I glanced through this book in the bookstore one day and it looked like a good learning
tool to improve my T-SQL code. I consider myself fairly advanced in this area, but
after reading the "Gurus guide" I know I can improve. I used to recommend The Guru's
Guide to Transact-SQL as the one book to get for T-SQL. This book is as good, perhaps,
better than that one. You cannot go wrong with this book as a T-SQL reference.
From the beginning, I was not disappointed with this book. I opened this book and read
the first chapter on Joins (a fairly simple topic), and then learned a few things. One
thing I really like is the emphasis on SQL-92 standards. This is nice for a few reasons.
One, it helps you prepare for other RDBMS, which any of us may find ourselves working with at
any time. Second, SQL Server is moving in this direction and at some
point (perhaps SQL 2003), support for the SQL-89 join syntax may disappear.
I found something useful in more every chapter. I made some notes about the content and
helpful items I found. The book broken down into the following chapters:
Joins in T-SQL - Inner, outer, and cross joins.
Subqueries and Derived Tables - All types of subqueries covering almost everything you
need to know. I especially like the comparison of different techniques from a performance point
Populating Tables - Using the INSERT statement and BULK COPY.
Other Data Manipulation Issues - A large variety of different functions that can manipulate
data. I have spent quite a bit of time in this chapter, especially in the dates section. I liked the
methods that they presented for finding the beginning or end of the month.
Summarizing Data - This chapter deals with grouping and the various grouping operators (CUBE,
ROLLUP, etc.). While I do not use many of the items in this chapter, I did like the fact that the
explanations are some of the most complete that I have seen on these options for grouping.
Special Datatypes and Properties - A mix of items that don't really fit anywhere else. Identities,
Text, sql_variant and table datatypes are covered here. This is really a SQL Server 2000 specific chapter
as many items here are not available in other versions.
Writing Code in T-SQL - Presents the two styles of the authors and provides some
hints to writing more readable and maintainable code. This section also deals with SET and SELECT
(and their differences) and transactions.
Views - Covers almost everything that you would want to know about views.
Stored Procedures - This chapter deals with stored procedures in every way. It covers how stored
procedures are created and used, along with a nice section on performance. This is a well written section
that covers most everything you need to know (and should know) about stored procedures.
Triggers - Hidden Stored Procedures - A look at the complex world of SQL Server 2000 triggers.
The changes implemented in SQL 2000 are covered in good detail here.
User-Defined Functions - Not a great look at UDFs (I didn't see many useful functions), but this
chapter does cover the system functions that exist along with how to create your own. There are a number
of mathematical examples for functions, so if you need complex math, algebra, etc. in your application, this
may be a good chapter for you.
Temporary Tables - The first sentence of this chapter mentions that you should be able to solve
most problems without temporary tables. That is the best introduction to this chapter. You should avoid
temporary tables. That being said, this chapter does cover the behaviors and differences between
local and global tempoary tables and their use. There are some good examples of where temporary tables
can be used (like avoiding doing duplicate query work).
Horizontally Partitioned Views - This feature of SQL Server is one of the great new features that
helps SQL Server really scale. I had to learn how these worked for my book and I wish I had had this chapter
to read and learn from. It covers the creation and implications of these views. Some great sections
on how performance is affected by these views.
Implementing RI and Cascading Actions - This chapter is mainly concerned with the implications of
using triggers and the built in cascading actions in SQL Server. There is no real discussion of constraints,
which was disappointing. This chapter does do a good job of setting up an example and using it to explain
how cascading actions affect data.
Server Side Cursors - Once again, the first sentence cautions against using cursors. Hopefully people
will follow this advice and use cursors as a last resort. This chapter presents cursors in a terse fashion and
then offers some alternatives to using cursors with other programming constructs.
Expanding Hierarchies - The first chapter I have seen in a SQL book devoted to hierarchies. This
structure was covered in every programming class I ever had, but rarely have I seen space or time
devoted to this in SQL books. However, one thing I often model is a hierarchial relationship. I learned
quite a bit about different ways to handle hierarchies, including a few I had not thought of myself.
Tips and Tricks - A number of short SQL tricks or code tips that can solve some problems. A number of these
tips have been used in articles on SQL Server Central (like insert..exec), and they seem to be the
things that most people enjoy learning. A good chapter to read.
SQL Puzzle Solutions - Every chapter closes out with a puzzle or problem of some sort that the
reader is encouraged to solve. Most of these are not trivial and will require some hands-on-keyboard time
to figure them out. Some of these were very difficult to solve, and it was nice to see how the author's
solution compared to mine.
There were a few problems with this book. In the first chapter, the authors talk about the
reasons to switch to SQL-92 standards. The first reason that is highlighted, however, is Reason #8.
I couldn't find reasons 1-7, so this leads me to worry about the copy editing and it
means I have to suspect and verify all the information I read. Despite the few problems I found, I found very
few typos in this book. The code could be typed into Query Analyzer and it worked and returned the results
that the authors intended.
