Simple Tricks to Get Book Reviews Fast

By Tanisha Williams 

January 2015

As many authors know, one great way to improve book sales and attract more views is to receive a large number of positive reviews for the book. The advantage of having reviews demonstrates to potential buyers and readers that they can have confidence in taking a reasonable chance on reading your book. This is especially true for starting out since your name is unknown. Getting book reviews can be a challenge though, so there are a tricks and tips you can use to get good reviews in a short period of time. Use this advice to get started.

Ask Personal Networks Directly

Some authors don't feel as though they can reach out to friends and family, or social networking acquaintance, but understand that most of the people you're connected to will want to see you succeed as an author. This is especially true when you release your first book. They'd love to have the opportunity to help get started on sales and promotions, but often don't know how to do this. If you give them a simple way to support you, there's a good chance that you'll get a significant number of free book reviews.

To make this strategy work well, email a group of people and offer free copies to each person who is willing to read the book and post a review. Set a limit on the number of copies you're giving out to speed up the number of people who take advantage of your offer. If you're not getting reviews, it's even appropriate to keep up with people and send a gentle reminder. Also, if you intend to keep writing, make a note of the people you know who have reviewed your book and contact them specifically when you release a book.

Ask for a Review in the Back

This seems fairly obvious, but many authors don't add a request at the end of the book asking for a review if the reader enjoyed it. This is a great time to share that you're a new author and tell them that reviews go a long way towards supporting your work. Many readers don't understand how important a good review can be, but are usually willing to leave a positive review if asked. Be sure to add a link to make it easy for your readers to find and review your book.

Build a Group with Similar Authors

If you've never heard of a mastermind organization or group, this is simply a group or club of people who meet together and support each other with many issues as well as personal growth. These groups share writing ideas, ask for support and advice, and share what's working for them. Forming a group with other authors is a great way to be successful and form important networks. There are even many author groups available that you can be a part of, either online or in person. While many of these groups focus more on critiques, new ideas, and creative writing, why not also work on assisting each other in the business area of writing? Ask for reviews and ensure that you provide them as well, when their books are released. By creating a group with like-minded authors, you will join forces to create improved results for everyone.

Reach Out to the Top Reviewers

If you're selling your book through a website, they probably have a list or category of their top reviewers. These are people who have reviewed a large number of products and their reviews have been voted as being helpful. A small set of these people commonly read and review books. One of the advantages of reaching out to this group is that they're much more likely to write a review than others. Find this list through your site and narrow down the profiles to find those who review books in your genre. Contact them and offer a free copy of your book in exchange for leaving a review. Similarly to asking friends and family, make a note of anyone who follows through and contact them every time you are going to release a new book.

These are some key ways to get great reviews on your books. If you've been struggling to get reviews and get noticed, then you can use these tips to start putting your work out there and gaining more attention.


2015 BOOKS


Amazon introduced the Amazon Seller App to help on-the-go sellers manage their businesses on Amazon direct from their mobile devices

Sellers on Amazon from more than 100 different countries around the world fulfilled orders to customers in 185 countries using the Fulfillment by Amazon service

More than 25 percent of Login and Pay with Amazon payments were made using a mobile device

January 2015

Amazon announced that sellers on Amazon sold a record-setting more than 2 billion items worldwide in 2014. The number of sellers on Amazon adopting the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service to help scale their businesses and delight customers with Amazon's award-winning fulfillment and customer service also grew more than 65 percent year-over-year worldwide. There are currently more than 2 million sellers on Amazon worldwide that account for over 40 percent of the total units sold on Amazon.

"It's been a record-setting year for selling on Amazon. We're seeing strong growth from sellers listing their items across our global marketplaces. In fact, there are now more than a billion offers for customers to browse from sellers who are listing items for sale outside their home country," said Peter Faricy, VP for Amazon Marketplace. "The growth of mobile and the introduction of the Amazon Seller App have also been a big win for sellers this year. Sellers are constantly telling us they value the flexibility of managing their businesses on-the-go from their tablets and mobile devices."

