Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review of "How to Reach Your Full Potential for God" by Charles Stanley

I was very excited to read this book, based on the title of the book and the author.  I've not read anything by Charles Stanley myself before, but have been in various settings where his works were used (for example, my Sunday School teacher uses some of his works at times for our class).  However, I was very disappointed by the book.  It seemed to me too forced and not naturally flowing, and did not provide the type of insights that I was expecting.  Essentially, I found it to be a self-help style book with a spiritual slant, but not as well written as what I've heard in other works by Stanley.

The book itself was choppy and difficult to read, not a flowing work that grabbed my attention and encouraged me to read more.  Some of the other books I've read in this vein are difficult to put down, making you want to get on to the next chapter before taking a break; not so with this one.  I found little desire to continue reading, and had to force myself through the book (primarily for the sake of the review).  I presume this is not typical of Stanley's work, as (previously mentioned) I've been impressed by what I've heard from other of his writings, but this one failed to impress.  I'm sorry to say that I don't recommend this book, as I'm sure his other works are certainly worth reading.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Survivor recommendations

A couple of rule changes I think would have made #Survivor better this season, one related to the three-way tribes, and one related to challenges in general.

First, related to the three-way tribes, the combined reward/immunity challenges shouldn't have featured immunity/major reward, immunity/little reward, no immunity, it should have been immunity/reward, immunity (no reward), and no immunity. Thus, the "winning" tribe would have immunity and a reward, while the second place tribe would get only immunity (a reward in itself).

Second, related to tribes "down on numbers" in the challenges, I think the tribes that are ahead, number-wise, should be allowed to use all their tribe members instead of sitting out some to even up numbers in challenges. This way, winning challenges would pay dividends in the following challenges, as you'd have more members playing, which could reduce fatigue, give more options, etc.

Just some thoughts on thing that I think might make Survivor even more enjoyable.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What's in the cost of a tire?

I have no issue with trade policies that protect American jobs, unless the policies protect American jobs by protecting "gougism" (and thus hurting the consumer).

Take tires, for instance.  Trade policies that impact Chinese import tires that were "flooding the market with cheap, Chinese tires" and saving thousands of American jobs.

What makes the tires cost so much?  Consider this: a tire (a single tire) typically costs about as much as, say, a Nook Color.  Which is more complex?  Which cost more to design?  Which is more complicated to manufacture?

Tires are a bunch of rubber and steel (and perhaps polyester), while the Nook Color is glass & metal & plastic & motherboards & CPUs and ... yes, the tires cost more to ship, while the Nook Color costs less to ship.  But the tires are manufactured on assembly lines (that are probably paid for long ago).

Now, consider... the Chinese tires, they have to be shipped to the US.  That's not cheap.  And, yet, the Chinese tires are still cheaper.  Yes, there are employment differences, and wage differences, but really, how many people are involved in the tire manufacturing process?  Isn't a lot of it automated?  And yet a set of tires costs more than a laptop computer you can buy from the same place you buy your tires (Sam's Club, WalMart, etc.).

If the Chinese tires are cheaper, instead of blanket "trade sanctions" to protect the potential American Gougism, shouldn't we let the market make the sanctions?  If American tires have to be sold at a lower profit point to compete, isn't that good for the consumer?  And doesn't that leave more money in the consumer's pocket to stimulate the economy by buying other goods, perhaps that other Americans have made (like my wife, who is starting a business to make and sell bags of various types, such as purses and tote bags)?

If it's an "unfair trade balance" that is truly unfair (due to employment practices in the trade nations), sure, sanctions.  If it's "unfair" simply because the competition is selling at a lower profit point, should the gov't interfere to keep excess profits in the pockets of top executives (profits which the consumer ends up paying)?