Book Summaries

  • Synopsis:- Zero - Earth (Clifford Barker)

     
    At the end of another successful mission in Munich, Germany, Zero Senses he’s been followed again. Zero loses the tail, and decides to check in with the Human Network. Quinn has Zero in his sights. Zero is being tailed by the CIA for protection; not that he needs any, but Nixon feels it prudent. Zero isn’t counting on a second tail but senses a sinister presence. Quinn aborts his attack. Zero evades his CIA tail, making his way back to Central.

    Whilst travelling Zero dreams of the Devine, and their struggle to keep their home world and eventual exodus, fleeing the Khai-mah.

    Once back on board Central, a downed leviathan remnant from the Devine exodus, more is learned about what Zero was discussing in the phone booth in Munich. Their plan to make more super soldiers to assist in the coming battle and assist the Human Network is failing. Men are dying instead of being upgraded. To date Zero is the only person to be successfully upgraded by the Devine caretaker clones. During a discussion Zero suggests something radical.

    Zero then returns to visit his girlfriend Joan who is heavily pregnant. By the end of this visit, Wraith has been born. We also meet Khaalida for the first time in her German lair. Quinn's mother gives him a dressing down for the missed chance to kill Zero in Munich. Then another opportunity presents itself ...

    Zero begins his next mission with Geyldian, a half alien half human hybrid, whom Zero rescued from a firing squad at the end of WW2. The human team Zero is sent to infiltrate greets him with hostility and resentment. Zero gets his way as usual, laying the seeds which will enable the Humans to achieve their goal, but only as fast as he dictates. This gives the clones a chance to investigate. After the first part of his mission, Zero travels to Washington to tear a strip off Nixon. Zero then travels to visit Joan before phase 2 of his mission begins.

    The Clones are obviously worried about Zero’s loyalties once they learn about Wraith, but considering their plan, Wraith will be useful in the future. Geyldian travels to Sheffield surprising Zero and Joan. Tense at first, the situation is quickly diffused by Joan. Geyldian informs Zero that as hard as he tried to hide his new family he had known about Joan the moment Zero fell for her. This was the hive in action …

    In a crisis of conscience, Zero confides his many talents and abilities to Billy, his Chauffeur. Billy questions what this all means for Zero and Joan in the future. Given his recent difficulties as a clone amongst humans, and unsure where he fits in the world, Geyldian decides to adopt a child of his own from Morocco. Surrayah is special, being born at the same second of the same day as Wraith, as such he is convinced the pair will share a strong connection mentally.

    Phase 2 of Zero's mission begins and Quinn attacks, changing the game. Geyldian vows to bring Quinn before his Prime for punishment. Quinn makes his escape, near death. In his efforts to save Zero, Leren invents several new protocols.

    Analysis of Zero's mission begins, leading to much speculation from the clones. Geyldian continues to sniff out evidence which can lead him to Zero’s attacker, who makes good his escape. Khaalida decides her need for retribution is not sated yet and decides that she will eliminate Joan and her baby.

    The reader is finally introduced to the Thrall. These are the little grey aliens with almond shaped eyes flying around in saucers called Caddy. Being a failed Caretaker clone, they are not good for much except maintenance duties and sample collection topside. They are weaklings by an error in design, this means they can die in the most ridiculous situation.

    Zero is finally able to get back among the clones and begin business once more, though on much different terms than before. Leren is staggered to find, and unable to explain why or even how, Zero is managing to still develop his new body.

    More information is given about Khaalida.

    After six long years Geyldian gets a break hunting for Quinn and travels immediately to Yuxi in China. Geyldian apprehends Quinn and returns him to Mona, th
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  • The book of a corporate yogi

    Yogic practices are like a seatbelt in a car. When we drive a car at high speed, there may be sudden brakes, speed bumps, a rough, slippery surface and low visibility to navigate. These situations can make the ride difficult and stressful. A seatbelt makes sure that no matter what we and our car go through, it tries to protect us by providing additional safety. Yogic practices are like additional safety to protect us from stress, tension and the ups and downs of our day-to-day life.

    Medical science identifies smoking, alcohol, an unhealthy diet, the use of drugs, a lack of sleep and physical inactivity as unhealthy behaviours. Most people have at least one or more of these unhealthy behaviours, which also contributes to the deterioration of their mental health. A simple routine of yoga, breathing and meditation can address these unhealthy hab
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  • Voyage of the Dawn Treader

     
    In the adventurous third installment of C.S. Lewis' Narnia tales, the two younger Pevensie children return to Narnia with their unwilling cousin Eustace (should have been named "Useless") and travel with the now adult King Caspian on a high sea adventure. The story begins with the two younger Pevensie children, Lucy and Edmund, being sent into a sort of exile to their cousin's house for the summer. Eustace is a tiresome boy more interested in grain elevators and pictures of fat chinese children than in adventure. But when he catches his cousins looking at a picture of a "Narnian" ship and begins to tease them, he gets more than he bargains for when the picture becomes real and the three children find themselves adrift on a Narnian Sea. Rescued by the crew of the Dawn Treader, Lucy and Edmund are overjoyed to find that their friend King Caspian is on board and they enthusiastically join his search for seven missing lords who had left Narnia years earlier to explore the seas. As the children have many adventures exploring the uncharted islands they are captured by slave traders, overcome a so called evil magician, repel the attack of a sea monster and survive a terrible storm. By the end of the voyage, they have found all of the missing Lords and Eustace has had a new birth.

