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review 2017-10-19 01:19
Definitely not what I thought it was going to be.
Life is Good: The Book - Bert Jacobs,Joh... Life is Good: The Book - Bert Jacobs,John Jacobs

I'm somewhat familiar with the "Life Is Good" brand, having seeing their products somewhere and once visiting their Boston store. Never purchased anything from them but enjoy seeing their stuff and so it seemed like a good way to support a brand that was so positive and upbeat.

 

Sadly it was not what I thought it was going to be. I had hoped for a story and history behind the brand. And while yes, there is certainly that I also felt it was trying to be too much at once: a biography of the founders, details behind the philosophy of LIG, some self-help tips, etc. All packed in a very slick looking hardcover book with lots of pictures.

 

And that's about it. It actually really reminded me of the same book by the person behind the KIND bars/products. A brand history, a biography of the founder, business tips, etc. Too many things going on at once all published in a very nice looking book that costs quite a bit of money (vs. other books in similar veins). And for the right person such as a die-hard fan or maybe someone who might really want or need advice from this angle it could really work.

 

But a lot of the negative criticisms for this review is on target. It's not exactly a well-researched book and more of a feel-good rah-rah self-help guide. I didn't really need to know the songs the founders like and quite frankly I didn't care about their family history. It is a beautiful book to have on your coffee table but otherwise there's not much here unless you adore the brand.

 

So, obviously it wasn't for me. Glad I bought it as a bargain book to read on my own time. Skim it at the library, bookstore or at an actual LIG store if you get the chance. Unless you're part of a very specific audience of fans or want to model your brand/business after LIG I'm not sure who the target readers are for this one.

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review 2017-10-18 01:46
The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames - Kai Bird

"THE GOOD SPY: The Life and Death of Robert Ames" is a book with a dual character which tells a history of U.S. diplomatic and espionage activities in the Middle East during the Cold War. First, it is a story about a most remarkable CIA officer, Robert Ames, who devoted the whole of his 23 year career in the Middle East to helping develop and secure peace in that troubled region through engaging with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) at a time when the U.S. disavowed any contacts with it. And it is also a story of the evolution of U.S. Middle East policy between the 1960s and the early 1980s. 

Reading "THE GOOD SPY" rekindled some of my earliest memories of the Middle East from the 1970s. And for that reason, it was both refreshing and a much appreciated learning experience to receive from Kai Bird fuller accounts and analyses of events as diverse as the Black September murders in Munich during the 1972 Summer Olympics; the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975; the courage Egyptian President Anwar Sadat displayed in his attempts to make peace with Egypt's erstwhile enemy, Israel, which culminated in the Camp David Accords of 1979; and the 2 tragic events of 1983 in Lebanon which profoundly altered the U.S. approach in dealing with what is now (as was then) a seemingly intractable conundrum in the Middle East. 

"THE GOOD SPY" is a book I recommend to anyone who wants to understand why efforts to obtain peace in the Middle East have proved illusory since 1948. It also gives the reader insight into the sincere efforts of Bob Ames (he was one of the CIA's premiere Arabists who spoke fluent Arabic and loved the people of the Middle East and its varied cultures) to help provide a platform from which Israelis and Palestinians could establish ways of peaceful coexistence and reconciliation - and the realization of the 2-state solution and a lasting peace.
 

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review 2017-02-28 09:53
One Sip at a Time- Keith Van Sickle

   This is a series of anecdotes, penned by an English-speaking American dabbling in life in France. It is an easy to read, short book with the capacity to raise a smile, if not to add a great deal to one’s own understanding of the entente cordiale. The author’s joie de vivre is infectious, even if one is sometimes left a little nonplussed about quite why.

