Friday, October 23, 2009

The REAL Founding Fathers

From the people who brought you The Five Thousand Year Leap (National Center for Constitutional Studies) comes three of THE most useful books on George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin.

Are there better biographies of these Founders that should be in the Library? A definite yes! But what makes these three particular books so wonderful is you get a good biography PLUS a fairly extensive compendium of their words (quotes) organized by subject.

I'd recommend purchasing all three books as a set directly from the NCCS for a better deal. The books are:

The Real George Washington
The Real Thomas Jefferson
The Real Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Job Search

Back in college, I attended a lecture given by Stephen R. Covey - long before he figured out seven ways to become highly successful. In that lecture, he talked about being proactive and discussed how a student could be proactive in his job hunting. He recommended a book that would help in that process.

So, I not only took his advice, but I also resolved that I would use that proactive process on him. I purchased the recommended book, read it carefully, and applied it's principles and practices to land me a job with the Covey Organization. I was responsible for the planning and promotion of a seminar Mr. Covey did with featured speakers: management guru Tom Peters, cookie queen Debbie Fields, and legendary coach LaVell Edwards.

I've since moved on but have fond memories of the whole proactive experience. Having watched Mr. Covey's success over the years, I've wondered what my life would have been like if I had stayed with his very young company (perhaps ten employees at the time).

Well, Microsoft-type riches aren't for everybody....

And the book? What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles

The best book on how to find a job - colorfully written - and never more timely than in today's economic environment.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Reagan, Radicals, and Republicans

You know, “R” is an interesting letter. Think about it, while most American toddlers can’t even say it properly, UnAmericans give it a foreigner flourish by trilling it. The Japanese like it so much they use it in place of the letter “L”. I heard one Japanese lounge singer render White Christmas this way, “Where the tree tops gristen, and children risten. R's popularity has even gone to the dogs: Scooby-doo and Astro start every word with it….

So, in tribute to the letter R - and for those leaders of the R party who can take time away from their religious reading of the legislation placed before them - I give you the newest additions to our Library:

1) Ronald Reagan: An American Life - THE best autobiography on Ronald Reagan. OK, so it's the only autobiography by Ronald Reagan. But, by default, that makes it the best. Which goes to show you, be the only one to write a book on a particular subject and you're sure of getting into the Library of the Gods.

2) Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky - In the spirit of "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer," what could be closer than having THE book on radicalism on your nightstand? Patton was reading "The Tank in Battle" by Erwin Rommel the night before their military engagement. As his forces began to defeat the enemy, Patton uttered these gentle words, "Rommel! You magnificent @#$*!%, I read your book!!!" (and the historical truth of the foregoing can all be verified by watching the movie).

In the interest of bipartisanship, I would love to honor the letter "D" in an upcoming "Delano, Demons, and Democrats" offering, but I think I would have to get some help (pardon me, my conservative streak is showing).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

MAN: His Rise and Fall

Through the mists of time, we reflect on the eloquent words of that immortal statesman, Apollo Creed: "Be a thinker - not a stinker."

Creed is now gone - having suffered an untimely death in that horrible East beats, and beats, and beats West boxing match we all endured so many sequels ago. And sadly, we men no longer heed Creed's proffered advice (should I have said "wee men"?).

Nowhere is the contrast in Creed's admonition more evident than in this weeks' entries in the Library of the Gods....

1) Ascent of Man by Jacob Bronowski - an almost word-for-word transcription of the groundbreaking BBC series which chronicles the progression of human society through its knowledge of science. Don't let the mention of science scare you from this book. It describes the progression of science in a cultural sort of way that is very readable and enlightening.

The next title speaks more about man, in specific, and less about his progression....

2) The Big Damn Book of Sheer Manliness by The Von Hoffman Bros.

This is the definitive work that answers the question: What makes a man tick... or itch, or scratch, burp, fart, cuss, or beat his chest. It describes what makes men cry (John Wayne being shot in the back) and what makes them laugh (blowing stuff up).

If you have a man in your life - of whatever age, size, or variety - you and he need this book to understand one another.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Written by an ex-member of the Special Air Services (SAS), a British elite special forces regiment that has served as the model for the special forces of other countries, this is considered THE book to get on survival.

Striving to be the definitive work, this book covers a lot of territory. Consequently, there are those who point out that it does not cover certain topics in great depth (some have noted the section on "Spear Throwing" is a tad light).

So, with apologies to all you stay-at-home spear chuckers, this is still the book to get if you want to survive:

SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea by John "Lofty" Wiseman

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Advertising: How to create

I have been a student, teacher, and practitioner of advertising for quite some time. I have used Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples over and over again. I believe it is the best book to read on how to create an advertisement.

But even that is too limiting. The principles and practices outlined in the book make it applicable to so many different marketing applications. If you are creating an ad, a flyer, a website - anything where you want to get someone's attention - then this book can help you create something that will get results.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Written over 100 years ago, this is the bible on soap bubbles. While not for the serious soap bubble scientist (yes, there are such people), the book is filled with simple experiments, scarce on technical jargon and perfect for the laybubbleperson.

This is for the parent who isn't content with buying little Timmy a bottle of bubbles but feels it absolutely necessary to understand the science behind the silliness. Enjoy...

The book is Soap Bubbles: Their Colors and Forces Which Mold Them by C.V. Boys