Books - Health, Mind & Body - Psychology & Counseling

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    1. The Book of Awakening: Having
    2. Outliers: The Story of Success
    3. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret
    4. SoulPancake: Chew on Life's Big
    5. Straight Talk, No Chaser: How
    6. The Tipping Point: How Little
    7. Publication Manual of the American
    8. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without
    9. The Mind's Eye
    10. Drive: The Surprising Truth About
    11. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective
    12. Wreck This Journal
    13. Where Good Ideas Come From: The
    14. A New Earth: Awakening to Your
    15. What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures
    16. How To Win Friends and Influence
    17. I Do, Now What?: Secrets, Stories,
    18. The Feelings Book: The Care &
    19. The 48 Laws of Power
    20. Predictably Irrational, Revised

    1. The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have
    by Mark Nepo
    Paperback (2000-05-01)
    list price: $18.95 -- our price: $10.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1573241172
    Publisher: Conari Press
    Sales Rank: 51
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Cancer survivor, poet, and philosopher Mark Nepo has consciously allowed life to move through him. The Book of Awakening is the result of his journey of the soul and will inspire others to embark on their own.

    Nepo speaks of spirit and friendship, urging readers to stay vital and in love with this life, no matter the hardships. Encompassing many traditions and voices, Nepo's words offer insight on pain, wonder, and love. Each entry is accompanied by an exercise that will surprise and delight the reader in its mind-waking ability. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Learning who I am
    I start every morning with an inspiration from this book. I take the time I need to reflect on the daily passage and have found it to be a way of learning about the real person I am. I have been searching for inner peace for so long , this book has helped me to meditate on the important things to make my life and my inner self more complete and at peace. I love this book and want to give everyone I know a copy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Editorial Review
    There are very few books in this world which elicit the question `Why have I such an array of books on this subject when this one would suffice?' The entry of Mark Nepo's Book of Awakening into my life not only presented this question but also initiated an immediate removal of the other six inspirational books waiting in a tumbled line by my bed, making space in my overcrowded life for the simplicity of one source of wisdom.

    The Book of Awakening, which is beautifully produced by Conari Press, is in the form of a daybook, having an entry of wisdom for every day of the year. This allows us to take a dip into this vast ocean of insight every day or to dive in at random when the spirit moves us. Each page of wisdom is followed by a short and profound meditation on the topic at hand which helps put the reading into the context of one's own life, and is suggested in such a way that even the meditation-shy could be enticed to participate.

    In his introduction, Mark describes his book as `a companion and a soul-friend'. I agree that this book can act as a soul friend, which is a different relationship than is possible with most wisdom books. And that is quite a gift to give to yourself or a friend. The key reason for the possibility of this almost human relationship with the book is, I believe, to be found in the divinely human writing style of the author.

    Mark is born a poet whose eyes perceive the divine patterning within the everyday experiences of life. He has crafted the art of painting that depth so that others may begin to see into and beyond the mundane. Each new entry seems to invite a deeper friendship of the soul as Mark lays himself bare in his truly personal stories of struggle and revelation. He interweaves his own perception with gems of collected treasures from many spiritual traditions, giving us access to his own spiritual advisers in their many forms.

    --- Carmella B'Hahn, Sufi Journal, London

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Daybook with poetry, inspiration and much more!
    Mark Nepo's day book is a wonderful way to remember the importance of enjoying the details that make life a mystery and a gift. The book includes inspirational quotes, beautiful poetry, points for mediationsand heart-warming glimpes of life. Although each day's entry is meant to be savored, I gobbled them all up and now will go back to holding them close to my life one day at a time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful offering.
    To be honest, this book caught my eye first because of its beautiful cover of the Lotus. I opened the book read a passage
    and felt deeply moved almost to tears. This is a beautifully orchestrated book. Its daily reflections, passages and quotes
    are soul food for our journey. This book is definitely a work
    of love. You can feel the intent put forth and given to the reader by the author. What a blessed contribution it is. The foreward by Wayne Mueller sums this stellar gem up perfectly.
    A difinite addition to your collection, if not the only book you will ever need and keep close to your heart, spirit and soul.
    Dear Mark Nepo,
    You have written a book that has moved me so, there are
    no words to describe it. I thank you for sharing your beautiful offering. I am so happy to have come across it just in a time
    when I was so ready and open to its messages.
    Christine/Toronto, Ont. Canada

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Daily Contemplation Book
    Written by a poet and teacher, this book is organized by date, with 1-2 page offerings for each day of the year. Beautifully written, each entry begins with a quote from another poet, saint (practically every spiritual tradition is represented), or other literary work, followed by the author's musings and a set of questions to contemplate that day. Some random samples: "August 1: The Pain of Becoming - We do ourselves a great disservice by judging where we are in comparison to some final destination." "April 10: At Home in Our Skin - The spiritual life is about becoming more at home in your own skin."

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mark Nepo's Book of Awakenings
    This is a wonderful daily reader - a great way to start the day - sometimes I just pick up the book and randomly pick a reading. Truly inspiring stuff - it's like a yoga class for your mind.

    5-0 out of 5 stars timeless
    A beautiful gift for yourself or a loved one. Dated daily essays to ponder along with daily exercises to strengthen those spiritual muscles. I'm admittedly a biased huge fan of Mark's writing. I've never bought a daybook before and didn't realise that's what this was when I purchased it. If I'd known I might have missed out on a treasure. It is structured with dates but there is no year so this book can be read and re-read year after year and I'm sure each read will reveal another level of wisdom. If you're on the fence about making this purchase, I'm sure you won't be sorry if you decide yes, and there's no reason to wait until the beginning of a year to buy it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Deep, courageous, vivid, tender, honest, treasured
    In every reading I find extraordinary insights I underline and carry with me. I actually am purchasing a copy for my desk at work. It is definitely a gift giver. So many of the daily meditation books I've purchased are disappointing, or I've gotten used to something kind of nice or merely reflective. Nepo takes me to an edge I've wanted to see time after time. I leave his readings better for the experience, eager to share.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A good book for the grieving woman
    I am a life coach for widows.
    I suggest to all my clients that they purchase this amazing book. It gently, lovingly and firmly reminds us each day of who we are and that in order to emerge, we need to accept that where we are is where we are supposed to be. Even if it is messy. I am so grateful for this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Devotional Read
    I have found this book to be a beautiful daily devotional. It is rich
    with poetic philosophy and heart opening passages that take you deep
    within yourself. The guided meditations allow you to expand around the
    everyday circumstances that life graces us with, and allows you to go
    to the depths of your own heart and knowing you are better than you were before. This read is a portal into the self thatis conscious and aware of the inner workings behind every perceived problem and lifts you to the higher ground of expansion. It is a delight to read it daily and lift myself out of limiting beliefs into other perspectives that free me of conditioned responses. ... Read more

    2. 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

    3. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts
    by Gary Chapman
    list price: $14.99 -- our price: $5.91
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0802473156
    Publisher: Northfield Publishing
    Sales Rank: 102
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Marriage should be based on love, right? But does it seem as though you and your spouse are speaking two different languages? New York Times bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman guides couples in identifying, understanding, and speaking their spouse’s primary love language—quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch.

    By learning the five love languages, you and your spouse will discover your unique love languages and learn practical steps in truly loving each other. Chapters are categorized by love language for easy reference, and each one ends with specific, simple steps to express a specific language to your spouse and guide your marriage in the right direction. A newly designed love languages assessment will help you understand and strengthen your relationship. You can build a lasting, loving marriage together.

    Gary Chapman hosts a nationally syndicated daily radio program called A Love Language Minute that can be heard on more than 150 radio stations as well as the weekly syndicated program Building Relationships with Gary Chapman, which can both be heard on

    The Five Love Languages is a consistent new York Times bestseller - with over 5 million copies sold and translated into 38 languages.  This book is a sales phenomenon, with each year outselling the prior for 16 years running!

    Includes a promotional code to gain exclusive online access to the new comprehensive love languages assessment.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Where's The Needle On *Your* Love Tank?, October 7, 2003
    How's your relationship with your mate? Your children? Your parents? Your siblings? It may be a matter of the state of the "love tank".

    Author Gary Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate believes everyone has a love tank, and that tank is filled by different love languages. These five languages are Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Quality of Time, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

    Often, we tend to give love in the languages we are most fluent in, which usually ends up being the languages that fill up our love tank. This would be why a husband who does yard work, dishes, car maintenance, etc. (Acts of Service) is floored when his wife says "You never show me you love me. You never cuddle with me, or caress my hair, or make the first move for sex." (Physical Touch). Or, "Why don't you spend time with me? Why do you work so much?" (Quality Time). And, "Why don't you buy me flowers? Why don't you ever get me cards or balloons...just because?" (Gifts) Or "You never tell me what I mean to you. Why don't you ever share with me what I mean to you, or what my good qualities are?" (Words of Affirmation) But, if her language is primarily Acts of Service, she'll feel so loved and honored because her husband does so many things for her, and thus feels "full" in her love tank.

    This may not sound like a big deal, but considering the divorce rate is 50% (as one relationship instance), and so many seem to be unhappy with their primary relationships, the concept of love languages may very well be a signficant factor in understanding self and others, and in relationship growth. Perhaps relationships get rocky or arrive at an impasse because individuals are speaking a different love language than what fills up the "love tank" of the object of their affection...and a result, the recipient doesn't feel loved. It's not that they feel empty and unfufilled because love isn't being given, but because the language "spoken" is not something that registers to the recipient as a form of love.

    Chapman further theorizes that we usually have 2 main love languages that fill up our tank. He also says that if a person has a hard time identifying their main love languages, they've either been on empty for so long and are out of touch with their needs, or they have been so filled up by their spouse, that all 5 languages tend to speak to them equally.

    A story in the book that illustrates the love tank theory is the "burnt toast syndrome". A woman was sick in bed. Her husband would always bring her burnt toast to her when she was ailing. She was so hurt and offended by this repeated insensitivity and ignorance, that she finally burst into tears one day, and asked him why he did that...and didn't he care? She was floored to hear him say "I'm sorry honey. I had no idea. Burnt toast is my favorite, and I gave you what I would consider my favorite breakfast...burnt toast."

    Chapman writes: "When your spouse's emotional love tank is full and he feels secure in your love, the whole world looks right and your spouse will move out to reach his highest potential in life. But when the love tank is empty and he feels used but not loved, the whole world looks dark and he will likely never reach his potential for good in the world."

    I recommend this book highly. It could very well be a relationship saver!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Learning to Speak, December 23, 2010
    The main idea behind this book is that just as people have unique personality preferences, we all have unique preferences for what we find satisfying and motivating when it comes to love. Your love language is the way that you most feel loved and cared for. The relationship expert behind the book arranges the book into the five love languages, and provides quizzes to help you determine which language you are:

    - Words of Affirmation:
    If this is your love language, you feel most cared for when your partner is open and expressive in telling you how wonderful they think you are, how much they appreciate you, etc. Basically, they find ways to remind you that their world is a better place because you are in it.

    - Acts of Service:
    If your partner offering to watch the kids so you can go to the gym (or relieving you of some other task) gets your heart going, then this is your love language.

    - Affection:
    This love language is just as it sounds. A warm hug, a kiss, snuggling, and sexual intimacy make you feel most loved when this is your love language. Touch is very important to you.

    - Quality Time:
    This love language is about being together with your partner, fully present and engaged in the activity at hand, no matter how trivial.

    - Gifts:
    The final love language is centered on the idea that your partner taking the time to think of you and give you a gift, no matter how small, is what makes you feel loved and appreciated.

    The problem is most people love how they want to be loved, and that doesn't tend to align with how their partner wants to be loved. So, you have to learn to speak your partner's love language. The author also believes that focusing intently on speaking the love languages will rekindle relationships where people don't even seem to like each other anymore.

    I find it challenging each day to put my own needs aside and focus on speaking my partner's love language, especially when competing priorities (work, kids, etc.) get in the way. This takes A LOT of emotional intelligence, and a girlfriend suggested a GREAT book that has helped me with it Emotional Intelligence 2.0

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Five Love Languages - by Gary Chapman, December 13, 1999
    The author reveals, through 25 years of counseling, that he has determined people communicate love in five basic ways.They are Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touch and Giving Gifts. For example, if my primary love language is Quality Time, then I will show my love to others by spending quality time with them. If I don't receive that in return, my love tank will be empty. The author stresses the importance of knowing your loved one's love language so that you can communicate love to that person in a way in which he/she feels love, so that their love tank can be continually replenished. If my spous's love language is acts of service and he is always doing things for me to communicate his love, but I receive love through the language of quality time, I will not receive his acts of service as communicating love and therefore my love tank will be dry. I in return, must communicate my love to him through acts of service in order to fill his love tank. An empty love tank causes relationships to deteriorate.This book was excellent for teaching us to recognize the way in which our loved ones receive and feel loved.

    5-0 out of 5 stars BEST GIFT I HAVE EVER RECEIVED, CHANGED MY ENTIRE LIFE, October 4, 1999
    It is so simple and easy to understand. After I read it, I couldn't understand why I hadn't realized these concepts before. I wish I could give a copy of this book to every man, woman, and child. What a wonderful world we would have if we all understood the "Five Love Languages" and spoke them to all we meet everyday!! The family is a great place to start. My family and I regularly ask eachother "How full is the 'love tank?'". When things are tough at school, work or life in general, we now ask eachother freely "What can I do to make your love tank full?" Sometimes only the passing of time will cure a family problem (example: problems at work), but our family's committment to express to eachother the variety of dialects between quality time, words of affirmation, and physical touch (which seem to be the most needed of the 5 languages in our particular household when outside problems occur) can make the hardest of times go by so much easier and faster. How I wish everyone would read this book!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Saved my marriage, January 12, 2004
    This book is absolutely incredible. Having serious marital problems, I was desperate for any kind of help. I was about to turn to counseling when I heard about this book. I decided to buy it so that my husband and I could read it together.

    Not expecting too much, one lazy morning I suggested to my husband that we lay in bed and begin reading this book out loud to eachother. We read 120 pages that morning! We could not put it down! Both of us shed a lot of tears that morning, this book really hit home.

    That morning when we woke up, everything seemed hopeless for us. After reading this book, we had hope that our problems can be resolved. Our attitude toward eachother has greatly changed since we read this book.

    Basically this book explains that people feel loved in different ways. For example, my love language is "quality time" and my husband's love language is "personal touch." Without quality time with my husband, I feel unloved... my husband feels unloved when we have a lack of physical contact. Our love languages are so different... before reading this book, I just thought that my husband wanted more sex for selfish reasons. When in reality, personal contact is what he needs to feel loved. Before reading this book, my husband hated when I nagged about spending time together.. but now he realizes that spending time with me is the best way to tell me that he loves me.

    Dr. Chapman says in this book that LOVE IS A CHOICE. Find your partner's love language style, then choose to show love to your partner in that way (it's not about what YOU need to feel loved, it's about what YOUR PARTNER needs). I thought that spending quality time with my spouse was the way I can show him I love him. In reality, that's MY love language, not HIS.

    Even if your partner does not want to read this book with you, there are ways you can begin to repair your marriage on your own, and before you know it, your partner will begin to reciprocate.

    This book is INCREDIBLE. I plan to pass it around my friends and family. Please invest the $12 and read this book, your marriage will never be the same again!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Five Languages Not Just for Couples, February 13, 2000
    What I love about this book is that it is a resource that helps me with people in my life. The title mentions "mate," yet the book gives insight to how all of us speak different love "languages." It doesn't necessarily mean within a romantic relationship. Some people are more inclined to give little gifts when showing someone they care. These are people who usually "expect" little gifts to show them how much they are cared about. The same goes for physically affectionate people, people who believe words said are most important, and so on. This is a great gift book for those going into relationships, those suffering from a recent relationship ending, as well as those who are in a present relationship. It's for women and men equally. Read it and find out what language you speak and therefore desire. You'll probably realize why roses aren't always the answer!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Learn to Speak Your Partner's Love Language, February 9, 2004
    Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love. ~Gary Chapman

    It is amazing how you will just have learned a lesson and then read it in a book, however, there are many lessons you don't want to learn five years from now. This book is filled with ideas on how you can immediately transform your relationship from a cold grave to a peaceful island resort. Perhaps you want to change your life into an amazing adventure or you want to calm the storms.

    Gary Chapman presents five love languages. One of these languages may be your primary love language, but he takes it further and explores the dialects of love. I think that many of us want all five languages, but there are various ways each can be expressed.

    Gary explains the five languages in detail and finally you will understand why some people don't respond to your gifts and others go wild with happy kitten joy. When you meet someone who shares your primary language it can feel like you have entered a magical country where everyone is speaking your language.

    For some individuals, "words of encouragement" will be much higher on their list than "the show of love through gifts" or "acts of service."

    I had trouble deciding which language was my favorite, but I know I get a bit happy when I receive gifts. However, I noticed that I never complain about not receiving gifts. Gary actually made it easier to figure out when he started to talk about what you complain about most. I normally say: "You are not listening to me."

    While I enjoy gifts, I'm never demanding in this area. So then I considered "Quality Time." Bingo, I was very concerned about "Quality Conversation." There is definitely "bliss" in "sympathetic dialogue." This is actually a rare thing indeed. When you talk to people, most of the time they are more worried about what they are going to say next and when you find someone who actually listens to what you are saying and responds in a way that makes you feel understood, that is bliss.

    So, I was very happy to have discovered my primary love language and I also figured out why people in my life don't always respond to gifts in the way I think they would. Some do and they will be getting more boxes of homemade cookies, for sure. ;)

    Gary does bring out various aspects of love that make you realize that love is not just a happy feeling of infatuation. It was interesting to read about how long the initial bliss stage lasts in most relationships and then to read about the decline and divorce rates for first, second and third marriages.

    There are examples in this book that present great hope for marriages that have grown cold or are on the rocks. Even one partner can read this book and change their relationship.

    There is a study guide at the end of the book and the questions can be used at home or in a class setting.

    "The Five Love Languages" is an essential book for marriage counselors, couples and anyone who wants to figure out how their partner responds to various forms of love.

    ~The Rebecca Review

    5-0 out of 5 stars Can You Say "I Love You" So Your Partner Really Hears You?, January 3, 1999
    Dr. Gary Chapman has provided engaged and married couples with a wonderfully useful and clear way of discovering and communicating with each other about their most important needs. In fact, Dr. Chapman is helping us realize the ways in which we experience love differently from person to person. You may feel great love towards your partner but be expressing it in a way he or she can't readily experience because their "Love Language" is not the same. For example, I may buy wonderful gifts for my wife to show how much I cherish her--the Love Language of Gift Giving-- and expect her to be deeply grateful. But it may be that it would mean far more to her if I would simply take out the garbage since her love language is "Acts of service". If you want to experience quick improvement in your ability to understand and fulfill needs in your relationship, read The Five Love Languages. In this book, Dr. Chapman, who has effectively counseled couples for many years, offers thorough descriptions of each love language and how to successfully share them for a love-rich partnership. I use this book as a must-read in counseling couples and at my Love in Action marriage retreats, always with positive response. Enjoy!

    2-0 out of 5 stars A good theory gone bad, April 14, 2006
    I was drawn to this book because the foundation of Dr. Chapman's Five Languages is very simple yet profoundly important. But that being said, this foundation is also little more than common sense. It doesn't take a psychology degree to know that we each have our own values and priorities, and different personal triggers for happiness. My hope for this book was that it would build on my and my husband's Average Jane/Joe common sense and help us understand and practice it more deeply after 10 years of marriage. Unfortunately, what starts off as a great vehicle never quite surpasses 20 miles an hour. This book did a good job of reminding me to recognize and honor differences, but it didn't teach me anything new.

    The paragraph above would have prompted me to give this book 3 stars ("It was OK"). But the two paragraphs below tempted me to give it 1 star ("Hated it"). In the end I'm compromising at 2 stars. There are two things about this book that really bothered me.

    One: Dr. Chapman seems to live in Disneyland. The contrived Hallmark card image on the book's cover is a good indication that its contents are idealistic rather than realistic. He believes that we can get over years of troubles and pain through exercises that include watching ducks on a lake together, or saying, "Thanks in advance for mowing the lawn," instead of "I want you to mow the lawn." Is there wisdom to his suggestions? Most certainly. Do they fall short in the real world? Most certainly. One after another, he introduces us to couples who have come to him after decades of misery and threats of divorce, and within just a few months they're walking off into the sunset (presumably the one on the cover) to live Happily Ever After without cracking a sweat. The more of these couples I read about, the more I felt like I was watching "The Cosby Show" where life's problems are easily solved and everyone plays their part effortlessly because the writer scripted it that way. Dr. Chapman consistently sidesteps the real world where humans are complex and life is inevitably complicated.

    Two: At nearly the end of the book I became outright enraged, prompting me to write this, my first ever Amazon review. A woman comes to Dr. Chapman and tells him that her husband dismisses her, belittles and insults her, and tells her outright that he hates her. Dr. Chapman asks what her husband's primary language is, and she says it's Physical Touch. He then advises her to have sex with her husband. She protests, saying that sex makes her feel degraded and used as an object because she knows she isn't respected or cared for as a human being. Dr. Chapman persists, telling her (quotes shortened but not taken out of context), "Your response is normal. That's why loving someone who doesn't love you is unnatural and difficult. You need to rely on your faith in God to do this. Read Jesus' sermon on loving your enemies and then ask God to help you practice the teachings of Jesus." The woman again protests, saying it would be hypocritical of her to sleep with a man who hates her and whom she may well hate in return. Dr. Chapman persists again, saying, "If you claim to have feelings you don't have, that's hypocritical. But if you express an act that is designed for the other person's pleasure, it's simply a choice. Your action isn't born of emotional bonding, it's born of doing something for his benefit. That's what Jesus meant." WHAT?! Jesus wants women to pleasure men for their benefit without regard to emotional bonding?! I'm sorry, I thought that Jesus taught us the opposite. From there, Dr. Chapman tells her that if she gives her husband sex six times in the next month, chances are he'll give her the Thursday evening Scrabble game she wants. I could hardly absorb this justification as I was reading. Dr. Chapman's end conclusion is that his plan is a "miracle" anyone of us can practice in our own marriage.

    For many little reasons, and for the one huge reason of the paragraph above, I am dumbfounded that this book has averaged a 5 star rating from more than 300 readers. I find myself deeply dismayed that people are incorporating into their belief systems advice which is so unrealistic, oversimplified, and even outright degrading at times.

