Tuesday, August 25, 2015

More Reviews...

“CRITICAL FOCUS’ by Paul Richards, PhD contains the photographs of Harvey Wilson Richards and text of the original book. It also accommodates a much wider selection of Harvey Richards’ still photography which is available on the internet through the Harvey Richards Media Archive and Estuary Press. Endnotes give readers the opportunity to explore Harvey Richards Media Archive by subject. Within the book itself, a new List of Photographs offers instant access to any photo in the eBook. The 120 photographs in Critical Focus were the first to be published back in 1986. Today, over 1000 photos are available on the web on the Harvey Richards Media Archive. This book, in four sections, namely California Farm Workers, Peace and Civil Rights Movements, Forestry and the Environment and Miscellaneous, covers his journey as a photographer from 1958 to 1978.
“CRITICAL FOCUS’ by Paul Richards, PhD is an album of Richard’s photographic work covering many subjects including farm labor, the civil rights movements and the peace and anti-war protests. Poignant pictures illustrating varied but socially relevant topics, such as, working and living conditions in California agriculture, the wasteful and largely hidden deforestation occurring in California, Oregon and elsewhere in the U.S., racism in hiring practices, southern bombings of black churches, the U.S. blockade of revolutionary Cuba, atom bomb testing and the Vietnam war are included in this collection. Each and every photograph speak volumes about the rather hazy and grey chapters of US history of the bygone days, over and above the living proof they are, of the professional competence and artistic ebullition of the lensman in Harvey William Richards.
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

‘Adaptive Capacity’ by Juan Carlos Eichholz teaches how an organization should tackle changes with an adaptive approach, to remain relevant notwithstanding the change. This is dealt in two parts. In part one, the broad concept of adaptability and organizational complexity that underlie this approach is discussed. Part two examines specific techniques to be applied to organizations to bring necessary enhancement in its capacity to adapt and, the variations demanded by external and internal challenges. Following questions and its answers broadly summarize this approach. 1)How much adaptive capacity does it have? 2)Is that adaptive capacity enough to meet the challenges it faces?3)How can its adaptive capacity be increased? 4) What are the variables that may increase its adaptive capacity?
‘Adaptive Capacity’ by Juan Carlos Eichholz exhorts the significance of adaptability quoting from the theory of evolution by Darwin, “It is neither the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that outlasts. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Showing real life examples from the field of business, the author cites various instances of failure as well as growth of different firms like Microsoft, Google etc to drive home his idea, by establishing the better adaptability of the successful one as the significant cause, in case of success and inflexible stance as the cause for failure. This approach is described well and a large collection of real life examples make it very convincing and easy to understand. An index is also provided making this a good material for study.
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

‘100 Simple Ways to Have More Friends’ by Cherie Burbach begins with a short discussion on the many facets of loneliness, the inability in finding friends. It then jumps to the first way to befriend– be adept at small talk. Volunteering is the next suggested way, and, having a dog, becoming a good listener, visiting gyms, attending reunions are some of the other ninety nine imaginative but simple ways recommended by Cherie. The key to having more friends, as the author points out, is in increasing the number of people you come across on a regular basis, in addition to holding on to the ones you already have.
‘100 Simple Ways to Have More Friends’ by Cherie Burbach is full of easy and creative suggestions to nurture new friendships while cementing the existing ones. Encouraging one and all that failure to have friends should not be seen as a commentary of ones ineptitude or incapability in social transactions, she rightly exhorts of the essential and winning approach, take interest in others’ welfare. Her other suggestion, that one should avoid displaying general bitterness just because something bad has happened, is another tip worth its weight in gold. Cherie’s perspective, on finding laudable acts of exchange of ideas and emotional needs in simple daily activities, coupled with a good chapter on how it can be actually put to use, make this book an essential read for both. Those without friends can fetch fresh ones in a jiffy and those already with friends can see that the friendship continues unhindered.
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

