Eating Well for Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Bringing Health and Pleasure Back to Eating By Andrew Weil, M.D.

Eating Well for Optimum Health can be an instrument to preserve the health and lives of millions of Americans by changing their way of eating. This book by Dr. Andrew Weil gives clarity on various inconsistent news concerning diet, nourishment, and supplementation. Dr. Weil is the director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Arizona. Through the publication of this book, he may well become regarded as the redeemer of public health.
Dr. Weil criticizes not the just majority of the diet books, but also gives the readers a warning not to be fooled by the so-called “anticarbohydrate Atkins Diet”. He also expresses his disapproval of Dr. Dean Ornish’s famous eating plan. He asserts Dr. Ornish’s eating plan lacks the omega-3 fatty acids that are very essential for the production of hormones and for the control of inflammation in the body. The critics, warnings, and advice of Dr. Weil appear to be very reliable because he explains his facts in a simple, though scientific way. After reading this book, surely, fewer (well-read) Americans will eat fast-food, especially French fries. Dr. Weil passionately explains just how heart-clogging are these foods.
Following all his criticism and warnings, Dr. Weil recommends what he considers is the finest diet in the world. He presents 85 recipes along with their nutritional facts. Salmon Cakes and Oven-fried Potatoes are included – very healthy, nutritious, tasty and easy to prepare!
There is also a chapter in this book that discusses how to lose weight safely. Another chapter introduces tips on food shopping and proper eating. The appendix offers dietary recommendations for people who have asthma and allergies, and even suggests diets for cancer prevention and pregnancy.
Dr. Weil’s book is a very refreshing boost if you want to improve your health, by changing your bad eating habits.
He captures our attention – he doesn’t want us to ignore the most important thing in our life-our health.

Click here to buy Eating Well For Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Bringing Health and Pleasure Back to Eating

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Digital TV at Home By Gregory Dudek

Written by Gregory Dudek, a respected computer science professor who has published more than 150 technical works, Digital TV at Home is considered one of Dudek’s best works. I expected this book would be hard to read because it is a technical topic. However, when I started to read, I was stunned and delighted because Dudek presents the information in a very fundamental way that is easy to understand. You need no prior learning to fully understand this book.
He describes how digital TV operates, and how to obtain the most out of it. Every chapter of the book gives us incredibly detailed information that can convince even the most technically incompetent reader. Dudek describes step by step, how the old television system has been transformed into digital television. Topics like how cable TV operates and what technologies are involved, are simply described. In addition, this book gives information about how DVB and ATSC video procedures used in cable and in TV broadcasting particularly over-the-air broadcasting, works. It is also helpful to those who specialize in computer and home theater works because it gives sufficient details on how to get involved in transforming old entertainment systems to a digital video system.
This book is truly informative. Robert Dudek as an expert on video systems, robotics, and artificial intelligence. He makes simple, topics that seem at first to be very challenging. Readers will share with Dudek the feeling of excitement in upgrading and re-coding old equipment.

No Such Thing as Over Exposure – Inside the Life and Celebrity of Donald Trump By Robert Slater

This book chronicles the life of Donald Trump, the famous American real estate billionaire. Slater, one of the world’s leading business biographers, creates insightful images about Donald Trump in a manner that I find excting and stimulating. Trump’s initial intention to sue Slater, quickly dissolved into cooperation as he recognised Slater’s respect and compassion.
Trump’s exaggerated traits are cherished by the biography, particularly Trump’s own self-proclamation as a talented negotiator, productive investor and superb administrator. Slater’s unprecedented 100 hours of private interviews with Trump revealed significant features such as Trump’s defence of micro-managing which means he undertakes the hundred-million dollar deals and the thousand dollar items with equal devotion. This book gives its readers an insight about negative publicity as a good thing because people remember the person and forget the rest.
In this book, Slater revealed the true man behind the Donald Trump – a businessman, a celebrity, a survivor, and a man with great intellect. Originally an ordinary real-estate businessman, Trump created himself into a global entrepreneur. This was achieved by Trump’s brilliance in the realm of media management. The book traces the way Trump saves his casino business twice using his influence as a celebrity. You get to truly feel how Trump celebrates his life as a celebrity and a global business icon.

Click Here to Buy Now – No Such Thing as Over-Exposure: Inside the Life and Celebrity of Donald Trump

THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett

“The Help” is written by Kathryn Stockett.  I didn’t want this book to end.  It gripped my soul to the very finish and beyond. The wonderful characters and the truths they told were still in my head three days later.  But now I must settle into this review and tell you about it.  It is a best selling book about the experiences of three black domestic servants working in white households in 1962-3 in Mississippi, USA.  They are ordinary women who identify each others’ emotional pain and unwittingly, together, take an extraordinary step.

