Do you know how to recognize psychopaths and how to defend yourself against them? This book shattered my idea of what I thought a psychopath is. For starters, they are not just criminals. They are the people who will con an elderly person out of their savings, walk all over others in the workplace on their way to the top, break your heart and steal your money before leaving. Yes, they are criminals and killers also, but even when they aren't they still can do a lot of damage to the people around them.
This book describes psychopaths as a separate nonhuman species almost due to a brain abnormality and their inability to feel empathy. They cannot be changed and cannot feel remorse and the only hope for them is if they are taught sound morals from an early age.
This is a wonderful book to learn about how to spot psychopaths, deal with them, and understand and heal after the destruction caused by a psychopath. I agree with the author that it is important for society for more people to know the truth about psychopaths.
The Alpha Strategy is a very interesting book that shows how to protect your money from inflation. The first half of the book teaches us about money creation, inflation, competition, and economics. This part is very interesting. He uses simple, illustrative examples to show how money works and how we lose our wealth through inflation.
He also goes over many of the traditional investment strategies and pretty much disproves all of them including investing in real estate and the stock market. According to him the best way to protect your wealth from inflation is by stocking up on items you will use. He discusses both the pros and cons and the limitations of this method. Another important recommendation is to be prepared to lose your source income and be ready to jump into something else. That means learning new skills, setting some money aside for tools or education. He claims many problems are caused when people lose their source of income and cannot adjust and find another one quickly. We have to be able to learn new skills and new ways to make money or even have some ideas ready.
This is really a great book, much better than I can describe. The writing is very good and his strategy is sound, although not perfect. It can be applied easily at least partially by everyone. You can find it online if you Google it.
Precious Things is a beautiful romance that teaches us how to appreciate where we are no matter how far it is from our dreams. The main heroine is Isabelle whose dreams are to go to college but instead she finds herself going to community college because her dad spends her college fund on his coffee shop. Isabelle has to learn to appreciate her situation and make the most of it while making new friends and meeting and dealing with her charming teaching assistant Evan.
Stephanie Parent is a great writer and I didn't want to put the book down! This is the second book of hers I have read and both times she did not disappoint.
Diamonds owned: 0
Books owned: I-lost-count-years-ago
This is an excellent book full of strategies on stretching your dollars further in the grocery store. The main emphasis is on pantry building, stocking up when prices are low on things you use, making a budget, and shopping smarter. The book devotes a lot of time to describing the various strategies and gimmicks shops use to make you buy more, many of which are deceptive and make you think you save money, when all you do is spend money in their store. She includes coupons in this category and has a strong aversion to them. I think coupons can be good if used properly, but I still appreciate the info and opinion as long as her insightful information on all the other tactics stores use. some of the advice will take time and a change in habits like comparison shopping, making a price book, studying the ads. She says grocery shopping can be and is like a business and if you gain more control over your shopping habits and awareness of gimmicks and what not to do, you will save money. I think this is an excellent book overall.
This is a good book on couponing. One of the best things about it is it is quite motivating in explaining the reasons to coupon, build a stockpile, and utilize the savings from groceries to other areas of your life like reducing debt, taking a vacation, build savings, whatever you want to do. At the same time you will have a stockpile of things you already use that can also serve you well in job loss, local disaster, etc. Considering the economy and how many people are facing job loss or hardship, I think couponing is a valuable skill that I would like to become better at.
The book itself is well written and engaging. I thought sometimes the tone is a bit like the title--somewhat shallow and catty and that annoyed me a bit but it's definitely not like that all the time. The book gives great tips on how to find and use coupons to maximize savings, it discusses different stores and their policies (which may have changed) and the best way to shop in each one.
One concern I have about coupons is they often seem to be for products that are very unhealthy--processed food, sodas, pizzas--stuff you're better off without.
Still, I bought some couponing supplies and will try to use more coupons for things I already use or could use. No plans on becoming an extreme couponer yet, even though I do love that show.
This book gives an insightful look into the cultural and societal factors contributing to depression. It defines depression as an unsuccessful attempt at complete shutdown so as to avoid emotional pain. According to the author, emotional pain is a normal part of human experience. However, it is not very accepted in our modern extreme consumerism society. Also, the author claims usually whatever treatments the mental health industry throws at the problem only exacerbate it. In the case of drugs, he discusses the effects of big pharmaceutical companies, the real effectiveness of drugs and the placebo effect. In terms of talk therapy, he talks about the many dehumanizing aspects of the mental health profession today. He claims that what is needed for a person to heal is the right environment created by supportive people willing to listen and understand. However, he claims there isn't that much of that offered by therapists because they rather push prescriptions and quick fixes and usually ignore the real problems created by our culture or are active participants and exacerbate the problem.
