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.

NEXUS

NEXUS ISBN: 9781543981551 assumed published, copyright and written by Ryan W. Aslesen.

In this new addition to the popular Max Ahlgren series, Max is continuing to attempt to discover and eliminate, in as painful manner as possible, the men who had murdered his wife and son. During this continuing process, he is asked to help a new FBI agent to continue her assignment to deliver a brilliant Israeli Scientist, his young son and his tremendously advanced scientific achievement in Artificial Intelligence to a safe house outside of Washington, D.C. Margaret Leet, the new agent, along with her more experienced partner were attacked while waiting for a delayed flight at Los Angeles Airport. Her partner had been killed, but she, the scientist and his son temporarily were safe until Max’s arrival. They again set out only to be attacked repeatedly by supposed friends as well as foes. The action escalates in the manner usually provided by the author’s novels to an interesting conclusion seemingly much more philosophical in its content than usual before preparing the reader for the next book in the series.

Discussion: The author, well-known among thriller aficionados, has provided another high octane thriller again featuring the indestructible Max Ahlgren. The action, in a less usual manner, is slowed somewhat   with a portion describing dreams similarly suffered by most service men who have participated in heavy combat. Also, a considerable amount of time is spent discussing the fact that “dynamite, TV and the Internet –each created for betterment of mankind and for peaceful purposes, instead now are instruments of murder and mass control” because “The wisest and kindest intentions don’t matter when greed and narcissisms become involved.” These latter features, as applied to the plot of the story, actually add another worthwhile dimension to the content of the ongoing series.

4* thriller but 5* for added dimension demanding serious thought.

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.

Cut Reality

Cut Reality ISBN: 9781733504911 Anywhere Press, written by Zack Hacker.

Jason Debord is a College English Professor who decides to become a contestant in the 50th TV Reality Show where two teams of contestants spend sixty days on small islands with no clothes or means of survival other than those they can devise. Periodically, a member is voted out and the rest realign themselves until only one is declared the winner. Conditions are difficult with insufficient food, extremely difficult sleeping arrangements and constant tension to avoid being the next to be voted off the island. One of the participants with whom Jason was most friendly dies, reported by the show’s producers as a suicide. Jason does not believe it was suicide and continues to accuse the producers of murder even after the show’s termination and he was declared the one million dollar winner. He believes that the death resulted from the producers desire to give further life to the series that was beginning to lose its general appeal. One, and possibly more, of the contestants also are critical. However, none can discover any evidence and a number of unusual occurrences seem to support his contentions, among them a near fatal automobile accident. Meanwhile, Jason’s involvement with his intermittent love interest expands and finally reaches a plateau because, as a consulting psychologist albeit mostly with disturbed teens, she find his paranoia difficult to accept. However, the story continues with numerous activities pointing both ways until its ultimate conclusion.

Discussion: This book, the author’s first, has presented an apparent mystery that expands to provide very thoughtful commentary about reality TV. The last pages of Chapter 11 aptly express these basic thoughts under the title “Dying for good TV: What we can learn from Bill Gerding’s Untimely Demise.” From this reviewer’s perspective, the tale’s characters never are particularly well defined, quite a number of features also would benefit from further attention and the romantic relationship is a little difficult to understand. However as a first endeavor, the author is to be commended and further presentations no doubt will be well worthwhile.

4* Thoughtful look at America’s Reality TV near addiction.

 

 

Across Time and Space

Across Time and Space: Chronicles of Courage, Hope, Love, Persistence and Leadership. Assumed published, Copyright and Written by Emilio Iodice.

The title of this book fortified by its subtitle, “Stories for Us, our Children and Grand Children explain exactly its contents. The opening story describes a young German woman who had the fortitude to defy Hitler. The second details the story of the 5 Sullivan brothers who were lost together while serving aboard a U.S. Navy ship during WW II. Another is that of the heroic action of a young Italian police officer and the stories continues with numerous other examples of “wisdom, courage, love, compassion, charity, integrity, faith and hope”. Many of the offerings included are examples of residents of a small island off the Italian coast and apparently are memories of individuals known by, about, and/or are relatives of, the author, and all exhibited one or more of the attributes mentioned above. Many tales seem to be personal remembrances of these individuals as they immigrated to the U.S. and attempted to blend into the country during the devastating Great Depression that began in 1929. Interestingly detailed accounts of the founder of Bank of America, President John F. Kennedy, athletes Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and others also are depicted.

Discussion: The author has described periods of great unrest and/or others calling for display of all of the personal qualities he has enumerated as well as frequent sacrifices of varying degrees. It is a book seemingly ‘written from the heart’ by one who also has experienced some of the same or similar situations. The author has provided an authentic touch to each episode by offering pertinent references. The only regrettable aspect of the book from this reviewer’s perspective is the amount of repetitive material that judicious editing would have eliminated. Overall however, a most thoughtfully prepared and written text from which readers will gain much while enjoying the diverse nature of the tales.

4* 5*Thoughtful reminiscences providing many lessons; -1* editing required.

SLICES

SLICES, an e-book assumed to be published, copyright and written by Thomas Simon.

This is “a collection of thirty poems that explore objects, people, situations and their interplay in daily life in order to unravel an introspective view of life and its journey. Through various characters, it moves the reader from simple words to a whole different world of metaphor, conveying deeper meaning by uncovering layers of human behaviors and emotions.”

According to further brief words about the author at the end of the book, he is an avid photographer, nature lover and voracious reader who “has been writing poetry since his school days” and is desirous here to have the reader look for “fresh perspectives with varied interpretations and diverse thoughts” from the “everyday thoughts and emotions presented.”

Discussion: Regrettably from this reviewer’s perspective the author’s admirably lofty desires have not been realized. Far removed from once studying Shakespearean and Seventeenth Century Poets I did not expect especially rewarding poetry but was quite disappointed. Additionally and most regrettably from my standpoint, the author did not elicit any of his intended “fresh perspectives with varied interpretations and diverse thoughts” from his often quite unusual ruminations.

1* Regrettably and most apologetically to the author