Monthly ArchiveFebruary 2005

Non-fiction 21 Feb 2005 09:55

How to Get Rich

coverHow to Get Rich
Donald Trump

Attractive title, isn’t it? And probably accurate, as well. But nothing new there: what it tells you, in short, is to do what you love, love what you do, and work your a** off at it. A good portion of the book consists mostly of relatively common sense tips that anyone should already know (anyone who’s in business, at least). But, granted, sometimes people forget things and need to be reminded of them.

This is not to say that this is a bad or useless book. The book is interesting, reads well, and is full of “Trump philosophy” bits that make it interesting. And, by the way, apparently Trump is exactly the way he acts on The Apprentice. The book was written after (or during?) the first season of the show, and it also contains some information on the show production.

There is a very long chapter at the end about “a week in the life of The Donald” which is kind of interesting. Even though lots of entries do seem like he’s “name dropping”; does that really meet Sandra Bullock, Elton John, Bill Clinton and other celebrities every week?

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Non-fiction 19 Feb 2005 16:53

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

coverCapitalism: The Unknown Ideal
Ayn Rand

The book is a collection of essays on capitalism and objectivism (Rand’s philosophical system); most of them are by Ayn Rand herself, but a few are contributed by Nathaniel Branden and Alan Greenspan (yes, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve).

Ayn’s intention with the book is to provide a moral and philosophical basis for capitalism (which, for her, means an economical system with private property, very limited government intervention and absolute respect for individual rights). Some of the essays are somewhat topical (the book was first published in the late 60s), dealing with the Vietnam war and the student protests in Berkeley. Still, in each essay, Rand’s ideas are explained and her ideology made clear; you don’t need to know the details of the events being discussed.

Most of all, what comes forward is her despair that capitalism is being overrun by socialist and fascist policies implemented by governments with no ideological views and accepted by populations too ignorant to realize that they’re giving up their freedom and rights in exchange for… nothing, really.

Rand’s capitalism seems to be as utopic as the “ideal” socialism preached by the left; still, her ideas are sound and worth thinking about. In today’s political climate, some of them are even more revolutionary than communist dreams. If you’ve read any of her other books (Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead etc.) you will recognize many of the same ideas in this one; it’s the same philosophy, this time in a non-fiction setting. Worth a read.

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Fiction 03 Feb 2005 13:22

From a Buick 8

coverFrom a Buick 8
Stephen King

Somewhere in Pennsylvania, a strange man stops at a gas station, leaves his car being fueled and goes toward the bathroom, never to be seen again. And thus the Pennsylvania State Police ends up with a classic 1950′s Buick in their hands. Except that it’s not quite a Buick. Or even a car.

The story of what lies in Troop D’s shed is classic Stephen King: terrifying, scarier in the suspense than in actual events (at least for most of the book), and very well told. Yes, there is a car at the centre of the story, and a teenage boy, but this is no Christine. The book is told mostly in the 1st person and in retrospective, as older officers tell the story of the Buick to the son of one of them.

If there’s one point to this book (always hard to say with King’s stories), it’s that some things in life will be always a mistery. You can be curious all you want, but you may never know the truth about certain things.

There’s not much to be said about it, though; it’s a Stephen King book, and that says most of it. And it’s a good one, one of those you wish had a few more pages at the end (not in the same league as Bag of Bones, but still good).

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