Sellers on Amazon around the world continue to adopt FBA, a service that enables sellers to have Amazon store and ship their products directly to customers while offering Amazon Prime benefits, FREE shipping, simple exporting to customers around the world, streamlined cross-border trade, easy returns and award-winning Amazon customer service. For small and medium businesses, Amazon Payments has expanded the availability of Login and Pay with Amazon, providing hundreds of millions of customers a fast, easy and secure way to pay on thousands of websites, using the information already stored in their Amazon accounts.

2014 Amazon Services Growth

  • In 2014, more than 2 billion units worldwide were ordered on Amazon from sellers with businesses of all sizes.
  • In 2014, active sellers worldwide using the FBA service grew more than 65 percent year-over-year.
  • FBA units shipped worldwide grew more than 50 percent year-over-year during the 2014 holiday season.
  • Sellers on Amazon from more than 100 different countries around the world fulfilled orders to customers in 185 countries using the FBA service.
  • China and Hong Kong-based sellers with international sales grew 80 percent year-over-year.
  • Product selection available through FBA on the Amazon.in (India) marketplace more than tripled year-over-year.
  • Holiday deals offered by sellers on Amazon worldwide grew more than 250 percent year-over-year during the 2014 holiday season.
  • Units sold by sellers on Amazon worldwide offering holiday deals grew more than 400 percent year-over-year during the 2014 holiday season.
  • On Cyber Monday, more than 16 million units were ordered worldwide from sellers on Amazon.
  • On Cyber Monday, orders processed by businesses using Amazon Payments grew by more than 60 percent year-over-year.
  • More than 25 percent of Login and Pay with Amazon payments were made using a mobile device.
  • Orders processed by businesses using Login and Pay with Amazon grew by more than 200 percent year-over-year during the 2014 holiday season.

