Book Review: Fascism, A WARNING by Madeleine Albright

 

As many of you are probably aware, I just finished, FASCISM – A WARNING by Madeleine Albright. While I do not normally review political books here, because you will never win a political argument, there is an amazing amount of history in this book with each piece followed up with opinion, however, the book is informative and entertaining. While much of it was a history recap and brilliantly written, the last few chapters seem to be a combination of facts and opinion. These last chapters were my favorite sections because I think it truly brings out what a divided nation we have become.

Below are two bad dreams – one that convinces liberals that the right are Fascists and two, the nightmare that drove citizens to vote for Trump. In the end, both parties are on the brink of either Social Fascism or Nationalist Fascism. There is also a third dream in the book that focuses on terrorism “within” the United States and a world where the United States just becomes like other middle east countries and bombings and killing is just part of life, and we all end up being barbarians- ridiculous rules where we can’t even stop terrorism because of offending a group of people – PC gone really bad. Again, I highly recommend this book for everyone on the right, everyone in the center, and of course the left. The book is filled with all kinds of “bad directions” Trump is taking us and from the many stories told in the book, only time will tell.

“Envision Uncle Same in his long white nightshirt, tossing and turning, his sleep disturbed by three very bad dreams:
In the first, reactionary billionaires conspire to monopolize media platforms and pour their riches into campaigns of favored candidates who, when in office, ensure the selection of complaint judges. Laws are enacted to ban Muslim immigrants, criminalize abortions, unfairly restrict voting, divert funding for public education to private schools, and drill for oil here, there, and everywhere. The president is given full authority to issue or revoke broadcasting licenses, expand Guantánamo to include domestic criminal suspects, and bar investigations of himself. From cradle to grave, an increasing number of citizens spend their lives within a conservative echo chamber, where they watch nothing but Fox News, memorize Breitbart catechism, and learn only what goose-stepping right-wingers want them to know. Finally, as climate change advances and epic floods inundate our cities, heavily armed civilian militias are organized to protect private property, made bold by the promise of presidential pardons should anyone pull a trigger in “self-defense”.

 

Nightmare number two: Wealthy liberals from Hollywood and New York invest their money in favored candidates who, when elected, conspire to enforce rigid standards of political correctness across all major institutions of society- government, police, media, sports, theater, universities, and kindergarten classrooms. Anyone who violates these vague and unwritten norms, or is accused of having done so, is labeled a bigot and fired. Right-wing speakers are barred from public gatherings because their exercise of free speech might injure the sensitivities of club-wielding anti-Fascists. Gender-specific bathrooms are banned as discriminatory, and terrorists pour across our borders because to stop them would require racial profiling. The Second Amendment is repealed, fossil fuels are prohibited, and an increasing number of citizens spend their entire lives within a Socialist echo chamber, leaning only what Fascist liberals want them to know”. – Madeleine Albright, Fascism – A WARNING.

 

I think our country is being led by party members that are so extreme that any one of the three “bad dreams” in this book, while meant to be exaggerations, will most likely hit home for many of my readers and friends – on both sides. I see the arguments and I see the passion on both sides; knowing these people personally at some point in my life, they surely aren’t the villains my opposite friends call them out to be. We need to see the danger on both sides, whether it’s ANTIFA or some Neo-Nazi group demonstrating, provoking, or calling for violence, we need to always remember what that leads to, and where it has led us to in the past.

 

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Book Review: The Alliance – managing talent in the networked age

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This really is an excellent book from the start to the end. The fascinating stories about John Lasseter being fired from Pixar to the effects of “tours of duty” for employees and employers all resonated with me. My military background, the openness of communication described, and even my own career using social media to enhance my network and grow my personal brand were all covered in this quick read gem. The soft reference to Frans Johansson’s writings in The Medici Effect brought my thoughts immediately right back to that book – which remains one of my favorite books.

I highly recommend this book for all managers and employees looking to solidify their careers in a pragmatic way. Building their brand both internally and externally is almost critical in todays world. This book provides almost a blueprint for making all of this possible – retention and employee happiness can easily be achieved through open and honest communication.

Have to give thanks to Jim for recommending it!

Book Review: The New Rules of Marketing and PR

I tweeted about this book a couple of times while listening to it because the one liners inspired me to share immediately. I usually wait until I am completely done with a book before I even mention it just because I am never sure how good it will be by the end. This book, from the start, was perfectly on topic, great tips, and does a amazing job explaining this new era of marketing and PR. Even going pretty deep in explaining the success of Trump and his tweets. Controversial or not, social media gives the individual more power than any time before in our history. Thought leaders, writers, and video blogging has empowered an entire generation of kids to learn how to make a lot of money just being themselves and doing what they like. It’s the new dream , the “I want to be a baseball player when I grow up” terms used by my generation – now it’s “I want to be a YouTube star” or have my own “show“. I highly recommend to any company that is looking to grow a solid customer base, become involved with those customers, become a trusted advisor, and engage with them like never before – this is the book for you.

