Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

I post my reviews to:

2 yahoo groups
Amazon and B&N (of course)
and on Twitter

I am always looking for more places to post my reviews.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Born To Be An Entrepreneur

Born To Be An Entrepreneur, Kristyna Zapletal, 2018, independently published

Many books on entrepreneurship concentrate on the "hot" industries that will attract everyone. This book looks at the inner, psychological aspects.

There will never be a "perfect" time to become an entrepreneur. What if I don't have enough money to get started? What if I am not smart enough? What if I fail? There is only you, and there is only now. Do you have the willpower to stick with it, through good times and bad?

Find a product or service that will bring value to others. Fill a need that people don't even know that they have. Do that, and the profits will come. If things don't work out, and you do fail, it is not the end of the world. You will have a much better idea of what not to do next time.

Every day, you will have to deal with negative thoughts and emotions, sometimes caused by other people. Just let those thoughts pass right by you, without letting them inside. You won't be able to help others until you first help yourself. The world is changing every day, so it's a good idea to stay a few steps ahead of everyone else. That can be done by, for example, learning a new language or becoming better at time management. We can't control negative events in our lives, but we can control our responses to them.

Other chapters look at regaining your self-esteem, being an innovator no matter where you live, getting rid of the victim mindset and the reason that numbers don't always tell the right story.

After the decision has been made about the product or service to be sold, reading this book is a very good idea. The chapters are very short, and they will help a ,lot on those days when your willpower is lacking.

Monday, May 28, 2018

The MECE Muse

The MECE Muse: 100+ Selected Practices, Unwritten Rules and Habits of Great Consultants, Christie Lindor, 2018, SDP Publishing

In this world, there are two types of business consultants. Some will do the minimum amount of work to not get fired by the client. They will answer only the question or problem that they have been given. Others will go out of their way to learn a client's business, and answer questions that the client has not even asked. Which do you want to be?

Never underestimate the power of common courtesy. Network, network, network (then network some more). While you are on the road, flying from city to city, set aside some time for yourself. You will be no good to anyone, especially the client, if your health suddenly collapses due to stress and unhealthy eating. Metaphorically speaking, "force" the client's CEO to put you in his or her rolodex, because of the wonderful job you did. You should be the first person they call with any future problems.

The first day of a new consulting assignment is not the time to start researching the client. Spend a couple of weeks ahead of time learning the client's business and industry. That way, you can hit the ground running, while everyone else is just getting started.

If you are part of a large group of consultants, you will come into contact with all sorts of personalities, some of them less-than-pleasant. If you are done for the day, and a colleague is still working, Always ask if you can help. The final product is the important part, not what individual consultants did, or how quickly they did it.

If there is such a thing as "one stop shopping" in the consulting world, this is it. It is most recommended for new MBA's who think that they have all the answers. Experienced consultants will also learn something from this book. It is well worth reading.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Royal Bengal Horror

Royal Bengal Horror, Nafee Muhammad Anam, 2017

This is a group of spooky/macabre stories set in South Asia.

A newspaper editor visits his top writer, who seems to have fallen off the face of the Earth. He has not been into work in a long time. The writer has physically changed a lot, and not for the better. He says that he was forced to let go his driver, his cook and his housekeeper. The editor is drawn to the basement, where he finds four coffins, three of which are occupied. The door to the main level suddenly closes.

A new family moves in next door. The only child, named Christina, has not been outside at all for several days. Urmi, a young woman of the same age, goes next door to say Hi. In the sitting room are hundreds of drawings of snakes, all done by Christina. Urmi reluctantly enters Christina's room, which is filled with glass showcases holding thousands of snakes. Urmi turns around to get out, and Christina is gone, along with the door to the room. As if on cue, all the glass cages open, and all the snakes head straight for a panicked Urmi.

On the positive side, this is a very good group of stories from a different part of the world. They will certainly keep the reader entertained. On the negative side, this book needs a trip, or another trip, to a proofreader whose first language is English.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Appointed Hour

The Appointed Hour, Susanne Davis, Cornerstone Press, 2017

This group of connected stories shines a spotlight on rural America.

A woman walks into a tattoo shop, wanting a large tattoo across her chest for a less-than-intelligent reason. The male tattoo artist reluctantly fulfills her wish. A few years later, when the artist has his own shop, the same woman wants another tattoo. This time he says no; the art outweighs the money.

A local handyman, who has acquired the nickname Useless John, goes to a woman's house to install a hardwood floor in her kitchen. She just happens to look exactly his wife who died several years previously. He was driving when there was a bad auto accident.

A descendant of the Mayflower attempts to deal with a monument to an ancestor. A woman with post-traumatic stress disorder finds a group of other women to help her regain her voice. There is a story about dealing with HIV. An actress in the 1950's who got to kiss Elvis Presley on screen decided, in later years, to become a nun. She is now known as Mother Agnes.

These stories take place in Connecticut, but they could take place anywhere. Individually, these stories are excellent. Put them together, and this collection nears the level of Amazing. It is extremely highly recommended.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

My Twin Sister and Me

My Twin Sister and Me, Emiliya Ahmadova, Women's Voice Publishing House, 2018

This Young Adult novel is about Julieta and Rafaela, twin sisters living in Venezuela. They have a typical home life. There is some sibling rivalry, mostly with Kara, their older sister. Montano, a male friend, is the subject of constant bullying at school. He is kind of overweight, and has a severe intestinal gas problem. A beloved uncle, who lives in America, is dealing with Stage 4 Cancer.

The girls have joined the local Girl Scouts, and they have a chanced to go to a Jamboree in Russia. The only problem is that the Scouts have to pay part of the cost of the trip. Their parents are skeptical, but the girls' Inner Entrepreneur has been unleashed. The money is raised, and the girls, and Montano, are going to Russia.

The living conditions at the campground where the Jamboree is being held are basic, but livable. There is plenty of opportunity to meet Scouts from other countries. A bus trip is planned to a museum in Moscow, but Montano has to go to the bathroom, now. Julieta gets off the bus with him, without telling anyone. The bus leaves without them. Everyone is under strict orders to not leave the campground. Just outside the campground is a Russian Orthodox church. Along with Lena, a Scout from Russia, Julieta and Montano visit the church. They also meet an elderly woman who has been reduced to begging. Are there any other eye-opening moments while they are in Russia?

This is a very interesting story, the sort of story that could take place anywhere. For any young girl between nine and thirteen years old (the age range for this book) who is having trouble dealing with adolescence, or thinks that no one can understand what they are experiencing, reading this book is a very good idea.