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"One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time." Carl Sagan

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Monday, September 22, 2008

The chemistry and the politics of food!
Apple a Day

Apple a Day
By Joe Schwarcz


Vitamins A-K, Spinach, oil nuts grains, Cod liver oil Vitamin D, Milk calcium. This section finished off the section on natural food ingredients. It seems that the conclusion to be reached here is that sure there are a lot of chemicals and minerals and vitamins in natural foods however the added fibre and wide range of ingredients and the fact that humans have been eating them for eons means that they just don't get processed in the body the way a pure vitamin pill does for example.
The next section on man made additives gets interesting and a bit scary. Again the book organizes the additives into mini chapters that is great for future reference. The discovery of each additive is covered, the controversy and the hard data is presented. Usually there is a fair amount of politics that drives the controversy. A nice example is about what the dairy and anti-dairy sides have in common. That is both sides are quick to dismiss any study that shows them to be wrong. What is nice about this book is that the author presents both sides of the for and against camps and what the current research has to say. -sak
9:59 am edt 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The foods we eat and why they are good or bad
Apple a Day

Apple a Day
By Joe Schwarcz


A well researched guide to the current studies and what they have to say about the benifits of a variety of different foods such as apples, tomatoes, cranberries, grapefruit, citrus fruits, fish, flax, canola olive oil, soy, whole grains, oats, beans, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, corn, squash, curry, curcumin, chocolate, coffee, grapes, wheat gluten, cinnamon, vegetables salicylic acid, and carrots. Up to this point in the book the foods mentioned have a section devoted to the chemical composition and the benefits and possible problems associated with each foods. What is interesting is subtle differences between some of the types of each food variety. For example there are two types of cinnamon and one type has a naturally occuring substance called coumarin which can cause liver and kidney damage if ingested in large amounts. I guess as always too much of a good thing can cause a problem. However the author introduces the reader to different researchers and how and what they discovered. To get back to cinnamon the researcher Richard Anderson in Maryland discovered that type 1 diabetics responded positively when given cinnamon in that their blood sugar stayed stable.

So far I noticed that the book is well organized and can serve as a well indexed reference book that should be quite valuable.
10:23 am edt 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Conclusions and wrap up...
Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
By Stephen R. Covey


Listed on the Old Sudbury Bookstore Psychology Page website Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People: Po... by Stephen R. Covey

Stephen Covey closes this book with a recommendation to spend about an hour a day involved in self improvement activities such as reading, writing and planning. A large focus in this book was to make the reader aware of the power of staying in the correct quadrant to increase effectiveness and efficiency. By the correct quadrant he means the Importance versus Urgency of a job and he advises that the best quadrant to stay in is the quadrant that includes things that are important and not urgent. This will help aleviate pressure that can reduce the emergencies down the road. An example is to take care of your car maintenance that isn't urgent but is important. Then your car won't breakdown when its minus 40 creating a Important and Urgent situation. Other examples include spending time with family, staying fit and healthy and getting proper nutrition.

These ideas remind me of another book I read on organizing by Stephanie Culp. Here she suggests getting a countdow timer that you can set to a amount of time that you think you could focus on a job. For example I cleanup my office with a timer set to 12 minutes on a daily basis. It means that at the end of the week I have cleaned my office for 1 hour. It also drives the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts since when I have to work on another job I can work more efficiently and quicker since I know where tools and supplies are since I connect and organize on a daily basis. -sak
7:29 pm edt 

Friday, September 12, 2008

Keep the saw sharp...
Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
By Stephen R. Covey


Listed on the Old Sudbury Bookstore Psychology Page website Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People: Po... by Stephen R. Covey

Ok this is a really serious book. It forces you to be introspective because the logic is sound and based on probably about a thousand experts advice over the past two centuries. All through the book the author stresses the importance of "keeping the saw sharp" or make sure you take the time to sharpen the saw. The metaphor is powerful and finaly he presents it about 3/4s of the way through the book. How much time does it take to cut down a tree with a dull saw. Invest a little time to sharpen it and it will pay great dividends in saving time. Don't be like the lumberjack that claims they have no time to sharpen the saw becaus ethey have to cut down a tree that will take about a week at the current rate. An example is to take care of health, nutrition, fitness and proper sleep. This will lead to getting the work of the day being completed with joy and efficiency. Stephen Covey specifies that the "saw" should be sharpened in the following 4 areas: 1. Physical - Stress Reduction Nutrition Excercise 2. Mental - Reading Visualize Plan Write 3. Social/Emotional - Service to Society Empathy Synergy 4. Spiritual - Value Clarify Study Meditate. -sak
9:00 am edt 

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Synergy
Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
By Stephen R. Covey


Listed on the Old Sudbury Bookstore Psychology Page website Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People: Po... by Stephen R. Covey

A very serious self improvement book; Covey really devotes a lot of the book to the idea and importance of attaining a win-win scenario in all aspects of life from home to business. The idea of having an understanding of the other person or group before trying to put forth your own ideas seems to be paramount in attaining a win-win situation. Covey says it best when he explains that first you should understand then you should try to be understood. The idea of synergy is put forth with regards to the possible rewards attained by achieving a win-win situation. By this he means that a win-win situation is definitely not just a compromise; it is more a melding of ideas that brings forth a new situation that is not a linear combination of the two sides but possibly an exponential improvement. For example the melding of ideas is where 1+1 can equal 800 where in a compromise situation 1+1 can equal 1.5 or less. A sort of quantum leap that is attained by a synergistic combination of ideas from both sides leading to unpredictable results.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone in all walks of life. It is fairly advanced and the ideas are deep and serious and involved however the examples and case studies are very effective in illustrating the authors point. You must also realize that this book is a synergy of ideas from hundreds of years of self help literature that the author painstakingly compiled. -sak
10:21 am edt 


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