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Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
Price: $12.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the only independent view of this controversial subject, May 4, 2014
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Michael Lewis has written a serious book about a serious subject, High Frequency Trading(HFT). Of concern is how quickly people take sides "the markets are rigged." "the markets are not rigged" without giving credence to the perils outlined in this book.

If HFT accounts for half the trades executed and 95% of the trades cancelled; if broker dealers (BD's) are directing trades to exchanges where their customers are subjected to the "legal front-running" of HFT firms; if customers cannot direct or even know where their trades are executed; if BD's have dark pools and undisclosed profit incentive with specific exchanges; if markets are relying on HFT firms to provide liquidity, then how can the markets be considered fair and transparent? What could possibly go wrong?

If we regard this as a Goliath vrs Goliath story, we are missing the point. This book fairly and honestly describes a system the fleeces the little guy and the big guy alike. How is the little guy's pension invested; how are the funds in the little guy's 401k being fleeced? One hedge fund manager estimated that this legal front-running cost his clients about $60million in a specific year. The May flash crash is just a small example of what could happen if liquidity dries up when it is most needed.

The Collapse of Long Term Capital Funding was, in the opinion of this writer, an early warning for the economic disaster of 2008. The warnings were not heeded, or even now recalled.

Perhaps we will look back on this book as an early warning of what could happen markets and the overall economy when HFT firms have convinced so many people that they are doing a public service by providing liquidity to markets. Only time will tell. In the mean time, I highly recommend this book as the only independent read on this subject.


Lost in Austen
Lost in Austen
DVD ~ Jemima Rooper
Price: $8.49
35 used & new from $4.35

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jane Austen is spinning in her grave... with delight!, August 28, 2010
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This review is from: Lost in Austen (DVD)
What girl has read or seen Pride and Prejudice and not fantasized being Elizabeth Bennett?
A brief synopsis: The current heroine, 21st century Amanda, is enthralled with Pride and Prejudice; through a time portal in her bathroom, she gets to change places with the novel's heroine Elizabeth Bennett. The filmmakers take this in two directions simultaneously....

* First, Amanda creates a butterfly effect in that all the novel characters behave as one might expect but the outcome is quite different than what Jane Austen wrote for her characters.
* Second, Amanda is a fish out of water as she navigates a 200 year old society, while Elizabeth is coming to terms with the 21st century.

There are lots of little fun takeoffs and surprises.... For instance,
* The pond scene from the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth version)is mimicked.
* The Charlotte Lucus character goes off in an entirely different direction.... literally
* Jane's marriage is not what one would expect
* Amanda's virginity becomes an issue
* Mr. Darcy pays a visit to 21st century London (another fish out of water)
* The 18th century characters are properly impressed with Amanda's income of 25,000/year.
* Elizabeth is asked to play at the piano, she apparently played Petula Clark's Downtown

You have to know a bit about Pride and Prejudice to understand all that is going. But if you do, $7.99 spent on this dvd will give you more enjoyment that you can imagine. I highly recommend this.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 18, 2013 12:54 AM PST


Saving the Family Cottage: A Guide to Succession Planning for Your Cottage, Cabin, Camp or Vacation Home
Saving the Family Cottage: A Guide to Succession Planning for Your Cottage, Cabin, Camp or Vacation Home
by Stuart J. Hollander
Edition: Paperback
32 used & new from $7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, August 30, 2009
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I am a professional financial planner with over two decades of experience. It is with this background that I tell you that Saving the Family Cottage is an essential book for three very different readers... professional advisors, do-it-yourselfer's, and those who will hire advisors to develop the succession plan.

For professional advisors... The authors clearly lay out the advantages and disadvantages of the personal, financial and legal strategies used to successfully transition the vacation home. Saving the Family Cottage provides a ready reference to be used when meeting with clients to discuss the issue of the vacation home. Professional advisors know that parents and grandparents often have difficulty visualizing that their children and/or grandchildren
* May feel differently about the vacation home, or disagree with each other.
* May have different demands on resources, and even pressure from creditors
* Are influenced by practical considerations including partners/spouses who don't share their childhood memories and emotional attachment to the place.
Delaying and/or avoiding the issue doesn't help. In fact, inaction may lead to precisely the kind of situations that they wished to avoid.

