Skinny House

Skinny House, a memoir of family ISBN: 9780995877718 Skinny House Productions copyright and written by Julie L. Seely.

In the Forward, the author very adroitly describes this book; “Despite its title, this book is no simple story about an odd, narrow-built dwelling. It’s about the family who lived in the house and the patriarch who built it.” The dwelling referred to is a ten foot wide, three story house among full-sized homes and now on the National Registry list, situated in Mamaroneck, N.Y. The basic story is of an ambitious black carpenter whose entrepreneurial abilities built a successful construction business in the early 1920’s with a grand house and all associated amenities for his wife to whom such ‘arrival’ met all of her expectations, only to have it snatched away by advent of the ‘Great Depression and subsequent devastation that followed well into the late ‘30’s. It follows the loss of the business, the house and all other amenities in a period when everyone was struggling just to survive in a time ‘when black men were the last to be hired and the first to be let go’. It also is of a period of time when ‘the man was the breadwinner, and the woman was the stay-at-home wife’ and a man was ashamed not to be able to work, and a wife should not be in a position to have to do so. The tale also provides quite graphic details of the carpenter’s attempts to salvage his pride and that of his wife, and of the gradual but insidious manner in which it failed and gradually slid into destruction of the family as a whole and to an extent, the individual personalities.

Discussion: Little more needs to be said. The author has used the house, how and why it was built and of what happened to the builder, his wife, children and grandchildren to provide a fascinating tale of a wild and highly explosive period in the history of America, its demoralizing fall-out and the residual effects on a man, his wife, children and grandchildren. The author readily admits her mistake of underestimating a family’s legacy. The lesser importance of physical versus “the colorful tapestry of memories and anecdotes handed down” and “intangible wisdom handed down from one generation to another”; “the spiritual binding”.

5* Captivating family memoir painstakingly, scholarly assembled by a loving granddaughter.

The Robot and Automation Almanac

The Robot and Automation Almanac 2021 ISBN: 9781946197719 Prestige Professional Publishing edited by Jason Schenker, Chairman of the Futurist Institute.

Sub-titled “Between Robocalypse and Robotopia COVID Edition” This volume is another in the series of Futurists Association attempting to keep readers abreast of the phenomenal yearly development in Robot technology and associated AI advances. It includes a Preface, Introduction. Discussions on “The Year Ahead and Beyond” and “The Future is for Futurists” by the Editor. Following his remarks are succeeding chapters of explanation and discussion of various aspects of the subject, each by ‘authorities’ on their version of the subject with pertinent references at the end of the presentation.

Discussion: This little volume presents a most worthwhile in depth update on Robots, their future, interaction with humans and with respect to the forward movement of artificial intelligence per se for the person not personally involved. From this reviewer’s perspective, one of the most illuminating remarks offered early in the book by one of the contributors was a simple example of how far we have travelled in a short time. Simply stated, he pointed out that today’s smart phone has a million times the memory and more than 100,000 times the processing power of the computer used in the Apollo 11 Mission. Another interesting fact is the belief in the necessity to next proceed to investigate in depth the neural networks in individuals in order to define how small nuances may be discerned and how they may be incorporated. A third point of interest is establishment of ‘boot camps’, along with ‘just-in-time’ learning from random opportunities – coffee break, commuting and similar – result in aptly termed “upskilling”, to provide somewhat knowledgeable people with further training so that often more ‘formal education’ is not required. Further fascinating subjects are extension of robotic usage in numerous different fields is predicted that will physically interact these ‘creations’ with humans directly and safely in a shared workspace. The great need that has been demonstrated for them by the covid-19 pandemic especially in the consumer and ‘cleaning/sanitizing’ areas and, especially in health fields where a true type of intellectual human-robot interaction is required. The book wraps-up with the book’s Editor explaining The New, New Normal; a brief description of The Futurist Institute; About the Editor that presents Mr. Schenker’s extensive qualifications; a list of Institutes’ publications and forthcoming titles;  Jobs for Robots; The Future after Covid; a disclaimer from the Publisher and the Institute and a repeat of the Copyright completes the book.

