Tag : review

A New Book for a New Year


Newly published, just in time for Chinese New Year (January 28, 2017), The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang, with pictures by Alina Chau, features brave and clever heroine Xingling.

Defeated since long ago by the loud sounds, fire, and color red used in celebrating, the Nian Monster overcomes his weaknesses and returns to devour the city on Lunar New Year. To delay the monster, Xingling feeds him long-life noodles, so that he may conquer more cities, fish, for good fortune, and sticky rice cake, so that he cannot open his jaws to blow out the firecracker rocket taking him into the next year!

The author’s note elaborates on many of the cultural traditions mentioned in the text. The story is entertaining and brightly illustrated with depictions of a really very friendly-looking monster.

Recommended for age 4 to 8.

Personal Finance for Dummies


Are you looking to take charge of your financial situation? Want to read a book that can help give you some basic financial advice? Then Personal Finance for Dummies is worth checking out from your local Gwinnett County Public Library. The book provides information on measuring your financial health and improving your financial literacy, how to deal with debt and reduce your spending, and how you can use technology to help you manage your money. It also covers investment concepts such as saving for retirement, saving for kids college education, saving money in taxable accounts, and even a chapter on working with financial planners.

“The 80/20 Manager” by Richard Koch


The 80/20 Manager is an excellent guide for those who want to receive more by doing less. The 80/20 Principle is a productivity method of achieving great outcomes with little effort by accomplishing the most important projects first. This principle is also called the “Pareto Principle” after Italian economist and philosopher Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923). He wrote “Course d’Economie Politique,” an academic paper about the elite 20% who controlled 80% of Italy during his time. A small group can produce big results.

Author Richard Koch presents many examples in his book how the 80/20 principle worked for him as an entrepreneur and a managing consultant. He outlines ten ways the 80/20 principle can be used, like time-rich management and simplification. Apple’s iPhone was Koch’s core example of simplification. The iPhone is one product (20% work) with many functions: internet, GPS, video recording, and more (80% results). Therefore, Apple has become wildly successful and prolific with the iPhone as opposed to many products with limiting operations (still, Apple make more than just phones).

The 80/20 Manager is aimed at those in business but it can be used by anybody for anything! Since I’ve read this book, my productivity habits have sharply upgraded. Every chapter was filled with rich, useful information. Instead of racing to get everything done by nightfall, knock out the work with the greatest impact and a huge chunk of the day is already done while the sun is still up.