The best prices I've found on technical and computer books are to be found at http://www.bookpool.com/; their prices blow Amazon.com away on things like O'Reilly books and W. Richard Stevens' books on TCP/IP. For example, volume 1 of Stevens' TCP/IP Illustrated is over $65 at Amazon.com (no discount), but only slightly over $50 at Bookpool. The O'Reilly books I just purchased were each about $10 cheaper at Bookpool as compared to Amazon.com.
Completed, need to finish review.
The book is still a sad tale, and I can empathize with his loss. He is donating some portion of the proceeds from the book to animal shelters, but my recommendation is to borrow the book and make a direct donation in the amount of the book to a local shelter yourself rather than give Mr. Levin any financial support.
The "nonfiction" narrative structure makes for a more entertaining book than this would otherwise be--while the future developments Rucker envisions are interesting, without the story it would be more like a series of encyclopedia entries.
The conceit within the book of this book being popular thousands of years in the future is pretty ridiculous--this is not one of Rucker's better works.
This is not quite the ordinary mystery novel. In the process we learn quite a bit about Christopher's mental life, his lack of understanding of human social skills, his mathematical capability, his unusual ways of categorizing days. Christopher also knows a wealth of facts, and the book touches upon details of Sherlock Holmes stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's being fooled about the Cottingley Fairies, astronomy, the Turing Test, and studies of children's awareness of and reasoning about the existence of other minds, among other things. As these are all topics of interest to me, I was entertained and amused to see Christopher use them in figuring out the world around him.
Haddon does a great job of depicting Christopher's viewpoint and making a person empathy-deficient into a sympathetic character.
It's a very quick read, and I agree with reviewers who found it to be too short and superficial. But despite its lightness, it is an extremely entertaining book, and contains numerous interesting ideas which are worthy of fuller development in both reality and fiction.
I don't believe I've ever read another romance novel, but this seems like a rather stereotypical one, from what I've heard. The ultimate outcome (woman gets nerd) seems a foregone conclusion from the second or third chapter, but there's a lot of tease from there to the actual hookup.
The narrative focus alternates between Mitchell and Ally Jarrett (the female protagonist, an heiress who wants to make it as a wildlife photographer without relying on her millions), and the very simple plot involves an Uncle who wants to obtain some or all of the inheritance for himself. There are some minor characters who are townspeople in Porcupine, Alaska, where all of the action takes place (apart from a brief scene in Anchorage) to introduce some minor subplots, conflicts, and comedy. By my reading, the only one who "goes wild" is Ally in chapters 2-3, though perhaps the inevitable hookup of the two main characters also is meant to count.
This was a mildly enjoyable read, but those expecting more nerd content will be disappointed.
[This is a "Spotlight" review at Amazon.com.]
I enjoyed the book very much. The ending of many paragraphs with pop culture references was at first annoying, but it became more comfortable as the book progressed, and the lines were well selected. (There's a site on the Internet that lists them all and where they came from.)
My only complaint is a very jarring change of voice that occurs in a paragraph on pp. 166-167 ("a friend of ours"). [This is a "Spotlight" review on Amazon.com]
Via Computer = Apple Computer
Peter Jones = Steve Jobs
Clayton and Clara Dodson (Jones' adoptive parents) = Paul and Clara Jobs (adoptive parents)
Matthew Locke = John Sculley
Kate McGreggor = Joan Baez
John Dulin and Rick Caruso = Steve Wozniak
Hank Towers = Mike Markkula
Mate = Apple II
At Hand PC = Newton (but in the Macintosh's role)
PCSoft = Microsoft
PortaPC OS = Windows
Future Processing = Intel
International Computer Products = IBM
William Harrell = John Akers? or earlier IBM CEO?
Byron Holmes = Thomas Watson, Jr. (perhaps blended with Dick Watson)
International Foods = Pepsico
World Online = America Online
Isle = Lisa (the person, not the computer)
Those who are adherents of a particular religion should be interested in this book, if for nothing else than an explanation for how all other religions work. (But such readers should then ask themselves how their own religion is any different.) Boyer's book makes sense of the geographic distribution of religious belief, which supernatural accounts of religion fail to explain.
This book sees religious doctrine, dogma, and institutions as secondary to religion's primary role in social interactions, dealing with death and the disposal of dead bodies, and providing explanations for misfortune or other impersonal events for which causal or purposeful explanations may not be available. Dogma arises along with institutions as a barrier to entry into the business of being a professional religious advocate, a person with specialized skills or powers in communicating with the divine, as a way of classifying competitors as impostors or heretics and enforcing "quality control"--essentially the same role as a trade union. Yet for most religious adherents, the dogma is relatively unimportant.
Boyer sees religious beliefs and inferences as produced by normal reasoning about earthly agents, with only minor modifications (e.g., the agents are unseen). Too many modifications to standard templates yield unbelievable results that are not part of any religion, but minor modifications make for memorable results that are more likely to be passed on. The prototypical religious belief is a specific inference ("this calamity indicates that the ancestors are angry") rather than a general doctrine; general doctrines are more flexible and evolve over time.
The book contains nine chapters which discuss the origins of religion, religious concepts and inferences, an account of mental processes useful in ordinary life that are also relevant to religious reasoning, a chapter on why gods and spirits are the primary subject matter of religions and one on the functions served by gods and spirits, a chapter on the relevance of death to religion (and vice versa), a chapter on rituals and their functions, a chapter on religious institutions, exclusion, violence, and fundamentalism (which Boyer sees as a reaction against competition that raises the costs associated with defection), and one on the role of religious belief.
In the end, the message of Boyer's book is rather pessimistic for the skeptic about religion--his account makes religious adherence natural, and skepticism a resistance to naturally evolved tendencies to make inferences. I think he's got the basic outlines right, and this is an essential book for anyone interested in understanding religion.
It is hard to believe that there are still people who think the brain is little more than a radio receiver, a set of mechanical controls for a disembodied spirit to manipulate the body. Ramachandran's book--like the case studies of Oliver Sacks and A.N. Luria--shows how wrongheaded that view is.
This is a thin (112 pages of text, 45 pages of notes), very accessible and entertaining book. If you enjoy the works of Sacks and Luria, you are likely to enjoy this as well. This is not a collection of case studies, though there are some descriptions of particular patients--it is written from a higher elevation, bringing together recent results, explaining unusual phenomena, and speculating about how those phenomena may tie in to a further understanding of the details of the brain's function.
The book came from Ramachandran's BBC Reith lectures, so it is for a popular audience, with the notes providing some more underlying detail. There are five chapters, each dealing with a single topic. The first chapter is about amputees who experience pain in their "phantom limbs" and how the parts of the brain which had been devoted to the now-absent limbs can become mapped to still-present parts of the body which are handled by physically proximate parts of the brain. For example, a patient whose left arm had been amputated could feel contact to the nonexistent fingers of his left hand from touches to parts of his face or upper arm. Ramachandran then uses this remapping phenomenon to speculate about the causes of Capgras' syndrome (where a patient believes people he knows have been replaced with impostors), synesthesia, and pain asymbolia, where a patient responds to pain stimulus with laughter.
The second chapter is about vision, and specifically about the phenomena of blindsight (where a person has no experience of seeing, but at an unconscious level does see), hemisphere neglect, and mirror agnosia. In this chapter Ramachandran discusses "mirror neurons," neurons found in monkeys which activate when a monkey performs some task, but also when the monkey sees another monkey perform the same task.
The third chapter, "The Artful Brain," is the most speculative, and provides Ramachandran's suggested ten "universal laws of art," which he offers as features we find aesthetically pleasing in art, and discusses some reasons why those features might be pleasing to the brain.
The fourth chapter deals in more detail with synesthesia, the perception of stimuli with multiple senses, such as experiencing colors corresponding with sounds or numbers. He links this to cross-activation of sites in the brain (similar to his discussion in the first chapter), points out some similar phenomena that most people share (such as a tendency to associate certain kinds of abstract shapes with certain sounds or names), and speculates that such associations may have paved the way for the evolution of language from non-verbal communication.
The fifth and final chapter is titled "Neuroscience--The New Philosophy." Ramachandran discusses how some of the phenomena of neuroscience might bear on questions from philosophy of mind about qualia, free will, and self-awareness. The chapter doesn't get very deep into any of these philosophical issues, but it's clear that more has been learned in the last few decades of neuroscience than in the last few millenia of philosophy.
I highly recommend this book as an introduction to these topics. [This is a "Spotlight" review at Amazon.com.]
Where I part ways with the authors is on their assumption that continued success in finding new sources of energy (or better ways at getting at current sources of energy) is inevitable. Yes, we've been successful so far, but this is one area where we can be certain that in a long enough run, the past will not predict the future. (Or, alternatively, they make the mistake of not looking at other relevant past records, like the records of both species extinctions and civilizations that collapse.) I was almost expecting the authors to cite Frank Tipler's The Physics of Immortality, as part of an argument for an infinite human future. They don't go quite as far as Tipler, arguing that we could upload ourselves into a computer simulation which would produce infinite computation and allow all possibilities to be realized in a finite future--they limit the future to "as long as the sun continues to shine, and the planet rotates, and the depths of the cosmos stay cold" (p. 188).
There is much of value in this book. Like a recent issue of The Economist (April 23-29, 2005), they present arguments for a rational environmentalism that accounts for costs and benefits, and show that steps to preserve a clean environment are a good and effective use of some of the increased energy consumption (at the cost of reduced efficiency).
