March 5th 2018

Travels. Michael Crichton.

English: American author and speaker Michael C...

Travels. Michael Crichton. 1988. The author of many famous science related thrillers and movies like Jurassic Park, Crichton pens a concise story behind his life. He  covers his time as a medicals student and why he quite after getting his degree.  It certainly seems that he  was a very efficient writer, publishing The Andromeda Strain while still in med school ! He  details his background  and physical and mental journeys through many different experiences.  I was surprised at his dedication to research, his eclectic interests and playful nature toward everything ( Ie a very open mind) .  A real bonus is the appended speech he was to give at Cal Tech on Science and Mysticism. It is a very coherent analysis which presents the material in an open fashion and is well worth the read.

February 19th 2018

Elon Musk. Biography of a Self-Made Visionary, Entrepreneur, and Billionaire. B. Storm

Elon Musk. Biography of a Self-Made Visionary, Entrepreneur, and Billionaire. B. Storm. 2014.   I label this book disappointing. It is more a larger Wikipedia article than an insightful book on Elon Musk. It does not appear that th eauthor evere interviewed Musk or his employees, but rather put together public material in one place. If you want a quick synopsis of what Musk has done- yes you will get it. What is missing is a deep dive into who and what Musk is as a person. So we will need to wait.

February 12th 2018

The Power of Moments. Why certain moments have extraordinary impact. Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

The Power of Moments. Why certain moments have extraordinary impact. Chip Heath and Dan Heath. 2017. ISBN 1501147760.  An extraordinary book. The authors have crystallized in quite a short book how to make a major leadership impact though using certain moments in everyday life.  Using four imaging ares of Elevation, Insight, Pride and Connection this book will help you in all parts of your life.  I can see where this would have helped my elevate my teaching times, management roles and personal life.  I recommend this book for all managers as well as individuals. There is a wealth of resources that go with the book at www.heathbrothers.com/moments

February 5th 2018

The Woman Who Smashed Codes. The true story of love, spies, and the unlikely heroine who outwitted america’s enemies. Jason Fagone.

Shakespeare

Shakespeare (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Woman Who Smashed Codes. The true story of love, spies, and the unlikely heroine who outwitted america’s enemies. Jason Fagone. 2017. ISBN 9780062430489. This is the story of Elizebeth Smith and William Friedman who married and together built the American tools and teams for  cryptography (code breaking)  prior to WW2 , which eventually became the NSA. There are many smaller stories  in the larger one. A wife who always let her husband shine ( yet history shows that she was the absolutely brilliant one) . How society (and the military)  ruthlessly and cavalierly ignored her true value in position and salary.  They worked on unscrambling puzzles from crooks, spies,  informants, and the enemy military.  They wrote the definitive earliest books on code breaking.  Their work was routinely used and seized by the always publicity seeking Hoover who always ignored their contributions. Toward the end, the US governments paranoia about secrecy ended up in the seizure of much of the Friedman’s personal papers and rare books collection.   They got their start through an eccentric millionaire,  George Fabyan ( who wanted to prove that Francis Bacon wrote all of Shakespeare’s work) on his estate called Riverbank.  It is highly readable, almost improbable (until you remember the context), and the authors text flows well along.  This would make an exceptional movie.

January 22nd 2018

What the Dog Saw. And other adventures. Malcolm Gladwell.

English: Malcolm Gladwell speaks at PopTech! 2...

What the Dog Saw. And other adventures. Malcolm Gladwell.   2009. ISBN 9780316086134.  I have had this boom on my Kindle for a long time.  Its about time I read it. It is a series of articles that Gladwell published in the New Yorker . As befits such an lofty tome, the writing is clear, erudite and does not sway from the nub of the story. I found them highly interesting and always entertaining.  Gladwell has the gift to ask the unasked question from an unique point of view. This each story has the ability to educate and uplift the reader.  Good book for a lengthy air flight.

January 15th 2018

Uncommon Type. Some stories. Tom Hanks.

kristin.eonline.com - HBO Post-Emmys Party, Pa...

Uncommon Type. Some stories. Tom Hanks. 2017. ISBN 9780735273832.  Who knew?  Tom Hanks can write and quite well too.  This is a motley collection of fictional stories, about writing, acting, New York living, and some fantasy.  The author maintains a clear concise , descriptive style.   I look forward to more from him.

January 8th 2018

Finding My Virginity. The new Autobiography. Richard Branson.

English: Sir Richard Branson at the eTalk Fest...