The story starts with Eugenia Skeeter Phelan, a white Southern-born, twenty three year old woman, just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. which is the affectionate name for the University of Mississippi located in Oxford, Mississippi.   However, Skeeter got her degree without achieving the other major result that is expected from those carefree college years – a husband.

So upon her return, Skeeter feels like an outsider in her own town. All of her friends are married and somehow different to herself, since she has experienced fresh viewpoints while at University.  She returned to find racism still alive and flourishing amongst these townspeople.  History had not yet unfolded far enough to bring into view the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act in 1965 that eventually helped bring about the demise of the complex laws that bound blacks to second class citizenship.

Women in this town still retained black maids for the major function of mothering and babysitting their children, and the cooking and cleaning that goes with that.  Although Skeeter is not racist she is inexperienced and naïve.  She often allows events to overtake her then realizes too late, what preventative action she should have taken.  Such a situation occurred when her very best friend did not allow “the help” to use the employer’s toilet.  This incident was yet another disappointing example of the racist behavior of the women in her town and the one that finally committed Skeeter to taking action.

Her goal was to write about the experiences of the black maids from white households.  However, the key ingredient she needed to access was collaboration with the black maids in order to gather the information to create the book.

The story tells how Skeeter eventually persuades Aibileen, a demure, older black African woman who had raised seventeen white children, to participate in her research.  Amidst numerous other black maids too fearful to share their experiences, Aibileen is the first maid to sign up to Skeeter’s risky mission.

The second black maid who signs on is a short, round, woman, full of fun whose name is Minny.  She is Aibileen’s best friend.  She loses jobs because she fails to hold her tongue when white people insult her. Eventually, 10 other black maids join Aibileen and Minny and involve themselves in Skeeter’s project.

Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny, three women with vastly different personalities, join as one to create the project. What they do not seem to realize is the seriousness of the risk awaiting them as they document the unmentionable racism built into the very laws by which they live.

In writing the book, Skeeter and the two collaborators will cross the line that defines their town and their times.  Skeeter weaves together the stories of the women who joined her. Their stories are shocking, and the publicity that the book brings, also brings pride to the black community.  Skeeter is brave enough to break her boundaries and pursue her dreams – step over the line then stand up and be counted.

Kathryn Stockett created the three characters that inevitably start a movement that changed the entire town and more importantly, changed the way black and white women viewed one another.

This novel has lots of compassion and humor portrayed by the main characters.  It reflects the universal conflict between conservative forces intent on suppressing the truth and re-defining the aberrated status quo as “normal” on the one hand, and on the other, those willing to stand up, be counted and precipitate change – and risk their lives!   This novel has glorious character descriptions and is full of heart and history from beginning to end.

Click here to buy now – The Help

SCREW IT LET’S DO IT – Lessons in Life, by Richard Branson

BUY NOW – Screw It, Let’s Do It (Expanded Edition): 14 Lessons on Making It to the Top While Having Fun & Staying Green

This book is a terrific read for anyone but especially the dynamic and “out there” characters, who have already experienced that the people who love you can often become your hidden enemy in the sense that they do not want to see you hurt so they advise caution whenever you seek their advice and innocent or not, block your most exciting goals and dreams.
Branson’s first successful business venture was at age 16, when he published a magazine called Student. He was the financial Manager from the beginning of his first business and this factor is in my view, the key to his subsequent financial success. ” Branson’s early business experience is contained in his first book, “Losing My Virginity” where his steadfast control over the financial reins often ran him up against his team members who were unwilling to undertake the Branson style comprehensive financial responsibility.
“Screw It Let’s Do It” is a summary of how his failures and successes eventually led to his making many more right decisions than wrong ones. These experiences reflect principals and policies that he applied to his personal and business life. I cannot tell it better than Branson, in his own words…
‘Throughout my life I have always strived for success – as a businessman, in my adventures, as an author and a proud father and husband. I want to share the many truths I’ve learned along the road to success which have helped me to be the best I can. They include:
• Have faith in yourself
• Believe that anything can be done
• Don’t let other people put you off
• Never give up

Learn these and other simple truths, and I hope you will be inspired to get the most out of your life and to achieve your goals. People will always try to talk you out of ideas and say: ‘It can’t be done,’ but if you have faith in yourself you’ll find you can achieve almost anything.’

As one of the most recognised men in the world, Richard Branson is admired for his approachability and “can-do” attitude. “Screw It Let’s Do It” reveals the lessons that have helped him through his business and personal life, like believing it can be done and that if others disagree with you, try and try again until you achieve your goal. The repeated message is that anything is much easier if you love what you do.

