Archive for June, 2012

Awakening to the Secret Code of Your Mind: Your Mind’s Journey to Inner Peace Sale-$10.85!

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Awakening to the Secret Code of Your Mind: Your Mind's Journey to Inner Peace. Awakening to the Secret Code of Your Mind: Your Mind’s Journey to Inner Peace

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What if you could, like a diamond forged through heat and pressure, transform every painful, scary, and stressful experience in your life into one that is meaningful, courageous, and inspiring? What if you were provided with the tools that allow you to tap and manifest the true power that exists within you—the power to shine? Are you ready to discover your path to peace?

In this fascinating book, Dr. Darren Weissman shares ancient spiritual wisdom fused with a modern-day understanding of the mind’s relationship to biology and behavior that has implications not only for your health, but for the well-being of the entire planet. You’ll learn how to use The LifeLine TechniqueÔ —a philosophy and technology for awakening your infinite potential for healing and wholeness—and share the experiences of scores of people whose lives have been forever changed as a result.

Conscious visionaries pronounced more than 40 years ago that the road to peace is paved with the power of love. Dr. Weissman’s book provides the steps you can use to learn to walk that path, and it will help you understand why it is your moral imperative to choose love over fear.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #1776 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-03-01
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 312 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9781401923839
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Great Book!5
I have experienced Dr. Darren and the LifeLine Technique. He is an amazing teacher in person and through his books. In this book he very simply and clearly explains the ‘Secret Code of Your Mind’. Having tried many different self help modalities and read lots of books on the subject - this book is at the TOP of my list. He takes what can seem overwhelming and breaks it down step by step. The triggers in our lives, the rage, depression, anxiety, aches and pains, he provides a road map of our mind that can guide a person to greater understanding. His 1-2-3 Plan is a wonderful tool that can help you create powerful intentions for your life. He masterfully explains ‘Tools for Living an Optimal Life’. You might want to buy 2 books - one to lend to people (you will want to) and one for yourself to refer to.

E-motion transforms energy….5
I had the wonderful pleasure attending a group session with Dr. Weissman in June of 09…It changed my life. I experienced a LifeLine Technique session that Dr. DW performed on the entire group, it enabled me to release trapped emotions. Emotions that had been causing me to experience pain and discomfort in my left arm for over a year, so much pain I couldn’t carry my 3 year old daughter. Since that day, I have never felt that discomfort again…When I read this book it moved me in many ways. Aside from learning amazing techniques that I can use in the privacy of my own home, but I read amazing stories, with some came tears of sadness, and others tears of joy…It gave me hope, and made me realize how powerful I am on my own, that I have a choice. And I will forever CHOOSE who I want to be and what I want to experience, no matter what is going on outside in the world around me….I AM POWERFUL, Feeling complete!

This my just be your lifeline!5
Have you been searching for… something, like a purpose, or healing or meaning in some suffering experience? Are you held back in your life by a past trauma or negative thoughts? Illness, disease, pain and stress are symptoms from the subconscious mind created to keep your spirit safe. Past experiences can keep us trapped in a cycle of recycling the same emotion we encountered at the time of the original painful, scary or stressful situation. As shown by Dr. Weissman in his new book, you can move out of the past and live in present time consciousness and choose to create a new reality that is peaceful and healing and can move you forward in life. The power of love is so potent. Learn how to live and move about in a new mood of infinite love and gratitude. Read this book and begin your journey. I am so grateful I did.

Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day Review.

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day

Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day Review.

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Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day Description:

Renowned baking instructor Peter Reinhart distills his professional techniques down to the basics, delivering artisan bread formulas that require minimal effort and time. PETER REINHART’S ARTISAN BREADS FAST replaces the breakthrough methods of the past, the various preferment methods, and the no-knead craze, and offers high-caliber versions of classic breads using the best techniques to create the highest quality loaves in a fast and convenient fashion. A conscientious teacher, Reinhart coaches readers on shaping tricks, oven techniques, and methods for doing away with expensive bakery tools.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #1571 in Books
  • Published on: 2009-09-29
  • Released on: 2009-10-27
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 224 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9781580089982
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Customer Reviews:

Another Great Work From Peter Reinhart5
I have been baking bread as a hobby for a little over 2 years. I have always been fascinated with baking bread but I never found a satisfactory resource until I found Peter Reinhart’s “Bread Baker’s Apprentice.” This was a great resource as Peter is a very skilled teacher and conveyor of information. I also purchased a copy of Peter’s “Whole Grain Bread’s” and was equally excited by the bread baking techniques that he shares. Also, you can see an evolution in the baking style between the two books as the author seems to learn from each publication. I purchased this newest book yesterday, and after reading through it I can see that he has continued to learn and I really appreciate the techniques used in this book as they are even easier to perform, and easier to understand, than the first two books. This book is great for people just getting into bread baking as it contains many of the same fundamental styles of bread found in Peter’s other books. However, if you already own Peter’s previous publications do not let that deter you from purchasing this one as there are new techniques and formula’s for different breads. I am especially looking forward to trying the formulas in the section on Cheese bread, as well as the onion and wild rice bread. The techniques presented in this book are simpler, and more straightforward than previous ones as the formulas are streamlined so that the use of a seperate pre-fermented dough is not necessary. Also, these recipes, although still requiring at least two days, take less hands-on time to make. I am very excited to try the breads presented in this book, and I would highly recommend anyone who enjoys baking bread to purchase this exciting new work from Peter Reinhart.

Reinhart-Lite4
Peter Reinhart is a generous teacher who in his last few books shared everything he knew about baking bread. This is a great thing if you’re a certified breadhead. If you aren’t you can easily be scared off by too much information.

In his latest book Peter turns down the tech talk… and is much more user freindely to the novice baker. The pictures are beautiful and inviting, the instruction clear. A great gift for beginner bakers. Of course there are cute tips for all of us, but most of the information Peter covered in previous books. (The fact that retarding the dough takes the place of making a preferment isn’t rocket science - its basic bread science - but good science none the less.)

Did I mention the book is beautiful, clearly written and full of delicious recipes? Well it is..

As I mention this is Reinhert-Lite for your friends that love the bread you make and want to try it themselves…

Remedy for the smallish $7 loaf from your local boulangerie, so-so home-baked stuff, and culinary blandom5
You just gotta love Peter Reinhart’s passion and nuanced expertise of baking. It may be difficult for everyone to understand but for those who bake, reading about fermentation and how wet a dough should be and technique is good stuff. I understand the roles of the commercial and wild yeasts and bacterias in sourdough starters so much better now and I’ve been doing them for over thirty years.

This book is a collection of the best baking recipes - breads, rolls, sweets - Peter Reinhart has collected and is thusly quite a bargain.

There is an evolution of thought and expanation of contemporary times here. This book is not just repackaged 2001 releases “Crust and Crumb” and “Bread Baker’s Apprentice” or even the 2007 “Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads” (which I thought was a major breakthough of understanding of a huge variety of whole grains as they relate to bread). Peter Reinhart explains were we are today with process.

“Artisan” bread has meaning for everyone. Consider pizza. We’ve all had the gummy and bland frozen reheat/home pizza that you have to intentionally burn a little to kill the nothingness of it all. Compare that the fire-oven pizza with char spots on the bottom, with the grittiness of par-toasted cornmeal clinging to the underside of a perfectly crunchy, yet creamy flavored and slightly smokey crust. That’s artisan. There is complicated texture and difference, even controversy, in flavor and texture of artisan breads. Add some artisan cheese and artisan sausage and it doesn’t get any better.

From Publishers Weekly
With “no-knead” bread recipes all the rage now, expert baker Reinhart (Whole Grain Breads) has come back with a process that is slightly more involved but much more productive than the limited classic no-knead method, yielding all manner of sweet, savory and sandwich breads. He introduces a “stretch and fold” technique that, combined with a slow rise and without the lengthy prefermentation that his and other artisan bakers’ recipes usually require, means more freedom and less active work time, but still a very flavorful product. To make French baguettes, for example, only one brief knead is required; then, after an overnight or multiday rise, the dough is ready for shaping—much better than being shackled to the kitchen for an entire morning for multiple rises, as is usually the case in baguette making. Other great breads, such as focaccia, soft cheese bread and even panettone, get similar preparation makeovers. Reinhart occasionally calls for a starter, but his carefully constructed, nonintimidating mother starter method should encourage the wary. For bakers who have come to bread through the no-knead route, Reinhart’s thorough, detailed recipes offer a perfect way to expand their repertoire without getting their hands too sticky or giving up too much of their time, while those who are already fans will appreciate having a little more room in their schedule while still producing terrific breads. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review
“Peter Reinhart is the Leonardo da Vinci of bread; his recipes are foolproof, his research exhaustive and yet a delight to read and follow, and his hunger for knowledge and technique is boundless and infinite. He is without a doubt the definitive source of true style and information when it comes to all things baked and delicious, and my go-to guy for all things leavened and sandwichable”
–Mario Batali, author of Molto Italiano

“I’ve been using Peter’s overnight pizza dough technique religiously for years–mix, knead, chill overnight, shape, bake. So simple, and minimal planning is required. In this book, many of the recipes use a similar approach–no poolish or pre-fermenting. From pain au levain and pretzels to panettone and pizza dough, all the greatest hits and every day favorites are covered.”
–Heidi Swanson, author of Super Natural Cooking

“Peter Reinhart’s thoughtful, steadying presence combined with his matchless teaching skills and down-to-earth approach make reading and using Artisan Breads Every Day a great pleasure. His information demystifying the preparation and use of sourdough starters is both much needed and superb.”
–Nancy Baggett, author of Kneadlessly Simple: Fabulous, Fuss-Free, No-Knead Breads

“For most cooks, artisan bread baking is close to metaphysics. And each succeeding book about it only tends to deepen the mysteries and make trying it even more unlikely. Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day is one of the first books of its kind that actually made me want to stop reading and start baking.”
–Russ Parsons, author of How to Peel a Peach

From the Publisher
* Master bread baker and innovator Peter Reinhart’s answer to the artisan bread-in-no-time revolution, with time-saving techniques for making extraordinary loaves with speed and ease.
* Features 50 recipes for bread, bagels, pizza, and Reinhart’s first-ever pastry recipes.
* Peter Reinhart’s books have sold more than 250,000 copies.

Succubus Shadows Georgina Kincaid, Book 5 Discount.

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Succubus Shadows Georgina Kincaid, Book 5

Succubus Shadows Georgina Kincaid, Book 5 Discount.

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Succubus Shadows Georgina Kincaid, Book 5 Description:

Georgina Kincaid has formidable powers. Immortality, seduction, shape-shifting into any human form she desires, walking in heels that would cripple mere mortals–all child’s play to a succubus like her.

