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chrisross

chrisross

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Attention All Passengers: The Airlines' Dangerous Descent—And How To Reclaim Our Skies
William J. McGee
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Jared Diamond
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Tony Hsieh

The Buck Stops Here

Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan - Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard

As of now I have read or listened to all of the books in Bill O'Reilly's "Killing..." series and I just finished reading this one.

 

It is very good, is a fast read, is written like a mystery and this one appears to be in chronological order.  

 

I learned several things about the atomic bombs which I did not know as well as more about WWII history which we should all know about.

 

I highly recommend this book.  

Korean War: Battle of Chosin Nov/Dec 1950

East of Chosin: Entrapment and Breakout in Korea, 1950 - Roy E. Appleman

I listened to the audio book and found this in the Bibliography of Devotion by Adam Makos.

 

I cannot recommend this book as it is mostly a very dry after action report or reads like one.  

 

 

A Korean War Epic up there with The Outpost, Outlaw Platoon, and many others

Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Brotherhood, and Sacrifice - Adam Makos

I read this book after reading about it from a book review site and I loved it.  It is a true Korean War Epic and one of the few about the Korean War.

 

What is interesting is that it is a proxy war on the North Korean side being fought by Chinese and Soviet soldiers and pilots (sound familiar?).

 

Also of interest is that it is similar to The Outpost where Command Posts are set up in the low ground and the Chinese already hold the high ground and are able to easily overrun the Army and Marine units.

 

Finally, this is a story of friendship and friendship between an African American pilot from Mississippi  and a White pilot from Massachusetts that under ordinary circumstances would have never been friends.  

 

I will end with Daisy's comment, we (The United States) need men like Tom and Jesse now more than ever.

 

This is a great book that I highly recommend.  

Mulholland Drive

Water to the Angels: William Mulholland, His Monumental Aqueduct, and the Rise of Los Angeles - Les Standiford

I listened to the audio book and I thought it would be more interesting than it was.  The book is very boring and dry and discussed William Mulholland's upbringing in the late 19th century and early 20th century and how he became the Director of the Water Works for Los Angeles.

 

I cannot recommend this book unless you really, really, really, really like Civil Engineering history and the history of building an aqueduct.  

Healing Vets of the 9/11 Wars and others too

Vets for Vets: Harnessing the Power of Vets to Heal - Dr. Gerald Alpern

This book is short and sweet and to the point.  It is somewhat redundant though packed with really good information.

 

It is helpful for the Mental Health Professional (MHP), for the Vet (I am not a Veteran so I am assuming here), and families and friends of Vets, and the average citizen.

 

This book discusses the failures of the VA and how to truly help Vets overcome PTSD, TBI, and re-acclimate into the community and guess what it takes the community to help as well.  

 

This is a very good book that more members of Congress and the President and leadership of the VA need to read.  

How to help Vets of the 9/11 Wars and Vets from other wars too

Vets for Vets: Harnessing the Power of Vets to Heal - Dr. Gerald Alpern

This book is short and sweet and to the point.  It is somewhat redundant though packed with really good information.

 

It is helpful for the Mental Health Professional (MHP), for the Vet (I am not a Veteran so I am assuming here), and families and friends of Vets, and the average citizen.

 

This book discusses the failures of the VA and how to truly help Vets overcome PTSD, TBI, and re-acclimate into the community and guess what it takes the community to help as well.  

 

This is a very good book that more members of Congress and the President and leadership of the VA need to read.  

The China Price

The Unfair Trade: How Our Broken Global Financial System Destroys the Middle Class - Michael J. Casey

I listened to the audio book and its very good.  Lloyd James is one of the best book narrators I have ever listened to.

 

This is a very good book that will teach the listener about the inter-connectedness of China, the US, the EU, Argentina, Greece, etc.

 

I like that the author provides ways to solve the problem in the final chapter though it starts with two things: 1) getting Wall Street out of Washington, e.g. getting the money out of politics and 2) voting the current political establishment out of office.  

 

I highly recommend this book.

Turkey our next Frenemy

Turkey: The Insane and the Melancholy - Zeynep Beler, Ece Temelkuran

I read this right after reading about the Kurdish women of the PKK fighting Daesh/ISIS.  This book is good and very cerebral.

