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The purpose of this blog is help people improve their Mind, Body, Soul (relationships) and their Money.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Books I've read in March (2011)

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - By Stieg Larsson

In the conclusion of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / Millennium trilogy-  Lisbeth Salander is literally in the fight for her life after being mortally wounded with an assailants' bullet in her skull. When she awakes in the hospital she soon realizes her would be assailant, a family member, is in the same hospital only a few doors down. As she plots for a way to escape from the hospital and the authorities, a super secret section of the Sapo (Sweden's equivalent of FBI/CIA) is plotting as well...only they have a plot to put Salander's story to an end for good.

My opinion:

A great rebound and improvement from the 2nd book in the series. I'll be honest, at first it was a struggle to read this book. The first 100 pages seemed to me predictable and formulaic and I basically thought I could predict the remaining outcome of the book. HOWEVER around page 110 - 120 Mr. Larsson throws a curve-ball into the plot that peaks your interest and holds it until the books' conclusion. Mikael Blomkvist comes to the rescue as Mr. Larsson explores a corrupt government agency in their attempt to suppress a decades-old crime.

On a side note, I finally decided to read a little bit more about the author. I was surprised that he basically lived the role of Mikael Blomkvist in real life. He helped found a magazine called Expo in Sweden very similar to Blomkvist's Millennium - which is focused on exposing crimes of racists, fascists and the far-right. He passed away on November 9, 2004. Herr Larsson you will be missed.

SuperRich - By Russell Simmons

Don't let the title fool you. SuperRich is not a 5-step guide to becoming "rich" in the material sense. It's much more an effort by Russell to expose those who might be grasping for material wealth an unexpected guide to spiritual wealth. Mr. Simmons talks a little bit about helping start Def Jam records and also doing a lot of the heavy-lifting in making a once extremely niche music genre  "rap" - aka - "hip hop"...popular to the mainstream. But the vast majority of the book talks about yoga, meditation and one of India's holiest books the Bhagavad Gita.

My opinion:

I liked the book overall. However, it would have been nice if Mr. Russell gave a little more insight to his business success since that is likely what lured many to purchase the book. That being said, as someone who meditates daily myself, I found the book helpful in instruction on how to improve the quality of a mediation practice. The biggest takeaway I got was focus on the journey not the destination. His own personal 'translation' of parts of the Bhagavad Gita helped me understand that book a little bit better as I've read the book before but have been confused by some parts.

Escape from Cubicle Nation - By Pamela Slim

In this book, Ms. Slim a professional coach - goes over step-by-step on the instructions as to how to achieve freedom from the shackles of the corporate world and navigate through the exciting and sometimes scary, world of entrepreneurship. She explains how she started her blog of the same name  after being asked by several corporate employees "how did you do it" when they saw she was running her coaching business by herself. She also explains how to find opportunities, how to plan out your business and also how to convince friends and family that you aren't just blowing all your savings on an expensive hobby.

My opinion: 

By far the best book I've read so far this month for an entrepreneur. In the contention for best book so far this year but, that will be decided come December. Ms. Slim covers every aspect of moving from a stable 9-5 job to a unstable yet exciting job where you make your own hours and are your own boss. The book is chock-full of examples from fellow entrepreneurs and bloggers who also made the jump and had good and sometimes bad experiences doing so. If you are really serious about quitting the corporate world, buy this book.

Blink - By Malcolm Gladwell

Mr. Gladwell explores in detail the nuances of first impressions and the split-second decisions we make based on those first impressions. This his second book which was followed by Outliers - which focused on how those we consider excellent become excellent - this book focuses on how snap judgments can oftentimes be absolutely correct judgments. It also delves into how sometimes snap judgments can be horribly wrong and even at times deadly.

My opinion:

After reading Mr. Gladwell's third book Outliers and being extremely impressed, Blink only goes on to solidify Mr. Gladwell's reputation for excellent research woven into intriguing storytelling. If you ever wondered if your "hunch" about someone was right...Gladwell shows proof that often times it is in fact correct. I enjoyed this book for the most part but at times the truth that Gladwell exposes raises concern; especially to someone whom, like Gladwell, shares ancestors from the African continent and thus is exposed to many snap judgments that are not helpful to the one being judged simply because of the color of one's skin. That being said, the book gives the reader many reasons to "trust their gut" while also giving situations when it might be a better idea to second-guess said "gut".

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