Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Review of A Case of Blackmail in Belgravia by Clara Benson

This review was written by Eugene Kernes

Book can be found in:
Genre = Novel, Mystery 

Short Description

Elaborate Description


Nicolas Maltravers, known as Ticky, is celebrated by most and is invited everywhere, but it’s not sure how he got that status.  After a birthday party, Ticky dies due to poison.  The suspects are the guests of the party.  One of whom is Freddy Pilkington-Soames mother, Cynthia.  Freddy is a press-man at a newspaper but forced to be a detective to try to understand the why of the murder, and who the murderer is.  Doing his best to cover for Cynthia whose subversive and evasive behavior only makes her appear as the culprit.  It turns out that there was plenty of motive to murder Ticky as Ticky was blackmailing all his friends.  Moral dilemmas abound as although relief was brought through a murder, what should be done about the murderer if found?

Although everyone makes errors, in a society that prices the social pristine appearances, those errors are well worth hiding.  Holding on to errors not only allowed others to blackmail the individual, but also exacerbates the error.  Making it more and more difficult to acknowledge publicly as they stop being small errors.  Blackmail does not stop with the even the death of the blackmailer, as the blackmail can still exist in the hands of others, or be searched for by the police.  


Although generally well written with many interesting moral dilemmas and uncertainties, some parts of the book are slow placed.  

Questions to Consider while Reading the Book
•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?
•Why was Nicolas Maltravers (Ticky) murdered? 
•What can be used as blackmail?
•Why are people with small errors able to be blackmailed?
•Did the blackmail stop with the death of Ticky?
•Who murdered Ticky?
•What are some moral dilemmas? 
•What causes Freddy to take on the role of detective?
•Why does Cynthia appear to be the culprit? 

Book Details
Edition ISBN:  2940158851490
Pages to read:   184
Publication:     2017
1st Edition:      2016
Format:           eBook

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    4
Content          4
Overall           4

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Review of Define and Deliver Exceptional Customer Service: Proven Strategies to Maximize Your Profits by Kelly Henry

This review was written by Eugene Kernes

Book can be found in:
Genre = Economics, Business
Intriguing Connections = How To and Not To Run a Business

Short Description


“Customer service has a huge influence on sales and cash flow.  Customer service directly affects the attitude and actions of the team running the business.  Customer service directly affects a business’s competitive advantage” – Kelly Henry, Introduction, Page 7

“They cause their customers to become advertising agents.  They are the mouthpiece for the business.  When customers feel valued and important, they want others to experience those same feelings, so they become excited to refer others.” – Kelly Henry, Chapter 2: How Customer Service Helps Your Business, Page 18

“Marketing is the price a business pays for poor customer service.” – Kelly Henry, Chapter 3: The 5% Bump, Page 24

Excerpts with permission from author
Elaborate Description


Businesses need to be competitive.  Customer service provides many of the business needs of revenue, effective teamwork, and a competitive advantage.  It is a philosophy and culture that facilitates actions and attitudes of a service business that allows businesses to flourish.  It takes little to provide great customer service, and as a reward the customer will be committed to the business.  Customers who get a great experience refer others, thereby increasing sales.  The focus of the business should be to make customers happy and solve their problems.  Businesses need to strive to consistently treat customers with respect and to make them feel appreciated.  Customers tend to stick with companies which provide great customer service.

Attracting new customers might be important which is why business focus on it, but they do not spend much on retaining customers which is important as well.  Attracting new customers is needed when businesses cannot retain their current customers.  The constant need for new customers is a major source of stress.  Heavy marketing is needed when customer service is poor.  The cost of marketing can be reduced, while increasing revenue by retaining more customers.  Acquiring new customers is more expensive than retaining current ones.  

Customer service depends on how the customers are treated.  To be treated with friendliness no matter the state of the customer.  What is needed is to make them feel important.  Making bonds with customers causes the customer to stick to the business, as it would take a lot more energy to forge new bonds with other businesses. 