These and other lessons, with examples of how Branson learned them and how he’s used them, are included in this stirring and candid look at his lessons from his exceptional life which will inspire you to make a difference in your own life.
Remember, don’t mess around and think,..think.. about starting, just “Screw It Let’s Do It”
But best of all read the book – it will change your life!!!

BUY NOW – Screw It, Let’s Do It (Expanded Edition): 14 Lessons on Making It to the Top While Having Fun & Staying Green

THE BIG SHORT, by Michael Lewis. The people who saw the real estate crash coming and made billions from their foresight.

BUY NOW – The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

Out of all the books published about the causes of the recent financial crisis, Michael Lewis’s, “The Big Short” is the one to will give you the fastest and simplest understanding of this complex topic.
What makes Lewis’s account so accessible and entertaining is that he tells it through the eyes of several participants whose identities are not revealed but are managers of three small hedge funds and the bonds sales area of a small Deutsche Bank, all of whom were among the first to see the folly and fraud behind the subprime fiasco, and to find ways to bet against it when everyone else thought them crazy.
This is not an even-handed history reflecting differing views of investment bankers, rating-agency analysts and industry analysts; Lewis holds then all up to ridicule for their arrogance, their cynicism and their persistent and knowing incompetence.
Michael Lewis has adopted an oppositional stance before in his writings, most notably in “Liar’s Poker”, when he exposed and skewered the ways of Wall Street 20 years ago when he was a young buff just new to Wall Street and the previously-famous-and-now-defunk-Salomon Brothers.
What makes this book a “must-read” is how clearly Lewis explains and demystifies how things really work on Wall Street, even while creating a compelling narrative and introducing us to a cast of fascinating, all-too-human characters.
Meet Greg Lippmann, a bonus-grabbing Wall Street bond salesman who early on sees the potential of the subprime swaps market and becomes the leading evangelist for betting on the housing market’s collapse.
Then there’s Steve Eisman, a second-generation Wall Streeter whose aggressive and insensitive manner made it easy for others to dismiss his relentless criticisms of the subprime mortgage industry as far back as the 1990s, when he first characterized it as nothing more than a Ponzi scheme.
There’s Michael Burry, a physician turned stock picker who becomes the first money manager to buy a credit default swap on subprime mortgage bonds.
“From their tales, we learn that Wall Street banks historically, think nothing of stealing the trading strategies of their clients and peddling them to other customers. We learn that the investment bankers knew as early as 2006 about the rising default rate on subprime mortgages but engaged in elaborate ruses to hide that reality from ratings agencies and investors. We learn that when investor demand for subprime mortgages outstripped the supply, Wall Street filled the gap by creating “synthetic” mortgage-backed securities whose performance would mirror that of the real thing”.
“We learn that Goldman Sachs and other banks conspired to inflate the price of mortgage-backed securities well into 2007, even when they knew the true value was falling, only marking them down in value after their own hedging strategies were in place. And we learn that top executives were largely clueless about the risks their organizations were taking.
There is nothing subtle about the dark portrait Lewis creates of the financial community. Through his lens, all bond salesmen are out to cheat their customers, all top executives are clueless and all ratings analysts are second-raters who could not get jobs in investment banks.
“Even footnotes drip with sarcasm, such as this one regarding a less-than-forthright statement by Morgan Stanley chief executive John Mack to his investors on how his firm managed to lose $9 billion on subprime securities: “It’s too much to expect the people who run big Wall Street firms to speak in plain English, since so much of their livelihood depends on people believing that what they do cannot be translated into plain English.”
“Even discounting for its generalizations and exaggeration and limited frame of reference, however, “The Big Short” manages to give us the truest picture yet of what went wrong on Wall Street — and why. At times, it reads like a morality play, at other times like a modern-day farce. But as with any good play, its value lies in the way it reveals character and motive and explores the cultural context in which the plot unfolds.
“They “had always sort of assumed that there was some grown-up in charge of the financial system whom they had never met; now they saw there was not.”

Numerous comments in the latter half of this review are by Steven Pearlstein who writes a business and economics column for The Washington Post. He is a quality journalist and I could not say it better than he.

BUY NOW – The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

Losing My Virginity – How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, And Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way, Richard Branson, 1999,

