Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lords of Finance: The Bankers That Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed

Lords of Finance: The Bankers That Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed

In 2009 we’re deep into a major recession in the United States and many other countries throughout the world are experiencing many of the same problems. Each week we hear comparisons to previous recessions and economic downturns – but the benchmark for all financial crisis is the “Great Depression”. So, this seems like a great time to read and learn more about what happened around the world from the end of World War I and the late 1930’s. Liaquat Ahamed has written a great book that documents what was happening in the world during this twenty year period. I highly recommend that anyone interested in learning more about what lead up to the Great Depression and how the financial leaders handled it – must read this book.

In 1918 the world was reeling from the events during World War I and they were trying to rebuild their countries and the economies in those countries. We are all familiar with the bare bones of the end of World War I, the Roaring Twenties in the United States, rebuilding in Europe, the financial crash in the United States, the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party and many of the other events between 1918 and 1938.

· But, how many of us know the details of the individual financial systems in the United States, France, Britain and Germany?

· Do you know what people managed the financial decisions in these countries during that time?

· Do you understand how the gold standard worked and what that meant for each country?

· Do you know what happened in the ongoing debate about war reparations and what that did to various economies around the world?

· What happened within Germany when they were ordered to pay substantial reparations after the war?

· What happened when Germany started printing money around the clock to boost the economy?

These are just a few of the questions that are answered in this book.

In school I remember learning that the financial situation in Germany after World War I was one thing that enabled Adolf Hitler to gain power in Germany. But I never understand the extent of the financial crisis. My depth of understanding on that piece of history has increased dramatically. Understanding what happened in the different countries and the various domino effects are staggering as you turn the pages and see how things fell apart.

I love to read about history and to get a deeper understanding of what led to various events. But I think in the current economic climate – this information is even more important. Most of us have heard the saying that “those who do not study history are destined to repeat it”. That idea kept coming to mind as I read this book and saw many examples of the things these power players in the worldwide economic community tried that failed and in a good number of cases – made the situation much worse.

Through the pages of this book you will meet Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, Emile Moreau of the Banque of France, Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank in Germany and Benjamin Strong of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In addition, you will learn how each of these men reached these positions and much about the history of these various financial institutions.

Anyone interested in the economy – and especially people who could make a positive difference in the financial situation – should be required to read this book. For people who are concerned about authenticity – there are 23 pages of notes and references for the information in the book and a 12 page bibliography. This is a long book – over 500 pages of content, plus the notes, bibliography and index. It took me a while to read the book – because its not really the sort of content you want to rush through, but I thoroughly enjoyed the content and feel like I have a much more complete understanding of the things that led up to the Great Depression and how the world recovered from this crisis.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Whale Hunting Women by Dr Barbara Weaver Smith

You may be asking what whale hunting has to do with women and why we’re talking about this in the 21st century. I was curious when I first heard the title too – but I can guarantee that this book will surprise you. I’ll share the full time which will give you some insights into the content. This book is titled Whale Hunting Women: How Women Do Big Deals.

We get used to long books that go on and on about a topic – but Whale Hunting Women gets right to the point. I couldn’t find any “fluff” in this book, but there is a lot of great content to help you. These are some of the chapters in this book –

· How Women Hunt Whales.

· Only a Minnow (In a Sea of Whales).

· Small Company Looking Big.

· Small Fish Hunting Whales.

· Radical Culture: Take a Rival to Lunch.

· Radical Culture: Money is Cheap.

· Radical Culture: Kill Some Commandments.

· Who Do You Trust?

· Whale Hunting Resolutions.

Women are uniquely qualified to “hunt whales” because they listen, align and empathize. Men can learn these qualities too – but women are usually raised to have these traits. That gives them a boost in the “whale hunting” concept.

For people who aren’t familiar with whale hunting – the entire village was involved in preparing for the hunt and the right combination of skilled people were necessary for the hunt. Imagine having several people in a small boat and having to hunt and kill a whale – then you have to row the boat to get the whale home. They had no “modern conveniences” like radar, radios, motors and other things to help them bring home the whale to help the people in their village. Today we have many tools to make a whale hunt easier, but we still need a skilled team filled with members who all contribute to the hunt.

