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Jerry Saperstein RSS Feed (Evanston, IL USA)
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Good for the Money: My Fight to Pay Back America
Good for the Money: My Fight to Pay Back America
by Robert Benmosche
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.19
66 used & new from $7.48

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting personal and business biography, March 2, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
AIG (American International Group Inc.), once one of the world’s largest insurance and financial services companies, failed in 2008 owing to reckless trading practices. It was so big that regulators and politicians believed it was too big to fail, so they pumped about $180 billion taxpayer dollars into it and brought in a new CEO Robert Benmosche to perform a miracle. A few miracles, in fact.

Benmosche combines he telling of his personal story with what he believes he did to save AIG from total ruin.

In fact, he succeeded – which considering the total situation – is truly something of a miracle. The U.S. government put up $182.3 billion and AIG paid back $205 billion, providing the government with a profit and restoring the company to a semblance of fiscal well-being.

This is a really fascinating book, if you like business books. The story of how long-time company leader Maurice Greenberg grew the company provides insight into a risk-taking culture that paid off big-time for decades – before the same brand of risk-taking took the company down.

As such biographies go, it is not overladen with the author’s ego. Benmosche isn’t shy, but he shares the spotlight with numerous others who played significant parts in the rescue and recovery.

This is one of the better business biographies I’ve read in a long time. Good stuff.

Jerry
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 6, 2016 9:50 AM PST


InterDesign Linus Desk and Office Supplies Organizer for Paper, Sticky Notes, Calculators - Clear
InterDesign Linus Desk and Office Supplies Organizer for Paper, Sticky Notes, Calculators - Clear
Price: $16.02
4 used & new from $16.02

4.0 out of 5 stars Overall okay if you have the space and the compartments fit your needs., March 2, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
One man’s negatives may be another’s positives. In this case, the desk organizer didn’t work for me: it’s too big for the limited space on my work table and the fixed size compartments don’t mesh well with my needs. So I will soldier on with paper clips buried at the bottom of a tray on a nearby shelf, a cup jammed with pens, styluses, calipers, a backscratcher and a screwdriver, envelopes and printer paper in a file cabinet drawer some distance away and so on.

If my needs were different and the space available, this would be a pretty nice organizer. It is molded from very clear plastic, about 1/8th in thick. It feels very sturdy and is surprisingly heavy, maybe a bit over a pound. The shelf on the bottom will hold a very substantial quantity of letter-sized paper or several notebooks, manuals, what have you. It is about 2 inches or so high.

There are five compartments on the top. Two are divided with non-adjustable dividers. The illustrated sticker shows them being used for pens and markers, self-adhesive notes, a glue sick, a stapler and a flash drive. My impression is that the spaces are not well-designed. They are too big for efficient use. By the same token, they serve the purpose if you want to reduce scattered clutter on your desk. I think this is one of those situations where you’ll never have a perfect design.

The only real drawback is he label: it is adhered with a very strong adhesive and difficult to get off.

Overall, this is a good, if large, organizer and useful if you want to put some of the odds-and-ends of your work environment in one place.

Jerry


The Gray Rhino: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore
The Gray Rhino: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore
by Michele Wucker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.68
81 used & new from $6.67

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In some ways, a sleep aid; in others, kind of interesting., March 1, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
“A Gray Rhino is a highly probable, high-impact threat . . .” proclaims the author, Michele Wucker.

It is also an event whose warning signs often go unnoticed or unheeded, such as the 1986 Challenger disaster, which is also the most striking example she provides.

Wucker maintains that Gray Rhinos are all about us, always a threat, for which we are unprepared and rendered powerless all too often when they occur.

In support of her thesis, Wucker presents a number of examples that nearly all of us are familiar with. For example, she cites the 2008 financial crisis where, according to her, the early warning signs were visible to those who looked and many did – but for a variety of reason, they did not act. The inability or unwillingness to recognize impending doom and mitigate it is a big part of Wucker’s thesis.

The book is, by and large, interesting. Wucker’s writing style is readable, but the prosed is often laden with, to my view, unnecessary detail. Wucker also portrays herself as a sidewalk psychologist throughout the book which is kind of, sort of appropriate, but often goes a bit too far toward what can only be termed speculation.

Wucker often bogs herself down in detail, which I found tiring. Inherently the book is after the fact armchair quarter backing

Overall, I found the book moderately interesting in some parts, but a slow read overall. Some of her examples are dubious. But on the whole, Wucker’s attempt to teach how to spot and deal with the possibility of Gray Rhino in your business or even personal life, is worth the time investment.

