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Craig Matteson (Saline, MI)

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Deflation: What Happens When Prices Fall
Deflation: What Happens When Prices Fall
by Chris Farrell
Edition: Hardcover
21 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Not all lowering of prices is deflation, July 16 2004
If you look in bookstores at any give time you will find a shelf of books predicting a bright future with some a really strangely bright future. You will also find another shelf explaining to you why things are bad and will only get worse. Readers of a certain disposition will find the books appropriate to their sense of the future and find confirmation.
Deflation is a serious topic, but this is really not a serious book. The book makes the case that our new economic paradigm is, this time, really different because of the way prices fall because of technological efficiencies. Mr. Farrell links this kind of price decline with the kind of general deflation that follows and economic contraction and huge missteps of a central bank. The problem is these are not the same kinds of things and do not have the same kinds of effects. This incorrect mixture of topics under the same noun adds to confusion and foggy thinking.
To the person caught up in any kind of economic dislocation the state of the general economy is irrelevant, they are suffering in a depression. The problem is this kind of book lumps different kinds of things together to create a sense of alarm and concern.
Falling prices are a normal part of the business process as products and industries mature. They are a good thing for consumers of those goods and services and help efficiencies. They also spur development of new products and services that have higher prices and margins. In a general contraction and (real) deflation, everyone suffers because borrowers must repay debts with what amounts to devalued currency.
For example, we saw this in the housing market in the United Kingdom in the nineties when the collapse of the currency left people having mortgages on their houses that were higher than the market value of their homes. People just walked away from their homes. This kind of misery is not the same thing as accounting people losing their jobs because software now does what they used to do.
I like Mr. Farrell's urging of more free trade, and of reforming the retirement programs in this country to a single program attached to the individual rather the employer.

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from CDN$ 4.44

14 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Important topic - flawed explication, July 16 2004
I really wanted to like this book because the it discusses an important topic. The role of randomness in our everyday lives versus our innate (lack of) capacity to deal with it without careful education is one that we need to talk about more in the popular culture. However, the problems with this book are several. Its casual and meandering exposition is supposed to make it more accessible, but it actually makes it harder to come to terms with the topic.
Also, Mr. Taleb is a bit difficult to warm to, although there are occasional flashes of wit and humor that help. For example, he is so proud of his personal achievements that he both disparages them (he is ashamed of his Wharton MBA), and uses them as proof of his superiority of almost everyone (he read a lot at the library). He also has some strange peccadilloes such as his passionate and disproportionate dislike of George Will because he interviewed Robert Shiller (Taleb's friend and author of "Irrational Exuberance") in a rather feckless manner.
In the second half of the book he does explain some interesting phenomena about human psychology and randomness in interesting ways, but he goes completely overboard on certain points. On page 173 he states that Khaneman and Tversky have exerted the most influence on economic thinking in the past 200 years. Come on! Name any major economics department that has become behaviorist in any major way. (Taleb might find such resistance to acceptance a proof of concept - but people weighing evidence seriously would find it a chink in Talebs case.
I think the reality is that what Taleb points to is important and does exist, but that it is something like a second order effect in the big scheme of things. It may matter an extreme amount in the narrow world of options trading where Taleb indicates he lives, but for most of us it is a minor issue. Not one of no consequence, but not a determinative effect in the broad sweep of our lives.
So, I continue to look for a really good book on this topic. If you know of one, please email me with information about the book.

