Tuesday, August 1, 2017

How Music Works by David Byrne



Review: How Music Works
David Byrne
2017
Three Rivers Press

The back cover lists several adjectives---brilliantly original, fascinating, extraordinary, dazzling, essential, and absorbing---to describe this book.   I think that pretty well covers most of the endorsements and reviews that are out there already. 
 
How Music WorksI liked the cover and that’s pretty much why I picked the book, that and I am interested in music.  The author’s name rang no bells for me.  As I read through the endorsements I discovered that I probably had seen or heard some of his music.  My kids both knew not only his name, but some of his music.  I must’ve been listening to another sort of music at the time.  However, all that has been corrected now.

I read the book as presented, but as the author mentioned early on, it could be read in any order.  Each chapter is a unique entity of its own.  There’s some of Byrne’s personal history interspersed with some topical essays that intertwined with information and comment.  I think the only chapters I skimmed were the compensation discussion and the last chapter that felt like something written trying to tie it all together.  Or maybe I was just tired that day.  The narrative is dense and I discovered that it was more enjoyable to read a little and then come back for more later.  I found myself thinking about what I’d read and talking to others about it.  I’d say this book lived up to its back cover.  His comments were well stated, insightful, and just down right intelligent.  Doesn’t get much better.  I liked this book and particularly enjoyed his sharing his creative processes. 

I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to think more deeply about music.

I received this book from the publisher in return for a review.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Review: Trade Up: How to Move from Just Making Money to Making a Difference by Dean Niewolny



Review: Trade Up: How to Move from Just Making Money to Making a Difference
Dean Niewolny
Baker Books
2017

Who is Dean Niewolny and what is Halftime Institute?  Without spoiling the book for you, Niewolny is the guy that discovered there is more to life than money and did something about it.  Halftime Institute is an organization that helped him do that.  And now he heads it up.  So, he’s not talking theory in this book.  He lived it.  
Cover ArtLike most projects a good plan helps achieve a good outcome.  Trade Up describes that plan along with some advice related to some of the challenges a person can encounter shifting from just making money to making a difference.  It’s about discovery, strengths, and passions, gifting, and the journey itself.  It is not just sell all your possessions and go live among the downtrodden of some remote place you didn’t know existed.  That could be the outcome, but for most it is more like tweaking and adjusting.  And that doesn’t necessarily mean no pain.  It’s also about long term changes and not quick fixes.  The Institute exists to help you make it happen.  In several places along the way in this book the reader finds the advice to not go it alone.  Support and mentoring keep you sane and on track.  

If you have any little desire to move to making a difference and want to explore the idea, this is the book to read.  One other point, I think the book could be helpful, even if you are not in the upper echelon of financial means.  Initially I found that intimidating, until I realized that more modest money makers can face the same impasse of making money versus making a difference.

I received this book form the publishers in exchange for a review.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Review: WOW! The Good News in Four Words by Dandi Daley Mackall



Review: WOW! The Good News in Four Words
Dandi Daley Mackall
Tyndale House Publishers
2017

This is one of several books that attempts to explain the gospel to children.  It’s not as easy as it sounds since us grownups have made it pretty complicated, in some respects.  I had heard someone say that they found it quite difficult to explain things especially around Easter time, so I decided to give this book a look.
Wow!: The Good News in Four WordsIt is meant to be read to children.  That’s a plus right there.  It isn’t something you place in front of them and walk away.  That meets the first criterium in my opinion.  Parental involvement.  The size of the book works for sharing it with someone.  Nice big pages, colorful illustrations done by Annabel Tempest, and print that fills the space left for it nicely. 
The story is told in rhyme and mostly simple terms.  There are some words like grace or Savior that might trip up a young child, but with mom or dad there to help her understand I think it’ll be OK.  The child is encouraged to participate whenever the word Wow!, Uh-oh, Yes!, or Ahh  appears.  There’s the four words from the title.  Good choices, I think.
This seems like an entry point book for helping your child understand the gospel. And fear not, if the dust cover gets torn, the cover itself also has the art work.  Nice touch, I think.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.