Dr Barbara Weaver Smith helps the reader understand that small businesses can look bigger and they can compete with big companies to get the big clients. This is where the team you assemble will make the difference and give you an edge. In the current economic climate, using the tips in Whale Hunting Women allows us to compete with the “big boys” by building our team in creative and productive ways to attract the big clients without piling on additional financial obligations of hiring more staff members.

These ideas are just the beginning of the information that is included in this information packed book. As you read through this book we recommend that you take the time to work through the journal pages. I always like it when the author creates review exercises or journal pages that prompts the reader to dig deeper to learn more and to start applying what they are learning.

If you are a business woman or business owner who would like the tools to take the business to the next level – I highly recommend this book. If you have a woman in your life that is in business and she wants to set herself apart from the crowd – you need to buy this book for her. It is available on along with much more information about Dr Barbara Weaver Smith and Whale Hunting Women.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Manhattan is My Beat by Jeffrey Deaver

This is one of Jeffrey Deaver's early books and the main character is a very colorful young woman named Rune. She has a hard time finding a job and an even harder time keeping a job. Rune isn't her real name of course, but I don't think I remember her mentioning her real name. She was also in Death of a Blue Movie Star - very good book.

In this book Rune is working part time in a video store and she has become friends with an older gentleman who comes in the store and rents the same movie time and time - Manhattan is My Beat. He tells her that the movie is a high point in his life and that means Rune's imagination is working over time. Then one day, she goes to his house to pick up a movie that needs to be returned and she finds him in his apartment --- dead. Talk about kicking your imagination into overdrive.

She cared about the man and now she is determined to figure out what really happened to him. She is also curious about whether he was involved in the unsolved bank robbery that is the subject of Manhattan is My Beat. The problem is, she doesn't realize killers are on her trail and working to tie up some loose ends.

This is an early work by Jeffrey Deaver - but it has his trademark plot twists and there were even a couple that I didn't see coming.

The Devil's Bones by Jefferson Bass

This is the third book in the Body Farm Mysteries by Jefferson Bass. Jefferson Bass is the writing team of Dr Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson - and what a team they are.

I loved the first book, liked the second but was a little disappointed, but the third is back on target. Its funny I feel that way because The Devil's Bones picks up where Flesh and Bone left off. Dr Bill Brock was just cleared of murder charges, the real murderer was behind bars and Dr Bill is back to work. Sounds peaceful, doesn't it? Don't blink, you might miss what's about to happen.

A woman died in a car that burned - but is her death an accident? Of course not.

Dr Brock is waiting for the trial of the man who killed the woman Dr Bill was falling in love with - but that wait won't be smooth either.

So many possibilities and interesting forensic details that only Dr Bill and Jon can bring to you like this. I highly recommend this book and am waiting to get my hands on the next book in the series. But I will mention there is plenty of detail and if you don't want detailed and at times graphic descriptions, you may want to preced with caution. You won't usually read about blood and guts, but there is plenty of description and authenticity in the pages of these books.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Willing Spirits by Phyllis Schieber

Are you the kind of person who enjoys reading about friendships between women? Many women are the best of friends and they insist that they couldn't get through life without those friendship. If this sounds familiar to you -- this is a book you have to read. I'm not a fan of chick lit - and Phyllis' books have been called chick lit - but I don't agree. Schieber's books are about mature women who are in their 40s or 50s and they have accomplished a lot in their lives - and they have also had their share of difficulties.

In Willing Spirits we meet two friends who are in their 40s and their children are grown and have gone off to college. One (Jane) is married - although she is unhappy. The other (Jane) raised her sons alone because her husband walked out when the boys were very young.

Jane discovers her husband in bed with a younger woman and once the shock and anger wear off - she realizes that she doesn't want to be with him anymore. Her friend, Gwen, is there to support her.

As the story progresses we see the many dimensions of their friendship. We meet their children, mothers, significant others and many other people as these women work their way through their lives. Should a 40 something woman be alone when she isn't married? Is it all right to be involved with a younger man? What should she do when her 20 something daughter finds them in bed together? Is it all right to have an affair with a married man? If he leaves his wife - does that mean he will or that he should live with his mistress? How do grown sons handle their mother and her married lover? And - how can these women juggle their responsibilities and still be true to herself?

These are just some of the answers you will find in this book. You will laugh, you will cry, you will nod at the things that are familiar and you may even raise your eyebrows in surprise - but if you like stories about women, their lives and their friendships - you will enjoy Willings Spirits by Phyllis Schieber.