Jerry


The New Relational Database Dictionary: Terms, Concepts, and Examples
The New Relational Database Dictionary: Terms, Concepts, and Examples
by C. J. Date
Edition: Paperback
Price: $20.46
44 used & new from $14.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An indispensable addition to the technologist’s bookshelf, February 29, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As I read the opening pages of this truly valuable book by Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) pioneer and expert C. J. Dale, I was reminded of a frustrating afternoon I spent several years ago with an RDBMS administrator. Both of us were trying hard and in good faith to communicate about configuring searches of a company’s data without violating various privacy concerns. It took us hours to formulate search expressions that satisfied both of us and fir, we hoped, within the court’s deliberately narrow strictures.

Both the manager and I were familiar with RDBMS structures, but we didn’t have a common nomenclature, which is not at all uncommon in this kind of situation.

This dictionary/encyclopedia would have been so useful for us.

Compiled by one the actual pioneers in RDBMS, this book explains in great detail more than 1,700 entries “dealing with issues, terms, and concepts involved in, or arising from the use of, the relational model of data”.

This is not a book for beginners. The writing style is definitely not in the same vein as the “Dummies” books.

This is a reference for experienced database designers, implementers and developers – and those aspiring toward such careers.

The author claims that his work covers Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL and more, though he points out that he has omitted certain SQL topics that he feels are not truly part of the RDBMS model. And if you understand that last part, you’re ready for this book.

In all seriousness, if you’re working at all extensively with any RDBMS, you want this book. It is a great addition to your database knowledge library.

Jerry


Off Script: An Advance Man's Guide to White House Stagecraft, Campaign Spectacle, and Political Suicide
Off Script: An Advance Man's Guide to White House Stagecraft, Campaign Spectacle, and Political Suicide
by Josh King
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.01
62 used & new from $11.76

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ancient history in many ways, but may be interesting to true political junkies, February 28, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It isn’t clear to me if this is supposed to be a teaching guide for advance men or an autobiography , not that it really matters.

Advance men are those souls charged with going into a town before a candidate and things up for press events. In other words, they are political manipulators, attempting to make staged events look spontaneous though every instant is planned.

The primary deficiency of this book is that many of the events described occurred well before half the current population was born while some others took place when that half was still in diapers.

How many aspirants to a career as an advance man know who Michael Dukakis is or Bob Dole?

Josh King served as an advance man during the Clinton administration and his book is informed by a predictable political bias.

He describes well-known nightmares: Michael Dukakis riding half out the hatch in an M1A1 tank, looking absolutely ridiculous in an oversized tanker’s helmet. Dukakis’ vacuous response to a serious question of what punishment would be suitable for a man who raped and murdered his wife. The attempted fraud of Al Gore whose team arranged to have a river flooded to give the appearance that the candidate was a macho outdoorsman.

King is a competent writer and the editing is good. But there’s simply too much detail of virtually forgotten campaigns. The book rapidly grows tedious to read, although if taken in small doses, the content is passably interesting.

The book is instructive. Al Gore’s duplicitous machinations to make himself appear manly would have gone undiscovered were it not for an enterprising reporter who, by happenstance, interviewed a local official in on the fraud which involved releasing 4 billion gallons of water at public expense to literally float Gore’s boat. At the time it was a big story, but it was long ago.

King in his closing chapters tries to shift focus to contemporary strategies, but by that time reader fatigue has definitely set in.

Still political junkies, particularly old and grey political junkies like me, may find the inside baseball lore interesting.

Jerry


Soccer Strong 9 Week Performance Soccer Training Program and Soccer Training Kit
Soccer Strong 9 Week Performance Soccer Training Program and Soccer Training Kit
Price: $140.44

5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting training concept with great potential, February 24, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
SKLZ is a well-established brand in the exercise market. I have a number of their products and impressed with their quality. Soccer Strong is one of three training programs the company now offers.

What you get is a kit of selected SKLZ fitness products and, more importantly, access to an apparently well-conceived training program consisting of online videos. In this case, they've assembled a team of three professional soccer players and two coaches.

You have to register online to gain access to the videos. There is a small pamphlet accompanying the set with bios of the training team, a program overview, a scorecard for a performance test to be taken several times during the course of the program and a calendar outlining how you should administer the program.

The program is scheduled for nine weeks with three days a week of planned exercises: a power phase, a strength phase and a speed phase. There is a Getting Started video and another for demonstrating the Performance Test. I was unable to view the Getting Started video. The Performance Test video is well done and it is also makes clear that this progam is not for couch potatoes who want to remain couch potatoes.

You have to click to "activate" the training videos. Once you do, you can view them as many times as you like for two years with any supported platform.

With the exception of the knee pads, which are really nice, all the other equipment is what most athletes and exercisers already have in one form or another. I like SKLZ' new design for their resistance tube devices. Same end purpose as elastic bands, but a more streamlined, tangle-free approach.

I think they should have provided a fuller description of the program components in the pamphlet so you'd have a better idea of what the program consists of. However, being familiar with other SKLZ products and their pretty extensive lineup of free videos on their site, I'm sure the program will be complete and challenging.

I definitely like the SKLZ training concept and hope they continue to add specialized programs. As I review the videos, I wil post greater detail. Off the bat though, this appears to be a solid entry.