I recommend the book, with reservations. The parts that are founded on implications of the laws of thermodynamics and solid research support are sound, but there are also claims which run far beyond the support provided (like "we will never run out of energy").
The remaining chapters of the book examine some of the features identified in the biographical sections in more detail and concludes with a final chapter about those who follow gurus, and the benefits they receive from such a relationship.
The book was quite readable, but I found it remarkably light-weight--it seems entirely like armchair theorizing, without the benefit of any kind of detailed scientific research. I learned about the specific gurus described, but I didn't feel like I learned anything solid about what the conditions are that create them, their effects on the world, or how to wean people away from them.
Horgan's subjects--Huston Smith, Steven Katz, Bernard McGinn, Ken Wilber, Andrew Newberg, Michael Persinger, Susan Blackmore, James Austin, Albert Hofmann, Stanislov Grof, Terence McKenna, Alexander "Sasha" and Ann Shulgin--are all quite interesting people. Horgan seemed most sympathetic to Blackmore, Austin, Wilber, McKenna (personality-wise more than idea-wise), and the Shulgins. He was--correctly, I believe--skeptical of Persinger after finding his pro-psi views. My own view of Persinger is that he attempts to fit everything into his temporal lobe epilepsy/tectonic strain theory views, but has often been unskeptical about the data he's pushing into the theory; I've never understood why skeptics like Blackmore and Michael Shermer have thought him to be plausible. (I've authored a critical review of Persinger's Space-Time Transients and Unusual Events for including bogus debunked events as items to be explained by his theory, and The Arizona Skeptic published an extensive bibliography of critiques of his TST assembled by Chris Rutkowski of the University of Manitoba in the July 1992 issue).
In the end, Horgan is skeptical of all of his subjects, and thinks that they've missed out on the importance of a sense of awe and wonder, as well as playfulness and fun (though McKenna seems to have had that down). I'm not sure I agree with Horgan on that--I thought that what most of these people seemed to have in common was being very comfortable (most seem to be wealthy, famous, respected, and living well) and being advocates of a quietistic conservatism that advocates being content with the way the world is. That's an easy position for someone who is comfortable to take. (My only in-person interaction with Susan Blackmore was a conversation at the last CSICOP conference I attended, in Seattle in 1994, in which she couldn't seem to understand why I thought CSICOP should do anything about plagiarism by Robert Baker in his books published by Prometheus and his book reviews published in the Skeptical Inquirer.) Horgan does touch on the subject briefly a few times, such as when he writes about "the nature does-not-care principle" and the problem of natural evil (pp. 192-194) and when he raises the issue of suffering with Austin (p. 131).
Horgan seemed most at odds with Katz, a view I shared--Katz's views seem sheer unsubstantiated dogmatism, when he insists that drug experiences have absolutely nothing to do with mystical experiences, and in his insistence on a commonality between all forms of mysticism, which reminded me of the Bahai faith--a religion that disagrees with all other religions in arguing for the compatibility of all religions. (Horgan has pointed out to me that the last point is part of Huston Smith's position, not Katz's; Katz holds the post-modern view that there is no saying which religion is right (or wrong)--which I think is at least as absurd.)
In the end, I found myself scrawling notes of other books I'd like to read as a result of the references in this book: Austin's Zen and the Brain, Georg Feuerstein's Holy Madness, V.S. Ramachandran's Phantoms in the Brain, Francisco Varela's Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying, Anthony Storr's Feet of Clay, and Rudolf Otto's The Idea of the Holy, as well as finding numerous references to other works that seem to me to be likely to be "on the right track" (Stephen Batchelor's Buddhism without Beliefs, Ronald Siegel's books on hallucinations and drug experiences). Reading Horgan's book was for me a valuable experience that I recommend. [This is a "Spotlight" review at Amazon.com]
The book's chapters cover the history of the Wedge strategy, the content of the leaked Wedge document which set out that strategy, the results of scouring the scientific literature for any publications by Wedge advocates supporting "intelligent design" (none found), an examination of the intelligent design work of Paul Chien and Michael Behe, an examination of the work of Jonathan Wells and William Dembski, documentation of what the Discovery Institute has actually been up to (two chapters, and "doing scientific research" is conspicuously absent from the list), a look at the political efforts of the Wedge, and finally, documentation of the religious grounds and goals of the Wedge.
This book shows the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the intelligent design theorists, using their own words to convict them. This book should be read by anyone who advocates intelligent design creationism, or who thinks that it may belong in the school science curriculum (as opposed to university-level philosophy or social studies of science curricula).
Bookmark on p. 42.
The book has a few minor repetitions from Paulos' other works, but is mostly new material. It is entertainingly written and informative, providing useful information about how to critically analyze a wide variety of subjects, suitable for both readers and writers of newspapers and other forms of news reporting, including blogs.
Lessig begins by describing how the notion of a real property right for land extending into the sky to "an indefinite extent, upwards" became a real rather than theoretical issue with the invention of the airplane. In 1945, the Causbys, a family of North Carolina farmers, filed a suit against the government for trespassing with its low-flying planes, and the Supreme Court declared the airways to be public space. [Added 2007-11-10: Apparently the Causbys actually won their case, contrary to the impression Lessig gives.] This example shows how the scope of property rights can change with changes of technology, in this particular case resulting in an uncompensated taking from private property owners, yet leading to enormous innovation and the development of a new industry and form of transportation. He follows this with the example of the development of FM radio, which was intentionally back-burnered by RCA and then hobbled by government regulation at RCA's behest in order to protect its existing investment in AM radio. This example shows how powerful interests can stifle technological change through its ownership of intellectual property (in this case, the patents regarding FM radio).
He then discusses how intellectual property laws have developed in the U.S., pointing out that Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse made his talking picture debut in the movie "Steamboat Willie" (he had earlier appeared in a silent cartoon, "Plane Crazy"), which was a parody of Buster Keaton's "Steamboat Bill." Many of Disney's characters and stories were taken directly from the previous work of others, such as the Brothers Grimm--works in the public domain, freely available for such copying. As new forms of media have been created, they have borrowed from previous forms.
Today, however, the creators of content who have borrowed from their predecessors have successfully changed the rules so that their successors cannot borrow from them, both by extending the term and scope of copyright protection and by developing technologies that have greatly reduced the ability of successors to borrow or re-use content. The specific rules are completely inconsistent, based on the political power of the relevant parties at the time the laws were changed. When Edison developed the ability to record sounds, including recording music written by others, copyright law was changed to provide for compulsory licensing for a fee paid to the composer. With radio broadcasting, the fee still goes to the composer, but not to the recording artist. But put that same radio broadcast on the Internet, and now fees must be paid to both the composer and the recording artist.
Where there used to be a sea of unregulated uses of copyrighted material containing a small island of restricted uses (with shores of fair use), there is now a vast continent of restricted uses, a stark cliff of fair use, and a tiny channel of unregulated uses. Lessig shows a table on pp. 170-171 showing commercial and noncommercial uses and the rights to publish and transform for each. In 1790, copyright only governed publication rights for commercial uses, the other three cells of the table being free. At the end of the 19th century, publication and transformation for commercial use was governed by copyright, while noncommercial use was free. The law was changed to govern copies, including much noncommercial use. Today, all four cells of the table are governed by copyright.
Lessig discusses Eric Eldred's attempt to defend the right to transform public domain works into electronic versions by fighting Congress's continuing extensions of the term of copyright in the face of the Constitution's restriction to "limited Times," and how the case was lost at the U.S. Supreme Court to inconsistent reasoning from the conservative justices who failed to even address the commerce clause argument and the precedent they set in Lopez v. Morrison case.
This is a wonderfully written, persuasive, entertaining, and dismaying book. It deserves to be widely read and understood, so that ultimately intellectual property law in the U.S. will be reformed.
This book is available online at no charge. http://www.free-culture.cc/freecontent/
It is an overwhelming book, with detail after detail showing that George W. Bush is neither consistently conservative, libertarian, nor liberal in his actions. He has engaged in actions that will cost Americans trillions of dollars--from steel tariffs to farm subsidies to the Medicare prescription boondoggles that amounted to a blank check to the pharmaceutical industry. He has engaged in actions in the name of national security that have done nothing to actually improve security (in many cases making things worse), while restricting civil liberties and giving the government unprecedented powers to take actions against people without any judicial oversight.
And he's done all these things in just his first term as President.
Bovard's book covers Bush's actions in his first four years in office, describing his dishonesty on trade, education, agriculture, national security, the war on terror, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He writes from a libertarian/conservative perspective, arguing that Bush has betrayed the conservative principles he's claimed to advocate at every turn.
This is an excellent book to give to conservative friends who think Bush is a good or mostly good president. It is extensively documented, though unfortunately relies almost entirely on secondary sources (newspaper and magazine accounts) rather than primary sources. Another minor peeve is Bovard's overuse of the word "vivifies," which appears numerous times through the text. But those detract only slightly from what is a powerful indictment of a corrupt presidency.
One of the best parts of the book is the section where Levitt demonstrates cheating by Chicago public school teachers to inflate their students' test scores, where the book presents the actual patterns of answers from the students' tests and shows how the cheating was detected. In similar fashion, they look at the question of whether Sumo wrestlers throw their fights in circumstances where one wrestler gains far more from winning than the other loses from losing.
