Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fun to read: Storm Front

Storm FrontStorm Front by Richard Castle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I laughed out loud at the last line with such explosive vigor (appropriate for this work) that Jody jumped out of her chair, where she was reading too. In spite of eliciting the occasional groan for corny humor, this entertained me and kept me turning the pages. A fun and entertaining read. If I read another book by "Richard Castle" it will probably be one about Nikki Heat. Life is too short to get stuck in a groove, even though I'm sure I would enjoy another "Storm."

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Promoting Family Fun

I just created an ad/psa for the Brockton Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops Concert and posted it on my Podcast Garden page. You can access the mp3 by clicking here. Here's the text: Give yourself, your family and friends The Gift of Music when the Brockton Symphony Orchestra and conductor Emilian Ba-day-uh present Holiday Pops on Sunday, December 8th at 3:00 O’Clock at the West Middle School. You’ll hear light classical music, popular holiday songs and whimsical fun with “The Whistler and His Dog” and “The Toy Symphony,” and you’ll see the Kennedy School Chorus, ballerina Anastasia Fields, and a special guest conductor. Adult tickets are Twenty five dollars, seniors and students twenty, children 12 and under free when accompanied by an adult. Order at Brockton Symphony dot org, or call the Symphony at 508-588-3841. That’s 3:00 PM, Sunday, December 8th at the West Middle School, 271 West Street in Brockton. The Brockton Symphony Orchestra – Beautiful Music in the City of Champions! Sponsored by Harbor One Bank.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Joy To Read!

JoylandJoyland by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Of course I finished it with tears on my cheeks. (OK, only on the right cheek.) I have said that in many reviews, and wonder if it's because now I have to leave the author's world and either return to my own or find another "transpporter." Partway through this book I wrote in my Journal "Stephen King made me almost shed a tear with the most “casual” sentence in this funhouse book, demonstrating that no good deed goes unpunished, and that life is most unfair when you are trying to do a good thing and instead of gratitude you get a massive slap. Ouch!” [No need for a spoiler alert, you'll have to decide for yourself the precipitating exchange.] I’ve said for decades that part of King’s power is to inject personhood into even his secondary and bit-part characters – the opposite of many authors’ “cardboard characters” - and he hasn't lost that touch. Some of the strongest criticism of his work, especially the longer ones, is how he ties up (or doesn't) the endings. Joyland finishes exactly as it must, with plenty of regrets, but none regarding the craft of the author. Thank you, Stephen King.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Not Bad, Just Not Good Enough

Bleeding EdgeBleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Along with Pynchon’s reputation and best-seller status, I was attracted to this book because of its New York City setting. That, and returning to a day when technology was important but not yet omnipresent, would make it nostalgic for me. I forgot that this was the time when Jody and I returned to the New York area. I took the job of building the Rahway Public Library in early 2001 and already felt like a tourist when we went into “The City.”
I moved from NYC to Massachusetts in 1974. The next quarter century erased and replaced the sense of life I remembered. A friend who stayed behind told me, back then, to stop making eye contact with everybody before I got us killed. The East Village where I drank wine from a common bottle with street people, in Tompkins Square Park, had been replaced by, in Pynchon’s word, “Yups.” There was no joy in revisiting my old locale. Meanwhile, I found the heroine of the book and other characters interesting, and was curious about where the plot would take them, but was not compelled to get back to the book, not eager to continue. I enjoyed the act of reading the pages, but they didn’t own me. Remembering my age, I decided that I owe it to myself to be very selective because there are SO MANY BOOKS. I wish Pynchon well, but I am returning his book unfinished, today.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

A word FOR our sponsor: Apologies!

Here's a corrected version of my "advertisement" for the Brockton Symphony Orchestra. It's a different audio than posted on Thursday, but only one change was made to the text and vocal: I had forgotten that HarborOne Credit Union was recently reorganized and renamed "HarborOne Bank." You can click on the link to hear the radio commercial, with snippets of all four pieces on the program for October 27th. Maestro James Orent told me the players will need all their strength - those Russians wrote vigorous (my word, not James') music.