5* Easy to read, current/future status of Robotics and AI for the interested but uninvolved

Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind

Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind ISBN: 9781999279479 Pearson Press, copyright and written by Alex Neumann, MSc.

The author’s intent has been to provide a strategy that will lead individuals plagued with anxiety, self-hate and/or lack of confidence to a position of success and happiness. His thoughts and suggestions are set forth in ten chapters and a conclusion. He begins by discussing diversity in general terms and provides examples of individuals who are taught how to control a perilous situation such as a Maasai boy or Khoisan children and follows with other famous persons including famous sports figures, such as Michael Jordan who had made numerous mistakes early in his career that he overcame with perseverance; Albert Einstein who was labeled as not too bright as a child, as was Sir Isaac Newton; Statesmen such as Winston Churchill, and music composer Beethoven. Also included are an author by the name of Richard Bach and his interesting story of a huge number of repetitive rejections through which he persevered finally to publish the book in 1970 that sold more than 7 million copies in the U.S. alone. The narrative continues and with succeeding chapters provides more complete stories of additional well-known individuals who conquered monumental odds to attain true success. The discussion additionally explains the difference between “market successes” and “true (inner) success” and how pursuit of the former can trample attainment of the latter. Again he illustrates with an example. This time with that of a simple fisherman who was confronted by a Harvard MBA who explained how he could grow his business and become wealthy before retiring when he then could do whatever he wished to do – something which the fisherman knew was exactly what he was doing The author’s discussion extends to stress how “marketing success” and what it is doing to the world, its forests, oil, water and its people is an “illusion success” rather than the “real success” that lies within. He further admonishes “Demagoguery is the new norm. Fascists, Nazis, racists, chauvinists, sexual harassers and other such dehumanizing malfeasants have been planted into the highest offices, albeit in disguise.” “Has our society lost its value?” and describes how marketing education is driven by the premium on labor that is based on “market” not “real” success. Instead you should play the game to enjoy. Love what you are doing to attain true success which is composed of four factors: compassionate service to others, a life fully lived, an achieved vision and eternal joy. Often you need to take risks, but if you fail, learn from your mistakes and attack the problem again. Originality often is lost by the time education has been finished. It is necessary to stop whining and start thriving. He describes further a time-frame within intent as being the critical ingredients that may be required to unwind mentally from entanglements in the matters that are causing the grief. He prescribes repeatedly the need to persevere and to turn obstacles into opportunities.

Discussion: The author has set forth a prescription for success that has been presented by many CEOs and entrepreneurs in numerous areas of endeavor. However, he has specifically targeted the individual plagued with anxiety, self-hate and/or lack of confidence. Here, he has suggested steps that such a person can, and actually must take to rid themselves of this overburdening weight that such persons carry. A weight that affects every part of the body both mental as well as physical. His thoughts, suggestions and advice are set forth in a simple straight forward, albeit repetitive manner that in itself may be helpful to the troubled reader looking for a way out of the morass in which he/she abides. Specifically, at least one of the messages with its different approach set forth with even different examples may provide the spark that is necessary to ignite the fire required ultimately to help the burdened person to throw off the oppressive yoke under which they have been carrying.

5* Advice for the angst-ridden; highly repetitive but helpful from different perspectives.