One part I thought was really good is he claims people prone to depression simply see the problems in our society more clearly and are not as good at fitting in with the extreme consumerism mindset. He compares them to the canaries in mines who would fall, signalling that conditions in the mine are deteriorating and for the workers to get out. He states that we need to pay attention to what is bothering these sensitive individuals and that same problem is really affecting society in general and sooner or later will touch everyone.
I thought this book was incredibly insightful. I was surprised at the criticism aimed at the mental health industry but as someone who has studied psychology i can totally see what he is saying. The author has a very liberal viewpoint that gets extreme at times, like he says you have to cheat and steal or end up homeless or something along these lines and how bad he felt about taking money from his patients. Still, that only shows up a few times and the book overall doesn't dwell on politics too much. Overall I thought the book was excellent and will make you think about our society and your role in it and can easily make you a better person for reading it and better able to handle yours and others' emotional pain.
The Influence is a fascinating supernatural thriller in which the characters face angels, demons, and questions about God, life, death, and the afterfile. Mark who is the main character is still depressed long after the death of his child. He can't come to accept why it was allowed to happen. After almost committing suicide, he is taken on a journey to face the true nature of reality and get answers to his questions. He is the one who is allowed to see angels and demons and begins talking to angels. The curious thing is he is not religious and yet deemed to be important to the spiritual realm. Why he is special is a puzzle both to him and the angels that are sent to guard him.
There is a lot of theological discussion throughout the book, especially in the beginning. I thought that was very good, interesting, inspiring. Because it takes the form of conversation, it did not feel too preachy. I thought a lot of it was very true and spot on not only in terms of religion but life and people, people lying to themselves, believing in what they want and what feels good instead of thinking what is true or of truth as being objective and independent of their feelings. I highlighted many of those parts.
In terms of the story, it was also very interesting, often gripping, at times a bit slow. There are many interesting descriptions of angels and demons and how they interact with people and influence them, especially the demons. I don't know that much about what religion says about demons, but I was intrigued and astonished.
I thought there were a few strange things about the characters, especially Mark. I think it said in the book that he spent some time studying different religions in search for answers after the death of his child. Still, he seemed very dense at times and completely ignorant about what religion/Christianity has to say about life. Did he study all religions except Christianity? Here he is having profound spiritual experiences and he never thinks to open a Bible and read it a bit and see what it says and why he might be important. Still, in spite of all this, I thought it was a great and thought-provoking book and definitely very unique.
This book starts off great but then it seems to just drag forever...not sure if I will finish it and I'm about 2/3 done. It talks about the potential of a pandemic spreading and affecting everything from grocery stores to workplace absentism. The main character works in a pharmaceutical company and is better aware of the developing situation and potential dangers. However, he seems a bit of a jerk and definitely not very likeable or even "natural" as a character. I did love the beginning of the book because it seemed very realistic of how people will react and how many will do the wrong thing in order to keep their jobs, take their kids to daycare, not worry or stock up on anything, and just be ignorant and do the wrong thing as a result. However, the book does a great job tying that to just people living their lives and their values. For example, many of the neighbors have little savings and can't just quit their jobs but those who can do and that's what it takes to save their lives. There are other good things but as the book goes on it just gets boring and all about criminals moving into the neighborhood and dealing with that and it just drags on. Not sure I will even finish it at this point.
This is an excellent book discussing the nature of depression, how to talk to people who are depressed, what to do and not to do, how to recognize the onset of depression and danger signs. For someone who has never experienced depression many of the behaviors of those who go through it can be confusing. It is easy to do or say the wrong thing. This book is excellent and inspiring in discussing the important role of family in friends in helping a person combat his depression. They may not be able to relieve it but they have to stay connected to the depressed person which may lead to recovery. This book goes a step further in showing good examples of things to say and do as well as what not to do, which can have a big impact on the life of anyone who is depressed. It also helps the friends and family understand what their loved one is going through and not take their behaviors personally. Great book, highly recommended for everyone.
This is a great and thought-provoking book looking at the symptoms, causes and consequences of narcissism in the US. While it talks a little bit about narcissistic personality disorder, it mostly deals with narcissism as a cultural phenomenon. It analyzes the influences of modern culture, recent popular parenting methods, TV, and Internet, and religion (specifically prosperity gospel) and claims they promote narcissism. The author dissects the belief that high self-esteem and self-love is healthy and important and claims that it leads to narcissism.
