Fun Facts Friday: Miguel de Cervantes
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / September 30, 2011

Yesterday was the birthday of one of the greatest authors in history: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (29 September 1547 – 23 April 1616. As you can tell, I am a fan. Not only because of the Quixotic pun of this blog’s name, but also because I think that Don Quixote is still one the most relevant stories in the world.  Image by Gustave Doré “The pen is the language of the soul; as the concepts that in it are generated, such will be its writings.” Miguel de Cervantes 1 ) Very little is known about Cervantes’ early childhood, however we do know that he was a favorite student of Madrid humanist Juan Lopez. 2 ) In 1569, while living in Rome, Cervantes enlisted in the Spanish fleet to fight against the Turks. He suffered injury at the Battle of Lepanto (1571) which ended his aspirations for military glory. 3 ) On his way home from the war (1575) Miguel and his brother Roderigo were captured by Barbary pirates and became slaves until their ransom was paid five years later. 4 ) Returning to Madrid, Cervantes started writing. Even though he is thought to have written as many as 30 plays,…

Thoughts on: Melachim Gimmel (Kings III) by Yochi Brandes
4 Stars , Biblical Fiction , Fiction , Latest Posts / September 29, 2011

About: “Melachim Gimmel” (Kings III) by Yochi Brandes is a biblical fiction book which, presumptuously enough, is a continuation of the biblical books of Kings I and Kings II. While not her first novel, this is the first “biblical” novel the former ultra-orthodox author wrote. My rating for Melachim Gimmel – 4 Thoughts: “Melachim Gimmel” (Kings III) by Yochi Brandes is a fascinating book which attempts to turn some of the biblical stories on their heads and give the reader a new perspective. While some people find that offensive, I am not included in those and actually find those type of books captivating. The book follows the life of Yerov’am ( Jeroboam – “the people contend,” or, “he pleads the people’s cause”), son of Nebat, an Ephraimite, and of Zeruah, a widow and the fourth king of Israel. In the bible Jeroboam is depicted as a horrible leader, a man who committed appalling acts in G-d’s eyes when he divided the kingdom. However, the author depicts Jeroboam as the “good guy”, an enlightening man who saved the kingdom from the clutches of King David. Ms. Brandes depicts the women in this book as strong and assertive. The women are the…

Banning Books – A Good Idea
Latest Posts , Opinion / September 26, 2011

This week is “Banned Books Week” and I’ve seen a lot of posts against the practice of banning books. As a long time reader I often scoffed at those trying to ban books, however, now that my beloved daughter entered first grade I see things differently. 1 )      Books can give you paper cuts. 2 )      Books can make you angry and sad 3 )      Romance books gives a young, impressionable lady unrealistic view of life 4 )      Mysteries hurt the brain too much 5 )      Paranormal is just … freaky and G-d knows I need my sleep and wake up enough times without being woken up more times than I should. 6 )      Biographies are scary 7 )      History books are boring and really, who needs to know about the past when the future is so bright? 8 )      Stopping to read books will free up some time for her to help around the house (wishful thinking), watch wholesome TV shows and practice her hand/eye coordination with video games. 9 )      Reading can give her the unrealistic idea that life is “fair” and that the good guys actually win. Of course banning books has many other benefits:…

Thoughts on: What Really Matters by Haim Shapira
4 Stars , Latest Posts , Non-Fiction / September 25, 2011

About: “What Really Matters” by Haim Shapira is a non-fiction book which asks many philosophical questions and sometimes even answers them. The literal translation of the title is “On Really Important Things”. My rating for What Really matters – 4 Thoughts: “What Really Matters” by Haim Shapira asks some very important questions such as “what happens when Winnie the Pooh meets Woody Allen?”, “how are Wonderland (of Alice fame) and The Matrix connected?” and tries to answer such universal queries as to the philosophy of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The book touches on many subjects which bother many people on a daily base. What is happiness? How can we capture it? As a mathematician, Mr. Shapira also brings some very interesting, enlightening and entertaining statistical studies about the subjects which he writes about. For example, many people would prefer to have a proof of an experience than to actually have the experience with no memory of it (then again, if you have no memory then did you really have the experience?). Dear Man, Everyday when I get up I feel how lucky I am to be your wife. Life with you is truly and adventure and I cherish every moment I am…

