Review (Guest): Choose Yourself!

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James Altucher

5.0 out of 5 starsSomething for Everyone

By Jonathan M. Prober on June 3, 2013

I was fortunate enough to read this wonderful new book by the author James Altucher (I first read his work by following him on twitter @jaltucher and reading posts on his website jamesaltucher.com).

It is one of the most enjoyable and informative books I’ve ever read, and I highly recommend folks take some time to check it out. It’s not that long but, wow, is it packed with powerfully-good information.

I could write about it for a while but, rather than doing so, it is probably more efficient to just mention a few of my favorite tidbits from the book in hopes that you’ll give it a read.

My personal favorite aspect of the book is its unique ability to be both practical and idealistic.

Some quick examples:

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Apr 8

Review (Guest): I Was Blind But Now I See – Time to Be Happy

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James Altrucher

4.0 out of 5 starsLike a box of chocolates

By Gary North on September 23, 2011

This book reminds me of Forest Gump’s mother’s description of a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. As with any book you read, you will forget 90% within a week; 98% within a month. So, you want to know what you should concentrate on.

If you are in the corporate world, go to page 83: “What You Need to do if You Were Hired Today.” Read to page 89. Then read it again. Then read it again. He offers 10 rules. All of them are good. If you systematically implement all of them, you will stand out as a contender. But Pareto’s 20-80 law holds true here as elsewhere. You won’t implement all of them. So, implement 20% of them. That means two. Which two? #4 and #10. (Buy the book to find out the 10 rules.)

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Apr 8

Review (Guest): How To Be The Luckiest Person Alive

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James Altucher

4.0 out of 5 stars Chance favors a prepared mind – reloaded ;-) September 3, 2011
By Sasha

After I received a copy of the e-book version of this book for free, Mr. Althucher asked if I would post a comment at Amazon.com once I had a chance to read it. I have answered affirmatively, so what follows is a general impression on the book format and a summary of my findings regarding the contents of the book.

Although the book reads fast, it is not an easy read. There’s a wealth of information and a great variety of topics; and the book is structured to read more as a collection of separate blog entries with certain repetitions (for which we are warned at the beginning of the book). All of the above makes it difficult to absorb everything at once, so re-reading is required, and the cost of this was 1 star on the rating scale.

In my view, the Daily Practice recommendations are what the book is all about. A smart play with words aside, Mr. Althucher shows us not how to be the luckiest person alive, instead he teaches us how to be physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually FIT so that we will be able to recognize/create, as well as act on/follow through opportunities for bettering our lives. I put some of the recommendations to action (the physical and mental ones) and was ashamed to realize that first; I couldn’t even do 5 push-ups and second; that after relying on a calculator for my daily tasks for so long, my mental “muscle” “objected” when I tried to add two numbers in my head. Not good…

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Apr 8

Review: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

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Ben Horowitz

5.0 out of 5 stars ABSORBING – Requires Open Mind, March 16, 2014

I generally read all the reviews before writing my own, in part to see if anyone has already covered the ground the way I like to, with a summary evaluative review. There are only two reviews before mine that I consider world-class, please do read them if you have the time. I refer to the reviews by Mercenary Trader and Scott S. Bell, I salute both of them for providing substance useful to all.

This is not a comprehensive book in that it is a very personal perspective, brings together many specific snapshots, but never addresses “root” in relation to how the team went from great idea to source code to buzz to market share. As I read the book I thought often about a book I read in the 1980′s, still a classic, Tracey Kidder’s The Soul of A New Machine.

I would say this book is an absolutly priceless gem for the “hard knocks” at the CEO level perspective, and should be combined with any of several alternatives on start-ups such as Matt Blumberg’s Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website, and, forthcoming, Peter Thiel of PayPal’s Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future.

I’ve built two companies, both failures in that I never made the leap from one man with an obession to a movement (OSS.Net, Inc. and Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3) and what I did not see in this book, or any other book I have found, is the roadmap for getting from a big idea to big marketshare. That book remains to be written, and it could be that it should be written by Marc Andressen and a team. Jim Clark’s Netscape Time: The Making of the Billion-Dollar Start-Up That Took on Microsoft is a fine but dated (1999) start but we need something now tailored to the Internet of Things (what everyone else is thinking about) and free individual access to and ability to leverage all information in all languages all the time (what I have been thinking about since 1986 — visit Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog to learn more). I am also reminded of Michael Lewis’s The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story.

All this by way of saying that you have no business reading or buying this book if you are expecting a holistic 360 degree soup to nuts outline of how to zero to Mach 2. The greatest value of this book for me was in learning that it is possible to keep flying when you lose power and both wings fall off at the same time.

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Mar 16

Jean Lievens: The Purpose Economy

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

The Purpose Economy 100 was created by Imperative in partnership with CSRWire to celebrate the pioneers who are driving the evolution of our economy from one based on information to one based on people and their quest for purpose. The list was compiled based on hundreds of nominations across the country. At the early stages of this economic shift, we felt the best way to capture it was through the stories of its pioneers, celebrating them and inspiring new leaders of the emerging Purpose Economy. View the list as an infographic or interactive profiles below. Later this year we will be releasing international editions of the list.