Claiming great customer service is not the same as actually having it.  What matters about customer service is how the customer perceives it, not anyone else.  To accomplish great customer service requires it to be done consistently in thought and effort.   Inconsistent customer service is frustrating and confusing.  

Firms need a product that others want.  But customers are willing to pay more for products if they are provided with great service.  Customers do talk about the business, which can be influenced by the kind of customer service they receive.  Customer communicate to business their perspective, but to some it may sound like complaining.  Customer, and former customers, are a great source of potential improvements.  Knowing what not to do is important, as it is the negative experiences that tend to be remembered.

Even if it is a customer who has caused a problem, businesses need to keep their composure to keep a relationship with the customer.  With problems, most customers want to be properly compensated for the trouble and will make reasonable demands, although some will take advantage of the situation. 

It is difficult for employees to provide great customer service if they are being treated harshly.  Employees tend to treat the customers the way they are treated by the employers.  Treating employees well transforms the work environment.  Resulting in enjoying their work, being more fulfilled, and with much less unneeded stress.  Employees end up having to want to work, will be willing to do more to help the business, and will be better able to handle customers. 


The book is easy to read and highlights the importance and impact of customer service.  Useful guide not just for business, but for personal relations and government.  But it makes customer service feel like a panacea.  Customer service is seemingly undervalued, and even though customer service is extremely important, it does not mean it will solve all business problems.  

Customer service is an advantage when compared to other businesses that do not have good customer service.  But business tend to provide better products and services because of competition, which customer service is a part of the whole product.  It may be that customers expect poor customer service, but as more business provide better customer service, customer will expect it to be the norm.

The basic claim of customer service is to smile and be supportive of customer wants.  Although the author does state that it needs to be done in a non-creepy manner, but the problem is that the emotions being projected are not necessarily appropriate for the context.  Smiling and having an uplifting attitude can be very wrong giving a different context.  Treating the customer appropriately requires a more diverse emotional tool kit. 

There are ideas that can be misused by not so scrupulous businesses.  As it is perception of the business that matters, business can potentially harm their customer without customers knowing by the way the business communicates.  Communicating in a way to avoid highlighting the potential hazard.  When problems do arise, the manner in which a business communicates its problems can deflect or appear to be in the right.  

Questions to Consider while Reading the Book
•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?
•Why do businesses need to be competitive? 
•How does customer service impact a business?
•What kind of culture is needed to have effective customer service?
•Is marketing important?
•Why do customers stick to certain business? 
•How should business treat customers?
•How should employers treat their employees? 
•Why is consistency needed for great customer service? 
•Are customers right?
•Why should businesses form a bond with the customer? 

Book Details
Edition ISBN:  9781954024014
Pages to read:   131
Publication:     2021
1st Edition:      2021
Format:           eBook

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    5
Content          4
Overall           4

Monday, October 18, 2021

Review of Against Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrin, and David K. Levine

This review was written by Eugene Kernes

Book can be found in:
Genre = Economics, Law
Intriguing Connections = 1) Learning Economics: Basic to Advanced

Short Description

Elaborate Description


Intellectual property rights are an exclusive right, a monopoly, over an abstract idea.  A monopoly’s modus operandi is to create artificial scarcity, resulting in higher prices.  Purposely being inefficient.  To obtain a monopoly requires government support, which leads to favorable treatment such as increased wealth which is taken from the rest of society, by preventing entry and blocking innovation.  Competition within ideas promotes their spread as any improvement can be used by others, including the original innovator.  But a monopoly is against competition.  The problem is not with having property over an individual copy of an idea.  The problem is having property of other people’s copies of the idea.

Copying was made easy by the printing press.  Copyright was originally an instrument of government censorship, rather than protecting innovators or spreading ideas.  Royal and religious authority were to decide what could and could not be printed.  Then patents came to be used, but as a tax instrument.  Copyright and patents were obtained by bribing royal power for use of monopoly power.  Before Parliament took over the monopoly system from the monarchy, the monarchy was able to sell a monopoly for any product.  Under Parliament, monopolies became temporary and restricted to actual innovators.

