Archive for the ‘Nonfiction’ Category

Rigged

It was good enough to keep me reading, but unlike Mezrich’s other more famous book (Bringing Down the

House), Rigged wasn’t nearly as exciting and didn’t have quite the same effect of surprising you when you realized it was a true story. That being said, it was ok, but worth the read if you are looking for something easy.

The story follows a young recent MBA graduate who stumbles into what is probably the most financially rewarding industry in the country – trading energy futures.  He has to deal with all of the people standing in his way and prove himself as not just a stuck up Harvard boy.  He quickly gains the respect of his peers and his superiors which allows him to undertake an unlikely business venture in the Middle East only about a year after 9/11.

I would say give it a shot if you are looking for something light – although in my mind, it is definitely a better book to get from the library than to spend your book budget on.

Microtrends

Microtrends book“Microtrends” was surprisingly good.  Usually I don’t enjoy business books.  This one however was quite interesting.  Each chapter discussed an emerging trend.  Some are religious, some are lifestyle based, some are political.  Each discussed groups and the trends that are emerging….And what repercussions might come from it.

So read it if you like….I certainly did.

Thunderstruck

thunderstruck“Thunderstruck” proved to be yet another good read by Erik Larson.  Last year, I read “Devil in the White City” and loved it so, when I saw this on the shelf I didn’t think twice about picking it up and reading it.

“Thunderstruck,” as in his previous works tells an intertwined tale of what is technically historical fiction but based fairly accurately on actual events.  This story told of a murder and the development of wireless communication in the early 1900’s.  These seemingly unrelated events come together in the end.  Larson does an excellent job of tying together events with dramatic stories coinciding holding my interest from the first page until the end.

I was not at all familiar with Marconi and his contributions to wireless communication and being the nerd that I am was immediately drawn to the technological developments he contributed to the scientific community.  I was also unaware of the Crippen murder in London and reading this story brought me in to quite a few pop culture references that I was previously clueless about.

Overall, a very interesting story and a very quick and easy read for anyone.

Timequake

042516434901lzzzzzzzTimequake by Kurt Vonnegut brings out his pithy comments as usual but is a more personal story.  That being said, if you aren’t one of Vonnegut’s lackeys, I don’t know if you will enjoy it as much as I did.  You really need to have an interest in what motivates the author and how his mind functions.  

The actual story deals with a “timequake” in which everyone must relive the last 10 years in exactly the same way they lived it the first time.  They lose all grasp of free will and when the timequake catches up to actual time again, chaos ensues because people are still just waiting for things to happen that they have no control over.  Cars and planes crash because people are on a new form of “autopilot”, people fall downstairs because they have forgotten how to walk, and in general people do not know what to do now that they have the choice.  

It’s a quick, entertaining, and sometimes funny book that can be easily read in a day or two.  A must read for all Vonnegut fans who want to get a better idea of the artists mind at work.

Rigged

rigged-by-ben-mezrichDavid Russo, of the NYMEX, was a major force in developing a mercantile exchange in the fast-growing Dubai.  “Rigged” is the story of the trials encountered throughout the development.

“Rigged” by Ben Mezrich proved to be a good follow up to “Bringing Down the House” (a.k.a. 21).  Mezrich tells the stories of fairly obscure people and incidences in a way that is compelling and makes it hard to wait to get to the end.  I am always curious about the people involved and how some of these things happened without ever hearing about it previously in the news.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the developments in Dubai as well as those who enjoyed “Bringing Down the House.”

The Devil’s Highway

devils_highway1This book is really interesting and a real page turner, but you must convince yourself to not give up in the middle.  After you get past the middle, you will be really happy you stuck with it.

“The Devil’s Highway” describes the deadly journey of 26 Mexicans who crossed the border into the most brutal desert on the continent, the Sonoran Desert.  Urrea, the author, is a Mexican born writer that probably knows more about the “coyote” guides and Border Patrol than any politician or other authorities.  Urrea focuses most of his time on the plight of the 26 men, 14 of which died horrible, preventable, deaths.  Amid the horrific and vivid details, the story is always told with a sense of compassion, for both the men crossing the border and the Border Patrol.  Urrea’s eye for detail, down to single items each man was carrying, is a great addition for this story which may have otherwise disappeared into the back pages of the news.

Besides the actual border crossing, Urrea addresses life in Mexico, reasons for crossing the border, and the price paid to guides for the journey.   I would reccomend this book to learn about the immigration issue, life in Mexico, the Border Patrol, and many other reasons.

The Tipping Point

The Tipping Poing

The Tipping Point

I finished “The Tipping Point” Monday while flying home from Italy.  I started it the day before.  It was an incredibly fast read however I can’t say that I was that impressed with anything beyond the ease of finishing it. He outlines the roles of Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen in the marketing world and how each of them contribute to the overall success of a product or company.  Much of it was interesting early on yet had a certain element of common sense that I could not seem to get past.   I am the first to say that I don’t find business books to be all that interesting. (I only read them to enhance my knowledge for work)  They can generally cut the length down to the first thirty pages because they have said everything they need to say and the rest is just repetetive.

Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” was no different.  I had read his book “Blink” this summer and enjoyed it so I expected this to be similar.  Maybe it was because I read two books by the same author too close to each other.  Maybe it was because everyone I know builds this book up to be amazing and the bar was just set too high.  Whatever it was, I felt that I understood the point he was trying to make very early on and could have been finished reading 150 pages earlier.