James Patterson. David Baldacci. Those are my most loved non-fiction authors and one month I took a vacation without knowing I was leaving when I selected an adventure by Spencer Quinn. This PI novel is told from the voice of a police-trained German Shepherd name Chet, and his person, “The Smartest Human in the Room,” Bernie Little. Together they own The Little Detective Agency.
Sometimes Chet startles himself with a profound thought, e.g., he saw the neighbor frustrated with not being able to start the leaf blower, which Chet hated because the high pitched whine hurt his ears. After many tries, the neighbor threw it to the ground and went inside. Chet thought about the many times he had seen humans get so frustrated with a machine that they stomped, kicked, punched or jumped on it. He thought of one man-machine incident after another, then the profound thought popped into his canine head: Can humans make machines mad? He amazed himself. But not too much.
Love dogs? Chet loves the bones that people give him, for example, the owner of the best restaurant in the valley gives him rib bones, “sometimes with the ribs attached.” As much as he loves treats, he dislikes cats. It was a cat that distracted him during the final exam for the police academy, and therefore became the reason he didn’t qualify for the K-9 Unit. There is a cat in this story that causes the expected chaos as many times as he has lives. Chet can smell things about the people they encounter. He’s a trained police dog, after all. Things like toothpaste and mouthwash on the “top layer,” and tobacco, cocaine and oxycontin below.
Want romance? Divorced now for several years and having his son for visitation every second weekend and Christmas opens the door for his soul match, Sandy, a reporter who moves a couple hours away in search of her big break. Of course the usual tension between Bernie and his ex, Leta, adds spice to a couple situations.
The case Bernie and Chet are on in this adventure involves a badly behaved actor named Thad Perry. The Mayor pays Bernie a hearty amount to shadow Chad and make sure that for the 10 days they are filming a movie in his city, Chad has no “situations.”
Quinn veraciously captures the devotion dogs have for their owners and the mindless antics they go through to occupy their day. Jim Frangione is absolutely perfect. He has a chesty voice and each character its own clear timber. This is the fifth in the series and I guarantee you that once you have heard this book, you will go back and pick up at least one of the other four. I bought them all!
There was a lot of opinion in this book but not much back to back it up. The author is very enthusiastic and truly believes in himself. This wasn't the best book that I've read,yet it had the most energy.
I enjoy watching TED talks and enjoy making presentations at work and at my local Toastmaster Club. Any advice I can get to improve my talks is always welcome. This book reflects hours of canalization of the greatest TED talks to reveal the commonalities of those greatest speakers.
We start out with 3 laws of the “most engaging and persuasive presentations:”
*Emotional –Touch My Heart
*Novel- Teach Me something New
*Memorable- Present Content in Ways I’ll Never Forget
I first read Gallo’s book 10 Simple Secrets of the World’s Greatest Business Communicators in 2005. That book helped me improve my speaking with such practical and easy to apply tips that everyone noticed my improvement immediately. He had me when he said something I have always agreed with. When I would attend a seminar or training session and a new speaker would begin, I would always begin with a groan: oh no, more dumb jokes. Brain science now knows that we decide within a few seconds if the speaker is credible and if we are going to pay attention to him/her.
That’s where the TED talks come in. They all start in the middle of the speech! They get right to the most interesting part of their topic and work backwards or sideways! How can you NOT listen!
So after studying all these great speeches, Gallo comes up with 10 commonalities, aka Secrets, that I can apply immediately. He talks about using my passion for a topic, developing the ability to tell an intriguing story, internalize and rehearse my content paying attention to my vocal delivery, developing a catchy, current title, delivering a jaw-dropping moment, keeping even serious content light so the brain can remember and digest it, the importance of timing, painting a mental picture in the mind of your audience, narrowing your topic and how rehearsing develops authenticity.
My next presentation will astonish people.
Witness to Roswell: Unmasking the Government's Biggest Cover-Up
On September 11, 2001, TV news reported on the attack on America 24/7. Like the majority of Americans, I was glued to the images. Two buildings stood apart, in that the facts, as reported, did not match the pictures that were being shown on TV and YouTube. The WTC Building #7 fell hours later and had fire on just a couple of the top floors. It looked like a demolition. The other building that just didn’t reconcile pictures and facts was that a jet had crashed into the Pentagon. There were no jet parts, no ball of fire, no live TV cameras showing the interior of the building. In fact, looking at the Pentagon on YouTube, one can see clearly that a jet’s wingspan is wider than the “hole” in the building, and the exposed part of the building shows minute details of rooms unburned by jet fuel. The official government position is that a jet went through it yet the evidence says something different. Unaware citizens will stand firm in what was said, not what the evidence says. I was a witness to this cover up because it happened during my lifetime and I saw a live feed of the events; and because the news isn’t as restrained now as it was when a UFO, with life-forms aboard, crash landed in Roswell, NM after lightning struck its 14 foot long ship.