Although innovators deserve compensation as few people would innovate for nothing, it does not mean granting a monopoly is an appropriate response.  New ideas are usually a by-product of the innovator’s routine activity.  Patents often come way after the innovation.  Derived from legal resources and used to maintain the obtained fortune, and used to hurt competitors which also hurts economic progress.  A legal monopoly engages in rent-seeking behavior as they suppress competition while obtaining special privileges.  Having a monopoly is beneficial to the monopolist as that means there is no need to compete with imitators or customers.  

Those who support or disagree with intellectual property, share the understanding that it requires an appropriate mixture of using existing ideas while providing an incentive for creating new ideas.  Those who support intellectual property rights want more profit for innovators, while opponents consider the profits already too high.  Some protection can be beneficial, but further protection does not provide benefits.   Transactions do occur in the absence of legal rights, but markets work best with clearly defined property rights.  What is need is protection for the innovator and those who legitimately obtained a copy.  Protecting the innovator encourages innovation.  Protecting the customers of bought copies encourages diffusion and improvements.

If property can arbitrary be taken away, there is little reason to produce or acquire wealth.  Property rights over physical products promotes competition.  Property rights over ideas leads to monopoly for it is a right over what the customer can and cannot do with the property.  Intellectual property rights favor the rights of ownership of an abstract idea over the right of ownership of the copies of the idea.

Competition can divide profits so much that there will not be an incentive to innovate.  A market failure in which intervention would be an alternative but monopoly power is not an appropriate response.  When the innovation is good and copies are easy to make, there will be many imitators of the innovator.  Many firms enter too quickly which causes prices fall and many firms to make losses, thereby leaving the market.  What competition does is remove inefficient firms and thereby produce a social benefit.  For imitators to pick only winners to imitate would not be very profitable as winners are a post hoc account of those who are already leaders in the market and had already sold a lot.  

Being first to innovate allows the original innovator to capture a lot of profit and market power before any imitator can imitate the product.  It takes time and resources to reverse engineer a product.  The original innovator can also sell enough products early enough at a low enough price to make the product not profitable to imitate.  Not only do ideas take time to spread, but they are difficult to communicate.  A benefit of not being a monopoly, is that customers are not dependent on the survival of the monopoly, thereby more willing to use the product. 

When competitors are allowed to imitate, it creates collaborative benefits to competition.  Even the original innovator benefits from other competitors advances.  Sharing information increases the chances that the competitors will make further innovations, that the original innovator can utilize and benefit from.  The benefits of competitors leapfrogging innovations, and thereby reducing major costs, are far above what could be earned as a monopoly.  Having a free market for a product does not mean not paying for it.  Free market means anyone can use the product, but still needs to pay a price for the distribution.  

Patents arise in industries that have emerged and matured on their own terms.  When an industry is growing there are many opportunities to profit.  The problem is when power and opportunities from innovations diminish, thereby raising the value of monopoly power.  As innovative opportunities diminish, lobbying efforts for monopoly power increase and often succeed. 

There are no so many patents out there that it has become impossible not to infringe on a patent.  That means that firms need to prepare for legal costs.   This makes innovations risky.   Many patents are obtained not to be used, but to prevent potential legal disputes.  Spending resources to obtain and hold defensive patents.  Rather than patents facilitating innovation, they facilitate a market for patents and their needed legal services to trade and enforce them.  

Patent abuse can be seen when the patent is not used by the patentee.  There are submarine patents which are obtained by those who do not innovate but are meant to hurt the real innovators.  Submarine patents file useless patents and extend the application until an innovator comes up with a use.  That is when the patent is obtained, for which the innovator would have no knowledge of the prior patent, but for which the innovator becomes an infringer.  Although there were legal updates making submarine patents more difficult, they still pose a threat to innovation as the cost of the submarine patent can prevent the innovator from covering the sunk costs of the innovation.  

