Monday, January 31, 2011

# 5: The investment response

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443 of 458 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars elegant summary of the core of personal investments, September 21, 2010 one of the advantages of a college education with a major in finance is that learning the fundamentals and, more importantly, we learn the boundaries of the universe in terms of what the field contains and what it excludes. Spend an hour or so reading this book, and you might even get that comfortable feeling that comes from knowing that you understand what is really all personal investing. You will see the "big picture" and how it affects.

I've been a member of the faculty full-time teaching at the college level for the last 35 years and I must say that the authors have managed to capture the essence of personal investments around as few pages as I have ever seen, and with a clarity that is rare in books on this topic. I make it required reading for both my bachelor and graduate classes of personal finance.

I would add that any negative reviews published on this site are likely to come from Wall Street brokers who are exploiting the ignorance of the public investment. These brokers don't like books that clarify and illuminate rather than mystifying and obfuscate the basic principles. As an educator, I applaud of Goldie and Murray noble effort to help readers to educate themselves not to be deceived by the same Wall Streeters that disgraced themselves in 2008 and nearly destroyed our economy with their greed. Anyone who feels that don't know enough about investment should read this book. It is a jewel.

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123 of 132 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars the title says it all-The Answer, August 29, 2010 won't be getting this book from your broker for Christmas. You don't need to read a bunch of "beat the market!!!!!" books to develop a sound approach to investing. Evaluate your personal investment goals and time, take a gut check on your appetite for risk and accept the risk and yields are related. The authors make a compelling, data driven topic in less than 100 pages describing a "no regrets" approach to investing. Market timing, stock picking, merchandise, speculating, etc. ultimately benefit commercial Pro over the average investor. Choose your asset allocation model with a few simple principles, then buy the diversified global capitalism for the equity component with minimum expenses. And hold. Did. You will not be the big winner in a given year, but will probably be out run 95% + of investors who buy the legend of proven that they can beat the market. There are many suppliers of this snake oil, but some truth tellers. Murray and Goldie go wrong, and this book is so brief and to the point that you should read. help other customers find the most useful reviews This review was helpful?

98 of 106 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars the primer of investment for all, August 21, 2010 I just read the investment response this morning in an hour and it is brilliant--complete without being overwhelming, easy for everyone to read and understand, and most importantly, easy for anyone to run.

Over the past 30 years, this is the model we have used to invest, and she served us very well. But we haven't been able to articulate this reasonable plan to friends and family members (especially children) so that was understandable and convincing. The temptation to "take the bait" from Wall Street is strong. Many friends and colleagues who are more "sophisticated" investors now sad so elegantly results described in the book.

Gordon and Daniel--thank you, thank you for writing this book. I'm my order for 10 copies to give away to family and friends this morning. You have accomplished what many have--a lasting legacy that will affect positively many families for life!

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The Kane Chronicles, Book Two: The Throne of Fire

The Kane Chronicles, Book Two: The Throne of FireIn this exciting second installment of the three-book series, Carter and Sadie, offspring of the brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane, embark on a worldwide search for the Book of Ra, but the House of Life and the gods of chaos are determined to stop them. 


Price: $18.99

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# 1: The 4-hour body: a rare quick fat loss, incredible sex and becoming superhuman

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1,099 of 1,193 people found the following review helpful: 4.0 out of 5 stars Here's what I got out of it, December 14, 2010 This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Hardcover) I enjoyed the book. I'm not going to claim that the book is perfect or earth-shattering or anything like that. I did find it entertaining to read all the stuff Tim Ferriss put himself through. I've also benefited from some of his recommendations (though not all). Here's what's in the book so you can make your own decision. I've read all 571 pages and tried most of the strategies (I had my copy for a while because I got my hands on an advanced copy).

Ferriss spent more than a decade researching, monitoring, and noting the progress of his own mind and body. He served as his own laboratory genea pig and also played the role of a doctor, physical therapist, and coach to prepare for this book. Like a school boy, Ferris teaches you how to get your classwork done fast so you can go out and play. He asks you to be skeptical of the book and try only that which you think will help you.

Here's what's in it:

Chapter 1: Fundamentals--First And Foremost

* Ferriss describes the "Mininum Effective Dose" (doing the bare minimum to gain the most desired outcome).

Chapter 2: Ground Zero--Getting Started and Swaraj

* Uses Mahatma Gandhi reference to make the case that only we can govern our body and destiny by what we purposely choose to do.

Chapter 3: Subtracting Fat

Five rules for cutting body fat:
1. Avoid "white" carbohydrates
2. Eat the same few meals over and over again
3. Don't drink calories
4. Don't eat fruit
5. Take one day off per week

* The Lost Art of Bingeing: Specific steps to minimize fat gain while splurging

Chapter 4: Adding Muscle

* Building the Perfect Posterior
* Ferriss turns the table for readers who wish to gain weight by offering strategies on how to gain 34 pounds in 28 days with exercises like the Occam's Protocoli, the Bike-Shed Effect, and GOMAD (Gallon of Milk a Day).

Chapter 5: Improving Sex

* Ferriss tells a story about a promise he made to a female yoga instructor who have never experienced an orgasm in her life that he "would fix her inability to orgasm"
* the women has to bring herself "there."
* men need to change the angle and pressure during penetration.

* The 15-min Female Orgasm
1. Explain to partner that you will touch her
2. Get into position
3. Find the Upper-Quadrant Point of the Clitoris, and Stroke Lightly--for 15 minutes.

Chapter 6: Perfecting Sleep

How to Fall Asleep Faster:
* Focus on getting to sleep
* 67?F to 70?F is the best room temperature to fall asleep
* Eat a large fat-and protein-dominated meal 3 hours before bedtime
* Use low light in the bedroom
* Take a cold bath an hour before bed
* Use a humidifier to generate cool mist
* Try to sleep in the half-military crawl position

How to Sleep Less and Feel Great
* Learn how to manipulate the sleep cycle to stay in REM sleep longer
* Take frequent 20-min naps throughout the day

Chapter 7: Reversing Injuries

* The $10,000 Fix: Ferriss cured his "permanent" injuries by receiving a concoction of chemicals (i.e. Platelet-rich plasma, Stem cell factor, Bone morphogenic proteint-7, Insulin-like growth factor 1) via injection.

