Everyone has an angle on branding and marketing—this book is no different. This is another repackaging of same basic truths of psychology, brain scien...moreEveryone has an angle on branding and marketing—this book is no different. This is another repackaging of same basic truths of psychology, brain science as they apply to marketing and branding. I probably enjoyed the author's narration the most. Sally Hogshead has a flirty, fun style that moves things along at a good pace. Overall, this book has some interesting ideas and concepts. It didn't strike me as ground-breaking. It's worth a read (or a listen).(less)
Having read, and enjoyed, Chris Guillebeau's (pronounced Gil-Bow) first book, The Art of Non-Conformity I was looking forward to reading his latest T...moreHaving read, and enjoyed, Chris Guillebeau's (pronounced Gil-Bow) first book, The Art of Non-Conformity I was looking forward to reading his latest The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future. Back in the mid 90s, I was able to realize a long-time dream of starting my own graphic design business. And while I defied the odds of most new businesses by surviving 7 years, I also made a lot of rookie mistakes as a business owner. So this book falls into the category of "I wish I'd read this book before..."
I have to admit the title seemed a little light-weight or over-promising which made me skeptical about the content. However, I was surprised at the thoughtful, in-depth approach to the material. In a friendly and easy-going style, Chris carefully takes the reader through the considerations and expectations one should anticipate before going into business. And while his one-page business plan may seem sketchy or shallow for more complicated businesses, Chris's whole premise is based on getting started and refining as you go.
If you're ready to start a small, or micro business, I would say you can't go wrong with using this as a starting point. There is a lot to consider when starting a business and you can over-think and over-read prior to starting. This book arms the reader with enough knowledge to get things rolling and the inspiration to tweak as you go.(less)
“Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen. The stubborn retention of it, even in the face of extreme physical hardship, can ho...more“Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen. The stubborn retention of it, even in the face of extreme physical hardship, can hold a man's soul in his body long past the point at which the body should have surrendered it.”— From Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
The word "inspiring" comes up a lot in reviews of this book. I read this book during a stressful time in my life: I was just laid off from a job in a battered and weak economy. For me, the layoff was very much like being ditched in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with only a life raft and scant supplies. I could relate to the fear of the unknown future like an endless horizon of empty ocean, the need to keep spirits up and hope alive while thrashing sharks encircle a flimsy craft.
Books can come to us at just the right times in our lives—sometimes they speak to us. This book inspires me.
It inspires me to be grateful - The hardships and cruelty endured by Louie Zamperini and Russell Phillips are more than any person should endure. In my life, I have never experienced this level of hardship and I hope I never will. I am grateful for the happy life I have lived.
It inspires me to hope - This book also demonstrates the sheer power of hope. Even at their darkest hours—when their hope was the sputtering light of a dying candle—they kept going. They endured. As long as we all have breath, we can hope for a better future.
It inspires me to be kinder - Sometimes we need to be reminded of the cruelties of humankind. Sick and sadistic people do exist and they inflict terrible injuries on the weak and powerless. As I read this book, I found myself smiling at strangers. I held my tongue and checked my anger over trivial misunderstandings. I wanted to somehow counterbalance the meanness in the world.
Unbroken is indeed an inspiring book. This is not a book about war and torture. This is a book about dignity, endurance and the power of forgiveness.(less)
For anyone interested in the American Civil War, this is a must read. This first-person account of the war from the perspective of a Confederate soldi...moreFor anyone interested in the American Civil War, this is a must read. This first-person account of the war from the perspective of a Confederate soldier ranges from funny to heartbreaking. Sam Watkins writes in a breezy, energetic style which could have easily been a modern day blog—with brief, episodic entries which span his four year career as a "Johnny Reb." You can read about the big battles and the politics behind the scenes, but you won't have a complete picture of this conflict until you've read about the experiences of the common soldier. Sam Watkins memoir is one of the best I've read.(less)
Americans who live in coastal states, jokingly refer to the Midwest as the "fly-over" states. In the study of U.S. Presidents there is an equivalent o...moreAmericans who live in coastal states, jokingly refer to the Midwest as the "fly-over" states. In the study of U.S. Presidents there is an equivalent of "fly-over states" which I like to call the "bearded white guys in the middle" and includes Rutherfurd B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur and Benjamin Harrison (alas, Grover Cleveland had a great fluffy mustache, but no beard).