‘Feeling Lonesome’ by Ben Lazare Mijuskovic explains the philosophical roots of loneliness. It begins with an overview citing various approaches like, cognitive, psycho-analytical and behavioral, briefly narrating where they act and how. Other more esoteric facets of loneliness is then discussed, beginning with reflexivity, where Ben argues loneliness as innate to humans (I think, therefore I am lonely) and also, as old as human race, intentionality/transcendence, where its roots are retraced from the very beginning, and phenomenology, which analyses it as ‘multiplicity of emotions in unity’. Language, the distinct feature of humans, and its role, unconscious and the conscious minds, as well as therapeutic measures, are some of the other features that are covered in this rather comprehensive study of loneliness.
‘Feeling Lonesome’ by Ben Lazare Mijuskovic examines all the aspects of loneliness, from a philosophical angle with primacy of loneliness in human consciousness. Though the author concedes to a dependence of mind over matter or vice versa, that relationship is to be considered as a problematic one, preventing one from drawing conclusions. This book opened my eyes to loneliness, rather than my earlier notion as something best to be avoided, I can now see loneliness as turbulence, and similar to, as it is said the eloquence of silence. This is a very good book which examines all aspects of the topic under study. One thing I noticed though. The theories referred to justify or negate conclusions, if referred to by the name of the theory also, rather than only by the originator’s name, would have been a great help to a newbie like me.
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

‘Before Afdre and After’ by Maureen Twomey, as the title suggest, begins with her experiences at UCLA as a eighteen year old and her enviable record. Afdre refers to her loss of speech, caused by the massive stroke she sustained and the quick, immediate responses from all. Her days with rehabilitation and her attempts to regain the lost, with additional help of physical therapists, and near and dear ones, finds its mention thereafter. In learning to speak all over again, how, special software, laughing stock classes and a myriad of things came to her rescue is revealed here. In between, with the flow of humorous words, like I am ‘learning the art of being silly’; she makes other consequences of this unfortunate event look rather delightful.
‘Before Afdre and After’ by Maureen Twomey is a collection of true reflections of someone going through a long process of healing and rehabilitation. Feeling the presence of God, having doubts about this being a part of retribution, as well as feeling happy and contended by trusting Him further are recounted here. She is also very lucky, the most frustrating part faced by anyone with a difficulty to speak or express, which lies in the potential for confusion leading to total misunderstanding between one, and the others attending, was notable by its absence. Couldn’t this be due to the particular ‘one’, or ‘the others’ or both in this case, being discerning, understanding as well as competent, and deserving to be acknowledged? This is a good read, told with controlled foray into the realm of sentimentality and a constant touch of humor.
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

‘Hotel Hell: Take a Journey Through the Eyes of an Overnight Hotel Clerk’ by Monica Savioz is the author’s experience at the job she took in a hotel. Beginning with her successful interview, her impressions jump to the constantly permeating smell at the hotel, part of it from the different areas and part of it from the diverse occupants. It goes on to describe insects and other irritants of life, not to mention her encounters with police. Monica’s recounting of a barrage of antics of hotel guests and challenges of the job, like, an eleven year old child locking himself up when alone in room, leading to total commotion, helping a guest with a sticky hair dryer or scores of other adventures, each more naughtier than the other, make this a really interesting reading.
‘Hotel Hell: Take a Journey Through the Eyes of an Overnight Hotel Clerk’ by Monica Savioz is bound to enhance the appeal of hotel jobs, or those who want their jobs to look more attractive can think of offering her a position. The author has narrated a good documentary of hotel life, especially, as it is seen from the shop floor. I specially liked the ‘guest with a heavy baby bump’, whose babyname was not disclosed; it was closely guarded for fear of theft! Whether it is with the supply of towels, use of laundry or moving in a burning elevator, it seems Monica has a knack of identifying the protruding element of the experience, as they say, the source of fun. For every story, she adds to the humor, by giving a moral. A good read indeed.
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

‘Things to Do in Amsterdam: Museums’ by Marko Kassenaar & Liesbeth Heenk  is about presenting art in a conversational and enjoyable way. This is a 4 book set of lavishly illustrated pages, with Book 1 showing Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Book 2, Anne Frank House, Book 3, Van Gogh Museum and Book 4, Hermitage Amsterdam. In each of these, photographic plates of important exhibits blare out the history of the museum as well as the specifics of the showcased wealth. For example, the curls of his hair, instead of being painted with a brush, are scratched onto the canvas with an etching-needle, on a self-portrait by Rembrandt. Vincent van Gogh’s experimental styles producing a varied spectrum of colors are only some of the priceless treasures one can enjoy here.
‘Things to Do in Amsterdam: Museums’ by Marko Kassenaar & Liesbeth Heenk brings the museums in Amsterdam to our living rooms. All the photographs are perfect reproduction of the paintings, capable of giving rise to the exact feelings of watching the original. Added to it is the writing accompanying each plate, and the brief background information of the exhibit presented there, which not only endears it more, but also is a great help to those who want to study this further.  This is an excellent publication and it contains excellent write up on each of the exhibits shown. With relevant information and life pictures of exhibits, it is a priceless treasure for a seeker and, a commentary of why these great ones remain a timeless inspiration to us all. A great book, indeed.
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

