Archive for February, 2013

Buy Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life At Amazon!

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life

Buy Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life At Amazon!

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Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life Description:

Scott Pilgrim’s life is so awesome. He’s 23 years old, in a rock band, “between jobs,” and dating a cute high school girl. Everything’s fantastic until a seriously mind-blowing, dangerously fashionable, rollerblading delivery girl named Ramona Flowers starts cruising through his dreams and sailing by him at parties. But the path to Ms Flowers isn’t covered in rose petals. Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends stand in the way between Scott and true happiness. Can Scott beat the bad guys and get the girl without turning his precious little life upside-down?

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #701 in Books
  • Published on: 2004-08-18
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 168 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9781932664089
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Customer Reviews:

Awesome!5
Fun and irreverant, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Canadian slacker is one of the most appealing fictional characters I’ve come across, with or without pictures, and by the end of this first volume, I had a ridiculous grin on my face as I anticipated jumping right into Volume 2. I laughed out loud several times throughout the story, but more importantly, I felt connected to each of the primary characters, interested to see what happens to them next, not because of the [insane] plot they were involved in, but because I cared about what fate had in store for them. Which is weird, because I usually hate slacker stories. Scott Pilgrim, though, is awesome!

Oh my god, dude!5
Scott Pilgrim is the best comic I have read in years! That’s really saying something. Being a comic creator myself, I read a lot of comics. No, seriously, *a lot* of comics.
Bryan O’Malley is able to blend innocence and humor and just over-the-top craziness with an art style that is deceptively simplistic and so achingly honest and perfectly expressive that, being an artist myself, it makes me want to choke him. He can do with just three lines what I — what would take me — what, honestly, I just can’t do.
I was trying to think of a “if you like such-and-such you’ll love Scott Pilgrim” comparison, but you know what, I can’t imagine anyone not liking this book. It’s fun. It’s heart warming. It’s hilarious. It’s infinitely quotable. It has great characters and a great story …
Hey, just buy it already. I swear you will not be disappointed.

Why are you reading reviews? You should be reading this book!5
Hype kills everything for me. When people started going on and on about how awesome this book was, I did my best to distance myself from it. But eventually I caved and bought it. And I’m glad I did.

Bryan Lee O’Malley is a genius. His art is so amazing, and his writing is brilliant. Scott Pilgrim is one of the coolest books to come out in a long time. This is the kind of book you read and say, “DAMMNIT! Why didn’t I do this first?!”

Have you ever been in love? Have you ever been in a band? Have you ever stayed up all night playing Super Mario Bros. 3? Then this book is for you.

From Publishers Weekly
Scott Pilgrim is 23 years old, lives in a cold, unnamed Canadian town, plays bass in a band called Sex Bob-Omb and has a very cute 17-year-old Chinese-Canadian girlfriend, Knives Chau. His “precious little life” is amiably unstructured, and he drifts, happily unemployed, between band practice and time spent with Knives. His relationship with Knives is chaste—walks, chats and hugs—although Knives is getting bigger ideas. “We haven’t even held hands,” Scott explains. “It’s just nice, you know.” But then he starts having dreams about Ramona Flowers, a mysterious, equally cute and perfectly legal hipster chick on Rollerblades who delivers books for Amazon.com. Ramona is anything but simple, and O’Malley’s tale of adorable slackers in love is transformed into a wildly magically manga–kung fu fantasy adventure. We meet the first of Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends, Matthew Patel, who challenges Scott and his band to a supernatural martial arts duel right out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. O’Malley has crafted a delightfully hybrid comics love story. It’s an alt-lit, rock ‘n’ roll graphic novel with wonderful manga-influenced drawing and a comically mystical plot that manages to capture both the genuine intimacies and serial dishonesties of young love.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review
“Charming, funny, sexy and packed with creative power and the love of storytelling.” — Alan David Doane, Comic Book Galaxy

“Easily one of my favorite books of the year. It’s sharp, funny, fast-paced, unpredictable, unapologetically silly and just plain fun.” — Kevin Melrose, Thought Balloons

About the Author
Bryan Lee O’Malley has been alive since 1979. His first book was called LOST AT SEA. His second book is this one.

Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great Review.

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great

Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great Review.

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Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great Description:

Jim Collins Answers the Social Sector with a Monograph to Accompany Good to Great. 30-50% of those who bought Good to Great work in the Social Sector.

  • This monograph is a response to questions raised by readers in the social sector. It is not a new book.
  • Jim Collins wants to avoid any confusion about the monograph being a book by limiting its distribution to online retailers.
  • Based on interviews and workshops with over 100 social sector leaders.
  • The difference between successful organizations is not between the business and the social sector, the difference is between good organizations and great ones.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #2274 in Books
  • Published on: 2005-11-30
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 42 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9780977326402
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Customer Reviews:

Collins does it again5
As a non-profit leader, I’ve been waiting for this monograph to be published for several months, and Collins did not disappoint.

In a lucid style that only Collins can deliver, he masterfully explains the subtle (but seismic) concepts of good to great for the social sector. Similar to his previous books, he effectively uses a broad array of real-life examples (e.g. the NYPD, a church, the Girl Scouts, the Cleveland Orchestra, a high school science dept), helpful graphics, and a very readable, conversational tone. Even though the monograph is only 31 pages, Collins contributes his clear thinking on numerous issues that will be very familiar to social sector leaders: how to measure success in non-$ metrics, how to recruit and motivate a passionate (and poorly-paid or unpaid) staff, how to think differently about “restricted funds,” and how to transcend systemic / external / industry-wide problems. I particularly enjoyed his discussion on “legistative” leadership (versus “executive” leadership in the business world). Collins predicts a dramatic reversal - that one day non-profit leaders, who have mastered legistative leadership, will be wooed away to lead for-profit businesses.

This monograph does stand on its own. However, I think you would have to be fairly familiar with the concepts in Good to Great to fully appreciate its value.

If you are still not convinced, you can also go to his website, jimcollins.com, to read 3-4 pages of snip-its from the monograph.

Regardless, I would recommend this to every social sector leader.

Five Challenges for Non-Profits to Achieve Greatness5
I have direct experience in the social sector with over twenty-five years as an advisor or board member of several, varied non-profits. “Good to Great and the Social Sectors” resonated with me as it fills a very deep void in social sector leadership guidance.

Recently, one executive newcomer to a non-profit called to tell me she was being told to back off by other executives. She was being perceived as “too businesslike”; she did not understand the non-profit world. I asked her to have these people define “businesslike.” She learned that “businesslike” meant expecting people to complete assignments on time and be accountable!!

This attitude, which permeates many non-profits, is one of several targets in “Good to Great and the Social Sectors.” In fact, due to the diffuse power structure that exists for most social sector organizations, non-profits need even greater discipline - disciplined planning, disciplined people, disciplined governance, disciplined allocation of resources.
And the culture of discipline is not a principle of business; it is a principle of greatness.

Non-business leaders in the social sector must operate differently as they do not have the concentrated power of a business CEO. They have a thousand points of no. It is Collins’ observation that they require two skill sets - leadership skills and legislative skills - to be successful. And, he believes you will find more true leadership in the social sector as a result.

The book is organized around five issues that need to be addressed for greatness. These are:
Issue One - How do you define great without business metrics?
Issue Two - What is “Level 5 Leadership” in the social sector?
Issue Three - How can you get the right people on the bus?
Issue Four - How do you apply the Hedgehog Concept (attaining piercing clarity about how to produce the best long-term results) without a profit motive?
Issue Five - How do you use brand to build momentum?

Great societies have both great business sectors and great social sectors. With this in mind, Collins was motivated to write this book. He realized that it was not simply good enough for him to focus on a great business sector but also on a great social sector. He has done us a service. We will gain as a society if all who work with or for non-profits read and apply the lessons of this excellent monograph.

extremely helpful5
Many of us who work in the social sector-in my case the United Methodist Church-were encouraged and inspired by Jim Collins book Good to Great. We worked to adapt the methodology to our work, but some parts didn’t fit. Collins realized from the feedback his work was getting that a large number of his readers needed more specific research into their context. This monograph is a first installment in addressing our need.