In a chapter about the similarity between the Ku Klux Klan and real-estate agents, the authors state (p. 69) that "WorldCom and Global Crossing fabricated billions of dollars in revenues to pump up their stock prices." At first I thought this statement was in error with respect to Global Crossing (which had to restate its earnings by $1.2 billion regarding capacity swaps with Qwest, Enron, and other carriers), it is true that the two companies combined had to restate their earnings by "billions" of dollars. While Global Crossing's accounting didn't involve outright revenue fabrication as Worldcom's did, and its swap transactions were (at the time) in compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), the capacity swaps were driven by a need to meet revenue targets rather than any actual business need for the capacity.
I agree with another review I read, which highly recommended the book, but suggested checking it out from a library. You can easily read it in a day, and the hardback book is a little pricy for the length. Alternatives are buying it used, or buying it new and then selling it after you're finished.
That said, however, he makes a very strong case that the U.S. tax system is unfair and corrupt, that the IRS is limited in its ability to go after tax cheats who are breaking the law, and that the net effect is to give tremendous benefits to the richest of the rich, while the burden on everyone else (regardless of whether those taxes are being collected for legitimate or frivolous purposes) has increased.
He has chapters on how the alternative minimum tax (AMT) is completely broken and is now impacting a growing number of the middle class, how tax-exempt insurance companies are being exploited as a mechanism for storing hundreds of millions of dollars in investments and avoiding taxes on the gains, on those who simply refuse to file or pay income taxes at all, on the effects of Reagan-era payroll tax increases, on tax-evading partnership schemes and the IRS's complete inability to devote any resources to detecting them, on American companies moving their headquarters to Bermuda to avoid taxes, and on the destruction of pensions at many large companies. All are fascinating reading.
I agree with the author that something should be done, and that something should include a complete overhaul and simplification of the U.S. tax code, to make it fair and enforceable. But I am not optimistic that anything will be done--I think the level of corruption in the federal government is so high, and that because the behavior of bureaucrats and legislators is more accurately described by public choice theory than by political science, that it is unlikely we'll see radical change in a positive direction.
Another example in the same chapter is when he suggests that the best way for environmentalists to support the existence of cattle is to eat beef: "If you want ranchers to keep a lot of cattle, you should eat a lot of beef" (p. 225). This presumes that environmentalists care about the number of cattle in existence, rather than the conditions of the cattle in existence. Would Landsburg have told abolitionists during the Civil War to buy more cotton as a way of improving the plight of slaves?
Yet a third example in the same chapter is about preservation of the Amazon rain forest, because a new species of monkey was discovered there in October 1992. Landsburg writes that this gives him reason _not_ to preserve the rain forest, since he "lived a long time without knowing about this monkey and never missed it" (p. 226). Would he make the same argument if it was a tribe of people whose existence depended on the rain forest rather than a species of monkey? If not, then he's missing the point of those who argue that animals (or the environment) have inherent value. It is clear from his writing that he disagrees, yet his own position does assign inherent value to the interests of people and so is not neutral. He seems to admit at the end of this chapter--in the letter he wrote to his child's teacher--that his view on environmentalism amounts to a religious view that is not subject to discussion (just as he thinks environmentalism itself amounts to a religion being inappropriately taught to his child).
Despite my complaints, I found the book as a whole to be entertaining and informative, and would recommend it along with David Friedman's _Law's Order_ for insight into economic analysis of issues of the day.
[I should add that a 12/15/2004 presentation on "Saving the Elephant" from UA Prof. of Philosophy and Economics David Schmitz and UA Prof. of Entomology Elizabeth Willet shows, with respect to the second argument above, that there are some contexts where it makes sense, even as an animal rights argument. Elephants in Southern Africa, if left unchecked, destroy the environment and cause damage to other animals; the only natural predator capable of reducing elephant populations is human. This argument doesn't work in the same way in the U.S., however--eating more beef may get you more cattle, but it also gets you more factory farming, unless you specifically get your beef from producers who eschew the factory farms. (In Africa, elephants and humans evolved together for millions of years; in the Americas, humans came in later and eradicated all of the megafauna; the animals here with few natural predators which have populations controlled by humans are smaller animals like deer.) For more on factory farming, which involves not only cruelty to animals but rather obscene human working conditions and the creation of significant environmental problems of animal waste disposal, see Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation.]
The book is filled with fascinating details, such as Wolfowitz's prescient speech about a new Pearl Harbor, given as a commencement address at West Point in 2001 (p. 291), Bush's giving his OK to Pakistan's becoming a dictatorship (p. 300), the government's plan in the annual Nuclear Posture Review to use small nuclear devices to combat terrorism (p. 314)--which would seem to me to create more and bigger problems than it would solve, Bush's nickname "Pootie Poot" for Vladimir Putin (p. 288), and the degree to which the Bush administration's unilateralism followed policies started by Bill Clinton (p. 287).
The book was published in 2004 and is quite up-to-date, only missing some minor recently uncovered details such as Rumsfeld's calling for an attack on Iraq on September 11, 2001.
Unfortunately, the book appears to have been something of a rush job and is poorly edited, with several duplications of text (e.g., NSA's "Mahogany Row" on pp. 19 and 103; a "whole different ballgame" quote on pp. 156 and 189). I've seen some reviews that tout the fact that bin Ladin's satellite phone number is in the book--Bamford already published that information in the paperback epilogue of Body of Secrets, which also had an account of 9/11 as it pertained to the NSA. This book falls short of the quality of Bamford's previous books.
In Part 2, "Constitutional Method," Barnett argues that the Constitution is properly interpreted by a form of originalism based on original meaning, as opposed to original intent. He argues persuasively that the arguments against originalism which target original intent do not work against original meaning. I found this part much more persuasive than Part 1, and I think he has formulated a consistent and rational methodology of Constitutional interpretation that takes seriously what is written in the text.
Part 3, "Constitutional Limits," is where things start to get really interesting. Barnett examines the judicial history of the "necessary and proper" clause of Article I, Section 8, and argues that the Supreme Court made a wrong turn way back in 1819 in McCulloch v. Maryland by adopting an expansive interpretation of this clause where "necessary" meant "convenient" and "proper" was virtually ignored. He extensively reviews contemporary sources to argue for the meaning of this clause and that it requires judicial review of laws to make sure they are grounded in specific powers granted in the Constitution. Barnett begins this section with a quote from Justice Clarence Thomas in FCC v. Beach Communications, showing that Thomas has bought completely into the view that there is a "presumption of constitutionality" for acts of the legislature, whereas Barnett favorably cites Justice Stevens' response to Thomas that "judicial review under the 'conceivable set of facts' test is tantamount to no review at all."
Barnett also argues that the "privileges and immunities" clause of the 14th Amendment was used incorrectly (too narrowly) in the 1873 Slaughter House cases, but the "due process" clause of the same Amendment was used correctly in Lochner v. New York in 1905. He argues that both federal and state legislatures which act to limit the liberties of the people need to show that it is within the enumerated powers of Congress or within the police powers of a state, respectively, and otherwise overturned by the courts.
Finally in this section, Barnett turns to the meaning of the Ninth Amendment, which reserves unenumerated rights to the people, and takes issue with Footnote 4 of the 1938 case United States v. Carolene Products. The current methodology of the courts under Footnote 4, according to Barnett, is to begin with a presumption of constitutionality for acts of the legislature, unless there is a specific enumerated right in the Constitution that is violated, in which case the legislature must justify that violation. The requirement of a specific enumerated right was then expanded in Griswold v. Connecticut by allowing additional rights not specifically enumerated, but found in "emanations and penumbras" from the other rights. Barnett argues, by contrast, that the proper presumption is one of liberty, which can only be limited or regulated by justification from a specific power granted to Congress, or a police power granted to the states which does not eliminate any liberties or natural rights. (E.g., a regulation can restrict time/manner/place of speech, but not content; speech itself cannot be prohibited on the basis of content without improperly infringing the right.) Barnett gives an entire chapter on the presumption of liberty, and how to identify rights that have not specifically been enumerated.
In Section 4, "Constitutional Powers," Barnett looks at the commerce clause of Article I, Section 8, and argues that the Supreme Court went wrong with Gibbons v. Ogden in 1824 by equating "commerce" with "intercourse" and allowing Congress to regulate that in every case where it merely affects more than one state. Barnett argues, again by citing a wide variety of contemporary sources, that "commerce" was distinguished from "manufactures" and "agriculture," and was synonymous with "trade." Thus, Congress has no legitimate power to legislate regarding manufacturing and agriculture, only regarding trade between states, with foreign nations, and with the Indian tribes.
He also includes a chapter on the police powers of states and what they can constitutionally do on his account, and another on the application of his view to judicial doctrines and cases. He argues that this yields something which is rather libertarian, but not entirely so.
Barnett puts forth a position which takes the language of the Constitution seriously, and which would require us to be explicit about making changes to it when we find that it has become out of date, rather than allowing a flexibility to the language to such an extent that the original wording no longer has any meaning at all. He spells out a view in which there is real content to judicial review, justified directly by the language of the Constitution, and in which the court has strong checks and balances against the legislature and the executive (and vice versa).
This book deserves to be widely read and taken seriously by those in the judiciary.
"After watching the way the worldwide media and the international community reacted to the question of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, I don't think they'd see a smoking gun if you stuck it right against their foreheads." (p. 220)
I purchased it anyway, because although I think that's an incredible feeble aside (Mr. Ranum doesn't bother to say what smoking guns he thinks have been established, and it seems clear as of this writing that there are no WMDs in Iraq, and no good evidence that there were any post-1994), elsewhere in my initial skimming I saw what looked to be very interesting information about the Homeland Security Act and the USA PATRIOT Act. Largely because of this material, I did find the book to be worth my time (if not quite worth the dollars I spent on it--I should have waited for a paperback edition).