This book is a fantastic reference for SQL Server 2000. Users of SQL Server 7 (or 6.5) will still learn things, but
there are quite a few features that are only available in SQL Server 2000. If you do not have this book or
The Guru's Guide to Transact-SQL, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book.
I was asked by Mr. Knight to give this a review as it is the first in
this series on databases. I have not read any of the other 911 series,
but I have read lots of articles by Mr. Knight, who is a contributor to www.sqlservercentral.com,
SQL Server Magazine, and wrote Professional
DTS. This book was not disappointing.
There is no "Who this book is for" section, but I
immediately thought that this is a book I could give my system admin and
he would be able to accomplish some tasks. The book is a good reference
for understanding how to solve some simple admin tasks that often come
up. This is more of what I expected from the SQL Server Black Book
Each section of the book contains enough detail to accomplish a task
and gain a basic understanding of what concepts are involved. Another
reference is needed for lots of detail, but no book will cover every
topic in detail. This book provides reasons for choosing a particular
technique for a task as well as other references in places. I especially
like the references to the Q articles on the Microsoft Technet site.
It's nice to be able to find more detail easily.
The book is also organized well and each chapter sticks with the
topics for that chapter without wandering. Not many people will know
everything about SQL Server, and while I know much of the information in
the book, I learned a few things and the book kept me interested.
There is not much that I did not like about the book. I found a
number of typos (4-5 in the first three chapters), but overall the book
is well written and edited. I recommend this book for DBAs of all
A friend of mine has the Windows 2000 Black book and really likes it.
The format of that book is a large number of problems that commonly
occur and the solutions to them. Fro many of the items listed, these
solutions provide quick solutions. Not always, but often.
With the experiences from that book, I was really looking forward to
the SQL Server 2000 Black Book. When I finally got this book and started
digging in, I was surprised.
This book describes itself as a reference for intermediate to
advanced DBAs or developers who need to research a problem or find out
what tools can be used to solve a problem. As an experienced SQL Server
user (10+ years), I was really disappointed. I found this book to be
light in covering most topics and would most likely not start
researching a problem using this book. This is quite unlike the Windows
2000 Black Book. That book I might very likely start looking through to
solve a problem.
The book is organized with the beginning of each chapter discussing a
topic in fairly standard textbook form. the end of each chapter has an
Immediate Solutions section with step by step instructions to completing
exercises that relate to the topic of hte chapter.
I cannot comment on the Clustering chapter, as I have not setup any
SQL Server clusters, but the rest of the chapters are well organized and
written. I like the style of the book and it is laid out well with
graphics placed well to assist with understnading the subjects. The step
by step exercises are accurate and easily followed.
My complaint with these chapters is that they are fairly light
treatment of the topics. Most of the subjects are those that even
intermeditate DBAs would likely be familiar. I did learn a few things,
but not enough to make me want to use this book on a daily basis. I
think my expectations were for something different based on the Windows
2000 Black Book and that tainted my view of this book.
If you are new to SQL Server then this might be a good book for you
to read to learn about different features and tools available. For an
experienced DBA, however, I think there are other books that are more
valuable and better suited to everyday references.
Security is kind of a hobby with me. I think it is both interesting
and scary and an area that most people treat pretty lightly. I find lots
of security problems in companies mainly because people do not take a
few minutes and set things up in a logical manner. I have flipped
through (though never purchased) Applied Cryptography by Mr.
Schneier, and when I saw this book on the shelf, I was very interested.
First, this book is well written and even funny in places. I think
that always helps to make a book interesting when the writing is good.
Second, this is a scary and fascinating look at security in the modern
world. Mr Scheier presents many of the issues and problems with securing
data. There are well organized and logical descriptions of the issues,
definitions, and reasons for security problems.
While I am interested in security, I am not an guru by any means.
This book is written for the technical person, but without requiring a
thorough knowledge of security. I could give this book to my Mom, and
though some of the discussions might be confusing, she would understand
most of the book.
The reason I am presenting this book here is that data security will
become more important in the future. I think most DBAs would do well to
learn about the possible the issues they may encounter and be prepared
for the future. Unfortunately, Mr. Schneier does not present too many
solutions for the problems, mainly because they do not exist. I
wholeheartedly agree with My. Schneier that insurance is the likely
solution to many of these problems. I expect to hold malpractice
insurance at some point in my career if I continue in this business for
the next thirty years.
Regardless of whether there is a solution, I think it is worth
learning about the risks and this is a great book for learning about
security and risks in the digital world.
I was walking in the bookstore one day and saw this on the title and
was intrigued by the title. After reading the jacket, I decided to buy
the book and was excited about reading it.
I hate buggy software. Every time Windows 98 locks up on my oldest, every time
Word locks up when I am writing, every time I lose work, I curse the
programmers who built the software. Like most people, I have come to
expect a certain amount of bugs in most software. I shouldn't, and
neither should you.
