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    1. Divanomics
    2. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday
    3. Money Girl's Smart Moves to Deal
    4. All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden
    5. The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded
    6. The Investment Answer
    7. Outliers: The Story of Success
    8. Reengineering Health Care: A Manifesto
    9. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission
    10. Winners Never Cheat: Even in Difficult
    11. StrengthsFinder 2.0
    12. Doing Both: How Cisco Captures
    13. The Tipping Point: How Little
    14. Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire
    15. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist
    16. Never Buy Another Stock Again:
    17. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective
    18. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without
    19. The Truth About Getting the Best
    20. Delivering Happiness: A Path to

    1. Divanomics
    by Michelle Mckinney Hammond
    Kindle Edition (2010-01-04)
    list price: $10.99
    Asin: B003N2QFT2
    Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
    Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Once upon a time, Michelle McKinney Hammond’s lifestyle centered around the finer things in life—designer clothes, five-star restaurants, and bag after bag of high-end nonessentials. Then one day, like many people, Michelle awoke to find herself on the losing end of a most unwelcome and unexpected financial downturn. In response, she quickly went from “spoiled” to “fabulously frugal,” and with courage and a sense of humor, she made the necessary adjustments in her life.
    Now, Hammond, a self-proclaimed DIVA (Divine Inspiration for Victorious Attitude), shares what she learned about her own spending, desires, and needs and how she adjusted to life during an unpredictable economy. Divanomics is filled with money-saving tips on fashion, beauty, home decor, entertaining, diet, housing, and more.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A Diva joins the struggling middle class
    The subtitle of this latest book by Michelle McKinney Hammond is "How to Still be Fabulous When You're Broke" and she is pretty fabulous. But girlfriend, I have mixed feelings about this book.

    Michelle McKinney Hammond has written an overview of how to live large on a small budget. She gives some sound advice: shop at discount stores, separate your wants from your needs, clip coupons, don't buy more than you can afford. She encourages women to focus on their relationship with God over their relationship with credit cards.

    More autobiography than advice, some of her tips are definitely big city, single gal: make dinner out of cocktail hour snacks in hotel lobbies. This won't work for the mom schlepping it out in the suburbs. Never having had the lifestyle Ms. Hammond once enjoyed, I found my self thinking "I already knew that" through most of the book.

    However, she has an incredibly warm and engaging style that makes me want to read more of her writing or hear her speak at a conference. I'd recommend this book for Divas whose fortunes have fallen with the stock market. For the rest of us middle class folks, I say "Girlfriend, we're way ahead of you."

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fun to Read
    Michelle McKinney Hammond is a best-selling author of more than thirty books. She was also a co-host of the television program, Aspiring Women. In her latest book, Divanomics, she describes her personal financial trials and how she learned to get back on track. She writes from a Christian perspective, using humor, good-natured fun, and has a modern, hip tone. I don't normally like "hip" but she does it so well, I actually smiled often as I read. There is so much to glean from this book. Her own financial difficulties are actually fun to read. I mean, who wouldn't want to read about how much money she spent and how the upper-class have to deal with accountants to handle their money? Frankly, it was entertaining.

    The book is extremely well done. At the end of each chapter, you'll find advice, questions, and suggestions to help you get a grip on your own finances. Her focus on God is inspiring and I enjoyed this book very much.

    *I received this book from Tyndale House for Review purposes.*

    5-0 out of 5 stars Diva-lite-ful!
    "Divanomics: How to Still Be Fabulous When You're Broke" surprised me, in a most rewarding way!

    I expected a standard "how to." Instead I found pages of lively narrative, soul-searching questions, and practical, easy-to-implement advice.

    I expected a "diva" attitude (you know, the "waah-I-can't-eat-at-$1000-a-plate-functions any more".) What I found in Divanomics is a realistic point-of-view that speaks to all women, and most enjoyably, a lot of frugal living steeped with spirituality.

    Overall, this is a great guide for the newly frugal or for those looking to develop a more faith-based resource to help you cope with the stark realities of today's economy.

    Disclosure: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Who knew being fabulous on a budget could be SO...fabulous!
    DIVA's every where shout hallelujah!

    Divanomics is just the book you've been praying for.
    Relevant, real, transparent and inspiring,
    Divanomics will help you shed the shame
    you may be carrying along with debt.

    Regardless of your financial situation,
    Hammond will remind you
    that you are not alone while taking you on a soul
    journey to freedom, fearlessness
    and fabulousness all in the blink
    of a MAC mascared eye.

    You can be fabulous when you're
    broke - Divanomics will show you how.

    Grab your copy today!

    Marina Woods, GoodGirlBookClubOnline
    The #1 Destination for Today's Aspiring Woman
    ... Read more

    2. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
    by Michael Lewis
    Hardcover (2010-03-15)
    list price: $27.95 -- our price: $15.36
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0393072231
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 30
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    The #1 New York Times bestseller: a brilliant account—character-rich and darkly humorous—of how the U.S. economy was driven over the cliff.When the crash of the U. S. stock market became public knowledge in the fall of 2008, it was already old news. The real crash, the silent crash, had taken place over the previous year, in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn’t shine, and the SEC doesn’t dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can’t pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren’t talking.

    The crucial question is this: Who understood the risk inherent in the assumption of ever-rising real estate prices, a risk compounded daily by the creation of those arcane, artificial securities loosely based on piles of doubtful mortgages?Michael Lewis turns the inquiry on its head to create a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 best-selling Liar’s Poker. Who got it right? he asks. Who saw the real estate market for the black hole it would become, and eventually made billions of dollars from that perception? And what qualities of character made those few persist when their peers and colleagues dismissed them as Chicken Littles? Out of this handful of unlikely—really unlikely—heroes, Lewis fashions a story as compelling and unusual as any of his earlier bestsellers, proving yet again that he is the finest and funniest chronicler of our times.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Who knew?, March 15, 2010
    Based on reading Michael Lewis' Liar's Poker and Moneyball, I wondered whether The Big Short would prove to be entertaining and informative. If you've read some of Lewis' books, you might agree that the "entertaining" part would seem to be a reasonably safe bet. It turns out, it is. The Big Short is fast-paced, straightforward, conversational and salty--very much like his earlier works. Indeed, if you didn't know Michael Lewis had written this book, you could probably guess it. It is easy reading and very hard to put down. In short (no pun), The Big Short doesn't disappoint in being entertaining.

    In a sense, this book is similar to Moneyball in that Lewis tells his story by following a host of characters that most of us have never heard of--people like Steve Eisman (the closest thing to a main character in the book), Vincent Daniel, Michael Burry, Greg Lippmann, Gene Park, Howie Hubler and others.

    How informative is the book? Well, it may seem that Lewis has his work cut out for himself, since the events of the recent financial crisis are already well known. More than that, lots of people have their minds made up concerning who the perps of the last few years are--banks and their aggressive managers, "shadow banks" and their even more aggressive managers, hedge funds, credit default swaps, mortgage brokers, the ratings agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Fed's monetary policy, various federal regulators, short sellers, politicians who over-pushed home ownership, a sensationalist media, the American public that overextending itself with excessive borrowing (or that lied in order to get home loans), housing speculators, etc. The list goes on--and on. Okay, so you already know this. The defining aspect of this book, however, is that it asks (and answers) "Who knew?" about the impending financial crisis beforehand. Who knew--before the financial crisis cracked open for everyone to see (and, perhaps, to panic) in the fall of 2008--that a silent crash in the bond market and real estate derivatives market was playing out? Indeed, the good majority of this book addresses events that occurred before Lehman's failure in September of 2008. In describing what led up to the darkest days of the crisis, Lewis does a good job helping the reader to see how the great financial storm developed. All in all, this is an informative book.

    Interestingly, in the book's prologue, Salomon Brothers alumnus Lewis explains how, after he wrote Liar's Poker over 20 years ago, he figured he had seen the height of financial folly. However, even he was surprised by the much larger losses suffered in the recent crisis compared to the 1980s, which seem almost like child's play now.

    For a taste of The Big Short, Steve Eisman was a blunt-spoken "specialty finance" research analyst at Oppenheimer and Co., originally in the 1990s, and he eventually helped train analyst Meredith Whitney, who most people associate with her string of negative reports on the banking industry, primarily from late 2007. Giving a flavor of his style, Eisman claims that one of the best lines he wrote back in the early 1990s was, "The [XYZ] Financial Corporation is a perfectly hedged financial institution--it loses money in every conceivable interest rate environment." His own wife described him as being "not tactically rude--he's sincerely rude." Vinny Daniel worked as a junior accountant in the 1990s (and eventually worked for Eisman), and he found out how complicated (and risky) Wall Street firms were when he tried to audit them. He was one of the early analysts to notice the high default rates on manufactured home loans, which led to Eisman writing a 1997 report critical of subprime originators. Michael Burry (later Dr. Michael Burry) was, among other things, a bond market researcher in 2004 who studied Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, and who correctly assessed the impact of "teaser rates" and interest rate re-sets on subprime loans. In 2005, Burry wrote to his Scion Capital investors that, "Sometimes markets err big time." How right he would be.

    Greg Lippmann was a bond trader for Deutsche Bank, who discussed with Eisman ways to bet against the subprime mortgage market. Before home prices declined, he noted, for example, that people whose homes appreciated 1 - 5% in value were four times more likely to default than those whose homes appreciated over 10%. In other words, home prices didn't need to actually fall for problems to develop. (Of course, home prices fell a lot.) When Lippmann mentioned this to a Deutsche Bank colleague, he was called a Chicken Little. To which, Lippmann retorted, "I'm short your house!" He did this by buying credit default swaps on the BBB-rated tranches (slices) of subprime mortgage bonds. If that's not a mouthful, read further in the book for a description of Goldman Sachs and "synthetic subprime mortgage bond-backed CDOs." Then there's the AIG Financial Products story, told through the story of Gene Park, who worked at AIG, and his volatile boss, Joe Cassano.

    Did I say this book is informative? Here's a bit more: Did you know that a pool of mortgages, each with a 615 FICO score, performs very differently (and better) than a pool of mortgages with half of the loans with a 550 FICO score and half with a 680 FICO score (for a 615 average)? If you think about it, the 550/680 pool is apt to perform significantly worse, because more of the 550 FICO score loans develop problems. Think about how that got gamed.

    There's more, but hopefully you've gotten the point. This is a very interesting, entertaining and informative book that accomplishes what it sets out to do. Chances are you'll enjoy it.

    3-0 out of 5 stars The Big Short Falls a Bit Short, March 15, 2010
    Let me get the easy part of this out of the way first. Michael Lewis is a remarkably gifted writer, and I have often found his books impossible to put down. When I first read his debut at book authorship, Liar's Poker, I literally read it straight through. I was not alone in this, as Liar's Poker rightfully made Michael a very well-respected author and a very wealthy man. Moneyball, The Blind Side, and numerous other best-sellers built on that reputation. The long-awaited newest contribution from Michael Lewis, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, is 264 pages long, and I also read this in 24 hours. However, I doubt many others will feel the same. The book was compelling, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and nothing in the book modified my view that Michael Lewis is one of the most interesting writers of this era. I simply doubt that this book evoke the same response from the masses of people who will buy it. Perhaps I am wrong. So before I begin to disect the important parts of the book (its underlying messages, etc.), I will say that it was another hard-to-put-down book from Michael Lewis. Thumbs up, and all that stuff.

    So what did I really think of the book? Well, Lewis should be commended for writing a book on the 2008 financial crisis from the most unique perspective thus far. Rather than focus on the major characters that a plethora of other books have focused on (Paulson, Bernanke, Geithner, etc.), Lewis tells his story using some extremely obscure characters as his lead actors: A handful of hedge fund managers who made massive bets against the subprime industry (and by hedge fund managers, I am not referring to high profile, well-known hedgies; I am talking about very, very minor players). Readers will feel connected to the characters when they are done with the book, and a less gifted writer could have never pulled this off. It was a difficult task for Lewis as well, but he skillfully made the points he wanted to make and simultaneously told a story, all through a narrative of four or five unconnected characters of whom the public has never heard.

    What are these points Lewis wanted to make? I suppose the major tension of the book is the teeter-tottering between the greed/evil genius of the major Wall Street firms (on one hand), and then the utter stupidity and incompetence of Wall Street (on the other). It is a difficult balance to strike, and one reason it is difficult is because, well, one can not have it both ways. Lewis can not claim, as he astonishingly and explicitly does, that Goldman Sachs made AIG write credit default swaps on the subprime mortgage industry, guaranteeing AIG's demise and Goldman Sachs flourishing, but then on the other hand claim that the firms had no idea what they were doing, and were completely shell-shocked by what happened to their CDO's (the collateralized debt obligation instruments which served as the toxic assets you hear so much about). This inconsistency permeates the book, and tonight on 60 Minutes I heard Lewis repeat what his major thesis is: Wall Street did not know what they were doing. This is the correct thesis. But it is wholly imcompatible with the obscene Goldman Sachs conspiracy movement that has taken over the Oliver Stone mainframe of our society. Even a Michael Lewis fan like myself was taken aback by the audacity of this oft-repeated contradiction.

    Perhaps the most disappointing message of the Lewis book is the conclusion he saved for the final chapter - the one I have heard him preaching for some time now on the media circuit. Lewis has been preaching since the days of Liar's Poker that the great sin of Wall Street was when all of the major firms went public (i.e. rather than function as closely-held partnerships, they sold shares to the public in the IPO market and now have no reason to ever check their evil inhibitions at the door). It is a rhetorically effective charge, but one that is not up for the most routine of examinations. The individuals most responsible for the massive money-losing operations of 2005-2007 were the largest shareholders in the firms. Jimmy Cayne of Bear Stearns saw his stock holdings decline from $1 billion of value to $50 million of value, directly under his watch. Richard Fuld was thrown to the lions as Lehman Brothers burned to the ground, but it burned up his $550 million of Lehman stock as well. The gentlemen running these firms were wealthy, and they were driven by a desire to get even wealthier, but it is absurd to postulate that the performance of these companies in the public stock markets were not important to them. It was all that was important to them. Are we really to believe that Wall Street would not have found more creative ways to raise capital in the capital markets if they were partnerships? Whether the firms were partnerships or public corporations, they lived off of balance sheet capital that they mostly raised in the debt markets. It was the bondholders who were on the verge of utter collapse in September of 2008. Why would that be different if they were partnerships? The most obvious refutation of Lewis's thesis is the question many are probably dying to point out to him after reading it: If being a public corporation corrupts the intentions of financial firms, why couldn't the same broad brush be used for all public corporations of all industries? If the removal of the partner capital from the company capital is a self-corrupting event, why should any corporation ever be allowed to go public? What exactly is the difference? Do not huge retail businesses, manufacturing firms, and technology outfits also use shareholder money to grow and operate? Does Lewis really want to advocate the abolition of public equity markets in America? It is absurd to even carry that argument through to its logical conclusion.

    I do not want readers to be confused. There are some stellar observations in Lewis's newest book. He gets inside some of the most confused and ridiculous financial transactions ever conducted in the history of civilization, and he does it with the precision of a surgeon. But Lewis does not use his 264-page book to even apply one word - not one single utterance - against the malignant government policies behind much of this malaise. He could easily counter that his book was not meant to be a comprehensive introspection of the financial crisis, and that would be a fair response. But readers hoping for a biog-picture analysis of this crisis will not get it here. They will see the worst of a very small number of Wall Street traders, and they will see a system that was clueless to keep this process from ballooning out of control (his section on the high seven-figure bond traders being regulated by the high five-figure ratings agency analysts is choice). The risk management processes of Wall Street broke down. The hubris of a select number of people grew to a point of perversity. Contrary to Lewis's assertion, the bulk of these CEO's and executives did lose their jobs (Citi, Merrill Lynch, UBS, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, etc.) all fired their Presidents and CEO's as their houses burned to the ground. But overall, the book has a ton of good to say about the crisis. Most notably, he demonstrates how "in an old-fashioned panic, perception creates its own reality" (a concept that I want to explore much further in the future). He summarizes in a single sentence the most important thing that can be said about Lehman Brothers ("the problem wasn't that Lehman had been allowed to fail; the problem was that Lehman had been allowed to succeed").

    I am truly glad that I read this book, and I do recommend it. However, as the pivotal work of evaluating the big picture of the crisis continues, the conclusion that Wall Street's transition to a shareholder-owned entity was at the heart of the matter is quite lacking. Unfortunately, both evil and incompetence exist in all kinds of business structures.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Liars Poker Squared, March 15, 2010
    Mike Lewis has the gift for watching America and picking stories that are interesting to the public: in the last ten years Moneyball (the effect of statistical analysis on baseball) and The Blind Side (Importance of Left Tackles in American Football and rescuing an impoverished athlete). But his undying fame was Liars Poker, the story of Solomon Brothers Investment firm where he worked when 24 and made bonuses of about $200,000 without really understanding what he was doing. Possibly the most interesting part of this book is the foreward where Lewis describes how he felt when writing Liars Poker Wall Street provided worthless value to the economy and it was just a matter of years before the market recognized this. Unfortunately he was about 24 years too late. Couple this with his closing lunch with John Gutfruend and you have a great bookend for closure.

    Now Lewis presents us with this bookend to Wall Street, how it universally missed the bad securities being issued backed by subprime securities destroying over $1 trillion in wealth. And his vehicle for this exploration is not a complete rehash but rather documenting the very few people (he estimates fewer than 20) that recognized that market crash coming and profiting immensely, people like Michael Burry, a Stanford Medical student who left to manage his own Hedge Fund. Actually there were many more than 20 people that knew this was coming. I began giving speeches in 2004 on "The Coming Crash in Home Prices". But these people he mentioned left conventional wisdom in believing that the subprime mortgages were worthless AND discovered the newly created tools to profit from them: credit default swaps and the ABX index. With the belief and knowledge these investors were rewarded handsomely whereas the rest of us suffered through a very downbeat market. But they deserved it and in Lewis' upbeat writing style he conveys eloquently but simply how the decisions were made and how they profited beyond belief.

    There is one problem with this book. The subject was just covered quite well in The Greatest Trade Ever by Gregory Zuckerman which was released in November 2009. I've now read both books and there is an overlap. Greatest Trade is a very fast read and tells the story well focusing on John Paulson. This book doesn't delve on Paulson but does cover Michael Burry who was featured in the other book also.