    Again, the foundation of this book is a good one, and it's good to be reminded that we need to see and care about others instead of only ourselves. If only Dr. Chapman would build on this positive in a realistic and respectful way.

    5-0 out of 5 stars For a love that lasts a lifetime!, March 22, 2002
    I brought this book because my boyfriend and I were going through some major troubles. It wasn't that we didn't love each other; we just weren't communicating the love we had for one another.

    I sat down and read this book and by the time I got to page 51, I had already cried and had realized that my view of love was one sided at best. The funny thing is I would shower my boyfriend with flowers and gifts and sentimental trinkets and it never seemed to faze him. I couldn't understand why until I read this book, and then I realized that I wasn't loving him, but instead trying to show him how to love me.

    Women and men are different and so it only stands to reason that their concept of love would be different. And what I found out was not that he didn't love me...but that wasn't doing a good job at loving him. Thinking back on all the pain we went through. It makes me wonder how many relationships break up not because they don't love one another, but because they can't communicate that love effectively to their mate.

    How many times have we tried to get our needs and wants met and the only words that come out are how they haven't done this or they aren't doing that instead of just saying I really miss when you used to do this because it made me feel such & such. When frustrated we often speak out of anger instead of love. This book teaches you how to effectively communicate the love you have for a person in a manner in which they can not only understand it, but also reap the rewards from being completely loved.

    I recommend this book for anyone who believes that love is worth making sacrifices and to anyone who believes that love is worth the effort. If you haven't figured out by now that things worth having are things worth working and fighting for then you will never have a prosperous relationship.

    This book gives you the opportunity to take a bad situation and turn it into a situation in which your relationship can flourish and nurture not only the two of you as a couple but also you as an individual. ... Read more

    4. SoulPancake: Chew on Life's Big Questions
    by Rainn Wilson, Devon Gundry, Golriz Lucina, Shabnam Mogharabi
    list price: $19.99 -- our price: $13.59
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1401310338
    Publisher: Hyperion
    Sales Rank: 146
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review


    Somewhere over the course of history, chewing on Life's Big Questions lost its cool factor. Fortunately for mankind, Rainn Wilson (best known for playing Dwight Schrute on NBC's The Office) and a bunch of his friends are on a mission to change that.

    Based on the wildly successful website, this book urges you to explore philosophy, creativity, spirituality, love, truth, science, and so much more. With bold questions, intriguing challenges, and mind-bending art, Soul Pancake creates a space for you to stimulate your brain stem, spark your soul, and figure out what it means to be human..


    + A revealing Introduction by Rainn Wilson

    + 180 Life's Big Questions (the ones that gnaw at your innards)

    + Visual masterpieces from 90+ artists

    + Unusual activities that launch you into the world

    + Exclusive commentary from the fascinating minds of: Amy Sedaris, David Lynch, Heather Armstrong, Dr. Drew, Jesse Dylan, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Harold Ramis, Josh Ritter, and Saul Williams.

    CAUTION: To all the world's thinkers, artists, poets, and misfits: SoulPancake is a movement to chew on Life's Big Questions. Side effects may include a sudden change in the way you think about what it means to be human. Don't say we didn't warn you.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars brilliant, November 5, 2010
    Be careful when you pick this book up-it will suck you in. Thought provoking, fascinating and a treat for your eyes. So much to love and worth every cent. I plan on purchasing it for my friends because I want to experience it with others as well.

    Exquisitely written and designed. Easy to read and navigate & a perfect conversation starter. I can use this book introspectively with a cup of tea or as a social prompt with guests.

    A must have-absolutely.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Creative and Conscious!, November 5, 2010
    I've been a fan of for some time now and absolutely thrilled to see they wrote a book! Not only does it get you thinking about "Life's Big Questions" but it entertains your visual eye with incredible artwork throughout each page. This book is thought provoking, intelligent, funny and a visual stand out!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Unique take on creativity and spirituality, November 7, 2010
    This book does a great job of exploring spirituality through creativity by blending edgy graphics with thought provoking questions. It is easily accessible to a wide group of people. Engaging read which facilitates "chewing on life's big questions" and leaves you hungry for more!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mind Feast, November 6, 2010
    In this book spiritual, philosophical and psychological ingredients are mixed with arts and humour to create a delicious mind feast which has a natural transforming power on one's being. It is fun and delightfully easy to read and yet the insight it generates is deep and meaningful. I love to share the important and thought provoking questions raised in this book with people at various gatherings and I find the discussions generated by these questions most interesting and very enlightening.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book, November 5, 2010
    Soul Pancake is wonderful! Very thought provoking. Good questions without being righteous.
    A 5 star rating for sure.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Soul Pancake makes me happy, November 5, 2010
    If you've visited the Soul Pancake website, you know how fun, interactive, creative and thought provoking all the content there is! This book is such a great physical version for your coffee table and live interactions. I absolutely love all the beautiful artwork and written pieces by contributing artists and writers as well. This is a GREAT gift for your friends...and for yourself :)

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOVE it!!, November 5, 2010
    This book is like nothing I have ever seen. The art is ridiculous! The topics so thought provoking and relevant to our everyday lives. There is much that I can even share and discuss with my kiddies. I definitely recommend it. The holidays are coming, buy 10!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, November 6, 2010
    As a long time follower of, really appreciate the same honest curious approach to "life big questions". This is a FANTASTIC gift to all ages, my middle school-er dove in with a ferocious appetite. Nice to see conversations between teens changing to global thinkers, and encouraging intelligent civil debates. Thanks Soul Pancake Team!

    5-0 out of 5 stars I purchased the book with an open mind, December 22, 2010
    First off, I never knew who Rainn Wilson was before this book. One night I was watching late night tv and I saw this man promoting a book. I didn't think much of it. Out of curiousity, I researched the book and ended up purchasing it. It is phenomenal!!! I am 16 years old and I find this book to be inspiring, creative, empowering, and quirky. LOVE IT!!! The topics and quotes are amazing. I bought this for my best friend <3 I would recommend getting this book. To avoid dissapointment, open the book with an objective opinion.. thats what I did.

    4-0 out of 5 stars SoulPancake, December 13, 2010
    Interesting info, well researched. I bought this for my teenage son who is a huge "The Office" fan, but I read it cover to cover. ... Read more

    5. Straight Talk, No Chaser: How to Find, Keep, and Understand a Man
    by Steve Harvey
    list price: $24.99 -- our price: $13.43
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0061728993
    Publisher: Amistad
    Sales Rank: 140
    Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    In the instant number one New York Times bestseller Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Steve Harvey gave millions of women around the globe insight into what men really think about love, intimacy, and commitment. In his new book he zeros in on what motivates men and provides tips on how women can use that knowledge to get more of what they need out of their relationships, whether it's more help around the house, more of the right kind of attention in the bedroom, more money in the joint bank account, or more truth when it comes to the hard questions, such as: Are you committed to building a future together? Does my success intimidate you? Have you cheated on me?

    In Straight Talk, No Chaser: How to Find, Keep, and Understand a Man, Steve Harvey shares information on:

    How to Get the Truth Out of Your Man
    Tired of answers that are deceptive? Harvey lays out a three-tier, CIA-style of questioning that will leave your man no choice but to cut to the chase and deliver the truth.

    Dating Tips, Decade by Decade
    Whether you're in your twenties and just starting to date seriously, in your thirties and feeling the tick of the biological clock, or in your forties and beyond, Steve provides insight into what a man, in each decade of his life, is looking for in a mate.

    How to Minimize Nagging and Maximize Harmony at Home
    He said he'd cut the lawn on Saturday, and you may have been within reason to think that that meant Saturday before ten in the evening, but exploding at him is only going to ruin the mood for everyone, which means no romance. Steve shows you how to talk to your man in a way that moves him to action and keeps the peace.

    And there's much more, including Steve's candid answers to questions you've always wanted to ask men.

    Drawing on a lifetime of experience and the feedback women have shared with him in reaction to Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Harvey offers wisdom on a wealth of topics relevant to both sexes today. He also gets more personal, sharing anecdotes from his own family history. Always direct, often funny, and incredibly perceptive, media personality, comedian, philanthropist, and (finally) happily married husband, Steve Harvey proves once again that he is the king of relationships.

    ... Read more


    4-0 out of 5 stars Harvey is Open, Revealing, and Helpful to All Who Choose to LISTEN - Four Stars, December 10, 2010

    Comedian and media star Steve Harvey has now penned his second best seller. In this book he is directing his advice to women, but I believe that men will benefit from this book just as much. The objective is to give women an informed understanding of men, and only a man could write such a book. There is no question that he is coming at relationships from a different point of view based on having living in his own intense relationships.

    He knows what works and what doesn't, and he has spent considerable time trying to figure out how a man is hardwired in his brain differently than a woman. Most of us are dealing with the behavior resulting from how we think. Harvey is suggesting that we deal with the thinking itself.

    A key thought that he has developed is that everything we as men do is filtered through our title, which simply means who we are. The next question is how we get that title, which means what we do for a living. The final question becomes what regard we are held in by our fellow human beings. He is very honest in saying that by this we mean what is the compensation we receive.

    Harvey believes that unless we come to terms with these three questions prior to marriage, we probably can't be successfully married and therein lies the enormous divorce rate we witness in our society. Men are marrying prior to having an understanding of who they are. Without that self knowledge the relationship is doomed before it even gets started.

    I believe that Harvey is touching new ground in this book, and certainly has become his own person. In the book he develops the idea that we as men have to learn how to be men before we can be anything to anyone else, who chooses to love us. What's even more important is that we certainly must do this before we can love them back.

    We probably all realize by now that women prefer flowers, and yet men wish to buy them plants that will live for years. It's the same concept with weddings. Women dream about weddings, and yet have any of us ever met a man who dreams about his wedding day? Strange isn't it?

    The author goes through the ages of a man's life and what a man has to figure out during each decade of his life. What Harvey has to say is fascinating:

    The 20's
    You must make a decision to figure out your life, what do you want to do, what is your work? While we are figuring out our work, a woman is concerned with her biological clock, while for us it's the financial clock.

    The 30's
    The game is getting old. We are looking for a woman with the least amount of drama. Can she add support to our lives, is she loyal, and will she bring fun to relationship as well?

    The 40's
    Nothing can be as good as coming home to a family of people who threw their arms around you. A man needs somebody he can talk to, who can give you comfort, and companionship.

    The 50's
    It's time to solidify your legacy, as well as to realize that your body is starting to betray you.


    As men we are hunters, and we show our love for a woman by doing three things:

    1) We PROVIDE for her

    2) We PROTECT her

    3) We PROFESS our love for her

    I think we as readers will learn a great deal from this book. There is much wisdom in what Harvey has to teach us. Whether it's regarding the conflict of he won't commit, while she won't leave, or how to claim the blessing of the breakup, there is much to gain. Just remember not to buy into the fairy tale, and thank you for reading this review.

    Richard C. Stoyeck

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good Advice for Young Women, December 7, 2010
    First, let me say that I am not a fan of Steve Harvey. I've always thought he was a bit pompous and "me" centered and that hasn't changed after reading his book. I still think he's a tad arrogant to be writing relationship books; I ordered this book only because it was available briefly for free on Kindle pre-order. Who made him an expert?

    That said, what makes him an expert is that he's a MAN. He knows what men are like and he's honest with women about what men really think and how they really behave when we're not around. I think every young woman should read the section where he delineates what men are looking for in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. As a 61 y/o woman who has been happily married for 15 years to a good yet flawed man, I think Mr. Harvey gives sound advice, whether women want to hear what he's saying or not.

    What makes me choke on giving 5 stars is that I do not like being placed inside a category (ie. the assumption that all women think or act the same). For instance, his first book's title: Act Like a Lady but Think Like a Man. As a woman, I think like I think; I do not think like either a man or a woman and resent the inference that we are all cookie-cutter copies of one another. As a young woman, I thought like a ditz and now, as a 61 y/o woman working on her doctoral program in Psychology, I use critical thinking and hopefully think like a scholar.

    Also, not all women are so desperate that they are in a hurry to get married. Some women prize an education and desire to have a career while they are still young enough to enjoy its rewards just as much as a man does. No woman should ever "settle" for less than what she wants in a man just to alleviate her loneliness. A woman, like a man, should learn to be at peace with herself and with her God before she attempts to attach herself to a man.

    If you can get past the sexism and the man's obvious admiration for himself, this book has good advice for any woman who wants to understand men better.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good information, December 18, 2010
    I have to give Steve Harvey credit for his attempts to make women aware of how men think and how we can prevent ourselves from making the same mistakes over and over again. Much of the book is common sense and it's really nothing new that hasn't been said before. Makes a good read however and I enjoyed this book as much as I did the first book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What a great read !!, December 14, 2010
    I started reading this book and knew from the first few chapters this was going to be a great read !
    I found it very insightful & useful in my own relationship. Sometimes its better to hear from a man, how they operate. This book definitely helps to understand them & their thought process.
    I would recommend this to any lady wanting an inside view to the mans brain & how he feels about relationships. Thanks Steve !!!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book for Women Already in Relationships, December 12, 2010
    I really enjoyed Steve Harvey's first book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment. I've read a lot of relationship books and it was the first one that I had read that really focused on a man's point of view and basically told women when it was time to walk away and how to recognize whether a man is a good man or not, not yet ready to commit or never will commit, etc. I'm giving this book four stars because it lives up to it's title - it's straight talk. He's telling women things they might not want to hear. I'm not giving it 5 stars because I got bored with his personal anecdotes pretty quickly and because I know some men who are not anything like the men Harvey describes. I don't doubt that his analysis is accurate for most men, though.

    This book is a good follow-up for women who were left with a lot of questions after reading Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. So, I would first suggest reading that book and then reading this one. As a single woman in my 20's I didn't find this book as helpful as the first - don't get me wrong. There was a lot of good information, but it seemed to aimed more at women trying to keep/satisfy/or get along better with their man. For single gals, a book on how to find a man and cultivate the relationship early on would be better. I mean, I'm dating men in their 20's and early 30's and a lot of the advice seemed tailored toward more seasoned daters.

    Steve's advice for women looking for a man is basically to look your best all of the time, and to hold out on the bedroom for 90 days until you get to know him better - which requires being inquisitive and asking detailed questions. This book is chock full of great tidbits for women already in a relationship, living with a man, and married to help you get along with your man better. That's the other reason that I give this book 4 starts. I'm glad I purchased it on my Kindle, because I'll definitely go back and re-read it once I meet someone new.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Second Recipe for Loneliness, December 26, 2010

    Recipe for Loneliness Number Two
    The simplistic and formulaic notion that men want different things than women, and that Love is simply
    figuring out those two sets of criteria and applying them, is a recipe for loneliness and relationship failure.
    The central concepts of Harvey's relationship opus fail to touch the mythical and truthful core of Love--the melting of Self and Other.
    Harvey doesn't even go in that room.
    Instead he leaves men and women with lists of ways to get along with the Other. No pass;not Love. More like highly-refined roommatehood.
    Friends with privileges.
    A rehash of John Gray's, Men are from Mars...and a rehash of Harvey's first book, this self-help book in neither about the Self nor helpful.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Common Sense, December 12, 2010
    Ladies, why buy a book to try and figure out men. Don't you think there is more time to spend on your future, you self-esteem, etc? You can take this guys advice and have low self-esteem and issues and things will always be the same. Yes he is a man, but he categorizes way too much. Not every woman is the way he describes and neither is every man.

    I never liked Steve Harvey either, he is very stuck on himself and is making money off of telling women something that should be common knowledge. Notice how no men are running out to buy books to figure us out? Straight talk, no chaser: Pay attention to what men say and do and have a level head and you will never go wrong. Do not stick around for bs, give 2 chances and that is it.

    He is going to make a monopoly off of desperation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Straight Talk for Men and Women also in..., December 7, 2010
    Steve Harvey has a new book about men, why they cheat and why they commit. There are so many new books by Black authors this fall! Great. Re: Harvey's book, yes, men do cheat, and even after they commit, they might still cheat. And yes, sometimes they lie to get what they want :-). So women need to maintain themselves amidst it all--their health and their sanity. There is more "straight talk" in the book Living Well, Despite Catching Hell: The Black Woman's Guide to Health, Sex and Happiness. In that book, the Happiness section addresses relationships and gives the younger set of women in a not-so-committed relationship a four-step approach to healthier lives; they are "Close Your Legs, Be Well Read, Tend that Body and Sweat that Head." Hello! Now that's some "straight talk!" As women, we love our men, and the Sex section encourages women to overcome some long-held hang-ups to enjoy intimate relations. But we have to also deal straight up re: health issues, so it's important to "Trust, but Verify!" Congrats on the new book. Between Straight Talk and Living Well, the beauty and barber shops will be busy with conversation in 2011.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Quicker delivery, December 7, 2010
    I thought I would receive this book on it's release date. Otherwise I would have gotten it at a book store. Very disappointed. ... Read more

    6. 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

    7. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition
    list price: $28.95 -- our price: $23.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1433805618
    Publisher: American Psychological Association (APA)
    Sales Rank: 131
    Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association" is the style manual of choice for writers, editors, students, and educators in the social and behavioral sciences. It provides invaluable guidance on all aspects of the writing process, from the ethics of authorship to the word choice that best reduces bias in language. Well-known for its authoritative and easy-to-use reference and citation system, the Publication Manual also offers guidance on choosing the headings, tables, figures, and tone that will result in strong, simple, and elegant scientific communication. The sixth edition offers new and expanded instruction on publication ethics, statistics, journal article reporting standards, electronic reference formats, and the construction of tables and figures. The sixth edition has been revised and updated to include: new ethics guidance on such topics as determining authorship and terms of collaboration, duplicate publication, plagiarism and self-plagiarism, disguising of participants, validity of instrumentation, and making data available to others for verification; new journal article reporting standards to help readers report empirical research with clarity and precision; simplified APA heading style to make it more conducive to electronic publication; updated guidelines for reducing bias in language to reflect current practices and preferences, including a new section on presenting historical language that is inappropriate by present standards; new guidelines for reporting inferential statistics and a significantly revised table of statistical abbreviations; and, new instruction on using supplemental files containing lengthy data sets and other media. This book includes significantly expanded content on the electronic presentation of data to help readers understand the purpose of each kind of display and choose the best match for communicating the results of the investigation, with new examples for a variety of data displays, including electro physiological and biological data. It offers consolidated information on all aspects of reference citations, with an expanded discussion of electronic sources emphasizing the role of the digital object identifier (DOI) as a reliable way to locate information. It features expanded discussion of the publication process, including the function and process of peer review. It contains a discussion of ethical, legal, and policy requirements in publication; and guidelines on working with the publisher while the article is in press. Key to this edition of the Publication Manual is an updated and expanded Web presence. Look up additional supplemental material keyed to this book. This book lets you test your knowledge of APA Style with a free tutorial on style basics. It lets you learn about the changes in the sixth edition with a free tutorial reviewing key revisions. Sign up for an on-line course to enrich and enhance your understanding of APA Style. Read the APA Style blog and share your comments on writing and referencing. Consult frequently asked questions to sharpen your understanding of APA Style. This title lets you examine additional resources on such topics as ethics, statistics, and writing. It lets you familiarize yourself with submission standards for APA books and journals. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars BEWARE! Many pages of corrections have been issued!, October 7, 2009
    I just received my copy. As a psychology professor, this text is required for my bookshelf--the same is true for students in this field. However, I was upset to learn that APA has already issued 7 typewritten pages of corrections to this manual, and they will not exchange the first printing for a newer print. This is a resource that you will use for years! Wait to purchase until the kinks have been ironed out and they are on a second or third printing of the manual! I am also disappointed that they do not clearly delineate the changes from the 5th edition. It looks to me that there are few important changes (2 spaces between sentences, etc.). Save your money for at least a few more months!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Greatly Disappointed, October 14, 2009
    I was very irritated to find that many errors existed in the 6th edition. I also contacted APA regarding the errors. They are not going to exchange the book for a corrected edition. They made several lame excuses for the errors and for not replacing it. My second email to APA pointedly expressed my displeasure with their stance - copied below...

    To have grammar and writing errors in a book about grammar and writing is shameful. How much does your organization really care about the reputation it is presenting? Do you have editors reviewing your works before publication? Are your editors paying attention to their work? If you cannot hold yourself to the standards you have set out in your own publication, then your publications should not exist!

    If you need this book, demand a corrected reprinting! If you are a university, you also demand a corrected reprint. This organization should not set standards they are not going to comply with. I give them an "F"

    1-0 out of 5 stars Do Not Buy, Join the Boycott!, October 20, 2009
    Do not buy the first printing of the APA manual, 6th edition under any circumstances. There are errors on eighty (80) of its pages. How outrageous for a manual on writing style! As of 10/20/09, APA refuses to exchange their error full copies with corrected second printings. Despite the fact that the list of errors goes on for 7 pages, the Editorial Director of APA books stated "there are no errors that impede using the manual with full confidence." Many of the errors are in the sample papers -- a part of the manual so many of us use as an important reference. The abuse of power that APA is wielding over students required to purchase this book for classes, along with graduate students and professors who must write in this style for journals is alarming. APA goes on to state that with its 80 pages of errors in this edition that "it is within my control, as a true expert who has been intimately involved with each stage of this project, to verify for you without hesitation that the first printing is correct, accurate, and fully functional." As a Professor, when I grade papers, I say to my students that 3 APA errors will get them docked 1/2 a letter grade. If I were to grade this APA manual, it would not only get an F, there aren't enough letters in the alphabet to go low enough for the number of errors it contains. Meanwhile, APA is happy to take everyone's money for the book they know we all have to purchase in so many fields of study.

    A formal boycott of this edition is underway on Facebook until APA agrees to replace the copies of the first edition that people are now stuck with. Please join us [...]

    5-0 out of 5 stars All is well, January 10, 2010
    Given all the emotional responses around the mistakes in the new edition, I was worried about ordering my copy. However, it just arrived, and as promised, it's the corrected version (the second printing) of the 6th edition. The changes to the style included in the manual are an improvement, particularly in the way electronic resources are cited. Additionally, the organization of this edition is better. Overall, I'm pleased.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Unhelpful Guide about an Unenlightening Style, May 6, 2004
    Like some of the other reviewers, I am in a program of advanced study in which APA is the "accepted" style of citation for scholarly research. As we can see, APA is an absolutely dreadful citation style, especially with its prohibition of footnotes, leading to incomprehensible paragraphs in which your prose is murdered by names and dates in parentheses. The lack of required page numbers in your citations also allows you, if you're so inclined, to transform your references into all sorts of unsupported speculation and conjecture, and no reader will be able to prove or disprove what you're saying. I realize that arguing about the merits of APA style is not the same as reviewing the merits of this book. But the weaknesses in the core citation style are so prevalent that it would be impossible to create a book of this nature with any sort of usefulness.