Flesh and Bone by Jefferson Bass

This is the second novel in the Body Farm series. I really like this series - I will tell you this isn't my favorite book in the series - but it leads into the 3rd which is very good.

Dr Bill Brockton (based on Dr Bill Bass) is back and facing an interesting combination of situations, people and mysteries. We meet a very attractive medical examiner who is also attracted to Dr Brockton and Dr Bill unearths some rotten apples within his acquaintances. He takes the high road and must point out the error and that sets a gruesome and danger set of events in motion.

I won't give you the details -- wouldn't want to ruin the book for you - but there is plenty of action and Dr Bill is even arrested for the murder.... of his lady love. I recommend this book because you should keep up with the series - and even less than stellar from this team is good. There is great forensic detail and plenty of intrigue to keep you wondering what will happen next....

Freckleface Strawberry by Julianne Moore

I was so excited about being asked to work on the promotional campaign for Julianne Moore's new book - Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully.

One of the obvious reasons is because I've heard great things about Julianne Moore.

Another reason is that I've had a great friend since we were about 7 or 8 who has red hair and I remember that he hated it while we were growing up. Now he has a daughter with beautiful red hair.

The other reason is because I've had people pick on me for years for an unusual name (real name, not pen name), I've always been tall and have been 6'1 since I was 13 and I had braces for years. So, I can understand the tough time Freckleface has.

I think its great that Julianne has used her childhood experiences in a way that will help children deal with the things that make them different. Hopefully this story can also help other children understand that they should not pick on people just because they are different. We're all different from one another - we're so much better off if we appreciate the differences, but it seems that is hard for some people.

One rainy morning - Freckleface goes to Early Bird at her school. She loves Early Bird - but Windy Pants Patrick is also there and he's a bully. He picks on all the children - what will Freckleface Strawberry do?

Come along with Freckleface and see what she does in the face of a school bully.

I highly recommend this book for parents and their children. It give parents or other important adults a great opportunity to help children talk about how to deal with bullies and people who pick on them. Its also a great chance to teach children tolerance and caring about others.

LeUyen Pham is back to illustrate this second book in the Freckleface Strawberry series.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Beyond the Body Farm by Dr Bill Bass & Jon Jefferso

I have to read everything that this fantastic duo turn out. I was intrigued with Dr Bass and his work - but meeting Dr Bass and Jon Jefferson in person sealed the deal for me. Anything they write - I will have to read :) The full title of this book is Beyond the Body Farm: A Legendary Bone Detective Explores Murders, Mysteries and the Revolution in Forensic Science. That is a mouthful - but it does say it all.

This is the 2nd non fiction collaboration for Dr Bass and Jon - the first was Death's Acre (read my review here -

Both of these books are about Dr Bass' experiences as a bone detective. For people who aren't familiar with Dr Bass - years ago he started The Body Farm (made popular by a Patricia Cornwell novel). The Body Farm is a research facility at the University of Tennessee where Dr Bass worked for years. In his work he discovered that people could determine the time of death with more accuracy by studying the decomposition of the body - so he started a facility where they would study - body decomposition.

This may not sound glamorous - and its not. However through the pages of Death's Acre and Beyond the Body Farm - you will learn why this is important information and how it can help law enforcement, the legal community and the family of the victims and people who are falsely accused of crimes.

Learn about plane crashes into rivers, an ancient mystery,the smallest clues in the bones, bite marks, the importance of bugs, the long term search to identify a skeleton and much more including exhuming the body of The Big Bopper. Its all here and if you are interested in forensics and forensic anthropology or a good mystery - this book is for you. Take a walk through the interesting career of this knowledgable and charismatic professional. If you have the chance to meet Dr Bass and/or Jon Jefferson - I highly recommend that you do it.

I've also reviewed several of their novels which include forensic information Dr Bass gleaned through the years - they are very good :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Entrepreneurial Author: Surviving Tough Economic Times By Jay Conrad Levinson and David L Hancock

The Entrepreneurial Author: Surviving Tough Economic Times
By Jay Conrad Levinson and David L Hancock
Foreward by Rick Frishman

When I started doing promotional work, I was always given a limited budget. This meant that I had to get creative and that was one of the things that really appealed to me about promotional work. So, for a long time I was doing “guerilla” marketing – without knowing it. When I was asked to do a review for the new Jay Conrad Levinson book I was very pleased. Since David Hancock is a co-author, that made me even more interested in this book because I’ve enjoyed his entrepreneur author blog. David and I share many thoughts about how authors, especially business book authors, should approach their promotion. Many of these thoughts are included in the pages of The Entrepreneurial Author. Let me say in the beginning that this book is good for many entrepreneurs – not just authors.

