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David Wilbur (Des Moines, IA United States)

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Fish!: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results
Fish!: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results
by Stephen C. Lundin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 19.80
121 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Always Smell Your Fish Before You Buy, July 12 2004
This book was given to me as part of a Fish seminar conducted by my company. The book must be addressed on three different levels: as a story, as a philosophy, and as a business book. The story is about a woman who takes over a failing department in her company, finds the inmates are running the asylum, learns some pearls of wisdom from some local fishmongers, teaches the employees the philosophy, and ends up with a successful department. The preceding explanation is only slightly shorter than the book itself, which contains so much white-space that it could easily be halved, and repeats so often that it could easily be halved again. As bad as the story and writing are, the philosophy underlying the Fish idea is even worse. It is essentially a hedonistic philosophy - that what employees really need to perform well is enough fun at work. The problem is that all jobs and careers involve a certain amount of tedium. Everone must "pay their dues." Too often the people complaining the loudest are those that refuse to deal with tedium as a fact of life. As a business book it fails as so many business books do because the ultimate goal of the book is not to attract a reader, but to convince corporations to buy a whole suite of products and services: the books, videotapes, fun fish things, decorations. Avoid this book, read Drucker instead.

Eaters of the Dead
Eaters of the Dead
by Michael Crichton
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.99
105 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fruits of a Dare, July 11 2004
In the afterword, Michael Crichton writes that this novel arose out of a dare - that anyone could, and would willingly immerse themselves in the world of Beowulf. The novel wrestles with two very intriguing ideas. First that Beowulf was based on actual events (and he actually mentions Heinrich Schliemann, who believed the Iliad was true, and thus helped prove Troy's existence). The second, that the battles described in Beowulf were actually battles between the Cro-Magnon Vikings and a tribe of Neanderthals. To tell his story, he has as his narrator and hero Ibn Fadlan, an Arab traveller who had journeyed among the Vikings in Russia in 921 A.D. He uses the extant writings of Ibn Fadlan to begin the story and describe Viking life, even though he lived at a later time then when Beowulf originated. And all of this would make for some interesting, if rather dry, reading but for one thing: Crichton can write. He lays out a story-line that is both economical and compelling. He says that the first three chapters are rewritten from Ibn Fadlan's manuscript, but for this clue, one could not easily discern where Ibn Fadlan ends and where Crichton begins.

Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes
Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes
by Ben Forta
Edition: Paperback
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Good Succinct Primer on SQL, July 9 2004
I taught a class to co-workers who had no SQL experience using this book, covering the first 6 chapters in approximately 4 hours; and the next day they were able to assist in writing queries, easing my workload (this is an excellent book to use for learning how to write queries, but it does not cover design, for that see Steven Roman's Access Database Design and Programming). This book demands a careful reading as it explains the syntactical differences between different implementations of SQL (e.g., Access uses * and ? as wildcards as opposed to % and _).

Access Database Design and Programming
Access Database Design and Programming
by PhD Steven Roman
Edition: Paperback
23 used & new from CDN$ 1.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Good First Database Book, July 9 2004
This is a good first database book, even if you do not use Access. The first five chapters cover material that apply to all DBMS's. Chapters six and seven present universal topics, but elucidate them using Access. For those who are complete novices, you may want to also read Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes by Ben Forta concurrently. I would reccomend reading Roman Chapters 1-4, then Forta chapters 1-6, then Roman Chapter 6, then Forta 7-14, then Roman Chapter 5. Read the rest of the book if you are working in Access. After tackling these two books, you may want to read Practical Issues in database Management by Fabian Pascal. For more specific topical help on Access, read either Alison Balter's Mastering Access Development (different books for different versions), or the Access Cookbook by Getz, Litwin & Baron.

Practical Issues in Database Management: A Reference for the Thinking Practitioner
Practical Issues in Database Management: A Reference for the Thinking Practitioner
by Fabian Pascal
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 41.95
17 used & new from CDN$ 3.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Primer for Fundamental Database Issues, July 9 2004
This may be the most practical database book I will ever read. While it is not wriiten for the complete novice, I would say it is important as a good second book to read (an excellent first book would be Access Database Design and Programming by Steven Roman, or Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes by Ben Forta), after you have developed a rudimentary understanding of SQL. After working with SQL in any DBMS, you will begin to run accross some of the problems he addresses in his book - inconsistent treatment of nulls, duplicate information, etc. Each chapter stands on its own, making it valuable as a reference guide, and in many instances he provides SQL workarounds for problems brought on by...SQL. Although he does lay blame at feet of current DBMS vendors for not fully implementing the relational model, he addresses the fundamental lack of knowledge on the part of practitioners. By far the best chapter is the one on normalization, particularly his discussion on the fourth and fifth normal forms.

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