Saturday, December 31, 2016

Lights Out by Ted Kopple

The book “Lights Out” hits very close to home.  I have several decades of computer programming and risk management background and the situations that the author describes are a real threat.  The ability to hack into nearly any system is not only an on-going issue but with each new development or technology introduced the exposure continues to grow and becomes a higher risk each day.  The continued attacks are not going away and the deregulation of the energy business has exposed many areas of inadequate systems that lack the ability to stop from being hacked.  The key concern is not only the hacking of the systems but what happens when those systems are shut down.  How many of us will be able to live without electricity, running water or the ability to dispose of sanitary waste.  After weeks or even months of critical systems being down the ability to live in the manner we have become use to disappears and is replaced with the basic needs of survival.  This book is hoping to alert people that the threat is real and bring this topic up so that we will take it seriously.

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

Friday, December 16, 2016

Tune In the Beatles: All These Years Vol. 1 by Mark Lewisohn

Finally, the first volume has been released and the level of information is fantastic. Over 800 pages of details behind each of the members of the Beatles band.  Where and how they grew up, family lives and how they finally got together.  The author starts with the history of how the Beatles families arrived in Liverpool and then goes all the way to the end of 1962.  Their trip to famous is an interesting, unusual journey and a fascinating read.  The author has researched nearly everyone who knew or worked with the Beatles, be it friends, family, musicians, associates. In addition to the amazing facts the author could unearth he was also able to locate many photos never been seen before.  I cannot wait for the next volume to come out.  A must for all music lover and baby boomers.

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

Sunday, December 4, 2016

In Such Good Company by Carol Bernett

While some of the younger generations will have no idea who Carol Burentt is or that she was one of the first woman to break the boundaries of TV entertainment that was dominated by men at the time.  The book is more of a stroll down memory lane but with a little more behind the scenes of what really happened.  She explains how she got in to the entertainment business, the breaks she needed to start her own show and the many stories behind what happened during some of the live taping of the show.  For the younger generations, back then there was no taping, editing and replaying it, what you saw on TV is what was happening including the flubs, goofs and bloopers.  I remember watching Tim Conway on several occasions entering the stage and within minutes does an ad lib, breaking up the cast members and then the audience goes into hysterics.  For those of us who remember watching her show you will be very interested in the behind the scenes stories that she has and the interesting relationships she developed over the eleven years she was on TV.  A must read for all baby boomers.

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

Avenue of Spies by Alex Kershaw

Many of us cannot fathom what it was like living during the time of World War II.  The Avenue of Spies brings you within the life of a small family in the middle of Paris as the approaching Germany Army plan to take over Paris.  You are introduced to a Doctor, his wife and son who are now neighbors to the invading German army.  You get to experience their lives firsthand as their city is taken over, the many restrictions they are now forced to live by and the horror of daily arrests and executions.  Knowing any day, they could be caught they continue to help the allied resistance.  Many people are saved by the doctor hiding them in the hospital and in their own home.  Time eventually runs out and they are sent to jail, interrogated, and then send from one concentration camp to another.  As the allies come closer their chances of survival are all but non-existence.  To experience the true situation of the many people that risked their lives to help others during World War II you first need to read this book.  The danger and horror these people endure is amazing but that is overshadowed by the courage and bravely of these men and women.

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

Friday, October 28, 2016

Secret Language of Dogs by Victoria Stigwell

Few books do I find informational enough to say you should read them before do it.  In the case of the Secret Language of Dogs I think every dog owner would benefits from reading this book.  It is a quick ready but is packed with very good information that can help every dog owner or someone contemplating getting a dog.  The book is full of visual examples of dog behaviors that may or may not have recognized by their owners.  This book addresses many questions as a dog owner we always wonder about like why they roll in stinky things, chase their tails, growl at certain things or excessive barking.  While this book will not answer all your questions it will address many and help to improve your dog’s physical and mental help and along the way it might help you also.  A must read for dog lovers.  

