Book Reviews 2017 -4

A Man In Full

By Tom Wolfe

Reading Tom Wolfe is an education in culture, the vicissitudes of life, the human condition, the power of narrative, and the riches of the English language. Like Sherman McCoy (Bonfire of The Vanities) and Charlotte Simmons (I Am Charlotte Simmons), Wolfe's protagonist Charlie Croker is frustratingly real. The author's attention to detail is amazing and his story captivating . . . riveting in some places. At some point every writer must land the plane. To me, A Man In Full felt like it hit the tarmac a little hard. Were Wolfe to place a Bible in Conrad's hands instead of Epictetus and The Stoics many may have ignored his sermon. That said, I appreciated the message!

The Holy Bible (ESV)

By Crossway Bibles

Charles Spurgeon reportedly said, "To me the Bible is not God, but it is God’s voice, and I do not hear it without awe." I say "Amen" to that. I have read the Bible since my youth -- over and over -- and my experience mirrors that of the prophet Jeremiah, "When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight." Jeremiah 15:16

Little Teammate

By Alan Williams

I placed Little Teammate on my "Children's" shelf, but I could have just as well placed it on my parenting shelf, or coaching shelf, or baseball shelf, or "winning" shelf. Alan Williams delivers a simple mantra parents would do well to memorize and implement. I have coached five sons in baseball, coached Jr. High and JV Basketball, and watched a daughter play competitive soccer though college. And I have witnessed too many parents (myself included at times) go overboard in their efforts to "bring out the best" in their student athlete. Without preaching or moralizing, Williams points us to a better way. The illustrations by Stephen Marchesi are stellar too.

Manage Your Day-to-Day

By Jocelyn K. Glei

Manage Your Day-To-Day is a day/life-changer. I highly recommend it. Here's why I give it four stars: (1) Immediately applicable; (2) I want to pass it on. We have six grown children and 19 grand kids. In my copy I've written, "Give this to mamas for their kiddos" and "Get this for ...". (3) Jocelyn Glei provides a framework for doing what she suggests. (4) It is a collaborative project so you are getting the author's input and that of many experts as well. How much do I like this book? I have it Kindle, Audible, and Paper.

Their Finest Hour

By Winston S. Churchill

Where to begin to describe the rich experience of reading Their Finest Hour, volume two of Churchill's account of WWII! My copy is marked throughout. Here are five reasons to read it:

1. To appreciate Churchill, the man, the statesman, and the leader. WSC's grasp of world affairs, war, and interactions is simply stunning.
2. To glean Lessons from Dunkirk. I wrote my book, "Churchill And Dunkirk: Finding Insight Inside Defeat" after gleaning so much leadership insight from his account. Many people are fascinated by the Dunkirk account, leaders learn from it.
3. To improve your communication by observing/learning from Churchill's mastery of the English language. There are quotes, maxims, and speeches worth returning to again and again; for instance the familiar: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat." 5/13/40
4. To grow as a leader. The extensive appendices (about 100 pages) are primarily WSC's correspondence for a year. This section is leadership gold. Read to appreciate Churchill's prayers (not what you think) and how he devoted time to assessing, thinking, and holding others accountable.
5. To see WWII through the eyes of Great Britain. Churchill's theme: "How the British people held the fold ALONE till those who hitherto had been half blind were half ready."

Good Advice On Writing

By William Safire and Leonard Safir

I bought Good Advice on Writing for $1 at a used book store. While the investment may not be akin to buying Coca-Cola in 1919, the return on my dollar has been enormous:

1. Concise lessons from the masters.
2. Aphorisms, maxims, formulas (and formulas debunked)
3. Having the best get in my face: "The craft is, in the end, hard, grueling, and worthwhile. Do it."
4. Expert advice that is at times contrary and complementary -- this is no one way.

Worth reading and re-reading.

Crush It! Wow Now Is The Time To Cash In Your Passion

By Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk's book was written in 2009 so some technical aspects are a bit dated and some tips are common knowledge, but very helpful. I gave four stars for the following:

1. His compelling personal story and expertise.
2. The passion he brings to the book and desire to infuse it in others.
3. Emphasis on building a community, caring, and storytelling.
4. No quick fix promises, but rather hard, hard work mixed with business savvy. 

Gary reads the audible version -- that is a big plus. 
A few notable words:

**Vaynerchuck says, "True success, financial, personal, and professional lies above all in loving your family, working ridiculously hard, and living your passion . . . ." 

** "Always listen to your DNA, it will always lead you in the right direction." ???

** Business is not just about making money people . . . and you think it is your broken.