2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 430 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 460 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 8 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Book Review: Sidelined

Book Review: Sidelined.

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Book Review: The E-Myth Revisited

Book Review: The E-Myth Revisited.

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Book Review: Created For Influence

Book Review: Created For Influence.

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Book Review: Travels In A Thin Country: A Journey Through Chile

Travels In A Thin Country:  A Journey Through Chile, by Sara Wheeler

While Sara Wheeler in her book consistently shows herself to be a nontraditional and feminist leftist, the book is nonetheless entertaining because of its wit and verve. This book, though somewhat dated by its early-1990’s references and somewhat marred by its anti-American attitude, manages to provide an intriguing look both at Chilean society and its tortured recent political history (namely the Pinochet dictatorship) and a humorous and self-effacing look at its hapless author and narrator, who suffers disaster after disaster in her attempts to see the entirety of Chile from top to bottom, including an excursion to Chilean Antarctica. In fact, the book was a somewhat funny read of Sara being compared to royals by every Chilean she meets, trying to find male company that respects her, and enjoying both the high life (exclusive trips to observatories, wealthy haciendas, and presidential homes) and the low life (sleeping on the beach, getting scabies, spending time in Santiago’s slums) during her travels. One gets the feeling that the author would not be enjoyable at a dinner party, but she certainly writes a funny and insightful book that unfortunately demonstrates how little Chile is thought of by most of the outside world. Both her and I share a bittersweet appreciation of Chile, though, and that is enough to make her travelogue a worthwhile and enjoyable read, despite our many differences.

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Book Review: The Newly Independent States of Eurasia: Handbook of Former Soviet Republics

The Newly Independent States of Eurasia:  Handbook of Former Soviet Republics, by Stephen K. Batalden

One cannot really call this book “up-to-date,” since its statistics are all from the 90’s (or the late 1980’s), but it is an interesting read for someone who wishes to find out a little bit more about the issues faced by the nations that broke off of the Soviet Union (other than the three Baltic republics, which are *not* covered in this book). The book includes an out-of-date statistical profile on nations ranging from Moldova to Tajikistan and the Russian Federation, and is divided into four sections. The first section, about the Russian Federation, includes a chapter about European Russia and about Siberia & the Fear East. The second section is about the European republics of Belarus, Moldova, and the Ukraine. The third section is about the Transcaucasian republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, while the final section discusses the Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kygyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The book especially succeeds when it talks about ecological disasters, the continuing problems of the ‘cult of personality’ in the post-soviet successor states (something I deeply loathe in its many protean forms), and the ethnic rivalries that continue to bedevil the new nations of the former Soviet Union. For those who share an interest, as I do, in the history, geography, and political affairs of the world, this book is a quick and handy set of cliffs notes, even if its it isn’t as up-to-date as it could be.

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