2010 Reviews

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen TreasuresPriceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun book that details the life of a FBI agent who goes undercover to recover some of the world’s greatest art and treasures. In fact, I just saw a new book out that goes into depth of one of the original “Bill of Rights” that was stolen over 130 years ago and where it went, who had it, who was willing to sell it, at what price, etc. and also the recovery of that work by the author/FBI agent of the book I read, ‘Priceless’. He didn’t spend a lot of pages on that particular case but it was pretty cool to see how that story came together. But all of his cases were pretty amazing. It is fascinating to see some of the history behind these works of art (and the author, while an FBI agent, turned out to be a true art expert), how and why some people stole the works and how the US government (comparatively to other national governments) didn’t really place a high priority on art until about 1995 (and to this day don’t place a premium on those cases, 1995 was only the date that the federal government made stealing art, treasure, etc. a federal crime instead of personal property theft).

I love books/stories like these. Incredible lives that these operatives lead and incredible characters that they meet along the way.

Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World (Motherhood Club)Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World by Jill Rigby
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good book with practical ideas and suggestions on how to raise kids in our troubled world. Sometimes I don’t know what i am looking for in a parenting book…..the “perfect” parenting book doesn’t exist (just like the parents who read them). It is a lot of hit and miss, try and try again, see what works approach to raising kids. Like i said above, though, this book does give good ideas and discusses some “current” issues and shows parents that it is possible to raise respectful, grateful, loving and obedient kids (or at least, hopefully, they are (or can be) this way the majority of the time).

Year of Living Like Jesus theYear of Living Like Jesus the by Edward G. Dobson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ed Dobson is an interesting person. He suffers with ALS (and has now for 10 years!) but he still wanted to live like Jesus would have lived (or at least as close as possible) for one year. The book is intriguing for a couple of different reasons: first, while he does this experiment he talks of meeting with Rabbi’s, Priests, Pastors…in other words, he pulls from different traditions to understand Jesus more. He relates historical and contextual realities that shed a little light not only on Scripture but ultimately on Jesus himself (how prone are we to understand Jesus from a Western, capitalistic, 21st century viewpoint?). Second, he tells of why during this past presidential election he voted for Barack Obama. Obviously this is not what he wants people to remember from his book but he does shed some fascinating light on the reasons that went into him voting Democrat for this first time in his life. Overall, the book is good. A bit slow and tedious at parts but as he relates what he has learned, grown in and come to appreciate about following Jesus closely for a year (and how he has done it suffering with ALS) and how wanting to be “more like Jesus as he followed Jesus” messed him up…he made me realize that while “following Jesus” isn’t necessarily about doing stuff how often do i not “do stuff” that a good disciple/learner/follower would and should be doing?

Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The author has another book out called Linked, which i have and plan on reading and I also hear is a much better book. In fact, one of the reasons I picked this book up was because Linked looks really good and this book has the subtitle: The Hidden Power Behind Everything We Do. Given that subtitle, how could one not have any interest at all in reading it?Having read it…i wish i hadn’t picked it up. He intertwines history with science and doesn’t accomplish either one particularly well. Especially the science part. It takes until page 100 for him to finally get around, somewhat, to what the book revolves around. And even after that the point is not all that easy to follow, to see the “great” scientific value of it (though i am sure there is), or to apply to every day life.We do things in bursts followed by periods of rest or silence. Those bursts make us quite predictable, as compared to random, or possessing absolute free will. The premise of the book is interesting and as this theory gets developed and proven it’s applications may prove themselves to be relevant to our everyday lives. If you liked Linked (and a lot of people did, and i look forward to reading that book)…don’t be fooled by this book. It’s long on story, short on science and relevance and, at least for me, doesn’t tie the two together in any meaningful way.

  1. […] Monday, June 28, 2010 Posted by Tom in book reviews. trackback It took a while this year but here it […]

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