    Like all the Narnia stories, this one also contains an allegorical message. In one of the strongest allegorical points in the series, Eustace is transformed into a dragon after sleeping a a dragon cave with greedy thoughts in his head. As a dragon, Eustace gets to see his shipmates in a new light. He has been a constant problem on board ship with his complaining and whining as well as his refusal to help with the work on board or give Caspian the obedience he deserves as king. Now as his shipmates first figure out Eustace's plight and try to help him, he has a change of heart. In a symbolic moment, Aslan, the Great Lion(who represents Christ in the s
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  • The Feminine Mystique

     
    The Feminine Mystique is a 1963 book written by Betty Friedan which attacked the popular notion that women of that time could only find fulfillment through childbearing and homemaking. According to The New York Times obituary of Friedan in 2006, it “ignited the contemporary women's movement in 1963 and as a result permanently transformed the social fabric of the United States and countries around the world” and “is widely regarded as one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century.”

    The Feminine Mystique came about after Friedan sent a questionnaire to other women in her 1942 Smith College graduating class. Most women in her class indicated a general unease with their lives. Through her findings, Friedan hypothesized that women are victims of a false belief system that requires them to find identity and meaning in their lives through their husbands and children. Such a system causes women to completely lose their identity in that of their family.
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  • Super Crunchers

    Intuition in business is great but our decision-making can be enhanced by analyzing information. Super Crunchers is one of those books that exposes how technology and data can and does affect your day-to-day.

    Based on computer algorithms, Netflix recommends us movies and eHarmony recommends a mate. All of this is based on custom formulas and using a mathematical tool called regression to make predictions. Capital One uses regression to determine what interest rate might tempt you into accepting an offer. The Internet radio service Pandora brings in musicians to analyze music so that when you pick a favorite artist on their site, they can play tunes that match your taste.

    One tool Ayres talks about is randomization. The medical community uses randomization extensively in the testing of new pharmaceuticals. Larry Katz, a former chief economist for the Labor Department, found that by providing job search assistance to the out-of-work, people found jobs faster and the federal government could reduce payment of unemployment benefits by two billion dollars. The same type of number crunching can even be used to prove if basketball players are shaving points at the end of game to cause their team not to cover a point spread.

    One of the more unusual and innovative ways computer number-crunching has been put to use comes out of Hollywood. Dick Copaken, formerly a successful Washington lawyer, set his sights on the movie industry. In particular, he and his mysterious team at Epagogix study the effect a script has on box office returns. The folks at Epagogix have come up with a number of components in a script that they have "weighted" and applied certain dollar amounts to. The formula is secret, but unbelievably accurate, and several studios are quietly using their services.

    Not everyone is jumping on board though. Ayres
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  • Stardust

    Gribbin discusses the idea that all of our known universe - everything we have ever been told of, observed directly, or postulated to be, has as a common ancestor the tiny remnants of stars which have lived their lives and exploded. The resulting stardust is responsible for the formation of heavier elements, for the development of molecules, the accretion of particles to form the asteroids, planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies...

    Even the emergence of life must ultimately have come from this stardust, with the available elements coming together in the appropriate harsh environments to form increasingly complex molecules. We do not know how life was awoken from this fundamentally dead matter, but discussion of various theories and the application of statistical probabilities provides some interesting suggestions as to how it might have all come about.

    Gribbin t
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  • Speak

    In the summer before her freshman year of high school, Melinda Sordino was physically assualted at a party by a popular senior, Andy Evans. Melinda calls the police and they break up the party. When those attended the party find out that it was Melinda who called the police, even her closest friends refuse to speak to her and Melinda begins her freshman year as an outcast, friendless except for a new student, Heather, who Melinda refers to throughout the first part of the novel as 'Heather from Ohio'. Heather constantly asks Melinda for help on things but never defends Melinda from a clique she wants to join called "The Marthas". Heather soon dumps Melinda the clique. Throughout the year, Melinda fails classes and skips school and classes as a result of the depression from her self-blame. All of her teachers dislike her, except Melinda's art teacher, Mr. Freeman, who asks his students to focus on one randomly chosen topic and make it "say something" by the end of the year. Melinda is assigned the subject "tree." She isn't too thrilled and thinks it will be easy, but later finds a challenge in her project.

    Over the course of the year, Melinda works to regain some confidence and regain her former friendships. The development of her tree artwork mirrors her gradual regrowth. When one of her former friends, Rachel, begins dating Andy Evans, Melinda works up the courage to begin telling her story, if only in fragments. At the close of the novel, Andy confronts her, telling her that she lied about the assault, he had not hurt her and that she asked for it. He suggests that jealousy of his relationship with Rachel was her motivation for "lying" about the rape and attempts to assault her again. She breaks a mirror and holds a shard of glass up to his neck. "I SAID NO!" she yells. This is a major turning point for her, as one of the issues factoring into her silence
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  • My Name is Asher Lev

    My Name is Asher Lev is the story of cultural conflict as well as a story of the forces that threaten to tear a family apart. Asher Lev first shows artistic genius as a young child. In many families his gift would be looked upon as just that, a great gift. However Asher's family are members of a religious Jewish sect, the Ladover Hasids, and they believe art is a waste of time and that many artistic works are an abomination to God. However, Asher cannot give up his gift. He is not whole without it but his gift threatens to tear his family apart. His father worse for the Rebbe, the leader of the Ladovers, and travels to Europe frequently after World War II, setting up yeshivas, schools, for Jewish youth. He cannot understand why his son seemingly wants to squander his talents serving the world rather than God. He sees Asher as selfish and heretical to his faith. Asher's mother stands between them always being twisted one way of the other.