 

The American reader (me) will have a hard time relating to or understanding some of the book if you have never been to Europe or lived in Europe or Turkey (again me).  It would be like me trying to explain the mystique and cult following of In-N-Out Burger or why we all hang Christmas lights in November, etc.

 

The book is good in that it paints a pretty damning picture that Turkey and Erdogan is creating a Fascist regime and country that the author compares to Germany in the 1930's.  The stories of the children in the prisons is disturbing.

 

Turkey is a NATO ally to the United States, a predominantly Muslim country, which is for the most part secular though like Saudi Arabia it seems that the religious fanatics rule with a more iron fist than the facade portrays to paraphrase the authors premise.

 

This is a good book that will help an American understand more about the region and the challenges faced by the entire globe.

Only Andy Fastow could think up something like this

Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story - Kurt Eichenwald

I listened to the audio book and it is OUTSTANDING!  It's on the long side at 25 discs though very well written and engrossing.

 

I have read or listened to other books by Kurt Eichenwald and enjoyed them so when I saw he was the author of this one I borrowed it and I am happy that I did.

 

Of course anyone in America who has not lived under a rock since 1999 or 2000 knows about the collapse of Enron. This book takes you all the way back to its founding and how Ken Lay became the CEO.

 

Ken Lay was a horrible CEO in my opinion and did not understand the businesses that were created on his watch and under his nose and gave way too much power to his lieutenants.  This being said Andy Fastow is portrayed in the book as both stupid and evil while at the same time being smart enough to have earned an MBA from Kellogg School of Business he allegedly does not understand Accounting 101.

 

I'm really surprised he is now out of prison and on a speaking tour and has spoken at CU Boulder, I wonder what about?  I would not listen to a word he has to say.

 

Skilling, equally put too much faith in Fastow and was a poor COO and is portrayed as being aloof, while pushing for quarterly earnings, and emotional and likely bipolar.

 

This is a really good book that will help the reader understand all the wrong doing that went on and why the company collapsed.

The Cult of Scientology

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology - Leah Remini

I listened to the audibook.  Leah Remini narrates the book and her New York accent is prevalent throughout the book.  

 

The book is disturbing and Remini injects humor throughout and at times it is funny.

 

This book is consistent with other books about Scientology I have read.

 

Scientology is a cult, plain and simple.  

 

I definitely recommend this book.  

SPOILER ALERT!

A Feminist View of Women vs. the Islamic State

A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State - Meredith Tax

This is a good book though it got immensely better in Chapter 7 and stayed that way until the end.

 

This book is written by self-described feminist, Meredith Tax, whom I have never heard of before picking up this book.  I admit I picked it up because it had a woman on the cover with a Kalashnikov slung over her back and I love reading War books about the the recent Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to understand why, the outcomes, larger geo-political, and societal ramifications and destabilization which the United States has now inflicted on the region and I thought this book would be very different than what it was really about.

 

This book will give the average person/American a pretty good understanding of what has happened in the region and a history back to 2001 and even before then that the layperson can understand.  This being said there are many things Tax writes in the book that I disagree with and find befuddling which I will address here.

 

1. Page 26 which says that conservatives are opposed to gay rights [LGBTQ rights], Roe v. Wade, and abortion. I would disagree with this and say that many modern conservatives are not against these things they just don't want the taxpayer to have to pay for abortion and many have no issue with gay or LGBTQ rights and many are cringing at what current President Trump is doing with respect to these things.

 

2. Page 28 ..."women's unpaid work caring for children and the elderly props up the whole economy."  I'm not sure I follow this logic or argument and while I agree many women in this country do lots of unpaid work in these areas I am not sure the economy would collapse if women no longer did these things and I wonder if this is the argument Tax is making?

 

3. Page 144 "...there are no attempts to outlaw marriage, which still remains globally the central apparatus to ensure sexual access and unpaid reproductive labor." I interpret this mean that men want to have sex with women to make them have children and that having children will result in free labor.  I really don't believe this to be the case in Western society and I find this statement and logic appalling.  

