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Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One (Hardcover)

by Thomas Sowell (Author)

From Publishers Weekly
While politicians squabble over the pros and cons of price controls on prescription drugs, onlooking citizens are often left scratching their heads. Many of today's economic issues are obscured by their inherent complexity and the blarney coming from political talking heads. In his follow-up to Basic Economics, Sowell, a leading conservative spokesman and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, seeks to alleviate this confusion. He highlights the major differences between politicians (who act for the short term, i.e., reelection) and economists (who look at the long-range ramifications of policy), and urges voters to keep these differences in mind. Sowell then focuses on a few issues, including some political hot potatoes: medical care, housing, discrimination, insurance and the development of nations. He urges readers to consider not only the intended, immediate goal of a particular policy, but also its unintended, long-range impact. For instance, he says, supporters of nationalized health care overlook the fact that it often results in health-care shortages, reduced quality of services and black markets. The great achievement of Sowell's book is its simplicity. His writing is easy and lucid, an admirable trait considering the topic at hand. This book will not satisfy hard-core economic junkies, and Sowell does not pretend it will. His target audience is the average citizen who has little or no economics background, but would like the tools to think critically about economic issues. Some readers will be turned off by Sowell's preference for free-market principles, but the author is an esteemed economist and his explanations fit well within the mainstream. As a basic primer for the economically perplexed, this volume serves very well.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

"Thomas Sowell is one of the fine scholars of our time." -- Ideas On Liberty --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Economics: Well Explained and Applied, December 29, 2003
By Dr Victor S Alpher (Austin, Texas, U.S.A.)

Thomas Sowell's new book (2004 imprimatur) came to my attention as he was interviewed on radio...I pulled into the nearest (independent) bookstore in the metropolis of Austin, Texas, finding and buying the lone copy back in the dreary Economics section.

I will certainly be reading more of Sowell's writings. Although a sequel to his book Basic Economics, this book stands well alone. In it, he tackles the current problems in this country involving the interaction of the political climate with basic economic principles. These include health care, housing, discrimination, risk, and the problems afflicting so-called third-world nations in economic development.

He takes an interesting historical perspective. For example, his analysis of slavery through the ages, and during the period of the American Colonies and southern United States is particularly cogent, and still of contemporary interest. How could slavery have survived so long? Was there such a variety of slave "status" and freedoms to act as has recently been portrayed, even in such films as "Gods & Generals". During this film, a complicated relationship between General Thomas J. Jackson and his personal cook is portrayed. They have discussions during which it is clear that the slave's status as a well-known cook, and his desire to defend HIS home from invasion as much as Jackson's is remarkable. Within Sowell's analysis of the antebellum South, it is not difficult to understand. In fact, he describes a situation in which slaves were put in less "risky" labor positions than Irish immigrants, a situation derived from their economic value in a cotton baling and transport operation.

I probably have not seen an economic "page turner" since reading George Gilder's "Wealth and Poverty" which was so important to understanding the Reagan era (it was, evidently, the "Bible" of many men responsible for early decisions during the Reagan administration and essential to understanding so-called supply-side economics).

I recommend this book highly. Sowell's insights are well-explained in "plain English." A short read, thoroughly enjoyable, that will stimilate the reader to think more deeply about the current issues that should lead to a more informed discussion outside the academic elite about the problems plaguing our economy.

A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media (Hardcover)

From the Inside Flap
This Time it Went Beyond Bias

Do the mainstream media have a liberal bias? Sure they do, everyone knows that, says CBS veteran and New York Times bestselling author Bernard Goldberg. But the media crossed an important line in the 2008 presidential race, moving from their usual unthinking liberal bias to crass partisanship of the crudest kind, practically acting as spin doctors for the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. In A Slobbering Love Affair, his most provocative book yet, Goldberg demonstrates how the media launched an unparalleled effort to ensure the election of the man they regarded as The One. From the thrill Obama sent up Chris Matthews' leg to the outrageously slanted "news" reports of the New York Times, Goldberg shows in exacting detail how the media, abandoning even the pretense of objectivity, moved from media bias to media activism. With his trademark blunt, honest, insider's perspective, Goldberg reveals:

* How the media ignored, downplayed, or sanitized the rantings of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Obama's long-standing "spiritual" adviser, and the radicalism of former terrorist (and Obama associate) Bill Ayers
* How the Obama campaign, while claiming to be "post-partisan," kicked reporters off Obama's plane after their newspapers endorsed McCain
* Why Obama's election makes it more likely conservative talk radio will be stifled by a new "Fairness Doctrine" that has nothing to do with fairness at all
* Why the liberal media preferred Obama to Hillary
* What we can expect from the media's coverage of Obama's presidency
* BONUS: An exclusive interview with Rush Limbaugh on the unholy alliance between Obama and the mainstream media
A blistering takedown of the media's slavish support for Obama, A Slobbering Love Affair highlights how the mainstream media has not only surrendered its integrity and objectivity, but could even endanger our democracy.

From the Back Cover
"Never in my memory were so many journalists so intent on effecting change as they were during the campaign of 2008. Sure, mainstream journalists always root for the Democrat. But this time it was different. This time journalists were not satisfied merely being partisan witnesses to history. This time they wanted to be real players and help determine the outcome. This time they were on a mission, a noble, historic mission, as far as they were concerned. In fact, I could not remember a time when so many supposedly objective reporters had acted so blatantly as full-fledged advocates for one side--and without even a hint of embarrassment.

"...Make no mistake: this is not the same old liberal bias we have witnessed for years. In 2008, the mainstream media crossed a line. As a result, their credibility is in tatters. Hardly anyone trusts them anymore. This is not good for them, of course. But it may be even worse for us."

Penetrating reporting about the lack of reporting by the media during the recent Presidential election, January 27, 2009
By Craig Matteson (Ann Arbor, MI)

Bernie Goldberg is always informative and fair in what he writes, but for some reason people on the left can't hear his message and often angrily dismiss him. Also, his writing is often misused by those on the right who believe in a vast left-wing media conspiracy. To set the record straight before I tell you all that is in this very valuable little book, I want you to know that Goldberg is clear that the mainstream media did not defeat John McCain. He says that in the November election, the lefties in the media who were actively and openly pulling for Obama probably cost McCain about a single percentage point. The author explains how three factors that beat McCain. 1) History: the fact that only once since FDR and Truman has America elected the President from the same party three times in a row (Reagan twice and the first Bush once). 2) McCain was ineffective in presenting his case for becoming President and while Palin energized the conservative base, she didn't pull in moderates and independents. Even with these winds in his face, McCain was still in the game until 3) The huge economic crisis just before the election. I think these are good points to remember.

Nevertheless, the fourth estate has a lot to answer for in their slobbering love affair with Obama. Without them he might not have won the nomination as the candidate for the Democrat Party. Their bias was so obvious that it even became the point of parody on Saturday Night Live. What does Goldberg point to in this book?

1) The way the media gave Obama a pass and packaged him as sexy, vital, and basically a rock star, while McCain was treated as old, out of touch, and even a racist. The author points to the difference in treatment each received in "The View" where Obama was given softball after softball and McCain was asked by Whoopie if she had to worry if he was going to make her a slave.
2) The way MSNBC was completely in the tank with the thrill running up its leg.
3) How the media set out to destroy Palin including printing rumors without evidence, but failed to ask any questions about Obama's background.
4) Limbaugh's view of the media treating Obama as "too big to fail".
5) The protection of Obama from Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers except for Sean Hannity and conservative media outlets.
6) The way the media set out to destroy "Joe the Plumber" in order to protect Obama.
7) The acceptance of the lame excuse about Bill Ayers that Obama was "only eight years old" when the bombings occurred and the failure to ask about the Annenberg Challenge or digging into Obama's time at Harvard.
8) The dismissal from the Obama for President plane of reporters for newspapers that endorsed McCain.
9) Charles Schumer and others on "The Fairness Doctrine.
10) The way that some in the press began to notice how little we really know about Obama only after he won the Presidency.
11) Ten questions Goldberg would like to ask Barack Obama.
12) How the Press can fix itself and avoid its slow march to irrelevance and extinction.

There is even more than this, but these are the points that hit home for me.

I think you will find Goldberg's writing style much like his TV reporting style and very easy to read and understand. I recommend the book to you and hope you read and think about the issues the author raises about the media. Remember this isn't really about Barack Obama, but the way the New York Times, the major networks and other established media went beyond its normal bias to actually shill for Obama.


Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI

People of the Book: A Novel (Paperback) Review
Amazon Best of the Month, January 2008: One of the earliest Jewish religious volumes to be illuminated with images, the Sarajevo Haggadah survived centuries of purges and wars thanks to people of all faiths who risked their lives to safeguard it. Geraldine Brooks, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March, has turned the intriguing but sparely detailed history of this precious volume into an emotionally rich, thrilling fictionalization that retraces its turbulent journey. In the hands of Hanna Heath, an impassioned rare-book expert restoring the manuscript in 1996 Sarajevo, it yields clues to its guardians and whereabouts: an insect wing, a wine stain, salt crystals, and a white hair. While readers experience crucial moments in the book's history through a series of fascinating, fleshed-out short stories, Hanna pursues its secrets scientifically, and finds that some interests will still risk everything in the name of protecting this treasure. A complex love story, thrilling mystery, vivid history lesson, and celebration of the enduring power of ideas, People of the Book will surely be hailed as one of the best of 2008. --Mari Malcolm

From Publishers Weekly
Reading Geraldine Brooks's remarkable debut novel, Year of Wonders, or more recently March, which won the Pulitzer Prize, it would be easy to forget that she grew up in Australia and worked as a journalist. Now in her dazzling new novel, People of the Book, Brooks allows both her native land and current events to play a larger role while still continuing to mine the historical material that speaks so ardently to her imagination. Late one night in the city of Sydney, Hanna Heath, a rare book conservator, gets a phone call. The Sarajevo Haggadah, which disappeared during the siege in 1992, has been found, and Hanna has been invited by the U.N. to report on its condition. Missing documents and art works (as Dan Brown and Lev Grossman, among others, have demonstrated) are endlessly appealing, and from this inviting premise Brooks spins her story in two directions. In the present, we follow the resolutely independent Hanna through her thrilling first encounter with the beautifully illustrated codex and her discovery of the tiny signs-a white hair, an insect wing, missing clasps, a drop of salt, a wine stain-that will help her to discover its provenance. Along with the book she also meets its savior, a Muslim librarian named Karaman. Their romance offers both predictable pleasures and genuine surprises, as does the other main relationship in Hanna's life: her fraught connection with her mother. In the other strand of the narrative we learn, moving backward through time, how the codex came to be lost and found, and made. From the opening section, set in Sarajevo in 1940, to the final section, set in Seville in 1480, these narratives show Brooks writing at her very best. With equal authority she depicts the struggles of a young girl to escape the Nazis, a duel of wits between an inquisitor and a rabbi living in the Venice ghetto, and a girl's passionate relationship with her mistress in a harem. Like the illustrations in the Haggadah, each of these sections transports the reader to a fully realized, vividly peopled world. And each gives a glimpse of both the long history of anti-Semitism and of the struggle of women toward the independence that Hanna, despite her mother's lectures, tends to take for granted. Brooks is too good a novelist to belabor her political messages, but her depiction of the Haggadah bringing together Jews, Christians and Muslims could not be more timely. Her gift for storytelling, happily, is timeless. Copyright 2007 Publishers Weekly. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

"A book is more than the sum of its materials. It is an artifact of the human mind and hand." , December 31, 2007
By E. Bukowsky "booklover10" (NY United States)

"The People of the Book," by Geraldine Brooks, opens in Sarajevo in 1996. Under the watchful eyes of bank security guards, Bosnian police officers, two United Nations peacekeepers, and an official UN observer, a thirty-year-old Aussie named Hanna Heath has been hired to perform an exacting task. She is about to examine a precious fifteenth century codex, the Sarajevo Haggadah, "one of the rarest and most mysterious volumes in the world." Hanna's impressive qualifications include honors degrees in chemistry and Near Eastern languages as well as a PhD in fine art conservation, which as she patiently explains, is very different from book restoration. She knows her materials intimately: calf's intestine, pigments, gold leaf, and parchment are some of the tools of her trade. The Haggadah, which was created in medieval Spain, is "a lavishly illuminated Hebrew manuscript made at a time when Jewish belief was firmly against illustrations of any kind."

The book first came to light in 1894. After passing through many hands, it disappeared in 1992, when the Sarajevo siege began. After four years, it suddenly reappears and an Israeli expert, Amitai Yomtov, awakens Hannah at two o'clock in the morning to tell her the exciting news. Most scholars believed that the book had been stolen or destroyed during the fighting. It turns out that the head of the museum library in Sarajevo, Ozren Karaman, placed the Haggadah in a safe-deposit box for safekeeping. "Can you imagine, Channah?" Amitai exclaims. "A Muslim, risking his neck to save a Jewish book." Now, UN officials want an expert to inspect the Haggadah for signs of damage.

Although she is technically proficient and has written many highly-regarded papers in her field, Hanna brings something extra to the table. "It has to do with an intuition about the past. By linking research and imagination, sometimes I can think myself into the heads of the people who made the book." Indeed that is exactly what Brooks does in this meticulously crafted work, with its beautifully realized, three-dimensional cast of characters and its compelling and richly textured plot. As Hanna delves into the history of a priceless text, the reader is transported to 1940 Sarajevo, 1894 Vienna, 1609 Venice, 1492 Tarragona, and 1480 Seville. Along the way, we gain insight into the political, religious, and social turmoil that has beset the Jewish people over the centuries.

The author alternates chapters set in 1996 with those that take place further back in the past. As the story progresses, we come ever closer to the secret of who created this magnificent work of art. The journey is all the more wonderful because of the people who accompany us: Lola is a Sarajevan Jew who joins the partisans during World War II; destiny brings her to an Albanian scholar who will protect both her and the Haggadah from the Nazis. In Venice, we meet a bitter and sick Austrian bookbinder, Herr Florien Mittl. Ironically, this virulent anti-Semite is entrusted with the painstaking job of rebinding the Haggadah. In Venice, an alcoholic priest named Giovanni Domenico Vistorini is a censor of the Inquisitor. He may allow the Haggadah to "pass" or declare it a work of heresy and consign it to the flames. David Ben Shoushan, a poor Hebrew scribe in Tarragona, Spain, fills his mind with holy letters as he prepares to make his own vital contribution to the Haggadah. The final pieces of the puzzle fall into place in Seville, Spain, at the time of the Jews' expulsion.

Against the backdrop of these tumultuous historical events, we observe the vitriolic Hanna soften, mature, and fall in love with Ozran Karaman, whose hidden grief after suffering a series of tragedies may prevent him from reciprocating her affection. An irritated Hanna repeatedly clashes with her aloof and disapproving mother, a highly respected neurosurgeon who has always belittled her daughter's work. In the book's one misstep, the author allows a bit of melodrama to taint her otherwise impeccable narrative when the protagonist uncovers some startling truths about her identity.

Geraldine Brooks shows how the Haggadah's fate illuminates the prejudice and mindless persecution that have too often poisoned communities and nations throughout the world. Ozren wonders why more people do not realize "that to be a human being matters more than to be Jew or a Muslim, [or a] Catholic." This is an engrossing, poignant, and skillfully constructed novel. It is a marvel of storytelling at its best.

The Associate (Hardcover)

Product Description
If you thought Mitch McDeere was in trouble in The Firm, wait
until you meet Kyle McAvoy, The Associate

Kyle McAvoy grew up in his father’s small-town law office in York, Pennsylvania. He excelled in college, was elected editor-in-chief of The Yale Law Journal, and his future has limitless potential.

But Kyle has a secret, a dark one, an episode from college that he has tried to forget. The secret, though, falls into the hands of the wrong people, and Kyle is forced to take a job he doesn’t want—even though it’s a job most law students can only dream about.

Three months after leaving Yale, Kyle becomes an associate at the largest law firm in the world, where, in addition to practicing law, he is expected to lie, steal, and take part in a scheme that could send him to prison, if not get him killed.

With an unforgettable cast of characters and villains—from Baxter Tate, a drug-addled trust fund kid and possible rapist, to Dale, a pretty but seemingly quiet former math teacher who shares Kyle’s “cubicle” at the law firm, to two of the most powerful and fiercely competitive defense contractors in the country—and featuring all the twists and turns that have made John Grisham the most popular storyteller in the world, The Associate is vintage Grisham.

About the Author

JOHN GRISHAM has written twenty previous novels and one work of nonfiction, The Innocent Man, published in 2006. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.

Grisham's Question -- Who Is Bennie? - Lands with a THUD, January 27, 2009
By J. A. Walsh (Boston, MA, USA)

If the title question is enough to keep you reading, then "The Associate" should hold your interest and attention, but if you want more, you'll need to look elsewhere because Grisham doesn't deliver much more than that question as a dramatic catalyst in his newest effort.

Sure, there's not a lot wrong with "The Associate" from some perspective. As popcorn legal thrillers go, Grisham strikes all the right notes (big money firm, incessant rehashing of the junior associate workload, mysterious baddies, altruistic but conflicted protagonist), he just strikes them all hollowly.

