This was a surprisingly enlightening book. I picked this up on a whim while perusing through the local library, and I am glad I did. This book is fillThis was a surprisingly enlightening book. I picked this up on a whim while perusing through the local library, and I am glad I did. This book is filled with anecdotes and stories of real people in China. This goes well beyond the official propaganda and the conspiracy theories and the rumors about what is going on in China. The author, an American journalist who has lived in and traveled throughout China, makes an effort to interview and build relationships with many different figures in Chinese society- from popular online personalities to political dissidents to fervent nationalists. He does a good job presenting the difficulties China is facing internally as it tries to redefine its own national identity.
Overall, this is a fascinating book and well worth the time....more
This is an entertaining book. It flows pretty quickly, and it is easy to follow the writer's logic. It's not one of his best books though. Some of hisThis is an entertaining book. It flows pretty quickly, and it is easy to follow the writer's logic. It's not one of his best books though. Some of his examples appear cherry-picked, and he doesn't thoroughly explore alternates to his hypotheses. Also, some of his conclusions can be fairly obvious (yes, the smaller more agile fighter can sometimes defeat giants with slow thinking).
Overall, this was a decent book. I recommend to anyone who is a fan of his other books....more
This was an entertaining book for what it was. It is essentially a series of short stories from George RR Martin set within his ASOIAF world. Some ofThis was an entertaining book for what it was. It is essentially a series of short stories from George RR Martin set within his ASOIAF world. Some of the names are familiar, but some are only touched upon elsewhere in his series. The stories themselves are not very complex or rich, athough one at least has quite a few new characters you must remember.
Overall, entertaining, but not outstanding. Worth a read while you are waiting for Winds of Winter...more
I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. Sequels are usually not as good as the originals, but this isn't really a sequel per se. Think ofI didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. Sequels are usually not as good as the originals, but this isn't really a sequel per se. Think of Speaker for the Dead as a different type of novel set in the same universe as Ender's Game with some of the same characters.
What you have is a story of Ender Wiggin that shows a more remorseful and contemplative character than the child we saw in Ender's Game. He is left dealing with the consequences of his actions from the first book, and we get to see the effects of those events 3 millennia after.
Despite all those connections to the original, this book has a far different tone and writing style from the first. It helps if you read the author's note in the beginning. He explains that Speaker for the Dead actually started as its own story that Orson Scott Card kicked around and turned over and rewrote many times over the span of a few decades. It wasn't originally meant to have Ender Wiggin; in fact he started writing this when Ender's Game was just a short story. At some point, he decided it just fits with that universe, and it really does. I was pleasantly surprised by all of this.
On a side note, the ordering of the novels is a bit confusing. I see it is listed here as the third book, but I read it immediately after Ender's Game simply because the Ender's Quintet that I bought for the Kindle has this book ordered second. I'm not sure if that matters or not....more
I'm really not sure what to say about this book. It was entertaining enough to keep me wanting to read more. In fact, goodreads tells me it was only aI'm really not sure what to say about this book. It was entertaining enough to keep me wanting to read more. In fact, goodreads tells me it was only about 2 weeks start to finish, which for me is fast. However, I can't really say I enjoyed it. The plot was interesting and the story kept moving quickly without too much down time, but there just was something missing. I can't quite put my finger on it. I think 3 stars is fair. I probably won't end up reading the rest of the series though....more
This book was given to me as part of a training class at work a few years ago. At the time I only read the assigned chapters and put the book on my shThis book was given to me as part of a training class at work a few years ago. At the time I only read the assigned chapters and put the book on my shelf intending to finish it at some point. Well, I got tired of looking at it and decided to finish it off once and for all.
This book in its entirety didn't really hit the mark for me. While it stayed with the general theme of "crowds are good in some cases but not others," the author stopped short of providing concrete recommendations on how to form or manage groups to achieve desired outcomes. In that sense, this was slightly more than a collection of stories about groups working well or not.
What bothered me the most is the disregard the author has for leadership in groups. In the afterword, he basically dismisses the impact of leadership and says it is paradoxical to the concept of group work. However, in many of his examples, leaders either did have or could have had a positive impact on things without negatively influencing the process. As an example, he talks about the NASA lady in the context of the shuttle explosion and how her comments were dismissive of the possibility of damage and therefore she steered the group in the wrong direction. The author admonished her for her actions but stopped short of saying "if you are in a similar position, you should do X,Y,and Z and avoid A, B, and C in order to have an effective group outcome."
Even despite all of the above, the book was entertaining which earned it 3 stars from me.I just don't think it was as good as the hype....more
This is a fantastic book about a person who has been elevated to almost god-like status in our society. To be clear, this is not a complete biographyThis is a fantastic book about a person who has been elevated to almost god-like status in our society. To be clear, this is not a complete biography on Washington, nor is it a complete account of the American Revolution in its entirety. This book is a combination of both, as it examines the war through his perspective. This book ends shortly after the war ends and does not go into his presidency at all.
There is some assumed knowledge you need before you dive into this book. For example, the author makes references to events in Boston leading up to the war, and the early battle of Bunker Hill, but he does not explain these events. Instead, he references the effects of these events on Washington and his part in the war. It also does not talk much about the continental congress, the declaration of independence, or other political entities and milestones, except to enumerate his experiences with the system.
One thing that surprised me that, in retrospect, should not have surprised me was how ineffective the continental congress truly was. Not only was it unable to procure basic materiel for the war (clothes, food, tents, etc) it was unable to command any allegiance or resources from the states who composed the union.
This is a fantastic book and a great read for anyone....more