27 October 2012

Best Baseball Books

There are many great baseball books out there, as it is a genre that has seen a hundred years worth of literature. Here is a list of some of the best baseball books.

1. Roger Kahn - The Boys of Summer
This is a book about young men who learned to play baseball during the 1930s and 1940s, and then went on to play for one of the most exciting major-league ball clubs ever fielded, the team that broke the color barrier with Jackie Robinson. It is a book by and about a sportswriter who grew up near Ebbets Field, and who had the good fortune in the 1950s to cover the Dodgers for the Herald Tribune. This is a book about what happened to Jackie, Carl Erskine, Pee Wee Reese, and the others when their glory days were behind them. In short, it is a book about America, about fathers and sons, prejudice and courage, triumph and disaster, and told with warmth, humor, wit, candor, and love. - Quotes from The Boys of Summer

2. Michael Lewis - Moneyball
Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s general manager, is leading a revolution. Reinventing his team on a budget, he needs to outsmart the richer teams. He signs undervalued players whom the scouts consider flawed but who have a knack for getting on base, scoring runs, and winning games. Moneyball is a quest for the secret of success in baseball and a tale of the search for new baseball knowledge—insights that will give the little guy who is willing to discard old wisdom the edge over big money.

3. David Halberstam - October 1964
October 1964 should be a hit with old-time baseball fans, who'll relish the opportunity to relive that year's to-die-for World Series, when the dynastic but aging New York Yankees squared off against the upstart St. Louis Cardinals. It should be a hit with younger students of the game, who'll eat up the vivid portrayals of legends like Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris of the Yankees and Bob Gibson and Lou Brock of the Cardinals. Most of all, however, David Halberstam's new book should be a hit with anyone interested in understanding the important interplay between sports and society.

4. Bill Veeck - Veeck--As In Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck
Bill Veeck was an inspired team builder, a consummate showman, and one of the greatest baseball men ever involved in the game. His classic autobiography, written with the talented sportswriter Ed Linn, is an uproarious book packed with information about the history of baseball and tales of players and owners, including some of the most entertaining stories in all of sports literature.

5. Lawrence Ritter - The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It
Baseball was different in earlier days—tougher, rawer, more intimate—when giants like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb ran the bases. In the monumental classic The Glory of Their Times, the golden era of our national pastime comes alive through the vibrant words of those who played and lived the game.

6. Bill James - The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
When Bill James published his original Historical Baseball Abstract in 1985, he produced an immediate classic, hailed by the Chicago Tribune as the "holy book of baseball." Now, baseball's beloved "Sultan of Stats" (The Boston Globe) is back with a fully revised and updated edition for the new millennium.

7. David Halberstam - Summer of '49
The year was 1949, and a war-weary nation turned from the battlefields to the ball fields in search of new heroes. It was a summer that marked the beginning of a sports rivalry unequaled in the annals of athletic competition. The awesome New York Yankees and the indomitable Boston Red Sox were fighting for supremacy of baseball's American League, and an aging Joe DiMaggio and a brash, headstrong hitting phenomenon named Ted Williams led their respective teams in a classic pennant duel of almost mythic proportions—one that would be decided in an explosive head-to-head confrontation on the last day of the season.

8. Jim Bouton - Ball Four
When first published in 1970, Ball Four stunned the sports world. The commissioner, executives, and players were shocked. Sportswriters called author Jim Bouton a traitor and "social leper." Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force him to declare the book untrue. Fans, however, loved the book. And serious critics called it an important social document. Today, Jim Bouton is still not invited to Oldtimer's Days at Yankee Stadium. But his landmark book is still being read by people who don'tordinarily follow baseball.

9. Bernard Malamud - The Natural
The Natural, Bernard Malamud’s first novel, published in 1952, is also the first—and some would say still the best—novel ever written about baseball. In it Malamud, usually appreciated for his unerring portrayals of postwar Jewish life, took on very different material—the story of a superbly gifted “natural” at play in the fields of the old daylight baseball era—and invested it with the hardscrabble poetry, at once grand and altogether believable, that runs through all his best work. Four decades later, Alfred Kazin’s comment still holds true: “Malamud has done something which—now that he has done it!—looks as if we have been waiting for it all our lives. He has really raised the whole passion and craziness and fanaticism of baseball as a popular spectacle to its ordained place in mythology.”

