San Francisco, CA, United States | Member Since 2010
Absolutely. It's creative, one of a kind, and fast paced. About movie-making, the behind-the-scenes process. The Moses story, although alluded to, which is just enough but not too much for non-religious readers, yet compellingly told by an intelligent assortment of creative types, all represented in the book via the emails, faxes, voice mails, letters, and other various & sundry modes of modern-day communication. A 21st century novel of letters, about Moses et al.
The woman representing the screenwriter, her voice is much too young and, even more important, inexperienced in the ways of Hollywood, even to the extent as described by her character (which is not especially experienced). But there's an important tone that's missing from her voice, and it's about basic life experience. It's missing. For Moses' sake, let's give such a writer a Woman's voice, not a girl's, not even a grown up girl.
Not 'House of Cards' exactly, yet intelligence with specks of 3D warmth re Minnesota investigator, Lucas Davenport, who's got several million (after building up & selling a security software application - legacy - that made millions after Sept 11 attacks). Of course, he wears English shirts, Italian suits, etc., has a beautiful wife, surgeon, and a daughter too, plus the confidence of Democratic governor, who taps Lucas to spearhead a confidential quest just 10 or so days before the gov's probable reelection. But the Rep opponent, Smalls (a womanizer who's been caught too many times to deny it), becomes the target of a vicious slur campaign. The gov doesn't want to win this way, the insinuations & the further destruction of the democratic system, such that it is. So Lucas starts quietly searching around. And just when you feel like turning to another book (b/c this one seems to have gotten terribly predictable ...), everything changes. Sandford is the best I've read so far, a master at timing & tone, like no other. And if you think this is a Dems vs. Rep story, then your POV isn't wide or high enough. Maybe it's 'depth' I'm looking for, for Sandford's ultimate view (told via Lucas Davenport, that is), is that those 'elected' officials who make it to the Senate, well, they all seem to share a lack of empathy & a desire for risk: psychopaths. And not many would disagree I dare say, whatever party you support. It's one exciting read, all the way.
I got this book because, after years of having unusually high levels of self-discipline, I seemed to lose it (the discipline) after three major surgeries that resulted in a years' long recovery period. What happened, I thought? It wasn't that I didn't want to accomplish more goals; in fact, I have alot I wanted, needed, to do. So I began to read about HABITs. This book, The Power of Habits, is worth the read. And yes, there is a solution.
Researchers used to believe that the ability to be 'self-regulating' , e.g., not eating that tempting cookie, was merely a skill. Then after a decade or so more of studies, researchers found that habits are not only triggered by something in our lives, but that once we become aware of our personal 'triggers' that we can 'swap' the bad habit with a healthy one. Trigger-Response-Result. Of course, the goal is to create healthier, more productive habits. So how do we do that. And that's what you'll learn from this book. Everything from seeing how the brain works, how that understanding helps our process of changing habits, how to use this info if we're a parent, coach, CEO, there are case studies for Everyone. And they're really quite fascinating. About the obstacles Michael Phelps had to overcome, the positive habits his coach had him focus on to help him to relax, since all Olympian athletes have perfectly formed bodied (for their sport, at that level, so it was all about calming the mind, pretty much). And that case study was compelling to read. Also one about a well-known CEO of Alcoa, who used this info to change the entire process involved at Alcoa, in a most clever way (while getting everyone to hop on his bandwagon, which we know is virtually impossible at the corporate, heck, the family level!) Those are just two of the many references to specific situations that could be applied to your own personal/professional lives.
The point being, creating a new habit, or swapping a unhealthy habit with a healthy one (i.e., people who start exercising may reduce smoking); or people who start keeping a food journal one day per week, lost twice as much weight as the people who didn't (keep the journal); these are just of few of the studies which are fascinating. The beginning of the book spends maybe a bit too long on the guy who lost his memory and what they did to help him (it's related to the brain and referring to past habits), yet once you slog through that, you'll see how important it was and the rest of the book goes much faster.
Change one habit in your life and, as this book shows, it'll have a ripple effect, a positive affect on creating more and more positive habits throughout your life.
Support, by the way, is also important factor for anyone wanting to create new habits; so make your life easier by finding just one person who's interested & committed to meeting for a half-hour a week, 15 minutes for each to discuss solutions, what are your challenges and how to surmount them. It'd also make an interesting blog, for anyone who wants to change something in their life while discussing the ideas in this book and how you're applying them (to your situation). Help others while helping yourself. Or as the saying goes, "When you help another to get her canoe across the river, you also end up being across the river too." Or something like that, ha.