    Now let's get to the trouble with this particular book. First, it is unnecessarily humungous, trying to beef up the very thin body of APA citation requirements (which by the way can be found for free all over the internet) with hugely unenlightening chapters on basic writing style and methods. Infinitely better guides on how to actually write and conduct research can be easily found elsewhere. Even when you do want to find instructions on the core requirements of APA citation style, this is an annoyingly difficult task in this atrociously organized and indexed book. A thin and under-compiled index sends you to hard-to-find section numbers rather than page numbers. And finally there is the practice of this book's publishers to promote a "new edition" which is merely the same as before with a couple of new entries, sold with a new cover and of course a new full price. In case you're wondering, about the only new information in this edition concerns how to reference websites and online publications. Once again, this info can be found for free on the internet, while you could also spend a pittance on a used copy of the supposedly "outdated" previous edition.

    This book gets two stars because it is nominally useful (at least in theory) if you're stuck with it. But if you find yourself required to use the talent-crushing APA style in your attempts to write something of importance, first try to convince your mentors that APA is inherently anti-intellectual. Then find a way to get out of any requirements to buy this unhelpful book, and find the information on the internet instead. [~doomsdayer520~]

    3-0 out of 5 stars 5th Edition APA Publication Manual, October 17, 2002
    Even though there are only a few changes to the 5th edition, I would recommend getting it. It is too confusing to use an older edition especially if you are pressed for time or have never used this type of manual before.

    Also I recommend marking your book with tabs such as in the "Reference Citations in Text" section or the "Reference List" chapter. Marking the book with tabs helped me find my way to the information that I needed over and over again. I've tended to use the same type of references throughout my graduate courses.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Small changes, big headaches, October 14, 2001
    As an ABD-PhD candidate who's required to use APA format (and halfway through a dissertation using APA 4th edition), the small changes in this latest edition do little to add clarity and readability to a manuscript, but much to frustrate: Underlining references has been replaced with italics; after utilizing first-line indents in a Reference list (easier for a word processor) we've now gone back to second-line hanging indents; and none of these changes are clearly discussed in a "Revisions in the 5th Edition" chapter, you need to find them on your own in each chapter. I appreciate the updated guide for citing electronic resources, but the remainder seems to be aimed at "buy yet-another version" rather than major improvements and substantive changes. Maddening! If you're required to use it, you're stuck. Otherwise, keep the old 4th edition.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Very Difficult, But Necessary, September 16, 2003
    Out of all the stylebooks I have had occasion to use as a professional editor, I have found this one to be the most difficult to follow and understand--the most difficult to master.

    I am not a psychologist, but I am a professional medical editor, and I feel sorry for those who must follow this style when writing theses, articles, book chapters, and other items for publication. In addition, I find some of the APA's requirements (particularly in the references, which have their own unique style quite unlike most others) incomprehensible.

    That having been said, this book is a must for those who want to be published by the APA, and those who are editing for same. Once it has been read many times, and key passages put to memory, it is not as hard to understand--but it shouldn't be so hard. The section on figures and tables, however, is a truly excellent primer, for any professional writer, not just those in the health care professions.

    My grade: C plus.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Much better than previous editions..., August 18, 2009
    Easier to read with a lot less pages. The 6th edition is a mere 272 pages vs. a whopping 439 pages in the 5th edition. This improves its portability and lap-use. ( I never could understand why a book that insists on 1 inch margins all around used 1.5 inch margin on the outer margins and left so much wasted unused space on the pages).

    Material has been streamlined to reflect more of the electronic resources currently being used and the more obscure material has been consolidated. The newly added chapters on ethics, the publication process and journal article reporting standards are quite helpful. Some reviewers complained about the elimination of the chapters on writing for publication. Since each journal has it's own specific criteria for manuscript submission, I don't consider this a huge loss. Still has lots of sample for various references (and even includes video blog sources like you-tube) and information on how to display data results (Including radiologic and imaging data like MRI images)

    So glad I bought the newest version, especially since it's currently half the price of the old version and a lot more user friendly and up to date. If you required to use the APA style, I strongly suggest buying this book.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Here we go again!, February 18, 2002
    Here we go again... more minor changes to APA style! The hanging indent is back, we don't have to type long lists of author names anymore, and we can now use parentheses (woo-hoo!).

    If you need to prepare manuscripts in APA style and don't have a previous edition of the manual, then you need this book. Though it remains relatively user-unfriendly, it is nonetheless the bible of manuscript preparation.

    If you already have the fourth edition... determine how many of the changes in the fifth edition apply to your work. If you mostly write "plain vanilla" research reports and your reference lists mostly consist of ordinary journal articles, you may be able to get by with some handwritten notes in the margins of your old book. ... Read more

    8. 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

    9. The Mind's Eye
    by Oliver Sacks
    list price: $26.95 -- our price: $14.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0307272087
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 279
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    In The Mind’s Eye, Oliver Sacks tells the stories of people who are able to navigate the world and communicate with others despite losing what many of us consider indispensable senses and abilities: the power of speech, the capacity to recognize faces, the sense of three-dimensional space, the ability to read, the sense of sight. For all of these people, the challenge is to adapt to a radically new way of being in the world.

    There is Lilian, a concert pianist who becomes unable to read music and is eventually unable even to recognize everyday objects, and Sue, a neurobiologist who has never seen in three dimensions, until she suddenly acquires stereoscopic vision in her fifties.

    There is Pat, who reinvents herself as a loving grandmother and active member of her community, despite the fact that she has aphasia and cannot utter a sentence, and Howard, a prolific novelist who must find a way to continue his life as a writer even after a stroke destroys his ability to read.

    And there is Dr. Sacks himself, who tells the story of his own eye cancer and the bizarre and disconcerting effects of losing vision to one side.

    Sacks explores some very strange paradoxes—people who can see perfectly well but cannot recognize their own children, and blind people who become hyper-visual or who navigate by “tongue vision.” He also considers more fundamental questions: How do we see? How do we think? How important is internal imagery—or vision, for that matter? Why is it that, although writing is only five thousand years old, humans have a universal, seemingly innate, potential for reading?

    The Mind’s Eye
    is a testament to the complexity of vision and the brain and to the power of creativity and adaptation. And it provides a whole new perspective on the power of language and communication, as we try to imagine what it is to see with another person’s eyes, or another person’s mind.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars The wonder of our visual sense, revealed through its pathologies, September 22, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    If I were to ask you to descrbe the differences were between what your eyes see, and what you see, you'd probably think it an odd question. After all what you see is what your eyes see, right? Curiously enough, what you see when you perceive the world around you is very different from what your eyes "see."

    Consider this: The human eye can detect fine detail over an angle of about 2 degrees. That's not much; it's roughly the area of a dime held at arm's length. Your first instinct is probably to say nonsense; after all, you can easily perceive the entire scene before you, over an angle of at least 90 and as much as 180 degrees. You're right, at least in part. You perceive the wide expanse of the world before you, but what you perceive and what your eyes take in are two very different things. The world you perceive is not the raw input from your eyes, but rather something constructed by your brain, using input from your eyes as well as a lifetime's experience and memory of the world around you.

    Here's another example. You've probably, at one time or another in your childhood, placed a finger in front of your face, and then viewed it through each eye in turn, noticing how it appears to jump back and forth and you switched eyes. Obviously, your eyes see slightly different pictures of the world. Yet when you look at the world, you don't see two different pictures. You see a single picture of the world, with a sense of depth and dimensionality not apparent when viewing with either eye alone. That third dimension isn't there in the pictures coming from your eyes- it has to be added by the brain.

    Neurologist Oliver Sacks has made a second career for himself writing about neurological affectations, and how they affect the people who suffer them. In this book, he examines how vision works, and what happens when it doesn't. Sacks has a particular insight into the problems of those whose vision differs from that of the population at large, as he himself suffers from prosopagnosia- the inability to recognize faces. For years, this was assumed to be a purely psychological problem. How could someone with excellent vision fail to recognize a face- even that of a family member? But for severe prosopagnosiacs, even the face of a parent or child is a nondescript set of features, no different from any other. This can and does affect recognition of things as well as people. Sacks, for example, tells how how he many times walked past his own house many times until a neighbor or family member spotted him and guided him home again. Prosopagnosia can range from the slight to the severe. Perhaps as many as 2.5% of the population carry a gene that predisposes them to the condition, and most mild prosopagnodiacs are probably unaware that they have the condition, thinking instead that they simply have a "bad memory for faces." Sacks speculates if many instances of social shyness may in fact be due to the difficulties brought on by prosopagnosia; his own mother was painfully shy, and he suspect, given the genetic component, that he may have inherited his condition from her.

    A related condition Sacks discusses at length is alexia, the inability to recognize letters.Usually brought on my injury, disease, or stroke, alexics can see letters, but the letters make no sense to them. One subject, a writer by trade, describes his post-stroke perception of English language as looking like "Serbo Croation (cyrillic) characters." Curiously enough, most sufferers have no difficulty writing, a condition known as "alexia sin agraphia"- alexia without agraphia. They can write, but they cannot recognize their own handwriting after they write. To a neuroscientist, this is strong evidence for very different areas of the brain being involved in the production of text and the perception of it; to a writer, or a voracious reader, it can be a devastating condition. Some found they can switch to audio books and dictation, and a very few have managed to teach themselves new strategies to read, if slowly.

    Midway through the book Sacks describes the discovery of a tumor in his dominant eye. Though the tumor is treated, successfully, he loses a part of the visual field in the affected eye, and eventually, most sight. This leads to a number of very curious things. At one point, Sacks describes closing his eye- and continuing to see the scene about him, as if his eyes were still wide open. The brain, Sacks notes, is predisposed towards receiving information from the senses, and if deprived of that information, will fill in as best it can. There is a rare condition in which the sufferers are objectively blind, yet maintain that they can see, even as they find themselves bumping into objects, and many older people with visual impairment suffer from Charles Bonnet syndrome, a condition in which the mind creates objects (and occasionally people) to fill in for missing visual stimuli. (Charles Bonnet syndrome is rarely reported, as the sufferers are often afraid it will be taken as a sign of senility.)

    Sacks also discusses stereo vision, and those who have lost and gained it, and the loss and recovery of vision in general. Interesting, although most sighted people who lose vision eventually lose their visual imagery as well, some gain an enhanced sense of visual imagery. One subject Sacks discusses became so good at integrating the information from his other senses into his visual imagery that he could confidently walk down the street without a cane or dog. Another repaired the roof of his garage- at night (terrifying his neighbor!), since the presence or absence of light made no difference to him.

    As with all Sacks' books, "The Mind's Eye" is a superb synthesis of science, medicine, and insight into the human experience. His obvious empathy, and even affection, for the people he meets and consults with come through in his writing, and help the reader to see the person behind the affliction, and to give each of us greater appreciation for the wonder and the mystery of the senses we possess.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Focused and Fascinating, October 1, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Oliver Sacks has a distinct style of story-telling. He comes across a patient with unusual symptoms. He takes the time to get to know the person in detail. The person is amazing, cultured, refined, and suffering from a brain dysfunction that his other noble qualities compensate for. The doctor visits the patient's elegant home, they share a love for classical music or some other refined art, and the whole discussion leads to musing on the nobility of the human spirit and the utter weirdness that can happen to the human brain.

    This book starts out like that, with a story about a classical musician who slowly loses her ability to read, first words, then music, then an inability to recognize much of anything visually. At this point, I felt that the writing was pleasant and interesting, but a bit predictable. A second similar story follows. I still didn't realize that this book focused specifically on sight, vision, and the part that the brain, rather than the eye itself, plays in the ability to see. (I know, the title was a dead give-away, but I took it too metaphorically.)

    But then the book veers off in a direction that I wasn't expecting. Dr. Sacks himself is diagnosed with cancer in his eye. He undergoes surgery and radiation, and his vision is changed in odd ways. Much of the book is based on his own detailed notes on his experiments with himself, his internal observations of what he experiences. There is a great deal of reflection on stereopsis, the ability to see in 3-D, which curiously, he had been a big fan of, belonging to a society in New York based on old 3-d imagery. Just like the people he so often writes about, now he himself turns out to be a patient whose particular gifts and interests are suddenly impinged upon by a peculiar ailment. (Are the gods mocking us? Beethoven becomes deaf, musicians lose the ability to read music, a man fascinated with antique View-master images loses the ability to see in 3-D? I once met an elderly woman who was a skillful pianist who had been the victim of a mugging in which the mugger had stepped on and smashed all her fingers.)

    I found this book to be one of Sacks best, which is saying quite a lot. I have never forgotten The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, but I found Musicophilia tedious. This is first -rate Sacks. He always has impressed me as a man of unusual empathy. This time, he is not only the empathetic doctor, but a sympathetic patient. A stimulating and enriching read.

    4-0 out of 5 stars It's All in Your Mind, September 24, 2010

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    It's not surprising that such a complex system as vision can go wrong in so many ways. The eye itself is amazingly complicated, but it's the mind that makes sense of the images the eye sees. We all know about the trick the mind plays on us to make us ignore the fact that one's nose is in the field of vision of each of our eyes. That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how much the mind determines what and how we see.

    In his latest book, The Mind's Eye, Oliver Sacks presents case studies of vision malfunctions. A concert pianist suddenly can't read music anymore. A novelist finds he can't read anymore - but he hasn't lost his ability to write in longhand. Other chapters cover face blindness and a lack of stereoscopic vision - a woman who sees in two dimensions rather than three.

    This would have been a depressing book if it had just been about the many ways our brains can fail us. But Sacks also describes the incredible ways these people have compensated for their losses. The concert pianist finds that she can play by ear better than she ever thought she would be able to. She can memorize long pieces of music and improvise and compose. The novelist writes his drafts in longhand and has his editor read it to him so he can make revisions. In a non-vision related aside, Sacks tells of a woman who has been paralyzed following an accident, but finds she can still at least enjoy the small pleasure of doing the daily crossword puzzle by memorizing the grid and all the clues and then solving the puzzle mentally through the day. She could not have imagined being able to memorize to such an extent before the accident.

    Is it possible to achieve feats such as super-memory without having been injured? Do we all possess amazing brains that we only put to the test when we're challenged by circumstances? Again we're left to marvel that, of all the fantastic things the brain can do, the one thing it hasn't been able to figure out yet, is itself.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not for your common Joe, October 22, 2010

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    Oliver Sacks' Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood is one of my all-time favorites. It provides an interesting walk though science through the eyes of a child. It is both enlightening and charming... truly a rare breed.

    Unfortunatley, "The Mind's Eye" is quite different and while it does offer some of the charm - it is much less readable. In truth, it requires a fairly large degree of prior knowledge in neurology in order for it to make sense. This makes the reading much more academic, and in my case, tedious.

    I am sure that many people will enjoy "The Mind's Eye" but it may be restricted more to the medical community and not the average reader. This is unfortunate, because the stories offered by Dr. Sacks are interesting, but the level of detail is just too deep. An example was the discussion on "Face Blindness" which to me is a fascinating topic (my wife seems to think that I may suffer from this disorder!), but withing 5 pages I have a hard time following the technical detail of the discussion.

    Final Verdict - Probably very interesting for the medical community, but it may be a tough read for common Joe.

    2 1/2 Stars

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating window into the eye's mind, October 2, 2010

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    I thought of warning psychosomatic individuals off this book, but then realized that, within a few pages, they would lose the ability to read any further, and so the damage might be rather acute and short-lived.

    The extraordinary stories of human suffering, endurance and triumph that Sacks presents in this book all have to do with some aspect of sight: people who cannot recognize faces or places, people who all of a sudden lose the ability to read, to play music, or who cannot see in stereo. And they are fascinating stories told in Sacks' usual entertaining style that seems to benefit from his near photographic memory, so much detail does he lay down.

    Of course, not all the stories are depressing tales of relentless decline into blindness or depression. There is also resilience and the overcoming of obstacles. And even the unlikely gaining of abilities lost. But every story is gripping and enlightening, not the least of which are the stories about Sacks' own related struggles (I won't throw in any spoilers here.)

    An important take-away from this book is learning that such a high number of people suffer from aphasic disorders, yet they lead mostly normal lives, thanks to their will and their brain's ability to compensate and strengthen the person in other ways.

    Read this book and you may never think about words (or faces or eyes) in the same way again.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Real Life Adventures in Perception, October 14, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    The Mind's Eye is my first exposure to Oliver Sacks; however, it will not be my last. The author is a seventy-six year old practicing physician with an uncanny ability to tell his patients stories, bringing the reader close to the afflictions experienced by both him and his subjects.

    What do the terms agnosia, anomia, aphasia, dyslexia, prosopagnosia mean? This book explains them all and more in the context of stories about people with brain anomalies that result in visual problems. Sometimes these anomalies are genetic and other times they are the result of brain lesions; however, they drastically affect individuals' senses and method of adjusting to their affliction.

    Whether it is the sudden or gradual loss of the ability to read, recognize faces or objects, or measure depth the brain has a remarkable plasticity an those areas associated with sight give way to sharpen other human senses.

    I found Oliver Sacks' writing skills remarkable and zipped through this 240 page riveting real life medical documentation of visual anomalies in record time. He brings his stories to life making what could have been a difficult subject an easy and interesting read.

    If you are interested in learning more about "perception," this is a must read.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Accounts, September 24, 2010

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    Dr. Sacks is an interesting writer. His accounts of different patients dealing with various ailments having to do with the brain's affect on vision is fascinating. But, for me, the book really got interesting when he chronicled his own battle with a tumor in his eye. His honesty and vulnerability during his ordeal was very compelling. Having been diagnosed with a melanoma tumor in his eye, he journals his fears, frustrations and daily battle with his symptoms.

    When he wrote of his patients and their struggles it was interesting, and his compassion for their conditions was apparent. Suffering himself from prosopagnosia (inability to recognize faces), his writing and dealing with this condition was particularly detailed. When he chronicles his own battle, though, is when you really feel you get to know the man and what he went through. His writing is honest, no holds barred on how he felt and his fear. A lesser man, especially in the medical field, might have put on a clinical face, but Dr. Sacks really lets us in on how frightened and frustrated he was with his condition.

    I would highly recommend this book for anyone, especially those that may be struggling with a chronic condition that requires a lifestyle change to accommodate your condition.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An eye-opener for those interested in the mind., October 13, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    THE MIND'S EYE by Oliver Sacks is a 254 page book by a seasoned author and trained professional (medical doctor). The book is written at the layperson's level. There are no attempts to teach the reader details of any techniques that are used for diagnosing mental disorders, and no attempts to introduce concepts that might be encountered only in a course in advanced psychoanalysis. (These observations are not meant as criticisms.) Of course, there are a few technical terms, here and there, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (page 7), "upper right quadrant of his visual field" (page 55), "prosopagnosics" (page 91, 107),"stereopsis" (page 123), and "ocular melanoma" (page 147). The book is also careful, now and then, to provide names of famous neurologists, such as Joseph-Jules Dejerine (page 57) Jean-Martin Charcot (page 77), and Gordon Holmes (page 229).

    The book contains seven chapters. Each chapter details, in layperson's terms, the afflications of a different patient. In other words, this book contains seven biographies of seven different people. For example, the first chapter discloses the story of an older woman, a musician, who was losing her ability to read words, and losing her ability to read music. The name of the disease is, "alexia." This woman's alexia also included, "musical alexia." The woman was able to recognize letters, but was simply not able to read. Over the course of years, she became unable to recognize drawings, for example, drawings of a banjo or a dog. In contrast, the woman had no problem in identifying real objects, such as a real bell pepper or real eggs. Eventually, the woman also acquired the disorder of, "anomia," namely, the inability to find words for things, such as the word for a match, or sugar. Despite these problems, the woman -- a recording artist and music teacher -- was still able to play pieces on the piano, providing that she played them by memory.

    The entire book contains fascinating stories of this nature. The book would make an ideal gift to any child of the ages ten and older, as well as for any adult. FIVE STARS.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ode to the Long-Term Adaptabililty and Plasticity of the Brain, even after Injury, October 27, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    This book is nominally about how people deal with visual impairment and loss. However, the real underlying themes of this book are: 1) there is no single way by which people adapt to the same neurological loss; and 2) the brain can keeps acquiring new skills and recovering old skills after injury for many years.

    Typically neurologists tell stroke patients that they will improve for up to a year at most, but I observed in my father continual improvement after that, and Oliver Sacks offers other accounts as well. One case "Stereo Sue" involves a woman acquiring a new neurological skill (learning to see in 3D) in her 40s, that she had not had since childhood. It was really fascinating to see that you can teach the brain basic skills after decades, generally considered impossible after early childhood.

    Sacks also wrote about how different people who became totally blind used a variety of strategies to handle the world around them. Some had a rich model of images that they constructed in their minds, other discarded imagery once they lost sight. It shows that their are a variety of cognitive styles out there, and that there is no one way of dealing with neurological loss.

    Finally, in what I found to be a page-turner, Sacks writes about being struck with his own visual medical crisis.

    As usual with the writings of Oliver Sacks, this book is an affectionate appreciation of people and the variety of ways in which minds work, which flowed well and was easy to read. But more importantly, it gives hope to any brain-injured person that improvement can continue after the initial healing period, and that brains are very clever at coming up with ways of dealing with deficits.

    [A few of these chapters were previously published in New Yorker magazine.]

    3-0 out of 5 stars Stories About Maladies of Recognition: Not As Absorbing As Dr. Sacks's Previous Books, November 12, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Dr. Sacks is normally an engaging story teller, and his forte is stories about brain, particularly the higher cortical function disorders, told as stories of patients suffering a variety of maladies of cerebrum. Higher cortical functions are what separates us from other primates.

    Vision, recognition & perception are the focus in this book. First part of the book is about the stories of patients with higher cortical visual disorders; in the second part he describes his own vision problems due to melanoma of the eye and his lifelong inability to recognize faces, believe it or not, it is a disorder called Prosopagnosia.

    First is the story of Lilian who starts out with musical alexia - inability to read musical scores by an accomplished musician - followed by general alexia. Then he describes the story of Canadian novelist Howard Engel who suffers from even rare form of alexia - where he is unable to read and recognize words but he is able to write - a condition called alexia sine agraphia.