    Fortunately for Asher, the Rebbe seems to be a reasonable and wise man. He makes sure that Asher gets the artistic education he needs, despite his father's disapproval. He sends the boy to a renowned artist, Jacob Kahn. Kahn is also Jewish, but not an observant Jew according to Ladover tradition. Under Kahn's influence Asher develops into a truly great artist. The discord in his family disturbs Asher so much that he needs to work it out on canvass. He struggles as he tries to show the agony that the disagreement between his father and himself has caused his mother. He tries and tries to show how she is stretched between her son and her husband. Finally he real
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  • Oryx and Crake

     
    Oryx and Crake is about a time in the future. It centers in on Snowman, whose real name is Jimmy. This Snowman character finds himself in a world where only he and a handful of other "people" live in. These people were created by Crake, the mastermind behind all that's happened, including behind the end of humankind with the exception of Snowman and the "people".

    The character Oryx is a woman who Snowman, or Jimmy, had a relationship with. Throughout the book you learn how she ends up dying. She and Snowman loved each other very much. Still, she had some confusing feelings towards Crake.

    Crake doesn't get to live either. He dies along with Oryx.

    Snowman must learn to live with these "people" that were created to be perfect and flawless. They are harmless and innocent, victims of Crake's notorius mind.

    Snowman believes no one is out there, no true human is out there but himself. He sometimes tries to kid himself that there is someone out there like him but he know for sure it is just not possible.

    Yet, at the very end of the book, he is told by the "people" that they saw others
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  • The Paradox of Choice

     
    Barry Schwartz – Paradox of Choice

    Barry Schwartz, a Swarthmore College professor, citing research results from psychologists, economists, market researchers and decision scientists makes five counter-intuitive arguments in this book, The Paradox of Choice: Why Less is More. We would be better off if we:

    1. Voluntarily constrained our freedom of choice.
    2. Sought "good enough" instead of "the best."
    3. Lowered our expectations about decision's results.
    4. Made nonreversible decisions.
    5. Paid less attention to what others around us do.
    Schwartz notes we are constantly being asked to make choices, even about the simplest things. This forces us to "invest time, energy, and no small amount of self-doubt, and dread." There comes a point, he contends, at which choice becomes debilitating rather than liberating. Too much of a good thing becomes detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being, he states.

    In the final chapter , Schwartz offers an 11-step program for reducing choice's "tyranny."

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    1. Much ado about nothing

      Written by William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy. Set during Medieval times, it is also, essentially, a love story. Young Count Claudio has returned from war, and meets the lovely Hero, daughter of the man Claudio is staying with. He asks her to marry him, and she consents. But the night before the wedding, Claudio believes he sees Hero cheating on him, and he humiliates her at the altar. Her father, after much thought, tells Claudio that she has died from grief, a few days later.

      Meanwhile, Count Benedick has also returned from the war, and openly sparrs with Beatrice, the cousin of Hero. They are suited to one another, but neither will admit it, and both swear to never marry. Hero's father, among others, plots to get the two together. To achieve this, he has the close friends of the two talk to one another openly about how one desperately loves the other, and thus fooling them into admitting their feelings to themselves.

      In the end of the story, Claudio is told he must
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    2. Monkeyluv: And Other Essays on Our Lives as Animals

      Monkeluv: And Other Essays on Our Lives as Animals is a witty, insightful collection of essays by Robert M. Sapolsky, professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University. The essays originally appeared as articles in journals such as Natural History, Scientific American, and Discover.

      If you are curious about behavioral biology, that is, why we behave as we do, Sapolsky postulates some compelling answers. In the age of the human genome project, many people seem to believe that genetics are the be-all-end-all explanation for behavior. While Sapolsky acknowledges the role of genes, he urges that we also consider other equally influential factors. Among the topics he addresses are:

      • How small differences in our environment affect behavior
      • Why we are reluctant to try new things as we age
      • How ecology shapes theology
      • How stress affects our brains.
      For example, in his essay "Genetic Hyping," Sapolsky argues:

      "Genes, of course, have plenty to do with behavior. Genes determine your intelligence, and your personality, and certain genetic profiles cause criminality, alcoholism, and a proclivity for misplacing car keys...Genes influence behavior, environment influences behavior, and genes and environment interact" (30).

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    3. The Miracle Worker

      The Miracle Worker is a cycle of 20th century dramatic works derived from Helen Keller's autobiography The Story of My Life. Each of the various dramas describe the relationship between Keller — a deafblind and initially almost feral child — and Anne Sullivan, the teacher who introduced her to education, activism, and international celebrity.