Briefly, just as Kyle McAvoy is set to finish at the top of his Yale Law class and head out into the public service world for a few years of giving back before heading to Wall Street to rake it in, his past comes back to haunt him when the mysterious "Bennie" holds an ominous sword of Damocles over his brilliant head. To keep the blade from dropping, Kyle must agree to accept a job at a white shoe New York firm that is representing a defense contractor in an $800B patent action over a piece of emerging aerospace technology, and serve as Bennie's man on the inside, feeding confidential information back to the blackmailer and compromising his client, his career and his integrity.

But, who is Bennie? That's the mystery driving the novel, and even as Kyle unravels a laboriously-paced strategy to answer just that question, Grisham never really fills in enough of the blanks to make Bennie's anonymity compelling enough to drive the plot. Is he working for the other side in the litigation? Is he representing a foreign government (the Israelis for example, who were in a joint venture with DoD and the private contractors on the development of this new bomber)? These questions get cursory mention throughout the book, but are never threshed out.

Grisham spends a lot more time on Kyle's day-to-day life in the firm than seems warranted. If he wasn't going to rely on the genre-tested designated baddies like the Mob (The Firm/The Client), international intelligence and assassins (The Pelican Brief), or another ready-made villain, then he needed to spend some time delving into Bennie, the forces behind him and the sources of his seemingly limitless power, money and inside info. The narrative picks up some steam about two-thirds of the way through when one of Kyle's college frat buddies (a recovering alcoholic whose story was actually one of the more interesting character development efforts Grisham made) is found shot in the head, execution-style, in a highway rest area mens' room. In one sense, the hit is disappointing, Grisham kills off one of the more developed and compelling characters; but, he does seem to pick up some welcome steam here, too. Immediately after, Kyle is thrown headlong into the litigation battle at the center of the book along with having a heightened urgency around his dealings with Bennie> He finally begins to fight back against the implausibly gripping blackmail against him by bringing his family in and hiring a pugnacious white collar criminal defense attorney, another promising character who just arrives as too little, too late. This is a pivot point that marks more of a return to the frenetic pacing of early Grisham, but its still pretty flat for frenetic. "Michael Clayton" may have been able to bring corporate espionage to compelling life, but, here Grisham never does.

Sure, most of Grisham's past work has centered around "Big Business" as the ultimate culprit: the ones driving the assassins to kill Supreme Court justices in Pelican; the forces behind jury-fixing and cigarette justice in The Runaway Jury; and the anti-democratic backroom politicking in "The Appeal;" but, in those works he filled the landscape in with compelling background and depth: Supreme Court politics, assassins, Mobsters, race, the death penalty.

The sad fact is that no matter how much Grisham clearly wants us to draw an alternative conclusion, law firm life and white collar crime just aren't that compelling or implicitly nefarious - certainly not enough to drive a successful "legal thriller," the genre that Grisham helped create with the early success of those books mentioned above (plus, The Client [mob/FBI], A Time to Kill [race, murder, the KKK], and The Chamber [race, death penalty]). If Grisham isn't willing to exploit the instant dramatic effect of these kinds of grand topics, then he needs to do the hard work himself on developing compelling conflict and a dramatic momentum. In "The Associate," he never does.

I think the decision shows a continued trend in Grisham toward a more political, less-commercially-oriented style that doesn't want to lose what needs to be said in the way he says it. "The Appeal," and Grisham's recent nonfiction work, "The Innocent Man," began the shift that continues to play out here.

Also, its obvious that Grisham's life has changed, and those changes are evident in the book. The opening scene paints a vivid picture of a youth basketball league game, complete with the kind of dank and dusty gym that anyone who is involved in their kids' youth sports will instantly recognize as authentic and imbued with experience. It is the kind of scene he used to paint of law students, professors, young associates and G-Men in his early work (i.e., the Chinese food celebration scene early in "The Firm") that so accurately captured that milieu, and its evidence that where he's writing what he knows, the talent is still there. But, it was the creative flourishes, the plot development and the character composition that made successes of those early books. He was never Dickens, but for a mass-market NTY Bestseller, the books always delivered.

Here, he has more trouble. Maybe there isn't a lot of argument against his presentation of NYC megafirms as slavishly and single-mindedly committed to the six-minute increment, but they are not actually set pieces. The lawyers and secretaries and sandwich boys may be ripe for caricature; but they are not caricatures. These firms do have heartbeats; and, Scully & Pershing has none of the personality (or personalities) of Bendini, Lambert & Locke. The firm is a dead zone, the partners we do know are flat, and even Kyle, his friends and family and the other associates just fill in check boxes on the novelist's card. The driven Harvard man has none of the depth of Mitch McDeere; the love interest never acquires the significance of Thomas Callahan, and the thrice-divorced supervising partner doesn't take on any of the character of Avery Tolar.

And, right through to the end, Grisham never delivers and the book feels - it feels a little unfair to say this, but this is how it feels - like the product of a need to make a publication date on a multi-book contract.

All in all, I would say approach "The Associate" warily and probably approach it in paperback. Tide yourself over in the meantime with the recent paperback release of "The Appeal," and temper your hopes for when you do read the new one. If you're expecting a quick reading pop legal thriller to pass the time on the train, Grisham's probably got you covered; but, if you're hoping for the crackling, guilty pleasure, up-all-night reading of "The Firm" or "The Pelican Brief," this is a disappointment.


The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century (Hardcover) Review
Amazon Best of the Month, January 2009: "Be Practical, Expect the Impossible." So declares George Friedman, chief intelligence officer and founder of Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (Stratfor), a private intelligence agency whose clients include foreign government agencies and Fortune 500 companies. Gathering information from its global network of operatives and analysts (drawing the nickname "the Shadow CIA"), Stratfor produces thoughtful and genuinely engrossing analysis of international events daily, from possible outcomes of the latest Pakistan/India tensions to the hierarchy of Mexican drug cartels to challenges to Obama's nascent administration. In The Next 100 Years, Friedman undertakes the impossible (or improbable) challenge of forecasting world events through the 21st century. Starting with the premises that "conventional political analysis suffers from a profound failure of imagination" and "common sense will be wrong," Friedman maps what he sees as the likeliest developments of the future, some intuitive, some surprising: more (but less catastrophic) wars; Russia's re-emergence as an aggressive hegemonic power; China's diminished influence in international affairs due to traditional social and economic imbalances; and the dawn of an American "Golden Age" in the second half of the century. Friedman is well aware that much of what he predicts will be wrong--unforeseeable events are, of course, unforeseen--but through his interpretation of geopolitics, one gets the sense that Friedman's guess is better than most. --Jon Foro

"With a unique combination of cold-eyed realism and boldly confident fortune-telling, Friedman (America’s Secret War) offers a global tour of war and peace in the upcoming century. The author asserts that “the United States’ power is so extraordinarily overwhelming” that it will dominate the coming century, brushing aside Islamic terrorist threats now, overcoming a resurgent Russia in the 2010s and ’20s and eventually gaining influence over space-based missile systems that Friedman names “battle stars.” Friedman is the founder of Stratfor, an independent geopolitical forecasting company, and his authoritative-sounding predictions are based on such factors as natural resources and population cycles. While these concrete measures lend his short-term forecasts credence, the later years of Friedman’s 100-year cycle will provoke some serious eyebrow raising. The armed border clashes between Mexico and the United States in the 2080s seem relatively plausible, but the space war pitting Japan and Turkey against the United States and allies, prognosticated to begin precisely on Thanksgiving Day 2050, reads as fantastic (and terrifying) science fiction. Whether all of the visions in Friedman’s crystal ball actually materialize, they certainly make for engrossing entertainment." --Publishers Weekly

“This is a book about unintended consequences and how the constraints of time and place impact the behavior of individuals and nations and offer a view of future events. [Friedman’s] theories are fascinating….This is an excellent book.”

“Futurologist Friedman entertainingly explains how America will bestride the world during this century. Prophecy, whether by astrologers, science-fiction writers or geopoliticians, has a dismal track record, but readers will enjoy this steady stream of clever historical analogies, economic analyses and startling demographic data.”

“There is a temptation, when you are around George Friedman, to treat him like a Magic 8-Ball.”
—New York Times Magazine

“Barron’s consistently has found Stratfor’s insights informative and largely on the money—as has the company’s large client base, which ranges from corporations to media outlets and government agencies.”

“One of the country’s leading strategic affairs experts.”
—Lou Dobbs

Is This How It Will Go?, January 27, 2009
By Eric Mayforth (Houston, TX United States)

When one takes into account the staggering advances that took place in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it is a brave forecaster who would even attempt to predict the course of our (still relatively) new century. George Friedman undertakes this task in "The Next 100 Years".

Friedman opens by taking the reader through the twentieth century at twenty-year intervals, showing how the concerns in any given time period are quickly forgotten and replaced by new concerns. This prepares the reader to see that the twenty-first century will also be anything but static, either, as America will not be facing the same set of challenges by 2020 as we did on September 11, 2001, and will be dealing with many different issues as the century progresses.