Under a monopoly system, small firms work hard to innovate, but large monopolies work hard to retain their position.  The difference is that the large monopoly firms have resources and connections that the small innovators do not.  It is hard for small firms to enter any market that has incumbents with many patents as they restrict the options of entry.  With the patent system, rather than small firms becoming larger, their aim becomes being purchased by an incumbent.

It will be difficult to change the intellectual property right system as there are many institutions that are in symbiosis with it.  There will be collateral damage from just removing the system.   Many companies have started to aggregate their patents into patent pools which allows all of them to benefit from the same patents without cost.


Many iconic people who appear to have been exceptional innovators actually did not do much in innovation.  Only after James Watt’s patent expired was there increased innovation in the production and efficiency of engines.  Watt’s own engine design had a flaw that could have been rectified, but the patent on the fix was patented by another thereby preventing progress.  Watt and his partner Boulton began their manufacturing operations after the patent expired, having made royalties from the patent before that.  Staying ahead not because of improvements in product, but by exploiting the legal system with a partner who was close to Parliament.  

The original exclusive right to authors and inventors comes from the U.S. Constitution.  Meant to promote progress in art and science.  During the 19th century U.S., American authors were under intellectual protection but foreign authors were not.  English books were still read, and the English authors were still paid, sometimes even more than with the copyright.  American publishers paid for English manuscripts before other were able to.  Saturating the market with their copy, which prevented many imitators while keeping the price down.  

The reason the copyright term lengths are very long, longer than the author or artist, is because they are not the beneficiaries of the copyrighted product.  Copyright terms were lengthened to protect successful titles that were due to expire.  Many titles were copyrighted to prevent their further publication, as their publication would have crowded out more successful works.  Older books are unpublished and are more valuable unpublished than published.  These titles are not likely to be found in the future.


An eloquent read which facilitates an understanding of not only how property right work, but how competition works.  The claims for intellectual property rights are not dismissed, but rather explained in detail.  

The problem comes about to the solution of the profitability of innovations without patents and copyrights.  The authors claim that there are alternative products that can be complimentary to the main product which can raise the profitability.  That means that the market will have to figure out what those alternative products are.  Some products may not have suitable for complimentary products to make them profitable, while the profitable complimentary can change the value of the core products.  As in, the innovations with and without property rights can create very different products. 

Questions to Consider while Reading the Book

•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?
•Why are intellectual property rights considered monopolies?
•How does a monopoly function? 
•Why are monopolies inefficient? 
•Why do monopolies need government support? 
•How does a monopoly retain its monopoly? 
•How are innovations formed?
•What does competition do? 
•How do competitors benefit from competition?
•Are property rights needed?
•Why are intellectual property rights different than physical property rights?
•Why did copyrights come about? 
•How were monopolies used by the monarchy?  How did it change under Parliament? 
•How are innovators compensated by their innovation? 
•When do innovators obtain patents?
•Why is there a difference between protecting the innovator and the customers? 
•How can property rights facilitate transaction? 
•Who do imitators imitate? 
•How can innovators earn a profit without intellectual monopoly?
•What are the benefits to sharing ideas more readily? 
•Is it possible not to infringe on patents?
•How can patents be abused? 

Book Details
Edition ISBN:  9780521127264
Pages to read:   267
Publication:     2010
1st Edition:      2008
Format:            Paperback

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    5
Content          5
Overall           5

Monday, October 11, 2021

Review of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

This review was written by Eugene Kernes

Book can be found in:
Genre = Psychology
Intriguing Connections = 1) Why Conflict Occurs And How To Resolve Them?

Short Description

Elaborate Description
A clue to societies need for emotional intelligence lies with the near continuous reports of the disintegration of civility and safety.  This large-scale problem is also very local, for no one insulated from the erratic tide of emotional outburst or regret.  Emotions are contagious.  Without emotions, all decisions carry equal weight.  Stimulus would cause no feedback as to its impact.   Every feeling has value.  If emotions are not properly attuned, then academic, intellectual, and other creative work suffers.  Difficult to concentrate on tasks when the internal state is sending signals that cannot readily be understood.  What is needed are emotions that are appropriate and proportionate for the context.  Need to harmonize emotion and intelligence.  To do that, individuals need to understand their emotions.  