52 Smart Habits to Manage your Money & Grow Wealth

52 Smart Habits to Manage Your Money and Grow wealth. Assumed published, copyright and written by Joann Lindsey.

Sub-titled “Discover how to improve your Finances in 10 minutes a day”, and after a lengthy disclaimer, the book opens with an introduction and eight chapters that contain 52 suggestions that provide substance to her proposal. A Conclusion, Resources and a listing of “My other books in This Series – ‘10 minute Habits for a Better Life’”, conclude the presentation. The Introduction explains that the first book aimed at achieving a better life and “discussed, in detail, the habit formation process, how your habits influence you, and how and why to form many small, 10-minute habits” to attain health, wealth, happiness and prosperity. It then explains that this present book provides a series of suggestions specifically focusing this process of ‘habit production’ on using money wisely, saving more, investing, getting out of debt, and achieving financial independence. She stresses that it is imperative to achieve financial independence “because it brings forth an enormous amount of freedom in your life”. AND she stresses how important it is to gradually build the right set of habits to achieve your goal. The succeeding chapters provide instruction on how to acquire habits for managing your cash flow, increase your savings, reduce your spending, decrease your debt, improve your investment portfolio and grow your net worth. Specific suggestions include importance of an emergency fund, spotting ‘money leaks’ and how to seal them, admonishments to plan shopping trips so as to not get ‘side-tracked’, importance of shopping alone to avoid ‘impulse buying’ and to wait for 30 days before buying something you want (to see if you still want it as much then as you did originally). Retirement considerations also are discussed as are a number of other, often unthought-of subjects especially if approaching the subject relatively early in your personal career. A short conclusion and number of references concludes the presentation.

Discussion: The author has set forth a set of suggestions that many individuals entering the work force will find to be most helpful. A word of caution with respect to Investing in the present volatile market – Obtain dependable advice!

5* Recommended especially for individuals entering the workforce.

Getting Unstuck

Getting Unstuck assumed published, copyright and written by Cara Stein.

This is a book similar to a growing number of others published with suggestions on how to be happy with your life and life’s work. The difference in large part is the author’s approach. It is bubbly, as seemingly is the author, and her modus operandi is to ignore the one common thread that appears to ‘hold back’ most persons from moving forward – fear of failure or making mistakes. One must remember mistakes are human, everybody makes them. The answer is to learn from them and not worry about any past faults. In other words, don’t be too hard on yourself. Start with a good session of introspection and follow up with more to find your strengths opposed to your weaknesses. She then attacks a large number of common faults that keep individuals in an unhappy and often most confused state. Too many blow things out of proportion. Some keep avoiding something that must be done, an action that just makes the task that much worse. Other persons stay detached to “avoid being hurt”. Often persons get upset by matters not under their control. Do you have a lot to do? Make a list – don’t try to remember it all. She admonishes the reader to avoid and/or get rid of these faults and provides suggestions on how to accomplish this goal. She suggests, among other moves, making a list of tasks you don’t want to do and then begin doing just that, stop doing them. Start with the little ones and gradually move further up the list. The author’s suggestions are accompanied by a list of 40 references at the conclusion of the book.

Discussion: The author appears to be amply qualified to write this book. She has dabbled in a large number of tasks including obtaining a PhD while “overcoming fears had been my chief occupations for a few years, between career change and completely remodeling my life.” She quit her well-paying job and started her own business. Then “When she experienced how much easier it all is than it looks, I realized I had to spread the word.” Thus, “Whether you’re stuck, lost, or just looking to enjoy your life more, I’ve been there! I can provide advice, guidance, and vision. I’m a big believer in self-reinvention and sculpting your life into what you want it to be. I love guiding people to do the same.”

5* Much material similar to others, but refreshingly different.

The NO Limits Enterprise

The NO-LIMITS Enterprise ISBN 9781946633279 ForbesBooks Copyright and written by Doug Kirkpatrick.

After an unusually large number of strongly supportive statements by individuals of prominence, the author’s book subtitled Organizational Self-Management in the New World of Work, the author’s introduction, Life is a Concert (or it should be), presents overall tenets with respect to self-management and the importance thereof. He quotes Kahlil Gibran: “Work is love made visible”; presents Buurtzorg, a highly prosperous Netherlands-based health care company (initiated by Jos de Blok) where 9000 health care nurses work remotely delivering care. They work for the company but make decisions as they see them; he explains that people (most prominently the millenniums) want their creative, innovative and passion about their work to be appreciated and understood; briefly speaks of Morning Star, a Tomato products distributor company (where he initially became involved in the business) which probably is the most well-known for self-management company success. The book’s content is presented in 2 Parts. Part 1, the promise of self- management consisting of 4 chapters covering the breakdown of bureaucracy; 15 unavoidable challenges found within; the power of self-management; before you plan: self-management considerations. Part II, the self-management roadmap, consisting of 6 chapters covering new ways of working; determining where your organization fits in the self-management continuum; establishing your self-management philosophy and principles; self-management implications (or what to expect); making the case for self-management; bringing self-management to life: 12 real-world components; A conclusion – making “no limits” your reality; About the Author; A passion for freedom and accountability at work; Our services. Extensive Acknowledgements follow immediately, leading to an explanatory Forward and ultimately, the Introduction as briefly summarized above.