BUY NOW – Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way

Losing My Virginity – How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, And Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way, Richard Branson, 1999,
“Losing My Virginity” is Branson’s highly acclaimed autobiography ” and has sold over two million copies worldwide. Although written “way back” in 1999, before he became Sir Richard Branson, the contents are highly pertinent still today. I take it off the shelf every few months and give key sections a re-read.
Revealing Branson’s unique story, his personal philosophy on life, the Virgin brand and business, this amazing memoir is without equal. “Losing My Virginity” is a definitive business guide and an inspirational story all in one.
The book describes how his parents encouraged him to be limitless in his aspirations. His first successful business venture was at age 16, when he published a magazine called Student. He was the financial Manager from the beginning of his first business and this factor is in my view, is the key to his subsequent financial success. His early business experience is described in this – his first book – how he held steadfast control over the financial reins that often ran him foul of his team members who were unwilling to undertake the Branson style comprehensive financial responsibility that ensured their business continued.
He then set up an audio record mail-order business in 1970. In 1972, he opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records.
Branson’s Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s—as he set up Virgin Atlantic Airways and expanded the Virgin Records music label. Some of the tales about Branson’s dealings with the British Airways are hilarious as well as spine-chilling
The book is fast-paced as you would expect, partly as a result of his meticulous record-keeping as he became aware that his life and business was expanding. Since this book is a sequential story of his life up till 1999 when it was first published, his ballooning experiences occupy a substantial part of this book and help to provide a dynamic contrast to the business experiences.
His business management tips abound in this book – everything from his viewpoint on wealth, to new entrepreneurs starting out, to how to handle the media, and how to ensure the hard yacka remains good fun
BUY NOW – Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way

Long Walk to Freedom written by Nelson Mandela

Six million people have now read the riveting memoirs of one of the great moral and political leaders of our time – an international hero whose accomplishments won him the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.

Since his release in February 1990, Nelson Mandela has emerged as the world’s most significant moral leader since Mahatma Gandhi.As President of the African National Congress and spiritual figurehead of the anti- aparthied movement, he was instrumental in moving South Africa towards black-majority rule. And throughout the world he is revered as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality.
The foster son of a Tembu chief, Mandela grew up straddling two worlds: the traditional culture of his tribe, and the hostile reality of a white dominated nation. A career in law beckoned, but Mandela’s growing political awareness moved him to become more actively engaged, and he played a pivotal role in the formation of the ANC Youth League. In the early 1950s he initiated the `defiance campaign’ against the discrimina- tory policies of the South African government,and argued for non-violent resistance to aparthied. However, following the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 his position changed, and he was forced underground to avoid the newly-imposed ban on the ANC.

The horrors at Sharpeville hardened Mandela’s resolve, and he began to advocate a different course of `non-terrorist’ action, aimed at the state but theoretically preventing civilian unrest. In 1964 he was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of incitement to sabotage, treason, and violent conspiracy against the South African regime. Mandela was to spend a total of twenty-seven years in captivity, most of them in the notorious prison on Robben Island.

Now, following the momentous events of 1994, Nelson Mandela vividly re- creates the drama of the experiences that helped shape his destiny: the years operating undercover, effectively classed as a `terrorist’ by the state; the surprisingly eventful quarter-century behind bars, when his dedication to the cause elevated him to a status of martyr, icon and inspiration; and the astonishing moves towards the ANC’s near-landslide victory in the breakthrough multi-racial elections of April 1994, when Mandela became South Africa’s first-ever black President.

Emotive, compelling and uplifting, `LONG WALK TO FREEDOM’ is the exhilarating story of an epic life; a story of hardship, resilience and ultimate triumph, told with the clarity and eloquence of a born leader.
University of Pennsylvania – African Studies Centre.

Click here to buy now: Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

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Review “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Stieg Larsson

Already read by more than a million Europeans, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Hardcover) is the first of the The Millennium Trilogy which is a series of three bestselling novels written by Stieg Larsson.  Following The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was The Girl Who Played with Fire, then The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, first published in 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was awarded the prestigious Glass Key award as the best Nordic crime novel in 2005. His second novel, The Girl Who Played with Fire, received the Best Swedish Crime Novel Award in 2006.  The third book was published posthumously after the author’s sudden death from a massive heart attack.

Stieg Larsson was raised by his grandfather who had been imprisoned by the Germans and was heavily influenced by his grandfather’s viewpoints.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo kicks off this amazing epic detective triple act so incongruous that it makes Holmes and Watson seem like younger siblings. With serial murder and corporate trickery spanning several continents, the novel takes in complicated international financial fraud and the buried evil past of a wealthy Swedish industrial family.

The primary characters in the Millennium Trilogy series are Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Lisbeth is an intelligent, eccentric woman in her 20s with a photographic memory whose social skills are rather poor. Blomkvist is an investigative journalist, a celebrity in his own right, and has a history not totally dissimilar to Larsson’s own.

The author also drew upon the bloody, haunted ancient and mystical Sweden of trolls and elves and ogres.  In the Larsson universe the nasty trolls and hulking ogres are bent Swedish capitalists, cold-faced Baltic sex traffickers, blue-eyed Viking Aryan Nazis, and other Nordic riffraff who might have had their reasons to whack him. It is gripping to the very end and compels the reader to follow through and read the other two novels that follow.

Click here to buy now: Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy Bundle: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest