Sunday, December 21, 2014

Simultaneously shocking, satisfying, and apt...

Even (David Trevellyan, #1)Even by Andrew Grant

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've recently reviewed several of Steve Hamilton's books about Alex McKnight, the hero I contrasted to James Bond - McKnight is "a hero who bleeds," and who suffers for seeking justice and upholding his values. David Trevellyan, hero of Andrew Grant's recent series, takes punishment but doles out a lot more - to those who have "earned" it with their evildoing. I saw his most recent book on the new book shelf at the Oxford Free Public Library in Massachusetts and was about to take it home, then decided to read his first book first. I'm glad I did. Now I have a couple of sequels to look forward to. I would be reading the next one already, except that my reserve came in for Steven King's new book, Revival, and that goes to the top of my reading pile. Andrew Grant's prose is so well crafted that my disbelief isn't just suspended, it's cast aside. I grabbed the book at every free moment to find what would happen next. He manages to come up with an ending that is simultaneously shocking, satisfying, and apt. Well done, Andrew Grant. Thank you.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Devil shares secrets to successful life on earth.

Outwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and SuccessOutwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and Success by Napoleon Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I tremendously enjoyed this imaginative book in which – 76 years ago – Napoleon Hill recorded his “Interview with the Devil.” I took extensive notes and recorded many quotations. I’ll share a few to give you the flavor of the writing. For the Q&A the questioner is Hill and the answers are by the Devil. Who is this Devil anyway? p. 99-100: “You know that I exist only in the minds of people who have fears… You know that my hell is here on earth and not in the world that comes after death. And you know also that drifters supply all the fire I use in my hell. You know that I am a principle or form of energy which expresses the negative side of matter and energy, and that I am not a person with a forked tongue and a spiked tail.”

p 116 “Q: Which do you prefer to serve as your propagandists – the young or the old? A: The young, of course! They can be influenced by most bribes [temptations] more easily than people of mature judgment. Moreover, they have longer to remain in my service.” [This was written in 1938, long before the “youth culture” and advertisements using young people to serve as trendsetters.]

p 140 “The highest power in the universe can be used for constructive purposes, through what you call God, or it can be used for negative purposes, through what you call the Devil. And something more important still, it can be used by any human being just as effectively as by God or the Devil… you have but one source available through which you may appropriate the benefit of universal power, and that is by trusting and using your own power of thought. This is the direct road to the universal storehouse of Infinite Intelligence. There is no other road available to any human being.”

If you ever thought there was a satanic element to the promises and lies of marketers you may find this quote as amusing as did I: p 149-150 “Q: Why doesn’t your opposition [God] give your secret to all people by telling them to avoid you through definiteness of purpose?... A: Because I am more clever than my opposition. I draw people away from definiteness with my promises. You see, I control more people than my opposition because I am a better salesman and a better showman. I attract people by feeding them liberally of the thought-habits in which they like to indulge.”

Here is one more quote, a magnificent one: p 197 “A… There is no human being now living, no human being has ever lived, and no human being ever will live with the right or the power to deprive another human being of the inborn privilege of free and independent thought. That privilege is the only one over which any human being can have absolute control. No adult human being ever loses the right to freedom of thought, but most humans lose the benefits of this privilege either by neglect or because it has been taken away from them by their parents or religious instructors before the age of understanding. These are self-evident truths, no less important because they are being called to your attention by the Devil than they would be if brought to your attention by my opposition.”

This book is full of self-evident and not-so-evident truths. Whether they are called to our attention by the Devil, or by Napoleon Hill, I am grateful to have been exposed to them. I recommend this to anyone interested in enjoying and sharing the joy of our life on this Earth.

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