Profil de A. Volk > Commentaires

Fiche d'identité

Contenu rédigé par A. Volk
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1
Helpful Votes: 2298

Chez vous : découvrez nos services personnalisés en pages d'aide !

Commentaires écrits par
A. Volk (Canada)
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (#1 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants
Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants
by The Oatmeal
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 14.43
42 used & new from CDN$ 7.85

4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Classic Oatmeal!, Oct. 5 2013
By now Oatmeal has published enough books and internet comics (just Google the name) that most people should be familiar with the brand. If you're not, Oatmeal comics are observations on life that are a cross between Seinfeld, The Far Side, and South Park. As a warning, there is plenty of foul language and adult content in this book. It's not filthy, but it's not aimed at children. So how good are the jokes? Very good. One of my favorites is the Hammer vs. Hipster that you can preview for free. But there's lot of other great ones. What You Should Have Learned in School is really funny, especially the science one. Annoying things in the airport was another (I too hate feeling rushed when you've got to unload and practically strip at security). Or playing video games online as an adult versus kids. That one is a really funny f-you to the kids. Or how young men versus old men behave in a locker room. Or how good a women looks in nothing but a t-shirt while a man in nothing but a t-shirt, well, that's not quite as good. You get the picture. There's quite a lot of content for the book, meaning it's likely to find a funny bone or two in most readers. There's a big pull-out poster at the end that's also pretty funny.

Overall then, if you're already an Oatmeal fan, this won't disappoint. If you're new to Oatmeal, and like edgy comedy (aimed at adults), then this book is almost certainly going to hit the spot. Not every joke hit the mark for me (e.g., only one or two of the dream jokes did), but enough did to make other people look over at me and wonder why I was laughing out loud so much. And since laughing out loud a lot is generally a good thing, I'm going to give it a 5 stars even if a few of the comics were ones I've already seen (4.5/5 rounded up).

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
by Malcolm Gladwell
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 20.06
43 used & new from CDN$ 12.42

28 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Entertaining and educating book, Oct. 5 2013
Achat vérifié(Quest-ce que cest?)
This book begins with the classic tale of David versus Goliath. Traditionally interpreted as courage triumphing over great odds, Gladwell shows that this actually wasn't the case. Instead, it was in all likelihood Goliath who was in trouble. As anyone who's played Total War games knows, archers beat infantry and David was an archer with his sling. If he missed, he could just outrun Goliath, turn around and shoot again. Rinse and repeat until Goliath is dead. The huge, mighty, fearsome fighter Goliath was deadly, but there as a limit to his power. Which is essentially the theme of this book. Power, and in particular negative power, has limitations.

In particular Gladwell dwells on the counter-intuitive "inverted U" that underlies a lot of relationships. For example, adding punishment decreases crime, but is there a point at which applying too much punishment increases crime? Or being bombed is bad, but being nearly bombed can actually bolster one's moral as you realize you can survive something awful. Having smaller classes is good, but at some point smaller classes become worse for education. Going to an Ivy league school is good for some, but many more would benefit from not going to a top-level school. Gladwell also discusses how difficulties and challenges generate opportunities for some individuals to flourish. The harsh reality of losing a parent makes a minority of children even stronger, or at least more successful, than if they had never lost a parent.

This counter-intuitive kind of thinking is classic Gladwell, and it makes for an interesting yet informative read. There are a couple of issues I have with the book. First, there's more anecdotes and less science than in his previous books. Second, while he mentions it, he generally glosses over the reality that for most children, hardships cause more harm than good. Even if some diamonds emerge from that pressure, it's a costly path to success (which is why it can generate tough survivors who flourish later in life). For every business tycoon who comes from a rough start, there's a whole lot more kids who weren't able to get past that rough start and end up staying in rough shape for life. Those issues aside, this remains a good book. It's well-written and easy to get through. There are some footnotes that get in the way, and there's actually quite a lot of good information in the appendixes that I wish made it into the text. But it's up to the reader how much they want to pay attention to these items, so they don't necessarily take away from the reading experience. There's a lot of interesting lessons to take away from this book. Perhaps my favorite one is how to successfully coach a "different" basketball team. When I read about it, it immediately struck me as obvious in hindsight, but again, that's the joy of this book and Gladwell in particular. Making the hidden obvious is his specialty, which makes it obvious to me that this is a good book worth recommending. 4 to 4.5 stars out of 5.

