It is a sad day when Malcolm Gladwell gets more hits than this author.
I know that Malcolm Gladwell has become the go-to author in all matters financiaIt is a sad day when Malcolm Gladwell gets more hits than this author.
I know that Malcolm Gladwell has become the go-to author in all matters financial/economic/social, but to me, he just doesn't do it. I have his books. I tried to read them. But his writing style just doesn't do it for me. The man had two examples in Outliers, and it takes the entire book to dissect TWO EXAMPLES. Furthermore, in these sorts of books, I'd rather the author just come right out and say it, but that book started out like, "On a cold winter day somewhere in Canada, there is a ice-skating rink that came from a converted barn. This ice-skating rink is home to all sorts of stars, but especially hockey stars..." That's just it. That's how the book started for me. An example that's only supposed to be the prologue, a teaser, an hors d'oeuvre, is instead dragged out in excruciating detail while you're still deciding whether you like this author. I don't. I hate the way he writes. It's boring and tedious, and it's like he's trying to write a novel, a really long and tedious one and needs to fill it up with, well, filler.
Rolf Dobelli doesn't write like that. He's concise and to the point. This book is evidence of that. It's made of a ton of chapters, I think it was 90+, and each chapter is only five pages or so. Each chapter is a different financial theory that he's garnered from his practical experience. In each chapter, he lays out the premise, one or two examples, and finis. That's it. Quick, clear, and clean. More books like this, authors who think that telling me about the snow in Canada means a crap-bit of difference to me when I'm reading to find out success rates.
A bonus is that Rolf Dobelli is a self-effacing writer. In some, he gives examples which sometimes poke fun at himself, but in a humorous way, not in a insecure manner. Contrast this to that one bit in Freakonomics where the author says, "I'm an economist, and all economists are superheroes." I know that the Freakonomics was also trying to be humorous, but the difference in humor (while also cultural) is the difference between an insecure high school girl saying, "Oh I'm so hot, right? I mean, right," and a grown-up who has come far enough in the world to make fun of his failures. One is immature and a bit insecure, the other experienced enough to cast light on the dismal past.
This is not to say that all of the examples are great. The "coincidence" chapter I found a bit weird and, well, I don't know the point was made. But the sheer number of chapters and theories for the price -- yes, this book is a bargain.
Why aren't his other books translated into English? I know they're being translated into other languages. America, is this a big conspiracy to render only American economists popular and the American public stupid for lack of reading choice? Because, if it is...well, it's been working so far....more
Listened to the Emma Galvin audiobook for about two chapters before I laughed myself silly and turned it off. She is so dramatic with her reading andListened to the Emma Galvin audiobook for about two chapters before I laughed myself silly and turned it off. She is so dramatic with her reading and there are SO. MANY. DRAMATIC. PAUSES. that I'm sure the audiobook is longer than it needs to be. I just got the first book on audiobook and it doesn't seem as annoying (less dramatic), so we'll see. I may actually have to read this book....more
I read this series backwards, first with To Wed a Stranger, and then this. So you get glimpses of these oThis so does not live up to the Duke's Wager.
I read this series backwards, first with To Wed a Stranger, and then this. So you get glimpses of these other characters that had their own books and Eric Ford, who will get his own book later on.
The Premise This book starts off with great promise, with a non-standard setting in 1821, where Drummond (Drum for short), our hero, is shot off his horse and rescued by three brothers. Their older sister, Alexandria (Ally) is quite the Christian role model, and they all haul him back to their tiny cottage to heal the unconscious man. As he recovers, it's revealed that his leg has been broken in two places, and the doctor fears for his broken head, so he's not allowed to move from his temporary home for at least a month. It's quickly brought up that it's not proper for him to stay, unchaperoned, at the dwelling of a respectable woman (despite the fact her three younger brothers are in residence), and so a resident grandmother, Mrs. Tooke, is brought in and squeezed into their cottage to make things above board. All appearances are appeased, and everything makes sense, as Drum isn't allowed to use crutches, hop around, any of that business. He's bedridden until his servants arrive, and then only to lift him onto a nearby chair. Makes sense, since if he's allowed to move around, then why would he still be stuck in this place?