Since this is a book review, I will jump off the soapbox and get to
the content. This book is basically about three parts. The first part
talks about the problems of buggy software, how bugs can be introduced,
and why they are tolerated. I somewhat agree with the issues presented;
lots of software is buggy and can be written better. However, bug-free
software is extremely difficult, if not impossible to write. A few of
the examples cited, such as the space shuttle, come very close, however
there are still some defects in this software. There is also the problem
of proving that something does not exist.
The middle part of the book discusses software licenses and the problems
with them. A good portion of this section is devoted to the UCITA
proposed legislation. This is some scary legislation and everyone should
oppose it. Here are a couple links that discuss this law which has
already passed in VA and MD.
I have never written commercial software, but I believe that commercial
companies are harmed by this law in the long run as much as consumers.
Already most of the best security software is being written and sold in
Israel rather than the US. A great deal of this is due to silly
regulations in the US regarding software. Of course, the talent of a
number of Israel's citizens is greatly responsible as well. I urge you
to visit the links even if you do not read the book and send a letter to
The last part of the book discusses what you can do about buggy
software. Mr. Minasi also recommends that you get involved with Beta
programs and try to make a difference with vendors. This is something
that I have given up for the most part because of the buggy software. I
like for most of my software to just work (one reason I use Wordpad more
Overall, this was an interesting book and worth reading. It
definitely can inspire you to do something about the bugs in your
software. The tone of the book, however, often seems to cry
"conspiracy" and it did not read as smooth as I would have
liked. Often the author seems to be whining more than presenting
information. The message, however is an important one and one that I
would recommend to my Mom who is not very computer literate.
My boss picked up this book to help tune our web servers and I spent
a few minutes reading through it one day as a comparison to the book
Within a few minutes I had learned a few things and within an hour
this book was paid for. I highly recommend this book to anyone who needs
to tune Windows 2000 servers. It provides valuable information and some
tips that I have not seen anywhere else.
I am still going through the other sections of this book and will
provide some more information as I complete them.
I got this book because I was setting up an e-commerce web site with
people at work and needed to tune the Windows 2000 server. I think this
book provided some good information, but also lots of basic information
that was not helpful for an advanced user of Windows 2000.
While this book was a good reference, it paled in comparison with the
NOT RECOMMENDED for DBAs, but recommended for developers (VB or
WEB) or saavy SysAdmins wanting to learn more about SQL Server.
I got this book for a couple reasons. First, I am dusting off some
old VB skills and thought that this book might provide some insight into
how VB programmers might access SQL Server. Second, I wondered what is
being taught to VB programmers about databases and SQL Server in
particular. Most of the VB and Web developers that I have worked with
know the basics of databases and can write simple queries, but often do
not understand normalization, what foreign keys are, and many of the
more complex parts of a RDBMS.
I have to say that I was pleased with how this book presents SQL
Server to the novice VB developer. The concepts are laid out and
explained in "layman's" terms (non-DBA) and each new concept has a
"Try It Out" section that walks the user through a practical
application of the concept. Throughout the book, a hardware and software
tracking system is built with enhancements occurring in each chapter.
The book devotes a chapter to explaining how an RDBMS works,
including many basic concepts like normalization, keys, and
relationships. This section is well written and worth a read for
everyone. Even experienced DBAs might pick up a good explanation for
these concepts that can be passed on to others. I know quite a few DBAs
have trouble explaining these complex ideas to developers, myself
included. I have seen quite a few developers walk away with a glazed
expression and return later with the same question.
There is a section devoted to explaining how to install the personal
edition of SQL Server, which is a worthwhile exercise for developers, so
they can understand what is involved. This section is well written,
though I hate to see examples that create databases with unlimited
growth for the data and log files. Like the blank sa password, this is a
pet peeve of mine and should never be used as an example. Set a limit!
Unlimited growth means that it will grow until your hard disk is full,
and (potentially) crash your machine, leaving you to diagnose and
correct the problem.
The remainder of the book walks the user through T-SQL commands to
perform the four basic functions (INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, and SELECT).
There are also a couple chapters devoted to the basics of XML and its
integration with SQL Server. These are really good explanations, though
with just enough knowledge to be dangerous. If you are working with XML
as a mission critical transport, you should seek other reference
material. This will provide you with the basics for getting XML
formatted data out of SQL Server along with a couple examples of how to
use this data. It is a better explanation than in BOL.
I would not recommend this book for DBAs, even junior levels. If you
are going to be a DBA, then there are much better choices for learning
about SQL Server. This is a good book for developers who are new to SQL
Server or want to learn more about SQL Server. If you are a DBA who
works with VB or ASP (or other web scripting language) developers, then
this book will explain many of the concepts that are needed for working
with SQL Server. While written from a VB programmer's perspective,
most of the code will work with ASP. I would even recommend this for any
system administrators who are familiar with scripting or have any desire
to do some light programming. The tracking system that is being built is
rather useful and needed in any organization.
This is the third edition of this book and I think this is a must have for SQL Serve
DBAs out there. Kalen Delaney wrote the second edition for SQL Server 7 and she has once
again written a great book on the interal workings of SQL Server. I highly recommend this book
for anyone working with SQL Server. It is a great desktop reference and has answered some "how
does it work" questions for me.