‘Anne Frank: Anne Frank 80 Years’ by Ronald Wilfred Jansen is a collection of photographs portraying the life and times of Anne Frank. Starting with her home till 1931, the photographs recount her escape and the first house she lived in Amsterdam. The swimming pool that was out of bounds for Jews, the school where Anne Frank studied during 1934 – 41 as well as, the statue of Anna Frank with her diary that now adorns that place is contained in this. The image of the barracks where she was held captive, the gas chambers at Auschwitz and many other photographs of extermination of Jews can be seen among this album.
‘Anne Frank: Anne Frank 80 Years’ by Ronald Wilfred Jansen is a collection of photographs with life, more like a tableau. Though there is nothing gruesome or frightening in these pictures, all the images evoke highly disturbing memories. With the short and factual caption accompanying these, each picture speaks volumes. Ronald has done a marvelous job, this picture book is capable of inspiring the reader and viewer to delve deeper into the history of the Holocaust and Anne Frank. The message taken from this shall be to contribute to the mutual tolerance and understanding between people and cultures. I am sure that this picture book can make people more involved with the story of Anne Frank and the horrors or war in general. An excellent piece of work, this book is bound to provoke action to maintain the freedom of conscience, by reminding us of Anne Frank. 
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

‘A Pocket Guide to South Africa’ by Terrance Zepke is a guide to learn, plan and enjoy a trip to South Africa. Beginning with interesting and fast facts about this country, this book delves into the historical background and the essential geographical and related information. After acquainting us with the topology of this land, it discusses the safaris and interests of tourists at length in addition to introducing the beautiful beaches of South Africa. In each case, information of interest to the visitor, like availability of place to stay, how to reach, best time to visit, etc make this guide a must for every visitor. A short quiz is included; use it for self test or for entertainment.
‘A Pocket Guide to South Africa’ by Terrance Zepke brings South Africa to our living rooms. In fact this book, by giving an attractive picture of what is awaiting for us in South Africa, initiates the desire to go. The necessary data for the travel, safety tips, the cost of trip, the places to see and the hotels to stay makes it easy to plan a convenient visit. Special interests like blokart sailing, hiking, rambling, kloofing, rock climbing, fishing, hang gliding, paragliding, bungee jumping, sky diving, canopy tours and scores of others make it difficult to choose from. A sample 14-Day Itinerary that can be altered to suit ones interests, timeline, and budget becomes an icing on the cake. A great guide to plan a vacation, which also is extremely useful for enjoying the many features of this land.
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

‘Managing Products to Deliver Solutions: 25 Best Practices for B2B Product Management’ by John Mansour is a complete discussion of the nature of B2B and the recommended approach to ensure success. It starts with definitions, and mentions the need to have unique solutions for B2B, also, how it has to different from B2C. The book explains how and why, in B2B, we look for highly valued solutions compared to building great products. Thereafter, the discussion pertains to the things that make B2B unique, alongwith familiarization with the best practices for B2B product management – a twenty five point action plan. The author concludes with a dictum - In B2B, every product should be created with the intent of delivering a solution to a much broader need than the product itself.
‘Managing Products to Deliver Solutions: 25 Best Practices for B2B Product Management’ by John Mansour is a good, rather abstract debate on B2B. It clarified many of the questions I had on B2B and its application. There is potential for further growth and new terms like, ‘prosumer’ or ‘prosumerization’ are already in circulation. With this field of business poised for greater growth in the coming years, books like this can contribute by making our concepts clearer. The topics discussed here will help in altering the business plan and strategy to one that is not focused on a singular product or market or both. Defining the differences and the resources required for either (based on B2B, B2C differences) might introduce necessary correction. This is a good book and an easy guide.
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

‘ASK YOURSELF: Getting Back to Being Your Brother’s Keeper’ by Felicia Benton questions our sense of correctness. Even if we ensure that our approach or behavior is correct, we do not bother to question the effect our actions have on those around us. By examining common, regular occurrences in our midst, Felicia attempts to show that human nature does not include examining the appropriateness of the action for the collective good, unless we take efforts to do so. We have to introduce necessary changes to bring even our unconscious acts to be brought under this test – is it against the common good? If so we need to make changes.
‘ASK YOURSELF: Getting Back to Being Your Brother’s Keeper’ by Felicia Benton introduces certain lofty questions. All the chapters of this book are directed more or less towards collective good and Felicia’s exhortation to everyone is also appropriately themed. I have a question. Isn’t this based on the dictum that ‘man is expected to be leading a social life and, individual existence is incidental to it’? Supposing we think otherwise, such as, ‘man is essentially is an individual being and, social life is secondary to it’, wouldn’t our behavior, actions and approaches appear right? But for this question, I found this book echoing the sentiments expressed by many a social reformer, ‘no one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another’. The author has provided a good set of questions for self examination, a simple one being ‘those outside of you do not have to suffer the consequences of your actions’.
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