My Brief History
My Brief History
by Stephen Hawking
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 15.68
35 used & new from CDN$ 10.16

4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Brief but worthwhile, Oct. 4 2013
Ce commentaire est de: My Brief History (Hardcover)
This book lives up to its title. Unlike Richard Dawkins' new memoirs An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist that weigh in at 300 pages (of Volume 1!), this book is only ~140 pages. Also unlike Dawkins, this book has more detail on data than it does on Hawking. It was quite interesting reading about Hawking as a child and young man prior to the diagnosis of his ALS. The photos of him prior to ALS are particularly surprising, and reveal a very normal-looking boy behind the wheelchair wizard we're all so familiar with. He was certainly a gifted young learner, but was not as motivated as he could be. The diagnosis of ALS really lit a fire underneath him as he realized his time on this Earth could be limited (turns out he was off by several decades). A scientist through and through, he proclaims science as one of two "professions" where the practitioners really enjoy their work- I agree with him! This book has lots of teaching in it as well as biographical notes. So a little bet on singularities is associated with an explanation of what they are and what our current knowledge of them is. It seems he can't help but keep talking about the science that fascinates him.

It's this upfront humor and humility that helps sell the personal parts of the book, even if they are generally brief. You won't hear about long or detailed courtships of his wives, or long stories about his own children. But the love nevertheless comes through. When combined with the science he can't resist sharing, it makes for a very good book. I wish that he had included just a little bit more personal detail, but given the choice between biography and science, I'd go with the latter. So while this book could certainly be improved with more depth, as it stands it does deliver just what he says- a brief history of Hawking. Four stars.

An Appetite For Wonder: The Making Of A Scientist
An Appetite For Wonder: The Making Of A Scientist
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 20.05
30 used & new from CDN$ 8.45

6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Great if you love Dawkins, not so great if you love his work, Oct. 3 2013
Achat vérifié(Quest-ce que cest?)
I was a huge fan of Richard Dawkins long before The God Delusion, which I view as an interesting book, but not one that will change the course of humanity. In contrast, his first book, The Selfish Gene, is second only to Darwin's works on evolution as the guiding light in biology. Of course, much of the work cited within the Selfish Gene's is not Dawkin's (e.g., Trivers, Hamilton, etc.), but it frames the gene-centric view of evolution (the only view with significant support) brilliantly. It's a massive achievement that has, and will continue to, influence thousands of researchers, whose research will in turn help shape the course of humanity. That's the background from which I came to this book. I am a huge fan of (early) Dawkins the scientist, a moderate fan of Dawkins the atheist. Since the title was the making of a scientist, I thought I would be in good hands.

Well, I was a bit disappointed. The book starts with almost 50 pages of his parents and ancestors. This would be interesting if it ultimately had an impact on his becoming a scientist, but it doesn't really beyond setting the standard for getting a post-secondary education. The next 100 pages are of his young childhood, the next 100 pages are of his later education, and the last 40 pages dwell on The Selfish Gene. Suffice to say, I was disappointed. His life story isn't particularly compelling or interesting. Yes, there are tidbits here and there that are unique, but for the most part you could change much of his life with one of his peers and you wouldn't lose much. True, he was raised in Africa when he was young, but he then states how little of an impact that seemed to have on him as he was not a child who loved nature. It gets slightly more interesting at around page 180 when he starts talking about his Oxford education, but again, it's probably not that different from other peers. Which I suppose is interesting in and of itself. Dawkin's early research on pigeons and mathematical modeling of behavioral decisions is interesting, but it's not what he's known for. In fact, reading this book has led me to believe that beyond being a very good general audience writer, Dawkins is pretty much a one-hit wonder with the Selfish Gene (and its part II, Extended Phenotype). That's not knocking him, but like say Stanley Milgram (who conducted one of the most important scientific studies of human behavior of all time), his genius was largely singular.

