The Lifelong Learner :: Do what you can, with what you have, where you are -Roosevelt ::

Archive for the 'Books & Reviews' Category

On my radar: Bible March 4th, 2010
Book review: Rise of Theodore Roosevelt August 27th, 2007
Book Review: 4-hour Work Week August 9th, 2007
America: The Last Best Hope (Volume I) June 19th, 2007
Parenting: How To Talk so Kids Listen & Learn August 18th, 2006
My 2006 Book List July 31st, 2006
Read… but what? April 24th, 2006
Free Audio Books for Northern NJ Residents February 24th, 2006

On my radar: Bible

I thought the bible is way overrated. I never thought I could get myself to read it. It’s an old book. I had a feeling that it belongs to church reading. No longer. I am slowly being attached to it. It’s starting to catch my attention.



Recently it got referred to quite heavily in Love Life for Every Couple, a book I just finished reading. That book was in turn recommended in The Takeaway, where the author also recommended the Bible.

I have a New Testament Bible at home. It’s written in Polish, but I could not find the passages that were referenced to in the books. So I started searching. I  found an easy to read Bible, The Book. I just saw it at Barnes & Noble yesterday. It’s easy to read as it’s written in a modern language. I should say, translated to the modern, easy to understand language.

But how am I going to use it? Or, how is it going to help me?

I’m not sure. Yet.

It looks like The Book is loaded with great advice. It’s has a lot of great information on how to lead a married life. I think it also has some great information on how to become a better person.

Is it an ultimate self-help book? Could be. I think there is a reason that it’s considered the most influential book of all times. A lot of people recommend it. A lot.

I guess I was never ready for it. I think I’m starting to be ready now. I have that feeling now.

Book review: Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

This is a very good book about a remarkable man: Theodore Roosevelt. I am disappointed though. I did not get enough. I was ready to listen on, and whoops, the book ended. It ended when Teddy was around 40 years old, before he became the president. But I guess the book is called the Rise of Theodore R. for a reason. :-)

This book was narrated in an excellent manner. I almost cried when he was explaining the black day in Teddy’s life.

There were many sections where I was hooked on listening. I wanted to listen even more. It was interesting how he made friends in South Dakota and converted people there from strangers to one of his strongest followers. It was great to hear about his work ethic in almost all political positions he held.

There were a few times, when I lost focus, but overall, the book is very interesting from start to finish.

I learned from this book that American politics was a big mess at the end of 19th century. Corrupted politicians; big party bosses controlling a lot. Teddy changed a lot.

Like I said, this is an excellent book. Great content. Excellent narration. I need more, though. I need to find a similar book on Teddy that covers his whole lifespan.

Book Review: 4-hour Work Week

This book started out great. It is spoken with a great call-to-action voice. I really liked the first hour or hour and a half. But after that, the material covered did not really interest me. I did not finish the book — as the author suggests. I do not have a plan to hire offshore assistant. I do not want to setup an auto reply to my email, etc. These issues might be applicable to an executive but not for a normal guy like me.

I highly recommend listening to the first hour: it’s a 5-star material. After that, I would just stop.

The author does have some great suggestions. For instance, keep applying to 80/20 principle to you business/personal life and concentrate the top 20%, top 10% on the things that bring the most reward.

Another thing that was interesting is the information diet. The author advocates stopping wasting time reading magazines/news. He advocates reading what really interests you. Tired of the book you’re reading, put it away!

One other thing, which I’m actually implementing, is to stop checking personal email the first thing you come to work. It puts you out of focus. I agree. I now check email during lunch time and at the end of the day.

It was interesting to hear all of the author’s business startups and bold moves.

America: The Last Best Hope (Volume I)

American history is interesting. It has had many great leaders. Reading about Washington, Hamilton, Franklin, Lincoln, Wilson, just to name a few, is fascinating. This is really interesting to me, and I’m not a history buff at all.

My knowledge how America was founded is increasing. I learned a lot from this book. I have to admit that I did not learn a lot about US history in High School nor in College. (I don’t remember anything from those studies, in any case.) But by reading books like this, I am putting things into context and things are starting to make sense for me.

This book presents the events from when America was discovered all the way till the 1st World War. Not everything was interesting, as in any history book, but overall, this was a very good book. Interesting from start to finish… at times, I could not put it down.What were the most interesting parts? Independence movement, Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, and Woodrow Wilson.

Negatives? At times, it was not detailed enough. I have read a good deal about the independence movement and learned in detail about Hamilton, Franklin, Washington, and Adams. Not enough was said about them. Coverage about Hamilton was not sufficient, who I consider the most prolific founding father thus far.