    Patty is another patient who develops aphasia - inability to speak and express in words but then she adapts and becomes expert by expressing with gesture and mime using just her left arm because her right side is paralyzed. Patty is inspired by Jeannette, a quadriplegic speech therapist. So the stories are about how people adapt when they lose the ability to recognize or express.

    Sometimes losing one higher cortical function opens the other doors in the brain, for example, study by Nancy Etcoff showing how people with aphasia become better at detecting lies and emotion.

    Dr. Sacks has tackled vision before in The Island of Color Blind but this book deals with a different aspect of cortical visual disorders. In A Leg to Stand On he described how he lost awareness of his leg after an injury. Coming from a tradition of British clinical neurology, his vignettes are mostly anecdotal about his patient's life and presentation and at the most he goes into the anatomical basis of the disease; rarely, if at all, does he delve into the neuroelectrophysiological, biochemical or genetic basis of the sickness.

    Compared to Dr. Sacks previous books, this book is not as tautly written; at times it gets too technical for a non medical reader and feels dragged. If you have not read Dr. Sack's before then try The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales and Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood. Those are probably his best books. If you want to learn about higher visual, perception & recognition disorders and how the brain and people adapt when they lose some of those functions then this book is informative but less engaging. ... Read more

    10. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
    by Daniel H. Pink
    Hardcover (2009-12-29)
    list price: $26.95 -- our price: $15.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1594488843
    Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover
    Sales Rank: 275
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Forget everything you thought you knew about how to motivate people--at work, at school, at home. It's wrong. As Daniel H. Pink explains in his new and paradigm- shattering book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today's world is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

    Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does--and how that affects every aspect of our lives. He demonstrates that while the old-fashioned carrot-and-stick approach worked successfully in the 20th century, it's precisely the wrong way to motivate people for today's challenges. In Drive, he reveals the three elements of true motivation:

    *Autonomy- the desire to direct our own lives
    *Mastery- the urge to get better and better at something that matters
    *Purpose- the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

    Along the way, he takes us to companies that are enlisting new approaches to motivation and introduces us to the scientists and entrepreneurs who are pointing a bold way forward.

    Drive is bursting with big ideas-- the rare book that will change how you think and transform how you live.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Biased and selective presentation of important ideas
    Before plunking down your credit card for a copy of Drive, by Dan Pink, consider making do with just his TED talk. The talk contains the substance of this book without the excess padding.

    The book has about 250 pages. One hundred fifty or so of those are for the basic content. It includes the Introduction and Parts I and II (chapters one through six).

    The other hundred pages are a "Toolkit." This includes some material that didn't seem to fit anywhere else, a glossary, a recap of Drive, twenty conversation starters (useful at cocktail parties), a reading list, and a fitness plan. That's forty percent of the book. And none of it helps you put what you've read to work.

    The core points of the book are covered in the TED talk. You can listen to it in about fifteen minutes or read it in about ten. You won't get the fitness plan or the conversation starters. You will get the essence of Pink's message.

    If you're a boss or concerned about leadership, you need to become familiar with that message. The ideas are important. Pink's rendering of them, for good or ill, will define and influence the discussion of motivation in business for quite a while.

    He does get the big picture right. He says that people would prefer activities where they can pursue three things.

    Autonomy: People want to have control over their work.

    Mastery: People want to get better at what they do.

    Purpose: People want to be part of something that is bigger than they are.

    This matches research that I've done with class members for over twenty-five years. They discuss a time when "it was great to come to work" and then create a description of what those times are like. The descriptions vary slightly in wording but always include the following.

    Interesting and meaningful work.
    Clear and reasonable expectations.
    Frequent and usable feedback.
    Maximum control possible over work life.

    I'm describing the kinds of workplaces where intrinsic motivation happens. Pink is describing three things that provide that kind of motivation. In most highly effective workplaces, it's the boss that is the most important force creating an environment when intrinsic motivation can happen.

    Top management sets the basic compensation and benefits structure. If that isn't perceived as fair and consistent, natural intrinsic motivation won't kick in.

    It's your individual supervisor who has the biggest effect on your daily working environment. That's why there are pockets of excellence in otherwise horrid companies and why even the best companies have workers who are unhappy and teams that are unproductive.

    This book won't give you the connection from concept to workplace. But Pink does deliver many key ideas that matter.

    Key Idea: There is a difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

    Key Idea: Intrinsic motivators are more powerful.

    Key Idea: If you use monetary rewards to get people to perform the way you want, those rewards may have the opposite effect.

    These are important things for a boss to know, but if you only have Drive to guide you, you will get some things very wrong.

    The examples that are used are heavily weighted toward academic and consulting studies. It's not apparent that Pink talked to a single worker or frontline supervisor. The book would have been more helpful if he had.

    There are some pre-requisites to having intrinsic motivation kick in. Pink mentions in passing that there needs to be fair compensation in place. That's true, but it's not an "oh-by-the-way" point. It's Maslow's Hierarchy in work clothes.

    Throughout the book, Pink equates "monetary" incentives with "extrinsic motivation." That ignores praise, promotion, preferment (in scheduling, eg), the admiration of peers, time off, and a host of other positive incentives. It also skews the discussion toward academic studies and away from the real workplace.

    Pink also presents the issue as if it were intrinsic motivators (good) versus extrinsic motivators (not good). In the TED talk he even says "This is the titanic battle between these two approaches."

    That's not how things work in the real world. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivators and their effects interact. You don't have a simple choice of which lever to pull. You have to understand and influence a complex system.

    Those shortcomings are important. They derive from one of the most important things to understand if you've going to study this material critically and turn it to good use.

    Pink has written this book like a political speech. He writes to make a point, not to present a balanced argument.

    Like a good speech writer, Pink uses language that implies value judgments. He uses terms like "humanistic psychology" for things he agrees with. When he doesn't agree he uses terms like "rat-like seeking."

    Like a good speech writer, Pink makes sweeping statements without providing support for them. "Sometimes" and "a surprisingly large proportion of the time" are used with no indication of what they actually mean. He says that sales quotas "can be effective," but doesn't tell you when or how often.

    Like a good speech writer, Pink leaves out things that don't support his simplified message. There's no mention of studies that support the use of rewards in business settings.

    Like a good speech writer, Pink boils his facts down to only the ones that support his argument. If all you read was Drive, you would think that the work of Deci and Ryan is about the superiority of intrinsic motivators to extrinsic in all situations.

    But their work is more complex than Pink describes it. It includes analysis of effective extrinsic motivators as well as extrinsic motivators that are counter-productive.

    Like a good speech writer, pink, picks up studies from one sphere and applies them elsewhere without telling you what he's doing. Deci and Ryan have done admirable and important work, but it's on motivation in personal development, not in the workplace.

    Like a good speech writer, Pink ignores contradictions. He describes a horrid, slave ship workplace ruled by carrots and sticks. Later he mentions that most "flow" experiences happen at work.

    Pink tells us about "20 percent" time for creativity at Google and Atlassian. But he doesn't discuss why they only offer their intrinsic reward of creativity to engineers and not the other workers in the company.

    Like a good speech writer, Pink sets up the straw man of "Motivation 2.0" so that he's easy to knock down. And, inconvenient truths are sometimes mentioned in passing and then never heard from again.

    The Bottom Line

    You should learn what's in this book because, for better or worse, it is influencing the conversation about what makes a great workplace. But because of the presentation and selective use of facts, you can't rely on this book alone to help you do a better job as a boss.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Just as important as "A Whole New Mind"

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Daniel Pink's new book follows well in the tradition of "A Whole New Mind," as he picks up on a new trend and explains it well. This time it's the apparent paradox of motivation - why do some people like Google pay their staff to regularly work on projects of their own choosing when they could be working hard on what they were hired to do?

    Pink shows that there has always been monetary motivation, but that has lost its attractiveness as we've moved from the "top-down" management system to the more heuristic style (workers being free to decide how to do their jobs). He points out that repetitive jobs lend themselves more to traditional rewards, whereas money doesn't seem to motivate innovation.

    I used to work for a major corporation (which we'll call "EMC," because that is their name). Pretty much everyone I met had responsibility for something, to the degree that supervisors were enablers - you went to them and told them what to do. Supervisors could (and sometimes did) give you reasons why not, but they weren't about to come into your cubicle and micromanage you. And the wider your responsibility, the harder you worked.

    This system was totally unlike anything I'd come across before. Most businesses would act as though their employees couldn't be trusted. And although I was looking behind me nervously, I shone in this environment, and now I realized that's what they wanted from me.

    Pink mentions Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (if that's new to you, look it up on Wikipedia), and I think he is right that now that there's a relatively well-paid group of workers, they can ask for something more than basic salary. As Pink puts it, we need to feel that the work we do is worthwhile, and thus we move to the top of Maslow's pyramid and realize esteem and self-actualization.

    Hopefully you will have recognized some of the tenets of your organization. However, I think it's unlikely that all Pink's principles will have been adopted, so get this book now. It gives you a great deal to think about, and in the last section, Pink quotes people that have influenced his thinking.

    Whether you run a company or see yourself as "just an employee," you need to read this. It shows pretty much everything to know about what will drive you or your staff to much better performance. It involves more than having an employee of the week, and you may find that if you work in a place that doesn't use these principles you may have to change jobs. But it will be worth it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Real Winner

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Daniel Pink has written a highly interesting and very informative book on the truth about what motivates us.

    He uses a very interesting analogy - comparing motivation to different generations of operating software. Motivation 1.0 the basic operating system for the first few thousand years was based on the primary needs of the human - food, shelter, clothing and reproduction. Eventually we moved to Motivation 2.0 - basically the carrot and the stick - reward and punishment worked fairly well for a time.

    But according to Pink and other scientist, reward and punishment no longer work in most situations. We need to move to Motivation 3.0.

    Pink goes into great detain about why the carrot and stick motivation does not work. "The traditional `If then' rewards can give us less of what we want. They extinguish intrinsic motivation, diminish performance, crush creativity and crowd out good behavior. The can encourage unethical behavior, create addictions and foster short-term thinking. These are the bugs in our current operating system."

    The "if then" reward/punishment system does work under very limited conditions. Pink explores these.

    He then introduces the I Type and X Type behavior - named for intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Type I behavior concerns itself less with external rewards and more with doing things for the joy of doing them.

    There are three elements to the I Type behavior: Autonomy - we all long to be autonomous - to have control over our lives and destiny. To the extent that we don't have autonomy we feel something missing. The second element is Mastery. We need to learn to master the tasks we are undertaking. The third element is Purpose. We need to "buy in" to why we are doing things. There needs to be a reason.

    The final section of the book is a Toolkit section where there are strategies for individuals, companies, tips on compensation, suggestions for education and suggested reading.

    This is highly entertaining and thought provoking. At some time we all face the challenge of trying to motivate others. For the most part we have relied on the reward/punishment approach. You will learn why this does not work and a better approach to motivation no matter who you are working with.

    The book is well written and there are many references to back up the claims made. I highly recommend this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The "Light Bulb" turns on in your brain
    Okay, so that's the way it really works!

    Every now and then, I come along a book that challenges enough lifelong assumptions I've held about myself and others to be "enlightening", and this is such a book.

    The book is easy to read and accessible, and the research backing up the author's conclusions are also laid out to impact.

    I spent the first hour reading this book sitting next to my wife, and about every 3-4 minutes, I'd blurt out "Did you know . . ." or "I never knew . . . " and then read her a passage. A day later, the book was gone from the end table next to the sofa, and my wife had absconded with it. If you are a professional or manager, you will see major implications into your own behavior and that of others. If you are just reading out of interest, you will learn a lot about yourself I haven't seen in another place.

    The writing is worthy of the exciting revelations -- fresh and vigorous, making the book as enjoyable for me as it was informative.


    5-0 out of 5 stars If you hate your job, this book will help you understand why
    I read 39 books in 2009, just "a few" shy of my goal of 50. Thanks to a little nudge from some friends I've set my 2010 sights just a little bit higher: a book a week, for a total of 52. I got the list off to a good start this weekend when I finished this latest from Dan Pink. Interestingly, one of the first books I read in 2009 was also one of his, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.

    In that previous book, as the title suggests, Pink describes the type of workers that will emerge - actually are emerging - to solve the complex business and social problems now facing us. Taking that as a starting point in Drive, Pink provides some guidance on what will be necessary to "manage" these new types of worker by exploring the what motivates these workers to perform. Or, as the title put its, what drives them.

    Part One of the book explores the evolution of the motivation "operating systems" at play throughout human history and how the science of motivation is leading us to version 3.0 of that Motivation OS. Or, at least, how it should be leading us to this new version. I found it fascinating that much of what Pink describes in the book is not new at all, but has been known for several decades. Known and ignored. Known and actively buried buy those who just couldn't believe it or didn't want to accept what it meant for them and their positions of control within organizations. Fascinating reading.

    At the end of Part One, Pink delves into the differences between workers who are intrinsically (Type I) and extrinsically (Type X) motivated, and leads right into Part Two, which explores the three elements that make up Type I behavior: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. The chapters for each of these elements includes some insight into each, along with practical examples of what they mean.

    Part Three is the "Type I Toolkit", which includes suggestions, reading lists, and other tools for individuals and organizations to help them become more Type I. As Pink says, Type I's are made, not born, and this toolkit can help you remake yourself, or your organization, as a Type I.

    Perhaps the most damning statement about the current state of affairs, at least in my mind, comes in the sentence: "Unfortunately...the modern workplace's most notable feature may be its lack of engagement and its disregard for mastery." Longtime readers of my blogs know that mastery is a concept I've long thought and written about. Pink's chapter on mastery in the context of work pulls together many ideas that I've struggled with over the years. This chapter alone was worth the price of the book.

    All the rest is an excellent bonus.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I am giving this book to my son's school
    One of the most helpful things that I took from this book is the varying value of rewards. I had noticed that bribing my son for even little things led to some less than desirable long-term results; I loved reading the research to back it up.

    One measure of a powerful book is whether it leads to action. I just ordered a second copy for my son's middle school faculty library. It's my personal mission now to encourage them to include free-style learning/creating days in the curriculum. It's a pretty conservative school so I'll have my work cut out for me. Thanks for providing the inspiration, Dan! ... Read more

    11. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
    by Stephen R. Covey
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $11.95
    Asin: B000WJVK26
    Publisher: RosettaBooks
    Sales Rank: 149
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    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 Effective Habits = Effective Individual, December 23, 2010
    I came across this book after seeing an endorsement from Covey on another great book. I loved it. Covey taps into some fundamental aspects of human nature and, despite being 20 years old, the ideas are fresh and compelling. Covey offers easy fixes and straightforward formulas backed by an incredibly detailed program for boosting your career and efficacy. It's dense and Covey is long-winded, but the wisdom provided is worth the effort.

    Each chapter is dedicated to one of the habits, with the first half of the book focused on moving from dependence to independence (i.e. self mastery) and the last half focused on interdependence (working with others):

    * Habit 1: Be Proactive
    Take initiative in life by realizing your decisions (and how they align with life's principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Taking responsibility for your choices and the subsequent consequences that follow.

    * Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
    Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envisioning the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.

    * Habit 3: Put First Things First
    Planning, prioritizing, and executing your week's tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluating if your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you towards goals, and enrich the roles and relationships elaborated in Habit 2.

    * Habit 4: Think Win-Win
    Genuinely striving for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Valuing and respecting people by understanding a "win" for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his way.

    * Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood
    Using empathetic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening, take an open mind to being influenced by you, which creates an atmosphere of caring, respect, and positive problem solving.

    * Habit 6: Synergize
    Combining the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone. How to yield the most prolific performance out of a group of people through encouraging meaningful contribution, and modeling inspirational and supportive leadership.

    * Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
    The balancing and renewal of your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable long-term effective lifestyle.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The book is very good reading material., March 2, 1999
    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.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but "over-intellectualized.", June 13, 2001
    The book is not bad. It's got some good advice, and if you live your life by the "Seven Habits," then you're going to come out better than if you didn't live by them. But it's my opinion that Covey has made something quite simple quite complex. In other words, I believe that most of the "Seven Habits" are nothing profound: treat others like you would like to be treated), be goal-oriented, manage your time wisely, seek the wisdom and insight of others, be slow to speak and quick to listen - nothing new here. The problem is that Covey tends to intellectualize these concepts to the point that many readers may find it difficult to understand what he's talking about at times. And, those that do understand will become frustrated that he takes a whole lot of pages to say something that could have been dealt with in fairly short order.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A OUTSTANDING BOOK!, August 1, 1998
    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, June 19, 1999
    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.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Which audio version of "The 7 Habits" is best for me?, October 30, 2006
    This review is for people who already know that the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is valuable and who are now trying to choose which audio version would be most useful for themselves or for people they know. I recently bought three different audio CD versions (plus a few copies of the book) as gifts for people with different personalities and learning styles. I am also familiar with some older products.

    Sometimes the product descriptions don't give you a clear idea which product you're reading about. Check the running times of audio products to determine if they're similar to the ones described below:


    The product on this page (as I write this review) is an UNABRIDGED AUDIO CD VERSION of the 15th anniversary edition of the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Unabridged Audio Program). It would be ideal for people who are ready for a personal plan to study and apply the principles in the book to their own lives, but who need a little extra "push". I would suggest listening to the CDs before or while studying corresponding segments of the book, either alone or with someone else. The encouraging, calm and authentic voice of the author gives an extra dimension to the text - keeps you focused. Regularly scheduled study or discussion sessions could be short, as each CD is divided into several tracks which basically follow the headings and sub-headings in the book. This CD product demonstrates how well the book was written, as the text flows so nicely when read by the author. It includes some introductory and explanatory comments in addition to the text in the book.

    This could be a 5-star product for people who plan to use it along with the book or after having read the book. It is probably not the most efficient "stand-alone" learning tool for most people - the printed book is. It may be good for those who have more time for listening (about 14 hours on 13 disks) than for reading and who are good at learning by hearing. The discs come with a little "study guide" booklet, which I think was created for an earlier audio product. The booklet is good for review, but seeing the diagrams in the original book is more useful if you are reading along with the audio version. I find the occasional introductory music in the audio program a little distracting, but the author's reading is engaging.

    The unabridged book is also available for audio download The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (Unabridged) with a slightly shorter running time (less than 13 hours) listed. I'm not sure how it would compare in usefulness to the CDs discussed here.

    REVIEW #2 - THREE DISC PROGRAM (and corresponding download)

    Of the audio products I have listened to, the one I would consider to be "5 star" as a stand-alone learning tool (either for individual or small-group listening) is the 3-DISC "AUDIOBOOK ON CD" (circa 2001-2002) which says, "Taught by the Author" on the cover rather than "Unabridged, read by the author". The 3-CD set The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is intermittently available at Amazon. However, it is not really an "Audiobook". It is also very different from the one-CD product described in the "Product Description".

    This product presents information partly in a seminar or classroom lecture format, with comments by people on how they have applied some of the principles in their own lives. The importance of integrity and trust in interpersonal and business relationships seem to get extra emphasis in this audio product. Running time is about 3 hours, 20 minutes.

    This is probably the most useful audio product for people who don't like to read much, but it also complements the book without following it too closely. It comes with a useful little study guide summarizing the "7 habits", which includes some of the diagrams found in the book. The booklet is handy as an overview, even if you have the book. I believe that this product is more suitable for non-optimal listening situations (in the car, etc.) than is the 13-disc unabridged audio book, which, like the printed book, seems to call for a quiet setting where you can devote your full attention.

    Each CD in the 3-disc set is divided into short one or two minute tracks (sometimes with several tracks in a single topic segment) so you can pause easily for reflection or discussion. Divisions between the short tracks are not evident as you are listening. Some reviewers have noted troublesome differences in volume between the text and short musical "bumpers" between topics. This bothered me a little on one of the CD players I listened with. You might try turning down the treble or turning the volume up and moving further from the machine if the relative loudness of the music bothers you.

    Update May 2010: A download is now available. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. You might want to also purchase the original book, which contains all the diagrams in the booklet which accompanies the CD set, plus much more.

    In case the set is not available at Amazon, Franklin-Covey sells a (more expensive) 3-CD set which is likely similar to the product described above, with different cover art. Conant-Nightingale sells a 6-CD set which I would also expect to be a quality product.


    The SIMON & SCHUSTER SINGLE-DISC CD version (copyright 1999) of the old, original Simon and Schuster audiocassette product also should not really be classified as an "audiobook". by Stephen R. Covey (Author)7 Habits Of Highly Effective People [Audio CD, Abridged, Audiobook, CD] In its day, the audiocassette version was a very well-produced, lucid overview of the original book with introductory statements by a female narrator, then explanations and examples by Dr. Covey from his professional seminars. The tape version was useful as motivation to read, teach, apply or to think more deeply about the book than as an independent learning tool. It was a big seller when the book was making a big splash.

    Simon & Schuster dropped the ball when they put the CD version onto a single track of about 72 minutes. You may need to be prepared to listen to the whole CD in one sitting. I now cannot find this product on Amazon, but I do see a new, more expensive 1-CD product called a "15th anniversary edition", publishing date 2005. The product information states that the publisher is Simon & Schuster, but the image says FranklinCovey. It may be a new release of the original audiocasette. I would check to see if multiple tracks have been added before buying it. You might consider a DVD if you're looking for a single-sitting refresher or motivator. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Foundational Principles


    I notice that FranklinCovey is now coming out with a new "SIGNATURE SERIES" of CDs in which one CD is devoted to each of the "7 habits". I am not familiar with this product. The CDs are sold as a set or individually.

    Some other audio products and "spin-off" products have been introduced over the years. I much prefer the products which present information in an organized manner to those which present seemingly random motivational thoughts (like Daily Reflections for Highly Effective People: Living the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Every Day, cards, calendars, etc.). Many of the "spin-off" products would be far less valuable than the original book to people not familiar with the book. The products which present random (though often excellent) thoughts may be useful for some people who are already familiar with the book and who are interested in applying its principles.

    Living the 7 Habits: The Courage to Change coould be inspirational to people who think that corporate over-achievers are the only people who can benefit from the original book. It includes stories of people in some really difficult situations who have changed their lives by applying the "7 Habits".