The author is a very incisive thinker, relaying stunning insight after stunning insight in demonstrating how we arrived at where we are now, with Europe having been supplanted by America as the world's focal point.

Friedman contends that, far from declining (as many fear), America is just beginning its rise. The century will be characterized, he predicts, by regional powers attempting to form coalitions to limit American power, and America attempting to prevent the formation of such coalitions. This will ultimately result at mid-century in a war that will have many similarities with World War II--the war will begin with a surprise attack on a key American military target, will be fought against a familiar foe, will result in the development of stunning new technologies, and will be followed by a new golden age redolent of the one following World War II.

This book also takes a look at the worldwide population bust--policy debates in American politics will be driven in part by debates about the number of immigrants needed as a result of the bust. The author asserts that our politics operates in fifty-year cycles, and that both transition points of American politics in the twenty-first century will be driven by immigration. One of the predictions in the book is almost made as an aside--the author is really hanging his neck out on the line, since we will be able to see in not 20 or 50 years, but within the next two years whether the author is correct in his prediction about how much President Obama will be able to roll back the basic policies that President Reagan put in place in the early 1980s.

The book closes by examining some of the technological breakthroughs such as robots and space-based energy that will transform life later in the century, and asserts that the end of the century will be characterized by increasing disharmony with Mexico over the American Southwest.

Anyone interested in what the future might hold (that is, just about everyone) would enjoy reading "The Next 100 Years". The only regret you will have when you have finished reading it is the realization that you will not be around in 2100 to see if all of the predictions in this supremely fascinating book come to pass.

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment (Hardcover)

Product Description

Steve Harvey, the host of the nationally syndicated Steve Harvey Morning Show, can't count the number of impressive women he's met over the years, whether it's through the "Strawberry Letters" segment of his program or while on tour for his comedy shows. These are women who can run a small business, keep a household with three kids in tiptop shape, and chair a church group all at the same time. Yet when it comes to relationships, they can't figure out what makes men tick. Why? According to Steve it's because they're asking other women for advice when no one but another man can tell them how to find and keep a man. In Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Steve lets women inside the mindset of a man and sheds lights on concepts and questions such as:

—The Ninety Day Rule: Ford requires it of its employees. Should you require it of your man?

—How to spot a mama's boy and what if anything you can do about it.

—When to introduce the kids. And what to read into the first interaction between your date and your kids.

—The five questions every woman should ask a man to determine how serious he is.

— And more...

Sometimes funny, sometimes direct, but always truthful, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man is a book you must read if you want to understand how men think when it comes to relationships.

About the Author

Steve Harvey began doing stand-up comedy in the mid-1980s. His success as a stand-up comedian led to a WB network show, The Steve Harvey Show, which ran from 1996 to 2002. It was a huge hit and won multiple NAACP Image Awards. In 1997, Harvey continued his work in stand-up comedy, touring as one of the "Kings of Comedy," along with Cedric the Entertainer, D. L. Hughley, and Bernie Mac. The comedy team would later be reunited in a film by Spike Lee called The Original Kings of Comedy. Steve Harvey is now widely known as the host of the nationally syndicated Steve Harvey Morning Show, which has more than seven million listeners. Harvey continues his unending pursuit and commitment to furthering opportunities in high schools throughout the country with generous contributions from the Steve Harvey Foundation.

Excellent advice!, January 27, 2009
By A reader

"Act Like A Lady..." is a great book for women--of all ages. It's straight shooting advice from comedian Steve Harvey, who has written a thought provoking book on realtionships and dating. The premise is simple: You have to act like a lady, but get your head around the fact that men do think differently. THe gist, too, is that women don't go to the source when it comes to men. They talk with other women instead of getting into men's head. Well, he is a man and he knows what he's talking about. An absolute recommend, along with How To Be Wanted: Use the Law of Attraction to Date the Man You Most Desire and Live the Life You Deserve.

Hard bare bone truth while tickling, January 28, 2009
By Sylvia M. Hubbard "AA Suspense/Intrigue Roman...

Women: if you go into this book thinking that Steve Harvey will give you the answer to why you can't get a man, then you're sadly mistaken.

But if you go into this book with an open mind and really listen to Steve give his opinion on why some women cannot get a man, you're going to really find out some things about yourself.

I'm not saying Steve Harvey has the answer to the fountain of having true love from a man in your life, but he gives a very deep yet funny insight into what weaknesses and annoying behaviors we reveal that really drives the men we want away.

I have to admit I was wary when I read the book. I listened to the show and he really has a great insight to the human experiences.

In this book, I found the case studies enjoyable and funny, but I also was impressed how eloquent Steve was about the topics he address.

Although women like to flowery metaphorical talk, we also need the hard bare bone truth of the matter and STeve Harvey gives it to us.

I highly recommend this Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man by Steve Harvey as a great wonderful indepth whimsical read by a man who I believe certainly has enough human experience to preach to us.

Review and rant from blogger of How To Love A Black Woman

Jimmy Carter: The Liberal Left and World Chaos: A Carter/Obama Plan That Will Not Work (Hardcover)

Product Description
Can we have peace in the Holy Land? Is there a plan that will work? What if that plan included dividing Jerusalem and was embraced by our new president? What if that plan is seen as surrender and weakness, and emboldens radical Islam? If Jimmy Carter and his Liberal Left friends succeed by sacrificing America s strongest ally in the Middle East, Israel, to appease Arab rage, it will, in fact, make Jerusalem the center of gravity of the war on terror while unifying radical Islam. The results will be catastrophic for the United States, for Israel and for the world, and will leave no doubt that the Liberal Left will do everything in its power to achieve its objectives. Former French President Valery Giscard d Estaing said of Jimmy Carter: He [Carter] was a bastard of conscience, a moralist, who treats with total lightness the fact of abandoning a man [the Shah] that we had supported together. Former Empress of Iran Farah Pahlavi wrote: During the whole of his campaign, Jimmy Carter had proclaimed the theme of human rights, the freedom of the people, which in reality has to be treated with caution, taking the economic and cultural context of each country into account. The Iranian opposition saw an ally in Carter for future struggles... Jimmy Carter: The Liberal Left and World Chaos connects the dots and helps you understand how we have come to this crisis, and more importantly, how it can be resolved. This book contains information that has never been revealed by diplomatic sources worldwide. It divulges the agenda of Jimmy Carter and the Liberal Left: they plan to sell America and the Bible Land to the highest bidder. Why does the life and presidency of Jimmy Carter matter in the twenty-first century? Philosopher George Santayana said, Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The United States paid an exceedingly high price for the years Carter practiced being presidential. It is still not too late to learn from the Carter White House; perhaps we can avoid the plethora of mistakes made by the former President. Should we decide to play ostrich, to forget the past, our reward could very well be the whirlwind of destruction. Jimmy Carter: the Liberal Left and World Chaos is the new expose by #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Dr. Mike Evans, who documents these facts that President Jimmy Carter: Provided checks of $150 million each to Khomeini who plotted to kill the Shah of Iran and overthrow his nation. Provided $500 million to the Muslim Brotherhood freedom fighters who became the Taliban and al Qaeda. Wire-transferred $7.9 billion to buy-back the hostages after 444 days of humiliation. On Inauguration day 2009 Jimmy Carter released his Plan for Peace in the Holy Land to persuade President Obama to: Weaken Israel, America's strongest ally in the Middle East, To support terror regimes that have murdered scores of Americans and Israelis, To push to divide Jerusalem, giving East Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority as its Islamic capital.

About the Author
Dr. Michael D. Evans is one of America s top experts on Israel and the Middle East. For over two decades he has been a personal confidant to many of Israel s top leaders. Dr. Evans is an award-winning journalist and has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, USA Today, The Washington Times, The Jerusalem Post, and newspapers throughout the world. He is a member of the National Press Club and has been covering events in the Middle East for decades. Michael Evans is the author of eighteen books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller The Final Move Beyond Iraq, and New York Times bestsellers Beyond Iraq: The Next Move and The American Prophecies. Millions around the world have seen his award-winning television documentaries on Israel based on his books. Dr. Evans is a top network analyst and is in constant demand. He has appeared on hundreds of network radio and television programs such as Fox, MSNBC, Nightline, Good Morning America, Crossfire,CNN World News, BBC, the Rush Limbaugh show, and others. Michael D. Evans has spoken to over 4,000 audiences worldwide. In the past decade alone, he has addressed more than one million people per year at public events, from the Kremlin Palace in Moscow to the World Summit on Terrorism in Jerusalem. Mike Evans is a fighter for freedom in a world of darkening and narrowing horizons. In his devotion to Israel, Mike has consistently demonstrated the moral clarity necessary to defend Israel against the lies and distortions of its enemies. (The Honorable Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel) I have known Mike Evans for more than two decades. I consider him to be a great friend of Jerusalem and the State of Israel. He has always been there for us in our time of need, speaking out with courage and compassion. Mike Evans is a true Ambassador to Jerusalem representing millions of Americans. (The Honorable Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister of Israel.)