I would not sit down and read this entire book cover to cover, and actually have not read the entire
book. I have read a substantial portion of it as research in understanding how some proceses work in
SQL Server 2000. Once very interesting thing I learned about cached execution plans is that they are not
reused if you do not specify the owner of a table. If the server must make the implicit conversion to "dbo"
then the execution plan will be recompiled to verify the ownsership chain.
Overall, I found this book, like the version before it, to be easy to read and explain most
SQL Server behavior in a straightforward and easy to understand manner. I read mostly the second half
of the book as the beginning sections would not really help me. I was very impressed with the locking
and query processor chapters. This is a great complement to Books Online and one that I purchased for home,
even though we have a copy at work. If you have to get just one general SQL Server 2000 book, this should be
I was really looking forward to this book as a potential
"bible" for DTS. Ever since DTS has been released, information
has been sparse and most books that I have seen provide the same few
types of examples, none of which have really helped me to learn DTS.
Until this book was published, the best information I had seen about
DTS was in OLAP Unleased which contained a few hundred pages of
information. Unfortunately, most of this information appeared to be
aimed towards VB programmers implementing DTS into VB. There is nothing
wrong with this, but as a DBA, I try to stick to the native SQL Server
tools as much as possible. This way, I have fewer dependencies and do
not have to install anything on my machine or server.
So, with much enthusiasm and some high hopes, I dove into
Professional SQL Server 2000 DTS.
The first four chapters present a nice overview of DTS and walks the
user through a few basic and fairly standard examples. The tasks that
are included with SQL Server 2000 are each presented with a good exmaple
of each option and setting. I think the explanations are fairly
straightforward and written for most imtermediate to senior level DBAs.
I especially like the way that the various constants that are available
are defined along with a few examples of how to use each. If you have
done Windows programming, then these constants will look familiar,
though none of the DTS books I have looked at before this one have
presented very good explanations of each in this much detail.
Chapters 5 and 6 discuss accessing heterogeneous data access, which
is probably the main purpose behind DTS. Chapter 5 looks at linked
servers and how they are setup in SQL Server. It is nice to have this
chapter separate so it can be skipped by those who know how to do it,
but still there to build a base for those who have never setup a linked
server. Chapter 6 then dives into various examples of how to access
data. There is an Excel example that includes formatted titles and
headers in the spreadsheet (how many Excel spreadsheets do you get
without a title or header in the first couple rows?). That alone is
something that lots of people that have not used DTS very much would get
frustrated trying to get working. And it's a simple fix (set first row
to the real first row on the options tab)!! There is also a nice example
converting data from DB2 using the Host Integration Server from
Microsoft. One nice thing in this example is the inclusion of specific
errors (using screen shots!!!) that may occur when using this tool. I do
not have a copy of either DB2 or Host Integration Server, so I could not
test this. The only thing that would round out this chapter would be an
example of data transfer from Oracle. Since it is so heavily used, it
would be nice to see a specific example that queries an Oracle database.
Chapter 7 is the chapter that I was most interested in reading.
ActiveX scripting is something that I have hacked around with, but have
not really had the time to develop good skills here. No other book I
have read on SQL Server walks the beginner through ActiveX scripting.
This chapter presented a nice introduction to programming using
scripting and the various types of programming constructs that are
available. I am familiar with most of the constructs, but the seeing the
specific implementation of loops, variables, etc. in scripting was nice
(with screen shots).
Chapter 8 deals with dynamic packages. Since most packages that I
have built with SQL Server 7 have to be tested by me, moved to another
server for QA, and then deployed to a production server, I am constantly
developing tricks to allow the same package to be used in all three
environments. Usually I have had to alter the package as it moves
between each environment to reset some of the connections or tasks as
databases and servers change. This has been a constant hassle, not to
mention a concern for our QA people. This chapter was helpful because it
explained how to add dynamic steps and packages from within DTS. Without
VB! Of course, the chapter does then walk the user through setting up a
new VB project and creating a package, including saving this package to
SQL Server. For someone whose VB skills are a little rusty, this was a
Chapter 9 goes into advanced ActiveX scripting, including some file
system manipulation. I have spent quite a bit of time learning how to
manipulate the file system from with DTS, so this was not much help, but
it was a straightforward explanation.
Chapter 10 introduces security. It also talks about backing up and
restoring databases, including using the maintenance plans included with
SQL Server. I am not sure why this much detail is devoted to an admin
task and I think this is the weakest chapter in this book. The
explanations are a little skimpy and I think this chapter is a bit
Chapter 11 is devoted to error handling. Most people will probably
skip this chapter, but it is important to building solid DTS
applications. I recommend reading this chapter, which contains a good
explanation and examples for handling the errors that occur in different
tasks. There are both DTS native and VB examples.
Chapter 12 discusses custom tasks and then walks the user through
building one in VB. This was a great explanation of building a custom
task. I have not built any for my own use (outside of this example), but
I look forward to trying some of the techniques in this chapter.