The book is definitely a polemic, not a researched and referenced scholarly tome--there are no references or footnotes, beyond the suggested further reading material on pp. xvi-xvii. There is much to disagree with besides the above example, as other reviewers here have noted. It's short on conclusions and suggested remedies, though there are a few radical (i.e., politically impossible) suggestions, such as abolishing the INS and starting over from scratch (probably not a bad idea at all).
I recommend it for those interested in a lightweight, quick read to get a quick overview of the problems of securing an entire nation and the means that are being adopted with that alleged goal, but if you are looking for depth and detail, with solidly argued conclusions and recommendations, you'll need to look elsewhere.
On pp. 33-35, the author looks at success factors, and compares to the role of luck on pp. 82-85, which he downplays in favor of discipline. While he touches on the importance of having the right connections (and the genetic contributions to intelligence), on p. 85 he asks "what does luck have to do with graduating from medical school? What does luck have to do with successfully running a medical practice? Very little, according to these physicians." But what does luck have to do with being born into a family and in a country where one has a chance to reach adulthood, let alone be able to attend a medical school? Quite a bit.
Unlike its predecessor, which looked at prodigious accumulators of wealth (PAWs) vs. under-accumulators of wealth (UAWs), this book focuses on millionaires (PAWs) and decamillionaires (a tiny subset of PAWs, those with net worth $10M or greater). The lack of comparison to the general public serves to limit the book's value.
A misleading comparison between businessmen and stockbrokers on pp. 76ff makes the point. Stanley states that the former is an occupation more likely to have higher net worth. But this comparison is misleading because he's only looking at the millionaire-plus sample; he is excluding more of the total business owner population from his sample than stockbrokers. The average and median income and net worth for business owners are likely lower than for stockbrokers. If he made the same comparison with actors or musicians to stockbrokers, for example, the problem is more obvious--by excluding all those who aren't worth $1M or more up front, you exclude the vast majority, and pull up the average. With stockbrokers, on the other hand, a higher percentage of them are in the top income earners and wealthy.
On p. 110, after having pages about the importance of ethics and advising "Never lie. Never tell one lie." (p. 55), he passes right over his example, Mr. Warren, lying about being a college graduate in order to get a job, without comment, and without noticing the hypocrisy.
On pp. 173-174, the author wants to make the point that prayer is important for millionaires dealing with stress, despite the fact that the majority of his surveyed population do not regularly pray. (He repeats this again on p. 370, saying "nearly one-half of the millionaires (47 percent) engaged in prayer. ... for a significant percentage of millionaires, their religious faith is a major force in their lives.")
In trying to emphasize the point (p. 174), he splits his sample into "religious millionaires" (RM) and "other millionaires" (OM), observes that 75% of RM engage in prayer while only 8% of OM do, and points out that this is "a ratio of more than nine to one." This is a meaningless comparison, however--RM make up only 37% of his total population of millionaires, so his "more than nine to one" ratio is really nothing more than saying, of those millionaires who are religious, three-fourths hold religious practices which involve regular prayer (and 8% of those who do not consider themselves religious pray anyway). Since the OM population is much larger than the RM population, in absolute numbers that's not a nine-to-one ratio--his numbers show that about 28% of his total sample are RM who pray, while 5% of his total sample are OM who pray--closer to a six-to-one ratio.
But more importantly, the author glosses over the fact that not only are the majority of millionaires not religious, even a quarter of those who are don't engage in regular prayer! Given that the U.S. is one of the most religious countries in the world, the fact that such a low percentage of millionaires are religious is quite interesting and worthy of further exploration as to the cause, but for Stanley, religion and prayer are an important foundation of the "millionaire mind," and he completely misses the opportunity to find an explanation for why millionaires are so much less religious than the general population.
In a later table in the book on p. 366, he shows activities engaged in by a sample of 733 millionaires during the preceding 30 days. The table includes 52% attending religious services, 47% praying, 37% attending religious events, 22% Bible/devotional reading. These numbers don't quite match up with the RM/OM data from pp. 173-174, which seem to show even lower levels of religious activity, but these are still lower than they are for the nonmillionaire population--and weekly church attendance is notoriously over-reported in surveys. Work by Mark Chaves, C. Kirk Hardaway, and P.L. Marler in the 1990s found the actual percentage of attendance about half of what surveys show. This actually could mean that millionaires attend more often, if Stanley's survey results don't have similar over-reporting.
The author's religious bias further leads him to recommend to a student going through a divorce that she, despite not being a church attendee, search for a mate by joining a church group (p. 268) because she "believed in marriage and the traditional family concept." He writes that "I believe that one is likely to find better prospects in a church setting than in singles bars. Of course, there are no guarantees, but people with a religious orientation are more prone to respect the principles espoused in the Good Book." But why is he just guessing on this? Hasn't he asked his population of millionaires--the ones who are 63% non-religious--how they met their mates? He did this, very usefully, regarding how millionaires purchase their homes (pp. 315-326)--yet isn't picking a partner even more important?
This book has some interesting data, and is at its best when giving comparative results between populations (e.g., the house-purchasing characteristics of economically productive millionaires vs. non-economically productive millionaires in chapter 7). But it doesn't stand up well in comparison to The Millionaire Next Door, which is a much better book.
The Smartest Guys in the Room tells the story of Enron, starting before its formation with Kenneth Lay's career in the energy business, to its creation out of Houston Natural Gas when it (under the guidance of Lay as CEO) purchased the InterNorth pipeline company, three times its size. HNG's skillful negotiations (by John Wing) led to the smaller company's management team ending up in charge--an acquisition that bears some similarity to tiny Global Crossing's acquisition of Frontier Communications.
The book covers a huge cast of players and some terribly complex financial arrangements (the details of which are only summarized for the layman in this book), but the narrative still works well and it reads like a mystery novel. It is as sympathetic as it can be to many of the characters and to the company--the basic ideas behind energy trading make sense, though the implementation by Enron was flawed by the fact that Enron managed everybody's trades rather than using a neutral exchange or direct exchanges between partners where neither was Enron.
It is clear that the senior leadership of Enron who were not complicit in the arrangements designed to conceal debt from shareholders and the general public were at the very least negligent in their fiduciary responsibilities--Lay's main offense seems to be a completely reckless disregard for what was going on in his company, and it's somewhat plausible that he remained a true believer until the end. The fact that he read aloud this written question in front of employees suggests a certain amount of naivete or detachment: "I would like to know if you are on crack. If so that would explain a lot. If not, you may want to start because it's going to be a long time before we trust you again." (p. 376)
The book documents the role to which there was complicity in these deceptive financial arrangements by the auditors (Arthur Andersen) and various banks (such as Citibank and J.P. Morgan Chase) which were desperate for the massive financial fees from Enron's business. It describes the poorly designed regulatory framework in California which Enron exploited to its advantage (again in ruthless and deceptive ways).
It's a large book (414 pp.) with an extensive index, but is a relatively quick read for its size. It makes it clear that Enron has earned its place in the pantheon of hated companies, but it's not so clear that the steps taken in the wake of Enron, like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, will prevent such things from happening again--especially compared to a much simpler regulatory framework which just holds executives personally and criminally liable for corporate misbehavior.
The book is composed of nine short chapters which address different aspects of the stock market and investing. Chapter one distinguishes common knowledge (knowledge that everyone has, and everyone knows that everyone else has) from mutual knowledge (knowledge that everyone has, but doesn't know that everyone else has) and discusses his experiment in "pedagogical cruelty." This experiment was to put a checkbox at the bottom of daily quizzes he gave to his students which would give the student who checked it a free extra ten points--unless more than 50% of the students checked the box, in which case it resulted in a deduction of ten points. The result was a small number who checked it, which slowly grew until the day the 50% threshold was crossed, then dropped to very few, then climbed back up to about 40% and stayed there--but each quiz had the box checked by a different set of students making up that 40%.
In chapter two, Paulos discusses psychological factors such as cognitive illusions discussed in Tversky and Kahnemann's classic Judgment Under Uncertainty, as well as pump and dump scams. Chapter three is on technical analysis, with a short section on Elliott wave theory and a concluding section on Parrondo's paradox (where two strategies that, by themselves, are guaranteed losers over the long-term are guaranteed winners over the long-term when combined).
Chapter four is on different versions of the efficient market hypothesis and also discusses the touting pyramid scam (which was also discussed in Innumeracy as well as in Daniel Dennett's Elbow Room, among other places). Chapter five is on value investing and fundamental analysis, with sections on Ponzi schemes, contrarian investing, and the significance of the value e.
Chapter six looks at options, insider trading, short selling, and expected value. Chapter seven looks at diversification and the definition and relevance of beta as a measure of volatility. Chapter eight is on "connectedness and chaotic price movements," summarizing chaos theory, discussing power laws, and looking at how inside information can become known through the actions and inactions of others.
The final chapter, "From Paradox to Complexity," looks at the prisoner's dilemma and Paulos' suggested "paradoxical efficient market hypothesis," which says that if everyone believes the EMH is false and acts accordingly, those actions are likely to make something like the EMH true; while if everyone believes the EMH is true and acts accordingly, those actions are likely to make it false.