The underlying principle of the book is that we don’t need to impose the language of business on the social sector, but develop a language of greatness. He does this by focusing on five issues that surfaced during the Good to Great research and tweaking them for a different mission and context. They are:

1. Defining Great-How do we calibrate success without business metrics?
2. Level 5 Leadership-Getting things done within a diffuse power structure
3. First Who-Getting the right people on the bus within social sector constraints
4. The Hedgehog Concept-Rethinking the economic engine without a profit motive
5. Turning the Flywheel-Building momentum by building the brand.

The monograph is a first look at applying these five good to great concepts to the social sector. I found it to be exciting, invigorating and one of the best things I’ve read in a long time. I think this is essential for non-profit leaders-especially church leaders-who want to build great organizations and build accountability within the constraints of structures that we can’t change.

About the Author

Jim Collins is a student and teacher of enduring great companies — how they grow, how they attain superior performance, and how good companies can become great companies. Having invested over a decade of research into the topic, Jim has co-authored three books, including the classic Built to Last, a fixture on the Business Week bestseller list for more than five years, generating over 70 printings and translations into 16 languages. His work has been featured in Fortune, The Economist, Business Week, USA Today, Industry Week, Inc., Harvard Business Review and Fast Company.

Driven by a relentless curiosity, Jim began his research and teaching career on the faculty at Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1992. In 1995, he founded a management laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, where he now conducts multi-year research projects and works with executives from the private, public, and social sectors.

Jim has served as a teacher to senior executives and CEOs at corporations that include: Starbucks Coffee, Merck, Patagonia, American General, W.L. Gore, and hundreds more. He has also worked with the non-corporate sector such as the Leadership Network of Churches, Johns Hopkins Medical School, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Non-Profit Management.

Jim invests a significant portion of his energy in large-scale research projects — often five or more years in duration — to develop fundamental insights and then translate those findings into books, articles and lectures. He uses his management laboratory to work directly with executives and to develop practical tools for applying the concepts that flow from his research.

In addition, Jim is an avid rock climber and has made free ascents of the West Face of El Capitan and the East Face of Washington Column in Yosemite Valley.

From AudioFile
Collins provides a rigorous analysis of how to apply business performance principles to the nonprofit sector of the economy. In these social sector organizations, in which the objectives are not primarily monetary, superior results depend on attracting talent and money and creating the brand momentum these agencies need to create the social good they intend. The author is a natural and perky narrator of this important little book–he’s proud, enthusiastic, urgent, yet he charms his listeners rather than preaching or pushing them to buy into his ideas. This is a thinking person’s piece that delivers new insights as well as gives clarity to well-known principles of organizational performance. As an audio experience, it’s an expertly performed, indispensable lesson for anyone involved in running a nonprofit organization. T.W. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine– Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife Lowest Price!

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife

Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife Lowest Price!

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Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife Description:

A groundbreaking and accessible history of heaven—from the earliest biblical conceptions of the afterlife to the theologians who frame our understandings to the convictions and perceptions of everyday people

Drawing on history and popular culture, biblical research and everyday beliefs, Heaven offers a new understanding of one of the most cherished—and shared—ideals of spiritual life. Lisa Miller raises debates and discussions not just about our visions of the afterlife, but about how our beliefs have influenced the societies we have built and the lifestyles to which we have subscribed, exploring the roots of our beliefs in heaven and how these have evolved throughout the ages to offer comfort and hope.

She also reveals how the notion of heaven has been used for manipulation—to promulgate goodness and evil—as inspiration for selfless behavior, and as justification for mass murder.

As Miller demonstrates in this absorbing and enlightening book, the desire for a celestial afterlife is universal—shared by the faithful around the world and across religions. It is as old as the Bible itself. While there are many notions of what exactly heaven is and how we get there, Jews, Christians, and Muslims all agree that heaven is God’s home. From the Revelation to the Left Behind series, Augustine to Osama bin Laden, Muslims in the West Bank to American Mormons baptizing their dead, Heaven is a penetrating look at one of our most cherished religious ideals.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #2515 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-04-01
  • Released on: 2010-03-23
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 368 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9780060554750
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Customer Reviews:

A Fascinating Read5
This is a fascinating book, exhaustively researched and beautifully written. As a journalist, Miller, who writes on religion for “Newsweek,” interviews all sorts of intriguing personalities on what they expect to see and do in the afterlife. But she also digs back into history to see where we got all this stuff about milk and honey and roads paved with gold. Finally, she lets us in on her own skepticism, and her own hopes, turning what might have been a dry exposition of ancient doctrines into a conversation that feels as contemporary as it is compelling. Highly recommended for believers and unbelievers alike.

A Nontraditional Assessment of and Longing for Heaven4
Heaven: God’s Abode, Paradise, Cloud Nine, eternal and supreme love, joy, and bliss along with all that one’s righteous soul yearns is found in this glorious place. Therein Lisa Miller (editor of Religion for Newsweek” magazine) examines and offers a “literal-minded skeptical” assessment of the afterlife. She writes about this intriguing and essential topic as she evaluates the sundry notions of the afterlife from the standpoint of the ancient Greeks, Old Testament, New Testament, Koran, and many other ideas concerning that which lies beyond the grave.

This silky and fascinating read covers the doctrine of the afterlife from many perspectives including views of:

- Judaism
- Plato
- Orthodox Christianity
- Augustine
- Islam
- Liberal Mainline Religious adherents
- Eastern religious groups
- Mormon and many others.

Miller’s marvelously written book provides thorough and profound historical and scriptural research garlanded with her non-traditional opinions (atheist Sam Harris endorses this book).

Alluring, delightful and is written in charming and winsome prose; this volume makes a wonderful read for the devout and the doubter.

And it’s affordably priced!

__________________________

A Cautionary Presage: The notes I write below may disappoint and upset readers who affirm a non-confessional Christian view and possibly hurt some readers’ feelings. If you dislike conservative religious viewpoints and Christian apologetics, you may want to cease from reading. The following is based on my personal research as a conservative Christian theist who disallows Miller’s epistemic pre-commitments.

I resist Miller’s notion that the truth that “Jesus died and rose again…” has “strained the credulity of even the most devoted believer.” I refer the reader to works on the Resurrection by Gary Habermas, Josh McDowell, N.T. Wright, and my brief refutation below.

One mustn’t completely rest his worldview on brute facts, nonetheless some of the facts concerning the Resurrection of Christ are:

- Numerous eyewitnesses testified under the threat of death that they saw the risen Jesus, including 500 people at one time.

To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

- All the apostles, except John, died a horrible death knowing they saw Jesus alive from the dead. Hundreds more died because they would not recant the fact that they saw the risen Jesus. Not one Apostle recanted to save himself from a torturous death.

- The resurrection of Christ was proclaimed in the city of Jerusalem where the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection took place. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, his enemies only had to produce his body and this new religion that they hated would be terminated before it started.

- The conversion of the opponents of Christianity, including many Jewish Priests and Pharisees (Acts 6:7, 15:5, 20:21), can best be explained by the resurrection of Christ. The risen Jesus converted many of those who executed Him because of the overwhelming evidence of His resurrection and His many appearances.

- Ancient hostile sources and extra-Biblical writers record the same facts of Christ’s death and empty tomb including Josephus in his Testimonium Flavianum recorded below:

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day (Josephus 96 AD: Antiquities 18.3.3).

- The continuous defense of the resurrection in front of Roman government officials from Paul to Tertullian was unchallenged by Rome and all ancient historians. No other plausible explanation, other than the resurrection, existed or the precise government records could have been employed to refute the Christian claims.

- Jesus’ tomb was secured and guarded by well-trained Jewish and Roman guards. The tomb had a Roman seal to prevent tampering, with the threat of execution for breaking the seal, yet the tomb was empty. Every ancient historical source that discusses the subject verifies that the tomb was empty.

Of course the real fight is between presuppositions, moral pre-commitments, and a priori assumptions. The Christian presupposes God who raised Christ from the dead; He alone provides all the required preconditions for immutable universals, moral law, and fixed truth that allow one to investigate anything, including the resurrection of Christ. Resist the truth of CT and one lacks a ground to study and contend against anything.