Many books are coming out about how to do business in tough economic times and it seems that approach will be useful for the foreseeable future. So, our challenge is to find books that have quality and useful content. I was very pleased with the content in The Entrepreneurial Author. If you are a fan of the Guerilla Marketing books – you will enjoy this book. If you are an author who thinks your publisher is going to do all your promotion – you may not like the content, but you will learn a lot.

When you have a book on the market, you have created a product that you want to sell – that makes you a business person. So, all authors need the “entrepreneurial author” mindset. That is what this book is all about. In tough times, the people who approach their work with the right attitude, have a better opportunity to succeed. If you’re an author – do you approach your writing and book promotion as a business? If not, you need to read this book.

There are a number of great chapters in this book which are geared to working and promoting in a tough economy – such as: Tough Times Don’t Have to be as Tough as You Think, Importance of Stressing Value, Using Consent Marketing Now More Than Ever, Community Involvement During Tough Times, Attracting New Business During Tough Times and Online Marketing in a Shaky Economy.

Additional Chapters Include:
Free and Almost Free Marketing.
The Importance of Service During Tough Times.
Making Yourself the Talk of the Town.
Freebies That Can Lead to Serious Profits.
Getting Extra Mileage From Your Marketing.

I always advocate creativity and ingenuity in promotional efforts and tough economic times makes that even more important than usual. These are the times when we need to show potential clients that we offer great value. We also need to build our credibility for clients and that is a great reason for a business person to write a book.

This book starts at the beginning and helps you see the various options that are available to authors and can help you find the one that is best for you. Too many writers dive into publishing without doing sufficient research and it is amazing how much money this can cost you. The chapter on Tough Times Don’t Have to be as Tough as You Think is easily worth the cost of the book and it offers opportunities for authors and other business people. These tips help you reduce “the cost of marketing while reinforcing the customer relationship”.

I like books that draw you into the content and help you use the information within the book. The Entrepreneurial Author contains Exercises and Action Steps in each chapter to help you dig deeper into the content and also to actually take steps to start doing the work you need to do.

Guerilla Marketing is very much about using your mind and creativity instead of a big advertising budget. What better time could there be to learn how to promote effectively on a tight budget? The content is great and the time is definitely right – to learn to be an entrepreneurial author. Are you ready to take your books and your promotion to the entrepreneurial level? If you realize this is the time – you need to read this book ---- now. I think you will be astounded by how far you can take your writing career and your business by using the information in this book.

Nikki Leigh – Author of Book Promo 201: Harness the Power of the Internet with Web 2.0 and Social Media Marketing

Monday, March 9, 2009

Before the Scalpel by Panchali Dhar, MD

What Everyone Should Know About Anesthesia
Before the Scalpel by Panchali Dhar, MD

I had the opportunity to help promote this wonderful new resource in a virtual blog tour. My regular visitors have gotten to know about a lot of great books I've reviewed that were written by tour clients. This is definitely another one that I highly recommend, but this one is different. The content of this book can and very possibly will, affect your health and the health of your loved ones.

Dr Panchali Dhar is a respected anesthesiologist in New York and she has written a great book that gives so much great information. It is not a dry medical text book - not at all. The layout is very interesting and colorful. Since I wrote my first non fiction books, I've become much more aware of the layout of books and this layout is very good and adds a new dimension to the content.

To see a sample of the information and the contents of the book, you can view this PDF -

Some of the Topics Included in the Book Include:

The Anesthesiologist
What sort of choices are there
Understand the operating room, monitors etc
Recovery after surgery - including managing pain
Plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery
Concerns for overweight patients
Anesthesia and childbirth
Concerns for children when anesthesia is used
Dental anesthesia
Nausea and vomiting and how to take care of yourself when you wake
There is also the history and timeline of anesthesia along with a glossary and more

This book is simply packed with everything you need to know to understand anesthesia and the tools you need to have an educated conversation with your doctor before surgery.

