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saul "saul" RSS Feed (CA)

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Dr. Lemonade Stand
Dr. Lemonade Stand
Price: $17.78
6 used & new from $11.22

5.0 out of 5 stars fun and upbeat album, July 20, 2013
This review is from: Dr. Lemonade Stand (Audio CD)
This is an really fun and diverse album, and they put on a great live show too. It's got the feel of mid-90s cartoons mixed with classic rock. Great harmonies and really talented musicians! Highlights: Miscommunication, Mr. Badman, Claude Monet

Act Accordingly
Act Accordingly
Price: $3.82

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a great introduction to Colin's philosophy, June 27, 2013
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This review is from: Act Accordingly (Kindle Edition)
I've enjoyed catching up on Colin's books over the past few months. Most of them are personal travelogues and anecdotes, but this one's a bit different: it's a short, easy-to-read book of practical philosophy.

I especially like his take on how any exchange, no matter how "altruistic," should have benefits for both parties. That's what makes it mutually rewarding and sustainable. I also like the chapter on branding and logos and how not to let other people define you.

The only thing I disagreed with was the part on cultural relativity. I think that as a whole our society has advanced enough that we can say, with some certainty, that some things are simply wrong at this point in history, no matter how well-intentioned.

Overall, a very motivational and inspiring manifesto!

Estimated reading time: 1 hour.

Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life
Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $13.49

9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars more technical than philosophical, May 31, 2013
This isn't quite the book I was expecting. From the bits I'd read, and the promotional articles I'd seen about it, I was hoping for details of how the specific "illnesses" might actually have been adaptive in earlier eras. To me, THAT would have been a groundbreaking book -- taking the behaviors that we see as illness and recasting them in an ancestral, evolutionary light.

While he certainly makes that point, it's not one that he elaborates on a whole lot. The book is more a look into the creation of the DSM, including the politics behind it, and in that sense it reminded me more of Marion Nestle's books exposing the food industry's role in creating nutritional guidelines. Still interesting, but a bit more technical than I had hoped for.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich
I Will Teach You To Be Rich
by Ramit Sethi
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.84
171 used & new from $3.22

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not so much for freelancers, March 8, 2013
I really enjoyed the first half of this book -- it has some very practical advice about paying off debt/credit card bills, dealing with banks, organizing your income and expenses, and so on. But the second half was an in-depth look at investing, in language that really doesn't work for me. "Retirement"? "Salary"? "Mutual funds"?

It's not that I'm averse to money management -- it's just that my goals differ from those of Rami's target audience. I'm a freelancer, and I don't plan to spend 30 years of my life working for the same company, and "saving" or "preparing for retirement". I'd rather put the money I earn into a self-sustaining business (i.e., Tim Ferris' 4-Hour Work Week) than invest it in index funds and lifecycles.

Rami's book is a great introduction to these concepts -- I'm glad to know what these options are. I just know that they're not for me. And as more and more college grads are turning to freelancing, I think a lot of the investments suggested here will prove less practical. I recommend picking up The 40-Hour Work Week in addition to this book, as they prevent two alternative ways of looking at long-time finances.

Logitech Speaker System Z313
Logitech Speaker System Z313
Offered by FrugalHackMe
Price: $55.95
35 used & new from $34.99

1.0 out of 5 stars cut out at very low volume, March 1, 2012
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These speakers are terrible! I don't even listen to my music all that loud, but every time I try to crank them up a bit, the sound cuts out! Really takes you out of the whole experience of listening to music. Try a different product instead.

A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing
A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing
by Lawrence M. Krauss
Edition: Hardcover
54 used & new from $9.57

33 of 65 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not quite nothing, January 27, 2012
As a staunch atheist, I had high hopes for this book. While I kind of "get" what Krauss is going for, the material is pretty similar to Victor Stenger's last couple of books. It was not the revelatory new approach that I had hoped for. His definition of "nothing" is more like an absence of matter, or in some cases an absence of space, which is not quite what I imagine when I think about "nothing". Quantum fluctuations are still "something," as far as I'm concerned. What went on before the Big Bang 13.72 billion years ago? While I'm not inclined to look to religion for an answer, I can't imagine this book would persuade anyone who is. Many of its arguments seem are semantic than I would have liked, and my understanding of how the universe began is about the same as it was previously: I don't know.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 1, 2012 5:27 AM PST

