Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Review: Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump

Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump by Rick Reilly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It seemed like time once again for a nonfiction sports book, and this one fit the bill, with the "bonus" of providing current commentary on our national leadership situation. Author Rick Reilly, a favorite of mine from way back, starts off the book with a dedication, "This book is dedicated to the truth. It’s still a thing." And I am glad it's still a thing, and I think the book's title regarding "how golf explains..." is spot on, especially with the impeachment sentiment growing fast and POTUS's ongoing dodge on the Ukrainian situation to say nothing about all the related matters that are coming out daily. The book includes lots I didn't know about golf as well - starting with handicaps and course ratings, and the delving into course ownership and architecture. But it's the Commander in Cheat's lack of character and continual boasting and lying is what the book centers on, and I salute the courageous author for documenting so much of it.

Summing it up, as Reilly writes, "'Everything he does to the country now, as president, he did to us beforehand, in golf,' says a then-high-ranking LPGA official who doesn’t particularly want the most powerful man in the world knowing who she is.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Review: Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss: A Novel

Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss: A Novel Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss: A Novel by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I greatly enjoyed this novel and all its facets. Very timely and personal for me, especially as a sometimes-economics professor and father. I especially liked all the references of this clearly well-researched book. This includes the thinly veiled characterization of my old econ prof and 2017 Nobel winner Richard Thaler, considered by some the "father of behavioral economics" and (briefly) portrayed in the novel as a rival of the title character, Professor Chandra.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Review: Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am so pleased that my local library system came up with Nomadland as a recommended read for me! I decided to give it a shot, and it ended up as one of my more memorable books from the past couple of years, with similarities to Evicted, but hitting on so many interesting topics I have been curious about. This starts with the overnight-or-longer "urban campers" I see regularly over by one of our more out-of-the way city parks, and includes the subculture of Baby Boomer workers who, in their RVs, seasonally descend on Amazon warehouses. I found the author's bio in her Twitter account as writing on subcultures, and that she does, very well. Subcultures have one of my major interests tied to my many years, practicing and teaching in the marketing field. While reading and now after finishing Nomadland, I find myself telling people about the "boondockers" every chance I get!

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Thursday, September 05, 2019

Review: Ten Innings at Wrigley: The Wildest Ballgame Ever, with Baseball on the Brink

Ten Innings at Wrigley: The Wildest Ballgame Ever, with Baseball on the Brink Ten Innings at Wrigley: The Wildest Ballgame Ever, with Baseball on the Brink by Kevin Cook
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sometimes a sports book can be the most entertaining and educational book of the year! Author Kevin Cook fills in the details leading up to this classic game between the Cubs and the Phillies, with some great history to set the stage. The game itself was a classic battle (that's an understatement), that brought together two teams with interesting legacies, some great, some not so great. A number of players involved would leave their own personal legacies, and the latter part of the book, following the 10 innings of play-by-play, covers the fascinating stories, these including Dave (Kong) Kingman and the late, great Bill Buckner. Highly recommend!

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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Review: A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bill Gates made me do it, and I loved it! I like how his synopsis sums it up: "...an amazing story that anyone can enjoy." This book is one of Bill's Five Summer Reads for 2019 (https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill...) and I made it the first of the five to take on. It was long, but easy and fun reading with enough background to make it very educational as well. Having taken a lifelong learning course on Russia recently, with another one due for the Fall, I am grateful for all the cultural references - I feel it made me a bit smarter, especially on Russian literature, where I am starting from pretty close to nothing. (And who knew Bill Gates has read everything ever written by Dostoyevsky?)

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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Review: Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad

Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I managed to take my time on this short book, and it was very rewarding. It includes so many insightful quotes and references - some new to me, a few others familiar but worth refreshing. One of his 10 ways involves the value of walking ("Demons hate fresh air") that I found particularly heartening. I am definitely resolved to keep up my walking routine as a result.

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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Review: Lake of the Ozarks: My Surreal Summers in a Vanishing America

Lake of the Ozarks: My Surreal Summers in a Vanishing America Lake of the Ozarks: My Surreal Summers in a Vanishing America by Bill Geist
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun to reminisce about "the good old days" with the author. In fact, makes me want to record some of my own memories.

Bill is a few years older than me, but we are essentially contemporaries. I knew this when early in the book he discloses his favorite Sirius Radio station - Classic Vinyl. His memories have certainly triggered many of my own. Bottom line on the book - he is a great storyteller.

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