I’ll start with the good. There is some great advice and step-by-step tips on crafting an offer for people to purchase your service. And I did find it to be focused more on service than it is on physical products. I also have to applaud all of the free extras that are available on the website and linked from the book. The presentation of the book itself didn’t do it for me. Some areas I found to be repetitive. Some felt like there were just surface-level thoughts that could have been fleshed out more. The writing style was a little too conversational, including some grammatical errors here and there. Overall, it felt more like I was reading the first draft than a final, edited book. And I think that detracted from the tools and the message.

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Combining Las Vegas history with fantasy/supernatural elements was a great recipe for me. Powers did a wonderful job of incorporating historical elements into this world, and taking the mystical elements of tarot, luck, gambling, cards, etc. and making them real. This novel felt cinematic to me. it seems to be a perfect fit for a movie or TV adaptation. I’ve read that the two other novels in the series aren’t exactly sequels, so I’m not sure I’ll continue, but this was definitely a great introduction to Tim Powers.

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Whether you’re trying to improve education and employment outcomes or know men in your life, you probably already know that boys and men are struggling. Reeves not only lays out the case for why, but also offers specific advice on what policy changes can make a difference. I also appreciated that chapters were addressing how the right and the left are contributing to these issues. By addressing partisan talking points, I think Reeves does a good job of diffusing arguments before they begin so that we can focus on the root causes and solutions. Unfortunately, many of the solutions involve difficult policy changes that are likely beyond our local control. But the book does provide a good bold goal and roadmap for what it might take.

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I continue to be a big Schulberg fan. This time we’re taken behind the scenes in the corrupt world of boxing in the late 1940s. The protagonist, Eddie Lewis, signs on to be the hype-man/writer for boxers who are basically owned by the mob. The story follows a zero-talent giant’s rise in the boxing ranks thanks to Eddie’s hype and a series of fixed matches leading to the championship. Eddie’s love interest serves as his conscience as he faces the moral dilemma of getting out or accepting a lucrative salary. Despite his missteps, we empathize with Eddie and see how he can justify his decisions. Even though I know little about boxing, Schulberg’s story kept me engaged throughout.

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I read this hoping there would be some insights on tackling poverty here in the US. Just as the tagline says, the real focus of this book is on global poverty. Some tips are applicable to poverty here in this country, but most of the focus is on the unique circumstances in 3rd world economies. That said, the actual research contained is excellent. The reasons that those in poverty don’t always make the optimal decisions is clearly laid out with stats and anecdotes. This would be especially good for those with a global focus.

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I’ve been reading a lot of work-related books lately, even on RBA, so I had some high hopes for this one. This was more like a textbook to me. I think I could have gotten more out of it if it were being used as part of a training. I’m usually good at learning on my own, but I just don’t feel like I got what I could have out of this one. There is some advice given and some instructions on running effective meetings, but every time I was expecting to get some really valuable insights, it seemed to stop short or just skim the surface. Overall, it just didn’t work for me.

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This isn’t exactly a story about “nothing”. In fact, quite a bit happens throughout. However, it doesn’t really have a true climax. Instead, this does a good job of showing lives that are intertwined and how events and decisions in life have a rippling impact on not only our lives but the lives of those around us. Set against the backdrop of a Madoff-like Ponzi scheme in 2008, we travel through the lives of the people it touched, as well as the lives of those one step removed. How much do our decisions impact others? Where does our responsibility lie? These are the questions that all of us must wrestle with.

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On my 2nd read of this book, I didn’t find it as groundbreaking as I did on my first read. Have I gotten better so that the advice is more intuitive? It still is filled with specific tips on building a team and making meetings more effective. The focus should be on building the health of your organization. Performance improvements will then follow. Having great performance but poor organizational health isn’t sustainable. Still a good read that I would recommend.

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This is a fantastic, comprehensive overview of the history of heavy metal music. I’m not necessarily the heavy metal superfan that might be the prime target for this book, but I still found it to be extremely funny and interesting. O’Neill does a great job of telling the tale in an engaging way. I was born in 1973, so I kind of grew up in the sweet spot of a lot of this, but there were still a ton of bands and stories that I hadn’t heard before. I think this is good for the heavy metal enthusiast as well as just the general music fan. Good stuff!

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Shane J. Orr

Shane is interested in reading, RPGs (mostly D&D), baseball, and living a stoic life.