Highlights

  • Amazon introduced the Amazon Seller App to help on-the-go sellers manage their businesses on Amazon direct from their mobile devices. The Amazon Seller App, available for Android, iOS and Fire phone, makes it easier than ever for sellers on Amazon to quickly manage inventory, source and list new items on Amazon, and quickly respond to customer inquiries.
  • Top brands and vertical retailers became sellers on Amazon including Aeropostale, Claire's, Quiksilver, Hanna Andersson, Roxy, Wilson's Leather, Warner Bros. Shop, HBO Shop, The History Channel, Cardinal Health, Owens & Minor, and Ducati.
  • Amazon continued to remove barriers for cross-border sellers to help reach customers worldwide. Amazon expanded recruitment for new sellers and selection from emerging regions including Australia, South Korea and Singapore.
  • Amazon expanded Sunday delivery through the U.S. Postal Service to thousands of cities across the U.S., enabling FBA items from sellers to reach customers on Sundays.
  • Many FBA offers from sellers are now available with same-day delivery in 12 metro areas across the U.S.
  • Amazon improved the delivery experience for customers in Europe with the introduction of Borderless Fulfillment. Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de and Amazon.fr Prime members now have access to free Two-Day Delivery for items from sellers using the FBA service stored in Amazon's European fulfillment centers located outside their respective countries.
  • Amazon launched Multi-Country Inventory in the EU, an international fulfillment program that has enabled cross-border FBA sellers to place millions of high-demand items closer to customers. Products are stored in Amazon's fulfillment centers across Europe so they ship faster to local customers.
  • FBA introduced Amazon Partnered Carrier services for sellers in Italy and Spain to access discounted rates with select carriers when shipping inventory to Amazon.
  • Amazon unveiled the 'Make an Offer' experience that allows customers to negotiate prices on more than 150,000 items across Sports and Entertainment Collectibles, Collectible Coins, and Fine Art from sellers on Amazon. The new feature allows customers to offer to buy items at even lower prices, and if agreed upon, customers can then purchase the items at a savings from the listed price.
  • Amazon Payments launched Pay with Amazon in India and expanded the availability of Login and Pay with Amazon in Europe. The payment services give hundreds of millions of Amazon shoppers worldwide a secure way to pay on thousands of websites using the information already stored in their Amazon accounts.
  • Amazon Payments launched a Growth Guarantee for businesses that adopt Login and Pay with Amazon. With the Growth Guarantee, businesses can trial the service and if after 30 days of launching Login and Pay with Amazon they have not seen an increase in sales, Amazon will refund their fees on up to $100,000 in transactions.
  • Amazon Local Register , a mobile app and secure credit card reader, launched in the U.S. enabling individuals and small businesses to accept credit and debit cards from a smartphone or tablet at an industry-leading low, flat rate with no hidden fees or long-term contracts. Local Register customers also benefit from access to the Amazon.com award-winning, fully-dedicated customer support team, and in-app reporting tools.
  • Amazon Payments enabled select businesses that use Login and Pay with Amazon as an online checkout option to offer Amazon Prime members special benefits from their sites. AllSaints.com is now offering Prime members free shipping when they shop on AllSaints.com and checkout using Login and Pay with Amazon.
  • Amazon expanded its Amazon Currency Converter for Sellers (ACCS) service to cover eight currencies. International sellers can be paid directly into their local bank accounts in local currencies including the Euro, British Pound, U.S. Dollar, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar, Indian Rupee and New Zealand Dollar.
  • Amazon launched North America Unified Accounts to simplify international selling in North America. Now, when a seller signs up to sell on either Amazon.com or Amazon.ca, they have access to both marketplaces and can more easily create and manage their offers in both the U.S. and Canada.
  • Amazon launched the Build International Listings tool in North America, enabling sellers on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca to automatically create offers and manage prices in both marketplaces.
  • Sponsored Products, an advertising program for sellers, introduced six new placements for sellers including product detail pages and mobile search pages to attract customers to their offers.
  • Product Ads, an advertising program for sellers, re-opened in the U.S. the Apparel, Shoes and Luggage categories to Product Ads from sellers. Globally, Product Ads opened nine categories across Germany, France and the UK, including Shoes & Bags, Clothing, Sports & Outdoors, Beauty, Health & Personal Care, Watches, Pet Supplies, Luggage, and Jewelry.
  • Amazon launched the 3D Printed Products store that now gives customers access to more than 6,000 unique print-on-demand products, many that can be customized by material, size, style, and color, and personalized with text. The store includes convenient search tools, interactive 3D preview functionality and a product personalization widget. Since launch, the number of items listed in the store has grown by 500 percent.
  • Amazon opened the Collectible Coins store that now gives customers direct access to more than 25,000 unique U.S. coins from over 160 industry-leading dealers showcasing a wide variety of professionally graded and authenticated coins. The new store is one of the largest online destinations to discover and purchase graded U.S. coins, featuring easy-to-use search tools. Historical collections are available including buried treasure coins recovered in the Saddle Ridge Hoard and 57th Street Hoard.
  • Sellers on Amazon added thousands of "Certified Refurbished" offers (www.amazon.com/used) from leading electronics manufacturers by focusing on high quality used selection.
  • Amazon Wine (www.amazon.com/wine) expanded its reach and now offers direct-to-consumer shipping from wine sellers to 27 states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.

Businesses interested in selling on Amazon, the FBA service and Amazon Payments can visit us at http://services.amazon.com.


Top Book Stores Around the U.S.

Asian Book Store
 (617) 822-9996
1392 Dorchester Ave
Dorchester, MA 02122

Africa World Press Inc. & The Red Sea Press Inc.
41 West Ingham Avenue Suite B
Trenton, New Jersey08607
(609) 695-3200

Kaboom Books
3116 Houston Avenue
Houston Tx. 77009
Phone: 713.869.7600

Kinokuniya
123 Astronaut E S Onizuka #205
Los Angeles, CA
213-687-4480

The Americanist (ABAA)
113 Creeks Edge
Chapel Hill , NC 27516
 

Mahogany Books
37 Western Hill Mall
Fairfield, AL 35064
205-923-1624

Latin American Book Store
204 N Geneva St
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 273-2418