Jerry


Belkin Air Protect Always-On Case for 11" Chromebooks & Laptops (B2A074-C00)
Belkin Air Protect Always-On Case for 11" Chromebooks & Laptops (B2A074-C00)
Price: $6.44
19 used & new from $6.44

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well done. Well suited for use on campus or in the office.. Not so hot for air travel., February 23, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In my view, this bag has one major drawback: it is, comparatively speaking, huge.
With my laptops and tablets, I typically carry them in a form fitting sleeve or case and toss it into my carry on or over-the-shoulder sling.
Ain't going to happen with this case. It is on the bulky sidr and, in my opinion, has to carried separately, not in a backpack or sling, most of the time.
For students on campus or people in a workplace where they tote a computer from place to place or working at a coffee shop or other remote location, this case is great.
When you open it, all the ports are exposed. You don't have to bend or squish cables at odd angles to plug them in and you don't have to take the computer out of the case.
The inside bottom of the case has a cushioned surface and the bottom outside has skid preventers. There ius a rather ingenious clip system to keep the top secure.
Construction quality is high. There is a pull out handle for carrying and a fairly wide sturdy strap for over the chest carrying. Zippers are heavy duty.
I'm working with the 11 inch case and 11 inches means 11 inches. There isn't much wiggle room here.
There is also surprisingly spacious zippered outside compartment for power adapters and small accessories.
Overall, I think this is an excellent case if you're on an office or educational campus or carrying a computer that you want quick, unfettered access to.

Jerry


StarTech.com DP2VGAAMM2M 6' 2m DisplayPort to VGA Adapter Cable
StarTech.com DP2VGAAMM2M 6' 2m DisplayPort to VGA Adapter Cable
Price: $28.28
34 used & new from $21.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Justifies a place in your go-bag., February 22, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you ever have a need to connect to a video projector or VGA monitor in the field, you want this handy cable in your bag.

It takes the DisplayPort output from your laptop and feeds it through a six foot long cable to a VGA connector. The VGA connector is delightfully “old-fashioned” and has security thumbscrews to make a solid connection to the VGA input.

It will also output audio as a secondary feed, but requires USB power to do so.

StarTech has earned a reputation as the go-to place for fairly esoteric connectors and other stuff. I have a lot of their gear and all of it is high quality, as is this adapter.

Jerry


150 Years of ObamaCare
150 Years of ObamaCare
by Daniel E. Dawes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.17
76 used & new from $3.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A one-sided overview of the Affordable Care Act, February 22, 2016
This review is from: 150 Years of ObamaCare (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
You wouldn’t expect to see a single word of criticism of the Affordable care Act (other than complaints that it doesn’t go far enough) in this alleged history and explanation and you won’t.

I had hopes for balanced presentation, but this is far from it.

The tenuous nature of this history is reflected in its title, alleging that “Obamacare” has its beginnings in the 1798 Act For The Relief of Sick and Disabled Seaman.

Anyone who objectively followed the debate on the ACA has heard or seen all of the so-called hard “evidence” presented by Dawes, which is accompanied by a great deal of unsupported anecdotal material.

Perhaps the strongest argument Dawes makes is actually in behalf of critics of Obamacare when he lists twenty (20) federal agencies who are involved with the administration of Obamacare, an unprecedented intrusion of the federal government into individual lives.

The book itself is dry reading, perhaps intended for classroom use.

If you are looking for a dispassionate, informed and objective discussion of the Affordable care Act, this is not it.

Jerry


WD-40 110174 Multi-Use Product Non-Aerosol Trigger Pro, 20 oz. (Pack of 1)
WD-40 110174 Multi-Use Product Non-Aerosol Trigger Pro, 20 oz. (Pack of 1)
Price: $11.68
11 used & new from $9.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WD-40 is, of course, still the wonder it has always been. But will this non-aerosol dispenser save the planet?, February 21, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
WD-40 is an extremely well-known product, revered for its rust penetrating and lubricating capabilities. It can also be used to remove label adhesive!

The news here, though, is that this is a non-aerosol dispenser. I don’t know if there are work environments where aerosols are prohibited or if this is a gimmick to please the climate change crowd. The non-aerosol approach taken here allows for more flexibility. You can vary the intensity of the spray by the pressure you apply to the pump trigger which is a very welcome feature. No more full-last or nothing.

The nozzle can be twisted to control the spray pattern somewhat, which is also an advantage.

Finally, you can dispose of the non-refillable container without special handling.

The economics of this container however are not good.

You can buy WD-40 in 1-gallon containers and disperse it in plastic spray bottles at far lower per ounce costs. But, obviously, you’d need to have a requirement for a lot of WD-40, otherwise it becomes a false economy.

So in reality, the non-aerosol, non-refillable container offers the advantages of controllable spray pressure and spray pattern. For the average householder, it’s a good deal.

Jerry


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