In terms of shining a light on this issue, I thought the book was excellent. I had heard a lot of narcissism in connection with Facebook but didn't realize or think of it as a societal problem. However, the authors do a great job presenting the issue, using data and comparisons with previous generations. I think many people would agree narcissism and selfishness are spreading and increasing among younger generations where that's really the only world they know.
I think this is an important book for parents to read. First, it has discussions on parenting, what to do and not do as parents. It also shows convincingly the detrimental effects of narcissism to children, adults, and society at large. It discusses how recent previous popular parenting advice is now leading to disastrous effects. And last but not least I think this book will help parent better understand the culture their children and teens are in and help them counteract this influence.
Not that this book is perfect. I did have some big issues with it. It does take a strong green political tone at times, even saying that concern about the environnment is the only thing that can mitigate the spread of narcissism. Also, it often feels like this book doesn't delve deep enough into causes or solutions. There is quite of bit of this in the beginning along with some history and a lot of food for thought, but as the book goes on it keeps just listing pop culture references, celebrities, and other trivia. It seems to read way too much into slogans of baby and children's clothes and how awful it is that they say "Princess" "supermodel" etc. Also it denigrates all kinds of comments on the Internet, listing and quoting comments from youth from YouTube videos. I have read many smart and informative comments on articles, though, so I think comments and freedom of expression are good. Maybe they're not all brilliant but still...Another thing that irked me a lot is towards the end it literally compares narcissism to AIDS and SARS, calls it a disease, and people who have it "hosts." I thought that was way too much as a culture is quite different from a biological disease and epidemic.
Overall I think this is a great book highlighting the spread and dangers of narcissism. It does have some issues but is still very interesting, informative, and well written.
The Shift Omnibus continues with the underground silos introduced in Wool. However, this book is a prequel and takes place beofre the action in Wool. We begin to see and understand how and why the silos were built, although the answers take work to discover. We are introduced to the people who built the silos and then see their struggle to come to terms with what they have done to themselves and the world.
I really loved this book, but I thought it was quite different from Wool. Wool was fascinating and entertaining, always full of suspense and surprise. The Shift Omnibus I thought was a lot more thought-provoking, reflective, and very sad as the characters have to learn to live in this new changed world. Even the love stories in the book are quite unusual and will make you think and have a deep sadness to them. The whole book in general makes you think and possibly needs to be read more than once. I still loved it, but it definitely requires some thinking. Also, the timelines and characters shift so you have to pay close attention to the dates and the silo numbers or you will be very lost. I am glad I read this soon after the Wool Omnibus.
Starting in about Third Shift the action "caught up" and started overlapping with the one in Wool and the whole series took a very fascinating turn. I thought that was absolutely wonderful. You get to see the action both from the new characters and the old characters from Wool and of course get a bigger picture and better understanding of what is going on. If you liked Wool, this is definitely worth reading and in my opinion a great sequel or rather prequel, but it does have some important differences from Wool.
You can easily find this book online if you google it. Here's a link to this edition: http://www.nukepills.com/docs/nuclear_war_survival_skills.pdf
This is a great book on nuclear disasters and their effects. There is a high emphasis on making everything yourself and there are instructions and diagramas for building shelters, improvised furnishings, radiation meteres. You need time to build it if you decide, but for most things he says you can make in 24-48 hours. It is also very anti-doom and gloom, claiming a lot of what people think in terms of the end of the world, nuclear winter, etc is the result of misinformation and Cold War propaganda. I especially liked the first few chapters on how to recognize an attack and the introduction. There's also a lot of historical information. I learned a lot I didn't know, but then again I didn't know much on the subject before. There is definitely a lot of interesting information here and considering the situation with North Korea it's worth reading and knowing.
Ken Follett delivers another masterpiece of historical fiction. This book takes us to 19th century England amid the intrigues and scandals of an elite banking family and the people in their midst. It opens with a scene where a group of boys are swimming and having fun when one of them ends up dead under circumstances that are far from clear-cut. This event continues to affect the lives of the other boys for a long time until it becomes clear exactly what happened that day. As the book goes on, we learn a little bit about the life of bankers in those days. I couldn't help but draw parallels to today's banking crises and headlines and see enormous diffrences. Some of the bankers in the book are very different from those today. They care about returning their customers' money, their reputation, and integrity, and things like bailouts, deposit "haircuts," bankruptcy would be shameful or even inconceivable.
A major theme in this book is changing fortunes and different responses to them. The characters are affected by the ups and downs in the economy and various banking crises as well as the consequences of their own decisions. Some take drastic measures. Without giving away too much I will say there is one scene illustrating denial, which I thought was soo good, well written, and very memorable. There are many quotable passages in this book pertaining to life, values, love. I thought it was just an amazing book overall.