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Dell Inspiron i15N-1910BK 15-Inch Laptop (Black)
Dell Inspiron i15N-1910BK 15-Inch Laptop (Black)

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars My Dell Battery died within three weeks, September 8, 2012
My Dell Laptop died less than 3 weeks-THREE WEEKS-of me getting it. The store I got it from has an extremely short 14 day return policy and wouldn't take it back. Which was, ahem, not very "easy."

Dell batteries are notorious for dying quickly. I think they had a lawsuit over it. They have not improved! Don't buy Dell!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 24, 2012 7:41 PM PDT


Dell Inspiron i14z-2501sLV 14-Inch Ultrabook (Moon Silver)
Dell Inspiron i14z-2501sLV 14-Inch Ultrabook (Moon Silver)

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy Dell!, September 8, 2012
My Dell Laptop died less than 3 weeks-THREE WEEKS-of me getting it. It no longer charges when plugged in; I have to be tied to a plug-in now. The store I bought it from would not let me return it as it had a 14-day return policy ("That was easy" my foot!)
As I've since learned, Dell batteries are notorious for dying quickly. Don't buy Dell!


Finding Your Way in a Wild New World: Reclaim Your True Nature to Create the Life You Want
Finding Your Way in a Wild New World: Reclaim Your True Nature to Create the Life You Want
by Martha Beck
Edition: Hardcover
84 used & new from $0.01

50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Way, way too out there for me, February 19, 2012
I consider myself a somewhat new-agey person. I believe in things I am far too embarrassed to admit to my agnostic brother, my Catholic best friend, and basically anyone who I've heard mock any metaphysical stuff, ever. I have an open-mind and love the quote, "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
And I've been a very strong fan of Martha Beck through the years. I loved Finding your North Star, the Joy Diet, and the Four-Day Win.

But this book was way too far out there for me. Bending spoons and "being one" with objects and things...sorry, I'm not buying it. At times it did seem like an ad for her uber-expensive Africa coaching sessions. I really love her O magazine articles, but I strongly suspect the editors there (wisely) keep her more woo-woo ideas out of them. If you want her advice, Finding Your North Star is far and away her best book.

The problem, I realize, might be *me*-that I'm just not open-minded or metaphysical enough-but I think most Americans will find this book too out there.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 27, 2012 11:22 AM PST


The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It
The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It
by Kelly McGonigal
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.87
90 used & new from $6.79

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, wonderful book!, January 13, 2012
There are a million self-help books out there. I can only think of two that are based on solid scientific evidence: 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman (highly recommended) and this one. Whatever your issue is, the author helps you understand why your brain wants to overeat, overshop, cheat on your spouse and gives helpful exercises for you to stop the behavior.

I read this book in a couple of sittings, but I'm going back through the way she recommends: a chapter a week to fully work through the exercise(s) I chose. I can't say this book has been life-changing for me; I've only had it a week, but I'm optimistic. The author teaches a class on willpower at Stanford, and she mentions that some people take it multiple times, and people bring their kids and spouses and co-workers in to it. I can believe it. This book is well-written and fun to read.

It's an empowering book-and since it's based on facts and science instead of pithy sayings and unusual if inspiring anecdotes-is more likely to get you to improve your life-with actual lasting results- than most self-help books out there. Seriously, stop reading the books that just tell you to wish upon a star and only reference motivation speakers to back up their claims. Start reading the books written by people who use concrete evidence for their claims. Sorry, Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy, but I'll go to Richard Wiseman and Kelly Mcgonigal and the scientists whose studies they reference.


Life After Yes: A Novel
Life After Yes: A Novel
by Aidan Donnelley Rowley
Edition: Paperback
Price: $4.53
25 used & new from $0.01

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kind of gloomy for chick lit, April 11, 2011
First of all, I got the book because I was kind of excited for a book about post-marriage. But this is all pre-marriage. Probably my fault for not reading the back of the cover carefully. Yeah, I pretty much bought the book because of the pretty picture on the front and the fact it's chick lit.

It was not a happy book, though. I was reading it and wondering if the author had someone killed in the 9/11 attacks. It was the traditional sappy love story chick lit but then there were these gloomy references to 9/11 in there and how the main character's father was killed in the attacks. (Ironically, despite this, the main character thinks it's absolutely horrible that another family keeps the memory of someone killed tragically alive). Maybe the 9/11 references were there to add gravitas but it just didn't work. This is not the type of book one reads for profound meaning.

Another thing that didn't work for me was the fact that the main character turned out to be...well, a pretty horrible person after all, a hypocrite, among other vices. I was kind of liking her for a while, but then realized she was selfish and inconsiderate and not someone I should've been rooting for. I had to finish the book to realize how few redeeming qualities she had.