Nonetheless if one attempts to rest their worldview on Empiricism one falls into a fallacy:

A causes B.
Empirical experience observes A always precedes B.
There seems to be constant conjunction one always sees
A followed by B in repeated experience.
WITHOUT an immutable epistemic ground for causality, it violates the classic informal fallacy post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

Attempts to disprove God/miracles/the Resurrection through empiricism (truth is found through man’s five senses alone) is thus not certain nor formally logical. Moreover the form of any worldview, requires a priori (something prior to or independent of observation and experience, which is assumed to be true) equipment. But a priori truths cannot be justified from observation. Universal truths (laws of logic and absolute morals) must be presupposed in forming any worldview, but empiricism cannot provide the conditions that are necessary for them. Resting one’s worldview on mere empiricism (observation or data/info accumulation from 5 senses), apart from the universal pre-essentials, can only result in nonsense and the unintelligibility of that which one observes. Interpreting and making sense of that which is observed cannot come from brute observation. There must be knowledge equipment already supplied that is not justified by the five senses. God alone provides the prior essentials for the intelligibility of observation that empiricism requires. God is inescapable.

Additionally I one cannot build a worldview from the ground of Empiricism whereas:
1. All observed r’s have been t’s.
2. r, NOT yet observed, may or may not be a t.
3. Therefore it is illogical to have sense observation as the ground of one’s worldview.
- I would add that one cannot tie together the a priori and the a posteriori by means of empiricism.

The Necessary Existence of God: The Proof of Christianity Through Presuppositional Apologetics

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Heaven. The word evokes all kinds of images and feelings in the hearts of people virtually everywhere. In some corners, heaven is seen as a vague sense of euphoria, a state of everlasting bliss. In other corners, heaven is a busy place, where eternal progression is the challenge of eternity. In this fine work, Miller, religion editor for Newsweek, surveys this fascinating subject from the earliest days of Judaism to contemporary expressions of faith. Beneath her pleasing prose and often amusing observations about the afterlife, there is a longing, a desire to be part of what heaven really is. And it is this sense of personal yearning that informs her delightful and insightful study. Heaven is hope, a constant hope for unimaginable perfection even as we fail to achieve it. This marvelous work is a readable and wonderfully realized study of this constant hope that we share. And whether we align with Augustine or with the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, whether we’re informed by scripture or by popular culture, Heaven will delight and edify readers at every level. (Mar. 23)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
According to various polls, most Americans believe in heaven even, as Miller points out, when they don’t know what heaven means. Miller, Newsweek’s religion editor, addresses what and where heaven is and why the concept endures. Having covered many aspects of religion and interviewed people of many different faiths, she offers portraits of famous and ordinary people as well as experts in religious studies to educe how their views do or, more commonly, do not reflect the “official teaching, whatever that is.” The crux of the book focuses on believers, not beliefs, “for how people imagine heaven changes with who they are and how they live.” Miller discusses the heavenly city, afterlife in the Hebrew Bible, resurrection, and salvation, includes a chapter on visionaries, and comments extensively on how heaven is portrayed in pop culture ranging from the Talking Heads’ song “Heaven” to Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones (2002). Miller’s whirlwind tour of heaven is an entertaining primer on a most complex subject. –June Sawyers

Review
“A rare combination of journalism, memoir, and historical research by a self-professed skeptic who nonetheless believes in hope, this smart yet heartfelt book leads us into the center of one of the greatest conversations of all time. And Lisa Miller is the perfect conversation partner.” (Stephen Prothero, New York Times bestselling author of American Jesus and Religious Literacy )

“Delightful and insightful. . . . This marvelous work is a readable and wonderfully realized study of this ‘constant hope’ that we share. . . . Whether we’re informed by scripture or by popular culture, HEAVEN will delight and edify readers at every level.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) )

“Lisa Miller has long been the fairest and most engaging journalist covering religion in America. In Heaven, she has accomplished the impossible: She has written a book about religion that fundamentalists, moderates, liberals, and nonbelievers alike can read with extreme pleasure.” (Sam Harris, New York Times bestselling author of The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation )

“Miller’s whirlwind tour of heaven is an entertaining primer on a most complex subject.” (Booklist )

“Readers of HEAVEN will more likely than not find their own imaginations enriched, their experiences enhanced, their taste for exploration enlarged, and their impulse to reach out in empathy and hope quickened.” (Martin E. Marty, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago )

“This fascinating, thoughtful, and challenging study tells us a great deal about what it means to be a human being.” (Karen Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author of A History of God and The Case for God )

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery Review.

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery Review.

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Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery Description:

Presentation designer and internationally acclaimed communications expert Garr Reynolds, creator of the most popular Web site on presentation design and delivery on the net - presentationzen.com - shares his experience in a provocative mix of illumination, inspiration, education, and guidance that will change the way you think about making presentations with PowerPoint or Keynote. Presentation Zen challenges the conventional wisdom of making “slide presentations” in today-s world and encourages you to think differently and more creatively about the preparation, design, and delivery of your presentations. Garr shares lessons and perspectives that draw upon practical advice from the fields of communication and business. Combining solid principles of design with the tenets of Zen simplicity, this book will help you along the path to simpler, more effective presentations.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #1206 in Books
  • Published on: 2008-01-04
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 228 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9780321525659
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Customer Reviews:

This should be required reading for all presenters…5
This is everything that I want my presentations to be when I’m up on stage… Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds. This will make you rethink everything you’ve known (and likely done) about how a presentation should be designed.

Contents:
Introduction: Presenting in Today’s World
Preparation: Creativity, Limitations, and Constraints; Planning Analog; Crafting the Story
Design: Simplicity - Why It Matters; Presentation Design - Principles and Techniques; Sample Slides
Delivery: The Art of Being Completely Present; Connecting With an Audience
The Next Step: The Journey Begins
Photo Credits; Index

There’s so much good stuff here that it’s hard to figure out where to begin. Reynolds advocates for a departure from the ordinary style of presentation involving PowerPoint. You’ve all sat through those (or given them)… Pages of slides, chock full of text, gratuitous use of special effects, etc. Presentation Zen is more about simplicity and storytelling. Your slides should support *you*, the speaker. If someone can get all the information from your slides, why do they need you? Your slides should not overwhelm the audience, but should draw their attention to the point that you are making in your talk. Couple this approach with the ability to tell stories rather than recite facts, and you can put together presentations that will be appreciated, remembered, and best of all, acted upon.

He also gets into how best to design appealing and arresting slides. Reynolds uses sites like iStockPhoto to avoid the overused and cheesy clipart that comes part and parcel with PowerPoint. And rather than just pasting a graphic on the screen under some text, the graphic *becomes* the slide, and the minimal text is positioned on the graphic in such a way that the slide becomes a work of art. Since I do technical presentations, my first objection was that this doesn’t give the listener anything to take away in terms of content. But rather than make your slides the take-away, Reynolds suggests that you put together a separate “handout” document that can be given out after the talk (or downloaded). That document can contain the details and facts that you present, without overwhelming the listener during the actual talk. It’s a simple concept, but not one that I’ve seen done often.

The bad thing about a book like this is it points out just how bad I actually am at presenting. The good thing is that it challenges me (as well as shows me) to get a whole lot better. This should be required reading for anyone before they start to put together anything in PowerPoint…

Lacking Gravitas3
Like many others, I have grown (very) weary of the so-called “death by PowerPoint” culture which saturates the IT sector in which I work. I would gladly substitute every minute of mindless suffering sitting through too many presentations by sales persons and various “engineers” with 150% more time at the Dentist’s. Much as I hate visiting my Dentist, at least I’ll be healthier afterwards.

Also like many others, I wager, I found out about Presentation Zen the book from Presentation Zen the blog of which I am a fan. I am sorry to report that I am a bigger fan of the blog than I am of the book. First, the good.

The book itself is pleasing with good binding and great color. It’s easy to read with clear type and an attractive layout. Chapter heading and sub-headings are clear and the flow of the book’s content is harmonious. The reader can tell that good quality work went into the typesetting and publishing–kudos to New Riders.