Discussion: The business of running a business gradually has been changing since those establishing such organizations with advent of the Industrial Revolution. They had only the Army, its chain of command and its organizational abilities as a template. Humans became increasingly dissatisfied with their need to ‘slave’ for many hours a day to receive pay for their labor which they did not enjoy. Chapter 2 provides a list of 15 unavoidable challenges provided by bureaucracy employed by most businesses – Genetic engineering, nanotechnology, virtual reality, increasing information, and communication moving at speed of light, Robots, AI, all of this additional knowledge when much of business is still at the level employed when we moved into the Industrial Revolution. Thus the required Bureaucracy is wasteful of human life; simply stated, 8 hours/day of doing something not desired is just that, a waste of life.

Thus, gradual change has evolved and has gained increasing momentum with advent of new generations who are unwilling to spend long hours performing tasks which have no relationship to their personal thought patterns and desires. The increased level of interest has been initiated by a few future thinking entrepreneurial individuals and aided immensely by the arrival into the workforce of the millennials, a generation that seeks a work/life balance and have no fear of job loss, plus, a driving need to be engaged as part of a group (company) with a purpose and meaning that is part of the larger world. Repeatedly, the suggestion is made that to best run a business, it is best first to become a philosopher with the other necessities added as needed. Names of numerous prominently successful owners of self-managed companies are provided. Chris Rufer, a single truck owner fascinated by philosophy as well as an MBA was fascinated with human principles and management practices, established Morning star, one of the premiere successful self-management companies, by believing people worked best when they were free to manage themselves at work as they did in their daily life. He also believed they were happiest and most successful. Jaipur Rugs in India is another entrepreneurial self-management phenomenal success story as are Vagas, a Brazilian software company and numerous others blossoming throughout the world as well as here in the United States. In all, the book provides extensive coverage of every aspect of how “Strength of a self-managed organization, where every individual is part of a human network of accountability, responsible to everyone else in the enterprise itself” actually functions. These basic tenets, and philosophies serve to undergird the human network.

Summary: The author, partner in the full-spectrum international consulting firm, NuFocus Strategic Group, consults, lectures on self-management around the world and appears to be the present-day spokesman for a large group of advanced-thinking individuals in the rapidly growing movement toward self-managed business. His book covers every aspect of the subject and certainly is a must read for any person desiring to enter a business and become a success in this era of constant change and regeneration. For this reader, the redundancy and repetition typically exhibited here emulates the tendencies of all lecturers and would benefit from judicious editing for readers. However, the material, to reiterate is a must read.

Hidden Wealth

Hidden Wealth ISBN: 9781950863488 ForbesBooks copyright Clayton Investments, LLC written by Terry B. Monroe.

The author has sub-titled his book, “the secret to getting top dollar for your business” and dedicated it “To all the entrepreneurs who have spent hours of hard work building their business, hiring employees, and supporting their families. I hope they will be able to reap the rewards for everything they have toiled to achieve.” There follows an Introduction, eight chapters, a Bonus Chapter on the issue by a well-credentialed friend, Conclusion, Acknowledgements, About the Author and an extensive Index. Each chapter more specifically is single subjected oriented with the first providing the importance of the business owner really introspectively knowing his/her unvarnished self; #2 discuses why business owners do sell their, while #3 presents reasons they do not sell; #4 discusses when is the best time to sell while #5 admonishes that you must actually know what you are selling; # 6 presents the large number of activities required to ‘get the job done’; #7 explains the rather extensive process involved in order to conclude the sale; #8 provides an estimated length of time required to complete the sale and the extensive list of the large, mostly unthought-of, matters than can interfere with completion of the sale. The Bonus Chapter is written by a highly-credentialed seemingly as corroboration of the material presented by the author. The author’s conclusion is largely a repetition of admonishments previously set forth.

