Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach (1970)

This is a strange short book with lots of photographs about a seagull, who decides that there is more to life, than fighting over scraps of food, and perfects his flying instead and comes to know that Heaven is reached when one achieves Perfection, and to do so you are the one who needs to take the steps. Life can and should be more than following the "Flock". A classic.

The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man by David Maurer (1999)

This is a reprint of a book published in 1940 by a linguist studying the language of con(fidence) man, and who was getting really familiar with their methods and with them in person. Details are provided for the three big cons (the wire, the rag, and the payoff), where the mark is sent (to get the money and bring it back), as contrasted to short cons (like the smack, the tat, the hot-seat, the tip, the money box, the last turn, the huge duke, the wipe, and others), where (mostly) only the money the mark has on him is taken. The characters and action described inspired the movie The Sting. The book also describes how local judicial and law enforcement were on the take, resulting in no prosecution and lenient sentences (if any at all). There were also special methods of cooling the mark, making sure that the law enforcement is not involved at all. The book is somewhat dated, as the feds were cracking down on many of these scams as mail frauds and many of the con men moved over to the stock fraud, as a more profitable passtime. As the book states, in many of these cons, an honest man is wanted to complete a dishonest transaction (which should remind one to the current Nigerian scams), and the smarter the person is, he maybe more suspectible to be hooked.


Sex, Drugs and DNA: Science's Taboos Confronted by Michael Stebbins (2006)

A leading scientist offers a "scientific" perspective on things happening around us, including why one needs to be very dedicated to wanting to become a scientist (how tenured positions seem to be a thing of the past, grant monies are becoming extinct, and so on), how politicians and the public have no basic understanding on stem cell research and cloning, sex education and discrimination, genetically modified food (and in particular how it was being done for centuries by plant and animal breeders), on race and race relations (including race specific drug treatments), global warming, biological and chemical weapons (and how little is and maybe can be prepared for them), the sad state of drug and healthcare in the USA, and the dismal state of science education (with thoughts on Intelligent Design), it is a wonder if anybody chooses to become a scientist after all this .... A good read.


Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris (2004)

This excellent audio book read by the author himself. The stories are based on personal and family experiences, and surely you will know David and his family well after you finished listening, maybe even too well. Not to be missed.


The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)

This dark book is set in an apocalyptic landscape, where the Man and the Boy (no names are given, nor needed) take up on the Road, trying to get to a warmer (or maybe a better) place in front of the approaching winter. Surviving on scarce finds of food, getting away from others turned into cannibals, driven mainly by love. Even in this deadly place, there is a glimmer of hope. Makes you think about just how thin the society's fabric is ...


Cracking the Millionaire Code: Your Key to Enlightened Wealth by Mark Victor Hansen, Robert Allen (2005)

If you want to waste some time listening to questionable business advice sprinkled with the "No money down/I will sell this house today" real-estate style peptalk, than here is your chance. Maybe you would even decide to signup for some seminars from the authors. Business advice received from imaginary advisors may not do much good, and the mention of the one(!) example of a great success following this "method" is not very convincing. Sure, Google's business grow exponentially, but this has no relation to how the businesses of the poor souls trying to follow the vague advice would grow the same way. No wonder that 90%+ of new businesses fail, considering the advice received from books like this ... The somewhat value ideas presented were regarding (charitable) giving and business related tidbits. But whatever goodwill I had for the Chicken Soup for the Soul is all gone In particular based on the discussion how to create market segment based chicken soup books, should a book for the soul be one, or maybe just a few ...), even considering the assumed "good intentions" this book was prepared with.

Season of Betrayal by Margaret Lowrie Robertson (2006)

As per the title, this is a story on betrayal, love and hate, set with the backdrop of the civil war Beirut in 1983. Personal relations and the society both speeding towards the inevitable crash.


Adventure Capitalist: The Ultimate Investor's Road Trip by Jim Rogers (2003)

It must be nice to be able to travel the world and throw money at the various places forgotten by everybody, and come back ten years later and check the results. Mr. Rogers lined up with the latest Tabitha just does exactly this. Some of us have really big balls, Mercedes has given him two expensive cars for free as "advertising", while multiple places in the book it is explained that in most of the world, Mercedes is the car of choice for strong man, drug dealers and the other menace to society, and they are likely to be paid for with monies gotten from the American taxpayers. I'm not sure how much goodwill was generated here, but pulling this off seems like a trait of a good trader. It is suprising (or maybe not ...) to see how much disorganization and corruption there is all over the world, except the first world countries and a selected few others, even a basic border crossing involves lots of haggling, and likely bribes of some sort.
Otherwise his ideas and analysis are respectable, and likely a moneymaker, especially considering his investment staying power.


The perfect thing : how the iPod shuffles commerce, culture, and coolness by Steven Levy (2006)

Is the iPod the perfect thing? Considering the obsession its "daddy", Steve Jobs attacks all issues, including esthatics, usability and more (as attested by the approaches taken for the original Apples and Mac computers, the doom of Next, the success of Pixar, and the triumphant return to Apple), it might not be a surprise that the iPods do turn out to be the perfect things. This book is written and published as the Shuffle works, the chapters are printed in a random order, so the copies of the book will be different from each other. This book also had the right timing to see Apple Computers to be renamed Apple, a name change which likely can be attributed in a good part to the financial success of iPod.


Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach (2006)

An investigation into the afterlife. From old(er) historical information to the latest scientific setups through multiple continents, on trying to measure, observe details of something different than our material bodies. Lots of information listed, but sorry, but there is no proof given (either way).


God Lives in St. Petersburg: and Other Stories by Tom Bissell (2005)

Another book with stories about Americans in foreign places where they (mostly) have no business to be, with sad (and deadly)endings. Maybe this is becoming a writing style itself, which speaks loud about the times we live in today.

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The age of fallibility : the consequences of the war on terror by George Soros (2006)

This is a "typical" Soros book, reflecting on current world state of affairs from an 'open society" perspective. Sometimes not an easy read, but certainly offers a personalized view.