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Jessica Preston (Canada)

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God and Caesar in America
God and Caesar in America
by Gary Hart
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.86
25 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Gary Hart's wisdom knows no bounds..., Feb. 25 2006
I grew up in a somewhat fundamentalist midwestern family about the same time as Sen. Hart. Whereas he seems to have been able to incorporate his religious underpinnings into his life's work, I acted as if I rejected them. Not until reading this book have I understood the roots of my own political and social beliefs, which are very similar to his. This is a powerful and insightful book, despite it's pocket size. Please do yourself a favor and read it soon.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
by Malcolm Gladwell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.91
217 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the most fascinating books I have read., Feb. 24 2006
This is one of the most fascinating books I have read in some time. The book centers on the concept of how fast we really do make judgments, called "thin slicing", and how deeper analysis can sometimes provide less information than more. It is all about cognitive speed.
The concept of "thin slicing" is dissected and explained. What I found fascinating, and also common sense, is that we process information on a subconscious level, "behind the door", and process so holistically that to over analyze can actually hinder our ability to make decisions.
Several key points are applicable in business. One of the in depth studies looked at a military leader who was particularly successful. One of his more poignant observations was that a great leader needs to let the people do their work. When deciding how often to follow up "you are diverting them, now they are looking upward instead of downward. You are preventing them from resolving the situation". (Page 118) Further "allowing people to operate without having to explain themselves constantly ... enables rapid cognition" (Page 119). It seems that most micro-management actually prevents people from successful decision making.
Another strange phenomenon occurs when we try and explain how we come to some conclusions. It seems that the more we try to analyze how we come to some conclusions the less reliable they become.
The ability to absorb and detect minute changes in facial expressions allows us to essentially "read minds" if we pay attention. There are several chapters on how reliable we can be in predicting behavior with very little information.
Overall, this book is so well written that I had a hard time putting it down. My only compliant, and it is a minor one, is that the book just ends. No summary or wrap up, just "boom", it's over. However, that is more a testament to how engaging the book is I suppose. Another book worth looking at is " The Quest " by Giorgio Kostantinos. Highly recommended!

George's Quest
George's Quest
14 used & new from CDN$ 4.11

5.0 out of 5 stars The book holds you in its thrall: hook, line, and sinker., Feb. 24 2006
This review is from: George's Quest (Paperback)
For a while I resisted reading this book, thinking that it could not possibly be as good as its hype. Well, I was wrong. This is simply one terrific book that will keep the reader riveted to its pages until the very last one is turned. It is a very well-written, intricately plotted thriller in which a great number of esoteric historical facts and interesting theories of a religious nature are woven. Those who read it should, first and foremost, keep in mind that this book is simply a work of fiction.
All hell breaks loose when Michael Gill, an old freind and revered member of a mysterious cult, discovers someone has been murdeing members of this cult to acquire the secrets of the Garden of Eden. The crime scenes and the bodys themselves are laden with symbols and cryptic messages pointing to the renowned Michael Gill himself. He is invited to the crime scene by a wily old freind, Joe, of the Central Judicial Police, an equivalent of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, ostensibly to assist the police. Little does Gill know that he is, in fact, the prime suspect.
After meeting up with Joe, they join forces. They are then led on a merry chase by a series of riddles and ciphers that are ground in a historical context. They are always just one step of the police, who seem determined to charge Gill with the murders. During their voyage of discovery, Gill and Joe come across a secret society, that has a startling list of former members. There is also some interesting historical detail about the Garden of Eden, lead by a conservative religious organization currently in existence.
Gill and Joe peel back layers of historical clues that point to a secret of such magnitude that some would kill for it. As Gill and Joe surreptitiously travel across the globe and seem to be headed closer to the heart of the mystery that they are trying to unravel, an unknown nemesis is closer to them than they would dare imagine. This unknown adversary is marshaling resources in order to obtain the long hidden secrets that Gill and Joe appear to be on the brink of discovering. It is one that has the potential to have earth shattering implications.
This is a fast-paced, plot driven, rather than character driven, thriller. It hurls itself into the reader's consciousness at break-neck speed, and before the reader realizes it, the book holds the reader in its thrall: hook, line, and sinker. For those readers who love historical detail and unusual facts and coincidences, this is definitely a fascinating book that will hold their interest. It is a page-turning thriller in which nearly every chapter leaves the reader on the brink of a precipice. The book is written in clear, effortless prose, which makes the most esoteric historical details surprisingly easy to understand. Simple in its presentation but intricate in its plotting, it is no surprise that this book has become a runaway, international hit. Bravo!

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