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AliGhaemi (Toronto, Canada)

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No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies
No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies
by Naomi Klein
Edition: Paperback
35 used & new from CDN$ 0.78

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is No Logo the answer?, Jan. 23 2002
I read No Logo with much anticipation and some prior knowledge of its content. No Logo is now both well known and heralded by many as an important landmark of the modern anti-globalization and anti-consumerism movement.
But what for is the book? What does it advocate and what realistic alternatives does it promote? More on that later.
The first pages of No Logo are less than spectacular and, for a while, I began to doubt No Logo. Yet as the book progressed, the content became heftier and it became clearer that Naomi Klein has done a good job of chronicling the moments of a monumental movement. It reads like an anthology.
Past the numerous run-on sentences, American spellings and grammatical mistakes ('desert' instead of 'dessert', 'but more important' instead of 'but more importantly', etc.) I was reminded of a scene on the Star Trek - DS9 TV show of all places. It goes like this: Rom: "The fate of millions of people depends on you," to which Quark replies:"Boy they are going to be disappointed!" No Logo itself is published by an international corporation. The more No Logo sells, the more this company will profit. As the book progresses, it becomes more and more evident that the solution lies in a broad-based boycott of multinational brands, self-virtue and a lessening of consumption and materialism not single-focus boycotts. Yet, and this is the issue, you can not criticize and instruct others while you yourself are compromising. For the world is full of teachers and philosophers. What is lacking is people who practice what they preach. We need more action and less talk and if Klein can't find an alternative to resorting to a big corporation, then she might as well pack it in and stop pretending that she has something to tell the rest of us.
Having said that, I enjoyed No Logo. It raises legitimate questions and packages quite a bit in one tome. Even if I was looking more for Klein the solution provider and less for Klein the writer/researcher.

The Fountainhead
The Fountainhead
by Ayn Rand
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.68
37 used & new from CDN$ 13.98

3.0 out of 5 stars "ruthless, arrogant egotist who wished to have his own way", Jan. 17 2002
This review is from: The Fountainhead (Paperback)
He is the hero of The Fountainhead, the acclaimed and largely original 1943 novel of Ayn Rand, and the manifestation and representative of Rand's objectivist manifesto.
At one level, The Fountainhead is a brilliant ode to mankind. The unbounded and limitless demigod can do no wrong when he is he. The ego (fountainhead) is the source of all that is right, righteous and just (and unjustified) and rises above. Those who create, face and dominate nature; others are mere parasites. The skyscraper implies achievement; the "housing project" the prelude to the cave.
It is given this context that I salute and abhor The Fountainhead - an unnecessarily long book whose most virtuous characters have no kin, friends or family and abhor love of all except a subjective material creation.
I salute her conviction: it drips from every page. I cherish her writing: it is fluid as only that of a single-minded and honest artisan can be.
Yet I abhor the world she models. The paradigm that convinces that charity is evil and altruism hatred bears no real resemblance to the paradigms of the planet third from the sun. The notion that man serves by solely serving himself is too simplistic for this ball in the sky. Not surprising from a writer who condemns Nietzsche for diluted philosophy; and whose ideology pretends the earth as the perfect conveyor belt of production and product.
This reader's enchantment with Rand's conviction and literary prowess (despite the uneven characters) was not able to drown the flawed cruelty of objectivist good (ill?) will.

SPIN Selling
SPIN Selling
by Neil Rackham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 22.53
42 used & new from CDN$ 17.86

3.0 out of 5 stars Given the subject's limitations, as good as it gets!, Dec 27 2001
This review is from: SPIN Selling (Hardcover)
Having first hand knowledge of the subject, I am of the mind that selling is next to impossible to teach, learn and predict. This may raise eyebrows, but let's deal in veracity, shall we?
Man has not invented or perfected the science which can predict human behaviour, reaction or rsponse. Psychologists and sociologists may well be the first to tell you so.
Given this context, no text can claim to have mastered the art of selling - it just is not a possibility.
Having said that, SPIN Selling does as good a job as any; having researched and field-tested its recommendations and results. That is as good as it will ever get - and yet, as mentioned earlier, there are no guarantees.
As such, I admire the book for being best-of-breed, but have to believe that neither this nor any other method will come close to covering it all or covering it precisely.

Kane & Abel
Kane & Abel
by Jeffrey Archer
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A novel of men, feud and capitalism., Dec 26 2001
It is clear that Jeffrey Archer meant Kane & Abel to represent more than a book which captivates its readers. But let's acknowledge that first. Kane & Abel is exciting, well-paced and draws the reader in from the beginning. It narrates the story of two men whose background and circumstances could not be any further apart. It chronicles their journey through life and their long-standing battles.
Having said that, and as much as I enjoyed racing through the pages, there is the fact that the circumstances are too coincidental to be fully believable. The exaggerated circumstances that intertwine the mens' lives and pit them (and the other characters) against each other simply gets out of hand somewhere in the middle of Kane & Abel. The plot, therefore, would have benefitted from more formulation. Regardless, we're captivated and fly by landmarks of an epic battle of wits.
What has not been noted is the book's unintentional condemnation of materialism. While the book lavishes praise upon the virtues of capitalism, free enterprise, and the mythical American opportunity, its many juxtaposes of East and West should serve as a reminder that the failings of these men was not merely personal but rather symptomatic of the affliction of materialism.
A good book, a nicer read and a generous 4/5 from me.

Trust Us Were Experts
Trust Us Were Experts
by John Stauber
Edition: Hardcover
31 used & new from CDN$ 0.14

4.0 out of 5 stars Armed with this book? Consider yourself protected!, Dec 20 2001
This review is from: Trust Us Were Experts (Hardcover)
I approached Trust Us, We're Experts fully expecting further mental ammunition in one particular topic. In fact, this valuable book reaches further into the spectra of modern disciplines and touches upon adequate aspects to justifiably be regarded as a rather complete anti-thesis to the excesses of modern society.
The authors' credentials sell them short. Far from being 'mere' PR industry watchers, the gentlemen are empirically prescribing antidotes to a series of described and explained social phenomena which each and everyone of us encounters daily.
Having done that, they methodically arm the reader with enough knowledge to allow even the uninitiated to better cope with everything from the media and PR manipulations to government and a fabricated modern society.
Deprogramming may be considered, by many, to be too strong a word. To those I say, this may prove your awakening!

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