SLAM DUNK

SLAM DUNK The true Story of Basketball’s First Olympic Gold Medal Team assumed published, copyright and written by Beth Fortenberry,

The book’s format is a bit unusual in that directly upon opening it, the reader is presented with a note from Carter DeHaven, producer of ‘Hoosiers’, stating “Soon to be a major motion picture”; then the book title/author pages; a picture of Joe Fortenberry, the Slam Dunk originator, finishing such a shot in the 1936 Olympics; a dedication page; Table of Contents; Praise of Slam Dunk by DeHaven; acknowledgements; and ultimately a prologue followed with 32 chapters and abundant reference material. The narrative describes and follows the life of James Naismith, the husky young Canadian-American graduate theologian, who invented the game while attempting to devise a game to keep athletes fit while in the employ of Dr. Luther Gulick who was charged with preparing teachers-in-training so they could be instructors and coaches in the Y.M.C.A.’s throughout the world. From this simple beginning in the late 1800’s the story unfolds the early beginnings of this game, the people who played and developed it, and how it was brought into the 1936 Olympics. Here, the group that included some prominent Jewish team members, along with the thrilling field athletics’ black Jesse Owens, walked off with their respective golds to effectively destroy Adolf Hitler’s desire to demonstrate to the world the supremacy of the Aryan race.

Discussion: The author has provided a gold mine for readers interested in the historical background of sports. Not only has she disclosed little known facts about the origin of basketball and details of the players involved in these early endeavors – Fortenberry, “Tex” Gibbons, ball hawk Francis Johnson, Sam Balter, the first of the Jews on the Olympic team and others, but has included largely unknown or often overlooked features of prominent people associated with the Olympics and other sports; e.g. coach Jimmy Needles, Phog Allen, Gene Johnson, the mercurial Olympic politician Avery Brundage, Maude Sherman Naismith organizer of the first women’s basketball team as well as earlier having devised the first usable football helmet noted by Amos Alonzo Stagg (the legendary football player/coach long association with the Y.M.C.A.). The descriptions of Hitler and Goebbels activities and that of the German people of the era are most appropriately portrayed. In all, this is an interesting book and must read for sports aficionados.

5* Interesting for all; a must read for sports enthusiasts.

The Changemaker

The Changemaker ISBN 9781946633736 Forbes Media copyright and written by Deke Copenhaver.

Sub-titled “The art of building better leaders” opens with several statements of praise for the book and its author followed by publication details; a forward; acknowledgements; about the author; timeline; introduction; nine chapters; “a parting word”, Passing the Baton to the Next Changemakers”; and more about deke”. The author admonishes that a Changemaker is “somebody who’s not afraid to do something different in the service of a good cause” and describes 7 attributes of such individuals; asks “What kind of Leader are you? Stresses the importance of creativity; Courage to Weather the Storm; importance of Coming Together; need to listen so you can learn from others; the requirement of transparency in all activities; dire need to remain calm, composed and lead on during times of trouble; and perhaps the most essential requirement, to follow your moral compass. Each chapter expands upon its subject matter and provides a helpful list of activities apropos to the subject in hand.

Discussion: This is a well-written book by an intelligent non-politician who had the temerity to run, and serve, for 3 terms (2005-2014) as Mayor of Augusta, Georgia. He was eminently successful by travelling a path quite different from the usual track espoused by career politicians. The individual chapters tell how it was accomplished and provides the reader with step by step directions how to become such a leader. Although containing some redundancy, an unfortunate feature of written material presented by anyone accustomed to speaking engagements, this is a well-written blueprint for any person desirous of attaining a high level of expertise in leadership.

5* Worthwhile read for any aspiring leader.

May Cause Drowsiness and Blurred Vision

May Cause Drowsiness and Blurred Vision ISBN: 978732721616, published, copyright and written by Gloria Squitiro.

