Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How Not To Drop Dead

In his book, ‘How Not to Drop Dead,’ author Eduardo Chapunoff provides a comprehensive guide on 201 causes of sudden or rapid death and how to avoid them. He explains that prevention is the best way to avoid sudden or rapid death. As Chapunoff wittily states, “Meeting death at the corner of he next block because of negligence, carelessness, or sloppiness, is particularly sad and also kind of stupid.”

Chapunoff describes 201 wide ranging conditions, situations, and illnesses, such as strokes, depression, shark attack, sex and erotic asphyxiation, electrocution, drug overdose…etc., and details how each condition leads to sudden or rapid death. He discusses what happens biologically, risk factors, how the conditions are diagnosed, treatment, who is at risk, and prevention measures. The book is much more than a guide on maintaining good health as certain conditions have specific prevention measures such as making changes in the home, wearing the proper helmet when playing certain sports, immunization, learning techniques for stress reduction, practicing proper sanitary measures, adding a carbon monoxide detector in the home…etc.

‘How Not To Drop Dead’ is a very thorough guide with a common sense style of writing that makes it easy to understand, even by readers who do not have a medical background. After reading the book, readers will feel empowered to take charge of their own health and well being. The book does not read like a medical textbook as Chapunoff provides witty anecdotes and stories about his experience as a cardiologist and many years of Internal Medicine practice as well. For instance, he tells a story about a medical student who was working with a cadaver in the morgue and accidentally stuck his finger with a needle he was using to suture some tissue and died of sepsis in 36 hours. In the section on abdominal trauma, he relates the case of man who walked into the emergency room after being stabbed with a knife in his belly and was holding his intestines with his bare hands. One of the most dramatic experiences Chapunoff describes in the section of shark attack is a personal one: how he survived his own confrontation with a blue shark that headed directly toward him. “There was no time to escape. There was no time to pray…”

I highly recommend ‘How Not to Drop Dead’ as a well researched and informative read that will teach readers how to take control of their health and well being and empower them to make the necessary changes in their lives to prevent sudden or rapid death. It is a very positive book that imparts immense knowledge with frankness and clarity.

Tracy Roberts, Write Field Services

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Liar Loan

In his novel, ‘Liar Loan’ author Jason Reid tells a fictional story about the how one mortgage company under the leadership of a greedy CEO manipulated the mortgage system. Although fiction, the story mirrors what actually happened causing the 2008 – 2009 collapse of the sub prime mortgage market which nearly caused the destruction of the entire US financial market.

Neil Roberts is the CEO of Katana Mortgage, a company that markets mortgages to the masses and creates refinanced mortgages to unqualified homeowners who want extra money for personal endeavors such as education, financing a business, expensive products…etc. With loose regulations, Neil Roberts’ team is able to engage in unethical tactics such as manipulating credit scores, pushing up the values of appraisals, and charge high fees with high adjustable interest rates with their refinanced mortgages. Neil’s team lend to unqualified homeowners without thinking about the consequences of large numbers of homeowners not being able to repay their loans leading to mass foreclosures.

Neil Roberts is a self-centered, egotistical, arrogant, and sexist CEO who lives for instant gratification in business and his personal life. He pushes his team to make as many deals as possible to unqualified mortgage holders. In his personal life, he neglects and cheats on his wife. Jared, his top salesman and an obsessive compulsive, trains greedy young men and women with no mortgage experience to convince just about anyone to refinance their home. Neil’s world is on the verge of imploding when everything he has worked for in both business and his personal life begins to fall apart. The result is the biggest challenge of Neil’s life: learning what is truly meaningful in life.

‘Liar Loan’ is a fast-paced engaging story that gives readers a glimpse into a big cause of the collapse of the sub prime market. Readers will learn the tactics mortgage salesmen used to convince homeowners to refinance their mortgage to a loan they could never afford. As well, readers will learn how homeowners are partly to blame for taking a mortgage they could not afford so that they could get extra cash. In the story, there is a large amount of dialogue and explanations that focus on how the mortgage refinance works, slick sales tactics, and how credit ratings and appraisals can be manipulated so that homeowners could qualify for the loan. Readers will gain insight into the loan officers’ corrupt behavior, greed, lack of moral conscience, and how the loan officers justified their actions. Regarding character development, readers will start out despising Neil and Jared, but will have a change of heart as the two young men face what they have become.

‘Liar Loan’ is not only an engaging read, but it provides valuable information about the mortgage market and will hopefully educate people to think before they pick up the phone and call a company that has sent them an email or direct mail advertisement promising them they will get a mortgage that will give them lots of extra cash.

Tracy Roberts, Write Field Services

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Healing

In her novel, ‘The Healing’ author Pamela Young tells a story about redemption and healing. At age 54, Michael Thornton’s life has been focused on growing his Seattle-based business, Thornton Industries, into an international multi-million dollar corporation. His insatiable greed and blind ambition have alienated his friends and family. Thornton’s disapproval of his son being gay and his indifference toward his wife of twenty years finally causes her to file for divorce. Now alone, he focuses all his energy on the only thing he has left—Thornton Industries. The unrelenting workload takes a toll on his health and he develops pancreatic cancer. Chemotherapy and recovery distract him from his business for over a year, allowing another company to launch a hostile takeover. Ultimately, Thornton is betrayed by his best friend and his son and loses everything he believed defined him. Devastated, he takes off on a solo voyage to Alaska. His journey is interrupted when his boat is damaged and, while arranging for repairs, he becomes violently ill and passes out. He wakes up to find himself in the home of Maria Clearsky, a Nootka healer, who offers to help him. The healing process forces Thornton to face his past and his greedy and controlling behavior.

‘The Healing’ is a tale of personal transformation and freeing one’s spirit in order to heal mentally, physically, and emotionally. Readers will enjoy following Thornton’s journey to healing as he transforms from a controlling millionaire businessman to a man who loses everything, followed by discovering what it means to truly be wealthy. He works to understand why he is sick and why such past emotions as resentment and anger have depleted him both emotionally and physically, leaving him vulnerable to illness. He learns that mind and body are connected and when one suffers, the other will also suffer. ‘The Healing’ is an engaging tale rich in strong character development complemented by important messages of what it truly means to not only live, but live well. I highly recommend ‘The Healing,’ for readers who enjoy stories where characters fall from grace and struggle to find what is most important in life. It is a compelling “Man vs. Himself” story that will keep readers engaged from start to end.

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