Thursday, July 16, 2020

Book Review - Own the Day, Own Your Life: Optimized Practices for Waking, Working, Learning, Eating, Training, Playing, Sleeping, and Sex by Aubrey Marcus

Years ago I had read a couple of books that discussed expert achievement and the 10,000 hour rule to achieve greatness. I was really impressed with the ideas. I didn't realize the authors were misquoting and misrepresenting the research.

Own the Day, Own Your Life: Optimized Practices for Waking, Working, Learning, Eating, Training, Playing, Sleeping, and Sex by Aubrey Marcus is a nonfiction book that discusses several simple ways one can improve one's life in several areas. It is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good



Presentation. This book is really well written in a very conversational style that sounds like your buddy sharing information with you over dinner.

Simple. The ideas the author presents are simple enough that most people will be able to implement most of them.

Comprehensive. The author presents ideas that cover a wide range of areas that are important for most people's lives and could use improvement.

The Bad


Recommends Drugs. While I understand the author's arguments for using drugs (tobacco, marijuana, etc.), there are healthier and safer alternatives that are just as effective if not more so.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


While I agree with most of the ideas the author presents, it would have been nice if the author had backed up all his claims with research and not just anecdotal evidence.

Overall


Own the Day, Own Your Life: Optimized Practices for Waking, Working, Learning, Eating, Training, Playing, Sleeping, and Sex by Aubrey Marcus is a nonfiction book that discusses several simple ways one can improve one's life in several areas. This book is really well written in a very conversational style that sounds like your buddy sharing information with you over dinner. The ideas the author presents are simple enough that most people will be able to implement most of them. The author presents ideas that cover a wide range of areas that are important for most people's lives and could use improvement. I did not agree with his views on using drugs. While I understand the author's arguments for using drugs (tobacco, marijuana, etc.), there are healthier and safer alternatives that are just as effective if not more so. While I agree with most of the ideas the author presents, it would have been nice if he had backed up all his claims with research and not just anecdotal evidence. I highly recommend this book and give it 4.5 out of 5 eReaders.


  

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/

Friday, July 3, 2020

Book Review - Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool

Years ago I had read a couple of books that discussed expert achievement and the 10,000 hour rule to achieve greatness. I was really impressed with the ideas. I didn't realize the authors were misquoting and misrepresenting the research.

Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool is a nonfiction book discussing research conducted on several performers who reached the top of their field. It is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good



Information. This book presents a lot of information and several studies about how those at the top of their fields reached their field. It describes the studies and also lists the limitations and deficiencies of the science and research.

Presentation. This book is well written with all the information clearly laid out and presented in an easy-to-understand manner that isn't trying to talk down to anyone.

The Bad


Speculation. The research covered very few different disciplines, and the authors speculated on a whole lot more based on the little research. While their speculation sounds reasonable, so do the ideas their research refutes.

Author Conclusions. The authors offer some conclusions and possible implications of this research, but they are very limited in their scope and ignore the fact that greatness takes a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of focus, and most people aren't capable of that even if they are capable of learning the the skills for greatness.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I would have enjoyed more research. The studies were very limited to just a few categories.

Overall


Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool is a nonfiction book discussing research conducted on several performers who reached the top of their field and how they did it. It refutes the notions of innate talent, the idea you must be born with the ability to reach greatness, and the 10,000 hour rule Maxwell Gladwell mistakenly took from their research. The studies are laid out and the information is clearly presented. The main weaknesses are the small number of areas that have been studied and the authors' limited view of what the ramifications of their research could be. I highly recommend this book and give it 4.5 out of 5 eReaders.


  

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Movie Review - Memories (1995 Anime)

I love animation that tries something new, and I love animated shorts. I also love anime from the 80s and 90s, so Memories seems like something I should love, right?

Memories is a 1995 anthology of three anime films based on short stories by Katsuhiro Otomo. It is rated PG-13 for language and adult themes and is appropriate for teens and up.

Magnetic Rose - 4/5


A salvage team in space receives and SOS and investigates and finds a satellite where a famous opera singer once lived and now appears to be haunted.

Story 3.5/5. The story is interesting but so vague it's hard to follow. Katsuhiro Otomo in an interview indicated this was what he meant to do, so it isn't a matter of the viewer just not getting it.

Animation 5/5. The visuals could not be more breathtaking. The movement couldn't have been better done. From an artistic standpoint, this is a masterpiece.

Stink Bomb - 5/5


A man working at a research institute has a cold and accidentally takes an experimental drug that has disastrous effects. This is a dark comedy.

Story 4.5/5. The story is very straightforward, moves as a great pace, and has a twist ending (that you see coming from a mile).

Animation 5/5. The visuals really well done with great animation and great movement.

Cannon Fodder 3/5

A silent short about the day in the life of a village in the middle of a war that's been going on so long it's just become part of daily life.

Story 3/5. The story is supposed to be an anti-war film, but I doubt you would get that from watching it. Again, it's just a day-in-the-life-of story that is so vague you could attach numerous meanings to it.

Animation 4/5. The visuals are interesting in an experimental way, but nothing anyone would want to copy.

Overall


Memories is a 1995 anthology of three anime films based on short stories by Katsuhiro Otomo. There is no overall theme or other connection between the three. The animation is amazing in all three, especially the first two. The stories are another matter. Katsuhiro Otomo in an interview indicated he meant the stories to be vague, and they are. The second story is very linear and strong, but the twist ending is pretty predictable. I give this anthology 4 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.


   

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Book Review - Hollywood vs. The Author edited by Stephen Jay Schwartz

I really enjoy hearing people's stories and behind-the-scenes stories of books, movies, and other entertainment. While I hadn't heard of most of these authors, and those I have heard and read their works I didn't like, I still thought this could be an enjoyable read.