Frank's Hebrew Bookstore
14425 Cedar Road (Near Green)
South Euclid, Ohio 44121
Phone: 216-291-9847
E-Mail: franks@apk.net



INSPIRED BY AN ACTUAL COURT CASE, APEX PREDATOR BY DALLAS AUTHOR

J.A. FAURA SHEDS LIGHT ON A POSSIBLE NEW HUMAN SPECIES

“…Apex Predator by J.A. Faura has all of the elements that make for an excellent read: intrigue, interesting characters and a well-developed plot.  Throw in forensics, psychiatry and some true events and it’s the perfect recipe of mind bending ‘what if’s’…”

“…A gripping tale that is woven into layers…”

“…The story moves at a very good pace and the end leaves room for more…”

“….Armed with a keen insight into the darkest ground waters of human nature and cognitive science, J.A. Faura has offered up a disturbing vision into where our species may be evolving.  His prescient imagination puts humanity squarely into a collision with itself.” – Professor Dr. James Fallon, University of California at Irvine (Human Behavior and Psychiatry), author of The Psychopath Inside and TED presenter

THE BOOK

What is the legal definition of human?  Is there something beyond a psychopath?  Are humans still at the top of the food chain?  These questions and their answers play a central role in Apex Predator.  The novel is inspired by true events and utilizes real evolutionary, forensic psychiatry and cognitive science, making it truly frightening and thought-provoking. 

The story, however, begins with Steven Loomis, a man, a father looking for answers after his daughter's kidnapping and brutal murder.  He wants to understand what drives monsters like the one that kidnapped and killed his daughter.  What he discovers is that his daughter’s killer was just the tip of the iceberg; that there are far more sinister and powerful forces at play, forces that Steven was not expecting nor prepared for.  He realizes that what he has found is the most significant and real threat that humanity has ever faced. 

And while he wants to simply grieve like a father that lost his little girl, he realizes that he must play a role he is neither sure he is ready for nor willing to play.  He ultimately understands that only he can warn the world about the threat, only he can do something about it.  Steven Loomis finds himself in the fight of his life as he tries to warn the world of the threat, to protect his family and to keep himself out of prison. 

THE AUTHOR

Psychopathy, forensic genomics, parapsychology, personality disorder, if it has something to do with the extreme edges of the human psyche, J.A. Faura is hooked. As a teen J.A. got in trouble with the law and after spending some time in correctional facilities in California and Tijuana, decided to focus his interest in human behavior on extreme, aberrant and criminal behavior and why people engage in it.  After earning a law degree and clerking for the District Attorney’s and Public Defender’s office, he brought his two passions together: criminal defense law and behavioral science. As an author J.A. Faura seeks to paint frightening scenarios driven by true science, legal theory and the extremes of human behavior. 

His series Beyond a Psychopath presents one such scenario as it explores what comes after humans in the evolutionary chain.  Apex Predator is the first book in the series.  The second book, The Human Element, will be released in the spring of 2015. 

THEMES

·         Forensic psychiatry, cognitive science

·         Has science discovered the formula for psychopathy

·         Are there brutal predators that do not fit established psychopathy norms

·         Is there or can there be an evolution of the human species

·         What comes after humans in the evolutionary chain?

·         Can the definition of ‘humanity’ truly be litigated in a court of law?

AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE




How to Acquire Online Training and Success in Content Writing?

By Arundhathi Enamela  

January 2015

How to acquire online training and success in content writing?

Content writing requires vast knowledge and highest abilities to develop accurate content. Since it is all about web writing, acquiring good proficiency in web content, SEO articles, press release and advertising will surely bring a lot of success. There are certain requirements to be a content writer. Firstly, the content should be original and must carry top quality information. A beginner may not have a complete grasp about the development and management of content. This is why, online training is highly recommended to be able to deliver quality content in a wide variety of topics. The following is a brief about online training sources that help the students to make a successful career in content writing.