 

Other parts in the book where I made notes are not arguments about or against Tax are:

 

1. Page 126, the requirements to join the PKK sound like that of a cult

 

2. The CIA armed and helped Turkey to defeat the Kurds and now we are arming the Kurds to defeat Daesh which is what we did in Afghanistan to help them defeat the Soviets and we armed and helped UBL and the mujahadin defeat the Soviet Union and then armed another group of Warlords in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban 12 years later. Why have our Politicians and our CIA not learned that meddling in the affairs of other countries and arming different factions never seems to have a good outcome for The United States?

 

3. There was a comment and story about the State building up and beautifying the public squares (what we in America would call downtown areas) and pushing the poor people to the outskirts of town.  This is the very model the IOC and Olympic host cities have taken, spend lots of money to build and beautify infrastructure, attract the world or really the wealthy of the world to watch sport, which allows a select few to make money from the tourist dollars and then they pack up and leave, leaving the infrastructure behind to fall into disrepair or hope that the local community can start or continue to fund the upkeep of the infrastructure so that it doesn't fall into disrepair.  

 

4. The Turkish Government and other State's have set up lobbying organizations to lobby The United States Congress and pay for trips to the region to help Turkey and Syria which is part of the problem with the US Special Interest money system and this money could better help the Kurds.  

 

A very interesting book that I recommend reading.  

 

Are the Elites really experiencing a "Twighlight"?

Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy - Christopher L. Hayes

I listened to the audio book.  It is interesting.  Christopher Hayes sounds as if he has sucked Obama's jizz and is enraptured by the former President Obama and places Obama on a God-like pedestal.  With this out of the way let's dissect this book and its arguments.

 

Hayes argues that Meritocracy is Oligarchy as another writer or Politician or visionary has said.  Hayes uses MLB, the Hunter College High School where he was schooled, Wall Street, and The Ivy Leagues and maybe a few others I am forgetting to show that Meritocracy is flawed and does more harm to society than not.  I tend to agree with these arguments, especially given the college test prep industry that has sprung up as well as the test prep industry for the Hunter College High School Hayes describes.  This can be summed up as "money talks and bullshit walks."  

 

Hays talked about the Occupy Wall Street/99% movement and how are current Institution of Government is failing or has failed the people of The United States.  I tend to agree with the latter part of this too. 

 

Hayes also says that things like Pilots licences, doctors credentials/certificates should not follow a meritocratic distribution because there are some that already hold these that should not be pilots or practicing physicians and handing them out meritocratically would just be follly and put lives in danger.  I agree with this too.

 

Hayes also quotes the belief that power is corrupting and absolute power corrupts absolutely and I agree with this too.

 

In the final chapter Hayes' solution to Meritocracy which leads to Oligarchy is redistribution of wealth by taxing the rich and having the government re-distribute that wealth to the poor and this will end the problem.  

 

The problem I see with this is that the Ruling Political Class which controls the Government of the United States will spend any tax revenues they collect and money will not be re-distributed to the poor.  We have seen this with Social Security and Medicaid and instead it will likely be spent on foreign wars, foreign aid, the CIA, and the Military Industrial Complex.  Secondly, Robin Hood has already tried this and as long as the Meritocracy, Oligarch, and Plutocrats are in power I don't believe many or most of them are altruistic enough to do the right thing rather than pocket the money to make themselves richer and further rig the system in their favor.  

 

A good book which was written and published in 2012 so it's a little dated though worth the listen or read.  

Wrath and Humanity

Novels By John Steinbeck, including: The Grapes Of Wrath, Of Mice And Men, East Of Eden (novel), The Pearl (novel), To A God Unknown, In Dubious Battle, The Moon Is Down, The Winter Of Our Discontent, Tortilla Flat, Cup Of Gold (novel), Sweet Thursday - Hephaestus Books

I listened to the audio book and for the most part I thought the book was long and boring.  

The book is written well with beautiful, flowing, descriptive prose and the narrator for this book was very good.  The Grapes of Wrath takes place in the 1930's post-depression decade and follows the Joad's as they migrate from Oklahoma to California to look for work.  Their son Tom Joad, Jr. has just been released from McCallister prison for murder after defending himself during a fight.  

 

The book is filled with Christian religious undertones and outright scriptures and teachings. Casey the preacher or former preacher is a character form the book which delivers some impromptu sermons or religious teachings to Tom Jr. and others during the journey.  

