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The life-changing magic of tidying up

I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo a few years ago. The book took the internet by storm and there were many youtube videos of people applying her principles. The book is mostly text based with a few illustrations.

I suppose we are looking for that magic formula that will help us stay organized and tidy. Perhaps this is why the book is so popular. The book is in two basic parts. The first part is about tidying up. In this there is no real innovation from other organizational books and ideas. Kondo has you declutter in categories. First, it is clothes, then books and papers, and later other areas. She has you select each item as you sort and ask yourself if the item gives you joy. If it doesn't, then you either donate or toss it. She believes each item in your life should bring you joy, not stress and worry. Other organizers do similar things by emptying a room and only adding back things that you really use or need. This part includes specific ways to fold…
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Innovator's Dilemma

The Innovator's Dilemma is a book about disruptive technologies and how companies either adapted or not. Some companies go out of business because they either failed to recognize a new technology or because they fail to act on a new technology. Other businesses succeed because they do adapt quickly. So what is the dilemma? Company owners and managers have to make decisions about new investments and it can be difficult to know when and how much to invest. It's those decisions that lead to success or failure.

The author, Clayton M. Christensen, examines a few case histories exploring this dilemma. He tries to provide examples and perspective so that company owners can be a bit more aware of their business and new technologies. The most interesting case history was the study on hard drive manufacturers. Moore's law comes into focus and new hard drives became more powerful and smaller. Companies that adapted quickly did well, others did not because they could not see ahead. T…

I am number four

I am number four is a young adult book by Pittacus Lore. The main character is John Smith, a teenager who is trying to keep a low profile. He and several other children escaped their planet to hide out on earth until they can develop their legacies (or powers). Each child has a guardian who protects and hides them. But the bad aliens from their home planet is hunting them down one by one. John Smith is number four, which means three others before him have been found and killed. This is John's story of survival.

I also read book 2 and 3 in the series, The power of six and The Rise of Nine. The books are great action reads. The story is interesting, though a bit predictable like others with similar storylines. (How many kids with special powers/abilities do we really need?). I probably would have finished the series out if the last book had not been checked out when I was ready for it. I kind of lost interest waiting. Still, these would be great stories for reluctant teen boys, and …

Shattered Dreams

I have read a few books about the Fundamentalist Mormon groups in Utah. These are groups of people who have split off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints because they wished to continue practicing polygamy. After the original split, there have been further splits dividing the people and families over differences about leadership and doctrine. One of the more famous, recent groups was led by Warren Jeffs in Colorado City and Hurricane, Utah. Some of these groups also include the Allred's (Salt Lake Valley), Blackmores (in Canada), and the LeBaron's (Mexico). All of these groups are related to each other in some way and each group has had their own difficulties. I find these groups interesting, both in their beliefs and lifestyle. The group I knew least about were the LeBaron's in Mexico. I came across Shattered Dreams : My Life as a Polygamist's Wife by Irene Spencer at the library and had to read it.

Many of the books on this topic are written by wome…

Getting to yes

The version of Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher that I read is a revised and updated version to a book published 30 years ago. This is a self-help book to help you learn how to negotiate without giving in. The main principle of the book is to help you find a win-win solution so everybody is happy.

I read this book a few years ago and I honestly cannot remember all that much about it. It may be worth a re-read. Based on the reviews on Amazon it appears the book is often used as a college text to teach the principles of negotiation. I do vaguely remember thinking the book was very practical. At the end of the day, it may not solve all disagreements, but it probably is useful in many business situations.

Passionate Nutrition

Passionate Nutrition by Jennifer Adler is part nutrition advice and part memoir. Jennifer Adler shares her personal story and journey which includes malnutrition in childhood and adolescence. As a young adult she studied nutrition in college and she dutifully followed her training for herself and her clients. She sensed that nutrition was a factor in her physical and mental health, but when applying her education and training to herself it did not seem to work. Her personal story is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of heartache there, but I appreciate her willingness to share her story. It is inspiring and motivating.

Over time, Adler started to get a better sense of herself and food. She broke away from the conventional nutrition and diet advice and started to practice in a different way. She focused on whole foods that are minimally processed, locally grown, and organic. She encourages consuming plenty of healthy fats and bone broth. In other words, she encourages eating a…

Toxic War : The Story of Agent Orange

Few books have made me angry when I read them. Toxic War by Peter Sills made me angry because the very topic is so upsetting. Sills examines Agent Orange, a chemical used heavily in the Vietnam War. He explores its origins, manufacture, and use in warfare. He also details the long term health consequences of the soldiers that served and the people of Vietnam.

I had heard about Agent Orange but I didn't really know all that much about it. Agent Orange or dioxin was a chemical that was produced and used in herbicides prior to Vietnam, but not heavily. There were some reports of employees getting sick who had been exposed to the chemical, but these reports were largely buried. You could say that Dupont and Monsanto both manipulated studies to show the chemical was safe for use. But no one, up to that time, had ever used or applied dioxin in the quantities that were needed in Vietnam.

Vietnam presented a logistical challenge to warfare. The enemy could easily hide in the vegetation a…