Harry Houdini was asked to write a book to teach aspiring magicians the craft. He declined because of his commitments, but recommended Dr Harlan Tarbe...moreHarry Houdini was asked to write a book to teach aspiring magicians the craft. He declined because of his commitments, but recommended Dr Harlan Tarbell.
The result is an eight-volume set that teaches how to perform countless magic effects of all types. What makes this book and series stand out from other guides to magic effects is that it's focus is on teaching you how to be a performer – the real secret of magic. The book starts with a history of magic, from the esoteric to performance magic and then launches in teaching about 30 ways to palm coins. Dr Tarbell doesn't expect you'll use them all, but knowing them, and having them practiced, means you can always switch to a different method if you the need calls for it. It then covers coin tricks, impromptu tricks, ball tricks, mathematical mysteries, card tricks, torn paper tricks, rope and tape tricks, handkerchief tricks, and silk tricks.
Apart from being practical, the book is entertaining and Dr Tarbell drew clear illustrations. My friend Adam Mada, one of Australia's best magicians, recommended this series of books to me after seeing how I was learning magic.
If you want to be a magician, then you must read and master this book.(less)
This is the first translation of "The Arabian Nights" since 1888. Some of the tales make no sense - you will find that as a modern, Western reader, yo...moreThis is the first translation of "The Arabian Nights" since 1888. Some of the tales make no sense - you will find that as a modern, Western reader, you simply lack the cultural context – and the others are more enjoyable because of this clear and readable translation.
The basic meta-story is well-known. King Shahriyar marries, consummates the marriage and then kills his wife the next morning so he can marry again. But Shahrazad is intelligent as well as beautiful and marries him with a plan in mind. After they have had sex, she starts telling him a story. At dawn she breaks off from her storytelling, ending on a cliffhanger. She repeats this every night.
Several things surprised me. I wasn't expecting women to be presented as smart and crafty. And I wasn't expecting the openness about sex. It's a glimpse into a world that is at once more repressed and more liberated than the Western World.
I can't wait to get into Volume 2 and despite the size of the read, "The Arabian Nights" is worth reading at least once.(less)
I believe it was Stephen King, in On Writing, who recommended that writers should reread this classic once a year.
The key principle that Strunk and Wh...moreI believe it was Stephen King, in On Writing, who recommended that writers should reread this classic once a year.
The key principle that Strunk and White want to transmit from their brain to yours is this: write simple, clear prose. The guide is divided into five parts: first, 11 elementary rules of usage; second, 11 elementary principles of composition; third, a few matters of form; fourth, a list of words and expressions commonly misused; and fifth, a list of 21 reminders that offer an approach to style.
I first read this book when I was 18 and was starting my professional writing career. It helped me become a good writer. Now my plan is to reread it once a year. Strunk and White's directives are clear and will help you become a writer.
If you're a professional writer, then this book is a must-read. If you have to write for work or for school, then reading it will help your writing stand out from your workmates or colleagues.(less)
For more than half this book, I was only willing to give it three stars. It seemed like good fantasy, but nothing more. But as it climaxed, Terry Broo...moreFor more than half this book, I was only willing to give it three stars. It seemed like good fantasy, but nothing more. But as it climaxed, Terry Brooks worked his magic like the most experienced Druid.
With 21,897 ratings and 360 reviews, little remains to be said about the plot. That many ratings make it clear that it's worth the read. Most of the four star books on this site don't have anywhere near that number of ratings.
When I picked this up, I was looking for something to rekindle my love of reading - something that was falling by the wayside as I was buried in countless self-help and investing books. It's a fun read. It restored my passion for reading.
I'm keen to get the next installment of the Shannara world.(less)
Maxwell Maltz's magnum opus guides you in applying rational thinking to achieve your goals and develop an accurate and healthy self-image.
Maltz believ...moreMaxwell Maltz's magnum opus guides you in applying rational thinking to achieve your goals and develop an accurate and healthy self-image.
Maltz believes that success will be automatic, if you use your brain properly. Inside your head is an automatic success mechanism that seeks to achieve goals. Your role in the process is to use the conscious mind to choose what goals you set and then you get out of the way and let your automatic success mechanism do its thing.