Commercial Real Estate Analysis and Investments
Commercial Real Estate Analysis and Investments
by David M. Geltner
Edition: Hardcover
15 used & new from CDN$ 33.30

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great text - solid presentation - just undertand its focus, July 13 2004
I think this is a wonderful text. However, let me state up front this is NOT a general book about real estate as an investment vehicle in the broad sense. It is a text that provides the knowledge and techniques to ANALYZE commercial real estate as a financial investment. So, yes, the book is heavy on financial analysis and the many way markets and techniques that exist for investing in commercial real estate.
You won't learn a thing about how to pick or manage properties. Those are topics for other books and courses. This great book does have a rather specific focus, but it needs that because the topic it does cover is so large and there is a great deal to learn.
I find the book to be clearly written with the bare minimum of mathematics to make the content extremely valuable. Because the authors have a practical focus the reader is not overwhelmed or bogged down in abstruse topics or arcane formulae.
The book has thirty chapters grouped into eight parts. The eight parts are 1) Into to real estate economics, 2) Urban economics and real estate analysis, 3) Basic financial economic concepts and tools, 4) Real estate valuation and investment analysis at the microlevel, 5) Completing the basic investment analysis picture, 6) Mortgages from an investment perspective, 7) Macrolevel real estate investment, 8) Real estate development and other selected topics.
From this list of topics you can understand the nature of this book. If these are issues you are interested in I think you will find this book really delivers the goods and I am glad to have on my shelf of valued business texts.

Quiet Man
Quiet Man
DVD ~ John Wayne
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Prix : CDN$ 37.92
10 used & new from CDN$ 16.28

1 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A romance almost out of time and place - wonderful cast, July 12 2004
This review is from: Quiet Man (DVD)
Anyway, the story is an idyll that is really out of time and place. Apparently it takes place in the early 20th century in Ireland. It seems to be after the Irish Revolution, but before the First World War. I say before the war because the movie never references the awful loss of life that traumatized every European nation that experienced it. Any later than that and you would wonder where the planes and cars would be.
It is a good love story, but the whole concept of dowry and the stubborn character shown by the whole Danaher clan would be mysterious to the younger American generation, as would the purpose of a matchmaker and the formal courting rituals that the movie sends up.
John Wayne is quite fine in this role as is the whole cast. It is a very enjoyable film with a lot to recommend it for the family. It will certainly spark some discussion with the kids that might be helpful and broaden their cultural horizons.

Geometric Constructions
Geometric Constructions
by George E. Martin
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 65.08
20 used & new from CDN$ 34.81

5.0 étoiles sur 5 I wish I could give it more than five stars - a delight!, July 12 2004
This is a magical book. It took me a long time to find it, but I am glad that I did. I was never taught the nearly lost art of drawing geometrical figures with a straight edge and a compass. We did a tiny bit of paper folding in seventh grade, but I never really understood how to get to the core of the geometry.
This brief book makes it all a delightful game with clear notation and a tremendously logical orientation. It makes it possible for anyone who has a desire to learn this topic to get a solid grounding that will help all their further studies in geometry by providing a foundation in the intuitions of how the geometric proof is actually made.
I am so delighted to have found this book and recommend it to you highly.

Essentials of Organizational Behavior
Essentials of Organizational Behavior
by Stephen P Robbins
Edition: Paperback
31 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Well written and solid intro to the field of Org Behavior, July 12 2004
"Essentials in Organizational Behavior" is a solid text for a course surveying the field of Organizational Behavior. Its sixteen chapters are grouped into four parts. Part I introduces the field of organizational behavior, its goals and functions within an organization along with some challenges and opportunities.
Part II contains chapters two through six and focuses on how individuals function within an organization and the considerations managers need to have with values, personality, motivation, emotions, and how individuals make decisions.
Part III contains chapters seven through twelve and discusses groups in the organization. It begins discussion foundations of group behavior, some basics on work teams, communication, leadership & creating trust, power & politics, conflict & negotiation.
Part IV discusses the Organization System in chapters thirteen through sixteen. It begins with the foundations of organizational structure, culture, and then gets into the role of human resource policies and practices. The book concludes with Organizational Change and Development.
There is an epilogue to wrap things up, endnotes, and index and a glossary.
The book is clearly written. I like the way the author presents a variety of views and theories and never becomes dogmatic about a certain approach. Because it is concise it actually has a chance of being read (the usual 750 page textbook is largely left unread in most courses). However, to really become proficient in any of the many topics presented here the student will have to do much more study and practical work. I am confident that any teacher adopting the text for coursework would make the necessity for further study clear to the student. The endnotes do provide many fine sources for such study, but I would like to have seen some sources organized into a list of readings for study organized by topic. It would have added a few pages, but would not have overburdened this text.
In any case, this is a good introductory read for anyone who wants to a quick tour of the universe of Organizational Behavior.