The conflict is this: Alexandria is revealed to be a foundling, as are her three younger brothers. This renders her persona non grata to anyone in 1821 England, since lineage is all. If she were lucky, she may get together with a schoolmaster or vicar, but she can't look any higher than that, even though her upbringing as the "daughter" of a former Eton schoolmaster has rendered her educated above and beyond the average Joe. (We see her reading Greek to her brothers very early on.) Drum, on the other hand, is the only son of a Duke and is an earl in his own right. His father has made it clear that he is to marry soon, to a person of equal lineage, status, and money, and he loves his father, and wants to do what is right. Except that he's never been in love and doesn't think that he has it in him to be in love.
Where It All Fell Apart, Slowly. Very Slowly Here's where the story starts to slowly unravel. And by slowly, I mean slowly, since he's bedridden until his father shows up and hustles his son and heir out of temptation's way. That's about halfway through the book.
Why is this weird? It's weird, because Drum's closest friend is married to another friend's ward, a girl who lived in the slums of London and dressed as a ragamuffin boy and was rescued and "adopted." Say! Just like Alexandria! Except, of course, Alexandria was adopted by a no-account uppity schoolmaster who was then fired from Eton, and the slum-kid was adopted by the creme of London society. So, what we are actually saying then is not that lineage matters, but who adopts you. I mean, they all accept that slum-kid as one of them and she's apparently hailed as a beauty now! So what gives?
Another thing that's weird is how Drum is supposedly all obsessed about his lineage and how his title and fortune is all that he believes he is. He's described as being incredibly charming, but no looks aside from his fantabulous blue eyes. But we don't really see this part of him. He doesn't come across as a person who's obsessed with doing his "duty" because that's what he believes to be right. The other obstacle in his way is that he's not in love. He feels very attracted to Ally, but won't do anything to encourage her (and good for him, he really doesn't put any hanky-panky moves on her for the first 80% of the book), because he's far above her station in life. In fact, you're led to believe that them ending up together = impossible. After all, it would be possible if he were in love, but he's not. And every other person in the book warns Ally of that as well -- Mrs. Tooke, Gilly, Eric Ford, random stranger on the street. Okay, not the random stranger, but it's hammered into the reader's head at some length. Drum + Ally = not going to happen. We get it. Gilly even takes the time to warn Ally that there's something in Drum to prevent him from falling in love.
So, by this point, Ally has better potential of ending up together on the moon than being with Drum, and Drum's over there being all ecstatic when Ally is invited up to London, and somehow all her previous fears about not having the money for the journey, for dresses, for tips, etc., are all washed away. That's fine -- they gots to get together at some point, right? They spend maybe a few times together that we see. Ally sees Drum in his normal, non-handicapped situation -- which is supposed to be sought-after, dressed in fine clothing, sitting in a fine chair inside a super awesome marble entryway parlor thingy that is bigger than her whole cottage, and surrounded by a bevy, and do I mean a bevy, of attractive, monied, statused ladies. There are like at least 10 that's always together, hankering after Drum. Or his title and fortune, as we're led to believe. Despite the fact that he's supposed to be poised, cool, and super charming. (Seriously, which is it? Is he only sought after for his fortune? Because I thought Jane Austen had already established that a charming man with a fortune is more in demand than a non-charming man with an even greater fortune?)
There's an event at Vauxhall, and at this point, you're wondering what the point of this book is. She's lower than a pig about to be slaughtered, and he's super charming, a super cool, efficient ex-spy, who's also titled, tall, and monied, with fantabulous blue eyes. Last I heard, none of those things rendered one unattractive. Also, you're starting to think that there's no reason they should be together. THEN, the very small side plot mystery that's been sort of discussed as a sidebar through most of the book appears in the form of Drum and Ally being captured by boat leaving Vauxhall Gardens.
Okay, that's not as unbelievable as it sounds since they all arrived by boat.
So, they're captured, and guess who it is! It's some weird ex-friend of Ally's weird sort-of father who also wanted to marry her and there's some insinuation by the weirdo that Ally and her sort-of father were lovers, which Drum believes until Ally corrects him, even though he's had ample opportunity to witness her respectability. And the weirdo wants to kill Drum because he thinks Drum killed Napoleon, his hero!
