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A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. The book lives up to its title. From sub-microscopic to macro-astronomical; from pre-historic to present day, Bryson covers it all in about 500 pages. Fascinating book back up by obviously brilliant research.

Tribe by Sebastian Junger. An interesting psychological study for those of us who are not psychologists. The second half of the book is about PTSD, but the real scope of the book is far beyond this subject.

Things that Matter by Charles Krauthammer. A collection of Krauthammer's columns going back to the early 1980's. Good stuff. I (Jim) have always been in awe of Krauthammer's writing and speaking skills.

The Everything Store--Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone. I don't care what business you are in, if you don't understand what Jeff Bezos is trying to do, you will be out on your behind. His philosophy is changing everything, from retail to industrial to service and beyond.

The Man who killed Kennedy by Roger Stone. I (Jim) just finished this book. Stone makes a compelling case indicting Lyndon Johnson for the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I, like many others of my age, have always been fascinated with the JFK assassination. How can someone be shot with so many witnesses and we still not have a conclusive solution, fifty years later?

Red Legs and Black Sox by Susan Dellinger, Ph.D. I (Steve) post this quick review as the Major League Baseball playoffs are going on in the U.S. This is a great story about Edd Roush and the "untold story of the 1919 World Series." Many of you have heard, read or seen movies about the infamous "Black Sox scandal." This book, written by Hall-of-Fame outfielder Edd Roush's granddaughter (yes, Edd Roush is a very distant relative of mine), not only gives a new perspective of the 1919 World Series, one of baseball's darkest chapters, it also gives a fascinating look at a plight of a young player as he excelled on ball diamonds from small town Indiana to the biggest stages in the game around a century ago. Available on Amazon and elsewhere.

As I lay dying by William Faulkner. I received a copy of this old classic for Christmas 2012. I had forgotten how much fun it is. Pathos, dark humor, tragedy, set in Mississippi in the 1920s.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett. A book to be read on many levels. First, it is just plain fun. Second, if you want to look down your nose at how southerns treated domestic help in the Jim Crow era, you can do that, but I wouldn't recommend it. Third, it is a serious study in how bosses can have extraordinary, undeserved control over employees and how employees react. Available everywhere.

The Chamberlain Litany: Letters within a Governing Family from Empire to Appeasement by Peter T. Marsh. Chronicles two generations of one of the most ineffective families ever to hold power in the United Kingdom. If you want to understand the workings behind the father of appeasement, Neville Chamberlain, this book is for you. 395 pages. Available on Amazon and elsewhere.

Climate of Corruption--Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax by Larry Bell. Dr. Larry Bell is a professor of architecture and holds an endowed professorship in space architecture established in his name at the University of Houston. He holds numerous prestigous awards in his field. The book outlines and makes the case for why global warming is a hoax. A number of recognized climatologists have signed onto and endorsed its thesis. The book is 254 pages and is well annotated, with a liberal notes section in the back. ISBN 978-1-60832-083-7. Available everywhere.

3 Stars Spaulding Fibre-My Memories and Research by James M. Snyder. Jim Snyder has written a love story about his early years and experiences with Spaulding Fibre in Tonawanda, New York. Part family and personal memories, part scientific detail, this is not a polished book edited by the big publishing houses' finest, but a very warm journey told from the heart. The book is well illustrated with photos, old advertisements, engineering drawings and other such material that go to make up the life of a business. If you want to read about mid-20th century speciality papermaking, I suggest you contact Jim. He lives in Demopolis, Alabama. The book is 116 pages, ISBN 978-0-578-06670-7. USD 25.00.