10. Roger Angell - The Summer Game
The Summer Game, Roger Angell’s first book on the sport, changed baseball writing forever. Thoughtful, funny, appreciative of the elegance of the game and the passions invested by players and fans, it goes beyond the usual sports reporter’s beat to examine baseball’s complex place in our American psyche.

11. Jonah Keri - The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First
What happens when three financial industry whiz kids and certified baseball nuts take over an ailing major league franchise and implement the same strategies that fueled their success on Wall Street? In the case of the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, an American League championship happens—the culmination of one of the greatest turnarounds in baseball history.

05 October 2012

Best Personal Finance Books List

Here is a list of the best personal finance books that I have read, as well as a brief description of the target audience and who I think would benefit most from the books.

01. Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez - Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence
This is for anyone that feels a bit lost financially, and needs to get organized with their financial life. It gives a very specific, step-by-step process on how toget your financial life in order. If you are further on in your financial life, it won't do you as good, but it can be huge to help you plan financially for what you want your life to be.

02. David Schwartz - The Magic of Thinking Big
This is not really a personal finance book, per se, but it can be extremely beneficial in that area. It talks about, obviously, thinking big in all aspects of life. This can help you advance your career, as well as lead you to pursue the things that you are really passionable.

03. Ramit Sethi - I Will Teach You To Be Rich
This is for a specific, targeted audience, and it can be extremely beneficial if it is you. It is for people with good incomes, usually in their 20s or 30s, especially those that feel that personal finance is overwhelming. Ramit has a simple, bold way of writing that makes it easier to take action.

04. David Bach - The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich
This shows that personal finance doesn't really have to be that hard, because you have the ability to put so much of it on auto-pilot. If you can make things automatic, your financial plan can run itself, leaving you not to have to worry much about it.

05. Bob Clyatt - Work Less, Live More: The Way to Semi-Retirement
This is for people who are getting sick of the rat race of their career, and know that they are going to want to get out of it sooner than the "traditional" retirement age. I enjoyed it because I don't want to keep working until I am age 65, but I want to seek another way to live. Clyatt goes deep into this, what he calls "semi-retirement," which would certainly be a great goal for many people.

06. Burton Malkiel - A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing
This is for people who are interested in investing, especially in picking stocks. I thought investing meant picking stocks, but then I learned how foolish that can be. It is a difficult thing, and helped me to craft my current investing strategy.

07. Timothy Ferriss - The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
This is like Bob Clyatt's book (#5) on steroids, and might not be feasible for as many people. However, if you are extremely motivated, it can be a powerful book to inspire you to change the way you live your life.

08. Taylor Larimore - The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing
This has been a big help for my investing strategy, as it showed me the wisdom of index funds. These allow you to invest in many stocks (making you more diversified) while keeping your costs very low. This is a great book to learn how this style of investing works.

09. Tony Robbins - Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook
This is a book where you have to pick and choose a little bit, where really good advice can be mixed in with some ok advice. Still, it's written by the always persuasive Tony Robbins, who can help motivate you to make changes.

10. James Altucher - Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth
James is great at writing things that are entertaining and fun to read. There aren't necessarily a lot of actionable items in the book, but it's good to get you thinking.

If you are looking for more personal finance information, there are lots of great personal finance blogs out there. Here are a few I would recommend:
- Get Rich Slowly
- Sweating The Big Stuff
- The Simple Dollar
- Budgeting In The Fun Stuff
- Free Money Finance
- Increase Credit Limit

24 August 2012

Thethi National Park Facts

I have been reading The Travel Book by Lonely Planet, which is full of great stuff. One thing that I saw in there was a suggestion to go to Thethi National Park in Albania, so I wanted to learn a little more about it.

The park is located in the Albanian Alps, which is the northern region of Albania. It covers an area of 2,630 hectacres, and is located along the Theth River. I have seen the park both as the Thethi National Park, or the Theth National Park. It was declared a national park in 1966.

The park features many mountains over 2,500 meters tall, which slopes that are very steep (as can be easily seen by looking at photos of the peaks. The steepness is do in large part to changes in temperature and snow precipitation, which is present for most of the year. There are also many caves (over 170) and waterfalls within the park.

The pictures of the park are certainly inspiring for anyone with an affinity for the outdoors.

Abraham Lincoln Quotes

Some of the best quotes from Abraham Lincoln, the greatest President in the history of the United States.

- " Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other."