The Cheaper Fix in Stages:
* Stage 1: Movement
* Stage 2: Manipulaiton
* Stage 3: Medication
* Stage 4: Surgery

Chapter 8: Running Faster and Farther

* Jumping Higher: Joe DeFranco, a renowned trainer of the NFL Scouting Combine, worked with Ferriss on his shoulder drive, arm position before the jump, squat stance and hip flexors that allowed Ferriss to jump vertically three inches higher in 48 hours.
* Running Faster: Joe DeFranco also coached Ferriss on how to run the 40-yard dash faster by correcting Ferriss's line-and-arm position at the start line. Ferriss was advised to keep his head down, his knee head of his toes, chin tucked and upper body head of lower body, and to take few steps. Ferriss improved his 40-yard dash by .33 seconds in 48 hours.
* Running Further: Ferriss trains by running 400-meter repeatedly (over and over again) while monitoring quantity of repeats, maximum effort percentage, and rest time. Ken Mierke, a world-champion triathlete helped Ferriss with his stride rate, lean position, and arm movement. With preparation, biomechanics, and training, Ferriss was able to increase his running distance of 5K to 50K in 12 weeks.

Chapter 9: Getting Stronger
The gems in this chapter to become stronger as experimented by Ferriss include:
* Dynamic stretching
* Bench press, push-ups, deadlift to knees
* Static Stretching
* Keep "time under tension" while lifting under 10 seconds to avoid muscle burn.
* "Lift heavy but not hard"
* Keep training times (day or night) consistent.

Chapter 10: From Swimming to Swinging
* Ferriss learned how to swim effortlessly within 10 days
* How to swing a bat like Babe Ruth
* How to hold breath longer Houdini, and David Blaine

Chapter 11: On Longer and Better Life
* Take 5-10 grams of Creatine Monohydrate per day
* Fasting and Protein Cycling
* Donate blood

My biggest criticism is the book didn't do enough with the mind part. For that, you might want to read Emotional Intelligence 2.0. That book did a great deal for my mind.

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1,037 of 1,169 people found the following review helpful: 3.0 out of 5 stars Over 100 Five Star reviews in less than a day?, December 14, 2010 This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Hardcover) Pro: It has a lot of great information for people who are new to dieting and exercise.
Easy to read. The split into different chapters you can read without having to read the whole book was a smart choice.
Simple programs.

Con: All the information isn't exactly new or just in this book. For example, the diet is Paleo, which is fine, but not what I expected from the ads. I really hoped for something new here, and what is new sounds dubious at best.
Some of the claims in the books description are a little exaggerated.
The work out is not the best. It's great if you are new to working out, but it's not enough for someone who is already athletic and looking to improve. If you want to be the best athlete you can, this will take you far but it will not get you there.
Reversing permanent injuries can be expensive.

I have a problem with his scientific method. He did a lot of these experiments only on himself, and one after another in a short period of time. His results might be skewed. I'm currently applying a few of his suggestions and have been for 2 weeks. I will update this review in the future if there is any radicle change, but as of now nothing has really happened.

I also do not like that this book has gotten so many perfect reviews so quickly, and that critical reviews are being removed.

All in all, the book is grand if you need to be introduced to the word of nutrition and exercise. But if you have read widely on the subjects already and looking for something different and radically new, this book doesn't really deliver.

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804 of 907 people found the following review helpful: 2.0 out of 5 stars Inconsistent, Holes, and Doubts, December 16, 2010 This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Hardcover) I started reading this book and was enjoying it. Nice writing style, interesting theories and things to try. But this is not a novel where interesting and enjoyment count. This is a "self-help" body transformation guide where results count.

I went in with an open mind and started reading the chapters on diet and fat loss, which I liked. Nutritional science is not my specialty.

I then moved into the weight lifting sections. Now I am no Arnold but I know a bit about iron. I started noticing a lot of things.

Tim will mention powerlifters who bench 800 pounds. He will fail to mention they wear bench shirts which add 100's of pounds to the total. He will mention past powerlifting champions coached by Marty Gallagher who used linear periodization to build strength. He will fail to mention the enormous amounts of steroids these specific powerlifters used. One was even busted and ratted out fellow lifters. Tim is not telling the whole story. Just parts.

Little inconsistencies stood out. You do not need to add mass to gain strength because strength is a skill. Then some sections later the only way to get stronger is to add mass??? Huh? Which is it?

He relates a story how he gained a lot of weight working out with High Intensity Training. He mentions that he was detrained at the time. It is pretty common to be able to gain weight quickly after being de-trained. Very common and one trick that is often used in "before/after shots." Again - this is well known. It looks dramatic but is just that, looks, smoke and mirrors.

It made me think - if he is leaving stuff out of the strength sections, the area which I know and am familiar with, what is he leaving out of the other sections? If he is not telling the whole story in the strength department, why should I believe he is in the diet part?

I started to notice other little inconsistencies there as well. Calories in/Calories out is a flawed model. Eat as much as you want as long as you dont eat A B and C. Type of calories count. Be careful with nuts because the calories in them really add up. Do calories count or not? Why do nut calories count? Calories in calories out does not work. Person A lost lots of weight counting calories. Is he telling the whole story here or is he not?

His dad lost a lot of weight using the "slow carb diet." Is that the whole story? He did not tell the whole story with other sections. How do I know this is the whole story? Another guy lost a lot of weight using cold water. Lot's of fat people in Minnesota. Why does cold work for his guy but not Minnesota?

I just get the sense that this guy is willing to bend things to make it look like the way he wants.

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Flutter (My Blood Approves, Book 3)

Flutter (My Blood Approves, Book 3)Flutter - the third book in the My Blood Approves series...

Being undead doesn't make life any easier for Alice Bonham.

Her younger brother's love life is heating up, while hers is... more complicated. Mae is falling apart, her best friend Jane is addicted to vampire bites, and if Alice doesn't get her bloodlust under control, someone will end up dead.

Alice volunteers for a rescue mission with Ezra. But going up against a pack of rabid vampires might be too much, even for him.

Price: $9.99

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Twilight in Italy

Twilight in ItalyThe book has no illustrations or index. Purchasers are entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Subjects: Italy; Etruria; Sardinia (Italy); Etruscans; Description and travel; Lawrence, D. H; Sardina; Travel / General; Social Science / Archaeology; Fiction / Short Stories; Travel / Europe / Italy;

Price: $20.00

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The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two (Revised and Updated Edition)

The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two (Revised and Updated Edition)Brought thoroughly up-to-date-with the latest information on everything from diapering to daycare, from midwifery to hospital "birthing rooms," from postpartum nutrition to infant development-THE BABY BOOK remains the one must-have resource for today's new parents.

In this perennially bestselling and encyclopedic guide, Dr. Bill and Martha Sears draw from their vast experience both as medical professionals and as parents to provide authoritative, comprehensive information on virtually every aspect of infant care. THE BABY BOOK focuses on the essential needs of babies-eating, sleeping, development, health, and comfort-as it addresses the questions of greatest concern to parents today.

