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Peter V. Tamas (New Brunswick area, NJ United States)
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Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story
Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story
DVD ~ James Woods
Offered by biddeal
Price: CDN$ 18.64
11 used & new from CDN$ 7.94

3.0 out of 5 stars Rudy as Abrasive Egomaniac, March 1 2004
I recall meeting Rudy Giuliani at a book signing. The bookstore employees warned us several times that Giuliani will be unable to speak with us or personalize the signatures because the turnout was much greater than expected. When we got there, he very pleasantly asked us how we were, what our names were, gave us a personalized signature and wished us a good day. He struck me as someone who, generally, would be a decent person to work with. I realize he is a politician and politicians know its wise to be pleasant in public, but this side of Giuliani was missing from this documentary. The Giuliani of this documentary is an egomaniac who's abrasive 100% of the time. This documentary definitely gives you the feeling that you have to be obnoxious to get ahead.
The flashbacks between September 11 and the chronological depiction of his life were done unskillfully, at best.
Among the "special features" is a documentary on September 11 from the perspective of the photographers that was created with much more skill.
I can imagine some reasons to buy this DVD, certainly for a school library or as audiovisual material for a current events class. May be worth watching once. However, I doubt anyone would watch this more than once.

Leading Six Sigma: A Step-by-Step Guide Based on Experience with GE and Other Six Sigma Companies
Leading Six Sigma: A Step-by-Step Guide Based on Experience with GE and Other Six Sigma Companies
by Ron D. Snee
Edition: Hardcover
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Six Sigma for Those Who Read Books for CEOs, Jan. 13 2004
This is a book about getting your organization to adopt Six Sigma. This book focuses on excellent techniques that are needed for convincing upper management of the value of Six Sigma. The target audience seems to be CEOs and their top assistants. In fact the authors pretty much concede that implementing Six Sigma is impossible without CEO intervention. Little can be found to help line managers implement a culture appropriate for Six Sigma. This fine book would have been even better had they addressed line issues more aggressively and had more on how to communicate Six Sigma in a manner that would not leave the "rank and file" thinking Six Sigma is just "old water in new bottles".
I dare say in many companies, the rank and file will assume that Six Sigma is ineffective jargon. Further, this will to a large extent be due to oversimplified misunderstandings of Six Sigma. Most Six Sigma training emphasizes that Six Sigma is used when the solution is unknown. Yet I only hear people mention Six Sigma when they have a solution (sometimes a solution in search of a problem). "We need to finish this project to improve our Six Sigmas" and "we should [insert project goal] so we can all get our green belts" are typical of the comments I hear that are laughable to someone who understands Six Sigma.
This book's weakest sections are the first few chapters. The authors compare companies who had successfully adopted Six Sigma and those who did not. The authors believe that the successful adopters shared (and the unsuccessful companies did not have) the following characteristics:
- committed leadership
- use of top talent
- supporting infrastructure
The authors eventually come out and say that the CEO should dedicate a percentage of his/her time to Six Sigma: money is not sufficient! Having worked at GE, this conclusion seems inevitable: Jack Welch did, in fact, put a lot of personal attention into adopting Six Sigma. However, we don't all work for someone like Jack Welch.
In his autobiography, Welch describes not giving bonuses to those who were not working on Six Sigma. This was his way of ensuring that all the top talent were working on Six Sigma projects because otherwise managers would be unable to reward their top talent.
GE had another thing going for it that set the stage of Six Sigma: a culture of managing by facts and numbers and not opinion. Remember, when other companies were "focusing on core strengths" in the mid 1980s, GE was expanding in finance, particularly leasing. Why? It supported their other businesses and created tax shelters that saved tremendous amounts of cash. As long as these subsidiaries could demonstrate ever-increasing profits, they could get ever-increasing resources. Subsidiaries that could not come up with the numbers were sold or shut down, debates about "core" or not core did not enter into the picture. In this environment, if Six Sigma could demonstrate results, the corporate culture would adopt it. Certainly, Welch's actions made Six Sigma happen more quickly, but he had won the battle long before when he fostered a results-oriented culture.
Being able to briefly and clearly describe what you are trying to do has become a critical tactic in modern leadership. In business we call this a "mission statement", in politics, its called, somewhat derisively, a sound bite. The next edition would benefit from the reworking of one of the early chapters to one that would help management create a Six Sigma mission statement.
I've read some other books NOT on Six Sigma that by analogy bring home the weakness of Six Sigma literature. To learn how to create a mission statement, I recommend Carville and Begala (2002). They used a passage in the Bible, John 3:16, as an excellent example: "For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten son so that whoever believes in Him shall not die but have everlasting life." They assert that this passage summarizes in 25 words the essentials of Christian theology. To paraphrase Carville and Begala, if the Bible can explain all the important tenets of Christianity in 25 words, surely 25 a word sample mission statement for Six Sigma can be provided for those who want to convince an organization to adopt it.
I would also recommend Michael Lewis' "Moneyball" as a companion book. Lewis (author of "Liar's Poker") uses Wall Street trading as an analogy to explain why the Oakland Athletics baseball team is one of the successful franchises with much less money than most. But I also see an analogy relevant to the topic of Six Sigma. "Moneyball" shows how one can achieve superior results by testing what everyone thinks they know with fact gathering and rigorous analyses. Moneyball will inspire anyone trying to implement Six Sigma to value testing assumptions with measurement.
A quick read of the reviews on Amazon will give you a feel for why people are skeptical of 6 Sigma: the feel-good tone of most writing on 6 Sigma and the insistence that it "is not a flavor-of-the-month management trend" make many of us suspect that 6 Sigma is not much more than hollow jargon and acronyms. The readers are left with the essential difficulties of positive change in any organization: you need to overcome assumptions that your organization's subculture may not even realize it has. What a corporation does by accepting Six Sigma is that it empowers people to gather data to challenge what "everybody knows". Most importantly, it sets a standard of very high quality, which reinforces the sanctioning of data-driven change.
I feel that this book comes up short in this regard, as do the other books I've read on Six Sigma, but otherwise is a good description on how an upper-level manager can bring about organizational change in general and implement Six Sigma in particular.