Helping to plan her ex-boyfriend’s wedding is a different story. Georgina isn’t sure which is worse–that Seth is marrying another woman, or that Georgina has to run all over Seattle trying on bridesmaid dresses. Still, there are distractions. Georgina’s roommate, Roman, is cluttering her apartment with sexual tension. Then there’s Simone, the new succubus in town, who’s intent on corrupting Seth.

But the real danger lies in the mysterious force that’s visiting her thoughts, trying to draw her into a dark, otherworldly realm. Sooner or later, Georgina knows she’ll be too weak to resist. And when that happens, she’ll discover who she can trust, who she can’t–and that Hell is far from the worst place to spend eternity. . .

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #1651 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-04-01
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 304 pages

Customer Reviews:

Finally digging deeper into Georgina’s past!!5
As an ongoing series these books must be read in order and book 5 continues where the previous left off.

Georgina is bombarded several new woes in her life. On top of having to learn to live without Seth, she now somehow gotten herself named a bridesmaid at his wedding, as well as dealing with a visiting Succubus who has made it her mission to conquer Seth, and a very odd relationship growing with Roman, oh and did I mention an unknown force that is out to kidnap her from this world?

Whenever Georgina finds herself in the throes of depression(which is often) an odd force or entity appears in her dreams like a siren’s song to rescue her from it all. Or is it to kidnap her from it all? This unknown entity forces Georgina to relive painful memories from both her mortal life and her immortal one in order to feed off her energy. But are all the memories they show her true?

As a reader you find yourself just as confused as the character while she is reliving these past memories and just as tortured. I found the book to be both exciting and heartbreaking. I loved that this book covers a lot of how Georgina became who she is today by reliving many memories from her very long life. I’ve always wanted to know so much more about her past and this book delivers exactly that. You see get to see how Georgina became the uncharacteristically compassionate minion of hell that she is now.

A powerful entry in the Georgina Kincaid series5
The fourth book in the Georgina Kincaid series, “Succubus Heat,” was quite a downer. The fifth volume opens new possibilities–but is also poignant, with a number of familiar characters facing death.

Georgina is a succubus, a lesser immortal who sucks the life out of lovers through various intimacies (including passionate kisses). Her improbable love of a mortal, the author Seth Mortensen, has gone badly. Seth is now engaged to one of Georgina’s best friends, Maddie. Sounds like a soap opera. But the events in this book rapidly become compelling.

Something is calling for Georgina. Her roommate, Roman, tries to make sure nothing evil happens, but one night some force “sucks her” into a limbo-like place. Here, the book becomes fascinating as the creatures who captured her, minions of another powerful supernatural force whom Georgina helped “imprison” earlier, take their vengeance on her. What makes this interesting is the dreams: current episodes in the “real world,” such as her friends, including vampires, humans, imps, an angel, etc., try to figure out what has happened to her and how to “rescue” her). Or a retelling of her early life, where she made choices that led her to sell her soul, and some of the consequences of that. Or episodes with men over time whom she cared about and the problems her succubusean lifestyle caused them. Some of the dreams were false. Some true. After awhile, she could no longer be clear what was true or what might be false in those dreams. And the reader gets a better sense of her life and the challenges she has faced.

Then the unlikely rescue effort, with Seth–of all people–being able to find her in the dreamy world in which she is shackled and then bring her back. . . After that the denouement is filled with revenge and death, with flight from facing events, with dramatic breakups and dramatic rapprochements. And the novel ends with a curious statement when her man (readers will not get a spoiler from me here) calls her by her original human name–which she has not shared since signing her contract for her soul. There is also a hint that the contract situation is not yet cleared up. What next?

I would like to see the next novel bring some closure. There is always a risk that adding new stories to a series can lead to some degree of stagnation. This volume is surely not stagnant, and leaves the reader wondering what lies ahead. . . .

3.5 stars4
“Succubus Shadows” is, I think, my least favorite Georgina Kincaid book to date. It’s not really bad, but compared to previous installments it is rather dull.

Georgina is depressed and down most of the time. She is compelled to help her friend to plan a wedding with Seth, the man she loves. On top of it, a new visiting succubus in town is trying to seduce Seth and taint his soul even more. Even her surprisingly compassionate, albeit marginally psychotic, but oh so sexy roommate Roman can’t cheer her up. Whenever Georgina is at her lowest, strange things start happening to her - she loses her memory, she sleepwalks, she is drawn to something, something unearthly, a realm of dreams. At some point Georgina is too weak and distraught to resist the pull and finally succumbs to this dream world, only to be tortured by the dreams of her sinful past.

My main qualm with “Succubus Shadow,” as I’ve noted above, is its dullness. The previous book left me full of angst and hate for both Seth and Maddie, and with concern for Seth’s darkened soul. This installment never builds upon this drama, it is kind of flat. The characters I despised in “Succubus Heat” are too easily redeemed, their discretions forgotten and difficulties smoothed out. I mean, very-very easily.

The first half of the story is on par with previous books. It is dynamic and funny wherever G’s gang is involved. But the moment our succubus is consumed by the dream world, the story slows down. Georgina’s dreams of the past are redundant, we’ve encountered her experience with good men before, and we already know that’s it’s the same vicious cycle. Her other trips into her present time and involving her friends are more of a plot device to show us, readers, how the search for her progresses.

And finally, the huge clues given in this book are VERY obvious. It seems only Georgina doesn’t know how the things will turn out in the end.

Overall, “Succubus Shadows” is a decent book, if you compare it to others in urban fantasy genre. It is a must-read for Georgina fans and a good primer for the finale. But if compared to previous Georgina books, it lacks excitement and drama, it is a tad obvious and predictable.

From Publishers Weekly
Something ominous is tracking reluctant succubus Georgina Kincaid through her effervescent fifth urban fantasy adventure (after 2009’s Succubus Heat). An elusive entity that Georgina can’t name or fight invades her thoughts and nearly persuades her to kill herself. Georgina’s boss, archdemon Jerome, and her angel friend Carter can’t even detect the phenomenon, much less figure out how to stop it. Georgina’s ex-boyfriend, Seth, is about to marry her friend Maddie, and what with pining after Seth, trying to protect him from another succubus, and being one of Maddie’s bridesmaids, Georgia finds that suicide is starting to sound very tempting. Mead’s lighthearted romp is plenty of fun on the surface; Georgina’s struggles with the gray areas between good and evil provide a powerful undercurrent. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

American Modern-Retail $50.00! Sale Only $31.50!

Monday, June 25th, 2012

American Modern

American Modern-Retail $50.00! Sale Only $31.50!

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American Modern Description:

Designer and merchant, collector and tastemaker, Thomas O’Brien has made a career of translating cool notions of modernism into an easy and generous array of modern styles that anyone can attain. Now he introduces readers to a range of those styles—from casual to formal, vintage to urban—alongside stunning photography and charming design stories.

      O’Brien carefully describes the design process of his chosen projects, including a downtown New York City loft, a traditional Connecticut estate, and a converted schoolhouse in eastern Long Island. Each home explores a view on the modern design spectrum he has created, as well as the individual choices that make the design unique and its mix essentially American. He explains not only what was at work to create a given style, but how readers can import those practices to their own homes and personal design sensibilities. Important design principles such as architectural authenticity, color relationships, correctness of scale, and informed collecting are threaded through a practical narrative that reads like a master class in interior design.

     American Modern is an inspiring design volume that will redefine the way readers think about modern interiors.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #1774 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-04-01
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 240 pages

Customer Reviews:

A Modern Classic5
If you like a fresh, original mix of classic styles with modern, you’ll love this book. Modern can easily be too sterile or cold, but Thomas O’Brien knows how to warm it up with light and grace. I loved this book, and think it will become a best-seller and classic among lovers of interior design. The author shows how to interpret modern style in combinations such as vintage modern, urban modern as illustrated by his various design projects including his own residences.

What I admire about O’Brien’s work is that it has a certain anonymity–it doesn’t scream his name as some designer’s projects do where they look more like the designer than the client. You can tell someone with a keen design sensibility and deftness designed these rooms and you want to study them and read about how the designer did it. I enjoyed this book so much I’m going to recommend that my library get it as I think it has a universal appeal and timelessness of style that will last for a long time. The book is beautifully crafted and a pleasure to view.

Stunning interiors with an opulent and unusual early/mid 20th century vibe5
It amazes me how few design inspirations there are for British houses built 1900-1950. A huge number of our suburban family homes date from this period, yet British interior designers and retailers seem incredibly reluctant to engage with them, and there are very few looks available to those wanting to avoid wholesale modernisation.

Either you go down the Cath Kidston route (way too girlie and twee for most blokes); or the retro Pedlars look (shabby AND expensive, a combination to make your mother weep); or the wholesale Utility or Art Deco re-creation (the Geffrye museum via Ebay, for those who really want to dedicate years of their life to replicating an Agatha Christie stage set).

Well, folks, now there’s an alternative. And it’s BEAUTIFUL. ‘American Modern’ - which has nothing specifically American about it, and is absolutely not what Europeans would call “modern” at all - is the signature style of the book’s author, a New York decorator called Thomas O’Brien, who is very famous in the US apparently, though I hadn’t heard of him until now.

O’Brien’s interiors have a very polished and opulent style that incorporates a ton of “stuff”: piles of interesting travel relics and eclectic gewgaws surrounded by early 20th century antiques, dreamy line illustrations and photography, sumptuous upholstery, foxed mirrorglass furniture, chrome, marble, linen, silk and velvet, all in divinely muted colour palettes. (If I ever re-do my sitting room, I’m going his ’shades of blue hydrangea’ all the way). Think pre-war Hollywood movies, the great grand hotels of the world, and deposed royalty living it up in Park Avenue and Cadogan Square mansion flats. Dahlink, I kennot tell you, it’s etterly febulous.

This book is not for the faint of heart, or the light of pocket. Its ideas are way too luxe for owners of teeny-tiny pre-war semis and bungalows (who should check out the ‘Domino’ book or Ann Grafton’s ‘Interior Transformations’ instead). And if you’re a minimalist, or think 20th century modernity should be all Eames and brutalist architecture, you’ll almost certainly hate it. But for those who prefer a richer and more overtly decorated look, this really is the most stunning property porn I’ve seen in a long while.

‘House & Garden’ addicts who, like me, salivate over the work of Emily Todhunter, Neisha and Charlotte Crosland, Nina Campbell or Guy Goodfellow will adore ‘American Modern’, and will soon be adding Thomas O’Brien to their list of design crushes (he’s also absurdly handsome if his author photo is anything to go by). As for those of you who have, or aspire to have, a BIG early 20th century house, and want a glamorous, impressive, sexy yet comfortable interior, do not dare pick up even a paintbrush until you’ve checked out this gorgeous book.