‘Life Changing Habits: Building Yourself to Take on the World’ by Henry B starts with a discussion about building oneself, where he acquaints us with the three facets each and every human has, mental, physical and spiritual. He then suggests ways to achieve, believing in oneself, identifying fears, motivation and goal setting being some of the steps needed towards this. Cultivating healthy habits, like yoga and meditation, being carefree like a child and the importance of keeping an open mind are discussed. With suitable examples from real life, the author exhorts the need to shed laziness, which is an innate quality of man.
‘Life Changing Habits: Building Yourself to Take on the World’ by Henry B is a short description of the path to success. He mentions about the importance of physical beauty to build self confidence and hence keeping trim and fit is a necessity. Eat a healthy diet. Fresh vegetables, fruits, tuna fish and milk combined with brown rice, whole grain bread and poultry can keep you healthy. Since there is less starch in these foods you’ll not gain weight. Avoid sugar and fat. Perform yoga to maintain a healthy body. Yoga cleanses the body, mind and soul. You feel calm and composed after a session of yoga. Meditation helps to keep your focus on what you wish to do with your life. Be it personal, professional or social life, meditation can help you to heal and think with clarity. This short booklet thus contains quite helpful suggestions. Nice little instruction manual.
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

‘The Truth About Low Back Pain’ by Gage Permar, DPT begins with first step in curing back pain – understanding what it is and is not. And continues with a rather aggressive suggestion that the present method of drugs and surgery are grossly ineffective in healing this. The author then suggests a comprehensive healing process involving all aspects of physical management of pain. Correcting ones posture, exercises specifically aimed at preserving natural flexion of body, and modifying ones manner of doing things, the author asserts with confidence, possess the ultimate power to relieve back pain. Towards this, a rather exhaustive list of physical exercises to follow as well as the recommended styles and postures contained in this book, will certainly be of great use.
‘The Truth About Low Back Pain’ by Gage Permar, DPT is a comprehensive study of the back pain problem. Though the author’s approach to the physical remedy is quite complete as far as exercises go, alternate systems of medicine, like Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Naturopathy etc are not covered in this analysis. From my personal experience I can say that while exercises can make a lot of difference to occurrence or recurrence of pain, alternate systems of medicine is not completely useless, especially for curing an already painful condition. This is a very useful book; it not only suggests different physical exercises suitable for various joints and parts of our body but also enables one in preventing the incidence of such painful conditions by suggesting an appropriate body posture, even for regular daily activities like sitting, sleeping, etc. Good printing and high quality, clear illustrations make it easy to read and follow.
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

‘Hopeless To Husband’ by Fred Esposito begins with a great advice – Get out of your comfort zones. Being an expert on disastrous dates, having faced quite a few of them in life, Fred says, good preparation is needed to ensure success, which always should begin with self. The author proposes complete change, not only that a few non beneficial habits are to be replaced, but also good, healthy and positive styles of living need to be adopted to diet, exercise and other facets of relevance to self esteem. A bunch of tips are included while discussing the practical aspects of going ahead with a date, how to flirt, how to start a conversation, the correct body postures and how to manage rejection.
‘Hopeless To Husband’ by Fred Esposito gives valuable advice in this rather hazy area, where anything and everything can be seen, both as good and as bad. Ones self-esteem, as he says, grows when control of events are taken in ones hand. He therefore suggests meditating on the changes one needs to introduce or that are already in place. ’Take pride in that you are not the average person who just wishes and waits for things to happen.’ However, these recommendations are not connected with Fred’s personal experience in this area, which, as I understand from the book is quite varied. That could have added an authentic touch to each and every suggestion, elevating them to the status of dictums. This is a good read with an easy narration and logical presentation of data.
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

