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review 2018-11-14 12:38
Short, easy to read and to implement
Out of the Maze - Spencer Johnson

Thanks to NetGalley and to Ebury Digital for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

Although Who Moved My Cheese? was published a long time ago (in 1998) and I had seen it around, I only learned more about it when I was working on the translation of a self-help book. The author referred to Johnson’s fable in his text and I had to check it out. When I saw this sequel announced on NetGalley I felt curious.

Most of you will be familiar with the first book, but in short, it is the fable of two mice and two little people who live in a maze and feed on cheese that magically appears every day. Suddenly, after things have been like this for a long time, the cheese disappears. The two mice go as well, seemingly looking for more cheese, but the two little people don’t agree on what to do. One of them decides to try to find more cheese, while the other stays put, convinced that things will go back to the way they were soon enough. As is the case with all good fables, lessons are learned.

In this book, the central fable is framed by a discussion group. The class has been talking about the original book, and one of the students asks what happen to the character left behind. The teacher then comes back with a story, which is the follow-up to the previous one, but this time the protagonist is Hem, the character left behind. Throughout the book he meets hope, has to confront his set of beliefs, and learns invaluable lessons.

Like the previous one, this book is really short, under 100 pages, and that includes a note from one of the author’s collaborators and some background to this work. The author died from pancreatic cancer in 2017, and the story of how he handled his disease (including a letter he wrote to his cancer) is also an important part of the book.  

The book, like its predecessor, does not provide brand-new ideas or earth-shattering insights. Having said that, the lessons become easier to remember because they are provided in the format of a fable.  Having the distance and the perspective afforded by reading about imaginary characters in an imaginary situation allows people to think about their own lives and find similarities in outlook that might not be welcome if pointed out directly or if our behaviour is confronted head-on. Realising something for oneself is much more effective and causes less resistance than having somebody tell us where we went wrong.

The discussion group and its members also provide some examples of real-life situations and how to deal with them.

In sum, this is a short book, written in simple language, easy to read, and it can be useful to people who feel stuck in a rut and cannot see a way forward. It would also provide useful and easy read to course facilitators looking into topics such as belief-systems and how to change one’s perspective.

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text 2015-08-08 11:10
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review 2015-04-28 15:34
The Cat Who Moved the Mountain by Lilian Jackson Braun
The Cat Who Moved a Mountain - Lilian Jackson Braun

Another great light mystery by a master of the genre.


Qwill decides to take a vacation and think about where his life needs to go. He has been living in Pickaxe for five years now and he is trying to decide where to go with his life. His goals as a younger man just don't seem as important to him now.


On the recommendation of some friends he packs up the cats and heads off to the Potato Mountains. Yup I said the Potato Mountains. The story is much more serious than the name of those mountains.


There are two groups, the Spuds and the Taters. The Spuds are from Big Potato Mountain and are interested in development and the money that tourism could bring in. The Taters live on Small Potato and they are old school, live off the land type people. Concerned about their way of live and the health of the environment they clash in ways you would expect.


Qwill rents a house on the top of the Big Potato mountain that he quickly learns was the scene of a murder of the big developer and most important person of the area. While his usual flare Qwill learns all he can about the murder, the fact that an innocent man was railroaded into jail and all about the arts and culture of the two mountains.


I love the little bits about Ms Braun's stories. She weaves very believable characters and environments for her mysteries. With lots of little bits in the backgrounds that give the reader proof that even in light mysteries there is a lot of research going on.


The only thing that bothered me about this book was it was one of the rare books in this series with a bit of a cliff hanger.

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review 2014-11-03 06:30
The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms by Amy Stewart
The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms - Amy Stewart
bookshelves: autumn-2014, nonfiction, fraudio, gardening, published-2004, under-1000-ratings, environmental-issues, entomology, nature, sciences, darwinism-evolution
Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Sylvester
Read from April 15 to November 02, 2014


Six hours.

Description: In The Earth Moved, Amy Stewart takes us on a journey through the underground world and introduces us to one of its most amazing denizens. The earthworm may be small, spineless, and blind, but its impact on the ecosystem is profound. It ploughs the soil, fights plant diseases, cleans up pollution, and turns ordinary dirt into fertile land. Who knew?

In her witty, offbeat style, Stewart shows that much depends on the actions of the lowly worm. Charles Darwin devoted his last years to the meticulous study of these creatures, praising their remarkable abilities. With the august scientist as her inspiration, Stewart investigates the worm's subterranean realm, talks to oligochaetologists—the unsung heroes of earthworm science—who have devoted their lives to unearthing the complex life beneath our feet, and observes the thousands of worms in her own garden. From the legendary giant Australian worm that stretches to ten feet in length to the modest nightcrawler that wormed its way into the heart of Darwin's last book to the energetic red wigglers in Stewart's compost bin, The Earth Moved gives worms their due and exposes their hidden and extraordinary universe. This book is for all of us who appreciate Mother Nature's creatures, no matter how humble.

Not this, no, Amy Stewart is the one with the REAL nightcrawlers. M used to have a worm farm on the island of the life before, maybe it is time he had one again. As we were listening through this, we found it very tempting to set one up.

oligochaetologists - who knew that!?

Nobody likes me
Everybody hates me
Guess I'll go eat worms!
Long Ones
Short Ones
Skinny Ones
Fat Ones
Guess I'll go eat worms!

Three wiggly worms as rating:
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review 2014-09-23 00:00
Who Moved My Choose?: An Amazing Way to Deal With Change by Deciding to Let Indecision Into Your Life
Who Moved My Choose?: An Amazing Way to Deal With Change by Deciding to Let Indecision Into Your Life - Jarod Kintz,Dora J. Arod I bought this book for its title, thinking it was a sattire to business self-help books. But it has nothing to do with it. And I'm not sure I am the person more adequate to rate this book.

There are jokes about penis, but I'm a woman.
There are puns, but as a non-native English speaker, I don't get half of them.
There are references to American culture, and I'm quite oblivious about what things like "Orafoura" mean.
There are "everyday jokes", but, as someone who doesn't share the same lifestyle, I also don't get them.

And a lot of thoughts about clones. Which I understood (Hallelluyah!), but i didn't figure what they were doing in the context of the book.

In resume, this is a collection of puns, anecdotes, or simply witty thoughts. And as any collection of jokes, there is always that "What the hell? I'm abandoning this book!" joke, immediately followed by another that is"LOL I HAVE to keep readig this." So I feel very ambivalent and wouldn't dare give it a bad rating because I know I don't have what it takes for it.

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