    Since so many reviews seem to be more interested in giving their political view of this tragic occurence, I'm compelled to weigh in on this issue even though I know this will upset some politcally closed minds. We must recognize if it was so easy to comprehend and solve we would have all profited in the manner these investors did rather than suffer through the last two years. We wouldn't have had the meltdown that we had. The smart people on Wall Street would not have overleveraged creating the steep downward ascent in destruction of wealth as we deleveraged. Specifically, I'm startled how many people want to blame politicians and FNMA/FHLMC. As a seller of $1 billion a year to these entities and some knowledge of their loss history as well as debating this issue with a former Vice Chairman of one of these entities who is a neighbor, it is shocking when you hear people talk of the subprime mortgages that FNMA/FHLMC owned. Did they do some such targeted loans? Yes. But half their losses came from their foray into Alt A loans. Coupled with the drop in property value and low equity position (they were leveraged at an unsafe 30 to 1 ratio) their insolvency was guaranteed if there was a downturn. Why were they not managing for this? It wasn't politically motivated. It was profit motivated. Quasi-guaranteed by the govt. they could issue callable agencies, their drug of choice, and arbitrage this money into a higher yielding security which they did. UNTIL the losses started. With 3% equity/custion, the 30 to 1 leverage immediately worked against them. Where were the regulators? Where was management managing risk? As the Vice Chairman said, the problem was property value drop. Well, with much advance notice and concern, WHY WEREN'T YOU MANAGING FOR THIS?????

    With that as a background, let's approach the question of should there be a FNMA/FHLMC? I believe there should be. Exactly what do they do? When they are not leveraging for earnings which BTW they started in the early 90s when loan volume dropped and they recognized they needed to do something else to "gin" earnings, they perform their intended function to make borrowing cheap for homeowners. If there were no FNMA/FHLMC for the past two years 30 year mortgage rates for the last two years would not have been 4.25% to 5.25% but rather approximately 5.75% to 7.50%. In addition there would have been a lot more balloon or adjustable rate loans. Now, does America want this higher rate when an effective "NON-Profit" or govt. entity could maintain this function? I think not and I think we need to recognize that the recovery would have been much slower if many people would not have had the availability of this lower cost money to buy homes and refinance to lower rates. Enough with policy and now back to a conclusion.

    But Lewis' writing style makes this book and his credibility from having written Liars Poker and the unique perspective of having worked in the industry and left it will make this a big hit. I strongly recommend this well written, important book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars "W/O Gov't Intervention Every Powerful Financier would Have Lost His Job, & Yet, The Financiers Used Gov't 2 Enrich Themselves", March 15, 2010
    Michael Lewis's "The Big Short" tells a rather disturbing tale of some of the biggest profiteers of one of America's worst financial crisis, which we are likely still in the midst of. The amazing thing cleverly illustrated by Lewis, is that while most of the brightest minds in America woke up to our shocking decline once it was too late, a small handful of speculators not only called it correctly, some became fantastically wealthy. The question that nagged me throughout the book was how should I feel about people who just made a killing while most of us watched our retirements suffer alarming declines, and witnessed friends & family lose their jobs and houses?

    Greg Lippmann is credited with being the first to expose the weakness in the market around 2006. He pitched the idea to hundreds of financial groups, but most seemed to invest in insurance policies to protect their exposure.


    "A smaller number of people -more than 10, fewer than 20- made a straightforward bet against the entire multi-trillion dollar subprime mortgage market and, by extension, the global financial system. The catastrophe was foreseeable, yet only a handful noticed. Among them: Whitebox hedge fund, The Baupost Group hedge fund, Passport Capital hedge fund, Elm Ridge hedge fund, a gaggle of NY hedge funds, Elliott Associates, Cedar Hill Capital Partners, QVT Financial, and Philip Falcone's Harbinger Capital Partners. What most of these investors had in common was that they had heard, directly or indirectly, Greg Lippmann's argument."

    Mr. Lewis is a fun and witty writer and his energy in The Big Short is very reminiscent of Liar's Poker, but I really found something morbid and unappealing about this subject. Reading about Paulson's $15 billion killing in 2007 had a different feel than say Soros in the `80's & `90's, but maybe now I know how the English & Indonesians felt? Our society is bred to believe that hard work and ingenuity are rewarded, but in this case there is a tangible human tragedy as a consequence of speculators earning a massive imbalance of wealth in relation to the rest of the population.

    All of the speculators Mr. Lewis uses as examples technically did the right thing and chose wisely. Some were more sophisticated than others, but they all have one thing in common: they all made an obscene amount of money betting America would be brought down to its knees. I am also even more disgusted now with the rating agencies that were super-slick in stamping AAA ratings on what was absolute garbage in hindsight.

    I found the book both fascinating and disturbing. I think it is now clear to me that financial speculation that doesn't promote sustainable growth needs to be addressed and properly dealt with, and that adequate steps have not been taken. Lewis definitely added a new layer to my awareness of the credit crisis, and covered some fresh ground beyond typical news. I recommend the book if you want to gain a deeper understanding of the sucker punch that just hit most of us.

    5-0 out of 5 stars BookForum review, March 23, 2010
    In the run-up to the housing collapse of 2007-2008, houses weren't merely expensive, they were insanely expensive. Yet just when it seemed that prices couldn't go higher, some fool would come along and pay an enormous sum for a glorified hovel. You didn't have to be a genius to realize that American real estate was overvalued. It did, however, take something special to figure out how to make money off the madness. A group of between ten and twenty people did just that, making the bet of a lifetime that author Michael Lewis calls "The Big Short"

    The cast of characters in Lewis's highly readable chronicle of the collapse (and what led to it) includes a misanthropic former medical resident, a money manager who saw himself as Spider-Man, and a pair of men in their thirties who started with $110,00 in a Schwab account they managed from a backyard shed in Berkeley, California. "Each filled a hole," Lewis writes. "Each supplied a missing insight, an attitude to risk which, if more prevalent, might have prevented the catastrophe."

    Ever since he left Salomon Brothers to write Liar's Poker, the classic 1989 account of his years as a bond salesman, Lewis has been waiting for a day of reckoning. Little did he realize that the Wall Street he once knew now seems quaint. By 2007, it had morphed into a financial Frankenstein, a "black box" filled with hidden risks on complicated bets that could destroy its creators, but only if the government allowed it to do so.

    The first to figure out how to use the system against itself was a man named Michael Burry, who once described himself in an online personal ad as "a medical student with only one eye, an awkward social manner, and $145,000 in student loans." Burry possesses an intellect so unusual that Lewis turns his journey of self-discovery into a fascinating subplot. While working the grueling schedule of a medical resident, Burry started writing about stocks in an online forum. (He also took apart his personal computer and put it back together between 16-hour shifts at Stanford Hospital, prompting his superiors to send him to see a shrink.) When he quit medicine to start the hedge fund Scion Capital, admiring investors tracked him down and gave him money.

    When Burry started buying insurance in 2005 on nearly two billion dollars' worth of bonds backed by lousy mortgages, his investors thought he had gone nuts and nearly mutinied. But in 2007, when the housing market began to crumble and Burry's bet paid off, everyone realized that his predictions weren't crazy so much as a sane interpretation of a market gone mad.

    Burry might have set the trade in motion, but he was no salesman. The one who took his idea and ran with it, the "Patient Zero" of this tale, was a bond salesman at Deutsche Bank named Greg Lippmann, who went around telling everyone he could that the end was near. Only a few took his advice, but most who did became extremely rich. (John Paulson, who made an astounding personal profit of four billion dollars, is the subject of another recent book on the same theme, Gregory Zuckerman's The Greatest Trade Ever.)

    The reader can't help but root for this gang of financial renegades as they take on a corrupt and rotten system. Still, The Big Short lacks the pure narrative drive of Lewis' best-selling sports books, Moneyball and The Blind Side. The new work draws its energy from a different source, a palpable undercurrent of anger at the excesses of Wall Street the author shares with his subjects. Lewis is justifiably outraged at the behavior of Wall Street and what its trillion-dollar subprime-mortgage business truly represented: a means of extracting money from the bottom of America's social pyramid and moving it to the top. The problem isn't that Lehman Brothers failed, he shrewdly observes, but that it was allowed to succeed in the first place.

    Lewis reserves special scorn for the biggest banks. Goldman Sachs was selling large volumes of bonds backed by subprime mortgages and, at the same time, betting against the junk it was peddling. The Big Short also tells the little-known tale of how Morgan Stanley allowed a single trader to lose more than $9 billion.

    It's appalling, but not much has changed. Most Wall Street CEOs who set a course for the iceberg remain in power today. The blind are still leading the blind. At any rate, as Lewis observes, they still can't see things any better than a one-eyed former medical resident.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good book, but a little late to market, March 15, 2010
    First, I'm a big Lewis fan. Like many, my first exposure to Lewis was Liar's Poker; although, I've read several other Lewis books, his columns in the now defunct Portfolio, and occasional writings on Bloomberg. The Big Short isn't really a Liar's Poker experience.

    I enjoyed the book, and it's a quick read. It's just that a couple of Lewis's main characters--Burry of Scion and Lippman of Deutsche--were previously covered in another book, The Greatest Trade Ever. As a result of The Big Short being released comparatively late, some of Lewis's thunder has been stolen, so-to-speak.

    Regardless, the story is well written and if I had no experience with sub-prime, structured finance products, etc., I would have enjoyed it more. For the most part, I found myself grinding through the pages covering Burry. Ok, sits in his darkened office, listens to heavy metal, pouring over documents, investment from Gotham Partners, at odds with investors, Goldman not valuing CDS fairly, brink of collapse, etc. There's really little insight to add to this character if you've read The Greatest Trade Ever. In some ways, the same can be said for Lippman.

    I did enjoy reading about Eisman of Front Point and his crew.

    Bottom line, if you've read The Greatest Trade Ever and you're a huge Lewis fan, you'll likely enjoy the book, but you'll be familiar with the tale. Otherwise, there are probably other titles on your "To Read" list where your time may be better spent.

    Of course, if you haven't read The Greatest Trade Ever, The Big Short should be rewarding.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Informative and entertaining, March 15, 2010
    Hugely entertaining look at the genesis of our current economic mess. Lewis finds the very few investors who predicted and profited from the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and follows their journey from initial realization of the impending disaster to eventual payout. Following these eccentric characters and their interactions with the big Wall Street investment banks is at turns laugh out loud funny and head shaking incredulous. Lewis knows how to turn a phrase and does a good job teasing out the dark humor of the situations. He also does a very good job at explaining the essence of very complicated financial transactions and gives the reader a good understanding of the whys and hows of the financial meltdown. While this book is an important addition to our understanding of what happened, it isn't complete as it doesn't spend any time talking about US government policies that contributed to the crash (specifically, the special legal status given to the three rating agencies, and Fannie and Freddie's role in weakening underwriting standards). Nonetheless, this is still both an important and entertaining book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beware: One Star Reviews Based Only on Kindle Availability, March 16, 2010
    I just read through all the reviews. 35 of 41 one-star reviews were to punish Amazon for not making the book available on Kindle at the time of their review. They haven't read the book and don't intend to until it's on Kindle--but that's not going to stop them from punishing Michael Lewis to get back at Amazon. I suppose Amazon should have two rating systems--one for what the author actually wrote, and a second to tally the numbers of those expressing disapproval for the book not being available on Kindle.

    The Big Short is a wonderful read, well-written and informative. Lewis is a storyteller who roots his understanding of human activity in humans rather than in larger "processes". There's nothing wrong with observing the latter, but without humans there would be no economics, financial markets, etc. Nature doesn't provide for them, people do, and people have stories. They make decisions. They do intelligent things, selfish things and nutty things. These things are the threads woven into the larger tapestry. Lewis doesn't tell the WHOLE story of the financial meltdown, but he identifies many of the key players and how their decisions made a difference to the Big Short. He names Names. His prose, as always, is clear, witty and informative. The Big Short filled in many gaps in my understanding of how smart people can make a lot of money without really knowing (or caring) about how their industry actually works or what the consequences of their decisions might be. Makes you wonder.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another Michael Lewis gem!, March 17, 2010
    Contrary to the whining horde of "munificent" 1-Star allocating-Kindle owners, I actually read the book. Yes, through that "antique" medium, a hardcover printed edition. A medium which allows me to lend it out, have it signed by the author, pick it up in 20 years once more (after Michael Lewis pens the sequel), and place it prominently alongside other Michael Lewis volumes on the book shelves of my homely reading room.

    I refrain from a comprehensive review, given that numerous detailed and persuasive reviews appear on these pages, regrettably buried amongst an alarming preponderance of peeved Kindle owners, who have instead opted to commandeer the reviews for purely self-centered reasons. Reasons completely unrelated to the narrative. (Instead of unfairly skewing the book reviews of The Big Short, Amazon provides Kindle owners with the appropriate forum to voice complaints (below the book image): Tell the Publisher! I'd like to read this book on Kindle!)

    The Big Short is an interesting read, written in the delightful, thoroughly investigated, and remarkably enlightened style to which Michael Lewis aficionados are accustomed. While the book certainly doesn't encompass the entire body of the financial crisis, The Big Short provides an interesting account on some unlikely luminaries engaged in the markets prior and during the heights of the recent financial crisis. The book merits a prominent place amongst a collection of texts recounting products and players that contributed to the rise and fall of financial institutions, markets, and concepts.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Another worthwhile read on those who saw the sub-prime crisis coming, March 28, 2010
    Very much along the lines of Zuckerman's "The Greatest Trade Ever," Lewis explores the cast of characters who correctly deduced that the sub-prime fall was inevitable. Lewis' book arguably had much of its thunder stolen by being beaten to market by Zuckerman. Deciding between the two books, Zuckerman is marginally ahead, but Lewis' treatise covers enough new material and his style is different enough to make The Big Short a worthwhile read. It is an easy, uncomplicated read and flows quite well. It is not technical in nature, but should be more viewed as a populist commentary of characters and events. Lewis' analysis can't be viewed as being too in-depth (especially by market professionals) but then this book is not aimed at a dry academic market, but rather the general public interested in finance and the sub-prime crises. I enjoyed the book, but I'm still searching for the definitive account of the sub-prime debacle. ... Read more

    3. Money Girl's Smart Moves to Deal with Your Debt
    by Laura D. Adams
    Kindle Edition (2010-11-29)
    list price: $0.99
    Asin: B004DNW5XK
    Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    4-0 out of 5 stars Good money management tips., December 18, 2010
    I found this book to be worth your time reading if you're interested in managing your money and world wisely. So who isn't? Some new thoughts on different technigues that will help those looking for help in money management. ... Read more

    4. All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis
    by Bethany McLean, Joe Nocera
    Hardcover (2010-11-16)
    list price: $32.95 -- our price: $17.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1591843634
    Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover
    Sales Rank: 98
    Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    "Hell is empty, and
    all the devils are here."
    -Shakespeare, The Tempest

    As soon as the financial crisis erupted, the finger-pointing began. Should the blame fall on Wall Street, Main Street, or Pennsylvania Avenue? On greedy traders, misguided regulators, sleazy subprime companies, cowardly legislators, or clueless home buyers?

    According to Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, two of America's most acclaimed business journalists, the real answer is all of the above-and more. Many devils helped bring hell to the economy. And the full story, in all of its complexity and detail, is like the legend of the blind men and the elephant. Almost everyone has missed the big picture. Almost no one has put all the pieces together.

    All the Devils Are Here goes back several decades to weave the hidden history of the financial crisis in a way no previous book has done. It explores the motivations of everyone from famous CEOs, cabinet secretaries, and politicians to anonymous lenders, borrowers, analysts, and Wall Street traders. It delves into the powerful American mythology of homeownership. And it proves that the crisis ultimately wasn't about finance at all; it was about human nature.

    Among the devils you'll meet in vivid detail:

    • Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide, who dreamed of spreading homeownership to the masses, only to succumb to the peer pressure-and the outsized profits-of the sleaziest subprime lending.

    • Roland Arnall, a respected philanthropist and diplomat, who made his fortune building Ameriquest, a subprime lending empire that relied on blatantly deceptive lending practices.

    • Hank Greenberg, who built AIG into a Rube Goldberg contraption with an undeserved triple-A rating, and who ran it so tightly that he was the only one who knew where all the bodies were buried.

    • Stan O'Neal of Merrill Lynch, aloof and suspicious, who suffered from "Goldman envy" and drove a proud old firm into the ground by promoting cronies and pushing out his smartest lieutenants.

    • Lloyd Blankfein, who helped turn Goldman Sachs from a culture that famously put clients first to one that made clients secondary to its own bottom line.

    • Franklin Raines of Fannie Mae, who (like his predecessors) bullied regulators into submission and let his firm drift away from its original, noble mission.

    • Brian Clarkson of Moody's, who aggressively pushed to increase his rating agency's market share and stock price, at the cost of its integrity.

    • Alan Greenspan, the legendary maestro of the Federal Reserve, who ignored the evidence of a growing housing bubble and turned a blind eye to the lending practices that ultimately brought down Wall Street-and inflicted enormous pain on the country.

    Just as McLean's The Smartest Guys in the Room was hailed as the best Enron book on a crowded shelf, so will All the Devils Are Here be remembered for finally making sense of the meltdown and its consequences.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars I thought it would take at least a decade for a book this good
    I am only about 40% through this book but I had to stop and give it 5 stars! This is an excellent and balanced account of the events, laws and business practices that led up to the crisis. This is not a book that over-simplifies the crisis with terms like "Wall Street Greed". Instead, it sheds light on all the variety of players that it took to create this mess: Fannie/Freddy, The Sub-prime companies (many you probably never seen mentioned in press), policies and laws that go back to the Clinton era, failures of regulators and the justice department, the Fed, Banks, Wall St., the Rating agencies and of course, the general publics own stupidity.

    If you are willing to accept the fact the the answers to the cause of the crisis are not simple and you "can handle the truth" then you must read this book.
    ... Read more

    5. The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content.
    by Timothy Ferriss
    Hardcover (2009-12-15)
    list price: $22.00 -- our price: $11.59
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0307465357
    Publisher: Crown Archetype
    Sales Rank: 58
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    More than 100 pages of new, cutting-edge content.

    Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.

    This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:
    •How Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week
    •How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
    •How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
    •How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
    •How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements”

    The new expanded edition of Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek includes:
    •More than 50 practical tips and case studies from readers (including families) who have doubled income, overcome common sticking points, and reinvented themselves using the original book as a starting point
    •Real-world templates you can copy for eliminating e-mail, negotiating with bosses and clients, or getting a private chef for less than $8 a meal
    •How Lifestyle Design principles can be suited to unpredictable economic times
    •The latest tools and tricks, as well as high-tech shortcuts, for living like a diplomat or millionaire without being either
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Better Than The First Version By A Very Long Shot . . . Definitely Worth The Investment
    I reviewed the first edition of The Four Hour Workweek and was surprised by the content, it was a fresh look at a new idea (Lifestyle Design) and it offered some really practical, useful advice that virtually anyone could implement. I recommended the book to many people, most liked it some didn't.

    I eagerly pre-ordered this version of the book when I first heard about it mostly because I was curious if it would really be better . . . and boy was it!

    I sat down with this book and read until the wee hours of the morning. Sure a lot of the material is the same, but there are around 100 new pages of material and that material is what the first edition desperately needed. The new material is solid examples, case studies, new resources and it addresses how to navigate lifestyle design in a rapidly changing economy.

