Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In cheap We Trust

A book that seems like a long sermon trying to uplift frugality from the dump and put it on a pedestal. The author invokes all the possible figures in history from the Greek philosophers to one of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, to convince her reader of the benefits of frugal living.
The book gives an impression of a collection of biographies. Lauren Weber dedicates each of her early chapters to an individual and their life and times. She articulately points out the changes in the society, where being cheap and thrifty, initially, was considered a foundation for better economy, and later was associated with the immigrants by the prevailing media that lead people to believe that frugal living is only for the third world. Weber further highlights the movement and times that drove people away from a saving economy to a consumer economy in the post World War II era.
I will not say that the book is purely entertaining, but there is truth in what she says. So, if you want something that will convince you of the importance of frugality and living within your means, this book will give you ample reasons and credible quotes to counter your friends and relatives who think living frugal is "cheap".

What Would Google Do?

The message is look at everything through Google’s lens if you wish be a successful business in the internet age. Jeff Jarvis relentlessly quotes examples and personal experiences to highlight the failure of organizations that do not change. The anecdotal style indicates that Jarvis is trying to write to a general audience, however, his condescending tone makes the otherwise entertaining book prescriptive. He looks at Google's professed rules and points out how Google has influenced each of us and benefited from our behavior. A cynic will easily see a sinister plot in the way Google has quietly, or not that quietly, changed how we use the internet. The book promises an exciting insight into how Google conducts business and how they see not one community, one country, or one continent, but the entire world as their marketplace.

Jeff Jarvis looks at complex business and technical concepts in a conversational non-technical way where every observation is as thrilling as the earlier one. Readers familiar and interested in social networks and the interaction of technical and social world will find the book an exciting read. The easy feature writing style gives you a "Alice in Wonderland" experience where you connect the dots along with the author, and then make some more connections of your own. To summarize, the book provides an in-depth view of the WWW and how you, the user, can benefit by furthering your personal and business goals with the tools of the WWW.