How about content? Well here a few shortcomings appear and although not enough to dismiss the book outright are enough to cause me wonder. At 230 odd pages, the first impression as I flipped through is how “light” it is, literally and metaphorically. There is a surprising amount of white space and while that’s understandable from a design perspective, from a reader’s however, it falls short of fulfilling the promise of content a similarly priced book should deliver on.

Focused reading reveals surprisingly little that is original. I stopped counting at 12 the number of books by other authors referenced and quoted from; and while that isn’t a crime per se, it’s certainly a shortcoming. At best, it looks like Reynolds did a great job of editing, creating a pastiche of content from other authors and the reader might as well do the same thing: amass a large enough library and perform the acquisition of knowledge himself. That, at least, comes with the advantage that reader will be getting it wholesale from the source instead of the Presentation Zen précis.

There is some practical and usable advice (start with analog brainstorming then proceed to the digital, keep the lights on, use a remote) but it’s inadequately fleshed out. This information is better presented and with a heightened emphasis on practicality in other books–Beyond Bullet Points by Cliff Atkinson comes to mind, one of the many cited as reference for further instruction.

A possible defense to the accusation of being light is that Reynolds’ wrote the book, as the subtitle hints, as more of a philosophical treatise on presentation design. Fine, but even then, it’s still light on those points as well. Reynolds is content to regurgitate some Japanese aphorisms and quotes from various personages that, while certainly inspirational, possess little value beyond that. The book ends up reading like a “pop psychology” cheer leading tome than what it means to be: a book instructing on presenting information to an audience.

Some of the subtext I noticed from reading is that Reynolds is a dye in the wool fan of Apple products with little if any regard for PC and PC software (from Windows to PowerPoint) including them as an afterthought, perhaps to sell more books. There is also a subtle but discernable thread of condescension toward American society–the number of “fat” Americans appearing in example slides started getting a little tired after a while. I don’t know if this was purposeful and I doubt it, but nevertheless it’s there.

The latter section of the book truly runs out of steam replete as it is with examples (with little to no analysis of them) filling page after page of slideware. It peters out with some feel-good advice from the author about creativity, etc. in what felt like padding.

In summary, Presentation Zen owes its existence (with apologies to Isaac Newton) to standing on the shoulders of giants on which it stands. Amazon has it for sale at a great price so definitely get it from here. Otherwise, there’s no way I see of plunking down full price for this book at your local bookstore.

Useful but disappointing3
I found Presentation Zen disappointing. It seemed to violate in writing style many of the principles it seeks to correct in slide design, reading more like a meandering conversation over drinks than a well-laid-out, step-by-step primer. For example, the book was frustratingly repetitive, with even the simplest points restated through multiple chapters (really, how many times do you have to suggest using post-it notes?). Some central points came and went quietly in sidebars, and others completely lacked explanation or justification (i.e. the rule for using six words maximum per slide). Every time I thought I was about to discover a new and enlightening concrete principle of visual design with valid reasoning, it seemed the point from the previous chapter was repeated instead. Moreover, exceptions or alternate approaches also weren’t considered, such as times when using a whopping seven words on a slide might be useful, or when more complex slide builds and transitions could help an audience grasp a concept. In addition, many of the points made in the book, such as the value of “taking risks,” seemed obvious and trite.

Overall, like many tedious slide shows I’ve endured, I felt the book could have been half as long and made its points with the same clarity, and would have showed more respect for the reader’s time. To its credit, it does offer some useful ideas on slide design, and some excellent graphic examples. It’s also visually appealing, with beautiful slide reprints, tons of “good” and “bad” examples to learn from, and cleanly-designed pages. Still, I’d trade the appealing design for tighter, more solid, more useful content.

Review
“Please don’t buy this book! Once people start making better presentations, mine won’t look so good. (But if you truly want to learn what works and how to do it right, Garr is the man to learn from.)”
Seth Godin
Speaker and Blogger
Author, Meatball Sundae

“Garr is a beacon of hope for frustrated audiences everywhere. His design philosophy and fundamental principles bring life to messages and can invigorate careers. His principles of simplicity are as much a journey of the soul as they are restraint of the mouse.”
Nancy Duarte
CEO, Duarte Design

“Presentation Zen is just fantastic. Best of all it’s not another recipe book about “how to make slides” — this is about re-imagining how your entire presentation will work together as a persuasive and integrated show, from conception through delivery. Awesome.”
Merlin Mann
43folders.com

About the Author
Garr Reynolds is an internationally acclaimed communications expert, and the creator of the most popular Web site on presentation design and delivery on the net: presentationzen.com. A soughtafter speaker and consultant, his clients include many in the Fortune 500. A writer, designer, and musician, he currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Management at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan. Garr is a former corporate trainer for Sumitomo Electric, and once worked in Cupertino, California as the Manager for Worldwide User Group Relations at Apple, Inc. A longtime student of the Zen arts and resident of Japan, he currently lives in Osaka where he is Director of Design Matters Japan.

Buy The Rembrandt Affair Gabriel Allon At Amazon!

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

The Rembrandt Affair Gabriel Allon

Buy The Rembrandt Affair Gabriel Allon At Amazon!

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The Rembrandt Affair Gabriel Allon Description:

Gabriel Allon returns in the spellbinding new novel from the #1 New York Times-bestselling author.

Two families, one terrible secret, and a painting to die for…

It has been six months since Gabriel’s showdown with Ivan Kharkov. Now, having severed his ties with the Office, Gabriel has retreated to the Cornish coast with only one thing in mind: healing his wife, Chiara, after her encounter with evil. But an unspeakable act of violence once again draws Gabriel into a world of danger when an art restorer is brutally murdered and the newly discovered Rembrandt on which he is working taken. Gabriel is persuaded to use his unique skills to trace the painting and those responsible for the crimes; but, as he investigates, he discovers there are terrible secrets connected to the painting, and terrible men behind them. Before he is done, he will have undertaken a journey through some of the twentieth century’s darkest history-and come face-to-face with some of the same darkness within himself.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #155 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-07-20
  • Released on: 2010-07-20
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 448 pages

Customer Reviews:

About the Author
Daniel Silva is the author of twelve previous novels. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, NBC News Today correspondent Jamie Gangel.

The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance Review.

Friday, February 8th, 2013

The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance. The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance

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Loren Cordain, Ph.D., follows his success of The Paleo Diet with the first book ever to detail the exercise-enhancing effects of a diet similar to that of our Stone Age ancestors.

When The Paleo Diet was published, advocating a return to the diet of our ancestors (high protein, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables), the book received brilliant reviews from the medical and nutritional communities. Jennie Brand-Miller, coauthor of the bestselling Glucose Revolution, called it “without a doubt the most nutritious diet on the planet.” Doctors Michael and Mary Dan Eades, authors of Protein Power, said, “We can’t recommend The Paleo Diet highly enough.”

Now Dr. Cordain joins with USA triathlon and cycling elite coach Joe Friel to adapt the Paleo Diet to the needs of athletes. The authors show:
o Why the typical athletic diet (top-heavy with grains, starches, and refined sugars) is detrimental to recovery, performance, and health
o How the glycemic load and acid-base balance impact performance
o Why consumption of starches and simple sugars is only beneficial in the immediate post-exercise period

At every level of competition, The Paleo Diet for Athletes can maximize performance in a range of endurance sports.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #756 in Books
  • Published on: 2005-09-23
  • Released on: 2005-10-13
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 288 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9781594860898
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

A natural diet with the athlete in mind5
This book changed the way I look at nutrition. I have always been active and eaten a decent diet, but I knew I was too heavy on sugars and carbs in general. When I got into triathlons, I got Joe Friel’s The Triathlete’s Training Bible, and it turned me onto the Paleo Diet.

Since both authors have advanced degrees (Loren Cordain has a PhD in Exercise Physiology and Friel a M.S. in Exercise Science), it is heavy on science. The authors base their claims on numerous sources, and reference these sources throughout.

The basic premise is that the way we currently eat is contrary to how our bodies evolved over the millions of years prior to agriculture. Lean meat, fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables should be our staple, with a small twist. Paleolithic man could never have been a high level endurance athlete, as he just wouldn’t have gotten enough carbohydrate to replenish his glycogen stores after a long or very intense workout.