Back to The Power of Habit. Yes, we all have triggers in our life because the feelings that cause 'triggers' to overeat or smoke or drink, etc., are universal. We all feel these feelings. It's when we isolate, which many do, that our triggers may result in these unhealthy Responses and Results. (The book called Toughness talks about building up 'toughness', as if that's a muscle too. It's not as good a book as this, is mostly sports oriented, but well worth it for anyone realizing how important 'mental toughness' is.) The book, The Power of Habit, is also about building up a form of 'mental toughness', teaching us that, yes, we can use this information to respond to the difficult things/feelings in life IF we learn the skill and practice so as to strengthen the muscle.
Feelings that are hard to feel, such as loneliness, anxiety, stress, etc., that, in large part, is what this book is dancing around, without focusing directly on 'feelings'. Learning how to respond to our life in a way that's healthy, instead of destructive.This book explains how the brain works, illustrates with well-known people and case studies, and offers practical solutions for a wide variety of situations. Yes, it's definitely worth getting, and learning, again and again, until we 'get it'. As long as that takes.
The material is arranged in an easy-to-follow order and the narrator is pitch perfect, as well.
Want to change your life? It's about taking self-responsibility. And this book shows that it's not only possible, but feasible. Support is good, maybe necessary. And the more you/we all bring our best Self to the table, the more we'll all be able to contribute. It's about living life with meaning, not at the mercy of our parents' bad habits or our own. Yes, we can have more control over our lives. And isn't that alot of what happiness is. To make a difference, to be the person we're most capable of being? To connect with others and have something like this to share, because we were able to achieve it ourselves?!
If you're drawn to this subject, it's definitely worth your time.
Great writing and narration. Simple and clear. Like Hemingway. (But print out the pdf before you start listening, to make it even easier to follow this history-type book that brings us up to speed on probability theory applied to the stock market, in clear English.) Do you need to know math or physics? Nope. But you do need to be open to learning. And able to concentrate. That's it.
Have you ever wondered what theory explains the movement of dust particles (the ones you see in a stream of sunshine flowing through an attic window)? It's the same theory that explains the movement of stocks. The Random Walk theory is the main thrust. Based on the Bell Curve. Don't worry, it's clearly explained by a physicist who's obviously a good professor too. (FYI: As we listen/read, we learn that this theory is quite old. But like the Heliocentric Theory - which was silenced for over, what, 15 hundred years(!) - this old/new theory, too, was silenced, but not as long. But for the same reasons; because the people with political clout in physics in the day didn't want anyone to publish a theory that would cause too much change. In short, it was 'ahead of its time'. (Similarly, the Heliocentric Theory was silenced because the anti-Science Inquisitors of the time, i.e., the religious right, would've lost their power over the world. So you can say that both theories were 'ahead of their time' or that 'they both upset the status quo'. P.S. Think 'astrology', and you'll embody the same mindset of people who poo-pooed these two theories. But that's another subject, related but way too 'ahead' of the status quo.)
Anyway, what we learn about in The Physics of Wall Street is apparently quite old, well not like the Heliocentric Theory, but only decades old. It was a theory that was then 'rediscovered' around the 1980s or so, by an econ professor who thought he was inventing it for the first time. Until he found out. Ah, what a disappointment, imagine.
The book's narrator relates all this related history at a clear, simple, and fascinating clip. You'll be glad your read this.
Learn about what makes this Fund earn over 40%-plus returns since the 1990s - twice the annual average returns of Warren Buffet. (This Fund also made 70%-plus returns during the 2008 meltdown, while Buffet lost half the 'value' of his fund.) And did you know, this 2008 meltdown wasn't caused by the middle class buying subprime mortgages, Oh No!. (Isn't that special.) Instead the 2008 debacle, which is still melting our socks off was caused by this cadre of 'specialist physicists' on Wall Street, who used math to create computer models (that didn't work). These specialists are called Quants, and initially caused the HUGE multi-Billion dollar loss in August 2007 (called the Quant Crisis, which was pretty much covered up. Did you know about it?) Well, these same fund physicists kept their fingers crossed, hoping that the worst was over w/o having a clue as to what caused the original fiasco. Unfortunately, the Quants' prayers didn't work, just like their models. The same thing brought everything down around our ankles in 2008, which led, and continues to affect, our current situation. Those quants!
