Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wild Things by Graham Nash

While Graham Nash might be an artistic genius with music, art and photography, he should have requested help in how to write an autobiography.  The first quarter of the book contains more of the interesting background about Nash.  His up bring, things that made major impacts on his life and the people in his life.  The story itself is fascinating but not always an enjoyable read.  The him meeting the Everly Brothers is shows you his drive and determination.  The last half of the book is just like any other rock and roll biography sex, drugs and rock and roll.  If Nash had the help of a professional writer, you would end up with two things a book about half the size and one fascinating life story to tell.

I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.        

Friday, November 6, 2015

Friend & Foe by Adam Galinsky & Maurice Schweitzer

Are you looking to learn about when to cooperate and when to compete?  A great deal of research has been done around this subject along with volumes of data gathered for research. 
The author’s insight on how it is incorrect to pick only one of these approaches. The authors stress for the reader to know when and how to pursue your own interests, not just for yourself but also how to help others achieve theirs.  If done correctly this can be a very useful tool at work and home.
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

So, anyway... by John Cleese

If you enjoy Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers, “Fish Called Wanda” or anything else that John Cleese was involved in you want to read this book.  The book is an autobiographical account of John Cleese life up through 2014.  He goes into great pains to describe the trials and tribulations of growing up in England as an only child with one dysfunctional parent.  He describes how his parents, being an only child, frequently moving to different houses or towns and how his schools had a major impact how his personality was formed.  He explains that his real passion is writing and acting was just a chance encounter that he stumbled into not once but several times.  In chronological order, he talks about the people he has met, what jobs that lead him into and how that encounter leads him to the next situation.  The connection from when he graduates from college to present is amazing how everything fell into place.   By far one of the more entertaining books I have read this year and yes, it is extremely funny as expected.
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy by Dinty W. Moore

Not looking for an instructional writing book…you found it
Let me first start by quoting the author from one of his many letters, “I just spent a good five minutes trying to make sense of your question, after which I took a good shower, toweled off, and had a two-hour nap.  Now I think I am ready to tackle my answer: What?”  If you replace five minutes with thirty minutes and the question with a book, that would be my response to this book.  Maybe it is my fault, I was hoping for a lighthearted instructional book on writing.  The book about writing but the questions and answers seem to miss the mark in my option.  One question asked if it is possible to write a novel on cocktail napkins.  The author’s reply is on cocktail napkins but it takes 19 pages.  Funny yes, but the humor ended after the fourth napkin. 
There is one section I enjoyed, the authors essay called “Don’t Red this Essay”.  The message driven home is people no longer read for fun or enjoyment.  We no longer have time; our lives are full of text messages, emails, twitters, blogs, etc.  Yes, this is reading but not what most of us would call fun or enjoyable.
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Life on the Edge by Johnjoe McFadden and Jim Al-Khalili

If you have read Johnjoe McFadden’s “Quantum Evolution”, you will enjoy his new book “Life on the Edge”.  You do not need a doctorate or major in biology to appreciate this book.  Many of us have heard the term quantum mechanics, quantum evolution, quantum biology, etc. but most of us have little understanding how it applies to our lives.  The authors Johnjoe McFadden and Jim Al-Khalili lead you through examples most of us will understand to help grasp the ideas around quantum biology.  They begin with what is life then move on to the engines of life.  Further, into the book the authors use the example of robins migration and how they know when and where to migrate along with the connections to quantum biology.  They then explore the mind and its relationship with quantum biology.  They conclude the book with how life began and how the book got it name with a chapter talking about life on the edge of a storm, quantum life.
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Navy Seal Art of War by Rob Roy

While the title might imply war, the book is really about life.  This book is about the choices we make, the commitments we take on, and the interaction between others we have.  These things make up who we are and how we live.  The author, Chief Petty Officer (Ret.), explains many of the methods and training that goes into developing a Navy Seal.  Not everyone is physically or mentally able to pass the high demands needed for this elite group but we all can learn something from their training.  The author has design the book into short workable chapters that each chapter focuses on a specific topic.  If we could adapt this method of thinking, improve our communication and apply this to the many issues surrounding today’s businesses and our personal lives, we would see rapid improvements.  Focusing as a team, working towards common goals and being accountable for our actions drive many of the outcomes that we experience.  We can sit back and accept what is going on or you can do as the Navy Seals does and plan, prepare, work as a team, and drive towards the mission at hand.  A small book but full of some of the best advise you will ever see in writing. 
 I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.            

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Libarary at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount Char is different or unique would probably be an understatement. The story is based on a God like figure with human form who has adopted twelve children, each child is trained in a special skill for the God like figure they call Father.  He houses them in his library like prisoners. While the Library at Mount Char is a fantasy/science fiction book that I found it dark and foreboding. Humor is minimal yet rarely changes the mood of the story. 
In the beginning, Father is missing.  No one knows where he has disappeared. If he does not come back, someone new will need to lead them. Who will be next in line?  While the character personalities are interesting, I did not find them believable in the role of people who would be helping a God like figure.  From the first page of this book, I was skeptical about the plot and execution.  Unfortunately, this did not change throughout the book.  The average book this size takes me no time to read but I had a hard time staying interested in this one.  The bottom line is not everyone finds death, rape and abuse as entertaining reading.
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Fold by Peter Clines

The Fold is in the classic style of the science fiction novels of the 50s and 60s.  I was pleased to see the author did not fall back on the same old time or space travel theme.  The story is set in modern times making it easier for the reader relate to but also brings back a little of the past as a reference.  While the main character maintains multiple layer of complexity, the author is able to bring out the more personal side rather than letting the characters strengths over power the story.  The supporting character were also well rounded, each adding they own spin on the plot.  The unknown behind the new technology helps to drive why this is such a mystery and why is it guarded so well.  I liked the author’s ability to bring reality into his story, there were issues, problems and glitches those are what fuel the story and motivate the reader to read on.  As a warning if you are looking for a book for a child, here are a few sex scenes and a fair amount of swearing.  While it did not hamper the story, it really didn’t add much to it either. 
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.             

