Review: What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson

I’ve had some bad luck with books lately.

First, I finished What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson. Aside from the horrible writing style (oh wo is us! the after life for bad people is soooo horrible you just can’t even imagine. like seriously. its really really awful!), the doctrine it tries to teach is so far from the truth and so detrimental to the development of any good society or individual that it was literally painful to hear.

For example, the doctrine of reincarnation, mixed with karma, is taught in the hopes of making people be good in this life. In reality, I think most people would use karma like their credit cards: charge up a huge debt now (sin) and file bankruptcy later (be born in a new life with no recollection of the previous one).

The next book I tried, Faithless by Karin Slaughter, had some serious adult content issues so had to be given up pretty early.

So I tried again with The God of War by Marisa Silver, and ran into the same issue.

Anyways, I’d greatly appreciate some recommendations if anyone has any!

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Review: Designing Web Usability

Just gave up on Designing Web Usability. I mooched the book on the recommendation of dozens of smart people that stated this is the definitive usability guide for the web.

Lies! This book was out-of-date when it was published. The guy rants for like 10 pages on the virtue of using blue colored links. Another 10 pages on using fluid-width designs (instead of today’s norm of fixed-width with additional style sheets — or an alternate theme — to help out devices with limited capabilities). Another 10 pages — with charts and graphs! — outlining how quickly people upgrade their browsers and condemning the use of new browser capabilities.

If you are a complete newbie to the web and have no common sense (like the fact that people want pages to load fast), then yes, get this book. If, on the other hand, you aren’t a complete idiot, skip the book and spend your time coding.

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Review: Gun, with Occasional Music

Just finished Gun, with Occasional Music.

This is one of those books that has some clever ideas, a somewhat interesting story line, but part way through goes in a radically different direction. Sometimes that is good. In this case, it was bad. It felt like the author backed himself into a corner and wasn’t sure where to go with the story line.

Regardless, the twist at the end was interesting, and the author’s non-traditional views of what might happen in the future were fun to think about.

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Review: The Judas Strain

Finished reading The Judas Strain by James Rollins. I get the feeling it is part of a series, but it was an okay read by itself.

Just an okay read, you ask? Well, yes… The story line relied on overly dramatic sadist antagonists, bad science, and mysticism. Not exactly what I’m looking for in a serious action novel.

The book did have a redeeming feature: very creative historical fiction. I love historical fiction, especially when the blanks filled in by the author are completely insane and implausible, yet still fit the historical record (e.g., aliens, sea monsters, etc etc…). The blank filler in this novel was pretty interesting.

Give it a read at Amazon.

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Review: The Ugly Truth About Small Business

Just finished The Ugly Truth About Small Business by Ruth King. I was deeply disappointed by this book. To sum up the entire book: Running a small business is hard so become a motivational speaker instead.

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Review: Negotiating Your Salary

I just finished Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute by Jack Chapman.

Although a lot of the information was outdated (the book has a “What to say in Y2K!” promo on the front…), it was an amazing read. I loved it! Chock full of easy and useful tips, sample dialog, and easy to understand explanations, I’m positive this book will help me make more money in the future.

For example, when your prospective employer tells you they are willing to pay (for example) $30,000, instead of being bummed at the crappy pay, you should contemplatively say “$30,000”. You should then “contemplate” that salary for 30 seconds. The person doing the hiring will, most likely, get nervous, and may up that number on the spot, indicate that they can work the number some, offer other benefits, etc. (This is, of course, assuming you waited to talk salary until they actually want to hire you for the job, as you should.)

I’d recommend every employee and employer get a copy of this book. Click here to find it on Amazon.com.

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