The present day dilemmas and situations need an emotional intelligence different from what humans have been using for a very long time.  Academic intelligence does not offer preparation or opportunity for the vicissitudes in life.  IQ being no guarantee of prosperity or happiness in life.  The best time to learn about emotions is during childhood.  The problem is that many parents themselves do not know much about emotions, and as such cannot teach emotions.  Distinguishing between the different feelings is an important life lesson.

The amygdala acts like a repository for emotional memory, comparing the current situation with those of the past.  Trying to match the emotional reaction, but often acting without full confirmation.  The actions are those that have been learned before, those that were in response to previous similar situations.  There are many inputs for which a response starts before it is registered in the neocortex.  Taking action before a refined plan can be formed for a reaction.

The emotional and rational (logical) mind balance and interact with one another.  While the emotional mind informs the rational mind, the rational mind vetoes inputs from the emotional mind.  Normally well coordinated in thought and feeling, but passions tip the balance.  During an emotional period, the mind can become very self-confirming.  Suppressing or ignoring memories or facts that challenge the held belief.  Logic becomes meaningless during an emotional time.  In healthy relationships, the partners are willing to express their concerns and complains.  In unhealthy relationships, the partners express complains as attacks on the partner.

Emotions are transferred between people, as they are contagious.  The way people interact with each other changes their emotional state.  Understanding how others react and feel is needed for social intelligence.  To be able to handle disputes or guide groups towards a goal.  But social success is hollow if they are not also part of the value set of the individual.  Society provides many triggers for emotional distress and relief.  While chronic emotional distress is toxic, the opposite emotional range can be a tonic to a degree.

Many self-management emotional intelligence competencies have become popular but under different names.  Positivity became growth mindset, achievement became grit, adaptability became agility, and emotional regulation became resilience.  Each are needed for emotional intelligence, as they would lack social skills if taken alone.  

An observing ego is what psychologist call the self-awareness that allows monitoring of their own reaction.  Three styles for dealing with emotions are self-aware, engulfed, and accepting.  Self-aware individuals understand their moods and are able to change their emotions when needed.  Engulfed individuals are flooded with emotions and are often helpless to them.  Accepting individuals are clear about their feelings, but do not try to change them.    

Two ways to defuse anger is to challenge the original appraisal, and waiting.  When an individual gets very anger, they have cognitive incapacitation.  An inability to think clearly.  If the trigger for anger is reappraised, it can calm the burst of emotion, but it needs to be done early enough before anger is acted on.  Anger produces a rush of hormones, which is why waiting is a strategy for it allows the hormones to dissipate.  Distractions are a source of time that facilitates that waiting period.  Catharsis, as in venting rage rarely helps, but it does feel satisfying.  Catharsis helps when appropriate harm is done to the right individual to change behavior without retaliation.  The problem is that anger is incendiary which makes appropriate catharsis difficult to do.  

Too little stress is not motivating enough for good performance.  Too much stress sabotages attempts for performance.  The right amount of stress provides for better performance.   The state of flow is considered the optimal efficiency for performance.  It’s when the brain is efficient while using minimal energy.  Not using too much energy or too little for the task, but a precise relation between energy use and task requirement.

The topic is very important for social conflict resolution but there are issues that still need to be resolved.  Generally well written but sometimes either needs an update on the science, or the way that topic is described.  Some topics are very eloquent.  

A problem with the book is the way emotion and logic are discussed.  They appear separate, but interact.  This dichotomy is partly a social fabrication that is used to explain the topic, but it makes it harder to understand how they work together.  With the separation, it appears that either or is better given certain contexts, but easy arguments can be made in contradiction to that claim.  Rather, they are not separate but both qualities are needed.  