Militarism disguised as Christianity., January 25, 2009
By Preston C. Enright (Denver, CO United States)

Eisenhower talked about how the military industrial complex not only robs us of our tax base, but also infiltrates the spirit of many Americans Why We Fight. This book by Mike Evans is an example of how the Pentagon perception managers colonize the minds of people seeking spiritual belonging here in the empire. The U.S. isn't a very good ally of Israel, since the U.S. actually is exploiting Israel by turning it into a militaristic "mini-me" of the U.S.
Israel's roots involve socialism, like the kibbutz; and original Zionists weren't at all for a separate state, they were happy to live alongside Palestinians as they had for generations The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

This book is deceptive in so many ways. It's a shame that Mike Evans is able to be on a pseudo-Christian network to promote it. He even sells the book, and a silver-encrusted horn, for a cool $1000.
He makes this sales pitch after he frightens his audience by telling them that God says if we don't support Israeli aggression (by buying his book and defaming Jimmy Carter), then God is going to punish us.
What a manipulator!
I guess some people like this sort of narrative though, it helps them rationalize U.S./Israeli violence in the world - like the multiple attacks on Lebanon Inside Lebanon: Journey to a Shattered Land with Noam and Carol Chomsky, and occupied Palestine Occupation 101 - Voices of the Silenced Majority (Documentary).

Carter is a decent man. To learn more about him and the dreaded Liberal Left, I'd recommend:
Jimmy Carter Man from Plains
Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land: U.S. Media & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
And Jews for peace and justice, who are supporting Israel in the truest sense:

Eschatology as Politics, January 24, 2009
By Bruce Epperson (Fort Lauderdale, FL USA)

Mr. Evans (the Dr. is apprarently self-appointed, as Evans refuses to release any details of his educational c.v.) is a fundamentalist christian minister professing a hard-line zionist policy that, after 2000, became mainstream neoconservative doctrine regarding the mideast, replacing traditional conservative isolationism (which leaned towards a course that minimized any involvement in what it viewed as an impossible quagmire) or business laziez-faire conservatism, which pursued a mildly pro-arab policy, because that was where the oil was.

The neo-cons, on the other hand, were driven by pure ideology (or, probably more accurately, were driven by a need to pander to those who were driven by pure ideology). The public discourse was based around the need to build an enduring coalition between christian and jewish faiths (both good) to overcome the growing stains of islam, hindi, buddist, and shinto-based faiths emerging from the middle kingdom and asia (bad)that are spreading across the globe (think Alan Ginsburg reciting "Howl" to your college freshman). Actually, the findamentalists have lost none of of their centuries-old antisemitisim, and see Israel as a means to an end--the need to rebuild the old temples and monuments of the pre-chiristian area in the kingdom of David, so they may be defended, then destroyed, in a great battle prestaging the final christian apocolypse (here, roll out the trumpets, fire, screams, people rising from graves, the whole B-movie thing). All the eschatological mumbo-jumbo aside, the advocacy of a foreign "peace policy" based on the unquestioned and limitless advocacy of a single foreign power for the express purpose that it may, at a later date, be wiped off the face of the earth and all its people sent to immortal hell (there is, after all, still that little unresolved matter of the mob coercing Pilate to let the thief go and string up christ instead) strikes me as the ultimate act of stab-'em-in-the-back politics. If I was a reasonable, but strong, advocate of Israel, such pate-goose strategizing would keep me up at night with the willies.

Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes (Hardcover)

Product Description
From the award-winning champion of culinary simplicity who gave us the bestselling How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian comes Food Matters, a plan for responsible eating that's as good for the planet as it is for your weight and your health.

We are finally starting to acknowledge the threat carbon emissions pose to our ozone layer, but few people have focused on the extent to which our consumption of meat contributes to global warming. Think about it this way: In terms of energy consumption, serving a typical family-of-four steak dinner is the rough equivalent of driving around in an SUV for three hours while leaving all the lights on at home.

Bittman offers a no-nonsense rundown on how government policy, big business marketing, and global economics influence what we choose to put on the table each evening. He demystifies buzzwords like "organic," "sustainable," and "local" and offers straightforward, budget-conscious advice that will help you make small changes that will shrink your carbon footprint -- and your waistline.

Flexible, simple, and non-doctrinaire, the plan is based on hard science but gives you plenty of leeway to tailor your food choices to your lifestyle, schedule, and level of commitment. Bittman, a food writer who loves to eat and eats out frequently, lost thirty-five pounds and saw marked improvement in his blood levels by simply cutting meat and processed foods out of two of his three daily meals. But the simple truth, as he points out, is that as long as you eat more vegetables and whole grains, the result will be better health for you and for the world in which we live.

Unlike most things that are virtuous and healthful, Bittman's plan doesn't involve sacrifice. From Spinach and Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing to Breakfast Bread Pudding, the recipes in Food Matters are flavorful and sophisticated. A month's worth of meal plans shows you how Bittman chooses to eat and offers proof of how satisfying a mindful and responsible diet can be. Cheaper, healthier, and socially sound, Food Matters represents the future of American eating.

Good advice and easy to swallow, January 1, 2009
By B. J. Lewis (Highlands Ranch, CO)

Did you know that global livestock production is responsible for about one-fifth of all greenhouse gasses -- MORE THAN TRANSPORTATION? In this concise, well-written book, statistics like that leap off the pages. Here's another one: "If we all ate the equivalent of three fewer cheeseburgers a week, we'd cancel out the effects of ALL THE SUV'S IN THE COUNTRY!"

Mr. Bittman knows how to get one's attention. But he follows these and other startling statistics with calm and rational thinking. Radical is OUT; common sense is IN. His recommendations for change are not based on deprivation. Neither are they faddist nor elitist. Stock your pantry with whole grains, beans, and your refrigerator with washed greens, vegetables and fruit. READ THOSE LABELS when you shop. Avoid hydrogenated anything, MSG, high fructose corn syrup or anything containing an ingredient you've never heard of. Most of us know this; Bittman just has a talent for presenting it concisely and entertainingly.

He knows we are not immune to unhealthy cravings and deals with it intelligently. For example, if you love bacon, "Keep a hunk in the freezer or fridge and use it for seasoning. An ounce goes a long way." And when the flavor of butter is indispensable in a certain dish, think of it as an occasional pleasure -- a little reward for following the essential principles presented in this book for the majority of the time.

The recipes are extremely easy -- familiar to most everyone. But he adds many creative touches; for example: seasoning blends that you can make and store, ready to add a little punch here and there. No insipid, bland, I-hate-this-but-it's-good-for-me nonsense for this gourmet author.

I've already started putting this book into practice. And I believe, if asked, he would give me permission to make (maybe only once a year and sliced very, very thinly) my favorite pâté, Mr. Bittman's own Country Pâté from the NY Times.

My advice: Buy it and READ it.

An Appealing Approach to Sane Eating Without Sacrificing Pleasure, December 23, 2008
By M. JEFFREY MCMAHON "herculodge" (Torrance, CA USA)

Mark Bittman's Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating is a guidebook for the typical American eating the typical American diet--heavy laden with meat, animal products, and processed foods. This typical American diet, Bittman points out, is calorie-dense, harmful to the atmosphere, taxing on global resources, and unhealthy. Bittman easily mixes scientific research with his own personal account of needing to lose weight due to high cholesterol and sleep apnea and shows that shifting his diet by emphasizing vegetables, legumes, and beans over meats and processed food helped him reach his weight and health goals without resorting to rigid dieting and calorie-counting. Let me make it clear here that Bittman is not advocating vegetarianism. He allows himself a little meat during his dinner meal and incorporates some meat in the recipe section of his book.

A food journalist and cook book writer (his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian has been praised by icon Mario Batali) divides his book into two sections. The first section, Food Matters, lays down the reasons we need to shift from meat and processed foods to vegetables, fresh produce, legumes and beans. If you've already read Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma or In Defense of Food, this information won't be new to you. But it is a good recap of the incremental way the typical American diet has become unhealthy, burdensome to the environment, and "insane."

I think one area Bittman differs from Pollan is that I see an undercurrent of horror and disgust Bittman feels for the way animals are treated in the farming industry. While not embracing vegetarianism, Bittman wants to lower the demand of animal products (sadly, he shows world statistics that show that developing countries are actually demanding MORE meat than ever).

The second section of Bittman's book, the recipe section, is excellent, not just for the 75 recipes and suggested menus, but for the basic foods he says you should always keep stocked in your kitchen and the secrets for adding bold flavors to your meals.

Bittman's call for sane eating has much in common with the aforementioned Michael Pollan and readers with an interest in intelligent, healthy eating without sacrificing pleasure will want to read Mark Bittman's Food Matters, Michael Pollan's food books, and Brian Wansink's Mindless Eating.