Free writing courses online

In the recent times, the launch of online study programs encouraged many to opt for a suitable career. There are very good online courses available for content writing and these include video tutorials, online assignments and certification. Training institutes online differ 24x7 customer service support to the students to complete the course successfully.

Writers Digest University

Writers Digest University offers a wide variety of writing programs and these are thoroughly good in design from the point view of course modules. Pursuing your choice of course and completing it will definitely be rewarding. There is also a facility to seek appropriate support during the period of program.

AWAI

AWAI (American writers and artists Association ) endorses detailed and specialized training materials for all writers. Some of these are self-study materials and others are interactive. These are designed by experts who recommend it after an in depth research. These are assuredly excellent programs highly useful for upcoming writers who plan to choose a career in writing. Beginning from copywriting to novel writing, there are many unique writing courses.

Publish long articles

After acquiring a skill-set to write top quality content, you should publish articles regularly. Choose the word count to range from 1000-2000 per article. First outline your article and make it unique apart from being original.

Set your goal for 10 articles per week

As a successful certified content writer,you will have expertise in the development and management of content. You will acquire extra skills to assess, analyze and evaluate the content.

Vast income sources

Certification in content writing will definitely set the path for a successful career. Additionally a freelancing opportunity offers plenty of projects for content writers. With little investment, you can start your own content writing company and provide your services. Certainly you will have access to a very big platform that will boost your earnings and profits.



Sex Lies & Alibis: Award-Winning Author & Speaker Exposes Toxic “Culture of Exploitation” in Game-Changing Roadmap to Lifelong Relationships  

‘Sex Lies & Alibis’ transcends the typical dating book to expose an epidemic relationship culture of exploitation, where sex and lies are prioritized over love, respect and ultimately longevity. The book forms part of author L. Dwain Boswell’s wider ‘I am Worth the Effort’ movement, which encourages men and women to take a radical pro-active new approach to their relationships. By digesting the book’s anecdotes and following its bold blueprint, anyone can triumph in a relationship culture where the majority fails. The book is changing lives and winning accolades including a coveted Readers’ Favorite award.

Janaury 2015

While many have hailed the internet and increasingly-liberal attitudes as a revolution for those looking for love, L. Dwain Boswell’s ten years of study uncover a dangerous emerging culture of exploitation. Lies are tossed around to “win” sex, mutual respect is a rare commodity and sabotage prevails over love. Boswell has travelled the length of the country making people aware of these dangers as part of his acclaimed ‘I am Worth the Effort’ movement; now reaching new heights through a compelling non-fiction book.

‘Sex Lies & Alibis’ has one bold goal – to help people avoid the exploitative culture around them and succeed in their relationships. In a fusion of societal exploration, inspirational quotes and with a blueprint for relationship success, Boswell empowers readers to alter their thought processes, be aware of the outside forces crippling their love lives and embrace a new mindset that will result in love.

Synopsis: 

The average person starts a relationship putting their best foot forward. They are dressed to impress and quite often personal fulfillment is very much on their mind. This book has over ten years of uncut and candid observations about why the current relationship culture continues to fail. It exposes relationship games in a way that informs and empowers, while providing a new approach to success. In addition, it provides a fresh perspective to the questions:


• Is Love at first sight possible?
• Are all men dogs?
• How long should I date someone before marrying them?

In public forums these are just a few of many questions that come up, but there is often not enough time to elaborate, as people are desperately longing for answers. This book will become a relationship map at your fingertips. All you have to do is open it and began reading this insightful exposé of the game, and let it transform your relationships. 

“At the age of twenty-five I began travelling the nation to speak to people about relationships; I’ve now accumulated ten years of experience and study under my belt, resulting in a proven design for relationship success,” explains Boswell. “If readers follow the steps I outline, I guarantee that they will find the success they crave so deeply. It’s working for people as we speak!”

Continuing, “I urge all readers to also download the book’s study guide from the ‘I am Worth the Effort’ website, a movement which encourages men to value women, and inspire women to see themselves as treasures. I actively promote the formation of core values and principles to live by, living to be the voice of the victim and rising to the challenge of putting in the work required to emerge from the relationship “game” victorious.” 