      Its first realization was a 1957 Playhouse 90 broadcast written by William Gibson and starring Teresa Wright as Annie and Patricia McCormack as Helen. Gibson adapted his teleplay for a 1959 Broadway production with Anne Bancroft as Annie and Patty Duke, who reprised their roles for the 1962 feature film.

      The Miracle Worker was remade for television in 1979, with Patty Duke as Annie Sullivan, Melissa Gilbert as Helen, and Diana Muldaur and Charles Siebert in supporting rol
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    4. Letter to a Christian Nation

      Letter to a Christian Nation is a non-fiction book by Sam Harris, written in response to feedback he received following the publication of his first book The End of Faith. The book is written in the form of an open letter to a Christian. Harris states that his aim is "to demolish the intellectual and moral pretensions of Christianity in i
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    5. The Last Days of Socrates

      The Last Days of Socrates is a series of four dialogues by Plato which describe the trial and death of Socrates @ 403 B.C. The trial of Socrates for heresy and the corruption of youth gives Plato the opportunity to develop and present his own philosophy of the responsibility of the individual for his actions and their effect on their community as well as his belief in the immortality of the soul.

      The Dialogues begin with the Euthyphro which takes place just before Socrate's trial is about to begin. Euthyphro has accused his father of the murder of a servant. The servant had attacked and killed another servant. The circumstances of this death lead Socrates and Euthyphro to debate the nature of holiness. The debate gives the reader a vivid demonstation of Socrates' use of questioning to poke holes in the assertions of others. The reader aslo gets a sense of Socrates' arrogance of manner that makes him enemies.

      In The Apology, Plato uses his dialogues to tell the story of the trial of Socrates as he energetically defends himself against the charges of heresy and corruption of youth. As Socrates tears into his accusers, he logically proves his point each man has responsibility for his own actions. However he also displays the arrogance that has made him enemies and, as a result, he is convicted and sentenced to death by drinking hemlock.

      So
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    6. The Last Battle

      In this final installment of the Narnia tales, C.S. Lewis brings all of the characters of Narnia together to witness the end of the world they love. The story begins generations after the rule of Rilian, the son of Caspian. Narnia has enjoyed generations of peace and prosperity. Tirian is the present king of Narnia who rules with the help of his friend the Unicorn, Jewel. He is warned by Roonwit, the Centaur who studies the stars, that evil is coming to Narnia. The evil comes, strangely enough, in the form of an Ape named Shift. Shift finds a lionskin and intimidates sidekick, the simple donkey, Puzzle, into wearing the lionskin to impersonate Aslan. Shift then makes and agreement with Calormene to have the phony Aslan allow the Calormenes to cut down talking trees and enslave the Narnian animals. The Narnians, believing Puzzle to be the true Aslan,do what they are told, but lose their love and belief in the essential goodness of Aslan. They are told that Aslan and Tash (The Calormene God) are one.

      By the time Tirian finds out what is happening it is too late. He is soon captured by Shift and the Calormenes. While he is tied up he prays to Aslan asking for help. Suddently he has a vision of a room where the seven human friends of Narnia are meeting. The next thing he knows is that Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole (of the Silver Chair) are there to help him escape. The three of them go to rescue Jewel where they also find Puzzle and free him from his forced role as the phony Aslan. They then gather a small force of loyal Narnians to fight the Telmarines. As the Narnian's fall back, losing the battle, they are forced into a barn. There they find a surprise, for the barn is larger on the inside than it is outside. Indeed, there is a whole world in the barn. In this barn they see the actual Calormene God, Tash, who comes and takes a Calormene leader who called on him but did not truly believe he existed. Then suddenly Tirian turns and se
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    7. The Horse and His Boy

      The Horse and His Boy was the fifth of the Narnia books as C.S. Lewis wrote them. It is the story of an adventure that took place while the Pevensie's; Peter, Susan, Lucy, and Edmund, were kings and queens of Narnia. Shasta is a Narnian boy who has been raised as the son of a fisherman in Calormen. When he hears that his "father" is going to sell him into slavery, to a wealthy Calormen noble (called a Taarkaan), he confers with the Taarkaan's horse who is a captured talking horse from Narnia. The two decide to run away and head north for Narnia.

      Along the way they are forced by lions (so they think) to meet up with a young runaway Tarkheena (noblewoman), Aravis and her Narnian horse Hwin. Aravis is running away to avoid a marriage of state her parents have arranged for her. Along their way they have several adventures as Shasta finds he is an exact double for the Prince of Archenland (a small buffer country between the larger Narnia and Calormen). When Shasta is mistaken for his double, Prince Corin, he is brought to the palace where he learns that Queen Susan is visiting Calormen to be wooed by a Prince. But she has refused him and he does not want to let her leave. However she is planning to leave secretly. Aravis also learns that the Prince is planning a secret attack on Archenland and Narnia through the desert. When Aravis and Shasta join up again, they manage to cross the desert in a race against time to warn the King of Archenland about the attack. Just as they are getting too tired to continue on their way they are attacked by a lion and chased to Archenland where they stop at a hermit's cotta
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    8. The Hobbit

      The Hobbit is a novel by J.R.R Tolkien,author of Lord Of The Rings. The novel is about the journey of a hobbit called Bilbo Baggins, along with Gandalf The Gray, and twelve dwarves. The purpose for their journey was to reach the Misty Mountain and take back Thorin's treasures from the dragon, Smaug. Bilbo was to act as their "burglar", and also to increase their number, since they were thirteen travelers without him (which was, according to Gandalf, bad luck). It also tells the story of how the One Ring of Power passed into the possesion of Bilbo.