At the end of each chapter Dr Dhar provides what she calls "Prescriptives:Be a Better Consumer". These sections ask you questions to review important points from the chapters. These questions will also prepare you to know what you need to tell your doctor - what information will make a difference for you during and after surgery.

From the added tidbits that are included in each chapter, the pictures and even a couple of cartoon, the tips and the "Panchlines" are all parts of the book that make it very readable, easy to understand and beneficial for you. I highly recommend that everyone should read this book if they are unsure about anesthesia. As I've frequently said during this virtual blog tour, when you are lying on the operating table is NOT the time to start thinking about anesthesia.

This is some additional information that we compiled for the tour that you may like to see:

To view videos about various elements of the book - visit

Concerns for Overweight Patients -

Preparing for Surgery -

Plastic Surgery Patients -

Surgery Concerns for Children -

To read the full table of contents, visit

This is the publisher's sale page -

To buy your copy -

Nikki Leigh

Sunday, March 8, 2009

How I Managed $20,000,000,000 By Age 32 By Wade Slome

How I Managed $20,000,000,000 By Age 32

By Wade Slome

First, a bit about Wade Slome

Wade Slome holds an MBA from Cornell University with an emphasis in Finance. He earned a B.A. in Economics from UCLA. In addition, he holds the esteemed credentials of CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) and CFP (Certified Financial Planner.) He is the go-to resource for USA Today, The New York Times, Dow Jones, Investor’s Business Daily, Bloomberg, Smart Money and many other media outlets. He presently leads his own investment practice in Newport Beach, California.

Wade Slome has led an adventurous life. He started trading penny stocks in high school stock market competitions after the 1987 Crash. As a freshly minted MBA graduate from Cornell University in 1998, he never expected in his wildest dreams to land on one of the largest mutual funds in the entire United States of America. But at the age of 3.

About How I Managed $20,000,000,000 By Age 32

This book was much more entertaining than I expected. While it was being edited and laid out, I saw portions of it. But, then I received the final book and got a chance to read it. I will admit that finance is not something that I know much about. I can manage my finances and I have done bookkeeping for years - but this is a whole different dimension to finance and economics.

I really enjoyed the fact that Slome takes us back to his childhood and we see his development and learn about his family. Its clear the family and his roots are important and helped shape him into the man he is today.

We go with Slome to his college days and to his internship. Through movies, I've seen the life that financial interns and that comes across in the pages of the book. From no pay and low pay and the very long days that all interns have to survive.

Slome goes into a lot of detail about the job where he managed $20,000,000,000. We get an insider's view of a typical day, the responsibilities and rewards. I'd never thought about the type of people he interacted with during this time period. Imagine being in your early 30s and dealing with titans in business. He met with these very powerful people and it was his job to question just about everything.

Throughout the book, some of the headings include:
Paying His Dues
Chasing Profits
Investment Philosophy
Hedge Funds
Managing Billions

Once we get a clear picture about the man behind the book and the accomplishments, he moves us to topics that are very timely.

Technology and Globalization
Winning Strategies
How to Choose a Financial Advisor
What to Do With Your Portfolio

2008 and 2009 have brought and will bring the biggest financial challenges this country and the world have faced in over a quarter of a century. Most Americans seem to be no clue what to do about their financial future and what to do now. Wade Slome has the background and experience to help people have more information about how to tackle the current and future economic situations.

How to Write a Damn Good Mystery by James N Frey

I've wanted to read this book for ages and finally broke down and bought a copy a couple of months ago. When I finished the manuscript for Book Promo 201, I wanted to start planning the next book in my Cape Hatteras mystery series -- seemed like a great time to read this book :)

How to Write a Damn Good Mystery by James N Frey

My next book will be a kidnapping mystery and its my 13th book (to be published under my name) and the 22nd book I've written, so I wasn't looking for the usual "how to write" book. I wanted to read something that delved into the nuisances of mysteries and this was just what I needed. There are a couple of characters on character development, point of view, writing, editing, rewriting etc - but the other chapters were the most interesting to me.

  • Frey begins by talking about why people read mysteries. How can we write a story that appeals to our target audience, if we don't know what they want?

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - moves into sorting through our ideas and getting started.