Witness to Roswell: Unmasking the Government's Biggest Cover-Up exposes a government cover up of an event that occurred in a rural area of New Mexico on July 3, 1947. The president Ok’d the plan and the military bullied civilians and military personal into denying what they saw by telling them that they and their children would be killed if they spoke up. Many deathbed confessions and one signed affidavit from a high military officer admit to seeing two sheep ranchers’ fields strewn with “magic metal” and a teardrop shaped flying object. Most shocking were the three dead bodies of a form “not of this earth” that had a large egg-shaped head with almond-shaped eyes and a slit for a nose and a mouth, upon a scrawny, milky white alien body. Oh, and there was one that was still alive. If only those witnesses had smartphones and could upload onto YouTube faster than the military could get to the scene and shut it down. Most of them didn’t even have electricity and phones in every house.
This book meticulously considers the evidence. It takes the point of view of anyone involved, e.g., those who guarded the field, the tent, the crated bodies, those who loaded the bodies, those who flew the bodies on each leg of the journey to Ohio, the doctor, the mortician, and the chaplain. The site of the living alien so affected the local sheriff that he never ran for office again. Most of the witnesses have passed away now and some have taken their secrets to the grave; but others have spoken. This book is a must read – especially if you don’t believe.
Select stories from the Old Testament/Torah have been written and re-written for children for decades. The biblical story of David and Goliath is as well-known as Jonah and the fish. The application of the underdog overcoming all odds to beat the giant has been repeated and applied to one person suing Proctor & Gamble and winning, a 60 year old woman swimming from Cuba to Florida, and to a small cadre of soldiers winning independence from a powerful mother country. Stories such as these surround us, and yet, we are always amazed and we always want to read the story again.
The physiological/physical examination of Goliath’s acromegaly and pituitary macroadenoma has been noted in previous publications. It is the case of innocent childhood bravado up against a physically impaired adult coming together in an unexpected way, a fresh approach, that results in a new conclusion. The same surprise at results is recorded by Gladwell as he examines the easily believed study that shows smaller class size results in better performing students to be false and more money doesn’t result in more happiness. Let’s just fire the bad teachers and accept that money can’t really buy happiness.
I have read all of Malcom Gladwell’s books. This one is the dullest of all. Nothing new has been revealed. No reasons are given to be excited at saying you have read this book. He has researched this extensively, well, maybe too much, to arrive at conclusions that are not profound. His dull, nearly monotone voice is empty of enthusiasm and is “music” to sleep by. If you have read Blink! The Outliers, or The Tipping Point, you must read this one to hear what I mean.
Have you ever wondered what your dog’s version of your life would be? This mystery of a missing person and the entanglement of the oil industry with the shrimping industry is told through the eyes of Chet, a “hundred pounder plus” police-trained German shepherd who belongs to Bernie Little, P.I. Chet is smart, playful and ever hungry, just as is my dog. Chet sees himself a full partner to Bernie and The Little Detective Agency located in AZ.
This particular mystery takes the pair to Bayou country, LA looking for the reclusive, inventor brother of one of the pair’s old criminals, Frenchie Boutette. A load of shrimp was “heisted” and in the course of tracking this down, Bernie is hit on the head twice and shot in arm, while Chet is dumped in the bayou tangled in a fish net to drown. Fighting hard, he loosens himself from the grip of the net just enough to breathe and swim – all night long with no land in sight. An amazing fight between the heroic dog and a huge crock ensues at dawn before Chet finds safety from a one-eyed manly woman who returns him to Bernie.
The dog’s perspective is humorous and credible. He is totally devoted to pleasing Bernie and utilizing his police training to keep them both safe while dealing with criminal slugs who have no value for life. The dog describes what he sees and perceives with uncanny brilliance and child-like innocence; just enough to help us figure out who may be around the next corner. Sometimes Chet startles himself with a profound thought, he can’t be relied on to decide colors (at least, that’s what Bernie says) and he can’t count past two, but his ability to smell helps the listener pick up the scent even before Bernie does.
If you like mysteries, the twist of this dog’s perspective will make you listen long past your allotted time frame. It is a must have!
Jim Frangione is the best narrator! He has several voices and used varied dialects and pacing. He is a master at differentiating the characters for the listener.
The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs
My presentations will never be the same! I learned so much from this book. I listened to this book in one sitting! Steve Jobs’ presentations catapulted him to messianic status and Apple to being the epicycloid of the smart phone industry. Although his presentations seems informal and spontaneous, this book clearly shows a pattern that Jobs used and emphasizes the hours of practice that produced these insanely great presentations. Toastmasters International has been helping people learn and practice tools to help them become great speakers for decades. This book takes those principles of gestures, eye contact, using a prop, writing it out, organizing the content, using vocal variety and the pause, and gives examples of where jobs used them and what he said.
Then comes the “insanely great” part: Jobs threw in a “Holy Smokes!!!” moment and reinterpreted the use of slides. How to create the HS moment is included and can be adapted to any topic. For anyone who uses PowerPoint in their presentations, this book is a must! Learning how to use the slides like Jobs did can change the audience from yawning to inspired.