This book, then, makes adjustments to the standard Paleo Diet to include certain types of foods normally not allowed during SPECIFIC periods of the pre and post-exercise window.

Post Script: Though I don’t like to comment on others’ reviews, I feel I must say that I don’t agree with the assertion that the book doesn’t place enough emphasis on when to eat the foods you eat. After the intro, the entire first few chapters are exactly that: What types of food to eat, and EXACTLY when to eat them.

Very helpful, but not perfect3
I bought this book because my diet was already headed in the Paleo direction without anybody’s book telling me to do so, but also because Joe Friel’s web site recommended it. That made me curious about the details of why I should eat that way. I have slightly elevated blood pressure (pre-hypertension), and managed to bring it down from an average of about 129/84 to 124/81 or so just by eating low-sodium (I already was riding my bicycle 150-300 miles a week, so clearly more excercise wasn’t needed). After having real trouble finding low-salt foods, I discovered that the produce section was my best friend, and the fresh meat/seafood section too; that was pretty close to Paleo already. But I was still eating lots of grains and beans, and this book convinced me to go full Paleo for non-sports reasons. Now I seem to be recovering much quicker and no longer have any of those rides where my legs are dog-tired. I’ve also gotten a bit leaner, though I was already at just 8% body fat. I then bought his first Paleo Diet book and read that. I now have pretty much gone completely Paleo, with some intentional lapses, and I don’t really follow this second book so much. I follow his first book with its non-athlete orientation primarily to maintain my health as I get older, but I find that I can eat a Paleo omelette for breakfast, and ride for three hours with no sports drinks or gels (though I do bring dried fruit for any ride over three hours, and sports drink for long races or very hard training rides). Leaves me wondering if this second book was really needed. I strongly recommend his first book, and this one only if you’re in the Ironman Tri, RAAM, or something extreme like that.

Very focused on endurance athletics.4
I was excited to try the Paleo Diet in conjunction with a general fitness improvement plan. However, I was slightly disappointed by the fact that the book is focused almost entirely on endurance athletics. Barely a mention is given of Paleo in conjunction with weight training or general weight loss.

The book does give lots of details for implementing the Paleo way of eating for intense athletes, so it’s a great book if you fit that category.

Regardless of fitness level, there are many tasty sounding Paleo recipes in the book, so it will be a good companion to the original Paleo Diet book even if you’re not a high-volume athlete. But for beginners, I would recommend the original Paleo Diet book first, because it is geared more towards general fitness and weight loss.

And one thing that I like about both of Cordain’s books is that they have an extensive bibliography of references, so you can be sure his research is backed-up with lots of research.

No Mercy Dark-Hunter Novels Discount.

Friday, February 8th, 2013

No Mercy Dark-Hunter Novels. No Mercy Dark-Hunter Novels

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  • Amazon Sales Rank: #345 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-08-03
  • Released on: 2010-08-03
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 448 pages

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions Sale-$18.47!

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions Sale-$18.47!

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Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions Description:

How do we think about money?
What caused bankers to lose sight of the economy?
What caused individuals to take on mortgages that were not within their means?
What irrational forces guided our decisions?
And how can we recover from an economic crisis?

In this revised and expanded edition of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Predictably Irrational, Duke University’s behavioral economist Dan Ariely explores the hidden forces that shape our decisions, including some of the causes responsible for the current economic crisis. Bringing a much-needed dose of sophisticated psychological study to the realm of public policy, Ariely offers his own insights into the irrationalities of everyday life, the decisions that led us to the financial meltdown of 2008, and the general ways we get ourselves into trouble.

Blending common experiences and clever experiments with groundbreaking analysis, Ariely demonstrates how expectations, emotions, social norms, and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities. As he explains, our reliance on standard economic theory to design personal, national, and global policies may, in fact, be dangerous. The mistakes that we make as individuals and institutions are not random, and they can aggregate in the market—with devastating results. In light of our current economic crisis, the consequences of these systematic and predictable mistakes have never been clearer.

Packed with new studies and thought-provoking responses to readers’ questions and comments, this revised and expanded edition of Predictably Irrational will change the way we interact with the world—from the small decisions we make in our own lives to the individual and collective choices that shape our economy.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #1565 in Books
  • Published on: 2009-06-01
  • Released on: 2009-05-19
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Roughcut
  • 400 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9780061854545
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Customer Reviews:

Made me think through some things I’d overlooked about market behavior5
I have been thinking about economics seriously for nearly 30 years. Classical economics is built to no small degree on the notion that people will generally act in their own best self interest, after rationally and intelligently examining their options. This fit my world view fine in my first career as an engineer (BS and MS in Electrical Engineering).

From my 2nd Career as a Business Development person (MBA), I began to have to deal with people’s tendency to not entirely think things through.

Here in this book, we have a professor who runs socioeconomic tests on his MBA students. These students are smart enough, worldly enough, experienced enough, and educated enough to approximate the standard economic assumptions and produce reasonably rational behavior.

Guess what. Even among broad experiments conducted on multiple MBA classes over time, one can predictably pre-bias the outcome of a particular run of a socioeconomic experiment by what seeds you plant in the class members’ minds before the experiment. For example, in one experiment in estimating prices, the author requires his students to write the last two digits of their social security numbers on the top of the paper. Simply the act of writing a high number (e.g., 88) versus a low number (e.g., 08) produced statistically significant correlatable influences on the students’ later price estimates. Those compelled to write “88″ at the top of their papers would reliably estimate higher prices than those compelled to write “08″ at the top of their papers, to a statistically significant degree.

Extrapolating to “real life.” Watching Fox News will tend to make you more conservative without you knowing it. Watching MSNBC news will tend to make you more liberal without you knowing it.

If you want to understand “real truth,” you are just going to have to do a little more than self-select your news feeds. You are going to have to seriously consider a diversity of viewpoints.

Moreover, if you have Social Darwinist beliefs as I once did, you may need to re-think the concept of the Poverty Trap. Early pre-conditioning really does make a difference.

Here is the way I think of it as an Engineer. Classical Economic Theory is analogous to Classical Newtonian Physics. There is nothing badly wrong with it, and it is a good approximation for most real world problems at the middle of the distribution.

However, General Relativity is indeed more correct that Classical Newtonian Physics, and the additional knowledge makes a real difference in certain special cases. And, those special cases are sometimes the really important ones. Likewise, Behavioral Economics is adding something very valuable to our knowledge of Classical Economics.

Read this only if you are brave enough to contemplate that the world might be a little more complex than we wish it were.

An excellent book which provides valuable insights5
This book and Dan Ariely have recieved a lot of media attention, so I approached the book with some skepticism, thinking that it might be overhyped. I’m pleased to report that my skepticism turned out to be unwarranted.

The book has many strengths, the main one being that it convincingly presents many ways people are wired and/or conditioned to be irrational, usually without even being aware of it. This eye-opening revelation can be a bit disheartening, but the good news is that we can fix at least some of this irrationality by being aware of how it can arise and then making a steady effort to override it or compensate for it. That’s not an easy task, but it can be done. As a simple example, I’ve programmed a realistic exercise schedule into my PDA, and I’ve been very consistent with my exercise because of that. The PDA imposes a discipline on me which I couldn’t otherwise impose on myself (as I know from experience).

The book is also well written, and I would even say enjoyable to read. The many experiments described in the book are presented in a lively way which elicits interest, and Ariely goes into just the right amount of detail — enough to convey the basic experimental designs, results, and plausible interpretations, without boring the reader by getting into esoteric points which are more appropriate for journal papers.

The one criticism I have of the book, which applies to most of Western pscyhology, is that most of the described experiments used US college students as subjects. That raises a serious question regarding the extent to which the results can be generalized to people of the same age who aren’t college students, people of other ages, and people outside the US. Study of cultural psychology reveals that differences due to these factors can be profound, and Ariely himself notes a Korean study where such differences were observed, but he doesn’t really elaborate on the point.

Despite this one criticism, I think this is an excellent and authoritative book, and among the better ones in the “why smart people do dumb things” genre, so I highly recommend it. The insights revealed are both fascinating and practical, if you can muster the discipline to apply them.