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

Monday, October 17, 2016

Spaceman by Mike Massimino

Space, Inspiration and the Big Bang Theory.  How could you go wrong?

I have read hundreds of what people call inspirational biographies but this one hit the mark.  A child with a dream, be it unrealistic to many and achievable to most.  The author Astronaut Mike Massimino tells of his struggles from childhood, high school, college and beyond.  In his youth Mike only wanted one thing, to be an Astronaut.  As you grow up many of your dreams disappear never to be rekindled again.  The author's passion is brought back to life after seeing a movie "The Right Stuff".  The main point of the whole biography is accepting failure as a temporary situation but doubling down and trying harder next time.  This biography is about someone with a passion that would not take no for an answer.  He battled scholastically issues, physical issues and emotional struggles but through it all he shares how he overcame each hurtle.  He did not do this with luck or being a genius but hard work, determination and working together with others.  My favorite part of the book was when the author is working with the writers of the Big Bang Theory and then ends up appearing on several of their episodes.

If you like a down to Earth true story of one of us regular Joe’s making it through a life time of struggles, then achieving his dreams then you will want to read this inspirational biography.

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

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Thnik Happy by Karen Salmansohn

Product Details
If you are not an avid reader or you don’t want to invest a great deal of time reading, then this is your book.  Short, sweet and to the point. My only real issue is I like more meat to my books.  A book that I can read in less than an hour is not worth it for me.  If you look at the content of the book it is actually interesting, thought provoking and helpful in many ways.  I just wished the author had taken time to write a full book rather than a picture book for adults.  I think she would have had something worth reading.

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

Monday, September 5, 2016

People of the Second Chance by Mike Foster

Product Details
While the concept of the book interested me and some of the stories I did find very inspirational the overall book I found middle of the road.  Other books on the same subject I found myself compelled to read them right away.  This book I would read in segments mainly because there was nothing new or enlightening that I have not already read thirty times over.  But if you have not read about giving people a second chance and this would be a good starting point.  If you have already read similar book like this I found nothing new or exciting that captured my interest.  Over all I thought I was a good solid introduction about forgiveness and getting your life back on track.  I would recommend it to people that have not explored this type of book before.

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

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Old Age A Beginner's Guide by Michael Kinsley

Product Details
Based on the author’s history and forewords I thought this was going to be a humorous and inspirational look at growing old but it lacked the humor I was expecting. The attempt at humor was for instance a very old joke the author about Reagan "Mr. President, I have bad news and worse news.  The bad news is that you have cancer." Reagan: "Lay it on me, Doc." The Doctor says, "The bad news is that you have cancer." Reagan: "And the worse news?" Doctor: "You have Alzheimer's." Reagan: "Well, at least I don't have cancer."  When I heard this supposed joke many years ago I didn’t this it was funny then and still don’t.  The author then goes into great detail to talk about the predictions as to how many of the Baby Boomers will get Alzheimer's or dementia. The author predictions that of the 79 million baby boomers 29 million are expected to get some form of the serious disease.  While he might want or try to spin humor around his condition with Parkinson disease that is fine but for me that stopped as soon as Dementia was introduced.  Having experience with several loved one with Alzheimer’ I see little to no humor in this.  The disease for both the individual and the caregivers is traumatic. I was hoping for some inspirational insight to counteract the facts. If it was there then I missed it.  The book does provide several topics to reflect on as you age. Memory loss, health considerations, politics, etc. I just didn't see the cheerful side as forewords stated.