Price: $21.99

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The Pink Fairy Book

The Pink Fairy BookThe Pink Fairy Book is one of Andrew Lang's Fairy Books, which constitute a twelve-book series of fairy tale collections. Although Andrew Lang did not collect the stories himself from the oral tradition, the extent of his sources, who had collected them originally made them an immensely influential collection, especially as he used foreign-language sources, giving many of these tales their first appearance in English. Although Lang himself made most of the selections, his wife and other translators did a large portion of the translating and telling of the actual stories. "The irony of Lang's life and work is that although he wrote for a profession-literary criticism; fiction; poems; books and articles on anthropology, mythology, history, and travel ... he is best recognized for the works he did not write."

Price: $16.99

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The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Illustrated) (Engage Books)

The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Illustrated) (Engage Books)The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of the first twenty four short stories based on the famous detective, including the cases of The Red-Headed League, The Cardboard Box, and The Final Problem. Holmes will need to use his various skills, including a knack at cracking ciphers, an aptitude for acting and disguise, tracking footprints, hand to hand combat, deciphering different types of tobacco ash, and knowledge of psychology to solve cases of blackmail, revenge and murder. Sherlock Holmes is famous for his intellectual prowess and is renowned for his skilful use of deductive reasoning, astute observation, and forensic skills to solve difficult cases. Deductive reasoning allows Holmes to impressively reveal a stranger's occupation. Similarly, by studying inanimate objects, he is able to make astonishingly detailed deductions about their owners. This mindset was a major innovation in the field of crime fiction, inspiring authors like Robert J. Sawyer, Neil Gaiman and Stephen King.

Price: $16.95

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# 9: Preschool Basics

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Little Book of Economics: How the Economy Works in the Real World (Little Books. Big Profits)

The Little Book of Economics: How the Economy Works in the Real World (Little Books. Big Profits)One positive side-effect of the recent financial market meltdown that toppled giant, century-old institutions and cost millions their jobs is that it created a strong desire among many Americans to better understand how the U.S. economy functions. In The Little Book of Economics, Greg, Ip, one of the country’s most recognized and respected economics journalists, walks readers through how the economy really works.

Written for the inquisitive layman who doesn’t want to plow through academic jargon and Greek letters or pore over charts and tables, The Little Book of Economics offers indispensible insight into how the American economy works – or, doesn’t. With engaging and accessible prose, the book

  • Provides a comprehensive understanding of each aspect of our economy from inflation and unemployment to international trade and finance
  • Serves as an insider’s guide to the people and institutions that control America’s economy such as the Federal Reserve and the federal budget
  • Explains the roots of America’s current economic crisis and the risks the country faces in its aftermath, such as stratospheric government debt, while offering advice on overcoming these threats
  • Walks readers through the basic concepts and terminology they need to understand economic news
  • Punctures myths and political spin from both the left and the right with candid and often surprising insight

A must read for anyone who wants a better grasp of the economy without taking a course in economics , The Little Book of Economics is a unique and engaging look at how the economy works in all its wonderful and treacherous ways.

Price: $19.95

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# 4: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition

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364 376 people found the following review helpful: 2.0 attention out of 5 stars! Many pages of corrections have been released!, October 7, 2009 this review is from: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition (Paperback) I just got my copy. As a Professor of psychology, this text is required for my shelves--the same is true for students in this field. However, I was shocked to learn APA has already released 7 typewritten pages of corrections to this manual, which they will exchange the first print to print the most recent. This is a resource that will be used for years! Waiting to buy until they have been ironed out the kinks and I'm on a second or third printing of the manual! I'm also disappointed that they do not delineate clearly the changes from the 5th Edition. It seems to me that there are some important changes (2 spaces between sentences, etc..). Save your money for at least a couple of months! help other customers find the most useful reviews This review was helpful?

195 of 207 people found the following review helpful: 1.0 out of 5 stars very disappointed, October 14, 2009 this review is from: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition (Paperback) I was very angry to find that existed in the 6th Edition of many errors. I also contacted APA regarding errors. They aren't going to exchange the book for a correct edition. They did several lame excuses for mistakes and not replacing it. My second email of APA pointedly expressed my displeasure with their position-copied below ...

Grammar and mistakes of writing a book of grammar and writing is shameful. What really bothers the organization presenting reputation? Do you have editors reviewing your works before publication? Are your editor by paying attention to their work? If you cannot keep you set standards in their publication, and publications should not exist!

If you need this book, require a reprint correct! If you are a University, also a reprint request. This organization should not set standards that they are not going to comply. I give them an "F"

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166 of 178 people found the following review helpful: 1.0 out of 5 stars not to buy, Join the boycott!, October 20, 2009 this review is from: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition (Paperback) not to buy the first printing of the APA manual, 6th Edition in all circumstances. There are errors on eighty (80) of its pages. How outrageous to a handbook on writing style! As of 20/10/09, APA refuses to exchange their full copies of error with prints second correct. Despite the fact that the list of errors continues to 7 pages, Editorial Director of books APA declared "errors that prevent the use of the manual with full confidence." Many mistakes are sample documents--a part of the manual so that many of us use as a landmark. The abuse of power which is wielding APA students required to purchase this book for classes, along with students and professors who have written in this style of magazines is alarming. APA goes on with its 80 pages of errors in this edition which is in my control, like a real expert who has been intimately involved with every phase of this project, to verify for you without hesitation that the first printing is fully functional, accurate and correct. " As Professor, when can I say to my documents, students gain them 3 APA errors docked 1/2 a letter. If I were to the degree of this APA book, would not only get a F, there aren't enough letters of the alphabet to go low enough for the number of errors that it contains. Meanwhile, APA is happy to take money for the book you know that all we have to buy in many fields of study.

A formal boycott of this edition is in progress on Facebook until APA undertakes to replace the copies of the first edition that people now are stuck with. Join us [...]

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Big Egg (Step-Into-Reading, Step 1)

Big Egg (Step-Into-Reading, Step 1)One morning Hen wakes up and finds a gigantic egg in her nest. Whose ege can

it be? Here's a hint, Hen--it doesn't belong to that wily Fox!

Price: $3.99

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# 10: stone Cutting

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1,255 of 1,278 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars "We are all fixing what is broken. It is the task of a lifetime.", February 12, 2009 This brilliant novel revolves around what is broken -- limbs, family ties, trust -- and the process of rebuilding them. It starts with the birth of twin boys to a nursing nun, Sister Mary Praise Joseph, in a small hospital on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; an event which no one had expected: "The everyday miracle of conception had taken place in the one place it should not have: in Sister Mary Praise Joseph's womb." The delivery rapidly becomes a debacle when it's clear that Mary Praise Joseph can't deliver her baby normally; the last minute arrival home at "Missing" (the Mission Hospital) by Indian obstetrician Hema saves the children, but their mother dies and their presumed father father, surgeon Thomas Stone, disappears into the night.

