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Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit

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Natalie Babbit has written an eventual classic, which to me stand for something.  Often nowadays, people will label something as an instant classic, which I am afraid is used too loosely and to broad.  In fact, I think that instant classic, in itself is an oxymoron.  To be a classic, the thing pointed to must stand the test of time.

The wonderful and relatively short-story (although it isn’t labelled a formal short story) there are so many things that Natalie Babbit does to get a foot into the door of your mind.  Winifred, Milo, Jesse and the Tuck’s along with the man in the yellow suit pose not just an engaging story of discovery and fantasy, but moreso of ideals as far as ethics, virtues and abilities. 

Questions like:

Should anybody live in this life forever?

When is it okay to push the limits of parental control?

When do we trust others?

Are there times when the “law of the land” doesn’t impose fairness and what can you do about it?

In Tuck Everlasting, tens and hundreds of questions are posed in the minds of the ready to determine where the footing of the reader is.  Where do you stand when considering the right and wrong of the given situation.

Clearly, the the story of Winifred, it isn’t difficult to understand where she views and does what she does, dispite the gray area she may drift into in making good moral decisions.  This book, though simple and great for young readers as well as adults, should penetrate deeper into the considerations of the mind. 

The crowning lesson for me personally is that life is intended to be temporary and because of that, life can be rich and valued – even in the good or bad times.  Life does end (this life) and your legacy can enrich those who will be bequithed your influence.

Watch the movie too – a bit different in the exact following of the book’s reading, but the story is told from end to end.

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A Library In Your Hand|iPAD

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Okay, the iPad.  I know the hype and people will avoid the hype just because it is hype, but for the book-lover, the iPad is a dream.  It is untouchable and it will force all of the Nooks, SonyReaders, Kindle’s and the tens of other knock-offs, to become better, quicker, lighter, more compatible.

Sony Reader

I have a SonyReader which I think is rather amazing on it’s own.  I like the clarity, I enjoy the capacity.  There are a few problems with the reader that hit at the heard of what I love about the iPad.  The SonyReader’s battery life is mediocre.  The page turning is okay – it functions, but is okay.  And relatively speaking, the SonyReader to the iPad, well, it is simply slow!

Sony is a strong designer, but they are not the innovator they used to be.  Apple is the innovator and the approach to pushing change and improvement is at the center of why this company is growing on me.  Apple as a whole still has their own hills to climb in order to compete with a Windows flexibility, at least as the end user is concerned, but with the entire “Apps” platform growing, they are showing promise.

The iPad is fast, clear, has tremendous capacity and expansive flexibility.  The computing world is being turned on its ear with the change and approach.  It can’t be seen as just a tablet.  It is not a cumbersome laptop with a touchscreen – not even close.  It is light, simply and powerful with a touchscreen . . . a huge difference.  When looking from the book lover’s perspective, the library that the iPad can be is mind boggling.  Literally, I think that there could be a bigger issue in

Apple iPad

knowing how to find books in a hand held library that can hold tens, if not hundreds of thousands of books.  Wow.  The iPad is not just a library though.

Accessories like a stylus, a docking station, a VGA connector and bluetooth wireless keyboards that are compatible with the iPad really make this a workstation.  Now, not all is solved with Apple’s new little prize.  There aren’t any optical drives and there aren’t ways to load just any program on the iPad, however for the 80 to 90% of work that is done on a computer, the iPad can do that.  Wordprocessing, spreadsheets, presentations, surfing, email, music, blogging, designing (minimal), photo editing and several more.

I love my iPad and would recommend it over and over and over again.  I just wish I had Apple stock before they announce it.

Written by ebookwisdom

April 30, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Emotions and Logic

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Jonah Lehrer’s,  How We Decide, is an intriguing look into way the brain and mind work to utilize all the known experience they have to come to an answers.  When I say “they”, what I really mean is “us”.  How we work seems to have an never ending pull on our want for self discovery.

How We Decide

The historical view of our decisions builds off of what is rational and what is instinctive.  What is logic and can be constrained, directed and organized in order to build a “right” answer, then there is the emotional mind that is quick and powerful but without controls and potentially runs amiss without any forcible leverage.  These parts, as Lehrer introduces, where processes of thought from Plato to the twenty-first century.  Ideals and beliefs that have lasted an incredible amount of time and therefore must have truth and validity to them.

Well, maybe to a degree.

