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Leo Lim (Collierville, TN USA)

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One Last Shot: The Story of Michael Jordan's Comeback
One Last Shot: The Story of Michael Jordan's Comeback
by Mitchell Krugel
Edition: Hardcover
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars In depth look of the greatest basketball player, June 7 2004
Author chronicles Jordan's first season on a playoff mission with the Washington Wizards, something which happened when this franchise was still known as the Bullets.
The book opens with Jordan sinking that picture perfect shot against Utah then to his foray as a Wizard executive, practicing with the Wizards players then to his experiences in the court with teammates not named Scottie or Dennis but Kwame, Brendon. Krugel paints a Jordan looking for that one last shot, that one last roll of the dice no matter how many times over he has beaten the house.
I really loved this book for it gave us an in depth look of Jordan at his lowest point - from there you could begin to grasp how he won all those championships. The book also explains why there was a comeback attempt and why it ultimately failed. As proof, the author compares Jordan's best performance as a Bull compared to Jordan's best performance as a Wizard.
In the end, it was Jordan's body that let him down but not his indomitable will. Though there were times when he could hold his own against a new generation led by Kobe, Pierce and Iverson, he failed miserably when measured against the standard to which all other future basketball players will be measured - his former incarnation.

Bull Run: The Story of the 1995-96 Chicaco Bulls, The Greatest Team in Basketball History
Bull Run: The Story of the 1995-96 Chicaco Bulls, The Greatest Team in Basketball History
by Roland Lazenby
Edition: Hardcover
23 used & new from CDN$ 6.02

4.0 out of 5 stars Story of the record breaking season, March 27 2004
Lazenby's book opens with the Bulls' heartbreaking playoff loss to Orlando in the 1994-1995 season followed by an offseason of introspection. What follows is a narrative of their record breaking regular season all the way to the championship. Each chapter tackles a key figure on that Bull championship team (Krause, Jackson, Kukoc, Rodman) interspersed with narratives of regular season games.
Lazenby provides the reader with a behind the scenes look on that historical season - the different strategies Phil Jackson uses to neutralize Miami's Alonzo Mourning for instance. My only complaint about this book is that it could have used a lot less pictures and more anecdotes.

Effective Java¿ Programming Language Guide
Effective Java¿ Programming Language Guide
by Joshua Bloch
Edition: Paperback
38 used & new from CDN$ 0.41

5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable for the Java programmer, March 22 2004
If you have enough money to buy only one book in Java then this should be it! Bloch's masterpiece consists of 57 tips which specifically delve on using the Java API THE WAY THE DESIGNERS INTENDED IT TO BE. In case you're wondering, the author is a Senior Staff Engineer at Sun Microsystems and was the one who designed and implemented the Java Collections Framework and the java.math.package.
I have been programming in Java for 5 years already and still each tip teaches me something new (I was actually surprised when Bloch mentioned that the hashCode method has to be overriden if you were to override an Object's equals method).
However, you need to have programmed in Java for quite some time to appreciate this book as it will not teach you object oriented programming and the Java language constructs from scratch.
It's quite a shame that the details he expounds on this book are in the Java specifications but are merely glossed over by the anxious programmer searching for that elusive Java class method to meet some deadline.

The Mechanic's Tale: Life in the Pit-Lanes of Formula One
The Mechanic's Tale: Life in the Pit-Lanes of Formula One
by Steve Matchett
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.77
43 used & new from CDN$ 0.77

3.0 out of 5 stars Was not what I expected, Jan. 2 2004
Though many think this book as a sequel to Matchett's first novel, "Life in the Fast Lane", its main thrust is instead Matchett's career path from a mechanic working in both Ferrari and BMW to the Benetton Formula One Team to his resignation and transition from champion race mechanic to writer.
It still contains some interesting anecdotes though from Nelson Piquet's penchant for farting when the mechanic rests his head on Piquet's lap to adjust the ride height of the car to Michael Schumacher's very photographic memory - he can give the chassis' behavior as the car enters and exits every corner of a race track. Matchett also quashes notions about Benetton having a 1st and 2nd driver - all cars are created equal from the chassis to its minutest parts.
I was disappointed with the exposition as the author seem unable to decide whether the book is about his career path or an analysis of a Grand Prix event. Would have expected more analysis from him i.e. what he thinks of McLaren, Ferrari, who the best driver is, etc...

