Norwegian Wood 挪威的森林

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Norwegian Wood (Vintage International Original) (buy from Amazon)
by Haruki Murakami

Type: Fiction
Author: Haruki Murakami 村上春樹
My rating: 3

Book introduction:
A story of complex love relationships that have been further complicated by sex and by death of close friends, relatives or lovers. 渡边 is trying to figure out his relationship with 直子 and 绿子 of whom he loves both in very different way and for very different reasons and with very different history.

My review:
I feel kind of sad after reading this book. The helplessness of human when it comes to relationship and death. 渡边 the lead character is always torn between other characters, lost in what he should be doing and let life takes its own course and sometimes let desire takes over. In the end he takes a firmer stance and no longer letting desire to take over, but he was too late about 直子's situation and I think the ending implies he was able to make out something good of the 绿子's relationship.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

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The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (buy from Amazon)
by Malcolm Gladwell

Type: Business
Author: Malcolm Gladwell
My rating: 5

Book introduction:
This book attempts to explain why some ideas or diseases spread like wild fire and some other ideas do not. The book introduces a concept to systematically look at how ideas, messages, viruses spread through the key characters.

- The connectors are people who are well connected, they simply love to get to know more people, they have a natural facsination in meeting everybody and genuinely find them interesting. The connectors can always find a common topic with almost everyone.
- The mavens are people who have a habit in knowing the fine details of all sorts of things like pricing, differences in products and love to help others and share what they know
- The salesmen are people who have the ability to convince others and engage a conversation and lead the other party to adapt the salesman's harmony and pace. They have a gifted talents to make others more agreeable

The book quoted various examples of products, viruses, historical events and explain how they fit in this connectors/mavens/salesmen concept. There are other very important factors too, such as stickiness of the message.

My review:
Finally got to read this book that has been recommended by a few friends and business associates. I think I fit in the description of the connectors and mavens, but need to work harder on the salesmanship.

If you are in a mass-market business, this is a must read. If you are simply amazed by how certain people are gifted in one of the aspect of the social skills, this is also a very interesting read.

New Grub Street

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New Grub Street (Penguin Classics) (buy from Amazon)
by Bernard Bergonzi
Type: Fiction
Author: George Gissing
My rating: 4

Posted by irene
Book introduction:
Stories of the life of the literary man in 19th century in the UK. How they struggle, deal with love/failure and success in their career.

My review:
Though this book was first published in 1891, I find the story resonates in our current society. The conflicts in life are the same. The stories describes very deeply about the person's emotion and struggles. The contrast of the main characters provokes further thinking.

Angels and demons

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Angels & Demons, Special Illustrated Edition (buy from Amazon)
by Dan Brown
Type: Thriller
Author: Dan Brown
My rating: 5

Book introduction:
A world renowned CERN scientist is murdered by a secret brotherhood that is the sworn enermy of the Vatican church, why? The Vatican church is about to elect a new pope, a bomb with terrifying destructive power in the form of anti-matter is hidden somewhere in the Vatican city, the clock is ticking....

My review:
From the author of the Dan Vinci code, another extremely tense book, once you start reading it, you can't stop. Every twist and turn brings new excitment and mystery! It's full of interesting plots involving long presumed extinct secret brotherhood against the Vatican, what lies in the deep forbidden archives in the Vatican library...

Stand out

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Stand Out! Branding Strategies for Business Professionals (buy from Amazon)
by Simon Vetter
Type: Business Self-improvement
Author: Simon Vetter
My rating: 2
Book introduction:
This book is about personal branding strategies for Business Professionals. Learning from the case studies of some of the world's most successful speakers, independent professionals.

My review:
Interesting collection of cases and invaluable lessons, I'm trying to incorporate these ideas in everyday life. It is sometimes not very obvious how you can do the same

Blink, The power of thinking without thinking

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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (buy from Amazon)
by Malcolm Gladwell

Type: Business
Author: Malcolm Gladwell
My rating: 4
Book introduction:
This book talks about how snap judgement can be tremendous useful at times and at other times, we can be so stubborn about our first impression of something which is wrong. How we can rely more on our gut feeling reliably.

My review:
Another interesting book by Galdwell - author of Tipping point. I like the many concepts and experiment that he talks about in this book which tells us how we 'think' , or actually conclude or act without 'thinking' and our instincts are often right. But also when we have to make a decision in a hurry like in an emergency situation, how our intrinsic bias will affect our decision without being consciously awared that we have been affected. I no longer think about thinking the same way again.