The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in the Crash Following the Greatest Boom in History (Hardcover)

"While being one of the most bullish and accurate forecasters for 20 years, Dent has always been warning that this great boom would end around 2008-2009. He now sees a bigger crash ahead and a deflationary environment that could ravage your portfolio. His warnings and predictions are well worth reading and taking seriously." -- David Bach, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Start Late, Finish Rich and The Automatic Millionaire

"While many talk of change these days, the real question lies in assessing in what direction things will change. Harry Dent does a masterful job using demographics and other key cycles to lay out where and when changes will come that will have sweeping ramifications for our pocketbooks, our way of life, and our nation. I cannot more highly recommend this book." -- Mark Sanford, governor of South Carolina

"Economists cannot forecast the economy very well, and most would admit it if their jobs didn't depend on the fiction that they can. So most economists become closet extrapolators, with some minor tweaking for visible pending developments and policy changes. Even I can see to the next corner pretty well, but I can't see around the corner.There is one exception, however. Demographics! Demography, as they say, is destiny. The reason is that you can see the future based on the facts of the present and demonstrated behavior. You can see the pig, or the pigs, going through the python.Harry Dent is the reigning expert in applying sophisticated demographic analysis to economic forecasting. His past record of getting it right speaks for itself. I hope he's wrong this time. I hope we don't have a great depression by 2010. But given his track record, I won't be betting against him." -- Robert D. McTeer, Distinguished Fellow, National Center for Policy Analysis, and former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Product Description
The first and last economic depression that you will experience in your lifetime is just ahead. The year 2009 will be the beginning of the next long-term winter season and the initial end of prosperity in almost every market, ushering in a downturn like most of us have not experienced before. Are you aware that we have seen long-term peaks in our stock market and economy very close to every 40 years due to generational spending trends: as in 1929, 1968, and next around 2009? Are you aware that oil and commodity prices have peaked nearly every 30 years, as in 1920, 1951, 1980 -- and next likely around late 2009 to mid-2010? The three massive bubbles that have been booming for the last few decades -- stocks, real estate, and commodities -- have all reached their peak and are deflating simultaneously.

Bestselling author and renowned economic forecaster Harry S. Dent, Jr., has observed these trends for decades. As he first demonstrated in his bestselling The Great Boom Ahead, he has developed analytical techniques that allow him to predict the impact they will have. The Great Depression Ahead explains "The Perfect Storm" as peak oil prices collide with peaking generational spending trends by 2010, leading to a more severe downtrend for the global economy and individual investors alike.

He predicts the following:

• The economy appears to recover from the subprime crisis and minor recession by mid-2009 -- "the calm before the real storm."

• Stock prices start to crash again between mid- and late 2009 into late 2010, and likely finally bottom around mid-2012 -- between Dow 3,800 and 7,200.

• The economy enters a deeper depression between mid-2010 and early 2011, likely extending off and on into late 2012 or mid-2013.

• Asian markets may bottom by late 2010, along with health care, and be the first great buy opportunities in stocks.

• Gold and precious metals will appear to be a hedge at first, but will ultimately collapse as well after mid- to late 2010.

• A first major stock rally, likely between mid-2012 and mid-2017, will be followed by a final setdback around late 2019/early 2020.

• The next broad-based global bull market will be from 2020-2023 into 2035-2036.

Conventional investment wisdom will no longer apply, and investors on every level -- from billion-dollar firms to the individual trader -- must drastically reevaluate their policies in order to survive. But despite the dire news and dark predictions, there are real opportunities to come from the greatest fire sale on financial assets since the early 1930s. Dent outlines the critical issues that will face our government and other major institutions, offering long- and short-term tactics for weathering the storm. He offers recommendations that will allow families, businesses, investors, and individuals to manage their assets correctly and come out on top. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can take advantage of new wealth opportunities rather than get caught in a downward spiral. Your life is about to change for reasons outside of your control. You can't change the direction of the winds, but you can reset your sails!

Cycles on Top of Cycles on Top of Cycles . . . That Appear to Be Heading DOWN, January 8, 2009
By Donald Mitchell "a Practical Optimist" (Boston)

The main reason to read The Great Depression Ahead is to see the most persuasive case that can be made for an extended economic decline in the United States and other developed countries. After understanding that case, you'll be in a better position to make decisions that will leave you better off regardless if the economy recovers quickly or keeps sliding down for several years (as it did in the early 1930s). Mr. Dent is better than most forecasters for this purpose because he provides lots of documentation for why he develops the scenario forecasts that he does.

What's the essence of the case he's making?

1. Developed countries are facing many years when there will be declining numbers of people in their peak spending years.

2. A multi-decade commodity price cycle is about to peak to be followed by lower prices.

3. The burst bubble in real estate will be with us for some time, and prices will fall further and longer than most people expect.

4. There are no new innovations waiting in the wings to drive economic growth forward.

He takes that scenario and develops investing, business, and personal financial planning solutions over the next century.

The essence of the advice is to play it safe for now by being in short-term Treasuries and to later switch into Treasury bonds after interest rates rise a lot (expecting that the bond prices will soar as the yields once again fall to near zero). If you can sell your house now, sell it and rent. If you can sell your business now, do it. Otherwise, play it safe, hunker down, and wait for competitors to disappear.

Economic forecasts are notoriously wrong. In fact, some forecasters "predict" the opposite of the consensus. Financial forecasts are even worse.

Mr. Dent is famous for vastly overestimating how much the stock market would climb in the 2000s period. In this book he explains what he missed (commodity and real estate inflation coupled with unsettled world conditions due to terrorism and the U.S. trying to stamp out terrorism is unlikely places like Iraq).

He repeats and updates all the graphs you saw in earlier books and adds some new ones. He has so many cycles that I wasn't quite sure how he puts them all together. He offers free updates on this book's forecasts via an address on his Web site.

I'm pretty pessimistic about the economy and the financial markets over the next 18 months, but I can see that Mr. Dent is much more pessimistic than I am. He wrote this book before the U.S. and other governments began spending over $10 trillion to prop up the economy. As we saw in the second quarter of 2008, the government can spend enough to prop up the economy for a few months. There seems to be a will by government leaders to spend another $10-20 trillion in this cause. Since you and I will pay the bill, I can see why they are enthusiastic. Otherwise, everyone will want to kick them out of office as the economy sags and stays down.

Don't take the book seriously. Learn from the assumptions, keep your eyes open, retain lots of cash in safe places, and look for terrific bargains.

Biggest Loser Family Cookbook: Budget-Friendly Meals Your Whole Family Will Love (Paperback)

Product Description
As grocery costs continue to rise, many family cooks are finding themselves in a tough predicament: How can they feed their families healthy, satisfying meals without breaking the bank? In The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook, New York Times best-selling author Devin Alexander shows families that eating on a budget can be easy, nutritious—and delicious! With more than 125 recipes that will satisfy every member of the family, Chef Alexander provides complete, affordable options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with mix-and-match side dishes, healthy snacks, and desserts. From Broccoli & Cheddar Frittatas to Steak Fajita Quesadillas, Family Sized Meatball Parmesan to Peanut Butter Fudge Sundaes, these wholesome, satisfying dishes will become an essential part of every family cook’s repertoire. In addition to an overview of the Biggest Loser eating plan and Chef Alexander’s recipes, readers will find helpful cooking and cost-saving tips from favorite Biggest Loser contestants and online club members. They will also find simple ways to get kids involved in the kitchen and fun ideas for family mealtimes. Designed to make healthy eating accessible for everyone, The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook will help pad wallets—not waistlines.

About the Author
DEVIN ALEXANDER is the host of Healthy Decadence with Devin Alexander on Discovery Health Channel and is the author of the New York Times best-selling The Biggest Loser Cookbook. She’s written articles for Prevention, Women’s Health, Shape, and Fitness, among others, and has appeared on Good Morning America, The View, The Biggest Loser, and more. She lives in Los Angeles. MELISSA ROBERSON is the editor of She has worked on new media projects for the New York Times,, and, among others. She lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Good for families. , November 29, 2008
By A reader

I had bought the other Biggest Loser cookbook but the problem with those recipes was it was for about one person at a time. This one is different in that it can feed more than one person--a family--and you get low cal, delicious recipes. The meals seem very nutritious and by eating this, a person would probably lose the weight--but you can't snack too much! All in all, this is a gret recipe book for those who want to feed their families good, nutritious foods. I also liked and would recommend, for dieting: Fatass No More! How I Lost Weight and Still Ate Cheeseburgers and Fries.

