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Jordan: The Man, His Words, His Life
Jordan: The Man, His Words, His Life
by Mitchell Krugel
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
46 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A Peak into the mind and career of Michael Jordan, February 18, 2013
Michael Jordan is one of those extremely rare athletes whose life garners interest even from casual sports fans. He exemplifies everything about being a champion and nearly every detail about his life is pure inspiration. The Man, His Words, His Life provides background into the segment of his life in the NBA leading up to his 5th championship.

The book is not a strict biography as the focus is entirely on basketball. It caters much more to basketball enthusiasts than those simply looking to read a biography. If you enjoy the intricacies of basketball (specifically the NBA) the book will be fascinating, but if you are merely seeking an overview of Jordan's life you may want to look elsewhere.

The book contains a number of quotes directly from Jordan that follow a timeline of his career. This provides some interesting content that provides a glimpse into Jordan's mindset. There is also a large number of quotes from other players and coaches that illustrates the full scope of Jordan's impact. Jordan was truly remarkable, and anyone finishing this book will be able to grasp just how great he was and how much he dominated the game of basketball.


Nobody Roots for Goliath: A Bomber Hanson Mystery
Nobody Roots for Goliath: A Bomber Hanson Mystery
by David Champion
Edition: Hardcover
61 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Well Researched but Rather Mundane Story-line, January 4, 2013
Among legal drams, the stories that tend to separate themselves from the pack are those that reach outside the norms by adding unexpected twists and going down unconventional paths. Nobody Roots for Goliath is not that book, and although it is engaging at times the story about a civil case against a cigarette manufacturer feels a bit played out.

The story is fairly brief and the writing is very plain resulting in a book that flows very quickly. The legalese is well researched and the characters are mostly likable. Yet the ending is quite predictable making the book rather ordinary. For its genre I'd rate Nobody Roots for Goliath in the middle of the pack; worth reading if you have the time but not the first book I'd choose.


The Light of Other Days
The Light of Other Days
by Arthur C. Clarke
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.12
32 used & new from $2.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly New Idea in Science Fiction, December 19, 2012
It is often difficult to find genuinely fresh ideas in science fiction as most are repeatedly used with mere changes to the surrounding plot. Thus when something new comes up it has instant appeal and The Light of Other Days is alluring to readers on this basis.

The story revolves around new technologies that result because of discoveries made with wormholes. There are a number of layers to the story as the science builds upon itself and thus the plot unfolds somewhat modestly in the beginning. The characters are not overly developed nor interesting yet they all play important roles in the larger value of the book which resides solely in the intriguing concept and ideas.

The book is without a doubt a thinker, and as one of the most enjoyable elements of science fiction the ideas will leave readers pondering the possibilities long after its completion. The ending peaks with a mind blowing conclusion that even casual fans of science fiction will surely enjoy.


APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book
APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book
Price: $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Everything You Need to Know about Self-Publishing, December 13, 2012
There seems to be a recurring question among new and aspiring authors these days regarding whether its best to self publish or go the traditional route. In the past having a publisher produce your book meant credibility and being self-published carried the stigma of being among the leftovers. Yet with the advancements in digital book sales in recent years and the ease of distribution, the question has clearly become more clouded. We even now occasionally hear of established authors turning down staggering book advances to go the self publishing route and are left wondering what we should do.

Enter Guy Kawasaki and his book APE (Author Publisher Entrepreneur). Guy begins this book discussing in depth why and how the market is changing, what opportunities now exist for self published authors that didn't in recent years, and how the future of publishing in general is changing. Self publishing is not for everyone, but there are some very important elements discussed in this section that weigh in its favor that any writer including established authors should consider.

APE deals in depth with how to handle all aspects of writing, producing, and marketing your book. The material is so comprehensive that this book alone could likely be used as a qualified text for a course in self publishing. All facets of the process are included from writing, editing, cover design, distribution, pricing, sales and marketing, and even how to promote your book through public relations. Guy explains how to avoid falling into the common self-published trappings such as poor quality and lack of proper promotion. The knowledge offered in APE is more than enough to turn any potential amateur writer into a pro.

