You can make fun of his accent, and you can joke about his accomplishments, but you can’t deny that Arnold Schwarzenegger has lived life. He’s taken what’s been handed to him and spun it all into gold. Is he perfect? No. Has he made mistakes? Yes. But I’ll listen to his guidance any day of the week. That’s what “Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life” is all about: Putting in the hard work and doing your job well so you can make your dreams come true. Totally worth the read.
“The Creative Act: A Way of Being” is a standard operating procedures manual for creatives everywhere. Rick Rubin’s words either explain what creatives know intuitively or offers guidance on what to do when we’ve spun out into the weeds. Listening to his melodious voice read each passage added gravitas to the experience. His insight and understanding of the creative practice helped me appreciate, respect, and embrace the creativity within myself and others.
Considering I prefer a book over its movie version, “The Boys in the Boat” was an intriguing & fascinating read. I’m a sucker for an underdog story, and this one being a true one made it all the better. By the time I hit the final page, I felt like I knew every character personally. It’s a historical book, a sports book, & inspirational book all wrapped up in one. A definite must-read.
“Pittsburghese” was a refreshing detour from my usual reading agenda. Robert Gibb’s poetic reflections on growing up in Homestead and working as a steelworker sparked fond memories from my time living in the ‘burgh. His social commentary as a lifelong resident overrode the nostalgia to remind me that—for good and bad—time marches on. This poetry collection is best enjoyed in front of a fire with a good merlot in your hand and smooth jazz in your ear so you can savor each stanza in peace.
David Baldacci’s “The Edge” is a worthy read for Lee Child fans. Like Jack Reacher of yore, Travis Devine is a quick-thinking, kick-ass hero that asks the right questions & doesn’t tolerate the company of fools, especially when lives (including his) are at stake. I never saw the plot twists & turns coming, which made “The Edge” a must-recommend thriller.
Learning in-depth background regarding Japan’s spying operations pre-WWII made “Beverly Hills Spy” a great read. Speculation that the main character—Fredrick Rutland—was the basis for Ian Fleming’s James Bond (Ian appears in this non-fiction book.) was icing on the cake. Details secondary to the main plot grew tedious at times, but the plethora of incredible espionage tidbits sprinkled though out more than made up for the digression.
No, the irony of my reviewing a book about silence is not lost on me. Sarah Anderson’s “The Lost Art of Silence” was a deep, heavy read. Her comprehensive analysis into silence’s depiction in art, literature, nature, & spirituality throughout history was intriguing, especially when interspersed with social and/or political commentary. Not my usual cup on tea, but not a wasted effort.
I’m not sure how to “categorize” Ben Stein’s “The Peacemaker.” It’s not really a Nixon biography, nor an inclusive Ben Stein memoir. Neither is the tome a powerful social commentary on one of our most disliked presidents. At best, it’s an historical love letter from a blindly devoted insider (Stein) to a former boss & close family friend (Nixon). The writing is enjoyable, & the narrative engaging, but Stein’s piety grew tedious after 228 pages.
Wow! Michael Easter’s “Scarcity Brain” does for the mind what his “The Comfort Crisis” (2021) did for the body. Using hard data & intriguing research, Easter makes a strong case for rethinking daily behavior & everything our hardwired “scarcity brain” compels us to do. Better understanding of why we crave more can help us shut down mindless yearnings & experience life in a more satisfying way.
Long intrigued by the legendary Astors, I enjoyed Anderson Cooper & Katherine Howe’s second deep-dive into one of America’s quintessentially families. (2021’s “Vanderbilt: The Rise & Fall of an American Dynasty” was their first.) From 1783, when John Jacob Astor began building his fortune, to 2007, when Roberta Brooke Astor died & left the few remaining millions to charity, the authors concentrate on each generation’s societal, political, & cultural achievements & missteps to prove that the greatest fortune in the world can’t buy happiness. The story is riveting, & the writing entertaining.
I grew curious about Lady Colin Campbell after seeing her numerous commentaries during coverage of Queen Elizabeth II’s death. Published in 2015, this autobiography covers her life-long struggle to be her strong, self-determined person despite everyone--including her family, her lovers, & her ex-husband—wanting her to be someone else. I found her blunt, intense writing refreshing & clear although including numerous, insignificant details became tedious at times.
“Built to Move” is the Starretts at their best. Not only do Kelly & Juliet offer 10 ways to enhance your life, improve your mobility, & perhaps live longer, but they back their thoughts & recommendations with real-life experience & easy-to-understand research. Not sure you need this? Can you cross one foot in front of the other & sit down on the floor into a cross-legged position without holding on to anything? No? Then you need this book. Can you hold your breath for 30 to 40 seconds? Can you walk outside breathing only through your nose? Do you eat 800 grams (by weight) of fruits & vegetables a day? Yeah, I thought so. You. Need. This. Book.
