Entertaining, but light on substance of the actual topic at hand (that being the one promoted in the title). The majority of the book is spent on the...moreEntertaining, but light on substance of the actual topic at hand (that being the one promoted in the title). The majority of the book is spent on the human interest component of the author himself, becoming a Navy Seal and operating as one, and in this area, the book is an extreme success.
It was engaging, interesting, and insightful, seeing just the type of work and discipline it took to elevate to his level. The honesty that the author provides, specifically in dealing with his missteps, is not only intriguing, it's just good writing, bringing the reader into his world in a way where everyone can relate and empathize with his life and emotions. The editors succeeded in giving him a well rounded voice that had fluidity throughout. Others have commented on the poor writing this book has, but I disagree; Mark Owen is not kin to Mark Twain (or perhaps I should say Matt Bissonnette is not kin to Samuel Clemens), and the intent of this book is not to be great literature, but rather popular non-fiction (i.e. for the masses); and just because it's light and easy does not mean it's poor and disheveled-they published a good book here.
As for the sub-title of the book, The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden, this is what the book is light on-at least in terms of providing new information, or as the author says, to set the story straight. It's no surprise that there isn't much straightening going on in these chapters. I'm sure everyone expected this, but still, the bait and switch technique of a publisher/author is always obnoxious, especially when you were just pounded with scores of pages about honor and integrity.
The only major downside is the end where the author makes tacky comments that only put stains on his character. He mocks others, including former SEALs, for sharing information about this stealth group, to those seeking capital or other gain off of exploiting it; all fair points, unless of course you just wrote a book doing the same thing. He disrespectfully patronizes the founder of his specialized group for saying that a personality component of this elite squad is to be an egomaniac, all while, again, forgetting that he just wrote a book about himself. He brushes off his personal visit from the President, not even remembering his words or wanting to sign a flag; I guess he's trying to look cool here, but that was hardly my take away. And of course, the original release date of this book was September 11th, hardly an honorable choice to agree to, but luckily for him, it was bumped up a week due to the press it was receiving.(less)
What a disappointment. I was expecting the same well articulated data driven positions from Gore that I have read from Clinton, but that is not at all...moreWhat a disappointment. I was expecting the same well articulated data driven positions from Gore that I have read from Clinton, but that is not at all what I got. Unfortunately, this is just your standard biased political soapbox with its usual contradictions within.
He criticizes television since the barrier of entry is so high, but then praises the nostalgic days of the printing presses (as if those were easy to buy), and his entire point could have just been summed up with the already well known quote, "freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." He bashes the fear that these new political agenda programs promote, and then later in the books distills his own fears about where things will be headed under Bush (to a totalitarian government), and how a study shows that TV in children essentially turns them into drones whose behavior is then directly correlated to the political ads they see on it. He lionizes the founding fathers and their infinite wisdom and high political character, and then criticizes gerrymandering, a word created after the politician most known for it, Elbridge Gerry, who is also one of the signers of the declaration of independence. He questions where fairness and neutrality have gone, and then offers none in his own book.
It's not a matter of disagreement or agreement, this was just a poor presentation of (mostly unoriginal) ideas. He criticizes his opponents of bias and spinning information, and then in the next breath he does it himself. Some interesting thoughts in here, but overall this book falls short, especially in comparison to works from his closest colleague.(less)
An interesting book that highlights many cultural differences between Parisians and Americans (sort of). It starts out really good, then gets really s...moreAn interesting book that highlights many cultural differences between Parisians and Americans (sort of). It starts out really good, then gets really slow (wanted to shoot myself during the "bonjour" part), but it does pick back up again for the last few chapters. Overall, I definitely enjoyed it, but I do wonder why this is such a big hit.
Pretty much the synopsis is: don't let the kids run the show; children are understanding and learning more than it appears; parents need to still have their own lives. Is this really ground breaking? When the author talks about how some of this is just common sense for the French, I thought, isn't this common sense for everyone?
Perhaps it is not in a chic metropolitan area like Manhattan, which is her point of reference, but beyond that world (I love NYC, but it is in a world of its own), I have to question if the average American family is raising their children by functioning like servants catering to every whimper and discomfort, rather than as parents who are attempting to instill morals and discipline.
I also can't help but wonder, why does anyone want to emulate the French? Are french children and adults lighting up the international stage somewhere that I don't know about? I love French culture, food, and language, but their influences on the world stage pretty much ended prior to WWII when Paris was home to Dali, Chagall, Picasso, Chanel, Monet, Chopin, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway. Whom is Paris home to now? Johnny Depp?
I do not mean to insult Parisians, but I just can't help but think that the author is trying to piggy back her book onto the success of The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom; a book that was released a year prior to this one and carries an extremely convenient and parallel theme that focuses on Chinese parenting (where as the angle of this book is French parenting).
I did find the occasional scientific support (e.g. sleep cycles) a nice supplement to some of the observations on the varying techniques of parenting. I also found the various cultural differences that she illustrated very interesting; they are not necessarily better or worse, but rather seem like authentic and insightful observations from a foreigner living abroad-these observations were easily my favorite part of the book.