That brief summary does no justice to Verghese's powerful and remarkable prose style or the structure of the first part of the book which, although it revolves around the tragedy that claims the life of the twins' mother, also introduces the other main characters who will take the place of their biological parents. Darting back and forth between the events in the surgical theater (as Thomas Stone, horrified at what he sees, first tries to save Mary Joseph Praise's life by collapsing the skull of the infant he believes cannot be born alive), the mundane daily activities of his fellow doctor, Ghosh (trying to escape what he believes is a hopeless love for Hema) and Hema's struggle to get home to Missing from her annual holiday in India, the reader will find it impossible to put the book down and wants only to find a way of reading faster and faster to discover what happens next. By the time the twins are born, attached by a blood vessel at the head and separated at the last moment by Stone and Hema to save their lives, the reader will find himself or herself resenting every moment not spent following this story until the tale is told. And even when you are finished, the novel and its more-than-compelling characters will linger on in your mind...

Separated at birth, the twins grow up in the Ethiopia of the Emperor Haile Selaisse's reign, and Verghese introduces the reader to an ancient world that will be new to most readers, with all its flavors, colors, scents and sounds. His remarkable artistry ensures that this is never jarring but always intriguing and that the characters -- Indian expatriate doctors raising their two foster children, born to an Indian nun and an American surgeon, with the help of an Eritrean caretaker and her own daughter -- feel as familiar to us as if they were members of our own family. In the manner of a classic epic, Verghese picks his themes -- separation, the intersection of sex and death, wounds and what surgery can and can't accomplish -- and sticks to them throughout. And yet, those themes -- sweeping ones for any novelist to tackle -- never overshadow the fact that this is, at its core, the story of two brothers, Shiva and Marion -- or ShivaMarion, as Marion, the narrator, describes their single-minded unity in their youngest years.

Ultimately, the political events in Ethiopia and family betrayals send Marion fleeing to the United States. His odyssey seems to rupture all these ties and yet by the time the novel ends, we realize that every step has, in fact, been bringing Marion, Shiva and their extended family closer together as well as toward a resolution of the various plot twists. Training as a surgeon in a Bronx hospital where the only interns are from overseas ("the bloodlines from the Mayflower hadn't trickled down to this zip code", Marion reflects wryly), the finally encounters his birth father in person -- with dramatic consequences -- and has a chance to make peace with Thomas Stone, Shiva -- and himself.

Anyone familiar with Veghese's non-fiction writing (two very compelling memoirs, My Own Country: A Doctor's Story and The Tennis Partner) knows that he is an impeccable prose stylist. But relatively few non-fiction writers can also write wonderful fiction, much less produce this kind of complex drama. Rarer still is that this is a debut novel. Even the remarkable coincidences of the final third of the book never feel anything less than pitch-perfect: a real tribute to both Verghese's carefully-constructed plot and his eloquent, pitch-perfect writing.

It is rare for me to stumble over a novel of such a high caliber, one that creates the kind of characters I have never met before, characters who now are as vividly alive in my mind as any of the real individuals who populate my world. May this be only the first of many novels that Verghese produces for us, his lucky readers.

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309 of 318 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Are You Your Brother's Keeper?, February 10, 2009 Customer review from the Amazon Vine? Program (What's this?) Throughout this magnificent novel, this question is answered affirmatively over and over again. Whether your brother is your identical twin, an orphaned child, an unfortunate neighbor, or a stranger, each person deserves to be cared for.

Beginning in India, the story progresses to Africa where it remains until the protagonist immigrates to America. Marion, the narrator of this fictional autobiography, is one of a set of identical twins. His birth and life at the mission, Missing, provide the basis for the conflicts and triumphs contained in the novel. The historical backdrop, Ethiopia's internal conflicts and coups, impart additional depth to the book's realistic atmosphere. The title "Cutting for Stone" is taken from the Hippocratic oath, but may also reflect a double meaning. The biological father of the Marion and his twin, Shiva, is Thomas Stone, a famous surgeon. In what may be a subconscious effort to emulate and impress their absent parent, both become skilled surgeons. They are "Cutting for Stone".

This is one of the most outstanding books I have been privileged to read. Verghese is a skilled writer and draws the reader into the book immediately. The characters are strong, interesting, and very human; the conflicts are realistic and keep the pace of the novel moving forward. Even minor characters are sufficiently well developed so that the reader would like to know more about their lives. There is gentle humor, emotional turmoil, and great personal triumph throughout the book.

Allow yourself the luxury of time to read "Cutting for Stone" without interruption. If you do not, you will find yourself thinking about the characters and wondering what is going to happen to each one. In my opinion, that is the mark of a great book - the author has captured your attention and quietly demands you give it to nothing else. When a book as fine as "Cutting for Stone" is involved, you are more than happy to comply. You can, if necessary, read this book in multiple sessions without losing interest or forgetting what has previously occurred.

Had I been allowed to rate this book more than five stars, I would have done so. It is truly a masterpiece.

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239 of 250 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Fiction at it's Best, February 10, 2009 Many readers will tell you that Cutting for Stone is the epic story of two conjoined twins fathered by a brilliant British Surgeon and an Indian Nun. And it technically is. Narrated by Marion the first born twin we are told of every influence on his and his brother's existence. More than the story being told however, the novel is an accurate portrayal of life in all it's cruelty and wonder.

The twin's mother dies in childbirth and their father abandons them minutes later. They are raised in a missionary medical hospital in Ethiopia. As they grow up they are forced to face their past and futures re-defining the meanings of destiny, love and family.

While reading you will notice the fine points are painstakingly researched as the story is and packed full of medical jargon and situations along with vivid descriptions of Ethiopian culture and history. My only reservation in recommending the book is the novels "hard moments" as almost every imaginable tragedy touches these brothers, and medical operations and oddities are very detailed. Squeamish readers may want to skim some of these passages.

All in all, this novel is elegantly told, superbly structured and the most original piece of fiction I've read in years. It's deserving of every positive adjective I can throw at it; marvelous, and thrilling. You will want to own and lose yourself in this book again and again. Buy it now, and thank me later.

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# 8: The hidden realities: parallel universes and deep laws of Cosmos

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122 of 127 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece of science writing from Brian Greene, January 7, 2011 This review is from: The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos (Hardcover) Customer review from the Amazon Vine? Program (What's this?) Brian Greene's previous books are exemplars of what science writing should be: clear, wide-ranging in discussion and respectful of the intelligence of his audience. The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos are two of my three favorite popular science books. The third, Kip Thorne's Black Holes and Time Warps, is another superb example of science writing at its best. Now Brian Greene has added another masterpiece to the list. Everything that distinguishes Greene's writing style is in evidence in The Hidden Reality. His elegant prose is enjoyable to read. His brilliant ability to explain difficult abstract ideas in everyday language using easily understood examples still amazes me. And his use of vivid word pictures that always seem perfectly matched to the topic he's discussing propels his narrative forward so that the reader is never bored.