In the end, this isn't a book of positive investment advice, but it does provide an excellent overview of the factors involved in investment and stock price movement that any investor should be aware of. I highly recommend it.
The main lesson of the book is the extent to which annual income is separable from net worth--those in the PAW category may have incomes as low as $50,000/year, but they live below their means, typically investing 15% or more of their annual income and being extremely frugal in their spending. Those in the UAW category, by contrast, may earn extremely large salaries, but tend to spend all of it (and then some), with the result of having low net worth relative to income.
The main beneficiaries of this book are people who are of average or above average income yet are unaware of the basics of accumulating wealth, those who have developed bad habits, and those who want to encourage their children to become financially independent.
The book is somewhat repetitive, its advice won't help turn those of very low incomes into millionaires, and it doesn't directly address the question of whether PAWs are happier than UAWs (though it does argue that PAWs tend to have fewer fears and concerns than UAWs). It is an entertaining read, and contrary to some other reviewers, I enjoyed reading the case studies.
The book also describes the founding of the Society for Competitive Intelligence Professionals and the competitive intelligence group at Motorola by former CIA analyst Jan Herring, a case where Schwann's obtained competitive intelligence via legitimate means to compete with Kraft in pizza manufacturing, another chapter on legitimate intelligence gathering by Teltech to find out about nanotechnology development of plastics for Dow, and a very different chapter on eEye "Chief Hacking Officer" Marc Maiffret.
The book seems to have two voices about the ethics standards of SCIP, with co-author Barry thinking that the standards are hypocritical and rightly ignored, while it appears that Panenberg may be more sympathetic.
There doesn't seem to be much in the book in the way of conclusions drawn in the book. It could have been more useful with a summary of methods to prevent espionage, more details on principles of legitimate intelligence gathering, or at least lessons learned from specific cases.
Complaint: p. 126: Roach seems to think that the FAA should force the implementation of safety measures that come out negative on a cost-benefit analysis (given the value of human life at $2.7 million, if shoulder harnesses save 15 lives over 20 years, that's not enough if it costs $669 million to implement). What she fails to recognize is the opportunity cost of such spending--$669 million spent to save 15 lives over 20 years could save thousands of lives if spent elsewhere instead. There is no infinite fund of money available to save lives at any cost.
The second essay is about David Devant's "The Mascot Moth," and Steinmeyer's recreation of the illusion for Doug Henning's "Merlin" show--also familiar to those who have read Steinmeyer's other works.
The third essay is about the history and development of the "sawing a lady in half" illusion, and its relation to Grand Guignol.
The fourth and fifth essays are about Steinmeyer's rediscovery and reproduction of Morritt's Disappearing Donkey illusion, a topic also familiar to readers of Vanishing an Elephant.
This isn't an essential purchase for those who have read Steinmeyer's other books--it's not as satisfying a work as the other two masterful books I've mentioned. It is, however, something that does stand on its own and is well worth reading for those interested in the history of magic.
The book is unfortunately poorly edited, with numerous uncorrected typos which should have been spotted even by automated spellchecking.
Notable for their absence from the book are any significant links to Saddam Hussein and Iraq, though Posner does discuss a few that exist (and mentions and cites speculation by Laurie Mylroie). In my view, this is appropriate, though he could have debunked some of the bogus claims of connections, like the claim of Mohammed Atta meeting Al-Ani in Prague, the mistaken identification of al Qaeda's Ahmed Hikmat Shakir Azzawi (family name, Azzawi) with Iraqi intelligence agent Lt. Col. Hikmat Shakir Ahmad (family name, Ahmad), or the other bogus claims from bad intelligence information assembled by Douglas Feith and promoted by Stephen Hayes in his book The Connection, if only Posner's book hadn't predated Hayes'. On the other hand, Posner documents significant links between the hijackers and Pakistan's intelligence services and Saudi royalty.
The list of failings Posner documents is long--it includes failure by Bill Clinton to treat terrorism seriously enough, and in particular to treat Osama bin Laden seriously enough, even after the Hart/Rudman report on national security was issued in 1999. It includes walls between agencies (especially between the CIA and FBI), incompetence by the INS, failure to heed multiple warnings, the FBI's inability to investigate religious groups--even when Islamic extremists were openly advocating attacks against the U.S. at conferences held at U.S. hotels.
Posner's book starts in 1990 with the takeover of the Alkifah Refugee Center by Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and the subsequent murder of Emir Shalabi, which solidified bin Laden's influence over the Center. He then backtracks to the 1970s to cover CIA activity in counterterrorism, and back to the 1950s to cover the history of Osama bin Laden up until the late 1980s. He devotes a chapter to the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane in Manhattan, and documents the connections to Rahman and al Qaeda which were ignored in the prosecution of El-Sayyid Nosair, who pulled the trigger. Another chapter documents the secret deal between the Saudi government and bin Laden that would not only allow him to operate freely but to be funded with millions of dollars from the Saudis in exchange for a promise to keep his activities off Saudi Arabian soil.
Posner covers the first WTC bombing attack, bin Laden's time in Sudan (and the U.S.'s failure to apprehend him despite multiple opportunities), and his deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan. He discusses the hijacking plot foiled by police in the Philippines, "Operation Bojinka," which involved hijacking planes, loading them with explosives, and flying them into buildings. He discusses reporter Steve Emerson's work on Jihad in America, and the Oklahoma City bombing, which discredited the idea of Islamic terrorism in the eyes of many when it proved to have a domestic source. (Posner describes and refers to the work of Jayna Davis, who still argues for a Middle Eastern connection to the Oklahoma City bombing.)
Posner has a brief mention (p. 103) of Wadi el-Hage, bin Laden's private secretary, who lived in the U.S. in the early 1990's and was "implicated in the murder of a radical imam in Arizona" (Rashad Khalifa in Tucson, though Posner doesn't name him).
Subsequent chapters cover money trails to al Qaeda, al Qaeda attacks in Kenya and Tanzania, the crash of EgyptAir 990, Ahmed Ressam's attempt to cross into the U.S. from Canada with explosives, and the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, before going into detail about the movements of the 9/11 hijackers up to their attacks, the numerous missed opportunities to track and apprehend several of the key players, and the immediate aftermath and capture of key al Qaeda operatives like Abu Zubaydah, whose interrogation after his apprehension in Pakistan in 2002 concludes the book.
This book is a great introduction to the events surrounding 9/11 and is highly recommended.
The book was quite a pleasure to read and look at, filled with great photos and interesting little tidbits, such as Glendale's founding as a temperance colony, the wide influence of Dwight B. Heard, and the longevity of some local businesses (such as Sine Hardware in Glendale).
One minor error: the book attributes the 1992 purchase and current ownership of Wrigley Mansion to George A. Hormel (died 1946) rather than his descendant Geordie Hormel (a professional musician who has also funded UFO investigation).
Markoff's book focuses on Silicon Valley and the SF Bay Area, and the premise is that the countercultural revolution, the Berkeley Free Speech movement, and psychedelic drugs coincided with and were factors in the liberation of computing power for use by the individual--the development of personal computing.
He definitely makes the case that there was overlap between the counterculture and the development of the personal computer--not surprising, given the physical and temporal location the book focuses on. But beyond the work of Fred Moore in creating and promoting the Homebrew Computer Club, many of the connections seem rather coincidental. Markoff writes of LSD promoter Myron Stolaroff as though he's a major figure in his book, but his significance with respect to the development of the personal computer seems quite minimal. The Augmentation Research Center's involvement in est is more to the point, but seems to me to argue against Markoff's thesis since it created havoc and disruption within the group, rather than promoting new developments.
Markoff's thesis fares better with individuals who played strong roles in both camps--like Moore, and like Stewart Brand.
The book is a nice complement to the other books I've mentioned, and I recommend it to those interested in this history. [This is a "Spotlight" review on Amazon.com.]
The diary itself is more interesting, documenting the pain of the production, from Kubrick's perfectionism, from the cold, and from the fumes from the gas pipes used to warm the sets so the actors' breath wouldn't show (p. 148). The book is divided into six sections, "Private Life" (introductory material about Modine's life between films and before shooting began on the movie), "Vietnam" (the Vietnam scenes and the end of the film were shot first), "Boot Camp," "On Leave" (about a break from shooting Modine had), "Boot Camp Redux," and "Afterword."
It begins with a story of how he was with his "best friend, David Alan Grier," when he encounters Val Kilmer, who is angry that Modine keeps getting roles he tries out for. What's particularly upsetting to Kilmer is that Modine is going to be starring in Stanley Kubrick's new film--that Modine knows nothing about. As it turns out, Modine does get a copy of the script with a note from Kubrick, and does get a role in the film. He wonders if Alan Parker had sent Kubrick some footage from "Birdy" (p. 12). Later, after getting the role of "Joker," he speaks with Parker, who wonders why Kubrick never thanked him for sending such footage. When Modine asks Kubrick about it, he says "If I'd based my decision of hiring you on the scene Alan had sent, you wouldn't have gotten the job." (p. 25). (Modine doesn't mention that Anthony Michael Hall was originally supposed to play Joker.)
Modine recommends his friend Vincent D'Onofrio for the role of Pyle, which he gets, though his method acting leads to conflicts with Modine on the set (pp. 182ff).
In the course of the diary we learn a bit about Modine and his wife, Cari, who is pregnant when the shooting begins. Modine has to fight with Kubrick to be permitted to go to the hospital for his wife's C-section and witness the birth of his son, threatening to cut himself with a knife and go to the hospital if Kubrick won't give his OK (p. 138).
