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.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Zilch to Conversational

Zilch to Conversational: A Guide to Language Learning Tools, Strategies and Techniques for Conversational Fluency, Daniel V Rusteen, OptimizemyBnB.com, 2019

You have decided to learn another language. Now what do you do?

The first thing that is needed is motivation. Is the language learning for business or pleasure? This book will help a person reach the level of eighty percent fluency. The learner should be able to navigate a restaurant, and the local market. There is little reason to go for total fluency if you are just going on vacation.

There is a website called Fluent Forever, that specializes in language learning in months, rather than years. Another site, called Ankiweb, allows the creation of digital flashcards, not just in languages, but in any subject where lots of memorization is needed. It can be downloaded to your cellphone, so studying can be done anytime.

A human teacher can be very helpful, whether in person or online. It is important that the teacher realizes that everyone learns languages in different ways and at different speeds. Some teachers know only one way to teach languages. Books, in your target language, can also be very helpful. It might be best to start with a grammar book, even a young adult grammar book, then work your way up to, for instance, a book of short stories. When a more advanced level is reached, consider changing your cellphone's default language to your target language. Last, but not least, plan on spending a couple of hours per day, every day, studying your target language.

This book does a very good job at making the language learning process as painless as possible. It will still take time and effort, but many of the question marks have been removed. This is very much worth reading.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Fog of Data

The Fog of Data: Navigating Data to Derive Implications, Unlock Value, Get Buy-In and Increase Transparency, Jason Schenker, Prestige Professional Publishing LLC, 2019

In this era of Big Data, it is tempting for a company, of any size, to jump in, head first. After all, the more data a company has, the better the "answer," right? Not exactly.

First of all, what question (or questions) is your company trying to answer? Is this the right question? Can any of that mountain of data be put aside, or trashed, or is it all needed to answer the question? Is your data in the right currency, or the right unit of measure? If your data doesn't fit, is it worth the time and money to make it fit?

Data that is, figuratively, sitting in a corner gathering dust is worthless without useful questions to answer. Good analysis is just as important as good data answering the right questions. The final answer from your data must be constantly re-tested. Just because an answer is "correct" this year does not mean it will be equally "correct" next year. Not all data is useful.

Sometimes it is necessary to create your own data. From the start, focus on getting the data you want so that you don't have to change direction somewhere in the middle. If such a change becomes necessary, do it as quickly as possible. When presenting your data, use images and pictures, not just words. If possible, tell a story with your data.

This book does an excellent job at helping the reader navigate the world of Big Data, before they jump in. It is recommended for companies both big and small.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Way In

The Way In: 5 Winning Strategies to Lose Weight, Get Strong and Lift Your Life, Andrea Marcellus, 2019, Avrock Press

There seem to be a million diet/health/lifestyle books currently on the market. This one is different.

How is this book different? Most diets last for a certain number of days. At the end of that time, the weight will start to return; the diet is over. This book attempts to re-program the stomach to be satisfied with smaller portions. It is all about reduced portion sizes. This book also authorizes a specific mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. For instance, eating nothing between breakfast and lunch will make you overeat at lunch.

The author advocates the 80/20 Rule. Eat healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, 80 percent, or more, of the time, and spend no more than 20 percent of the time eating bad foods, like soda and ice cream (the book gives lists of good and bad foods). That's right, nothing is forbidden in this book. It is important to learn to stop eating when you are satiated, not when you are full (there is a difference). Get away from the "Clean Plate Club" mentality taught by your parents.

When it comes to exercise, moderate exercise is more than enough. There is no need to train to run a marathon, unless you really want to run a marathon. Getting your heartbeat up for 30 minutes at a time, several times a week, is all you really need. Also, standing burns more calories than sitting, so do more standing during the day.

This book feels very plausible, and easy to follow. For those who have tried every diet available, maybe a new approach is needed. Instead of counting calories, try getting your stomach to be happy with less food. This book is very much worth checking out.