Category Archives: Biography/Autobiography

Trump: The Art of the Deal – by Donald J. Trump, Tony Schwartz

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Originally published: 6th October 2015
Page count: 384 pages (Paperback)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Subjects: Biography
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399594493
ISBN-13: 978-0399594496
Product DimensionsKindle eBook / Audiobook

100 Word Book Review:

Trump narrates how he runs his organization, his life, the people he has to meet and chat with family and friends, as well as the clashes with enemies. All the while challenging conventional thinking, cutting great deals that are almost impossible. There are some unique insight and perspectives that opens up a different dimension on how deals are agreed upon. Nonetheless, the entire book captures only the wins but not the losses. Still, it is an excellent illustration of what professional salespeople must do. Salespeople must be negotiators, by definition. And Trump has achieved that over the years.

Who should read:

Well, I think if you are looking to understand Trump, this is a good book to start with. This book does give good insights into thinking, his logic and reasoning. It helps to understand why Trump calls off meeting or even agreed deals after hours of doing so.

Who should NOT read:

Certainly this book is not for those who are not a fan of Trump. Every word on the book will probably irk you much. Period.

Takeaway points:

It is an art to close a deal, no matter the size. While this book does give a few good pointers, I do feel it lacks of the realistic aspect. Then again, this is only my personal opinion.

About the Author

Tony Schwartz (born May 2, 1952) is an American journalist and business book author who ghost wrote Trump: The Art of the Deal.

In July 2016, Schwartz was the subject of an article in The New Yorker in which he described Donald Trump, who was running for President of the United States at the time, in unfavorable terms. Schwartz said he came to regret writing The Art of the Deal. Schwartz repeated his criticism on Good Morning America, saying he “put lipstick on a pig”, and again on Real Time with Bill Maher.

When Breath Becomes Air

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Originally published: January 12, 2016
Page count: 231 pages (Paperback)
Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (January 12, 2016)
Subjects: Biography
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0812988418
ISBN-13: 978-0812988413
Product Dimensions: Kindle eBook available

100 Word Book Review:

A doleful recount of Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon’s last surviving years, the sudden transition of role from being a doctor treating the dying, to becoming the dying patient himself. As he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. In the face of death, Paul went about the preparations, reflecting on choices, goals, his infant daughter and the continuity after his departure.

Who should read:

If you are looking for a deeper meaning of life, a serious view on the perpetual continuity in the face of death, reading this book may help to align your goals and seek what your answer to your question may be. It is a very practical book exploring the last days and months of a dying patient, who happens to be a doctor too.

Overall it is a good book exploring the feelings, emotions and the process of being sick, the pratical roles of doctor and patient. It is sad, yet beautiful. Bittersweet.

Who should NOT read:

On the contrary, if you are looking for some happy ending, some ‘everything is awesome regardless so’ theme of biography, do not try this book. It is sombre and serious in general even though the author has written in light humor, looking at daily things from amusing perspectives.

Takeaway points:

Life is simple, life is short for some. Sometimes things that are fated to be. No science, religion or philosophy can alter the course of fate. If it is meant to be, it is meant to be. Regardless how science have advanced and may cure the most deadly disease, it is a little beyond what even the best doctor can do.

About the Author

PAUL KALANITHI was a neurosurgeon and writer. He graduated from Stanford with a B.A. and M.A. in English literature and a B.A. in human biology. He earned an M.Phil in the history and philosophy of science and medicine from Cambridge and graduated cum laude from the Yale School of Medicine, where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society. He returned to Stanford to complete his residency training in neurological surgery and a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience, and received the American Academy of Neurological Surgery’s highest award for resident research. He died in March 2015. He is survived by his family, including his wife Lucy, and their daughter Elizabeth Acadia.