Everyone lost their shirt in 2008 (even Buffet, right!) -- everyone lost, except for this one Fund that we start hearing about from the beginning of this book. And few of us off of Wall Street have heard about this fund, right? They're like EF Hutton. "When they talk, everyone Listens. (Whoever wrote that ad campaign was great in the day, but is currently one of the many reasons why advertising is currently ineffective now. Unlike Public Relations, which includes customer referrals like this one. Note: Don't use customer referrals/testimonials w/o using the person's first & last name. Why? Credibility is King in the Internet Age.)
Ok, enough. Read it so you don't weep. But just so you know -- the founders of this Fund won't hire anyone associated with Wall Street nor anyone coming from a related, traditional background in Finance or Trading etc - because they know these folks don't have a clue. (Yet its 40%-plus returns - except for 2008, when it had 70%-plus returns -- these returns are enough to convince you of this Fund's effectiveness, at least for me.)
Note: A fascinating read for astrologers who know there's a link btwn physics and astrology (a la Will Keepin, the physicist-astrologer-environmentalist, and a contemporary who's coined astrology as "the Science of Meaning.").
The Physics of Wall Street. And it comes with a pdf so you can follow along and see the figures used in the book.
Fascinating stuff. All of it.
Considered to be a groundbreaking book on a new science of how & why we pursue the relationships we do. Don't let my dull review-writing stop you from getting this important new book. For parents, therapists, teachers, divorced, married or single. For anyone who values, and knows the importance of intra-personal & interpersonal intelligences. It's all about how we each make our relationship choices, even bad ones, based on the new science of Attachment which explains how we each connect with important others (3 styles that can overlap a bit: Secure, Anxious & Ambivalent) based on the latest in brain-based science & psychology/relationship research.
Learn more about how you can (easily) figure out your own primary mode of connecting with others, how MRI research shows we're more connected and/or dependent on our partners than mere choice allows; that is, it's part of our body, not just a habit or mental response to another. Some believe we must learn how to be less dependent, but the latest explains credibly & intelligently how we're wired to be less anxious when we're around our partner. The key is to learn how to manage any anxiousness in new relationships (practical tips) to avoid that 'crazy love' feeling that occurs with Anxious types of 'attachment', while Ambivalent types are the people who ignite the Anxious response with their Push-Pull, always withdrawing as soon as one moves toward them. Avoid this painful trap by reading this great, PRACTICAL book. Learn how to protect yourself from this type of unhealed & all-too available date, i.e., until you know how to protect yourself while dating & until you meet someone who is truly compatible.
I strongely suggest this fascinating book even if it's the only self-help book you read. (And by the way, how do you expect to have a great relationship with the people around you if you aren't open to learning something more?
The perfect book if you're a therapist, teacher, recently divorced, unhappily married, caught in a cycle of getting involved with unavailable people, etc. (why that is & what you can do to avoid this type of all-too available prospect) and much much more.
Out of nine possible types of 'intelligence', the two most important are 'intra- & interpersonal intelligences, writes Howard Gardner (Harvard, author of Multiple Intelligences). This book, Attached, will teach everyone more about both.
Well-written, -paced & -narrated autobiographical story about a kid who comes of age with panache, showing his penchant for living confidently & creatively, being truly open & receptive toward the people, places & experiences he most desired to experience - which is what 'living life fully' is all about even tho most of us let our conditioning or whatevers hold us in check. But not this fascinating guy, who starts hanging out at these guys' artistic household that's always filled with fetching models, underground filmmakers, and more. Not a few famous people are a part of this scene - and you'll love it!
Allowing his circle of artistic friends to influence him, Ken rises to the challenge when someone dares him to draw his own art. 'Lo n Behold, his first attempt is received well by these truly supportive, amazed people, which serves to encourage Ken to learn everything he can about Art.
And what a great beginning for an artist who almost by accident develops this long-term friendship with an art dealer-of-sorts who is also the son of a known mafia guy in NY, which certainly adds excitement & moments of dangerous living-on-the-edge. As is often the case with people who follow their energy w/o much planning, we watch & listen to Ken's trials, tribulations & reasons for creating the most incredible copies of masterpieces that use techniques that pass close inspections by the pros for decades (which techniques are explained enough for the nonartist to grasp Ken's ongoing abilities at to soak up life & knowledge, as well as meeting & developing helpful relationships with everyone he meets).
A historical story about the art scene on the edges, with mentions of famous people you are sure to recognize. Made me wish I'd lived in NY City in my 20s in the 60s & 70s. Any artist or art lover will not want to miss this lively, descriptive & true tale. Ah, the creative life when on has connections in the top of the art world, wise guys & even the tough lawyer, Roy Cohn. Even Andy Warhol wanted to meet Ken; and so will you.
