**NOW PLAYING: Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire…**

Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History

by Kurt Andersen, pub. 2017, pp. 440

kurtandersen.com

Sneak Peek: For book info, click FB link

 

What I learned from this book

I learned that no matter what your political affiliation, your viewpoint on whether we, as Americans in 2018, are in a good place or a bad one, safe or dangerous – there is in fact a 500-year documented history that we can break down that may assist in explaining it all.  Once we can divide it into smaller, more digestible pieces – perhaps we can then figure out the best way forward.  Only time will tell.

What I liked about this book

I thought the author, Kurt Andersen, was exceptionally honest about his views.  These are volatile topics that Americans have passion about.  They can’t be taken casually “playing it” from both sides.  The good news is Andersen doesn’t try that trick.  He delivers in a forthright, self-deprecating, thorough style while wading through historical explanations of many of America’s “powder keg” topics: religion, race, and, of course, politics.

What I disliked about this book

I pretty much liked everything about this book.  I even found it amazing that the author could discuss 500-year old topics in less than five hundred pages!  This could easily have become a convoluted, wordy “1,000-plusser!”  Fortunately, it did not!

Whom would I recommend to read this book

I would recommend this book to any American citizen who feels befuddled by the current environment in which we are living.  I talk to a lot of people in my daily interactions and I’m amazed at how confused many seem as to “How in the hell did we arrive here?”  I suppose one of the brilliant angles of this book is how the author takes us back to the very beginning of the European-American settlement in the U.S.A. Then, he methodically lays out how and why it took that long to get us to where we are today.  It took a variety of religious beliefs, plenty of economic and political maneuvering, and, yes, of course, heaping amounts of…well, fantasy.

Any thoughts?

-A.N.

 

 

*NOW!!* Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?

Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?

-by Robert Kuttner, pub. April, 2018, pp. 309

www.robertkuttner.com

Sneak Peek: For book info, click FB link

What I learned from this book

This book is a phenomenal examination of the myriad “ingredients” combining over decades to endanger democracy as we know it.  They run the gamut, from social to cultural to, of course, political.  More importantly, as Kuttner explains in graphic detail, we must never forget the economic reasons that have consistently “stirred the pot”; both at home in the U.S. and in democracies abroad.

It was nice to see the author lay out the “global plan” that began decades ago – but now poses the gravest threat since the World War II era.  This was never something could have happened overnight.  The author drives home that if we don’t pay close attention to how and why this is happening – and demand change – there is no limit to where this could lead us as an international community.

What I liked about this book

I liked the way that the author “spread the blame fairly” in this work.  It would have been quite easy for him to pick a side and push the agenda.  However, he took a 360-degree view of the situation, applied factual evidence and real-world events, and made sure he pointed out the: who, what, when, where, why and how of it all took and continues to takes place.  I really enjoyed his reader-friendly writing style and attention to detail.

What I disliked about this book

Nothing. In fact, because of its authenticity, I am proud to say that I am of the opinion that there are no major flaws in this book.  It is right on the money and written at the perfect time.

Whom would I recommend to read this book

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn the truth as to how and why our democracy became under siege.  Like it or not, it definitely matters to us all, because no matter whether you consider yourself a globalist or a nativist, we all will live with the consequences of our choices on every level.  Hindsight, per norm, will make it easy to glance back to, or, “armchair quarterback” what we should have done better in 2018.  But the fact of the matter is those of us elected to leadership positions – who, by the way, took an oath to protect us all – seem to be the ones who are currently most comfortable with sitting back, enjoying their vacations, and just seeing where the show lets us out.  Sure, it’s an easy way to deal with it, but this may be the precise reason why our democracy ultimately fails after 240-plus years.

Any thoughts?

-A.N.

**Sneak Peek: Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism – by Robert Kuttner

Sneak peek: Robert Kuttner pens an outstanding, comprehensive and in-depth examination of the confluence of events that have combined to pose a grave threat to the future of democracy – and with it all of the freedoms we have become accustomed to enjoying in our lives.

**NOW** Principles – by Ray Dalio

Principles – by Ray Dalio (retired Bridgewater Hedge Fund founder & CEO)

http://principles.com

Autobiography: Ray Dalio pub. 2017, ≈592 pp.

Sneak Peek: For book info, click our FB link

What I learned from this book

I learned that when someone as successful as Ray Dalio tells the reader that he already has “all he or she needs in life” – with good health, good relationships (family, especially) and integrity in the workplace –  it may time to listen to him and stop feeling like life is always wresting everything away.

What I liked about this book

I liked most the candidness of most everything the author shared. Whether it was his early ‘mistakes’ – like getting fired for punching an early career boss – mistakes and oversights he made as CEO, or the struggles of fatherhood and his interpretation of the work-life balance. Mr. Dalio was much more “down to earth” than most of the big CEO autobiographers we have become accustomed to on Wall Street.

What I disliked about this book

The only thing I thought I disliked about the book in the beginning was the graphs the author used.  They – at first sight – seemed too simplistic.  However, once the author fully explained their origins in the way that the graphs worked for him and his firm, it made much more sense as to how and why they became one of the features of the book.  In fact, one of the points that Ray Dalio drives home to his reader is that he prefers to get his message across in the simplest way possible. He doesn’t seek to dazzle his audience with his message – just that they get what he means and moves on to the next point.

Whom would I recommend to read this book

This book is a great read for any “aspiring or current businessperson” who wants an unfiltered, forthright and thorough examination of what it takes to do the right thing in business – whether in the middle of the fierce Wall Street jungle – or, in the tamer confines of 123 Main Street.

Any thoughts?

-A.N.

 

**NOW: The 24-hour Customer

The 24-hour customer

by Adrian Ott pub. 2010, 179 pps.

