Chamblee, GA, United States | Member Since 2009
If you have studied human behavior, there is a lot in here that you already know. The author does a really good job of applying it to investing, and showing how you can stop being your own worst enemy.
This book has been out for a while and has received numerous accolades. They are all deserved. Louis Zamperini's story is unbelievable. If this were a work of fiction, it would be described as fantasy. Louis lived an amazing life. To survive what he did seems like a true miracle, and maybe it was.
The book is incredibly well-written. Hillenbrand is just a great writer. Time and again, she will leave a little clue as to a later part of the story. Even though the story is long, it moves very well, always leaving the reader to want to read (or listen) just a little bit more.
Herrmann is a fantastic narrator, and his performance here is worthy of Louis' story and Hillenbrand's writing.
Just excellent all the way around.
For even the casual fan of Fleetwood Mac, this is a great read. Mick's highly improbable life reads a little bit like a fairy tale that came true. The story of the beginning through the Peter Green era is very interesting and provides those of us who became familiar with the band only during the Buckingham Nicks era with a more complete picture.
The book confirms, more or less, much that has been written and suspected of the excesses during the Rumours era. From the free-flowing drugs (how did they not get busted?) to Stevie's demand that her hotel suite be painted pink with a piano, almost anything went and it was all over the top. It really is a bit of a miracle that the entire band has survived, when, as Mick notes, many of their contemporaries did not.
What the book particularly provides is an opportunity for Mick to reflect on his life, warts and all. For the guy who was supposed to be "Big Daddy" with all the answers, Mick is still looking for answers in his own life at 67. Fortunately, he seems to be closer to finding them and largely at peace. He is clearly elated that the entire band, including Christine McVie, is back together.
Mick calls the band's current tour their "victory lap." Given the age of the members, that is probably an apt description. It is truly difficult to believe that the band's original reunion, with The Dance album, happened 17 years ago in 1997. It's equally difficult to believe they are still going, and, by most accounts, sounding great. But they won't be doing this 17 years from now. If the band is coming to your area, this might be the last chance to see them.
Regardless, they have left an incredible catalogue of music that remains popular today. That is not only a tribute to their music, but an indictment of the current music scene. Mick promises another album with new material will be forthcoming. It may be the band's curtain call, but it will probably be a good one.
This course is very interesting, although it could be better. The first two parts of the book are excellent with a wealth of historical information about the historical development of the English language going, well, back to the beginning. Really fascinating, and I felt like I learned a lot.
When the book gets to the later stages, however, it slips a bit. The professor lapses into more than a little political correctness, which is probably not surprising given his background. If you can take it or leave it, the discussion is still interesting.
The professor is not a bad lecturer, but he has one incredibly irritating habit: He says "if you like" all the time. It becomes glaringly obvious, especially given the length of the recording. Maybe the professor can fix this in the third edition.
Another irritation--although certainly not the professor's fault--is the trumpet music announcing each new chapter along with the fake applause (which also closes each chapter). Straight out of 1950s sound effects. Just plain awful and prevalent in the "Great Courses." But, fortunately, a small part of the recording.
This is an absolutely fascinating book that covers Mossad missions from the formation of Israel to the present. The book is well written and the story moves quickly. The narration is excellent. It is very hard to put down.
The book is generally positive about the agency, but not fawning. Flawed missions are discussed candidly.
One comes away with a very definite view that the U.S. owes much to Israel and the Mossad, especially given our fumbled foreign policy of the last ten years through two diametrically different administrations.
This book begins like a mystery novel and expands into a wide ranging expose of the NSA documents disclosed by Edward Snowden. It then concludes with an expansive analysis and critique of the NSA, government officials, and, especially, the mainstream media.
I began this book with few preconceptions where it would lead. I was highly disturbed by revelations regarding the NSA, but also cognizant of the real danger posed by terrorism.
One thing that comes through from the outset is Snowden's sincere belief in what he did and his courage. As Greenwald points out repeatedly, Snowden made no effort to conceal his involvement and knew that doing so would almost certainly ruin his previously comfortable life.
The revelations regarding the NSA and the prior deception regarding the scope of its program--and the rather complete lack of meaningful oversight--are highly disturbing. Why does the NSA believe it needs to "collect everything" instead of using a targeted approach focusing on likely sources of danger?
Greenwald is at his best in making the case against mass surveillance. As he points out persuasively, people modify their behavior just by the threat of surveillance, and mass surveillance is the antithesis of a free society as history should have already taught us time and again.
Greenwald also makes impressive indictments against politicians who regularly and reflexively defend surveillance no matter how absurdly broad and unfocused it may be. And the Constitution gets lost in the wringer of life inside the Beltway.
Greenwald also swings for the fences and delivers in his indictment of the mainstream media. The mainstream media consist of lapdogs, pliantly doing the bidding of politicians. As Greenwald points out, the Obama Administration has not only carried on the Bush era programs, but has expanded them, with rarely an eyebrow raised in the media, especially a fawning media that (until recently at least) was willing to swallow and parrot whatever drivel the Administration chose to peddle.
Greenwald gets off target, in my judgment, in criticizing the NSA for studying the economic interests of foreign nations and industries in foreign nations. Of course the NSA (and the State Department) need to be fully aware of the such interests, as they often define policy interests and drive foreign policy decisions. This is far different than spying on all Americans.