      Chapters:

      1- An Unexpected Party

      2- Roast Mutton

      3- A Short Rest

      4- Over Hill & Under Hill

      5- Riddles in the Dark

      6- Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire

      7- Queer Lodgings

      8- Flies & Spiders

      9- Barrels Out of Bond

      10- A Warm Wel
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    9. Haroun and the Sea of Stories

      Haroun and the Sea of stories is a political allegory written by famous British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie. The 300 odd paged tale centres around Haroun, the young son of Rashid, who is also known as the Shah of Blah amongst his critics and as the Ocean of stories amongst his friends. In the course of the narrative Rashid, the master storyteller loses his power to fabricate stories when his wife leaves him and elopes with his neighbour Mr.Sengupta, a lanky cynic, who asks the most disconcerting question of the novel, "whats the point of stories that arent even true?". In time Rashid's wife begins to share this perspective and finally leaves her husband with the rather abrupt conclusion that he was capable of nothing. His wife's departure robs Rashid of his eloquence and his little son Haroun, of the pleasures of a suitably long attention span and thus the story unfolds.

      On a tour to the valley of the Dull lake, where Rashid goes to win supporters on behalf of a corrupt politician, Mr. Buttoo, Haroun catches hold of IFF a water genie who claims he had come to dismantle RAshid's story water supply in his bathroom and blackmails him to take him along to the moon KAHANI (where exists the ocean of stories which is the source of Rashid's tales) so that he might fix his fathers sudden lack of words.

      once in KAHANI however IFF realizes that a deep rooted evil had drilled into the ocean of stories, eagerly Haroun offers to help. Together Haroun , IFF and BUTT the hoopoe make way to GUP land where lives the GUPPPIES whose only occupation is storytelling. Apparently, however, the air is thick with tragedy and hardly suitable for any stories at all since the GUPPIES precious princess (who amongst other things is a mush-brained large nosed nagging sissy with a horrible voice) has been kidnapped by the GUPPIES ardent enemies, the dangerous CHUPWALAS.

      The story then proceeds to see the brave but loquacious GUPPIES fighting a ridiculous war with the dark and graceful but abnormally quite CHUPWALAS, while Haroun almost single handedly deals with the shadow of the dreaded CHUPWALA chief, KHATTAM-SHUD.

      The war of course ends with the victory of the GUPPIES, who reward Haroun by granting his wish and
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    10. Green Eggs and Ham

       Executive Summary

      Sam wants his friend to try green eggs and ham, and after much convincing, he tries them and likes them.

      Summary

      Green Eggs and Ham is a short work of fiction by legendary kids book author Dr. Seuss, in which a very persistent Sam-I-Am repeatedly asks his unnamed friend, in a multiplicity of ways, whether his friend would like ham accompanied by, of all things, green eggs.

      As the story begins, Sam's friend is recalcitrant. He tells Sam-I-Am that he "would not like them" in "a box" or "a house," nor with "a fox" or "a mouse," that he "would not eat them here or there," and in fact "would not eat them anywhere."

      Yet Sam-I-Am's friend's dogmatic anti-ham stance proves to be fleeting, as during the dramatic climax of the yarn, he suddenly and without warning embraces that which he has scorned to that critical juncture.

      Sam-I-Am's epiphany is so profound and his transformation so thorough that from this point forward he embraces the once-loathed food in all its locations -- and, the reader is led to believe, incarnations. His friend now covets the cuisine
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    11. Down and Out in Paris and London

      Down and Out in Paris and London (1933) is one of George Orwell’s first published works, an autobiographical account (or perhaps only a semiautobiographical account, depending on which reviewer/critic you read) of being destitute in Paris and London.

      The book opens in Paris with a description of the hotel and neighborhood where Orwell is lodging. The overall impression is of filth and hunger and a quietly endured, never-ending desperation for Paris’s poor. Though the wealthy do feature in this book, they are like ghosts, flitting in and out of the narrative, but ultimately are not anything that Orwell can interact with or relate to on a meaningful level.

      A one-time English tutor, Orwell has found himself without a job and low on funds. Work in Paris is scarce, particularly for a foreigner, so he begins to economize by cutting out essentials like wine and cigarettes and then, inevitably, food. His good clothes are soon pawned, along with the suitcase they were packed in, but the money he gets buys bread and butter for no more than a few days. Desperately searching for any kind of work, he seeks out and finds an old friend, Boris, an enormously fat Russian who at one point was a waiter. Boris, however, is also out of work, practically starving, and almost dying of illness and hunger when Orwell finds him. Somewhat rejuvenated by seeing his friend again, Boris insists the pair will soon find work. A dozen weeks (and many bouts of hunger, fatigue, and desperation) later, the two finally do land jobs at a hotel restaurant—Boris as a waiter, and Orwell as a plongeur, or dishwasher.