Commando (Widescreen)
Commando (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Offered by Sunrise Records
Prix : CDN$ 12.99
18 used & new from CDN$ 3.21

2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 If you like Schwarzenegger's action films this is a good one, July 9 2004
This review is from: Commando (Widescreen) (DVD)
This movie is nearly twenty years old, but if you are a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger's action movies this one is a lot of fun. Arnold plays retired commando John Matrix who is seeking a life in the mountains as a single dad with his daughter. Some of his enemies kidnap his daughter in order to compel him to assassinate the leader of a small country. He only has eleven hours to find a way to avoid their trap and save his daughter.
Rae Dawn Chong, as flight attendant Cindy, finds herself pressed into the role of Matrix's sidekick and potential romantic interest. She has some comic lines commenting on the action along the way. She also happens to have the right car and the right skills to aid the plot at key points.
Vernon Wells as arch villain Bennet, Dan Hedaya as the leader of the bad guys, Arius, and David Patrick Kelly as Sully are all fine villains and each added a lot to this movie. I loved seeing Bill Duke as Cooke. He has a great fight seen in this movie and is one of the best things in Predator. Fine actor and powerful screen presence. The daughter, Jenny Matrix, is played very effectively by Alyssa Milano who has gone on to have an active career in show business. Good for her!
This isn't a great movie and many of the elements here are done better in "True Lies", but Arnold is young and strong here with lots of guns, explosions, and action. If you like that kind of thing, then this is a pretty fun time.

Cold Mountain (Collector's Edition) (Sous-titres français) [Import]
Cold Mountain (Collector's Edition) (Sous-titres français) [Import]
DVD ~ Jude Law
Offered by marvelio-ca
Prix : CDN$ 12.91
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 étoiles sur 5 A civil war odyssey focusing on the suffering at home, July 9 2004
Cold Mountain is a sad romance about the Civil War that shows us the effects of the war on the home front and the women of the Old South. We all expect that we know what happened to the people who lived and fought at the various fronts of the war with all its direct horrors. There is one spectacular battle scene - The Siege of Petersburg.
Ada Monroe (played beautifully by Nicole Kidman) is a Southern Belle transplanted to rustic surroundings with her father, the Reverend Monroe (handsomely done by Donald Sutherland). She is widely admired, but lives a lonely life. Her special admirer is Inman (the always fine Jude Law) who is man of few words with a strong internal life that is somewhat disconnected from the world around him.
When Ada finds herself on her own she fares terribly and survives only by the kindness of her neighbors. When the war comes and most of the men go off to the war one man that stays behind is named Teague (portrayed with real intensity by Ray Winstone). Ada's friends send Ruby Thews (Ruby Tuesday?) to live with her because Ruby knows how to work the land and survive while Ada is an out of place jewel.
Renee Zellweger's performance as Ruby is powerful and is really the heartbeat of the movie if not the lyric poetry of it. There is a reason Ruby is the character that lingers in the mind vividly. Ruby and Ada thrive together and as the war turns against the south the Home Guard rises in power ostensibly to protect the people behind the lines. Really, they prey on the citizens to advance their own greed and power. Kathy Baker and James Gammon portray Sally and Esco Swanger who help Ada and Ruby and end up suffering terribly at the hands of the predatory protectors.
Inman wends his way home and has many adventures and the love that he and Ada share is powerful and unreasonable. Both of them realize this and do not really understand why their slight experience together binds them so powerfully. Ada is even unsure that Inman is alive except for some visionary hope.
Brendan Gleeson is fine as Ruby's musician father and Philip Seymour Hoffman is indelible as the Reverend Veasey. I don't know how Mr. Hoffman consistently makes his portrayals so memorable, but he always contributes a richness to his roles that he raises the quality of everything I have seen him in.
This movie has a bleakness about it that some may find too cold, and I understand that. However, I enjoyed the quiet depth of feeling between the characters during such amazingly hard times. I especially enjoyed seeing the Civil War's effects on those at home who were nonetheless in the war and paid so deep a price. To see some of that coming from those who were entrusted to protect them is all the more horrifying.

