Archive for the ‘Books – Nonfiction’ category

Zig Ziglar

December 30, 2008


He’s led some life.

When I was born, the doctor handed me to my mother and said, “Mrs. Ziglar, you have a perfectly fine, healthy baby boy.” Nine days later he picked me up and sadly shook his head, indicating that I was dead. Yes, I died when I was nine days old. However, my family has told me that my grandmother walked to me, picked me up, held me in her hands, and started talking to me. Of course, we all know that she was not really talking to *me* . . and in a matter of seconds breath came back into my body; at age seventy-five it’s obvious I lived.

My friends, it’s been like that ever since.

— Zig: The Autobiography of Zig Ziglar by Zig Ziglar; pg. 1

And here’s a lesson that was swept aside in the Rush to Greed from the 1980s on …

Coach Jobie Harris was my history teacher, and in many ways he changed and enriched my life. He taught me more than American history. He once said, “If you have an ability that goes beyond providing for your own needs, you have a responsibility to use that ability to reach down and help those up who do not have that capacity. As a matter of fact, if you don’t reach down and help lift up those less fortunate, the day will come when due to sheer weight of numbers, they will reach up and pull you down.”

— Zig: The Autobiography of Zig Ziglar by Zig Ziglar; pg. 71

Emphasis added by me.

Redacted By Me Without Further Comment

December 14, 2008


Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #466: Taleb #2

December 7, 2008

This next video is of Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

He’s a frikkin genius.

His first book, Fooled by Randomness, is one of the Immortal Works. And if you haven’t read it, you are walking around blind and intellectually malnourished. Correct that ASAP.

I’ve been screaming Doom for nearly twelve months.

And now I have to confess that this video scares the living shit out of me. Moreso than anything else I’ve posted here.

— from Great Moment in Journalism: “Thud”

Previously here:

What Thing Will Happen To Us?
Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #346: Taleb

John Scalzi eBooks

December 7, 2008

In Various Book Things, 12/5/08, writer John Scalzi alerts the world to Baen offering two of his books as glorious eBooks!

This is the one you want to buy right now:


And what price is it? A wonderful impulse-buy price of just $6.00!

While you’re there, also pick up You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop for the same fantabulistic impulse-buy price of $6.00!

Go buy!

Cagney & Lacey

November 30, 2008

One of the hottest shows on CBS Monday night at 10PM was Cagney & Lacey.

It turns out it has an official website.


And producer Barney Rosenzweig has written a book.

(I must go off on a tangent here. He originally did it POD with iUniverse and there’s a frank discussion of what that was like. I’m hoping Rosenzweig will investigate the possibly of an eBook edition — for people like me who can’t deal with paper any longer.)

I’m pretty sure I watched the entire Daly/Gless series when it aired — or at least once it was parked in that Monday at 10PM spot. Some TV series become “appointment TV” — and Cagney & Lacey was one of those for me.

And now, the great opening titles:

This Is Your Sanity Prescription

November 23, 2008


They all say freedom is at the end. But freedom is at the beginning.

— Krishnamurti

Two posts by others in the span of one week addressed a similar issue in different ways. With the second post, just today, I found myself wanting to rip out my hair. Because the confusion I witnessed was just so goddammed unnecessary.

The posts do not matter. The issue is knowing who you are.

Some people don’t.

For the longest time, I didn’t.

Some of us are not lucky enough to be have been born to parents with a large view of life. Some of us are born into families and neighborhoods where the biggest ambition is to be able to fill your belly and be grateful for having attained that basic goal.

Part of me really wants to rip into that, berating that narrow field of vision, but those people have been formed by their own experiences, their own disappointments, and even their own lack of ambition. The problem is that they pass that onto others as what is normal.

It’s not.

We are not educated to inquire. We are educated to conform.

— Krishnamurti

There is no “normal.”

“Christ,” Dickie muttered, scratching his greasy hair with the end of a ballpoint pen. “Another eccentric. What is this, are there more eccentrics these days or just fewer normal people?”

“There never have been normal people. It’s a myth,” I said as I reached under the sofa cushions looking for an antidepressant I might have dropped while I was opening the bottle. “Listen, Dickie, there are just crazy people and statisticians. Of course, there is some overlap.”

— The Music of What Happens by John Straley; pg. 25-26

Must I do the cliche thing and trot out the “crazy” to hammer home the point? Apple based an entire ad campaign on that theme!

I’m not saying other people of the same type of mind will rise to their prominence. What I am saying is that it’s critically important for one’s own life to recognize being one of them.


I flailed for years and years not fitting into any corporate pigeonhole. Not understanding what was happening when Me encountered Them. They — to use that alienating term — are, for varying reasons, different than Us. That in no way makes them better than us — or us better than them. (Let me kill that poisonous Ayn Randian notion right now.)

But what happens on Our end is that We are made to feel deficient or defective or malfunctioning or — even — crazy.

Well, in three short words: Fuck. That. Shit.