This is the classic guide to principled negotiation. “Principled negotiation shows you how to obtain what you are entitled to and still be decent” (p...moreThis is the classic guide to principled negotiation. “Principled negotiation shows you how to obtain what you are entitled to and still be decent” (p xxvi). The ideas it teaches have been practiced countless times in the real world and even more often since Dr Stephen R. Covey taught its ideas in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change.(less)
Why read the great books that have shaped Western thought?
In this introduction to the set, Hutchins points out the limitations of modern school-based...moreWhy read the great books that have shaped Western thought?
In this introduction to the set, Hutchins points out the limitations of modern school-based education and presses for a renaissance of liberal education. Such an education does not teach a man what to think, or give him the answers, instead it teaches him how to think and what questions to ask.
While I haven't yet read enough of the Great Books to know if my education was lacking, I'm willing to test the idea out. Getting to the source of what I learned will be interesting as it will place what I know into an historical and intellectual context.
If you're unconvinced about whether to read the Great Books, this essay will convince you to make the effort.(less)
Reading this is like looking at a painting by a master. You gain a striking first impression but layer after layer of meanings resonate with you after...moreReading this is like looking at a painting by a master. You gain a striking first impression but layer after layer of meanings resonate with you afterward.
The story follows the Joad family and growing tribe of other Oakies who head West after losing everything in the Great Depression. On getting parole, Joad Jr returns home to find the family home deserted. When he tracks them down, he risks his parole to pursue opportunity.
In the hands of a lesser writer, the mood setting opening would be a fail. Modern books open in media reas — in the middle of the action — but not here. Observant readers will notice the last sentence of the novel harks back to the opening with it's Mona Lisa-esque mystery.
This is the first time I read a book out of chronological order from Peter Boxall's "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die." I discovered I'd already read some of the books on the list and if I keep going through it in order, I'll be at it for the rest of my life.
This is the second of Steinbeck's novels I've read and after enjoying this one and "Of Mice and Men", I'll be seeking out his others. He's a writer-to-read for those who love popular literary fiction and is a master that aspiring writers can study. (less)
Much sharper scientific minds than mine have recognized the brilliance of Hawkings's seminal work — so far. He takes some complex ideas about physics...moreMuch sharper scientific minds than mine have recognized the brilliance of Hawkings's seminal work — so far. He takes some complex ideas about physics and makes them understandable to the everyday intelligent reader.
From the start of the universe with a discussion of the big bang, to an exploration into how — or whether — it will end, Hawkings introduces you to key scientific principles and terms. He shows how Galileo, Newton, Einstein and others built on the foundations laid by Aristotle. Brick by brick he shows his handiwork and adds his own layers.
You need to pay attention to follow his argument but this isn't an overwhelming task. In his own words, his disability that took his voice and confined him to a wheelchair has made him a clearer communicator.
Geeks, anyone with a scientific mind, or people who want a challenging but achievable read, I recommend this. You will come away smarter and a better thinker.
It's also my choice to join the Great Books series as one of the Great Books of the Twentieth Century. (less)
The best description I've heard of this book is how Peter Blazey described it when it was released: it's so popular because it's gay Mills & Boon....moreThe best description I've heard of this book is how Peter Blazey described it when it was released: it's so popular because it's gay Mills & Boon.
It's a memoir that reads like fiction, telling the love story of Tim Conigrave and John Caleo who meet in high school and remain lovers for life. It's also a story of love in the time of AIDS - a time not past, even though people are living longer with the new treatments available.
Apart from the powerful story, what makes this book work is the playwright Tim's ability to write authentic dialogue that propels you from one scene to the next. The prose is so simple, almost sparse, yet it packs an emotional wallop that you'll need whole boxes of tissues to clean up.
It's a book that's perhaps more relevant now than when it was first published -- it gives a warts-and-all view of a long-term gay relationship and unintentionally makes a compelling case for same-sex marriage.(less)
With 11,605 ratings and 844 reviews, including 15 from my friends, I'm going to offer something more useful in this review than simply saying it's a g...moreWith 11,605 ratings and 844 reviews, including 15 from my friends, I'm going to offer something more useful in this review than simply saying it's a great book or rehashing the content.
It is, by the way, a great book and reminded me of my own journey to enlightenment.
