This book by Rudolf Kleinpaul isn't so much a book to actually read through, as it is a reference book. As such, there's a wealth of information in he...moreThis book by Rudolf Kleinpaul isn't so much a book to actually read through, as it is a reference book. As such, there's a wealth of information in here, so much that it's hardly possible to remember even half of it after a first read. The man is incredibly well-read, will cite medieval works, letters, and research; explain a million and one things; and also teach you ethymological roots of words while he's at it.
Basically, this book is quite a thorough introduction to the 'Middle Ages'. Does it discuss everything one can possibly know about the time period? Of course not. But it does tell one a lot, and despite being more of a reference book, it's not a dry read. Sure, there aren't always nice anecdotes, and sometimes he likes to make lists and talk about all of its entries seperately, which can get boring (e.g., so many different cheeses). And he will discuss topics you might not be interested in as much (for me: fashion, which he went on about in length).
Still, it's a good book. It was published in 1895 however, so I don't know how much of his research still holds up today. I have some knowledge of German medieval history, but not enough to judge how much of this information is still what we believe today. Also the man talks about the whole of Europe, and that I really cannot judge.
But the book seems convincing enough, and as a lot of medieval research was done in the 19th century and is still used today (e.g. the work by the Grimm brothers), I'm sure that it is a good read for everyone interested in this time period. It's also adorned with 465 very interesting drawings, which will definitely enhance your reading experience. To give you a taste of the information you will find inside this book:
Did you know that Karl der Grosse (Charlemagne/Charles The Great) only wanted to eat meat, liked gardening, and tried to make learning available to all? Did you know that his dad was called Pippin der Kleine (Pippin the Small, which is funny as the literal translation of Karl's name is Karl the Big)? Did you know that the word "rabbit" developed from "rare bit", as rabbits used to be rare in England, and even non-existent until the Normans or Romans brought them along? Did you know that the English thought killing a fox was as bad as killing a close family member (the reason why has to do with the fox hunt)? Did you know they called beer "liquid bread"? Did you know there are folk stories that liken giants (whose names have their roots in "Hungry" and "Thirsty") to the nobility, and that the stories are supposed to teach the nobility they should treat farmers kindly, as without them there was no food? Did you know that if it turned out that someone was a heretic after his death, the body would be dug up and put on trial? And that the body would be found guilty and burned, so as to remove all heresy from this world?
If you didn't, and like these tidbits of information, this is definitely the right book for you. And though the hardcover edition I have is very pretty, the book should be available online for free as an eBook, so definitely give it a shot if you want to learn more about the Medium Aevum.(less)
In truth, I mostly picked up this book because of all the illustrations. There were so many, and they are beautiful. But the book itself proved fun, t...moreIn truth, I mostly picked up this book because of all the illustrations. There were so many, and they are beautiful. But the book itself proved fun, too, talking about Walt Disney's life and the movies he made during his lifetime. The background information was interesting, and I learned a few new things about Disney and animation that I hadn't come across before.
I'd have given the book 5 stars, but the Dutch translation was a bit stiff, and sometimes the author seemed to lack a bit of depth in his text, just saying "this movie wasn't as good (as the first three)", but he failed to give clear reasonings.
On a more subjective note: I was surprised by him naming Pinocchio Walt's masterpiece, which I haven't really heard anyone say before. I had expected Fantasia to get that title.. but I suppose that's a reason for me to go watch Pinocchio again, haven't seen it in ages. I just remember not liking it, but maybe I should pay more attention the animation this time around.
In short: this is a quick read, and a concise history of the history of Walt Disney. Don't expect to really get to know Walt Disney however, little time is spent on his character, and he already is a mysterious, distant figure to begin with. But if you care about his movies, or the beginnings of Disneyland, this book serves quite well as an introduction.(less)
There's no use posting updates for this reader, as I won't be reading the entire thing (nowhere close to it, I'm afraid). It's full of excerpts of 121...moreThere's no use posting updates for this reader, as I won't be reading the entire thing (nowhere close to it, I'm afraid). It's full of excerpts of 121 of the more important texts related to post-colonial studies. As judged by the page numbers, each text only gets a few pages to itself. As such, the book is very good for orientation, but mostly leaves out a good part of the original argumentation.
Then again, you simply can't put everything into one single reader. It is what it is, a very good organised reader: you can find excerpts per topic, which is extremely handy and gives you most relevant texts within seconds. Definitely can be put to good use when you're studying about post-colonial theory.(less)
I had special reasons for wanting to read this book: last year I was taking a Strategy & Organisation course, and the course had the lovely additi...moreI had special reasons for wanting to read this book: last year I was taking a Strategy & Organisation course, and the course had the lovely addition of having well-chosen, relevant guest speakers. Kilian Wawoe was one of them, and by far the favourite of all students (for two years in a row). The guy is an energetic speaker, and knows how to address an audience. In short, his presentation was fun, and it mostly dealt with the topics discussed in this book. In all honesty, the book just went a bit deeper, but the basics I had heard from Professor Wawoe himself last year.
The book discusses the bonus-system in the banking sector, and the dangers it causes. The basic idea is this: at the beginning of the year, people high up in the company decide on targets for the next year. Employees are promised a bonus when they reach this target, regardless of how good of a worker they are, and what methods you use: all that matters is reaching this goal. If you need to sell 50 travel-insurances, selling them to people who don't travel at all is still fulfilling the target. This employee would still get the bonus, even if he doesn't help move things along for the company. Working well therefore doesn't earn you bonuses, which is, at the very least, a bit strange.
Professor Wawoe argues this system caused the crisis, as employees started taking more risks to reach their targets, claiming that "if you win, you get a bonus; if you lose, nothing happens". In case of the banking sector, it's generally the tax payer who has to pay for the mistakes made in the sector. The mistakes that have been made, and the risks that have been taken are not the fault of a single employee, but more a fault of the system, a system the banks themselves and also politicians are reluctant to change. Most of the book talks about Wawoe's research about this topic, and his frustrations on being ignored. It's a topic no one really wishes to talk about or is even interested in.
Besides this, Wawoe addresses other issues, such as Professor Schenk's theory on fusions (they're not good for a company, generally, and they're rarely successful; it's mostly a matter of prestige), but also the ego of people in high functions, and why they play such risky games.
There's a wealth of information in this book, but what bothered me personally was the writing style. It was very informal, and written in the I-perspective. Wawoe tells about the banking crisis from his perspective (+ added personal anecdotes, which in my opinion weren't always necessary), so it was understandable why he chose an I-perspective, but it just bugged me a bit. An informal style generally helps to make more people read your book, as it seems less daunting. And true, the book reads like Wawoe is telling you a story. I can just speak from experience when I say that the speech makes much much impact than the book itself does. I personally think an informal structure doesn't work as well for a non-fiction book, but for some people this might be a plus, as it helps create that personal touch.