    Tim includes a list of things learned in 2008 along with lessons learned, this section of the book was priceless. Here are a few of the things he talks about:

    1. Don't accept large or costly favors from strangers - Exceptions, uber-successful mentors who are making introductions and not laboring on your behalf.

    2. You don't have to recoup losses the same way you lose them - An interesting discussion of mortgages.

    3. One of the most universal causes of self-doubt and depression: Trying to impress people you don't like (This one really hit home with me . . . hard)

    4. Slow meals = life

    5. Money doesn't change you; it reveals who you are when you no longer have to be nice.

    6. It doesn't matter how many people don't get it. What matters is how many people do.

    7. I should not invest in public stocks where I cannot influence outcome (Another hearty agreement from me).

    The list goes on as does the new information in the book. This one is a must read for anyone who wants to break the slave-save-retire cycle and live on purpose now.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Reading Comprehension is Key
    I'd like to preface this review with something interesting about the Amazon reviews for this book. Many 1-star reviewers accused the 5-star reviewers of being "plants." Especially the ones who hadn't reviewed a book before on Amazon. How do they know that the person wasn't just so moved by the book they made their first Amazon review? We all had that first book we reviewed at one point or another. And extreme feelings about a book, either extreme love or extreme hate, tend to motivate one to share that view with the world.

    What I found amazing was, most of the 1-star reviews were reviews of positive reviews, not the book, even though they claimed to be reviews of the book. With all that was taken out of context and twisted, it was clear that most of the 1-star reviewers either didn't read the book or don't have sufficient reading comprehension to be a critic of anything. I find this unfortunate since many negative-minded people read these reviews and respond with things like: "This was what I suspected, glad I didn't waste my money." I'm not sure what exactly the threat is in exploring new ideas whether you agree with them or not, at least allow your mind the opportunity to choose.

    This book is not about being lazy. It's not a get-rich quick scheme. It's not about being dishonest or unethical. It became very clear that some people really truly believe that working few hours on work you hate to free up time for more productive and meaningful life activities is somehow "immoral." I guess the Puritanical mentality this country started out with (earliest settlers here) has seeped deeper into our overall culture than we once imagined.

    I used to be very held back by the notion of "the other people in the world who are suffering." i.e. why should I seek to make my life situation better when it seems selfish compared to all the starving Ethiopian children, for example. But the crux of the issue is this... I am either helping, being helped, or breaking even. Breaking even would be when a person barely scrapes by enough to support and take care of their own family unit (people living in the house with them.) They are often in debt, middle-class generally, but living paycheck to paycheck or not far above it. They live from scarcity rather than abundance and so any little bit they have over they have to save rather than use to help someone else.

    Others are constantly "being helped" by the government, by charities, by whoever. Now I'm not making a moral judgment against either of these groups of people. Living in a money-based instead of a community-based society is hard. However... people often rush to judge those who either HAVE money or WANT to have money as automatically immoral or bad people. And that's not true. Who do you think the helpers are? It's certainly not the people who need help, and it's not the people in that middle class prison that can't seem to get ahead. It's the people who have extra money TO help. And those are also the people who volunteer the most because surprise surprise they have more TIME to donate than any of the other groups.

    So I think people would benefit themselves quite a bit if they changed their attitude about acquiring money. Yes, there will always be greedy people who acquire at the expense of others. There will always be people who are materialistic and just want more and more useless "stuff." But then there are others who acquire money and more personal freedom who use a good portion of both of those assets to help others. And contrary to what many readers seemed to get out of the book (or out of their reading of the reviews only), the author's message isn't about being greedy, but about acquiring freedom and then using that freedom for something that benefits both you and others at the same time.

    Pointless drudgery and suffering for the sake of it is... pointless. It's not character building necessarily and it doesn't make you a better person necessarily. And especially if a lot of the suffering is self-imposed based on a refusal to think outside of a very limiting box.

    The author's definition of the "new rich" is a sliding barometer. For example his view (and I agree) is that someone who makes $40,000 a year and is totally 100% mobile and can live ANYWHERE in the world, and go anywhere in the world, is far more rich than someone making $500,000 a year who hates their job, works 80 hour weeks and is trapped in one location (usually a very expensive American city like NY or LA.) This is very true. You'd be amazed by the variable in quality of life for your dollar depending on where you live, even just in the United States there is huge variability.

    This book explores a lot of ways for you to simplify your life and get work done with as soon as possible so you can get on to other things. Timothy Ferriss is NOT saying that you can work 4 hours a week starting tomorrow. The goal of this particular book for this particular outcome is one of two things: either to work remotely for your employer and increase productivity to the point that you can work fewer hours (though probably more than 4 a week) from home or anywhere else you are, or starting a business with the goal of automation at the end. i.e. internet business, product-based businesses (online), information products. You do a lot of work on the front end to create a product and set up an infrastructure so you don't have to continue to micromanage the business forever. You can go on to doing other things, either another income stream or micro-business on another topic/idea/product, or some other activity that interests you.

    This is the kind of track I'm on and have been on for a little while now. This book wasn't overly novel to me because I'd already been initiated into this type of "Freedom-based" thinking through books like: "Unjobbing: The Adult Liberation Handbook," "Making a Living Without a Job," and "How I found Freedom in an Unfree World," all amazing books and paradigm shifters that make you take stock of what YOU want and not what you're "supposed" to want and that also make you look at money and acquiring it in whole new ways. Every single one of them is valuable in their own right and reading those books probably made this book far less "out there" to me. Since apparently it seems pretty "out there" to a lot of people.

    I've owned a service business before (wedding coordinating) and a craft business (candlemaking) and on both fronts I realized quickly that even if I was spectacularly successful, that there was a definite ceiling on the amount of money I could earn with either without adding significant complication into the mix (i.e. working long hours indefinitely and employees which I would then have to manage.) In the case of candles I could have gone an entirely different route into outsourcing manufacturing, but then it would cease being a "crafts" business and turn into just retail.

    There is a common saying among entrepreneurs that they would rather work 16 hours a day for themselves than 8 hours a day for someone else. Well I don't even want to work 8 hours a day. It's not that I'm lazy, I just have other things to do, and if you enhance your productivity there really is no genuine reason to work that many hours a day. Most people in 9-5 jobs are getting about 3-4 hours of genuine WORK done a day. Well that's about what I do, but I just do it in a concentrated effort and don't get sidetracked by other things. Some days I work 6 hours especially when I'm in the new phase of a project, but that's about my max. Granted, we are talking about income producing activities here. This doesn't include cooking and cleaning which is also technically work, or exercise, which is a form of work. I enjoy exercise, but I enjoy most of what I do to one degree or another so liking or not liking the activity can't be the barometer for what is and isn't work.

    Anyway this is an incredibly long-winded way of saying that I really enjoyed this book, and didn't find it that "out there." It's somewhat amusing to see the people who "do" find it that "out there" because I don't really think I'm an impractical person. But I will admit that it has probably helped that I'm so stubborn, I just pretty much refused to buy into many of the ideas I was "supposed" to buy into regarding work. So even with the first paradigm-shifting book I read in this category, I was open to the ideas. I'm not a lazy person but I also don't mistake "busyness" for productivity or accomplishment.

    I was already familiar with a lot of the mentalities and ideas in the book from my exposure to the above mentioned books as well as learning experiences I've already had in business and things I'd figured out on my own, but I did learn a few new techniques and he also helped to boil down some things for me that will be useful in launching my next income stream which will hopefully eventually replace the freelance work I'm doing now. Because the goal eventually is automation so I can free up time to just write what I want (with or without big profit at the end of it), and focus on other pursuits.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the top 3 influential books I have read!
    Brief Background: I owned and operated 4 bookstores in Austin, Tx for 13 years. I have read a lot of books and have sold many books on being successful in business and life. This is my first review.
    I was given this book by a business partner and I was reluctant to read one more book on the secrets of a great life. I was fascinated and hooked after the first few pages. I am going to keep this simple. If you are clear that greatness is inside of you, then this book is for you. If you are clear that you have nothing to offer, then this book is for you. This book is a paradox as is Tim Ferriss. This is not a get rich quick book. It is a book that gives you all you need to have an amazing life. And along the way you may get rich. If you just do part of what he says your life will be great. If you attempt all of his recommendations...who knows. He gives you assignments at the end of every chapter to explore your limitations. Thanks Tim for pushing yourself beyond what experts said you couldn't do.

    Because of Tim's book I started 6 internet websites...3 made me zip and didn't cost me much except some time and a little money(under $100 each). The other 3 are making me a total of $2000 a month profit for the last 6 months. I also drastically reduced the amount of time I work at my other business'. ... Read more

    6. The Investment Answer
    by Daniel C. Goldie, Gordon S. Murray
    Paperback (2010-08-15)
    list price: $16.95 -- our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0982894708
    Publisher: Dan Goldie Financial Services LLC
    Sales Rank: 39
    Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    What if there were a way to cut through all the financial mumbo-jumbo? Wouldn’t it be great if someone could really explain to us—in plain and simple English—the basics we must know about investing in order to insure our financial freedom?

    At last, here’s good news.

    Jargon-free and written for all investors—experienced, beginner, and everyone in between—THE INVESTMENT ANSWER distills the process into just five decisions—five straightforward choices that can lead to safe and sound ways to manage your money.

    When Wall Street veteran Gordon Murray told his good friend and financial advisor, Dan Goldie, that he had only six months to live, Dan responded, “Do you want to write that book you’ve always wanted to do?” The result is this eminently valuable primer which can be read and understood in one sitting, and has advice that benefits you, not Wall Street and the rest of the traditional financial services industry.

    THE INVESTMENT ANSWER asks readers to make five basic but key decisions to stack the investment odds in their favor. The advice is simple, easy-to-follow, and effective, and can lead to a more profitable portfolio for every investor. Specifically:

    • Should I invest on my own or seek help from aninvestment professional?
    • How should I allocate my investments amongstocks, bonds, and cash?
    • Which specific asset classes within these broadcategories should I include in my portfolio?
    • Should I take an actively managed approach toinvesting, or follow a passive alternative?
    • When should I sell assets and when should I buymore?

    In a world of fast-talking traders who believe that they can game the system and a market characterized by instability, this extraordinary and timely book offers guidance every investor should have.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Elegant summary of the core of personal investing
    One of the advantages of a college education with a major in finance is that you learn the fundamentals, and, more importantly, you learn the boundaries of the universe in terms of what the field includes and what it excludes. Spend an hour or so reading this book, and you will also get that comfortable feeling that comes from knowing that you understand what personal investing is really all about. You will get the "big picture" and how it affects you.

    I have been a full time faculty member teaching at the college level for the past 35 years and must say that the authors have managed to capture the essence of personal investing in about as few pages as I have ever seen and with a clarity that is very rare in books on this topic. I intend to make it required reading for both my undergraduate and graduate personal finance classes.

    I might also add that any negative reviews posted to this site are likely to come from Wall Street brokers who make their living by exploiting the general public's ignorance on investing. These brokers don't like books that clarify and illuminate rather than mystify and obfuscate basic principles. As a lifelong educator, I applaud Goldie's and Murray's nobel effort to help readers educate themselves so as not to be fooled by the same Wall Streeters who disgraced themselves in 2008 and nearly destroyed our economy with their greediness. Anyone who feels they don't know enough about investing should read this book. It is a gem.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The title says it all - The Answer
    You won't be getting this book from your broker for Christmas. You don't need to read a bunch of "Beat The Market!!!!!" books to develop a sound approach to investing. Evaluate your personal investment goals and timeframe, take a gut check on your appetite for risk, and accept that risk and returns are correlated. The authors make a compelling, data driven argument in under 100 pages that describes a "no regrets" approach to investing. Market timing, stock picking, commodity speculating, etc. ultimately benefit the trading pros over the average investor. Choose your asset allocation model with a few simple principles, then buy diversified global capitalism for your equity component with low expenses. And hold it. Done. You won't be the big winner in any given year, but you will likely out perform 95%+ of investors who buy the proven myth that they can beat the market. There are many purveyors of this snake oil, but few truth tellers. Murray and Goldie get it right, and this book is so short and to the point that you must read it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars the investment primer for everyone
    I just read The Investment Answer this morning in under an hour and it is brilliant -- comprehensive without being overwhelming, easy for a broad audience to read and understand, and most importantly, easy for anyone to execute.

    Over the last 30 years, this is the model we have used to invest, and it has served us very well. But we have not been able to articulate this sensible plan to friends and family (especially our children) in a way that was understandable and compelling. The temptation to "take the bait" from Wall Street is strong. Many friends and colleagues who are more "sophisticated" investors suffered the sad outcomes so elegantly described in the book.

    Gordon and Daniel -- thank you, thank you for writing this book. I am placing my order for 10 copies to give away to family and friends this morning. You have accomplished what few have -- a lasting legacy that will positively impact many families for a lifetime!

    5-0 out of 5 stars All you need to know for a successful investment experience
    Like losing weight, successful investing is based on a few simple concepts. However, also similar to losing weight, the concepts are not always easy to implement. It takes discipline to execute the simple concepts of eat less and exercise more. It also takes discipline to execute the simple concepts of diversification and rebalancing. Dan Goldie and Gordon Murray have done a terrific job of breaking down successful investing to a few core concepts. They explain the concepts in layman terms, always keeping it short and simple. The beauty of this book is the brevity yet clarity of each concept covered. You do NOT need to read a 300+ page book to understand investing. There is now this book, which is under 80 pages...but even a quicker read than you might think because of the font and graphs. I read the entire book in two hours one evening. I have an undergrad degree in Finance and Economics and have spent about five years combined time earning my CFA and CFP(r) designations. YET, if you simply commit to spending two hours reading this book, you will be privy to all the key investment principles that took me 20 years in the business to discover. Not only do I give this five stars, but I plan on buying 50 books and giving them away to every relative and friend I have. Disclosure: I don't know either author nor have I met either one. I'm just in the same industry and delighted that someone actually wrote the book that I wish I had written.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The book that I wanted to write!
    Dan and Gordon have written the book that I've wanted to write for years, but never found the time. It is clear and concise. I read it in less than an hour.

    The authors do a great job of explaining the difference between an independent investment advisor and a salesman working in Wall Street's broken business model. This is something that the vast majority of investors do not understand.

    Even novice investors will find this easy to understand. Perhaps even more important, it debunks the myths that prevent most investors from achieving success. Read it and buy another copy for someone that you care about.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect, Bite-Size, Investment Book for Any Level Reader
    This book is a perfect culmination of: Goldie's experience with frustrated clients due to Wall Street gimmicks, explanations of why Wall Street's solutions are substandard, and an academically, exhaustive, investment remedy for every investor. BAMM!

    The authors' abilities to "cut to the chase", and quit the "beating around the bush", leaves the reader feeling refreshed and informed. Simple examples and compelling stories will resonate well with all levels of readership.

    If you are looking for a way to quit worrying about your investments, ignore CNBC & WSJ, and "drop" that confused feeling you have about investing, this is your book! Grab a cold Coke, relax, and enjoy yourself for the next hour of your life. You will forever thank the authors for presenting the information in such a light manner. I bet you will refer the book to at least 3 of your friends.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Run, don't walk, to get this book!!
    Several years ago, Gordon sat my husband and me down to show us the beta version of this book. We'd been friends for years and he felt strongly that we needed to know how to protect our money. His arguments were so clear and compelling that we moved our investments from a traditional retail broker to an investment advisor with an investment philosophy based on the concepts in this book -- efficient markets, modern portfolio theory, diversification, and asset allocation.

    For the first time, we felt confident that we and our investments were in good hands. Then the recession hit. Our portfolio did less badly than many and rebounded faster than most. And with this book, we understood why.

    Run, don't walk to buy this book or download the pdf version. It will give you the peace of mind and sense of control that ONLY happens when you understand how the financial world really works. With what we learned, we felt ready to act in our own best interests. You will too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Women should read this book!
    Like me, many women were not handling their family's investments and are now seeking to take control of this aspect of their lives. Now that I manage my own investments, I wanted to make wise and purposeful decisions. I didn't want to just take the path of least resistance. This book helped me ask the essential questions and seek answers that suit my objectives. I finally feel in control of my finances!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best basic investment book you'll ever need
    I read Dan and Gordon's book cover to cover in about 45 minutes last weekend. It is chock full of very good data and excellent advice on how to invest money successfully, something most investors do not achieve. I plan on giving the book to each one of my children to help them better understand how to properly invest their own money.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Read this book before you invest
    I wish that someone had written such a succinct treatise on investing before I first started investing my money. I could have avoided some very counterproductive forays into commodities, oil and gas ventures, and other highly suspect "investments". Read this book before you implement your investment plan. ... Read more

    7. Outliers: The Story of Success
    by Malcolm Gladwell
    Hardcover (2008-11-18)
    list price: $27.99 -- our price: $14.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0316017922
    Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
    Sales Rank: 79
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

    Brilliant and entertaining, OUTLIERS is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Where do you lie?
    The main tenet of Outliers is that there is a logic behind why some people become successful, and it has more to do with legacy and opportunity than high IQ. In his latest book, New Yorker contributor Gladwell casts his inquisitive eye on those who have risen meteorically to the top of their fields, analyzing developmental patterns and searching for a common thread. The author asserts that there is no such thing as a self-made man, that "the true origins of high achievement" lie instead in the circumstances and influences of one's upbringing, combined with excellent timing. The Beatles had Hamburg in 1960-62; Bill Gates had access to an ASR-33 Teletype in 1968. Both put in thousands of hours-Gladwell posits that 10,000 is the magic number-on their craft at a young age, resulting in an above-average head start.

    Gladwell makes sure to note that to begin with, these individuals possessed once-in-a-generation talent in their fields. He simply makes the point that both encountered the kind of "right place at the right time" opportunity that allowed them to capitalize on their talent, a delineation that often separates moderate from extraordinary success. This is also why Asians excel at mathematics-their culture demands it. If other countries schooled their children as rigorously, the author argues, scores would even out.

    Gladwell also looks at "demographic luck," the effect of one's birth date. He demonstrates how being born in the decades of the 1830s or 1930s proved an enormous advantage for any future entrepreneur, as both saw economic booms and demographic troughs, meaning that class sizes were small, teachers were overqualified, universities were looking to enroll and companies were looking for employees.

    In short, possibility comes "from the particular opportunities that our particular place in history presents us with." This theme appears throughout the varied anecdotes, but is it groundbreaking information? At times it seems an exercise in repackaged carpe diem, especially from a mind as attuned as Gladwell's. Nonetheless, the author's lively storytelling and infectious enthusiasm make it an engaging, perhaps even inspiring, read.

    Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is another of my favorites in this genre. I recommend it strongly because, unlike Gladwell's book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 shows you how to become an outlier...

