Book, March 16, 2013
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I purchased Ms. Sandberg's highly anticipated Lean In because I have a young daughter and have developed an interest in issues affecting women. The book is an interesting conversation starter regarding women seeking to achieve prominent positions in the corporate world and government. However, it falls short in recognizing that over-ambitious and reckless people caused much of the financial calamity over the last five years and is far too optimistic about men and women sharing child-rearing duties. Much of the criticism of the book in the media seems to revolve around her being a man-hater (she is most certainly not) and that the book is only intended for the Ivy League elite. While the value system she espouses may seem a bit alien if you are not a one percenter, writing a book that explains to every woman in the world how to improve every aspect of their professional lives is not a feasible undertaking, so I do not wish to fault her for having a limited target audience. If you are a young professional woman that is well-educated and looking to go far, this book will be of interest of you. Lean In could also serve as good policies and practices for high-level managers to implement to facilitate mothers in the work place, promotion of women, and ensuring adequate work-life balance.

The beginning of the book is very slow and involves Ms. Sandberg informing her readers of awards she has won, famous people she has met, and the success of her career. These self-serving anecdotes may work at a speaking engagement, but they do not make for good writing. It was incredibly off-putting and it is a mystery why the editors felt the need to include this information. Ms. Sandberg is very famous and well-known for her accomplishments, so this type of information is completely unnecessary. Most readers will already know about her before cracking open Lean In, so there is no need for Ms. Sandberg to take up valuable print space talking about what a success she is. She should have gone straight the message of the book in Chapter 1.

Ms. Sandberg raises some interesting points on work-life balance and the need for husband and wife to share child-bearing and household duties. Although, I disagree with her strongly that a man can be as good as a woman at raising a child (especially a baby), she does have some good points that men in the modern world need to take up more of the daily tasks, especially as there are more and more working mothers. The discussion of flexible work hours for families is also important and how some of the stigmas of "not being at the office" need to be removed. She seems to be speaking to higher-level executives in the hopes that they will adjust their company's policy--hopefully Ms. Sandberg's ideas will be accepted.

Some have said that she overly criticizes men, but I feel she did not go far enough. Judging by the content of Lean In, you would think everything is swell at Silicon Valley and women in the tech industry are just as welcome as men, if only the women would be more ambitious and assertive. However, reality tells a different story. The recent high-profile and ongoing sexual harassment suit at Kleiner Perkins, a well-known venture capital firm that has invested millions and millions of dollars in both Google and Facebook (Ms. Sandberg's former and current employer) was, unfortunately, ignored in the book. Ms. Sandberg had the opportunity to take some well-deserved swipes at the culture in Silicon Valley, but the book reads like it was sanitized by the Google and Facebook PR departments. It's should be a book, not a corporate training manual.

On the message of the book itself, Ms. Sandberg advises young women to put aside their guilt and nagging self-consciousness and be more assertive and risk-taking like the men. This approach may have helped Ms. Sandberg rise to the top, but this message could be dangerously misconstrued. Having guilt and humility implies a certain level of accountability for decision-making and a respect for how your decisions affect others, which is most definitely a virtue and not a flaw. Doing whatever it takes to get the best grade in the class and getting to the top of the corporate ladder (or Jungle Gym as Ms. Sandberg calls it) has resulted in an overwhelming ethical failure by the American elite. Chris Hayes book The Twilight of the Elites: America after Meritocracy discusses the concept in depth. So for women who are looking to get to those top positions, please remember that your decisions can affect the lives and morale of many. Please don't step on too many people's face to get what you want.

It is admirable that someone as powerful as Ms. Sandberg wants to bring about social reform for women in the workplace. I wish her the best of luck in this serious endeavor.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2013 8:40 AM PDT


Turn the Ship Around!: How to Create Leadership at Every Level
Turn the Ship Around!: How to Create Leadership at Every Level

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great No-Frills Book on Leadership, November 4, 2012
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Many books on leadership are, in a word, dull. They are either personality-driven mumbo jumbo with a lot of buzz words or boring Mckinsey-type reports with a mounds of useless statistics that don't apply to your situation. I finished Mr. Marquet's book in just under a week and it was a page-turner along with providing some very useful and insightful information. He provides real-world examples that play out in a concise and interesting narrative that makes you think about how to become a better leader in your business, professional field, or career. Since most people reading the book are probably not submarine skippers, there are some very helpful rhetorical questions at the end of each chapter on how to apply Mr. Marquet's best practices to your own situation. The low price for the Kindle edition was nice as well.

Mr. Marquet describes the leadership style he utilized to turn the USS Santa Fe from the joke on the water front to a great boat. In full disclosure, I was a submarine junior officer in Pearl Harbor when Mr. Marquet was the Commodore. Submarine culture is not conducive to innovation or being a risk taker. This is due to the obscene amount of oversight and micromanagement from external organizations as well as senior officers and chiefs being severely punished for the slightest mistake. It doesn't help that the operational requirements are so hectic that you usually just think about getting through the day rather than having some long-term strategy. Mr. Marquet took a huge risk in implementing his leadership style, and the proof is in the improvement of the boat's tactical capabilities, operational readiness, and most importantly morale of the crew (not an easy task as submarines are not the greatest working environments). The advice of stepping back and completely reorienting your organization's culture is important for senior-level leadership. Furthermore, it is comforting that Mr. Marquet advocates a culture of respect toward subordinates and listening to constructive criticism at a time when so many managers are interested in adopting the belittling and humiliating leadership traits of the late Steve Jobs.

I recommend Mr. Marquet's book to any executive-level or mid-level manager who would like to think seriously about the steps they need to employ to improve their organization by working cooperatively with their people and empowering them. 5 Stars!


