Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Book Review: No Easy Day

No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin LadenNo Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden by Mark Owen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was skeptical when this book was published 2 years ago. I thought the hype around the book might have caused the actual content to be over stated, so I sat on this one for a while. So a few days ago, it hit the top of my list, and I started turning page, after page, after page. No Easy Day is *that* good.

The book is split into 2 parts essentially. The first half of the book discusses Navy SEALs and the Green Team, giving you insight into how they operate, what makes them so good, and a variety of missions they had been on in Iraq and Afghanistan since late 2001. The second half is where the book gets really interesting, as it walks you through when the team is initially assembled, to training, to a walk through of the mission to take out "Geronimo".

The books true value, as I'm sure many others have already indicated, is to give you perspective and appreciation for the sacrifice and hard work our service men and women perform for our country, day in and day out. If this book was truly just about finding and killing Bin Laden, it could have been written in just 2 short chapters. Instead this book dedicates time to explain why the teams are so good at what they do, and why they do it.

View all my reviews

Friday, June 20, 2014

Book Review – Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook

Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who CookMedium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" about 2 years prior to reading Medium Raw. I remember thinking back then, just like I did for this, that when you hear him speak.. when mentally you can remember the tone of his voice, how he sounds when he rants a little or curses someone out, it adds to the appeal of the book. When you can associate his voice with his writing style, you can also hear him reading line after line after line. That's one of the reasons I enjoyed Medium Raw as much as I did, because in the end, this book is about a bunch of.. what I thought were.. random thoughts, experiences and observations by Bourdain. Kitchen Confidential was similar, but it had structure.. and some chronology to it. Medium Raw, I almost view, was the "left out pieces", but in particular the pieces that occurred since Kitchen Confidential's publishing.

There in lies why I only gave it 3\5 stars. For as interesting as one chapter was to me, the next.. not so much. One chapter he's story telling about previous experiences, and the next he's somewhat shedding his soul and psychoanalyzing himself. All interesting parts in their own way.. but it just never gelled together for me. That being said, I enjoy how "raw" his writing style is. When he's really starts ranting and spitting venom on his enemies, you can *hear* him cursing and screaming, and even though it wasn't a comedic thing per se, you still couldn't help but chuckle at him calling people douchebags and such.

Of course, when Bourdain "turn's it on", I think his writing shines. A chapter dedicated to "food porn" discusses what it's like to have some of the best meals in the world, and spends 30 minutes describing food I had never heard of before in such wonderful detail, I started to salivate. You can tell he loves food, he makes you love food, and makes you feel like dirt for not previously appreciating it.

So in all, I wouldn't recommend this book as the "first" one to read by Bourdain, but if you read Kitchen Confidential, enjoyed it, and generally are interested in the personality and what makes him tick.. it's a worthwhile read.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Book Review – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop TalkingQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I read books, I categorize them as mind, body or soul. Soul is usually reserved for those books that talk about what is "around" us.. faith based books that discuss what we cannot see, but continue to believe, for example. I broke that rule and added this book to my "soul" list. I just found that Quiet resonated with me that well, that it deserved a spot on that list. Always being the person who wanted to be the wallflower, always wanted to lay low, always needing to find some personal downtime after a work week... all while watching others blow off steam by partying hard, going out, having fun in public places around other people. It just felt good to know that the world is much more introverted than I had realized.. and that my introversion isn't as extreme as I thought it was.

I appreciated many things that Susan Cain wrote, but I particularly enjoyed how she put herself in both introvert and extrovert places to discuss the social dynamics. For example, in one chapter, she is attending an Asian-American night class that discusses American social queue's, which is meant to help Asian-American's learn how to be more expressive in the "American style" workplace. In another chapter, she visit's a Tony Robbins seminar, showing what lengths folks will go to just to emulate something\someone they're not. Even the epilogue of the book is very spot on, albeit short, that beautifully summarizes all you need to know on how to handle your own introversion, and highlights the strengths around both being an introvert, and raising a child who is one as well.

Recommended reading for corporate management.. and anyone who prefer's to be home and enjoy solitude :)

View all my reviews