The final three chapters are devoted to data warehousing and
integration with other applications. The treatment of the integration
with other applications is a little light, but there are a few examples
of how to build a custom package, make a DLL using VB and then call this
from other applications.
The data warehousing sections, though, provide a good introduction to
data warehousing and how to build a DTS solution for loading a
warehouse. There is a detailed example that reminds me of some other
WROX programming books where a good sizes project is presented as the
The nicest thing about this book is that there are lots of screen
shots. And by lots, I mean LOTS. More than most any book I have seen. It
really helps with such a GUI intensive application such as DTS to have
lots of screen shots that guide the reader through the examples. This
book as pretty much lived up to the high expectations that I had and I
highly recommend this for all SQL Server DBAs.
I picked this up because I was excited about learning C#. After some sessions
at Microsoft, I was really looking forward to doing some work. I installed the Beta
framework on one of my machines, but have been too busy to work with it much.
I read this book, though. It was a really nice read for most of the book, easy and
understandable for someone who hasn't worked with C++ in quite a few years. About 1/2 way through,
the book takes a leap of complexity and I was lost, but I perservered.
I don't have any other C# books to compare it to, but I thought it was well written and
fairly clear in its explanations. If you are a novice, it might be a bit much, but I think
C or C++ developers will like this one.
A series of tales and stories from Silicon Valley, seemingly kind of random, where the author contacts and follows various people throughout Silicon Valley in the late 1990's. An interesting look, especially with the dot com crash of 2001.
One interesting theme is the tremendous effort people put into working in Silicon Valley. Not something I'd like to do and not even something that should be admired. Too often while reading this I wondered what are these people doing with their lives? What about their families?
Somewhat interesting, but not captivating. If you are wondering about Silicon Valley and why people do what they do, this provides a little insight, but it's not a great page turner.
This is the second book by these two authors. I read the first, The Tailsman, some years ago and enjoyed it. When this came out, it was a no-brainer to get it as I have enjoyed almost all Stephen King's work.
The first couple chapters of this book must have been written by Peter Straub. How do I know? Well, the writing style is different. It's hard to describe, but it was tough to read and was kind of chilling. Stephen King's work is kind of crazy, but never really disturbing. This was, which I am assuming is more of Peter Straub's style. Once I got a few chapters in, the reading got much more enjoyable and I actually read most of this book in four days.
Jack Sawyer from The Tailsman is back as an adult and once again must journey to the Territories to save someone. This is a more disturbing book, dealing with a serial killer of children, but still a good read. If you like the first book, you should like this, but you don't have to read the first book to understand this one. You'll just miss some references. I enjoyed it, but it's not a "must read".
I bought this book for my Mom for her birthday and bought myself a copy at the same time.
I had read about 100 pages by September 11, when the US was attacked. Needless to say, this
had an effect on my thoughts as I read the book.
I picked up this book in the grocery store one day on a whim. I needed something in my
car and I have always loved Mr. Ludlum's books.
This one reminded me of The Bourne Ultimatum when I started it, though it is kind
of a cross with than and one of his other books. A spy retires and then comes back to save the
world against a "Bill Gates/Microsoft" kind of evildoer. The end was a little disappointing (unlike most)
other Ludlums. It kind of became a little (more) unbelievable than I would have thought with the
"Big Brother" software company at the end. Hopefully I'm not giving too much away, but it struck me as
kind of hokey at the end.
I think Mr. Ludlum is a great writer and this book continues in that vien until the very end. It's
worth reading, though I wouldn't call this one of this best. It is engaging and entertaining.
I love Dirk Pitt. For awhile, I wanted to be like him, diving, cars, etc. As I've
grown up, however, I am more inclined to lead a tamer lifestyle. I still enjoy these books.
This was one of the more fun books, set slightly in the future, and dealing with the
mythical Atlantis, or an Atlantis like race. I can't say too much about this book without
giving away the plot, but I enjoyed it and rank this as one of the better Pitt novels.
My nine year old picked this up and started reading it. He's fascinated with Atlantis and
we'll see if he finishes it.
I originally got this for my wife and she really liked it. I got her a couple more and ended up reading them
before I got to this one. The others were good, but not great. This book, however, really
kept me interested. It was one of those books that seems to accelerate the pace of everything
as it climaxes at the end. Towards the end, I couldn't put this one down. I stayed at lunch an
extra 15 minutes one day to finish it.
This book still includes Alan Gregory from the previous books, but it is not really about him. The
writing is interesting. It moves from third person to first person. Almost like the Sound and Fury by Falkner book.
It took me a few seconds in some places to figure out who the first person was.
I recommend this book. It was one of the few this year that has really held my interest to the
last page. And one that I wished would have gone on.
Mr. Entine emailed me and invited me to read his book. He had noticed some of my other choices,
so I decided to try it.
A friend noticed I was reading this book and commented that it must be a powder keg. It is.
Mr Entine tries to balance historical accoutings of athletes ( mostly blacks) with facts and
biology. I think he does a good job and presents a fairly balanced view of why there isn't more
study of this subject.
