January 14th 2020

The Body. A Guide for Occupants. Bill Bryson

The Body. A Guide for Occupants. Bill Bryson. 2019. ISBN 9780385539319.  The latest from one of my favorite authors.  As ever Bryson’s breezy readable style makes for delightful times.  He goes from head to toe and  giving just that amount of detail to keep your interest but not to bore you.  I was very interested (who knew) in his description of infectious diseases and all the trials and tribulations of the pioneers in that field of medicine. He has interviewed many knowledgeable people in order to give you the most up to date info.  Highly recommend this one.

January 13th 2020

The New Confessions of an Economic Hitman. John Perkins.

The New Confessions of an Economic Hitman. John Perkins.  2016. ISBN 9781626566750.  If you don’t read about the international crooks you will not recognize them at home.  The author worked many years as an EHM. He was trained to go into third world or struggling countries to inflate growth projections from large infrastructure projects  ( Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Panama etc). These projects would then be funded by the World Bank and others and the country would be loaded up with debt.  . The money lent would go to US firms to do the work (of course some $  would find its way into select in country pockets).  The US engineering/construction company owners would pocket huge profits.

The projects would under deliver and the country would not be able to pay even the interest on these huge loans.  The US would pressure the govts to take on more debt, vote certain ways at the UN , buy more US products and so on.. The peoples’ lives would get worse not better. ( shades of the banana king and 1MDB )  If the govts did not play ball with US plans, regime change, assassination etc. would happen (Chile, Honduras, Ecuador, Panama.  Wrap a large disinformation campaign about this all.   You could not make this stuff up.  The author points out now that the same tricks are going on in US states with big projects and perhaps even in Canada.

A potent read, albeit the author is not concise enough for me. The story speaks very loud about the dangers of these large US companies, the military industrial complex and US policy.  Evidently China is following the same US playbook.

January 7th 2020

Better Selling Through Storytelling. The essential roadmap to becoming a revenue rockstar. John Livesay

Better Selling Through Storytelling. The essential roadmap to becoming a revenue rockstar. John Livesay. 2019. ISBN 9781642793734.  Called the Pitch Whisper, the author does lay out a smart method for making pitches and presentations. This fits very neatly into ABM and Value Selling methodologies, by reminding the reader to focus on value (impact) to the audience. Its not we but you.  Good case studies and relevant quotes, plus a very readable text makes this a valuable adding to your sales tool-belt.  A read it in one go – its that concise and good.

January 7th 2020

The Fish That Ate The Whale. The life and times of America’s banana king. Rich Cohen

The Fish That Ate The Whale. The life and times of America’s banana king.Rich Cohen.2012 ISBN 9781429946292.  The author did exhaustive research on the rise of a poor immigrant Sam “the Banana Man” Zemurray to the largest shareholder of United Fruit.  Along the way  he reshaped Central America and Cuba, launched regime changes, wrote the playbook for CIA operations in banana republics, funded the Zionist movement in Israel, and shipped thousands of Zionist to Israel on his fleet of banana boats.  Good book on hands on leadership,  very hard work a, dogged determination, strong will and the perils of a one man at the top business structure. Gives good background on the mess that is now Central America and insights into US policy (Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy)

November 28th 2019

Billion Dollar Whale. The man who fooled Wall Street, Hollywood and the World. Tom Wright & Bradley Hope

Billion Dollar Whale. The man who fooled Wall Street, Hollywood and the World. Tom Wright & Bradley Hope. 2018. ISBN 978031643648.   Two Wall Street Journal journalists and a host of  forensic legal minds have unfolded the swindle of 1MDB. The loss was  to the tune of $13B dollars (2 % of Malaysian GDP) by Jho Low and his cronies ( including Najib Razak the ex Prime minister of Malaysia) , with the assistance of Goldman Sachs, UAE sovereign wealth funds and a host of sleazy corrupt Abu Dhabi royalty plus offshore and Swiss banks.  Of course the biggest crooks seem to not get any judgment at all while the small potatoes get charged. Low was the Whale who thought nothing of multi million dollar gambling nights, parties and debauchery ( which included huge gifts/graft to potential girlfriends, wives, business associates and friends) . His spending makes Crazy Rich Asians look very tame.  None of the money was his, but was swindled from 1MDB.  The depth of crime is sickening, but true.  It is not unique to Malaysia

November 21st 2019

Becoming. Michelle Obama

Becoming. Michelle Obama. 2018.  On one hand a singular job of writing about quite an amazing life and on the other a touching illustration of one person’s humanity.   Quite a well done book that should give hope and guidance to generations of minority and disadvantaged youth for years to come. You live their life and feel how they felt and still fell.  One of those books you do not feel like putting down.  Very worth the read and clearly written with good pace.

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.