Walter Isaacson’s big book(600 pages) “Elon Musk” is a deep & detailed dive into the man, the myth, the living legend. Once forming an opinion on the business magnate & investor solely from news reports, SNL appearances, & podcast interviews, I now have a clear picture into what motivates & drives this provocative innovator. From South Af
Walter Isaacson’s big book(600 pages) “Elon Musk” is a deep & detailed dive into the man, the myth, the living legend. Once forming an opinion on the business magnate & investor solely from news reports, SNL appearances, & podcast interviews, I now have a clear picture into what motivates & drives this provocative innovator. From South Africa to the United States, Zip2 to Twitter, Isaacson leaves no stone unturned & all controversies dissected. Well worth the read.
I can’t resist reading a Lee Child book, & this one was no exception. However, I was disappointed. I prefer Jack Reacher as a present-day wanderer, not as an Army MP (his previous life). I also prefer 80% (at least) of the story told through Reacher’s point of view. In “The Secret,” Reacher’s POV takes a backseat to close a dozen other ch
I can’t resist reading a Lee Child book, & this one was no exception. However, I was disappointed. I prefer Jack Reacher as a present-day wanderer, not as an Army MP (his previous life). I also prefer 80% (at least) of the story told through Reacher’s point of view. In “The Secret,” Reacher’s POV takes a backseat to close a dozen other characters. Overall, the story was interesting, & a couple intriguing plot twists kept me reading, but #28 in the series is a pale imitation to Reacher books of yore.
Wow! What a potentially life-changing book! You’ll rethink everything you’ve ever known about breathing, sleeping, exercising, working… basically, everything you do! Nestor presents the historical evidence and scientific research in an easy-to-understand way that ensures you comprehend how changing your breath could improve, enhance, & even extend your life.
No one could write about discomfort & why you should embrace it like Michael Easter. Weaving an Alaskan hunting trip between his thorough research & insightful thoughts, he converted me to a new lifestyle. Even if you’re not ready to embrace your inner badass, you’ll find this a great read.
I promise, this book is not what you expect. Not a how-to book but an insightful deep dive into one man’s journey into saving his marriage amid infidelity & boredom. Key’s unique humor & distinctive writing style inspired me to take another look at my own marriage.
The basic, no-nonsense cover is the first clue to the basic, no-nonsense advice inside. Like the author, this book presents its thoughts & ideas in a straightforward & concise manner. But don’t think this means the book is an easy read. Each short entry compels you to spend at least 20 minutes determing how the insight can improve your life.
I’m a Don Rickles fan from way back, & this enjoyable book brought The Merchant of Venom back to life. Well-researched & well-written, the treatise was an easy read that offered incredible insight into what made Rickles lovable & funny to people of my generation.
“Rated X” is a you’ll-either-love-it-or-hate-it book, i.e., no middle ground. I loved it. Following Ward’s journey of growth & discovery was intoxicating & entertaining. Her blunt style of writing was refreshing & enjoyable.
A must-have for any die-hard King fan. Melding extraordinary photos with well-written narrative, this book painstakingly paints the compelling chronology of King’s career. A very insightful homage.
Yes, “Put Your Ass” is another inspirational, smack-upside-the-head book by Steven Pressfield. And, yes, most (if not all) of the insights offered are similar to those provided in previous Pressfield books. However, the presentation… the writing style… the in-your-face tone of this book penetrated my Ego’s defenses, spoke directly to my Self’s empowerment, & ignited my creative heart.
“The Fifth Risk” is definitely a must-read, but only if you’re willing to absorb what Lewis offers with an open mind, i.e, no knee-jerk judgement calls. Simply take the information in, mull it around in your mind, & then form your own opinion. I learned a lot about the intricacies & challenges of presidential administration transitions as
“The Fifth Risk” is definitely a must-read, but only if you’re willing to absorb what Lewis offers with an open mind, i.e, no knee-jerk judgement calls. Simply take the information in, mull it around in your mind, & then form your own opinion. I learned a lot about the intricacies & challenges of presidential administration transitions as well as how several never-really-think-about-it parts of the U.S. Government make my and my family’s lives easier every day.
John Corey is at his usual smart-ass-best self. The setup is a bit slow but takes off eventually & enjoyably ramps up to an incredibly awesome finish. I highly recommend this book if you're a Nelson DeMille fan, & it's a must-read if your love John Corey & his always-a-pain-in-the-ass antics.