When considering any split second decision or a choice that must be made under a short time period, what do we pull from in order to make the best decision?  We have this great desire to know that we have made the best decision, however there are times when we are building off of a feeling, an emotion.  As Lehrer reviewed cases where these type of situations took place, he identifies that “feeling” that the person has or at least can recall.

Jonah Lehrer

The common thread is not the feeling though.  The common thread is that it is unexplainable to the person, why they did what they did.  They cannot readily explain their thought process they had or the cause for the choice.  They can only explain the feeling, good or bad, depending on the situation.  That emotional response that the brain pointed the mind to lead to the choice.

Responding this way does not excuse the choice to emotions alone, but to the cause for choosing what they chose.  The emotional response instigated or pushed the logic part of the brain to try and use that information as best they could.  Those that often used the emotional prod, found that right or best decision.

Why would this be so?  How could emotions possibly know better than logic and be utilized in a constrained environment to produce a result that is accurate?

In How We Decide, Lehrer argues the point that the emotional brain is not to be controlled by logic at all, but rather how do we use emotions in improve our logical response to questions, situation, etc?

Very interesting read.  Although the cover was almost a deterrent for me, I found the content extremely interesting.  For those that enjoy psychology and the human nature of choice and how to learn from that to improve how you work and response, this book  is worth the time.

Written by ebookwisdom

April 19, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Madoff – Books Abounding

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Strolling through B&N this week I came across a book about the major Ponzi scheming events of  recent with the largest scam ever in the 65+ billion dollar thievery.

Bernie Madoff - Arrested

Madoff Arrested

Wow, all I can say is that the first two books are out and there will be several more as the months pass and as the stretching impact.  I sat down and starting reading the more credible of the two books, To Good To Be True.  Since this is an extreme “precursor” to the book itself, I think because most people will find that they are impacted by or know somebody personal who has been impacted by Bernie Madoff’s trickery and unparalleled theft it is worth mentioning.

In just the first 50 pages or so (which I read while in the store and plan on buying the book in the coming days) I found two major things that I think are worth mentioning.  First, Bernie plead guilty, which for most of us think is a great thing, an admittance of wrong doing.  To the victims, this was a slap in the face, since this is the point that Madoff was going to make, that nobody else was involved and that he wasn’t going to cooperate with finding out all of the detail and involvement in the scam

Second, we find that Madoff had a close and influential relationship with the SEC.  This will lead to why he wasn’t investigated fully, when well warned a decade before the arrest, which could have saved millions, if not billions of dollars for investors.

Bernie Madoff

Madoff - $65 Billion +

Very interesting and looking to be a great read.

See the June 17, 2009 filing here.

UPDATE: April, 2010

Noeleen G. Walder of the New York Law Journal recently posted and updated to the happening of the Bernard Madoff case, specifically regarding the work  that Irving H. Picard of Baker & Hostetler has been performing in the effort to recoup investor funds.

Although there has been much infighting to who is deserving of how much of the recovered funds, the report is that $1.5 billion in assets has been gathered.  See law.com’s report here.

As significant as the $1.5 billion is assets is, when considering the overall Bernie Madoff fraud via ponzi in the $60 to $70 billion, we are talking about 2.1 to 2.5 percent of the overall take.  This does not account for how much of that $1.5 billion will be assessed to fees and costs associated with the recovery itself.  The investors may be looking at a 2 percent return, however the likelihood of it dropping below that mark is high.

The infighting for who deserves how much really becomes a true cause for concern and although the officials involved with do their best to be fair, the wise and resourceful investor will seek to be held and to make an early claim on the recovered funds, with the consideration that their entitlement is arguably better or more necessary than others’ claims.

Answers-Purlinks; Who is Bernard Madoff?

UPDATE: May 14, 2010

Judge awards $24.6 million in counsel fees to Irving H. Picard for the trustee work and responsibilities associated with the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme case.  OpenReport Blog

UPDATE: August 2, 2010

So let me understand this – Madoff Investments funneled money from investors into Madoff Energy Holdings LLC, Madoff Brokerage and Trading Technology, Madoff Technologies LLC and let’s not forget Madoff Family LLC, among

Ruth Madoff

 others.  In total Irving Picard believes about $30 million has been spread through these ventures, which are believed to give some beneficial interest to Madoff family members.

