July 8, 2009
When you’re dealing with such great ancient phiolosphy it’s hard not to ravel in the unexpected wisdom of past literary Gods like Sun Tzu. He’s truly a master at war. Her’e what Infibeam says:
Sun Tzu’s “Art of War, compiled more than two thousand years ago, is a study of the anatomy of organizations in conflict. It is perhaps the most prestigious and influential book of strategy in the world today. Now, this unique volume brings together the essential versions of Sun Tzu’s text, along with illuminating commentaries and auxiliary texts written by distinguished strategists. The translations, by the renowned translator Thomas Cleary, have all been published previously in book form. This comprehensive collection contains:
“The Art of War: This edition of Sun Tzu’s text includes the classic collection of commentaries by eleven interpreters. “Thomas Cleary’s translation of “The “Art of War makes immediate relevant one of the greatest Chinese classical texts. There’s not a dated maxim or vague prescription in it . . . . You can throw out all those contemporary books about management and leadership.”-“Newsweek.
“Mastering the Art of War: Consisting of essays by two prominent statesmen-generals of Han dynasty China, Zhuge Liang and Liu Ji, this book develops the strategies of Sun Tzu’s classic into a complete handbook of organization and leadership. It draws on episodes from Chinese history to show in concrete terms the proper use of Sun Tzu’s principles.
“The Lost Art of War: Written more than one hundred years after Sun Tzu’s text, by Sun Bin, a linear descendant of Sun Tzu, this classic of political and military strategy is faithful to the principles of “The Art of War, while developing their practical application much further.
“The Silver Sparrow Art of War: A version of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War based on a manuscript of the classic text discovered at a Chinesearcheological site in China’s Shandong Province in 1972, which contains previously unknown fragments.
Overall Score: 10
October 9, 2008
The Knights of the Black and White
By Jack Whyte
The first book in a trilogy about the most important events in the history of the Order of the Knights Templar.
The Templars represent a widely popular period of history at the moment, but the roots of their fellowship have been shrouded in contemporary conspiracy theory and media glamour!
This trilogy tells the true tales of the Knights Templar – beginning with why they formed after the First Crusade and why they continued to grow in power and influence.
Immediately after the deliverance of Jerusalem, the Crusaders, considering their vow fulfilled, drifted back to their homes. But some considered that the defence of this precarious conquest, surrounded as it was by Mohammedan neighbours, still remained. In 1118, during the reign of Baldwin II, Hugues de Payens, a knight of Champagne, and eight of his companions bound themselves by a perpetual vow, taken in the presence of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, to defend the Christian kingdom and all god fearing pilgrims who wished to visit the Holy Land.
Baldwin accepted their services and assigned them a portion of his palace, adjoining the temple of the city. Hence their title “pauvres chevaliers du temple” (Poor Knights of the Temple).
This historical novel was a pleasure to read and lives up to the critique above. Jack Whyte’s writing is poet and flows smoothly. You are literally left wanting to turn the next page making it a hard book to put down. I think i finished it in a couple of days which is no small feat for this brick. If you love historical fiction and want to learn more about the Order of the Knights Templar, this book is a good place to start.
Overall Score: 10
September 28, 2008
“A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism
From Pulitzer Prize—winning journalist and bestselling author Ron Suskind comes a startling look at how America lost its way and at the nation’s struggle, day by day, to reclaim the moral authority upon which its survival depends. From the White House to Downing Street, from the fault–line countries of South Asia to the sands of Guantánamo, Suskind offers an astonishing story that connects world leaders to the forces waging today’s shadow wars and to the next generation of global citizens. Tracking down truth and hope within the Beltway and far beyond it, Suskind delivers historic disclosures with this emotionally stirring and strikingly original portrait of the post-9/11 world.”
This novel covers the current quagmire in the middle east: Afghanistan, Iraq, the Bush administration, Bhutto, England, and so forth. However, this book only covers information you would expect from a corporate media source like CNN. It talks about facts without looking into the facts. For example, it mentions that 92% of the worlds opium comes from Afghanistan; however, it doesn’t ask the questions or reveal answers to who is buying the opium, how the opium is transfered to the rest of the world, or where the money trail leads to. Are they sending the opium out via donkeys or in the coffins of dead American soldiers? Are they burying the money in the desert or is the money in the banks? No questions asked or answers given. Poor writing.
It also confuses the reader with stories about fictional Muslims living in America on exchange programs. I guess this was the writers idea of stating that they are trying to educate the Muslims? Who knows, i never quite understood why he spent so much time writing about fictional characters.
Nevertheless, it was a good reminder of how important Pakistan is to Afghanistan and Bhutto’s role in Afghanistan before she was assassinated.
Final comments, it read like the 9/11 Commission Report. All propaganda with no real questions and no answers.
Overall score: 5
September 15, 2008
The Secret Supper
I’ve been reading like a maniac as of late. I just finished off this novel today. Here’s what the official website mentions about this book.
“Tightly paced and atmospheric, The Secret Supper is a dazzling historical thriller with a unique vision of both Leonardo da Vinci’s genius and his masterpiece — which you will never look at in the same way again.
Milan, 1497: Leonardo is completing The Last Supper. But Pope Alexander VI realizes
that the painting contains clues to a baffling — and blasphemous — message, which he is determined to decode to execute Leonardo.
The Holy Grail and the Eucharist Bread are missing, there is no meat on the table, and the apostles, shockingly, are portraits of well-known heretics — and none of them are depicted with halos. And why has the artist painted himself into the scene with his back turned toward Jesus?
The Secret is now yours…”
Don’t believe the hype is what i say. Yes, it starts off great but then lags a bit in the middle and then concludes in the end when it was heading for conclusion in the middle. Nevertheless, it was a good insight into The Last Supper. I never knew so much could be pulled out of this painting. I’d have to say It’s better than the De Vinci Code.
Overall Score: 8
September 14, 2008
The Shakespeare Secret
by J.L. Carrell
This novel lacked any real substance. It’s based on a cool concept of trying to find Shakespeare’s real identity but the whole novel could have been summarized in a paragraph. The author, although knowledgable, is more of an academic then a writer. Her writing doesn’t flow and her sentences are convoluted with grandeur thesaurus words that just aren’t needed. In other words, she was trying too hard. She spent more time hitting shift F7 on her word processor than actually coming up with rhythmic poetic sentences. Furthermore, half the time the reader doesn’t know what’s going on because she doesn’t set the scene. It was like reading in the dark.
The coolest part of the novel was finding out that Shakespeare might have left his signature in Psalms 46 when he was editing the King James version of The Bible.
1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed,
and though the mountains be carried into the midst  of the sea;
3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though
themountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God,
the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved:
God shall help her, and that right early.
6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved:
he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is
our refuge. Selah.
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, what
desolations he hath made in the earth.
9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth;
he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder;
he burneth the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted
among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Overall score: 5
September 13, 2008
A NEW EARTH – Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
“In A New Earth Eckhart shows how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world.”
This is the blurb about this book from the author. I’ll give it to you straight. My father gave me this book and so i felt compelled to read it, after all, it was a present. So i begrudging read through the first 30 pages and thought that it was all just common sense wrapped up in neat little bite size chapters. However, the more i read the more i enjoyed reading it. Eckhart’s writing, although complicated, flows well. The way he breaks down his psychological terms is extremely well done.
He has these five main themes, ego, pain body, inner purpose, outer purpose and living in the now. Each one of his terms are, as mentioned above, are detailed and to the point.
Over all Score: 10