Sneak Peek: For book info, click FB link

What I learned from this book

I learned that all that we, as e-commerce entrepreneurs, have even less time than we originally feared to capture enough attention to get from “browser to customer.”  I also learned that very few online marketplaces even have a chance to compete with the “big boys.”  We are fighting for the brief attention a very small pool of potential customers who have an endless ability to dump us and head to a close competitor should we not live up to their expectations.

What I liked about this book

I liked the way the author recapped each chapter to provide a brief overview of what we should have gotten out of the previous lesson.  This enables the reader to go back and revisit any areas that he/ she might not have fully comprehended and/ or areas requiring a deeper dive for customization purposes.

What I disliked about this book

The only thing I disliked about the book was the tiny graph size and font.  Even with my reading glasses, I couldn’t make some of the print out – so I ended up skipping ahead because my magnifying glass was nowhere to be found.  In other words, I missed out on some of the areas I wanted to digest further. I just couldn’t see it!

Whom would I recommend to read this book

This book is a great read for anyone of any age who is (or wants) to obtain a customer base. The real lesson is in e-commerce, but I believe it would be equally helpful to those who have face-to-face customer relationships they are trying to build on.

Any thoughts?

-A.N.

The 24-hour Customer by Adrian Ott

For addtional info, visit our FB page http://facebook.com/writeplus1

pub. 2010, ~180 pgs.

Snapshot: A successful Silicon Valley CEO shares strategies to business executives in how to attract and build relationships in this modern age of time-starved and very fickle customers.

 

WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy

WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy

by David Leigh & Luke Harding, pub. 2011, 250 pps.

Sneak Peek: For book info, click FB link

What I learned from this book

I learned that a few tidbits that I thought I’d already known previously.  First, I forgot how many supporters Assange had in the courtroom in England.  My recollection from afar was that the world basically considered him to be an outsider or persona non grata, when, in fact, he became more of a cult-like figure – adorned with big-name stars and even a few groupies in tow.  Second, I wasn’t aware of how targeted Hillary Clinton was during the dawn of WikiLeaks.  It is almost surreal to read some of the descriptions of how her enemies plotted her demise.  It gives a different perspective to the 2016 election and all that has taken place since.

What I liked about this book

I liked the way the authors laid out Mr. Assange’s childhood/ upbringing and showed how his experiences during youth lays an accurate and detailed groundwork for the type of figure he ultimately became.  Basically, no matter what side you are on with respect to how and what Julian Julian Assange does (and has done) with WikiLeaks, it is more easily understood the elements of what makes him tick.

What I disliked about this book

There wasn’t much to dislike about the book.

Whom would I recommend to read this book

This book is a great read for all of those who don’t understand the enigmatic Julian Assange.  When dealing with a complicated and intelligent human being, it is important to take the time and make the effort to understand his or her perspective prior to making judgment of character and/or actions. Hence, no matter which side of the political “side” our reader is on with respect to Assange and WikiLeaks, this work is inarguably an informative and historically important read.

Any thoughts?

-A.N.

 

**NOW: The Undoing Project – by Michael Lewis

The Undoing Projectby Michael Lewis

Sneak Peek: The best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, The Blind Side and Moneyball shares a unique and winning relationship between two amazing thinkers who changed the way WE think…

For book info, please click FB link:

The Undoing Project – by Michael Lewis, published 2017, ~352 pages

What I learned from this book

I learned that once we are conditioned from childhood to go with the first thing we figure out, it’s almost as if our brain’s memory drive “wipes clean” and we subconsciously disregard any further thoughts and tend to stick with the first answer (remember the old adage: ‘go with what first comes to mind?’  It is still pretty sage advice, BUT, we must also remember that we are capable of more – capable of critical thinking and reasoning that may IMPROVE our original answer(s).

What I liked about this book

I liked the way Lewis used the real life examples of how professional athletes are “misjudged” by agents and scouting team members.  He used the case of Marc Gasol, NBA center.  He explained that Gasol was overlooked by scouts and bad-mouthed for having “man boobs” – as opposed to the Adonis-like structures of his competitive pool.  However, upon someone taking a shot (no pun intended) with Gasol, he in fact became a fine NBA center sans Playgirl cover opportunity!  This is similar to what Lewis showed in Moneyball; whereby the so-called “expert scouts” were shown to have biases that didn’t in fact translate into team results in the end.  Sometimes, the shiny apple not only may have a rotten core, but also may not help the overall team.

Also, I liked the symbiotic relationship the two researchers had in this book.  Amos Tversky was brash and accomplished, while Daniel Kahneman was reserved and introspective.  Together, they were dynamite! They didn’t care what anybody thought about the closeness of their relationship – only that they worked well together and the results of their combined efforts proved its value. That value was to provide proof that the human mind is inherently flawed and often makes errors in judgment.  The problems worsen when those errors go undetected due to our neglect. This is important because occasionally we all are guilty of misjudging or prejudging others.  It becomes critical when we do this in make or break situations (professional, scholastic, etc.)  The point is that none of us have all of the answers to each and every situation!

What I disliked about this book

It was very unfortunate that the friendship ultimately ended.  Like many we have all experienced since youth, the closest ones are the most volatile and/or vulnerable. Old insecurities rise up and we do and/or say things that can be hurtful and destructive.  It’s human nature.

However, it was nice to see that the author was able to extract information from Amos Tversky’s relative (who happened to be one of his students at UC Berkeley) – to clarify many dangling issues after Amos’ passing.

Whom would I recommend to read this book

This book is a fine read for almost all ages. Also, I recommend it for any students working in the areas of either psychology and/or behavioral economics. Of course, being a backer of Michael Lewis’ writing style, I admit I am a bit “biased.”

Any thoughts?

A.N.