What Is Six Sigma?
What Is Six Sigma?
by Peter Pande
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.64
78 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars All The 6 Sigma Basics and Just the Basics, Jan. 7 2004
This review is from: What Is Six Sigma? (Paperback)
Of the Six Sigma books I've read, this is the one I'd recommend most highly. It will give you the basic "tools" of Six Sigma in a compact, useable form. I feel that this would be an excellent text for corporate training on Six Sigma, certainly for an introductory course.
A quick read of the reviews on Amazon will give you a feel for why people are skeptical of 6 Sigma: the feel-good tone of most writing on 6 Sigma and the insistence that it "is not a flavor-of-the-month management trend" make many of us suspect that 6 Sigma is not much more than hollow jargon and acronyms.
Lets accept that these criticisms are valid and further that many "practitioners" are just self-aggrandizing or worse. But that still leaves us with the essential difficulties of positive change in any organization: you need to overcome assumptions that your organization's subculture may not even realize it has. What a corporation does by accepting Six Sigma is that it empowers people to gather data to challenge what "everybody knows". Most importantly, it sets a very high quality standard, which reinforces the sanctioning of data-driven change.
The authors of "What is Six Sigma" put it very well early on: "proactive management means making habits out of what are, too often, neglected business practices: defining ambitious goals and reviewing them frequently, setting clear priorities, focusing on problem prevention rather than firefighting, and questioning why we do things instead of blindly defending them."
I feel that the greatest flaw in Six Sigma is that many practitioners and even the books permit the basics to be lost in the shuffle. If one listens to people talk about Six Sigma, its easy to forget that a critical part of Six Sigma is that the data comes first, not the solution. I often hear co-workers say "we need to finish this project to improve our six sigmas" or "if we could get rid of this server we'll all get our green belts".
The term Six Sigma is derived from statistics and many books gloss over the statistics and move right on to basic project management techniques or how to overcome objections to Six Sigma. This book gives a clear and brief explanation of how to calculate standard deviations and includes a handy table to help with determine "sigma levels". Every Six Sigma book should respond to the challenge raised by this book and also include this information in the first 10 pages.
Finally, I recommend this book because it is concise and to-the-point. I feel that the fluff and/or Machiavellian advice in many of the other books just feed into people's healthy skepticism and distract people from the beauty of Six Sigma: the challenge to strive for near-perfect quality and the sanction to use statistics to cut through the inertia in our work lives.
I would also recommend Michael Lewis' "Moneyball" (ISBN 0393057658) as a companion book. Lewis (author of "Liar's Poker") uses Wall Street trading as an analogy to explain why the Oakland As baseball team is one of the successful teams with much less money than most. But I also see an analogy relevant to the topic of Six Sigma. "Moneyball" shows how one can achieve superior results by testing what everyone thinks they know with fact gathering and rigorous analyses. Moneyball and "What is Six Sigma" may prove to be an inspiring combination.