Modine also describes how Lee Ermey got the role of the drill instructor which had originally been Tim Colceri's--Tim was yelling at extras who were being videotaped for auditions, and blew out his voice after half an hour. Lee Ermey, who was a technical advisor for the film, stepped in. As soon as Kubrick saw the extra audition tapes, he made the change (pp. 55-56). (Tim Colceri did play a role in the film, contrary to Modine's statement that Colceri was put on a plane back home, and imdb.com says that Kubrick's first choice for the role was Bill McKinney.)
One odd section is a description of Modine hallucinating about a little man on his shoulder (pp. 223-224), which is not further elaborated on in any way. The way this piece appears in the diary is actually characteristic of the whole book--it has a very piecemeal feel to it, without any obvious narrative flow, character development, or overall point. It doesn't work well as autobiography--it really is just Modine's diary, so buyers shouldn't expect more than that.
Recommended for die-hard fans of the film.
[This is a "Spotlight" review on Amazon.com.]
Childhood trips to China and studying Chinese in college gave her significant preparation, but the book describes some of the significant differences between Chinese and American cultures that make the Chinese seem mysterious and inscrutable to Americans. The book is a fascinating look at China's love-hate relationship with America.
DeWoskin starts with a job with a PR firm for American companies doing business in China (trying to avoid making elementary mistakes that would embarrass them in China, with varying degrees of success), and chances into a role in a Chinese soap opera at $80/show that ended up being viewed by hundreds of millions of Chinese (the "Foreign Babes in Beijing" show of the book's title).
I read this book after reading Ben Mezrich's Ugly Americans, as I wanted to read more about Asian culture (with a focus on China as an emerging economic power rather than Japan)--this was a good, lightweight introduction to some of the cultural differences in the context of an individual woman's somewhat amusing stories of her experiences there.
It is clear that there has been massive fictionalization in the book, apparently based on the author's visit(s) to Japan. One example of fiction is an anachronism on p. 21, which supposedly takes place in September 1992. Mezrich writes that Malcolm visits a Rappongi district bar in Tokyo "called Gas Panic and, like a lot of things in Japan, the name didn't make any sense unless you were there." Mezrich misses the fact that this bar (a popular place for foreigners in Tokyo, there are actually several of them) is named after the Aum Shinrikyo sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway on March 20, 1995.
Mezrich was quoted in a Boston Globe profile (August 8, 2004) as saying that he is creating a new genre of "young people making tons of money at the edge of ethics and morality." That profile described his works in this genre as "imaginatively enhanced nonfiction," and quoted him as saying that he'd like to live like characters in his books (the seven-figure advance for this one, along with the movie options on this and Bringing Down the House couldn't hurt), and that he has trouble with/lacks interest in the fact-checking part of his work.
The book includes a fair amount of description of the Japanese "Water Trade" (sex-related businesses), including hostess bars and "image clubs."
Regardless of the degree of accuracy, this is a fast-paced and entertaining book that reads like a novel.
Ronson rarely writes a judgmental word, but allows his subject to speak for themselves--and hang themselves with their own words. (At least, that's the impression--obviously Ronson has selected which of their words to present.)
Ronson looks at ideas for a "First Earth Battallion" by soldier-turned-newage-marketing-guru Jim Channon, who proposed in 1979 that the military put greater emphasis on influencing people with alternative weapons such as paranormal abilities and music. Ronson traces the use of music in warfare to the use of loud music by the FBI at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas and as a torture technique used by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq.
The book covers a wide-ranging territory of nuttiness, including Uri Geller (who is quoted in the book suggesting that he has been re-activated for use by the U.S. military), the remote viewers at Ft. Meade (Joe McMoneagle, Ingo Swann, Pat Price, Ed Dames, etc.), the non-lethal weaponry of UFO and paranormal investigator Col. John Alexander, the connections between the remote viewers and Courtney Brown--and then to Art Bell and Heaven's Gate, and the CIA's MKULTRA experiments and the death-by-LSD of Frank Olson and his son Eric's search for the facts about his death.
The book is alternately amusing and horrifying. It would be funny if this craziness wasn't taken so seriously by high-ranking officials who have put it into practice, wasting tax dollars and occasionally producing horribly unethical outcomes.
I highly recommend this book. [This is a "Spotlight" review at Amazon.com]
He covers the controversies of the church--polygamy, the doctrine of blood atonement, the role of Brigham Young and church leaders in the murders at the Meadow Mountain Massacre, and racism in the church, all in historical context with extensive citations to original documentation.
The book is well-documented (about a quarter of the text is end notes). The Mormon responses to Abanes book online at the FAIRLDS.org site appear to be designed for Mormons who haven't read the book--they are pathetic by comparison to the book, and even if all of their objections were effective, they leave the bulk of Abanes' book untouched.
I think that Abanes makes his case very well up until chapter 17, "Is Mormonism Christian?", which is marred by some exceedingly poor argument and blindness to the failures of Abanes' own religious views--he seems not to recognize the syncretistic nature of Christianity and how it has evolved, and that fundamentalist Christianity didn't exist until the 20th century. On p. 390, Abanes writes "Rather than asking 'Are Mormons Christian?,' a better question would be 'Are Christians Mormon?' An affirmative answer to the first question would certainly mean an affirmative answer to the second one." He writes that LDS members don't allow all Christians into their temples, therefore Mormons don't recognize all Christians as Mormons, therefore Mormons aren't Christians. This argument is as erroneous as saying that if baseball is a sport, then all sports must be baseball.
Abanes also argues that Mormonism is not Christian because when Mormons find conflicts between Smith's scripture (the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price) and the Bible, they favor Smith's. He fails to recognize that the Mormon church stands in the same relation to Christianity that Christianity does to Judaism--when conflicts appear between the Old Testament and the New, Christians side with the latter (and attempt to explain them away). Mormons do the same.
Abanes seems not to recognize the enormous diversity within Christianity that has existed since the 1st century C.E., and his argument that Mormonism cannot be Christian could be paralleled by the Eastern Orthodox Church against the Roman Catholic Church, and by the Roman Catholic Church against Protestants.
In the end, Abanes makes a rock-solid case that Mormonism is founded on myths and deception--but if he pursued his own religious views with as critical an eye, he'd be forced to the same conclusion about them.
[This is my lowest-rated Amazon.com review--I suspect that born-again Christians hate it because I criticize chapter 17 and Mormons hate it because I approve of most of the rest of the book.]
The book's focus is on illusions that involve disappearance using optical effects, but it covers far more territory in order to set the stage and context. From "Pepper's Ghost" and the effects of early film (George Melies) to the optical effects of Charles Morritt and John Nevil Maskelyne, with side trips into the spirit cabinet of the Davenport brothers and the escapes of Houdini, the book includes a wealth of history of magic.
Steinmeyer's book examines the nature of magic, and what makes an effective performance. He argues that a common implication of books of magic tricks is incorrect: "that executing and concealing the secret is always the ultimate goal of the exercise" (p. 93). Rather, he argues that "the deception in a magic show is a negative element, a hole in the middle of the performance. The performance is a sort of inadvertent dance around this hole, with the hope that each spectator will be coaxed to slip through it. ... The real art is in the subtle touches of reassurance that surround any deception and disguise it as a positive thing. With a gesture, a suggestion, ... the audience is convinced that they are watching a genuine wonder" (p. 94).
Steinmeyer's book is a genuine wonder, and I highly recommend it along with the works of Ricky Jay. [This is a "Spotlight" review at Amazon.com]
Hiltzik does a good job of presenting many faces in a large cast of characters and describing the alliances and clashes within Xerox PARC (and between PARC and the rest of Xerox). Of particular note is the greater detail on the story of Steve Jobs visits to PARC and how they occurred (Xerox was briefly an investor in Apple), in far more detail than has been given elsewhere (e.g., in Levy's Insanely Great).
[Hiltzik was an L.A. Times columnist who lost his column for posting blog comments using multiple "sock puppets."]
The group also would occasionally make money with other scams, like "railing"--stealing directly out of the chip racks of their fellow players. They also narrowly avoid getting involved in a card-marking scheme, violating their own rules of not using any specialized equipment that could be incriminating.
The book is most interesting for the characters involved and how they dealt with "steam" from the casinos when they caught on to what was happening.
The author appears to have no guilt or remorse for his actions on the grounds that casinos are regularly "stealing" from people every day (though that certainly doesn't justify the thefts directly from other gamblers, and ignores that gamblers are willing participants who know the odds are stacked against them).
I read Bringing Down the House about the MIT Blackjack Team about a year and a half ago, and the comparison between the teams is interesting--the MIT team's methodology was far more sophisticated (and wasn't technically cheating), but both had to use similar psychological techniques.
It's surprising that the casinos didn't come up with better countermeasures quickly (a rule that there are no payouts for high-value chips not announced in advance, for example), but I find Marcus' overall tale quite plausible, in part because of the factors he points out in the last few pages of the book--"practically all casino jobs are monotonous" (p. 369). The boredom results in lack of attention and the jobs' high turnover results in inexperienced people up against very experienced cheaters.
Several chapters give a vivid account of the Scopes Trial itself, and Chapman gives references at the end for more comprehensive details. While the book does center around Dayton and the Scopes trial, the re-enactment doesn't become the planned centerpiece of the book when Chapman arrives too late to see it. He ends up speaking with the director of the play, and meeting some young Christians who are further examples of stereotype breaking, as he finds them to be quite cosmopolitan.