Guy is not just telling you how to accomplish this, he has done it himself and explains how he handled every step of the process. He writes in a humble and friendly style making the entire book enjoyable to read. APE really should be required reading for any author given the vast amount of industry knowledge and expertise conveyed.


Contact
Contact
by Carl Sagan
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $5.78
374 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing and Thought Provoking Journey into the Cosmos, October 25, 2012
This review is from: Contact (Mass Market Paperback)
Few people have expressed just how insignificant the earth appears amid the backdrop of the entire universe more eloquently than Carl Sagan. He spent a lifetime impressing us with how well he conveyed the grand scale of the cosmos, and in Contact Sagan has brought that same style and vision to fiction.

The story develops around the intriguing idea of a message received from another star system. Contact deals with questions of space, time, faith, religion, and the essence of the universe as a whole. Sagan's incredible mind and imagination give this story all the intrigue that is needed. Thus even without creating characters with significant depth that so often describes good fiction this story maintains its quality purely for its engrossing ideas.

Sagan deals directly with some of our grandest questions, and instead of simply providing answers he has widened the horizon of potential answers. Many ideas are proposed that reach beyond what most would normally ponder. Sagan is a master of spatial awareness and imagery and in this story he has examined the realm of possibilities in a manner few are capable of accomplishing. The conclusion of this story is so well done that it will be pleasing to views of any persuasion. The book is far superior to the movie adaption and I'd recommend Contact to any fan of science fiction.


The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem:  The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field
The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field
by Nathaniel Branden
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.44
183 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Uplifting Journey into the Roots of Psychology, October 1, 2012
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Nathaniel Branden is considered by many to be one of the pioneers of the self-esteem movement. Precisely that means he was one of the core influences in bringing about the importance of self-esteem (or lack thereof) in psychological issues. Branden has written many books on the subject with this one representing the total collection of all his prior thoughts.

Branden stresses the importance of discovering that the root of self esteem is an internal evaluation. Letting self esteem be dictated by external forces such as the opinions of others is a recipe for problems as it gives up control to our own happiness. The importance of maintaining this control ourselves, put best in Branden's own words, "lies not merely in the fact that it allows us to feel better but that it allows us to live better - to respond to challenges and opportunities more resourcefully and more appropriately...I have come to think of positive self esteem as, in effect, the immune system of consciousness, providing resistance, strength, and a capacity for regeneration." Self esteem is not a substitute for knowledge and skills or many other facets of importance, but as Branden illustrates a low self esteem offers an unnecessary burden on our lives thus making a healthy self esteem essential.

Branden is a logical writer who presents firm premises and clear paths to his conclusions. He values ambition, integrity, respect and the importance of ingenuity in human evolution. Branden caters to the potential greatness within us rather than a focus on simply accepting deficiencies. He doesn't suggest disowning our shortcomings but presents a potentially better path by emphasizing the positive aspects of a strong self esteem. If you seek an uplifting journey into the roots of psychology, there is no doubt Branden's work will be of interest.


Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can't Get a Date
Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can't Get a Date
by Robert X. Cringely
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.68
177 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A Great (yet dated) Behind the Scenes Look of the Tech Industry, September 20, 2012
The world of technology is becoming increasingly more exciting with every new advancement, yet what is equally intriguing are the success and failure stories behind many of these businesses. Accidental Empires dives right into the background of many of the top firms to assess what makes them tick, why some have succeeded, and what are the elements that differentiated those that succeeded from the countless others that failed.

This is not simply a business history book, it deals in depth with many of the personality traits and mindsets that have shaped the industry. Cringely has very in depth knowledge of the tech world and it is exemplified throughout the book. He has interviews, discussions, and is even friends with many of the business leaders in the industry. The result is some very qualified insight with many eye opening elements.

The book is a bit dated and there is no getting around the lack of present day knowledge expressed in the book. Cringely published this book in the early 90s when the extent and impact of the internet was unknown. Thus many of his predictions are at times amusing; however, to his credit, in many cases he was also spot on. For those who appreciate business history and have a particular interest in computer technology there is no doubt you will find enjoyment from reading this book.