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Legend by Eric Blehm

We read, watch movies and pretend to be super heroes, but we are looking for heroes in the wrong place.  Legend is a novel about a real person, fact based story and the moral and ethics we all hope our children learn.  I have read several of the author’s books and I am pleased to see he did a masterful job at capturing the real Roy Benavidez story.  The book provides Roy’s childhood, losing both parents and being raised by other family members.  A t a very early age he learns about helping others and the family values that would guide him the rest of his life.   While his career in the military had, many difficulties he would always strive to fulfill his dream about being in the Special Forces.  After a serious injury that would have left most people mentally and physically disabled Roy kept going.  He overcame many physically limitations and is accepted as a Green Beret.   After being station in Vietnam he finds out a mission has gone bad and they need help extracting the men. Roy volunteers to help.  His efforts are inspiring and altruistic.  This proves we have real heroes around us.  We need to read more about this type of hero and less about a guy in a cape wearing leotards.   If you enjoy history, this book will captivate you.
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Better and Faster by Jeremy Gutsche

 While the overall concept of the book is interesting, the reality is few of us are in the position to
make these kinds of business decisions. Many of us might work for a big brands or large corporations but the bottom line is if you are not at a senior management level, no one cares what your ideas are. On the other side if you own your own business or are looking to do a startup company then this book has a lot to offer. While the book is full of stories of success and failure, I lost interest quickly and skimmed the book to find out that at the back of each chapter contains the majority of what you might be looking for. The author covers business topics like convergence, divergence, cyclicality, redirections, reduction and acceleration. Toward the end of the book, the author does an overview of several industries like fashion, technology, retail, broadcast and media, food, etc. The overall theme is change is inevitable, unless you embrace change, your success in business will be limited or nonexistent.
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Performing Under Pressure by Hendrie Weisinger and J.P. Pawliw-Fry

If you peruse the local bookstore in the self-help section, you will find hundreds of books on how to handle stress, pressure and anxiety in your home life and at work.  I have to admit I have read a large number of these books, mainly out of curiosity and if I stumble on something that works great.  Most of these books are based on someone’s personal experience and their results.  What I find frustrating is most of the books the examples do not apply to me but this book is different.  This book is based on scientific research, covering a large cross section of people and with many testing scenarios.  The authors understood one method does not work for everyone so they have provided the reader 22 different methods you can use separately or combined.   Before you get to the part about how to resolve your stress or pressure, the authors provide you, in detail, what triggers these situations.  Knowing the root cause helps greatly in selecting which method will work the best for you.  As the book states on page 95, “…free yourself from pressure traps by letting your own values, interests and goals motivate you; value yourself, and focus on what you can control – your own efforts.  Your days will be filled with fewer pressure feelings, less pressure anxiety.”  Who could ask for anything more.        
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Power of a Half Hour by Tommy Barnett

There are tons of self-help books on time management, goals, relationships, etc.  They all seem to focus on one system that everyone is suppose to fit into but this book is different.  The author has an in-depth understanding and firsthand experience with all kinds of people.  He knows a set method or process does not meet everyone’s needs.  The focal point of the author’s book is to provide the reader not one method but thirty different ideas on how to refocus and recover time you thought you did not have.  While other books force on one method the author provides examples around purpose and values, personal goals, faith, character and attitude, career, relationships, marriage and family, church involvement and may others.  It is up to the reader to pick what is his or her key area of interest and run with it.  Once you have completed the first 30 minutes, you will be motivate to try more ideas.

The book is set up any generation.  It is a quick read and the chapters are short and to the point but the effort involved is always 30 minutes.  That is about the same amount of time it takes at the local, overpriced, coffee bar to order and drink a latte.  If you are looking for something more and not exactly sure what it is, start with this book.        

I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

POSSIBLE a Blueprint for Changing How We Chnage the World.

I have been involved in many church and nonprofit adventures.  I was looking forward to what the author, with all of his vast knowledge and experience, had to say.  I was hoping for something I could really sink my teeth into but it didn’t deliver what I hoped it would.  I patiently read story after story of the author’s and many others experiences. While this is helpful to understand and frame up the beginning of the book, I lost interest half way through.  I do agree with his passion, wisdom, vision and the fellowship of others approach.  That method helped me launch a non-profit many years ago so I know that works well.  If you are looking for a tool, guideline or a better method to change something then skip to the appendix.  For me that that was the key message: A tool for discovering and designing change and a tool for mobilizing, implementing and multiplying changes.  I wish the author had focused more on how to implement and execute changes.  You cannot make change without getting your hands dirty.     
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Martyr's Fire by Sigmund Brouwer

Will this quest lead the Orphan King to an ancient secret or to total destruction?  The Orphan King disguised as a beggar escapes Magnus after fifteen men that refer to themselves as the Priest of the Holy Grail take control of the cast.  With the help of his long time friend the Orphan King begins a journey the sends him to the Holy Land.  His beliefs are tested with a power others have been searching for.  You are sent into a world of Merlin’s Immortals.  Evil conspiracies and secrets open up hidden discoveries and hidden knowledge.
The book follows the same form and pattern as the first two books.  It provides and interesting plot and a quick read for an adult.  We are presented with many plot twists and lots of exciting adventure to keep the reader interested throughout the book.  The character structure is memorable and well thought through.     

 I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah.