Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Book Review – Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should KnowStrong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know by Meg Meeker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had heard about Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know for quite some time now. If I'm not mistaken, the Dave Ramsey show had mentioned it numerous times as well, so it was always one of those books I wanted to get to "sooner or later". Admittedly, it became later, but I should have read this sooner.

I think this book not only helps transform a male into a positive role model for their daughter, but that it helps one become a positive role model for their wives as well. This book does an excellent job on presenting and\or reminding you on the challenges every woman faces these days, and the grit, maturity and dedication a father needs to have with their daughters to keep them balanced. Throughout the book, you are constantly reminded that the morals and self-respect you want your daughter to have are consistently challenged by all aspects of the world, from the commercials on TV to adverts in magazines she may thumb through at the checkout counter to text messages she may receive while you think she's sleeping in bed to the attention other girls get in school, which she craves as well. Additionally, the book also does a very good job on indicating how critical a father's support is in their daughters lives, as if those needs and approvals aren't found during adolescence and teenage years, it's only sought elsewhere from other guys as they get older.

Fortunately, the book offers simple solutions to many of these complex problems. Namely, it's that no matter what she sees or hears, she will always follow your guidance first, which is why it's so crucial to spend time with your daughter. The book also presents why it's equally important to talk with your daughter about the things that normally make you uncomfortable to talk about (I'll let you fill in those blanks), and that no matter how much she seems to resist you at times (namely teenage years), you still need to remind her that you're her father and that you know best. She may be bright, but you're more experienced, and while she may think she knows about guys, you *know* about guys.

All in all, the book makes a compelling argument to challenge your assumptions on what's important in life, and what's important to you. Determine your moral code, whatever that may be, and live it. As she grows older, indicate those same principles to her, and if you practice what you preach, there's a higher chance she'll listen. (It's even suggested to take the time and "write down" our own "commandments" if you will, so they're crystal clear to her.. and you.. on what principles should be abided as she grows and matures). If you don't want her to think women shouldn't be objectified, don't watch pornography. If you don't want her having pre-marital sex, don't get her birth control "just incase". If you don't want her drinking with friends at parties, don't get drunk yourself. In the end, the responsibility of a father is a huge one, but this book helps you realize that, and how important it is to take that responsibility seriously. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has a daughter.. or even wants to psychologically understand their wives more as well.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Book Review – Dark Summit

Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial SeasonDark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season by Nick Heil
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Admittedly, this book is outside of my normal non-fiction circle. I don't normally tend to read books that recount stories, etc. I gave this book 3 stars, as I considered it just that.. an average book. It was very well researched and documented, but this wasn't a book that was suspenseful as much as it was explaining the surrounding occurrences of numerous deaths on the worlds highest peak.

At the very least, it exposes our human nature when pushed to our extreme limits, as a number of individuals on Everest seem to have been either left for dead and\or passed by in their final hours, but the stories and recollections provided almost make you understand what that happened at least some of the time. I would argue that before reading this book, I too would wonder why so many we're left behind on the mountain, but only after reading this book I can understand that any rescue operation at that altitude, in that extreme cold, and under those conditions is just a completely different animal.

What I liked about this book was that it targeted and documented some history that in a way is forgotten. I imagine in 1996 these stories we're at least somewhat important, but now in 2013, I have yet to talk to anyone in passing and say "yeah, that's almost as bad as what happened on Everest in 1996". That's not to demean what happened for the lives lost, on the contrary it's to point out that just like we have "forgotten war's" in history, so too can other tragedies of different scales be lost in time. Nick Heil does an excellent job exposing the life and trials of those who arrange, organize and ultimately decide on who makes it back alive and how on Mt. Everest.

So why the 3 stars? I didn't find this book to be as much of a page turner as I did finding it to be reading a news story. Secondly, there are a lot of names in this book. Some of the "main characters" (I suppose you can call them that) are established early and referenced often. Others however are individuals mentioned briefly at times, whether they be one of the many who traveled up the mountain and were somehow associated with the story, while other's were one of the many Sherpas who were also involved in either a rescue attempt, or who had passed by a person thought to be dead. In the end, it was just a lot of sharing ideas, thoughts or comparison of stories over the issues and circumstances surrounding so many deaths. One Sherpa says "by the time I was there he was already frozen", a second says "he was barely breathing but we gave him oxygen to try and help", and meanwhile those running the operation from a base camp are trying to coordinate who's left on the mountain and if they have a chance to survive. Again, in all, it's some interesting stuff.. but not riveting or compelling in my opinion, but still interesting for anyone who either remembers the events that took place back in 1996, or those who are familiar with mountaineering and the camaraderie that typically goes with it.

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