Michael Franzese tells it like it is. He knows what he’s talking about and is able to use stories from his mob experiences to illustrate his lessons.
Most of the discussions are standard business lessons. This doesn’t mean that people follow the advice, but it is generally available. However, for me, putting it in terms of another large “business” organization provided a slant that made the advice stick in my mind. A good example is: Cook the pasta, not the books. We all know this, but the stories made me think about it in a fresh way.
My favorite lesson, and one that I hadn’t thought about, was: Keep your eyes on the bookies. Before reading that chapter, I hadn’t realized how great the temptation is for an employee with a gambling problem to take advantage of his or her proximity to cash to begin pilfering. Now I understand the problem better. Thanks, Michael.
The other lesson I particularly appreciated was: Learn from your failures. Failure is discouraging and some people never come back from a serious set-back. It’s more productive to think of failure as lesson time. You got there for some reason. How can you do better next time?
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable and educational read.
Posted April 27, 2009on:
Three women are the faces of law enforcement. A young girl goes missing. Allison, the prosecutor faces the legal problems of getting an indictment for the supposed killer. Nicole, the FBI agent, must deal with the family and all the aspects of a federal investigation. Cassidy, the newswoman, follows the story hoping it will be her big break. The backgrounds of all three women are skilfully woven together to give a detailed picture of the problems involved when a child goes missing.
The novel pulls you along. The short chapters and fast action make it hard to put down. However, I did have two problems with the book. Because the author is knowledgeable her writing often sounds more like non-fiction than fiction. The second problem is that while the female characters are believable, the male characters are like cardboard cutouts thrown up for effect. However, the book is entertaining reading for a raining afternoon.
Available from Thomas Nelson:
Format: Jacketed Hardcover
Trim Size: 6.40 x 9.20 x 1.50
Page Count: 320
A disciplinary transfer moves FBI agent Raleigh Harmon from Richmond to Seattle. She’s the new kid on the block and experiences all the hazing her male co-workers can dish out. Her crazy mother and not too stable aunt provide a counter point to the harsh world of violent crime. Throw in Claire the Clairvoyant and you have a cast of characters that add a necessary a light element to an otherwise dark story.
In spite of her low status in the Violent Crimes Section, Raleigh solves a complicated kidnapping case that puts her own life in danger. She’s a tough, likable heroine who keeps up with the male agents and manages to go one step beyond.
One of the bonuses of this book is the insight into the difficult life of Felicia, an FBI informer. Responding to her plight brings Raleigh out of her shell and makes her realize that it’s not enough to catch criminals, you also need to show compassion for the victims.
Giorello’s prose is like poetry. Her descriptions of the mountainous terrain of Washington State are unforgeable. I could see the places she describes. It made me want to go hiking. The taut suspense, likable characters, and gorgeous scenery make this a novel to curl up with on a rainy day.
Scott Hamilton gives great advice for living whether you’re a figure skater, an athlete of any kind, or just a person trying to have a happy life. I loved hearing his tales about figure skating. I knew nothing about it before reading this book and found the descriptions on the par with reading a good novel.
Scott’s eight principles for a happy life resonated with me. I particularly liked the discussion of how much work and practice it takes to maintain happiness. We are all blessed whether we realize it or not. The trick is finding the things that make you happy and concentrating on them. It’s true, even proved by research, that happy people draw others to them. They raise the happiness quotient of everyone around them.
I particularly loved the chapter “Think Positive, Laugh, and Smile like Kristi Yamaguchi.” When you go down hard on the ice, or take any kind of fall physical or mental, it’s great advice to get up smiling. Just the fact of forcing your face into a smile takes some of the pain away. (I’ve fallen off horses, so I know from experience.)
All in all “The Great Eight” is a terrific read. I literally couldn’t put it down.
For more information go to: http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=0785228942
Posted March 13, 2009on:
The authors, one a wealthy art dealer, the other a homeless black man were unlikely to become friends. A remarkable woman, Debbie, the art dealer’s wife, brought them together. This is the story of how these men overcame their prejudice, let down their guard and became friends for life. The truly remarkable part of the story is that whether they knew it or not they would need to sustain each through the tragedy of Debbie’s tragic bout with colon cancer.
This true story is filled with revelations about the reality of slavery in the South today. How can people be free when they are economically and educationally disadvantaged. Too often when we look at homeless people, we see the addiction, and the dirt, but we fail to see the person underneath. We turn our eyes away believing these people are less than human. The story of how Ron, the wealthy art dealer, came to love and depend on Denver, the black homeless man, is a true miracle. It’s a reminder that we never know what in our lives will turn out to sustain us in our darkest moments. This book should be read by everyone, believer and non-believers alike to remind us of our humanity.
“Rachael’s Tears” touches all or us as a testament to the faith of one young girl and to her parents understanding and love of God. As a parent myself, I find it hard to imagine the level of grief that her parents must have felt when Rachael was murdered by a classmate – and murdered for her faith.
I feel very privileged to have had a chance to share Rachael’s Diaries. She was truly a remarkable person. Her love of God shines through even the most mundane entries. She was willing to give up her life for her beliefs. How many of us can say that.
The parent’s healing was as remarkable a part of the book as Rachael’s witness. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to put aside the grief and anger that had to accompany this tragedy and use it to save other children. The interviews with Darrel and Beth ten years later given at the end of the book show that they are also incredible people. God chose an exceptional family to work through.
I hope everyone who reads this book passes it on. It’s a book that must be shared. Our world needs this kind of witness. It needs the hope inspired by a young girl’s faith and the understanding achieved by her parents in working through their grief.
For more information go to: http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=1400313473