      But no ordinary dishwasher. The work of a plongeur is physically and spiritually exhausting—fourteen hours a day of frantic cleaning, scrubbing, and sweeping in the sweltering heat of a basement kitchen. And it’s at this point in the story that one telling characteristic becomes painfully apparent. Unlike other young men’s autobiographies, Orwell’s Down and Out gives no mention—ever—of love, desire, or even the pursuit thereof. His entire life has three main objectives: struggling through the workday, eating something, and grabbing a few hours of sleep before the travail starts again.

      Despite the toil, Orwell is not at all miserable, and he has to be goaded by Boris into quitting the job at the hotel for a position as plongeur at a new restaurant for which the Russian will be the maitre d’, quite a step up from waiter. The new kitchen, though, is even more cramped and, in contrast to the professional working conditions of the hotel, abysmally filthy. He has to work eighteen to twenty hours a day to keep up and gets less money for it. Demoralized, Orwell decides to return to London.

      In the first part of the book, the experience of poverty is related in claustrophobic, prison-like terms: Paris’s working poor seem geographically chained, moving only from their rented rooms to their jobs to their favorite bistros and back again. But in the second part of the book, Orwell describes London’s poor as predominantly mobile, forced to wander from shelter to shelter across London and the countryside or risk arrest.

      Soon after he arrives in London, Orwell becomes one of th
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    12. Capitalism and Freedom

      The introduction lays out the principles of Friedman's archetypal liberal, a man who supports limited and dispersed governmental power. Friedman opts for the continental European, rather than American, definition of the term.

      i. The Relation between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom

      In this chapter, Friedman promotes economic freedom as both a necessary freedom in itself and also as a vital means for political freedom. He argues that, with the means for production under the auspicies of the government, it is nearly impossible for real dissent and exchange of ideas to exist. Additionally, economic freedom is important, since any "bi-laterally voluntary and informed" transaction must benefit both parties to the transaction.

      ii. The Role of Government in a Free Society

      According to the author, the government of a liberal society should enforce law and order and property rights, as well as take action on certain technical monopolies and diminish negative "neighborhood effects." The government should also have control over money, as has long been recognized in the constitution and society

      iii. The Control of Money

      He discusses the evolution of money in America, culminating in the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Far from acting as a stabilizer, the Federal Reserve failed to act as it should have in several circumstances. Friedman proposes that the Federal Reserve have a consistent rule to increase the money supply by 3-5% annually.

      iv. International Financial and Trade Arrangements

      This chapter advocates the end of the Bretton Woods system in favor of a floating exchange rate system and the end of all currency controls and trade barriers, even "voluntary" export quotas. Friedman says that this is the only true solution to the balance of trades problem.

      v. Fiscal Policy

      Friedman argues against the continual government spending being used to "balance the wheel" and help the economy to continue to grow. Federal government expenditures do not make the economy more stable, but have failed to balance out recession, introduced inflation, expanded government control, and failed to lighten tax burdens. Friedman uses concrete evidence from his own research, demonstrating that the rise in government expenditures results in a roughly equal rise in GDP, contrasting with the Keynsian multiplier theory. Many reasons for this discrepancy are discussed.

      vi. The Role of Government in Education

      The policy advocated here is vouchers which students may use for education at a private school of their choice. The author believes that everyone, in a democracy, needs a basic education for citizenship. Though there is underinvestment in human capital (in terms of spending at technical and professional schools), it would be foolish of the government to provide free technical education. The author suggests several solutions, some private, some public, to stop this underinvestment.

      vii. Capitalism and Discrimination'

      In a capitalist society, Friedman argues, it costs money to discriminate, and it is very difficult, given the impersonal nature of market transactions. However, the government should not make fair employment practices laws (eventually embodied in the Civil Rights Act of 1964), as these inhibit the freedom to employ someone based on whatever qualifications the employer wishes to use. The same principle was used by the Nazis in the Nuremberg Laws. For the same reason, right-to-work laws should be abolished.

      viii. Monopoly and the Social Responsibility of Business and Labor

      Friedman states, there are three alternatives for a monopoly: public monopoly, private monopoly, or public regulation. None of these is desirable or universally preferable. Monopolies come from many sources, but direct and indirect government intervention is the most common, and it should be stopped wherever possible. The doctrine of "social responsibility", that corporations should care about the community and not just profit, is highly subversive to the capitalist system and can only lead towards totalitarianism.

      ix. Occupational Licensure

      This ec
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    13. A Morbid Taste for Bones

      Medieval man believed in the power of bones. The bones of saints were revered, collected and even fought over by churches and monasteries because they were believed to effect miracles. A church or monastery which had the relics (bones or other remnants) of saints could expect to collect much money in the way of alms of the pilgrims who came seeking miracles. This "Morbid Taste for Bones," sets the scene for the first of Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael Series.

      Cadfael is a monk at the Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul in Shrewsbury during the twelfth century. He has come late to the cowl, having served the Lord as a Crusader in the Holy Land for many years. Thus he is more worldly and less naive than many of his monastic brothers. As the herbalist for his monastery and the surrounding area, he has more freedom of movement than most monks of his order. In this first of twenty Brother Cadfael novels, he is chosen to accompany a group of monks on a trip to Wales to recover the bones of St. Winifrid. Winifred is a Welsh saint who died and was buried in Welsh soil, and Cadfael has his doubts about the mission. One of the brothers in his monastery, Columbanus, has had a vision that St. Winifrid wants her bones brought to their monastery. Cadfael is chosen to go on the journey because he is Welsh and speaks the language.

