Monday, March 31, 2008

Title: The Secret of Transitions
Sub-Title: How to move effortlessly to higher levels of success
Author: Jim Manton
Publisher: Robert D. Reed Publishers
ISBN: 978-1-931741-91-0
Genre: Business / Career
Presentation: Paperback

This book is about finding your true passion or love (as the author prefers to call) in your work and career. It is the author's own journey from the president of a large organisation to a coach. It is about finding what really motivates you and gives you a sense of fulfillment and purpose. Coaching, mentoring etc. may help you and the author shares some good stories how he could help some very successful people reach higher levels of success.

As is my habit, I opened the book and found myself reading a highly readable account of the author's role as a mentor and coach f0r a successful and ambitious lady when she was making the transition from the position of a manager to COO of a business. I was reminded of the business novel "The Goal" (which is in my opinion the best among such books). Then I read the present book from beginning to end. While the book is readable, the author is at his best when he is narrating the story about his mentoring Allison (the ambitious lady who wants to become COO). The story is told from Chapter 8 to chapter 16. In my view, this is the best part of the book.

Each chapter has a summary at the end which tries to give a gist of the management principle that the author is trying to share.

The book is printed well. The editing is good with only a few slips which luckily don't distract the reader.

The last Chapter about the importance of silence is metaphysical and may not appeal to those interested in the mundane world of business success. Otherwise, the book will appeal to all those who are trying to raise their career to new heights.

I would have preferred to see such a book in hardcover edition since it may be visited again and again.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Title: Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction
Sub-Title: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress
Author: Geraldine Markel, Ph.D.
Publisher: Managing Your Mind, LLC
ISBN: 978-0-9791279-4-6
Genre: Non-Fiction/Personal Management/Self-Help
Presentation: Soft cover

All of us get distracted at times. However, when the distractions become one too many and thus disrupt our work, our homes, our live style etc., stress is the result. Our jobs and our family life get affected adversely. All of us would have wished at some time or other that we had a good mentor and coach to guide us how to deal with the battle against the demons of distraction. This book is an answer to our wishes.

In a short space of 10 Chapters spread over 138 pages, Geraldine Markel takes us through a seminar on the 8 Demons of Distraction and successful strategies to fight and defeat the demons. The book can be read in about a day of say 8 to 10 hours with short breaks for tea and lunch. Thus it is like attending a 1-day seminar. However, you need not travel and spend money on hotels etc. In the comfort of your home, you can read and reread the book and thus save a lot of time, energy and money!

If the above sounds like a sales pitch, I may be forgiven but I was really impressed with the simple, lucid and reader-friendly style of the book. I was delighted with the case studies presented by the author and was inspired by the success stories when the people practiced the strategies presented in the book. So, if you practice what you read, you too are sure to succeed. Here are a few chapter titles: The 8 Demons of Distraction, Your Attention Reservoir and Arsenal, Defeating the Technology Demon, Defeating the Others Demon etc. Chapter 10 is a good summary of the strategies.

Normally management and self-help books are not easy to read, especially since I have a rather short attention span! However, the highly readable style of this book held my attention sufficiently so that I could read it in the space of a few days after a long day of work.

This book would make a good present to any one (employee, home maker, business man, student), who finds that distractions are affecting their lives adversely. So, buy it for yourself and or some one you care for.

About the Author: Geraldine Markel, Ph.D. is an educational psychologist who is a coach , speaker, and author. She served as faculty in the School of Education, University of Michigan, and has coauthored four books on learning and performance for adolescents and adults with ADD and /or learning disabilities.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Title: UnBreak your Health
Author: Alan E. Smith
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 9781932690361
Genre: Non-Fiction/Health/Information
Presentation: Soft Cover

Unbreak your Health by Alan E. Smith is a good compilation
of various complementary and alternative healing systems,
some of them based on medical systems (like Ayurveda, TCM,
Homeopathy in lower potencies...) and others non-medical
(acupuncture, Reiki, Bach Flowers, EFT...), also called
energy based healing systems.

The author does not claim an expertise in any of the
fields but has made a wide and fairly deep search partly
to help himself and then to help others.

The user experiences and testimonials are taken from
various sources including the respective websites. The
selection of websites could have been wider. For example,
in the case of Homeopathy,, arguably the
largest portal could have been included. Similarly while
making a passing mention of Bach Flowers (the author
assured me that he is planning to add a separate section
on Bach Flowers in the revision), could
have been mentioned. In the case of Reiki, there are many
other wonderful sites, including, a
free site.