Which leads to the next criticism of this book. It's Part One of a two-part series. Yes, Dawkins is spreading out his life story over the course of two books, the second due to come out in a couple of years' time. So you don't get anything of his battles with Gould and Lewontin, the slow trickling down repetition and refinement of his Selfish Gene ideas from TSG, to TEP, to TBW, to TROOE, etc. until he revitalized his career with popular writing like Ancestor's Tale or The God Delusion mentioned above. I quite appreciate his modern efforts to popularize evolution and evolutionary theory, but you'll read about none of that in this book.

Overall then, I found the book somewhat self-indulgent of Dawkins. He does go out of his way to give credit to people who helped or influenced him, but his story simply isn't that fascinating or unique. It's also probably not worth 2 separate volumes measuring (presumably) over 600 pages! I appreciate very much the appetite for wonder, but seeing as it doesn't really appear until more than halfway through the book, it makes for a lot of trivia reading until you get there. He also takes unnecessary pot-shots at religion above and beyond describing his own path to atheism. When compared to Hawking's recent autobiography My Brief History it seems too be much more long-winded, and a little less focused on science and a little less humble. If Hawking could do with more material, this book could do with less. So I don't think this is necessarily a bad book, but it's not a great book either. OK, or three stars, seems to do it justice. In other words, this book is best appreciated by fans of Dawkins more than it is appreciated by fans of Dawkins' work.

Breaking Bad: The Final Season
Breaking Bad: The Final Season
DVD ~ Bryan Cranston
Offered by Mega Media CA
Prix : CDN$ 112.98
27 used & new from CDN$ 18.58

8 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 It's over, and it was a great ride!, Sept. 30 2013
Ce commentaire est de: Breaking Bad: The Final Season (DVD)
Well, we now know how one of the most popular modern shows on TV ends- it ends really, really well. Without going into spoilers, these episodes represent the second half of the final season (kind of a cheap sales gimmick in my opinion, but it is what it is). And they continue the tradition of great writing and acting. While I was able to predict some of the events in each of the episodes, leading up to the final episode, I was still regularly surprised. But never in a bad way as the writers kept the plot moving forward in a fully plausible sequence that was shocking, entertaining, and larger than life. I remember thinking as I watched the final episode- too bad someone in the show couldn't write Walt's story as a book in the show, they'd make a mint! But of course, that's what the show is all about- telling Walt's story! It's a superb bit of modern writing that doesn't dumb it down or go for cheap laughs, shocks, or heart tugs, but it's also not taking itself over the top in being too serious.

By the end of the show, I ended up with a lot of mixed feelings towards Walt, aka Heisenberg. Walt was a great character, with his alter ego Heisenberg being equally interesting. Everything he does in the final is a salute to both sides of him, masterfully weaved together so that I don't know whether I should be happy or sad with his outcome. Mostly, I'm satisfied. It was a good ending in that it fit very well with both Walt and Heisenberg. His partner Jessie also goes through a transformation through the ending episodes also ending in a satisfying ending. The last major character is Walt's wife Skyler, who gets to wrap things up, one way or the other, with Walt (and Heisenberg).

Series finales can be challenging. They can sometimes say too much, sometimes too little. I have to say that these final episodes, leading up to and including the final episode, are almost a textbook example of how it should be done. The same thing doesn't work for every show obviously, but the writing, direction, and acting are all right on. So yes, you've got to buy this second half separately from the first half, which is a bit annoying. But I can say with near-complete confidence that if you've enjoyed the show so far, you're definitely going to enjoy the final episodes. "Remember my name"- thanks in large part to these final episodes, I won't soon forget either Walt or Heisenberg!

Doctor Sleep: A Novel
Doctor Sleep: A Novel
by Stephen King
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 21.94
54 used & new from CDN$ 5.55

23 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A worthy sequel to The Shining, Sept. 27 2013
Achat vérifié(Quest-ce que cest?)
Ce commentaire est de: Doctor Sleep: A Novel (Hardcover)
The Shining stands as one of horror's masterpieces. Over 35 years later, we now get its sequel. Is it worth the wait? Well, to be fair I didn't quite wait 35 years, but I have waited a long time, and yes, it was definitely worth the wait!