The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through Civilization's Best Bits
The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through Civilization's Best Bits
by Erik Sass
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.73
112 used & new from $0.77

4.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining Outline of Human History, September 12, 2012
Cramming the entire human history of the world into a single book is unrealistic, but the authors of the Mental Floss series have at least done justice to the topic by providing an entertaining outline. As would be expected, they do not go into depth on any single period or defining moment of history, but the authors do provide enough detail to permit readers to evaluate their interest level for potential further reading.

Missing from this book are maps, something that could have significantly improved the reading experience. Its unfortunate they chose to overlook this basic feature given how often history deals with borders and pieces of geography that can be difficult to grasp without a visual. The authors also were somewhat selective in what areas of history they discussed and what they omitted. That said, all the most significant elements appear to be included, but for history buffs this book might prove to be a little too thin at times in its coverage.

The writing style is light and amusing at times, similar to reading an article in an entertainment magazine. Thus is you are looking to understand more about history from a broad perspective without dealing with the monotony of lengthy historical summaries than book is well worth the time.


Spooky 8: The Final Mission
Spooky 8: The Final Mission
by Bob King
Edition: Hardcover
99 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars A Semi-Engaging Story with a Predictable and Unsatisfying Ending, September 12, 2012
Spooky 8 tells the story of a special operations team that conducted missions for years only to ultimately be double crossed by the US Government. Bob King narrated the story using false names to supposedly spare his team members any potential harm. He tells the story about how he came to be in special operations as well as the background of the other seven members. The bulk of the book details the final mission, the double cross, and how King ("Chance") came to discover and finally deal with the truth.

The story line was engaging at times, mostly ranging from page turner to mild monotony. The story was easily the best part of the book, as the book was weakened by a multitude of items. King seemed at times to force some artsy descriptions with an overdose of adjectives, yet a moment later he would shift back into plane military lingo; the contrast resulting in an awkward conflict of writing styles. King also struggled to provide believable dialog. Many of the conversations were so unnatural that I often wondered if the book would have been better had he just explained the situations with only narration rather than try embellish the story with reenactments of dialog.

The book is an easy read and flows fairly quickly most of the time, but the story contained too many of the stereotypical ideas for this genre. To the books credit, it is at times hard to put down, but the value in this is lost in the ending which proves to be too predicable and unsatisfying.


Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness
Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness
by Epictetus
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.24
107 used & new from $2.46

4.0 out of 5 stars A Brief Outline of one of Ancient Rome's Great Thinkers, August 8, 2012
The great Roman thinker Epictetus is perhaps best known because of his most successful pupil; Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Epictetus is among many in a long line of Stoic philosophers from that era who emphasize the importance of logic, virtue, and control of one's emotions. The Art of Living is not merely a translation of his philosophy, but a collection of his ideas paraphrased by Sharon Lebell. The result is a concise depiction of Epictetus' views.

Generally speaking it believed by advocates of Eastern philosophy that Western thoughts such as those presented by Epictetus tend to be overly cerebral. Yet as Epictetus illustrates, this belief does a disservice to Western Philosophy. Stoicism maintains the same ideals as Eastern philosophy in that it has the same end in mind; mainly that man's highest value is inner peace. The large difference is merely in the manner of reaching that point. Western philosophy is generally centered on a more practical approach with emphasis on the choices we make rather than just the focus of our thoughts. It is an intriguing difference and for those interested in ancient Western philosophy this book presents a fair look into the mindset of one of its most prominent thinkers.

The overall presentation of this book is very concise. No more than a few hundred words are spent on each point. This of course does not detract form the wisdom presented, but for those looking for a comprehensive study of Epictetus' ideas this is not the book for you. Lebell's rendition also can be somewhat preachy and cliche at times, which may or may not have been the intention of Epictetus, but some may quickly grow tired of the "you should do this/you should do that" style of writing. The book provides enough wisdom to be worthwhile, but it should be treated as nothing more than a very rudimentary introduction to Epictetus.


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