Finding My Virginity. The new autobiography. Richard Branson. 2017.  ISBN 9780735219434.  Well,  you could not find a more elaborate showman than Branson and he certainly has no issues with tooting his own horn ( Now for the second time) .  That said he is also a master of the story so each chapter is an unique and compelling story. the copy is fresh , insightful (perhaps a tad self seeking) . Today’s leader would learn much from Branson’s breezy leadership style.  While staying in Australia I chatted to relatives who were among the early Virgin Blue employees and they could not say enough good things about the man and his leadership team.  The breadth of his efforts is astonishing, from telecom through to health and space. In one story Branson makes a very good argument for the moving of drug and addiction/treatment  from being a criminal to a health problem. We saw this working well in Portugal which has decriminalized all drug and addiction issues.  Each chapter/story pulls you forward through this substantial book until nothing he does could surprise you.  So I advise reading the book.

January 2nd 2018

South! The story of Shackeltons last expedition 1914-1917. Sir Earnest Shackelton

Flag of South Georgia and the South Sandwich I...

South! The story of Shackeltons last expedition 1914-1917. Sir Earnest Shackelton.

I have read parts of this book, watched a few documentaries,  heard lectures on Shackelton and seen many of the points of land he talks about while cruising the Antarctic. Yet the book still takes you well beyond all that. It is an inspiring story about will, leadership, skill and perseverance that would resonate with many of today’s leaders.  This issue includes the three parts of the voyage; the trapping of the Endurance and Shackelton’s heroic seamanship and struggles to  get to South Georgia in a very small sailboat and the rescue of the men on Elephant Island, the men left ashore when the Aurora is cast adrift and their work/travails at establishing supply depots across the shelf, and the voyage and rescue of the Aurora and its crew. Plus the appendices contain records of the meteorologic , geological and ice studies carried a out as well as a good analysis of the whaling activities in the areas.  Through it all the author maintains a laconic, non boastful accomplished style, sadly lacking in much of today’s self aggrandizing press.  I highly recommend this book.

December 2nd 2017

The Plant Paradox. The hidden dangers in “healthy” foods that cause disease and weight gain. Steven R. Gundry.

English: Logo of the Declaration for Healthy F...

The Plant Paradox. The hidden dangers in “healthy” foods that cause disease and weight gain. Steven R. Gundry. 2017. ISBN 9780062427144.  Its fifteen years since Dr Gundry wrote  THe Diet Revolution. He has seen way more patients and tested more combinations and compiled more research.  The result is a simplified approach to a life style than The Diet Revolution and a tighter list of foods you should say no to.

He is now  saying that a smart way to have a long and satisfying life is to reduce your daily meat protein intake , using wild seafood , not the other meats.  This is due to the commercialization of the domestic food supply and present  industry methods.  These methods are not followed in Europe so the food supply is better for you there.  He also gives guidance on a healthy plant protein based  food supply , with some plants strongly not recommended.   He now also makes a logical argument  about the benefits of regular fasting to our well being.   Of interest was to read more information on why the healthy gut approach works. which fits in with reading I did last year

I  have been following his guidance for two weeks now. I have had slow steady weight loss, with some increase to my energy levels. I have been reducing my red meat consumption and increasing my plant ( salad)  consumption. I find that this happens with no increased  appetite/ hunger pangs except for an increased desire for even more salads.  I also have been able to isolate the foods that have not been helping me keep to a proper weight.  The program is quite easy and fits in with the generally better food and habits that we have in Canada.  In his book the author needs to be a bit more bombastic as his target is too often some really ill, poorly fed US folks.  I recommend this book as a good idea if you are looking for a health lifestyle change , especially if you are prediabetic or facing other chronic issues, including cancer.

November 21st 2017

Dr. Gundry’s Diet Revolution. Turn off the genes that are killing you and your waistline. Steven R. Gundry

Dr. Gundry’s Diet Revolution. Turn off the genes that are killing you and your waistline. Steven R. Gundry.  2008. ISBN 9780307352125.  Numerous people I respect recommended this book. I am a geek I admit that.  This book really fit into my logic  as being well researched, thoughtful and it just made so much sense.   The author is an extremely well respected heart surgeon , with a ton of capital letters after his name and many awards, patents etc. A real trail blazer.  He was really overweight and decided before he needs multiple bypasses, he would do something about it.  He did,  lost the weight and has kept it off.  If you truly wish to head off those “generic” illnesses and battle the North American diet, this is the book for you. In less than two weeks I am seeing results and I know I can keep to his ideas.