Another problem with the book is the focus on teaching children.  Although it may be true that children have an easier time to learn, but learning does not stop even for the elderly.  Adults need to learn emotional intelligence as well, and while this book focuses on teaching children, with the acknowledgment that adults who do not know about emotional intelligence cannot teach their children emotional intelligence.  There is also the potential hazard of teaching a standardized emotional tool kit, which would encourage particular emotions over the variety of different emotions that could be very useful given a context.  As in, understanding a set of emotions should not negate the values of others.  What is needed is not so much just teaching children emotional intelligence, but having a culture that facilitates learning about emotional intelligence to all.  

Questions to Consider While Reading
•What is the book’s raison d’etre? For what purpose did the author write the book?
•Why does it appear that there is a lack of emotional intelligence in society? 
•What is the difference between emotion and mood? 
•How do emotions impact the actions being taken?
•How are emotions contagious? 
•Why are emotions needed for logic?
•How do the emotional and rational mind interact with one another?
•How can logic be overwritten by emotions?
•Why is understanding emotions useful for doing tasks? 
•Why is IQ not a predictor of future developments? 
•What does the amygdala do? 
•What are self-management emotional intelligence competencies? 
•What is an observing ego? 
•What are ways to defuse anger? 
•How to motivate performance?  
•Why the importance on teaching children emotions? What can hinder those lessons?
•Can Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) have emotions?
•How to get out of depression?

Book Details
Edition ISBN:  9780553903201
Pages to read:   362
Publication:     1995
1st Edition:      2020
Format:            eBook

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    4
Content          4
Overall           4

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Review of Race And Culture: A World View by Thomas Sowell

This review was written by Eugene Kernes

Book can be found in:
Genre = Sociology
Intriguing Connections = 1) The Persecuted and The Persecutors

Short Description

Elaborate Description
Different environments create different cultures as people find different responses to their environmental context.  But even with migration, there is still a transmission of ancestral values, skills, and other cultural heritage aspects even though the values come from a different time and place.  Modifying to the changing social, environmental, economic, and technological context. Cultures go beyond political boundaries.  Cultures transmit their beliefs, biases, decisions making, and internal problems.  With different ways of understanding, cultural differences can cause friction.  Politics is a mechanism that can either resolve differences among groups, or it can generate and magnify conflict.  Race as a social construct is a powerful force for uniting and dividing people.  

History makes painfully purchased experiences available for everyone for the price of attention and reflection.  History can illuminate fallacies that would otherwise exacerbate the situation.  As the world has become more mixed, many racial and cultural distinctiveness have been eroded, but also many that have persisted.

Cultural features are not simply a label, they serve a social purpose which can be of dire importance.  Although appearance change, the same cultural values are applied to the choices being made.  Different groups have different value sets, attributing some purposes of economic and social life as higher or lower.  Utilizing their particular skill and ways for engaging in economic and social life.  Cultural aspects spread to other groups when they interact via trade, migration, or conquest.

Political activism is not necessary for prosperity as numerous groups have become prosperous because their culture inculcates skills and behaviors that facilities economic and social betterment.  There are groups that have been discriminated against, which were powerless and persecuted minorities, but were still able to be prominent in prosperous occupations.  Actions of others have reverberating effects, but do not completely control the fates of peoples.  Whether minority groups or conquered nations, their fates are shaped by their own policies.

Race has a biological aspect, but it is a social reality.  Many indicators have been imposed on racial groups because there are often no biological indications of the difference.  Discrimination directed at a racial or ethnic group does not require a belief of them being inferior.  When power is assumed to be part of racism, then those who verbally or physically assault others are exempt from condemnation as racism.   

There were many times in history when groups that had skills and behavior which fostered economic progress, had claims that their prosperity came at the expense of others.  Nations that removed these groups incurred economic losses.  Discrimination it terrible when skilled individuals do not get into positions because of group affiliation, but that form of discrimination does fully explain below average incomes for the group.  