I learned some interesting historical facts about some black athletes from the early part of
the 20th century. Also, that black athletes of West African descent hold all running records for
shorter distances (<800m) and East Africans or those descended from East Africa hold all longer records. As many of us have heard, Kenyans win many of the marathons. What I did not know is that a small village in Kenya, near the Rift Valley is the location for virtually all of these world class marathoners.
If you are interested in sports, and about what makes people perform better, this is an
intersting book. It's a powder keg, though. Be forewarned.
I have always loved the Spenser novels. He's kind of a mini hero for me and while I
wouldn't change places with him, I admire some of the qualities he has been endowed with.
Of course, Hawk is always hilarious.
Robert Parker is a quick, easy read and I enjoyed reading this book, but this is not one
of the Spenser novels that I really like. I finished it, but there are much better stories by Mr. Parker.
Reading this one makes me remember why I love Tom Clancy's novels. This reminds me of Red Storm Rising,
a war going on and the action jumping from scene to scene. This continues the Jack Ryan series
with Mr. Ryan dealing with the Chinese directly. This is the third major conflict between the US and another
nation and it brings closure to this series (I think).
In the two previous novels (The Sum of All Fears and Executive Orders), the
Chinese influence the middle east and then Japan to attack the US. In this one, the Chinese attack
Russia, now a NATO country and the US comes to their aid.
With the end of the cold war, I wondered if Clancy would continue to be so popular. His writing
style and ability to blend 5 or 6 stories together is amazing and enjoyable to read.
The first Grisham I have read that is not about a lawyer. It was a pleasant surprise and I enjoyed
reading this book.
This book is written from the point of view of a seven year old living on a farm in Arkansas in
the 60s. This book follows him through most of a harvesting of the cotton crop and the adventures
of his family during this fall. It is touching and sad and as a parent, it makes me reflect on my
life and my kids. Not exciting, but interesting and recommended.
This is the second book by Mr White that I have read. It wasn't as good as Higher Authority, but
it was enjoyable. It is a good read for a rainy day. This book follows Alan Gregory, the psychologist,
and his attempts to solve a series of murders.
The biggest problem with this book, IMHO, is that too much happens. It gets what my wife calls
the "Hollywood" syndrome where things get too fantastic. It seems the Dr. Gregory constantly falls into
some new "tradgedy". If there were not so many coincidences, I think this book would be better.
Just For Fun by Linus Torvalds and David
Diamond. I picked this one up on the spur of the moment while magazine
shopping. I have always been interested in Linux and it's growth and think
it's a great story for computing.
I lost this one for a month or so after I bought it because my wife was
reading it. When she finished, she didn't like it very much, so I was
slightly disappointed when starting it.
After finishing it, however, I found myself enjoying it. It reminded me
of TommyKnockers, which is another Stephen King story about aliens. As the
book went on, I found it harder and harder to put down.
I'll write some more later, but time is a tight now.
I go this book because it was on my front page at Amazon.com and had
more reviews than any other book I have seen. Nearly 1000 reviews and most
of them good. So I thought, what the heck, and try something different.
My wife picked it up while I was reading something else and promply put
it down after a dozen pages or so. She didn't think I'd like it or even
finish it, but I decided to give it a try.
At first I was a little turned off. The references and setting of the
novel in London is a turn-off for me. While I lived in London for 6 months
and thoroughly enjoyed it (I'd go live there again), I usually don't like
reading about it. The book is also written as a diary with multiple
entries some days, none others, but by a flaky, whiny, neurotic woman in
her thirties trying to find a relationship with no "f***wittage"
as she puts it.
After a half hour, I was surprised to find myself 40 pages into the
book. I think the short nature of the entries lends itself to quick
reading. After a day, I was intrigued about how this novel might turn out.
After finishing it, I am still not completely sure how I feel about it. I
didn't hate it, but didn't really like it that much. It was a change of
pace, kind of a British, updated, St Elmo's Fire. A little soap opera-ish
and definitely more of a woman's than a man's book (in general), but
interesting. There were some funny entries, which brought a smile to my
face and perhaps kept me going.
I somewhat recommend this. It's quite a change from most other books I
read, but it's not horrible. My wife still hates it and probably won't
I grabbed this because I was looking for a quick, fictional read after
the book below. I was not disappointed.
This was a great page-turner and since it involved hackers and
computers, was doubly so for me. A departure from the other Deaver novels,
I found this one to be fascinating and hated to put it down over the three
days I read it. While some might complain about the technical details and
the liberties that Mr. Deaver took, I'd suggest you overlook them and
imagine it could all be true and enjoy the read. If you have enjoyed any
of the Pineiero novels, you should enjoy this one.
This was a really interesting look at the PGA tour in 1993. Mr.
Feinstein follows a series of golfers, some famous, some not,
through a year on the tour. He talks about their situations, experiences,
joys, and disappointments. It was partularly interesting in that this is
before Tiger Woods joins the tour. Also, as I read this, Tiger had just
won his fourth major in a row at the Masters and was the odds on favorite
to win the US Open this month in OK (He didn't. As I write this, he
I found it fascinating in that a number of famous players, players who
had won a major tournament the previous year, missed a number of cuts
during the course of the book. I had always assumed that all the big names
played through every weekend. Not true. Every player has to perform
individually every week or he goes home on Friday.