Discussion: The material provided would appear to be a treasure trove of information for the individual attempting to decide whether or not to sell the business he/she has birthed, coddled through its infancy to its accession to a top level of performance. It presents a complete picture to peruse while deciding IF you really do, or don’t, want to proceed, ant the number of features involved, many of which you may never really had considered. This aspect of this book is right on the subject and presented by a person who “Has been there. Done that” and gained a broad array of knowledge of every aspect of the subject. Regrettably, if you are not a member of the target group, it contains much redundancy and repetition of even many well-known maxims and similar. Obviously the author lectures frequently making the usage understandable as all employ these features for emphasis.

5* book for target group; interesting, but several -*s caveat for others.

Observe to Unmask

Observe to Unmask ISBM: 9798653727696, Kindle Direct Publishing, copyright and written by Pushpendra Mehta.

Subtitled 100 Small things to know people better, Pushpendra Mehta opens his discussion by admonishing individuals “Pursue your passion. Work with your intuition, learn as a child. And adapt as water.” There follow his suggestions for careful observation of individuals, their behavior and preferably from as large a number of situations as possible, to understand the person and how his/her true persona may be used to affect one or more encounters with you as an individual. Thus you must be able to introspectively evaluate yourself and realize how this other person’s traits will actively react with those you contain. He provides copious examples of actions and comments and how they variously may be used to affect their inter-relationship with you. The list of usages and their possible intention are great in number and far too copious to discuss per se. This is a presentation requiring one’s own individual perusal in order to attempt to make one’s personal evaluation. Thus quite simply stated, providing further material from the contents of this book would be a disservice to the prospective reader.

Discussion: Basically, this appears to provide suggestions that individuals should consider when engaging in personal intercourse. Occasionally, this reader believes more details would be helpful when dealing with the discussion about persons mostly discussing news events happening around the world or events they did not witness of experience. The author offers the suggestion that one should know they are more talk and less action oriented and are simply providing their opinion or information of facts already known. This basically, is not necessarily true and there are blatant exceptions to this suggestion. However, the reader must realize the author’s overall attempt to provide simply basic features. His suggestions with respect to Gossip, Social Media, importance of eye contact, actually hearing, not just listening, positioning of feet, primary pursuit in one’s life and the rest provide many suggestions that are relevant, including the old accepted statement that the greater number of friends one has, is better. He provides the most appropriate admonishment that one should reconsider the statement from the perspective of selectivity. Thus basically this is a book that many readers should find noteworthy. A highly amusing aside with respect to the author’s advice, in a very small section he strayed into using a tennis situation for discussion. Unfortunately, he appears to be totally lacking in the rudiments of the sport.

4* Suggestions for understanding unspoken aspects of interpersonal communication.

Management Practices of Successful CEOs

Management Practices of Successful CEO’S 9781734641417 Desert Haven Publishing copyright and written by James O. Armatas.

This is a Memoir of a Psychological Consultant to Management and consists of the usual dedication, preface, Introduction, The Genesis of Psychological Consultation including Background of Training, the Assessment Procedure and 8 Chapters. Number 1 presents three entrepreneurs; #2, Conglomerates (IBM Corporation and Colt Industries; #3 CEO’s of several Multidivisional Companies; #4, some CEO’s of Legal Monopolies; #5, Service Companies; #6, Restaurants; #7, Manufacturing Companies; #8, Final Comments (a summary – each group having its own pertinent comments); My Memoir; Postscript; Appendix that includes a variety of relatively pertinent material; About the Author” and endnotes.