    5-0 out of 5 stars Strategies for Effectiveness, May 30, 2002
    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., May 2, 2004
    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.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A MASTER PIECE IN PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT!, July 15, 1998
    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, March 27, 2004
    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. ... Read more

    12. Wreck This Journal
    by Keri Smith
    list price: $12.95 -- our price: $7.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 039953346X
    Publisher: Perigee Trade
    Sales Rank: 464
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    For anyone who's ever wished to, but had trouble starting, keeping, or finishing a journalor sketchbook comes Wreck This Journal, an illustrated book that features a subversive collection of prompts, asking readers to muster up their best mistake- and mess-making abilities to fill the pages of the book (and destroy them). Acclaimed illustrator Keri Smith encourages journalers to engage in "destructive" acts-poking holes through pages, adding photos and defacing them, painting with coffee, and more-in order to experience the true creative process. Readers discover a new way of art and journal making-and new ways to escape the fear of the blank page and fully engage in the creative process. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Wreaking havoc on my journal while shedding fears..., July 7, 2007
    When this journal arrived, my heart sank when I saw there was a tiny tear on the bottom of the spine. My first reaction was to contact Amazon and have them ship me a brand new copy. Then I came to my senses; the whole purpose of the journal *was* to wreck it, and in light of what I was going to do to it, a tiny tear would be the least of its worries.

    You see, I made a promise to myself: Follow the instructions and wreck the journal, no matter what my better judgment told me.

    It took a few days to get started. In fact, I spent those first few days grieving over what I had to do to the journal (yes, I started by reading through some of the instructions). When it comes to my books and journals, I'm a perfectionist and *damaging* any of them makes me uneasy. Even the sight of someone else damaging a book makes me uneasy.

    But, when I finally let loose and did one of the tasks in the book, suddenly it didn't seem so bad. (Plus, it helped that I started with such an innocuous task -- sticking a sticker from bought fruit on a page.) Before long, I was flinging the book at the walls, ripping pages, drawing with glue, showering with it, and a bunch of other interesting (yet highly suspect) activities.

    At the end of the day, my family members may think I'm a little nuts for buying a journal I would eventually destroy, however, it's incredibly fun, liberating, and therapeutic. Enough so that I enlisted the aid of a Starbucks barista for my recent experiment (and I think he liked it too).

    Truth be told, it exceeded my expectations. Usually, I'm not a guided-journal girl, but Kerri somehow transformed what could be a boring task into something amazing. Kudos to her for it.

    (Between you and me, I'm strongly contemplating getting one just for my journal collection. It's *that* good.)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The most fun I've had in years!, November 20, 2007
    I received this book less than 24 hours ago, and so far it has been a blast! I battled cancer last year, and was given dozens (literally) of pretty blank journals. I didn't open any of them. I didn't want to write about cancer and process about cancer. I wanted to KILL CANCER and demolish any and all cancer-related merchandise. This journal is so cathartic. It doesn't take itself too seriously but allows for rage, anger, fear, despair, and all kinds of other messy emotions. Plus, I finally found a use for all the stickers I have laying around in drawers and cabinets.

    It is sad that we live in a society in which some of us need "permission" to cut, tear, mutilate, and destroy things in an effort to purge nastiness from our heads. But -- since we do, I'm glad this book is out there.

    5-0 out of 5 stars not quite expected..., July 24, 2007
    For some reason, during preorder, I thought this was a book to read. Like, a book full of words that you sit down in a chair with a cup of coffee and read through from start to finish. You know...a *book*.

    When it arrived, then, I was a little disappointed to find that it wasn't, in fact, a book to read at all. It looked like just journal prompts -- bits of writing on the page and lots of blank space for you to fill in. I set it aside.

    I picked it back up when I was getting ready to put it on the shelf, where it would have languished with the other books I'd get around to someday. I flipped through it. A prompt caught my eye.

    I started reading the prompts and blurbs, and it started sinking in: this isn't a book at all. This is PARTICIPATORY. This is a book that doesn't let you sit there, passively, with your coffee, just observing what the author's trying to say. This is a book that makes you get up, makes you smear it with crazy and beat it up in ways that most people couldn't imagine treating their books or journals. Especially not a journal. Wrecking a *journal*?

    Over the next few days, I carried this book with me and beat the livin' tar out of it. I followed the prompts. I wrote on pages with food and with my tongue. I ripped pages out and crumpled them up and stuck them back in. I sat with it in a chair with my coffee, for sure, but I also spilled coffee on it -- on purpose. I wrote in things backwards and scribbled really, really hard.

    In short, this book went through things that most of us should never have to. I kicked this thing around and waited while it came back for more.

    And, you know...? It was TREMENDOUSLY LIBERATING. I beat the snot outta the pages, but when I was done, there was a whole new surface for me to look at and consider. I found new colors (thanks to berry-blue gum and dirt). I found that I really like painting over surfaces that have been scored by ballpoint pens and fingernails, and that watercolor over crumpled paper makes the most interesting texture, always unpredictable.

    What I thought was going to be a disappointment has probably been one of the best books out there for getting me to "lighten up" a bit and just get back to playing freely on a page. From one star in my brain, this book elevated itself with its simple presentation and revolutionary (to me) ideas to a five-star keeper. I'm even considering getting more, to hand out to artists-blocked friends this holiday season.

    Get this book. Even if you're not blocked now, or can't imagine defacing a book (even if it tells you to). One day, if you ever are, this book can help knock you out of the rut you're in, and put you on a whole new path.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book!, July 3, 2007
    At first I hestiated to follow the directions in the book but it was really wonderful when I let myself go and started to wreck this journal. It has been so much fun and a truly liberating experience to play with this book. I also recommend Living Out Loud by Keri Smith also.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Every person needs this book, September 25, 2007
    This book is just plain fun! I think everyone needs it. This book is all about having fun, playing, creating, letting loose and breaking all the rules. I can't tell you how much fun I've had with this journal. At first some of the "assignments" seemed a little strange and I wasn't sure if I would actually do some of them. But I have to tell you that once I got into it I was having a blast with this book and doing all the fun and silly things Keri suggests. This book would be the perfect stress reliever for anyone. It would also be a great way to bring out that inner child in all of us. You can make a mess, tear things up, play around and do all the things that most of us adults have long since given up. Forget about all the stuffy journals out there that want you analyze your dreams and explore your deepest thoughts. Just play and have some fun. This book is all you need!

    5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT gift for kids too!!, May 28, 2008
    This book was actually in the juvenile section of my local Barnes and Noble/Borders (I can't remember), and I bought this on a lark for my 9 year old daughter, hoping to get her creative juices flowing and stop her "I hate journaling" whininess (journaling is often a homeschool assignment) in its tracks. This book was AMAZINGLY successful.

    Okay, so it's not really about writing (although I think this book would be even better with some interesting writing prompts scattered throughout) but it is about thinking outside the box about books and communication and art. It's about using everyday, unconventional things around you to express yourself on paper.

    My 10 year old son watched my daughter for a day and then asked for a copy. The last 4 days they have been going to town on their books. Tonight, watching them smear dinner into the pages (which I covered with clear packing tape -- looks cool!) my 5 year old decided he wants one too.

    Oh, FYI, there is also one page that says, "Burn this page." We burned the page together, near the sink with a pile of wet paper towels nearby. But anyone buying this for a child might want to keep that in mind, and either remove the page or make it clear that the child is NOT to do that page without an adult helping.

    So all in all, we are all very happy with this book.

    5 stars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not for the Faint of Heart!, November 30, 2007
    The first word that comes to mind in describing Wreck this Journal is EDGY. Take every off-beat idea you'd never think of, describe it in a way that makes people WANT to do it, add some really terrific exercises for exploring your limits, and you come up with this book.

    I first heard about Wreck This Journal in an altered art group I belong to - one of the list owners gushed about the zany things she was trying based on the "instructions" in this book. Some of the ideas hit me as, "duh - why didn't I ever think of that?" to endeavors I was pretty sure I'd never do. But boy - how wrong I was! I really got into "wrecking this journal" - and in the process, expanded creative limits I didn't even know I had. Keri Smith definitely thinks outside any box you can come up with - and she's certainly not just a "color outside the lines" kind of girl. No...she's someone who wouldn't even pick up crayons to color, preferring instead to run over the paper with her car tire, fill areas with random staples, mail the page to herself, and then find some other totally cool way to radically alter the paper. Her spirit of exploration comes through loud and clear in this book - and it's impossible not to catch her energy.

    This great Journal will remind you that paper is just paper and that art is just art - and I mean that in the best sense. You'll be more tempted to explore your art in new and exciting ways after reading this - and the fun is contagious. I'm having such a great time with this that my 7 year old daughter (the Diva in Training) begged me and begged me to get her a copy...which she'll be delighted to find under the tree this Christmas.

    You may purchase this book with the thinking you wouldn't/couldn't follow some of Ms Smith's suggestions - but it won't be long before you're attacking the Journal with reckless abandon. That's just the effect this book has on you. You'll adopt a no-holds-barred attitude - and have great fun in the process. You'll also be more than a little surprised at how much you end up loving the finished Journal.

    This book is an addictive impetus in a sense - and whether it was Ms Smith's intention or not - you'll find yourself pushing your boundaries in your art...and your life. But isn't that what it's all about?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Mistake, September 14, 2007
    A creative, funny, and engaging way to let out all that excess creativity in one huge, disgusting mass, that really turns out beautiful in the end.

    I take it everywhere, even though I'm nearly finished with the instructions on each page, I'm hardly finished with the book. I'm determined to fill each and every blank spot with the most embarrassing nonsense I can dream up.

    That's the point, right there, to overcome all the embarrassment that arises when one is presented when blank page and raw creativity meet, this book shows that you need to mess up a million times, and that the most fatal mistake can be the greatest thing you ever do.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great for loosening up!, September 6, 2007
    I love this journal! Have you wanted to be a person who journals, but who gets stuck when you see that blank page? This is the book for you! Each page gives you instructions of things to do to these journal pages. At first it may seem a little silly, but soon you begin to relax, and can see that journaling can be fun. Once you go through these exercises you can face any blank book with courage and a sense of humor!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Wreck it!, April 2, 2009
    Want to know just how far outside your comfort zone you're likely to go? You'll be instructed to burn pages. Rip pages out and throw them away. Spit coffee on them. Scribble on them. Rip them up. Turn them into paper airplanes. Compost them. Draw ugly things on them. Document a boring event. Deface a photo.

    Many of these exercises sound silly and pointless, but they aren't. Many writers and book-lovers find themselves highly reluctant to break the rules they're used to following--how many book-lovers do you know, after all, who refuse to so much as dog-ear a page? Wreck This Journal forces you to work through the blocks, fears, and even grief caused by rule-breaking. It helps you to think in new ways, do things you fear to do. It might sound over-wrought, but when you stare at the page that instructs you to rip it out and lose it, and you get that knot in your stomach at the thought of defacing a book, you'll understand what it can do for you.

    It's hard to be truly creative, after all, if you continually color inside the lines and do only what you're supposed to. Writing "rules" are there for a reason, but that reason isn't to stop you from doing new things, just to make sure you know why you're doing them and do them for a good reason--something that all too many people forget. A book like Wreck This Journal can be a lovely way to drag yourself out of a rut if this has happened to you.

    My only reservation is that there are a couple of things that could have been thought out a little better. For instance, one exercise has you tie the book to a string and take it for a "walk", dragging it along the ground. Another has you lick a page. Do these in that order, and you're just asking to get sick from whatever the book has picked up from the ground.

    So use a little common sense, but otherwise, go crazy! Set your creativity free. ... Read more

    13. Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
    by Steven Johnson
    Hardcover (2010-10-05)
    list price: $26.95 -- our price: $17.79
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1594487715
    Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover
    Sales Rank: 645
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    One of our most innovative, popular thinkers takes on-in exhilarating style-one of our key questions: Where do good ideas come from?

    With Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson pairs the insight of his bestselling Everything Bad Is Good for You and the dazzling erudition of The Ghost Map and The Invention of Air to address an urgent and universal question: What sparks the flash of brilliance? How does groundbreaking innovation happen? Answering in his infectious, culturally omnivorous style, using his fluency in fields from neurobiology to popular culture, Johnson provides the complete, exciting, and encouraging story of how we generate the ideas that push our careers, our lives, our society, and our culture forward.

    Beginning with Charles Darwin's first encounter with the teeming ecosystem of the coral reef and drawing connections to the intellectual hyperproductivity of modern megacities and to the instant success of YouTube, Johnson shows us that the question we need to ask is, What kind of environment fosters the development of good ideas? His answers are never less than revelatory, convincing, and inspiring as Johnson identifies the seven key principles to the genesis of such ideas, and traces them across time and disciplines.

    Most exhilarating is Johnson's conclusion that with today's tools and environment, radical innovation is extraordinarily accessible to those who know how to cultivate it. Where Good Ideas Come From is essential reading for anyone who wants to know how to come up with tomorrow's great ideas.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A staggering insight into cultivating creativity
    In my years as a Wall Street strategy advisor and as a life-long student of that which propels us towards our greatest potential, I am fascinated by an interesting structural tension when it comes to personal and professional excellence.

    We have at our finger tips, some of the greatest knowledge, tools and processes that can help propel people and organizations towards excellence and yet despite this vast wealth of information, many people (and the organizations they are associated with) struggle.

    After exploring many theories over the years, I think I just realized why this is the case and I am staggered by the implications.

    I have just finished reading "Where Good Ideas Come From" by Steven Johnson (author of "Everything Good is Bad For You" and "The Invention of Air") and found the ideas contained within to be of staggering profundity.

    A Different View on Creativity

    With no offence intended towards well-intentioned individuals within organizations who come up with interesting ways to help us be more creative, I have often struggled with the value of some of the ideas they have come up with. Some examples come to mind, including the time I flew across the country for a mandatory, all-hands meeting where we played pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey or another time when I travelled across the country for a mandatory meeting where the primary thing that was accomplished was a competition to see who could build a toy helicopter out of Lego Blocks the fastest.

    When I asked people why we were doing these things, I was informed that it was to help us learn to be more creative. I learned something alright but it was not what they hoped I had learned. By the way, I won the helicopter competition, so there are no sour grapes here. :-)

    As I read Steven Johnson's book, I realized why we struggle with how to be more creative.

    It's because we spend too much time trying to experience an extrinsic-centric learning event when we should be refining the foundational components of what makes a human being a source of unlimited creativity.

    As I read his book, I realized why we are often more hit-than-miss when it comes to increasing our potential for creativity. His book also helped me understand why our creativity sometimes grows in leaps and bounds while at other times, we seem unable to recreate this experience, making our growth in creativity seem frustratingly random or lucky.

    Seven Key Principles

    Mr. Johnson's engaging writing style guides us through seven key areas that must be understood in order to maximize our creativity, the key areas being:

    1. The adjacent possible - the principle that at any given moment, extraordinary change is possible but that only certain changes can occur (this describes those who create ideas that are ahead of their time and whose ideas reach their ultimate potential years later).

    2. Liquid networks - the nature of the connections that enable ideas to be born, to be nurtured and to blossom and how these networks are formed and grown.

    3. The slow hunch - the acceptance that creativity doesn't guarantee an instant flash of insight but rather, germinates over time before manifesting.

    4.Serendipity - the notion that while happy accidents help allow creativity to flourish, it is the nature of how our ideas are freely shared, how they connect with other ideas and how we perceive the connection at a specific moment that creates profound results.

    5. Error - the realization that some of our greatest ideas didn't come as a result of a flash of insight that followed a number of brilliant successes but rather, that some of those successes come as a result of one or more spectacular failures that produced a brilliant result.

    6. Exaptation - the principle of seizing existing components or ideas and repurposing them for a completely different use (for example, using a GPS unit to find your way to a reunion with a long-lost friend when GPS technology was originally created to help us accurately bomb another country into oblivion).

    7. Platforms - adapting many layers of existing knowledge, components, delivery mechanisms and such that in themselves may not be unique but which can be recombined or leveraged into something new that is unique or novel.

    Insight That Resonates

    Mr. Johnson guides the reader through each of these seven areas with examples that are relevant, doing so in a way that hits the reader squarely between the eyes. I found myself on many an occasion exclaiming inwardly "This idea or example is brilliant in its obviousness and simplicity".

    "Where Good Ideas Come From" is a book that one must read with a pen or highlighter in hand as nuggets pop out and provide insight into past or current challenges around creativity and problem solving.

    When someone decides to explore ways of helping you or your organization be more creative and they are getting ready to explore a rah-rah session, an offsite brain-storming session or they are looking to play pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, ask them if they have explored the foundational reasons behind what makes us creative.

    And then buy a copy of this book for them.

    I believe this book should be mandatory reading for every student, teacher and leader.

    We are all students of Life.

    We all at some point, teach others.

    And if we accept that a leader is someone who influences others and we acknowledge that everyone influences someone at some point, then we are all leaders also.

    Educational institutions, governments and corporations should make this book mandatory reading for everyone within their walls.

    "Where Good Ideas Come From" is a fun read as well as a profound one.

    May your creativity blossom as a result of exploring it.

    Create a great day.


    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant (again)!
    For those who enjoyed The Ghost Map and The Invention of Air, Johnson's latest book is another amazing treat in which science meets history, sociology and culture.

    In Where Good Ideas Come From, Johnson examines the way in which people, environments and ideas meet. With references that range from biology, mathematics, neuroscience, technology, engineering, he argues convincingly that "analyzing innovation on the scale of individuals and organizations --- --- distorts our view" and that looking at patterns of creativity within cross-disciplinary contexts is far more fruitful. And Johnson is truly a polymath.

    Great ideas surveyed range from Tarnier's incubator, Baggage's Difference Engine, YouTube, double-entry accounting, the Phoenix memo, the DEVONthink database program, Gutenberg's printing press etc... But this is not about cataloguing ideas, but understanding their genesis and their development, in the context of their respective socio-cultural environment.

    The author does live what he preaches. In wonderful Johnson-style prose, he examines the "connective talents" of Carbon and extrapolates on the chaotic nature of innovative system. The books itself is highly original, and, given the complexity of its ideas, extremely accessible. You will not be disappointed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Insight into creativity
    Creating a theory of innovation is not an exact science as the process is messy, erratic, and often catalogued with a high selective bias towards the final "eureka" moment. In his book, Steven Johnson attempts to unpack some of this process and proposes a framework of seven key themes:

    1. Adjacent possible: different innovations vary in their ability to unlock adjacent capabilities. In other words, timing matters.
    2. Liquid environments: from a coffee house to your lab, the environments ability to circulate ideas plays an incredibly important role.
    3. Serendipity: more often than not, it is a rare connection of two existing ideas that sets off a lightbulb, not discovery of a new one (see 2).
    4. Slow hunch: instant flash of insight usually comes from years of exploration, where at some point, those ideas collide (see 3).
    5. Error: many discoveries come about as an unrelated, and unexpected consequence (ex: penicillin) - be flexible with your ideas.
    6. Exaptation: existing components and discoveries can often be adapted to different use cases (ex: consumer GPS applications.. see 1).
    7. Platforms: where possible, build platforms and ecosystems that foster environments where 1-6 can be recombined at will.

    While the specific examples chosen by author can be argued with, and an occasional metaphor is stretched too far, the book itself is well written and very engaging! Great read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The BEST BOOK I READ IN 2010 - Period!!!
    This is THE BEST BOOK I read in 2010. PERIOD. I am pleased to recognize Steven Johnson's work, Where Good Ideas Come From - The Natural History of Innovation, (Riverhead Books - Published by The Penguin Group New York, NY Copyright � 2010 by Steven Johnson).

    In an era when the U.S. requires some creative thinkers to point the way ahead, I urge you and yours to devour this work. This work is timely, a shape-shifter and contains, in my opinion, the type of thinking required for re-evaluating the current foundation, energy and trajectory applicable to individuals, organizations (BOTH public and private sector), entrepreneurs, diplomats, inventors, faith-based communities etc.

    What's the thesis of this work? Listen to Steven Johnson:

    "If there is a single maxim that runs through this book's arguments, it is that we are often better served by connecting ideas than we are by protecting them. Like the free market itself, the case for restricting the flow of innovation has long been buttressed by appeals to the "natural " order of things. But the truth is, when one looks at innovation in nature and in culture, environments that build walls around good ideas tend to be less innovative in the long run than more open-ended environments. Good ideas may not want to be free, but they do want to connect, fuse, recombine. They want to reinvent themselves by crossing conceptual borders. They want to complete each other as much as they want to compete." P.22 (emphasis is mine).

    The U.S. has always been heralded as the global center for innovation, technological breakthroughs and the quality of a university system that attracts the finest minds from around the world. At present, the U.S. seems to be struggling with a paucity of good ideas and its infrastructure - that has historically produced global admiration (educational achievement, patents, new industries, technologies, strategic partnerships and economic prowess) - has been characterized by a myriad of measures as "in decline."

    This book stirred my patriotic fervor, as well as my competitive and creative juices. It didn't just stir me up - it somehow rearranged some things for me - at a soul level. It is a uniquely hopeful book - a message of tangible, practical hope for global citizens faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges of survival and daily life.

    As Johnson writes, Reading remains an unsurpassed vehicle for the transmission of interesting new ideas and perspectives. P.112

    Thus, I am NOT going to litter this review with too many excerpts from Johnson's work that would encourage you to make a judgment that simply reading a review of it was somehow sufficient. Here's what happened to me after I read Where Good Ideas Come From - The Natural History of Innovation -- I immediately went out and devoured two of Johnson's previous, acclaimed works The Invention of Air and The Ghost Map.

    From time to time, cultures produce thinkers whose ideas are simply essential, timely and (hopefully) infectious. These people and their ideas seem to rise up at times during certain historical epochs when they are desperately needed -- and may be deemed counter intuitive to the mainstream thinking that seems to be widely accepted.

    As Johnson says in The Ghost Map: "The river of intellectual progress is not defined purely by the steady flow of good ideas begetting better ones; it follows the topography that has been carved out for it by external factors. Sometimes that topography throws up so many barricades that the river backs up for a while." P. 135

    Where Good Ideas Come From - The Natural History of Innovation is a force that pierces the barricades that are currently preventing the natural flow of human ingenuity from proceeding as constructively and as freely as it might. This book is inhabited by the essential inertia that is fundamental to our present and our future - individually and collectively.

    I can unequivocally declare this work to be The Best Book I read in 2010.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Enticing and Innovating Itself
    A most interesting book and one that is stimulating to read, IMO. I don't think one needs a high-tech background and graduate degrees to enjoy this book. Reading about the innovations is like reading a minibiography of the various inventions and inventors. Highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Steven Johnson book yet
    I have read all of Steven Johnson's books, some more than once. He is one of only 3-4 authoers whose books I watch for and anticipate before their publication, so I was eager to pick up his latest, and not only did it not disappoint, it may be his most thought-provoking yet.