The Live Food Factor: The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit & Planet (Paperback)

"This 620-page tome, arguably the most comprehensive book ever written on the raw diet and lifestyle, is surely destined to become a classic." --Get Fresh! Magazine (from England)

The Live Food Factor is destined to become a classic. This bookrepresents the most comprehensive study of the raw food diet and theraw food movement ever put on paper. When I received the manuscript, I simply couldn't put it down and read the book in two days. In my classes, people have asked me over the years, Where is the scientific research backing up the raw food diet? I'm thrilled that now we have The Live Food Factor, which contains data that is thoroughly backed upwith a list of over 60 scientific studies. I am a raw food teacher, writer, and researcher myself. I have taught hundreds of workshopsabout this subject for many years, and I have learned a great deal from Susan Schenck's book. I highly recommend this book to all readers interested in improving their health.
--Victoria Boutenko, raw food author and educator

The Live Food Factor is the very best book on alternative health care ever done. It contains more research on the benefits of raw foods as well as the dangers of cooked foods ever amassed in one place.
--Dr. Vivian V. Vetrano, DC, hMD, PhD, DSci

This is one of the most thoroughly researched books on nutrition. This book is easy to read.
--Dr.Jeannette Vos, co-author of The Learning Revolution 2.0

Product Description
The Live Food Factor is the first comprehensive guide to not only the raw food diet, but also the raw food movement itself. This diet is sweeping America as people discover its power to not only make a body lean, but also keep disease at bay and bolster the immune system to heal from what are typically considered "incurable" diseases. Everyone who eats should read this book! The first edition won the IPPY award as "most progressive health book of the year." The second edition of the Live Food Factor is an updated, expanded and revised comprehensive guide to the raw food diet, with a section on inspiration, a section on science, a section on the history of raw foodism, a complete how-to section, including frequently asked questions & answers, and recipes. It contains 66 scientific studies to support the superiority of eating raw. This second edition brings a summary of all the benefits of Natural Hygiene as well. It includes several chapters written mainly by Victoria BidWell, including the true cause of illness, how to detox and an entire chapter on fasting. It also includes a new chapter written mainly by Dr. Vetrano and Dr. Tosca Haag on how to get children to eat raw. There are new testimonials, many new recipes, updated science studies, and even 3 new appendices. It is packed with new and updated information. In fact, this edition has about 37% more information! (The font had to be slightly smaller to squeeze everything in!) It also contains forewords by Dr. V.Vetrano, DC, hMD, PhD, DSci (who worked extensively with Dr. Shelton of the Natural Hygiene movement) and Victoria Boutenko (one of the most noted leaders of the raw food movement). It was carefully edited for accuracy by Bob Avery, expert on the raw food diet and former editor of the M2M magazine, as well as Victoria Bidwell and Dr. Vetrano for accuracy in the Natural Hygiene components.

Currently the best book on food: , October 1, 2006
By Robert E. Wynman, DDS "Wellness Consultant" (Lake Tahoe, CA USA)

"The Live Food Factor" is currently the best book of introduction to the nutritional concepts of Natural Hygiene, which I've concluded, after 35 years of study and 16 years of practice, is likely the only path to optimal health for living things, at least on this planet.

Everything that Giles Fischer has written about the book is accurate, so I will not re-state it.

If "The Live Food Factor" were available 35 years ago, it could have saved me decades of searching. The search for optimal wellness has been my full-time profession & avocation since about 1971 and at least a decade of that time was spent in unlearning the mis-information I was taught in medical/dental and other government-controlled schools.

This is THE book with which to introduce new friends to the relationship 'twixt food intake and health. It's worth buying the book just for the multitude of other sources of information. Even after years of reading every book I could find on Natural Hygiene and related subjects, I finished this book with 37 folded-over pages for future action and a couple hundred pages with margin notes, underlined & highlighted nuggets of intelligent information. Susan has done the most exhaustive research on all aspects of health related to food and integrated it into this one well-written book.

"The Live Food Factor" is the definitive nutrition portion of the Owner's Manual that each of should have received when we were issued our bodies. It is strongly recommended for anyone who cares to experience the rewards of taking responsibility for one's own health & life.

--Robert E. Wynman, DDS

Well-Researched and Comprehensive, March 19, 2007
By Angela (USA)

I've been raw for a little over a year now and have spent this time reading all I could get my hands on about the raw food diet and lifestyle. This book is the most comprehensive I have found. Susan not only gives us the intuitive reinforcement and varied testimonials we need to keep us motivated, she also includes study after study proving that this diet improves and maintains health. It's this emphasis on research (not to mention a great orange-tahini sauce recipe!) that keeps me coming back to the book time and again.

"Going raw" isn't always easy, particularly when society's norms run counter to your choice, as it often does outside of certain circles in New York or California. I've used Susan's book to comfort worried relatives, give intelligently written information to curious acquaintances, and (most importantly) to remind myself that this truly is a wise choice, despite others' worries. Incidentally, while many of the raw food books I love are written by young people, it feels comforting, somehow, to read one by someone over 50. Some of the testimonials are about older people, as well. It rounds out the picture of the "typical" raw foodist.

This is one of those large, chock-full-of-information books that I didn't want to see end. I find myself wanting to read more books by this author on the topic, because I know she will research whatever she studies thoroughly and present the findings honestly.

There are times when I want propoganda-type books, and there are times when I want solid science. This book offers a little of the former, and a great deal of the latter, plus recipes and great tips. It has become the one book I lend to people considering going raw. I'm going to have to order more copies, because no one ever seems to want to return it!

Thank you for offering us such a comprehensive book, Susan! Keep writing!

The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 (Hardcover)

Book Description
Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics

Product Description

In 1999, in The Return of Depression Economics, Paul Krugman surveyed the economic crises that had swept across Asia and Latin America, and pointed out that those crises were a warning for all of us: like diseases that have become resistant to antibiotics, the economic maladies that caused the Great Depression were making a comeback. In the years that followed, as Wall Street boomed and financial wheeler-dealers made vast profits, the international crises of the 1990s faded from memory. But now depression economics has come to America: when the great housing bubble of the mid-2000s burst, the U.S. financial system proved as vulnerable as those of developing countries caught up in earlier crises and a replay of the 1930s seems all too possible.

In this new, greatly updated edition of The Return of Depression Economics, Krugman shows how the failure of regulation to keep pace with an increasingly out-of-control financial system set the United States, and the world as a whole, up for the greatest financial crisis since the 1930s. He also lays out the steps that must be taken to contain the crisis, and turn around a world economy sliding into a deep recession. Brilliantly crafted in Krugman's trademark style--lucid, lively, and supremely informed--this new edition of The Return of Depression Economics will become an instant cornerstone of the debate over how to respond to the crisis.

Suggestions for where to go from here, November 28, 2008
By Daniel Bates (looking for answers)

Nearly a decade ago, Paul Krugman released the first edition of "The Return of Depression Economics," a book that took a close look at the economic crises in Asia and South America. Then he suggested that we were threatened to return to the economic conditions that caused the Great Depression. Since that time, Wall Street and our economy cooked (minus a minor recession) and people forgot all about his book.

Now that the housing bubble burst and the mortgage and subsequent financial crises have taken hold, Krugman created an updated edition of his original book. It's true that the book is greatly updated with lots of new content including:

~ The failure of regulation to keep pace with an increasingly out-of-control financial system
~ Steps that must be taken to contain the crisis (a rarity in the spate of books coming forth in response to the failing economy)

All in all, this book has its place in our analysis of the crisis and some of his suggestions for moving forward are good ones. His writing style is clever and well-informed.

Another book I recommend strongly that has been a tremendous help to me in dealing with the financial crisis and the mounting stress at work is The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book

Demand Side Economics, November 27, 2008
By Izaak VanGaalen (San Francisco, CA USA)

Depression economics is when conventional economic wisdom no longer applies. In a "normal" recession the Federal Reserve would lower interest rates in order to stimulate consumption and investment. According to Paul Krugman, that remedy is no longer getting any traction. He claims it's time to cast conventional economic wisdom to the wind. The economy is in such a deep hole that he's calling for another $600 billion in federal outlays. This is in addition to the $700 billion already asked for by Treasury Secretary Paulson, and looks very similar to Obama's spending plans for next year.

This is a re-issue of a book written by Krugman in 1999 after multiple economic crises in the decade of the 1990s. Japan had just lost a decade's worth of growth for responding too timidly to the bursting of their stock and real estate bubbles. Krugman also analyzes the various currency crises of that decade: from Britain and Sweden in the early 90s, to Mexico and Argentina in the mid-90s, and finally to Brazil and East Asia in the late 90s. These crises occurred as globalization was doing its work in the currency markets.

In his analysis of Japan's lost decade, he argues that everything must be done to increase aggregate demand. The collapse of demand caused by loss of confidence and fear had severely depressed spending and investment. At that point only government spending can lessen the severity of the recession and perhaps even turn the economy around. In Krugman's view, the lackluster response was the reason it took Japan so long to recover. He believes that one should only worry about deficits and debt when the economy is on the rebound. (This is completely contrary to what Robert Samuelson advises in The Great Inflation and Its Aftermath: The Past and Future of American Affluence.)