      As Cadfael expected, the Welsh villagers of the town where Winifrid lived and
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    14. I am My Papa's Princess

      This is a Book written by Me under category Fiction with the purpose of creating awareness regarding importance of having a girl child & a beautiful relationship of Father with her daughter. Daughter's are never a burden for their parents rather they are the precious asset needs to be treasured. There are many backward & interior areas where daughter's are still treated as a burden, even they are not given birth because of the fact that they are a liability for their parents, in some places daughters are treated as paraya dhan , ie.. Once they are married they sh
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    15. Summary - The 33 Strategies of War

       
      From time immemorial, conflict as much as harmony has defined human history and the few who emerged victorious have had a sway in shaping human history for the better or worse. Thus, making conflict an inevitable part of human experiences. 
       
       Now, mind it while reading this book many readers will find the stories and the moral conclusions thus derived a bit amoral or in some cases downright ruthless. However, as they say, those who don’t study history are bound to repeat it. The lessons derived from reading about the great generals, activists, actors/actresses, and swordsmen can go a long way in giving us the necessary tools and expertise in dealing with many of the toxic situations that we face in our lives. Now, do you need to go word-by-word for every lesson? The answer is no. Pick the one’s which you find the most fascinating and relevant to you. Every chapter (or strategy, in this case) comes with a short description, which helps the readers get a sense of what’s in store for them. 
       
       The author, Robert Greene, himself a student of history and classical literature expertly lays out the historical facts and precedents which defined the circumstances and how they were turned into opportunities. By giving detailed historical
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    16. Book Summary : Getting To Yes

      Synopsis

      This classic book on negotiation theory is a product of the Harvard Negotiation Project. It espouses Principled Negotiation, a specific negotiation method that aims for Win-Win agreements.

      The Arguments in Detail

      I The Problem

      The authors argue that the major problem in many negotiations is that people assume positions that are either Hard or Soft. They suggest that, rather than being either hard on the people and the problem, or soft on people and problem, it is possible to be soft on the people and hard on the problem. They call this approach Principled negotiation or Negotiation on its merits.

      II The Method

      They suggest the following approach:

      Separate the people from the problem

      The purpose of this step is to recognise that emotions and egos can become entangled with the problem in negotiations, and that this will adversely affect your ability to see the other party's position clearly. This results in adversarial rather than cooperative interactions. This step involves:

      • Clarifying perceptions
      • Recognizing and legitimising emotions
      • Communicating clearly (c.f. Stephen Covey's Listen first to understand, then speak to be understood)
      Focus on interests, not positions

      In this step there is exploration of the true interests underlying the positions of each side, rather than a focus on the superficial positions with which parties come to the table. The initial positions presented may obscure what the parties really want. It is therefore essential to:

      • Ask questions to explore interests
      • Talk about your own interests
      Generate options for mutual gain

      In this step time is for parties to set aside time together to generate alternative candidate solutions. The idea is that parties contribute together creatively to generate possibilities for mutual gain i.e. a Win-Win agreement. This step involves:

      • Brainstorming
      • Broadening options
      • Looking for mutual gain
      • Making their decision easy
      Insist on using objective criteria

      The final step is to use mutually agreed and objective criteria for evaluating the candidate solutions. During this stage they encourage openness and surrender to principle not pressure. This step involves:

      • Fair standards
      • Fair procedures
      III Yes But...

      What if they are more powerful?

      In these circumstances they suggest that any negotiation should aim to:

      1. Protect you against an agreement you should reject: they recommend that you should prepare a BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) prior to the negotiation i.e. a Red Line which will not be crossed
      2. Make the most of your assets: they recommend that the better your BATNA the greater your power
      What if they won't play?

      They suggest 3 approaches (to encourage and coach the other party to u
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    17. The Glass Castle- A Summary

      The Glass Castle chronicles the life of writer Jeanette Walls. At the book's beginning she is three years old and living in a trailer in Arizona where she severely burns herself while making hot dogs. She is hospitalized, but her father, Rex, grabs her and takes her from the hospital before she is released.

      Not long after this incident Rex comes home one evening and tells the family to grab only what they need and get in the car. The family then begins a transient existence in which they live briefly in Las Vegas, San Francisco, and various small desert towns. During this time Rex holds various jobs at various mines and seeks to perfect a new device for more efficiently mining gold. He tells his family numerous tall tales about his past, and claims that in the future he will build a Glass Castle that they will all live in. He even draws up blueprints. Mary, Jeanette's mother has a baby which brings the total of children to 4 (Maureen, Brian, Jeannette, Lori in order from youngest to oldest).

      Eventually, the family settles in a town called Battle Mountain. Here, the family lives in a rented home, where the children sleep in cardboard boxes. The children go to school and Rex gets a job at a barite mine. Despite a house full of wayward animals (everything from cats to a wounded vulture) the Walls live a fairly normal existence. There are children to play with and there is food to eat.

      When Rex loses his job at the mine things get tougher and Jeanette must steal from other children's school lunches to eat. Eventually Mary gets a teaching job, which she hates. Rex in the meantime is spending most of his time in bars, drinking and gambling, at one point hiring a prostitute from a local brothel that Jeanette and Brian often pass by and wonder about.

