It's easy to understand why this book made an impression on so many people when it was first published at the height of the American Civil Rights MoveIt's easy to understand why this book made an impression on so many people when it was first published at the height of the American Civil Rights Movement in the sixties.
On the surface it deals with small town narrow minded stereotypes in the American south, and the racial prejudice so many African Americans had to endure during this period living and working in these communities. It's a poignant reminder of the societal norms that were prevalent as little as a generation ago. By today's standards the condescending undertones evident in some of the dialog can be a little hard to bear and makes one cringe in some places.
But these themes do not really surface until halfway through the book, which is actually about Scout Finch: the little girl who's not afraid to put her fists up to put the boys in their place, prefers britches to dresses, and spends the summers with her brother Jem and friend Dill trying to make sense of the people living in their neighborhood.
The book will invariably conjure up long forgotten memories of ones own childhood as you follow Scout and Jem around the town of Maycomb, which is probably why it resonates with readers even today. They enjoy a seemingly carefree existence in a beneficent world, but as the story progresses the challenges associated with status anxiety, family tension, conflicting world views, and growing animosity of emerging enemies is slowly revealed to them.
It's a worthwhile read, and even if none of the above themes particularly appeal to you, it is likely that the sumptuous writing contained in this Pulitzer prize winning novel will. ...more
Mornings on Horseback is a meandering and slow paced biography covering the lives of three generations of Roosevelts. Living in Dutch New York at theMornings on Horseback is a meandering and slow paced biography covering the lives of three generations of Roosevelts. Living in Dutch New York at the end of the 19th century, the book tells of the fortunes, adventures, disappointments, and the daily lives in general of this prominent and privileged family.
The book's main focus is on the childhood of Theodore Roosevelt, who diligently kept a detailed diary as a young boy, which provides the bulk of the source material. This, together with the large amount of letters which he both wrote and received, most of which seem to have survived, provide a very personal account of his close relationship with his father, his lifelong love for nature, the happy days spent with his family on vacation sailing the Nile river and touring Europe, and the close bond he enjoyed with his parents and siblings (almost all of whom suffered from some strange physical or mental affliction).
More than anything, it is the tale of a young man trying to find his place in the world, and living up to the expectations of his father and the reputation of the family name.
It is obvious that the Roosevelts were fabulously wealthy, and this makes the book all the more interesting for the frequent trips to exotic destinations, interactions with prominent members of old New York's social elite, and Theodore's enthusiasm for fine clothes and guns, among other things.
Like most great men his life was not without tragedy. And the author does a great job of conveying the sense of loss and despair which these events so often bring.
It's a really long book. But you will find yourself picking it up and dusting it off to go on, just like 'TD' had to do so often himself...more
This book details a handful of subjective research findings as to why some companies become great, while others simply remain good at what they do. ThThis book details a handful of subjective research findings as to why some companies become great, while others simply remain good at what they do. The author uses strained analogies to belabor a few simple concepts which can basically be summarized as:
Rule #1: Hire the best people you can, and make sure that they fill the right positions Rule #2: Learn rule #1 first.
Everything else seems to flow naturally from the above: maintaining a culture of discipline, the compounding effects of launching the right small initiatives, avoiding mistakes, focussing on what makes you money, figuring out what your company can be the best at, remaining realistically optimistic etc.
The book does provide some interesting insights into 11 great companies (some of which have gone bankrupt since the book was published by the way), and may be worthwhile if only to become privy to a few intimate details of how the companies were run, and the personalities that shaped their destiny....more
I read this book on 'attachment parenting' a number of years ago. The book starts out really well by providing a refreshing alternative to what many wI read this book on 'attachment parenting' a number of years ago. The book starts out really well by providing a refreshing alternative to what many would consider mainstream norms for raising children: co-sleeping, no spanking, avoiding separation, extended breastfeeding etc.
I think this is great for new parents having their first baby, but I found some of the principles and advice hard to buy into, especially as your kids reach the toddler stage (like co-sleeping: you get tired of being woken up by a two-year old's ankle in your groin).
Towards the end the book becomes a little repetitive and you get the feeling that there really isn't enough material there to fill an entire volume. The author's views are a little extreme and creates the impression that if you ever (a) left your baby in a crib, or (b) allowed it to cry for more than 5 seconds, or (c) sent one of your kids to a public school, you basically screwed them up for life.
This book will probably resonate with high 'S' personality types, who just want to avoid their children feeling upset.
The book tells the egocentric tale of Lance Armstrong's early life, how he got interested in endurance sports (for which he was obviously gifted), hisThe book tells the egocentric tale of Lance Armstrong's early life, how he got interested in endurance sports (for which he was obviously gifted), his diagnosis with cancer, recovery, and remarkable comeback to win the Tour de France.
By his own admission, professional athletes tend not to be the nicest people, or especially easy to get along with, and this comes through in many parts of the book which may irritate some readers. To be fair, this may simply be as a result of their single minded focus on their sport to the exclusion of all else and their intolerance for the average, and should not be a reason for dismissing the book.
If you can look past all of the shallow materialism, recklessness, and testosterone fueled spats, the book gives some valuable insights into the life of a man who was raised by a single mom, grew up poor, and had to overcome more than his fair share of setbacks.
The description of his time as a cancer patient is especially intimate and very engaging. For me this was perhaps the most honest and best part of the book, especially if you are completely ignorant of the decease and the lives it touches (like I was)....more
I'm not sure that Mr. Hsieh really knew what he was doing most of the time. He was obviously quite young when he enjoyed his initial success with LinkI'm not sure that Mr. Hsieh really knew what he was doing most of the time. He was obviously quite young when he enjoyed his initial success with LinkExchange, and it's hard to tell wether or not there was ever any sound basis for the decisions he made.
I liked his ideas on 'Ask Anything', and how a business should be obsessed with its customers in order to remain successful over the long term. The book also provides some interesting insights as to what it was like to start one's career right at the beginning of the dot-com boom, and life on the west coast during that era in general. I was amazed to learn how many high-risk, radical changes the leadership team was willing to introduce in the early days of Zappos in order to try and address problem areas. And how these radical interventions helped shape the culture and result in the business eventually turning profitable for the first time.
It ain't Drucker, but if you enjoy feel-good hippie business books, or have not explored the genre before, it may be an entertaining read. ...more