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another Amazing Gladwell Journey
    Spoiler alert! This book contains about a dozen "whoa, amazing" nuggets that could change your life, or at least tell you why you never changed your life, and I'm going to include all of them here just to have them listed somewhere convenient online for my benefit (and yours). But as any Gladwell fan knows, you don't read his writings just for the "holy cow" moments, you read them for the journey he takes you on in delivering those moments. This work provides several amazing journeys, even as they stray progressively farther from what seems to be the advertised purpose of the book: to illustrate how certain people become phenomenal successes. We learn early on the secret to being a great Canadian hockey player, assuming you are already spectacularly talented and work hard. But eventually we wind up learning not how to become a spectacularly successful airline pilot, but rather a spectacularly bad one. No bother, the book is providing entertaining information that can transform your professional life. So as for those dozen points, here goes, and you've already been warned:

    1. There was a town in Pennsylvania called Roseto where people lived far longer and suffered far less from heart disease than people of similar genetic stock, eating similar diets, and living in similar nearby towns. The only explanation researchers could find was that Roseto had a uniquely strong sense of community: family and faith were both strong, and the wealthy did not flaunt their success.

    2. In the Canadian "all star" junior hockey league - the surest ticket to the NHL - the majority of the players on the winning team were born in January, February, or March. The league was for players between 17 and 20 years old. Why the month anomaly? Because in Canada, elite hockey teams have try-outs at the age of 10, and the age cut-off is January 1. In essence, the oldest 10 year olds are far better at hockey than the youngest 10 year olds, so the youngest (those born in December) have no chance to make the select teams, which are the only ones with excellent coaching. The pattern continues all the way through high school. Similar birthday patterns are seen in places such as the Czech junior national soccer team. Makes you wonder about what "good for your age" means in academics too.

    3. Many researchers believe in the "10,000 hour rule," namely that you need to spend about 10,000 hours on a skill - anything, including music, computer programming, business dealings in the expanding American West, or mergers and acquisitions - in order to become great at it. This is something Bill Gates and the Beatles have in common, thanks largely due to circumstances beyond their control.

    4. At least 15 of the wealthiest 75 people in world history (in modern dollars) were born in the 9 years from 1831 to 1840. They were old enough to have learned how to profit in the rapidly industrializing United States (via 10,000 hours of experience) but not so old as to have already settled down and been inflexible with their life options or concepts of business. Similar birthdate "coincidences" are seen among the wealthiest tech entrepreneurs including Bill Gates, and among some of the most successful lawyers in New York.

    5. In long-term studies, IQ is found to predict professional success - but only up to a score of about 120, past which additional points don't help. Nobel prize winners are equally likely to have IQs of 130 or 180. When minority students are admitted through affirmative action, their achievement scores may be lower, but as long as they are above the threshold, it does not affect the likelihood of professional success.

    6. Anecdotes from the "world's smartest man," (according to IQ tests) Chris Langan, and the children of middle class families, suggest that "practical intelligence" about when, how, and with what words to speak up are a huge factor in success - specifically when speaking up can save you from losing a scholarship. Longitudinal studies of high-IQ children showed that a family's high socioeconomic background was more important to predicting success than very high IQ.

    7. Many people put in their 10,000 hours in something like computer programming, but then never find themselves in the midst of a revolution where people with 10,000 hours of experience are desperately needed. Bill Gates did. The connections he formed as an early highly-sought programmer helped him rise and found Microsoft. Joe Flom, one of the most successful lawyers in New York, became a specialist in mergers and acquisitions before such transactions were considered "acceptable" business by mainstream lawyers. When the culture changed in the 1980s to accept such dealings, Joe Flom was the best of the best who had put in his 10,000 hours in a now-mainstream business. He became an historic success almost overnight.

    8. When economically tough times hit, people stop having children for fear of being unable to provide for them. However, this may be the best time to have children, because there are few other children competing for things such as classroom attention, spots on school sports teams, professors' attention, and jobs upon high school or college graduation. There are also more children a decade behind them who will provide the demand for the goods and services the older children will provide.

    9. The typical airline crash involves seven consecutive human errors, and crashes are significantly more likely to occur when the more-experienced captain is flying the plane, as opposed to the subordinate first officer. The likely reason is that the first officer is much less likely to speak up when he or she notices something wrong or a human error, and the captain is flying the plane. Flights in countries with a large "power distance index," which characterizes cultures where subordinates are generally afraid of expressing disagreement with superiors, are the most likely to crash. This included Korean air, which had the worst safety record among major airlines until it instituted a program requiring subordinates to speak up when there were problems. There are benefits to deferential, polite, and subtle conversation, but they are unlikely to be beneficial in stressful cockpit environments.

    10. There are at least two non-genetic reasons Asian people excel at math (and some tests have suggested that Asians may have genetic _disadvantages_ in math). First, most commonly used Asian languages use a monosyllablic, ordered, regular system to describe numbers, unlike English and European languages. This gives young children up to a year's head start in math. Second, math often requires persistence and trial and error, characteristics also needed for successful rice farming, the dominant form of agriculture (and employment) in Asia even in the 20th century. Hilarious evidence of correlation of persistence with high math scores is found in results on the TIMSS, an international math exam. The beginning of the exam includes a tedious 120-question section that asks students about their parents' education, their friends, and their views on math, among other things. It is exhausting, requiring great _persistence_, and some students leave it partially blank. If you rank countries by how many of the survey questions their students completed, and by the TIMMS score, the lists are "exactly the same." Holy cow! At the tops of both lists were Singapore, South Korea, China (Taiwan), Hong Kong, and Japan.

    11. Students from middle class and poor neighborhoods show an achievement gap in reading that widens over the years of elementary school. However, the financially poorer students progress (in terms of grades on standardized tests) the _same_ amount during the _academic_ year as the wealthier students. It is during the _summer_ break that better-off students with better-educated families continue to read and learn, while the less well-off students likely do not, and show major declines in autumn test scores compared to the previous spring. Students in "KIPP" (Knowledge Is Power Program) schools showed major success despite coming from low income neighborhoods, because of a much longer school day and academic year.

    12. The author, Malcolm Gladwell, tells a story in the final chapter about how his family, and thus he, benefitted from light skin tones and changing racial attitudes in Jamaica. It's a stretch compared to the rest of the book, but gets you thinking and is an awkwardly charming read. ... Read more

    8. Reengineering Health Care: A Manifesto for Radically Rethinking Health Care Delivery
    by Jim Champy, Harry Greenspun
    Kindle Edition (2010-06-03)
    list price: $21.99
    Asin: B003HOXLDY
    Publisher: FT Press
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    In their legendary book, Reengineering the Corporation, Jim Champy and Michael Hammer introduced businesspeople to the enormous power of a revolutionary methodology called reengineering. Using reengineering, businesses around the world have systematically retooled their processes--achieving dramatic cost savings, greater customer satisfaction, and more value.


    Now, Jim Champy and Dr. Harry Greenspun show how to apply the proven reengineering methodology in health care: throughout physician practices, hospitals, and even entire health systems. You’ll meet innovative and visionary leaders who’ve been successfully reengineering organizations across the entire delivery spectrum and learn powerful lessons for improving quality, reducing costs, and expanding access.

    This book doesn’t just demonstrate the immense potential of health care reengineering to revolutionize health care delivery: it offers a clear roadmap for realizing that potential in your own organization.


    Deliver Better Care to More People, at Lower Cost

    • How reengineering can lead to more efficient, safer delivery--and sharply reduced costs
    • How to focus on prevention and wellness, as well as chronic disease and hospital care
    • How to earn the trust, contributions, and passion of skeptical physicians and health care professionals
    • How to harness technology to create more seamless, accessible, valued, and sustainable health care systems--and avoid technology’s pitfalls
    • How Zeev Neuwirth transformed the Lenox Hill Hospital ER and the 700-doctor Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates practice
    • How Tom Knight is revolutionizing patient safety at Methodist Hospital System, one of America’s largest private, nonprofit medical complexes
    • How to start today in your own organization!
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent call to action on HC reengineering Review of "Reengineering Healthcare: A Manifesto for Radically Rethinking Health Care Delivery. Jim Champy, J.D., and Harry Greenspun, M.D. FT Press, Upper Saddle River, NY. 2010.

    Eric W. Palfreyman
    July, 2010.

    In the present cultural climate--with its emphasis on political absolutism--it would be easy to hand off responsibility for healthcare change to the government. To its credit, Reengineering Healthcare does not do this. In the beginning, it specifically places the action on those who can most directly and positively influence it:

    "Reengineering must be done, and it must be done by clinicians. No angel of government, even under the auspices of `national health care reform,' can reduce the cost and improve the quality of health care without the work and leadership of clinicians. It's time for all clinicians--physicians, nurses, technicians, physician assistants, and pharmacists--to assume their rightful role in directing change."

    The first question I want answered in any book I'm considering is whether it is a good read. The answer on Reengineering Healthcare is a resounding "yes". Champy's writing has always been high on a readability scale and Champy and Greenspun have delivered a book that is easy to read and engaging from beginning to end. It is an excellent mixture of case studies, narrative, inspiration, challenge, and technique. The book is long enough to convey knowledge and inspiration, but not long enough to become tedious. If its desire was to inspire as well as instruct, it is a very successful book.

    Their book begins by reviewing what reengineering is, and touches on ideas such as the idea that reengineering is not simply a look at discrete issues for resolution, but is an examination of the entire system of getting things accomplished. The authors place a focus on examining systemic issues and solving them in a comprehensive way. They recognize that reengineering is focused on fundamental change (not simply incrementalist tweaks), radical approaches that do not simply touch the surface, and focusing on areas that can create dramatic results. In brief, they state, "the methodologies and techniques may vary in name, but they all share the same ambition for dramatic improvement in the performance of work by focusing on process."

    They then turn to reengineering specific to healthcare. They lay the book around three areas of reengineering: Technology, Processes, and people. A thesis of the book is that any reengineering that is to be substantive must incorporate all three elements in order to fully create the kind of massive change that is needed.

    Another strength of the book is that while it strongly highlights cost improvements, reduction in time-to-results, and reduced duplication; it always maintains a focus on delivering quality healthcare and on maintaining a focus on patient safety.

    The book covers topics from selecting which processes/organizations need to be improved (and what criteria go into that decision) to a focus on continual interaction with the "front line"--the people who actually deliver healthcare. This effort may be authorized and funded by top executives, but the root cause analysis and proposals for process improvement are derived from and approved by those who actually deliver healthcare to patients--physicians, nurses, pharmacists, medical technicians, etc.

    A review seems incomplete without one criticsm, so if I had to come up with one deficit in the book, I would have like to have seen a couple of the case studies accompanied by simplified process flow charts showing a before and after architectural view of the process.

    For those interested in improving all aspects of healthcare delivery and in harnessing the power of innovative reengineering to accomplish this, Reengineering Healthcare is a must read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant analysis of a "new paradigm" of networked health care

    It is difficult for me to believe that almost two decades have passed since Reengineering the Corporation was published. In it, Jim Champy and co-author Michael Hammer define reengineering as "the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service, and speed." More specifically, "fundamental" refers to how work is performed and the basic questions that need to be asked, "radical" means going beyond superficial changes in the way things are being done, "dramatic" indicates that reengineering isn't about marginal or incremental improvements, and "process" refers to a group of activities that uses one or more kinds of input to create an output of customer values.

    What we have in this volume, co-authored by Champy and Harry Greenspun, M.D., are multiple collaborative applications of the same four basic principles to the challenge of reengineering the provision of health "and it must be done by clinicians. No angel of government, even under the auspices of `national health care reform.' Can reduce the cost and improve the quality of health care without the work and leadership of clinicians. It's time for all clinicians - physicians, nurses, technicians, physician assistants, and pharmacists - to assume their rightful role in directing change." This is a key point. Champy and Greenspun insist, and I agree, that those who are centrally involved in the provision of health care should be centrally involved in the process of radical thinking by which to determine the nature and extent of reengineering initiatives.

    According to Champy and Greenspun, the approach they propose is based on four "pillars": Technology ("In any science-based enterprise, technology developments offer daily opportunities for redesigning work"), Process ("Whether or not new technology is applied, an organization's work is best understood as a collection of processes"), and People ("No process can work properly without people trained as a team to execute"). Throughout their lively narrative, Champy and Greenspun focus on exemplary leaders of reengineering initiatives that vary in nature and extent but all of which rely (to varying degree) on the aforementioned three "pillars." With all due respect to the value of various real-world examples, their purpose is to illustrate core principles rather than prescribe how those principles should be applied. It remains for each reader to make that determination.

    Hence the importance if several reader-friendly devices that can help to guide and inform those decisions. For example:

    Ten lessons to be learned from MultiCare Health System's deployment of its electronic health records (EHR) program (Pages 67-87)

    "A Checklist for Implementing New Technologies" (Pages 92-95)

    Note: As a supplementary resource, I highly recommend Atul Gawande's The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, published by Metropolitan Books in 2009.

    How to change medical processes that have been developed and ingrained for decades (Pages 99-135)

    "A Checklist for Process (Pages 135-138)

    Lessons to be learned from various reformers that are "not only valuable, but replicable" (Pages143-165)

    "A Checklist for the People Side" (Pages 165-167)

    How to look for and locate reengineering opportunities (Pages 190-204)

    However different the health care "reformers" may be in most other respects, they share in common what aspiring reformers must also possess. Specifically, "an ambition to improve the quality and safety of care in dramatic fashion; a deep respect for the experience of patients; a passion for improving the outcome of treatment; a desire to create a better workplace for clinicians; an appetite for change to create better medical practice; the clinical leadership required to bring about change; the persistence to overcome the inertia of current practices and processes; and a willingness to acknowledge their own shortcomings or detrimental behaviors."

    Jim Champy and Harry Greenspun offer a manifesto, not an operations manual. Encouraged as they obviously are by the successful reengineering initiatives they have observed in various health care organizations, they have no illusions about the challenges and difficulties that new initiatives by other organizations must overcome. In some instances, it will take years of effort to achieve success. That said, I am reminded of the Chinese proverb that suggests that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Bravo!
    This book is exceptionally helpful. The key messages are outlined clearly and the case studies are great examples of how individuals can make an impact in the way health care is delivered. The authors are thoughtful and practical regarding the process, and have helped me motivate my team to analyze how our system works and find ways to improve it. It is precisely what we need right now.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Overview of How to Improve Deliverables in Healthcare

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Jim Champy is known for helping change business for the better. Taking on a new challenges in Healthcare and as Reform has its own impact, the authors introduce us to wholescale potentials and needs in Reengineering of Healthcare from front to back.

    When you think of how profound all this is, health care has the most up to date technology in treating and evaluating/investigating illnesses and the like. Yet, the processes surrounding the care for patients, record keeping, tracking patients through the process and the hand-offs between disciplines is stilted in the least and broken in the worst of cases.

    Champy along with a Leader in Heath Care Reegineering gives us high points with interesting stories of how health care deliverables have improved. Using cases from across the country, he shows how the return on investment can be multiple times the cost to reengineering processes. Eliminating steps in tracking and paperwork, reducing processes in the number of steps required for each stake holder that gets the patient more focused care and the physicians and clinical staff actually doing the job they need to do. A lot of processes include paperwork, which sometimes keeps a physician plowed under with time consuming tasks that take away from practice and improvement of professional capabilities.

    The cool thing here is that there is a radical departure from a head cutting process to save money, there are so many opportunities to cut costs by improving the flow and storage of information, opportunities to assure that patients are getting the right combinations of meds and avoidance of the elderly of using older prescriptions. The concept of care and prevention of health issues is most important in the process. This is truly a win/win concept.

    The focus as the chapters tell us is Technology, Process and People. Getting it done will require work, yet, the tools for most improvements needed already exist within the facilities and providers themselves. Interestingly though, the legacy systems are antiquated in places that may have the best of tools to treat and evaluate patients.

    We know about the initiative to improve the storage and sharing of information of patients throughout the health care community, but the depth of need for improvement requires new thinking in how processes with the right technology will help the people being treated and improve the work of those providing that service.

    This book is an introduction and meant to spark the beginning of a surge in health care improvement wholescale. There are definate new books and case studies to be written and looked into yet ahead.

    Anyone interested in where health care could go should get this, Administrators, Nurses, Operations people, heath care IT practitioners would all benefit from the ideas this book introduces. There are so many opportunities in health care that I feel we can improve our economy in many ways by addressing this urgent and very large need immediately and consistently.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Required reading for every student and practitioner in health care industry

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Written by the most talented authorities in change management and systems re-engineering, this book should be required reading for every student and practitioner in health care industry. Champy is the former Chairman of Consulting for Dell Perot Services and the author of Reengineering the Corporation. Greenspun, MD, has served as the Chief Medical Officer at Dell, Northrop Grumman Corporation.

    The heart of this book has 3 chapters, one for each of the key components of any service: processes, people, and technology. Each of these three chapters ends with a checklist to make sure that the reader has learned the lessons. The book offers 2 chapters that recount personal experiences of health care re-engineering. At the outset and at the end of the book we find the motivational chapter and the chapter broadly outlining the opportunities in health care re-engineering.

    First, they ask why do we have a health care problem? Their answer is that the physicians, like many managers and engineers in the past, have been trained to accomplish their jobs independently, not in teams. The problem arises because health care delivery today demands teamwork.

    Next, they define the process of re-engineering health care: The radical improvement of health care delivery process to enhance quality and dramatically lower costs, while greatly expanding patient accessibility to that improved care. Four words in this definition - fundamental, radical, dramatic, and process - are key to re-engineering.

    If you study the typical office workflow, you discover that highly skilled doctors passionate about the patient care, spend only one third of their time practicing medicine. The two-thirds of their time is spent on administration, billing, documentation, and preparation. Also, people are the key to process. Poor relationships within the clinic staff will result in substandard care and lost revenue for the practice.

    Smartest Quote (p. 104):
    "Cognitive change just takes too long. We believe that changing what people do is the best way to change how they think."

    Dumbest Quote (p. 81):
    "Making sure you understand exactly how the EHR technology will work in the physician's room before it's installed is one of the keys to successful implementation of the system." It's impossible to foresee exactly all the details. It's also not needed, as we've seen thousands of successful installations using a gradual approach, by improving at every stage through iterative solicitation of physician's feedback.

    All in all, a highly recommended book for everyone who cares about our health care system and a required reading for every student and executive in health care industry.