EXCELLENT!5
Refreshing and inspirational. Does not disappointment. One of the best I have purchased in a while.

Atlas Shrugged Review.

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged Review.

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Atlas Shrugged Description:

At last, Ayn Rand’s masterpiece is available to her millions of loyal readers in trade paperback.

With this acclaimed work and its immortal query, “Who is John Galt?”, Ayn Rand found the perfect artistic form to express her vision of existence. Atlas Shrugged made Rand not only one of the most popular novelists of the century, but one of its most influential thinkers.

Atlas Shrugged is the astounding story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world–and did. Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged stretches the boundaries further than any book you have ever read. It is a mystery, not about the murder of a man’s body, but about the murder–and rebirth–of man’s spirit.

* Atlas Shrugged is the “second most influential book for Americans today” after the Bible, according to a joint survey conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #237 in Books
  • Published on: 1999-08-01
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 1200 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9780452011878
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Customer Reviews:

Read Philosophy, Do Not Fear It5
I want to say from the beginning that one does not need to agree with a philosophy to appreciate it. Obviously most of the critics and some of the supporters have never read this work. One need not approve of communism to give the Communist Manifesto a high rating but it is certainly a must read.

Ayn Rand’s philosophy is known as objectivism. It is essentially having a objective reason and purpose for every action you commit.

Atlas Shrugged is one of two major novels that outlines her entire philosophy while trying to show how it would be applied. That is why this book deserves a 5 star rating. Any philosopher can give generic ideas with no application. Rand puts it all on the line to show exactly how she means her philosophy to be interpreted.

The student of philosophy will be able to understand her philosophy quite clearly after reading this. If you agree with her philosophy you should encourage others to read this book. If this book is so clearly wrong then you should encourage others to read it so they will see how clearly wrong it is. Those that want it burned or object to others reading it know that she offers some very strong arguments for a position they clearly do not want to be true.

This book takes place probably around the 1950s. It is centered around the industrial sector of the U.S., the only government that has not become a People’s State. The main character in this book is Dagny Taggart. She is a no-nonsense VP of Operations for the largest railroad in the world. She is intelligent and is solely driven to keeping her RR as the best.

The times are dim and getting dimmer. In the beginning the country is in a recession of sorts and it is up to Taggart and others like her to save the country. There are two problems that are preventing her from doing this. One, the government seeks more and more control when it should be stepping away. Second, the men of industry are disappearing one by one just when they are critically needed. No one knows where they go off to.

In the sense of a novel this is a good one. It is suspenseful and intriguing. Everyone can identify with the characters in this book. Most of the antagonists have been left rather shallow. That is on purpose. They are supposed to represent certain elements of society. This book can get dry at times. One man has a 60 page speech that can seem a little preachy at times but is wholly necessary within the context of the novel.

Ayn Rand is perhaps the best known and widest read philosopher of the 20th century. If you have any interest in philosophy or economics then this is a must read. Don’t fear her teachings. An open mind is a dangerous thing to some people.

The most important thing to remember is not to take everything you read here as dogma. Think for yourself and apply whatever ideas make sense to you and ignore that which you don’t like. Think for yourself. I think Rand would object to anyone blindly following her philosophy without actually believing in it. No one says you can’t be charitable to others. Just make sure you do it of your own volition and not because it is expected of you or because you feel guilty.

A Refreshing Sense of Life5
I thought I’d be ambitious and write an actual review of the novel, rather than a review of Ayn Rand or her philosophy, Objectivism. Although I hold both in high regard, I think any disrespectful ad hominems need no response.

First let me tell you what this book is not. Atlas Shrugged is not a novel depicting ordinary people in ordinary situations. It is not here to tell you what is - it is here to tell you what could be and should be. That is why so many find the characters unbelievable, unreachable, even childish in their idealism.

As for the ideal itself, it is personified in the productive giants of (then) modern America. Dagny Taggart does railroads, Francisco D’Anconia does copper mines, Hank Rearden - steel. For centuries, men have asked what would happen if the working class went on strike; Miss Rand asks, what would happen if the men of industry went on strike.

What would happen if Atlas, a man whose shoulders held a world damning him a robber baron, shrugged? This is not a novel for the chronic skepticists who dismiss strong convictions as dogmatism, nor for the pessimists who proudly declare that they “grew out” of Miss Rand’s “naive optimism.”

For everyone else, though, I recommend Atlas Shrugged highly.

candid and unique piece of work5
An earlier reviewer struck an important vein when mentioning that academia and media have left this novel largely untouched, while it has continued to be read via word-of-mouth recommendations. Why? Rand is provocative; the novel engenders both deep respect and vitriolic opposition. Why?

To begin with, this is not an ordinarily structured novel; it is an overt statement of a philosophy. The plot, like many of those employed by Shakespeare, is not wholly original. (See an older book entitled “Secret of the League”). In any event, Rand uses the complex plot allegorically as a vehicle for describing her own unique philosophy and its consequences. Rand’s philosophy, and it is clear enough upon reading, is a synthesis of Aristotelianism with more modern “humanistic” concerns, in the greatest and original sense of the term. Rand ties Aristotle’s basic conceptions of logic to the workings of egoism and capitalism. She rejects Nietzschean irrationalism, Kantian ethics, and the kind of Pragmatism championed by Dewey. Her suggested replacement for these constructs is a body of thought which recognizes and responds to human needs and values, economic conditions, political necessities, and logical imperatives, even if incompletely at times. Oddly, her critics continue to tout her as little more than a “pop-philosopher”. On to her book.

Atlas Shrugged is a fountainhead of skilled dialogue and monologue. Francisco’s speech on “money” is insightful, and honest. Some prosaic passages, like Galt’s enormous speech near the novel’s end, could have used some editing. Nonetheless, such passages are meant to (and succeed in) conveying a rather thorough philosophy. Also adept at employing dialogue, Rand leaves cutting snippets and short verbal gems throughout the book. She distinguishes perceptively between ‘what people commonly say’ and ‘what those words often covertly are intended to mean.’ This making-bare is done through the frankness of her protagonists, some of which mere foils to reveal more probing insights. Those who would call her characters “shallow” may be correct if judging by contemporary literary standards which praise personal texture and ambiguity. Rand seems more interested in the kind of moral tale woven by the great Greek dramatists, in which characters are primarily vehicles of ideas.

It was once said that the purpose of philosophy is to start with something that everyone takes for granted, and to end with that which noone will believe. Rand uses Atlas Shrugged to achieve this kind of ideational journey. No shallow fanatic, her novel is a work is also a great psychological study of the motives of several common ideas, values, and ethical standards. She constructs in Atlas Shrugged a powerful critique of collectivism, that thought which says “We are our brother’s keepers.”

I suppose one reason for the novel’s continued popularity is that most readers are far too intelligent to be comforted by other kinds of books whose authors want them to think they are profound because they are difficult to grasp. Zservedah once called “clear prose the conceptual tool of conservativism.” Readers are probably tired of being asked to find beauty in the Emperor’s clothes, in works of art which are ugly, and in books which are pessimistic. Atlas Shrugged is unabashedly lucid and candid; it is refreshing to find such confident and clear writing in this age of self-doubt, relativism, and academic obscurity.

You will be a richer person for having read it.

Are some of Rand’s adherents sycophantic? Certainly. Yet if her philosophy were the kind of “cheap trash” critics claim it to be, why the vehemence of her opposition?

Review
A writer of great power. She has a subtle and ingenious mind and the capacity of writing brilliantly, beautifully, bitterly. — The New York Times

Review
A writer of great power. She has a subtle and ingenious mind and the capacity of writing brilliantly, beautifully, bitterly. (The New York Times)

About the Author
Ayn Rand’s first novel, We the Living, was published in 1936. With the publication of The Fountainhead in 1943, she achieved spectacular and enduring success. Through her novels and nonfiction writings, which express her unique philosophy, Objectivism, Rand maintains a lasting influence on popular thought.

Buy Secrets of a Jewish Mother: Real Advice, Real Stories, Real Love At Amazon!

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Secrets of a Jewish Mother: Real Advice, Real Stories, Real Love

Buy Secrets of a Jewish Mother: Real Advice, Real Stories, Real Love At Amazon!

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List Price: $25.95

Amazon Price: $11.69

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Secrets of a Jewish Mother: Real Advice, Real Stories, Real Love Description:

The Jewish Mother knows what she wants. And what you should want too. In Secrets of a Jewish Mother, you’ll learn how to make her methods your very own, and as result you’ll give and get of love and happiness in great amounts.

In what could be thought of as the Jewish Mother’s Guide to Life, Jill Zarin, the breakout star of Bravo’s hit series, The Real Housewives of New York, teams up with her sister, Lisa Wexler, award-winning host of daily radio program The Lisa Wexler Show, and her mother, the estimable Gloria Kamen who made a splash on Jill’s series last year. Secrets of a Jewish Mother shows readers that being clear about what you want is the best policy, and standing up for yourself and your family is always the right way to go. Using real life examples, stories from Jill, Lisa and Gloria, this mother/daughter trio reveals their secrets to life, love, and happiness.

Some of their Jewish Mother tips include:

• Dating: “A good man is hard to find, but so is a good woman. Don’t settle for less than you deserve.”
• Parenting: “Fair is not always equal; equal is not always fair.”
• Family: “Bar mitzvahs and weddings: The grudge starts here.”
• Money: “Don’t wait ’til you’re dead to give it away.”
• The clichés that matter: “Bring a gift.”

And, remember, a lot of love and a little matzoh ball soup never hurt anyone.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #665 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-04-15
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 300 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9780525951797
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Customer Reviews:

What I expected to be warm and fuzzy was cold and calculating1
Update: much has happened after I wrote this review. As you will see in my comments section under my review, someone going by the name of Susan Saunders threatened to take my pet because of the bad review and also in a threatening email. Since then, it was uncovered by others that this reviewer was actually Jill Shapiro Zarin herself and she then, coincidentally, removed the 5 star review(s) she wrote for the book. She changed her profile name but forgot to change her personal information in her wish list mentioning that she is the very Jill who authored the book with birthday November 30th (she just changed her birthday today on her Facebook I am told) in NY NY mom of Ally, wife to Bobby and added family member David Zarin. (There’s more damaging info in my next update, below.) So I now know I was “allegedly” threatened by the author. After this, someone else researched any full name of the five star reviewers and you can see in their comments sections most were determined to be relatives and close personal friends via family pictures on the internet etc, (update: many were deleted after I wrote that sentence.) In all of my years of reviewing, I have never seen this happen or been threatened, much less by an author.