  • There is an entire story and plot, behind the obvious plot in a mystery. To be "mysterious" and to use red herrings, and to include those twists and surprises that readers love, we need to develop and completely understand the "hidden" part of the story.
  • Creating the Villain is another important element - is the villain three dimensional? Can the reader relate the them? Are they evil enough? A great and memorable villain must be well developed and realistic. This leads right into a chapter about being intimate with the villain.
  • Once you understand the villain and have developed them thoroughly, its time to move on to the hero and/or heroine. You must also fully develop the hero or heroine. At this point Frey talks about the hero's journey and how that assists you in the development of your hero or heroine. ****
  • The hero's journey will also help you to discover the type of secondary characters you can use and why they are needed.
  • Creating an effective plot for an edge of your seat mystery requires plotting and this can take many forms and chapter 9 explains some of these tips.
  • You need a believable detective - whether a professional or an amateur. How will they figure out the mystery? Will they have help? Who will help them?
  • The gripping climax is one of the most critical elements of the mysteries I love to read, so I was very glad to see a complete chapter devoted to the climax of the book. Part of the climax is capturing the villain and that is the topic in chapter 15.

There is so much great information in this book and if you plan to write mysteries - I highly recommend that you read this book. Its definitely worth the cost and if you are a beginning author - there is plenty of information in this book to help you with the writing basics.

In last 2009 or early 2010 - you will have to check out my latest mystery and you can tell me whether you think this book helped me :) Or, if maybe I should read it over again -- I did highlight many great points while I was reading it and I plan to go back through those sections as I'm working on future mysteries.

**** If you aren't familiar with the Hero's Journey, there are all kinds of articles online and a number of books that you can use to understand the details of the hero's journey - following are links to some of the ones I'm familiar with - some could be helpful.

Writer's Journey Mythic Structure for Writers -

Hero's Journey Works of Joseph Campbell -

Writer's Journey Mythic Structure of Writers -

Hero with a Thousand Faces -

Garden of Deadly Pleasures

I thoroughly enjoy a great mystery and I've picked up quite a few mystery short story collections. So many times I can't find time to get into a great book, but maybe just to enjoy a short story or two. That's why I found Garden of Deadly Pleasures edited by Cynthia Manson. But, I have to tell you that I picked up my copy on a used book site. If you can find a copy of this great paperback and if you like short mysteries - definitely pick this up.

Each mystery in this collection has something to do with plants and gardens. It could be unique or killer plants, could be a body buried in a garden or maybe dead bodies are dumped in a garden. Agatha Christie even sends Hercule Poirot to investigate the poisoning death of a elderly woman. Aside from Agatha Christie, none of the names were familiar, but there are plenty of great story tellers in this small book.

This is a fairly quick read and very enjoyable :)

Publisher: Signet Book
Book Type: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780451187727 - ISBN-10: 0451187725
Publication Date: 4/1/1996
Pages: 256

Saturday, January 24, 2009

WAKE UP Your Life! By Doris Roper

WAKE UP Your Life! By Doris Roper

(Review by Nikki Leigh)

Are you a woman in a transformational stage of your life? Have people told you that your life needs some major changes? Do you feel that things in your life need a change? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are a person who needs to read this book. It is geared toward women, but men can benefit from the advice.

Doris Roper writes his book from a unique perspective. She tells us about a woman taking, not one, not two, but three husbands from her. That’s right – three husbands. At that point, Doris realized that she and her life needed some definite changes. That’s what started her trek to WAKE UP her life and being able to help other women wake up their lives. The book is called “A Woman’s guide to real personal power”, but the information can be great for a man who is stuck in a bad situation and really needs to make changes.

Doris Roper’s target audience are women who need to make a change and also women who are being forced to make a change because of their situations, that can include: divorce, death of a spouse, big financial change, illness or any other major change that would mean the women’s life will change dramatically.

These are some of the chapter titles to give you an idea of the topics that are covered:

Chapter 1 Getting clear on my quest.

Chapter 2 Pain is a blessing, not a curse.

Chapter 3 Forget rejection, think redirection.

Chapter 4 Give up your power, give up your life.

Chapter 5 Focus on your limitations, and you will only see brick walls.

Chapter 6 Remember the Butterfly Effect – your view of things affects others.

Chapter 7 Forgiveness is for you, not for them.

I would tell you which chapter was my favorite, but I found things that I really liked in each chapter. In the opening couple of chapters, I got the feeling the message was to get off your backside and realize your life NEEDS to change. And, there are many people who need to hear that message. I have a habit of making that point to loved ones pretty bluntly sometimes, so that really resonated with me.