   As the author points out himself, his and his wife’s, um- no actually, his, difficulties with a very different culture and language, provides the colour to this book. Note well, that the author declares himself as anything but some bilingual Québécoise superhuman. Van Sickle is the average, and more usually male, voyager who struggles in anything but a native lingo. Well, that’s the picture he paints. I suspect that in reality, he is the sort of person that brings enough of himself to any social situations to compensate for those that make little positive impact, whatever language is being manipulated. He certainly has the confidence to point out his insufficiencies to his reading audience, which does help draw one into his ‘sips’.

   In the connections that make up the thin thread of connective story we see the couple dip in and out of ‘francophone’ culture, in varying, if generally geographically close, locations. The book is not so very different from a couple of dozen books written by British and Irish individuals that have tried escaping the perpetual grey for the nicer bits of France. So this doesn’t add much in the way of knowledge to anyone that has read any of these, nevertheless, this book is well worth a read if one has any sort of interest in ‘French-English’ détente. This is lightweight draft, from a bonhomme raconteur that can only appeal to the many Anglophones that have faced the torture of trying to use school level French for real communication. So yes, definitely, this reviewer is amongst its natural audience.

   Van Sickle seems to be particularly keen on making the Swiss, the people of my adopted nation, the butt of several stories. He, and of course his misses, his linguistic enabler, lived for a while in the Swiss Romande Canton of Neuchâtel. While en Suisse, we are more inclined to find the butt of humour amongst the people of the ‘Hexagone’ that is truly French, and particular amongst thsoe fine residents of Paris that feel only they can speak la langue française. Certainly, in that superior capital, not even the people of the once officially independent province of Provence are recognised as speakers of anything close to acceptable French.

   Worth a read during the bon voyage.

AMAZON LINK

 

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review 2016-08-21 17:14
Diappointment after her first book.
All Good Things: From Paris to Tahiti: Life and Longing - Sarah Turnbull

Turnbull wrote a charmer memoir ('Almost French') about living, working and marrying a Frenchman. When I read she had another book out, I bought it thinking it would be an excellent sequel.

 

This book chronicles Turnbull and her family's (not really a spoiler but she focuses on getting pregnant) journey from Paris to Tahiti. At first it had the same easy, interesting conversational tone as Turnbull relates her and her husband's departure from Paris and move to Tahiti. The rest really isn't much of a spoiler (it's been written about elsewhere and there's a clue as to what happens in her bio (Which is at the beginning of the book? Seems odd that it's not at the end).

 

That's the book in a nutshell. I adored 'Almost French' and unfortunately I think this book just couldn't meet those expectations. It was completely wrong for me. I have no interest in Tahiti (I know it's a place but I am not a tropical person at all). I was not expecting the text to focus a lot on her fertility treatments and struggles (which is certainly not bad in itself but that's not what the book was touted to be about), plus lacking the same charm and fun of the original. Time also probably doesn't help as I haven't reread Turnbull's first book and wonder if I'd still feel the same.

So, maybe if you're into globe-trotting, Tahiti, a woman writing about her fertility issues and journey, this book might be for you. As it was, it was another book that reminded me that while I may love a certain text by one author, it's never a guarantee I'll enjoy another one by the same person. Borrow from the library.

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photo 2015-11-03 09:57
Life, Sex and Ideas: The Good Life without God - A.C. Grayling
The God Argument: The Case against Religion and for Humanism - A.C. Grayling
Ideas That Matter: A Personal Guide for the 21st Century - A.C. Grayling
Scepticism and the Possibility of Knowledge - A.C. Grayling
A C Grayling

Very happy to listen to a talk by A C Grayling. 

 

He talked about being kind, and the use of stories and important of literature.

 

He also said that human interaction is important for the self. That's kind of saying interacting with important for human brain development. That's true for language development. 

 

And to be kind. Treat other people like a painting and put them in a "good light". 

 

Also, if one asked what the person's most interested in, you would get a brilliant answer even if this person might not share interest with you in other areas. 

 

So be kind. 


He is also a proud atheist.


During the question and answer session. Someone ask him why he is a militant atheist, and he said there is no such thing. There is no such thing as a "militant non stamp collector.

 

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