    Those of you who have read any of his other books, "The Invention of Air", "Mind Wide Open" or "The Ghost Map" will instantly recignize his lucid, well-researched yet casual tone, and in many ways he is building upon ideas brought forth in those earlier works, consolidating them and putting them together to form new ideas, an endeavor which ironically is one of the very concepts he discusses here.

    A better, though less eye-catching title would have been "How Good Ideas Come About". The book is not so much about where, as about what are the conditions most ideal for them. He makes some very interesting and convincing analogies between the natural world and human culture, and bouncing back and forth effortlessly between the two realms is very fresh and compelling.

    But even more than his earlier books, the ride along the way is extremely enjoyable. Fans of Ghost Map and Invention of Air will revel in the sheer quantity of "Wow, I never knew that" moments. But this book differs in approach: rather than delve deeply into one or two individual fascinating historical figures and extrapolating conclusions about human culture at large from it, this book starts from the cultural concept (the generation of innovative ideas) and surveys many historical examples to make his points. Each of these examples is fascinating enough to warrant a book all on their own!

    I have come away from this book totally affirmed for my penchant for working on 6 projects at once, and for "spacing out". And I've been energized and inspired. Thanks Mr. Johnson!

    ... Read more

    14. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61)
    by Eckhart Tolle
    list price: $14.00 -- our price: $7.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0452289963
    Publisher: Penguin
    Sales Rank: 494
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    The highly anticipated follow-up to the 2,000,000 copy bestselling inspirational book, The Power of Now

    With his bestselling spiritual guide The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle inspired millions of readers to discover the freedom and joy of a life lived "in the now." In A New Earth, Tolle expands on these powerful ideas to show how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world. Tolle describes how our attachment to the ego creates the dysfunction that leads to anger, jealousy, and unhappiness, and shows readers how to awaken to a new state of consciousness and follow the path to a truly fulfilling existence.

    The Power of Now was a question-and-answer handbook. A New Earth has been written as a traditional narrative, offering anecdotes and philosophies in a way that is accessible to all. Illuminating, enlightening, and uplifting, A New Earth is a profoundly spiritual manifesto for a better way of life—and for building a better world.

    About the Author

    ECKHART TOLLE is a contemporary spiritual teacher who is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition. In his writing and seminars, he conveys a simple yet profound message with the timeless and uncomplicated clarity of the ancient spiritual masters: There is a way out of suffering and into peace. Eckhart travels extensively, taking his teachings throughout the world.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A New Earth is Born, November 26, 2005
    If you got the concepts in the Power of Now, and love the simple, easy-to-understand message of that book, you will find a "going deeper" happening with this one.

    I've always been one to disagree with spiritual teachers about the ego - that it's basically all bad. If it's bad, why did God create it? My feeling is if it is here on Earth, it belongs, even though we may not understand why.

    That said, Eckhart clearly defines, with excellent examples, how our identification with the ego (and not the ego itself, mind you) keeps us from simply being in the present and instead tied to thoughts, concepts, mind-stuff, endless identification with people, places, and things. He shows us the many forms and faces that the ego takes up, and shows us the fallacy of identifying with forms in the first place.

    To identify so completely with form is to identify with that which is doomed to extinction, causing us loss and sadness. Wouldn't it be better if we simply observed things from an aware state, and not get so caught up in them? This is Eckhart's goal, to get us to a place where we can see the benefits of raising our awareness, and actually wanting to do so.

    Ah, easier said than done, I hear you say. Within the pages of A New Earth, Eckhart gives us precisely the tools we need to recognize and become aware of own folly. From that higher state of awareness, the flowers of enlightenment can bloom. And voila, a New Earth is born.

    I find this book a great comfort.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Some good points made, but not a keeper for me, February 29, 2008
    I have mixed feelings about "A New Earth". While I thought some very good points were made, I didn't find it easy to read because the style of writing is so dense. Many of the ideas that Tolle presents are not original (e.g. how we interpret people or events is a result of our own thoughts or egos, we must strive to live in the present moment), but they are still well made and thought-provoking.

    Some parts of the book do get hard to follow. While Tolle acknowledges this, he also tells us that if we find the book incomprehensible and meaningless, it means that we have not begun the process of awakening - i.e. any fault is with the reader, which strikes me as a cop out. Tolle also implies that his view is the only correct way of viewing the world, with sentences like: "If you don't become speechless when looking out into space on a clear night, you are not really looking, not aware of the totality of what is there."

    My main criticism of this book is that I didn't find it of much help in a practical sense. Tolle talks a lot about how you can effect change in yourself by bringing awareness to situations. This has not been my personal experience - while I agree it's the first step, I think sometimes we need a little more "how-to" guidance if we are to make real change. Often when I was reading this book I'd think: "wow, that's such a great point he's just made", but then it would get kind of lost as the book moved on. And ultimately it comes across as being a bit selfish. This idea that your spouse may leave you and your friends may drift away when you achieve spiritual growth, but that's all for the good.

    To get the most out of "A New Earth", you probably want to read it slowly and let each chapter sit with you for a while before moving onto the next. Even better, have someone to discuss it with as you go and help you to explore the apparent contradictions e.g. when Tolle says on one hand that you don't want to dwell on the future but stay in the present, and then on the other hand he says that you must have a goal or vision that you are working towards. There is definitely a lot of interesting material in here, but I have found other books to be more accessible and useful.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Buddhism repackaged, April 14, 2008
    This is an interesting book to review because I can tune in and see what is happening to people who read it and get a close up look at the author using his philosophy to answer questions. While I applaud Oprah for this novel approach to bettering the human race, I take issue with both this author and his book.

    I read Tolle's first book and found it to be a boring rehash of Buddhism. Because Oprah was so high on his second I figured I'd give him another try and join the book club. I thought it would be interesting to see a book "in action" and discuss it with others. I even sent a copy to my sister who could use a bit of computer recreation since she now lives in a very small town. This book is better than the first in that it is a better compilation of Buddhist thought. However, it rambles constantly, draws conclusions from encounters that are not necessarily justified and the attitude of its author (who sees himself as enlightened and continuously "conscious" and egoless), is laughable. Tolle's vanity is nothing short of astounding. Buddhism isn't a pill, it is a practice and awakening has many layers. In spite of this, Tolle has tons of people saying that they have awakened. On one hand adherents claim to be valiantly battling their ego's while on the other they flaunt their "awakening", telling others who claim to be in serious pain to simply read page such and such or tell their "pain body," to effectively shut up and go away. Yikes!!! While it is true that you can't blame the messenger for what people do with the messenger (Jesus protect me from your followers!) Tolle adopts a similar attitude toward others on the streaming video. His dead pan delivery of jargon in response to questions does not impress me as enlightened or egoless. It might behoove him to remember that those Zen stories he includes in the book were once used by master to deliver highly specific teachings that met the needs of particular students. He has turned awakening into a what I am not sure, but I do know that enlightenment is not a competitive event. A few months from now there are going to be a lot of people with one hell of a philosophical hangover caused by all those subconscious drives they never bothered to examine and thought they'd left in a dumpster somewhere.

    I keep waiting for the day when someone writes a version of Buddhism for the working mom. I think that person should herself be a mother with at least one ADHD child. She should be clinically depressed and have a couch potato for a husband. If she manages to help the child grow into someone with a good marriage and a real profession, I'll buy all of her books. Unfortunately what we keep getting are philosophies created by self-satisfied, introverted, childless, hermits like Tolle. There is nothing wrong with an introverted, childless, hermit being self-satisfied. What is wrong is suggesting that his way of being represents THE path to enlightenment for everyone. I would say that all he has found in Buddhism is a treatment for his (self acknowledged) form of depression and suicidal thoughts. I am glad he is well and happy and wish him the best....but I won't buy anymore of his books because they are just Buddhism repackaged and linked to an attitude I am not fond of.

    2-0 out of 5 stars A very difficult book to read, March 24, 2008
    I had very high expectations for this book but when I received it and started reading I found it was VERY! difficult to read. It was difficult in that, after reading about 100 pages I felt there was almost no substance. It just seems to go on and on and on without a point being reached. Maybe its because Im a bit older now but, I like books that come to a point. Get to meat of what you want to say, support it, and be done with it. Dont talk it to death.

    I think that is book says something important. I also think it could be summed up faster and supported better and still only be 100+ pages in length.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Nothing New Here for Readers of Bhuddism or Taoism, March 21, 2008
    The insights Tolle talks about have been around for at least 2000 years. Basically he is talking about principles of Bhuddism and Taoism that have been studied and taught for generations. His "enlightenment" has been shared by adepts by the thousands.

    If you've never been exposed to these teachings, this will be valuable.

    If you've read any contemporary books on Bhuddism or Taoism or mindfulness, this will just be old stuff rewritten. It isn't new revelation by a modern prophet.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Master Class They Didn't Teach You at College, April 4, 2008
    Eckhart Tolle is a brilliant human being. His ability to hold complex concepts in his mind about enlightenment, human nature and behavior while weaving in examples from the Bible, Buddhism, Taoism, as well as the world's greatest thinkers and artists, is impressive and illuminating. In addition to being a spiritual teacher, Tolle is also a scholar. The richness of his ideas and the way he presents and ties them all together reminded me of philosophy & religion classes I took in college (though none of those classes taught what Mr. Tolle is teaching!).

    In "A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life's Purpose," Tolle carefully and thoroughly describes all the facets of living your life with presence and awareness, rather than living out of the roles and inner thoughts by which we define ourselves. At first, I found his ideas difficult to follow because of the terminology he uses ("egoic dysfunction," "pain-body," "form" vs. "formless," etc.), but he always defines clearly what he means. Hanging in there to fully understand all of the lingo was worth it! In fact, I really enjoyed some unexpected, simple and beautiful explanations of concepts that are often hard to describe. For example, his explanation of a human being:

    Human is "...the functions you fulfill, whatever you do--all that belongs to the human dimension". Being is "found in the still, alert presence of Consciousness itself, the Consciousness that you are." "Human is form. Being is formless. Human and Being are not separate but interwoven."

    "A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life's Purpose" is an exciting and important book to read, not just for your own personal enlightenment, but for the implications it suggests for the world at large. If you are interested in both of these factors, then two other authors that are essential to read are Ariel & Shya Kane. Their books Being Here: Modern Day Tales of Enlightenment and Working on Yourself Doesn't Work: A Book About Instantaneous Transformation dovetail Tolle's in a way that is so wonderful and congruous: the Kanes talk about very similar concepts, but in a very simple, clear and profound way that actually allows you to experience enlightenment and awareness. I strongly recommend reading the Kanes' books, in addition to Tolle's, to truly 'awaken to your life's purpose'!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Distressing Distortion, April 15, 2008
    I was disturbed and alarmed to think that Tolle's book "A New Earth" has received such praise from so many people as a result Oprah Winfrey's endorsement. I read it on the recommendation of not one, but two friends, which perhaps is what upsets me more than anything.

    If I try to be open and detached, I can see that people who are genuinely seeking spiritual growth can find some wisdom here. The book is grounded in belief in a spiritual reality beyond the vision of our egos, it does a good job of describing how much suffering comes from egotism and how much insanity grips our world today, and it is wise to advise that one cultivate an attitude of presence to others and awareness of life.

    However, in honesty, I found myself distressed by several things. This book is a homily (satsang) not a book of science or philosophy - it is repetitive and sometimes condescending, and makes any number of claims that are simply not true or unsupported by any body of knowledge. Contrary to Tolle's perhaps artistic interpretation, "ego" is not an independent entity in the world with its own collective volition; an individual's ego is not the source of all evil (but in fact is a necessary aspect of the development of a healthy person); there is no such creature as a pain-body, let alone the intentionality ascribed to it; etc. etc.

    By objectifying and demonizing ego, feelings, time, and other normal human realities, Tolle is fragmenting and condemning most of the life and reality that we are given, the precious uniqueness and complexity of life as a human person. The book is profoundly NOT coming from an incarnational religious philosophy. The Judeo-Christian religious traditions teach that God is immanent, that God is found in our world, and that we discover that we are held by the loving God in the experiences and feelings and even the pain of human life.

    I do not know the Buddhist tradition well enough to be able to see if this great wisdom tradition is also being presented in superficial or distorted ways. I find myself wondering about that; it would seem that there is room for a more embodied and compassionate Buddhism than what I find here.

    Tolle's presentation of spiritual traditions and human psychology is alienating and ultimately very sad to read. I said to my husband the other night, "If I were to attempt the kind of awakening and detachment from my emotions and experiences that Tolle seems to be recommending, I would never be truthful with you about my real feelings. I'd appear to be serene, but we would have no true intimate relationship, heart to heart."

    But the saddest thing is that this book could lead someone to seek God by attempting to stamp out one's humanity and relatedness. When we are touched by God, it is by grace and love, and it is in the dignity of our real, imperfect life and personhood.
    I hope I can find common ground with those of my friends who have found inspiration from this book. I want to acknowledge the good in it, but also, in integrity, to give it my honest response.

    2-0 out of 5 stars I must be really dim, March 20, 2008
    I have tried and tried to read this book, and just cannot get into it, get it, be inspired by it, stay with it, have an "aha" moment--and I have given this book more chances than I've ever given any book. I am puzzled. Maybe I'm just dim. I don't get it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Thousand Mirrors, February 21, 2006
    I have read Eckhart Tolle's previous works and believe him to be one of the most important spiritual teachers of the 20th and 21st centuries. I had waited very patiently however for this book which he took most of last year to write because when someone of his caliber takes so much time to write a book about enlightenment and the ego you know it's got to be good. The title didn't grab me so much though as the content. This book in one fell swoop has given me more food for thought concerning who I am and who and what this personality is up to than any other spiritual book I've ever read. It's a sobering look at who I am and how devious the ego can be. It has helped me see many of my problems are due to my ego instead of it being all those others in my life. If you're ready to face yourself and who you are up to now you've come to the right place. This book will show you all your games and guises and help you get back to the real you underneath it all. It may be the best step on the most ultimate path we all must eventually take towards a New Earth and our true purpose in life.

    1-0 out of 5 stars All about Eckhart, May 4, 2008
    While there are elements of truth in what Eckhart Tolle is saying, his emphasis on himself as an awakened or enlightened being is very suspect to me. Also, his implication that we should (and can) all just wake up by listening to his brilliant words seems to me to be a superficial fix to a subtle and thorny problem. Anyone can be mindful for an instant, staying mindful, though, can be the work of a lifetime. As several reviews have noted, his writings are largely warmed-over Buddhism.

    For those of you looking to wake up, I'd recommend reading Mindfulness in Plain English; it's getting at the same issue using a much more structured, time-tested approach, and best of all, it's free to download on the Web --just google it.
    ... Read more

    15. What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures
    by Malcolm Gladwell
    Paperback (2010-12-14)
    list price: $16.99 -- our price: $8.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0316076201
    Publisher: Back Bay Books
    Sales Rank: 340
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    What is the difference between choking and panicking? Why are there dozens of varieties of mustard-but only one variety of ketchup? What do football players teach us about how to hire teachers? What does hair dye tell us about the history of the 20th century?

    In the past decade, Malcolm Gladwell has written three books that have radically changed how we understand our world and ourselves: The Tipping Point; Blink; and Outliers. Now, in What the Dog Saw, he brings together, for the first time, the best of his writing from The New Yorker over the same period.

    Here is the bittersweet tale of the inventor of the birth control pill, and the dazzling inventions of the pasta sauce pioneer Howard Moscowitz. Gladwell sits with Ron Popeil, the king of the American kitchen, as he sells rotisserie ovens, and divines the secrets of Cesar Millan, the "dog whisperer" who can calm savage animals with the touch of his hand. He explores intelligence tests and ethnic profiling and "hindsight bias" and why it was that everyone in Silicon Valley once tripped over themselves to hire the same college graduate.

    "Good writing," Gladwell says in his preface, "does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else's head." What the Dog Saw is yet another example of the buoyant spirit and unflagging curiosity that have made Malcolm Gladwell our most brilliant investigator of the hidden extraordinary.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Wow, what a surpirsing gem!
    I've enjoyed all of Malcolm Gladwell's single-subject books, so I thought I'd give this collection of his articles a chance even though I often find compilations like this to be a let down. I'm positively thrilled I read it. The only drawback may be that my friends and family must be sick to death of listening to me talk about it.

    A number of things make the book a real standout. The first is Gladwell's own description of what he tries to accomplish when he writes an article. He says he tries to give the reader a sense of "what it feels like" to be the person he's featuring. He does it in spades and throws a lot more into the bargain as well.

    Amongst the articles, I found a clearer and more engaging explanation of Nassim Taleb's theories than can be found in Taleb's own books. They are brilliant and fascinating and literally gave me new ideas on how to deal with today's stock market conditions. I came to understand why French's mustard has hundreds of successful competitors while Heinz ketchup really has none. I learned better ways to interact with my dog. The list goes on and on.

    What's so fun is that each article took me into a world different from my own and when I left, I had more than I came in with. Some of it is truly helpful in my life, some will make great cocktail party conversation and some is just fascinating in its own right.

    Pick this one up and give it a read. I think you'll be glad you did.

    5-0 out of 5 stars More Interesting & Unique Perspectives
    If you're an avid reader of "The New Yorker" over the past decade or so, you probably would've read most of the stories Malcolm Gladwell pieced together to produce this fascinating book; perhaps you would've felt cheated that he's simply rehashing old stuff.

    Luckily for me, I don't read "The New Yorker", so all of Gladwell's "adventures" that have been compiled for this endeavor are new to me; and I found them to be quite interesting and unique. The end result is a book that anyone with an inquiring mind would certainly enjoy. I loved it.

    The topics covered in this quirky series of essays are as far-flung as Ron Popeil and the psychology of dogs; whether you find each one to be of interest is debatable. Certainly, what some people would find interesting, would bore others to death. To nit pick each separate chapter would be a futile endeavor; simply enjoy the essence of Gladwell's engaging prose, and explore the fascinating perspective he lends to our crazy existence.

    In the end, you'll discover a different perspective on a lot of things you never even thought about before; and isn't that the reason for expanding our intellectual horizons? Quite simply, this book accomplishes its mission; I highly recommend reading it for yourself.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Like a provocative comedian, Gladwell chooses familiar rocks
    Gladwell's subject matter is intentionally, wildly far flung. In addition, one story will go micro and the next will go macro. He revels in the swing. Like a provocative comedian, Gladwell chooses familiar rocks and then breaks them open for the pay off. He exposes the human motivations and the surrounding group dynamics that contribute to any number of calamities. As a premier American Social Scientist, Gladwell is many things; part intuitive savant, part psychologist and sociologist and part investigative interrogator. Above all these gifts, Gladwell is an excellent story teller. He often tackles huge and complex topics with simple unflappable logic. Gladwell's patented "reveal" is his franchise trademark. First he presents an interesting dynamic or problem. He then presents a second, seemingly unrelated problem. Gladwell toggles between the two stories and rolls them out on two long converging lines, logically inching them forward, step-by-step. At the end of each essay, there is a single resolve with an implicit social commentary, (`... the teacher's have an NFL quarterback problem"). He often concedes that knowing the logical answer won't necessarily change the next inevitable outcome. So rest assured, due to our own human nature, curious Mr. Gladwell will never run short of flamboyant material.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What Malcolm learned....

    One man's opinion, Malcolm Gladwell is at his best when writing essays for magazines (notably The New Yorker) or when writing Outliers: The Story of Success, his most recently published book. (I do not share others' enthusiasm for his earlier books, The Tipping Point and Blink.) In Outliers, he provides a rigorous and comprehensive examination of the breakthrough research conducted by Anders Ericsson and his associates at Florida State. One of the major research projects focuses on individuals who have "attained their superior performance by instruction and extended practice: highly skilled performers in the arts, such as music, painting and writing, sports, such as swimming, running and golf and games, such as bridge and chess." Geoff Colvin (in Talent Is Overrated) and Daniel Coyle (in The Talent Code) also discuss the same research.

    In this volume, we have 19 of Gladwell's essays, all of which originally appeared in The New Yorker. They are organized within three Parts: Obsessives, Pioneers, and Other Varieties of Minor Genius (e.g. "The Pitchman: Ron Popeil and the Conquest of the American Kitchen"); Theories, Predictions, and Diagnoses (e.g. "Million-Dollar Murray: Why Problems Like Homelessness May Be Easier to Solve Than Manage"); and Personality, Character, and Intelligence (e.g. "Dangerous Minds: Criminal Profiling Made Easy"). In the Preface, Gladwell observes, "Curiosity about the inner life of other people's day-to-day work is one of the most funfamental of human impulses, and that same impulse is what led to the writing you now hold in your hands."

    The title of the book is also the title of one of the essays in which Gladwell provides a profile of "The Dog Whisperer," Cesar Millan, the owner of the Dog Psychology Center in South-Central Los Angeles whose television program is now featured on the National Geographic channel. Although a long-time dog owner, I did not know - until reading this article - that dogs are really interested in humans. Interested, observes anthropologist Brian Hare, "to the point of obsession. To a dog, you are a giant walking tennis ball." Apparently to an extent no other animal can, a dog can "read" humans like the proverbial open book. What they "see" determines how they will react. The key to Millan's effectiveness with dogs is his understanding of their need for exercise, discipline, and affection. What he calls an "epiphany" occurred when he realized that they have their own psychology. For him, he realized this, it was "the most important moment in his life, because it was the moment when he understood that to succeed in the world he could not be just a dog whisperer. He needed to be a people whisperer." According to Gladwell, "A dog cares, deeply, which way your body is leaning. Forward or backward? Forward can be seen as aggressive; backward - even a quarter of an inch - means nonthreatening. It means you've relinquished what ethologists call an intentional movement to proceed forward." Ethologist Patricia McConnell and the author of The Other End of the Leash adds, "I believe they pay a tremendous amount of attention to how relaxed our face is and how relaxed our facial muscles are, because that's a big cue for them with each other."

    Gladwell seems to have an insatiable curiosity about individuals, situations, and locations that may be, at least unitially, of little interest to others...until he shares what he has learned about them. Ketchup, for example. It is essential to my enjoyment of burgers, meatloaf, and french fries and yet I assumed that all ketchup is the same. Not so! In "The Ketchup Conundrum," Gladwell explains that tomato ketchup "is a nineteenth-century creation - the union of the English tradition of fruit and vegetable sauces and the growing American infatuation with the tomato. But what we know today as ketchup emerged outof a debate that raged in the first years of the last century over benzoate, a preservative widely used in the late-nineteenth century condiments." When I first read this essay in 2004, I was tempted to stop at this point. A debate about benzoate? A condiment controversy? Who cares? It is to Gladwell's credit that he rewarded my continuing to read the article by providing some truly interesting information about a subject in which I had little (if any) prior interest.

