Enjoyed it. The concept was excellent, but I find that I don't respond well to the business management model of writing books. At least, it's the modeEnjoyed it. The concept was excellent, but I find that I don't respond well to the business management model of writing books. At least, it's the model of the three or four I've read now (I know, that's an incredibly small sample, so I could very well be wrong about the general model). The way this book is written is essentially as a fiction about a character who has just joined a company and is now learning the ins and outs of what makes the company so awesome. I would prefer to just be told, "Hey, here's an awesome model for viewing the world" and then be given a bunch of examples of how it works. Instead, the story takes the specific situations of the main character and some other individuals and discusses the rules based off of those examples.
My brain is now trying to tell me that this is a case of induction versus deduction, but since I was always terrible at remembering which is which, I won't be able to tell you correctly. All I know is that I apparently prefer one over the other. And internet trolls--if you happen to be listening--no, this really isn't ALL I know. That's just an expression. I actually am a reasonably intelligent, thinking individual. So just back off.
That, by the way, was just me being in the box toward the internet trolls. So while I can critique the book, I clearly haven't absorbed its principles entirely.
Oh, now that I think of it, the other thing that bothered me was that at the end there was sort of an advertisement--"hey, if you want to actually learn the rest of what we've started to teach you here, then go buy our super-awesome leadership training stuff, blah blah blah." It felt a bit frustrating.
Still, excellent principles. Really good for stuff other than just business. Just didn't love the presentation....more
It was a fun read. The best part was definitely the setting. A crazy, entertaining mix of mythology and modern society.
One minor complaint: It took rIt was a fun read. The best part was definitely the setting. A crazy, entertaining mix of mythology and modern society.
One minor complaint: It took ridiculously long for people to guess Percy's lineage, all things considered.
I look forward to reading the others, but I'm not chomping at the bit.
Update: Re-read it recently and enjoyed it still. Hell was still definitely the best setting, complete with the three-headed dog (whose name I can't remember at the moment) and the EZ Death line. Still annoyed about the lineage issue. But still thought it was a good read, definitely a good one for middle grade guys....more
The story was reasonably fun and interesting. I would have rated it better if I hadn't felt like there were just a lot of plot holes and things that dThe story was reasonably fun and interesting. I would have rated it better if I hadn't felt like there were just a lot of plot holes and things that didn't make sense. Plus...the ending? Well, not to be too much of a spoiler, but if you have that kind of power over the bad guys in the end and don't rein them in a little bit better, you're just setting yourself up for another huge mess. Bad, bad planning.
Rating: Seem to remember it being pretty PG....more
Have now read books 1-3 of the series. Pretty fun, light YA fantasy. At first I was concerned that this book was going to be a LotR/Eragon rip-off (whHave now read books 1-3 of the series. Pretty fun, light YA fantasy. At first I was concerned that this book was going to be a LotR/Eragon rip-off (which is perhaps redundant, since Eragon was itself a LotR rip-off), but it turned out to have its own stuff.
My favorite thing about the series so far is a major spoiler, and I'm writing it in my review for book #3 (at which point it wouldn't be a spoiler anymore).
It took me a while to get into the book, but once I got far enough in, I quite enjoyed it. The characters were generally likable, and it showed differIt took me a while to get into the book, but once I got far enough in, I quite enjoyed it. The characters were generally likable, and it showed different sides to the issues that these people struggled with--their pride in their heritage making it difficult to accept outsiders but also making them strong and helping them stick together, etc.
The whole "liver-growed" thing, though, just confused me. The description given in the book didn't make any sense. If anyone has read this book and can explain to me how what the mother did could possibly have killed the baby, let me know. ...more
Loved it. Beautifully told story with a surprising yet quite lovely description of Death in the end. I can't explain why, but I thought it was wonderfLoved it. Beautifully told story with a surprising yet quite lovely description of Death in the end. I can't explain why, but I thought it was wonderful.
