The Other Shulman: A Novel by Alan Zweibel (2005)

Part comedy, part love triangle, part philosophical treatise, the middle age suburbanite, going-out-of-business small business owner Shulman decides to run the NY Marathon, as a starting point to change his life. Through the 26.2 chapters (as many miles as in the marathon), Shulman battles the imaginary(?) other Shulman (mythically created from his lost pounds during dieting), becomes a local hero fundraiser for the NJ AIDS movement, falls into and out of love, almost bankrupts, but than saves his stationary store, and finishes the big race last, and finally getting home to his new life beginning followed by a crowd of supporters. Excellent story.


How to Cheat at Everything: A Con Man Reveals the Secrets of the Esoteric Trade of Cheating, Scams, and Hustles by Simon Lovell (2006)

(Ex?-)Con Simon Lowell describes the cheating trade in great detail (we are to hope for the qualifier ex, as he as advising NYPD?). Many of the methods were already described in Big Con, while great details are offered on scams for various bar bets, carnivals/fair grounds, street hustles, Internet scams, cards, dice, 3-card monte, horse and dog races and more. While it seems to be true, that "no one can cheat an honest man", reading the cheats as related to various card games and dice (maybe even performed by your friends), might entice you to think twice before getting into a game, where money (or anything else?) is at stake. And one other thing is to remember too, when cheated, be careful of trying to get back what was taken, as in many situations unfortunately you will quickly meet the Muscleman (also called "Fourteen", as in that many days you will be in the hospital after being beaten up ...), walking away quietly might be a better option ...


Where Have All the Leaders Gone? by Lee Iacocca (2007)

So here is a book of rants by Mr. Iacocca on everything from politics, through running (auto) companies, Chinese industrial competition, US national debt, oil dependency and the US healthcare crisis, to what should rich people do in their retirement. While many of the issues brought up are real, one wonders, how Mr. Iacocca, hobnobbing with other elected and non-elected leaders, including Fidel Castro, Mr. Clinton, Al Gore, Prince Charles, other ex-presidents, CEOs, an the like and by his own admission helping to elect the current President Bush and being offered and ambassadorship by his administration, blackmailing the US government to save a private corporation, and contribution to the same oil dependency in all his career in the US auto industry, is to be part of any solutions, but he definitely seems to be part of the problem ...


The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't by Robert I. Sutton (2007)

Assholes, toxic persons and bullies are threat to workplace productivity and employee well-being? You bet they are. In this short book, some thoughts are offered on how to deal with assholes (and the negative atmosphere caused by them) at an organizational and a personal level, including suggestions on how to control our own "inner jerk". Here is the Dirty Dozen Asshole Tactics:
  1. Personal insults
  2. Invading one's personal territory
  3. Uninvited personal contact
  4. Threats and intimidation, both verbal and non-verbal
  5. Sarcastic jokes and teasing used as insult delivery systems
  6. Withering email flames
  7. Status slaps intended to humiliate their victims
  8. Public shaming or status degradation rituals
  9. Rude interruptions
  10. Two-faced attacks
  11. Dirty looks
  12. Treating people as if they are invisible
and here is the Certified Asshole Test. Of course, there are always exceptions to any rule, in this case one of them is Steve Jobs, asshole, who brings so much value to the organization, that the negative behavior is overshadowed. Fortunately (for employees and shareholders), many other C-level assholes are being cleaned out, as the likes of Chainsaw Al.