Book Reviews

DIY bookHome: This just might be the only home repair book you’ll ever buy. I have the 2000 edition that was given to me by my mum and dad as a house-warming present when I bought my first house. It has been a terrific gift that has just kept on giving over the years as I have become seasoned enough to appreciate it. My partner likewise also holds it in high regard. This home DIY manual deals with several topics on house maintenance and renovation, a lot of which most newbies won’t usually dare even start, for example, remodelling the layout of a room, fixing a roof, and even remodelling bathrooms. However, these are jobs that all property owners ought to, at least to some degree, be informed about before hiring an outside expert to do the job. Of all the books I evaluated for this review (lots!), this book was the most detailed. You might not be planning to transform your garage into a workshop, but the book provides comprehensive information on how to go about fitting out your work area with the right equipment. For instance, the book details how nine different saw-types are used and why you should have them. Of course nowadays a lot of the information in this book can be gleaned from disparate sources on the internet, and picking the right power tool for a job can often be done by comparing the different types available, but the book just makes that whole decision process more efficient. Take for example the book’s instruction on circular saws, it provides general information on how and where to use them, but then if you need to actually go about buying a power circular saw then you are better off comparing the different saws by visiting a specialist website that has analysed the different power saw brands. Nevertheless, the book provides all the general information in one place for getting through a DIY project so you don’t have to waste time trying to understand how best to get it finished. One word of warning, however, is that if you’re the type to be quickly swamped when presented with excessive information, then this book just might not be for you and you might be more comfortable with a more simplified DIY book from, for instance, the “The Complete Idiot’s Guide” collection. No subliminal insult intended! 🙂

InterceptNon-Fiction: As Gordon Corera reveals there are no longer any secret mail drops or late-night border crossings any more. Spying has actually gone electronic. 21st century spies are now sitting at their computer systems just like everybody else. Corera, who is a BBC News security reporter, was originally going to focus the book only on the hi-tech sleuthing of today. However as he probed further into the world of the spy, he became aware his story required a historic point of view to give it some perspective. As a result, this well-structured publication starts with World War I, on the night that world war was proclaimed. Operating on top secret orders from Downing Street, HMS Alert, was sent to scour the German coastline in order to severe its underwater telegraph connections. Before a single rifle was even discharged, Germany’s communications facilities had been crippled. It’s the type of efficiency we ‘d usually associate with the Germans themselves. As a result, the Germans had to resort to secret codes to keep their communications secret, and so the codebreaker was born. Computers were eventually developed to help the codebreaker with Alan Turing at Bletchley Park, the most famous of these. The United States secret service operations then took over as the leaders in this area during the Cold War, but even they failed to truly succeed in breaking Soviet ciphers. Instead they practiced what they called ‘traffic analysis’, seeking patterns in vast amounts of data that could give a clue to Soviet activity. By the Sixties, greater than 100,000 people were hired in American intelligence while GCHQ, increased into the huge infrastructure that it has actually now become. The present headquarters, called the Doughnut, has been constructed to be impervious, with intense security all around the building. However within its walls there’s an incredibly open environment. Staff socialize with each other and more often than not wed one another, with their children following in their footsteps working in GCHQ as well. Much of the second part of Corera’s publication outlines the hacking attacks both countries and organisations currently cope with on a daily basis. There are whole buildings in China full of people who work all day long on hacking into Western computers. Economic globalisation has also played a role in this as a great deal of our own telecoms equipment has been produced in China, and Corera wonders whether we are more vunerable to Chinese subversion than we know. Most British officials state they do not fret about this aspect, but rather the bigger concern is the huge amount of spying that is going on surrounding commercial secrets.