Fortunately, although the review was erased to try to cover this, there is still proof of this. Look in my “comments” section under this review (this won’t display on an iPhone, you can only see the comments section at the bottom of my review on a computer.) and you will find the comments by Susan Saunders that are hidden as “unhelpful” but you can click on the comment to open it. ( update…she just erased it but it’s copied already by tons of websites.)Then click on that screen name and it shows both things she reviewed which, coincidentally, is the Real Housewives dvd set which she reviewed back in 2008 (this profile is not something new just created by a “crazy fan”, unless they knew 2 years ago she was writing a book) where she said Jill Zarin was the only reason she watched the show and they’d better keep her on it, and you can also see where she reviewed this book the day of its release then erased the review after all this came out and she was busted. Interestingly, the only 2 things she ever reviewed. Trying to erase the evidence, did not erase this, fortunately.

Another update: The website Reality Tea, one of the many reporting what happened, just uncovered a screen shot showing that this account has Bobby Zarin’s name on it and was created in 2001 or sooner due to gifts added on the wishlist at that time, long before anyone in the public knew the name Jill Zarin so no, this is not a crazy fan who created a fake profile to frame Jill unless they are a psychic who knew 9 years ago she’d write a book.

Now then, back to the original review, read the comments under this review for the full details on “Amazongate”:

I assure you I went into this with an unbiased review. I did my research and read cover to cover.

First, the relationships chapter basically relates that one should settle…IF he has money. Seriously??? Zarin, who is proud to admit she bought a SIXTEEN THOUSAND DOLLAR purse last year shares this advice gem on a happy marriage in the book: “A man who controls the purse strings will ruin your chance of happiness.” (…well especially if you shop for 16-thousand-dollar purses.)

Ironically, on friendship in the book the author suggests that if something happens to hurt your friendship, you should ask for forgiveness 3 times. If that doesn’t work, you need to move on because the sin is on the person who wouldn’t accept your apology and you’ve done all you can. I agree with that. Yet it’s not hard to read about the main author (according to font billing size, Jill Zarin) being down right dirty to a friend who tried to apologize/discuss a predicament and was refuted coldly and rudely by Jill 3 times on camera. Interesting. The sin is on Jill. However, now that the book is out and there are book sales to be made, Jill said she now wants forgiveness for not forgiving (yes, confusing, I know). She is saying she can’t believe this friend will not accept her happily now that it’s convenient for Jill to befriend her again and Ms. Zarin mentions her “hurt” over that…Your book advice says someone in her shoes should move on, Jill. (she asked 3 times and now the sin is on you because you refused her outright tearful begging.) You said “We’re done” 3 times. Plus you called her a “moron” in an interview last week for asking why she was on speaker phone. That doesn’t show that you really want forgiveness, especially because you also said today in an interview that next year will be better without Bethenny on the show because she sucks the oxygen out of the air when she is in a room. Probably two reasons why she doesn’t think you are sincere. Just sayin. How can I follow this advice you write if you yourself think it’s bogus and won’t follow it or openly treat people not in a way a loving “mom figure” exudes to others?

Also, she said in an interview that her daughter is only allowed to fall in love with/or date a certain category of person. I had a hard time with that one too. I don’t think that’s a loving Jewish mother who should, instead, just want her daughter to be happy and find someone who adores her, works hard, doesn’t cheat, doesn’t have addictions, and is a great dad and her daughter adores too? What happened to wanting that for your kid instead? But she isn’t even allowed to DATE someone like that if he doesn’t fit YOUR main goal on what you say will make her life “easier”? For shame.

The book on bulldozing what your child wants in a mate in order to get what you want in a son-in-law, for example, from Lisa: “Of course, my kids would never let me fix them up — they’re still too young to be desperate enough to have their mother set them up on a blind date. But not to worry … I’m out there looking any­way. Who said I needed their permission?”

I hate giving undeserved one star reviews so I had to see for myself if all I read about their “do as I say, not as I do” approach was true as everyone seems to note….because if they actually put together some advice that’s untried or they themselves don’t even believe in, it knocked the book down a notch. So I did research this.

Now back to advice: Her dieting overview just isn’t healthy, nor does it really address the underlying issues of weight gain since she suggests pouring your drink on the food you don’t want to overeat. Not only would most in this economy not see the beauty of that (you COULD also ask the waiter to just box up half in a to go box before it’s served), but I can imagine this one when eating out. Don’t want to be tempted by the rest of your fries on that big order? Pour your glass of wine on it…money is no matter on what that costs…and let the waiter wipe it up, y’all! Wipe away before it gets on your dress! Zarin lovingly dubs the “empty your glass onto your plate or bowl in a restaurant diet” in the book as “Killing your food to stay thin”. I am guessing there won’t be a popular diet book to follow this one or waiters across the US will retaliate, as will all the 5 star restaurants who have to clean all those white tablecloths after Zarin’s food-killing-eating-out suggestion. Bad manners, unkind to waitstaff, disgusting for fellow tablemates to observe, unhealthy eating advice.

How to attract and nab a man? Zarin says it’s not gonna happen unless you wear bright colors. I kid you not. Give the readers some credit here that they are a notch above peacocks or fish because:

1. Ms. Zarin, I respectfully beg to differ. Inner beauty should be worked on first since a mean, negative, dirty and spiteful person dressed in hot pink isn’t gonna fool anyone. If all you had to do to woo someone was to distract them with bright colors then women should wear glitter and all men would be hypnotized. Silly.
2. Angelina Jolie wears mostly black. Enough said.

Some of this stuff simply makes no sense to an educated reader.

The book is actually very negative though as well. The authors fight amongst each other and use personal stories to illustrate points…all which seem to be laced with martyrdom. Because of this, I don’t feel it an appropriate motherly pleasure to read or gift..

I wanted to find this warm and loving but it seemed more like a doctrine in many cases that isn’t loving and could be detrimental on several levels. Not to mention it’s been widely reported that it’s for show rather than actual advice the authors themselves believe. Too, the one who worked on getting it published billed her name in larger font size on the book than her mom’s name which was kind of supposed to be advice mainly from her mom, Gloria. Although the book denotes advice from all 3 authors, Zarin notes that it is garnered from all her mom taught her and her sister and then all the writing was compiled and put together by Zarin’s sister, the third author. I would have expected her mom’s name to be billed largest, or her sister’s because of this, yet the name “Jill Zarin” is about 3-4 times the size of mom or sister on the book cover…Ah well…I guess this book isn’t meant to be seen as an equal effort by the 3 writers.

Or someone just feels a bit more “special”.

I’d say be leery and don’t make your daughter marry a rich guy she isn’t attracted to in spite of this advice. If you marry for money, you earn every penny of it because it won’t be easy in any other way other than financially. And learning to eat healthy could be a better skill than wasting wine and the half of steak left on your plate. Nor is it very classy to do that practice in public or at dinner parties. And don’t put out a book and publicly do everything important in an opposite fashion than you preach.

Now there’s some advice backatcha. :-)

Also, don’t look for insights into Zarin’s show in any way herein or the public drama we’ve seen or heard about. It’s not here. The book concentrates on the 3 author’s experiences not what you see occuring now.

The book price was cut more than 50% after one day (and this is a hardback cover too) after the advance reviews in the papers were out and the book was actually found prior to it’s release in the discount bookstores and now the publisher has dumped what they are already forseeing as an “overstock” of what they printed on the Overstock website. I looked and it is indeed on the Overstock website which is normal to go there after the book has been out for months–but when it happens 3 days after it’s release, while the authors are still doing publicity book tours, the price is sure to go down more—I’d advise waiting if price matters in this economy since the publisher is already expecting to have a large overstock from it’s first printing by the looks of dumping it there after 3 days. I think readers have a bit more clarity than was initially expected into this being filler material rather than eye-opening and believable, I’m sorry to say and that’s the REAL secret.

Not happy! Not happy!1
Secrets of a Jewish Mother is ostensibly a collection of warm fuzzies about life, love, and friendship from two generations of a Jewish family. The entire reason for its having been written in the first place, however, is to satisfy the ego of Jill Zarin, currently on the cast of the Real Housewives of New York City. Every week we see our beloved author constantly degrade and demean former friends, turn up her nose at the lower classes, and in general act like an entitled snit. Yet we are supposed to listen to what she says, even though it comes from quite a disingenuous source.

Fortunately the book never tries to be anything but what it is, a trite hodgepodge of anecdotes that anyone over 13 should have learned simply by being a member of society. There is nothing new here, no deep psychoanalysis, no revelatory theories about what makes people tick, nothing that you couldn’t glean from a few hours watching Lifetime. Then again, with Jill Zarin on the cover did you expect anything more than banal, uninspiring melodrama? Get a hobby.

I’ve never watched the show and I feel duped into buying this book!1

I am totally unfamiliar with the tv show I now discover one of the authors is on and plan to remain so. I was at a bookstore over the weekend and saw this book. Honestly, I thought it a great price because you never see just-realized hard back books on sale for the cost of an older paperback and I’ll admit it looked promising and fun and I’m never one to pass up a good deal for a good book. Still, I wanted to do a web search and read what others thought first so I did so with my iPhone before I purchased the book. I quickly glanced at one review that called this “literary genius” and thought it worth the risk for that alone and I bought it.

I was aghast to find advice in this book that one should marry into a loveless marriage if he can afford to care for you in other ways “You should always marry a man who loves you more than you love him.” How miserable to care more about what he buys you then how attracted you are to him and how much you feel for him. I would never tell a daughter to not marry someone she is crazy about! How about “Find someone who is just as crazy about you as you are him.” Is that not better??? Yet, the book never says that…it says one should settle and be “taken care of”.

Is this everyday advice to tell me I should start my crazy long day of work by putting on false eyelashes?? If I am not going to the Oscars, people would look at me very funny all day. Not to mention the time needed to apply them and remove them and how bad they are for your real lashes.

How about the advice that I should photograph myself before leaving the house because sometimes what you look like in person is different from what you look like in print so that way, if I am photographed during the day, I can know in advance how it will play out and can make the needed adjustments or wardrobe changes prior to leaving the house? This is honestly not a gag gift??? I have yet to have the papparazzi follow me as soon as I hit the driveway and by the time I put on my false eyelashes and studied a photograph and made adjustments I’d be late for the grocery store or work.