Reason for hope

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Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey (buy from Amazon)
by Phillip Berman
Type: Biography Leisure
Author: Jane Goodall
My rating: 5
Book introduction:
This is an auto-biography of an amazing and fascinating woman, Dr. Jane Goodall. Very inspiring individual fighting for a cleaner, safer and better world for people, animal and earth for many generations to come. Dr Jane as she is commonly known, is world reknown for her pioneer research on chimpanzee, our closest cousin in the animal kingdom. This book is about how she started that spirital journey that has allowed her to filfull her curiosity and fascination of Africa, through the same journey, she has gained a deep understanding and appreciation of the relationship of mother nature and human beings. The book also described how devastating that we human being, the smartest animal on earth is not taking care of the planet, instead we are destroying it along with the wonderful diversity of living creatures, and we must do something to reverse such destruction and give mother nature a chance to heal. The message of the book is clearly stated in the title, Reason for hope. Despite all the terrible things that are happening around us in the world, there is still reason for hope and we mustn't give up the fight.

My review:
I bought this book at a seminar given by Dr. Jane while she was in Hong Kong during December 2005. The title of the seminar was "Why I left the forrest of Gombe", it was a very thought provoking and revealing seminar. It described very different situations around the world from the environment that we know and live in every day and yet we are sharing the same planet that we depend on.

I would like to share a few points that I found intriguing from the seminar:
- In the anicent world, senior leaders of the tribes made major decisions of important matters in the interests of the whole tribes collectively not in the interest of some corporate.

- We own and waste so much things today that we don't need. Clothing in any family in a western country for example, is enough for one tribe in Africa. People used to have very simple need and waste very little.

We have seen so much damaged done to our world - all sorts of pollutions, global warming, global climate changes, destruction of environment, cruelty to animals, exploitation of poor countries, aggression of developed countries, rapidly spreading of incurable diseases and the list goes on.

While there exists so many problems in our world, I would like to share with you the reasons for hope as told by Dr. Jane (1) The human brain; (2) The Resilience of nature; (3) The energy and enthusiasum that is found or can be kindled among young people worldwide; and (4) The indomitable human spirit.

When children learn about rights from wrongs, they are determined to do the right things, educate our young ones properly. Mother nature is resilient, we must give her a chance to heal and she will recover. Human beings are intelligent beings, if we can send people to the moon for fun, we can deal with the problems at home.

Dr. Jane kindly signed her autograph on my copy of her book, she wrote - Follow your heart. I hope more people would listen and follow their hearts.

Digital Fortress

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Digital Fortress (buy from Amazon)
by Dan Brown
Type: Adventurous Fiction
Author: Dan Brown
My rating: 4
Book introduction:
National Security Agency (NSA) has received an unbreakable code and it is being held hostage as a result. It they cannot crack it, it will result in US intelligence service being completely cripple...

My review:
Another interesting novel from Dan Brown. I particularly like this plot involving encryption and trying break secret code. Though I must say I was a somewhat disappointed with the ending.

Deception Point

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Deception Point (buy from Amazon)
by Dan Brown
Type: Adventurous Fiction
Author: Dan Brown
My rating: 3

Posted by Dominic
Book introduction:
A shocking scientific discovery by NASA has such profound implication that it will be used as a political chip in the White house race...

My review:
I have read 3 other Dan Brown's novels, they are all very gripping, Deception Point's story somehow is now as intense and it doesn't have the same effect as the others - wanting to know what happen next! Nonetheless it is a very entertaining book for leisure reading.

1421 The Year China Discovered The World

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1421: The Year China Discovered America (buy from Amazon)
by Gavin Menzies

Type: History
Author: Gavin Menzies
My rating: 5

Book introduction:
Based on 10 years of research by Gavin Menzies, piecing together evidence that Zheng He had conducted a great sea voyage to explore the world in the early 15th century. Many of the evidence, ideas and facts contradicts the conventional beliefs that many of the places were discovered by European explorers. This includes America, Australia and more. Gavin went as far to claim that the European explorers already had some maps obtained directly/indirectly from Chinese. If the research work of this book are proven correct, history books will have to be rewritten. It also explains technical breakthrough and long history of star charting practice, for example the Chinese technique to accurately measure longtitude, 300 years before the Western world was able to master the technology.

My review:
Gavin Menzies has an interesting combination of background that makes him unique in undertaking this research work, his link to China (he spent his years in China), he is an experienced navy navigator and is able to comprehen deeper meaning and extract more information of ancient maps.

Chinese has long known about the great exploration by Zheng He during the Ming dynasty, this is a more complete and extensive collection of evidence.

This is certainly a very interesting and easy to read book, whether you agree with its findings.

View more information from the official website http://www.1421.tv

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