Lucky JohnnyBiography: Many young kids long to become a professional football player, but Johnny Sherwood was lucky enough to actually to realize his childhood dream and play for his town club, Reading. At some stage, he was even put forward by the Media as a candidate to play for England, however the break out of World War II put a stop to his footballing aspirations. In its place, he joined the Royal Artillery and found himself in Singapore just when it surrendered to the Japanese invasion. As a result, he came to be a Japanese prisoner of war and was sent off to the infamous Japanese POW camps along the River Kwai, where he toiled as a slave laborer under the vicious regime of his Japanese guardians, whose savage treatment of their detainees has been well documented. As a child, his nickname was ‘Lucky’ and it originated from his capacity to talk himself out of difficult situations. In this strong, propelling narrative, discovered by Johnny’s grand son after his passing, plenty of stories of good fortune and exceptional perseverance are evident as you work your way through the book. An inspirational read!

A Troublesome Inheritance by Nicholas WadeScience: The current scholarly dogma is that race is a social artefact having no genetic value. Ever since the sequencing of the human genome in 2003, geneticists have increasingly moved away from this dogma, in spite of social scientists and the common media having obstinately adhering to the old theories. It is in this atmosphere, that Nicholas Wade has crafted this manuscript that has made significant inroads into pulling aside the veil.
The problem the author tackles is whether the collections of genes undergoing Darwinian selection have actually changed over time between the races, to which the response can only be an unequivocal yes. To this day, research studies of the various races have indeed discovered that a lot of the regions of the genome under selection (roughly 80%) are undergoing genetic selection in just one race. We are similarly aware that the genes in these zones influence much more than the superficial visual differences. Several of them include influence over brain operation, which consequently might be linked to a precipitation of outcomes in much deeper human characteristics.
After setting out the technical facets of race and genes, Mr. Wade dedicates the 2nd part of his book to a bigger collection of subjects. The author draws from a large range of specialised literature in political theory, behavioural science, economics and folklore. He compares the politics and cultural establishments across the globe. He provides an explanation for why Jewish inputs to the fine arts and scientific disciplines have been disproportionately high, and even includes a section that explains the West’s accession over the last 600 years making this publication a quite contentious yet fascinating read!

The Shipping Man by Matthew McCleeryBusiness: The book’s appeal happens to accompany Wall Street’s revived enthusiasm for shipping. Wagering that freight prices and vessel costs will rebound from historic lows which had been hit by the economic downturn, private equity companies injected greater than $7.2 billion dollars into the industry in 2013, up from approximately $3 billion in 2012, establishing alliances with freight firms, purchasing brand-new ships, and acquiring distressed financings guaranteed by already existing vessels. Purchasers bought way too many ships just before the worldwide financial crisis, generating a surplus when country’s economies stalled. With the economic situation bouncing back, ship prices have rebounded sufficiently for the financial institutions to sell the financings without reporting massive losses. The inflow of new money has market experts worried that investors will flood the marketplace with brand-new freight carriers, take their profits quickly and exit, leaving behind the carriers to deal with yet another excess. Purchase orders for new vessels virtually tripled in 2013 to the highest level since 2010, based on information from the industry’s biggest ship dealer. In The Shipping Man, Fairchild reflects on the allure of the business and does a good job at assisting readers to comprehend the ins and outs of a rather unconventional industry.

