First Impressions – The Ripple Effect

Sometimes I read for pleasure, but often my reading takes me on a journey ranging from pain, frustration, through to a cathartic release of anger at how stupid we are sometimes. While reading can be an escape from the mundane moments of life, some books remind me to look closer at the people around me, …


goodreads, a social-networking site for book lovers has updated their iPhone/iPod app, to include a barcode reader for easy cataloguing of books, whether ones you want to read, or books on your bookshelf. I had created a workaround for this with RedLaser on the iPhone, but this is much smoother and allows for multiple books …

Green Like God

In conjunction with FaithWords, a division of the Hachette Book Group, UrbanWorkbench has two copies of Green Like God by Jonathan Merritt to give away! Details at the bottom of the post. Everyone is talking about the environment. It is the topic of choice at social functions, it is a buzzword like “sustainability” that has …

Projecting the Future for Civil Society

I’m slowly whittling my way through the pile of great books on my desk, I haven’t done a book review for a while, so here goes. Survival + is 390 pages of well reasoned thoughts on the economy, resource depletion, climate change and how these things are likely to impact your household, communities and the … and Tim Ferriss

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post about TIm Ferriss' book, "The 4-Hour Workweek" Apparently the post was quite influential in the blogosphere in promoting the book and as a result Tim recently sent me a gift card for $100 to be used at, an organization dedicated to facilitating donations to …

The Changing Face of Society as Fuel Prices Rise

Christopher Steiner is one of a number of recent authors who have considered the future of everything from cars, Walmart, delivery services and the suburbs as the price of oil based fuels increase.

ProBlogger Book

Blogging is a niche segment of the information sector, one that is represented as being filled with teen angst and out-there political views, I often here the term, “it’s just a blog”.

What many people don’t seem to understand is that blogging has been accepted by the marketing community as a valid means of disseminating information, and in some cases, bloggers are extremely profitable.

Cue Stage Right – Darren Rouse.

Darren has been blogging for about six years now, and has the honour of being the most famous blogger about blogging. Darren and another blogger Chris Garrett wrote the book ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income to help inform new bloggers on the tips and tricks that will set you on your way to earning millions.

With information on setting up a blog, choosing a topic, styles of writing and types of blog posts, the whole range of questions that a new blogger could ask are answered in this book.

I wouldn’t recommend the book for someone who has experience in SEO, Wordpress, and understands Technorati and reads Darren’s blog. But for everyone else, even those who think they know what a web page should look like, it would be worth your while reading this before attempting to set up a blog.

I received a copy as part of an online competition and have found it to be a sensible guide to the world of blogging.

Do you want to start blogging? What would you do for a copy of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income?

Cool It

I like reading, in fact, I’ve got a stack of books, at last count, 12 high beside my bed, 6 in the office, and countless others scattered around the house. I think it drives my wife insane!

But one of my readers, a Rosslander, Wandering Coyote, lent me a book I just had to push to the front of the queue. Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming has to be one of those books that everyone interested in the debate on Climate Change (or Global Warming (or whatever you care to call it) should read.

I’ve just started the book, and plan to read it over my week off, but I was struck with the simplicity of Bjorn Lomborg’s premise and attitude.

He says in the Preface,

The title of this book has two meanings: the first and obvious one is that we have to set our minds and resources towards the most effective way to tackle long-term global warming. But the second refers to the current nature of the debate. At present anyone who does not support the most radical solutions to global warming is deemed an outcast and is called irresponsible and is seen as possibly an evil puppet of the oil lobby.

It is my contention that this is not the best way to frame a debate on so crucial an issue. I believe that most participants in the debate have good an honourable intentions – we all want to work toward a better world. But to do so, we need to cool the rhetoric, allowing us to have a measured discussion about the best ways forward. Being smart about our future is the reason we have done so well in the past.

I agree with all but the last sentence, and believe that this paragraph could easily apply to almost any controversial issue that the world, or individual communities face today. We haven’t been smart about our future, the world is full of short-term decision-making protocols, and the ability for decisions to be made rationally has been challenged. Four months ago, I wrote a post entitled, Community Decision-Making and Independence, where I quoted another great book…

Surowiecki in "The Wisdom of Crowds" states…

The more influence a group’s members exert on each other, and the more personal contact they  have with each other, the less likely the group’s decisions will be wise ones.
The more influence we exert on each other, the more likely it is that we believe the same things and make the same mistakes. That means that it’s possible that we could become individually smarter, but collectively dumber….

Can people make collectively  intelligent decisions even when they are in constant, even erratic contact with each other?

Global Warming and Decision-Making, two tough topics. I’ll have more to say on the book, Cool It by Bjorn Lomborg soon.