Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart (Reckoners, #1)Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read (listened, really) to this one against my will. I was driving and Heather turned it on despite my protests, which were based on two facts: (1) I was already knee-deep in several books and fighting to get them done during the busy holidays and (2) I made a rule for myself about not starting series that weren’t complete. I don’t want to have to fight the lines to buy or borrow the new book, and there are so many great series out there that are already completed, it just doesn’t make sense to me.

So I lost the battle, and was forced to listen to another intriguing, well-written, action-filled book by Brandon Sanderson. Dang him. Ain’t nobody got time for this. The early development of David’s character bothered me a bit (he really made that many observations and did that much research as a kid/teenager, and no one else had?), but you’ve got to love any awkward regular guy who goes up against all-powerful beings and makes a fight out of it. As usual, I love Sanderson’s “magic” system. Totally unique from other books, but detailed. As usual, the plot twists were exquisitely executed, and when you look back, all of the signs/hints were there. As usual, it is an underground team of rule-breakers going up against and all powerful political figure (Mistborn)... ok, so that is the one flaw. If you think about that, there are too many parallels there, but I’m willing to overlook that as long as he keeps doing it so well…

So, I’m afraid that Sanderson is becoming my new favorite author, pushing Garth Nix back to the ex-favorite author lounge with Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Beverly Cleary, Lloyd Alexander, and others. (Yeah, Robert Kiyosaki and David Ramsey sit by themselves in the corner and argue financial philosophies. Nonfiction guys. Seriously.)

Anyway, this was a great book. You should read it. Review done.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict by The Arbinger Institute

The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of ConflictThe Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict by The Arbinger Institute
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As you see from my reviews of Leadership and Self Deception (here and here), I love that book. Anatomy of Peace is its sequel, and after reading both, I think they are out of order. Not only are they chronologically out of order--Anatomy is more of a prequel--but the introduction of the core concepts is better executed in Anatomy. The examples are more generally applicable, being focused on family rather than business relationships. The idea of treating everyone we meet as individuals whose ideas and desires are as valid as our own is such a powerful message. Learning to invite others to see us in that same light is equally valuable.

So this is a 5-star, must-read in my mind. I hope you get the same value from it that I did.