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$181.95 list($199.95)
181. Guidelines for Process Hazards
$16.97 $13.46 list($24.95)
182. Disconnected: Deceit and Betrayal
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183. Oncogenes, Aneuploidy, and AIDS:
$64.40 $53.79 list($70.00)
184. Patent Strategy: For Researchers
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185. CRC Handbook of Laboratory Safety,
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186. Five Quarts : A Personal and Natural
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187. Metal Failures: Mechanisms, Analysis,
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188. Germany's Tiger Tanks - Vk45 to
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189. Two Sides of the Moon : Our Story
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190. Springer Handbook of Nanotechnology
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191. Reliability and Risk Analysis
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192. American Generalship : Character
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193. Professional and Technical Writing
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194. Probabilistic Risk Analysis :
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195. Working Safe: How to Help People
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196. Accidents May Happen
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197. Special Forces: A Guided Tour
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198. Antique Boxes, Tea Caddies, &
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199. Deep Time: How Humanity Communicates
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200. Genius : The Life and Science

181. Guidelines for Process Hazards Analysis (PHA, HAZOP), Hazards Identification, and Risk Analysis
by Nigel Hyatt
list price: $199.95
our price: $181.95
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Asin: 0849319099
Catlog: Book (2003-03-03)
Publisher: CRC Press
Sales Rank: 273768
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Book Description

This unique manual is a comprehensive, easy-to-read overview of hazards analysis as it applies to the process and allied industries. The book begins by building a background in the technical definition of risk, past industrial incidents and their impacts, ensuing legislation, and the language and terms of the risk field. It addresses the different types of structured analytical techniques for conducting Process Hazards Analyses (PHA), provides a "What If" checklist, and shows how to organize and set up PHA sessions. Other topics include layout and siting considerations, Failure Modes and Effect Analysis (FMEA), human factors, loss of containment, and PHA team leadership issues. ... Read more


182. Disconnected: Deceit and Betrayal at WorldCom
by Lynne W.Jeter
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.97
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Asin: 047142997X
Catlog: Book (2003-02-21)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 139116
Average Customer Review: 3.73 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars The story is in the people.
This book was really enjoyable to read. It was straight forward and informative but without taking sides or making excuses for the company which I expected, considering the author was a Mississippian, the home of WorldCom. The only negative I've seen about the book is that it isn't full of accounting analysis about the company and the fraud itself. I think that's the point. The fraud is as simple minded and immature. You have a very high profile, international company so crucial to the world's telecommunication system and yet Scott Sullivan pulls the most blatant of frauds by just posting as expenses line costs that weren't. There's really nothing complicated or sophisticated about the move. It's not like Enron that created layer upon layer of fraud and deceit. Indeed, we now see that Scott Sullivan is planning to use the "but everybody else does it" defense.

The key in the tale lies in the mindset of the management team operating in the insular world of the Mississippi business climate. Also the look at how Bernie Ebbers went from a man selling stock in the company literally door to door facing his neighbors, to being a "front man" on Wall Street and deceiving the business community there with the help of Jack Grubman was incredible. That's where the story is.

I agree the book is probably not for someone who is looking for an accounting mystery. That just wasn't the case at WorldCom.
But the look at the people and their manner of dealing with others and the growing arrogance, tells the tale.

