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Amor Towles

Feb 27, 2020 3:03:48 PM / by Tim McCarthy posted in Recommended Books

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Book of the Month: “A Gentleman in Moscow”, by Amor Towles

Editor’s note:  This historic fiction is beautifully written.  Towles adds well-researched context along with poignant social commentary to make it the best book I’ve read in many years.  I’m planning to re-read it so that I might pick up more of the type of excerpts you will see below.  I noted at least a half dozen worth remembering on my first read.

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The First Conspiracy, by Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch

Jan 29, 2020 4:47:02 PM / by Tim McCarthy posted in Recommended Books

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The Billion Dollar Whale, by Bradley Hope and Tom Wright

Dec 30, 2019 5:53:23 PM / by Tim McCarthy posted in Recommended Books

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Editor’s comment:  Another “non-fiction that reads more like fiction”.  Jho Low, between graduating from Wharton in 2005 and exposes that began in 2015 appears to have pulled off Madoff-style fraud.  The difference?  It was primarily perpetrated on his home country (Malaysia) and allegedly with the aid of their former Prime Minister, Razak Najib.  Perhaps as much as $5 billion was looted from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund (1MDB) over a six year period, much of which was used for Gatsby-like lifestyle which included many names you know such as DeNiro, DiCaprio, Hilton and more.  I felt a little seedy reading it but my goodness, what a story!  With many charges still pending against both Low and the former Prime Minister, we are likely to be reading more about this story in the future (if they can find Jho Low who is in hiding).      

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“Fundamentals” by Jim Sullivan

Nov 27, 2019 9:19:04 AM / by Tim McCarthy posted in Recommended Books

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck | Mark Manson

May 23, 2019 1:21:03 PM / by Tim McCarthy posted in Recommended Books

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Editor’s Comment:  As you may guess, the book is profane and Manson seems to be the classic millennial male.  But not even that could distract me from gaining momentum as I went from chapter to chapter through his entire book.  I’ve long despised the positivity bend of most self-help advice.  By the mid-90s I had given up such trash in favor of insight meditation to learn “seeing things as they are”.  Manson takes it another step by saying such things as “embrace death” and that everything worthwhile in life comes from surmounting negative experience.  He’s a good story teller and uproariously funny at times.

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East of Eden | John Steinbeck

Apr 25, 2019 12:20:09 PM / by Tim McCarthy posted in Recommended Books

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Editor’s Comment: A friend tells me that at least once a year good readers should read a classic.

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The Circle | Dave Eggers

Mar 27, 2019 6:42:36 PM / by Tim McCarthy posted in Recommended Books

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Editor's Comment:  If you are not a fan of satire, and i am generally not, this is a tough read. But reading it six years after its publication makes it just a little less shallow, absurd. Eggers makes an Orwellian attempt to warn of monolithic technology companies' (think Apple, Facebook, Google) threat to our privacy if not moderated. Live streaming lives lead to its fantastic story lines that include murder, sex and even world domination...but isn't that the job of satire? As with the prophecies of "1984", required reading of my youth, the moral nuance of Eggers themes are since and now becoming more noticeable.

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The New Education | Cathy N. Davidson

Feb 28, 2019 9:30:05 AM / by Tim McCarthy posted in Recommended Books

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Editor’s comment:  Davidson spends a little too much time on criticism and not enough on solutions but what I like about the book is it uses lots of examples of the people and methods of change.  It’s a complex problem, developed over hundreds of years so her suggesting of mixing pedagogy with technology is certainly better thinking than what we’ve done so far.  Such “solutions” as “put technology in the classrooms” or “move education online” are way too one-size-fits-all solutions which is the soul of my agreement with the book and Davidson’s theories.

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Just Sit | Sukey and Elizabeth Novogratz

Jan 24, 2019 9:30:58 AM / by Tim McCarthy posted in Recommended Books

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Editor’s Comment:  I like to think my life was “saved” by Amy Skerry and Paul Gellman who led me to meditation practice back in the 1990s.  The stress of starting a business while raising a family had led me to physical maladies that were anxiety-induced.  For eight years I sat most days and attended group meditation weekly.  Now, many years later I can come to the moment, particularly in times of greatest stress just by noticing my anxiety and actions that result from the clutter.  Jon Kabat-Zinn was one teacher and I’ve long recommended his books, retreats and audios on the subject but I will now add this great book to my collection.  It’s more thorough than anything I’ve read and keeps things western and simple.  If you struggle with anxiety, consider meditation; if you struggle with meditation, read this book.  As the authors point out, meditation is not something to “do well”, in fact I still struggle with monkey mind when I sit.  But it’s life changing just to notice your mind and where it’s taking you.

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The Fifth Risk | Michael Lewis

Dec 31, 2018 3:18:00 PM / by Tim McCarthy posted in Recommended Books

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Editor’s Comments: The joy of reading Lewis’ latest book is that obscure details are made interesting. That is, the author takes us into three fairly unknown and misunderstood departments of our federal government and – in context of the current administration – teaches us a lot of what’s at stake in each. Like most people I’ve viewed federal workers as bureaucrats, at best. Lewis however dives into specific lives and careers of fed workers that are quite honorable. Did you ever wonder what Agriculture, Commerce and Energy Departments really do? Nope, me either. But as one of the book reviewers wrote of Fifth Risk: “Lewis has a reputation for taking fairly arcane subjects — high finance, sovereign debt, baseball statistics, behavioral economics — and making them not just accessible but entertaining.” Indeed he does.

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