For the Do-It-Yourselfer... As a professional advisor, I acknowledge that there are many financial matters that people can and should handle themselves, but this kind of succession and estate planning is not one of them... However, if you can't help it... if you just must do everything yourself (you know who you are) then, this book is important. The authors have done much to convey complex family and legal issues in everyday English. I don't think you will find a better source or resource outside of law school.

Finally, for those who will hire and develop the succession plan, this is a terrific primer. It will help you interview, select and hire the advisor. The examples and stories about what can go wrong will urge you to take reasoned appropriate action. It will clarify what and why your advisors are making some recommendations and not others. That alone can save a lot of billable time.

Kudos to NOLO for publishing another useful book about legal issues that require more than a legal document.


My Hope for Peace
My Hope for Peace
by Jīhān Sādāt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.29
122 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hope, July 9, 2009
This review is from: My Hope for Peace (Hardcover)
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I, liked Jahan Sadat's "Hope For Peace". We need hope. I think her book is well worth the time spent reading it. But if it is the only book you read about the Mid East, you will have a very small and isolated view of the conflicts resulted in the murder of her husband, and the events of 9/11.

I have a great deal of respect for Dr.Sadat, a self proclaimed moderate Muslim woman. I think that it is not an accident, however, that she lives, works, and writes in the US, where she is welcome. Could she do the same in Egypt her homeland? At a time when our Secretary of State wears a head scarf, Dr. Sadat's book picture is devoid of the covering. Dr. Sadat is perhaps conveniently light on the radicalization of Islam and what that means for women.

I think it is important to have a less strident voice than those screaming across the air waves and internet. Inside this book you will find a hope for peace, not a plan for it... not even an understanding of how we may find that peace. I recommend Dr, Sadat's book be read along with
* Reading Lolita in Tehran, by Azar Nafisi,
* What Went Wrong, Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response by Bernard Lewis,
* Bin Laden The Man Who Declared War on America by Yossef Bodansky, and finally the brilliant
* Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel P Huntington.

Dr. Sadat's book gives hope; the others provide understanding. I think we need both.


The Jane Austen Book Club
The Jane Austen Book Club
DVD ~ Kathy Baker
Offered by Media Favorites
Price: $5.99
118 used & new from $0.58

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch this movie, read a little Austen, and enjoy!, June 27, 2009
This review is from: The Jane Austen Book Club (DVD)
I have watched this movie several times, and I love it. It's not a great movie or an important movie, just a movie that I can watch over and over again and still love.

The characters form a book club to try to help a friend through a separation/divorce. To make it easy, they decide to read only books that they have already read. Obviously, it has to be the Jane Austen club.

As they read the books the characters respond to the emotional entanglements of their own lives. Jocelyn (single)breeds dogs for a living. One character in frustration tells her that she has set up her life to always be in control... she breeds dogs because she likes to be obeyed. Silvia (married then divorced)relates mostly to Mansfield Park because the heroine never wavers in her steadfast loyalty while her relations and male love interest walk all over her. Allegra (Silvia's lesbian daughter) is betrayed by her writer lover, but not in the physical sense. Allegra's personal stories are taken and secretly rewritten for her partner's own purposes. Bernadette (a serial divorcee with 7 notches on her belt) is just fun. Prudence (married incompatibly)... her husband cancels a planned business trip to Paris; he fails to understand her disappointment. As a French teacher who has never been to Paris, she takes it hard... but it just emphasizes their differences. Grigg (single male) joins the book club in the hopes of getting closer to Jocelyn.

As they read through the 6 Austen masterpieces the women reconsider the paths of their own lives. I love that they saved Persuasion for the last book, as it is about forgiveness, and persuading oneself to try again... as many of the characters do.

This movie is just pure enjoyment. I highly recommend it.


The Reckoning (Welsh Princes Trilogy)
The Reckoning (Welsh Princes Trilogy)
by Sharon Kay Penman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.25
37 used & new from $3.21

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great summer fiction read, June 13, 2009
Although this is the third book of Penman's Welsh Trilogy, it is not necessary to have read the two earlier books to enjoy this one. And I did greatly enjoy it.