Interesting book for the lay audience, less so for the scientist3
A broad survey of how we often make decisions and judgments that ultimately are wrong or not in our best interest, this book is best when it talks about specific issues of economics and rather mundane when it examines general psychological behavior. Mr. Ariely is not a gifted writer, but he is a serviceable one. He also is not shy about citing other people involved in this work. Culturally, he is definitely an Israeli, which means American readers, especially women, may groan when he writes about male/female relationships. The book is front loaded with the interesting material, which focuses on such topics as pricing. Toward the end, the author seems to be out of his depth in his cursory looks at broad topics like dishonesty.

From the standpoint of a scientist, his descriptions of his experiments seem a bit alarming. They seem overly simplistic and more importantly have far too few people surveyed to fully back the conclusions of the work. I can only hope that the author, in trying to make the book more accessible to the lay audience, has left out important information on how his work is done.

Overall, I’d say that there is about 1/2 a book worth of interesting material here. That’s probably better than most books today. It tends to have a fairly engaging and humorous style. It’s very accessible (although my mother-in-law, a very bright woman, said to me that a couple of the chapters were tough going). I’d recommend reading the first four chapters and skipping the rest.

Review
“A delightfully brilliant guide to our irrationality—and how to overcome it—in the marketplace and everyplace.” (Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm and Dealing with Darwin )

“A fascinating romp through the science of decision-making that unmasks the ways that emotions, social norms, expectations, and context lead us astray.” (Time magazine )

“A marvelous book that is both thought provoking and highly entertaining, ranging from the power of placebos to the pleasures of Pepsi. Ariely unmasks the subtle but powerful tricks that our minds play on us, and shows us how we can prevent being fooled.” (Jerome Groopman, New York Times bestselling author of How Doctors Think )

“A taxonomy of financial folly.” (The New Yorker )

“After reading this book, you will understand the decisions you make in an entirely new way.” (Nicholas Negroponte, founder of MIT’s Media Lab and founder and chairman of the One Laptop per Child non-profit association )

“An entertaining tour of the many ways people act against their best interests, drawing on Ariely’s own ingeniously designed experiments. . . . Personal and accessible.” (BusinessWeek )

“Ariely’s book addresses some weighty issues . . . with an unexpected dash of humor.” (Entertainment Weekly )

“Ariely’s intelligent, exuberant style and thought-provoking arguments make for a fascinating, eye-opening read.” (Publishers Weekly )

“Dan Ariely is a genius at understanding human behavior: no economist does a better job of uncovering and explaining the hidden reasons for the weird ways we act, in the marketplace and out. PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL will reshape the way you see the world, and yourself, for good.” (James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds )

“Dan Ariely’s ingenious experiments explore deeply how our economic behavior is influenced by irrational forces and social norms. In a charmingly informal style that makes it accessible to a wide audience, PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL provides a standing criticism to the explanatory power of rational egotistic choice.” (Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Prize in Economics 1972, Professor of Economics Stanford University )

“Freakonomics held that people respond to incentives, perhaps in undesirable ways, but always rationally. Dan Ariely shows you how people are deeply irrational, and predictably so.” (Chip Heath, Co-Author, Made to Stick, Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business )

“In creative ways, author Dan Ariely puts rationality to the test. . . . New experiments and optimistic ideas tumble out of him, like water from a fountain.” (Boston Globe )

“Inventive. . . . An accessible account. . . . Ariely is a more than capable storyteller . . . If only more researchers could write like this, the world would be a better place.” (Financial Times )

“PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL is a charmer-filled with clever experiments, engaging ideas, and delightful anecdotes. Dan Ariely is a wise and amusing guide to the foibles, errors, and bloopers of everyday decision-making.” (Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University and author of Stumbling on Happiness )

“PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL is a scientific but imminently readable and decidedly insightful look into why we do what we do every day…and why, even though we ‘know better,’ we may never change.” (Wenda Harris Millard, President, Media, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia )

“PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL is wildly original. It shows why—much more often than we usually care to admit—humans make foolish, and sometimes disastrous, mistakes. Ariely not only gives us a great read; he also makes us much wiser.” (George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2001 Koshland Professor of Economics, University of California at Berkeley )

“Predictably Irrational is an important book. Full of valuable and entertaining insights that will make an impact on your business, professional, and personal life.” (Jack M Greenberg, Chairman, Western Union Company, Retired Chairman and CEO, McDonald’s Corporation )

“Predictably Irrational is clever, playful,humorous, hard hitting, insightful, and consistently fun and exciting to read.” (Paul Slovic, Founder and President, Decision Research )

“Sly and lucid. . . . Predictably Irrational is a far more revolutionary book than its unthreatening manner lets on.” (New York Times Book Review )

“Surprisingly entertaining. . . . Easy to read. . . . Ariely’s book makes economics and the strange happenings of the human mind fun.” (USA Today )

“The most difficult part of investing is managing your emotions. Dan explains why that is so challenging for all of us, and how recognizing your built-in biases can help you avoid common mistakes.” (Charles Schwab, Chairman and CEO, The Charles Schwab Corporation )

“This is a wonderful, eye-opening book. Deep, readable, and providing refreshing evidence that there are domains and situations in which material incentives work in unexpected ways. We humans are humans, with qualities that can be destroyed by the introduction of economic gains. A must read!” (Nassim Nicholas Taleb, New York Times bestselling author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable )

About the Author

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, with appointments at the Fuqua School of Business, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, the Department of Economics, and the School of Medicine. Dan earned one Ph.D. in cognitive psychology and another Ph.D. in business administration. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Business 2.0, Scientific American, and Science. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife and two children.

No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller Discount.

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller

No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller Discount.

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No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller Description:

Bernie Madoff was a king of the financial world and a beloved philanthropist. But very few people knew that he was quietly running the largest hedge fund in the world, a fund that eventually spread to over forty nations and handled tens of billions of dollars.

Harry Markopolos was a little-known number cruncher at a Boston equity derivatives firm analyzing investment products. A marketer for that firm, Frank Casey, handed Harry a prospectus outlining Madoff’s strategy and asked him to create a similar product. Harry sat down and looked at the numbers. The numbers didn’t add up. For the next ten years, the investigative team Markopolos recruited warned the government, the industry, and the financial press that the largest and most successful hedge fund in the industry was a total fraud and that the respected and admired Bernie Madoff was a crook. But no one would listen.

This is the thrilling, complete story of the pursuit of the greatest financial criminal in history. The incredible investigation takes listeners inside the financial industry, revealing the never-before-told stories behind the headlines. No One Would Listen is the frighteningly true story of massive fraud, governmental incompetence, and criminal collusion that has changed thousands of lives forever—as well as the world’s financial system.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #379 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-03-02
  • Released on: 2010-03-02
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 376 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9780470553732
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Customer Reviews:

A true David and Goliath story5
Although I was not an investor, I have been intrigued by the Madoff scandal since it exploded in December 2008. Ever since then, I have spent hours pouring over articles written in the press and documents released by the government and watched (and rewatched) all the hearings on this massive fraud. I even attended one of Harry Markopolos’ speaking events to make sure that my television screen did not conjure up such a noble public servant. Of course, it is only consistent that I would have a copy of “No One Would Listen” in my hands on the first day of its release. Admittedly, I expected the book to be more or less a summary of everything I have learned thus far - I was very wrong. “No One Would Listen, ” a true David and Goliath story, is the most riveting nonfiction I have ever read in my entire life.

In the book, young innocent David is portrayed as a “wildly eccentric quant” from Boston named Harry Markopolos who tried to defend his country from the nine feet tall Philistine giant Goliath, portrayed as Bernie Madoff. King Saul of Israel and his army (the SEC) were terrified of Goliath. “No One Would Listen” is a 10-year first hand account of how Harry and his three friends tried to warn the government, the industry, and the press that the founder of the most successful broker-dealers in the financial industry was actually the biggest crook in history. Unfortunately, “No One Would Listen” does not have the same happy ending as the biblical David v. Goliath battle.

For the past few days, I have been reading reviews on the book and found a lot of derogatory comments about Harry’s character and his book. I have to wonder to myself if these reporters read the same book that I did and why they would want to tag their name with such unsubstantiated assertions. Before I continue on the book, I have to point out some false information printed by some media outlets. These book reviews only reconfirm the financial mediocrity in the press that Harry and his team had to deal with the past 10 years - that is why no one would listen.