Listen and Sing: Lessons in Ear-Training and Sight-Singing
Listen and Sing: Lessons in Ear-Training and Sight-Singing
by David A. Damschroder
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 179.63
5 used & new from CDN$ 179.63

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A solid program to develop important musical skills, July 6 2004
There are a number of approaches to what is called ear training. Obviously, it is the mind that is trained rather than the ear, but it is called ear training because the aspect of the mind that is being made more acute is the sense of hearing. One of the reasons the most successful methods of ear training use singing is because of way singing connects the passive mode of hearing to an active mode of listening and discrimination; of hearing clearly so one can replicate the sounds heard. The act of notating what one hears is called musical dictation and is a desirable skill in developing musical literacy.
This book, "Listen and Sing", by David Damschroder, is quite good in laying out a program to develop those skills. It begins at a very basic level with simple melodies to sing alone and with fellow students. I like the way Prof. Damschroder emphasizes rhythm as well as pitch and provides many different kinds of exercises to simultaneously develop the ability to hear melodies, repeat them, sing them at sight from notation, look at notation and match what you see with what you hear, linking aspects of functional harmony with the melodic structure, and writing down what you hear.
The book carefully begins with very basic skills, and logically adds complexity so that the skill development seems natural and without a steep learning curve. However, the student must actually practice the exercises in each chapter or they will soon find the demands being added too difficult to fake their way through (unless the student has these skills already - and if so - why are they reading this book or taking the course? Pass out of it already!).
I think the accompanying tapes are a good investment and will aid student practice a great deal. The tapes are a separate purchase and are ISB 0-02-870666-8. The DVDs are not available.

Capitalism and Freedom
Capitalism and Freedom
by Milton Friedman
Edition: Paperback
44 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Important foundation text - should be studied and considered, July 6 2004
This review is from: Capitalism and Freedom (Paperback)
This is a foundation text that should be widely read and studied. Whether you agree with Friedman or not is not the point. These are ideas you need to actually consider and wrestle with. If you end up disagreeing with him and can state why, you will be the stronger for it. It is not enough to rail against them emotionally or call them lies. They are not lies; they are ideas and arguments that ask for debate. Personally, I have always been a fan of Friedman and am ever grateful that he stood against the tide of the postwar political movements with these powerful arguments for freedom.
People often caricature Friedman to their own discredit. His arguments here are not simply that government is bad, but that using government is often a poor way to get at a desirable social end. He certainly does not need me to speak for him, but if you think he is for huge corporations and letting the poor without help to fend for themselves, you misunderstand him and should read this work carefully. Big corporations, he argues several places in this book, are the result of taxation schemes that encourage the retention and reinvestment of earnings that would otherwise have gone to the shareholders to reinvest as they see fit - in other enterprises, consumption, or charity (as well as in taxes). This is only one example among many of popular prejudices against Friedman that do him real injustice.
The book is only a couple of hundred pages, is not hard to read, but does pay off the most dividends if you take your time reading it and consider what he has to say rather than jumping to conclusions without wrestling with your own thoughts (whether you agree with the author or not). It was written in 1962, so some of the context of the book will require some understanding on the part of the reader. It was a very different time than today. However, the arguments remain solid and strong to the benefit of anyone who will spend time thinking about why they agree or disagree with this Nobel Laureate.
Oh, and he uses the word LIBERAL for his philosophy and explains the word in it classic sense rather than in the modern US re-definition of the word.

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