    The next article in the anthology, "Blowing Up: How Nassim Taleb Turned the Inevitability of Disaster Into an Investment Strategy,"an article first published in 2002. Over a period of many months, Gladwell spent a great deal of time with Nassim Nicholas Taleb, founder and CEO of a hedge fund, Empirica Capital. "Taleb likes to quote David Hume: `No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, but the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion.'...[Taleb] has constructed a trading philosophy predicated entirely on the existence of black swans, on the possibilty of some random, unexpected event sweeping the markets. He never sells options, then. He only buys them. He's never the one who can lose a great deal of money if GM stock suddenly plunges. Nor does her ever bet on the market moving in one direction or anitger. That would require Traleb to assume that he understands the market, and he doesn't." Years later, he wrote a book he called The Black Swan and during the subsequent financial crisis of 2008-2009 "made a staggering amount of money for his fund."

    In this article and in all of the others, Gladwell demonstrates the skills of a world-class cultural anthropologist as he seeks out information from a wide variety of sources, interviews authorities on the given subject, observes behavior of those involved in the given activities, and then explains to the extent possible - in layman's terms - the meaning and significance of what he has learned. Each article is a gem. Together in one volume, they are a treasure.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must-have for the contemporary skeptic
    Every essay is dazzling. The unifying theme of all the pieces is epistemology: Why don't more accurate and precise mammograms provide more precise diagnoses? Why don't the best college quarterbacks necessarily make it as pros? Why is it probably naive to expect that all terrorist plots can be averted? The author probes into the limits of our knowledge and the expectations of 21st century society about certainty, and usually comes up with very provocative conclusions.

    5-0 out of 5 stars from theBookChubi
    I listened to the audiobook and I think that was a good idea. First off, Gladwell has a great vocal quality that can both present information in a neutral tone (avoiding the problem of biasing the reader straight from the start) but is also very animated and really helps bring the information alive. Although the words themselves are what is important, without the additional presentational quality of the author I feel this book may come off as dry or too factual (as opposed to the stated purpose of providing an alternative idea). He takes you along the entire thought process behind the theories and ideas he is writing about so that you aren't simply confronted with the "solution" but get an idea of each step taken to arrive at that conclusion.

    Some of the endings are blunt, which may work well for The New Yorker (where the articles were sourced from) but do seem a bit abrupt for a collection of stories in a book. Gladwell is fantastic about bringing each story around full circle and creating a through-line which, rather than sounding like a college paper (as these articles could have been doomed in another author's hands), provide a rich plot which happens to provide valuable information in the mean time. You will learn something even if you don't mean to and in the context of this book that is a positive factor.

    All in all this book deserves your attention (it sure managed to capture mine).

    See the full review at: [...] ... Read more

    16. How To Win Friends and Influence People
    by Dale Carnegie
    Hardcover (2009-11-03)
    list price: $25.00 -- our price: $16.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1439167346
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 525
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    How to Win Friends and Influence People is the first, and still the finest, book of its kind. One of the best-known motivational books in history, Dale Carnegie's groundbreaking work has sold millions of copies, has been translated into almost every known written language, and has helped countless people succeed in both their business and personal lives.

    First published in 1937, Carnegie's advice has remained relevant for generations because he addresses timeless questions about the fine art of getting along with people: How can you make people like you instantly? How can you persuade people to agree with you? How can you speak frankly to people without giving offense? The ability to read others and successfully navigate any social situation is critically important to those who want to get a job, keep a job, or simply expand their social network.

    The core principles of this book, originally written as a practical, working handbook on human relations, are proven effective. Carnegie explains the fundamentals of handling people with a positive approach; how to make people like you and want to help you; how to win people to your way of thinking without conflict; and how to be the kind of leader who inspires quality work, increased productivity, and high morale.

    As Carnegie explains, the majority of our success in life depends on our ability to communicate and manage personal relationships effectively, whether at home or at work. How to Win Friends and Influence People will help you discover and develop the people skills you need to live well and prosper. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonder if he knew people would be reading this 75 years later
    I doubt it, but when you tap into fundamental aspects of human nature in a way that helps people that's what happens. You've probably heard about this book, as it's one of those titles that have become part of the cultural lexicon (like CATCH-22). Written in 1936, it is based on courses in public speaking that had been taught in adult education courses by Dale Carnegie since 1912 (and to put to rest a popular assumption, he was no relation to the magnate Andrew Carnegie). It is an unusual little book, written in a highly personalized, colloquial style that is reminiscent of a great lecture. This book was designed with professionals in mind, and designed to help professional people do better in business by helping them make social contacts and improve their speaking skills. It was also written with a certain...earnestness in mind. Carnegie was a big believer in sincerity when it came to dealing with other people.

    The book has six major sections. The core principles of each section are outlined below:

    Fundamental Techniques in Handling People: Don't criticize, condemn, or complain. Give honest and sincere appreciation. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

    Six Ways to Make People Like You: Become genuinely interested in other people. Smile. Be a good listener, etc. etc.

    Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking: Avoid arguments. Show respect for the other person's opinions. If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. etc. etc.

    Be a Leader / How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment: Begin with praise and honest appreciation. Talk about your own mistakes first. etc. etc.

    Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is another book you'll likely want to read. It's the only modern book I've come across that addresses dealing with people this effectively.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The In's and Out's of Human Nature
    A classic (originally published in the 30's) and a must-have, this timeless piece of work can help just about anybody get along better with others and win them over to their way of thinking. Don't have a lot of time to spare? Don't worry. The book is divided into short sections, each one devoted to a particular principle that is well illustrated with many practical examples. In this way, you can read a chapter quickly, stop and do other things you have to do if necessary, and get back to the book when you have time- all without losing continuity.

    Thoroughly entertaining by using fun and interesting examples, I don't think many readers will regret checking this one out and I like to think of this book as a kind of Human Relations 101 of sorts. Also recommend The Sixty-Second Motivator for further reading on motivational principles.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Timeless People Skills
    This book is indeed potentially life changing, as so many of the reviews have stated. It continues to speak volumes into my daily interactions with people even though I listened to it nearly four years ago.

    I have found that following its advice does not make me phony or narcissistic - rather just the opposite (I suppose you can choose to try to pretend to care about people, but people are wiser than that). The book promotes understanding others' behavior and could have the very positive effect of reducing day-to-day conflict. Your blood pressure could lower and relationships flourish. It certainly has had this effect in my life.

    And the(at times)dated language? Classic!

    I recommend it highly!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Common sense advice, but beware the unwritten chapter
    I won't waste your time with a rundown of what "How to Win Friends and Influence People" is about. With over 400 reviews on Amazon, with over 15 million copies sold, and with a very self-explanatory title, I think you all get it. For the rare person who may not know what this book is about, here's a succinct description: in 1930s vernacular prose, Dale Carnegie explains that by appealing to the other person's highest ideals, remembering the other person's name, letting the other person do most of the talking, speaking in terms of the other person's interests, allowing the other to save face, by "throwing down a challenge," etc., you can make a friend out of just about anyone.

    The advice is largely sound, but I think the reader should keep in mind the context within which this book was written. "How to Win Friends and Influence People" was written in the 1930's and intended primarily as a companion book to Dale Carnegie's classes on how to be a good salesman. In other words, these techniques work very well in the context of sales and public relations, i.e., in relationships that are not expected to be deep and/or long-lasting. I wouldn't recommend using these techniques on close personal friends. Doing so may make a person come across as a bit "plastic."

    Also, there is one major point that I think needs to be remembered, but unfortunately is nowhere to be found in "How to Win Friends and Influence People." During my research of Dale Carnegie's techniques, I came across what I believe may be the only biography available about him: Dale Carnegie: The Man Who Influenced Millions by Giles Kemp and Edward Claflin. This book reveals many interesting things, such as the fact that Dale Carnegie grew up poor; he lost part of his left index finger when he was a child; he often broke many of the tenets set forth in this book, often forgetting others' names, often arguing with others, etc. But what I found most interesting was that the last chapter of "How to Win Friends" was to describe those individuals with whom none of Dale Carnegie's techniques work. In this unpublished chapter, Carnegie wrote that there were some people with whom it was impossible to get along. You either needed to divorce such people, "knock them down," or sue them in court.

    Why is that chapter absent from this book, you ask? Well, Dale Carnegie was in the middle of writing this chapter when he was offered a trip to Europe, and rather than complete this last chapter he decided to take the trip. The uncompleted book was sent off to publishers, and Carnegie shipped off to Europe.

    Giles Kemp and Edward Claflin say that given the optimistic tone of the rest of "How to Win Friends," the European trip was perhaps the better choice. Reconciling the the unwritten chapter with the rest of this optimistic book would've been nearly impossible, they say.

    Anyway, I think that this unpublished chapter is important to keep in mind. I had to learn the hard way that the unpublished chapter is very true. There are some people with whom it is impossible to get along. When you meet up with such people, and believe me you will, don't think that you've failed the Carnegie techniques. Instead, remind yourself that you are experiencing exactly what Carnegie describes in that pragmatic, unpublished chapter. And then quickly move on to the nicer people!

    Andrew Olivo

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is endlessly simple and deceptively complex
    It was facinating to read the other reviews of this book. I can't help but be struck by how simple minded many of the negative comments about the book are. What they don't understand is that the vast majority of people are motivated by the desire to be appreciated. Because we are all so consumed with our own desire to be appreciated we often miss that elementry fact. The principles of this book are simple, but their implications are complex. Therefore, its occasional simplicity could never deminish its greatness. It seems to me that those who hold negative comments about this book felt as though they were being tricked. Remember, Dale teaches that we should communicate "honest, sincere" appreciation and admiration of others. Phoney is phoney whether it is in 1937 or 1997. Dale would never advocate the use of untruths in winning friends. People are not stupid, simply naturally motivated a few common factors. Some readers became defensive believing that they are to smart to fall for these techniques. But, you see, they are caught up in their own sense of selfworth, their own sense of importance. What a shame that the brilliance of the book was lost on them. Other readers had the ability to recognize that they were also motivated by a desire to be appreciated. Those are the readers who have changed the way they see human interaction. Man is a complex animal filled with instinct and the ability to reason. There are certain situations that cause the vast majority of people to react in the same manner- this is instinct. A perfect example is a smile from another. Your first impression of that person is that he is friendly. This thought is involuntary. That fact that we all respond positively to a smile does not mean that we are being tricked. We are simply receiving the nourishment that we crave. Still don't believe me. Imagine this situation honestly. You have always believed that Tom from work is an ass. But yesterday you had a conversation with you best friend from work when the subject of Tom came up. Your friend says to you, "Well, I don't know what you've done to Tom to make him think you are so great, but earlier today he told me that you are the most valuable employee in the company and that your integrity as a human being is unmatched". What do you think about Tom now? You can't help but to like him can you? I would like him. Why? My new openion of him is involuntary. I think I am important and deserving of recognition just like every other human being on the planet, and he gave me what I craved just like every other human being, honest sincere appreciation. If you liked the book, read it again. If you didn't like it, read it again. Otherwise, you will be doomed to wallow in your own ignorance of human relations forever.

    Aaron J. Ruckman

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic For Success
    Dale Carnegie had made motivation into an art. Moreover, he had made his form of motivation into an American institution. Find out how an average person can achieve much through the right forms of inspiration, perspiration, and influence. In How to Win Friends and Influence People, you learn about the human factor of success and how principles applied almost 70 years ago, still speak true today.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece on the Subject of People Skills
    Man is a social being - unless one chooses the way of the recluse or hermit, he will inevitably have to interact with people. Strangely, for most people who never encounter this book, they miss out on one of the most important keys to achieving happines and prosperity in Life.

    It's been proven that success in any field is related MORE to "people skills" than to mere "technical know-how". And, NO-ONE has put together the principles by which these skills can be acquired better than Dale Carnegie. ... Read more

    17. I Do, Now What?: Secrets, Stories, and Advice from a Madly-in-Love Couple
    by Giuliana Rancic, Bill Rancic
    Hardcover (2010-09-28)
    list price: $25.00 -- our price: $15.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0345524993
    Publisher: Ballantine Books
    Sales Rank: 648
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Five million viewers tuned in to The Style Network for Giuliana DePandi and Bill Rancic’s fairy tale wedding in Italy, as the passions, tears, and champagne flowed. But what happened once the honeymoon was over? After all, she’s been stationed in Los Angeles as one of E! Entertainment’s most popular personalities, and he’s kept his home in Chicago, where this handsome winner of The Apprentice has been busy running an empire of his own. How, we’ve wondered, is this marriage really working out?

    With all the funny, frank, and characteristically down-to-earth personality that fans of their hit reality show, Giuliana & Bill, have come to adore, this glamorous couple takes you behind the scenes of their real-life marriage. Like all newlyweds, they’ve faced the big issues that wedlock manages to invite, including money (to merge or not?), household chores (she’s disorganized, he’s a neat freak), arguments (without staying mad), and trying to have a baby (it’s not as easy as they thought!). Sharing their newfound and sometimes hard-won insights, they offer suggestions on such topics as communication, giving and receiving support, trust and jealousy, quality time, friends and in-laws, fighting fair, and sex and romance.

    A must-read for newly married couples, or those about to take the plunge, or anyone who wants to know the secrets of everlasting love, I Do, Now What? is an upbeat real-world resource for the most ambitious journey of a couple’s life: marriage!
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars I Do, Now What? They are madly in love and so I am I...with this book!
    I'd like to preface this with the fact that I've never really been a fan of either celebs here. I mean, I don't have anything against them, I just am not one to get wrapped up in the whole Celeb culture. However, my best friend lives and dies for this stuff, and so when she heard that Bill and Guiliana were doing a reading at Borders in Chicago, she dragged me along. Turns out, I actually enjoyed them. They are an adorable couple and seemed really in love. I skimmed the book my friend bought when we first got there- and it had a great "voice" to it and it made me laugh, so on my way out I picked up a copy for myself. I went home and read it cover to cover. I couldn't put it down. How did I get sucked in like that? Ha! They are such great writers and I love the humor and stories that they used along the way that made it such an enjoyable read. It gives you an intimate look into their lives and makes the reader feel like when they are done the book, like they know the couple and would totally want to be friends with them out in the real world.

    5-0 out of 5 stars How can you not love these two!
    Loved the book and the style in which it was written. After reading this book you feel like you know Jiuliana and Bill. Was amazed that they shared so much. Couldn't wait to pick it up everyday and didn't want to put it down when I did! It was a very fast read and hope that there is a second one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Refreshing and witty
    As a newly married 30 something in today's self-centered, easily divorced society, I admire and appreciate G and B's traditional and earnest approach at marriage. This book is a candid read of real issues that all married couples face. This book had me listening and laughing to their insight and challenges but also made me think about how it can relate to my own marriage. Refreshing to hear honesty from a Hollywood couple.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Love it!
    I love Guiliana and Bill so I had to get this. It's a great book and truly I think they have what will make their marriage work. They both seem to have the same values (which is HUGE - HUGE - HUGE!), complete trust and love for each other. They just both seem they are on the same page. A very fun, easy read and very insightful! I think if more couples took G&B's strategies to heart, I think the divorce rate would drop! If only I could get my husband to read it! Thanks G&B!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A fine account, recommended for any general lending library
    I DO, NOW WHAT? SECRETS, STORIES AND ADVICE FROM A MADLY-IN-LOVE COUPLE provides a real-life romance and its aftermath. If it sounds familiar, the couple was on the Style Channel for their Italian wedding: this picks up on the aftermath, presenting their frank assessment of marriage. The third season of 'Giuliana & Bill' coincides with this book's publication and probes secrets behind their marriage success in this fine account, recommended for any general lending library.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, funny, and insightful read!
    I'm really surprised at ANY negative reviews of this book. I laughed from start to finish. This book truly captures Bill and Giuliana's personalities. They teach amazing and important lessons about relationships and marriages by telling anecdotes from their own experience. I related so much to so many of the things they shared in my own relationship, I've giving this to my boyfriend to read now that I'm finished with it. A fantastic book!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book...
    Love the way the book was written like an interview. As a couple who have been married for six years; my husband and I definitely look up to these two- they are real, down-to-earth and it's wonderful they decided to share their life experiences with all of us. It's so refreshing that there are still couples out there that love, respect and admire each other. Thanks G & B for giving us a peek into your world; and for sharing that marriages take time, effort and nurturing to truly blossom. The both of you are so inspiring!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable read
    Got the book after catching the TV series. Quick read. They come off as funny, sincere and with something to share. They are a rare combination of a public couple with a solid private marriage - now not so totally private. The fact the Giuliana changed her professional name to Rancic says so much about their commitment to each other.

    5-0 out of 5 stars RANCIC REVIEW
    Loved the combined thinkings of the Rancic's in their new book. I found it to be honest, funny & hopeful for those of us that struggle in relationships from time to time. I have to say as a female and a BIG Apprentice fan...I have been a fan of Bill for a long time and reading his excerts on how he keeps the romance alive, how he is about his marriage/family and the priority of these in his life and most of all how he truley cares, loves and adores his wife.. may I just say "he should be cloned." Or start giving seminars to men on his methods of whooing a female and what he has found to work...there's alot of men out there that could use some gentle reminders. Loved the book...have suggested it to many...most of all my finacee'! Looking forward to the next installments. ... Read more

    18. The Feelings Book: The Care & Keeping of Your Emotions (American Girl)
    by Dr. Lynda Madison
    list price: $8.95 -- our price: $8.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1584855282
    Publisher: American Girl Publishing Inc
    Sales Rank: 754
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. This companion to The Care and Keeping of You helps girls understand their emotions and learn to deal with them. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A must-have for parents of pre-teen girls, April 16, 2005
    I can't recommend this book highly enough. I agree with an earlier reviewer that it's really not a book for a 12-13 year old; it's perfect for those pre-pubescent 8-11 kids. My daughter, age 9, and I worked through this book together and she learned a lot and is really putting her new knowledge to good use. With rates of depression, suicide, eating disorders, etc., growing so frighteningly among teenagers and young women, it's incumbent on us as parents to give our kids a good grounding before they hit the really hard years of the early teens. This book is an excellent tool to help us do just that.

    5-0 out of 5 stars how to deal with your emotions, November 7, 2004
    This book has everything you need to be able to deal with your emotions. It has techniques for you to use when you have a certain feeling that you really can't control. The advice this book gives you is very helpful, and there's even a part in the book of how to deal with your feelings when your parents are getting divorced. If you're embarrassed, scared, happy, sad, mad, or WHATEVER, this book tells you how to handle good feelings, and BAD. It'll really take you through the process, and YOU have to pick the choices you think are right. If you're confused about your feelings in this period of your life, you should read this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must have for all pre-teen girls, June 28, 2004
    I can't recommend this book enough for girls ages 8 - 12.
    My daughter has it & loves it. It is a great reference for young girls who are embarassed to talk about their feelings.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good, January 4, 2005
    As the older sister of a girl almost 13, I thought this book would be a good gift. While the advice is pretty good and sound, the book itself and the illustrations are too young for her. At 12, she is already on to older books. This book is pretty good for 11 and under. But by 12, probably need something more sophisticated.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book, August 28, 2006
    My daughter is 13 and has ocd with anxiety. This book has brought her comfort. There are some many emotions at 13 and then add ocd on top it.. this book gave her ways to cope when she was feeling nervous. It also helps with all the moods of being 13.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent for the 12 and under crowd, January 21, 2006
    This book is fantastic. It addresses most of the social problems girls have at this age and outlines positive ACTION that they can take to overcome it. The illustrations and questions make it very approachable, they aren't intimidating and don't give off a condescending feel that books such as the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens gives off. (Although 7 Habits is a good book if you can convince the teen to read it).

    I wouldn't give it to a girl above 13, but I'd leave it on the coffee table or on my reading table. Even though it'd be a bit young for her, she could get some good information that isn't taught or mentioned in school.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great, November 25, 2006
    I`m 10 and I like how this book tells me how to handle my changing emotions. In the help section,some girls have the same problems as me,so I got the answers.I reccomend this book,and The Care and Keeping of You to go with it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is awsome!, August 26, 2006
    This book is not just for pre-teens. I'm 13 and I read it everyday. So any one can read not just kids 12 and under. So none should thinks its for pre-teens only.Don't listen to people who says its a bad book becaues it can be used for all ages . So I HIGHLY RECCOMEND THIS BOOK!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent - VERY Helpful!, December 31, 2007
    Our family went through some real tragedy this year and we bought this book for our 9yo daughter on the advice of her counselor. It was an excellent book - it really helped my daughter understand and deal with her emotions. She worked through the book and it really seemed to give her insight into herself and how to cope with all the [very normal but quite overwhelming] emotions she was having.

    This is an excellent book and I think it would be helpful for ANY girl as she approaches puberty and starts to mature into a young lady.

    5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK!!!!!!!!, September 22, 2007
    Great 7 yr old and I read it together. It allowed me to see & experience some of her true feelings about some things without her realizing it. It has a number of activities and exercises that we did throughout the book that really helped her open up about things she would normally feel a bit embarassed about sharing with me. A great book to read together during that precious parent/child time. ... Read more

    19. The 48 Laws of Power
    by Robert Greene
    Paperback (2000-09-01)
    list price: $20.00 -- our price: $12.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0140280197
    Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
    Sales Rank: 542
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this piercing work distills three thousand years of the history of power in to forty-eight well explicated laws. As attention--grabbing in its design as it is in its content, this bold volume outlines the laws of power in their unvarnished essence, synthesizing the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun-tzu, Carl von Clausewitz, and other great thinkers. Some laws teach the need for prudence ("Law 1: Never Outshine the Master"), the virtue of stealth ("Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions"), and many demand the total absence of mercy ("Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally"), but like it or not, all have applications in real life. Illustrated through the tactics of Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, P. T. Barnum, and other famous figures who have wielded--or been victimized by--power, these laws will fascinate any reader interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control. ... Read more


    4-0 out of 5 stars Black/White/Gray, August 15, 2001
    When it comes to morality and ethics, people are used to thinking in terms of black and white. Conversely, "The 48 Laws of Power" deals primarily with the gray areas. At the risk of sounding melodramatic and trite, I say that most of the Laws covered in this book can be used for great evil or for great good. It depends on the reader. There is really nothing wrong with most of the Laws per se.