Among those being sued for this $30 million are Bernie’s wife, Ruth, sons Andrew and Mark, brother Peter and niece Shana.  Let’s see, after and over the decades of fraud, do any of these parties who ever due or received money from any

Irving Picard

Madoff company, can they really think that they have a leg to stand on.  The sons are contesting the suit via their attorney and it would be surprising if the others don’t.

I am sure all of the world that is falling apart, as they knew it, is only getting worse and should end with the inevitable of facing a 40-hour a week gig with some garnishment hanging over their head, although some of that will be lost to the attorney fees they will pay to keep from form such a judgment.

Good luck Picard – get it all – we are cheering, whether you care or not.

UPDATE:  November 10, 2010,

And now OWN a piece of MADOFF.  The auction of items from two of his homes puts a historic possession in your hands.  Take a piano and burn it, grab a desk and smash it, frame his embroidered slippers like a Capone tommy gun – whatever.  The next step is getting money due the investors of the worlds largest ponzi scheme

Check it out here.

Resource:  CNNMoney, Own a Piece of Madoff

  

UPDATE:  November 18, 2010

The string of arrests continues and will continue as the FBI, SEC and other organizations continue to comb through decades of information and draw connections to what should and is expected to be a rather sophisticated infrastructure.  For a successful and long as the scheme was, Madoff’s guilty plea cannot keep all responsibility to the crime.  Although there have only been five arrests now made, in addition to Bernie Madoff himself, time should deliver a more complete result . . . meaning more criminals who knew and did nothing to stop the crime.

Overnight Joann Crupi and Annette Bongiorno were arrested by the FBI in connection to the Ponzi scheme.  One was living in New Jersey at the time of the arrest and the latter in Florida.

We will watch the slow churn continue.

Resource:  New York Times, 2 Former Madoff Aides Are Arrested (see article here)

 

 

UPDATE:  January 13, 2011

PAYDAY!!!  At least $7.2 billion, yes with a “b”.  As the recovery of the largest cash turnover in US history is handed to Irving Picard, a bankruptcy judge approved the distribution of those funds among the victims of the unparalleled scheme.

The money was relinquished by the widow of Jeffry Picower, who had invested $619 million and withdrew over $7 billion since the 1970’s.  Although Mrs. Picower continues to hold to her stance that her husband knew nothing of the fraud taking place, the “interest” earned was so high that it says otherwise.

Finally some relief for the general population of victims.

Irving Picard has also pursued many others who withdrew more than they invested during the operations of Madoff’s ponzi plan.

Written by ebookwisdom

October 27, 2009 at 6:26 am

The Snowball – Warren Buffet’s Authorized Biography

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Warren Buffet and the Business of Life

Warren Buffet and the Business of Life

Part 1

I have been listening to this book, impressed with the set up to this point. I am writing this from the incomplete perspective, so I expect to have several entries.

Through Chapter 9, this is a power display of where Mr. Buffett came from. I don’t know about you, but why people are successful, doesn’t come from extra ordinary ways and god-given talents or abilities. I think that the exceptional production and success has to do so much with who they become and decisions they make, usually earlier in their lives.

In the case of Mr. Buffet, it is interesting to read how he quickly gained an interest in the hobby of money – just like some collect stamps or games or bugs (for some of his age at the time). Reading that Mr. Buffet started early in selling golf balls and newspapers. He began to understand how he was making money and to explore how money can be used to make more. It wasn’t uncommon for Warren to be able to able to have access to go to and view the stock trading markets in the market where trading money is the paramount purpose of the meeting of these men and women.

Considering Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers we can apply something of what Mr. Gladwell saw in the abnormal success. In this case, the unusual access to money trading environments, being able to observe and watch and clearly become intrigued by what took place. Mr. Buffet’s understanding at his age to remotely understand what took place with the change of ownership and the growth of money planted a growing desire to know and try.

This patient approach to learning, understanding and expecting exactness with what the principles began teaching. As noted, Mr. Buffet as a young man, learning from the money he was earning that if he could earn a certain return on this money earned, he could earn at a certain rate to a certain production. In reading a book on money making – One Thousand Ways to make $1000 – FC Minaker (Editor). Through this childhood favorite book, he was destined to work his way through growing value and making money. Again, like a hobby, not necessarily a love for money, Mr. Buffet began to explore all of the possibilities – but not just that, he acted upon his thinking to prove what he was learning.

The only catch so far . . . this is not a free book or even a free ebook.

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March 11, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Posted in eBook Review