- "I don't think much of a man who is not wiser than he was yesterday."

- "If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend."

- "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

- "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

- "The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just."

- "Whatever you are, be a good one."

Best First Lines in Books

Lots of books start with great - and famous - first lines. Here is a list of the best first lines in books (in no order). Many of these books are also on my list of the best classic books.

- "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice quotes

- "Call me Ishmael." - Moby Dick by Herman Melville

- "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." - Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

- "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." - Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell - Nineteen Eighty-Four quotes

- "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair." - A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

- "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth." - The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

- "All this happened, more or less." - Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse-Five quotes

- "The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up." - The Napoleon of Notting Hill by GK Chesterton

- "In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since." - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

- "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic vermin." - The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

- "Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the riverbank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what is the use of a book’, thought Alice, ‘without pictures or conversation?’" - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

- "It was a pleasure to burn." - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451 quotes

21 August 2012

"On The Road" Quotes by Jack Kerouac

Here are selected quotes from On the Road by Jack Kerouac, one of the best classic books of all-time.

- "They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!""

- "Somewhere along the line I knew there'd be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me. "

- "I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn't know who I was — I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I'd never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn't scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost. I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future."

- "The stars bent over the little roof; smoke poked from the stovepipe chimney. I smelled mashed beans and chili. The old man growled. The brothers kept right on yodeling. The mother was silent. Johnny and the kids were giggling in the bedroom. A California home; I hid in the grapevines, digging it all. I felt like a million dollars; I was adventuring in the crazy American night."

10 August 2012

"Friday Night Lights" Quotes by HG Bissinger

Here are selected quotes from Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger.

- "If the nickel came up tails, Permian was out of the playoffs, and the chorus of complaints and criticism against him would only intensify to the point that it might become unbearable for his family to remain in town. If it came up heads, it simply meant that three men would have to line up in a row and make jackasses of themselves once again in front of live television cameras."

- "They played with a flawlessness and sense of purpose that had been building inside them all their lives. After it was over tears flowed freely down their faces, and also down the faces of the grown men and women who depended on them year after year after year.

It was hard to fathom the shock of what Odessa had gone through during the eighties, from a world where everything seemed possible to one in which it was hard to hold on to anything with certainty. So much had happened. So much had changed. But one anchor was still there, as strong and solid as ever. It didn't matter who was playing, or who was coaching. It would always go on, just as Jerrod McDougal had realized, because it was a way of life."

- “Those lights become an addiction if you live in a place like Odessa, the Friday Night fix.”

- “When I first arrived in Odessa, I anticipated a book very much like tradition of the film Hoosiers... But along the way some other things happened - the most ugly racism I have ever encountered, utterly misplaced educational priorities, a town that wasn’t bad or evil but had lost any ability to judge itself. It would have been a journalistic disgrace to ignore these elements.”

I also highly recommend the TV show and the movie, all of the same name.

02 August 2012

Best John Grisham Books

Here is a list of the best John Grisham books that I have read:

1. The Rainmaker
It’s summer in Memphis. The sweat is sticking to Rudy Baylor’s shirt and creditors are nipping at his heels. Once he had aspirations of breezing through law school and punching his ticket to the good life. Now he doesn’t have a job or a prayer—except for one: an insurance dispute that leaves a family devastated and opens the door for a lawsuit, if Rudy can find a way to file it.

2. The Broker
In his final hours in the Oval Office, the outgoing President grants a controversial last-minute pardon to Joel Backman, a notorious Washington power broker who has spent the last six years hidden away in a federal prison. What no one knows is that the President issues the pardon only after receiving enormous pressure from the CIA. It seems Backman, in his power broker heyday, may have obtained secrets that compromise the world’s most sophisticated satellite surveillance system.

3. The Testament
Troy Phelan is a self-made billionaire, one of the richest men in the United States. He is also eccentric, reclusive, confined to a wheelchair, and looking for a way to die. His heirs, to no one's surprise--especially Troy's--are circling like vultures.

4. The Pelican Brief
In suburban Georgetown, a killer’s Reeboks whisper on the floor of a posh home. In a seedy D.C. porno house, a patron is swiftly garroted to death. The next day America learns that two of its Supreme Court justices have been assassinated. And in New Orleans, a young law student prepares a legal brief.