The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook: An Implementation Guide for Process Improvement Teams
The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook: An Implementation Guide for Process Improvement Teams
by Peter Pande
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 27.55
44 used & new from CDN$ 2.61

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Six Sigma and Project Management Tips, Jan. 7 2004
This Six Sigma book is for those who have little direct experience as a project manager. In addition to an introduction to Six Sigma (albeit not as efficient introduction as "What Is Six Sigma?"), the authors go into depth on team dynamics and other project management information.
While the project management information is good and an excellent refresher for those who are only peripherally involved with project management, it helps to feed the Achilles heal of Six Sigma: the perception that it's the same old stuff repackaged and given inflated value.
A quick read of the reviews on Amazon will give you a feel for why people are skeptical of 6 Sigma: the feel-good tone of most writing on 6 Sigma and the insistence that it "is not a flavor-of-the-month management trend" make many of us suspect that 6 Sigma is not much more than hollow jargon and acronyms.
Lets accept that these criticisms are valid and further that many "practitioners" are just self-aggrandizing or worse. But that still leaves us with the essential difficulties of positive change in any organization: you need to overcome assumptions that your organization's subculture may not even realize it has. What a corporation does by accepting Six Sigma is that it empowers people to gather data to challenge what "everybody knows". Most importantly, it sets a very high quality standard, which further sanctions data-driven change.
I was not surprised to see that this book was used successfully in a college-level course on Six Sigma. That audience is less cynical that many in the corporate world and certainly could use exposure to project management.
I feel that the greatest flaw in Six Sigma is that many practitioners and even the books permit the basics to be lost in the shuffle. If one listens to people talk about Six Sigma, its easy to forget that a critical part of Six Sigma is that the data comes first, not the solution. I often hear co-workers say "we need to finish this project to improve our six sigmas" or "if we could get rid of this server we'll all get our green belts".
The term Six Sigma is derived from statistics. This book covers all the necessary statistics and other "tools".
If you just want an introduction to Six Sigma, I would recommend "What Is Six Sigma?" (by some of the same authors). If you'd also like to read about project management, this book will serve you well. But be warned, you'll see feel-good digressions such as an explanation of why Sherlock Holmes would have made a great Six Sigma Black Belt. Some will find these digressions annoying.
I would also recommend Michael Lewis' Moneyball as a companion book. Lewis (author of "Liar's Poker") uses Wall Street trading as an analogy to explain why the Oakland As baseball team is one of the successful teams with much less money than most. But I also see an analogy relevant to the topic of Six Sigma. "Moneyball" also shows how one can achieve superior results by testing what everyone thinks they know with fact gathering and rigorous analyses. "Moneyball" may prove to be an inspiring book for those about to measure processes and look for opportunities for dramatic improvement: precisely what Six Sigma practitioners SHOULD be doing.