This is an autobiographical segment in the life of a woman of Italian birth, happily married to a man who is a brutally frank auditor who attacks waste in government budgets – Mark Funkhouser, politician, author, former Auditor, then elected Mayor of City of Kansas City, MO. She, like Mark, is adamant about seeking the truth about her areas of interest; e.g. a freelance (unattached to any hospital) individual providing knowledge and aid to couples before and during childbirth after experiencing 2 caesarian sections that seemingly were unnecessary. Her birth children are a son and daughter and she has others she has attracted because of her nature. The story covers a period preceding her husband’s run for Mayor starting with a somewhat extended trip to Europe with the whole family as well as a period following their return.

Discussion: The author has initiated “The C’mon Funk Series” with this first volume that is sub-titled “The side-effects of bravery”. Here, she has set forth a no-holds-barred look at her unvarnished truth seeking evaluation of a number of factors and situations from her brave but confessed quite hypochondriacally slanted approach to life. It provides both humor and bits of poignancy from a realistic viewpoint that seems to be quite congruent with her husband’s thought processes. In her own words: she “has an INFJ (Introverted, intuitive, Feeling, Judging) personality. She is an advocate. She is a dreamer who takes concrete steps to realize her goals and make a lasting positive impact. Helping others is her purpose in life, but not through charity work. Her real passion is to get to the heart of issues so people need not be rescued at all.”

5* Fascinatingly amusing approach to life fascinating for many readers.

White Australia has a Black History

White Australia has a Black History. Barbara Miller Books copyright and written by Barbara Miller.

The author has set forth a monumental production examining injustice perpetrated upon an indigenous people. In her exhaustive examination of the basics upon which the moves were initiated and the manner in which they constantly were re-initiated and enforced she has presented a quite scholarly work supported by a large number of references as well as a hundred and ninety pertinent end-notes. Truly a remarkable accomplishment that does indeed show a dark history of disdain for the rights of individuals. It also is a tribute to William Cooper and the many others that attempted to regain not only the aboriginals land but their self-respect. The government’s demonstration of utter disdain is so reminiscent of that of the United States and its rough shod over-ride of the American Indian by their false treaties and promises, and the resulting “Trail of Tears”, the massacres and more. These quite parallel situations bring to mind a most interesting situation extant in each country – a basic and undying pride in their heritage demonstrated by an Australian woman and an American Indian man. Both often have been criticized for their early actions when others were immersed in the struggle for their people. Again simply demonstrating a somewhat similar lack of understanding with little knowledge of a situation and similarly lacking empathy. Isn’t it often said the “Everyone should have a dream to pursue and the more dire one’s circumstances, the greater the need for that dream”? And after the younger age at which they forged ahead with their dreams, both later returned to their roots with pride and proceeded to provide extensive help for their people.

The young Australian woman was Evonne Goolagong, daughter of a locally famous athlete mother who persisted in urging on her daughter, who became one of tennis’ multi-winning champions, including Wimbledon, in the 1970’s – 80’s. The young Indian was Billy Mills, the Oglala Sioux boy who against all odds gained the 1964 Olympic Gold Medal following a dream implanted by a desperate father in the mind of a grieving 8-year-old who had just lost his mother.

Discussion: Thus to reiterate, the author has provided a well-documented, exhaustive history of the manner in which still another group of indigenous people have been severely mistreated. Her extensive research has set forth and examined in detail each abominable act and has provided more than ample supportive data. It is a treasure trove of indisputable fact. The almost overwhelming detail leaves no space for any type of denial. Regrettably however, this makes movement through the material quite slow so readers, other than those interested in the many unacceptable actions perpetrated by governments, may find this to be somewhat of a deterrent to acquiring this fascinating material.

3* 5* Comprehensive expose; regrettable caveat for many readers.

Master Your Financial Success

Master Your Financial Success ISBN: 9781628656800 Published and copyright by Authors Place Press written by 14 Authors Place Financial planners.