Penman is a good writer thoroughly knowledgeable in the period... the late 13th century. If you are trying to place the who and what, this is the period several generations after Becket, Henry II and Eleanor of Aguitaine's son's, Richard the Lionheart, and King John... (John was the prince who Hollywood presents as giving Robin Hood such a hard time). It is King John's grandson Edward I who is the English King in the Reckoning. For those not fully up on 13th century English history, King Edward I may best be known in the USA as Edward Longshanks from "Braveheart."

Unlike Hollywood, Penman is very accurate in her depiction of the times and events. Her genius is that she can take her broad and impeccable knowledge of the period and breathe life into characters that live and think so differently from us; characters though that are just as human and so still have much in common with us.

Edward I, a great warrior and holy crusader, is the son of one of England's weakest king's, Henry III. King Edward I has his vision of an England spanning the entire island... his own manifest destiny. The Welsh are in the way. Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales, has his own vision of a united Wales. Conflict, the Reckoning, is inevitable.

Personally I did not know much the Welsh wars. I had never heard of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. So, for me this was adventurous reading. I could not fully anticipate the outcome of the battles, and the disposition of the characters. It is after completing the novel that I have been checking out the historic facts. Penman is obsessed with being accurate. She blogs on her web site that a minor discussion in the book comparing the crossbow and long bow is inaccurate. You have to love that.

Her dialogue is so well written, that it is easy to forget you are reading about characters who lived 800 years ago. She has to remind you when the dialogue cannot be understood by all the characters, when French speaking nobles cannot understand the Welsh dialects of the local characters.

Just for the joy of reading, I highly recommend this book.


Rethink: A Business Manifesto for Cutting Costs and Boosting Innovation
Rethink: A Business Manifesto for Cutting Costs and Boosting Innovation
by Ric Merrifield
Edition: Hardcover
55 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Book, June 12, 2009
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Merrifield's basic premise is that companies get bogged down in the "how trap" when it is the "whats" that are essential to success. This book is at its best when the author uses real world examples to make his points. Nardelli's ruinous tenure at Home Depot nearly destroyed the company because his focus on cost cutting obliterated the culture that had made the company great. On the other hand at ING, Kuhlmann's "thrift gospel" is the company's "what"... and in that regard essential to its success.

Is this a mixed message? Essentially yes. Each company has its own "whats" and "hows", and they are not always obvious. For instance, to some worker safety may seem like a "how", but at Alcoa, O'Neill made it the companies "what." "Safety is not an option.... It's part of everything we do" A company manager was quoted in a trade magazine.

Merrifield emphasizes that special training is often needed to manage the "whats" across organizational boundaries, and yet most managers sink or swim with only on the job training and experience. Perhaps this is one of the most important points the book makes, and yet it is not re-emphasized with the kind of examples that used to illustrate the "hows" and "whats."

This is a good book. In fact, Rethink is a very good book, but it is just not great. It's worth the price; it's worth the time. When you finish you might want to check out...
The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker's Essential Writings on Management (Collins Business Essentials)


Estate Planning for Blended Families: Providing for Your Spouse & Children in a Second Marriage
Estate Planning for Blended Families: Providing for Your Spouse & Children in a Second Marriage
by Richard E. Barnes
Edition: Paperback
Price: $25.14
62 used & new from $12.14

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, June 6, 2009
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I am a professional financial planner with over two decades of experience. It is with this background that I tell you that I love, love, love this book! It should be on the bookshelf of every financial planner, and read by anyone entering a second marriage where there are children from prior marriages.

How could one book be appropriate for both the novice and the professional?
* For the Novice: The books concepts are presented in English, not "legaleeze"; that will let the you develop some understanding of the blended family estate planning issues; let you think things through and talk things over before contacting a lawyer.
* For the Professional: This book is really well done. If you haven't studied estate planning issues in a professional program such as the CFP (Certified Financial Planner), then this will be a great help to you. If you are already a CFP ,(or other qualified professional) then this will be a quick up-to-date reference for you. Nola indicates that there are "Free legal updates at Nolo.com"

To give you an idea why I am so positive on this book... page 212 has the simplest tip that will save your heirs the frustration and agony of dealing with indifferent professional trustees and could save them thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in fee. It tells you that your trust documents should have a way to replace the trustee. It has been my professional experience that trustees work harder if they can be replaced. Additionally it is possible to negotiate fees if the banks/trust company needs to compete for your business. In all the years that I have been working as a planner, I have only seen 1 law firm produce such documents without a specific request of the client. Why is that? I can only speculate. But, law firms and banks/trust companies often refer clients back and forth. No money changes hands directly, but the fees earned indirectly can be staggering.