After moving to the great state of Minnesota and after reading "Destiny of the Republic" I can honestly say there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the Midwest AND James A. Garfield. This engrossing book, by a former National Geographic editor, tells how two lives on very different trajectories collide in a Washington D.C. train station in 1881 when Charles Guiteau, a deranged office-seeking lawyer/theologian pumps two shots, one into the arm and one into the back, of the nation's 20th president. This botched assassination puts Garfield's life in the germ-infested clutches of the man who ultimately kills him, Dr. Doctor Bliss (nope, that's not a typo; Doctor Bliss obviously had parent's with an agenda).
This well-researched book is accessible and fascinating, achieving what I love in a good history book: it brings faded events and people to life, elevating forgotten details with the immediacy and vitality of a current news story. I would bet the average high school history text book devotes, at best, one paragraph to the assassination of Garfield. Ms. Millard gives us 260 pages of dramatic storytelling which builds steadily to its tragically prolonged denouement.
The narrative is filled with fascinating characters. There is the vivacious, bear-hugging, Shakespeare-loving Garfield who embodies the self-made man as he goes from desperate poverty to the battlefields of the Civil War to an unsolicited presidential nomination. There is Charles Guiteau, the highly intelligent, delusional, sociopath who, deprived of his requested Parisian consulship, embarks on a mission from God to "remove the president." There is Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, who works feverishly to perfect a device to find the bullet in the president's body. There is Doctor Bliss the old-school physician who arrogantly declares himself the president's sole healthcare provider and who's blundering ministrations and unsanitary practices spawn a virulent septic poison which ravages the president's body.
Rounding out this cast are a handful of would-be heroes and colorful villains like Roscoe Conkling, the preening New York senator and political puppet-master with his lackey Vice President Chester A. Arthur—both the subjects of contemporary conspiracy theorists.
For all of us who skimmed the paragraph in our 10th-grade history book and had the slightest twinge of desire to know the full story—for those of us who lingered with curiosity on the engraved illustration showing Guiteau blasting away at a contorted Garfield—Destiny of a Republic is an achingly sad and deeply satisfying reminder that history is about real people. It is about flesh and blood, madness and innovation, depravity and nobility—history is the story of people like us.(less)
I'm conflicted about this book. On one hand, the Baby Boomer geek in me wants to rave and gush about the multitude of 70s and 80s pop culture referenc...moreI'm conflicted about this book. On one hand, the Baby Boomer geek in me wants to rave and gush about the multitude of 70s and 80s pop culture references and the clever plot involving a massive hunt for video game "Easter Eggs." Another part of me wanted more from the book—or maybe less. I kept thinking this could have been a really great short story. The onslaught of pop culture was almost too much at times. Such is the nature of the information-age we live in. We are constantly bombarded by memes and little "winks and nudges" from the past.
The story lacked tension. More accurately, the story had a feeling of inevitability, like a video game. If you die in a video game you can always keep trying until you get it right. And even when the stakes were high, I felt like everything would all work out fine for the heroes. The author did an admirable job of avoiding some of the tropes and cliches inherent in a dual reality where virtual avatars and real-world appearances can create a double-blind conundrum. But in the end, the emotional depth of the story was pretty shallow.
In the parlance of role-playing games, technology keeps "leveling-up." And with each new level, we get new toys, new weapons and new "cool shit." I'm writing this review on an iPad 3—one of my favorite digital devices. I jumped on the e-reader bandwagon early-on, before they became ubiquitous on airplanes. I still have my first generation iPod. But with each of these device "upgrades" I feel the weight of guilt, like I've had to sacrifice something. I feel as if I've had to leave something valuable behind. Physical books, while clunky and space consuming, have a tactile beauty and reassuring heft. Vinyl records, with their pops and scratches, gave us amazing liner notes and album-cover art to pore over. While I forge ahead and stay current with the latest gadgets, I can't help but mourn the passing of physical things. "Ready Player One" touches on these themes but doesn't offer a satisfying emotional reconciliation of the physical past and the virtual future.
Lest you think I'm panning this book, let me say that "Ready Player One" is fun. It's a blast, in fact. For a quick summer-read you can't go wrong. For anyone born before 1980, this book will resonate with the joy, audacity and sheer geekiness of the first computer generation. The 1970s and 1980s were great decades to be a child (and a hormonal teenager). We had awesome music. We had awesome television shows. We had awesome movies. We had awesome video games. "Ready Player One" is a celebration of ALL of the awesomeness of that era. It is also a reflection on our future and how we need to balance the physical and the virtual worlds—finding the beauty in each. (less)