5-0 out of 5 stars Personal Look
This book was really enjoyable to read. It was straight forward and informative but without taking sides or making excuses for the company which is what I expected, considering the author is from Mississippi, the home of WorldCom. The only negative I've seen about the book is that it isn't full of accounting analysis
about the company and the fraudulent activy. I think that's the point. The fraud is as simple minded and immature as it gets. You have a very high profile company so crucial to the world's telecommunications system yet Scott Sullivan pulls the most transparent of frauds by posting as expenses line costs, which of course weren't. There's nothing really complicated or sophisticated about the move. It's not like Enron, a company that created layer upon layer of fraud and deception. Indeed we now see that Sullivan is planning to use the "but everybody else is doing it" defense.
The key in the tale lies in the mindset of the management team operating in the insular world of the Mississippi business climate. Also the look at how Bernie Ebbers went from a man selling stock in the company literally door to door facing his neighbors, to being a "front man" on Wall Street and fooling the business community there with the help of Jack Grubman was incredible. That's where the story is.
I agree the book is probably not for someone looking for an accounting mystery. That just wasn't the case at WorldCom. The people and their attitudes are the story. It takes an arrogance to believe one can get away with what was done and it's all there in the book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Fluff
I found this book to be very basic and lacking details of the actual events that brought this company down. One minute you are reading about the genral morale of the office then all of a sudden there is a reference to "cooking the books" or something to the effect that this company is going to fall like a deck of cards. No where do you get the details of the actions that actually took place.If I wanted fluff I could have just watched some TV news stories on the company.

5-0 out of 5 stars How Worldcom got where they are
After reading the current news about Worldcom's executives on trial, I was intrigued to find a book to find out how these people got into the mess they did. Disconnected by Lynne Jeter was a great and fascinating read. I couldn't put the book down. I enjoyed getting to know the personalities behind the WorldCom fiasco.

I've always wondered how people in corporate world get ahead and build successful companies. Most do it day in and day out, a long uphill climb. But when the companies (like WorldCom and Enron) are on top, those executives can do no wrong. When the dust settles, however, we see that they were really crooks and cons. They spent most of their time silencing people inside their organizations and propagandizing how great they are to people outside.

This book not only gets me up to speed on the players in the Worldcom fiasco, it shows that people inside organizations have a responsibility to do the right thing, for their other co-workers, for shareholders, and for america.

Since the story doesn't end with the book, I am now more interested in how the Worldcom story ends.

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing gossip
I was expecting to learn about the actual frauds committed, to gain some indepth analysis I couldn't get from reading the papers. Jeter quite clearly does not have an accounting background, not that it would have been necessary to write this book. But she didn't take the time to understand the accounting issues and present them, and its really the accounting fraud that's at the heart of the WorldCom scandal. The financial information that was included was listed without any analysis. In one of the early chapters, Jeter ends a paragraph with a sentence declaring that WorldCom's assets were worth the same amount as their liabilities and shareholder's equity. As if a balance sheet balancing is some sort of revelation.
I found the only information provided in this book was more along the lines of kitchen gossip. I learned about the eating habits of Bernie Ebbers, various attenuated relations between key figures and legends of Mississippi college football, and the decor of Sullivan's mansion. The quotes from former WorldCom employees were irrelevant and unhelpful. For example, she describes a high level executive by quoting a former employee who didn't know the man but frequently rode the elevator with him. The employee's helpful analysis of the personality and motivations of the executive in question? He seemed to button his shirts awful tight.
This book is useless dribble. Not worth the cost of shipping. Do a search on WSJ.com and you'll learn more. ... Read more


183. Oncogenes, Aneuploidy, and AIDS: A Scientific Life and Times of Peter H. Duesberg
by Harvey Bialy
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.97
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Asin: 1556435312
Catlog: Book (2004-08-01)
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
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Book Description

According to author Harvey Bialy, the work of molecular biologist Peter Duesberg has been grossly distorted by the media and scientific establishments. Until recently, the scientific community - and most notably, those from the National Institute for Health - have been unwilling to look at his provocative theories of different causes for cancer and HIV/AIDS. Inspired by UC Berkeley's rare creation of an archive for Duesberg's papers, this book explores Duesberg's early groundbreaking work with viruses and oncogenes, his contentious fights with other scientists, and the profound influence of his life's work. ... Read more


184. Patent Strategy: For Researchers and Research Managers
by H. JacksonKnight
list price: $70.00
our price: $64.40
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Asin: 0471492612
Catlog: Book (2001-08-01)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 449833
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

As individuals and companies realise the importance of their inventions, issues surrounding patent laws and practices are taking centre stage around the world.
This updated edition of the best selling book has been expanded to keep pace with modern day movements and addresses the global issue surrounding intellectual property. Including new information on areas such as software and biotechnology it shows the techniques that can be used by individuals and academic inventors to protect their work and is the ideal reference source.