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

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Meditate Your Weight by Tiffany Cruikshank

While I have experienced the benefits of meditation and agreed they are beneficial I did struggle with this book.  While meditation can be beneficial it is not a sliver bullet as the author seems to imply.  The biggest issue I had with this book was thirty-three percent of the book is nothing more than a hard sales job on why meditation is the best thing for you or how you can over-come anything.  Any book that spends that much time in selling you into a process, product or method will lose our interest quickly.  If it works as well as the author claims, then it should not have to push the method so hard.  I do agree there are some of the topics need to be discussed but there is point and time when it becomes counterproductive.  The overall program I can see how you can benefit, if you have the ability to stick to it for twenty-one days.  Studies have shown if we do anything for twenty-one days consistently we can develop a new habit.  I believe that is the intent of the author is if you can follow her instructions you could develop a new habit. While I enjoy disconnecting myself from social media, the phone and retreating to a quiet spot I think I am the minority.  Most people choice to be connected and in today’s technology rarely are we left alone for more than a few seconds.  While I find the topic of meditation interesting I found myself skimming the first third of the book until I could fine the actual instructions of what the author was trying to teach by then I had lost interests and was turned off all together.  

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The More of Less by Joshua Becker

The minimalist movement is nothing new but a way of life that has been forgotten.  With today’s commercialism and consumer marketing strategies we have lost our way.  The author takes time in the beginning of the book to really explain why and how we are driven to want and think we need more materialistic things.  Once we understand why we think we need these things then we can change that way of thinking.  This helps to simply our lives, saves money and we now have time to do the things we always wanted to do.  While the practical application of this is simple enough each person is different.  Most of us will find we will need to do it in stages by eliminating a room at a time, a set of items like books or even as simple as the junk drawer.  Each goal will help to reach your goal of not being driven by materialistic wants and needs.  Many of the suggestions I have done in the past and they do work but find a method that works for you.  This is not a race to get rid of everything as quickly as possible.  The book also takes on a religious theme that helps to relate what you trying to do to faith based teachings.  The quote that sums up this book about minimalism, materialism and faith is a quote from Jesus “Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.”  As the book points out notice the order of his phrasing: our heart follows our treasure, not the other way around.  Is your treasure the house, car or jewelry?  Or is it the people you love, the mission to help others or your faith.  These treasure you cannot see but they are far more valuable. 
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Raising the Perfectly Imperfect Child by Boris Vujicic

While I have read Nick Vujicic books Life without Limits and Unstoppable, as a parent I was interested in the book his father wrote.  His father goes into the early days of Nick’s childhood and describes the struggles, issues and difficultly of raising their son but within the book are great advice and wisdom.  The spiritual based, no nonsense approach to how they raised their family can apply to anyone.  Their whole story centers around one key thing…their faith.  My favorite quote from the book is “King Solomon wrote that life becomes meaningless in the absence of God.  When you believe that a new beginning awaits in life after death, the struggle on earth make more sense.  Faith, then, gives meaning to what is beyond our capacity to understand, such as His Reasons for allowing His children to suffer disabilities.”  While the main focus of the book is his son the author shares the foundation of a balanced family is their faith but there is also one other important element.  In the ninth chapter the author shifts from the child to the parent, a child’s most valuable assets and greatest advocates.  The basic message is this “take care of your child by taking care of your marriage.”  While your faith is the bedrock of your foundation, your marriage is the structure you build, care for and maintain.  If neglected it will fall apart.  While the book is about children with disabilities and special needs the advice can and should be applied to any family or person.  An inspirational book for any parent.   
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.        

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Art of People by Dave Kerpen

I believe the author would be the first to tell you that not much of this information new in his book.  I don’t believe he is attempting to be original but trying to leverage some of the better methods already established and tested.  The author does try to bring a different view on many of the existing methods that might bring about better results for some.  His written style is positive and enables the read to feel directly involved with the topic at hand. The author does invite the readers to connect with him on the internet and he welcomes the opportunity to involve us. His stories reveal, like us, that he is not perfect and each day is a can be a learning experience.  If you have not read many communication and/or leadership style books you will have a great deal of new information.  If you are like me and have read hundreds of these types of books, then you will find little new information but maybe his new view on some of the proven methods might appeal to some.

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

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol Cook Book by the American Heart Assoc.

