January 10th 2022

Red Roulette. An insider’s story of wealth, power, corruption, and vengeance in today’s China. Desmond Shum

Red Roulette. An insider’s story of wealth, power, corruption, and vengeance in today’s China. Desmond Shum. 2021. ISBN 9781982156176.  This is a telling book. Much of what we have seen China do to its own people, Hong Kong and recently expats falls into place.  The regime exists to protect the well-being of those in power, their relatives and no one else.  The author believed in their system, followed all the “hidden” rules, grew wealth but ultimately lost everything, and his own wife’s life to the regime. Your eyes will be opened to what really goes on in China and how things get done. It is a very readable book that would make any business person think long and hard about doing business in China.  One can only think that Hong Kong is in for an inexorable take over in all things to benefit the mainland regime.  I would also support ensuing that China does not grab Taiwan in some way.  Canada and the US can no longer pussy foot around this.

January 6th 2022

Unreceptive. A better way to sell, lead and influence. Tom Stanfill

Unreceptive. A better way to sell, lead and influence. Tom Stanfill,2021. ISBN 9781400225811.  This author really gets it. How to deal with those folks in your life who just don’t/can’t hear you. He gives you the context for how a person becomes unreceptive and then how to better approach them. Then as a sales pro he leads you through how to apply this to your interview practice.  I was glued to this book and read it nonstop.  {How come all this good stuff comes along now? I could have used it years ago).  Terrific book, very readable, something to really kick start your year.  Go get em’.

January 3rd 2022

Value(s) Building a better world for all . Mark Carney

Value(s). Building a better world for all. Mark Carney. 2021. 978-1-5417-6871-0. I have been impressed with Carney’s career ((from Ft Smith, NWT to Governor of Bank of England and now his Un posting wrto Climate Change. The book is thorough, deeply researched and timely.  His chapters on Climate change and Covid are worthwhile reading for all of us.  His explanations on how we got here to present and different definitions of value are prescient.  It should be required reading for all politicians and bureaucrats. He is a straight shooter and you can see how he could guide Canada through the financial crisis and the UK to be prepared for Brexit. He is a thinker and a planner.  He would be a stellar PM for Canada but I doubt he would take on the job.  The book is engaging, and not trivial.

December 21st 2021

The Boys. Ron Howard

The Boys. Ron Howard. 2021. ISBN 9780063065260.  A fond autobiography of Ron and Clint Howard.  They started acting very young, and managed through all the times to keep their father’s country ideals intact. Quite a bit of insight into their careers and how young Ron was entranced by what a director does. This book is a trip down TV memory lane with a cast of actors we all grew up with. Decent holiday read plus it talks about some of the magic that the industry uses.

December 16th 2021

Charles Warren. Royal Engineer in the Age of Empire

Charles Warren. Royal Engineer in the Age of Empire. 2020. ISBN 9781839523496. Quite a fascinating history. These are the storied times of the great Empire.  India, Africa and many stirring tales.  The author is trying to write the wrongs he feels that have been done to this quite brilliant man.  From his schooling, through military career the man had many successes. In context one could say his was a sympathetic colonial warrior sensitive to the plights and rights of the subjugated peoples.  However, the powers that be and his superiors were not as attuned to how their actions would lead to uprisings and unrest in the colonies.  I found this to be quite an interesting book that presented both sides of many arguments.

December 9th 2021

Anansi Boys. Neil Gaiman/

Anansi Boys. Neil Gaiman. 2005. ISBN 978006051518.  When life is looking “ordinary” it’s time to read a Gaiman book.  under the theme of lesser gods among us, w meet the Anasi family – Father and two brothers akin to The Spider.  Mix in some  small-time neighborhood old lady witches and add an unscrupulous criminal accountant.    Fast moving tale, that never teeters into a reality, but still, you grow to bond with the protagonists.  Good one for a cross country flight.

November 22nd 2021

A Passage North. Anuk Arudpragasam.

A Passage North. Anuk Arudpragasam. 2021.  ISBN 9780593230718. A curious book that hit my inbox. The author is a Tamil who lived in India most of the war of India vs the Tigers.  When he returns home he revisits the war years through the experiences of his family ad a family friend.  He uses descriptive language like DH Laurence – rich and fulsome.  He has a detached roundabout way of writing.  With numerous references to Indian poems on Buddha, you will gain some insights into this and perhaps one South Asian’s philosophical view.

November 18th 2021

Taste. My life through food. Stanley Tucci

Taste. My life through food. Stanley Tucci. 2021. ISBN 9781982168032.  What a delightful book. Tucci  (an underrated actor in my book) loves food, but to boot he is old school Italian.  So as you meander through his recollections you end up with excellent simple ( mostly) recipes.  Good insights into his life and that of an actor. But he is so ego free in his musings ( yes there is name dropping – but he acknowledges it ala Ryan Reynolds- tongue in cheek ).  I will not spoil your experience by giving away the plot.  Good book, clear writing – useful on a cross country plane ride.

November 10th 2021

21 Questions for the 21st Century. Yuval Noah Harari

21 Questions for the 21st Century. Yuval Noah Harari,. 2020. ISBN 978-0771048883.  I like this author’s work.  He makes you sit back and think in easy chunks. He is very thoughtful and has addressed these questions in a very strategic order.  He builds to good insights and makes one really take stock of their own ideas.  Would that many of our world leaders had the intelligence to read and work though this book. I found him positive enough to give me hope for the future while being aware of the challenges.  There will be progress to beat our challenges but it will not be regular nor linear. You owe to yourself and your family to read this book.

November 2nd 2021

Seven Eves. Neal Stephenson

Seven Eves. Neal Stephenson. 2015. Awesome book.  I always like his work and this one is right up there. What happens to earth if the moon exploded and eventually renders the Earth uninhabitable for thousands of years?  But you have several years to prepare for it.   This book unfolds over 5000 years and is very intriguing.  Its a very large scope for a book. Good character development and context explanations.