Krugman claims that the financial crises of 2008 is "functionally similar" to the Great Depression. He does not believe, however, that it will be as severe. We now have the financial tools and institutions - and the hindsight - to make for a softer landing. Nevertheless, this crisis has no end in sight yet. The one big thing that everyone seems to know now is that one does not increase taxes and implement budget cuts during a crisis, as Herbert Hoover did. And which FDR did several years into the Depression.

Another lesson that Krugman derives from the 90's is the need for greater regulation. As one country after another experienced currency problems from investor flight, there was one country that did better than others to weather the storm: that country was Malaysia. It's leader Mahathir Muhammed was of the same mind as Krugman. Managing the capital flows in and out of the country will soften the blows, should foreign investors decide to pull out. The conventional wisdom of the time was that price stability and currency convertibilty were the only things needed, and that the market would take care of the rest. However, in this case, a little more regulation saved them from a crisis.

Depression economics goes against the grain of conventional economic wisdom, and given the current crisis it is coming back into fashion, even among those who preached deregulation and fiscal restraint a decade ago. This theory should be applied sparringly, only in extreme cases - the present crisis probably qualifies. It should not be applied to every minor recession that comes along. The danger of overuse of depression economics is that it can cause a toxic brew of inflation and stagnation - not to mention corruption.

Plum Spooky (A Between-the-Numbers Novel) (Hardcover)

Product Description
The First Full Length Stephanie Plum Between-the-Numbers Novel from #1 Bestselling Author Janet Evanovich.
Turn on all the lights and check under your bed. Things are about to get spooky in Trenton, New Jersey. According to legend, the Jersey Devil prowls the Pine Barrens and soars above the treetops in the dark of night. As eerie as this might seem, there are things in the Barrens that are even more frightening and dangerous. And there are monkeys. Lots of monkeys. Wulf Grimoire is a world wanderer and an opportunist who can kill without remorse and disappear like smoke. He’s chosen Martin Munch, boy genius, as his new business partner, and he’s chosen the Barrens as his new playground. Munch received his doctorate degree in quantum physics when he was twenty-two. He’s now twenty-four, and while his brain is large, his body hasn’t made it out of the boys’ department at Macy’s. Anyone who says good things come in small packages hasn’t met Munch. Wulf Grimoire is looking for world domination. Martin Munch would be happy if he could just get a woman naked and tied to a tree. Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has Munch on her most-wanted list for failure to appear in court. Plum is the all-American girl stuck in an uncomfortable job, succeeding on luck and tenacity. Usually she gets her man. This time she gets a monkey. She also gets a big guy named Diesel. Diesel pops in and out of Plum’s life like birthday cake – delicious to look at and taste, not especially healthy as a steady diet, gone by the end of the week if not sooner. He’s an über bounty hunter with special skills when it comes to tracking men and pleasing women. He’s after Grimoire, and now he’s also after Munch. And if truth were told, he wouldn’t mind setting Stephanie Plum in his crosshairs. Diesel and Plum hunt down Munch and Grimoire, following them into the Barrens, surviving cranberry bogs, the Jersey Devil, a hair-raising experience, sand in their underwear, and, of course . . . monkeys.

About the Author

Janet Evanovich is the #1 Bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum novels, twelve romance novels, the Alexandra Barnaby novels and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author. She lives in New Hampshire and Florida.

More silly nonsense...., January 8, 2009
By A very sad Plum fan (Pennsylvania)

With a sticker price of almost $29 and even with a discount price of almost $16, Plum Spooky is another waste of money. At 309 pages, it is the first full length, between the numbers, book featuring Diesel and the world of Plum.

The Plum series used to be fun books. Wonderful to read. Deserved to be read many times. They were purchased. They were keepers. I loved them. This series of books had many dog-eared pages from being lovingly read many times.

To me, Plum used to represent a book filled with wonderful characters, heart pounding fear, laugh out loud till I cried moments, fantastic one-liners from Stephanie, Lula, Ranger, Grandma Mazure, Vinnie, Connie, and Morelli. Words like edgy, sexy, funny, witty, sharp, thrilling, and emotional filled my mind as I read.

This book is another episode of the three stooges, running amok in the world of Plum.

Well, on with my difficult-to-write review. Synopsis: It is a sad, sad day when an author who gave us the Plum series has to issue a book filled with monkeys and characters that revel in gross bodily functions.

This book takes place in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. It should be very scary. It's not. The characters that live in the Pine Barrens should be scary. They are not. E. Bunny (retired Easter Bunny), Sasquatch (retired something) and, good grief, there is Elmer The Fire Farter! They are not scary. They are ridiculous. The villain is Gerwulf Grimoire. He is supposed to be scary. He's not.

There is a lot of Lula and Tank in this book. But who are They???? Tank lives in a cute little old lady bungalow, has three cats, carries their pictures in his wallet and Tank sweats a lot. Lula sneezes and farts throughout the book.

Of course, Carl the Monkey is back. He's not alone. There are a lot more monkeys. Wearing helmets with antenna's. Morelli? Yup, he's in there. He's babysitting his loser, cheating, brother Anthony. Ellen/Helen Plum's in there. Drinking whiskey disguised as ice tea. Connie and Vinnie are in there.

Ranger. He's in there. I'm assuming that when he told Janet he wanted to pass on being in this book, she didn't listen. He should have begged.

It goes without saying that Stephanie Plum is in there. She is apparently in an on-again with Morelli, sleeps in bed every night with Diesel (no sex, of course) and yet still relies completely on Ranger to always find her and keep her safe.

Diesel. Diesel is cute, sexy and funny. He needs his own world. Janet should have argued more with her publisher on this. Quite honestly, Plum does not need a third alpha male.

I have a suggestion for you, Janet Evanovich. Take your old Plum books off the shelf. Starting with One for The Money - read them. Then go back into your office and write.

When the next Plum book is released and I take it off the bookstore shelf, I want the pages between the front and back cover to be filled with the great Plum writing that I loved. The stuff that earned you that best selling status. I want a great book.

Plum Spooky is silly, slapstick nonsense. It might appeal to a lot of readers. If you like silly slapstick, the three stooges and stuff like pull my finger jokes, you will love this.

But is it the Plum that I have know and loved for years? No it is not. Doesn't even come close. It's juvenile and drivel.

Simply put, this was the last Plum book I will read until I get to read reviews that tell me that the nonsense and slapstick is over and the World of Plum as I knew and loved it is back.

Janet, Janet, Janet, January 10, 2009
By Silly Sister (South Carolina)
Used to be, Janet could set a mood. The first time Stephanie felt Ranger's breath on her neck and heard "Babe" whispered in her ear, the reader's body temperature spiked to a dangerous high that resulted in instant meltdown, right? Remember? It was obvious in her earlier books that she was very much into the world of Stephanie Plum and enthusiastic about sharing it with her reader. Now her books are very, very similar to the cranked-out stuff she used to do on the side: heavy on slapstick and vaudeville, pratfalls and adolescent one-liners (some of her characters' best lines in Plum Spooky is stuff I have on coffee mugs at work). As evidenced in her latest book, she no longer works to craft ironic, amusing, or laugh-out-loud situations for the reader - instead, she throws a pie in your face.

If you watch the interview with Janet Evanovich on the amazon Bill Maher show from a year or so ago, you will see that while he is familiar with the Plum series (who isn't) and assumes JE wants to push those books, Janet is trying to bring up the subject of her new creation, Alexandra Barnaby, and push a new series. Much to her chagrin, no one wants to hear it.

Contrast that with the later interview at the end of the audio version of Fearless Fourteen, where she seems to have gotten with the program and works hard to show continued enthusiasm for the world of Plum. She doesn't talk about Alexandra Barnaby or any other characters she has ever had the misfortune to feature in a book. She giggles with the interviewer who gushes over the Joe and Ranger characters, struggles with enthusiasm over the prospect that there are many, many more Stephanie Plum books in her future, and it all comes off with you feeling her pain.

Like Patricia Cornwell, who is so connected in people's minds with Kay Scarpetta and who cannot write a best seller unless Scarpetta stars in it, Janet Evanovich is (for good or bad) eternally locked with Stephanie Plum, and she is probably, understandably, tired of it. She had the good sense and good fortune to have created the world of Stephanie Plum and cared about it and its inhabitants at one time. Now it is obvious to everyone that she's going through the motions - maybe even resents being stuck in this rut.

I'm like all the other reviewers who want to see Janet recapture the magic, but I don't think it is appropriate to scold her or threaten her with boycotts of her books. We were all pretty disappointed with Plum Spooky (except for the character of Diesel, who has potential and should have a book all to himself with Stephanie), but we all hope she'll eventually succeed in getting back on track. Wow, do we ever.