Discussion: The author’s summary notes at the end of each chapter are quite explicit in some, and either general or selective in nature, of traits of others. He describes some of the entrepreneur’s characteristics as demonstrating dominant control and total commitment to their companies. One employed a conservative approach while another was willing to take bold risks. The third personally raised venture capital, spent it wisely on reduced operations functions/salaries to establish competitive contracts. The conglomerates he declares recognized the need for a tightly controlled central organization with proper status maintenance and system/department heads reporting to the proper superior. Many of the leaders in The Conglomerates exhibited supportive developmental training. With respect to The Legal Monopolies he presents most interesting pictures of AT&T and TWA and the different paths taken as a result of regulatory changes affecting their management. Other CEO’s success depends in large part on their social skills especially in acquiring and maintaining clients. Some had an inordinate ability to monitor and remember details, as a ‘turnaround specialist’, or even by employing a dedicated commitment to self-improvement to his advantage. Still other characteristics exhibited as the bases of their success in their particular field of endeavor was honesty and leadership, instilling integrity to an entire workforce as the basis upon which the entire business functioned, ability to meld all facets of a business into predictable, controllable monopolistic enterprise that generated extreme profits with controllable expense.

He has noticed that most of the characteristics of CEO’s have changed greatly as American business structure similarly has been changing substantially because of, and along with, a huge social revolution toward democratization in American and international institutions, Workers feel they have entitlement to greater job and management involvement. Additionally, technical advancement has been huge and entrepreneurs exist both within and outside working industries. Smart CEO’s keep the organization simple and basic with minimum hierarchy and bureaucracy and don’t lose their entrepreneurial perspective. Generally speaking, successful CEO’s are intelligent, conceptual, competitive and ‘managerial’ but flexible, adaptable and quite socially versatile exhibiting no narcissistic or autocratic tendencies. Some positions call for a greater or lesser amount of some characteristics and the author has presented the apparent differences most helpful for CEO’s to have to be able to be successful in each of the types of industries described.

Amusingly, perhaps, he brings forth the statement so often set forth, but frequently ignored (especially by governmental agencies) – “You can’t run a business, or anything else, on a theory”.

This reviewer also found the short discourse on well-known, non-Freudian psychologists Carl Rodgers (nondirective development of the individual’s ‘self-concept’). Abraham Maslow (humanist a requirement to satisfy an ascending group of needs’, Frederick Herzberg, Douglas McGregor and Kurt Lewin, interestingly pertinent.

Conclusion: The material presented here by the author is quite essential for individuals in, or contemplating entrance to, a position in the areas discussed. It also provides interesting material for any reader with eclectic interests.

5* Must read for participants. Fascinating for other eclectic readers.

Money, Truth & Life

Money, Truth & Life ISBN: 9781734752830 Impact Driven Publishing, Copyright, written by Judy L. Copenbarger, JD, CFP, AIF.

Sub-titled Practical Wisdom to Strengthen Families for Life, the book opens with several Testimonials; an interesting Dedication; Special Thanks to several people. Following are 9 chapters; an Appendix; About the Author and an invitation to Continue Online. The discussion in each chapter is simply presented with an approach and verbalization set forth for the average family and its members. Chapters 1 and 2 discuss some basics of money and other fundamentals; #3, matters of taxation; #4, how to legally protect you, your business and your family; #5, cash flow planning; #6, growth and protection of your assets; #7, use of insurance to reduce financial risks; #8 how to live a life of Integrity; #9, preparing your next step summing up ‘The elements of mastery straightening your “life spokes” (elements explained earlier), Finances and Faith and Creating Your Plan. The Appendix includes in brief, a Spending Plan Template for Families, Additional notes on Laddering, an “Earn, Save, Sell” Exercise; 3 Methods to Pay Credit Cards.

Discussion: This is a most unusual book written by a woman of considerable talent married to an equally, but differently talented man, who has developed a rather unique ability to equate with and explain things in a simple manner understandable by families from any walk of life. The prospective reader acquires a quite definite implication both from the positions held by, and the friendly, personal tone used by, the providers of the opening Testimonials. Specifically that the book will set forth easily read and helpful prose for an audience that unfortunately more usually is overlooked or ignored.

5*  Highly recommended book specifically for targeted audience.