First, we know that in its 73 years of existence, the SEC has a history of treating whistleblowers like dirt and has only paid 2 whistleblower bounties. One reward, as told in the book, was in the amount of $3,500. I’m sick and tired of people throwing that Harry only went to the SEC because he was looking for a bounty. He knew from the start that his chance of receiving a bounty was remote. Even if he did receive a bounty, is $3,500 worth hundreds of hours of investigative research while he was most likely making a comfortable 6-figure salary at his previous employment?

Second, some reporters claimed that the reason why no one would listen is because Harry is some sort of nut that rubbed the SEC the wrong way and that he was overly paranoid for fearing that Madoff may come after him. One only has to watch Harry’s Feb. 4, 2009 testimony to Congress to confirm this man’s articulate manner and brilliance. Do your research on his background, and you will see how aware people are of his talents and credibility. The reason why no one would listen is because the fraud was so unbelievable - Bernie Madoff was filthy rich, why would he need to steal? The second reason, as the world now knows, is due to the arrogance, laziness, financial illiteracy, and investigative ineptitude of the SEC and the press. In addressing his fear for Madoff, why wouldn’t he fear Madoff? People have killed for much less. There are pending investigations with the FBI undisclosed to the public. Why would the FBI announce to the bad guys that they’re about to be investigated, unlike the SEC, who called Madoff to give him a heads up on the 2006 investigation.

Third, a major media outlet criticized how Harry had made a career of being “a professional whistleblower facilitator”, turning corporate employees into spies when they should be reporting problems internally. After the collapse of Enron, the SEC was charged with reviewing incidents of financial statement fraud from 1997 to 2002. Of the 515 enforcement actions for financial reporting and disclosure fraud, charges were brought against 466 managers: 75 chairmen of the board, 111 CEOs, 111 presidents, 105 CFOs, 21 COOs, 16 CAOs, and 27 VPs of finance. You tell me how a lonely staff member at the bottom of the totem pole would come up against these big honchos.

Throughout the book, if I was not cracking up laughing at Harry’s oddball sense of humor, I was pounding my fist from mortification at the horrors that Harry and his team had witnessed the past 10 years. “No One Would Listen” is a reflection of the culture of greed infected on Wall Street. One event that stuck to my mind was Neil Chelo’s phone interview with the head of risk management at Fairfield Greenwich Sentry Fund in Chapter 7. I was completely appalled that he could not answer any of Neil’s questions on how Madoff was getting his returns, why he was always holding T-bills at year end, and why the audits only show $160MM worth of T-bills on a $1.47BB portfolio. Where did the remaining $1.31BB go? This is the same egghead that manages the risk of a $7BB fund. It was absurd how he had the gall to follow up with Neil if he still wanted to invest with the fund even after Neil had called him out for an hour straight.

Another event that had me almost vomiting was regarding 20 market-timing scandals that Harry had worked on for 1.5 years and eventually presented to the SEC. The scandals cost investors $20BB, yet the SEC decided that they were done with market timing scandals so the crooks all walk away scotch-free. Keep in mind that this all happened after Peter Scannell already testified against the SEC on how the agency missed the market timing scandal at Putnam Investments even with his repeated warnings. Our tax dollars at work. And we wonder why our country is in the midst of economic meltdown today.

As Frank Casey pointed out, Mother Teresa did not work on Wall Street. Even so, the book details the sacrifices that Harry and his team went through to expose the evil man that is Bernie Madoff, even if it means losing money to a competitor or risk getting shot in the head. These four men are the rare gems in the financial industry. If more people like them exist, perhaps Wall Street would not be such a bad place.

Toward the end, Harry revealed the nature of some of the cases he has been working on the past few years and recommendations on how the SEC could improve. He is truly blessed - a self-taught fraud investigator accomplishing more for our country in five years than the entire SEC staff has done in decades. And for that, we owe him our gratitude.

Go get ‘em, Harry.

The definitive story5
When the SEC was asleep at the wheel, Markopolos was there. It blew my mind when I read just how many times Markopolos tried to contact the SEC and the media, and so many times, he was ignored. To think of the money and the lives that could have been saved! When I wasn’t baffled and educated by the contents of the book, I was laughing. Markopolos has managed to write a TRUE thriller with charm and humor. It comforts me to know that this book is out there, for all to read, and I hope it brings a lot of change to our financial watchdogs. Harry Markopolos is a hero.

Well Written Account of Harry’s Efforts5
Excellent account of the efforts of Harry Markopolos and his team in uncovering Bernie Madoff’s fraud and then trying to expose him and get the government to act. The book is well written and documents the the abysmal failures of an SEC relying too heavily on lawyers and accountants who lack the sophistication to understand how the investment industry works and the investment solutions the industry markets to investors.

Harry’s account of when Noelle Frangipane, a member of the SEC’s Inspector General’s team investigating the SEC’s failings, broke down and cried was indeed a particularly human moment and an account I’m glad Harry put in the book. There are people at the SEC who care. The agency clearly lacks investment professionals and people with investment industry operational experience. Lawyers and accountants have their role, but they are not trained as investment professionals.

Great read! Good job Harry!

Amazon.com Review
Harry Markopolos and his team of financial sleuths discuss first-hand how they cracked the Madoff Ponzi scheme

No One Would Listen is the exclusive story of the Harry Markopolos-lead investigation into Bernie Madoff and his $65 billion Ponzi scheme. While a lot has been written about Madoff’s scam, few actually know how Markopolos and his team-affectionately called “The Fox Hounds” by Markopolos himself, uncovered what Madoff was doing years before this financial disaster reached its pinnacle. Unfortunately, no one listened, until the damage of the world’s largest financial fraud ever was irreversible.

Since that time, Markopolos openly has testified and questioned the enforcement and fraud investigation capabilities of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), shared a sliver of this page-turning story with 60 Minutes, and become perhaps the world’s most visible and insightful whistleblower on fraud and conflicts of interest in financial markets.

Throughout the book, Markopolos and his Fox Hounds tell their first-hand story of investigating Madoff-with the help of bestselling author David Fisher. They explain how they discovered the fraud, and then how they provided credible and detailed evidence to major newspapers and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) many times between 2000 and 2008, only to have his warnings ignored repeatedly by the SEC.

  • Provides a firsthand account of how Markopolos uncovered Madoff’s scam years before it actually fell apart
  • Discusses how the SEC missed the red flags raised by Markopolos
  • Describes how Madoff was enabled by investors and fiduciaries alike
  • The only book to tell the story of Madoff’s scam and the SEC’s failings by those who saw both first hand

Despite repeated written and verbal warnings to the SEC by Harry Markopolos, Bernie Madoff was allowed to continue his operations. No One Would Listen paints a vivid portrait of Markopolos and his determined team of financial sleuths, and what impact they will have on financial markets and financial regulation for decades to come.

A Timeline of a Take-Down
Amazon-exclusive content from author Harry Markopolos

How long did it take to uncover and expose a $40 billion crook? Ten years.