In those 35 years both Stephen King and (most of) his audience have matured. This is not the tense, claustrophobic horror-thriller that The Shining was. In fact, I actually don't think it's as scary. But it's just as good. King's writing is just spot on. Danny, as a character, is really captivating. The rest of the support cast is spot on and the plot really is gripping. I can't say too much without giving away important plot elements, but I can say that it involves a few King staples: an alcoholic with special abilities, a child with even better abilities, and a story of redemption.

Is there horror in it? Yes. Some of the nasty elements are nasty, especially early on. Is there violence? Yes. Gore? Yes. But it's all presented in a masterful way so that it's not overwhelming. In fact, this book is almost an adventure story rather than a horror story. More Robert E Howard than HP Lovecraft. And this book, like Joyland, draws primarily on its characters. The setting is a combination of the usual NE US and the old Overlook hotel, but as always King paints each scene with such vivid words that it almost feels like you're walking beside the characters in the story.

So why five stars? Well first, I couldn't put the book down and had to read it in a day. That's always a very good sign. It really is beautifully written and very suspenseful. The plot moves along at a clipping pace, making good use of past recollections to fill in details or remind readers of elements from The Shining. Second, it's not a clone of The Shining. If that's what you're looking for, you'll be disappointed. Instead, it seems like a more mature sequel that relies on characters, rather than horror, to sell the book. Again, don't get me wrong. The monsters are monstrous. People die. Sometimes kids. Sometimes really badly. But that's not necessarily the main element of this book. Dan and the very gifted Abra are the stars, and if you want to read a thrilling story about two very interesting people thrust into a very interesting, but very nasty, scenario, then this is definitely the book for you. So this isn't The Shining, but it is a very worthy sequel that demonstrates why King still remains so popular- he's still a darn good story teller.

Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight
Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight
by M.E. Thomas
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 17.52
26 used & new from CDN$ 15.82

13 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting, but either a chilling lie or the chilling truth told by a liar, Sept. 22 2013
Here's the fundamental part of this book- it's either a lie, or it's a life story told by a pathological liar. I approach this book as someone who doesn't study psychopathy directly, but as someone who knows numerous researchers who do. Psychopathy is a condition defined by a few key categories of behavior: a lack of empathy (you know the emotions, you just don't feel them), grandiosity, lying, manipulation, impulsivity, and a lengthy rap sheet (some would add sexual promiscuity). The word sociopath is a slightly more ambiguous term, but it means much the same thing (developed by sociologists who didn't like the psychologist term psychopathy) and it's what M E Thomas likes to call herself because it seem less derogatory to her. This book is her life story. Unfortunately, reading it I couldn't tell if this was someone pretending to be a psychopathy to sell books, or an actual psychopath.

It's full of errors and contradictions. For example, she had a normal childhood. She had great parents. She had parents who abandoned her and her brother at a park, just driving away. Her father beat her, her mother was cold and flippant. She wants anonymity, yet she was on Dr. Phil. Which version is true? She claims to be a successful psychopath, something that's getting more press these days. But she reveals that it's only by the graces of lady luck that she's not in prison. Never mind her impulse to follow and kill a man, she's a thief, a fraud, and an incredibly reckless driver or cyclist. She claims not to harm people, but describes one of her favorite joys as learning about and then ruining people. She claims to be a good friend at the same time as she lists numerous friendships ruthlessly terminated when she is bored. That doesn't sound successful, it sounds like she's been lucky at avoiding the law (perhaps because she's a lawyer!).

So this certainly reads like a psychopath, and taken in that spirit (as either good fiction or deceitful non-fiction), it's an interesting read- at first. I definitely disagree with the prevalence she suggests about psychopaths in general society. It's nowhere even close to 1 in 100. That research hasn't been done, but that many psychopaths would cause tremendous damage. In my opinion, the best research suggests that they are evolved frequency-dependent cheaters that represent an end point on two individual criteria- callous personality and an impulsive/fearless temperament. While many business CEOs would score high on the first factor, they score lower on the second which is generally regarding as equally important (more so if you are predicted the odds of committing a crime- Factor 2 on the PCL-R). The laughing point of this book is when Thomas suggests that she could be a superior parent, especially to a psychopathic offspring. If she really is a psychopath, I could certainly see her imagining herself as a great and charismatic parent. But the reality of repeatedly waking up at 3 AM to change diapers requires an empathic devotion that is almost the opposite of psychopathy. I could hardly imagine a worse parent than a psychopath, yet it's one of many areas in which Thomas falsely claims psychopaths can have an advantage at.