Gettysburg: A Battlefield Atlas
Gettysburg: A Battlefield Atlas
by Craig L. Symonds
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Use while reading The Killer Angels, Dec 15 2003
The American Civil War has a very steep learning curve. There are so many names and so many details. When I read the Killer Angels, I found I had a little bit of trouble following who was who. Afterwards, when I visited the battlefield I realized I had imagined the battlefield a bit incorrectly.
That was a little more than ten years ago. Now I read about the Civil War like some follow soap operas. I'm no longer overwhelmed with detail and I enjoy rereading familiar events from slightly different points of view. The Killer Angels had helped me along quite a bit. After all, half the war was before Gettysburg and half was afterwards, giving me a nice way to organize.
But this book was also very helpful. While the National Park Service map provides an excellent tour, so does this book. It also breaks down the action into appropriate time intervals.
I particularly recommend this book to those who've read Killer Angels and want to read it again or read more on Gettysburg. Lots of details will fit into place.

Seuss-isms: Wise and Witty Prescriptions for Living from the Good Doctor
Seuss-isms: Wise and Witty Prescriptions for Living from the Good Doctor
by Dr. Seuss
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 8.54
110 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Seuss Stocking Stuffer, Dec 15 2003
A nice little compilation of some Dr. Seuss quotes.
A nice but small stocking-stuffer for a small price. Some office gift exchanges limit gifts to mercifully small amounts and this is a good option for such an occaission.
Only negative is that it's a bit too short; but I must admit I'm still very glad I got it.
My favorite quote from Suess (which I would have missed entirely had it not been for this book): "I still climb Mount Everest just as often as I used to. I play polo just as often as I used to. But to walk down to the hardware store I find a little bit more difficult."

Sequoia & Kings Canyon: The Story Behind the Scenery
Sequoia & Kings Canyon: The Story Behind the Scenery
by John J. Palmer
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.01
16 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars National Parks pictures, Dec 14 2003
This is the magazine-style book you'll see in the national parks gift centers.
This will bring back memories for anyone who visited these Siamese-twin national parks. It would be a nice inexpensive gift for someone who likes the Sierras, particularly someone who has not gotten around to visiting these parks yet.
Many of the items a regular tourist can see in these parks is pictured, including some of the Sequoia trees and Mount Whitney (from the east). This magazine-sized booklet also includes many pictures of the spectacular Sierra High Country in Kings Canyon that can only be reached after 2-3 days of hiking, including Dusy Basin, Rae Lakes and Evolution Valley. The pictures are good enough to give you a feel of what you'd see in the high country, but the picture of Rae Lakes, one of my favorite spots, does not do the spot justice. Perhaps no photograph can.
King Canyon is a Rodney Dangerfield among national parks. While I lived in California, I noticed that relatively few people have heard of it. The Grant Grove entrance is exactly 250 miles from San Francisco and I dare say that many people have driven through the entrance on their way to Sequoia National Park without realizing they were in another park. Most people coming from a distance will not even consider visiting Kings Canyon when the more famous Yosemite is a bit more accessible.
Kings Canyon was founded in 1940, but upon its creation absorbed one of the first national parks, General Grant National Park, which was founded in 1890. While Kings Canyon is the deepest canyon in the United States, its no Grand Canyon. And visiting Kings Canyon is no substitute for visiting Yosemite. Kings Canyon (and Sequoia) are best savored by hikers in the know who'll gladly hike for days to see alpine scenery most people will never experience.
The largest wilderness unbroken by roads in the lower 48 states extends from Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon to the popular Yosemite Valley. The John Muir Trail (which includes perhaps the most beautiful section of the Pacific Crest Trail) extends in this wilderness. Any person who enjoys multi-day hikes should consider hiking in Kings Canyon.
This is no coffee table book, but the quality of the paper and the pictures is very good for the price.