Overall, a very good book; interesting 20 hours of listening.

Parenting: How To Talk so Kids Listen & Learn

I learned a lot by listening to these two books. They both contain similar information, but I think they compliment each other.

What did I learn? I used to think that punishment is a good way to discipline kids. I don’t mean hitting, but punishing for the wrong things. I see now that my thinking was wrong.

Punishing does not work! The result of punishment is that kids are just more careful and try not to get caught. There are better ways of making sure that the message gets across.

The most important thing is (I knew this was the key): pay attention to your kid’s feelings. Listen to your kid. Even if he is complaining. Listening is probably the most important thing that you can do to help your kid. Put yourself into his mind, think what he is going/went through, ask him to tell you more. Pay attention. By listening first, you have a chance that your kid will listen to you as well.

If however, you have a kid that misbehaves, there are ways to attack that. You hope you only have to take the first few steps. First, tell him to stop. Second, tell him how you feel and what you expect. Third, give him a choice (“you can either sit in the cart or walk and not run”). Fourth, and this is instead of punishment, take action, make him pay (I guess this is a form of a punishment): if you go to a store, and your kid insists on going, ask him why you’re going alone; offer to take him next time but not this time. Do not give in (this is important to teach him a lesson).

Don’t label your kid. Don’t call him names. Always concentrate on what he did wrong, not on him. Remember that your kid wants to be loved, and if you call him “you’re stupid,” “you’re slow,” etc, he will feel rejected. You don’t want that. Instead. tell him that you’re not happy with his action, and tell him your expectations.

Another good solution to your kids behavioral problem (when you’re running out of options) is to sit down with him and brainstorm for possible solutions. Tell him that you can both try to solve the problem. Ask him what he can do. Brainstorm for ideas. Write it down. You offer solutions as well. Write them down without discussing. After you come up with some solutions, you pick the ones that can work for both of you. The kid feels in charge this way.

Overall, good information contained in these books. I learned some new techniques, confirmed some of the ones that I had. All of the methods discussed in these books are good ones.

My 2006 Book List

Here are the books that I finished reading so far in 2006. This is to be updated throughout the year. My goal is to read/listen to at least ten.

This book is filled with good advice. The best part of the book is on how to manage well: mainly to play to each individual’s uniqueness and strengths. However, this book was monotone at times. This would be an excellent book if the most important parts were abridged into a 3-4 hour book, vs the 8 hours this book is. A useful book. I might re-read if when I become a manager.

I don’t know too much about Theodore Roosevelt but I do know that he was the US president. From this book, where I had hoped to learn a lot more about his political life, I did not accomplish that. This book is more about the Roosevelt family (which was interesting, and dramatic) than just about Theodore himself. Actually, this book does not do justice to Theodore’s life — more time was dedicated to his life with the cattle than his political life. This book was boring at times. I wanted to put it down since the beginning, but I did not, hoping it will get better. Not really. I believe there are better books on Theodore. After listening to autobiographies of John Adams, Franklin, and Hamilton, I am disappointed.

This book is loaded with useful parenting information. A lot of it is common sense, but hearing it from the author just puts a confirmation stamp on it. The main message I got: be consistent; when you say you’re going to do something, do it. One other thing, punishment might work, but most of the time it does not (I discovered this before — see my previous post, Parenting: How To Talk so Kids Listen & Learn). Taking away something they desire, does. Timeouts work as well.

I plan to re-listen to this book later.

A decent book (very good plot), but I think it’s overrated. It starts out great. However, from the middle on, even though it was creative, I did not think it was that interesting. I am not sure if I like fiction books. Knowing that it was a fiction, kind of killed it for me.

Enjoyable and informative book. It’s very easy to listen. You will hear about different things that happen that you never thought of. The one about abortion and crime is really fascinating. Good book but I think it’s a bit overrated.

America should really be thankful to their founding fathers. They did so much. They basically made America. And nobody did more, work harder and had more lasting effect than the work of Alexander Hamilton. He was a very plorific server for America. He did accomplish a lot. This is a fascinating story about a remarkable man. I cried at the end like I never did even in real life. Just a warning: it’s a 30 hour book and I wished it could have been a little shorter, as some stuff could be cut out.

Benjamin Franklin was a remarkable man. He accomplished a lot: he was a great printer, a scientist, a politician (and a girl lover :-) ). Benjamin Franklin did a lot for America. In this book, I learned all of that, and a lot more. The material is presented in a series of lectures, very hard to put down. Interesting style. I learned a lot about Mr. Franklin and about his times from this book.