"The Brockton Symphony Orchestra kicks off its Sixty-Sixth Season "From Russia With Love” Sunday, October 27th at 3:00 p.m. in the Oliver Ames High School. Rimsky-Korsakov’s Procession of the Nobles leads us – just in time for Halloween – to Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky. See Italy through Russian ears with Tschaikowsky’s Capriccio Italien. Prepare to be swept away when 2012 Feinberg Youth Competition winner Seho Young plays Rachmaninoff’s sumptuous Piano Concerto Number 2. Adult tickets are Twenty dollars, seniors and students fifteen, children 12 and under free when accompanied by an adult. Order at Brockton Symphony dot org, or call the Symphony at 508-588-3841. That’s 3:00 PM, Sunday, October 27th, at the Oliver Ames High School in North Easton. The Brockton Symphony Orchestra – Beautiful Music from the City of Champions! Sponsored by Harbor One Bank."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Russians Are Coming - With Love!

Here's my latest "advertisement" for the Brockton Symphony Orchestra. You can click on the link to hear the radio commercial, with snippets of all four pieces on the program for October 27th. Maestro James Orent told me the players will need all their strength - those Russians wrote vigorous (my word, not James') music.

"The Brockton Symphony Orchestra kicks off its Sixty-Sixth Season “From Russia With Love” Sunday, October 27th at 3:00 p.m. in the Oliver Ames High School. Rimsky-Korsakov’s Procession of the Nobles leads us – just in time for Halloween – to Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky. See Italy through Russian ears with Tschaikowsky’s Capriccio Italien. Prepare to be swept away when 2012 Feinberg Youth Competition winner Seho Young plays Rachmaninoff’s sumptuous Piano Concerto Number 2. Adult tickets are Twenty dollars, seniors and students fifteen, children 12 and under free when accompanied by an adult. Order at Brockton Symphony dot org, or call the Symphony at 508-588-3841. That’s 3:00 PM, Sunday, October 27th, at the Oliver Ames High School in North Easton. The Brockton Symphony Orchestra – Beautiful Music from the City of Champions! Sponsored by Harbor One Credit Union."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Gritty but Satisfying

Aftershock: A ThrillerAftershock: A Thriller by Andrew Vachss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Frontier justice, Twenty-First Century style. Dark! You may at times find yourself cheering on a character, but this is not “cheerful” writing. This is amazing – thinking about saying something about Vachss’ style I opened the book again and realized (could it really be for the first time?) that it is narrated in the first person. In less skillful hands that becomes a distraction. In this case I didn’t consciously note why I was seeing the world through the eyes of this angel of justice. It helps to read French, only some of which is translated during memories of Foreign Legion service, but even that doesn’t slow the pace of this wicked and exciting (the “and” necessary so you won’t think I’ve totally assimilated into New England) page turner. I enjoyed it more than a person should with my education and sensibilities.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Small Green Spokescritter's Secrets for Happiness"

You're Only Human: A Guide to LifeYou're Only Human: A Guide to Life by The Gecko
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So the day after posting two reviews with the disclaimer that one was for a book read two weeks ago, "I don't want to create the impression that, even in retirement, i can read two books in a day. I'm an appreciative reader, not a fast one," here I am having read another book - in about an hour! This book reminds me of the impulse-purchase-inviting little books that Price Stern Sloan used to have displayed at bookstore and other checkout counters. You don't expect great literature or the actual secret of life, but some of them fulfill the promise of some light-hearted diversion. The Gecko comes through and made me smile and sometimes laugh out loud. It was a beautiful sunny autumn day today, so that may have upped my appreciation. If it was a "SAD" day I might have reacted more gloomily and critically; hard to say. One of my favorite lines is in the Thank You section at the end of the book: "Raymond McKinney, who taught me the secret to writing a lot of pages in a short amount of time is to focus oh look a butterfly." It was a perfect example of his advice on page 140 to "Laugh more often. Especially at yourself."

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Loved the canine, the hero and the book!