    Each Law comes with true stories from history about those who successfully observed it and those who foolishly or naively trangressed it. Robert Greene has an interpretation for each story. Though each Law is self-explanatory, Greene's explanations are not padding, fluff or stuffing to make the book longer. They actually give greater clarification and depth. Greene's insight even extends to crucial warnings about how the Laws could backfire.

    There are two reasons to read this book:

    1. For attack: To gain power, as have others who have carefully observed the Laws;

    2. For defense: To be aware of ways that people may be trying to manipulate you.

    As Johann von Goethe said (as quoted in "The 48 Laws of Power", of course): "The only means to gain one's ends with people are force and cunning. Love also, they say, but that is to wait for sunshine, and life needs every moment."

    Those who say they have never used any of these laws are either being hypocritical--or lying.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Read in spirit of the "Screwtape Letters", March 15, 2004
    In one's life, you're better off following the teachings of Moses, Jesus, or Buddha to gain long-term happiness. But the sad fact is, many people live by a very different set of rules, and while most of these folks eventually self-destruct, they can inflict severe damage on our personal and professional lives in the process.

    48 Rules of Power is a good primer for learning how these people think. I've spotted a number of similar books in the Business section (like "Career Warfare" and classics like the "Art of War") of my local bookseller, but none put things quite as succinctly as this one. In today's predatory work culture, with good jobs (read: jobs that let you own a home and pay all the bills month to month with a little left over) becoming harder and harder to find, you almost certainly will be the target of these techniques at some point. A friend once made an innocent and extraordinarily minor faux pas at an office Christmas party, and had a homicidal CEO attempt to destroy his future using methods as varied as slander and identity theft, all done through middle manager proxies to keep his own hands clean. You need to read books like these to know how too many people at the top think. But don't live out some of these rules in real life (e.g., crush your enemy completely) - there'll always be someone who does it better, and you will get crushed. Martha Stewart got hers, so don't think you're going to smash people and live to tell the tale. Reality simply doesn't work that way - and even if you survive professionally, the spiritual rot and personal decay will leave you an isolated, paranoid wreck. Read this book in the spirit of C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters, in which a master demon gives advice to a protege on how to destroy mortals. Learn how to spot people who live like this - and then stay very, very far away. Jesus said, "Be wise as serpents but innocent as doves." This book, read in the right spirit, will help you with both.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not all that good either, September 4, 2001
    This book is well-written and very nicely designed. Beyond that, it's hard to see what the fuss is about.

    First of all, and on the one hand, the book isn't the torrent of Machiavellian amorality you may have been led to believe. The author does go out of his way to make it _sound_ as though he's presenting you with sophisticated, in-the-know, just-between-us-hardheaded-realists amoral guidance. But as a matter of fact almost every bit of this advice _could_ have been presented without offense to the most traditional of morality.

    (For example, the law about letting other people do the work while you take the credit is made to sound worse than it really is. Sure, it admits of a "low" interpretation. But it's also, read slightly differently, a pretty apt description of what any good manager does.)

    Second, and on the other hand, the advice isn't _that_ good; it's merely well-presented. How it works will depend on who follows it; as the old Chinese proverb has it, when the wrong person does the right thing, it's the wrong thing.

    And that's why I have to deduct some stars from the book. For it seems to be designed to appeal precisely to the "wrong people."

    Despite some sound advice, this book is aimed not at those who (like Socrates) share the power of reason with the gods, but at those who (like Ulysses) share it with the foxes. It seeks not to make you reasonable but to make you canny and cunning. And as a result, even when it advises you to do things that really do work out best for all concerned, it promotes an unhealthy sense that your best interests are at odds with nearly everyone else's. (And that the only reason for being helpful to other people is that it will advance your own cloak-and-dagger "career.")

    No matter how helpful some of the advice may be, it's hard to get around the book's rather pompous conceit that the reader is learning the perennial secrets of crafty courtiers everywhere. Even if only by its tone, this volume will tend to turn the reader into a lean and hungry Cassius rather than a confident and competent Caesar.

    In general the book does have some useful things to say about power and how to acquire and wield it. Unfortunately its approach will probably render the advice useless to the people who need it most. Readers who come to it for guidance will come away from it pretentiously self-absorbed if not downright narcissistic; the readers who can see through its Machiavellian posturing and recognize it for what it is will be the very readers who didn't need it in the first place.

    Recommended only to readers who _aren't_ unhealthily fascinated by Sun-Tzu, Balthasar Gracian, and Michael Korda.

    5-0 out of 5 stars May be unethical, but it's true and it works, April 28, 2004
    I am not earning over a million bucks a year so I might not be qualified to judge the value of the book. However, as somebody in his late thirties and always stuck in the middle of world class big corps, I can tell just knowing the laws can greatly improve your ability to defend against arrows shooting at your back.

    For your easy reference, the laws are:-
    1. Never outshine the master
    2. Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies
    3. Conceal your intentions
    4. Always say less than necessary
    5. So much depends on reputation - guard it with your life
    6. Court attention at all cost
    7. Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit
    8. Make other people come to use - use bait if necessary
    9. Win thru your actions, neer thru argument
    10. Infection: Avoid the unhappy and unlucky
    11. Learn to keep people dependent on you
    12. Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim
    13. When asking for help, appeal to people's self interest, never to their mercy or gratitude
    14. Pose as a friend, work as a spy
    15. Crush your enemy totally
    16. Use absence to increase respect and honor
    17. Keep others in suspended terror: cultivate an air of unpredictability
    18. Do not build fortresses to protect yourself - isolation is dangerous
    19. Know who you are dealing with - do not offend the wrong person
    20. Do not commit to anyone
    21. Play a sucker to catch a sucker - seem dumber than your mark
    22. Use the surrender tactic: transform weakness into power
    23. Concentrate your forces
    24. Play the perfect courtier
    25. Re-create yourself
    26. Keep your hands clean
    27. Play on people's need to believe to create cultlike following
    28. Enter action with boldness
    29. Plan all the way to the end
    30. Make your accomplishments seem effortless
    31. Control the options: get others to play with the cards you deal
    32. Play to people's fantasies
    33. Discover each man's thumbcrew
    34. Be royal in your own fashion; act like a king to be treated like one
    35. Master the art of timing
    36. Disdain things you cannot have: ignoring them is the best revenge
    37. Create compelling spectacles
    38. Think as you like but behave like others
    39. Stir up waters to catch fish
    40. Despise the free lunch
    41. Avoid stepping into a great man's shoes
    42. Strike the shepherd and the sheep with scatter
    43. Work on the hearts and minds of others
    44. Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect
    45. Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once
    46. Never appear too perfect
    47. Do not go past the mark you aimed for: in victory, learn when to stop
    48. Assume formlessness

    I hope you wont find the above "laws" too repugnant. Anyway, this book is well written with plenty of lively and interesting examples or stories. An excellent read for both leisure and self improvement, I must say. Highly recommended.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but not "how to". Shows our Sore Spot, January 13, 2001
    The most interesting thing about this book is not the book itself, but the reactions it excites. It has drawn an incredible number of reviewers, many of whom are very critical and emotional about it. Our culture has a sore spot where power is concerned, and this is a good illumination of it. As others have noted, the various laws are contradictory and inconsistent. The book openly admits this, by giving examples of "reversal". It would be nice if the book openly proclaimed that power and politics are all situational--And in fact this point is made in the book. But it probably wouldn't look enticing to potential buyers if they put it on the cover! The book does have some fascinating accounts of past experiences in it, and is interesting to read on that basis. I'm even willing to agree that carefully reading all these accounts of power-grabbing will probably help an avid powermonger become more aware of the dynamics of different situations. But it isn't going to make you into a Kennedyesque figure in and of itself (thank goodness!). The book is beautifully designed and laid out.

    5-0 out of 5 stars People...Grow Up, July 3, 2001
    I have read the many reviews that criticize the 48 Laws as "Not Practical", "Dangerous" and "Shameless". What planet are you people from. I went to night school to get a college degree, I have followed my fathers advise and worked an honest days labor. I came in early and stayed late to get the job done. I have recieved great reviews and many promises of money and promotion. All for little. I noticed my peers, who were not as dedicated as I by their own admission, careers were moving along at the same pace as mine or faster. When I had enough, I began to talk to managers that I trusted and employees who have had success in career advancement. Guess what, their comments and advice were very similiar to many of the laws in this book.

    This book is very "Practical" and, while I admit, practicing many of these laws would be "Dangerous" and "Shameless" to ignore that they are present in our every day lives is delusional.

    It does not matter if you want to play the game or not, you are in it. You don't have to take a sword with you but for heavens sake at lest wear some armor. This book is that armor, to understand the 48 laws allows you to see the oppertunity/danger before it is to late. NO, I WILL NOT HURT PEOPLE FOR GAIN but I will no longer be used if I can help it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars THE 48 LAWS OF POWER: YOUR THINKING WILL NEVER REMAIN THE SAME, November 1, 2005
    Read this book and your thinking will never remain the same. Drawing upon historic examples that portray man's journey through the ages as one long, unending quest to dominate his fellows, The 48 Laws of Power reads somewhat like a much expanded version of Machiavelli's The prince. Yet it carries a lot of its own originality - on many levels. One interesting, innovative feature of this book can be found in the numerous illustrations and anecdotes appearing along the page margins that the writer uses to buttress his points. Quite educative, they provided me an easy opportunity to browse through and be acquainted with fascinating classic literature from Aesop's Fables down to Sun Tzu's The Art of war.

    Can we refer to the 48 Laws as success literature? Some of Robert Greene's advice seems innocent enough: Never outshine the master; win through your actions, never through argument; concentrate your forces; enter action with boldness. These are tips you would find in any self-help book that should put anyone on a stronger footing in the workplace with their boss, with colleagues, or even within the curious context of a romantic relationship.

    But there is a darker, more sinister side to the 48 Laws, a side that appears to be responsible for all the notoriety that surrounds this book. There are laws which, seeming to controvert themselves in some instances, advocate underhandedness and the practice of outright evil in the pursuit of one's ambitions. Reading The 48 Laws awakens a moral conflict within us and presents two philosophies that attend the attainment of power - one inspired by goodness and the other governed by guile. But I think it all depends on the kind of success you seek. To those that would stoop to guile I would point out that Robert Greene has neglected to include what perhaps might have been the first law: All that goes around comes around; you reap what you sow.

    On the other hand, some of these laws that appear to advocate evil - taken in the right context, they shed their malicious intent and turn out to be very helpful, well-meaning principles. For instance, I agree with the thought `So much depends on your reputation - guard it with you life'. But I think my reputation rests, more than anything, on my character and commitment to whatever I do, and it is along these lines I will seek to guard it. Also, when I think of `Make other people come to you - use bait if necessary', I tend to see it in the light of the principle that pronounces: The kind of person you are, to a large extent, determines the kind of people you will attract into your life. So I go about developing my `bait' - myself - in the best way I can. Fishing, as opposed to hunting, one success writer calls it.

    An anecdote which fascinated me and which I kept returning to was one about Cosimo de Medici, the 15th Century Florentine banking magnate, who rode a mule instead of a horse and decidedly deferred to city officials, but effectively controlled government policy in Florence for decades. He spent a lot of his own funds on grandiose development projects across the city but preferred to live in a nondescript villa, and when he died asked to be buried in a simple tomb devoid of lavish ornamentation. Robert Greene uses Cosimo's example to illustrate a concept that is profound as it is though-provoking: the REALITY of power is much more important than the appearance of it. Unfortunately, most people tend to see it the other way.

    On the whole, the 48 Laws awaken one to the on-going struggle for domination and control even in the most mundane transactions between humans. They insist that power is a reality, whether we like it or not. They impress upon us the thinking that, to survive in today's world, one has to become a man or woman of the world - at least, if not in one's actions, in one's awareness. For me, the 48 laws show one how to discern power-bids in relationships, how to read between the lines and scour the fine-print; how to recognize various inter-personal issues at stake in business and the workplace, navigating with panache and perceptiveness. They show one how to be `peaceful as a dove but wise as a serpent', how to `see the tricks coming', as another reviewer put it. Indeed, the 48 Laws seek to banish our innocence. And you'll agree...innocence, many times, can be a painful thing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One meeeeellion dollars!, March 30, 2007
    This is not a "how to" guide for world domination, which seems to have left some reviewers perplexed and/or disappointed. You can take the Laws and historical examples and apply them how you see fit, or you can use Mr. Green's book to help you better understand the motives of those around you and maybe dodge a bullet or two.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Defense, October 23, 2003
    In some sense this book offended me. It is cold and ruthless and the opposite of an aloha spirit. However, it also prepared me. I am in business internationally and you meet a lot of sharks. It is important to understand the offensive mindset to fabricate a defense when needed. I just finished my second reading of the book and plan to read it yearly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Terrific synopsis of the classic historical writings on power., September 15, 2006
    This book is a no holds barred open discussion of raw power, entertainingly presented. It took me a little while to get over the almost completely amoral tone of the book, but I eventually got the sense that the amoral tone is there for a purpose: to clue you in to the fact that people who practice power at this level can often be completely amoral themselves. In that sense, the book truly gives the reader a sense of the mindset of those who will do anything to stay in power. There is a sense as one reviewer pointed out, that the book could have been written without this amoral tone, but then one would miss out on the opportunity of being immersed in its sense of amorality, which is an education in itself. Experiencing the amorality is a wakeup call that offers insight into how some of the world's ills have come to pass, though you may find yourself wanting to shower afterward. After reading it, you will definitely be more aware of the laws being played out on the world stage, and you will begin to recognize people in government who seem to be using it as a playbook. Some laws are even applicable in personal relationships...a scary thought.

    By reading this, you will get an overview of the major philosophical writings on power, who as sources likely include at the very least Machiavelli, Han Fei Tzu, and Sun Tzu, though the authors do not identify the sources of the material for each law. This is one thing I wish they had done. That would have made it more useful to those wishing to put these laws and their development into some kind of historical framework. The authors have done a nice job however of blending together into one seamless volume the writings of these philosophers, whose works are also written in this amoral tone.

    One of the most intriguing and worthwhile aspects of the book, are the many historical vignettes that the authors paint of how each law of power has been implemented, along with how failure to follow the law can be one's undoing. It is like two books in one in that sense. Not only do you get an understanding of raw power, but you get a very entertaining history lesson as well. The authors are also very careful to point out exceptions to the laws, and how they may backfire, making it read like a very thorough treatment of the subject for general readership.

    One particularly interesting vignette has vivid application for our current situation in the war on terror, wherein we find ourselves exposed by going it alone without a substantial alliance while the rest of the world looks on. The vignette concerns a law which states that in seeking to increase power, let your rival do your fighting for you. The authors discuss how Mao Tse Tung suggested he and his rival Chiang Kai Shek set aside their differences and form an alliance in order to defeat the Japanese in World War II. Chiang Kai Shek agreed. Mao then suggested Chiang send his army in first, promising that he would follow Chiang into action by sending his army in as replacements. Once Chiang Kai Shek's army was committed, Mao held his army in abeyance and let Chiang Kai Shek take a beating. Then when Chiang's army was weakened, Mao's army was able to defeat him and exile him to Taiwan.

    The warning for our own national campaign in the war on terror is that hopefully we will not allow ourselves to dissipate our national resources and become foolishly weakened by going it alone at the same time as other rival countries are growing stronger at our expense. The grandiosity of thinking we can go it alone makes us vulnerable to even more severe threats by potentially predatory nations who pretend to be sympathetic now, but who secretly revel in watching us deplete our national will, our troops and our treasury.

    "The 48 Laws of Power" is a fascinating read, though except for a few of the laws, I can't imagine how it could actually help the average person's career unless you were a political operative or someone who had already accumulated a lot of political power and were predisposed to bend towards the amoral. But to build background knowledge and be able to recognize shadowy abuses of power while learning a little interesting history, I heartily recommend it. ... Read more

    20. Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
    by Dan Ariely
    Paperback (2010-05-01)
    list price: $15.99 -- our price: $10.87
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0061353248
    Publisher: Harper Perennial
    Sales Rank: 674
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Why do our headaches persist after we take a one-cent aspirin but disappear when we take a fifty-cent aspirin?

    Why do we splurge on a lavish meal but cut coupons to save twenty-five cents on a can of soup?

    When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we're making smart, rational choices. But are we?

    In this newly revised and expanded edition of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller, Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, we consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They're systematic and predictable—making us predictably irrational.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Made me think through some things I'd overlooked about market behavior
    I have been thinking about economics seriously for nearly 30 years. Classical economics is built to no small degree on the notion that people will generally act in their own best self interest, after rationally and intelligently examining their options. This fit my world view fine in my first career as an engineer (BS and MS in Electrical Engineering).

    From my 2nd Career as a Business Development person (MBA), I began to have to deal with people's tendency to not entirely think things through.

    Here in this book, we have a professor who runs socioeconomic tests on his MBA students. These students are smart enough, worldly enough, experienced enough, and educated enough to approximate the standard economic assumptions and produce reasonably rational behavior.

    Guess what. Even among broad experiments conducted on multiple MBA classes over time, one can predictably pre-bias the outcome of a particular run of a socioeconomic experiment by what seeds you plant in the class members' minds before the experiment. For example, in one experiment in estimating prices, the author requires his students to write the last two digits of their social security numbers on the top of the paper. Simply the act of writing a high number (e.g., 88) versus a low number (e.g., 08) produced statistically significant correlatable influences on the students' later price estimates. Those compelled to write "88" at the top of their papers would reliably estimate higher prices than those compelled to write "08" at the top of their papers, to a statistically significant degree.

    Extrapolating to "real life." Watching Fox News will tend to make you more conservative without you knowing it. Watching MSNBC news will tend to make you more liberal without you knowing it.

    If you want to understand "real truth," you are just going to have to do a little more than self-select your news feeds. You are going to have to seriously consider a diversity of viewpoints.

    Moreover, if you have Social Darwinist beliefs as I once did, you may need to re-think the concept of the Poverty Trap. Early pre-conditioning really does make a difference.

    Here is the way I think of it as an Engineer. Classical Economic Theory is analogous to Classical Newtonian Physics. There is nothing badly wrong with it, and it is a good approximation for most real world problems at the middle of the distribution.

    However, General Relativity is indeed more correct that Classical Newtonian Physics, and the additional knowledge makes a real difference in certain special cases. And, those special cases are sometimes the really important ones. Likewise, Behavioral Economics is adding something very valuable to our knowledge of Classical Economics.

    Read this only if you are brave enough to contemplate that the world might be a little more complex than we wish it were.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent book which provides valuable insights
    This book and Dan Ariely have recieved a lot of media attention, so I approached the book with some skepticism, thinking that it might be overhyped. I'm pleased to report that my skepticism turned out to be unwarranted.

    The book has many strengths, the main one being that it convincingly presents many ways people are wired and/or conditioned to be irrational, usually without even being aware of it. This eye-opening revelation can be a bit disheartening, but the good news is that we can fix at least some of this irrationality by being aware of how it can arise and then making a steady effort to override it or compensate for it. That's not an easy task, but it can be done. As a simple example, I've programmed a realistic exercise schedule into my PDA, and I've been very consistent with my exercise because of that. The PDA imposes a discipline on me which I couldn't otherwise impose on myself (as I know from experience).

    The book is also well written, and I would even say enjoyable to read. The many experiments described in the book are presented in a lively way which elicits interest, and Ariely goes into just the right amount of detail -- enough to convey the basic experimental designs, results, and plausible interpretations, without boring the reader by getting into esoteric points which are more appropriate for journal papers.

    The one criticism I have of the book, which applies to most of Western pscyhology, is that most of the described experiments used US college students as subjects. That raises a serious question regarding the extent to which the results can be generalized to people of the same age who aren't college students, people of other ages, and people outside the US. Study of cultural psychology reveals that differences due to these factors can be profound, and Ariely himself notes a Korean study where such differences were observed, but he doesn't really elaborate on the point.

    Despite this one criticism, I think this is an excellent and authoritative book, and among the better ones in the "why smart people do dumb things" genre, so I highly recommend it. The insights revealed are both fascinating and practical, if you can muster the discipline to apply them.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant look into behavioral economics
    I enjoyed this book in much the same way I enjoyed Freakonomics. Whereas Freakonomics explores real-life examples of economics, Ariely's book discusses experiments that demonstrate principles of behavioral economics.

    Ariely shows through a series of experiments that people are not the rational consumers of legend. People predictably overvalue things they already own, go after free things even if there's a better deal available, and do many other things that don't make sense. People's reactions are consistent, thus predictable, even if they're not optimal from a pure economic viewpoint - hence the title of "Predictably Irrational."

    Throughout the book, Ariely discusses how the failure of many economists to consider behavioral economics has led companies and governments to bad decisions. Policies that seem appropriate if everyone were to make emotionless decisions fall apart when you consider that people are, well, human.

    In Ariely's acknowledgments, he lists several people who helped him figure out how to write in "non-academese." Having read many books written by professors, I'd say he received excellent assistance in this area. His writing style is engaging and easy to follow.

    This was one of the best books I read this year.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This was really an eye-opener
    We like to believe that we are rational. Many investment philosophies are based on efficient market theory, which assumes that market participants are well-informed and act rationally. I always found efficient market theory to be flawed, because when I looked at individual investors, I would get surprised more and more every day by how irrational their behavior was. So how it is possible for markets to be efficient, when most investors I know are completely irrational? Well, this book has some really good explanations.

    The author of this book shows us that even though we believe that we act in a rational way, in reality we act in predictably irrational way. As a result of this irrationality, we frequently make poor decisions with our money, life partners, and health. For example, we tend to overvalue things that we own. We might be made to believe that something works even when it doesn't. A placebo is perfect example.

    This book was really an eye-opening experience. We all do the things the author talks about. As I read this book, I kept catching myself and saying, "Yes, I did this, too." I enjoyed reading this book, and I would recommend it.

    - Mariusz Skonieczny, author of Why Are We So Clueless about the Stock Market? Learn how to invest your money, how to pick stocks, and how to make money in the stock market

    5-0 out of 5 stars Lots to think about
    It is a fantastic read, some people have a problem with the authors' assumptions and methods but I think they are trying to dig too deep and they appear to have forgotten this is a new way of thinking. The only thing I would like to see different in the book is more detail on the experiments, some of them we read the results and their interpretation of the data, but it would be nice to see how the info was gleaned.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal Book
    Probably the best book I've read yet on behavioral economics. Each chapter is well organized around a specific topic and incredibly thought provoking. I highly recommend it. ... Read more

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