An Incredible Journey

     An Incredible Journey ISBN: 9780990393559 Barringer Publishing copyright and written by Thomas Z. Lajos.

Dr. Lajos’ story of his journey has been divided of necessity and presented in 5 distinct parts. Part I deals with the first 25 years including family background and describes its effects while under Nazi influence followed by dwelling behind the Iron Curtain for years; Part II describes his search for training in surgery, freedom and democracy first in the British Isles then Kingston and Toronto, Canada in the New World. Part III and IV provide details first of the professional years and the author’s training in general surgery followed by that in cardiac and thoracic surgery. Part V consists of several appendices that provide interesting factual material on several incidents, movements, manifestos and important people involved along with fascinating observations on political as well as movements and decisions with respect to total health care. The book also includes a list of figures and captions for the sizable number of pictures included, a Bibliography, and a very sizable Name index.

Discussion: This is perhaps one of the most inclusive biographies this reviewer has read. It also is one that demonstrates the tenacity of purpose of a man subjected to numerous almost insurmountable conditions during one of history’s periods of abominable activity. An era in which two men, Hitler and Stalin, with obviously malignantly degenerative thought patterns were particularly dominant. With respect to the biographer, his ability to recall the names and accompanying incidents associated with the person is most highly commendable. His descriptions of attempting to obtain surgical training as a Resident in so many different training venues quite clearly reveals the problems facing residents when they move from one program to another. Each program invariably is dominated by quite rigid protocols established and monitored by individual physicians usually quite specific in running the program as they see fit. One to two residencies usually are sufficient for most. His tenacity to gain maximum training was exemplary.

Summary: An autobiography about and by a man of fine intellect and all of ‘the right stuff’ to succeed. Truly “An Incredible Journey”.

5* An autobiography demonstrating truly exemplary personal attributes.

Keeping Score with GRIT

     Keeping Score with Grit ISBN: 9781946633538 ForbesBooks copyright and written by Shawn Burcham.

     This book contains a Forward, Introduction, eleven chapters, a Conclusion, a Bonus Chapter – GRIT  Business Coaching – Acknowledgements, About the Author, and Our Services. In the Introduction, the author provides a statement attributed to Stephen Wright of an answer to the time-worn question “If you were shipwrecked and could have one book, what would it be?” The answer: “I always say, How to Build a Boat.” The quote alerts the reader to expect the following material to reflect thoughts from a mind seriously and rather uniquely directed toward forward thinking and solving problems. There follows an explanation of how the material to follow arose from his late introduction to one book that changed his entire attitude. It discussed all of the challenges he faced in his entrepreneurial endeavors. From this point forward he read extensively, went to work solving his problems and decided ultimately to share what he had discovered “to help ANYONE become more successful in business and financial literacy, and to teach people how to mentally change in order to consistently improve as a person.”

     Discussion: The author opens in a most interestingly conversational manner explaining his experience as a newly rated pilot flying home when a door blows open forcing him to land the crippled aircraft by making the right decisions at the proper times. NTSB, the governing body investigating all plane crashes, report the majority of plane crashes result from pilot error. Instinctively he suddenly realized that business failures also invariably resulted from CEO/Management (Pilot) error. As founder/CEO of the highly successful PTSbrands he must make decisions that affect “more than 130 different families and the loved ones of the employee-owners who work alongside of me,” the decisions affect 1500+ locations promoting their brands from Washington to Florida with a $60 million plus revenue and with a current trajectory toward 5,000 nationwide locations. His narrative continues in an easy-to-read, plain-spoken manner to provide a blue print written “to inspire other entrepreneurs”, “encourage other business owners and leaders to communicate more openly with their employees so that they can be more engaged at work”, “help people to better themselves”, “help leaders to become more aware of their strengths and weaknesses to enable them to become better leaders”.

     Conclusion: One of the easiest to read books for entrepreneurs this reviewer has read. Highly recommended,

5* Easy to read. Highly recommended.


Journey From Poor Procrastinator

The Journey from Poor Procrastinator to Invested Millennial self-published, copyright and written by Jeremy Kho.

The book’s Preface describes the author’s journey from his birth in the 1980’s in a Southeast Asian country where his family earned “barely a middle income”, through his childhood with the area’s financial crisis where his parents showed him the importance of education. The “Asian financial turmoil in 1997, the Internet Bubble in 2000, and the financial crisis between 2008 and 2011” all took their effect, “but as a Y-Generation, he never experienced a real crisis. However, “In the year 2010-2011, as a newbie in the business world, everything seemed fine …” His personal financial crisis was beneath the surface, however. He made mistakes that stemmed from “greed, speculation and some kind of procrastination” and this book is an effort to provide others with the knowledge he acquired from these experiences. An introduction, eighteen chapters, “Additional Resources for You”, a Conclusion and Disclaimer follow. The chapters describe the activities that lead to financial procrastination and the many simple methods employed. It follows with the cost these generate; how to equate time with money; the important elements to incorporate within yourself that are necessary to become financially independent; and the necessity to ‘shift gears’ mentally for ultimate attainment of your goals.