And that's the really annoying part of this book. True or not, she's nailed the narcissistic nature of the psychopath. Which makes this book a big self-congratulation of callous empathy that gets old quickly. She is diagnosed as a psychopath by a reputable psychologist, but I would be a lot of money that she omitted his caveat that it was based only on an interview instead of the gold standard of actual life-history/archival data (such as criminal or school records). So I'm quite sure it's not a true story, but I'm not sure if that's because she's a psychopath who lies or if it's because she's a liar pretending to be a psychopath to sell books. Ultimately, I don't care. Because this book is accurate enough to paint the picture that a psychopath is not a pleasant person, in almost every way. There's virtually nothing redeeming about them unless you value ruthless predatory behavior, which few of us do. For example, the idea that they take risks is great, but they take selfish risks. They aren't war heroes. We generally value risk-takers who benefit others rather than just themselves (e.g., Audie Murphy vs. Enron). That makes this an interesting, but questionable book, that ultimately leaves one more certain than ever that psychopaths don't really have a whole lot of redeeming features. If her goal was to illuminate the world of a psychopath, she may have done so, but it's not a world very many of us would enjoy, and it's a world that even fewer of us would choose to celebrate as she has done. A generous three stars for the hope that this is over-the-top fiction.

Ames True Temper 1209600 3-1/2-Pound 36-Inch Double Bit Michigan Axe with Fiberglass Handle
Ames True Temper 1209600 3-1/2-Pound 36-Inch Double Bit Michigan Axe with Fiberglass Handle
Prix : CDN$ 50.39
2 used & new from CDN$ 50.39

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Solid axe, Sept. 16 2013
Achat vérifié(Quest-ce que cest?)
This is a good double-bit axe. It's nicely balanced and swings easily yet powerfully. The fibreglass handle is strong and securely attached. My only complaint is that it comes unsharpened, but that does leave one with the option of sharpening up one side more than the other. So that you can do some chopping with the sharper side, and rough work (splitting, limbing) with the other slightly duller side. Four stars.

Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined
Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined
by Scott Barry Kaufman
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 21.63
34 used & new from CDN$ 21.62

1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A passionate argument for diversity in intelligence, Sept. 16 2013
Achat vérifié(Quest-ce que cest?)
This book starts off with a candid admission from Kaufman- he was labeled as having a learning disability as a child and was told he had to repeat Grade 3. Yet Kaufman never felt like he was "too dumb" to succeed. Just different. So each chapter starts off with a tale of his life, and how we rose above his diagnosis into eventually attending prestigious graduate schools and becoming a professor. This personal touch really adds emphasis to this book, but it also sets up a strong caution- Kaufman has a personal axe to grind against single measures of intelligence in general, and IQ in particular. IQ hurt him, it hindered him. So did SATs and GREs. So he's not at all a fan of them on their own.

What he is a fan of is looking at what intelligence is, what it means, and how it's measured. Psychologists still don't have a firm answer as to what intelligence is. Most definitions revolve around being able to cope with your environment efficiently, but clearly that's not all there is. IQ itself is a fairly limited measure, developed to identify struggling students (or students with the potential to struggle). The problem with IQ and other unitary measures of intelligence is that they can only capture a particular slice of intelligence. They can't recognize talents or abilities that lie outside of their testing scope.

More generally, Kaufman explores the nature of "g", otherwise called "general intelligence". It is the ability that correlates with one's achievements on all tests. It relates to working memory and the ability to learn new information quickly. However, it does not help explain savants, or even just talent in an area (e.g., Wayne Gretzky's off-the-charts hockey IQ was almost certainly higher than his standard IQ). Kaufman also explores Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences and finds it wanting as well, given problems with intercorrelations of some of its items and measurement concerns. I'm surprised he didn't take greater aim at Sternberg's triarchic theory of intelligence that I've always found vague, descriptive, and of very little help. Then again, Sternberg was one of his graduate supervisor's and it would be poor form to take aim at him.