Beatrix PotterGardening: Potter’s manuscripts are chocked full of sketches and tales that horticulturists can appreciate, Potter adored the countryside and country life and her novels and sketches express it. Marta McDowell‘s publication is actually 3 manuscripts in one, and each one has its own strong points. The initial section is a personal account of Potter, a timid and lonesome lady, who found security in possessing rabbits and illustrating flowers and wild animals. She was a competent  horticultural illustrator but attained public recognition the moment The Tale of Peter Rabbit was released} in 1901. Her mother and father were the demanding puritanical type, and disliked her writing as a profession, in addition to her relationship and marriage to her publisher, Frederick Warne. Unfortunately, Warne passed away in 1905 from cancer. Lamenting his passing and looking for freedom, Potter purchased Hill Top Farm in the Lake District. There, she remained, continuing to generate book after book, and to garden. At the age of 47, she got married to a small-town lawyer and started to acquire more residential property in the region. She released her final publication in 1922, and devoted the last 25 years of her daily life as an agriculturalist and conservationist in the Lake District. The personal account part of the book is enjoyable, noted by lively composition and a wealth of illustrations and snapshots. You get a real feeling of how Potter’s manuscripts mirrored her passion for nature and her lifestyle as a garden enthusiast. The next part of the book leads a reader through the year in Potter’s flower garden, from the somber winter months to the thriving primroses of June to fall and the harvest period. It is graphic and well-illustrated and provides a full understanding of English country living. Through correspondence and various other paraphernalia, McDowell presents Potter managing several of the issues known to all garden enthusiasts, such as invasive weeds, bad climate, more concepts and work than precious time. The final part of the book is a brief intro to exploring Potter’s properties and the Lake District. Potter entrusted the majority of her estate to the National Trust, so there is a great deal to discover, if you have the opportunity to get to this rather remote area of England. The book is completed with useful resources and recommendations for further reading in addition to plant records, consisting of lists of all the plants that are present in all of her publications along with those she grew herself. With respect to Potter enthusiasts or just simply fans of English country life, this garden enthusiast’s memoir is an excellent read.

LED Grow BookTechnology: When it comes to LED grow lights, excited discussion is not unusual within the growing arena. Some folks are obvious supporters while others recoil in disgust choosing the conventional lighting units that have demonstrated their value over decades. Relevant information on the subject that can be found on the net is often misleading and it almost feels like each and every person has a distinct viewpoint of their own as to whether this modern technology has at long last overtaken the tried and tested conventional units. Remarkably, taking into account the degree of discourse encompassing them, it is tough to identify books which detail the present state of LED grow light technology and the best ways to set about utilizing them. A number of internet sites have certainly attempted to sort through this limitless well of data however, unless you are ready to invest unlimited quantities of time looking through a great number of web sites to obtain what are essentially identical facts, then this is a well-written publication that sums up almost every single thing you are required to learn when delving into the world of LED grow lights. This book is strongly recommended, particularly for anybody who is on the verge of beginning their quest into this perplexing subject!

Think Like a Freak by Levitt & DubnerEconomics: The writers, Steven Levitt, a business economics lecturer at the College of Chicago, and Stephen Dubner, a reporter, have sold greater than 5 million publications by making using of “the dismal science” to ingeniously spot key motivations in our community and associate them with succinct methods: why pools are generally much more hazardous compared to weapons; how property brokers gain financially when property owners sell out at reduced prices. This newest release is different from the others: a sort of annotated user’s manual that could instruct anybody to behave like a ‘Freak’. It’s psychobabble for the reader that frets that he isn’t really sufficiently counter-intuitive at social events. To become a bit more like them, Levitt and Dubner provide tips which are useful although undoubtedly self evident. Accept the things you don’t understand. See to it you ask the best questions. Make use of tales to persuade persistent attackers. The trouble is with the tales Levitt and Dubner call upon. For a couple that has actually created a whole media business including publications, blog sites, podcasts, public-speaking engagements, and more, from the ignition of economic bombshells, their latest artillery are amazingly plain. Levitt and Dubner are aiming their stories to highlight just how folks function economically, however they make them so that they amaze as much as the authentically unusual verdicts in their initial manuscripts. The outcome is the strange Freakonomics experience of feeling underwhelmed. Certainly not all things in guide are common knowledge. There’s an engaging concept regarding as to why Nigerian email fraudsters continuously share, immediately at the top of their correspondence, that they are e-mailing directly from Nigeria. In the last part, concerning the merits of giving up, Levitt and Dubner question if they also ought to resign. After 3 Freakonomics manuscripts, can they actually have even more to share and will anybody want to listen? I imagine they already know the response.