Yes The Hidden Reality is more accessible than his previous books. This book seems easier to read and is readily understandable. In his earlier books, I often read a paragraph several times in order to fully comprehend what Greene was attempting to communicate. That is something science and math majors are used to doing when reading textbooks but difficult for those not as scientifically adept. Greene's first two books dealt with Quantum Mechanics, String Theory and Einstein's Special and General Theories of Relativity: vast math-intensive topics that he was able to distill masterfully. The Hidden Reality inhabits a more abstract world, a conceptually challenging world. I quickly found Greene's more casual approach extremely helpful, even comforting, when I felt slightly adrift. The topics he discusses begin with the geometry of the universe: whether it is spherical (or positively curved), flat (with zero curvature) like a tabletop, or negatively curved like a Pringle.

The book devotes considerable time to the critical question of whether the universe is finite or infinite in size, something which has profound scientific and philosophical implications. It is a statistical certainty that in an infinite universe, regions of local space like ours will be endlessly repeated. In other words, assuming an infinite spatial universe with an expanding big-bang beginning, there are only a finite number of possible matter and energy configurations because the amount of energy and matter is finite. But there is an infinite amount of space within which those configurations will play out. Greene uses the example of a friend named Imelda whose passion for clothing has her purchasing 1000 pairs of shoes and 500 dresses. If Imelda is blessed with an infinitely long lifespan then, despite her vast wardrobe, if she changes outfits daily, within 1400 years she will have exhausted all possible new combinations. Imelda will be forced to repeat her sartorial choices. Philosophically, of course, all of that repetition of stars, planets and life's building blocks suggests that there are an infinite number of doppelgangers of each and every one of us. These infinite duplicates of ourselves would inhabit similar worlds that are forever hidden from mutual observation because the speed of light is finite. As Einstein showed in his Special Theory of Relativity, light-speed (300,000 km/sec) is the fastest rate by which information can be communicated. The bottom line: in an infinite universe the overwhelming bulk of reality remains hidden from its inhabitants by vast distances or by parallel dimensions harboring realities of every possible configuration.

In a finite spherical universe, on the other hand, the light from distant objects should ultimately traverse it several times, leading to multiple images of galaxies, for example. This hasn't been observed as yet, suggesting that the universe is either finite but huge or actually infinite in size. Though the size and shape of the universe remain undetermined, scientists when cornered tend to believe its size is infinite. Recent data also suggests that the universe is flat like a tabletop in shape.

Greene discusses all of the current hot topics in cosmology: brane-worlds, the multiverse, the holographic universe, unseen parallel worlds in dimensions separated by millimeters, our universe as a super-advanced computer program, the essentially hidden nature of reality. These are topics that have been discussed in other books but seldom with the passion for communication and clarity of thought that Greene exhibits in this one. The topics here are abstract concepts that exist at the very boundaries of human thought but Greene somehow manages to bring them down to earth. Even if you don't understand everything, the scientific vistas that Greene offers in this superb book are breathtaking in their intellectual beauty. You will find your personal horizons exponentially expanded. The Hidden Reality is replete with excellent illustrations that illuminate the material and are fun to look at. If this kind of science intrigues you then you will love this book. Brian Greene has written another masterpiece in a difficult genre.

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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult- but rewarding., January 11, 2011 This review is from: The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos (Hardcover) Customer review from the Amazon Vine? Program (What's this?) Beginning in the 16th Century, physics started to change from a purely scholastic mode of inquiry, in which questions were answered by argument from first principles and ancient authority, into a scientific one, in which observation and mathematical law predominated. With the introduction of Newton's work and his (and Leibniz') invention of the calculus, physics became a modern science, in which mathematics played a key role not only in testing theories, but in predicting phenomena as well. Even so, it was still possible for the non-scientist to understand much of the work of physicists, as it still dealt (for the most part) with laws and phenomena that could be observed, experienced, or at least imagined with the average person.

With the advent of relativity and quantum mechanics in the early 20th century, this all changed. Special Relativity dealt with velocities far beyond that which any human could ever experience. General Relativity dealt with interactions on a cosmic scale. And quantum mechanics dealt with scales far smaller than that which could be experienced or observed- even by physicists. What these new disciplines shared was that they they could only be truly understood by someone conversant with the mathematics involved. Although mass-induced curvature of space (for example) is commonly explained by analogy to a weight on a rubber sheet; that's at best, a weak metaphor. A ball bearing rolling on a rubber sheet is still being pulled down by gravity; it is not tracing a path in curved space that minimizes action.

As modern theories physics have become more complex, more purely mathematical, and further removed from the experience of the perceivable world, the books that attempt to explain things like inflationary cosmologies, string theory and supersymmetry have become increasingly less satisfying. And that brings us to the central failure of almost every popular book on modern physics I've ever read- the inability to actually explain the why and how. After reading countless books by popular authors like Tim Ferris, I realized that although many were, indeed, excellent writers, none of them actually understood the physics they were purporting to explain. At beast, they were simply repeating the metaphors they'd been given. They didn't understand the physics well enough to explain it.

There were a few exceptions- popular books written by actual physicists who also had a particular gift for teaching and explanation. To date, I've only found three who both have a deep understanding of modern physics, and who can convey more than a metaphorical understanding of this to a reasonably intelligent, but non-specialist, reader: Richard Feynman, Alan Guth, and Brian Greene. True, there are other physicists who write popular books, but most aim pretty low. They're satisfied to give a general sort of metaphorical explanation- curved space is like a curved rubber sheet, expansion is like inflating a beach ball, and strings are like... little strings. But Feynman, Guth and Greene each tried to really convey the real science.

The late Richard Feynman is still the master. His lectures- especially "The Character of Physical Law"- did a magnificent job of making clear even such difficult concepts as the quantum explanation of diffraction. Guth's "The Inflationary Universe" does a superb job of explaining topics like tension and negative energy in telling his story of the origins of cosmic inflation theory. And Brian Greene, author of the current volume under discussion, has now produced his third book attempting to explain some very difficult ideas to the lay reader. In "The Hidden Reality", Green tackles string theory, the multiverse, symmetry, group theory, and dozens of other topics, and he does so without resort to any "it's just like..." metaphors. He uses graphic representations when possible, to illustrate mathematical relationships without math when possible (although much of the real math can be found in the appendix.) He explains where and how contemporary cosmological theories originated, and gives the reader a good sense of exactly how we arrived at a position in which physics is largely dominated by untestable theories that make few predictions about the measurable universe- and why this is not necessarily a problem.