  • Bridges the gap between the legal system and scientific research and avoids legal jargon
  • Details the reasons behind patents, their importance and relevance to all researchers and the strategy needed for filing for a patent
  • Focuses on the strategy and reasons rather than just being a textbook of patent law
  • Adopts a readable style that explains the basics right up to developing a strategy
  • Essential reading for all those who wish to keep pace and protect their work


Reviews of the First Edition
"...fulfills a most useful purpose, is soundly based and discusses patent strategy sensibly. I should like it to be compulsory reading for all newly-appointed research managers." S. M Scott - Research Policy

"...should be recommended reading for both researchers and their managers, and those who work with them." Michael Blackman - Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology

... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Nice and friendly thinking about Patent
For most persons, patent or trademark, such verbs of IPR, are almost very hard to be familiar with. However, after reading this book, I got used and interested in reading related articles or jounals. Sometimes, I even enjoy discussing such matters with others. What is more is it is surely practical and useful for managers or business persons. With the progressively trend of IPR, getting a opning book to enter this new world is so critical and having no choice. However, we could be a little frustrated with some tricking or unfamiliar verbs while reading some related IPR writtings. Fortunately, I got this book and really enjoy it. I fully am sure to recommand this book for the above-mentioned reasons. In addition to me, most of the classmates in the university could enjoy it and find much instriction or delighting in this book. From then on, we have started to research such knowledge. Even, I back to office-career now. My boss have told me to read this book to improve self-knowledge to be a good role in our technology market. This book is just so fancy. And everyone will be very enjoyed it with reading it. ... Read more


185. CRC Handbook of Laboratory Safety, Fifth Edition
by A. Keith Furr
list price: $179.95
our price: $138.56
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Asin: 0849325234
Catlog: Book (2000-04-12)
Publisher: CRC Press
Sales Rank: 380146
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Safety Standard. Period.
Thirty years ago I met the predecessor to this volume. Sounds like a long time? I have made it those 30 years because of what I learned from this book.

If you are a chemistry student (I was a freshman when I encountered this book) then you need to read this book before you start working with your reagents.

If you are employed in a field where you work in a laboratory or come into contact with laboratory materials (albeit - it is aimed at chemical labs and not specifically at bioscience labs) then you need to read about the materials you could be exposed to, BEFORE you are exposed.

If you are a medical professional - then you already have one.

If you are a legal professional and you deal with toxic torts: you need one.

Concise, clear and accessible by any high school grad. If you work with chemicals - you need this book. ... Read more


186. Five Quarts : A Personal and Natural History of Blood
by BILL HAYES
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
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Asin: 0345456874
Catlog: Book (2005-01-25)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 179580
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187. Metal Failures: Mechanisms, Analysis, Prevention
by Arthur J.McEvily
list price: $110.00
our price: $100.10
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Asin: 0471414360
Catlog: Book (2001-10-19)
Publisher: Wiley-Interscience
Sales Rank: 609249
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

comprehensive coverage of both the "how" and "why" of metal failures

Metal Failures gives engineers the intellectual tools and practical understanding needed to analyze failures from a structural point of view. Its proven methods of examination and analysis enable investigators to:
* Reach correct, fact-based conclusions on the causes of metal failures
* Present and defend these conclusions before highly critical bodies
* Suggest design improvements that may prevent future failures