    Yuval Lirov, Medical Billing Networks and Processes - Profitable and Compliant Revenue Cycle Management in the Internet Age

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read on how to improve healthcare processes, quality and patient care.
    This book takes the reader into real-life situations where healthcare has been improved by a variety of healthcare organizations and professionals. This isn't about Healthcare Reform and doesn't address politics. Rather it is about Healthcare Transformation and putting the focus back on the patient by driving out inefficiencies in the care cycle and improving healthcare delivery overall. It's a must read for healthcare professionals and anyone interested in understanding how to enhance the care we all receive.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great guide and motivator.
    It was easy to relate to the struggles and challenges highlighted in the book, but great to get some practical advice on how to tackle them. While many books focus on health policy, this one has helped me figure out how to move my department in a much more productive direction. It has also given me a "call to action" for my managers, helping them understand the rationale moving forward. ... Read more

    9. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time
    by Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin
    Paperback (2007-01-30)
    list price: $16.00 -- our price: $6.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0143038257
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 84
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    The astonishing, uplifting story of a real-life Indiana Jones and his humanitarian campaign to use education to combat terrorism in the Taliban’s backyard

    Anyone who despairs of the individual’s power to change lives has to read the story ofGreg Mortenson, a homeless mountaineer who, following a 1993 climb of Pakistan’s treacherous K2, was inspired by a chance encounter with impoverished mountain villagers and promised to build them a school. Over the next decade he built fifty-five schools—especially for girls—that offer a balanced education in one of the most isolated and dangerous regions on earth. As it chronicles Mortenson’s quest, which has brought him into conflict with both enraged Islamists and uncomprehending Americans, Three Cups of Tea combines adventure with a celebration of the humanitarian spirit. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A blueprint for making a difference
    After four trips over the past three years to Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, and after founding Kashmir Family Aid ( to aid victims of the Oct 8, 2005 earthquake, I whole-heartedly endorse Greg Mortenson and his work. This book adds new life to the over-wraught dictum that "one CAN make a difference." Beyond that, if one wants to truly get inside the rural Pakistani's heart and soul, this is mandatory reading.

    My personal experience has been that once I met these people (and yes, had tea with them in their tiny homes, or in the quake region, in their tents), it was difficult to want to leave to return to the West. It's a hard thing to explain but Mortenson's book will absolutely do the job. A powerful thread within his story: It would be impossible not to love these people after getting to know them one-on one.

    These remote village people are simple, strong and proud. Their lives are spent nurturing their families and working hard in a politically and environmentally tortured region. BUY THE BOOK, get inside the people of this place and then send Greg Mortenson your donation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One man's remarkable vision
    "Three Cups of Tea" is a compelling account of the difference one fiercely determined person can make in the world. I won't use this space to repeat the descriptions already covered in the editorial reviews, but Greg Mortenson's passion for educating children, especially girls, in the rugged mountain regions of northern Pakistan is truly remarkable. The relationships he has patiently built with local people and moderate Muslim leaders in the area over many years are key to his success.

    In addition to education, Mortenson's Central Asia Institute funds projects that provide health care and clean water. He is also building schools in northern Afghanistan, again with the support of local people.

    One alarming chapter of the book includes a discussion of the spread of fundamentalist madrassas in the mountain regions of Pakistan, which should deeply concern Americans, including the government. It is essential for Americans to support Mortenson's Central Asia Institute initiatives to provide children with educational alternatives.

    "Three Cups of Tea" is very well written, with heartfelt portraits of courageous people. It is a superb and moving story of an exceptional man.

    5-0 out of 5 stars So Much More Than Just a Book
    It's a book but then so are the latest bestsellers yet they offer nothing beyond a mindless distraction. To say Three Cups of Tea is about peace is to say that Mortensen goes hiking in the mountains. To say it's about building schools in the most desolate, remote, obscure part of the planet is to say an idealistic young man had a wild idea.

    Mortenson and co-author David Oliver Relin bring the reader to the foot of K2, into a village so isolated from everything that there doesn't even exist a bridge to connect them to the world beyond the raging river that flows from the glacier fields. There Mortenson introduces us to children so eager to learn they work multiplication tables in the dirt without benefit of a teacher or books.

    How does this man, so grateful to the people who saved his life, repay them? One school at a time. It's a truely inspirational story of what any of us, including a kid born in Minnesota, can do to change the world. The fact that the book is also a true page-turner and is so "can't put it down, don't interrupt me, I gotta know what happens next" good makes this must reading for every high school senior, every empty-nester, every one of us wondering what to do with the rest of our lives. Although I likely won't venture to the high mountains of Pakistan or Tibet, Mortenson has inspired me to find a way to make a difference. Go read it and find your inspiration!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars STOP what you are doing...
    you.. yes YOU behind the terminal, surfing the web, maybe finding that cheap chotcky to buy or something. Stop what you are doing if you have come across this book and this review. You need to read this more than you think!

    Within the confines of 350 pages you can be transported to a world that for most Westerner's and specifically Americans, is probably very unknown, and more than likely, highly misunderstood. In this world you will be introduced to a man named Greg Mortenson, or as you soon to know him, as Greg Sahib..

    The story that is told by David Oliver Revin, will not just be inspiring, will not be just teeth clenching, it will make you re-evaluate what you do in your life. While most of us may talk about the incapacity of the administration, or some (unfortunatly) the hatred of the middle East, or maybe some of you are even lying down in the streets, but there is ONE person who is TRULY doing something about the problems of foreign policy by litteraly getting his hands dirty touching the earth to build a school foundation, and risking his life ten times over.

    When you have read this journey, you will be saying to yourself, did he really do that? That guy is CRAZY! Did that really happen?, the Taliban? , How is that possible? In the journey that is fortold of a change of fate through a failed mountain expedition, you can see what the spirit of the individual can do and how it can be transformed. As the events of 9/11 soon come to fruition, Greg couldn't be in a better place at the right time, and with David's narration, you are litteraly put in the drivers seat.

    After reading Mortensen's journey, you will want to litteraly book a plane ticket to somewhere you have never been before. In reading the accomplishments of a somewhat flawed (hey what person is perfect) individual, you will feel small and insignifigant. David Relin will not just explain what Greg did, he will make you live it, with some enjoyable side narrations that will make you grin.

    In Three Cups of Tea, David has managed more than anything to explain the heart of a problem (Islamic hatred of the West) of a very complicated nature (through numerous foreign policy debacles and politics spanning decades), and how one man knows of an easy solution (Go to poor regions of the Middle East and give education and extend the olive branch. Build schools for the poorest of the poor, ecspecially for girls. And more importantly, let them know that it was done.. by an American).

    As if it was so difficult to understand.

    I encourage you to take this journey and figure out that sometimes the biggest problems in life require some of the most common sense solutions. I also echo the other comments on here that you should buy this book from the actually CAI institute and consider a donation as well.

    Greg Mortensen is doing what he is doing best, and his passion comes through the pages. For myself my passion is to write. Like Gregg I feel it is what I can do best (when I put my effort my passion, and my soul into it).

    now if you'll excuse me...

    I have to go write a check.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What an incredible story...
    My goodness. I just finished the book, and I am in tears. I am a world traveller (32 countries in just about every region on the globe), and consider myself compassionate to a fault; but even I, after September 11th, possessed a fair degree of anger at Muslims. I had spent some time in the Middle East and North Africa, and although I tried to respect the traditions as much as possible (covering my arms, wore long skirts, not looking at men in the eye), I was still assaulted in broad daylight in a street bazaar in Cairo, Egypt, surrounded by at least a dozen of my classmates (an old man came up and grabbed my [...]). The anger that started then had totally blown up after September 11th and consumed me, the point where I had actually said that I will never believe Islam is a religion of peace, especially after the reaction to the Mohammed cartoons.


    I was wrong.

    This book has reminded me why I loved the regions in the Himalayas and beyond; the simplicity of life, the fierceness and protectiveness towards family and friends; and their incredible desire to do the best for themselves with whatever they have on hand, even if it means going to school on a bare field covered with morning frost. Greg and David describe these people in Baltistan and beyond so well that you cannot help admiring or even falling in love with these proud, strong people.

    I've always told people if you encourage positive change for just one person, you'll change the whole world for them. Greg and his CAI cohorts have done that for literally hundreds of thousands of children. It was so gratifying for me to read, despite the selfishness of our people today, that there are still some who passionately believe in changing the world for others.

    For me, it was the speech by Syed Abbas (on page 257, hardcover) that broke the last of my hard-core attitude towards Muslims and Islam.

    I am off to make my contribution - meager but still a contribution - to CAI so they can continue their incredible work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST read
    Greg Mortenson's three cups of tea is an account of his unsuccessful attempt on mighty K2, world's second highest peak in Himalayas. Though unsuccessful, his failure embarked him on a mission to educate people of an area inhabitants of breath taking hills and valleys and virgin plains. Whats mind boggling about his adventure is his spirit of self sacrifice for a people of a land much misunderstood by the west. His story proves that with love, compassion and sincerity, you can melt the hearts, even those of mountains. Rightly regarded a hero in Northern Pakistan, his book would go a long way in bridging the divide between the inhabitants of East and West. If you haven't read the book, you are Missing on something. Highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Promote peace on Earth. Read this book.
    This is the most amazing and inspiring book I have read in a very long time. I am a high school teacher and the mother of a U.S. Army Seargent who has completed a tour in Afghanistan and is currently serving in Iraq. I bought the book to send to him, but thought I would read it first. I'm very glad I did. The book is as exciting as an adventure novel, but it's true. Anyone who cares about the education and welfare of children and who desires to understand the problems faced in fighting terrorism should read this book. There is hope for peace in this world and Greg Mortenson is doing wonderful things to make it happen. He is a true American hero. Everyone needs to read this book and everyone who does will want to share it with others.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A lesson in altruism
    This book is absolutely wonderful. Mortenson shows us how one dedicated person can make a difference. He also poignantly shows the world that education and non-violent assistance does a profoundly better job of winning support and "attacking" terrorism than warfare! (Duh!) I think there are very few Americans who would be willing to make the kind of sacrifice Greg Mortenson has but he has certainly inspired me to support his and similar efforts in the best way I can. In my opinion, he deserves a Nobel Peace prize. I would like to see this book in every high school library in America. ... Read more

    10. Winners Never Cheat: Even in Difficult Times, New and Expanded Edition
    by Jon M. Huntsman
    Kindle Edition (2008-10-29)
    list price: $18.99
    Asin: B001M60BKU
    Publisher: Prentice Hall
    Sales Rank: 461
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Author royalties from this book go to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation


    “The way Jon conducts his business and lives his life will not only inspire you to be a better person, citizen, and entrepreneur, it also will give you hope that the good guys don't finish last.”

    Glenn Beck


    "Jon Huntsman is a different breed. He believes business is a creative endeavor, similar to a theater production, wherein integrity must be the central character."

    Larry King, CNN


    "Jon Huntsman's own life and personal values lend credence to his words. He walks his ethical talk."

    Neil Cavuto, Fox News


    "This book could put me out of business. Nobody would be happier about it than me."

    Wayne Reaud, Trial Attorney.


    The nationwide bestseller--fully updated for today’s tough times and worldwide financial crises


    “Everyone does it.” Everyone cheats. Cuts corners. Tells lies. Maybe it was different once. Not today. If you want to succeed in this economic climate, you simply have to make compromises. Right?


    Wrong. You can succeed at the highest levels, without sacrificing the principles that make life worth living. The proof? You’re holding it.


    Jon M. Huntsman built a $12 billion company from scratch, the old-fashioned way: with integrity. There were short-term costs and difficult decisions. There were tough times. Times just like today. But ultimately, leading with integrity wasn’t just personally right for Huntsman, it also proved to be the best business strategy.


    In Winners Never Cheat, Huntsman tells you how he did it, and how you can, too. This book is about remembering why you work, and why you were chosen to lead. It’s about finding the bravery to act on what you know is right, no matter what you’re up against.


    It’s about winning. The right way.


    Think about the kind of person you want to do business with. Then, be that person--and use this book to get you there.


    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Honesty & Integrity is the Winning Formula
    Jon M Huntsman is a humble & self effacing man who quietly goes about his business; and business is good. He's a self-made billionaire who knows that success is attainable through hard work, determination, and of course; through honesty, integrity and generosity.

    This book captures Huntsman's vision of setting good examples for the rest of society, by consistently doing the right things. This is a man who builds trust through his actions, and helps those less fortunate with his contributions of time and money. In his mind, whatever success he's attained is irrelevent to the big picture; and that's making our planet a better place to inhabit.

    I'm sure all of us, from time to time, have witnessed actions of people we once trusted that made us think otherwise; whether it be shaving a stroke off their golf game to avoid losing a few bucks, double crossing us on a business deal, or worse, sabotaging a career. Once the trust has been destroyed, everything else collapses with it.

    Huntsman, on the other hand, with his remarkable philosophy on life, is a shining example that successful people are measured more by their basic core values as human beings, than their net worth. Some, if they're really good; possess the ability to do it all.

    Huntsman clearly fits that bill; and we're all just a little bit better off because of it. This is a great book, written by a truly great man.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Being morally right makes might - in more ways than you might think!
    Many ethics courses taught at business and law schools across the country for the past decade or so have focused on the idea of "situational ethics" - a Machiavellian concept that supports no objective "right or wrong" only contextual circumstances that define "right and wrong" for a specific moment in time. While that may be interesting for theoretical discussions, it has little place in the real world and business leader Jon M. Huntsman would agree. In his breakthrough book titled - "Winners Never Cheat" - Huntsman point blank states that there are overriding moral principles that need to guide our work and lives. Huntsman is chairman and founder of the largest privately held chemical company in the world. He writes that he built his career and fortune on ethical principles including accountability; integrity; addressing the needs of others; honor; sacrifice; personal responsibility and teamwork. Soundview highly recommends this book because Huntsman provides many examples where he personally made difficult, moral decisions that (he argues) always turn out to be the right decision in the long run. Every organization would be well served by reading this book and putting it into practice.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ethics at its finest!
    What a refreshing view of ethical business practices by one of the most down-to-earth men to ever be successful. Jon Huntsman is an inspirational figure who practices the basic human skill and desribes how we are born with these "sandbox" skills and ethical behaviors. Corporate America, WAKE UP!

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is one of those "difficult times" Jon Huntsman writes about
    Jon Huntsman says a whole lot in 206 small pages. He reminds us that there is no victory when there is no integrity. The behavior in corporate America the past few years should make this book a mandatory read for every executive and every board member of every company. We've been confusing valuable with value for too long and Jon Huntsman's message is a reminder that not only is integrity the right path to follow, it is also the most profitable path to follow!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Easy read, excellent.
    This well written book will leave you feeling good and wanting to be a better person. It makes a great gift too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
    I think this book is terrific. It is perfect for the times that we are in where greed and self indulgence is so rampant. If we all did business the way that John Huntsman conducts his business we would not be in the financial shape that we are in!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Written by a man of integrity!
    A must read for every graduate or person going into business. Integrity, simplicity, honorable man. My favorite book!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Values Are Not Negotiable
    Are your values unwavering especially in the wake of those necessary daily critical business and even life decisions? In this book, Winners Never Cheat, Jon Huntsman Sr. shared through his personal stories the importance of not sacrificing your values and that you can still be successful.

    This book goes beyond the usual writings on ethics, morality, business conduct and is really a small treatise on how to treat people. Jon Huntsman believes in adversity and how that builds character. One far reaching statement about character is "the adherence to an ethical code is best defined as how one honors a bad situation or a bad deal."

    Huntsman believed that an ethical code of conduct is by its very nature a non-denominational religion because situations may be altered, basic values must not. In other words just because everyone else does it does not give you permission to walk away from your values. This type of belief creates a slippery ethical behavioral slope where one can never return to the top.

    One of my new found favorite quotes is "Values provide us with ethical water wings." This is a great mental visual for understanding how to stay above the less than ethical behaviors of others.

    With the passing of each chapter, Huntsman's simple words take on a life of their own. The reader can see and begin to understand the message behind the message that Winners Never Cheat. For me, this is now in my top 10 most favorite non-fictional books. This book shows you how to be The Red Jacket in a sea of gray suits.

    P.S. Maybe this could have been titled that Ethical Leaders Never Cheat or Winners Never Cut in Line. ... Read more

    11. StrengthsFinder 2.0
    by Tom Rath
    Hardcover (2007-02-01)
    list price: $24.95 -- our price: $10.80
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 159562015X
    Publisher: Gallup Press
    Sales Rank: 118
    Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    From the author of the New York Times bestsellers

    How Full Is Your Bucket? (Gallup Press, 2004, Strengths Based Leadership (Gallup Press, 2009), and Wellbeing (Gallup Press, 2010) a book that features the new Wellbeing Finder assessment.


    Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?

    Chances are, you don't. All too often, our natural talents go untapped. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.

    To help people uncover their talents, Gallup introduced the first version of its online assessment, StrengthsFinder, in 2001 which ignited a global conversation and helped millions to discover their top five talents.

    In its latest national bestseller, StrengthsFinder 2.0, Gallup unveils the new and improved version of its popular assessment, language of 34 themes, and much more (see below for details). While you can read this book in one sitting, you'll use it as a reference for decades.

    Loaded with hundreds of strategies for applying your strengths, this new book and accompanying website will change the way you look at yourself -- and the world around you -- forever.

    (using the unique access code included with each book)

    * A new and upgraded edition of the StrengthsFinder assessment

    * A personalized Strengths Discovery and Action-Planning Guide for applying your strengths in the next week, month, and year

    * A more customized version of your top five theme report

    * 50 Ideas for Action (10 strategies for building on each of your top five themes)
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars What are the strengths YOU can rely on?, July 14, 2009
    Strengths Finder 2.0 is the follow up to Gallup's Now, Discover Your Strengths. The book includes a revamped version of the StrengthsFinder test that shows you not just what your top five strengths are, but also how you rank in the rest of the 34 strengths from Clifton's model. The new book is light on content (very light) but the test is a substantial improvement.

    Here's how the book is set up:

    StrengthsFinder: The Next Generation
    (A short introduction explaining the need for the enhanced edition of the test based upon new thinking and research in strengths psychology)

    I: Finding Your Strengths
    (A 30-page overview of strengths psychology and how the Gallup system works)

    II: Applying Your Strengths
    (150 pages outlining each of the 34 themes including what people with that strength look like, how to manage them, and ideas for action if you have that strength).

    The StrengthsFinder
    (If you haven't taken it before, the code to take the test is provided in a packet inside the book. You actually have to buy the book to take the test)

    Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is another book I really enjoyed that follows the SF 2.0 format. Obviously, that test measures emotional intelligence (EQ), but Emotional Intelligence 2.0 has a unique format where the test tells you which of the book's 66 strategies will increase your EQ the most.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Beware: You Only Get Your Top 5 Themes And Not All 34 In Order, March 24, 2008
    The book is a quick read and very helpful in getting one to think about one's strengths and the potential complementary strengths to look for in others to offset one's weaker areas, if you work in a team environment. However, once I completed the online test and obtained the resultant reports, I was shocked to learn that I would only get the Top 5 Themes, and the other 29 remain a mystery. Upon contacting the company, I learned that for an additional $550.00 I could then obtain the other 29 themes, as well as their order of ranking. It is obvious to me that this book is being used as a sales "hook" to try to get you to spend more money with the company and may also be being used as a "beachhead" sales device to penetrate into potential corporate accounts. I was not surprised or enlightened at all by the results, as I have been through a number of these types of profiling and behavioral characteristics tests over the years. However, they were "somewhat" useful to reconfirm some of my prior findings as still being current as of today. I would recommend the book and online test if you have never been through something like this before. They are quick and very easy to use. Just be aware that the top 5 themes are only a glimpse of your total "being" and the other 29 are just as important to your knowledge about yourself. However, unless you are willing to cough up another $550.00, you may end up disappointed and still a bit "in-the-dark" about your overall strengths. Good luck.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Liked the info in the book...nice assessment...but..., January 4, 2009
    ...there should be a way to purchase additional assessments online without buying another copy of the book. My wife and I don't need two copies. Better yet...all of the information from the book could be better organized online for a fee. In an age where most people are trying to become more "green", I am surprised that the exclusive online format did not get more consideration from Gallup or the author...