If you ever dream of playing on the tour, this is a really interesting
book to read. This was a great year to follow golf and I learned a great
deal about how the tour works. I hate traveling, so it's not for me, but
I'd recommend this to anyone who is thinking of trying for the tour.
The last couple books by Mr. Patterson were a bit disappointing to me.
Since reading Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider, I
haven't been very excited about any of his novels.
This was a bit of a change. First, I liked the style of writing. Short
chapters, most of them 3-4 pages, kept the reading quick. Also the story
was fresh and interesting. Set in San Francisco, newlyweds are being
killed and the head of the homicide department, a women, is assigned to
solve them. Oh, by the way, she has just learned that she has a
life-threatening blood disease.
If I did not know better, I would have guessed this novel was written
by a woman, but I checked the cover and it is indeed James Patterson.
I think this is a really good read, not great, but really good. It's an
easy book to read and would be good to curl up with on a rainy day.
I heard Mr. Feinstein talk rather passionately about this book on the
Jim Rome show and decided to read it. It's an interesting look at the
Patriot League in division I basktball. The book basically follows this
league through the 2000 season and bounces from team to team as they try
I liked the book, though I wish there would have been more time spent
on the players and coaches rather than games themselves. It also bounced
around so much that I was left longing for more detail about these guys.
Most of these players have no shot of making a living from basketball.
Only 1 player from these schools has made it to the NBA, very few in
Europe or the CBA. Most will go on to non-sports careers like the majority
of college graduates. Most of these schools do not offer athletic
scholarships, so these players are here because they have good academic
records, want to learn, and want to play basketball on the side.
If you like college basketball, this is a good read.
I was looking forward to this book. I was curious what the original
"hackers" were like. Not the kids who deface web sites and cause
problems, but those individuals who truly love computers and look to push
them to the limits.
I was disappointed. This books starts with the first computers that
arrived at MIT and the students who obsessed and grew to love them. The
book covers the middle generation, people like Steve Wozniak and the first
"PC" users and continues to the third generation, looking at
Sierra On-Line systems and the game programmers. There is a final section
devoted to Richard Stallman (GNU) and his growth at MIT.
The book tries to present these individuals as heroes, but instead they
mainly look like brats and arrogant individuals who think that they should
decide how computers are to be used. There is almost praise for the
original hackers who snuck into computer labs, picked locks, and pushed
others away from computers so they could have more computer time. The
disdain these individuals have for computer security is readily apparent.
As a computer professional, I completely disagree with this
Computers like everything else are a limited resource and must be
shared. There is also a cost involved with their use and that cost must be
borne by someone. There are also many malicious users out there and
computer security is a must-have in today's world.
This is somewhat interesting history of computing, but not a book
I would recommend.
I grew up playing baseball as a kid. I played in T-ball through high
school, including summer camps at the local university for 5-6 years. I'm
a lifelong Yankees fan and still remember sitting in my room, my younger
brother asleep one night when I was 6 or 7. We had a little 9 inch black
and white television, and I sat there on a Monday night, listening to
Howard Cosell calling Monday Night Baseball, watching Catfish Hunter,
Thurmon Munson, Bucky Dent, Willie Randolph and the rest of the Yankees in
Fenway Park, taking on the Red Sox. I'm not sure if that was the first
professional game I saw, but it is the earliest memory I have of a game. I
remember the three home runs Reggie Jackson hit in the World Series. And I
remember Seattle beating Don Mattingly in 1994 or 1995 in his only
postseason appearence. I love the game, and I hope my kids come to love
the game as well.
I also think the game is broken. I think that all professional sports
are broken in some way, but baseball is worse than most and in trouble. A
few kids in my neighborhood play ball, but don't know hw to play
"pepper". They rarely, if ever, play catch, instead preferring
to play soccer. Not that I have anything against soccer, but it's not
Bob Costas is a fan of baseball. I've watched him for years
broadcasting all types of sports and nothing brings the sparkle to his eye
like a baseball game. I think he truly wrote this book to try and make an
impact with people and perhaps even force some changes in the game.
This book is well written, easy to read, and presents a great case for
making changes in baseball. He talks about the possibiities for change
that existed in 1993 and what could have been done. Then he talks about
what actually happened and the places that baseball is broken. He covers
revenue sharing, salaries, and of course, the DH. While I do not
necessarily agree with everything, I agree with most and think that the
changes outlined could really benefit the game. If you are a baseball fan
and are angry, disappointed, or thinking of leaving the game, read this
book. And write a letter to your favorite team. Maybe things will change
and my kids will learn to love the game like I do.
After reading Bag of Bones, I was hoping for another great
story. I was disappointed.
This is a tale of four or five stories over time with characters
carrying over from one story to the next. I like the style of writing like
this, but the storyline left much to be desired.