By reading this book I learned how to work better, more efficient. I started taking breaks every 90-120 mins. It allows me to recharge my brain (if you’re doing a brain intensive activity you need to do it). I am sure that you can find something in this book that will make you work better. A helpful book.

A book on how brain works. Overall, fairly good stuff. There was one excellent chapter, Chapter 3, Genius and Superior Performance, which talks about how even I can become an expert. Because of this chapter, I’m going to keep the book for a while. The rest of the book is a little boring, though. The author talks about different aspects of the brain, how it works, how it reacts to different things. Might be interesting, but I had hard time concentrating.

This is a book written by a true leader, and an untainted executive (you’ll find out more in the book). The author, an executive who’s had the most success while at Medtronic, concentrates on timeless leadership values. The way he presents them, backed by examples really drew me in to the book (from start to finish). The title should have been more like “Authentic Executive Leadership” since it concentrates on CEOs of companies, but the values are applicable to every type of a leader, every type of a person. This is the best book on leadership I’ve read (listened).

A good book. It contains some good information, but there are better leadership books out there.

oks&v=glance&n=283155", /*my-review-url*/ "", /*authors-url*/ "", /*pic-location*/ "2006/RobertsRulesOfWriting.gif", /*isbn*/ "1582973261", /*date-read*/ "2/2006", /* stars -- number*/ "4" ); ?>I’m giving it four stars because it is a book geared towards writers. I’m not a writer and I don’t want to be a writer. I want to improve my writing. This book contains a lot of help in that regard. There are 14 tips in the book that I marked as either excellent or very good. Chances are, you will find something good for yourself. A very good book.

I’m not a history buff. I’m actually pretty bad in history, but this book was amazing. John Adams was a man of character. America has a lot to be thankful to John Adams for what he did during the time of Independence movement. I learned a lot about John Adams, about the early struggles, etc. This is the best non-tech book I’ve listened to.

Read… but what?

One of the best ways to constantly learn is… to read books. OK, you might agree. But read what? Good question. That’s not so easy to answer. You have to read what you like. You have to pick the books that interest you. If you pick a book that does not interest you, put it aside, read another one. If you force yourself into reading a book, then reading will not be fun for you. If you make reading fun, then you will read a lot more. And thus learn a lot more. :-)

I love to read. I read constantly and I’m actually looking forward to my commute because I can listen to books. It’s a great way to gain more knowledge. Plus, most of the audio books I get for free ( or

But the question is: what should I read? First thing, start anywhere. Don’t worry about the next book. Why? Because inside that book you will most likely have recommendations for other books. Put them into a wishlist (I have several at Amazon). Then when the time comes, pick something from the list.

Another good way is to feed off from other people’s recommendations. I recently discovered Top Ten Books from Guy Kawasaki (well-known blogger, writer). Some books were on my wishlist. So what did I do? I ordered several of them. I know that I want to read them (since I already had them on my wishlist), plus he had good recommendations. I ordered Influence, Uncommon Genius, and If You Want to Write. Several others I added to my wishlist.

I try to read the best books. So before I read/buy any book I go to Amazon and check its reviews. I only read the highest rated.

ReferenceMy Ten Favorite Books, Guy Kawasaki

Free Audio Books for Northern NJ Residents

I commute to work everyday (around 40mins each way now; used to be around an hour). I love to read. Put these two together and you get? Books on tape. That’s right, I’ve been an Audible subscriber for over a year now. No longer. I found something better. For free. ??? NetLibrary, available for Bergen County, NJ residents (it might be available in other counties, I think).

What is NetLibrary? Free books. Over thousand of them. And they have some excellent books. I downloaded my first one yesterday, Authentic Leadership, opened it in Windows Media Player and transferred it to my portable device (the one I got from Audible for free). Boom. It works. This is just great.

I used to like Audible. It looks like a decent deal for $22 every month. But I am forced to pick a book every month. Plus, I don’t really want to pay (if I can avoid it). Audible, goodbye. Just by browsing NetLibrary yesterday and today, I’ve already put over fifteen books to my to-listen list (available on the site). Really, the amount of great (I mean five-star books on Amazon) books available is incredible. 1776, plenty of books on leadership, autobiogrophies, and much more. This is just awesome.

If you live in Bergen County, go to, create an account (you need a library card), and enjoy Free Audio books.

ReferenceNetLibrary: source for free audio books.

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