It is so true that pain is a blessing in many instances. It reminds us of the old adage that what does kill us makes us stronger – and stronger is not a bad thing. Strength can help us to get through very trying times and each of us have the ability to be strong and to survive some unbelievable situations, sometimes we just need the chance to proof it.

I also liked the idea of redirection instead of rejection. Have there been times in your life when your really needed to change the direction your life was taking, but you hesitated to make that change? I think we all have and rejection can be the motivator we need to make that change. I especially liked chapter 7 and the idea that forgiveness is for us and not the other person.

The book is only one thing that Doris does to help women in transition. Doris is the founder of The W.I.T. Institute, an educational and support organization for women to master their financial lives. Doris helps women to change their belief systems about life, money and success as she knows that it’s their limiting beliefs that keep so many women from being successful. She offers assistance in many ways including special programs on her website to help women make those needed changes.

I highly recommend reading WAKE UP Your Life. It could be just what you need or you may have a friend who needs a nudge to make changes in her life or who is facing an incredibly trying time and just doesn’t know how to make the changes that are needed. That’s where Doris and WAKE Up Your Life comes in.

For more information about Doris' book and her work, visit and her website

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Broken Window by Jeffrey Deaver

I'm made myself a promise that each holiday, I'll try to take some time off from working and I'll treat myself by reading a book just for fun. The vast majority of the books I read are for clients and although I thoroughly enjoy those books - its fun to read a book just for fun. So, you will probably notice that on many holiday weekends, I've posted reviews for Jeffrey Deaver books :)

The Broken Window is a high tech story about identity theft taken to extremes. Picture this, you are at your home having dinner or watching TV and the police knock on your door. They ask where you have been that evening and even though you know that you haven't done anything wrong, the police find evidence that ties you to a crime - murder. How can that be? They have a shoe print that matches your shoe, the condom at a rape scene matches the condoms you bought a couple of days ago, the potato chip crumbs at the scene match a bag in your garage and the worst news is that the victim's blood was found in your car.

This master criminal thinks that he has all the necessary information to pull off repeated "perfect crimes" and he did for years. Then he makes a "fatal" mistake - he frames Lincoln Rhymes cousin. That brings the renowned forensic specialist to the case and that means the criminals days are numbered (he would appreciate the pun :).

As the criminalist and his crew work on the crime, they find their way to a business that collects every bit of available information about every man, woman and child in the US. The business gives credence to the concerns about 'big brother watching you'. They know where you were, what you did, what you bought and much much more. The idea that a company could have all this information is creepy enough - but then imagine that a criminal mastermind has access to that information.

We see bits and pieces of the criminal and he lashes out at Rhyme, Amelia, and the other people who work with Rhyme. Literally, no one is safe from him and while Rhyme is very good - he has limited access to the information he needs. As always there are plenty of people who appear to be guilty while the reader is given tidbits to help us figure out who the mystery man is.

For anyone who likes a detailed and well researched thriller, I highly recommend this book. If you are a fan of Jeffrey Deaver - this book does not disappoint.

NOTE: I read through a number of other reviews before I posted this and I enjoy the immense detail that Deaver brings to his book and as an author I know the amount of pain staking work that is involved in being authentic and bringing this realism to a story. There was a lot of detail in this book and his usual multiple sub plots, but those are all things that make a Deaver book so great. Its not short or full of fluff and it is very possible to get lost in the story. I didn't think this book had as many whiplash twists to it, but with the detail that was included, I'm not sure that would've worked as well in this novel.

How Obama Won by Earl Ofari Hutchinson

How Obama Won by Earl Ofari Hutchinson
A Comprehensive Dissect of Obama's White House Win

I have to be honest that I’ve never followed politics for many reasons. But in the past year, I’ve worked with Earl Ofari Hutchinson, read four of his book and followed his blog posts. I can tell you that it has been a crash course in politics.

The unbiased details that he shares and the historic information that he provides to support his conclusions are fascinating to me because I love to learn the story behind the news. Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a nationally recognized political analyst and author who has had his finger on the pulse of the political system for years and he uses that experience to help the reader dissect Obama’s win.

That is also one of the things I really liked about his latest book, How Obama Won. So many things happened through the 20+ months of campaigning, that I had lost track of many of the details. Through the 20 chapters of this book, he starts with Obama announcing that he will run, his big and important win in the Iowa primary and brings the reader through the final days of the election. I was talking to a friend who was reading this and he mentioned that it felt like a friend was explaining the election to your personally.