Chan Heart, Chan Mind

Chan Heart, Chan Mind: A Meditation on Serenity and Growth

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Originally published: 8 March 2016
Authors: Master Guojun (Author), Kenneth Wapner (Editor)
Page count: 176 pages (Paperback)
Publisher: Wisdom Publications
Subjects: Philosophy, Religon
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1614292620
ISBN-13: 978-1614292623
Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches

100 Word Book Review:

Master Guojun narrates his life with his ordination master, Master Songnian to Chan Master Sheng Yen, documenting the major memories and lessons from his apprenticeship to being the present abbot of Mahabodhi Temple, Singapore. Each contemporary master has his own way of teaching and sharing. Through these experiences, he shares and educates readers basic Buddhism concepts, how simple things hold great meanings. A change in perspectives unfolds insights into the basic things performed in life. In the age of technology and instant gratification, Master Gunjun illustrates how Buddhism is a life philosophy, adaptable yet unbending, applicable to any situations.

Who should read:

Readers who are keen and curious of Buddhism, or interested to know how the daily life of a monk. Master Guojun keeps the narration simple in order to deliver the clearest message. Though this book, readers realise that some things in life is so much easier than it looks. And many of the times in life, it is the mentality and perspectives that complicates things, resulting in frustrations.

Who should NOT read:

For readers who are expecting a deeper and advanced explaination of Buddhism, this book will not be the right title. The book intends to bring forth an introduction to the uninitiated.

Takeaway points:

Life is simple, fall back to basics. Unhappiness, frustrations, anger, and all the negative emotions are unnecessary. It arises from inflexible perspectives which narrows the mind resulting in complications. To see is to not to see. Many things are not be viewed as its form itself.

About the Author

Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World

Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World

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Originally published: 18 September 18 2018
Original Title: Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World
Author: by Tom Wright (Author), Bradley Hope (Author)
Page count: 400 pages
Publisher: Hachette Books
Genre: Non-fiction
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0316436502
Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches | 635 grams

100 Word Book Review:

Descriptively, it traces and dissects the events that transpire from the beginnings to the massive international financial scandal till the present day. From interviews and third-party observations, it documents how Low used tricks and ways to achieve his aims, giving a glimpse into the Low’s mind, and explaining Jho Low’s modus operandi. This book does not simply include and involve Low himself. From Wynton Group to Najib to Otaiba and a myriad of celebrities, it focuses on every individual, every company and governments that have been, unfortunately, implicated in this unbelievable scam. A true-life thriller that reads like Hollywood movie.

Who should read:

People who loves financial thriller and mystery which remains unresolved. At the same time, those with some basic accounting knowledge and corporate structures, in terms of subsidiary and shell companies, will enjoy this book much more.

This is largely because 20% of the book discusses on the framework and layout of Jho Low’s thinkings, as well as execution. With the required knowledge, be it professional or academic background, reading the book feels almost like meeting Jho Low himself.

Who not read it:

Surely those who are seeking fictional or fantasy stories will be disappointed.

As much as the book indicates that any error is on the authors, the book is largely based on witnesses and observations. So it is very easy to believe that the accounts are true and accurate.

Lastly, perhaps those who have a grudge against 1MDB and other related parties. When such unresolved cases are still pending, there will be other sides of the story which are unaccounted for.

Takeaway point:

Greed has no boundaries, and some will go to great lengths to satisfy the insatiable wants.

Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future

Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of Spacex and Tesla is Shaping Our Future

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Originally published: 19th May 2015
Original Title: Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future
Author: Ashlee Vance
Page count: 400 pages
Publisher: Ecco
Genre: Biography
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062301233
ISBN-13: 978-0062301239
Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 7.4 inches

100 Word Book Review:

SpaceX, Tesla, SolarCity, Paypal, and the recent The Boring Company are founded by South African Elon Musk. He is an entrepreneur and innovator who seeks to explore self-sustaining solutions, changing the world to be a better place. The book begins by documenting his difficult environment and rough childhood in South Africa. By 17, he finally moved to Canada which he desired very much. In a chronological order, along with management issues and engineering innovations, it reveals the turbulent personal life of Elon Musk, who called his estranged father ‘a terrible human being’. Overall, Elon prefers not speak about his personal life.