After several hours of reading and then thinking I must have read a review on the wrong book, I signed back onto this site and read the comments under that review and found out the author of that review, in his comment section, admitted to being a personal friend of Jill Zarin’s and couldn’t name one line or subject from the book when pressed to do so. (you can see this for yourself in the comment section under his review.) Then I looked at the other favorable reviews and saw they all sounded like a Public Reltions release…still had no specific details about the book, yet had a “call to action” like in a commercial, (rather than a book review stating an opinion) such as “Buy this for your aunts, grandmothers, mothers, and daughters!” Or, after the book had been out one day another said “I have read this book many times and refer to it often!” No book review I have ever read implores someone to buy it. They simply say why they liked it. Then, reading the majority of other reviews I was finally in agreement. I had been duped.

I don’t think these people have a grasp of real life. I am NOT going to pour my drink on my food when I am out to dinner so that I won’t be tempted to eat it. Not only would my tablemates think ill of my manners, but I would hardly want a waiter to have to spill my mess all over himself or clean up a white tablecloth I just trashed, out of my own inability for having to eat like a real person and simply have the rest of the meal boxed up so that I could enjoy it tomorrow. That would also save me money which was something never considered in this book. I would rather bag the meal and give it to a homeless person than be that inconsiderate because of my inability to have self-control or a healthy diet.

False eyelashes last one to two wearings before being stretched out. If I wore a pair a day, at 5 bucks a pop, I would have just spent $155 per month. And that’s a CHEAP pair. Now add eyelash glue to that and glue remover and the cost of all those wasted meals they advise I create in their diet section and the cost of the therapist I would have to see for marrying someone I didn’t love on purpose, just for money…

…and this book, if I had listened to it, would have cost me far more than the bargain bin price it was slashed to the day after it’s release.

I do not watch the reality show this author is on, nor will I ever after being duped into this purchase by reviews admittedly from friends of the author on Amazon just to help even out the ranking by all the people who actually read it honestly, can state why they hated it with specific examples, and hhad no bias from being a family member or friend of the author. I am speechless and I wish they had been.

Review
“You don’t have to be Jewish to read this book, but after reading this book everyone will want to be Jewish. The best practical advice a girl could need from three extraordinary Jewish mothers….Jill’s, Lisa’s, and Gloria’s advice will save you a lifetime of aggravation.”
-Patti Stanger, Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker

“Gloria epitomizes the Jewish Mother! She has a heart of gold and earrings to match!”
-Fran Drescher

“You don’t have to be Jewish to need a good Jewish mother. Gloria has sooooooo much good advice….Chicken soup has got nothing on this lady.”
-Molly Shannon

About the Author
Jill Zarin is one of the stars of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York City.
Lisa Wexler is a lawyer and host of the Lisa Wexler Show on the Cox radio stations. She lives in Westport, Connecticut.
Gloria Kamen, their mother, was the surprise hit of Real Housewives season two. She will be writing her “Ask Gloria” advice column BravoTV.com when season three premiers in March 2010. Gloria lives in Boca Raton, Florida.

The Selby Is in Your Place Review.

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

The Selby Is in Your Place

The Selby Is in Your Place Review.

Compare & Purchase The Selby Is in Your Place at Amazon by clicking here!

List Price: $35.00

Amazon Price: $23.10

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The Selby Is in Your Place Description:

The Selby Is in Your Place was conceived when fashion and interiors photographer Todd Selby began taking portraits of dynamic and creative people—authors, musicians, artists, and designers—in their home environments and posting them on his web site. Nosy by nature, he wanted to see how personal style was reflected in private spaces. Lucky for us, he found his answer in the color-rich and eclectic quarters of a diverse group of subjects, including Simon Doonan and Jonathan Adler, Faris Rotter, Andre Walker, and Olivier Zahm, in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo, Sydney, and London. Each profile is accompanied by Selby’s watercolor portraits of the subjects and objects from their homes, and illustrated questionnaires, which Selby asks each sitter to fill out. This book consists of over thirty profiles, many of which have never-before-seen, selected exclusively for the book. The result is a collection of unique spaces bursting with energy and personality that together create a colorful hodgepodge of inspirational interiors.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #1493 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-04-01
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 256 pages

Customer Reviews:

love it!5

After being an avid reader of the selby blog i was reluctant whether to purchase the book or not after having seem most of the photos. i must say, its beautifully presented with clear and colourful images and very inspiring. This is a well priced addition to my collection.

About the Author

Todd Selby is an interiors, fashion, and portrait photographer and painter. His photographs can be regularly seen in British Vogue, Vogue Hommes International, Dazed and Confused, Another Magazine, Nylon, New York Magazine, and the London Sunday Times.
Lesley Arfin is the New York-based author of Dear Diary and the former editor of Missbehave magazine.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child Sale-$9.36!

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child Sale-$9.36!

Compare & Purchase Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child at Amazon by clicking here!

List Price: $16.00

Amazon Price: $9.36

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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child Description:

One of the country’s leading researchers updates his revolutionary approach to solving–and preventing–your children’s sleep problems

Here Dr. Marc Weissbluth, a distinguished pediatrician and father of four, offers his groundbreaking program to ensure the best sleep for your child. In Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, he explains with authority and reassurance his step-by-step regime for instituting beneficial habits within the framework of your child’s natural sleep cycles. This valuable sourcebook contains brand new research that

- Pinpoints the way daytime sleep differs from night sleep and why both are important to your child
- Helps you cope with and stop the crybaby syndrome, nightmares, bedwetting, and more
- Analyzes ways to get your baby to fall asleep according to his internal clock–naturally
- Reveals the common mistakes parents make to get their children to sleep–including the inclination to rock and feed
- Explores the different sleep cycle needs for different temperaments–from quiet babies to hyperactive toddlers
- Emphasizes the significance of a nap schedule
-

Rest is vital to your child’s health growth and development. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child outlines proven strategies that ensure good, healthy sleep for every age. Advises parents dealing with teenagers and their unique sleep problems

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #441 in Books
  • Published on: 2003-04-12
  • Released on: 1999-04-12
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 345 pages

Features

Customer Reviews:

THE BEST BABY SLEEP BOOK ON THE MARKET5
This was an excellent book - I cannot tell you how much this book helped our sleepless, colicky infant. But, several friends with non-colicky babies actually recommended this for any infant. This book is a wonderful middle ground for those parents who do not want a severe schedule (BABYWISE) or the opposite end of the spectrum, attachment parenting (Dr. Sears). It was the only book that I found that spoke knowledgeably about colic, and gave the only helpful advice available on the subject (believe me, we tried it all). It is not a cry-it-out book, although some may look at it in that light. What it teaches you is this: 1. watch your child. 2. put him/her down to sleep when you first see the signs of tiredness 3. most children under 6 months do not stay awake for longer than 2-3 hours at a time without needing a nap. 4. DO NOT just put your child down to nap when you feel like it - that’s just letting him/her cry, not TEACHING them to sleep. 5. Most children need to go to sleep at night earlier than you’d think. 6. Going to bed earlier promotes later sleeping (weird, but true. As the author says, it’s not logical. It’s biological - sleep promotes sleep) There’s a lot more too. I really like that the author’s data is based on studies that he has done involving the patterns of children who naturally sleep and nap well. No, it didn’t give us a perfect baby. We happen to have a very sensitive high strung girlie, who also power-naps. But we went from a cranky post-colicky baby who took no naps or 15-20min naps and got up many times per night to a sweet smiling girl who now takes 3 45min-1 hour naps per day and sleeps from 6pm-7am (waking 2 times to nurse). Oh yes. The nursing. She used to think that nursing was the only way to get to sleep. After diligently following the advice in this book, she now can get to sleep on her own, no nursing. Not that it’s perfect - she still cries 5-15 minutes at times before naps. But she is sooooooo much happier now. Gotta think something’s working.

Useful to some degree3
I generally like to start my reviews by saying what I liked about the book I read. In my opinion, the best and most important point made by this book is that sleep is vital for babies. Parents should be on the lookout for signs their child might be suffering from lack of it, and should also make sure their lifestyles do not interfere with their child’s healthy sleep. I also appreciated the author’s input about sleep problems and solutions for older children.

I disagreed most with the idea that it is generally a good idea to allow children to cry as long as it takes to get them to sleep at night. Will this method do long term psychological damage? The author says no, and I agree that is probably correct. Okay, so the child won’t be delinquent as a teenager, or hate you as an adult. But as a parent, my question is which method is easiest on the child in the short term, as well as being effective in the long term? Frankly, I don’t want my child to be unnecessarily miserable, even if it’s only for a few nights. Further, I simply couldn’t listen to screaming cries for any length of time without intervention.

For the parent interested in sleep “training”, I think Dr. Richard Ferber offers a better method. Even Dr. Weissbluth admits Ferber’s method’s work- he simply thinks they may be too difficult for some parents to apply. Well, I think a little more difficulty may be worth while if the child has an easier time.

Oddly, Dr. Weissbluth claims to have no problems with the “family bed”. However, I find his family bed advice confusing, and most of the tips he offers throughout the book seem to be incompatible with the practice. If anybody is practicing the family bed, they should definitely go with Dr. William Sears, whose advice is much more compatible with that arrangement. Dr. Sears is also a good choice for those who find Dr. Ferber too harsh and want the gentlest methods possible.

I tend to disagree with the view of some “attachment parents” that babies always develop the sleep habits that are best for them. There are babies who simply need parental leadership here, and there are also babies whose habits are disruptive to the family. So if parents think their baby has a problem, they should read several books about the topic, and adapt the different views to their personal situation and temperment of their individual child. I think that will lead to a better solution than reading just one book and treating it as a bible.

This is the best book on sleep I have found…5
Hurry for Dr. Weissbluth! My one year old is now going to bed at 8 and sleeping through the night (4 nights and counting) for the first time in his life. He is also beginning to nap in his crib. A cloud has lifted from our house. This book combines discussions on sleep research with practical how-to information. Weissbluth emphasizes keeping the child from becoming over tired and training the child to achieve sleep continuity. He does recommend allowing a child to cry if neccasary, but that is not the ideal or primary thrust of the approach (like Ferber). I found this approach to be more logical and research based than many popular sleep books. It is better than Sears’ “Nighttime Parenting” if you have a child with real sleep issues. It is more scientific and practical than “Babywise” (which my pediatrician says is based on poor research). It is a gentler approach than Ferber, who I feel puts too much emphasis on the act of crying. Also, this approach allows greater flexibility than Ferber’s method.