5. The Firm
When Mitch McDeere signed on with Bendini, Lambert & Locke of Memphis, he thought that he and his beautiful wife, Abby, were on their way. The firm leased him a BMW, paid off his school loans, arranged a mortgage, and hired the McDeeres a decorator. Mitch should have remembered what his brother Ray–doing fifteen years in a Tennessee jail–already knew: You never get nothing for nothing. Now the FBI has the lowdown on Mitch’s firm and needs his help. Mitch is caught between a rock and a hard place, with no choice–if he wants to live.

6. The Partner
They watched Danilo Silva for days before they finally grabbed him. He was living alone, a quiet life on a shady street in Brazil; a simple life in a modest home, certainly not one of luxury. Certainly no evidence of the fortune they thought he had stolen. He was much thinner and his face had been altered. He spoke a different language, and spoke it very well.But Danilo had a past with many chapters. Four years earlier he had been Patrick Lanigan, a young partner in a prominent Biloxi law firm. He had a pretty wife, a new daughter, and a bright future. Then one cold winter night Patrick was trapped in a burning car and died a horrible death. When he was buried his casket held nothing more than his ashes.From a short distance away, Patrick watched his own burial. Then he fled. Six weeks later, a fortune was stolen from his ex-law firm's offshore account. And Patrick fled some more.But they found him.

7. The King of Torts
The office of the public defender is not known as a training ground for bright young litigators. Clay Carter has been there too long and, like most of his colleagues, dreams of a better job in a real firm. When he reluctantly takes the case of a young man charged with a random street killing, he assumes it is just another of the many senseless murders that hit D.C. every week.

8. The Runaway Jury
Every jury has a leader, and the verdict belongs to him. In Biloxi, Mississippi, a landmark tobacco trial with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake beginsroutinely, then swerves mysteriously off course. The jury is behaving strangely, and at least one juroris convinced he's being watched. Soon they have to be sequestered. Then a tip from an anonymousyoung woman suggests she is able to predict the jurors' increasingly odd behavior. Is the jury somehow being manipulated, or even controlled? If so, by whom? And, more important,why?

9. The Street Lawyer
Michael Brock is billing the hours, making the money, rushing relentlessly to the top of Drake & Sweeney, a giant D.C. law firm. One step away from partnership, Michael has it all. Then, in an instant, it all comes undone: A homeless man takes nine lawyers hostage in the firm’s plush offices. When it’s all over, the man’s blood is splattered on Michael’s face—and suddenly Michael is willing to do the unthinkable. Rediscovering a conscience he lost long ago, Michael is leaving the big time for the streets where his attacker once lived—and where society’s powerless need an advocate for justice.

10. The Client
In a weedy lot on the outskirts of Memphis, two boys watch a shiny Lincoln pull up to the curb...Eleven-year-old Mark Sway and his younger brother were sharing a forbidden cigarette when a chance encounter with a suicidal lawyer left Mark knowing a bloody and explosive secret: the whereabouts of the most sought-after dead body in America. Now Mark is caught between a legal system gone mad and a mob killer desperate to cover up his crime. And his only ally is a woman named Reggie Love, who has been a lawyer for all of four years. Prosecutors are willing to break all the rules to make Mark talk. The mob will stop at nothing to keep him quiet. And Reggie will do anything to protect her client -- even take a last, desperate gamble that could win Mark his freedom... or cost them both their lives.

11. The Chamber
Sam Cayhall is a former Klansman and unrepentant racist now facing the death penalty for a fatal bombing in 1967. He has run out of chances -- except for one: the young, liberal Chicago lawyer who just happens to be his grandson.

12. The Summons
A pillar of the community who towered over local law and politics for forty years, Judge Atlee is now a shadow of his former self—a sick, lonely old man who has withdrawn to his sprawling ancestral home in Clanton, Mississippi. Knowing that the end is near, Judge Atlee has issued a summons for his two sons to return to Clanton to discuss his estate. Ray Atlee is the elder, a Virginia law professor, newly single, still enduring the aftershocks of a surprise divorce. Forrest is Ray’s younger brother, the family’s black sheep.

What are your favorites?

25 July 2012

"Fahrenheit 451" Quotes by Ray Bradbury

Here are selected quotes from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. It is one of the best classic books.

- "Do you ever read any of the books you burn?"
He laughed. "That's against the law!"
"Oh. Of course."

- "Let you alone! That's all very well, but how can I leave myself alone? We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?"

- "We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against."

- "If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war."