Cultures aspects are not only shared by the conquerors to the conquered, as many conquerors borrowed from more advanced cultures they subjugated.  Availability of resources, information, or technology is not going to be helpful to a people if they are not receptive to them.  Access does not mean usage of the resources.

There are many positive and negative contributions of immigrants of which neither should be dismissed.  Even if most people in a group have no animosity towards another group, it takes only few individuals to create massive conflict between the groups.  There are many times in which different cultures are prone to conflict with others, increased the costs of having a mixed groups.  Exaggerated identity of a group can have dire consequences as copying others can be considered treason.  An inability to borrow cultural features from others prevents accessing opportunities for advancement.    

Government’s resource is power which it uses to constrain the options of people and organizations.  Tending to constrain the options of the ethnic and racial minorities more that the majority.  Nations that are active in making policies that control group participation, have tended to result in more intergroup conflict than those countries less active.  Democracy can facilitate desirable goals of freedom and dignity, but it can also do the opposite. 

Although generally pretty clear and easy to read, it is sometimes hard to grasp the full implication of a claim.  Sowell at times critiques certain claims, without providing much info on the originating claim, making it difficult to understand why others think differently.  This book is more about culture than race, although race has a lot of implications for cultures.  

The focus is also on the positive contributions of cultures, but there are examples and cases of negative contributions of cultures.  This leaves the reader of the question of cultural traits.  As in, what kind of traits produce the cultures that benefit the group.  Some examples are given, but a few pages detailing the traits rather than discussing them in a general manner would have helped. 

Questions to Consider while Reading the Book
•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?
•What does history provide?
•Why a world view?
•How are cultures formed?
•What are cultures?
•What is race?
•What can politics do for group differences?
•Do cultures change?  How and why do cultures change?
•What happens when cultures are discriminated against?
•Does race explain intelligence?
•Why do conflicts between groups arise? 
•What role does government play in discrimination? 

Book Details
Edition ISBN:  9780465067978
Pages to read:   264
Publication:     1995
1st Edition:      1995
Format:           Paperback

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    4
Content          5
Overall           5

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Review of Alexander the Great: A Life From Beginning to End by Henry Freeman

This book review is written by Eugene Kernes

Book can be found in:
Genre = History, Empires
Intriguing Connections = 1) Biographies: Auto, Memoir, and Other Types

Short Description

Elaborate Description


Horses were prized in Macedonia.  As Alexander, son of King Philip II, was able to master and tame a wild horse that others could not, it became a sign of future greatness.  Alexander was taught physical skills early on, along with intellectual ability.  The tutor for the mind was an Athenian exile, Aristotle.  Although with proven skill and gaining much favor from Philip, when Philip wanted a new wife with better lineage, Philip disowned Alexander.  But this was not Philip’s sole mistake in relationships, of which many mistakes conspired to assassinate him.  Leaving Alexander in charge.  Rather than dealing with internal matters, Alexander took the army and conquered a large stretch of the world in a short time.  Many areas chose to accept his rule rather than fight.  

Geopolitics was important in Macedonia as local rulers had a lot of power and often tried to retain it or gain more.  Alexander needed to either suppress the rebellions and manage them.  During the conquests, Alexander earned the support of allies, and utilized impressive strategies during the battles.   


The focus is on the book is on how Alexander got his power.  There is very little background information on Macedonia and the surrounding regions.  Very little cultural references, and political contexts.  A short biography that can help get a reader started in learning about Macedonia and Alexander the Great, but does not get very far in either.  

Questions to Consider while Reading the Book

•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?
•How did Alexander master his horse?
•Why did King Philip II disown Alexander?
•How did Alexander become the leader?
•What strategies were used in the battles?
•What was the political context in Macedonia?
•How did Alexander conquer a large area of the known world?

Book Details
Edition ISBN:  2940153325156
Pages to read:   32
Publication:     2016
1st Edition:      2016
Format:           eBook

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    5
Content          1
Overall           2