Hollywood vs. The Author edited by Stephen Jay Schwartz is a collection of essays by authors and screenwriters about working with Hollywood. It is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good



Variety of Experiences.While everyone who contributes and essay is a writer, some are writers of novels, some writers of comics, some writers of short stories, some writers of screenplays, and some have written a combination of the above. Some have had good experiences, and some have had bad experiences. While there are similarities in the stories, no one's story is the same as another. Each gives you new information.

Scope. Some of the stories are about a short period of time involving one project, and some take place over a lot of time and cover several projects. Yet almost each author does a good job of including only the parts of their experience that are important to the story with only a few exceptions.

Information. This book presents a lot of good information and helps explain so much of why we see what we see on the screen and why we don't see other things on the screen.

The Bad

Wining. Most authors have accepted their experiences and moved on. There are a few that use their essay as a "Oh Woe Is Me" moment. Those are obnoxious, but are fortunately few and mostly towards the end.

Author Selection. Most of the contributors to this collection I've never heard of. The few authors that are familiar to me are authors I do not like and I don't think are good writers. Fortunately their essay work is better than their fiction.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I would have enjoyed hearing from a few good writers and known writers, not just lesser knowns and lesser talents.

Overall


Hollywood vs. The Author edited by Stephen Jay Schwartz is a collection of essays by authors and screenwriters about working with Hollywood. While everyone who contributes and essay is a writer, some are writers of novels, some writers of comics, some writers of short stories, some writers of screenplays, and some have written a combination of the above. Some have had good experiences, and some have had bad experiences. While there are similarities in the stories, no one's story is the same as another and most are very interesting. A few writers unfortunately chose to use their essay as a "Oh Woe Is Me" moment trying to elicit sympathy and justify their failure. Most of the contributors to this collection I've never heard of. The few authors that are familiar to me are authors I do not like and I don't think are good writers. Fortunately their essay work is better than their fiction. I highly recommend this book and give it 4.5 out of 5 eReaders.


  

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/

Monday, June 15, 2020

Book Review - The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford

I really enjoy business books, and I enjoy well written drama. Who knew the two could be combined into one story? I suppose anyone who's read The Goal: A Business Graphic Novel by Eliyahu Goldratt.

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford is a guide to better IT and implementing DevOps disguised as a workplace drama. It is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good


Concept. The idea of exploring better IT practices thru a workplace drama is brilliant. Not only is it interesting, but the value and need for the practices is immediately obvious.

Story. The story is solid. A failing company only has a short amount of time to turn things around or it will cease to be a going concern when and expert is brought in to mentor the one man who is in the best position to save the company. There is plenty of drama, set backs, and successes.

Characters. The characters are so well conceived and developed. They fell like actual people, and they probably are in some companies based on the book reviews.

Information. This book presents really good information, not just about IT practices, but general principles one can apply to any aspect of business or even life. And it doesn't just give you the answer but helps lead you to it.

The Bad

...

What I Would Like to Have Seen


...

Overall


The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford is a guide to better IT and implementing DevOps disguised as a workplace drama.The idea of exploring better IT practices thru a workplace drama is brilliant. Not only is it interesting, but the value and need for the practices is immediately obvious. This book presents really good information, not just about IT practices, but general principles one can apply to any aspect of business or even life. And it doesn't just give you the answer but helps lead you to it. The characters are so well conceived and developed. They fell like actual people, and they probably are in some companies based on the book reviews. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 eReaders.


  

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/

Friday, June 12, 2020

Movie Review - Artemis Fowl


I had never heard of Artemis Fowl until Disney started advertising the movie. I had no plans to see it in theaters because of the disappointing trailer, but when it showed up on Disney+ I thought, "I suppose it's worth an hour and a half of my time." And it almost was.

Artemis Fowl is a 2020 fantasy film based on a series of books by the same name. It is rated PG for action violence and is appropriate for all ages.

The Good


Clever Take on Fairies. The movie had a really clever take on the fairy world and it's relation to our world and its use of technology. It was well thought out and explored in a decent amount of detail.

The Bad


Story. There was not a lot of story. A half hour into the film I was still waiting for it to start before I realized this was all there was.

Characters Talking and Standing Around. Most of the film consists of characters standing around and talking. Occasionally something else happens, but the action scenes are few and far between.

No Peril. The main villain is introduced early and seems like a creepy and cool character, but ends up not doing anything but standing around and making threats in a raspy voice.

Climax. I've never seen a film with a smaller climax. I thought it was just the beginning of some big showdown, but no, that was it.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I wish there had been more story, more peril, more adventure.

Overall


Artemis Fowl is a somewhat entertaining fantasy story for the whole family. It has a really clever take on the world of fairies, their relationship to this world, and their use of steampunk technology that runs on electricity. But the story is very thin with no peril, very little action, characters standing around and talking most of the time, and a quick and simple final conclusion. This felt like a low budget TV movie of the week that was rushed thru production. It's entertaining and has a clever premise, but it needed a lot more content. I give it 3 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.


  

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Movie Review - Top Secret Affair



I like black & white classic films, and it's always fun to discover a new one I'd never even heard of.

Top Secret Affair is a 1957 romantic comedy film. It is unrated and is appropriate for most ages.

The Good


Story. The story was great. A magazine owner is upset when her candidate doesn't receive a post and sets out to destroy the military man who did only to fall in love with him.

Humor. The movie is funny with a lot of jokes I hadn't heard before and a lot of humor I typically don't see in films.

The Bad


. . .

What I Would Like to Have Seen


...

Overall


Top Secret Affair is a hilarious film about a magazine owner matching wits against a military man who foils her at almost every turn. The humor is great. The romance works. The film is well paced and entertains from start to finish. I give it 4 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.


   

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/