SuspectSuspect by Robert Crais
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have always loved reading Robert Crais’ fiction but this one was so good I finished it with tears streaming down my face. The story of a police officer and a canine “Veteran,” both struggling with PTSD and a world of evildoers, is uplifting and exciting. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it.

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

A lot of reading, well worth it.

State of FearState of Fear by Michael Crichton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I suppose it is no surprise that the (retired) librarian read all the footnotes, the author’s message at the end, both appendixes/appendices, and the entire bibliography. What is unusual is that each of these contained some of the best gems in this excellent, thought-provoking book. This was written nine years ago, but headlines in the last week underline the difficulty of knowing what to make of “global warming.” I stood up and cheered when Crichton cited another favorite near the end of Appendix I, “Why Politicized Science is Dangerous,” “In my view there is only one hope for humankind to emerge from what Carl Sagan called ‘the demon-haunted world’ of our past. That hope is science.” This was fantastic.

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Ouch! The Absentee Author

Painful words to discover as I log in on August 9th: "last published on May 28, 2013." You'd think a retired guy would have little to do save write and public blog posts. In order to log in I had to update my account information - Jody and I have been preparing to move from Brockton to North Oxford for the last couple of months. I've made a fair amount of Facebook posts and attending to a lot of my interests, but have totally neglected my blog. By the end of this month I expect things to be a bit more orderly and then we'll see if I can't become a "regular."

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Like Exercise - Challenging AND Rewarding

From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing FictionFrom Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction by Robert Olen Butler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Butler offers some fascinating advice and a unique - and very demanding - perspective on composition, specifically fiction writing but with application to all forms of communication. His challenge to a would-be author is not only to "get out of your head," but almost "get out of language." Sounds impossible, but what he really wants us to give up is the constant urge to summarize what happens and then characterize the meaning of the events. We are often told "Show, don't tell," and he expands the charge to include having the reader smell, touch, experience the physical "raw data" along with our character, allowing them to create meaning as a result of their reading. This is much harder than it sounds, and some of his exercises (this book implements his advice by putting us in the classroom with his students) illustrate this difficulty. I had to renew this book several times, because I could only digest small bites at any given time, but every time I dipped in for more I closed the book more satisfied. Compared to this some of the "You can write - it's easy!" offerings seem so shallow unhelpful.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"Very Satisfying"

There Was an Old Woman: A Novel of SuspenseThere Was an Old Woman: A Novel of Suspense by Hallie Ephron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read a review in The Boston Globe and reserved it, and it was well worth the wait. I felt a special bond with Hallie Ephron after becoming Library Director at the Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy, Massachusetts, and wrote her several thank you letters. In addition to writing her own fiction, and an excellent guide to writing mysteries and suspense, she is the mystery novel critic for the Globe. She has made it a habit to donate scores of books to the library every year, and with limited budgets that is a great assist. They were always in perfect condition and a great addition to the collection. I had a great and exciting time reading There Was An Old Woman, particularly as an old New Yorker. I lived diagonally across the Bronx from the locale, truly a world away, but this was so cool to read. She kept me guessing, and she made me care about several characters including some who were "real characters." Very satisfying. I recommend it.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Light Reading, Great Fun.

One For The Money (Stephanie Plum, #1)One For The Money by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I mentioned earlier reading a couple of her books to see how credible is her fiction writing advice. I enjoyed one of the later Plum books so I decided to read the one that started it all. (The series, that is, she had written, "churned out," romances for a few years before taking on this fun assignment.) This is not heavyweight fiction, nor is it a marshmallow. It is a very entertaining, diverting, fast-reading novel and I enjoyed it a lot.

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

A "Cousin" in spirit, if not in blood. Rest in peace, Paul Williams

Das EnergiDas Energi by Paul S. Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have had this on sale at Amazon for quite some time. I was sad to read Paul Williams' obituary in today's Boston Globe and decided to add this edition to Goodreads. All the others are shown with a green cover. This is an incredible work, so "sixties" yet so timeless in its simple wisdom. "'s high time we stopped messing around with this guilt crap and got down to business, which is, I think, creating Heaven on Earth." (p. 15) Delightful!

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Monday, April 1, 2013

More than meets the eye!