In the end, Chapman doesn't end up too far from where he started from, but he indicates that he's willing to give up the term "atheist" for himself in favor of "agnostic," and that his experiences in Dayton gave him a better appreciation for the multiple spiritual views endorsed by his Brazilian wife, Denise Texeiria.
I found the book a quite enjoyable read, especially with my familiarity of creationism and the Scopes Trial. I recommend it.
The accounts McWilliams presents show spammers to be essentially con artists, people who make a living openly flouting the law by selling products with deceptive and fraudulent claims, without a care for the damages they cause in the process. Some apparently deceive themselves, maintaining that they are helping people by giving them what they want, ignoring the costs they offload onto others in the process. Hawke comes across as an intelligent but sociopathic personality, manipulative of others and incapable of participating in any genuine human relationship.
In the end, it's clear from the minimal penalties imposed that the laws in the United States are not acting as a deterrent to this activity--the characters in this book appear, with only a couple of exceptions, to be undeterred. It remains to be seen if the criminal conviction of Jeremy Jaynes, who was sentenced to nine years of jail time, will be the first in a series of criminal prosecutions that will have some deterrent effect.
It would be interesting to see the result of a fact check against this book as a way of checking Bucchi's trustworthiness on his CIA book--my attempts to find out anything about 1980s or 1990s drug busts at Boise Cascade in Medford, Oregon via the Internet were unsuccessful, though I did find stories about the 1998 fire that burned it to the ground which Bucchi mentions in his Epilogue.
Script writers Douglas Cook and David Weisberg ("The Rock", "Double Jeopardy") sold a pitch based on Bucchi's book Operation Pseudo-Miranda (a revised and expanded version of his CIA book) under the title "Dixie Cups" in July 1999 to Atlas Entertainment, but no movie has yet come of it.
Some Bucchi-related URLs about his alleged CIA experiences: http://www.ocweekly.com/ink/01/43/cover-coker.php
http://www.hollywood.com/news/detail/article/386458 [This is a "Spotlight" review at Amazon.com.]
This is a fascinating story of an eccentric man who wanted more than anything to be President of the United States, but lost the chance due to his own actions. He served as head of the SEC to clean up Wall Street, he defended civil rights and civil liberties against government encroachments, and defended the environment. But he also was a womanizer, had a terrible home life, and drank heavily. This book appears to explain him quite well, showing how his views developed and transformed him from a justice who always sided with the mainstream (even supporting the internment of Japanese-Americans during WW II) only to reverse himself later in life and become perhaps the most potent force on the Supreme Court for defending freedom of speech and civil liberties, creating the right to privacy (in Griswold v. Connecticut) and making use of the often-ignored Ninth Amendment (unenumerated rights retained by the people).
Of the first two books, the first is the most entertaining--it has the widest variety of stories and many of them are quite amusing, horrifying, or otherwise entertaining. This book contains more stories of countercultural figures--the first three chapters are on countercultural history, Timothy Leary, and the Grateful Dead. Krassner's contributions to this book have all previously been published elsewhere.
Other chapters include a whole set of people's stories about tripping at Disneyland, the obligatory chapter of bad trips ("Bummers"), which are often the most entertaining, and a chapter by prisoners.
The book is divided into three parts--Part I is on "Espionage Concepts," which describes the intelligence process, forms of information, risk equations, how security's components are confidentiality, integrity, and availability, how to measure asset values, and so on. Part II is "Case Studies" and is the most interesting and original portion of the book. Part III is "Stopping the Spies," about specific vulnerabilities and countermeasures.
As in the previous book, Winkler's advice is sound and the case studies are interesting. Unfortunately, much of the book duplicates the prior book and other books in the field, which is part of why it took me three months to get through this book--I got hung up in Part III, which was mostly old hat.
What I found most disappointing about the book beyond its lack of novelty were two features: first, that there were frequent errors and omissions which seemed a display of either lack of research or carelessness; second, that Winkler takes many opportunities to tell the reader that he's involved in important things, but without showing the evidence for it.
Examples of the first include not only simple things like typos that should have been caught by the editor (p. xv "phased" for "fazed", p. xvi "over" for "cover"), but factual errors. On p. 55 he writes of the 1996 blackout of "nine states of the Pacific Northwest." There aren't nine Pacific Northwest states, and there were two Western U.S. 1996 blackouts caused by power lines sagging to trees, an Idaho/Wyoming line on July 2 affecting 14 Western states and a California line on August 10 affecting states from Oregon to Mexico and Texas.
On p. 78 he gives estimates of the number of people with various hacking skills which appear to have been pulled from a hat; I suspect his estimate of 100,000 people capable of developing hacking tools from knowledge of vulnerabilities is a substantial underestimate.
On p. 81 he claims that, contrary to other countries, the U.S. government intelligence agencies don't pass information back to U.S. companies. While this is official policy, counterexamples may be found (e.g., the book Friends in High Places discusses information flow in both directions between the CIA and the Bechtel corporation in the Middle East).
On p. 143, Winkler writes that "There has supposedly been only one day zero attack, which is an attack that exploits a vulnerability that was not previously reported and known." No reference (though I suspect he's referring to a successful 2003 attack on Microsoft IIS against the U.S. Air Force prior to the March 13, 2003 release of MS03-007), and surely false, if by "reported" he means reported to the general public, e.g., via a published security advisory.
Omissions include his discussion on p. 93 of Israeli intelligence actions against U.S. corporations, where he says "an Israeli telecommunications [company, sic] acquired a U.S. domestic carrier" and "now has control and access to the phone lines of many companies," but doesn't name the company. Why not? Isn't this something of importance for U.S. companies to be aware of? (Perhaps he is referring to Verint, formerly Comverse Infosys.)
Similarly, on p. 94 he writes that "There are also the recent charges of a Pentagon official who passed classified documents to Israel through a political lobbying group," but omits any details, even though these charges against Lawrence Franklin, who worked under Douglas Feith at the Pentagon, were well known (and Franklin has since confessed).
On p. 95 he writes of a German intelligence project, Project Rahab, that "one of [its] major reported successes includes infiltration of the SWIFT system, which is one of the world's major financial networks." Again, no references--in this case, the allegation probably comes from Timothy Haight's article "High Tech Spies" in the July 5, 1993 issue of Time magazine (p. 24), regarding the BND (German intelligence) use of a virus written by Chaos Computer Club member Bernd Fix. According to Fix (search the web for Rahab, SWIFT, and Bernd Fix and you'll find his commentary on this), there have been a lot of wild claims made, and he can't vouch for any of them. Any of these omissions could have been elaborated on and made the book much more interesting.
Winkler's self-aggrandizing can be found at a number of points throughout the book, such as on p. 84 where he writes that a small literary agency can represent people "some of whom (such as myself) have access to sensitive information." My favorite example is on p. 121 under the heading "personal aggrandizement," where Winkler writes that "An individual's desire to impress others has caused some of the biggest security problems in history." In the very next paragraph, he writes, "As I mention in the Introduction, one of my female friends was a CIA operative who posed in Playboy magazine."
Still, the book is worthwhile for a solid collection of vulnerabilities and countermeasures if you don't already have one, and the case studies are enjoyable (some of which are from Winkler's direct experience, others of which are reports of cases which have been reported on elsewhere, such as Alexey Ivanov in chapter 10 and Abraham Abdallah in chapter 11). One weakness of chapter 13 ("Taking Action", about setting up a security program and implementing countermeasures) is that it gives short shrift (p. 304) to measurement of effectiveness and the security life cycle.
[This is a "Spotlight" review on Amazon.com]
The book is unusual in its coverage of an issue that has not received the attention it deserves--application security--though it focuses only on reverse engineering and the writing of exploits such as buffer overflows. To be fair, the book's section of five chapters on software are under the heading "Software Cracking," and aren't intended to be coverage of software flaws or secure coding (see Graff and van Wyk's book for an overview of that subject).
The second section of the book is on "network stalking"--reconnaissance, scanning, fingerprinting, and includes a thin and light chapter on social engineering (citing Cialdini's classic and highly recommended book Influence as well as Kevin Mitnick's The Art of Deception, though the latter work is not properly referenced).
Part three is on "Platform Attacks" and covers Unix, Windows, SOAP XML, SQL Injection, and Wireless Security. This material isn't much different than what you'd find in the Hacking Exposed series.
The final part is on "Advanced Defense" and includes chapters on analyzing logs, using IDS and honeypots, incident response, and forensics and anti-forensics.
In some ways it seems like the authors were trying to do too much, and some of the chapters seem rather thin compared to more in-depth works on those particular subjects. The breadth, however, is quite impressive and unmatched by any other book on these subjects I'm aware of, while the depth is also greater than many security books. I recommend it as a good introduction and overview, to be supplemented by other works for further depth.
There are two significant flaws in the book:
1. It exaggerates the subjectivity of a security evaluation. On p. 17, chapter two is titled "Security Trade-offs are Subjective." But it's not the trade-off itself that is subjective. It's not the risk assessment that is subjective. It is people's non-instrumental desires (basic desires) or values that are subjective.
Schneier writes (p. 17) that "Different people have different senses of what constitutes a threat"--but some are right and some are wrong. His distinction between perceived and actual risk shows that the important one is actual risk, not perceived risk. Actual risk is objective, not subjective. Schneier continues "or what level of risk is acceptable." That can certainly have a subjective component, but even subjective components can conflict with each other and be internally inconsistent, indicating a problem in the evaluation.