Life in the Fast Lane: The Inside Story of Benetton's First World Championship
Life in the Fast Lane: The Inside Story of Benetton's First World Championship
10 used & new from CDN$ 7.16

5.0 out of 5 stars A Mechanic's view of the 1994 season, Dec 31 2003
You may only see them for a total of 24 seconds during race day -I'm talking about the people Michael Schumacher usually thanks in the winner's press conference which is rightfully so as they do most of the hard work.
This book is a Benetton mechanic's view of the 1994 Formula One season. The content of this book do not delve on racing analysis but on the suitcase life of a mechanic, the middle of night repairs to get a car ready plus many, many more. Contains many interesting anecdotes that are unseen in news reports like when a driver requests the brake pedal to be moved a little bit closer to him, and the mechanic moves it back a fraction. Driver says, 'Er no, too far back just a bit' then the mechanic moves it back to its original position and driver says, 'Yes, that's perfect, just there!' Author also describes his immense gratitude to the McLaren team mechanics who helped him out during the pit lane fire in the German Prix.
There's also something on the fuel rig tampering charge the author defends Benetton's position in this issue. I find the author's take on cheating quite convincing - that no one in Formula One intentionally cheats for fear of being disqualified from the competition altogether.
However, I would have wanted Matchett's opinion on the Damon Hill-M. Schumacher Adelaide collision which effectively decided the 1994 Driver's Championship as he merely glossed it over.
Interesting read nonetheless and a must for every Formula One Fan.

How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method
How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method
by G. Polya
Edition: Paperback
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful to my programming work, Dec 30 2003
Polya prescribes different forms to approaching a problem through some guide questions that a solver should ask ("Is there a related problem"). The exposition is quite short, majority of the book is devoted to a glossary of heuristic terms which prove very helpful. Polya uses common problems in high school geometry to demonstrate his point which make it easily understandable.
I'm glad I have discovered an excellent book on problem solving which would prove indispensable in my programming career. Other programming books mainly demonstrate features of an OS or a computer language but this book goes into the heart of the computer science which is problem solving.

Next: The Future Just Happened
Next: The Future Just Happened
by Michael Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.09
52 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Changing of the Guard, Oct. 24 2003
Talks about the dramatic changes brought about by the Internet in a world where adults are supposed to rule. Anecdotes range from a kid whose instincts in playing the stock market prove to be better than experienced stock brokers to a teenager whose legal advice prove more useful in the people's eyes compared to the members of the Bar. All these are possible as they compete in the ultimate playing field called the Internet.
Author then progresses from the Internet to the concept of change in general and closes with Bill Joy's article on Wired magazine titled, "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us" outlining the software guru's fear of change. In the end CHANGE of which the Internet is just one form is the ultimate leveller in any playing field.
Excellent writing!!!! I give it 5 stars

Michael Schumacher: Driven to Extremes
Michael Schumacher: Driven to Extremes
by James Allen
Edition: Paperback
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Unbiased view on Michael Schumacher, Oct. 24 2003
Book opens with Schumacher's infamous collision with Villeneuve at Jerez in 1997 and progresses through the 1998 and 1999 seasons in his quest for redemption(At this point Schumacher never admitted to making a mistake but he admitted it on 2000). Of course we all know how it ended for Ferrari in 1998 and 1999.
Book contains interesting anecdotes about Irvine intentionally blocking Schumacher in Silverstone'98 which ultimately caused his title-ending injury and Schumacher telling Mercedes boss Norbert Haug that he didn't mind Hakkinen winning in 1999 for obvious reasons.
Have to give credit to James Allen for giving an unbiased view on Schumacher as I've always known him to be biased against arguably the greatest f1 driver of all time.

The Partner
The Partner
by John Grisham
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
108 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not the best Grisham novel, Oct. 3 2003
Tells the story of Patrick Lanigan, a lawyer who faked his own death and absconded with 90 million dollars of his employer's money to Brazil.
Novel opens with his capture and progresses through his skillful evasion of a variety of people who wanted him behind bars or wanted to recoup their money - the Feds, his former employers as well as the insurance firms who paid up as part of his life insurance policy. Adroit maneuvering was done with the help of his lawyer Sandy and lawyer-girlfriend Eva.
As the story progresses one gets the feeling that Grisham has stacked the cards too much on the heroes' side for Lanigan has every move by his pursuers anticipated and promptly parried.
The story is good but I would place it at a lower rung to his other novels (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Brethren).

The Piranha Club: Power and Influence in Formula One
The Piranha Club: Power and Influence in Formula One
by Timothy Collings
Edition: Hardcover
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.15

3.0 out of 5 stars More anecdotes please..., Sept. 20 2003
This book chronicles the different life stories of the prominent personalities of the F1 paddock - Bernie Ecclestone, Max Mosley, Frank Williams, Ron Dennis as well as some of the old members like Enzo Ferrari, Walker, Cooper and Chapman. Also chronicles the rise of Paul Stoddart, the owner of the Minardi Team.
Instead of delving on the inner workings of the Piranha Club, the author opts to present a collection of biographies of the more prominent members of the Club. There are some anecdotes on the inner workings interwoven between the life stories of the team principals(e.g. Schumacher's transfer from Jordan to Benetton, poaching of Minardi's chief engineer by Toyota, Frank Williams closeness with Ron Dennis) but they are few and far between.
If the author could have made these inner workings of the club as the main thesis of the book then it could have been a far worthwhile read.

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