Life Itself: A Memoir
Life Itself: A Memoir
by Roger Ebert
Edition: Hardcover
138 used & new from $0.01

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars third act packs a punch, September 22, 2011
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This review is from: Life Itself: A Memoir (Hardcover)
I love reading Roger Ebert's blog posts, and have followed them regularly for the past several years. The ones that intrigued me the most were the ones about the "big picture" -- his thoughts on God, religion, death, politics, science, evolution, sex, etc. Those have their place here, and the third segment of the book packs a powerful punch, in which Ebert with incredible frankness discusses his early sex life, his marriage to Chaz, and his thoughts on his illness and current circumstance. He tells these stories with such ease and self-confidence that one can only hope to approach old age with the same good spirits.

I was, however, a bit disappointed in the middle segment of the book, in which, chapter-by-chapter, he discusses his interactions with well-known actors and directors. There's a chapter devoted to Scorcese, Herzog, John Wayne, and several others, and I found these less compelling than the more autobiographical segments of the memoir. In particular, the chapters on Robert Mitchum and Lee Marvin (which includes an entire interview!) were a bit difficult for me, since I had no idea who either of those actors were. Ebert has already written books on film criticism, including one specifically analyzing Scorcese, and I'd hoped his memoir would stick to more personal matters. He notes that his interview style during this period was pretty much fly-on-the-wall. But rather than hear about what Lee Marvin was like during an interview I'd be more interested to know, "What was it like to be Roger Ebert during that interview?"

This shouldn't dissuade anyone from buying the book -- I recommend it highly. I just wanted to point out what did and didn't work for me, so that you can go into it with the proper expectations.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 23, 2011 5:09 PM PDT

Lying (Kindle Single)
Lying (Kindle Single)

7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars slight and insubstantial, September 19, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As a big fan of Sam Harris who regularly reads his blog, I was intrigued and excited when I heard that a new "book" was coming out. This is as far from a book as it gets, and feels more like it belonged as a 2 or 3 part blog entry. While I don't disagree with his conclusions, I don't feel like he provided enough concrete material to form much of an opinion one way or another. His previous books were riddled with footnotes and examples, but "Lying" is simply an extended essay with only a few anecdotes to back up his thesis. I'm not upset that I spent the $2 to download it, but I do wish it had been properly advertised as an "Amazon single" rather than "my new ebook". Talk about bending the truth....

UPDATE: Yes, the most recent blog entry lists it as an "Amazon single," but on his status updates, he's been constantly referring to his "new book," "check out the cover for my new ebook" etc. It's been a year since TML, and I had no reason to assume that his next book would not be equally substantial. The subject matter seemed to go along with his recent neurological research. I'm simply suggesting it might have been a good idea to downplay the event and make it clear that it was only an essay. Kind of like your favorite band hyping a "new album" and only releasing a 2-song EP....
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 22, 2011 9:24 PM PDT

Submarine: A Novel (Random House Movie Tie-In Books)
Submarine: A Novel (Random House Movie Tie-In Books)
by Joe Dunthorne
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.09
82 used & new from $0.01

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not as good as the movie, August 15, 2011
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I hate to do the old book/movie comparison, but I picked up this book because I loved the movie and wanted to read the material it was based on. I found Oliver's narration to be spot-on funny in both formats, but whereas in the movie, he comes across as an endearing, if a bit unusual, teenage boy, in the book, he borders on mean-spirited/creepy. There were a couple of episodes that went from "I remember what it felt like to be that age" to "Wait a minute, this kid needs some serious therapy." I also felt like the movie improved on the narrative structure by actually providing some arc/closure to the characters as opposed to just being a string of unrelated incidents. I was surprised to see how little Graham features in the book considering that he was such a fully fleshed-out character in the movie.

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire)
A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire)
by George R. R. Martin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.83
494 used & new from $0.01

16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars twelve inches forward, one foot back, July 29, 2011
same as what everybody else said. this story would have made a great 5-book series, but at this point he's just stringing us along for no good reason. there's an art to writing an epic series like this, and part of that is making each book feel both self-contained and part of a whole at the same time. this one feels more like a place-holder. it's a shame that there are so many plot lines here, and that, rather than move any particular character one foot forward, he instead moves a dozen different characters forward an inch.

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