 

Who should read it:

Entrepreneurs who are in tech start ups looking for a role model to emulate and look up to. Not to mention, readers who are in admiration and respect of Elon Musk should read this book too. It gives a sneak peak to the man, his logic and his thinkings.

 

Who should NOT read it:

For readers who are totally NOT in to technology stuffs. Personally I think this book will rather bore you to death. If you are not keen in techs, or Elon Musk, pick up something else. It will save your life.

 

Takeaway points:

Invention is the creation of a solution to a need. It is a both innovation, knowledge and grit to make the dream into a reality. Elon is determined to make it happen, and his mindset, as well as mentality, allows great things to happen.

 

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The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew

 The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew

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Originally published: 12 September 2012
Original Title: The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew
Authors: Lee Kuan Yew
Page count: 680 pages (Hardcopy)
Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1st edition (October 14, 1998)
Subjects: AutoBiography, Political Science, History
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0130208035
ISBN-13: 978-0130208033
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 2 inches

100 Word Book Review:

A factual and concise book documenting Singapore’s history from Lee Kuan Yew’s perspective, illustrating his challenges, frustrations as well as personal observations of people and events. From a brief background of his childhood through the colonial days, the Japanese Occupation, then the post war and internal self-government, then finally the merger with Malaysia and subsequent Singapore’s Separation from Malaysia. Each chapter details the dangers and opportunities, the hardship that Lee Kuan Yew and his team faced internally and externally. It brings clarity to historical events during the forming years, documenting Singapore’s arrival in the global village of nations.

SINGAPORE CHRONICLES: GOVERNANCE

Singapore Chronicles : Governance

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Originally published: 21 December 2016
Authors: Ho, Peter / Shroff, Anuradha / Tan, Codey / See, Hazel / Leong, Lena
Page count: 136
Publisher: Straits Times Press
Country: Singapore
Subjects: Political Science
ISBN: 978-981-4747-19-6
Size: 129 mm x 196 mm (portrait)
Estimated weight: 175 grams

100 Word Book Review:

This is a 50 volume series documenting the challenges that Singapore faced after Independence, shaped by its leaders’ long-term vision. The main key aspects of Singapore’s governance – incorruptibility, pragmatism and meritocracy. It also elaborates the roles played by institutions, strategies and policies in place to counter check any deviations. While Singapore has inherited part of the British System, it poses pragmatic problems too. There is a need to depart from welfarism because it saps people’s self-reliance and the need to excel and succeed. A good concise reference book for understanding the basis of Singapore’s public policy and principles of governance.

The Authors

Mr Peter Ho was Head of Singapore’s civil service, concurrent with his other appointments as Permanent Secretary (Foreign Affairs), Permanent Secretary (National Security and Intelligence Coordination), and Permanent Secretary (Special Duties) in the Prime Minister’s Office. Before that, he was Permanent Secretary (Defence). He is now the Senior Advisor to the Centre for Strategic Futures, where he continues to pursue his interests in good governance and strategic foresight. He is also Chairman of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore, and a Senior Fellow in the Civil Service College Singapore.

Ms Anuradha Shroff is a Lead Researcher in the Institute of Governance and Policy in the Civil Service College (CSC) Singapore. She is also a facilitator and trainer for the CSC’s leadership and public policy programmes. Her current research focus is on the relevance and application of complexity theories to public policy and leadership. She was previously a lead strategist and facilitator with the Strategic Policy Office, Public Service Division.

Mr Codey Tan is an Assistant Manager in the Institute of Public Sector Leadership in the Civil Service College (CSC) Singapore. He is also a facilitator for the CSC’s public policy programmes. His research interest lies in public sector governance and the application of complexity theories to public policy. He was previously with the Centre for Public Economics, CSC.

