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review 2016-09-10 17:01
Happiness is....?
Happiness by Design: Change What You Do, Not How You Think - Paul Dolan,PhD, Daniel Kahneman

A thoroughly interesting read this was my first dip into the work of Paul Dolan and though it was consistent with what I might have anticipated from a professor at one of our leading academic institutions (assiduously researched and referenced), it was also written in an engaging style that kept the readers attention. Offering some fascinating insights into the components of 'happiness', this book enables an individual audit of one's own happiness and a means to attend more effectively to what matters. At the very least, Dolan encourages reflection on one's 'happiness production process' and suggests that we have the potential to self-promote a greater sense of happiness. A substantial claim, but worth the investment of the time to read and make up one's own mind.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1521145238
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review 2016-05-29 01:20
The Florentine Deception by Carey Nachenberg
The Florentine Deception: A Novel - Carey Nachenberg,Eugene H Spafford PhD

Alex Fife is rather bored. He had the luck and the skills to start a successful company young and then sell it for a very pretty profit. Now at 25, he needs a new challenge. Cleaning up an old PC for a charity is not quite the challenge he was looking for, but he stumbles upon references to the Florentine, an item an antiques dealer was trying to sell on the black market. Alex’s hunt for the Florentine turns out to be a bigger challenge than he had in mind.

Alex and Steven, who have been best friends for some years, initially dug into the Florentine mystery out of boredom and curiosity. Richard Lister, the now deceased antiques dealer, was involved in some shady things. Alex and Steven hatch a plan to check out his house, which is for sale. Hillary, Steven’s wife, thinks they’re a bit nuts but swiftly gets caught up in the excitement. One discovery leads to another as the action spirals up. However, the stakes also continue to rise as it becomes apparent they aren’t the only one looking for the Florentine.

This was a pretty fun read. I enjoyed that Alex and crew thought they were looking for one thing and as things progressed, it became apparent they were looking for something completely different. Us readers know from the book’s description that this will happen, but it was fun to see how the author made his characters work it out. This story is mostly about the action, though there is some character development for Alex and Steven. There’s also a touch of romance, which was fine, though I didn’t feel that it particularly added to the book.

There’s plenty of computer geek speak in this book, which is what I was expecting, since Alex and most of his friends are computer scientists of one flavor or another. I enjoyed watching Alex use his expertise to collect info on the Florentine and also in laying traps for the bad guys. However, there were a few times when Alex was explaining some basic things (such as fire walls) to other computer savvy folks and that just came off as out of character. I think the author wanted these things laid out clearly for the reader, in case they aren’t computer nerds, but it came off as a bit clunky.

In contrast, the author did a great job in explaining some basics about caving. Alex has a few friends, including the most interesting Linda, who are caving folks and this techno-thriller requires some cave exploration. Hooray! Steven is not a caving person, so Alex has the perfect newbie to explain some basics to. However, there were times when Alex got a little dense on the subject. For instance, he thought it was pretty ingenious of his friend Potter to bring along glow sticks, which I would think would be a basic in most caving survival packs. Then there was that scene where Alex and crew gave up a little too easily for my taste. I felt the author was eager to move on to the next section of the book.

Now let’s talk about the morgue and Alex’s grandfather (Papa). This was by far my favorite scene of the book. Papa was so funny and yet took his role in the task so seriously! I really enjoyed this morgue caper as Alex and crew gathered further information. I’m glad the author didn’t make light of morgue security because it provided so much opportunity for Alex and Papa to have these tense, yet ridiculous, conversations.

Over all, this was a light, fun read. There were some clunky bits here and there. However, this is balanced out by the morgue scene and ratcheting-up tension and action of the story. Once the true nature of the Florentine is figured out by Alex, there’s a race on to either capture the Florentine or counteract it. The ending wraps up all the questions (except for those concerning Alex’s future love life) for this tale and leaves the door open for future installments. It would be interesting to see what Alex and crew go after next time.

I received a copy of this book at no cost from the author (via iRead Book Tours) in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Nick Podehl was a good fit for Alex. He had that successful mid-20s feel to the voice that made Alex come through clearly. The narrator had to do several accents – Puerto Rican, Russian, Philipino, vague Arab, Ukranian, and regional American accents – and he did them well. His female voices were realistic.

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review 2015-11-29 04:32
Forensic Analysis and DNA
Forensic Analysis and DNA in Criminal Investigations: Including Solved Cold Cases - Rj Parker,Aeternum Designs,Hartwell Editing,Peter Vronsky PhD

I confess, I already know a good bit about forensic sciences, so I skipped the history and the science and jumped right into the cold cases.  While the cases were interesting, the delivery wasn't all that great.  At some points it felt like I was reading a term paper; in other places it read like a preachy old man. 

 

Overall, an interesting book, particularly if you're interested in the science and history of forensics and DNA in criminal investigations.

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review 2015-11-18 14:42
Energy Emotions and Control
Body Intelligence: Harness Your Body's Energies for Your Best Life - Joseph Cardillo PhD

All around us is energy, we are energy, thoughts are energy, everything is energy, and energy attracts energy.
Have you ever walked into a room or place and felt energized ? Maybe you have that favorite outfit that makes you feel powerful ? What about the blues, do you fins yourself in an unending pattern of unhappiness or anger. What if you could harness these energies, tweak them to work for you or at least to learn to manipulate them so they don't work against you. The author of this book details how to recognize and develop new patterns to harness and divert these energies.
When I saw this book I admit I was thrilled to see a book on energies without some religious or mythical connection. I believe, I have seen many times in my life proof that this is a truth. There are places I go, where I get a strong sense of peace, strength, and melancholy. After reading this I was able to see what I was drawn to. I was naturally trying to balance myself without even knowing it. Yes, I had many "A ha' moments. I loved the memory recall exercise best. I was able to use several memories that evoked a feeling into my daily life pattern and side-step some quick draw reactions to frustrating situations. I avoided the anger, fear, jealousy, anxiety so simply. I also found the music energy section very helpful and changing some of my beats did change my energies. Living can be stressful or it can be something else. This book directs you how to turn it towards that something else. I'm working on implementing these tools and the many others into my daily life.
The only problem I had with this was that some of it just went over my head in details. I had to re-read several sections very slowly to "get it" it was a new way of thinking and I'm not sure if it was the author or my mind patterns that made it a bit hard to read. Because I had to re-read it slowly and take notes even at some points I was able to look deeper at the process he was describing. Maybe it wasn't such a negative after all.

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text 2015-10-23 17:22
Reading progress update: I've read 41%.
Body Intelligence: Harness Your Body's Energies for Your Best Life - Joseph Cardillo PhD

On stress

"What we do notice is the stress that dysfunctional behavioral templates cause in our lives. Sometimes we get so used to operating under the influence of these processes that our actions and feelings, including all the stress we feel in certain situations, feel normal to us. I'm sure you have heard individuals using the phrase, "This is my burden." or "Every life has its tribulations." It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that stress is part of the turf we tread upon...."

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