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Book Review: The Dichotomy of Leadership

With a heavy focus on “extreme ownership” and balanced leadership, this book was excellent for aspiring leaders. Especially if you have a military background, it was like watching Saving Private Ryan and learning from all of the leadership examples but with a business focus.

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Book Review: multipliers – how the best leaders make everyone smarter

This was an excellent book from the beginning to end. The book introduces the concept of multipliers and diminishers. It also does a great job providing many examples of both. By the end, you realize there are characteristics of both diminisher and multiplier within you, however, we all try to be multipliers to some extent because we want our teams to succeed with us. I especially liked the aspect as described in the book that sometimes you have to be a diminisher – sometimes the performance is so bad the team needs to be reset, ego’s are too high and production now suffers from too many “pre-madonna’s”.  In the end, you have to realize you have smart people working for you and challenge them. Give them responsibility, give them a challenge, and most of all, allow them to grow!

It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do – Steve Jobs

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Book Review: 101 Secrets of Highly Effective Speakers

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Lot’s of great tips in this little gem. Easy to follow along and I really liked the ideas for opening and closing your presentations. I have never been a “script” speaker and I try to learn and understand what I am speaking about as best I can so the pitch comes off as natural as possible. This book gave me a few more great tips I will be sure to include in my next presentation.

Two new books I picked up at THINK

One reason I like going to conferences is you can get books you have been eyeing for 20% off. This year I picked two books I have been thinking about getting for a while. The first one by colleague Sanjev Sharma, “The DevOps Adoption Playbook”, I hope to hone in my cloud development and management skills. Being a long time user of IBM Cloud (formerly BlueMix) this should be a fun read.  The next book is the “The Strategic CIO – Changing the Dynamics of the Business Enterprise”. I was browsing in the IBM book store and I came across this book. I love books with many stories and use cases and little anecdotes about running a business or in this case an IT department. My current role is similar to where we strive to serve the sales, services, and partner community with first class demonstration capabilities similar to a production run team – servicing our partners, sellers, and services. In the first few chapters I can already relate to what Phil Weinzimer has written about being “business first, technology second”. That has been my goal, how I my team and I make the most impact on the business and continuously innovate to make it run smoother.

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Book Review: Learn To Program with Minecraft

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Ok, I know it has been a long time since I did a book review but I really like this book and now I am trying to get my son to go through it.

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Book Review: jQuery Hotshot

Did you ever go to a web site and think, wow, how did they do that? Or, wouldn’t that be cool to write? I know I do.

Well, this book is filled with 10 small projects you can use in real life. So unlike an API book where it focuses on the small granular API calls this book focuses on completed solutions.

It starts off in the preface with a high level summary of what jQuery is and the basic concepts of the API so you really don’t even have to know jQuery to read this book. You do however need to know HTML and JavaScript basics but I will add, all of the source code is available and the massive 296 page book does a great job going step by step. The beauty of the book is it covers a lot of areas for where jQuery can be used – from developing games to building your own jQuery. Many of the techniques used in the book are very creative and well thought through.  Each project has plenty of screen shots and narrative to help you digest the content. Did I mention all of the source code is downloadable? Yep, so you can casually read the book and then go back and play with the finished source code if you wanted.

From beginner to advanced this book is a valuable resource to see how different things can be done with jQuery. It mixes some really good JavaScript API’s along with jQuery API’s to create real life projects.

Well done Dan Wellman.

Book Review: Creating an MP3 Player with HTML5

Don’t let the size of this book fool you, the content is extremely well written and while providing the very basics of programming in HTML5 it also highlights many tips and tricks all throughout the book. As the title states, the book is a step by step guide for creating the MP3 player from scratch in HTML5 and JavaScript. It covers a lot of material from page to page but presents it in a very easy to read way. I actually read the book from front to back first and then I went through and actually wrote the code and skimmed back through the book. The entire process took less than a couple of hours, if that. I am a pretty experienced programmer so much of the information was not new to me but I really liked the way the author has written this and I actually learned a few tips around the HTML5 player object. If you are trying to learn HTML5 I think books like this are excellent. Any book that is written in the “by example” format is a great way to learn programming.