The book itself benefits from Kaufman's knowledge of the field and its researchers. There is a lot of data within this book. Someone without a background in psychology might find it heavy going, especially the neuroscience in the chapter on creativity. But it is worth the effort as it really tells a comprehensive tale and the presentation of the data allows the reader to make up their own minds about the state of the field.

So why only four stars? Two reasons. First, you can hear his frustration with his past challenges coming through almost every page. While it's understandable that he was frustrated by his challenges, and it's clearly a major motivation for his life's work (and this book), I didn't need to feel it in every page. He also doesn't do a lot to talk about the value of standardized testing. Yes, it's limited. Yes, it was designed to be, and so should be, only one part of a suite of various measures of individual capacity. All things that I agree with. But we also have to face the reality that not every child is as intelligent as every other child. Some children are faster than others, yet do we claim that any child can be a world-champion sprinter? Do we allow, encourage, and thus expect every child to be a theoretical physicist? Kaufman, to his credit, does raise some of these issues but he never really tackles them. Instead, he champions diversity. Which is laudable and I agree with him. Let's focus on individual strengths as much as possible. However, the reality is that modern life involves competition, competition involves talent, and talent involves both practice and ability. It also involves finite resources. As much as we would like to comprehensively measure and build on each child's strengths, the current systems do not have the capacity to do so. So for now, as Kaufman says, let's not throw out the baby with the bath water.

Ultimately then, this is a serious book about a serious topic. It includes personal stories and opinions, as well as lots of data and some applied recommendations. It does have limitations, but they are largely overshadowed by the strengths of this book. For anyone serious about understanding the nature of intelligence in children and adults, Ungifted is an excellent overview of what we know. So I have no problems in recommending this book, and would like to give it 4.5/5 stars, but settled with 4 as a conservative estimate of its worth. That doesn't mean I don't think it's worth getting, it means it's worth keeping an open and skeptical mind when you're reading it. Which is probably what Kaufman would encourage! So if you are interested in your intelligence, children's intelligence, or the teaching and measure of intelligence, this is a very good to excellent book to go with.

Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty's Favorite Uncle
Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty's Favorite Uncle
by Si Robertson
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 16.92
97 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The life and times of Unlce Si, and that's a fact, Jack!, Sept. 5 2013
Achat vérifié(Quest-ce que cest?)
Si Robertson is the hilarious clown uncle from TV's Duck Dynasty. This book is a look at his life, mostly outside of the show. That said, this book is really for fans of the show as I'm not sure the humor would shine through if you don't already know and like Si the TV character. In this book we get a lot of details about his childhood, his time in Vietnam, and his family. Not just the Robertsons we see on TV, but Si's actual wife and two children. I think there was a glimpse of them in the Phil/Miss Kay wedding episode, but otherwise we don't know much about Si's family from the show. This book fixes that, including some heartfelt letters from his wife, son, and daughter. The book includes a fair does of christian religion, but like the show, it's not really in your face so I didn't mind reading it as someone who doesn't share those beliefs.

But what you really want to know, if you are interested in Si, is whether this book is funny. Yes, yes it is. The short chapters (only a few pages each) are told in Si's voice, in his words. The ghost author (Mark S.) doesn't really make his presence felt, so I guess he was mostly just cleaning up/editing the stories. The chapters generally have a funny quote highlighted separately from the rest of the text, making it easy to build up a library of Si-cological "facts". Si's definitely a very quotable character. Not every story is funny, like why he is afraid of the dark (although it turns funny, depending on how real you think the "wolves" were), he and his wife's problems conceiving children, or some of the details from Vietnam (the reason behind his constant cup of tea is touching). But even those stories are told with a delicate enough touch that they don't ruin the overall happy and fun vibe of the book. They just let you know that his life wasn't all fun and games.

So is this book worth buying? As a general autobiography, it's not really that deep. His business and TV life, for example, is largely omitted, and some of the heavier details (e.g., Phil's dark period) are too. But for fans of the show who want to learn more about the man off the camera, this is most definitely worth checking out. It seems that Si the character is a little exaggerated on the show, but only a little bit! Frankly, that's what makes Si so interesting- his ability to seem serious while being completely over the top. So if that's what you're looking for, and I know it's what I was looking for, then this is definitely the book for you, Jack!

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20