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  • Andy Holdeman - Just what the doctor ordered.

    This book is everything it advertises. It's plainly written, making it easy to read. It breaks down high-end concepts into manageable steps, and helps you figure out what you want to do with your life, and more importantly, what you're good at. Reading this book and doing the exercises helped me see the job search not as a bleak, terrible monolith, but as an exciting opportunity to better my life.

    Like any self-help book, it is only worth as much as you put into it. But unlike other self-help books, this one has practicality beyond philosophy.

  • C. Carmichael "Chris92071" - Great buy

    As a typical Amazon Prime user, I have another tablet, but not the Kindle. When an offer of a Kindle came at a good discount, I bought the 32-GB model.

    I am not disappointed.

    Pro:
    Came with my info already loaded
    Easy to use
    Amazon Prime!
    Also add Hulu, Netflix, Skype

    Con:
    As an iPad user, I had some difficulty with the tablet -- from me, the operator. However outside of that, long battery life, and easy to use.

    A quality and inexpensive add that is great for watching video, gaming, or just being a Kindle.

  • C. Ash - A Good Read for a Sad Topic

    I encountered this book by chance when part of the NPR interview of Edward Humes, author of Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash caught my attention.

    In the interview, Humes was talking about Bakelite, an early plastic that was used for billiard balls, piano keys, and telephones -- things that were meant to be durable, and have long, even heirloom-length, lives. He was calm and reasoned, not casting blame but describing a shift in the way materials are used as being problematic. It was impersonal, informative, and assumed intelligence from the audience.

    Humes opens the book with an anecdote of elderly hoarders, Jesse & Thelma Gaston, who had been trapped in their own home, by their own trash, for three weeks. He moves further into the story of trash by describing other hoarders, the condition of hoarding, and the media attention it has received in the last few years. His punchline is startling:

    "But little if any thought is given to the refuse itself, or to the rather scarier question of how any person, hoarder or not, can possibly generate so much trash so quickly.
    Of course, there's a reason for this blind spot: namely, the amount of junk, trash, and waste that hoarders generate is perfectly, horrifyingly normal. It's just that most of us hoard it in landfills instead of living rooms, so we never see the truly epic quantities of stuff that we all discard. But make no mistake: The two or three years it took the Gastons to fill their house with five to six tons of trash is typical for an American couple." (page 3/location 106)

    He follows this assertion with a discussion of how much trash the average American generates daily, coming up with an average lifetime production of 102 tons of trash. There is a reasonably detailed discussion of how one estimates that amount, and multiple illustrations for how much 102 tons really is. Aircraft carriers are involved. Which is kind of scary, when you are talking about one person's trash.

    Humes then poses three questions: What is the nature and cost of that 102-ton monument of waste? How is it possible for people to create so much waste without intending to do so, or even realize they are doing it? Is there a way back from the 102-ton legacy, and what would that do for us... or to us? (pages 11-12) These three questions form the organizing principles of the book.

    Part 1: The Biggest Thing We Make describes how America deals with trash, how it has been dealt with in the past, and some "paths not taken" in the history of American waste management. He talks about the concept of waste and wastefulness, how our natural sense of thrift was overcome by early mid-century advertisers (fans of Mad Men might find this familiar territory), and how the political climate defeats promising policies. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is discussed in (rather depressing) detail. Humes corrected my misconception, a common one, he asserts, that the Garbage Patch (not to mention the other gyres collecting plastic trash in the other oceans) is not an "island" of trash, but a chowder of plastic bits with floating detergent bottles and milk cartons and old toys floating around what ought to be a pristine blue surface thousands of miles from anywhere.

    Part 2: The Trash Detectives was perhaps the most depressing section of the book. It's the shortest, because it's the area involving the greatest number of unknowns. It goes against what we might assume, that "someone out there" knows what happens to the cans we put in the recycling, or the printer cartridges that we drop off at Office Depot, but in fact there is not really a clear, readily followable chain for where stuff goes when we're done with it (except the landfill) as there is for how to get it into our hands. Humes does a great job of detailing exactly what is and is not known about trash after its useful life, and although the information itself is depressing, his prose never is. It's informative and occasionally incredulous, but always readable and factual; he is one of us, which is to say, he doesn't exempt himself from the problem.

    Part 3: The Way Back was... maybe not so much empowering, given how thoroughly Humes detailed the scope of the problems our trash poses, but certainly hopeful. "Pick of the Litter" details a San Francisco dump and artist-in-residence program that talks about how much is found in the dump, but also how much potential there is for the stuff in there as actual materials. "Chico and the Man" recounts the efforts of a small entrepreneur to create a new kind of reusable shopping bag, and to educate people on the environmental benefits of avoiding plastic shopping bags -- and the gigantic lawsuit that was mounted against him by the plastic bag industry -- and how it was defeated. The remainder of the section talks about the efforts communities around the world and one Marin County, California family of four has been working to reduce their waste, one innovative idea at a time.

    If you're interested in treading lightly on the Earth, this book will be interesting and informative. If you've never thought about it before, it's a reasonable place to start; Humes makes a very good case for remaking ourselves into a less wasteful culture as being good for us personally, as well: with less stuff, and better stuff, we can do more, save more, be financially more secure and nationally more secure. The materials we have in our landfills are resources we've paid for and then discarded as though they are valueless. Humes makes a powerfully readable case for the value of our resources, and for renewing our natural tendency to thrift.

  • Lientje - breathtaking

    This is perhaps the best biography I have read on anyone still living. The research that has gone into it is
    breathtaking. It is great to know that some people still do their homework.

    I particularly like this book because it searches the background of the characters involved. I am into genealogy
    and would give my eye teeth to be able to learn about my ancestors with such depth.

    In a rather off-handed way, it answers questions and charges that so many people have asked along the way. Unfortunately,
    the people asking the questions and making the charges are the least likely to actually read this book. One of the more
    obvious ones is about his time in Columbia. How did he get in? Was he even there? No one ever saw him. He
    never had a girlfriend. Read the book.

    If you want to find out how involved he was with the Chicago political machine, read the book. If you want to find
    out what he was like as a community organizer, read the book. If you want to know what he considered some of his
    career possibilities were, read the book. They include becoming the mayor of Chicago, a la Mayor Washington, or
    possibly a writer. [ That was one of the reasons why Bill Ayers wrote his book - harrumph ].

    If you want to get a very good idea of why he married a very strong black woman, read the book. The men in his life were
    sad examples of role models. The women got him where he is today. He was lucky his biological father left, to put
    it bluntly, and Maraniss does.

    If you want to know why it is safe to call him an intellectual, in spite of the fact that YOU can't find anything that would
    suggest that his time at any of those universities was well spent, read the book. For starters, there were serious
    intellectuals on every side of the family. Genetically, it is a good start. That he followed through on his capabilities
    is obvious.

    I have one problem with this book and it is a serious one. I should say that although I own a copy of the book I listened to
    it on an audio copy from the library. And on each disc there are only 3 or 4 divisions, those areas that you can return to
    if you want to hear something twice or play again if you are not sure you understood it the first time around. For such an
    important book, this is a disgrace. I hope to high heaven that the following book will be have at least 20 divisions in
    each disc.

    Publishers PLEASE TAKE NOTE.

  • Peggy H Wagmer - Very comprehensive.

    I don't always agree with all of their summaries, but it does give me a good clue as to whether I want to watch the show or not. Also puts me in the right mood as to what to expect from a movie. If you like to watch movies, it is great to be able to look it up and figure out what the actor's name is in any given movie.