Review
“I love Dr. Weissbluth’s philosophy that the most important thing to have is a well-rested family. And fortunately, thanks to this book, most days (and nights) we do!”
–from the Foreword by Cindy Crawford

From the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher
I read this book when my second child was born last fall. My first baby was a terrible sleeper, and I was determined not to go through that same nightly hell — rocking, singing, walking, coddling for hours only for her to wake up when I finally placed her in the crib. So, with my son, I decided to be prepared. And Dr. Weissbluth’s methods were amazing. Who knew that babies would actually like to go to sleep early? By watching my son’s moods, I learned that he really needed more evening sleep, and two lengthy naps, one in mid-morning and another in early afternoon. Bedtime at 7:30 and he sleeps until 6:00 am! He’s happy, energetic and bright. I’m truly convinced that if I had tried to go through the “crying to sleep” method again (my husband and I did attempt it with my first kid, but found it absolutely agonizing), we would have all had a miserable few months.

Now I know why the good doctor gets phone calls from all over the U.S. asking for advice. He is one of the leading pediatric sleep researchers in the country, and is frequently consulted by top parenting and child care magazines.

I’m so utterly devoted to this book, that I’m happy to announce Dr. Weissbluth will be updating the research in a new edition of HEALTHY SLEEP HABITS, HAPPY CHILD due out in 1999. Same life-changing concepts, but with additional testamonials from parents who’ve used this book so successfully in the past.

From the Inside Flap
One of the country’s leading researchers and pediatricians reveals a revolutionary new approach to your child’s sleep in this complete guiding to solving — and preventing — sleep problems. Includes a step-by-step program for establishing good sleep habits and individualized guidelines from infancy throughout the growing years.

Shadow Tag: A Novel Sale-$16.47!

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Shadow Tag: A Novel

Shadow Tag: A Novel Sale-$16.47!

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Shadow Tag: A Novel Description:

“Here is the most telling fact: you wish to possess me.

Here is another fact: I loved you and let you think you could.”

When Irene America discovers that her husband, Gil, has been reading her diary, she begins a secret Blue Notebook, stashed securely in a safe-deposit box. There she records the truth about her life and her marriage, while turning her Red Diary—hidden where Gil will find it—into a manipulative farce. Alternating between these two records, complemented by unflinching third-person narration, Shadow Tag is an eerily gripping read.

When the novel opens, Irene is resuming work on her doctoral thesis about George Catlin, the nineteenth-century painter whose Native American subjects often regarded his portraits with suspicious wonder. Gil, who gained notoriety as an artist through his emotionally revealing portraits of his wife—work that is adoring, sensual, and humiliating, even shocking—realizes that his fear of losing Irene may force him to create the defining work of his career.

Meanwhile, Irene and Gil fight to keep up appearances for their three children: fourteen-year-old genius Florian, who escapes his family’s unraveling with joints and a stolen bottle of wine; Riel, their only daughter, an eleven-year-old feverishly planning to preserve her family, no matter what disaster strikes; and sweet kindergartener Stoney, who was born, his parents come to realize, at the beginning of the end.

As her home increasingly becomes a place of violence and secrets, and she drifts into alcoholism, Irene moves to end her marriage. But her attachment to Gil is filled with shadowy need and delicious ironies. In brilliantly controlled prose, Shadow Tag fearlessly explores the complex nature of love, the fluid boundaries of identity, and one family’s struggle for survival and redemption.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #650 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-02-01
  • Released on: 2010-02-02
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 272 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9780061536090
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Customer Reviews:

Provocative, visceral, inflammatory5

I was floored that Louise Erdrich did not win the Pulitzer this year for her magnum opus, The Plague of Doves: A Novel (P.S.). That novel doubtlessly cemented her as a peerless wordsmith and unrivaled postmodern writer of satire cum tragedy. Her dazzling metaphors–pataphors, actually, place her in a pedigree by herself. She combines ripples of Philip Roth, undertones of Nabakov and the mythical, regional realism of Faulkner. Her locale is often within the Ojibwe Native populations of North Dakota, as in The Beet Queen: A Novel (P.S.) and Love Medicine (P.S.) (as well as Plague of Doves). She has mastered the multiple-narrative voice, braiding multi-generations of families into an innovative whole.

In a striking departure from her previous work, Erdrich’s Shadow Tag is a psychological examination of a marriage and family on the brittle brink of decay. Instead of the focus being on ancestral histories and buried secrets, the focus is on one family–Gil and Irene and their three young children–and their private devastations. Gil is an artist who achieved substantial success painting portraits of Irene, some of them deeply disturbing. Irene has resumed her doctoral thesis on a 19th century Native American painter whose subjects have died soon after being painted. This provides a stunning metaphor and theme for the title, Shadow Tag, a game where each person tries to step on the others’ shadow, while protecting their own. Native peoples believe that their shadow is their soul. To step on their shadow or to paint their portrait is to steal their soul. Irene is one-half native and Gil is one-quarter, a fact that adds a personal engagement with the lore.

Gil possesses a stealthy, dangerous charm; he is haunted by jealousy and lashes out physically at their son, Florian. Irene, a tall, arresting beauty, drinks wine like water and keeps two diaries. She leaves a false, incendiary Red Diary for Gil to find (she is meting out punishment for his invasion of her privacy) and the true Blue one hidden in a bank vault. Gil and Irene inflict mental, emotional, and physical pain on each other as they struggle individually to maintain control.

Although narrated in the third person, the unreliable voices of Gil and Irene are woven in variously–through their introspection; by Irene’s diaries; and from the children’s uncertainties. The shocking candor of their actions is mired in dark motivation and murky intentions. A maddening cat and mouse game ensues; the Muse is a jealous mistress and will not be ignored. As Gil agitates over his final portrait of Irene, and Irene skillfully undermines Gil, a menacing cloud is cast over the family.

Erdrich controls her narrative with razor precision, deftly restraining and then escalating the spaces between words to arouse and intensify the reading experience. The prose is starkly sensuous, lean and taut, nuanced but inflammatory. The characters connect with a singed, bitter bite and a sable, blighted love. If you require “likeable” characters that are moral exemplars, this novel is not for you. However, if you want to sink your teeth into a bald and naked exploration of a shattered marriage, etched with moral ambiguity, you will not be disappointed. Moreover, the ending will stagger you with its poetic brilliance. It is one of the most thought-provoking final pages I have experienced in eons. A mouth-watering treat for literature lovers.

Love Is A Battlefield–And A Bloody One At That4
Louise Erdrich’s “Shadow Tag” may be one of the most unrepentantly bleak novels about a marriage in dissolution and a family in crisis that I have ever encountered–and yet it is also provocatively fascinating. Unlike most readers that will be picking up this book, I am came to “Shadow Tag” with a fresh pair of eyes and no preconceived notions. I have read none of Erdrich’s previous novels, but her pedigree is certainly impressive having been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for “The Plague of Doves.” Written beautifully, “Shadow Tag” is a raw, angry, and real portrait of two people inextricably linked through love and hate. With three children in the cross hairs, the central couple in Erdrich’s searing novel have turned the family home into a psychological battlefield. And Erdrich puts the reader right in the middle of this contemporary hell. And as much as I sometimes wanted to look away, I was compelled by Erdrich’s unflinching honesty and lyrical storytelling.

Irene and her husband Gil would seem to have it all–money, health, kids–a perfect idealization of the American dream. Gil, an enormously successful painter, has made his career on his devotion to/obsession with Irene. His revealing portraits of her, from the tender to the obscene, have distinguished him in the art world but, at the same time, started to usurp Irene’s own individuality and identity. Sinking into alcoholism to help deal with Gil’s sporadically violent tendencies, the two embark on a classically dysfunctional relationship. When Irene discovers that Gil has been reading her diary, she engages in a new kind torment. She starts to record entries with the sole purpose of devastating everything Gil values to be the truth. This merciless new game is what will ultimately bring the family to the point of no return.

“Shadow Tag” is a tremendously gut-wrenching novel. Its unpleasantness may not be for everyone, but its emotions are real and well earned. Neither Gil nor Irene is a villain or a hero in this piece, and the children are suitably complex and believably traumatized. On an intellectual level, everyone in the family knows what needs to happen. But, as often is the case, intellect does not rule the day and messy emotions take over. From love to hate to jealousy to pride to vengeance–Erdrich spares no one in this uncompromising tale of a family on the brink of disaster. And the journey is well worth the reader’s investment.

curious detachment2
I originally reviewed this book a few days ago, but in thinking about it, I like it less than I thought, and have taken away a star. I kept wanting to care about these characters, and it never happened. Erdrich has the power to make her readers care about her frequently very flawed characters, and it’s just lacking here. Gil and Irene just aren’t very likable. In fact, I think Irene is down-right cruel–creating a fake diary that she knows Gil will read, saying that the children are not his is just despicable. The ending was just awful. It feels like a very angry book. I heard her interviewed, and she said if she had been going to write about her marrage to Michael Doris, she would have done it a long time ago. I wonder, though, if there IS a lot of rage here.

I finished the book feeling empty and disappointed. Usually, when one of her books is less than satisfying on the plot level, I still enjoy her wonderful use of language, the way she lays the words down on the page, but that’s not working here either. I was also disappointed by her last book, “A Plague of Doves,” but I appreciated her skill with the words. Despite all the criticism, I’ll keep reading her though because there have been so many wonderul books, and I’m sure she will come through again. I’ll hope for another “Love Medicine,” “Last Report,” “Painted Drum,” “Tales of Burning Love,” or “Master Butcher’s Singing Club.”