    It is also worth pointing out that the book is worthless on the secondary market and there is no use checking this type of book out of the library.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Should be called "Strengths Reminder", May 26, 2008
    Strengths Finder 2.0 and the accompanying test on the website of the same name doesn't tell you anything about yourself that you probably don't already know. This is especially true if you've been out in the work world for more than 10 years and are looking for a new career; or are in any way introspective about your own feelings, i.e. whether you like or dislike certain tasks, people or processes at work. Save your money and take one of the free Myers-Briggs tests at humanmetrics or any other free MB website, then read everything you can about your MB type in the book "Do What You Are" by Tieger and Baron-Tieger. "Discover" also lists what other careers people with your type have. Way more helpful than Strengths Finder 2.0.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Took the test twice and only one talent remained the same!, October 23, 2009
    The main concepts of the book can be summarized in 4 pages or gleaned from the reviews here, but what you are really paying for is a one time chance to take the online test to assess your strengths.

    Unfortunately Gallup provides only your top 5 strengths without providing your actual score or an indication of how they measure relative to general population. Their claim is that telling you the score will distract you from the value of the strength and that only the top 5 strengths matter. I suspect the real reason is that they don't want to let anyone reverse engineer the test and find out how the scoring is done.

    All this would still be fine by me if test scores were not important. But that is not the case. I took the test twice just to verify the publisher's premises that the results don't vary much based on your mood or from one test to another. As it turns out only one of the top 5 traits in the test existed in both results. The other 4 out of 5 were not shared. This makes the test of limited value.

    To be fair, there was a common thread between the two sets of tests. For example in one test I was the "Futurist" who is concerned with "What if..." and "Wouldn't it be interesting if..." type of scenarios. In another test my strength was "Ideation" that is the ability to bring fresh ideas to the table. But this raises another key question, how reliable are the categories as whole if 4 out of the 5 strengths can be replaced with each other? This makes the strength categories defined here more like zodiac descriptions than real statistical clusters. At the very least then, Gallup should publish all your "strengths" that fall within some margin.

    Given all of the above, you are probably more aware of your own strengths that Gallup can tell you. The test would be of more value if it provided your score for each of your strengths and how they measure relative to the full database.

    2-0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY USED!, July 18, 2008
    I bought this book used and it is a waste of money. The book hinges on using the online evaluation test and then reading the book to analyze results. Buying the book second hand means you do not have access to the online account. In fact, inside the book it specifically says not to buy the book used.
    The book descriptions do not make this clear. The seller posted anote saying the access code was used, but it is not clear that the book is useless without. I contacted the publisher about buying the online access code separately, their reply was "buy a new book." what a waste!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Why the book?, August 8, 2007
    Really, the reason for this book is to get the access code to take the online StrengthsFinder assessment. The book doesn't give you much more information than what you get online, so it's clearly just a ploy to make more money. If they really wanted to give people more value with the book, they should include more occupational information, and more information about using your strengths throughout the lifespan. Or, how about a section for counselors to help them utilize the StrenghsFinder in the career counseling process?

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not recommended, June 23, 2008
    Unless this is a corporate requirement, you shouldn't buy. The book is only valuable in obtaining code necessary to take on-line questionnaire. The on-line information is much more complete than anything in the book. A better solution would be for Gallup to offer on-line registration (they may already, but it is not apparent on the WEB site)

    2-0 out of 5 stars This Woo was not wowed!, March 8, 2007
    Since Now Discover Your Strengths was very interesting and helpful, I've been very excited to read 2.0.

    I was expecting 2.0 to be a new layer of the strength finder "onion" (aka more insight, more inforamtion, deeper understanding), but instead it is just the same onion is a slightly different format.

    The ability to create a "customized version of your top five theme report" is really a print out of the same check lists found in the book. You can "customize" the check list by only including the predetermined action items that you want in the report.

    The action items are similar, to the ones found in Now Discover Your Strenghts, so if you photo copied your Now Discover action items and crossed off the ones you don't like - Presto! Instant "customized version of your top five theme report."

    My advice, if you've read Now Discover, you are covered. If you haven't, 2.0 is full of the same great information. ... Read more

    12. Doing Both: How Cisco Captures Today's Profit and Drives Tomorrow's Growth
    by Inder Sidhu
    Kindle Edition (2010-05-27)
    list price: $19.99
    Asin: B003R0KYZ6
    Publisher: FT Press
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Over the past seven years, in a highly unstable global economy, Cisco doubled revenue, tripled profits, and quadrupled earnings per share. How? By Doing Both. When companies face key strategic decisions, they often take one path and abandon the other. They focus on innovation and new business at the expense of core businesses or vice versa. They stress discipline and sacrifice flexibility. They focus on customers and ignore partners. And they struggle. Cisco believes there is a better way: Doing Both.


    Doing Both means approaching every decision as an opportunity to seize, not a sacrifice to endure. It means avoiding false choices, reduced expectations, and weak compromises. It means finding ways to make each option benefit and mutually reinforce the other. In this book, Cisco Senior Vice President Inder Sidhu explains why “doing both” is today’s best strategy. Then, drawing on Cisco’s hardwon insights and the experiences of companies like Procter & Gamble, Whirlpool, and Harley-Davidson, Inder presents a complete blueprint for “doing both” in your organization, too.


    Win by Doing Both!

    • Sustaining and Disruptive Innovation

    • Existing and New Business Models

    • Optimization and Reinvention

    • Satisfied Customers and Gratified Partners

    • Established and Emerging Countries

    • Doing Things Right and Doing What Matters

    • Superstar Performers and Winning Teams

    • Authoritative Leadership and Democratic Decision Making

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A Living Example of why "Both-And" wins over "Either-Or"
    There is evidence showing up everywhere that the "both-and" theory is not only real, but far more powerful than the limiting "either-or" postulate. "Doing Both," by Inder Sidhu is not only strong evidence that it works, but a wider, broader scope for its use.

    We've seen parts of the both-and theory at work in business through co-opetition. However, simple collaboration habits often times do not include the factors that influence business success. Some people might think that today's collaborator would more likely be a new college graduate who works for a start-up technology company who uses a BlackBerry to increase personal productivity.

    But, there is more to it than that. Both-and is allowing product innovation and the balancing of many seemingly conflicting goals to be maintained within an organization. Profitability is enabled by balancing seemingly conflicting purposes, not by choosing one or the other.

    Inder Sidhu addresses multi-evolutionary product development agendas with a very elegant way of "Doing Both" things. Cisco has become a role model of sorts, where workers are empowered with personalized services, choice, and work-life balance in a human network to get their work done and make organizations thrive. The opening analogy on doing both form and function with the Golden Gate Bridge Bridge is very powerful as it became the symbol for Cisco.

    Hopefully their example will inspire you to influence your current environment with the expectation that cultural factors influencing collaboration will include role modeling by senior leaders, a formal collaboration process, tools, training and rewards that will work for you.

    "Doing Both" provides insight that will help ease the transition from the old management style to this new more profitable one. This book earns 5 stars because it is inspiring, insightful, and most importantly, practical. It is very well written and is fluid as well as engaging. It very proactively makes the both-and theory come across as quite believable and doable.

    This book represents some fresh thinking to current business challenges. Definitely worthwhile spending some serious focus time on.

    Let me also tell you about another new business challenge that I believe would be just as important spending some good focus time is proactive managing your online reputation. In addition to "Doing Both" I would highly recommend getting Wild West 2.0: How to Protect and Restore Your Reputation on the Untamed Social Frontier.

    Even though Cisco is a great company, it still has customer problems ... and you will to. It is inevitable that you will get some bad product reviews, or even worse, revengeful customers who will try to ruin your company's online reputation. Wild West 2.0 tells you exactly where to look for reputation problems and then how to repair them. Internet Reputation Management should not be delegated to your webmaster. From my experience it is now a critical management and marketing issue that concerns everyone from the CEO on down.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and inspiring

    Inder begins with sharing how Cisco's TelePresence video conferencing technology has enabled him to see, hear and almost feel his mother's presence who is 8,000 miles away back home in India. The intro is touching and a friendly reminder of how technology has changed our lives in many ways and most importantly how we stay in touch and always connected.

    Inder takes you through the various steps that Cisco has taken to grow to a $40 billion dollar company with over 60,000 employees. Its an interesting read as Inder walks through the history and the strategic decisions made to remain competitive through innovation and bold moves. Inspired by the stories of the background of the leaders chosen, the difficult questions and challenges faced and their paths take to success.

    Doing Both is an interesting and inspiring read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Business wisdom not to be missed
    This book hones in on the point that optimal business decisions are not necessarily trade-offs between two choices but usually involve doing both. Written in an engaging, easy-to-read, story-telling style, the book offers numerous examples of how Cisco has been "doing both" to enable its success from multiple angles: technology innovation, market segmentation, supply chain management, organizational design, and more. Inder Sidhu's examples from his personal life are moving and help to make the book quite inspirational. A joy to read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Unique Insights and Lessons Not To Be Missed
    Business books are a "dime a dozen". Fortunately, this book is one that stands apart from the pack. Insightful, thoughtful, compelling and thought provoking, "Doing Both: How Cisco Captures Today's Profits and Drives Tomorrow's Growth" takes the reader on a dynamic journey into the inner workings of Cisco and it's remarkable transformation. Inder SIdhu's storytelling is highly entertaining and provides unique insights that today's business leaders must not miss. This book will be one that I highly recommend to my friends and colleagues.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Organizational transformation is not -- repeat not - a zero-sum game

    One of the most self-defeating mindsets is suggested by the admonition, "You can't have your cake and eat it too." Obviously there are situations when there are two options that are mutually-exclusive. However, most of the time, when facing a choice, it is a mistake to select only one and dismiss all others. Inder Sidhu does not advocate "a balanced compromise between two objectives, but a mutually reinforcing multiplier in which each side makes the other better." He cites comments included in Built to Last (1994) co-authored by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras when discussing a highly visionary company "that doesn't want to blend yin and yang into a gray indistinguishable circle that is neither highly yin nor highly yang; it aims to be distinctly yin and distinctly yang - both at the same time, all the time. Irrational? Perhaps. Rare? Yes. Difficult? Absolutely."

    Sidhu devotes the bulk of his lively narrative to explaining how exemplar companies such as Apple, BYD, Cisco, GE, Google, IBM, and Procter & Gamble achieve these strategic objectives:

    o Improving the core business while conducting disruptive innovation
    o Strengthening current account relationships while adding new ones
    o Fine-tuning what is done well while transforming or eliminating what isn't
    o Creating customer evangelists while creating steadfast partners
    o Thriving on "Main Street" while exploring "the road less traveled"
    o Doing it right and doing what is right (i.e. what matters)

    Obviously, doing both (of whatever) is not always possible or, when possible, advisable. Also, any lessons learned from the exemplar companies such as those Sidhu examines (especially Cisco) must be modified to accommodate the specific needs and resources of much smaller organizations.

    With all due respect to the value of these lessons, I think the single greatest benefit of this book is the mindset it can help its reader to develop. Although Sidhu does not cite them and their books, he has clearly been influenced (albeit indirectly) by business thinkers such as Henry Chesbrough (Open Innovation and Open Business Models) and Roger Martin (The Opposable Mind) as well as Venkat Ramaswamy and Francis Gouilllart (The Power of Co-Creation). Their major recommendations track almost seamlessly with Sudhu's own:

    1. Be open-minded to possibilities, whenever/wherever they occur
    2. Respect and examine those that are plausible, especially if unorthodox
    3. Seek out collaborations that are mutually-beneficial
    4. Welcome each "failure" as a precious learning opportunity
    5. Juxtapose (for rigorous scrutiny) contradictory ideas and options
    6. Embrace change as an ally, not as a threat
    7. Achieve constant improvement with a discovery-driven process
    8. Welcome and support principled dissent
    9. Cultivate and nourish an insatiable appetite for learning
    10. Challenge what James O'Toole characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom"

    Congratulations to Inder Sidhu on a brilliant achievement.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful Premise
    Mr. Sidhu effectively presents the issues faced by Cisco in balancing its interests in maintaining current products, services and markets, and expanding into very different ones. He outlines how Cisco has dealt with avoiding the complacency and inflexibility in maintaining current products, services and markets by expanding into new areas, but simultaneously, avoiding overextending the company.

    I thought the anecdotes from the experiences of other businesses were instructive, especially for us non IT types. The example of the building of the Golden Gate Bridge was especially helpful.

    The concepts outlined in the book would be helpful to the owner of any business, from a local sole proprietorship to a company such as Cisco.

    I higly recommend this book.

    ... Read more

    13. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
    by Malcolm Gladwell
    Paperback (2002-01-07)
    list price: $15.99 -- our price: $6.48
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0316346624
    Publisher: Back Bay Books
    Sales Rank: 148
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    This celebrated New York Times bestsellernow poised to reach an even wider audience in paperbackis a book that is changing the way North Americans think about selling products and disseminating ideas. Gladwells new afterword to this edition describes how readers can constructively apply the tipping point principle in their own lives and work. Widely hailed as an important work that offers not only a road map to business success but also a profoundly encouraging approach to solving social problems. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Brings 'Sticky' Ideas to a Nexus
    I read this book in part of one day - it's a good, quick read. Unlike some of the people who didn't care for the book - I never read the New Yorker article. It may be that the book doesn't add enough new info to excite folks who have read that article. But to me the book threw out a good number of new ideas and concepts very quickly and very clearly. I found his ability to draw a nexus between things that, on the surface seem very divergent, was very interesting, and he did it smoothly, without jumping around a lot.

    The thrust of the book is that there are three things that can converge to bring about dramatic and perhaps unexpectedly fast changes in our society. These are the context (the situational environment - especially when it's near the balance or 'tipping point'), the idea, and the people involved. His point is that very small changes in any or several of the context, the quality of the idea (which he calls 'stickiness', ie how well the idea sticks), or whether the idea reaches a very small group of key people can trigger a dramatic epidemic of change in society.

    "In a given process or system some people matter more than others." (p.19). "The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts." (p.33).

    He divides these gifted people into three categories: Connectors, Mavens and Salespeople. "Sprinkled among every walk of life ... are a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack of making friends and acquaintances. They are Connectors." (p. 41). "I always keep up with people." (p. 44 quoting a "Connector"). "in the case of Connectors, their ability to span many different worlds is a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy." (p.49). "The point about Connectors is that by having a foot in so many different worlds they have the effect of bringing them all together." (p.51).

    "The word Maven comes from the Yiddish, and it means one who accumulates knowledge." (p. 60). "The fact that Mavens want to help, for no other reason than because they like to help, turns out to be an awfully effective way of getting someone's attention." (p.67). "The one thing that a Maven is not is a persuader. To be a Maven is to be a teacher. But it is also, even more emphatically to be a student." (p.69).

    "There is also a select group of people -- Salesmen -- with the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing." (p. 70). He goes on to describe an individual named Tom Gau who is a Salesman. "He seems to have some indefinable trait, something powerful and contagious and irresistible that goes beyond what comes out of his mouth, that makes people who meet him want to agree with him. It's energy. It's enthusiasm. It's charm. It's likability. It's all those things and yet something more." (p. 73).

    He then goes into the importance of actually gathering empirical data about ideas, and not just relying on theory or assumption to determine quality, or as he calls it, 'stickiness.' He gives examples of where assumptions have been debunked with data. "Kids don't watch when they are stimulated and look away when they are bored. They watch when they understand and look away when they are confused." (p.102). "Children actually don't like commercials as much as we thought they did." (p. 118) "The driving force for a preschooler is not a search for novelty, like it is with older kids, it's a search for understanding and predictability." (p. 126) Hence why your three year old can watch those Barney videos over and over until the tape breaks - it becomes predictable after the third or fourth viewing. This is probably also why Barney suddenly falls out of favor when predictability is less important than novelty.

    Finally, there's a point he makes he calls the rule of 150. He starts with some British anthropologists idea that brain size, neocortex size actually, is related to the ability to handle the complexities of social groups. The larger the neocortex, the larger the social group that can be managed. She then charts primate neocortex size against known average social group sizes for various primates, other than humans. Then she plugs human neocortex size into the equation, and out pops 147.8, or about 150. Now that would be not so interesting, except that he goes on to talk about this religious group, the Hutterites. They are clannish like the Amish or Mennonites, and they have a rule that when a colony approaches 150, they split into two and start a new one. He follows that by noting that Military organizations generally split companies at 150-200. And then he talks about Gore - the company that makes Goretex, among other things. They have a ~150 employee per plant rule.

    "At a bigger size you have to impose complicated hierarchies and rules and regulations and formal measures to try to command loyalty and cohesion. But below is possible to achieve the same goals infomally." (p.180)

    "When things get larger than that, people become strangers to one another." (p.181)

    "Crossing the 150 line is a small change that can make a big difference." (p. 183)

    On the whole, I thought the book sparked thought and converstaion, and will make me look at life and business a little differently. To me that's a good book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read
    Malcolm Gladwell, a staff writer for New Yorker Magazine, in The Tipping Point, writes a fascinating study of human behavior patterns, and shows us where the smallest things can trigger an epidemic of change. Though loaded with statistics, the numbers are presented in a way that makes the book read like an exciting novel. Gladwell also gives several examples in history, where one small change in behavior created a bigger change on a national level. He also studies the type of person or group that it takes to make that change.

    Gladwell's first example is the resurgence of the popularity of Hush Puppies, which had long been out of fashion, and were only sold in small shoe stores. Suddenly, a group of teenage boys in East Village, New York, found the cool to wear. Word-of-mouth advertising that these trend-setters were wearing the once-popular suede shoes set off an epidemic of fashion change, and boys all over America had to have the "cool" shoes.

    Galdwell also examines the difference in personality it takes to trigger the change. For example, we all know of Paul Revere's famous ride, but how many of us know that William Dawes made a similar ride? The difference was that people listened to Revere and not to Dawes. Why? Revere knew so many different people. He knew who led which village, knew which doors to knock on to rouse the colonists. Dawes didn't know that many people and therefore could only guess which people to give his message.

