November 14th 2019

James Ryker series by Rob Sinclair

James Ryker series by Rob Sinclair. 2017.  A Lee Child, Vince Flynn style writer. Ex military SAS/CIA type who goes around the world preventing terrorist and other threats,, Fast paced and decent stories. Could use a bit more character development in order to hold the reader into a full series of books. Should be popular with the readers of these types of books. Too bad there is not more description of these very important locations where the action takes place.

November 7th 2019

Cork O’Conner series (1-17_ William Kent Kreuger

Cork O’Conner series (1-17_ William Kent Kreuger .  O’Connor is at various times sheriff, deputy, and private eye out  of Tamarack County in upper Michigan butting up to large US/Canada forests and lakes. He is Irish/Ojibwa with a foot in both camps. This series follows his exploits in tracking down murders, conspiracies and other goings on in his small town, local reservation and the wilderness nearby. They are American cowboy style tales with a good sensitivity to Native issues.  The author spins a good story and pace.  There are many back stories unearthed in the series which give them depth. Enjoyable

November 1st 2019

Finite and Infinite Games. A vision of life as play and possibility. James P. Carse.

Finite and Infinite Games. A vision of life as play and possibility. James P. Carse. 2012. ISBN 9780029059807.   A seminal book on the subject, (Game theory)  which has became quite topical in the technology world with speakers such as Simon Sinek.  This is a deceptively thin book that will warrant several rereads to tease out the ideas Carse puts forward.  I would very often find myself lost in the ideas and then the author would hit me with a particularly resonating section. This would be sufficient to push me into the next few sections.  I found the first few sections challenging and then it caught in the dialectal discussion. Like the Phenomena of Man by DeCardin, this can be a mind changing book, full of life lessons.

October 28th 2019

Don’t Never Tell Nobody Nothin’ No How. The real story of west coast rum running. Rick James.

Don’t Never Tell Nobody Nothin’ No How. The real story of west coast rum running. Rick James. 2018.  The author of Westcoast Chronicles has put together a good local history book, a history that was kept very secret.  I grew up in Fort Langley and knew of Harry Reifel  with his nearby  three Bellavista Farms  one of which had a covered thoroughbred race track.  Harry, who became immensely rich at it along with the Bronfmans,  plays a pretty key role in the commercialization of the West Coast rum running, which had its financial centre in Vancouver and operated out of many islands, and bays in the West Coast.  The Chief Skugat, one of two famous boats left from the run running days is now moored near Fort Langley.  Some of the other boats from those days I have seen cruising in BC over the years as luxury vessels.  A great story and very meaningful in how the West Coast survived the Depression. Rum running supported a host of businesses pouring jobs and money into the local economy.  It was a hoot to read that many of the mansions of Victoria’s Oak Bay were built with rum running proceeds.

October 21st 2019

1963 – The Man in the High Castle. Philip K. Dick

1963 – The Man in the High Castle. Philip K. Dick. Picked this up after seeing the TV Series.  The Nazi’s and Japanese won WWII and carved up the world.  The story takes place in North America  which is German/Reich on the East Coast and Japanese on the West Coast with a neutral zone between.  Its quite a well done tale with lots of complex characters, plot twists and serious philosophical thoughts.   But it is just tenuously related *( with the original premise and most characters)  to the TV shows. Which makes the book a more interesting and different read.  Consider this quite intelligent science fiction.

October 14th 2019

why does E-mc²? (and why should we care?) Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw.

why does E-mc²? (and why should we care?) Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw. 2009.  Two English physicists/instructors (PhD)  have written an introductory text on the present theories of the elementary particles. They have been ingenious through starting with work of Newton, Faraday and Maxwell et al, then developing with Einstein  and the successive researchers taking the reader right up to the Higgs Bosun particle work. It is not a book to rush through but if you follow along the whole series of theory and relevant equations makes much more sense than before. They are clever enough to give the reader breathing space when getting into more detail.  Despite knowing the ending, you are pulled through just to see how this all came about.  Well worth the read.

October 14th 2019

The Prosperity Paradox. How Innovations Can Life Nations Our of Poverty. Clayton M. Christensen

The Prosperity Paradox. How Innovations Can Life Nations Our of Poverty. Clayton M. Christensen. 2019.  ISBN 9780062851826.    Christensen is the most respected name in  any discussion of innovation with numerous relevant books to his name.  ( E.g. The Innovators Dilemma). He turns his attention to how can you turn around poverty . Using his theory of Jobs That Need to Be Done, he reverses our view from providing infrastructure first ( Banking, Ports, water systems  justice, anticorruption etc) to what inhibits the day to day life of the common man. He provides many case studies from American history and modern third world entrepreneurs who had to “do it all ” in order to build their companies, and put in place the infrastructure needed.  and examples of huge failed projects.   His point of view just makes so much sense, his chapter of corruption shining a fresh light on the subject.   Very readable with his detailed  footnotes that are as valuable as the text.

October 7th 2019

Letters to My Daughters. Business advice for entrepreneurs. Linda Hollyer.

Letters to My Daughters. Business advice for entrepreneurs. Linda Hollyer. 2018. ISBN 9781775393207.  I was gifted this book and am so glad to have received it.  The lessons are familiar but they all bear repeating. For any business person the key insight is the woman to woman view, whether it is the questions or the clarity of the answers.  The book is inspiring (as the author intended) and a very easy read. But it is still powerful.

September 30th 2019

The Fifth Risk. Michael Lewis

The Fifth Risk. Michael Lewis. 2018. ISBN 9781324002642. From the highly acclaimed author of books such Moneyball comes a revealing discussion of how and where the Trump administration is creating huge risks inside the US Federal Government. The fifth risk is project management and in department after department the no nothing attitudes of political appointments is weakening those institutions that guard the safety of Americans every day.  The book starts by showing how little the Trump administration was interested in finding out how each department ran, what it was responsible for and its impact.  You learn about how the Department of Energy oversees the vast volumes of nuclear waste in the US and how much the safety of residents depends on this work.  A really big part of the Department of Commerce manages the US weather service and how it has now been put under the thumb of commercial companies vs public safety.  The list goes on and on.  This is a problem of the administrations own creation and it only gets worse. Problems do not go away if you chose to ignore and not learn about them.  As ever the author writes a very readable book that makes sense and draws you right through it.  I was astonished to find that the bulk of Americans really know so little about the hard work that these departments do.

September 23rd 2019

the four. The hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google. Scott Galloway.

the four. The hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google. Scott Galloway. 2017. ISBN 9780735213661. The author has been around the tech block ,  building and selling companies ( with some failures too), consulting and teaching  This is one of the clearer analysis of what is driving the growth of these four companies, where it is going ( has gone) and what might the future bring, not always good.  The book will bring no joy to the fanboys of these particular companies ( Or will they, when facing ideas/facts that dispute their beliefs cause them to double down?). However if you wish to be enlightened/learn about the major “winners” in the tech world, you should read this book   Concise, well written and organized ( well until the very end when the author goes into ideas of what you could/might do) I stuck with the book in about two sittings.