From Publishers Weekly
Erdrich’s bleak latest (after The Plague of Doves) chronicles the collapse of a family. Irene America is a beautiful, introspective woman of Native American ancestry, struggling to finish her dissertation while raising three children. She is married to Gil, a painter whose reputation is built on a series of now iconic portraits of Irene, but who can’t break through to the big time, pigeonholed as a Native American painter. Irene’s fallen out of love with Gil and discovers that he’s been reading her diary, so she begins a new, hidden, diary and uses her original diary as a tool to manipulate Gil. Erdrich deftly alternates between excerpts from these two diaries and third-person narration as she plots the emotional war between Irene and Gil, and Gil’s dark side becomes increasingly apparent as Irene, fighting her own alcoholism, struggles to escape. Erdrich ties her various themes together with an intriguing metaphor—riffing on Native American beliefs about portraits as shadows and shadows as souls—while her steady pacing and remarkable insight into the inner lives of children combine to make this a satisfying and compelling novel. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review
Clear, urgent, deep as a swift river…accomplishes the literary miracle of making a reader ravenous to finish it, while stinging with regret at how soon it must end.” (San Francisco Chronicle )

“ A fierce novel…raw…alive…vividly present…it marks a breakthrough for the author.” (Columbus Dispatch )

“A brilliant cautionary tale…Reading it is like watching a wildfire whose flames are so mesmerizingly beautiful that it’s almost easy to ignore the deadly mess left behind.” (Library Journal )

“A domestic drama that builds an almost thriller-like momentum…A novel as dark and tragic as it is difficult to put down” (San Diego Union-Tribune )

“A fast-paced novel of exceptional artistic, intellectual, and psychological merit…Nowhere have love’s complications been better illustrated than in the raw honesty of Shadow Tag.” (Boston Sunday Globe )

“A masterpiece…a captivating work of fiction…exquisite…tightly focused…arresting…This profoundly tragic novel captures that lament in some of Erdrich’s most beautiful and urgent writing.” (Ron Charles, Washington Post )

“A page-turner…a most compelling novel” (Dallas Morning News )

“A portrait of an ‘iconic’ marriage on its way to dissolution…Erdrich’s unbridled urgency yields startlingly original phrasing as well as flashes of blinding lucidity.” (New York Times Book Review )

“An exquisite, character-driven tale…its piercing insights into sex, family, and power are breathtaking…A masterfully concentrated and gripping novel of image and conquest, autonomy and love, inheritance and loss.” (Donna Seaman, Booklist )

“Erdrich offers a portrait that’s convincing…Shadow Tag is wonderfully, painfully readable and revealing.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune )

“Gripping…a hushed and haunting tale that chillingly and convincingly reflects the upper-middle-class American experience, not only the Native American one.” (USA Today )

“Into this deeply personal novel about marriage, family and individual identity, Erdrich weaves broader questions about cause and effect in history…A small masterpiece of compelling, painfully moving fiction.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review) )

“Muscular and fearless…It is [Erdrich’s] superb telling of this story that makes it real, her stellar writing that brings powerful truth to invented worlds.” (BookPage )

“Read this if: You’re looking for a well-written, well-told tale that is thought- and discussion- provoking.” (Baltimore Sun )

“SHADOW TAG is compelling…a searing, personal examination of one family that’s falling apart.” (Miami Herald )

“SHADOW TAG is hard to put down…It builds to a spectacular ending with a twist I didn’t see coming…Erdrich has taken a tragedy and turned it into art.” (Philadelphia Inquirer )

About the Author

Louise Erdrich is the author of thirteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, short stories, children’s books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel Love Medicine won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse was a finalist for the National Book Award. Most recently, The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Louise Erdrich lives in Minnesota and is the owner of Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore.

The Devil’s Casino: Friendship, Betrayal, and the High Stakes Games Played Inside Lehman Brothers Lowest Price!

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

The Devil's Casino: Friendship, Betrayal, and the High Stakes Games Played Inside Lehman Brothers

The Devil’s Casino: Friendship, Betrayal, and the High Stakes Games Played Inside Lehman Brothers Lowest Price!

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The Devil’s Casino: Friendship, Betrayal, and the High Stakes Games Played Inside Lehman Brothers Description:

They were the Rat Pack of Wall Street. Four close friends: one a decorated war hero, one an emotional hippie, and two regular guys with big hearts, big dreams, and noble aims. They were going to get rich on Wall Street. They were going to prove that men like them ? with zero financial training - could more than equal the Ivy-League-educated white shoe bankers who were the competition. They were going to create an institution for men like them — men who were hungry and untrained ? and they were going to win, but not at the cost of their souls.

In short, they were going to be the good guys of finance.

Under their watch, Lehman Brothers started to grow and became independent again in 1994. But something had gone wrong on the journey. The men slowly, perhaps inevitably, changed. As Lehman Brothers grew, so too did the cracks in and among the men who had rebuilt it.

Ward takes you inside Lehman’s highly charged offices. You’ll meet beloved leaders who were erased from the corporate history books, but who could have taken the firm in a very different direction had they not fallen victim to infighting and their own weaknesses. You will encounter an unlikely and almost unknown Marcus Brutus, who may have had more to do with Lehman?sfailings than anyone?including Dick Fuld, who has widely been considered the poster-child for the mistakes and greed of all bankers.

What Ward uncovers is that Lehman may have lost at the risky games of collateralized debt obligations, swaps, and leverage but that was just the end of a bigger story. “Little Lehman” was the Wall Street shop known to be forever fighting for its life and somehow succeeding. On Wall Street it was cheekily known as “the cat with nine lives.” But this cat pushed its luck too far — and died, the victim of men and women blinded by arrogance. Come inside The Devil’s Casino and see how good men lose their way, and see how a firm that rose with the glory and bravado of Icarus fell burning in flames not so much from a sun, but from a match lit from within.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #238 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-03-22
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 296 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9780470540862
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Customer Reviews:

Irresponsible fictitious nonsense1
For anyone well acquainted with Lehman Brothers this volume is a comic book, filled not only with gratuitous pulp, but with a long list of outright, naked factual errors. I worked at Lehman for many years, was a Senior Vice President and feel that a deeply corrupt , and in Dick Fuld’s case, delusional management team misled it’s employees as well as the rest of the world. The recent revelation of the Repo 105 transactions that for a series of quarters masked Lehman’s actual deteriorated financial condition are perhaps the best examples of the misdeeds, but are by no means the only transgressions. Others were sufficiently numerous that they have already filled the pages of a number of books.

Unfortunately, this book has found an audience because we as a society gravitate toward the lewdest accounts of stories of greed and corruption that a journalist (and I use this term loosely) will muster. The true Lehman situation was sufficiently dramatic and mind bending to stand on its own to attract a large audience of the sort that likes to read about true crime. Certainly, a serious reader of business accounts would be equally attracted to the unvarnished truth.

After reading the nonsensical excerpt of this book that appeared on Vanity Fair (and shame on the editorial board of that magazine for printing it), there was no possibility that I would buy this book and put a cent in Ms Ward’s pocket, so I borrowed it from a friend. What I found was the expected inane and irresponsible fiction intended to appeal to a public hungry for scandal and willing to believe any written word. Indeed, it is with great cynicism that Ward has written this book, counting on the ignorance (as opposed to stupidity) of a ready public who have no access to the truth. To uncover even five or ten of the countless factual errors in this book would require some hours of research.

However, for me, a banker at Lehman for a number of years, the errors immediately recognized made the reading of this book nearly impossible.

Let me provide a few examples of Ms Wards sloppiness in slapping together this book of gossip. The Amazon page for this book includes a click to read Ward’s brief first chapter. She endeavors to set the scene for the book is describing a social gathering that included the might from the upper echelons of Lehman. She arranges these chess pieces like a cheater who rearranges the chess board while observers have looked away. I offer three simple factual errors. 1. She refers to a Lehman executive as head of the Investment Banking Committee. No such committee exists and the executive named, while senior, was not a core member of investment banking leadership. 2. She noted that Joe Gregory, Lehman’s president, dforced to resign after Lehman’s announcement of its first major loss was the oly senior executive at Lehman longer than Fuld. Fuld in fact arrived at Lehman at least a few years before Gregory. 3. When Lehman nearly collapsed but was acquired by the American Express conglomerate, she refers to this orgnaization and “American Express Shearson.” In fact, the acquiring company was called Shearson American Express and after the buying Lehman, Shearson Lehman American Express. She characterizes the acquisition by Shearson American Express as more or less part of a devious stepping stone for Fuld and Gregory to ultimately seize power. Ward references the classic book about Lehman’s first fall, Greed and Glory on Wall Street that notes Fuld voted against the Shearson American Express transaction. Indeed, head Ward read this book she would have gotten the name of the acquiring firm right as the correct one is mentioned many times. Far from welcoming the absorption of Lehman into the American Express financial supermarket, Fuld was, according to the earlier book, devastated by the vote to be acquired.

All of this i not say that Lehman’s management behaved ethically. Nor do I wish to whitewash the many other employees of the firm. But when we open the dover a book by a journalist we do so with the hope that we will be enlightened by careful and responsible research that reveals new truths and is filled with insight. Instead what we get is irresponsible fiction assembled to elicit shock and outrage and to line Ms Wards pockets.

Another book, Uncontrolled Risk, by Mark Ward is now available on Amazon. Sadly, it has not gained the same attention as Ms Ward’s book. However, it is a lucid, insightful account of what went wrong, assigning responsibility for the various elements of the Lehman debacle appropriately. It is not a rolicking read, but it is an honest, insightful and thought-provoking one filled with the intelligence and insight that is absent from Ward’s book.

Chris Pettit4
I spent 33 years at Lehman. As a VP and only a foot soldier, I witnessed from a distance much of what transpired at Lehman. I saw Dick, Chris, Joe, et al. “grow up” in the business. I saw and heard much of the yelling and screaming and phone tossing and banging on the desks over the years. Until, we became more civilized as we got down to the business of “one firm” and making money. While reading The Devil’s Casino I enjoyed being able to match the faces to most if not all of the characters. I am in no position to pass judgment on anyone, nevertheless it does not diminish my disappointment in the actions by many of those I knew so well.
I’d like to share two anecdotes about Chris Pettit. In one of his town hall meetings he said to the sales and trading team, and I’m paraphrasing, Come in each day write a few tickets, make some money and if your not being productive at 4:30 pm go home to your family get a good nights rest and come in the next morning ready to do it again. Don’t rush out an by the Ferrari and the home in the Hamptons just yet. Another and more personal anecdote occured during the 1987 stock market crash. As horrible as Oct 19, Black Monday, was for me, Tueday Oct 20, 1987 was horrific. I was responsible for funding the Money Market business. We were short prior to the crash in a rising interest environment. Until the Fed came in and provided liquidity forcing interest rates much lower. We had to scramble to cover our shorts and even got long the market. We needed to finance these positions when many repo customers and banks were running for the hills. Nevertheless we got the job done and successfully funded the firm. At 6 pm that evening as the dust was clearing I felt a hand on my shoulder and as I looked up there was Chris Pettit saying to me “good job”. Senior management should never have left the trading floors. The ivory tower did not suit them. I’m sure things would have been different. The book was a quick and fun read. Life goes on.

Entertaining, But…..3
I bought this book after watching the author on Imus In the Morning. He had read the book and raved about it several times on shows after the interview.

Not having any direct or indirect knowledge about Lehman Bros, I had no idea how accurate the author portrayed its downfall. I read the book because it promised to be a captivating and entertaining account of high powered people being brought down thanks to greed and hunger for power.

The first three quarters of the book were well written and easily comprehended by anyone, regardless of their familiarity with stocks, bonds, and all the rest. However, the last 50 or so pages were more obscure and far less interesting to the average reader. It almost seemed as if the author just wanted to pad the book’s length and/or was anxious to bring it to an end.

What really threw me was the author’s Note About the Sources at the end. She used an old tape recorder for her many interviews, and then had to re-interview some of the same people because of its faulty performance. She acknowledged even having “bungled” the operation of her replacement recorder.