Here's a list of books to check out if you enjoyed "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" and want to study further in the area.
Years before The Secret by Rhonda Byrne made The Law of Attraction popular, I came across this book while I in a psychiatric ward being treated for a...moreYears before The Secret by Rhonda Byrne made The Law of Attraction popular, I came across this book while I in a psychiatric ward being treated for a manic episode of bipolar. Although this is a book about financial prosperity, it taught me to shift my focus from not getting sick to staying well. Before I learned this I had four hospital admissions for mania in five years. Now I've stayed well for twelve years. This book is gold and an absolute must-read.(less)
This book is mind-blowing. Usually when someone says a book is life-changing, they mean the book has helped them make incremental improvements. This b...moreThis book is mind-blowing. Usually when someone says a book is life-changing, they mean the book has helped them make incremental improvements. This book changes the rules altogether.(less)
This questions poses an important question - how can American again become a global economic leader? - and it gives clear answers to this question.
The...moreThis questions poses an important question - how can American again become a global economic leader? - and it gives clear answers to this question.
The first half of the book diagnoses the causes of America's economic state, chief among them the influence of corporations on government. The second half of the book are proposed solutions, based on goals that can be measured.
What makes this book so appealing is the way Sachs keeps economics connected to the pursuit of happiness. After all, if the target of good economic management is not happiness, then why bother? He teaches readers to take personal responsibility for achieving economic success and argues for more government involvement.
While the book is aimed at an American audience, many of the lessons apply in Australia, where I live and possibly in other parts of the world. If you have an interest in economics, prosperity and happiness, then this book is required reading.(less)
I read this because it was one of the choices on the First Tuesday Book Club's "50 Australian Books You Must Read Before You Die". Even though I saw t...moreI read this because it was one of the choices on the First Tuesday Book Club's "50 Australian Books You Must Read Before You Die". Even though I saw the movie when I was a boy, and later got to know one of the actors from the film, the book had never appealed to me and even though I plan to read anything on the Book Club list, I wasn't looking forward to this one.
It tells the tale of three schoolgirls and their mistress who go missing on a picnic at the haunting Hanging Rock. Only one girl returns, with no memory of what happened. The book explores how this event changes the lives of everyone left behind.
Unsolved mysteries are part of the psyche of Australia. This book hits the mark on many levels: it retains its mystery, the prose matches the haunting landscape of Hanging Rock, and it snapshots recent Australian history, right before Western culture became a US-inspired homogeneity.
For a truly Australian classic, you've got to read this book.(less)
From a philosophical viewpoint, I knew what to expect from this book. But I wasn't expecting it to be such an enjoyable fiction.
Dagny Taggart, committ...moreFrom a philosophical viewpoint, I knew what to expect from this book. But I wasn't expecting it to be such an enjoyable fiction.
Dagny Taggart, committed capitalist, starts a rail line with the sole view of making a profit.
Philosophically, capitalism should never be divorced from service to a genuine need or wish, and you should always do good as you make a profit. As a novel, it's overlong and nothing is gained from the extra length. While I enjoyed it and it's a fast read, I don't see why it couldn't be trimmed to 300 pages.
It's worth reading because of how influential it is.(less)
The bookseller who showed me where this book was located said that it was a really good read.
College professor Ezekiel Farragut is sent to prison beca...moreThe bookseller who showed me where this book was located said that it was a really good read.
College professor Ezekiel Farragut is sent to prison because he's a heroin addict and sexual adventurer. This novel tells of his time in prison before his trial.
The prose to this has a nice rhythm and it's one of those books that you need to read many times to fully appreciate. I can see it's good, and I like it, but I can't put my finger on why on this first reading. One thing I liked was that despite dealing with heroin, drug addiction, sexual misadventures and life in prison, it's not a depressingly heavy read.
The introduction in my edition describes it as "The Great American Novel" -- if not in all of US history, then certainly of the past 40 years -- and for this reason alone it's worth reading at least once.(less)
You know “those” people – the ones who attract trouble and then insist on sharing it with you? Jane Eyre is one of those.
The book starts in the same p...moreYou know “those” people – the ones who attract trouble and then insist on sharing it with you? Jane Eyre is one of those.