Ms Hazel See is a Senior Manager in the Strategic Planning and Development unit in the Civil Service College (CSC) Singapore. Besides writing thought articles and case studies, she has led training consultancy projects for public sector organisations and regularly facilitates leadership and policy milestone training programmes. Her research interests include public-sector governance, policy and service management. She has been with the CSC since 2010 and was previously with the Ministry of Education.

Ms Lena Leong is a Deputy Director and Principal Learning and Development Specialist in the Civil Service College International in the Civil Service College (CSC) Singapore. She has facilitated Public Administration and Reform programmes for international participants. Her research interests are in public administration and management, organisation change and leadership. She was previously with the Institute of Leadership and Organisation Development and the Centre for Governance and Leadership, CSC.

The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

 The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

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Originally published: April 6, 2010
Author: David Remnick
Page count: 672
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Nominations: Goodreads Choice Awards Best History & Biography

 

 

100 Word Book Review:

The Bridge refers to the police attack on demonstrators at at Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965, during the marches of Selma to Montgomery. Some viewed as a bridging of people of different races. Detailing key people (Jack Ryan, Blair Hull) that contribute to the outcome.  It describles the course of campaigning, networking, and every challenge that comes along the way. At the end, a reader will get a sense of elation and epiphany of how things come to fruition. Giving birth to a first African American, born outside the contiguous United States, serving as 44th President of the United States.

Have a Little Faith: a True Story – Mitch Albom

Have a Little Faith: a True Story by Mitch Albom
Have a Little Faith: a True Story by Mitch Albom

In Have a Little Faith, Mitch Albom offers a beautifully written story of a remarkable eight-year journey between two worlds–two men, two faiths, two communities–that will inspire readers everywhere.

Albom’s first nonfiction book since Tuesdays with Morrie, Have a Little Faith begins with an unusual request: an eighty-two-year-old rabbi from Albom’s old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy.

Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he’d left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor–a reformed drug dealer and convict–who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof.

Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, Albom observes how these very different men employ faith similarly in fighting for survival: the older, suburban rabbi embracing it as death approaches; the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep himself and his church afloat.

As America struggles with hard times and people turn more to their beliefs, Albom and the two men of God explore issues that perplex modern man: how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; and the importance of faith in trying times. Although the texts, prayers, and histories are different, Albom begins to recognize a striking unity between the two worlds–and indeed, between beliefs everywhere.

In the end, as the rabbi nears death and a harsh winter threatens the pastor’s wobbly church, Albom sadly fulfills the rabbi’s last request and writes the eulogy. And he finally understands what both men had been teaching all along: the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself.

Have a Little Faith is a book about a life’s purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man’s journey, but it is everyone’s story.

Ten percent of the profits from this book will go to charity, including The Hole In The Roof Foundation, which helps refurbish places of worship that aid the homeless.

 

The Art of Happiness – Dalai Lama XIV, Howard C. Cutler

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The Art of Happiness – Dalai Lama XIV, Howard C. Cutler

 

Originally published: 26th 1998 by Riverhead Hardcover
Author: Howard C. Cutler
Genre: Philosophy
Page count: 336 pages (Hardcover)
Publisher: Easton Press
ISBN: 1-57322-111-2
ISBN13: 9781573221115

 

100 Word Book Review:

Dalai Lama believes in fundamental goodness in all everyone, in the value of compassion and kindness, a sense of commonality among all living creatures. Written by Howard C. Cutler, a psychiatrist, who spent one week with the Dalai Lama, and then used his interviews with the Dalai Lama as a basis for this book. Though it is not directly narrated by Dalai Lama himself, it captures the basic essences and fundamental values of happiness. A change of perspective opens up a horizon of possibilities, casting away most of the frustrations. Understanding yourself, and your enemies will result in inner peace.

 

E-book available: https://www.apnamba.com/Ebooks-pdf/Art%20of%20Hapiness.pdf