The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with MoneyThe Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money by Carl Richards
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another “small” book that is full of wonderful content. The subtitle says it all. One of the most dumb things we can do with money is to lose it, especially while pursuing its growth. He shares all kinds of common-sense but easily-overlooked and forgotten insights into how our emotions and biases make such losses almost inevitable. Richards is so simple and unassuming that it would be easy to discount the value of what he offers, but that would be foolish – maybe even “dumb.” He notes on page 85, in Chapter 5, “Too Much Information” that “the ability to build and protect wealth is often inversely related to knowing what’s going on in the market. And it’s certainly inversely related to acting on that knowledge.” Later in the same chapter, in a section “Free Your Mind” he says on page 90, “When thoughts about the market arise, let them go. Go for a bike ride.” So what can we do? We can simplify our lives, learn delayed gratification, and most of all focus on what we really value and work toward it, one day at a time, and enjoy the journey. Or you can worry and fuss – it’s your choice. I recommend this highly.

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Let's Grow Up!

A column in today's Boston Globe by Carlo Rotella, “A good cry in digital isolation” bemoans how insular we have become as we “connect” electronically via devices while acting as if we are oblivious to those who actually surround us, even when sensing that they might need help or attention. It is ironic that a front page article in the same issue describes the decline of e-mail use by businesses and the young. That article is accompanied – on the front page of a major internationally-recognized newspaper – with a graph of the use of various electronic contact media and face-to-face conversation, by TEENS, age 12-17. The implication, one I have heard for over a decade, is that we grown-ups should follow the lead of our juniors. There was a time when it was generally accepted that there were things that adults could do, and children could not. You had to "wait until you grow up.” We chafed at this but accepted it. This is wisdom and insight we should not discard lightly. I believe that the admonition that “a child shall lead them” refers to child-like openness and wonder, not to children’s lack of experience and insight into what works and what does not in the world of work and society. The article and the column taken together tell me that how we “reach out” is far less important than learning to be fully human. Our choice of technology is insignificant compared to our need for maturity.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Don't let the small size fool you

Social Media Is BullshitSocial Media Is Bullshit by B.J. Mendelson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is incredible: in a book about marketing – selling what you “make” – that is only 196 pages, not counting the end notes, he waits until a footnote on page 226, keyed to a comment on page 152, to offer his web address where you can find out what HE makes. Is there a word for “more humble than just humble?”
Two days ago I reviewed Stephen Dobyns’ The Burn Palace and included some of Stephen King’s comments about it. I didn’t quote King calling it “the embodiment of why we read stories, and why the novel will always be a better bang for the entertainment buck than movies or TV.” That came back to me today reading Mendelson, as I realized that one of the most valuable aspects of book publishing (whatever the “platform”) is that truly thoughtful and thought-provoking content can find its way to readers in spite of the fact that it will never be the center of mass market hysteria or hype.
Please don’t take away the impression that Mendelson advises us to boycott social media. Rather, while deflating many sacred cows (and re-sanctifying a few time-tested “bulls” that have been copied and recycled for decades) he shows what are realistic expectations and action plans for small businesses, artists and entrepreneurs. Publication of this book is a beneficent “public service from the private sector.”
I have been dipping into Mendelson in little nibbles for about a month; it’s too thought-full to take in too quickly. In a page or less he summarizes similar ideas to those promoted by Brendon Burchard for making money and having fun in the “Expert Industry.” The major difference is that Burchard makes it sound likely that you will succeed and have fun, while Mendelson laments that your “success” in this endeavor has little to no relation to the accuracy, veracity or even the honesty of the content of your “expertise.” It sounds cynical but for many of us it is a valuable reminder to not get hypnotized by the seeming novelty of new platforms.
Last month I was reading online about writing and publishing and the value (or lack of it) of blogging. One of the writers, I think it was Ryan Deiss, sounded in many ways like Social Media Is Bullshit but also used some of the concepts, like “influencers,” that Mendelson denies even exist. Somehow all of it added up to convince me that I want to just write and produce and be happy and authentic. And that is approximately the ultimate advice in Social Media Is Bullshit. I recommend it highly.
Addendum: I called the phone number he gives in the book (and on his web site, and he called me back in minutes - an unassuming and friendly author. I once took a position of Treasurer of a large union. My predecessor urged me to get an unlisted number, and I never regretted ignoring that device. Bravo for adding accessibility to transparency, B. J. Mendelson!