Yadda yadda yadda, they do away with the evil henchmen, but they're trapped underground somewhere near the river and locked in. They huddle together and despite the entire book of both of them thinking that they're no good for each other, somehow they end up getting it on. It was totally not good for me. It was sort of like watching a movie where the actors were clearly told to act as though they were into each other and they were feeling it less than the director was. Like they can't believe their lovey-doveyness anymore than you can. Or, like Katniss and Peeta during the Hunger Games, where you are giggling with embarrassment for them, because it's so awkward. And also because it would be more believable if Peeta hadn't been made out to be such a helpless loser.
They make it out and back to Gilly's house, where Peeta -- oops, Ally wants to leave London immediately and Gilly says she won't pry but manages to ask, "Oh! Is it because you guys got it o-- oh, I guess I shouldn't say anything because I've GUESSED IT! Naughty naughty!!" Yes, that was how subtle she was being. Then, Drum shows up and is all "I'm suddenly so in love with you. Sure, I proposed to Gilly before but I never said I loved her. Teehee, marry me!"
Somehow she says yes, and then there's the final test in the form of Drum's father, the Duke. Drum is anxious and doesn't want to tell his father privately as that would shame Ally (how so?). And SURPRISE! The Duke is super happy and thinks Drum has made a fine choice. WHAT? What the hell? That's it? That's all the opposition? Granted, I wanted the book to be over by then, but what was all that "go forth and marry a titled woman of fortune, thou son of mine" business for the ENTIRE book? And then all of that, poof! In a heartbeat, because, "the heart and soul is more important than lineage, my dear" to Ally.
In short, the book started out very nicely. I liked all the characters immensely. And then the author fell asleep, and someone else finished the book for her. That's what I am concluding....more
This is one of those supposedly salacious-seeming sexy romance novels that's all the rage now. Look at the cover. I mean, if they're not going to getThis is one of those supposedly salacious-seeming sexy romance novels that's all the rage now. Look at the cover. I mean, if they're not going to get it on, that really shouldn't be the cover.
It starts out fairly well. The annoying neighbor who goes at it rhythmically against the walls. They have a showdown. Then suddenly the H is all sweet and they're...friends? What? And they stay friends for a really long time, as their other two friends play musical chairs with beds. He's revealed to be (yawn) super duper rich, and his bedmates are explained away as friends with benefits. Dude. Still gross. Like, it's a regular thing, with the three drawing shifts or something.
Then after an intense trip at a cottage with the six friends, during which the other friends suddenly decide to switch partners, and the H and h end up in a hot tub with nothing happening because H treasures h as a friend, they all end up in the car back to the city with a quite ingenious chapter of their inner thoughts.
And then the book ends. Okay, no, it doesn't end, but my interest in it did. They go off to Spain or somewhere, and then the book is even more boring. And then they get it on and h fakes it and runs out on H, who then chases her back and they talk over her "faking it." As though that's the biggest problems holding romantic partners apart....more
One of these days, these early edition Harlequins will be true classics.
This is probably one of Alison York's best. Piers is an older man, an music aOne of these days, these early edition Harlequins will be true classics.
This is probably one of Alison York's best. Piers is an older man, an music agent, who's had his eye on a young talent, and recruits her straight out of school. Annabel, on the other hand, has heard of Piers Bellingham when her mentor wrote her a letter, hinting that Piers broke her heart, and soon afterwards, dying in a railway station. She hates Piers with a passion, but when her father was made redundant, she realized she had to sign up with Piers.
He is autocratic but makes an effort to charm Annabel, who soon realizes that he's got it bad for her. She develops this plan to punish him for what he did to her beloved mentor, using, of course, his professed love for her. It all comes to a head when she starts developing feelings for him and her deception causes her singing to deteriorate. She then decides to jilt him at the altar (to conclude things) and then runs away. He chases after her to shake some sense into her, and she realizes that even after all she had done to him, he still wants her. A classic. A revenge love story well told and very believable....more