Forthcoming 2 April 2014 Available for Pre-Order Now

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Feb 19

Worth a Look: Reinventing Organizations

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The way we manage organizations seems increasingly out of date. Survey after survey shows that a majority of employees feel disengaged from their companies. The epidemic of organizational disillusionment goes way beyond Corporate America-teachers, doctors, and nurses are leaving their professions in record numbers because the way we run schools and hospitals kills their vocation. Government agencies and nonprofits have a noble purpose, but working for these entities often feels soulless and lifeless just the same. All these organizations suffer from power games played at the top and powerlessness at lower levels, from infighting and bureaucracy, from endless meetings and a seemingly never-ending succession of change and cost-cutting programs.

Deep inside, we long for soulful workplaces, for authenticity, community, passion, and purpose. The solution, according to many progressive scholars, lies with more enlightened management. But reality shows that this is not enough. In most cases, the system beats the individual-when managers or leaders go through an inner transformation, they end up leaving their organizations because they no longer feel like putting up with a place that is inhospitable to the deeper longings of their soul.

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Feb 18

Review: Absolute Value – What Really Influences Customers in the Age of (Nearly) Perfect Information

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Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen

4.0 out of 5 stars Formula book, somewhat shallow, misses major opportunity, February 16, 2014

This book was a gift. The subtitle (What Really Influences Customers in the Age of (Nearly) Perfect Information) overcame my reluctance and I gave it it a quick read, which is all it deserves. This is a formula book, and as one reviewer notes, would have been just fine as an article. The “innovation” in the book is the discovery that brand and prior experience are less relevant today to purchasing decisions that are now heavily influenced by up to date social commentary and readily available peer reviews.

At one level I find the book interesting as a quick once over of the obvious. At another level I am quite disappointed. There is nothing in this book about true cost economics or open source. If you want to be pretentious and talk about Absolute Value, it would help if you actually had a clue that Absolute Value includes virtual water, virtual fuel, virtual child labor, and virtual tax avoidance, among other things.

I appreciate the discussion of how false reviews and paid reviewers are losing ground to better systems for policing such abuses, and I am interested when they discuss the failure of most market research, which focuses on past experience and conventional concepts.

The importance of corporate monitoring of social media for all mentions of all of their products is presented in a useful manner. I particularly like the examples in relation to rapid recognition of flaws from specific production lines — this is about feedback loops.

The book ends weakly with a few examples of sites such as Goodguide, Decide.com, and BrightScope.

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability

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Feb 16

Review: 24 Carat BOLD – Claim Your Position as the Top Expert in Your Field

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Mindy Gibbins-Klein

4.0 out of 5 stars Concise, Clear, Logical, Missing the Magic Sauce, January 23, 2014

I read this book and have ordered a book recommended by this author, Ron Brown’s How to Build Your Reputation.

Having published nine books myself, I am a little jaded when someone says “write a book and be recognized.” However, I do like this book. It has a clear message, it is concise, it is very well written, and on balance I think it provides anyone interested in becoming “known” with a very fine starting point.

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Jan 23

Review: Dawn of the Akshic Age – New Consciousness, Quantum Resonance, and the Future of the World

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Ervin Laszlo and Kingsley L. Dennis et al.

4.0 out of 5 stars Superb Appetizer Book — a Potpourri of Genius — Not the Main Plate, December 26, 2013

Buy and read this book for a marvelous panoramic view of the latest thinking circling around the end of the top-down scarcity model that concentrates wealth, and the emergence — sooner than most might expect — of the distributed bottom-up local to global harmonization.

This is a hybrid book — the first two thirds are written by the co-authors (Laszlo and Dennis), while the last third is a collection of eleven very short essays, each generally provocative and each providing me with at least one insight, web site, or book that I was not aware of. The book ends with recommended readings in the following categories that are a also a summary of what the book strives to cover at a very high level:

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Dec 26

Review (DVD): Frank Lloyd Wright

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Frank Lloyd Wright by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Star — Utterly Brilliant Man, Mind, and Treatment, October 24, 2013

WARNING: This DVD has two parts, and if you are inattentive, you can get to the end of Part I (the 1920′s and Frank Lloyd Wright’s low point) and forget that there is a Part II (the rest of his life, with his greatest accomplishments during his 70′s).

PBS has really out-done itself with this production. The detail, the mosaic of interviews and the integration of glorious music and spectacular photography make this one of the best DVDs I have ever enjoyed.

This is not just a DVD about a man; it is a DVD about a philosophy of life, about the integration of humanity, nature, work, and artifact – from a single house that is a spiritual temple to heaven on earth, and across the board re-invention of how man relates to everything.

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Oct 25