If you miss reading this one, I wouldn't fret. I have a feeling that there will soon be a flood of these type of books that focus on parenting styles of other cultures; and probably since people have an affinity towards nostalgia, a book on parental techniques of the past.(less)
Sort of interesting, but not really my kind of book since it was more anecdotal than anything else. That being said, he did a good job of not grossly...moreSort of interesting, but not really my kind of book since it was more anecdotal than anything else. That being said, he did a good job of not grossly simplifying a complex problem. Lewis just makes a few innocent and somewhat humorous observations on the roller coaster ride that the western world got itself on. Sometimes authors/producers will take an extremely technical and multi-layered issue and break it down to a simple 1+1=2 type of equation, so that the average American can feel like they "get it." This drives me nuts and it's insulting, but I didn't feel that from this book and there were definitely a few parts I enjoyed. Specifically near the end when he addresses the fundamental problem is that people want services that they don't want to pay for; he then blends that into a nice (and brave) bash of public job compensation and pensions.
Overall though, I found this book a bit slow and boring for my tastes. It might be because nothing presented was new or page turning for me. Quite frankly, if it is for you, you should probably be reading more-no offense. There is nothing discovered in this novel or ground breaking or anything of that nature that hasn't been covered in depth already on a consistent basis in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Economist, or even Time for that matter.
At times he also reminded me of that guy at a bar who will say a joke and no one laughs, but rather than abandoning it he just keeps saying it again in different forms. It is painfully obvious to the reader that Lewis is just a writer and not a comedian during the Germany section.(less)
A really interesting book with a similar feel to Malcolm Gladwell's books. I listened to the audiobook, but can't say I would recommend that format fo...moreA really interesting book with a similar feel to Malcolm Gladwell's books. I listened to the audiobook, but can't say I would recommend that format for this title. He often goes into detail about the brain's anatomy and inner workings and I was often getting lost in his words. If I were to revisit this title I would definitely own the physical edition since highlighting and taking notes would have helped a lot in keeping track of what was going on.
On the other hand, if you're just into the bigger points of what he's discussing the audio format would be fine, probably even preferred since you can zone out during some of the detail when it gets a bit too technical. Overall I really liked this title and I'm sure I'll recommend it to others. Definitely a nice supplement to other articles and books on the subject of personal development.(less)
Definitely an unfinished draft, and if it were about (just about) anyone else, this would absolutely not be worth the time. However, due to the amount...moreDefinitely an unfinished draft, and if it were about (just about) anyone else, this would absolutely not be worth the time. However, due to the amount of life he lived and his elegant style of writing, it is at times a wonderful book; at other times, it is a very disheveled boring ramble of ideas (don't worry Benny, I heard the same criticism at writing club).
Also, since this is an unfinished draft, it cannot be read as a comprehensive biography about his life. For instance, he goes in depth about the technicalities of the street lamp, its faults, and how he improved it. On the other hand, his experiments with lightning and electricity are never mentioned.
Supplement this-entertaining, but not engrossing-book with other material, and keep expectations lower than usual.(less)
I really enjoyed this book; although I actually did the audio version rather than the paperback. (Phil doesn't read it; normally I prefer the author t...moreI really enjoyed this book; although I actually did the audio version rather than the paperback. (Phil doesn't read it; normally I prefer the author to read their own book, but given the timber of his voice, it's probably for the best that he didn't.) I would have given it 5 stars, but during the playoff section it turned into an almost play-by-play recap of scores and stats, which just does not make for a great story.
The rest of the book does mention numbers and stats, but they're provided more as a backdrop to the story, rather than being the story itself. My guess is that Phil's personal journal entries may have been a little light during the playoffs, and since the publisher couldn't ignore the playoff period, opted to just ramble on with a bunch of scores and figures from players and games.
Other than that slight bump, the book was quite entertaining. Phil Jackson comes off as an extremely interesting and enlightening character, who obviously has an amazing understanding of the NBA (and its business operations), and the fundamentals of the game of basketball itself.
Most of the problems that he is forced to deal with-both on and off the court-aren't the ones that I would have guessed. From the inconsistency of officiating, to how players selfishly attempt to boost their own figures (for their next contract negotiation, which are heavily based on these numbers), to how most players are essentially immature children (he doesn't say this, but you're lead in this direction)-all of his experience and perspective is bundled up in this book.
Throughout the novel you start to grasp that at least half of his job has nothing to do with the game of basketball, and that instead the lion's share is about managing the egos and pride of his players; at times you feel like he's just a parent to a large set of child stars.
The books ends with him retiring: he's done with the Lakers organization. In real life, he does end up going back, which, after sharing all of the reasons for departing, has me scratching my head. Hopefully he picks up the pen again one day and will share why he choose to go down the road he did; I'll definitely be there to read, or listen, to it.(less)
I love Steve Martin, but this book is awful. He rehashes his stand-up career and apparently this book is first time he ever has seriously revisited it...moreI love Steve Martin, but this book is awful. He rehashes his stand-up career and apparently this book is first time he ever has seriously revisited it.
Some things are in the past for a reason, his stand-up act is one of them. I'm sure at the time it was great and innovative, but this material has not aged well at all. It's hacky and dull. One of his signature bits was wearing a prop hat with an arrow that goes through it-wow, what a gas.
The personal side of his life during this era and struggles are interesting, but that's background noise to the his stand-up career, which is nothing short of awful.
I'd recommend the audio version of this book for anyone though since Steve Martin himself reads it. Since there are a lot of his jokes and voices I think it's important to hear them w/his voice to give them the proper delivery.(less)