The book starts in the same place as the first Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone book: Jane Eyre’s parents are dead and the people she lives with dislike her and put her through hell. Also like Potter, Eyre is sent to a boarding school – but despite this book’s Gothic tones and ghost scares, you won’t find any supernatural elements. At the school a teacher believes in Eyre, pushing her to build character and competence. When Eyre finishes, she becomes a governess with dreams of building her own school.
In evaluating this book, you have to remember when it was written. It breaches literary “rules” often, the kind that would never get past a slush pile editor today: sentences that are adjectival train wrecks (in one sentence I counted six adjectives to modify one noun), authorial intrusion (when you’re a fair way into the book, suddenly Bronte starts addressing the reader directly), and she calls readers stupid (“I cannot expect the reader to have the same intuitive perception, so I must repeat his explanation”).
While Bronte’s writing skills are poor, and her storytelling average, this book became a classic because of its characters. Love them or hate them, you’ll want to get to know them at least once.(less)
If you get put off by size, the 518 pages of this book will intimidate you.
Fear not. This book flows so well that even the slowest reader will be able...moreIf you get put off by size, the 518 pages of this book will intimidate you.
Fear not. This book flows so well that even the slowest reader will be able to get through it in a few hours of dedicated reading.
This book started life as a series of books, and Collier answered reader questions in later volumes.
His idea in a nutshell: all the riches you can ever need lie ready for you to claim them when you can use them.
Since The Secret popularised New Thought and the Law of Attraction in 2006, Christians have had to ask themselves whether Christianity and the Law of Attraction are opposed to each other.
This book gives a satisfactory answer. Your ability to use the Law of Attraction comes through an involuntary connection to the Holy Spirit.
While that connection will come whether you want it or not as you pursue your main goal, this book gives you tools to keep connected to the Holy Spirit all the time.
The Life Magnet is as readable today as when it was written nearly 100 years ago. It will suit anyone interested in the Law of Attraction, but especially those who want to reconcile their Christian faith with the practice of the Law of Attraction.(less)
Sometimes fiction uncovers a common experience and tells a story about it before the vocabulary exists to describe what’s happening and link people go...moreSometimes fiction uncovers a common experience and tells a story about it before the vocabulary exists to describe what’s happening and link people going through it together.
Laura and Clare are sisters who seem destined to be victims. Their father died; their mother abandoned them. Laura cares for the younger Clare.
Things look set to change with the arrival of the older Felix, who seems caring, attentive and successful. But he’s no knight in shining armour. After marrying Laura, his alcoholism surfaces and he’s unstable, abusive and controlling.
The Watch Tower shows the challenges of living with an addict, and the choices people make to remain victims. Harrower does this, as Joan London says in the introduction, before we had the words “misogyny”, “abuse” and “co-dependence” to label these experiences.
This book is set in Sydney, Australia in the 1940s at the outbreak of the Second World War, and was published in 1966. This is the first Australian novel I’ve read from the 1960s and the first describing Australia in the 1940s.
It deserves its place as a Text Classic and on the list of the “Top 50 [Australian] Books You Can’t Put Down.”(less)
Each edition of The Warren Buffett Way has been widely regarded as the authoritative guide to how Warren Buffett selects the businesses he buys.
It sta...moreEach edition of The Warren Buffett Way has been widely regarded as the authoritative guide to how Warren Buffett selects the businesses he buys.
It starts with a chapter on the people who taught Buffett how to think about investments, Benjamin Graham, Philip Fisher and Buffett’s business partner, Charlie Munger.
Hagstrom then outlines 12 immutable tenets for buying a business and gives examples from Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio.
The remainder of the book explores the psychology of investing. Many people who seek to model Buffett’s strategies miss this critical part: when he buys a business or shares – the two are the same in his mind – he never plans to sell.
Part of the reason why the book is authoritative is that it’s comprehensive. Similar books I’ve read have skimmed over the ideas they present, leaving you feel like you’ve snacked rather than digested a full meal. Because you’ve eaten well, you put the book down knowing what actions you can take.
He tells readers that they won’t be Buffett, but they can use his investing approach to improve the performance of their investments. Hagstrom’s website reinforces your education.
VERDICT: Required reading for sharemarket investors of any level. (less)