The book is quite useful and with some minor improvements,
will be even more useful for patients, and their health
professionals and care givers.

About the reviewer: Though not a qualified medical doctor,
the reviewer is a qualified Reiki Master and is also an
amateur homeopath of long standing. His other interests
are Tissue Remedies and Bach Flower Remedies, crystal
healing, spiritual healing etc. He is actively involved
in teaching and healing.

Title: How to Get Your Husband to Listen to You - Understanding How Men Communicate
Authors: Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby
ISBN: 978-1-59052-742-9
Publisher: Multnomah Books (A Division of Random House Inc.)
Genre: Non-Fiction/Women/Marriage/Self-Help/Communication

This book should be compulsory reading to all women who are contemplating marriage and who plan to raise children. It could be recommended reading to all men too! Rather strong views you say? Bear with me for a few minutes and you will agree with me.

In an excellently readable book, authors Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby get to the fundamental reason for the big divide between the two genders - communication problems. Using many day-to-day examples, they bring out beautifully the different ways women and men communicate and how a mismatch between the communication processes leads to a breakdown of the communication process and thus the relationship! Since this is an online review, you will be able to read excerpts of the book either at Amazon or using Google's tools and I won't burden you with excerpts.

Some books hold you with their clear, lucid, highly readable style. This is one of them. Add good editing and good printing and you have a winner.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Title: The Future Happens Twice - The Perennial Project
Author: Matt Browne
Publisher: Athena Press
ISBN: 978-1-84401-830-7
Genre: Science Fiction

The earth is in danger and the human species may not survive the danger. So, a project is conceived to send humans to another earth like planet 82 light years away. The only problem with that is that humans cannot survive such long journey which will take thousands of years. Other problems of engineering, reliability etc. could be overcome but how to ensure the safety of the human beings over thousands of years of space travel?

A controversial solution is being attempted, viz., cryo-preservation of human embryos, which will be thawed and hatched by Artificial Womb Devices and the babies will be brought up by humanoid robots which have Natural Language Processing capabilities. And before the actual spaceship can be launched, the whole solution needs to be tested in a perfect simulation inside a space craft which, however does not fly in space. The future needs to be tested now. And hopefully repeated as envisaged and scripted now in the real future. Embryo splitting is necessary but is illegal. And the identical twins need to be born years apart and not know that they are test tube babies.

The book is about the simulations, the problems of managing a project in a secret facility, the ethical and legal issues involved, how they are overcome etc.

The book is the first of the trilogy and the author succeeds in maintaining a tight story line and suspense of what is going to come. Thus, reading the large tome of 700 plus pages is not difficult.

The editing and printing of the book is quite good. I would have preferred a hardcover but understand the cost implications.

Author Matt Browne holds a M.S computer scientist and works for a large organization. He brings his knowledge of Computers and Language Processing, Robotics etc. to a good and plausible space scenario.

A very good read indeed. I look forward to the remaining two sequels in the trilogy.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Title: Immortal

Author: Traci L. Slatton

Publisher: Bantam Dell

ISBN: 978-0-385-33974-2

Genre: Fiction / Religion / Inquisition

Presentation: Paperback

Immortal is the story of Luca Bastardo, who was lost as a baby by his parents and
grew up as a street urchin on the roads of Florence. Luca is not any ordinary human,
he belongs to a special race of beings, who have very long lives and thus look young. They are thus mistaken to practice witchcraft etc. and are subjected to inquisition, burning at stake etc.

Luca undergoes a number of experiences, most of them bad but some good in his nearly
200 years of life (though he looks like about 30 years when he is burnt at the stake). He meets many artists and painters, alchemists etc., including the famous Leonardo da Vinci. The history of Florence in the years 1300 to 1400 AD is interwoven in Luca's story.

I am not an expert on Italian history, architecture, art etc. and cannot thus judge
the accuracy of what is presented here by the author. To a query from my end, the author confirmed that she has taken a lot of trouble to make the historical aspects of that period as accurate as possible. However, the story is sufficiently appealing and the style sufficiently smooth to keep me reading the fairly big book and we don't need to be experts on Italian history or art to appreciate the book.

Some of the events described are rather adult oriented and thus the book is not
suitable for children and also if you are squeamish (some scenes are rather violent).

Check out the excerpts from the book at and also through Google

I cannot comment on the editing and printing because what I got is an ARC (Advance
Reading Copy), not the final print edition. I would suggest that you check the book
at a physical book store and decide about buying. I am reasonably confident that you
would find the book interesting.