    There are several other phenomena that Gladwell examines, showing the small things that spark a change, from the dip in the New York City crime rate to the correlation between depression, smoking and teen suicide. If you want to change the world for the better, this book will give you an insight into the methods that work, and those that will backfire. It's all in knowing where to find The Tipping Point.

    Jo @ MyShelf.Com

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Insights into Mass Behaviors
    Despite an earlier reviewer poo-pooing this book for shallow insights, I beg to differ. This book is a fascinating and original take on what makes people behave in a certain way en masse. Tying together Paul Revere, Hush Puppies and many other very accessible ideas makes this book, that is in some ways very academic, read like a thriller. I read it in three sittings. It has an impact on several levels. One, as a marketer, it gave me insights into how word-of-mouth really works. I'll be experimenting with these concepts for years. Second, as a member of society, I gained insight into why I am pulled this way and that by trends. If you enjoyed this, you'll also enjoy the groundbreaking book by Robert Cialdini called "Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion." It makes some of the same points. Finally, it makes me think that some savvy activists will find some ways to use these principles to start societal epidemics that will ultimately have a positive effect. I believe Gladwell has introduced a concept, "the Tipping Point," that will have a wide-ranging impact on how we view the world and human behavior.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking, interesting and potentially useful book
    This relatively short book is a very pleasant surprise. Usually I am quite skeptical of new theories and concepts that attempt to explain human behavior, since the thinking, embedded in pompous language, often proves shallow and the primary goal seems simply to grab attention and book sales. Instead I found Gladwell's book well written, fast paced, interesting and thought provoking. Subject to translating its ideas successfully into practical actions, I believe it is potentially very useful in social sciences and business.

    Gladwell's use of examples from very different fields adds to the interest in and credibility of the factors that contribute to a sudden "epidemic" - good or bad - of a behavior, an idea, a product or a belief. I am particularly intrigued by his concept that the true underlying causes and explanations for what we perceive as extremely complex social issues, for example, can be "tipped" with simple, direct actions in the right place at the right time. All too often governments and companies try to solve their big problems with excessively expensive, but ineffective programs or projects. I agree with him that attempted solutions frequently fail to address basic motivational factors and that the best solutions are often counterintuitive.

    For those of us in business, I think the concepts in this book, properly applied, could make us more effective. Gladwell's business examples, his linkage to Geoffrey Moore's "Crossing the Chasm" and his brief discussion of the "magic 150" make the book worth reading. Far from being a "how to" handbook, considerable thought will be required to apply it practically, which I believe will be a good learning experience.

    As I read the book I realized that many analogs of this concept exist in the physical world. There are many examples from stereo amplifiers to martial arts in which relatively small forces or energy inputs at the right place and time cause large differences in outcomes.

    Why five stars? The book gave me a new perspective for thinking how and why things happen in society and business. It presents interesting observations and information about trends that affect us. I think it will be useful in my business. It is well written. And, it is unpretentiously short.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Multidisciplinary Mastery
    I've taught psychology at a university for twenty years, and was prepared to be dubious about Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point"; he is, after all, a journalist, not an academic. Despite his highly readable style, though, I was amazed by the level of sophistication and scholarship that he brings to his subjects. You can cavil about details, but the vigor and intellectual energy of the book is formidable. "The Tipping Point" assembles sometimes arcane findings from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the Journal of Consumer Researcher, Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, American Journal of Sociology, International Journal of Criminology and Penology and other scholarly resources. It explains and builds upon research by such major social-science figures as Marc Granovetter, Jonathan Crane, and the legendary Thomas Schelling. And the project is infused with an interdisciplinary ease: a special pleasure is the unexpected juxtapositions of research in linguistics, medical science, social psychology, marketing, political science, and mathematics All of which is to say that the erudition and theoretical sophistication of this work is truly impressive. It may be aimed at "civilians," but the guy can teach us scholars a few things

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Insights!
    I began reading this book at night while others were asleep, and was immediately engrossed--the next morning I could not stop babbling about it, and made everyone try the list of names in the section on "Connectors" to see how they scored. Though I came in at an abysmally low "3" myself, I did act the roles of "Maven" and "Salesman" for the book, with my own tiny circle of friends, emailing the NY Times review of "The Tipping Point", published the day I finished reading the book, to everyone I could think of, saying, you must buy this book, the way Gladwell explains himself, the anecdotes provided, was one of the most interesting things I had read in ages. When I bought "The Tipping Point", intrigued by the jacket description, but knowing nothing about it, I did not realize that Gladwell was a New Yorker writer I had long admired. But once I started in, I recognized him and remembered how I had sent on several of his articles to friends--which amused me, and is part of why I score so poorly on the "Connector test", my lack of attention to names, despite fervent endorsement of "ideas" I find, to everyone I know. Along these lines, a book that had a similar impact on me, would be "Presidential Temperament" by Keirsey and Choiniere, a blend of theory about human differences, with vivid real world examples drawn from the Presidents, a method of analysis that just makes intuitive sense of people, the way Gladwell does here with social trends, very useful information for an election year, a book I enthusiastically endorse as much as this one. ... Read more

    14. Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
    by Matt Taibbi
    Hardcover (2010-11-02)
    list price: $26.00 -- our price: $14.05
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0385529953
    Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
    Sales Rank: 192
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    The dramatic story behind the most audacious power grab in American history
    The financial crisis that exploded in 2008 isn’t past but prologue. The stunning rise, fall, and rescue of Wall Street in the bubble-and-bailout era was the coming-out party for the network of looters who sit at the nexus of American political and economic power. The grifter class—made up of the largest players in the financial industry and the politicians who do their bidding—has been growing in power for a generation, transferring wealth upward through increasingly complex financial mechanisms and political maneuvers. The crisis was only one terrifying manifestation of how they’ve hijacked America’s political and economic life.

    Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi here unravels the whole fiendish story, digging beyond the headlines to get into the deeper roots and wider implications of the rise of the grifters. He traces the movement’s origins to the cult of Ayn Rand and her most influential—and possibly weirdest—acolyte, Alan Greenspan, and offers fresh reporting on the backroom deals that decided the winners and losers in the government bailouts. He uncovers the hidden commodities bubble that transferred billions of dollars to Wall Street while creating food shortages around the world, and he shows how finance dominates politics, from the story of investment bankers auctioning off America’s infrastructure to an inside account of the high-stakes battle for health-care reform—a battle the true reformers lost. Finally, he tells the story of Goldman Sachs, the “vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.”

    Taibbi has combined deep sources, trailblazing reportage, and provocative analysis to create the most lucid, emotionally galvanizing, and scathingly funny account yet written of the ongoing political and financial crisis in America. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the labyrinthine inner workings of politics and finance in this country, and the profound consequences for us all.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written and biting
    I've been reading all kinds of books since I was 8-9 and have always been able to absorb the information without getting too emotional or involved in the story. I can't count the # of times I shook my head in disbelief or cursed or hoped it was a joke while reading this one. Although I've read all of Matt's books and pretty much read all his blogs/essays that I can find online, this book has left a different mark on me. Is it the seriousness of the tone in this book that's different from the funny/sarcastic humor & petty name calling that's prevalent in his other works(btw there is no shortage of funny one liners and comparisons-the best one being the answer you get for asking why you like pepsi)? I don't know, but I wish, and I certainly plan to do my homework, someone or a lot of folks would prove these assumptions, allegations and accusations to be wrong. Not in the way it was presented (as was the case in all the responses I saw after the squid RS article) but factually! I need someone to prove he's wrong about everything in this book and prove that Matt doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. If there aren't any factual rebuttals to the discussions in this book, I am afraid I'll regret reading this book in the first place. This is too corrupt and cruel to be true. I've never wished for author to be so wrong about so much. Not sure how this review appears to a stranger but as much as I want and need to commend Matt on his efforts, I am not able to. Because if the book is true, I guess he's done too good a job of exposing a lot of painful things that am not able to see past. Ultimately, may be that's the best review an author can get-doing such a wonderful job that the reader wishes he hadn't read it!
    Great, just a great book.
    Thanks Matt.
    murugan ... Read more

    15. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (P.S.)
    by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
    Paperback (2009-09-01)
    list price: $15.99 -- our price: $7.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0060731338
    Publisher: Harper Perennial
    Sales Rank: 172
    Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?

    What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?

    How much do parents really matter?

    These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports—and reaches conclusions that turn conventional wisdom on its head. Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They set out to explore the inner workings of a crack gang, the truth about real estate agents, the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan, and much more. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, they show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining Lesson on Breaking Out of the Mold
    This book succeeds at analyzing sociological developments in a way that is entertaining because Steven Levitt, an economist who strays from convention, has a knack for unpeeling layers and layers of assumptions and myth and showing the real causes behind trends. He shows, to name some examples, how our names affect our career paths; how abortion and the crime rate are related; how a man used his cunning to humiliate the Klu Klux Klan rather than rely on conventional methods; how easy it is to identify the role of public school teachers when they help their students cheat on standardized tests; why drug dealing is only lucrative for the dealers at the top of the pyramid; the myth that real estate agents are looking for our best interests.

    The book, co-authored by Stephen J. Dubner, is breezy and anecdotal, which is an effective format for presenting a lot of sociological trends without being dry or losing the scintillating reportage in dense prose.

    The lesson of this book is that we should be leery of trusting society's common assumptions or common wisdom. In other words, the book encourages us to keep our mind alert and break out of the mold in the way we see things. By looking at social trends with a fresh eye, the book succeeds at making economic trends a fun, adventurous endeavor.

    If I were to criticize the book, it would be that it is too short. It's barely 200 pages and if you take out the blank chapter pages, the charts, the lists, and so on, it's really closer to 150 pages. Because the material is so current and topical, the method of "freakonomics" presented here would make a good format for a monthly magazine. My guess is that there will be many sequels.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Power of Data in a Master Economist's Hands
    Having myself survived the economics program at the University of Chicago as a young graduate student twenty years ago, I know how decidedly eccentric their laurelled scholars can be. One of the most prestigious of the current crop there, Steven D. Levitt, along with journalist Stephen J. Dubner, has written a most intriguing and mind-bending book that uses Chicago-style econometric approaches and applies those to social and political issues that otherwise seem mundane and have no apparent basis in coherent theory which would support the behavior under study. In fact, this book of compelling case studies bears similarities to the approach taken by author Malcolm Gladwell in his recent best-selling book, "The Tipping Point", where he takes primarily historical events and analyzes them almost anecdotally as exercises in human behavior, in his case, making connections and how ideas become trends not by gradual insinuation but by a singular dramatic moment.

    But Levitt's canvas is broader, his theories and findings are far more diverse, and his approach is far more quantitative in nature. For example, he challenges the perception that campaign spending determines elections. Levitt's analysis takes a fresh look by contrasting races in which the same two congressional candidates run repeatedly against each other. What he concludes is that a winning candidate can spend half as much as before and lose only one percent of the vote, while a losing candidate who doubles campaign spending picks up only one percent more. Basically they prove that no matter how much candidates spend on their campaigns, the results would not be marginally affected. In another example, the authors describe a seller's real estate agent, who lives on commission and has an incentive to sell a listed home for maximum dollar. Again, this is a misconception since the authors contend the small financial reward to an agent who sells a home for a few thousand more dollars is dwarfed by the greater money to be made by selling properties for less but quicker. Levitt's research into the sale of one hundred thousand Chicago homes found that agents keep their own homes on the market an average of ten days longer and sell them for more than three percent more than the homes they list and sell for clients.

    The penetrating analyses provided by Levitt appear to have no bounds as he identifies Chicago teachers, who were proven to be changing their students' test answers and ultimately fired for their actions; sumo wrestlers who were found to be cheating as well; and even the alternative and more lucrative career options that crack dealers may have at McDonald's versus making sales. He even questions the impact of a good first name in a person's later life and if children become more literate if their parents read to them. The conclusions surprised me as they will you. But the most compelling study he presents is related to the impact of Roe vs. Wade. In a study he conducted with Stanford law Professor John Donohue, Levitt makes a seemingly broad-stroked conclusion in attributing much of the drop in the U.S. crime rate to legalized abortion. Their argument was based on the theory that abortion prevented the births of unwanted children who otherwise would have been statistically more likely to mature into criminals. The crime rate drop coincided with the time those aborted pregnancies would otherwise have hit their teen years, and the trend showed up earlier in states such as California that were the first to enact more liberal access to abortions. Through the data they gather, the correlation is startling, and the conclusion is hard to refute despite the naysayers who felt the stuffy to be politically motivated. But to Levitt's academically inclined credit, he never seems like he has an ideological agenda as he lets the numbers do the talking for him. His genius is to take those seemingly meaningless sets of numbers, ferret out the telltale pattern and recognize what it all means. A brilliant mind is at work, as he takes the most mundane open-ended questions and actually answers them. Strongly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly engrossing!
    Disclaimer: given the number of reviews already available, this one is not going to describe the contents of the book, cite specific examples, or go into any great level of detail. My objective here is just to share my point that irrespective of the quality or accuracy of the content of the book (although personally I have no complaints on that front), this is a book definitely worth spending time on. A good testimony to that is the high frequency of reviews of this book, even though all of them are not favourable.

    So on to the quick summary: Freakonomics is less of a novel and more of a collection of quasi-scientific articles linked by the unconventional methods, or rather explorations, of a brilliant thinker - Levitt. Levitt's ideas, experiments and conclusions have been deservedly converted into a lucid and gripping narrative by Dubner. Levitt's answers to unconventional questions are genuinely eye-opening; forcing one to think long after the book has been put down.

    In short, a very good read. ... Read more

    16. Never Buy Another Stock Again: The Investing Portfolio That Will Preserve Your Wealth and Your Sanity
    by David Gaffen
    Kindle Edition (2010-09-09)
    list price: $21.99
    Asin: B004323DPK
    Publisher: FT Press
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Stop buying stocks!

    An investing strategy that works

    when buying individual stocks doesn’t

    • Why buying stocks is an even worse strategy than you thought
    • How to cut costs and risks, earn solid returns, and sleep at night
    • By top Reuters financial journalist David Gaffen, founder of The Wall Street Journal’s MarketBeat

    Millions of people have sacrificed their futures to disastrous stock performance. But you don’t have to “suck it up” and accept massive losses. Never Buy Another Stock Again offers you a common-sense approach to investing that helps you earn solid returns with less cost, less risk, and less fear.


    Top financial journalist David Gaffen identifies portfolio components and asset classes that make sense when individual stocks don’t…shows how to avoid trendy new investments that are just as bad as stocks…helps you use cash wisely, carefully profit from ETFs and index funds, and offset the risks of any stocks you choose to keep.


    Want to build wealth that won’t be washed away by the next stock price collapse? Never Buy Another Stock Again!

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Common-sense (and yet rarely given!) financial advice
    This book is the most common-sense investing advice a personal investor can get.

    David Gaffen is a financial journalist who lived the day-to-day of the rise and fall of the markets in the 2000s while writing for the Wall Street Journal (among other outlets). He brings a firm command of that micro-level detail to a macro-level argument: don't buy individual stocks. Yes, Apple and Google made you rich if you got in cheap. But you probably didn't. That is why they gained so much value: everyone else bought them. And when you buy a stock because it gained so much value -- or just because Jim Cramer told you to -- you are more likely to catch the wave downward than upward. Remember those high-flyers that everyone touted like Enron? Worldcom? Global Crossing? Lehman? What are the chances you picked Apple and Google, but avoided all of these?

    So, if not individual stocks, what should you invest in? Gaffen will give you sage advice that isn't trendy, isn't fancy, and won't make you rich overnight. It's not a magic formula (and it's nothing Gaffen himself is selling, as is the case with so many of these types of books). It's just a mixture of old-fashioned common sense, combined with some insight on little-discussed but highly important factors such as fund fees and other transaction costs, as well as some advanced views on the relative strengths of different sectors of the market (corporate bonds, munis, ETFs, commodities, etc.). Beginning investors will find the overviews highly useful, and more experienced investors will still gain some valuable insights.

    Even better, this book manages a neat trick: it is a feast of facts, figures, and analysis while being a speedy and fun read, thanks to Gaffen's knack for pop-culture references that don't feel forced or artificial. In sum: a great, and very useful, read. ... Read more

    17. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
    by Stephen R. Covey
    Paperback (2004-11-09)
    list price: $15.95 -- our price: $6.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0743269519
    Publisher: Free Press
    Sales Rank: 196
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity -- principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars The book is very good reading material.
    As the title of the book implies, Covey describes the seven habits of highly effective people and techniques for adopting the seven habits. Covey makes clear that an individual must make a paradigm shift before incorporating these habits into his/her own personal life. A paradigm is essentially the way an individual perceives something. Covey emphasizes that if we want to make a change in our lives, we should probably first focus on our personal attitudes and behaviors. He applies different examples via family, business, and society in general.

    This book's focal point is on an approach to obtain personal and interpersonal effectiveness. Covey points out that private victories precede public victories. He makes the example that making and keeping promises to ourselves comes before making and keeping promises to others.

    Habits 1, 2, and 3 deal with self-mastery. They move an individual from dependency on others to independence. Habits 4, 5, and 6 deal with teamwork, cooperation, and communication. These habits deal with transforming a person from dependency to independence to interdependence. Interdependence simply means mutual dependence. Habit 7 embodies all of the other habits to help an individual work toward continuous improvement.

    Habit 1 discusses the importance of being proactive. Covey states that we are responsible for our own lives; therefore, we possess the initiative to make things happen. He also points out that proactive people so not blame various circumstances for their behaviors but they realize behavior comes from one's conscious. Covey also explains that the other type of person is reactive. Reactive people are affected by their social as well as physical surroundings. This means that if the weather is bad, then it affects their behavior such as their attitude and performance.

    He also explains that all problems that are experienced by individuals fall into one of three categories, which are direct control, indirect control, or no control. The problems that are classified under direct control are the problems that involve our own behavior. The problems classified as indirect control encompasses problems that we can do nothing about. The problems classified as no control are those that we can do nothing about.

    Habit 2 focuses on beginning with the end in mind. Covey wants the reader to envision his/her funeral. This may sound disheartening but his goal is to help you think about the words that you wish to be said about you; it can help the individual visualize what you value the most. To begin with the end simply means to start with your destination in mind. That gives an individual a sense of where he/she presently is in their life. One has to know where they are going to make sure that they are headed in the right direction. Covey also mentions that the most effective way to begin with the end is by developing a personal mission statement. After doing that, you should identify your center of attention. Are you spouse centered, money centered, family centered, etc. The he tells you depending on you core of interest, your foundation for security, guidance, and power.

    Habit 3 is the practical fulfillment of Habits 1 and 2. Covey accentuates that Habits 1 and 2 are prerequisite to Habit 3. He states that an individual cannot become principle centered developing their own proactive nature; or without being aware of your paradigms; or the capability of envisioning the contribution that is yours to make. One must have an independent will. This is the ability to make decisions and to act in accordance with them.