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Best of the best!

The Burn PalaceThe Burn Palace by Stephen Dobyns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After completing this I re-read the cover material. Dobyns is listed as teaching creative writing at Warren Wilson College. I wasn't familiar and tracked down WWC, and found among their downloadable audio lectures one given by Dobyns in 1990. The catalog says, "Stephen Dobyns argues that structure is both the means by which information is released and the information itself... structure, whether in poetry or prose, represents the means by which formal elements (language, texture, pacing, and tone) may be imposed upon informal elements (action, emotion, setting and idea). In conclusion, Dobyns cautions that a work’s structure can only be determined when the writer has fully understood its purpose." Clearly he has mastered both the purpose and the structure of his work in The Burn Palace. On page 4 I noted "This is a very 'visible' (to the reader) author," as I read "Now, like an airborne camera, we move back from the hospital..." Stage directions! That seems to go against the advice in many writing books that "show, don't tell" implies never reminding the reader or your (the author's) existence. I can assure you that I never minded Dobyns' presence, and I loved his presentation and omniscient narration. When Stephen King called it "the best of the best," I took note. When I closed the book today I can endorse that evaluation. After taking the reader on a roller coaster of emotion, thrills and outrageous events that may (or may not) be supernatural, the ending left me smiling at a sweet conclusion to a harrowing time. Not everyone makes it to the end but you may find yourself cheering for those who do. I will conclude my praise the same way Stephen King concluded his: "I loved it."

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A great writer and a great human being.

The First PatientThe First Patient by Michael Palmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Michael Palmer was coming to Quincy to speak at the Thomas Crane Public Library, so I read this in preparation. His talk was wonderful, and this was my first but not my last Michael Palmer novel. In fact I purchased a copy of his newest novel, Political Suicide, that evening and he was kind enough to sign it "To Harry The Librarian - my favorite kind of book-keeper." I actually haven't read that one yet. He told us it was part of his first attempt, after more than a dozen stand-alone novels, to craft a series. Knowing that, I recently read the first in that series, Oath Of Office, to lay the groundwork for best enjoying Political Suicide. One thing Palmer said was that he would go to any length to speak to audiences in public libraries. I posted the next day on his Facebook page, "I just saw your post from yesterday and was amazed you had traveled pretty much across the entire country to get here - and nary a complaint from the lecturn about your hectic schedule." This is an unassuming and truly nice author and human being. And a writer of exciting and compelling prose. Thank you, Michael Palmer.

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Crais does it again, better than ever

Taken (Elvis Cole, #13 / Joe Pike, #4)Taken by Robert Crais
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have enjoyed every book I have read by Robert Crais, and Taken is one of the best. I haven’t read all of his books, so I don’t know if Jon Stone was a brand new character in this one, or if he had appeared earlier with Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. He’s a worthy addition to this “Pantheon.” The story goes at breakneck speed, but its cinematic nature didn’t keep this reader from caring about the characters and rejoicing at an ending that pulls together all the threads, leaving the reader nearly as exhausted as the protagonists.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

She knows whereof she speaks - and writes!

How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling AuthorHow I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I knew that many of her readers are fanatical, and wait for new entries in her Stephanie Plum series, so I picked up (actually bought it and had Jody give it to me for Christmas) this Book-on-CDs version and gave it a listen. Janet Evanovich is straightforward about her long path to bestsellerdom, and generous with nitty gritty advice about how she prepares to write and how she writes. She also tells about family members who help with managing her web site and managing her busy life. This is great for would-be authors.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Harry Williams: why I resigned as Crane Library director

Harry Williams: why I resigned as Crane Library director
This appeared in the Patriot Ledger.  I had a hint when someone at the Brockton Public Library told me it had appeared in the Sunday [Brockton] Enterprise which is a "sister publication."