3 Stars The World of DieCutting by Rober Larson, 2009. When you pick up Mr. Larson's book, you are really getting two books in one. The comprehensive nature of this book is not to be denied, it just may be however, you did not want two books. Pages 1 through 32, coupled with pages 317 through 534, including an impressive 94 page glossary, could be described as a thorough handbook on diecutting, a 250 page handbook to be exact. However, inserted within pages 33 through 316, or for 283 pages, is a section labeled "Part 2-History." Yes, this is the second book--a history of diecutting. So Mr. Larson's otherwise marvelous work gets 3 stars only due to organization and forcing you to buy two books when perhaps you would only want one. ISBN 978-0-615-29914-3. USD49.95. Availalbe from Larson Worldwide, Inc. 95 Mount Blue Street, Norwell, MA 02061 USA (email:

Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood and How it Changed America by John Barry In a sentence: How US Army Corps of Engineers mismanagement and southern intrigue created the greatest flood in US history. True story. Available at

The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want: A Book About Noise by Garret Keizer In a sentence: Most of today's noise is caused by our use of fossil fuels. Very interesting. Available at

The Man Who Never Was by Ewen Montagu Old but superb book about one of the most important acts of misinformation in World War II. Short, excellent read. Available at

What Clients Love by Harry Beckwith Beckwith has written several sales and marketing books that are superb; not your usual sales blather. Available at

How Capitalism Will Save Us: Why Free People and Free Markets Are the Best Answer in Today's Economy by Steve Forbes and Elizabeth Ames Available everywhere.

Team of Rivals, the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin It may seem strange to have a "popular" book here, but this is one of the best books on management (by example) I have ever read. It is also a very well researched book, assembled in a remarkable manner. It is five stars for sure. Available everywhere.

Chemical Additives for the Pulp and Paper Industry by Professor Stephan Kleeman, Ph.D. et al. You can order it here.

Television, Film & Theatre...

Galaxy Quest (1:42) 1999. Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver. I (Jim) advise three bottles of wine to watch this movie. It must have taken a couple of vineyards to make it. It is so bad it is good. I don't understand why the director and producer just didn't quit in the middle. It must have been gruesome coming to work each day.

Hoffa (2:10) Older movie, 1992. Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito. DeVito directs and stars in this excellent fictional biography of James Hoffa. By the end, you are loving the old guy, no matter what you thought of the Teamsters at the beginning.

The Ultimate Gift (1:54) A dead James Garner at his best. A bit older movie, 2006, but with a very good moral tale.

Hopscotch (1:36) Walter Mathau, Glenda Jackson. Walter Mathau is another of my favorites and I think this movie (1980) was his best one after "A new Leaf" with Elaine May in 1971. It is a light thriller, comedic in nature. Ned Beaty plays the boss you love to hate.

Up (1:36) Think Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, John Ratzenberger all in one movie. I laughed, I cried. Most importantly, I was amazed a movie made as recently as 2009 had such a strong moral story. It is animated, but not just for the kids.

Godspell Circle in the Square Theatre, New York. If Chrisitanity is not your thing, you may think it to be a bit "in your face." I would suggest you see it just for the energy and the unique theatrical experience (it is done in the round and there is audience participation). The cast is extremely talented and energetic.

The Muppet Movie Grandson Huck gave it three thumbs up (he's not three and doesn't count very well yet). These youngsters who produced it did a pretty good job, considering they did not grow up with the Muppets. Of course, it has to be politically correct and brainwash our grandchildren with how evil the oil industry is, but despite that, I give it four stars.

The Addams Family Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, New York. Pure fun. Uncle Fester's song about the moon is hilarious. Need to hurry--closes 31 Dec 2011.

3 Stars The Great Global Warming Swindle (1:15:56) Three stars for a shortage of rigorous references. Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, and others speak on the subject. Produced by Martin Durkin in Britain and originally presented on UK's Channel 4 in 2007. For some counter arguments to this specific film see We want to thank Bob Hurter for bringing this to our attention.

Executive Suite (1:44) This 1954 Academy Award nominee is as modern today as it was then. Upon the death of the CEO, several executives tangle for the top job. The controller thinks he is a shoo-in, but he has some things to learn. A stellar cast: William Holden, June Allyson, Barbara Stanwyck, Fredric March, Walter Pidgeon, Shelley Winters, Paul Douglas, and many more. It should be required viewing for every paper industry executive.

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