A well-written Romance with an detective-book lover's subplot that, altho single-minded, simmers along until it 'PoPs' in a rather satisfying way at the very end. A bit better than the usual, but not the best of all, about a well-educated heiress, oldest daughter of railroad money who all the suitors love -- about which the daughter is, in this case, more perceptive about their real agendas than her well-meaning mother, as well as a childhood friend who covets everything and -one this heiress wants/loves most, not to mention the close presence of two suitors, one called Jack (a 1st generation Irish-American who's buying beer companies left and right) and another guy, a soon-to-be English Lord, who's cold and, ultimately, deadly. Good narrator, worth the credit if you're really in the mood. Really not quite as 'blah' as my review, but not worthy of awards. Nor for a best seller-list snob who only has time for books they can mention in like-minded society. Yet a satisfying read for those who need a very-light diversion from more taxing stuff. But next, you might want to try The Lawmaker. Not a romance unless you're the 'lover' of something well-written and entertaining.
Be in on the very beginning of author & narrator, Chris Colfer's debut book, which has also been scooped up by Hollywood - both of them, to be the Star of his own book, first book, no less! A very bright high school kid who learns how to manipulate his otherwise non-literary co-students, esp a few of the more popular kids who have secrets to hide, secrets that they'll do anything to make sure they stay hidden -- even if it means writing an article for this 'unpopular' kid's Literary Magazine. Why is he so driven to break his own code of ethics? Because he'll do anything to get into Northwestern so he can get away from these people who've bullied him so long AND, more so, to work his way up to becoming a writer for The New Yorker magazine, a mag most his schoolmates haven't yet heard of. Another great find at Audible, which made it possible w/it's Exchange Program (I.e., you don't have to be stuck with a book you don't like; you can now exchange your old choice with a better one. Thanks Audible!)
I first came across this author-narrator dream team in reading my favorite of theirs, A Winters Dream - about the 12th child (grown up 'child') of 13 in all, an assemblage of spawn from one DAd whose been married 4 times (still w/the fourth whom he loves), who owns a successful Ad Agency (regional) in Colorado. Well, the 12th, played by the book's narrator (the main character too) is not only the favorite child of the father (who's dysfunctional enough to make his favoritism clear to all), but he's the 'talented idea person' & copywriter who essentially keeps the company in the black. At least until his only blood sibling, his younger bro who apparently has a gambling problem, is found to have 'borrowed' about $30,000-$40,000 from the company. The very jealous siblings, led by the most envious-hateful one, tells the 'favorite' son that either they'll report his little brother OR he (the favored one) can take the punishment meted out by the rest by leaving the city w/o telling his younger brother or his parents why OR where he's left. (That way the jealous siblings can shape the story.) And even tho, up until this point, the story's riveting, it really begins at a higher level, if that's possible, here. I won't give it away, but that book is what led me to search out others by this author & narrator team, to this one. And I wasn't disappointed. Although it's a teen book, it deals with fascinating storyline, characters, and a group of high-school kids with special powers. Get both books, but if you're an adult and only have one credit, get A Winters Dream. If you're a teen, get this one. Or both if you can.
A group of wealthy people meet in some small 3rd world-ish country to celebrate an even richer Japanese industrialist's birthday - by meeting in the Vice President's house (along with the VP himself; the Prez of this country doesn't show b/c the party's celebrated during his favorite soap opera!). They have all shown up for another kind of opera -- a private concert by one of the most famous opera singers of all time. Why her? She's the favorite singer of the Japanese industrialist who the country is trying to impress so he'll place a manufactoring company in their country. The quiet, cultured man has seen & heard his favorite singer before, but this is the best he's ever heard, ever. As she sings, everyone is suddenly quiet b/c she's got the purest voice, covering three octives, which is virtually unheard of. But after she sings two pieces, accompanied by her pianist, who seems to be in love w/her, the lights go out due to a sudden flurry of gun fire. About 20 to 30 others are standing in the shadows of the great mansion; as a few lights come up, these extremely well-dressed people are surrounded by, mostly, teens & 20somethings, along with a few older guys, obviously their leaders - a few harsh-looking men. And all of them are wearing torn clothes covered with dirt & leaves, wearing masks & holding several weapons each. It's the beginning of a hostage situation that lasts for several months, where people get to know others from other socio-economic backgrounds. Music, some politics but mostly outstanding people who get to know each other, peppered with a few unlikely love stories.
One of the most fascinating books you'll ever read. Don't miss this one.
This first novel by Ann Patchett will blow your socks off. Great narrator too.
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