It wasn’t until about ten years ago I was pushed to read a book I’d heard about but never had the impetus to investigate. It was, as Gulley Jimson said when he gazed upon a painting that opened up new artistic vistas for him, something that skinned my eyes. It was to me a religious experience. That book is my Bible.

It’s now the cornerstone of my Standard Sanity Prescription for people who don’t know who they are.

This is the prescription:

Two movies:
The Horse’s Mouth
A Fine Madness

Four books:
The Outsider by Colin Wilson
Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament by Kay Redfield Jamison
The Price of Greatness: Resolving the Creativity and Madness Controversy by Arnold M. Ludwig
Limbo: Blue Collar Roots, White Collar Dreams by Alfred Lubrano

I’m not providing links for the books because I want you to do some minor work to investigate them.

But don’t click around and have them filtered through the eyes of others (one description I’ve just looked at of The Outsider is frighteningly misleading). Read them for yourself.

In fact, just frikkin buy them. You’ll want to keep them.

The Outsider is my Bible. I saw myself on just about every page of that book.

Limbo is essential if you come from that socioeconomic background and might also be otherwise useful if you did not.

This, it seemed to me, is the basic difference between human beings. Some are perfectly satisfied with what they have; they eat, drink, impregnate their wives, and take life as it comes. Others can never forget that they are being cheated; that life tempts them to struggle by offering them the essence of sex, of beauty, of success; and that she always seems to pay in counterfeit money.

— The Outsider; Twenty Years Later addendum, by Colin Wilson


Know who you are and no one, no thing can conquer you.

Forces of containment
They shove their fat faces into mine
You and I just smile
Because we’re thinking the same lines

— “I Like You” by Morrissey

Previously here:

How Writers Write Writing
Some People Ignore Hints
Microsoft Is Dying On Its Own
Never Ask
It’s Not For You To Know, So Don’t Ask

Want. This. Book.

November 23, 2008


Davies did some magnificent work in his Doctor Who scripts and often put in little touches that I’d like to ask him about.

I doubt this book will answer those questions, but it could be a start.

— via Twitter from top_book

Want To Read: Typo

November 19, 2008


Typo: The Last American Typesetter, or, How I Made and Lost $4 Million (An Entrepreneur’s Education) by David Silverman

Click on the title for the publisher’s website; click on the writer’s name for his website — which features a sample chapter, some chapter excerpts in MP3 format, and even an errata!

After the break, several videos both with David Silverman as well as hilarious animated excerpts from the book.

See the videos

Must Read: Lili Marlene

November 17, 2008


Lili Marlene: The Soldiers’ Song of World War II by Liel Leibovitz and Matthew Miller

“Lili Marlene,” the unlikely anthem of World War II, cut across front lines and ideological divides, uniting soldiers across the globe. This love song, telling the story of a young woman waiting for her lover to return from the battlefield, began as a poem written by a German solider during World War I. The soldier-poet’s words found their way to Berlin’s decadent cabaret scene in the 1930s, where they were set to music by one of Hitler’s favored composers. The song’s singer, however, soon found herself torn between her desire for fame and a personal hatred of the Nazi regime. In a gripping and suspenseful narrative, the three artists’ remarkable stories of arrests and close calls intertwine with the recollections of soldiers on all sides who fought their way through deserts and towns, seeking solace and finding hope in “Lili Marlene.”

I happened to tune into The John Batchelor Show last night on WABC-AM in NYC and heard the authors. It’s an absolutely fascinating story.

This is the direct download link to the MP3 file (right-click Save As…). The interview begins at 1:36:32.

There’s also The Official Lili Marleen Page which has a ton of MP3 versions of the song, including the originals from that time.

Update: In a Comment, the authors reveal there is an entire site for the book. It has a great excerpt plus several versions of the song to stream. Go look!

Want To Read NOW: Scratch Beginnings

November 17, 2008


Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search For the American Dream by Adam Shepard

I am going to start – almost literally from scratch – with one 8′ x 10′ tarp, a sleeping bag, an empty gym bag, $25, and the clothes on my back. Via train, I will be dropped at a random place somewhere in the southeastern United States that is not in my home state of North Carolina. I have 365 days to become free of the realities of homelessness and become a “regular” member of society. After one year, for my project to be considered successful, I have to possess an operable automobile, live in a furnished apartment (alone or with a roommate), have $2500 in cash, and, most importantly, I have to be in a position in which I can continue to improve my circumstances by either going to school or starting my own business.

I’ve read the intro and I want to read this book. NOW.

I have an Endless Queue of books and I never allow something to jump in front unless it’s something related to something I need to do for this blog (right now, that’s meant reading Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, for a post that might or might work out).

But this book I want NOW. I’ll put aside the Fleming and read this first.

The NYPL has ordered only two copies and already has a 20-long queue.

If I wait for the NYPL, it won’t get in this blog (because this blog ends 12/31/08).

HarperCollins, give up a review copy!

I’ll make a frikkin trip to your offices and you can leave it with the lobby security guard, for crying out loud. That’s how NOW I mean!