Charming princes? Check. A worthy heroine? Fail. A funny book? Fail. A profound book? Fail.

To be fair, it wasn't a bad book. There are worse ways to spend your time. It just wasn't funny or meaningful or really that interesting. I probably would've liked it more if the the heroine wasn't so personally flawed. Or if her love interests weren't so perfect. A flawed woman needs a flawed man. As a reader, I felt cheated when I finished the book and realized I'd been rooting for a witch the whole time.


The Accountant's Story: Inside the Violent World of the Medellín Cartel
The Accountant's Story: Inside the Violent World of the Medellín Cartel
by David Fisher
Edition: Hardcover
21 used & new from $1.73

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible boring book written by a criminal without remorse, February 14, 2011
I'm extremely upset at the idea that Escobar might've gotten one penny from my purchase of this book. I was tempted to try to give it away to someone else that was planning to purchase it, so as to interfere with Escobar getting any more money, but I wouldn't want them to think I supported the author. For the subject, it's actually suprisingly boring. I kept waiting, in vain, for it to get more interesting.
The worst part of this book is that Escobar-who helped plan and create ways to hide drugs and drug money-keeps writing as if he's Snow White, repeatedly claiming that "his only crime was being related to Pablo." He takes no responsbility for his part of the crimes and complains at one point that authorities confinscated money from a family member that was gotten legitimately (as if that family member wasn't so able to pay for those assets from dirty money!). It's a lot easier for me to run a real business if I can pay for the employees or my mortgage with money my drug lord son is getting illegally.

This is the first book that's made me want to take a shower after reading it.


Your Money: The Missing Manual
Your Money: The Missing Manual
by J.D. Roth
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.97
75 used & new from $2.31

121 of 150 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Far from good, July 14, 2010
I liked the blog (not quite so much anymore, though, with all the new writers). The blog is why I picked up this book. But while it's fun to go when you're at work to read a short personal finance thing for a brief diversion, a bunch of blog posts strung together makes a bad personal finance book.

Unlike other reviewers, I think this book was poorly organized. This book is written for those with a basic level of personal finance knowledge and Roth occasionally patronizes (with examples like "Karen Kashout" and "Joe Spendsalot"). And I don't know I'm the only one, but I thought the font was annoying.

It's written at the level of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover (Roth used Ramsey's system to get out of debt), but it's JD Roth's Total Money Life, covering everything from salary negotiations to buying a new car to getting out of debt to budgeting to investing to charity to quitting your job in a book that is simply too short for that. To compensate, he gives lots of references, including using annoying tiny urls for websites. When I want to go to vanguard, I don't want to put in tinyurl.@$#$^. I'll put in vanguard.com. It's easier. I can remember vanguard.com. I was reading the book and kept thinking, if I want information on how to negotiate my salary, I'll google it. Or I'll read Jack Chapman. If I want advice to get out of debt, I'll read Dave Ramsey. Roth's little blurbs might be fun to read on his blog, but I don't think they serve the people who need his book.

Roth isn't a money guy. He's a writer. He doesn't have a real system for personal finance; he's just a guy who successfully got out of debt. Using Dave Ramsey's plan.

This book seems to be all over the place and feels disjointed. For people who need the basics and are just starting out, I would recommended "I will teach you to be rich" instead. It feels similar but it has a plan. For people in deeply in debt, I'd recommend Dave Ramsey. For people who want a general personal finance book that isn't overwhelming, I'd chose David Bach's "Smart Women Finish Rich." (This is my go-to recommendation for friends.) Suze Orman is pretty good too, and Elizabeth Warren's book has a nice budgeting plan.

Roth's book seems like a bunch of blog posts strung together rather unhelpfully, and while that's fun to read occasionally, it's not the substance most people who should read this book would need. For the rest of us-those who read personal finance for fun and know the difference between an IRA and a 401(k), it's just not a fun read.