Learning the Unix Operating System: A Concise Guide for the New User
Learning the Unix Operating System: A Concise Guide for the New User
by Jerry Peek
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.12
35 used & new from CDN$ 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Every UNIX Admin Group Should Have One� To loan to users, Dec 13 2003
Every UNIX Admin Group Should Have One... To loan to users
You are perceived to be a UNIX guru. People regularly come to you with great deference to ask you for advice and help. Someone apologizes for his/her lack of knowledge for the third or fourth time and asks about a basic command. You grab a thin book from the shelf. "Take a look at this book", you say, "You probably know most of what's in here, but maybe some of it will help you. Just give it back when you're done." With relief he/she clutches the book and thanks you several times. He/she almost bumps into your neighbor's cubicle wall as he/she walks away reading this book...
Buy this thin book and this may happen to you. Well, the first part you'll have to manage yourself, but no self-styled UNIX novice has been ungrateful to borrow this book. Anyone seen as a guru will find that this book will pay for itself as a time-saving loaner.
I must say, that perception plays a great deal in this case. The book is amazingly thin and sports an O'Reilly animal on the cover. Anyone in corporate IT will associate this book with the O'Reilly books the in-house experts have on their shelves. I have another book that I feel may be a bit better for UNIX beginners, but given a choice, people will grab this one.
One can't help but notice sections that are probably unnecessary for computer-savvy UNIX beginners, such as "working with a mouse" and the description of a directory structure. But these sections are brief and clear and the authors move on quickly to UNIX-specific items such as "Redirecting I/O".
I definitely prefer "UNIX: Visual QuickStart Guide" from Peachpit Press, so I'm compelled to give this book less than a perfect score. I must admit that people who borrow this book seem much more enthusiastic when they borrow it than when they return it. But they also seem ready to move on to heavier books, and that's well worth the price.

The Traveling Birder: 20 Five-Star Birding Vacations
The Traveling Birder: 20 Five-Star Birding Vacations
by Clive Goodwin
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 22.40
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.14

4.0 out of 5 stars Guide for Bird Watchers who Travel, Dec 9 2003
Birders (a.k.a. bird watchers) can approach their hobby several ways. There's the backyard birder who enjoys feeding and otherwise attracting birds to his/her backyard. Then there's the lister, who keeps a list of species seen (whether in a time period such as a year or in a lifetime) and is always trying to see the next new bird. I feel that among listers there are several types, some who chase the rare (pronounced "lost") birds that blunder to a "migrant trap" near the birders' home, and others who'd rather travel to where the birds should be. This book is for the later group.
There are quite a few bird finding books out there, many good but perhaps none of them perfect. Some of them give detailed lists of what can be seen at each location covered. This one does not. However, that's not necessarily a strong negative because some of the lists in the other books seem to list lots of rarities. If you follow the lists blindly, you may find yourself searching for rarities rather than what is common at that locale.
This book is first and foremost a book for daydreaming. Sure, the advice is practical and you get a good idea of what to expect at each location. But the scope of the chapters range from specific sanctuaries to countries. You may end up getting practical advice about an outstanding sanctuary not terribly far from you and start day dreaming about a trip to Kenya "someday".
If you are a bird watcher who likes to travel, you will probably enjoy this book very much. In fact, you don't need to be an expert birder to enjoy this book.

Learning Perl
Learning Perl
by Tom Phoenix
Edition: Paperback
42 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Not Too Basic, Dec 7 2003
This review is from: Learning Perl (Paperback)
Like many UNIX administrators, when I first worked with Perl, I bought this book but spent very little time with it. I soon moved on to other excellent books from O'Reilly and other publishers.
After a 2-3 year hiatus from Perl, I needed to refresh my memory. Fortunately, I found this book quickly and gave it the time it deserves. I quickly realized that had I just taken the time to go through the tutorials in this book, I would have saved myself a great deal of time and effort.
My advice to those learning Perl, give your ego a rest and do not go on to other books until you've gone through this one thoroughly.

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