Greenwald also, in my judgment, loses momentum in minimizing the threat posed by terrorism, particularly violent Islamic terrorism. While it may be true that a person (at least to date) is more likely to die of a lightning strike than in a terrorist attack, Greenwald ignores the damage that, for example, the 9/11 attacks did to the U.S. economy and our way of life. The reality is that it made a big difference. Greenwald's argument also pales--if not seems somewhat naive--in light of ISIS and other powder kegs around the world.
So perhaps Greenwald overstates in a few instances and gets off track in others. That does not detract from the importance of this book and the importance of what Snowden--with the help of Greenwald--revealed about what our government is doing to us.
This book is a great summer read. It is very well written, and the story moves along well from the beginning.
Klein has been criticized for re-creating scenes based on off-the-record or background interviews. Fair enough, I guess, but the overall narrative seems very consistent about what is well-known about the Clintons and the Obamas. It also seems highly unlikely that sources would have spoken on the record.
How do the four main characters fare? Not very well: From flawed but competent to flawed but incompetent. Bill Clinton is definitely the most interesting character and clearly is the only one who seems to have the pulse of middle America. This is not surprising since he grew up Arkansas, while Obama grew up in Hawaii, and Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton both came from privileged backgrounds in Illinois.
One thing that is absolutely clear from this narrative is that both the Clintons and the Obamas live like royalty; actually, probably better than royalty. The Clintons have multiple palatial residences in New York, D.C., and Little Rock and fly wherever they want (with Secret Service protection) on private jets. So much for Hillary putting her foot in her mouth about being "dead broke." The Obamas command Air Force 1 like they owned it, jetting off to Hawaii, Martha's Vineyard and other playgrounds of the rich. Michelle Obama, in particular, seems to have no reluctance about spending the taxpayers' money.
My conclusion: Unfortunately, our country has suffered from making some bad choices. You probably have to be a bit of a narcissist even to run for president, but this crew takes the cake. Bill Clinton, for all his flaws, is a brilliant politician who was practical enough to make a deal with the other side. Obama is a brilliant campaigner who is out of his league as an executive, being led around by Valerie Jarrett and Michelle, paying attention only to a leftist political agenda when he pays attention at all. Hillary Clinton is a good manager, but has none of Bill's political talents, and has a heap of scandals in her past. Both Clintons have serious health issues.
The country deserves better.
Charles Krauthammer is a great writer, and this collection of is work over several decades is well worth reading. Of modern political writers, Krauthammer is probably the best at laying out an organized, thoughtful, supported, and convincing argument. At he is entertaining to boot.
The book is not limited to politics and some of the most entertaining selections are about the author's family and passions (I'm glad he likes baseball; sorry he is a Nationals fan!).
The narration is inexplicably split between the author and another narrator. I don't know why it was done this way, and it is a bit distracting.
This is not a bad book. I could probably give it 3.5 stars if the rating system allowed it. The book is well organized and covers a lot of information regarding the process of re-inventing organizations and yourself. If you need a pep talk, it is a good book and it has a lot of good ideas.
Why not a higher rating? The book simply does not cover much in the way of new ground. There really is not much here that was not covered decades ago by Napoleon Hill and there are many other newer books that cover much of the same subject matter in much the same way.
Still, the book moves well and the stories included for inspiration and explanation, although some are familiar, are good.
The narration, by the author, is not bad. However, as is so often the case, a professional narration probably would have been better.
One word of warning: The author is from Detroit, and a lot of the examples are about Detroit. The author earnestly believes that Detroit will re-invent itself as a great American city. If you do not want to hear repeatedly about that, this book is not for you.
I read Younger Next Year about 5 years ago and have followed quite a bit of it in my personal life. Work pressures did not have me on a good path, and this book was an inspiration to do better. I'm still not where I want to be, but I'm a lot better off because of this book.
In January, I decided to revisit the book -- the audio version this time -- for some inspiration for the new year. The audiobook is even better than the paperback. The narration is really well done, and an example how the medium can actually enhance a publication.
There are not very many books I have bought for friends and family, but this is one of them.
The authors have built quite a franchise with their Aftershock series, which, like a number of others, predicts that the Fed's money printing and bond buying will end badly, essentially in a depression in which the economy will ultimately re-set. There certainly is plenty to worry about and the authors make a good case for their position.
What is disappointing is that the authors really do not present a lot of actionable investment advice or other advice. It might be summarized as buy gold and learn a useful skill that involves repairing things. To that end, I think the title is a little misleading. It should be noted that there is an Aftershock mutual fund (SHKNX), although it has high expenses and its performance has been pretty awful as of the date of this review (February 1, 2014). Of course, that does not necessarily provide a means for judging it because the market boomed in 2013 -- the authors would argue as a result of a fake recovery pumped up by Fed stimulus -- and the fund is presumably built to do well in a crash or the aftermath.
Another disappointment -- although not surprising -- is that the book seems to offer a lot of recycled material. I'm going on memory here from the original Aftershock, but there is a lot here that will be very familiar if you have read the authors' prior works. Further, it seems to me that there are parts of the book that are very repetitive. My impression after listening is that the book could really use a good editing.
In terms of actionable advice, there's not much here. To me, the overall economic thesis of the book is persuasive, and it makes sense to be cautious and to keep a very close eye on things. Readers might want to consider "The Permanent Portfolio" for more actionable advice.
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