The Bag Lady Papers: The Priceless Experience of Losing It All
The Bag Lady Papers: The Priceless Experience of Losing It All
by Alexandra Penney
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.63
104 used & new from $0.01

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yawn., February 27, 2010
I have to agree with the others: some really rich person loses some money and freaks out. She isn't worried about putting food on her table; she's worried about cutting her maid's hours back. Her son offers to let her stay in his "guest house"! How will she ever sell her extra house?
It's a "pity-me" book but the average reader isn't going to care. What, the average American family carries over 10K in credit card debt and is living paycheck-to-paycheck, and we're supposed to care about some excessively rich person who can no longer take numerous luxurious international trips every year? Most of us can't simply give up an well-paying job on a whim to spend more time being an artist.
In addition, the author is too vain or embarrassed or reserved to let us know facts that actually might lead to empathy. If her son left for college in '87, assume he's 17 at the time and she was 20 when she had him (a conservative estimate), she's probably around 60 or so when this happened. And she never tells the reader how much she lost.
Here's the book I wish had been written: average person works for Enron, puts all their money in Enron stock, struggles to keep a roof over their head. Or average person's spouse gets cancer, insurance won't cover much or they lose insurance because when you're sick you can't keep working with the only job that has insurance, and they struggle. Or something along those lines. "Nickel and Dimed" was infinitely better.
Reading a book about how the ultra-rich becomes a "PoRC" is boring. Because for her, being "person of reduced circumstances," she's still better off than the vast majority of her readers, or 99% of the people on the planet.

She also has this really boring part where she asked her friends to make lists of things money can and can't buy. While she could've incorporated these observations into her narrative in a meaningful way, she missed the boat by simply listing them out. The magazine editor needs to realize that this is book and not a one-page spread in a magazine.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 28, 2010 9:15 AM PST


The Last Lecture
The Last Lecture
by Randy Pausch
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.63
1589 used & new from $0.01

436 of 602 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I can't recommend buying this., April 18, 2008
This review is from: The Last Lecture (Hardcover)
I really liked the lecture. I've downloaded both Prof. Pausch's time management lecture and this one. So I'm a fan. I have nothing against Prof. Pausch, though I do think that his friends jokingly calling him "St. Randy" is pretty funny. I see a lot of hero-worship of him on the web.
He's a very charismatic, very intelligent, very passionate guy. These are great qualities. They also make his last lecture fun to watch.

But the book is just that, a book. And while I'm sure those who have seen the lecture can imagine Prof. Pausch (okay, I don't know the man, but he seems like a first-name kind of guy-as opposed to a "title" sort of person, and I'm definitely a first-name kind of person, so I'm going to switch to calling him Randy now.) saying the words, there's a lot lost without seeing Randy's passion.
The book has some more stories from Randy's life, and there's some elaboration on some of the ones he does talk about, but Randy's a good professor. He really distilled the most important and most interesting parts into his lecture (with the possible exception of wooing his wife, Jai, but I found that story not substantially more compelling or instructive than his grad school admission story). Actually, let me sum it up for you: they met while he was visiting a campus where she was studying, her job was to host him, they went on a date, she doesn't want a long-distance relationship, he sends her flowers and she changes her mind, they get more serious, she gets scared while he's down there for a seminar and he gives her support by checking in on her a bit, she realizes she loves him.

This is a pretty short book. Frankly, the extra stories and the elaboration beyond the lecture don't make it worth the money when the lecture-with the advantage of seeing Randy's personality-is available for free.
I did have some qualms about writing this review; after all, Randy puts the lecture and transcript of his last lecture out there for free. And if I'd only seen the video once and couldn't see it again, I'd most likely want the book. So in a sense, I'm penalizing the book for that generosity. On the other hand, if I had never seen the video, this is probably not a book that I would buy. There are a lot of good self-help books out there and I'd probably flip through this book, decide there was too much stuff about computers in there and too much of the same old stuff in not an exceptionally well-done way and leave it on the shelf.
If you're curious, I'd check it out at the library or flip through it in the book store. But don't buy this book sight unseen.

If the book had touted that all or even some of its proceeds went to pancreatic cancer research, I would have bought the book. Out of guilt, if nothing else. I really enjoy listening to the lecture and it's free and I'd like to give something back for that. But there was no mention of any kind of donation of the sort. Actually, donations to an organization like that might be the best way to show gratitude and support.
Comment Comments (30) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 12, 2008 8:02 AM PDT


A Million Little Pieces
A Million Little Pieces
by James Frey
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.49
1702 used & new from $0.01

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How can anyone believe anything in this book anymore?, January 17, 2006
I was such a fan on this book until I found out that he lied. And then he had the audacity to claim that the "essential truth" was intact. Unbelievable. Readers deserve much more than "essential truth." If I had wanted to read a fiction book, I would read a fiction book! But I assumed that, since it was billed as non-fiction, it would be non-fiction, or as close to it as possible. But changing a few hours in prisons to months is inexcusable.

The author didn't deserve to get rich off of this, and if he relapses because of the scandal, it's only what he deserves. Assuming that he actually was addicted.

The tone of the book-his voice-makes it seem so real. He said "I tried to write an honest book." What hokum.

He betrayed his readers. Oprah should have called him on it. The publisher should give refunds for this drivel. And he should be ashamed of himself.


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