Thursday, February 7, 2013

More fun from Janet Evanovich

Motor Mouth (Alex Barnaby, #2)Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As a follow-up to "researching" Evanovich by reading one of the Stephanie Plum books, I read this second entry in the shorter series that revolves around NASCAR racing, with a feisty heroine who is an ace mechanic and enough more to get in all kinds of trouble. The action is fast, unlikely, outrageous even, but this is entertainment, not instruction or biography. I am usually a very slow reader, but this one had me blazing through the pages. It was fun.

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

She writes solid nonfiction and satisfying fiction.

Twelve Sharp (Stephanie Plum, #12)Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received (bought for myself then gave to Jody to give to me) for Christmas the Book on CD version of Evanovich's "How I Write" and thought I should see if her writing justified heeding her advice. This was the first I got my hands on, and I enjoyed it a lot. Her advice was down to earth, and so is her fiction. She doesn't take herself too seriously but she is very serious about creating a fun, exciting and page-turning experience for her readers. I'm glad I listened to the CDs and have since read more of her books.

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Secret Of Life!

The AlchemistThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads' "stock" review includes "what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within." That is only partially true, and that pleases me, reminding me of arguments decades ago with a thoughtful friend who said, "No, Harry, you cannot be a materialist, not with your values!" I argued that my values were rooted in an appreciation of this earth and all the riches and potential for human success, fulfillment and happiness it holds for us, if we are but wise enough to real-ize this. This "material" earth, where we have the means to express any spiritual dimension that we have cultivated within us. Yikes, where did that come from? I meant to write about The Alchemist, not Harry. So one of my "advisors" (in this case that means one of the authors whose books I actually purchase rather than just borrow from the library) Brendon Burchard repeatedly praises this book, so I thought I would give it a try. I finished it two months ago, it took that long to feel ready to write about it. (I wrote this on March 18th but posted it here on the date I read the book.) I really didn't need to read beyond the third page of the introduction. Haven't I said to all my friends for decades that I was searching for the secret of life? Well, there it was clearly spelled out, "The secret of life,though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times." However, I did go on to read the book, and enjoyed it thoroughly. The only reason I'm giving it four stars instead of five is that it has been so hyped and promoted that no book could live up to the expectation created. You should read this book for yourself so you can decide for yourself. If you are a long-time reader of inspirational works, this may remind you of the old "Acres of Diamonds" story, but it is richer and deeper than that.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Who are the Unsung Heroes?

The Entrepreneur: America's Great Unsung HeroThe Entrepreneur: America's Great Unsung Hero by Robert Ringer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was disappointed when Robert Ringer re-titled the revised edition from "Winning Through Intimidation" to "To Be or Not to Be Intimidated," even though I witnessed how the book was misrepresented - mostly by people who had never read it - based simply on the title. I liked his explanation of the original title that likened his attitude to Ayn Rand's when she said that the reason she used the title "The Virtue of Selfishness" was to make people think. I was similarly sad when some of his later works, when listing "also by the author" titles, often omitted "How You Can Find Happiness During the Collapse of Western Civilization." I found that one to be extremely thought provoking. I don't agree with everything he says, and would love the opportunity to discuss some day with Ringer my "barn raising" concept about the value of public enterprises such as the public library ( ) peacefully coexisting with private enterprise for most endeavors. In the meantime I always enjoy reading his thoughts and words. This one is pretty quick reading for such a thoughtful subject. A clue to his valueing of the Entrepreneur's approach to life can be found on page 43: "The Entrepreneur embraces failure, because he understands that each failure brings him one step closer to success. And it goes without saying that the honest Entrepreneur does not want government help when he fails. On the contrary, what he wants is for the government to leave him alone." Near the end, on page 275 he says "It is the entrepreneurial spirit that has always moved America forward, which is why I believe it is the Entrepreneur who is most capable of leading the charge to resurrect the American way of life that our parents and grandparents experienced. And if he can accomplish that gargantuan feat, he will rightly deserve to take his place alongside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other giants of the American Revolution.

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