It seems that I always have a few constants going on in my life. One, I can usually be found in a few well-known places – my apartment, work, church, or somewhere in between. Two, I usually have a book or audio book somewhere near my person. So is true right now.
For the past couple of weeks, I have been listening to Comrade J: Secrets of a Russian Master Spy (Pete Earley) and it is brilliant. If you like James Bond, cloak-and-dagger stuff, but in reality-not Hollywood’s version, then you will love this book. I personally have been listening to it and the author pulls you in with the stories of how our intelligence business (domestic and foreign) operate. Anyone can be a spy. Some assets that Russia turned barely new they were spying for them. The book brings you inside the bowels of Russian KGB during the Cold War and then shows you how certain parties took power in Russia and utilized their trusted contacts to gain intel on the US, Canada, and many other nations. The deals that were struck between Iraq and Russia and the millions (if not billions) of dollars diverted for personal gain. In the end, it was Master Spy who defected and turned Russian intelligence on its head.
If you are looking for a great read, look no further than Comrade J.
Drugs are rampant in our society right now. From the experimentation of young teens to the fully addicted, they permeate through everything. In Beautiful Boy, David Sheff takes on a journey that no parent ever wants to experience – watching your child spiral downward into addiction hell.
When I read this book, I had just returned from Agape Tour where we visit drug and alcohol rehab facilities. We hear stories of hope & redemption but rarely hear the cycle that parents and families endure during this process. This book broke my heart. The passion of a father who wanted to see his son released from the pain of his addiction and the son who appeared to fight against everything that seemed appropriate to heal.
David Scheff recounts the spiral of his son, Nic Sheff, into this addiction from his point of view. He questions the decisions he made – divorce, enablement, recovery, etc. I can’t imagine what a parent thinks & fears when he doesn’t hear from his child for weeks and months at a time. When contact is made, the constant questioning of the truth is always present in the forefront of the mind as David recounts. He tells of the denial of the problem, the times his house was broken in to, the times his son was higher than a kite and many other experiences.
However, this story is not entirely devoid of hope and redemption. He talks about the journey of surfing, kayaking, and other activities including a family vacation after one of Nic’s stints in rehab & sobriety. There was a sorrow and joy in the writing as there should be. There was the moment when enough was enough – rehab or no support at all.
This book is a realistic approach to the family side of the drug issue. It is not for the faint of heart, either. This book is raw, full of emotion, moments of course language, but I also believe it is a book that all parents should read. Pick this book up today for a rare look behind the family side of drug related illnesses.
I read David Sheff‘s book Beautiful Boy about living through his son’s Meth addiction and throughout the read, I realized that it would be great to read the son’s perspective, so I picked up a copy of Tweak by Nic Sheff.
Beautiful Boy was an incredible raw book of a parent’s journey through a child’s addiction, but I wasn’t at all prepared for the mental picture that accompanied the writings of the Nic Sheff. There is a raw, sort of, unedited perspective that is written with the mindset that the end result will be death, not life.
Tweak picks up about half way through Nic’s meth addiction – after he finds himself cut off from his parents financially, turning tricks to make ends meet so that he can score his next round of blow. He talks about doing drugs that range from marijuana to meth (his drug of choice) to heroine. Not only does he have an addiction to drugs, he also has an addiction to alcohol and sex. This book is written from the perspective of an early 20-something that seems to only care about his needs.
Much like Beautiful Boy, he highlights parts of his life that uses a day format. He talks about his stints in sobriety, some lasting as long as 18 months before the pull and allure of the drugs drag him deeper and deeper into his addiction. He lies, cheats, steals and leaves one of his girlfriends at a market for four hours while he goes to steal something from his mother’s house and then subsequently collapses in her garage.
The vividness of his account is extraordinary. When he goes into a building to score more drugs, you can feel the emotions he felt – your heart rate increases when uncertainty surrounds. This book is much more raw and unfiltering of his experiences then Beautiful Boy. This book takes you deep inside his thoughts, his actions, the words that flow from his mouth in a series of explictives. His candor in sharing these experiences is inviting, but you should be prepared for the experience.
I recommend this book, but I reco
It seems that lately I have been in my biography & memoir reading/listening phase. Recent memoir reads include Beautiful Boy, Tweak and Live Through This — each with its own unique twist on family & life, but one underlying tone is that they all involved divorced which led to some form of addiction.
Loose Girl by Kerry Cohen is not the exception to the above statement; however, it is sad tale of a life that was in search of one thing – LOVE – that seemed ever allusive, but drew her deeper into insecurity and doubt over what that really looked like.
Kerry tells the story of a girl that at age eleven was experimenting with experiences with boys that should best be left for marriage. Sometimes you wonder why she is so open with her body, quickly opening herself up to be hurt, touched, groped and in some cases borderline raped. As I listened to these experiences, I wondered why the rebellious streak that was so evident, really needed to be there.
She tells of her parents being divorced and how her father attached himself to each girlfriend with a longing to be with them, but shredding commitment. Her father would also sit with her friends and smoke dope or drink with her and her friends – so much for the role model.