The book opens with a disclaimer and an introduction that explains that the authors of this book wanted “to give back by educating others how to address several meaningful areas that impact everyone’s financial planning lives. We are hopeful you will learn something new and be inspired to action at the same time, as even the best intentions that are never implemented can prove worthless, if not tragic.” Eleven chapters follow that cover different aspects of financial planning. One –“Retirement is a New Dawn” explains and offers suggestions for you to “Define your Future” and assess the many opportunities, both good and bad, awaiting you because of the many changes that have occurred. “It almost certainly will not be your parents’ retirement.” Two discusses Financial Stewardship and how important is “Proper financial stewardship (because it) exponentially increases value; conversely improper financial stewardship dramatically dilutes value.” Three discusses “Financial Planning for Today’s Unique Family” which may consist of a single parent, same sex parents and more. Four, is a somewhat more specialized chapter in that it deals with “Advanced Planning for Senior Executives” Five, discusses “Generation Wealth Planning and admonishes “You have prepared your wealth for your family .  .  .  but have you prepared your family for your wealth?” Six, “Creative Strategies to Preserve Family Wealth” and Seven, “Considerations for a Business Owner” like chapter Four, again are a little more specialized. Eight – “Investing Demystified” provides basics of the activity. Nine – “Corporate Retirement Plans” is heavy on 401(K) retirement plans, Ten– “Using Life Insurance in Financial Plans” provides interesting discussion on the subject. Eleven – discusses “Charitable Planning Strategies.

Discussion: The authors collectively have presented interesting and most credible suggestions in each area of their expertise. Readers no doubt will discover many useful, and quite possibly unthought-of points to consider in any of the areas defined. From this reader’s perspective, this is a quite valuable contribution to individuals who have managed to attain a somewhat greater position and/or collection of wealth but unfortunately it is not exactly geared to those lower on the ladder of business or monetary attainment.

3* 5* for those at higher levels of accomplishment; limited otherwise.

Monkey Money Mind

Monkey Money Mind ISBN: 9781946633712 Forbes Books Copyright and written by Chris Zadeh and Angeliyue Schouten.

Subtitled “How to Stop Monkeying Around with Your Money” this book provides brief notes about the authors followed by an Introduction commenting on “Making Sense of How We Use our Cents” followed by nine chapters of suggestions, an Epilogue, The Silverback (gorilla), 179 pertinent bibliographic notes and finally an extensive Bibliography listed alphabetically. The authors explain that the Money Monkey Mind is “a hybrid of two concepts; it’s the psychological influences on our financial decisions blended with the Buddhist concept of the monkey mind, “the presence within us that remains restless and unsettled, criticizing our decisions, creating doubt, and stifling our creativity…. affect even the most brilliant financial giants.” The rational mind may focus on the future but the Monkey Money Mind focuses only on the present seeing only the next tree branch with the next piece of fruit – instant gratification. The concept is based upon the fact that “only a few shreds of DNA separate humans from apes. In fact, we share more than 96 percent of our genetic composition – a percentage ten times smaller than the genetic difference between rats and mice.” In other words, even the most knowledgeable individuals suffer occasionally from the urge for instant gratification, or taking the less demanding route our more rational side dictates. Each chapter examines a different phase of this troubling activity and provides helpful suggestions toward making the correct decision. Simple choices are examined with test proven results that readers may find surprising; e.g. is winning of a physical prize such as a car, expensive piece of jewelry, or other more gratifying than winning money? And why? The results often are offered from studies of unusual sources such as the NFL. Other factors are discussed using equally interesting subjects of brand loyalty, Inattention blindness, gambler’s fallacy, the trouble with easy payments, getting over irrational (and expensive) fear of loss, expert addiction, the importance of making your own decision and more.

Discussion: The authors, both of whom have experienced lean money times from childhood, have produced an interesting discussion and provided most viable suggestions on how to deal with this monster of a subject. Further, they have done so in a simple, readily understood manner, reciting study results of pertinent examples from unusual test groups. The summary suggestions pertinent to each subject discussed also neatly provide ‘take away’ thoughts. This book is well worth a reader’s time.

5* Nicely presented discussion and suggestions of a most important subject.