When I received this cookbook I first checked out all the recipes to see how hard they would be.  To my relief all the recipes go from simple to intermediate level.  I did not run into any recipes that I would call extremely difficult.  What is really nice and always include in the American Heart Association books are the charters on healthy choices.  My advice is always read these first prior to any preparing any meals.  You will be surprised some of the changes you can make that will improve your overall health.  Also take note when you see healthy hints they contain many suggestions that help with your diet and food preparation.  The only down side to the book is there are no pictures.  If you are a visual person this might be an issue.  Over all that is really the only down side of this book. As for the recipes, there are plenty to choose from ranging from every entrĂ©e imaginable, basic meals, meals for families and they have varying skill levels.  Chances are you will find several recipes to your taste in the book.

I would highly recommend this book if you have concerns with your diet and/or you are looking for better choice for the food you eat.  I have purchased the previous version of this books and the updates and new recipes provided are good enhancements.    

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

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Before I Forget by B. Smith and Dan Gasby

While Alzheimer’s at this point has no real cure the message of the book is critical.  Do not ignore the early warning signs, take action as quickly as possible and never give up.  Almost everyone knows of someone close to them that has some form of memory impairment.  Many do not want to address the hard issue of having them screened, afraid it will upset them and the biggest scare confirming what we already fear a positive diagnosis of Alzheimer.  Take it from me and my experience family members will deny it, make excuses and discount the warning signs more out of ignorance than anything.  While the disease is devastating to the person it effects it can rip a family.  The authors have provided a very realistic inside view of this situation but help greatly by providing options to help coop.  The game plan at this point is to educate yourself, understand what will happen next and most important as a caregiver do not try to do everything yourself, ask for help and when some offers accept it.  Safety of the one you love should always be the priority over your pride.  This book provides a point of view from a person dealing with Alzheimer’s and the caregiver.  This book is an excellent resource if you really want to understand how Alzheimer’s can and will change your world.  The authors also bring up something that has slowed the research of Alzheimer's regarding historical information.  I would fully encourage everyone to look into the Brain Registry and how this information will be able to help understand this disease better and begin to prevent it.
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

In a Different Key by John Donvan and Caren Zucker

Looking for more information about autism and want to avoid the dry medical write ups then this is your book.  The authors take into account that most person lack the true understanding of autism.  Where this book has done exceptionally well is to bring the reader up to speed by going through actual historical cases.  How they have changed with identification of the condition, treatment methods and most importantly educating the public.  If you are not familiar with autism and the history, then you will have an eye opener regarding how they use to treat people with autism.  The book is full of actual cases noted from doctors in the field and the parents who sacrificed and struggled to find a way to help their children.
While the book is approximately 650 pages the content about the history, struggles, therapy, educational struggles, legal battles and the ever ending message “here is hope” makes this book worth every penny.  I have had first-hand experience with people that have autism and the depictions the authors describe are accurate.  If you are looking to understand more about autism, the history and what the medical and educational systems have done up to this point then this is a must read.  This book will provide you a solid understanding about the world of autism.
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.   

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Heart Led Leader by Tommy Spaulding

Originally, my book was lost in transit.  When the book finally came, it was well worth the wait.  I have read hundreds of leadership and self-help books.  Normally I can take away at least one thing per book to strive to improve but this book was different.  This book hit the key point that most leadership books do not, leading from your heart and doing what is right not what is profitable.  How do I know this is not a load of garbage?  The examples the author provides brought me back to a time I was trying to launch a non-profit of my own.  Since I had never done this before everyone told me, it was a waste of time, I could not get the funding and even if I did, it would never last a year.  As the book teaches you, believe what is in your heart then do what you think is the right thing.  You may not success the first time but keep trying.  As for my non-profit it has been active for eight years, we have never had financial issues and the number of people we positively help each year continues to increase.  The author knows what he is talking with real examples and proven principles.  I rarely say this about any book but I would highly recommend this one.
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review of the book.