Her accounts of her mother were of abandonment, and a sister who was very reclusive and eventually who married and then divorced. Alas, she comes to a realization point and begins to shun the idea of openly releasing her body to the first guy she sees at the bar. She longs for a real relationship, one based on love that would span time. Occasionally through her journey, she happened upon a longer relationship, but eventually would push them away for various reasons. In the end, she did marry and settle down, but only after a long journey of giving herself away in many different ways.
This book was a fascinating listen and I wonder how many more girls are like Kerry, just wanting attention and love and seeking it in all the wrong places. It is
I am logical. No, I am creative. No, I am logical. No, I am creative. Do you ever feel like you are pulled between these two sides of your brain? Some days, you feel a little more logical – spreadsheets and word docs make you happy, while the thought of having to draw a happy face makes you frown.
Well, Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, invites you to re-think the sides of the brain. He takes you on a journey through research and brain MRI’s that show how you respond to certain stimuli. The book is a fascinating look at the way our brain functions, responds to events, triggers memories and pulls the pieces of situations into a coherent picture that we understand.
The design industry uses the right brain to help create new art pieces, new furniture and who knows what else. The left brain is our logic side – calculations and critical thinking are found here. However, Daniel identifies and stipulates, that the best individual is one who can pull the right information from the appropriate side of the brain and put it together to fit the situation. Sometimes we need more logic and less creativity and vice versa.
He explains that when someone has a stroke on the right side of the brain it affects their left side and vice versa. Sometimes we encounter people who appear to not understand what we are saying – that might actually be because that person doesn’t have full use of that particular part of the brain. I could be jesting about something and the person may take me literally.
Daniel suggests that we need to develop “a whole new mind” to evaluate situations and events that utilize both sides of the brain in equal amounts. This book focuses on the idea that right brain thinking will be depended on heavily in the future as we grow and change the way we interact.
This book was fantastic! If you are a research junkie, you will not be disappointed. If you work in a logical business (engineering for example), I would highly suggest that you challe
You Are Beautiful is the major theme of this charming book from Jenna Lucado. Redefining Beautiful is a gentle waltz for girls of all ages, especially teen girls.
It looks like Jenna has inherited some of her writing prowess from her father. This book is a must read for anyone who has teen daughters, works with teen girls, leads teen girls, etc. In our modern day world, where beauty is often skin deep, this book illuminates us to the ideas that beauty is so much more then what is on the outside.
This book shares the deep hurts of girls who grew up without a father or were hurt by their father. It also shows the importance of having deep and personal relationships with others. Max Lucado shares his thoughts with the audience about Jenna, and the role a father should play in the life of his daughter.
You will find beauty tips, fashion tips, and other tips that force you to examine your life. if you truly take advantage of the lessons in this book and do the exercises that Jenna has prepared, you can expect a marvelous experience.
Middle School youth leaders can use this book as a guide to help strengthen their teens spiritual and emotional lives, and to help them discover their true beauty. If you have the chance, I recommend that you listen to this book as Jenna reads the book, and you receive all of her great personality that would be missed if you just simply read the book. This is a home run from Jenna Lucado!
Gary Vaynerchuk has hit a home run with his book Crush It! This book uses our passion, that deep resonating passion that we all have for a particular interest, and tells us how best to leverage it.
Gary, of Wine Library, tells us of his humble beginnings working in his parent’s store as a teenager. Even then he saw a need, people couldn’t decide which wine they wanted. So, he studied up on the subject and realized he loved wine, at least understanding it in the beginning.
This book shows you how to:
- Recognize your passion
- Leverage social media to extend or build your brand
- Embrace a customer service model
- Enjoy every aspect of your passion
He has since become a main player in brand management and is a passionate user of social media, provided it fits in with his strategy. This book is not simply a read and never touch again book, but rather a book to reference throughout your journey of “passion” building. I listened to the book, but I will probably pick up an e-book or even the hardback version of this book for my library.
In a field, far deprived from human contact, Quenton Cassidy and Bruce Denton clip off sixty-second quarters in preparation for the inevitable dance with fate – the ever, elusive four-minute mile. In Once a Runner, John L. Parker, Jr. masterfully captures the collegiate running experience while following his main character Quenton Cassidy.
The research behind this novel is right on the mark. The famed Millrose Games, with its long, rich history is best known for its Wanamaker Mile. John captures the allure of this event, and other great events like the Drake Relays with excitement and passion. Southeastern University is the home to its greatest athletes that are full of college politics, back history, athletes that have Olympic and World hopes and some drama.
Rolling through campus, bobbing and weaving through campus students, Quenton Cassidy and his merry gents feel the wind in there faces, and the ground beneath them. I listened to this book in the car and I found myself lost in my childhood. As a kid, I grew up running with a local track club and then eventually in high school. I remember how it made me feel. I remember the joy of the wind in my face and the rolling hills of a single-track trail winding through a wooded forest. I detested the intervals much like the characters in this book; however, nonetheless this book is a must read for anyone who loves running.
After reading this book, you will want to hit the trails or streets for some exercise – that alone is inspiring.
I found this book to be engaging and very applicable to the business community. I also found it interesting, because I learned more about the Navy then I knew before and how one person with the right motivation and drive can empower their employees (or shipmates) to be the best. This is a must read for any manager!
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