When I want to increase my understanding of a topic, I borrow the book from the library and buy the Audible book. I listen as I read. This narrator made a mess of the book. Many paragraphs were totally skipped, he paraphrased and changed words. He totally skipped examples from Steve’s speeches. He read so slowly that when I listened to the book alone, I had to change the reading rate to 1.5.
Every time you use a computer, scan your credit/debit card or loyalty card, or drive your car, Big Data is being collected about you - without your direct and specific permission and with no compensation to you. Big Data refers to the abundance of data that is collected on every person voluntarily and involuntarily, with and without their knowledge, every second of every day. It is available for relatively quick predictive analysis of just about everything we do. The abundance of data, its use and re-use, are transforming our world.
Can Google predict an outbreak of the flu? Can a car detect that a thief is behind the wheel? Can Apple really tell our biometrics through the use of their earbuds? The amazing answer is – yes! By correlating data from one place with the data from another, and maybe even another, companies can form an accurate picture of your needs and wants and present them to you for purchase. One interesting correlation of this data is drawing on the unrelated behaviors of the web sites a person visits and their hobbies, with their insurance premium. Or connecting credit reports and consumer marketing data with a person’s higher risk of having high blood pressure.
While collecting every bit of data about people seems invasive of our privacy, it saves lives and helps doctors treat people sooner. Analytics determined that preemies stabilize right before they encounter a crisis. I believe the recent revelation that our government has been collecting data of our phone calls is the latter element mentioned in the “burgeoning field” in the book as “network analysis,” where it is “possible to map, measure and calculate the nodes and links for everything from one’s friends on Facebook, to which court decisions cite which precedents, to who calls whom on their cellphones. Together these tools help answer non-causal, empirical questions.” Hurricanes can be predicted through the purchase of Pop-Tarts.
Data is painlessly collected by “seeing” how many cell phones are traveling on a highway to show real-time traffic patterns, or how many cell phones are gathered together to determine how many people showed up for a protest. Even our Tweets are sold and used to “garner aggregate customer feedback” or see if a marketing campaign is working. The innocent act of providing pictures and news on Facebook (and other social media) so our family and friends can share our joy is a voluntarily act of giving up our privacy so business (and government) can benefit from our thoughts, our pleasures, and those we “follow.”
Imperfect yet informative, Big Data’s usefulness has only just begun.
It was read to perfection, at a pace that made this sometimes incredible information, easier to grasp. I even set the reading rate faster than "1" many times, as it was written to be easily understood.
Once I started this book, it was really hard to stop. A good read about how the world is changing.
In The Moral Animal I found myself arguing with the anthropological evolution of (mostly) men because the logic is often in direct violation of American culture today. Remember the flack Newt Gingrich experienced when he said men were hunters? It was interesting to have a reason why some women want the “bad boys” and why men ask women to marry them (instead of women asking men). There are exceptions, of course, but humanity moves in generalities. This book has provided me with an understanding of human behavior. By looking at animals and applying their behavior to the animal side of humans, we can see that morals become the great divide. Men famously think about sex most of the time and will mate with any female, just as dogs will; however, if a man has “good” morals, he will remain faithful to his wife/girlfriend, whereas a dog won't remember that he just mated with a female an hour ago. If no or low morals, man will mate and perhaps think about any consequences later.
There are many examples in the book of various forms of primates to explain why behavior exists. In the early days of mankind, one man would have many wives and concubines and that is what helped populate the world. Today we no longer need to stress population, indeed, we focus on slowing it down through various methods of contraception and imposition of morals. Only man has morals; animals have instincts.
Sometimes the book drags on and I wanted to fast forward, but then there was that one nugget of information that was intriguing. The reader has a monotonous voice that I often struggled to stay with. If you are a thinker, analytical and are curious about human behavior, this is a must read. You won’t have to ask why someone behaved the way s/he did.
I would promote it as another book in Swindoll's series on men of God.
If you have been reading the other books in Charles Swindoll’s series about great men of God, then this is a must read. He continues his series with the biography of himself. All the discs in Part 1 except one small portion cover his life before he was called through the early days of his ministry. Part 2 covers every right decision he made to arrive in the beautiful life that he still enjoys today with added information on speaking. He tells us how blessed he was to have his wife, his children and all the churches to which he was called. He had the same struggles raising his children that many of us have and he helps us understand that although a circumstance may seem bad, it is all for God’s glory. This narrative is especially helpful for those who are evaluating God’s decision to bring them into the ministry and those who are just beginning their life in the ministry. I am a born again Christian and really appreciate the radio ministry that he has and how it can be a benefit to millions of people.The reader was a perfect fit for the topic of the book. His voice was pleasant, easy to listen to and helped make repetitive information easier to listen to. He added the credibility needed for an autobiography of a minister.With that said, I also deliver speeches and always appreciate help and tips from others on “How to Say It.” The information that Swindoll provides on this topic could fit onto one disk. It is so cloaked with stories of himself that you might have to go back to catch the paragraph or two that he has to offer on speaking. The information is in the line of be sincere, be yourself and speak from your heart. I will never listen to these discs again for information on speaking. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
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