Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book review: Pandora’s Star

Book cover for Pandora's Star by Peter Hamilton

Projecting technology ten years into the future is a challenging task. Just look back over the last 10 years. The advances in phones, tablets, electric vehicles, home networking, machine learning, and medicine have been amazing. As a wise person once told me, we over estimate how technology will advance over the next year, but we under estimate the advances 10 years in the future.

So imagine projecting technology advances hundreds of years into the future. Impossible, you say? Well, Peter Hamilton takes a shot at in Pandora’s Star, the first book of the Commonwealth Saga.

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Book review: Building a Story Brand

Book cover for Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

I’d been vaguely aware that the ability to tell a good story was important to building your business. People like to be entertained. People can relate to stories.

What I didn’t understand was how to tell a good story. In the past, when I’ve tried to tell a story about my business, it fell flat. It was a meandering tale that I had a hard time condensing into a narrative that would capture someone’s attention. Basically, my stories lacked structure.

It turns out there is a formula that good books and movies use to tell a story. I had no clear concept of this formula until a close friend suggested I read Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller. In his book, Miller walks you through the formula that writers use to capture and keep their audience’s attention. As he does so, he shows you how you can apply it to create a strong brand message and grow your business.

So how do you tell a good story, why does the ability to tell a good story matter, and how does it help you grow your business?

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Book review: The Big Leap

Book cover for The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

Life is full of ups and downs. It seems like a fundamental law of life. When things are going well, something bad happens. And when things aren’t, they can’t get any worse. They can only get better, right?

What if there was a way to break this law? Would it be possible for one to experience an abundance of good things in life? Is it possible that we are at the root cause of the valleys in life because we don’t know how to handle or are afraid of achieving ever higher levels of success?

In The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks explores how we define the limits of our success. He examines the actions and tricks our minds play to keep us in our comfort zone, or ‘Our Zone of Excellence’ as he likes to call it. Above all, he proposes that we are capable of enjoying ever increasing levels of success and love in our life. He shows how we can make the big leap into our ‘Zone of Genius.’

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Book review: Recursion

Book cover for Recursion by Blake Crouch

If you’ve spent anytime on my blog, you know that I am a fan of Blake Crouch. Wayward Pines, Dark Matter, Summer Frost, Abandon. I’ve liked them all. He is one of my favorite science fiction writers of this generation.

His latest work, Recursion, has been on my reading list since it came out last year. I was determined to get it to this year, but it was a ways down the list. When my oldest daughter told me she finished reading it, I decided it was time to move it up in the queue. And when my middle daughter said she wanted to read it too, well, that sealed it. I moved Recursion to the top of the heap.

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Book review: Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick

Book cover for Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick

Two of my primary reading genres are classic science fiction and short stories. Therefore, I should not have been surprised when my nemesis, the Amazon recommendation engine, suggested I read Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick. And of course, being the compliant subject of our artificially intelligent overlords, I complied and added it to my reading list.

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Book review: Principles

Book cover for Principles by Ray Dalio

It’s up to you to decide what you want to get out of life and what you want to give.

As I read books from my morning reads, which are business and personal development books, I’ve started the habit of capturing notes from them. When I finished Principles by Ray Dalio, there was a lot to capture and digest. But if there was one key takeaway, it was the lead-in to this post. I’m a firm believer that life is full of choices, and it is the choices we make that shapes the life we live. But I would be short-changing Dalio’s efforts if there was only one key takeaway. There are many, many pearls of wisdom contained throughout the book.

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Book review: Winter World

Book cover for Winter World by A.G. Riddle

When I construct my reading list for the year, I keep an eye out for new books by my favorite authors, or ones from their catalog that I might not have read yet. Current favorites include Blake Crouch, Eliot Peper, A.G. Riddle, Hugh Howey, William Hertling, Robin Sloan, and Andy Weir.

So last year, when I saw that A.G. Riddle came out with a new trilogy named The Long Winter, I knew it would be both on and near the top of my reading list for this year. I recently finished the first book in the series, Winter World.

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Book review: Young Blood

Book cover for Young Blood by Andrew Barrer

If you frequent my blog, you know how much I like a good short story. I’ve been making it a point to mix-in short stories between my longer fictional reads.

I recently enjoyed Amazon’s Forward Collection of six short science fiction stories, so I was eager to read one of the latest additions to Amazon’s Original Stories, Young Blood by Andrew Barrer.

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Book review: Post-Human (Omnibus Edition)

Book cover for Post-Human Series Books 1-4 by David Simpson

I find science fiction fascinating. I’ve written in the past about why I read it. The main reason – it has an uncanny ability to foreshadow the evolution of technology. I’m regularly amazed by an author’s capability to imagine the future.

A case in point is a recurring theme in my science fiction reading – artificial intelligence (better known as AI). In my opinion, we are at the early stages of artificial intelligence. Narrow AI is already here and integrated into our daily routines, whether it be internet searches, directions, or predicting weather patterns. The question is if and when AI becomes more general, and eventually turns into superintelligence. Superintelligence is that point beyond the singularity where machines become smarter than humans at a runaway pace. Predictions abound regarding what happens at that point from catastrophic, apocalyptic outcomes to a wondrous society where all the problems of today have been solved.

In my latest science fiction read, Post-Human (the Omnibus Edition), David Simpson imagines a story arc for AI that starts in the not so distant future and evolves from there.

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Book review: Enlightenment Now

Book cover for Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

Whether you get your news from the internet, television, newspaper, radio, or any other media outlet, it can be downright depressing. Headlines abound of natural disasters, terrorism, war, territorial disputes, violent crimes, and, these days, continuous coverage of the pandemic. It’s enough to make you think we live in the darkest of times.

This constant negative news cycle led me to read Factfulness by Hans Rosling last year. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. It’s one of my Must Reads and at the top of my books to read in 2020. The book puts the news cycle into its proper perspective and makes you realize that we actually live in the best times ever known to humanity.

I’ve made this opinion known to many people, and in one of those discussions, a friend told me that I had to read Enlightment Now by Steven Pinker. Since I like to get input and insight from different sources on a subject, and since this was a very good friend and trusted source, I made it a point to put the book near the top of my reading list for this year.

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