Since its release, the book has garnered a string of rave reviews. Wen Lung for Readers’ Favorite comments, “Truly a God-sent. I couldn’t have imagined a better time to pick up your book. I literally felt empowered to be better, to want more for myself and not to settle because I deserved better. I believe your book will speak to many people out there. It’s truly inspirational and I enjoyed every practical chapter. Thank God for writers like you.”

Another reader adds, “As a former participator in the game both as a player and a playee, I found this book to be spot on with its insight and information. Kudos to L. Dwain Boswell for explaining how both men and women should view relationships.”

Lisha has even bought copies for her family, writing, “This is a wonderful book. This book can be Life changing for a lot of people. It is filled with spiritual scriptures. I have given this wonderful book to my daughters to read.” 

‘Sex Lies & Alibis’, from Freewill Publishers, Inc., is available now: http://amzn.to/1tj0dKZ.




My Top Ten Books Of 2014

By Alan Blume  

Janaury 2015

It's that time again, time to reflect upon the most enjoyable books of the year, and to map out a reading list for 2015. For the last several years, I've attempted to integrate more classics into my reading list, along with business, fiction, historical non-fiction, health and science fiction. I read another Michael Lewis book this year (Flash Boys), and several books by Philip K. Dick. In case that author's name doesn't ring a bell, Dick published 44 novels and 121 short stories which resulted in eleven popular films including Total Recall and Blade Runner. Though some of his works seem a little dated, many are still thought provoking and entertaining. With such diverse genres, it's difficult to assemble my top 10 books of 2014, that said, here's my list, published in reverse alphabetical order, for no particular reason:

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde: If you're only going to write one novel, this would be an enviable candidate. Written in a classic and compelling style, Oscar Wilde's tale of a handsome and stylish young man who sells his soul for eternal youth is one of the author's best known works. This cautionary tale is still eerie today, as Wilde captures the imagination of the reader with dynamic characters including Dorian his well-off friend Lord Henry, and the painter Basil Hallward. For those few still unfamiliar with the plot, the painter creates a picture of Dorian Gray, which is so beautiful, that it makes Dorian wish he would stop aging. His wish is fulfilled and the painting starts aging instead of young Dorian. The consequences are tragic, as Dorian evolves from deceit, to blackmail to murder. Considering the darkness of this work and The Ballad Of Reading Gaol, Wilde shows his great talent and depth with comedic plays such as The Importance of Being Earnest.

The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived The Holocaust - Edith H. Beer, Susan Dworkin: Edith Hahn was a young woman living in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her into a ghetto and then into a labor camp. When she returned home some months later, she went underground. With the help of a Christian friend, she created a new identify and became Grete Denner. She then met Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who fell in love with her, married her and kept her Jewish identity a secret. In this work, Edith relives her life of constant fear, detailing everything from the birth of her daughter to the drunken Russian soldiers raping random women on the German streets. This work grips the reader with a haunting, disturbing and yet triumphant story.

The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck: This classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is about one family's shifting fortunes amidst a rapidly changing China. The backdrop for the story takes place in 1920s China, during the reign of the last emperor. It's a classic tale of an honest, hard working farmer, who becomes a wealthy man, and the impact of that wealth on himself and his family. Though this plot has been done many times, the changing social and political backdrop in China make this a compelling and fascinating read.

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World - Eric Weiner: NPR correspondent and self-confessed grump Eric Weiner embarks on a yearlong tour in search of the happiest places on the planet. He selects an eclectic list of countries including Iceland, Qatar, Bhutan, Switzerland and England, in search of happiness, or perhaps what factors contribute to the happiest populations in the world. This reader found the story interesting and amusing, an entertaining read.