Rating: PG (after all, it is about death and the plague and all that fun jazz)...more
Oh, how to describe this novel. Have you ever heard my husband make up a story on the spot? It's a lot like that, only longer. It's pretty much silly,Oh, how to describe this novel. Have you ever heard my husband make up a story on the spot? It's a lot like that, only longer. It's pretty much silly, random, and meandering, but still in some strange way quite entertaining. While the book follows the standard plot arc (rising action, climax, denouement, blah blah blah), the rising action is really long. And not really rising. I think that's actually the defining characteristic of the weirdness of the book. Usually you expect rising action to get increasingly tense and absorbing, with an upward slope on the little plot outline graph. But not here. It's more like a stairstep graph--no real rise except for occasional blips.
I really enjoyed Neddie's very matter-of-fact narration of events like having a gun pointed at him and meeting a ghost, space cops, and movie stars.
Anyway, it was pretty entertaining, but it helped for me not to expect a standard plot arc.
Brice calls this book "quintessential Trace" (his brother).
This would have been a much better book if it had been 150 pages shorter. Or titled differently. Or both. The idea of the book is that all these peoplThis would have been a much better book if it had been 150 pages shorter. Or titled differently. Or both. The idea of the book is that all these people had important words spoken to them at life-changing moments. Good concept. The problem is that about 60% of them didn’t. They just had mottos to live by or interesting stories or, occasionally, a semirambling list of advice for readers.
So if some of the stories had been edited out, or if the title had set up different expectations of the book, it would have worked much better. However, there really were a number of good, inspiring, interesting stories. Here are some of my favorite bits (this part is long because it’s more a record for myself than a review):
Stephen Ambrose: His report that Eisenhower made it a rule to “never question another man’s motives. His wisdom, yes, but not his motives.” It made me want to be a little less cynical.
Jeff Bezos: “You’ll learn one day that it’s much harder to be kind than clever.”
David Boies: “You just make whatever decision you would want [your child:] to make if he were in your position.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Mother-in-law’s advice that “In every good marriage, it pays sometimes to be a little deaf.” And how she applied the advice beyond marriage.
Doris Kearns Goodwin: Erikson’s advice that “the richest lives attain an inner balance comprised of work, play, and love in equal order; to pursue one at the expense of others is to open oneself to sadness in older age.” And how she devoted a lot of her time to motherhood and didn’t mind when people asked, “Whatever happened to Doris Kearns, anyway?”
Scott Hamilton: His mom’s statement that we all have a certain number of minutes allotted to us and that we should use them well.
Ted Koppel: Will Roger’s words, “We are all ignorant about something.”
David Mamet: A delightful story about him falling in love with a young actress: “Our various situations precluded more than a respectful professional relationship between us, so I suffered philosophically, deranged by my immediate, impossible love for her. . . . I saw her, briefly, at the cast party. I told her how much I had enjoyed working with her and hoped we could do so again. There was a pause and she said, ‘I don’t seem to be able to leave.’ I apologized and moved aside for her, only to find that I had mistaken her meaning quite completely.
Mary Matalin: Her husband saying, “It doesn’t matter if everything you say is right and everything I say is wrong. The fact is, I still feel this way, so it counts.” Also, Maxene Fernstrom’s words: “You become the way you behave.”
Rosie O’Donnell: “And I began to notice that when emotions are turned into words written down on white paper, they gain a power that can make them challenging, even threatening.”
Bob Pittman: His father’s advice on raising a teenager: “There’s nothing he does that you should lose your line of communication over it, that you should ruin your relationship.”
Sally Ride: “You know, you’ve got to reach for the stars.” This one made me think, actually, about the opposite. Is there anything wrong with wanting to be happy but not famous? With, frankly, just wanting to be what the world would consider mediocre? Average?
Amy Tan: A painful, sad story about her relationship with her mother and then finally receiving some amount of healing. ...more