1998-1999
• 1998: My Firm “discovers” Bernie Madoff
• Late 1999: I am asked to reverse engineer Madoff’s returns

2000
• I knew he was a fraudster in 5 minutes
• May: Submission to SEC Boston Regional Office’s Director of Enforcement with 12 Red Flags

2001
• January: Team Member Frank Casey recruits MAR Hedge investigative journalist Michael Ocrant onto the team during a chance meeting in Barcelona, Spain
• March: My 2nd SEC Submission on how I think Madoff is running the scheme and his investment process
• I offer to go undercover to assist the SEC
• Apr: Michael Ocrant interviews Madoff
• May: MAR Hedge publishes Madoff expose, “Madoff Tops Charts; skeptics ask how”; Barron’s publishes, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Bernie Madoff is so secretive, he even asks investors to keep mum”

2002
• Jun: Key trip to UK, France & Switzerland; met with 20 Fund of Funds & Private Client Banks: 14 have Madoff and report “special access to Madoff”; two have admitted Madoff losses – Dexia Asset Management and Fix Family Office; 12 have not admitted Madoff losses and all 12 were turned into SEC Chairwoman on Feb. 5, 2009; off-Shore funds attract three types of investors who won’t report losses or file SIPC claims with the US government

2003-2004
• E-mail records of investigation lost; attempting to recover data from non-functioning hard drives

2005
• Jun: Frank Casey discovers Madoff attempting to borrow money from European banks (first sign that Madoff scheme is in trouble)
• Oct: Boston SEC’s Ed Manion arranges for 3rd SEC Submission
• Oct: Meeting with Boston SEC Branch Chief Mike Garrity, who quickly investigates, finds irregularities, and forwards my submission to SEC’s New York Office
• Nov: Boston Whistleblower calls NYC Branch Chief Meaghen Cheung and reveals his identity
• Nov: 29 Red Flags submitted
• Dec: I doubt NYC SEC’s ability, fear for my life, and contact Wall Street Journal and go to local law enforcement for protection

2006
• Jan: Integral Partners’ $40 million derivatives Ponzi Scheme goes to trial five years and five months after discovery, causing us to further doubt SEC competence
• Sep: Chicago Board Options Exchange VP tells me that several OEX option traders also think Madoff is a fraudster; if SEC had called the CBOE’s marketing office, they would have cooperated

2007
• Feb 28: Neil Chelo obtains a Madoff portfolio which shows zero ability to earn a return
• Jun: Casey obtains Wickford Fund LP prospectus showing Madoff is short of cash and offering a 3:1 leverage via bank loans, another clear warning sign that Madoff is running short of cash
• Jul: Chelo obtains Fairfield Greenwich Sentry LP financial statements for 2004 – 2006 and discovers three year-end audits with three different auditors in three different countries!
• Aug: Chelo conducts a 45 minute telephone interview with Fairfield Greenwich’s head of risk management; hedge funds all lose money except for Madoff!

2008
• Apr 2: Undelivered e-mail to Sokobin, SEC’s Director of Risk Assessment, entitled, “$30 Billion Equity Derivatives Hedge Fund Fraud in New York”
• Dec 11: Madoff runs out of money, turns himself in
• Dec 12: SEC insider calls me and warns “watch your back, Operation Cover-up has begun.”

2009
• Feb 4: My U.S. House testimony followed by SEC’s senior staff and FINRA acting CEO
• Sep 4: 477-page SEC IG Report on the Madoff Fiasco released
• Sep 10: I testify before US Senate Banking Committee with SEC IG

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Markopolos, the whistleblower who filed five unheeded complaints against Ponzi king Bernie Madoff over nine years, has produced an astonishing true-life whodunit set amidst the personalities, plots, and international intrigue of Wall Street. Having collected damning information on money manager Madoff-the respected co-founder of NASDAQ who ran the largest financial scam in history-since 1999, Markopolos’s work as a chartered financial analyst and certified fraud examiner, aided by an industry journalist and two colleagues from his days as a derivatives portfolio manager, lays bare the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a tragically inept regulating agency that “didn’t give a rat’s ass about protecting investors,” and seemed to consider Madoff “just another guy cutting some corners.” Realizing he had not one but two powerful opponents-”Madoff and this nonfunctioning agency”-Markopolos refused to give up, despite fearing for his life and his family; accordingly, he transmits his team’s determination and fascination in contagious detail. The hows and whys of Madoff’s eventual arrest, Markopolos’s subsequent appearances before Congress, and the carnival of press coverage makes a satisfying conclusion to this strange epic; Markopolos also includes complete documentation of his formal submissions to the SEC, plus his recommendations for much-needed reform at the agency.

Review
[STARRED REVIEW] Markopolos, the whistleblower who filed five unheeded complaints against Ponzi king Bernie Madoff over nine years, has produced an astonishing true-life whodunit set amidst the personalities, plots, and international intrigue of Wall Street. Having collected damning information on money manager Madoff-the respected co-founder of NASDAQ who ran the largest financial scam in history-since 1999, Markopolos’s work as a chartered financial analyst and certified fraud examiner, aided by an industry journalist and two colleagues from his days as a derivatives portfolio manager, lays bare the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a tragically inept regulating agency that “didn’t give a rat’s ass about protecting investors,” and seemed to consider Madoff “just another guy cutting some corners.” Realizing he had not one but two powerful opponents-”Madoff and this nonfunctioning agency”-Markopolos refused to give up, despite fearing for his life and his family; accordingly, he transmits his team’s determination and fascination in contagious detail. The hows and whys of Madoff’s eventual arrest, Markopolos’s subsequent appearances before Congress, and the carnival of press coverage makes a satisfying conclusion to this strange epic; Markopolos also includes complete documentation of his formal submissions to the SEC, plus his recommendations for much-needed reform at the agency. (Mar.) (PublishersWeekly.com, March 29, 2010)

“…a salutary tale and the detailed regulatory lessons offered in the epilogue deserve attention.” (Financial Times, March 2010)

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life Lowest Price!

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A step-by-step guide to writing and managing the writer’s life covers each portion of a written project, addresses such concerns as writer’s block and getting published, and offers awareness and survival tips. Reprint. Tour. K. NYT.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #806 in Books
  • Published on: 1995-09-01
  • Released on: 1995-09-01
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 239 pages

Features

  • ISBN13: 9780385480017
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Laughs and Lifelines!5
This is not a how-to book. This is not a New Age manual for freeing your creativity in ethereal ways. This is Anne Lamott, for heaven’s sake…and that means it’s funny! As in, laugh- till-you-can’t-read-the-words-through-the-tears-in-your-eyes funny. (Some call this therapy, and I’m inclined to agree.)

Though aimed at writers, this book is full of sage advice and razor-edged honesty for the average joe. If you’re a writer–and I claim to be one–it’s more than a few anecdotes and good advice; it’s a lifeline in the thrashing seas of rough-draftdom, a foothold on the sands of jealousy and vain ambition. Anne makes it clear that writing must be pursued for something other than mere publication. (Though, to be honest, I know she’s just trying to let the majority of us down easy.) Writing is about letting go, growing, facing truths, and holding on.

I’m hooked on Lamott. She slaps me in the face with her startling revelations, nudges me in the ribs with her unpredictable humor, and prods my frozen little writer’s hands back into action with warm compassion. This book won’t solve the mechanical aspects of my writing, or lead me on the path of structural excellence, but it will spark my creativity, free my characters to be true to themselves, and, ultimately, shake me from my doldrums back into the writing mode.

In a society addicted to mindless facts and information, “Bird by Bird” reminds us–writers or otherwise–that it’s all about heart. Heart and mind and soul dancing together, even if they step all over each other’s feet.

Funny, inspiring, & wise–but get your craft elsewhere5
If there’s a better book to read when you’re doubting yourselfand your writing ability, I don’t know what it is. IF YOU WANT TOWRITE by Brenda Ueland may be more profound, but it’s not as funny… I don’t think Lamott copied Ueland at all. Both books are wonders, Ueland’s more spiritual or mystical–i.e. how to express your own unique self and write your truth–and Lamott’s more worldy–how to get your rear in gear and start producing copy. Lamott’s chapter on crumby first drafts lets you know you must start somewhere and can’t do that if you’re constantly criticizng and editing yourself. And she is so right–once you have a beginning, you can make it better..and better…and better. She doesn’t really tell you how to do that in very specific terms, but for that there’s great sourcebooks like SELF EDITING FOR FICTON WRITERS and ON WRITING WELL, which more than cover the job. Bird by Bird may be short on craft, but it’s long on motivation, humor, and practical ways to get yourself writing.

Expert writing advice with a funny and easy style.5
This author is a new find for me, but I will surely read much more of her. She is fabulously funny, incredibly informative, and absolutely generous with her thoughts and feelings and expertise on writing. The book warmed me, and made me feel that I could continue my writing with a stronger and better perspective. For aspiring writer’s everywhere, and for writers published and not, this book will take you on a journey and offer invaluable advice for your hard work. It will help you revive that natural urge to write and keep you plugging away at the keyboard during the very worst of slumps. You will also laugh with Anne Lamott, the author, who is hilarious and honest and very witty. The practical and real life advice will stay with you as you struggle to become the writer you already are.