The 9 Principles For A Lean & Defined Body - Philip J. Hoffman: I've read many fitness and nutrition books and found this to be one of the better that I've encountered. It resulted in some profound changes in habits and lifestyle for this reader. Hoffman preaches practical, pragmatic and attainable lifestyle changes, eschewing fads, gimmicks or supplements. His approach to nutrition is similar to Pollan's In Defense of Food, "Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Hoffman focuses on nutrition and high intensity resistance training (HIRT = weight training with very short intervals between reps will deliver better results). He also discusses preparation and organization, and the elimination of processed foods. Seizing upon Hoffman's logical approach, I now average five 30 minutes HIRT workouts a week (45 seconds between sets and reps), dramatically increased vegetable consumption, eliminated processed foods and reduced red meat consumption. The results were impressive, in a five month period I lost 10 pounds, waist size decreased 2 inches and LDL lowered by 25%. I can't say it will work for everyone, but it worked for me.

How We Got To Now - Steven Johnson: It's all about perspective and this book offers just that, and new perspective on our technical evolution, and how discovery has dramatically and often surprisingly impacted our lives. Johnson dismisses the notion of the "eureka/light bulb" idea moment, and discusses idea and innovation evolution and collaboration, insisting the great advancements often evolve over decades (or more) and are contingent on a series of discoveries. The book discusses six single innovations: Glass, Cold, Sound, Clean, Time and Light, then offers examples of how these innovations intermingle historically, resulting in "How We Got To Now". How does cleanliness or cold play such a significant role in our society, and what does Las Vegas have to do with these? Johnson offers a compelling and interesting perspective on this and this work is a worthwhile and engaging read.

Flash Boys - Michael Lewis: Lewis delves into the little known and difficult to fathom world of flash trading, which some think is a thinly veiled attempt to skim money off the top from Wall Street, at the expense of every day investors. Both fascinating and concerning, Lewis does an excellent job explaining how flash traders operate, and the required speed and technology allowing them to do so. Though Money Ball remains my favorite Lewis work, Flash Boys is certainly an informative and interesting work.

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune - Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Jr.: This fascinating book follows the life of the Clark family subsequently focusing on the eccentricities of Hugette Clark. Hugette's father, William Andrews Clark, Sr., became one of the wealthiest men in the country, a copper baron and US Senator, and built the largest mansion in New York City, a 30 plus room, Tiffany-decorated monument. A significant portion of his estate was left to his eclectic daughter Huguette, who became a recluse, collecting everything from antique dolls to Monet and Degas, and living the last decades of her life in an austere hospital room. The authors did an outstanding job researching Huguette and piecing together her mysterious and reclusive life. This was a truly enjoyable work, from the historical legacy of W.A. Clark, to the odd and unusual life of his daughter.

Do Androids Dream Of Electronic Sheep - Philip K. Dick: This great novel, first published in 1968, was ultimately used as the basis for the film Blade Runner. It's set in a post-apocalyptic, nuclear impacted Earth. The plot revolves around Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter, who must retire (destroy) six ultra sophisticated, escaped androids. Considering this was written almost 50 years ago, this science fiction work has admirably stood the test of time.

Divergent - Veronica Roth: Divergent is of a similar genre to Hunger Games. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago, based on a society which defines citizens by their social and personality-related characteristics. This has resulted in five distinct factions: Abnegation (selfless), Dauntless (brave), Erudite (intelligent), Amity (peaceful) and Candor (honest) The expected result ensues, with the contentious interaction between these factions. It's a fast and easy to read young adult work.

Next year I hope to focus on business, fiction, historical non-fiction, and fitness related books. I'd like to read more about the complexities of Iraq, Iran and the Middle East, business innovation and American history.

Alan Blume is an author and the founder and CEO of
StartUpSelling, Inc.. His recent books include Sell More & Work Less http://www.startupselling.com/book.html and Your Virtual Success. His company, StartUpSelling, Inc.
http://www.startupselling.com, provides insurance marketing and lead generation services to agencies and brokers. Blume was awarded Inc 500 status twice in his career and runs all of his operations virtually, with a seasoned team of US based marketing professionals.


JANUARY 2015

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