It wasn't a bad book, just so-so. Of course, I think Bag of Bones
was one of the best Stephen King books I have read, maybe the best.
If you like Mr. King, pick it up and read it, but I think there are much
better books out there.
Bag of Bones by Stephen King. I haven't
read a Stephen King book in awhile, but after reading On Writing, I
wanted to read another one. This one was a little slow to get started, but
I really enjoyed it. It is not as creepy as some other Stephen Kings, but
had me hooked. The writing is great and I really dropped into the woods of
Western Maine with the narrator for a week.
It is about a writer whose wife dies and then finds his summer house is
haunted. I hate to say more because this is a great book. Actually I think
this may be the best Stephen King I have ever read, even better than The
Green Mile. READ THIS BOOK!
One word of warning. This is an adults-only book. A few graphical,
sexual descriptions that are best left to the college and older crowd.
A look at Jim Clark and the three multi-billion dollar companies he
created. The three companies were Silicon Graphics, Netscape, and
Healtheon (now WebMD).
I learned a few things about Mr Clark. He is a Phd, he built the
original chip for the Silicon Graphics machine, the geometry engine. Also
that he took Netscape public to pay for his boat, and I would not want to
work for him. He seems a little wild and crazy, but obviously successful
and motivated. It was an interesting biography of one of the most
successful people in Silicon Valley.
I heard about this book on the radio from www.ceoread.com
and decided to check it out. It is a typical management book that tries to
explain how you can better succeed in business. The premise for this book
is that a number of companies have succeeded in the last ten years because
they were faster at building their business and adapting than their
The book is a manual for various techniques you can use to build your
business with anecdotes and stories from a half dozen of the most
successful companies in the last ten years. AOL, H&M, Clear Channel
Communications and a few others are the main companies in the book.
If you are a manger or a CEO or want to find out how to build a better
company, I think this book can help. I agree with a number of the
principals set forth, especially the "Create a cause" theory.
This is not a book for casual readers, the stories are not long enough
or captivating enough.
Beloved by Toni
Morrison. If you have ever read Faulkner's Sound and Fury, you will find
this similar. About slavery and set in the 1860's, this is quite a
different read for me. My wife really liked and so I wanted to try it.
It is a little hard to read and the story bounces back and forth between
different points of view, but the first 50 pages have been interesting.
Arrrgggghhh. I finally finished this book. I put it down for about two
months and picked it back up since I hate to not finish a book. This book
was still hard to read, but it got better.
If you have any interests in slavery and what it was like, this is a
great first person viewpoint that won a few awards.
On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King. As an aspiring writer,
I was interested to read about what Stephen King thinks of writing. Once I
started, I could no put this book down.
He spends some time at the beginning of this novel talking about
growing up and starting writing. It is really interesting for anyone who
is a fan of Mr. King.
The middle of the book is really written for writers. While I do not
agree with all of the techniques, I find many of them helpful. Since I am
not really a fiction writer, quite a bit of this does not apply, but some
of the ideas do.
The last part of the book is devoted to his change of life following
his car accident. Some bitterness is apparent, but after almost being
killed by someone who was not paying attention, I can appreciate his
I think this is an interesting book and if you are a writer, it is a
The Predictors by Thomas Bass. An interesting book about a group of
physicists who started a company to try and predict the movements in the
stock, bond, and derivatives markets. I had heard about these gentlemen in
the mid nineties and this follows their story from forming the company
until the late nineties. They were pretty successful and are still in
Talbot Odessey by Nelson DeMille. I bought this book last year
and read about a 100 pages and did not really like it. The whole WWII era,
OSS stuff is not really my thing. My wife picked it up and read it,
however, and said I should give it another chance. Last week I had nothing
to read, so I decided to give it another chance. Once I got a couple
hundred pages in, it started to get interesting. By the time I was around
page 350, I was hooked and stayed up late a couple nights finishing it.
This is another well-written DeMile that focuses on spys and moles
planted during the OSS days that are working with the Russians to take
over the US. It really is a good read, though with the USSR not being our
primary adversary, it is a bit dated, like The Charm School below.
The Charm School by Nelson Demille.
A re-read for me after about eight years. I like this book, though with
the collapse of the Soviet Union as the primary enemy of the US, this is a
little out of date and for younger readers, the full effect of the book
will probably be missed. But worth a read anyway.
False Memory by Dean Koontz. A strange book. Makes you wonder if
this is possible, like most of the other Koontz novels I have read. He is
out on the edge. Kind of a disappointing ending after a grea read in the
middle of the book. It takes a couple hundred pages to really get good, so
give it a chance if you pick it up.
Bloody River Blues by Jeffery Deaver. Not at all like the Lincoln
Rhyme series, this was written by Deaver under another name and
republished after The Bone Collector took off. OK, not great. About
a movie location scout who can be a witness to a killer. More of a mystery
than a thriller.
Bio-Strike by. This is the
third in the Tom Clancy "Power Plays" series. I have read one
other and find them pretty well written. If you are starving for some
Tom Clancy style books, give one of this series a try.