The final sentence of the chapter contradicts the chapter title: "Because we do not understand the risks, we make bad security trade-offs." (p. 31) If the trade-offs were subjective, there would be no such thing as a bad trade-off, only a trade-off perceived to be bad by someone.
Later in the book Schneier contradicts the strong subjectivity claim (e.g., p. 249: "Massive surveillance systems are *never* worth it." (emphasis added)) I don't think he seriously meant to make the strong claim--I think it's just careless/imprecise writing. p. 259 seems to get it pretty much right, but he should really have found a philosopher to review this book--that a problem is intractable doesn't mean that the answer is subjective, nor does the fact that subjective interests enter into the picture mean that the answer, given those interests, is subjective.
2. The book argues for an exaggerated egalitarianism--that anybody, regardless of background, training, or intelligence, can do security analysis. At the same time, the book touches on some of the evidence that ordinary judgments are inaccurate, and that people are notoriously bad at estimating and comparing risks due to the natural use of heuristics like vividness, recency, etc. (the classic Kahnemann and Tversy book, Judgment Under Uncertainty, summarizes some of this evidence).
It would be grossly mistaken to think that Joe Schmoe off the street is going to be capable of designing (or evaluating) the effectiveness of a complex security system, versus people with appropriate training and experience--just as mistaken as hiring people with no computer knowledge to build and maintain your IT infrastructure.
Again, like in point 1, Schneier says things which contradict the strong hypothesis he seems to argue for, for example when he writes that wealthy people want doctors who treat others, not just standing by on 24/7 on-call for those wealthy people, because they want doctors who are experienced.
And I think this is a good comparison--the position Schneier *should* be arguing for is that we should take responsibility for our own security in the same way that we should take responsibility for our own health. We still need to rely on experts, but we should take an active role in consulting with them and evaluating what they tell us, especially since (just as in health care and medicine) there are people who know what they are talking about and those who are snake oil salesmen.
The following are some other comments on the book:
p. 28: "studies have shown that both drivers and passengers in SUVs are more likely to die in accidents than those in compact cars" -- While this triggered my BS meter since, in general, the heavier a car is, the safer it is, this is actually likely to be correct. One reference is Stephanie Mencimer in the Washington Monthly, December 2002: "The occupant death rate in SUVs is 6% higher than it is for cars--8% higher in the largest SUVs. The main reason is that SUVs carry a high risk of rollover; 62% of SUV deaths in 2000 occurred in rollover accidents." If the rollover risk was eliminated or significantly reduced, then SUVs would be significantly safer than compact cars.
p. 34: Schneier points out that tweezers are (were) confiscated at airport security checkpoints after 9/11/2001, while matches and lighters were not, and says this is "because the tobacco lobby interjected its agenda into the negotiations with the government." No supporting reference (a huge failing of this book)--is it true? Perhaps. But Schneier goes on to say "If the tweezers lobby had more power, I'm sure they would have been allowed on board, as well." But if there were a tweezers lobby, their interests would be better served by a regulation that required their product to be taken from customers, who then would have to buy more of their product. The match and lighter manufacturers probably wouldn't have minded that kind of treatment for their product, but the tobacco manufacturers wouldn't want anything to inconvenience their customers from being able to consume their product.
pp. 40-41: Schneier writes that airlines have fought safety improvements and that safety has only improved when regulations forced them. But the airline safety record shows a continuous improvement in safety over time, without regard to regulations, and even subsequent to massive airline deregulation in 1979. The main sources of the safety improvements are technological and procedural.
p. 49: Schneier misuses the term "emergent property" to refer more broadly to what are consequences of systems. An emergent property is a property that appears at one level of description that is reducible to other properties at a lower level of description in terms of composition, but has features distinct from those at the lower level of description (i.e., not present at the lower level of description).
A standard philosopher's example is the property of "wetness" coming from atoms of hydrogen and oxygen assembled to make water. The wetness of water is not in the description at the physical level (description in terms of physical laws and properties).
(See http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/notebooks/emergent-properties.html, http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~philos/MindDict/emergence.html) Lock picking is not an "emergent property" of the system of locks in the philosophers' use of that term.
p. 61: "In general, crime doesn't pay." Depends on the crime. There is a wide variety of laws and regulations that are so poorly enforced that many businesses exist to blatantly violate those laws and regulations as part of their business plan. Two examples of industries permeated with such violators are health and nutritional supplements and telemarketing. Recent history shows that the same is true of the financial industry (e.g., IPO improprieties and mutual fund insider "timing" frauds, where Prudential ignored 30,000 complaint letters, the SEC ignored the issue, and 10% of mutual fund employees knew about the practices and did nothing: http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/1116beck16.html). Also health care (e.g., HealthSouth).
p. 79: "Bears generally chase people to scare them, not to eat them." The key word is "generally," as Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard learned the hard way while trying to promote getting close to bears to show that they are not dangerous. http://www.adn.com/front/story/4110831p-4127072c.html
p. 120: "A nuclear power plant, for example, is an inherently brittle system. A minor problem--either accident or sabotage--has the potential, however small, to turn into a disaster of epic proportions." But, to be fair, the risks and benefits of nuclear power versus other forms of power generation (versus no power generation at all) need to be compared, and on those grounds nuclear power comes out extremely well given the standards under which U.S. nuclear power plants are built (e.g., able to withstand collision from a 747 against the reactor building, using gravity as part of the failure mechanism of the control rods, etc.), versus the number of people killed on a regular basis from pollution from other types of power plants. For some interesting information on the Brown's Ferry nuclear power plant fire and Three Mile Island, including first-hand reports from people who worked at each in the aftermath to address issues (in the first URL below), see:
The former source points out that eliminating single points of failure and utilizing defense in depth were the two guiding principles of nuclear plant design, to which has been added a third: probabilistic risk analysis (for "all credible failure modes of every piece of safety equipment").
It seems to me that anyone whose analysis concludes that automobiles are worth the risks should come to the same conclusion regarding nuclear power, or risk self-contradiction on the facts. (Schneier, back on p. 28, does point out that riding in a car is "the riskiest discretionary activity the majority of Americans regularly undertake," so he may not be a person described by my previous sentence.)
p. 146: Claim that TSA employees are better than the private contractors, w/o evidence. In general, private companies pay better and provide better working environments than government, don't they? (E.g., UPS and FedEx vs. USPS.)
p. 155: I got all the way to this page before finding a typo ("pickpocking"), which is a sign of a well-edited book.
p. 156: "do it correctly": an audit of the IRS found that their help line was giving out incorrect information 1/3 of the time.
p. 219: "minatory": Meaning "threatening" or "menacing", Dictionary.com's word of the day for April 2, 2003. I got this far in the book before finding a word I had to look up in the dictionary--Schneier used fewer abstruse/esoteric vocabulary words in this book than in Secrets and Lies. Too bad--I enjoyed that...
p. 247: Schneier says CAPS II is "not worth it." But on p. 165, he wrote that "A system like this just might be worth the trade-offs." (Referring to CAPPS rather than CAPPS II, perhaps?)
p. 278: Lots of people are *legitimately* living in fear.
The stories are mixed in quality and plausibility, but the defensive advice is generally quite good and on-target. The story from the l0pht is particularly amusing, the story of company that enters into negotiations to purchase them, only to make the mistake of agreeing to a no-holds-barred penetration test of their infrastructure as a preliminary.
The initial story in the book, about hacking slot machines, seems rather implausible, especially given the apparent necessity of a plus-or-minus 5 ms accuracy in response time (p. 8), since human beings take 10-20 times that amount of time to perceive and respond to a stimulus.
Particularly disappointing was that Mitnick gave so much space and sympathy to "Robert," a seriously ethically challenged hacker in chapter 8. "Robert" is a hacker who worked for porn spammers by breaking into porn websites to collect email addresses, yet allegedly works in security for a "very religious and upstanding company" (p. 168).
This book doesn't quite measure up to its predecessor, but it is an entertaining book. Most of the defensive advice is old hat for security professionals, but could prove useful to executives, small business owners, and novices interested in security.
The most frustrating thing about this book is that Cesar Millan apparently learned English from California advocates of woo-woo, as he repeatedly uses the word "energy" as a shorthand for aspects of dog behavior that are not energy. This is not necessarily a fatal problem, but can be very distracting for anyone who is scientifically minded, and it leads to a lack of precision in his advice and explanations.
Another word that I'm not sure Cesar Millan understands the way most Americans do is the word "hour"--he advises that all dog owners be prepared to walk their dogs for an hour and a half each day (p. 234) and for three hours or more after a move (p. 259). If these were hard requirements, there would be virtually no dog owners in the United States. Perhaps he has as an alterior motive the attempt to combat obesity? Millan's own described exercise program with his dogs is four hours every morning, and more hours in the afternoon.
Some of Cesar Millan's methods have been questioned by behavioral experts, and his show and book both advise to bring in experts rather than trying to duplicate some of his methods yourself, as they could be extremely dangerous when dealing with aggressive dogs. It's also worth noting that one of the successes described in his book and on the show, with the Great Dane Kane (pp. 105-108) has been challenged by behaviorists as not quite the clear-cut instant success that Millan claims, since the dog continued to exhibit clear signs of stress even when supposedly completely cured.
In short, the book is valuable but should be complemented with more scientifically based material and other expert opinion.