This kind of sloppiness for a first time writer might be understandable, but Vicky Ward is not a beginning writer. Her credentials include investigative reporting, so you would think she would have been better prepared before setting off to write a major book on a major event.

She says she “had no idea of what it takes to write a book.” After digesting these caveats, I realized that what I had just read may or may not be totally accurate and frankly I felt cheated by all the hype this book received.

Amazon.com Review
They were the Rat Pack of Wall Street. Four close friends: one a decorated war hero, one an emotional hippie, and two regular guys with big hearts, big dreams, and noble aims. They were going to get rich on Wall Street. They were going to prove that men like them ? with zero financial training - could more than equal the Ivy-League-educated white shoe bankers who were the competition. They were going to create an institution for men like them — men who were hungry and untrained ? and they were going to win, but not at the cost of their souls.

In short, they were going to be the good guys of finance.

Under their watch, Lehman Brothers started to grow and became independent again in 1994. But something had gone wrong on the journey. The men slowly, perhaps inevitably, changed. As Lehman Brothers grew, so too did the cracks in and among the men who had rebuilt it.

Ward takes you inside Lehman’s highly charged offices. You’ll meet beloved leaders who were erased from the corporate history books, but who could have taken the firm in a very different direction had they not fallen victim to infighting and their own weaknesses. You will encounter an unlikely and almost unknown Marcus Brutus, who may have had more to do with Lehman?s failings than anyone?including Dick Fuld, who has widely been considered the poster-child for the mistakes and greed of all bankers.

What Ward uncovers is that Lehman may have lost at the risky games of collateralized debt obligations, swaps, and leverage but that was just the end of a bigger story. “Little Lehman” was the Wall Street shop known to be forever fighting for its life and somehow succeeding. On Wall Street it was cheekily known as “the cat with nine lives.” But this cat pushed its luck too far — and died, the victim of men and women blinded by arrogance. Come inside The Devil’s Casino and see how good men lose their way, and see how a firm that rose with the glory and bravado of Icarus fell burning in flames not so much from a sun, but from a match lit from within.

Amazon Exclusive: Q&A with Author Vicky Ward

The Devil’s Casino traces the history of the players and the company in a way that makes the fall of Lehman seem inevitable. Would you agree with that statement and why or why not?
Yes I would. I don’t think that the way Lehman was run was sustainable in the long-term. You cannot run a major securities firm without tolerating dissent or change at the top. Lehman’s “one firm” culture that made it so great when it was a tiny sub-division of a much larger entity became its nemesis when it was a stand-alone investment bank. Anyone who disagreed with Dick Fuld, or more importantly, the firm’s day-to-day manager Joe Gregory was either fired or quit. That is not the way Goldman Sachs is run, nor JP Morgan Chase. In those houses the CEOs seek out all sorts of different views in their senior executives. At Lehman anyone who argued about risk management was shoved aside. Eventually that position is not tenable.

Discuss some of the people you were able to talk to throughout the writing process. Do you have a favorite interview or experience during the process?
Well, I loved talking to Peter A. Cohen because he’s famous (to readers of Barbarians at the Gate) as being one of the most terrifying cigar-chomping bankers on The Street but I found him rather charming. He still carries his cigar. He just doesn’t smoke it anymore!

I also really enjoyed meeting Bob Steel, the former Treasury Undersecretary. I found him to be a very thoughtful judge of character who had a very large perspective not just on Wall Street but on the world. Hank Paulson too was really terrific. Very blunt, and actually very, very funny! When he told me that he used to tell Goldman Sachs bankers “listen, everyone hates you except your mother – and if you are lucky – your wife” it was hilarious! He was making the point that bankers become their own worst enemies if they are ostentatious – which he most certainly is not.

Some of the best interviews were off the record so I cannot say who they were with but I talked to some people so often that I felt my life would be dramatically different once the book was over: it would be very odd not to talk to them all the time.

I also did love Karin and Bradley Jack. Karin Jack has got to have the funniest sense of humor in a Wall Street wife I’ve ever heard – and I loved the fact that her ex-husband actually backed up everything she said (which was essentially how grim it was to be a Lehman wife!). They were a terrific pair.

And then there were just some fabulous people who really saw things straight and put me straight. John Cecil, Lehman’s former CFO, was painstakingly patient with me. I really owe him. And Tom Hill, the vice-chairman of Blackstone was a man I came to greatly admire. Even though Dick Fuld had shafted him back in 1993, he had a lot of sympathy for the Lehman people and I think really felt the tragedy of the firm’s collapse.

Share with us one of your key takeaways from your experience writing The Devil’s Casino.
Weirdly, that not all bankers are bad and that there are many shades of grey on Wall Street; it isn’t black and white. I think there was a lot of good and bravery in some of the protagonists of the book, and not all of them chose to take the Machiavellian path to ultimate power and riches, no matter what the risk or cost. Tom Tucker is an unsung hero: the former head of sales, who grew horrified at what they’d all turned into and gave back his bonus and set up a non-profit foundation for underprivileged children. Dick Fuld, too, actually was a very moral man, whose mistakes, I think were more unintentional, than intentional for the most part. This doesn’t excuse him. It just makes the story more interesting.

What are the implications for the future, post-Lehman and post-crash?
Well, to be honest, not good. I think the book is really a kind of morality-tale. It shows us how the best intentions go astray and how the will to acquire, to succeed, is in the end a force of human nature and is rarely tempered and overcome. I think the book shows that no matter what the “rules” or “regulations” are on the Street, clever or hungry bankers have always historically found a way around them. So I think that we will see history repeated – probably not tomorrow. But eventually – yes. Doesn’t history always get repeated? Isn’t that the irony of humanity?

Review
“Ward sheds light on the four childhood friends who planned to take the financial world by storm while keeping their heads on their shoulders, and how quickly the second part of the play fell by the wayside amidst a brutal corporate coup and bumbling mismanagement that brought the firm down. The Devil’s Casino serves as both an impressive work of investigative journalism and a cautionary tale of the culture surrounding American finance.” (The Daily Beast)

“Ward’s book is rich on details . . . when Ward connects the dots, the rough conclusion she comes up with is that fatal flaws of Fuld’s culture brought Lehman down.” (Reuters)

“A fascinating, deftly paced tale.” (Metro.co.uk)

Vanity Fair Contributing Editor Vicky Ward serves up a book about an investment bank that is a spicy, dishy dish . . . Ward builds a convincing case that duplicity and betrayal in the mid-’90s eventually led to the demise of Lehman Brothers.” (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

“…The Devil’s Casino has everything readers might want to know about the personal foibles and shopping habits of key Lehman leaders and their wives…a fascinating read.” (Financial Times)

“Ward sheds light on the four childhood friends who planned to take the financial world by storm while keeping their heads on their shoulders, and how quickly the second part of the play fell by the wayside amidst a brutal corporate coup and bumbling mismanagement that brought the firm down. The Devil’s Casino serves as both an impressive work of investigative journalism and a cautionary tale of the culture surrounding American finance.” (The Daily Beast)

“Ward’s book is rich on details . . . when Ward connects the dots, the rough conclusion she comes up with is that fatal flaws of Fuld’s culture brought Lehman down.” (Reuters)

“A fascinating, deftly paced tale.” (Metro.co.uk)

Vanity Fair Contributing Editor Vicky Ward serves up a book about an investment bank that is a spicy, dishy dish . . . Ward builds a convincing case that duplicity and betrayal in the mid-’90s eventually led to the demise of Lehman Brothers.” (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

“…The Devil’s Casino has everything readers might want to know about the personal foibles and shopping habits of key Lehman leaders and their wives…a fascinating read.” (Financial Times)

“What’s remarkable about this narrative is that Ward . . manages to humanize many of the central figures involved in the rise and fall of one of Wall Street’s largest firms, offering profound insight into the titans of finance whose recklessness, greed, and competitiveness brought the US economy to the brink of collapse. The story plays out like a Shakespearean tragedy (Ward even includes a “Cast of Characters’’) in which the very principles upon which the firm was built prove to be its undoing. . . The Devil’s Casino. offers a fascinating glimpse into the culture of one of the most powerful firms on Wall Street. One hopes that the history it chronicles will also serve as a cautionary tale for the financial industry’s still-uncertain future.”
—The Boston Globe

“In a terrific book Vicky Ward takes us into the heart of the denial machine. Hers is the story of Lehman Brothers, then Wall Street’s fourth largest investment bank, soon to be its biggest casualty. . . Ward takes us into the world of these bankers, and shows us the lives they were leading in the years before the crash. At first, they saw themselves as “good guys” – bankers who would not become blinded by greed. But then they began to see how much money could be made and their lifestyles changed. They did not seem to be their old selves any more. This is what Ward does so well: she shows us the world of private jets and helicopters, the women with personal shoppers and shelves full of unworn shoes. She shows us how it is that people, even though they are multi-millionaires, can still have an addict’s desperation for money.”
—The Guardian

In the fall of 2008, the 150-year-old financial institution Lehman Brothers spectacularly melted down. The liquefied remains then ignited, joining the worldwide conflagration that became the great recession that is now either over or not, depending on whom you talk to. In short order, a host of formerly rock-solid institutions showed cracks that ran all the way from their foundations to the aeries occupied by their greedy, ineffective senior management. Firms that once represented all that was trustworthy in our financial system teetered, then fell. Even insurance companies that were responsible for the welfare of others were revealed to be the oldest permanent floating craps game in New York.

“Vicky Ward’s “The Devil’s Casino” is an able new entrant into this crowded genre, and people who hate losers who are not their friends should enjoy it very much. It chronicles the sad and messy end of the House of Lehman in a relatively terse and fast-moving 270 pages, making it a mere social X-ray of a book by today’s standards of nonfiction heft, which often rivals the unsecured debt load of a failed bank. Ward carefully and skillfully tracks the last 25 or so years of the great, doomed enterprise, and her portrait of a business entity is often engaging, spicy and amusing. I particularly enjoyed the horror stories about those few, strategically challenged souls who had the temerity not to learn golf. Theirs was a demise that only outsiders to our fascist corporate golfing culture can appreciate. And the tick-tock of deals, fads, decisions and transactions that took place over a very long time can be exciting. The book also does a fine job of sketching several outlandishly banal individuals who rose to prominence in the firm and ultimately were responsible, each in a different way, for its demise.”
—The Washington Post

Review
“There is more juicy, salacious, icky stuff in this book than you can put in five books . . I kind of like all the icky stuff in it . . . all of the stuff going on with the wives and that. And sex and drugs. . . I’m begging you to read this. It reads like an intellectual Jackie Collins novel.”
Don Imus