Discussion: This book sets forth the elements described in others of the rather rapidly growing number of books now being written about ‘how to handle one’s financial situation’. It is a somewhat more simplistically written book than others I’ve read and, similar to those more recently reviewed, directed more specifically at one particular population. But again, it serves to provide the same basics required to succeed.

4* Should be helpful for targeted population; probably others.

The Retirement Smile

Your Retirement Smile ISBN: 9781599329567, Advantage, copyright and written by Dr. Mark McClellan and Tim Streid.

The book opens with several notations of praise for an Orthodontist and an Accountant, the authors, and proceeds to an Introduction, Eight chapters, Acknowledgements, About Macro Wealth, and About Management. The Introduction, “Nobody Likes a Pay Cut”, discusses the generally held belief that everyone tacitly accepts the fact that retirement means a pay cut that hopefully is no more than fifty per cent. The authors declare that such a reduction should not be as inevitable as most believe. The first chapter, “The Fight for your Money”, follows with the fact that there are two approaches, accumulation and acceleration, and that the rules are dependent upon the government, financial institutions and corporations. Thus, taxes, fees, commissions, bad advice and scams all play a part with that of corporations coming largely from built-in obsolescence. The next chapter, “The Big Money Picture” discusses the three phases of wealth – accumulation, distribution and preservation and initiates the need to actually have several sources of income before as well as after retirement. The rest of this chapter, along with those ensuing, build upon this idea and explain how too often individuals find it most difficult to leave the long heavily- touted conventional paths of saving for retirement. In turn, they provide a blueprint for living life to its fullest while working toward retiring and yet being able to reach and continue this same level of little to no loss of income through this period. They also stress the importance of having a personal ‘coach’ in this journey. That it is no less a requirement for your financial security than is such a presence required for attainment of maximum performance in any endeavor. The book closes with final remarks, “About Wealth Management” which provides, in some length, the two authors’ credits with respect to providing the proposed service. A list of pertinent references and another summary of the material already presented and summarized conclude the book.

Discussion: According to the authors’ declaration, this book has been directed at members of the Dental Profession, and most examples set forth are from scenarios by members of this group. Also, most notations of praise are from the same source. Thus fundamentally, all examples and recommendations employ sizeable sums of money. Similarly, much activity recommended also speaks of large quantities of money. The reader further encounters a seemingly excessive amount of repetition and/or an unnecessary belaboring of points already made. No doubt this is the result of well-meaning efforts to explain their feeling of ‘need’ to save the reader from following the time worn path that so generally is accepted and instead to move into the forward thinking plan they are suggesting.

Summary: Presentation of a new approach to retirement that provides excellent suggestions, in at least for this reader, a ‘hard sell’ package that would be much more palatable with judicious editing.

3* 5* ideas; -2 for reasons explained.

The French Orphan

The French Orphan, first published 2012, 2nd Edition 2013, e-book assumed published, copyright and written by Michael Stole.

The plot centers around a young, penniless orphan enrolled in a theological school in Reims whose mission was to indoctrinate sons of nobles into the ways of the church. For some unapparent reason he becomes close friends with Armand, a handsome popular fellow student. As time evolves, the reader discovers that Pierre actually is the son of a man who had been the Marquis de Beauvoir, but confusion existed because he had married an Englishwoman who was not catholic (at this time of extreme religious animosity). Further complications evolved from the fact that Pierre’s father’s older brother who was dominated by his son Henri, was deeply in debt and jeopardized most of his remaining estates by taking one heavier loan to pay his pressing debts. Cardinal Richelieu was involved in his usual clandestine manner to attempt to gain all of these properties. Henri, a vicious person to whom life meant nothing if the individual stood in his way, wanted the Marquis title with the monies and estates attached. As the action unfolds, the reader learns that Armand’s father had been a dear friend of Pierre’s father and actually had enrolled him in the school hoping the two boys would become friends. As may be determined from these few sentences, the plot is quite as complicated as the old manner in which English and French Family titles were held and dealt with by reigning Kings and the impossibly powerful Cardinal Richelieu of France. The situation was further roiled by the fact that the French King was particularly more attracted to young males than to members of the distaff side, but also was still much attached to his sister who was the reigning Queen of England. Pierre and Armand sneak away from the school and the resulting action intensifies. It is replete with espionage, betrayal, distrust, deceit, feats of bravery and love interests by characters acting the appropriate parts, all leading to only a degree of closure that requires the now involved reader to await the next volume to ascertain further knowledge of whether all will end satisfactorily for Pierre and his lovely amour.

Discussion: This is an interesting tale that is nicely paced and peopled by characters who should appeal to readers who have a tendency to enjoy a plot embracing a protagonist whose serendipity overcomes all odds so that seemingly he eventually will accomplish his goals and live happily with his true love. The author seems well-versed in the muddled history of the period, and aware of the ill-fated Knights Templar and the long standing rumors about their ultimate ending. If the prospective reader is a historical fiction aficionado, is one who enjoys the type of story described, and doesn’t mind having to wait for the action to continue, this book definitely is for you.

3* 5* Well-plotted/written/characterized historical tale; -2 as described.

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.