Sunday, August 19, 2007

Title: Reality Check: What Your Mind Knows but Isn't Telling You
Author: David L. Weiner
Publisher: Prometheus Books
ISBN: 9781591023029
Genre: Psychology
Presentation: Soft Cover
No. of Pages: 303

About the Book (From the Back Cover): What's "reality"? Each of us has a "virtual reality" consisting of our individual idealogies, opinions, attitudes, values, and beliefs that we have built up over the years. But what if you found out that what you thought was true really isn't? The author takes us on an entertaining romp through many odd and interesting new findings in various scientific fields - from neurobiology to physics to genetics - in order to dismantle some of our most common misconceptions about being human. By opening our minds to a scientific view of reality, rather than hanging on to our own comfortable (and mostly incorrect) beliefs, we can gain valuable insights and tools for improving the quality of our lives.

My own perception: While the book is informative, it is not really entertaining or it is not definitive. It tries to bring down the disadvantages of rigid mind sets but throws up too much uncertainty and leaves the egos without a good alternative prop. Also, science has been changing too fast and keeps revising so many things previously touted as definite truths, so, unless one is willing to keep a fully open mind, the book leaves you with a sense of confusion.

The book reached me in December 2005 and was one of the books partly read and kept aside. So, when I recently took it up and reread from beginning to end, the feeling returned that it is not an easy read.

The book has a few editorial slips, one being the wrong year of India's independence (it should be 1947 and not 1949).

The author's introduction to various religions including Hinduism could not be deep enough and if only he had delved deep into the teachings of Hindu Philosophy (not the ritualistic portions but the deeply spiritual upanishadic or vedantic portion), he would have probably seen things in a different perspective.

My recommendation: A good read but may or may not be your type. Check in the local book store or online excerpts and decide.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Title: Emails from Hell - The Wrath of William Wendell
Author: David Earthman
Publisher: Synergy Books
ISBN: 9781933538457
Genre: Humor

About the book (from Back Cover):

“Have you ever wanted to respond to the Nigerian scam e-mails just to see how long the criminal would carry on the charade? A foreign dignitary promises to pay you a percentage of his millions if you just send money now!

Have you ever wanted to get in on the ground floor of a pyramid scheme? You sell vitamins and recruit your friends!

Have you ever wanted to reply to job postings and personal ads in an outlandish way just to see what happens?”

My own impression:

The book is the result of an attempt by the author to take his revenge at many of the spam (junk, bulk) mails and the scam mails originating (or purporting to be originating) from Africa. In that process, he has created a mythical character named William Wyndell, who wreaks havoc on the poor and unsuspecting spamsters and scamsters. He also tests the patience of innocent folks who just want to sell an unused wedding dress or some thing similar. The result is real fun to the onlooker (the reader) but a real pain in the ass to the recipient. You can read the excerpts of the book (the first chapter) at and may be look at some more pages through google and at your local bookstore.

Some of the mails are a little offensive to read but in general the book will appeal to one and all. The book is edited and printed well.

I recommend this book as a good way to pass your time in airports or other places where you need to cool your heals while the system goes in its own way.