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Review: The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea
The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very nice business fable. 5 principle rules of stratospheric success, and they are pretty optimistic view of the world. One thing I like about this (with Rand’s The Fountainhead firmly in my head) is it doesn’t simply assume that you’re giving your time/energy/expertise away without wanting something in return, but emphasizes that when you give, you have to be ready to receive as well, when it comes.

It’s one way to view the world, and it’s an ideal I like. Several parts worth remembering, including “You get what you expect.”

Worth reading.

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Review: The Little Prince

The Little Prince
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It wasn’t horrible, but half of the book was lost because I listened to it, instead of reading it. There are pictures in the book that the text refers to, so of course you miss half the experience. Having said that, this was a surreal reading experience. I’m apparently not enough of a child to understand this at first go, and let’s just say it doesn’t end like all other children’s books I know. I will have to give this another go, but this time on the dead-tree version.

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Review: The Magicians

The Magicians
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unexpected wonder. The best fantasy novel I’ve read during the year that I read it, which I have completely forgotten. Likely the year it was released, since I remembered I picked it up purely from the blurb during a visit to the bookstore. Impulse buy.

The description as an ‘adult’ Harry Potter is apt, but don’t let that detract you.

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Review: The Atrocity Archives

The Atrocity Archives
The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was listening to this on Audible, and it started off really strangely. I couldn’t get a grip on the story and frankly I gave it up and moved on to something else. So I finished Chris Moore’s A Dirty Job and I had nothing downloaded except this, so I thought what the heck, let’s put it on and grind it through till I get to a place where I can download the next read. However this time I was able to stay with the story, and more, I managed to enjoy it. I suppose the early preamble and setup took way too long and got too gnarly, but once that was out of the way Stross was able to get in on the action.

The story’s about an IT guy in a magically-inclined highly classified secret service called the Laundry, got mixed up in some shenanigans that got the upper brass to notice him, and drafted him into an otherworldly adventure. Equal parts IT nerdism, Cthulhu mythology, spell casting, James Bond-ish spy thriller, Stross throws in everything but the kitchen sink here, replete with geek references and some pretty funny moments.

There are parts which are genuinely clever. Of note is how Stross describes a basilisk’s ability to fry people at a glance (called Gorgonism), and how this ability manifesting in humans has been researched by top secret military scientists until they could weoponize it as a software uploadable to a webcam. Outrageous, but fiendishly clever.

I also loved some of the characters here, especially the protagonist’s version of M, a straight-faced no-nonsense intelligence director, hinted to be a skilled magician, and the interchanges between him and the protagonist is pretty funny. “Get out of here before I mock you.” “And as you young people would say, ‘Don’t have a cow.'” There’s also the office politics. Oh yes. Lovely bits there too.

I was semi-glad this wasn’t a wasted purchased. The book turned out to be funny, which is always a book’s saving grace where I’m concerned, and I guess if you can wade through the front parts you may like it. If you’re into IT, sf, fantasy, and spy thriller, that is.

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