Guest Post: Mystics predicts future accurately! by Gra­ham Parke
Guest Posts , Latest Posts / September 24, 2011

I’ve recently become a master in Goki Feng Ho, the ancient Chinese art of decoding license plates. It has, you can imagine, changed my life dramatically and for the better. Like most practitioners, I’ve always had this suspicion that there’s more to life. That we can’t be mere random collections of molecules with no higher purpose than figuring out how not to soil ourselves while we keep our bodies running as long as possible. Such a view has always seemed too arbitrary to me. So, ever since I was a child, whenever I saw my initials – or part of my date of birth – pop up on a car license plate, I’d get that uneasy feeling. As if there was something I needed to do, or that I was supposed to realize. As if someone was sending me coded messages. Even at a very young age, I understood that something like Goki Feng Ho must exist, and that I was drawn to it like a moth to a particularly nice lady moth. So, I was both surprised and not-really-all-that-surprised when a friend gave me this book on Goki Feng Ho. I started reading and became hooked. Even the relatively…

Fun Facts Friday: The Marriage of Leo & Sofya Tolstoy
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / September 23, 2011

September 23, 1862 marks the wedding anniversary of one of them the most tumultuous couples in literary history (and there were many) when Leo Tolstoy married Sophie Andreyevna Behrs. The couple not only had 16 years of difference in their ages, but also had different values, goals and clashing personalities. Tolstoy maintained that the problems started about 14 years into their marriage, he wrote in 1894: “It began that time fourteen years ago, when the string snapped and I became aware of my loneliness.” But in his 1994 book “Love and Hatred: The Troubled Marriage of Leo and Sonya Tolstoy”, journalist William L. Shirer (Amazon Page) wrote: “In truth, their diaries show, it began at the very outset of their marriage.” 1 ) Leo and Sofya’s mothers were childhood friends. 2 ) Leo decided that if Sofya’s sister, Tanya, sang the last high note of a song well it would be a sign from G-d to propose. Tanya sang. Leo proposed. Sofya accepted. Leo, a writer through and through, proposed through a letter: “Sofya Andreyevna, the situation has become intolerable to me. Every day for three weeks I have sworn to myself: today I shall speak; and every day I…

Author Q&A with Cynthia Kocialski
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / September 22, 2011

Cynthia Kocialski wrote the book “Startup From the Ground Up” (book review) which I thought was very informative. I actually wished I had this book earlier in my life, during or right after high sch0ol. I had several questions for Ms. Kocialski and was lucky enough that she answered them. Q. I’m a big proponent of education, but I noticed they teach us how to work in factories, not how to start a business. Is there any way we can change that? A. I recognize the same problem with my children in school. The public school system was started to provide better workers so as a country, our industry was better than that of other countries and hence we had a wealthier nation. But now, we and every other country provides public education to all people, and it is no longer differentiates us. Today, unskilled labor often refers to high school graduates, but one hundred years ago, a high school diploma was really something special. If every person receives the same set of skills and training through their education, why do some thrive and some not? A skill alone will not make someone successful – no more than a product alone…

Giveaway (Over) of Startup from the Ground up by Cynthia Kocialski
Latest Posts / September 20, 2011

A few days ago I posted about “Startup From the Ground Up: Prac­ti­cal Insights for Entre­pre­neurs” (my thoughts) by Cyn­thia Kocial­ski  (web­site | blog) . Ms. Kocial­ski & The YP Publishing was kind enough to agree to give one copy to a lucky reader of ManOfLaBook.com. Enter below and good luck. Zohar – Man of la Book Congratulations: booksnobsblog

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