I'll Put 3 Chips On God - just in case there is one
I'll Put 3 Chips On God - just in case there is one
Price: $0.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Noble Attempt at Tackling a Very Difficult Subject, October 30, 2012
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Is there an afterlife? What are we doing here? Is our existence just a coincidence or is there something more? These types of questions have been asked by civilization since we began possessing the capacity for abstract thought, and yet they are still unanswered and vague. Ms. Gupta attempts to delve into this complex arena (perhaps the most complex) in a fun and enjoyable manner. She freely borrows from Eastern and Western schools of thought on religion, while simultaneously using science to help explain these great mysteries. Ms. Gupta even goes into a psychoanalytic approach and how it ties with people around us and makes our ethical framework. Her insight is unique and objective, and the book provides a very 21st century and rational approach to spirituality and religion.

My only criticism is that logic utilized to reach a conclusion seems a bit scattered at times. This is probably due to my engineering/practical mind that prohibits me from thinking too abstractly about spirituality and philosophy. If you are interested in some of mankind's most challenging subject matter and would like an enjoyable read, I'll Put My 3 Chips on God is just the book for you.


Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours
Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $12.74

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Helpful Book with Great Advice for Bosses, October 25, 2012
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With an increasingly interconnected world, we have more access to knowledge and each other than ever before. This has been tremendous in some ways, but it has also had some unintended consequences. It has become more difficult for working professionals to separate their work and home life, and this has caused some damage to the social fabric. Just because you can reach your employees at 10 p.m. on a Saturday does not mean you should be doing so. In Extreme Productivity, Pozen provides excellent practical guidance on how to save time getting tasks accomplished in the workplace during work hours so that professionals can have a healthy work/life balance.

The tips on saving time in meetings, emails, and travel are extremely beneficial for young professionals. The chapter on writing is great, because professional writing has become extremely sloppy with the advent of smartphones. Although, I think the great purpose of this book is the advice to managers on how not to waste your employees time and damage their morale. Pozen goes into extensive detail on the bad habits that certain types of bosses have, even if they are doing so subconsciously. Pozen's book is not bogged down in dull statistics or research. It is written by a man with a life's worth of experience who is seeking to impart some wisdom on younger managers.

I purchased this book because I was having trouble managing time as the director of a small business. The reason I didn't give the book a full 5-star review was because I thought there just wasn't enough for the small businessman, which I was hoping for. This is understandable, because I don't believe Mr. Pozen has operated a small business based on his bio. Pozen talks extensively about dealing with the bureaucracy found in large organizations, which is excellent but that isn't really a factor with small business. Dealing with client expectations and cash flow problems are the huge issues. Pozen advocates spending less time with certain clients, but lack of customer service with anyone can destroy a small business. He also talks about flying business class in order to get a good night's sleep during travel, but, again, this would not be practical for small businesses. Although the book is more designed for people working in the corporate world, it still has lots of practical tips and tricks no matter where you are working.

If you are a manager in any type of large organization, stop wasting your team's time and improve their morale by following Pozen's tips. Extreme Productivity is an enjoyable read that is very helpful to any manager's professional development.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 28, 2013 5:59 PM PST


Out of Sync
Out of Sync
Price: $3.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun and Interesting Narrative, October 12, 2012
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This review is from: Out of Sync (Kindle Edition)
Writing a memoir is never an easy task as an author, particularly since they are such a self-deprecating bunch. However, Belinda successfully provides an honest and compelling story about coming to America. She describes life in South Africa, which is a place you rarely hear about unless the news is bad. The effect of 9/11 through a foreigner's eyes provides a unique perspective as well. She is very descriptive, but never self-righteous--a refreshingly honest look at the challenges of uprooting your entire existence. My only criticism is the discussion of New Age techniques and culture. This may be a selling point for some readers, but it is simply not my thing. The book is incredibly well edited and laid out, and I wish the major publishers would take note from Belinda's book on how to properly implement quality control on production.

Belinda's book shows that we all have an interesting yarn to spin.


Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010
Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $10.14

1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Topic Bogged Down in Very Boring Statistics, July 16, 2012
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The state of the American meritocracy and the resulting chasm between the haves and have-nots has been a very interesting topic debate post-2008 financial crash amongst pundits and talking heads. Twilight of the Elites by Hayes was an excellent book examining the same issue. That is why I was eager to read Murray's opinion on the subject. Unfortunately, this book has so much data and graphs that it is very challenging to get through. It even goes into great detail about how the data was compiled so that it will stand up to scrutiny from other academics. While I don't doubt that the Murray is intelligent and his methods sound, this book does not belong in the Amazon Kindle store, but rather some sort of academic publication.


The Rising Horde, Volume Two (Sequel to "The Gathering Dead")
The Rising Horde, Volume Two (Sequel to "The Gathering Dead")
Price: $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars How the US Military Responds to Zombie Apocalypse, July 16, 2012
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Knight continues to give audiences what they want with the sequel to Gathering Dead. While the original Gathering Dead novel focused on a small group of Special Forces operators in the streets of NYC, the Rising Horde shows what a massive joint response by the US military would look like if zombies swarmed into Texas. As a former junior officer in the service, I can say without doubt that the book is incredibly well-researched, even getting some of the lesser-known military jargon accurate. Unlike other zombie books which focus on a small group of survivors in a desolate wasteland, Knight's book focuses on the tactical and strategic aspects of zombie apocalypse.

This should be read by our Pentagon brass! But seriously, just go out and buy Knight's book, because it's a highly enjoyable read. I finished both Volume One and Two over the weekend.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 16, 2012 4:39 AM PDT


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