Don't expect that a single book is a substitute for a qualified estate lawyer. Wills, trusts and other estate planning tools in the opinion of this writer need to executed by qualified attorney licensed as such in the state in which you are domiciled. While almost any licensed attorney can do a will, whether or not that attorney is "qualified" to handle the sophisticated level of estate planning required by many blended families is another matter. This book should help you discern whether or not you have found the right professional for you.

Also, each state has its own peculiarities when it comes to estate planning. Some are community property states; some not. Some states are incredibly expensive when it comes to probate; in others probate is so easy and inexpensive to go through probate that probate avoidance can easily cost you more than the probate process. No single book can address all the state specific issues.

Estate Planning for Blended Families is not a substitute for highly trained qualified professionals. But it will allow the client to be much more engaged in the process, increasing the odds of a successful outcome. I highly recommend this book.


The Towering World of Jimmy Choo: A Glamorous Story of Power, Profits, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Shoe
The Towering World of Jimmy Choo: A Glamorous Story of Power, Profits, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Shoe
by Lauren Goldstein Crowe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.24
69 used & new from $0.01

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the average reader, May 17, 2009
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I really wanted to love this book, but, I just could not. The writing of this book is a best premature. Will Jimmy Choo succeed as a luxury brand like Burberry, or Hermes? Or will it disappear like so many forgettable luxury wannabes? It is just too early to tell. And that is the problem with the book. There was too little substance. The material presented would have made a great 2 or 3 part article, but a full book? I think not.

There are interesting anecdotes, like when Goldman Sachs put together an investment banking team of women who all show up wearing Jimmy Choo shoes, or when Tamara Mellon, Jimmy Choo's president, put up for auction (a charity auction) a picture of herself naked except for jewelry and Jimmy Choo shoes; or the estrangement of Tamara Mellon from her mother over who owns specific Jimmy Choo shares put into trust by Tamara's father.

From a branding point of view, it doesn't seem to matter that the namesake Jimmy Choo is not involved in the company; not as long as Sex in the City's Carrie Bradshaw loves her Jimmy Choos' as much as her Manolo Blahniks'. From a financial point of view, company books seem to matter less than one might think; private equity managers were told to go home and talk to their wives and girlfriends about Jimmy Choo shoes to determine whether or not they were interested.

The book is well written. Laura Goldstein Crowe and Sagra Maceira DeRosen do a good job with the material they have. They fill up the pages with background on other luxury brands, personal histories of the major and minor participants, and insights into the world of high fashion and its financial aspects.

There are achievements, Tamara Mellon, Tom Yeardye, and Robert Bensousson should not be underrated. Tamara was the high profile society girl with an idea; Tom was the entrepreneur who would back his daughter, and Robert was the businessman essential to taking any business from infancy to the major leagues. Another reviewer found the "distinction between creative side of the house and the business side" to be astounding. I suspect that it is typical, which is why so many businesses fail.

I think this book will be most interesting to those in the small world of luxury goods, and fashion. It will fascinate those who know the players. Others interested in private equity and investment banking may find it worth the time. But I have to say for the average reader... you might like to spend your limited reading time elsewhere.


American Food Writing: An Anthology: With Classic Recipes
American Food Writing: An Anthology: With Classic Recipes
by Molly O'Neill
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $31.36
94 used & new from $3.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious volume, April 13, 2009
This was such a surprise. I am a long time subscriber to the Library of America, and occasionally receive an anthology... once it was LA Writing, another time Baseball writing, but this time it was American Food Writing. I thought it would bore me stiff! Who knew that food writing would make a wonderful anthology!

As one might expect, there are recipes throughout, and the writings of food luminaries such as Julia Child and James Beard. But, the volume includes essays, journal entries, and stories by Willa Cather (a selection from My Antonia), Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis, John Steinbeck, H.L.Mencken and Gertrude Stein to name just a few. They are written about food, not necessarily about cooking. Some use food as part of a larger landscape of writing, while other pieces directly explore the glory of eating.

All in all, it is a delicious volume of writing. I highly recommend this anthology for the joy of reading.


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