Greene is one of the principle authors of modern string theory, and he does a superlative job of conveying, for the lay reader, both the state of string theory, and its genesis. While to fully understand such notions as (say) the role of Calabi-Yu shapes in defining the topology of the multidimensional universe would no doubt require a real familiarity of topology, I think Greene comes as close as possible (or at least as close as I've seen) in conveying to the reader why it is that these shapes play a role in defining space, and how it is that physicists came to propose their existence. His explanation of quantum uncertainly and of Schrodinger's probability wave is probably the best non-mathematical one I've read.

This is not an easy book to read. I went as far as a few calculus courses and a semester of physics back in my undergraduate days, and I found this book fairly hard going. It's not terribly mathematical (except in the appendices) but the concepts are not easy, and there's little if any fluff to be found. This is not the sort of breezy reading found in the typical popular physics book (here's the atom, here's a quark, wasn't that cool?) The reader who attempts to simply skim through without trying to follow Greene's narration and really understand what he's trying to explain will quickly find themselves lost, reading words without a clue of what they mean. I've been reading it for two weeks, attacking a chapter (or part of a chapter) each day, and often backtracking to make sure I understand what Greene is trying to convey. The reader who is prepared to take this approach, and spend a lot of time reading, pausing, think about what they've read, and rereading each section to make sure they really understand what's going on, will find this a very rewarding book.

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63 of 74 people found the following review helpful: 3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult But Fascinating, January 7, 2011 This review is from: The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos (Hardcover) Customer review from the Amazon Vine? Program (What's this?) I am very intrigued by the new theories in science. Although I have an advanced degree, I am not by any means a math/science type of person. I was hoping with this book to understand better the ideas of parallel universes, string theory, multiverses, etc. This book didn't do it for me.

The text, even though the author claims is dumbed it down, was difficult to understand. I suspect someone who has more of a physics background will be better able to assimilate the information. Still, there is one thing I do understand. If these theories are even close to the truth we are in for a whole new way of viewing our existence. Some people still have a hard time with evolution, wait until they get hold of this stuff!

The concepts are fascinating, exhilarating, and will make humans question everything about what we perceive is reality.

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Fools Rush In (Weddings by Bella, Book 1)

Fools Rush In (Weddings by Bella, Book 1)Bella Rossi may be nearing thirty, but her life is just starting to get interesting. When her Italian-turned-Texan parents hand over the family wedding planning business, Bella is determined not to let them down. She quickly books a "Boot Scoot'n" wedding that would make any Texan proud. There's only one catch--she's a country music numbskull because her family only listens to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Where will she find a DJ on such short notice who knows his Alan Jackson from his Keith Urban? When a misunderstanding leads her to the DJ (and man) of her dreams, things start falling into place. But with a family like hers, nothing is guaranteed. Can the perfect Texan wedding survive a pizza-making uncle with mob ties, an aunt who is a lawsuit waiting to happen, and a massive delivery of 80 cowboy boots? And will Bella ever get to plan her own wedding? Book one in the Weddings by Bella series, Fools Rush In is fun, fresh, and full of surprises. Readers will love the flavorful combination of Italian and Tex-Mex, and the hilarity that ensues when cultures clash.

Price: $14.99

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The Unsuspecting Mage: Book One of The Morcyth Saga

The Unsuspecting Mage: Book One of The Morcyth SagaLittle did James realize when he answered the ad in the paper that he would be thrust into the middle of an adventure that will test the limits of his intelligence and courage. Not given any sort of explanation why he has been brought to this world, James, a high school senior, must discover the reason. He quickly realizes that he's able to use the knowledge he gained through the hundreds of books he's read, as well as the time spent in role playing games to help him along. The world he's been brought to is one on the edge of war and only by learning to control the magic within himself will he be able to survive the trials ahead. With the help of a boy named Miko, he sets out across this strange world to discover why he's there and what he must do.

Price: $18.95

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-Up Book

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-Up BookCelebrating the 40th anniversary of one of the most popular children’s books ever created, this pop-up edition of The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the perfect new platform for the classic caterpillar, who literally pops off the pages of the book—crawling along branches, munching through food, and in one of the most memorable climaxes ever, emerging vibrantly as a three-dimensional beautiful butterfly.

This is a stunning, tour-de-force pop-up that no fan of Mr. Carle’s work will want to miss.

Price: $29.99

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Relentless (Dominion Trilogy #1)

Relentless (Dominion Trilogy #1)Action-packed suspense of a reluctant larger-than-life hero who finds himself in the vortex of rapidly changing world events. Dominion Trilogy book 1.

Price: $13.99

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

# 6: the girl who kicked the hornet's nest

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1,048 of 1,100 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Conclusion to an Almost Perfect Trilogy, October 8, 2009 Just as Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings" is held up as the trilogy to which all fantasy trilogies are inevitably compared, I've little doubt that Larsson's Millenium series will play that benchmark role for mystery thrillers over the next few decades.

"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest" is an incredibly worthy successor to the previous two books in the trilogy. And toward the end, there will be moments when tears are brought to your eyes. Larrson knew precisely how to play with timing, rhythm, and wording to pace the story and its ending just right. I'm hard pressed to even guess how else he could have ended this series.

The story follows the natural conclusion of the events in the first two books as everything dovetails toward a "behind-closed-door" trial. Larrson did a very good job of the first part of this book that takes place in the hospital where Lisbeth is recovering. I really enjoyed reading things from her perspective, then spinning out to others involved and each of their limited pieces of the evolving puzzle. And things just get better as the book moves along.

Frankly, once you hit part three of the book, it's almost impossible to put down. I picked it up just once...just to read a chapter or two in the second half of the book...only to find that three hours had gone by and the book was over.

Larrson's tying up of many loose ends throughout the book - and this is key - throughout the book (not all in the last few chapters like so many other writers) is masterful. And that emphasizes the one tragic aspect of this final book: knowing that we will never again be graced with Larrson's storytelling mastery.

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649 of 711 people found the following review helpful: 3.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for fans of this trilogy, but..., December 28, 2009 For the ending of this book alone, it is worth reading. However, while I wish I could say that this book was of the same caliber as that of the prior two books, in my opinion it was not. The book picked up right where the last left off, with Salander in the hospital being treated for her injuries. Blomkvist continues to sleuth on her behalf in order to expose those who have made her life hellish and attempted to frame her for all manner of crimes. Of course, in his spare time he also still manages to attract every woman within a 500-yard-radius like a bee to honey, but I digress. All of the other familiar characters from the prior books return.