‘Finding the Rainbow’ by RACHEL MCGRATH is a chronicle of the timing of cycles and waiting for good news, with the hope and excitement of finding out positive results. However this is followed by the pain and grief of miscarriage, which often leads to starting the same actions all over again. It begins with Rachel’s desire to have a baby and repeated instances of natural abortion. They consult doctors again, and after many instances of heartbreak the doctors’ point out to her that she could be having a serious medical condition that can rule out pregnancy.
‘Finding the Rainbow’ by RACHEL MCGRATH is an absorbing story.  Rachel’s desire to conceive and, the pain she felt to make an amicable husband understand her pain, can be seen quite clearly in these pages. The emotional stress, she was under and the part played by the helpful while understanding approach of her husband in enabling her to withstand that, is another visible facet that comes out beautifully. In addition, this book shows that she also hides good talents of appreciating sardonic humor; ‘..come after six weeks, if you are sill pregnant..’ or ‘ Both of us have the necessary tools to get pregnant’ can be cited as good examples. As this is the way the book ends, ‘I also know my own emotions and limits. We are ready to try again, and I know that I will always remain hopeful for what the future may bring’, I can’t but wait for the sequel. This is an excellent read with a moving description.
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

‘A picture of a dead horse’ by Trevor Herdman begins with his last year in school, a time for unbridled fun with his friends. During one such occasion of revelry, an accident at a swimming pool leave him paralyzed and is confined to a wheel chair. After long periods of rehabilitation where he got used to his wheel chair, he continues his study and lands on a job with the help of Disabled Resettlement Office. He goes behind many women in his quest for life and, one woman, Denis, comes across him for a more permanent relationship and it materializes. He now continues his journey with her as a happier paraplegic with, active involvement in many outdoor activities.
‘A picture of a dead horse’ by Trevor Herdman is an inspiring tale of determination and an invisible strength. At no stage could I see a sign of despondency or helplessness, though Trevor’s injury easily justifies it. On the contrary, a rather lingering sense of humor permeates throughout the book. Devoting ones rehabilitation days to master the technique of maneuvering the wheel chair up a kerb as well as the advanced one of dropping down backwards, certainly needs some spirit. Becoming an axe-murderer on bail is another example, and, meeting Denis, his future wife, and taking permission from her children to propose to her is the best example of all. This is a page turner; I felt a great sense of loss after I saw the photograph of the Paralympics Air Weapons Team. No more pages left to read!
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

Build your Computer Skills by Luke Mathius Harlow is a book full of useful information about using a PC. This book can boast of an easy to understand step by step approach,  suitable both for a beginner and an experienced user. It covers almost all the jobs one may encounter; like Navigating Windows, Manipulating Folders or Documents, USB Devices, Maintenance jobs like  Disk Defragmentation, Computer Safety – Viruses,  Computer Hardware – A Glimpse inside the Machine, use of  Email – Gmail, Google Search Features, Online Media – Streaming or  Google Earth. An Introduction to Binary and other Number Systems used in computer is also provided. A set of test questions for each chapter along with a good index at the end enhance the book’s learning value.
Build your Computer Skills by Luke Mathius Harlow covers almost all the questions an average user might confront while using a PC and provides clear and concise instructions. However a few more situations like Use of Safe Mode, Updating Drivers, Enabling Flash or Changing Display Resolution would have been of great help to a beginner.(I used to feel so, on many occasions!) In addition, certain basic instructions on Internet Commerce, Social Media etc could have enabled the readers in acquiring these popular skills which are more or less becoming essential in this arena. This book is however notable for its academic approach; clear explanations, easy to remember procedures and review questions. I think this book should be a welcome assistant for every PC user, more so in the initial days of use.
Reviewed by Roy T James for Reader's Favorite________________

‘The Authentic Sale’ by Rena Cohen-First is a book to show every woman that she can move from the supportive roles, considered more traditionally feminine, to the front lines in the sales force and flourish there. Based on hierarchy of needs and other theories of behavioral attributes and incorporating traditional sales competencies, the author presents The Sales Goddess Model: where the goddess id actually a combination of The Worker, who prepares, organizes, and takes actions to achieve the best result for customer, The Connector, who builds emotional connections, and uplifts, The Leader, who takes charge, facilitates, and orchestrates for the best of all, and The Knower, who creates, being some of them. She concludes by equating the woman-sales-enthusiast to Persephone, the Greek queen of the underworld.
I found ‘The Authentic Sale’ by Rena Cohen-First a fantastic study, especially from the angle of a seller. A woman’s role in sale department and her career performance can be greatly altered by the approach proposed in this dissertation. However I have a doubt. The inclusion of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and other principles of similar vein, in this scenario, could also be extended to the customer. And in that case, isn't it likely that customer also will have such needs and satisfying those should be the fist aim of any seller? I found this a new and bold approach. It is rather abstract in nature and establishes the viability of women usurping the kingdom of sales. There is plenty of scope for a more descriptive compendium of techniques, specially suited for women sales people.

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