In the pages of How Obama Won, Hutchinson discusses many things that helped propel Obama to victory and some things that had the potential to derail his candidacy. These topics include: the economy, fund raising, the black vote, Oprah’s support, “the Bradley Effect”, Jesse Jackson, Reverend Wright, the race issue, the Clintons, choosing the right vice president, Sarah Palin, Colin Powell, blue collar America, and more.

There are very high expectations for President Obama and his administration. This book is to the point and will take you back through the election process and remind you of the details that got Obama to his current position. Take a look back at this historic election that people will study for years to come. This is your chance to dissect Obama’s win. Sure Obama got more votes, but what lead up to him getting those votes? That’s what you learn in How Obama Won.

The Sinner’s Guide to Confession by Phyllis Schieber

Take three best friends, each woman has her own life and family. They share just about everything – but each friend has a secret that she won’t share with her friends or family. Will people think less of her if they know the secret she is hiding? How will her life change if she admits the truth? Will her life be better if she shares the secret? Admitting the truth gives friends and family the chance to help her with the secret – is that what she wants?

Barbara, Kaye and Ellen live in New York and they are each around 50 years old. Barbara recently lost her husband when he died unexpectedly. Thankfully, she has a lucrative career as a romance author and an even more lucrative secret. Her children are grown and on their own, but she is their mother and children have certain expectations about what their mother’s should do.

Kaye has a life with her husband and her children are adults, but her relationship with her husband has grown stale – is her future with him or another man? She meets a man who makes her feel sexy and desired, that makes her “stale” relationship with her husband even harder to tolerate. What will the future bring for Kaye and her family?

Ellen was forced, by her parents, to give up her daughter for adoption. This made her relationship even more strained with her parents and siblings. This forced adoption is even harder to handle as Ellen is married and she is unable to become pregnant. Will Ellen be able to meet her long lost daughter and if she does, can they forge a relationship?

Each of these women has a strong support system in place, but she needs to make the decision to trust these people with the secrets she is hiding. Their journey to self discovery takes you on an interesting, touching, emotion and at times a humorous trek through the pages of The Sinners’ Guide to Confession. Female relationship stories are not usually my favorite reads, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and often found myself laughing at great one liners and other times reaching for tissues as I read this very well written book by Phyllis Schieber.

Phyllis Schieber is touring cyber space in January 2009 to promote Sinner's Guide to Confession, for complete details -

The Mind of A Genius by David Snowdon

Imagine if a genius created an invention that could literally change the world – for the better? What would a world changing invention be worth and what extent would be go to in order to get their hands on it? That is the premise behind The Mind of a Genius. I won’t tell you details about the invention, for that you need to read the book.

Malcolm Prince is a brilliant British scientist and he’s finalized the world changing formula. The word is out that he has succeeded and the British, American and Denmark governments are all interested. But, there are a few problems. Malcolm Prince dies without revealing the details and no one knows where he stored the formula. So, the brilliant scientist accomplished the impossible, but the world can’t benefit if the formula isn’t found. Then you have the concern that the formula could fall into the wrong hands.

The race is on – who will find the formula and how many people will go to jail because of their failed attempts to get their hands on the formula? A lot of money is being offered for the person or people who can get their hands on the formula. Which of these mysterious and devious people would you prefer has control of this world changing creation?

One government is trying a different approach. MI4 brings in their suave and very dangerous special agent Jason Clay. Clay is known to be a womanizer and the plan is for him to get close to Malcolm Prince’s beautiful widow. It’s a plum assignment for Clay and the money is good too. He meets Laura Prince and they get to know each other in the coming days. As they get acquainted and get closer, there are plenty of other people who want to get close to the beautiful widow or at least get close to her husband’s formula.

The Mind of a Genius brings together some very colorful and memorable characters to the story board and the action takes the reader from London to Copenhagen, Hong Kong and Australia. Who will find the formula? What is the formula? Will Jason Clay fall for the beautiful widow? Who is the dwarf? Who is Gorgeous Steve? And, who is the young man who keeps breaking out of jail? These are just a few of the answers that author David Snowdon answers in the pages of The Mind of a Genius. Get ready for international intrigue and mystery in the pages of this book.

David Snowdon is touring cyber space from mid January to mid March. For more information, vist