I don't want to spoil the plot of the book, so I will give a general review. The overall feel of the book to me is that it was the least edited and least considered of the three. This would make sense if Larsson had intended to go back and do some more tweaking and editing before publication, but he was obviously unable to do so after his death. There are entire sections of the book that meander on and on with no apparent purpose with regard to moving the story forward. These sections would have benefited greatly from some serious editorial paring.

To me, the plot did not at all move along at the same clip as the prior books. The suspense just wasn't there to the same degree. I recall that I simply could not put down the previous books, but I was nowhere near as riveted by this one. In addition, there were a number of somewhat annoying grammatical errors, sentence fragments, etc.

For the good points of the book, the ending (if that is what we can call the last 150-200 pages) is a very nice, tightly written section that ties everything together beautifully. Again, it struck me that perhaps Larsson had written the ending earlier than the rest of book three, as it appeared to be the best-constructed section of the entire book. For the ending alone, this story is worth reading. I wavered between a 3-and 4- star review for this reason. Ultimately, I considered whether the book, standing alone without the other two, would be a 4-star book, and I don't believe that would be the case.

As an aside, one minor issue is that on the book cover of the copy I picked up while in Belgium, the first blurb says "The Trial", as if the book is mostly about Salander's trial itself, which it is not. The trial itself takes up about the last tenth of the book. Whether this type of advertising will occur with the North American edition I don't know, but I write this warning simply so you might know what to expect.

In summary, anyone who has read the first two books simply will not be able to deny themselves the final installment, nor should they. Although I did not find the book to hold the same level of suspense and I sometimes found it rather dull, the ending of the book makes it very worthwhile reading. It is a great loss that Mr. Larsson passed away before he could really fine-tune the final book, and before he could write another.

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224 of 249 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Complex, Satisfying, Clever, Moral; Evil Versus Good, October 13, 2009 For those of you who have not read the first two volumes of this trilogy, I urge you to start on Volume one and proceed. The characters are so complex and real that an understanding of their background seems to me to be a must. The first two novels set up the reader for this wonderfully clever conclusion. The tale of good versus evil is one that is a history in time, and Stieg Larsson has given us a treat to savour.

The first one hundred pages of the third novel brings us up to date, and then we start the real read. More characters are introduced and at times during this 600 page read, I wondered if I could keep them straight. For the last two hundred pages, this book is very hard to put down. This is a tale of a series of conspiracies and how they come to cloud the Swedish democracy. How did Lisbeth Salander become the abused young woman, and will the people and times trying to destroy her win? And, Mikael Blomkvist, the journalist, will he be able to expose through his words, the wrongs that have been done. Will he regain Lisbeth's confidence?

Lisbeth Salander is in the Intensive Care Unit, she has been shot in the head. Her father is in a room down the hall, reportedly shot by Lisbeth. How did this come to be. Why are the Swedish Secret Service surreptitiously going in and out of his room? Why do we pick on those we do not understand? It is easier for us to believe those that are in power than to question the truth. The theme of the trilogy is that women are equals. There is no unnecessary overt sex and even though there is violence, it is believable. Blomkvist is a hero, he is the main antagonist and the muscle behind the investigation. He is out to assist Lisbeth Salander in becoming the woman she is meant to be instead of the woman who was looked at as the mad lesbian killer. He says, "When it comes down to it, this story is not primarily about spies and secret government agencies; it's about violence against women, and the men who enable it." The characters who surround them are wonderfully sketched out. We can picture in our mind's eye their faces and their countenance. This novel sums up the story of Lisbeth Salander, but leaves us wondering what is to be. Unfortunately, Stieg Larsson. because of his death, won't be continuing the series, it is up to us to find her rightful place.

It is easy to understand why this trilogy of Stieg Larsson's has become such a phenomenon. The search for justice and truth from a young, abused woman who has the nerves and strength of steel gives us all hope. We can believe through this wonderful narrative that the world is indeed a good place.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 10-13-09

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Vintage)

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Deeper Water (Tides of Truth Series, Book 1)

Deeper Water (Tides of Truth Series, Book 1)The Tides of Truth novels follow one lawyer's passionate pursuit of truth in matters of life and the law.

In the murky waters of Savannah's shoreline, a young law student is under fire as she tries her first case at a prominent and established law firm. A complex mix of betrayal and deception quickly weaves its way through the case and her life, as she uncovers dark and confusing secrets about the man she's defending--and the senior partners of the firm.

How deep will the conspiracy run? Will she have to abandon her true self to fulfill a higher calling? And how far will she have to go to discover the truth behind a tragic cold case?

Price: $14.99

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# 3: Battle Hymn of the mother Tiger

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355 of 412 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars It's about acceptance, January 13, 2011 This review is from: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (Hardcover) People who are taking this book the wrong way (particularly those who read the excerpt in the newspapers and not the book itself) are missing the big picture. The book is a memoir, and Chua tells her story no-holds-barred. Her mother is a central figure and her discipline (right or wrong) has shaped who Chua has become. Like all of us, Chua has had to find the good in her parents, particularly the good in their intentions (even when they aren't easy to find). Those who are treating this as a parenting manual advocating parents raise their children the way Chua was raised either haven't read the book or have completely missed the point.

You also get to go along with Chua as she raises her two daughters. They had incredibly strict rules to follow: no play dates, no sleepovers, and two hours a day of instrument practice. You see that her parenting isn't perfect in their achievements: the oldest played in Carnegie Hall at the age of 14 and the youngest...well I don't want to give away one of the best parts of the story but lets just say they had different paths. You live her struggle with a parenting style that's seen as extreme in America.

Even though I'm deeply implanted in the "lax" Western style of parenting, I still related deeply to the struggles of raising children. The book is hilarious and shocking in places. The kind of book you can't put down. The transformation Chua moves through is powerful. Her writing still is brisk and lively and you're sure to empathize with her struggles and her dreams. The book is striking a chord with so many because it hits hard at the questions we all must answer for ourselves in life: love, achievement, self-esteem, ambition, pride... She doesn't ultimately answer the question for anyone, she just tells her story in a way that's so real and so powerful that you'll never forget it.

I Love Yous Are for White People: A Memoir (P.S.) (the title derived from his father's mantra) is another book you'll absolutely want to check out. There are some amazing stories out there about parenting, and these two are told with power.