 

The book deals with and/or addresses several issues such as: 1)personal responsibility and taking responsibility for one's actions as Tom Jr. does by admitting his guilt for his homicide and admitting that he deserved to spend time in prison for murder or likely manslaughter, contrast this today to many defendants claiming they did not do it even though the evidence appears to be stacked against them 2) helping your fellow human being in a time of need as many of the people living in the camps in California do as the Joad's and others that tend to help one another and their own poor kind 3) this book wrestles with the struggle of the poor worker compared to the rich, wealthy, powerful class that controls the land, business, money, and power; very similar to the recent 99% movement and of course times have not changed with respect to who controls the wealth, land, power, business, and money in today's society, the 1% of ruling elites and how are the poor supposed to break the cycle of poverty without being given a chance and when those in power conspire to keep them from breaking out of their cycle/station/socioeconomic status in life. Compare this theme in this book to that of today (2017) where we have a large immigrant population/"illegal immigrants/alien" population many of which who work in our agricultural, meat packing, construction, and service industries mainly because these jobs do not pay enough for natural born American's to work or want to work because they don't pay enough. Consider what a piece of fruit or a vegetable would cost in the grocery store at the local farmer's market would cost if the pickers and workers were being paid $10, $12, or $15 per hour? 4)the power of the mind and the thoughts one thinks and the impact these thoughts have on how life unfolds or the self-fulfilling prophecy of thoughts or speaking one's thoughts as evidenced by RosaSharon's saying her baby is going to die because of sin, not be nourished properly, being fatherless (since Connie has disappeared) and the baby is born still.

 

There are other examples of these things that I could probably cite though won't or don't remember them.

 

I see why this book is considered a classic though I did not terribly enjoy the book.  

The Queen of the PCT

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail - Cheryl Strayed

This is a pretty good book.  The writing is plain and simple, easy to follow and understand, though not as descriptive as Ayn Rand or John Steinbeck.

 

I liked the adventure that Cheryl Strayed took and I'm glad she got away from heroin and Joe.  I wish there were an epilogue to this book that told more about what Cheryl did after she hiked the PCT, e.g. did she ever finish her BA, why did she not call the attorney in the BMW and have lunch with him to tell him about her journey, what job did she first get after finishing and living in Portland?

 

Reading this book makes me want to hike the PCT and the Appalachian Trail too.  I used to backpack on my own though never as far as Cheryl did in one day and would love to return to it soon.

 

This book made me remember that I moved to Utah from Virginia in the winter of 1994, the same winter that dropped record snowfall in Utah and the Sierra Nevada's, which resulted in the nearly impassable snow Cheryl experienced in the summer of 1995 which my first summer in Utah and we had snow on July 5th.  I too was on my own journey through life trying to get away from my mother and family who were still living and learning to live on my own in a new State and City.

 

This book has been on my reading list for some time and I have seen the movie in bits and pieces and really did not think it was that great so I finally read the book.

 

I definitely recommend this book, especially if you are in your 20's, like the outdoors, or plan to hike the PCT or the AT.

The Simple Stick

Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success - Ken Segall

I listened to the audio book and it is amazing and one of the best business books I have read recently and maybe of all time. 

 

This book is packed with great stories of simplicity vs. complexity and examples from Apple, Dell, and Intel and the stuff that Intel does just for a marketing campaign is baffling.

 

A great point is that large companies have so many policies in place that they cannot get out of the way of their own policies and that is why they fail, or they fail because they do not adapt quickly enough to change.

 

There are some good and bad stories about Steve Jobs and reading this book makes me want to work for Apple.

 

There are also many comparisons between Apple and Microsoft along with some of the ad campaigns and T.V. commercials, like I'm a Mac and I'm a PC, etc. which are interesting to hear or be reminded about.  

 

A great listen or read that I highly recommend.  

Oliver Stone Cold

— feeling angel
Stone Cold - David Baldacci

I just finished this while on vacation and it as a good, fast read and loosely historical.  Some of the story line is simply not believable and some is.

 

This is a pretty good book with a few story lines to follow and several characters to keep track of.  If you like military books or military history or politics you will probably like this book.