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chrisross

chrisross

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.  

Zamperini is Great

— feeling angel
Don't Give Up, Don't Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life - Louis Zamperini, David Rensin

I listened to the audio book and it is fantastic!  Louis Zamperini was an amazing man.

 

This book is packed with great and funny stories and I highly recommend it.

 

 

The Greatest Salesman in the World

The Greatest Salesman In The World - Og Mandino

I read this book over a few days and it can probably be read in 1-2 hours if one desires.

 

The book is a parable or fable and takes place in the Middle East and near the time of Jesus.  In fact the book is about Jesus and selling Christianity to others as well as becoming a Great Salesman.

 

The Ten Scrolls provide the following advice to be read each day, three times per day, for 30 days before continuing on to read the next scroll, or roughly just shy of 1 year of study:

 

1. Today I will begin a new life, I will form good habits and become their slaves (good habits shall replace bad habits)

2. I will greet this day with love in my heart.

3. I will persist until I succeed.

4. I am nature's greatest miracle.

5. I will live this day as if it is my last.

6. Today, I will be the master of my emotions.

7. I will laugh at the world.

8. Today, I will multiply my value a hundredfold

9. I will act now.

10. I will pray for guidance.

 

A short read, that is pretty good though easy to figure out.

 

 

Hilary and ALL of the other Women and her War on Women

Hillary the Other Woman - Dolly Kyle

This is a great book that is fascinating and a fast read too.  I have never been a Hillary Clinton fan and the stories in this book are why.

 

I did my own sleuthing to corroborate many of the stories Dolly tells and they appear to be true based on my research.  

 

Regardless of your politics or whether you support Hillary or not this is a great book that should be read by Americans to get the full understanding of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

 

I plan to read other books about the Clintons now too.  

 

 

Happy Customers Everywhere

Happy Customers Everywhere: How Your Business Can Profit from the Insights of Positive Psychology - Glenn Van Zutphen, Bernd Schmitt

I listened to the audio book and it is pretty good.  The authors use examples from several well know companies and talk about NPI (Net Promoter Score) and/or CAS (Customer Allegiance Score) regarding measurement of how happy customers are with the company/your company/your brand.

 

The authors talk about product marketing, social marketing, experiential marketing, with products to make their points.

 

This is a good book that is on the shorter side and worth a listen  

Scientology is Ruthless

Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me - Harvey Betancourt, Ronald Miscavige, Dan Koon, -Macmillan Audio-

I listened to the audio book and it is interesting.  While I disagree the Scientology is a Religion I do like that Ron Miscavige believes life is about helping others.

 

Many of the stories in this book are consistent with, "Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secret Religion" by Janet Reitman.

 

The things that the Church of Scientology does to keep people trapped, extort money from them, and "disconnect" from their families is absurd and I really don't understand how people get mixed up in this in the first place.

 

This book is pretty eye-opening and I recommend it.  

Hilary: The Other Woman by Dolly Kyle

Hillary the Other Woman - Dolly Kyle

This is a great book that is eye opening and fascinating.  Regardless of your political reading you should read this book.  

 

I have been able to confirm many of the things, stories, and facts that Dolly mentions in the book with just a little Google sleuthing.

 

A great, fast, easy read!

 

I highly recommend this book.  

Happy Customers Everywhere

Happy Customers Everywhere: How Your Business Can Profit from the Insights of Positive Psychology - Glenn Van Zutphen, Bernd Schmitt

I listened to the audio book and it is pretty good.  The companies and the stories are really good and thoughtful.

 

The book is essentially about engaging customers and keeping them happy, e.g. via NPS (Net Promoter Score) or CAS (Customer Allegiance Score) with various aspects of marketing, customer experience, product experience, social experiences, etc.  

 

I recommend this book.  

The Liberal Redneck Manifesto

The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin' Dixie Outta the Dark - Corey Ryan Forrester, Trae Crowder, Sharon Drew Morgan

I picked up this book because the title caught my eye, I'm from Virginia (the South), though I don't consider myself Southern, and I went to school for 6 years in the rural South and spent 6 years in Appalachia in Wise, VA and Boone, NC.

 

The book is not really funny though I did chuckle a few times at the writers remarks and a couple of their jokes though I believe they were trying to make a funny book in the genre of a Dave Barry book and they failed in my humble opinion in this regard. 

 

The authors do make some very valid and interesting points and their final "porch talks" are good and I tended to agree with those while disagreeing with other points they made previous in the book.  

Ashley's War

Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield - Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

I listened to the audio book and it is fantastic.  While some of the names have been changed to protect the women's identities Ashley White's and Jason Stumpf's names have not.

 

The book details the first women who are chosen, after the volunteered to serve their country, to work with the Special Forces, either the Rangers or the Green Beret's.

 

Ashley was selected for the Rangers, the guys and girls, who go in kicking doors down at night to root out insurgents.  

 

The book is interesting from the perspective of the challenges women face serving American to their fullest desires and ability due to outdated rules.  It is also interesting that there are men in high positions that are not shy about bucking the Army/military rules. 

 

If you have read any other books about the Wars in Afghanistan or Iraq you will enjoy this book.  

 

It is cathartic and left me choked up and crying.  

A Kim Jong-Il Production:

A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power - Paul Fischer

I listened to the audio book and the beginning is slow.

 

It gets very good and I cannot believe the number of people North Korea has kidnapped and it made we think that a lot of it was going on while I was in High School in the 1980's.

 

A riveting book which examines Choi-Eun-hee and Shin Sang-ok lives before being kidnapped, their 8 years in captivity in North Korea and the Iron Curtain, the movies made, and their lives after escaping.  The book does a great job of conveying the emotions felt and struggles after escaping and trying to integrate into American society and the difficulties they faced after making the decision to return to South Korea.  

 

It's a tragic story that is riveting after the beginning context is described for the listener or reader and I would highly recommend this book.  

Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid is a good title for this book

Worthless, Impossible and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value - Daniel Isenberg

This is mostly a book about entrepreneurship and Isenberg provides lots of non main stream examples.

 

The stories are interesting and this a great book for someone who wants to start their own business and has the entrepreneurial streak.

Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters - Richard Rumelt

An outstanding book about strategy with great examples.