      A boy named Billy moves to town who is a couple of years older than Jeanette. He is a juvenile delinquent, thought to have tortured animals, and also proclaims Jeanette his girlfriend. Jeanette does not return his affection but accepts a ring that he gives to her. One day while playing hide and go seek, he attempts to rape her. Fortunately he is unsuccessful. Jeanette returns his ring. That evening Billy comes to the Walls' house while the parents are away, breaks out a window and begins firing his BB gun at the children. The Walls' children retaliate by locating their father's pistol and firing at him. A police c
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    18. Change Begins With Ourselves

      This Book is a Self help book written by Me which comprises of various social issues related to women's & the perspectives to these issues that need to be considered.  Women's have always played an important role in soceity where we live whether it be a daughter, a wife, a sister or a mother . They are the one who makes a family happy while uniting all the family members being together whatsoever the situations are. A happy women leads to a happy family & to make them happy  with changing time & trends change has to be there in our thinking & attitude towards various perspectives that would be the first step towards leading to a positive change in society. 
      Starting from our daughter's making them self depend, treating daugh
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    19. Malcolm's debut book - The Tipping Point

      By offering readers a groundbreaking analysis of how trends are sparked and take hold, Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point became an exemplification of the very processes he was describing. Upon its 2000 release, the book became a national bestseller whose influence would help to initiate paradigm shifts in fields ranging from marketing to public health.

      The processes and mechanisms by which some trends achieve exponential popularity while others sputter and fade into oblivion have long been thought to be mysterious and resistant to analysis. However, Gladwell’s central argument is that there are actually a number of patterns and factors that are at play in virtually every influential trend, ranging from the spread of communicable diseases to the unprecedented popularity of a particular children’s television show. If you analyze the evolution of any major phenomenon, the author suggests, you will find that the processes involved are strikingly similar.

      The nature of modern culture is such that many new ideas are constantly being introduced from a wide variety of sources, ranging from trend-setting teens and twenty-somethings in the nation’s metropolitan centers to new product offerings from established corporations. Some of these achieve a measure of steady, consistent success, some fail, and some take off on an upward trajectory of exponential popularity and influence.

      Based on his in-depth research spanning a number of different fields, industries, and scholarly disciplines, Gladwell identifies three key factors that each play in role in determining whether a particular trend will “tip” into wide-scale popularity. Gladwell’s discussion and illustration of the concepts of the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context comprise the majority of the book.

      The Law of the Few contends that before widespread popularity can be attained, a few key types of people must champion an idea, concept, or product before it can reach the tipping point. Gladwell describes these key types as Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen. If individuals representing all three of these groups endorse and advocate a new idea, it is much more likely that it will tip into exponential success.

      Gladwell defines the Stickiness Factor as the quality that compels people to pay close, sustained attention to a product, concept, or idea. Stickiness is hard to define, and its presence or absence
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    20. The Silver Chair : Narnia


      The Silver Chair is the fourth of the Narnia tales (in the order that they were written) and tells the story of the rescue of Prince Rilian, King Caspian's son, from an evil "Lady" who is in truth an evil serpent. The story features Eustace who readers of the series met in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader and his friend, Jill Pole.

      The story begins with Eustace and Jill runing fro tormenting bullies at school. Previous to his first trip to Narnia, Eustace had been one of the bullies, but his experiences in Narnia had changed him so much that his friends and enemies had noticed and had changed themselves respectively. When Eustace and Jill had gotten a moments respite, Eustace told her about Narnia and suddenly a door in the wall transports them into Aslan's Country on a huge cliff. Jill dares Eustace to go to the edge of the cliff and he falls off. Aslan blows him off to Narnia and then tells Jill why they have been summoned. They are to go find the missing Prince Rilian. Aslan then gives her four signs to remember in order to find the prince. The first sign is to look for an old friend. Aslan then blows Jill to Narnia behind Eustace. When she arrives next to Eustace they are watching a ship embark from Narnia with an aged king on board. They soon realize that the aged king is Caspian and he is the friend they should have contacted, but they missed their chance. This is the first of three signs that they will miss.

      Because of the missed sign, the children go on their quest not with supplies or an armed escort, but on the sly with a very unusual guide: a Marsh-wiggle named Puddleglum. Puddleglum seems to suit his name with his overly pessimistic outlook on life but he really becomes a trustworthy and valiant companion to the children. The children learn the circumstances of Rilian's disappearance. His mother had been murdered by a serpent and Rilian had disappeared while searching for her, being taken by an enchantress who was most likely also the serpent. The children and Puddleglum go off to the north to the land of Giants where they first cross a land of dumb but evil giants. Later they come to the land of the gentle Giants and the city of Harfang where they are warmly welcomed. They are invited to stay and are promised a marvelous time at the Autumn Feast. Soon they find to their horror, that "man" is one of the dishes eaten at the feast. They immediately begin planning their escape which goes well untill they are outside the city and are seen. They hide in a hole in the ground and suddenly find themselves falling into an underground country where they are captured by gnomes. They are taken further underground where they are introduced to the Lady of the Green Kirtle who rules the underground land and he
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