    Habit 4 deals with the six paradigms of interaction, which are win/win, win/lose, lose/win, lose/lose, win, and win/win or no deal. Win/win is a situation in which everyone benefits something. It is not your way or my way; it is a better way. Win/lose declares that if I win then you lose. Simply put, I get my way; you don't get yours. Win/lose people usually use position, power, possessions, or personality to get their way. The win/lose type of person is the person that feels that if I lose; you win. People who feel this way are usually easy to please and find the strength of others intimidating. When two win/lose people get together both will lose resulting in a lose/lose situation. Both will try to get the upper end of the stick but in the end, neither gets anything. The person that simply thinks to win secures their own ends and leaves it up to others to secure theirs. The win/win or no deal person means that if there is not a suitable solution met that satisfies both parties then there is no agreement.

    Habit 5 deals with seeking means of effective communication. This habit deals with seeking first to understand. However, we usually seek first to be understood. Most people to not listen with the intent to understand but with the intent to reply. The act of listening to understand is referred to as empathic listening. That means you try to get into the person's frame of mind and think as they are thinking.

    Habit 6 discuses combining all of the other habits to prepare us for the habit of synergy. Synergy means that the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Possessing all of the habits will benefit an individual more than possessing one or two of them. Synergism in communication allows you to open your mind to new possibilities or new options.

    Habit 7 involves surrounds the other habits because it is the habit that makes all of the others possible. It is amplifying the greatest asset you have which is yourself. It is renewing your physical, emotional, mental, and social nature. The physical scope involves caring for yourself effectively. Spiritual renewal will take more time. Our mental development comes through formal education. Quality literature in our field of study as well as other fields help to broaden our paradigms. Renewing the social dimension is not as time consuming as the others. We can start by our everyday interactions with people.

    Moving along the upward spiral requires us to continuously learn, commit, and do on higher planes. This is essential to keep progressing. At the end of each habit, there are application suggestions or exercises that help you become a more effective person. This is definitely not a quick fix it book. The concepts should be studied in order to be fully achieved. I think if you learn to use these 7 habits, it will change your life.

    This is a must-have book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A OUTSTANDING BOOK!
    Stephen Covey has written one of the best works ever in personal development and a refreshing change from so much verbage out there in other works. I have been an avid student of personal development since the 70's and learned a lot from this excellent work. I also highly recommend "SUPERSELF" by Charles Givens, another extraordinary work by an equally extraordinary man. I have read & reread Seven Habits and SuperSelf several times over the last few years and always get something new out of each every time. Excellent books to help you succeed in any area of endeavor.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is a SUPER BOOK
    Although I have read many personal development books, 7 Habits is by far the best. No hype, hoopla, pyscho-babble that is so prevalent today, however, I submit that 7 Habits will be around long after the hypsters are gone. I work in a 1,500 staff facility and 7 Habits is required reading for all management staff. I also recommend Superself, possibly one of the most underrated books out there and Financial Self Defense which in my opinion, is the financial book version of 7 Habits.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Strategies for Effectiveness
    Knowledge is the quickest and safest path to success in any area of life. Stephen Covey has encapsulated the strategies used by all those who are highly effective. Success can be learned and this book is an excellent way to learn how to do that.I also highly recommend Turner, Turner, Turner: The King of Network Marketing to learn strategies from another highly spirited man who has learned how to achieve maximum effectiveness and keep balance in all aspects of life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Restores character to our culture.
    Stephen Covey has written an excellent book which should be read by everyone. This great work restores character, or at least underscores the need for character ethic in our society.

    Must reading for all value driven people.

    Dr Covey has put together one of the best works ever. The key word in the title is "habits", no thinking about, setting goals to do something, swishing or anchoring yourself, but actually developing habits and actually doing it.

    I've read this book several times and I get something new out of it every time. The only other self development book that helped me this much (I've read them all) is "THINK & GROW RICH" by Napolean Hill I also highly recommend "BUSINESS BUY THE BIBLE" and "DON'T SET GOALS" by Wade Cook. These books are very much in the tradition of "SEVEN HABITS".

    To me, this book is not only "not over rated" as one reader indicated, I believe that it is grossly under rated and arguably is the best self development book on the book racks right now!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sensible and pramatic
    I found this great book by Dr. Covey to be both sensible and pragmatic. This is an outstanding book that really delivers. Follow the 7 habits and you will become a success.

    Other books I recommend include The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and Super Self (if you can find a copy) by the late Charles Givens.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Habits" is the Operative Word
    If you've ever truly mastered anything, you know there's a "zone" where your efforts start to produce disproportionate results. This is absolutely true for at least six of the seven habits (I haven't seen any quantum leaps with Sharpen the Saw, but that's not surprising).

    I, too, found the book obvious on first reading, so I ignored the contents for several months. Then, on a long road trip, I worked hard at perfecting "empathic listening" with my wife, almost as an escape from boredom. The results were unexpected, so I spent an entire vacation trying to strictly practice -- and perfect -- as many of the Seven Habits as applied. As we drove home, she mentioned how much our relationship had improved and how happy she felt. Years forward in our closeness in a single long weekend.

    Out of habit, I started using these habits at work, especially workign with my boss; within days, she couldn't wait for me to call her every day -- and I have since had to quietly put a time limit on our conversations, and she is constantly asking me to "delegate upward."

    Word spread, and pretty soon my boss' boss was calling to spend an hour at a time telling me all kinds of things that most VP's wouldn't share with a first-line manager. He also started giving me all sorts of opportunities, saying "I know you will be able to handle them."

    The real surprise came when the CEO of our company asked me to deal with a particularly difficult customer because she'd heard that I had a "knack" for getting along. This was a shock, because until 7 Habits, I was pretty much an antisocial loner who just happened to be good at what I did. BTW, that customer ended up doubling their order, but more important, ended up increasing their own effectiveness as a result of my sharing just bits and pieces of the Habits.

    Since then, I've worked hard at polishing my technique, and found that 1-6 all produce the same effect. After really working on them, I've found myself to be healthier, happier and ... oddly enough ... much richer, both in money and in relationships.

    Obvious is one thing; obvious results are something else altogether. ... Read more

    18. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
    by Malcolm Gladwell
    Paperback (2007-04-03)
    list price: $15.99 -- our price: $6.62
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0316010669
    Publisher: Back Bay Books
    Sales Rank: 201
    Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    In his #1 bestseller The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell redefined how we understand the world around us. In BLINK, he revolutionizes the way we understand the world within.How do we make decisions--good and bad--and why are some people so much better at it than others? That's the question Malcolm Gladwell asks and answers in BLINK. Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology, examining case studies as diverse as speed dating, pop music, and the New Coke, Gladwell shows how the difference between good decision making and bad has nothing to do with how much information we can process quickly, but rather with the few particular details on which we focus.BLINK displays all of the brilliance that has made Malcolm Gladwell's journalism so popular and his books such perennial bestsellers as it reveals how all of us can become better decision makers--in our homes, our offices, and in everyday life. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely enthralling and fascinating throughout.
    This is one of the most fascinating books I have read in some time. The book centers on the concept of how fast we really do make judgments, called "thin slicing", and how deeper analysis can sometimes provide less information than more. It is all about cognitive speed.

    The concept of "thin slicing" is dissected and explained. What I found fascinating, and also common sense, is that we process information on a subconscious level, "behind the door", and process so holistically that to over analyze can actually hinder our ability to make decisions.

    Several key points are applicable in business. One of the in depth studies looked at a military leader who was particularly successful. One of his more poignant observations was that a great leader needs to let the people do their work. When deciding how often to follow up "you are diverting them, now they are looking upward instead of downward. You are preventing them from resolving the situation". (Page 118) Further "allowing people to operate without having to explain themselves constantly ... enables rapid cognition" (Page 119). It seems that most micro-management actually prevents people from successful decision making.

    Another strange phenomenon occurs when we try and explain how we come to some conclusions. It seems that the more we try to analyze how we come to some conclusions the less reliable they become.

    The ability to absorb and detect minute changes in facial expressions allows us to essentially "read minds" if we pay attention. There are several chapters on how reliable we can be in predicting behavior with very little information.

    Overall, this book is so well written that I had a hard time putting it down. My only compliant, and it is a minor one, is that the book just ends. No summary or wrap up, just "boom", it's over. However, that is more a testament to how engaging the book is I suppose. Highly recommended!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Our Hidden Programming
    I bought the book before a flight after reading the adulatory comments on the front and back.

    It started well, with the premise that the subconsious forms a conclusion long before the consious mind is aware of it. I suppose it is obvious, but he makes the point well.

    From there things get a bit lost. Reading along I soon realised that I was nearing the end and the number of pages left for a profound and all-encompassing conclusion was rapidly diminishing.

    Unfortunately it never came.

    This is a very short book which promises much but delivers little. I hope that the author will follow up with something more worthy of the title. It is really just a collection of true stories, mostly about racial or sexual prejudice, which leave a bad taste in the mouth. Each story is drawn out as well, a little like the History Channel.

    I'm sure that there is a good book somewhere in this subject matter, but I can't for the life of me reconcile the reviews that this book has received (Compelling, Astonishing, Brilliant) with my experience. Maybe they only read the first chapter. Maybe I missing something.

    Since reading this book I have been looking around and found this one:

    The Genie Within: Your Subconcious Mind, how It Works And How To Use It (Paperback)

    Maybe this would be a better choice for this subject matter. ... Read more

    19. The Truth About Getting the Best From People
    by Martha Finney
    Kindle Edition (2008-02-20)
    list price: $19.99
    Asin: B0014YHKVI
    Publisher: FT Press
    Sales Rank: 3362
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    This is the eBook version of the printed book.

    Praise for The Truth About Getting the Best from People

    "Finally, a no-nonsense primer for leaders on how to build...and keep...extraordinary talent. This book should be in the briefcase of every exec in the world and should be pulled out every day for a refresher on how to be a real leader."

    Dan Walker, Former Chief Talent Officer for Apple, Inc.

    "A fun and easy-to-read blueprint on understanding and creating engagement within a team. No high falootin' business jargon here--Martha Finney tells it like it is. She helps supervisors and managers uncover the secrets of employee engagement through behavioral examples, successes at top companies, and her charming storytelling."

    Kirsten Clark, Senior Director, Organizational Capability Group, Starwood Hotels and Resorts

    "Martha succeeds in reducing one of the business world's most sought-after but amorphous concepts--employee engagement--into 49 digestible truths."

    Christopher Rice, President and CEO, BlessingWhite

    "A must-read for new supervisors and managers, with lots of essential lessons and tips."

    Tom Mathews, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Time Warner Cable

    "Easy-to-read stories and useful truths about leading. I wish I had this book when I first became a manager. I had to learn some of these truths the hard way!"

    Scott Shute, Senior Director, Xilinx

    "The book is outstanding! Very easy to read....great examples, great advice, and the corporate world would be a better place if just 50 percent of the managers would follow your advice!"

    Peg Wynn, Former SVP/HR, Adobe

    "I started reading and found myself grabbing for a highlighter. I got to the following line 'Getting the best is about building a culture of trust, connection, growth, and service.' I had to drop a box around that one."

    Tiane Mitchell Gordon, Senior Vice President, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, AOL

    "Finney has gifted us an important compendium of accessible and eminently actionable insights about employee engagement. Using 'The Truths' as a guide, generations of managers will find infinite opportunities to unleash, inspire, and leverage the inherent talent in their people. My advice? Seize it! It will enable you to dramatically affect the future of your team, your organization, and your own career."

    Jane Creech, Founder and Principal, Strategic Business Systems (Organization Consulting & Leadership Coaching), Former Sr. Director, OD, eBay

    "If you are looking for a great way to deliver Management 101, just distribute this book. It has everything that someone new to management needs to know. Savvy, and sassy, and smart, this is an easy but important read!"

    Beverly Kaye, Coauthor,Love 'Em or Lose 'Em

    "Just when I thought one truth was as good as it could get, the rest lived up to it! I loved the anecdotes and the final truth, 'You're still the Boss.'"

    Ed Martin<... ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Concise 'How To' with advice for managers at all levels
    Concise, positive, practical and insightful...all are apt adjectives for Finney's book. Having been a Fortune 1000 product manager and program manager for many years, I was forever nodding my head in agreement, yet finding plenty of meaty content. Unlike so much management prose that can only be described as repetitious drivel, the 'truths' provide solid how to advice that assumes the reader already has a brain and a conscience. Further, the organization is excellent for the time-crunched. Each 'truth' gets 2-3 pages of intense discussion, allowing for on-the-go reading. Recommended!

    As an executive coach and employee engagement expert, I help professionals motivate their teams to greater productivity. This book has been so useful to me by providing relevant information, great examples and applicable strategies to - as the title aptly states - get the best from people. I reach for GETTING THE BEST FROM PEOPLE - every single day and highly recommend it to anyone who has to manage anyone!

    Libby Gill, author of Traveling Hopefully: How to Lose Your Baggage and Jumpstart Your Life

    5-0 out of 5 stars A finely written leadership guide
    How do you get the best out of your workers, their A-Game? "The Truth About Getting the Best From People" is a guide for managers and leaders on just that. With advice on keeping their workplace positive and dedicated to the company's goals, motivation facts and myths, and general leadership advice to bring the best out of oneself above all else, "The Truth About Getting the Best From People" is a finely written leadership guide, highly recommended to community library business collections. ... Read more

    20. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
    by Tony Hsieh
    Hardcover (2010-06-07)
    list price: $23.99 -- our price: $13.25
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0446563048
    Publisher: Business Plus
    Sales Rank: 181
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    In his first book, Tony Hsieh - the hip, iconoclastic, and widely-admired CEO of Zappos, the online shoe retailer - - explains how he created a corporate culture with a commitment to service that aims to improve the lives of its employees, customers, vendors, and backers. Using anecdotes and stories from his own life experiences, and from other companies, Hsieh provides concrete ways that companies can achieve unprecedented success.He details many of the unique practices at Zappos, such as their philosophy of allocating marketing money into the customer experience, the importance of Zappos's Core Values ("Deliver WOW through Service"), and the reason why Zappos's number one priority is company culture and his belief that once you get the culture right, everything else - great customer service, long-term branding - will happen on its own. Finally, Delivering Happiness explains how Zappos employees actually apply the Core Values to improving their lives outside of work, proving that creating happiness and record results go hand-in-hand. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars YOUR PATHWAY TO CUSTOMER HAPPINESS...which is your ultimate success
    I've read about and followed Tony Hsieh for a long time...I think he is brilliant. He helped a lot of people who worked along side of him in his business to learn how to solve problems and make people happy. Whether you were close to him or you observed from afar, you had to be touched by him in some way. And now that we have his book, he is definitely making a bigger impact...and I see that as a very good thing during a recession.

    If you are wondering if you should get this book, let me say that it is a delightful book, easy to read and his stories will make you smile. However, I see a bigger reason, because if you want to succeed in business (or in life for that matter) you will need to know how to solve problems and make people happy. In fact, solving problems and delivering happiness is at the core of every successful business person.

    I've also been so inspired by Serendipitously Rich: How to Get Delightfully, Delectably, Deliciously Rich (or Anything Else You Want) in 7 Ridiculously Easy Steps, which was written by Madeleine Kay, along with a foreword by Joe Vitale. This book gives you that same delightful feeling of power and success as it moves you positively on a path of change. It teaches you how to make decisions that serendipitously bring you success. It also gives you practical steps that deliver happiness into your own life, which will make your business a better place to work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must-read for inspiration ... plus two other suggested titles for practical implementation
    There has been quite a crop of customer service related books recently, as well as the classics in the field. They each have their own angle, and I'm going to use this brief review as a chance to summarize where Delivering Happiness falls in this group as well as how to complement it with a couple of other books with different approaches that make for a very well-rounded outlook in tandem.

    As far as [[Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose:]]
    I was privileged to get a galley of this much-anticipated title. It's the story of an entrepreneur and the different paths he took (or twists in the one path, depending on how you look at it). A fascinating story, and not just because of the bezillion dollars he got selling the company to amazon. (And: how can you not like a guy who calls his warehouse WHISKY (WareHouse Inventory and Supply in Kentucky -- Page 118)? Heavy emphasis on his pursuit of happiness for himself and his staff -- very admirable and inspiring.

    If you're looking to directly transform your customer service/customer experience, you may want to add to Tony's inspiring autobiography some directly actionable books to help you turn his ideas into techniques you can put into practice right away -- and that are highly consonant with Tony's pro-employee, pro-customer, outlook -- I suggest two books --one a classic, one that's new this Spring -- that can take care of this for you.

    1. Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization
    This, like Tony Hsieh's book, is a new title this Spring. Practical, useful insights from the insiders who created high-tech startups and The Ritz-Carlton. Contains specific prescriptions for how to handle many different customer situations like they're handled at the companies profiled inside (incl: Zappos, Ritz-Carlton, Netflix, Charlie Trotter's, Lexus,), appendices with scripts you can use right away, etc.

    2. [[Customers For Life: How To Turn That One-Time Buyer Into a Lifetime Customer]]
    This is an older title, and a classic: how a texas cadillac dealer, of all people, mastered great customer service. Extremely simple, but never simplistic. Has inspired many business leaders since it was written. Many pages have usable, actionable insights. If you don't have this in your library (and in your psyche) yet, why not? You can probably grab it used for next to nothing, and the wisdom is timeless enough that you hardly need the "latest revised edition" if you need to save a few dollars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A businessman's career journey
    //Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose// is written by Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay), CEO of Inc. His story begins by endearing the reader to who Tony Hsieh is, decisions he made along his life's path, and how he got to where he is now as a self-made, successful businessman. It ends with sound, common-sense advice with business seminar-style training and education. Hsieh takes you on a step-by-step tour through his successes and failures to convey the ebb-and-flow challenges of starting and running a successful start-up company. His humorous, witty, satirical antidotes allow the reader to take a peek into the dynamics of his company's culture with actual emails, blogs and employee comments on working at Zappos. Corporate lingo is minimally used; when it does appear, Hsieh rightly defines the meanings as if you were sitting down with him enjoying a cup of coffee and just picking his brain about his experiences. He gives business strategies for thinking outside the box, trying new, yet at times risky, tactics to get the results he envisions.

    //Delivering Happiness// is one of the best business strategy books written in a long while. Hsieh inspires drive without pretense or unattainable grandeur.

    Reviewed by M. Chris Johnson

    5-0 out of 5 stars good read right on
    I read the book in 1 night! very interesting, he has some very good insight into customer happiness!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring Book
    A good portion of the beginning of the book is setting up the direction of Tony's thought process. It reminded me a lot of myself growing up (except somewhere along the line he took a right turn and I took a left). There are some brilliant moves he took to get to where he is today. I found the book very inspiring. As an eCommerce Director myself, Tony has given me inspiration to reach for the stars! ... Read more

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