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339 of 413 people found the following review helpful: 3.0 out of 5 stars Okay for entertainment, dismal for parenting, January 14, 2011 This review is from: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (Hardcover) I read the entire book twice. As a story, the book is very entertaining. As a parenting experience, it was obsessive and absurd. Other reviewers go into detail about her parenting. The following points struck me the most:

Since her children were very small, the author made them practice piano and/or violin for 3-6 hours non-stop every day. What's even worse is this - the author would sit next to her children or stand behind them, criticizing them, for the entire practice time. She was there every minute of the children's music lessons with their teachers, taking detailed notes to harague her children with at home. She says she wasn't a helicopter parent, but if this isn't hovering over your children and living vicariously through them, I don't know what is. (Interestingly, the author talks about her super-competitive dreams for her children but later admits that she herself "couldn't stand the pressure of competition").

The author, who doesn't seem to play herself, learns more than a decade later at a recording studio that a musician's hands can get tired (from overplaying), that forcing and forcing music means the music sounds empty, etc. But still she keeps on going pushing her children to play non-stop for hours.

Also, she has no intention of letting her children actually be professional musicians. She sees it as a stepping stone to an ivy league school.

The author seems very narrowminded and judgmental. She disparages janitors, actors, bowling, crafts, anyone/anything she thinks is "mediocre". She broadly states that white parents or Western parents do this, "Chinese" parents do that (her family immigrated from China to Phillipines then to the US). Drums means doing drugs. Not winning first place is for losers. Her values on "success" make me cringe - Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Juillard, ivy league school - are mentioned repeatedly in this book. You get the very firm impression that playing Carnegie Hall, getting into Juillard/Harvard/Yale, being a Ph.D./J.D./M.D. are the only respectable achievements in her eyes. She spends most of her children's childhood yelling at them and pushing them to get into harder and harder programs. Her home is miserable with tension, including the children and her husband, and she just keeps on ignoring the stress that she's causing her family.

As proof that she is doing the right thing, the author mentions repeatedly that she is praised by other parents on how well her children behaved, and that her youngest daughter used to like to cuddle with her after a harsh lesson. Guess what? Even abused children often say they want to go home with their parents...

The reality is that her 2 kids have 2 parents who are ivy league law schools professors, and there are rich relatives on each side of the family (as we are told). The children had nannies, special teachers, special tutors, etc. Statistically, her kids are going to be far ahead of other kids anyway.

Personally, she lucked out with her husband, who let her have her way with the kids. Any other guy probably would have divorced her early on for her obsessive, shrieking, berating tendencies.

She insulted her children often, calling them lazy, stupid, fat, etc., as proof that she believed they could be better. (It would be interesting if a husband said this to his wife as proof that he believed she could be better...). She said that when her own parents did this to her, it didn't hurt her self-esteem. (Later, her daughter yells that her mother always makes her feel bad about herself...) She withheld food, water, rest, from the small children in order to make them practice more. I wonder where child protective services were? In Canada, this would be emotional abuse/neglect and grounds for removing a child from a home. Must be nice to be a US law professor and be able to say, this is how my loving Chinese parents raised me...She's mean to her kids and nice to everyone else.

I like the part where she congratulates herself on having such successful children, although by the end of the book her youngest was only 13 and just started to rebel against her mother, and even her own mother was warning her about the severity of her parenting. Good luck, I thought, see where they are at age 25, once they're out in the real world. By the way, it's common for Chinese Americans to have a quarter-life crisis at 25, when they switch out of careers chosen by their families, to pursue their own interests ("Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling").

Perhaps what is really interesting is the fact that her husband, who was raised in a creative, individualized, freedom-filled childhood, is also a Yale law professor. Clearly, his parents' Western parenting didn't ruin him.

I would recommend reading this book for its entertainment value only. I wouldn't recommend any of the parenting practices.

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210 of 255 people found the following review helpful: 1.0 out of 5 stars Where did this "Chinese culture" come from?, January 15, 2011 My biggest problem with this book is that the author is pitching her child-rearing strategy as some kind of Chinese vs. Western style when in fact it isn't. As a native Mandarin speaker whose family immigrated to the US during my teens, I can't have a more different view and life experience from that of the author.

It's clear the author comes from a lineage of high-achievers spanning at least three generations, but how much of their success can be attribute to her "Chinese-ness", as she has suggested, is debatable. It's more plausible that the very act of immigration has already preordained a group of people who have comparatively more drive and determination to succeed and such people generally push themselves and their kids harder. Same kind of so-claimed "Chinese hardworking ethos" can be found among Korean, Japanese, Bulgarian, Irish, and you name it immigrants all over the world.

And not all Chinese parents eventually sent their children to Ivy League schools. Some undoubtedly have spectacular success while some have spectacular failure, but mostly, most kids just grow up assimilated and blend into the general population. I also believe early assimilation is another factor determining the future success for the immigrants and their children. In area where there are lots of immigrants from the same background, kids find it more difficult to adapt to the new world as there is so much of their old culture around. If the author has grown up anywhere in the US west coast/east coast where there are many of her own kind and where she didn't even have to learn proper English to get by, she may just have easily taken a very different path.

While academic success is highly valued in Chinese culture, actually I can't think of a culture that doesn't, I am personally grateful that my parents didn't call me a "failure" for getting grades less than A's, a negative reinforcement strategy the author claimed a Chinese routine. From my personal experience and that of those around me, that is not true- although our parents want us to do well in school, they never resorted to the type of "tough love" as experienced and practiced by the author. Same can be said of my family and friends who remained in Asia. The type of hard-nosed/military style family life presented in the book certainly exists but is far from representative of the Chinese culture I know, both in the US and in Asia.

I am sticking my neck out and suggest that perhaps the author's success in life is attributable to various other factors, including the fact that her family had first immigrated to Philippine from China, then onto US, which demonstrated a remarkable drive and determination, than her "Chinese-culture" I hardly recognize. And while such no-nonsense, hard-driving child-rearing style can be the right fit for highly intelligent and energetic children, it can also mean complete nightmare for other kids.

In conclusion, if you're looking for a book on how highly competitive, hard-pushing high-achievers hoping to turn out the next generation of highly competitive, hard-pushing high-achievers, this is the book for you. But if you want to get a glance of how parents from Chinese culture raise their kids, this book is going to put some serious misconceptions in your head. As for me, I am going to take a lot more relaxed attitude to raise my own children and hope they'll be no less happy when they one day look back to their life with me.

Additional note:

I wrote this review without first reading other reviews, but after I have done so, I believe I have something to add to the discussion. If we strip away Ms. Chua's claim of "Chinese ways of parenting," in other words, had this book been written anonymously without references to the "Chinese ways" which Ms. Chua referred to with gusto, will most her admirers still think her take on child-rearing "refreshing" and "thought-provoking"? Because that's what you should do. Ms. Chua is quite removed from the Chinese culture as far as I am concerned, and I think Ms Chua herself has been looking at her "Chinese" identity through a tinted glass typical of someone who has never fully experienced it.

Boot Camp, Full Metal Jacket.

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