Analytical methods presented include stress analysis, fracture mechanics, fatigue analysis, corrosion science, and nondestructive testing. Numerous case studies illustrate the application of basic principles of metallurgy and failure analysis to a wide variety of real-world situations. Readers learn how to investigate and analyze failures that involve:
* Alloys and coatings
* Brittle and ductile fractures
* Thermal and residual stresses
* Creep and fatigue
* Corrosion, hydrogen embrittlement, and stress-corrosion cracking

This useful professional reference is also an excellent learning tool for senior-level students in mechanical, materials, and civil engineering.
... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Dr. Michael Stevenson
This text provides perhaps the most concise and authoritative resource for the field of Metallurgical Failure Analysis that I have read. Rather than apporaching failures from a cookbook perspective, that is only linking cause to failure through single case histories, this author presents the fundamental concepts of the discipline and suplements them with appropriate examples.After reading the book, I am considering using it a text to a course that previously could only be approached with personal course notes. This is the most comprehensive and fundamentally organized book I have read in years. Well worth twice the price. ... Read more


188. Germany's Tiger Tanks - Vk45 to Tiger II: Design, Production & Modifications (Schiffer Military History)
by Thomas L. Jentz
list price: $49.95
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Asin: 0764302248
Catlog: Book (1997-08-01)
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing
Sales Rank: 359023
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This new volume covers development from the VK 45.02(P), VK 45.03(H) to the modifications under design for the Tiger II at the end of the war. All of this illustrated with scale drawings by Hilary L. Doyle combined with drawings, sketches, and photographs depicting external modifications is well as internal views. Over twenty years of intensive research went into finding the original documents needed to create this new history on the development, characteristics, and tactical capabilities of the Tiger series. Tom Jentz has conducted an exhaustive search for suviving records of the design/assembly firms (including Henschel, Krupp, Nibelungenwerk, Porsche, and Wegmann), the Heeres-Waffenamt, the D656 series of manuals on the Tiger, and the war diaries and operations reports from the German units. The written records were supplemented by examining thousands of photos. On-sight research into almost all the surviving Tigers provided details that could only be obtained from actual specimens. New information was found on the evolution of the heavy tank series, the key decisons on the design of the Tigers, the significant modifications made during the production runs, production statistics, the Tigers characteristics and tactical capabilities, an exact accounting of the issue of the Tigers to the combat units, and combat account written directly after the actions. Tom Jentz is also the author of Germany's Tiger Tanks: Tiger I & II - Combat Tactics; Germany's Panther Tank: The Quest for Combat Supremacy; Panzertruppen 1933-1942; and Panzertruppen 1943-1945 (all four titles are available from Schiffer Publishing Ltd.)., over 120 b/w photographs, over 130 line drawings, 9" x 12" ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent technical history of the Tiger II
Thomas Jentz and artist/collaborator Hillary Louis Doyle have created an excellent technical overview of the development and production modifications of the Tiger II "King Tiger," using only originaldocumentation and actual preserved vehicles as references. There is nosecond-hand information of any kind, and no propagation of postwar myths.There is less pure engineering information than the earlier work by WalterSpielberger (i.e. don't expect diagrams of the inner workings of engine andtransmissions), but the intended audience for this book is clearly themodel-builder. The numerous drawings are to the popular modeler's scale of1/35th, and numerous detail photos will aid the would-be model builder. Incombination with such works as Wolfgang Schneider's "Tigers inCombat," you would have an ideal library on the King Tiger. However,this volume does not cover the Jagdtiger tank destroyer (Schiffer doespublish a two-volume work on this vehicle by another author).

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent case study of the Tiger Ausf. B.
This is THE book about the German Tiger II tank.

Thomas Jentz outdid himself in researching every bit of detailed technical information about this historical vehicle. Included in this book are many never-before-seen internal and external photographs of both the prototypes and productionvehicles. There are also pages of detailed technical drawings of the TigerII tank at different stages of it's development and the war.

Althoughdetailed and loaded with technical information, this book has absolutelynothing about the combat and operational history of the Tiger II. There areno explanations about why the various modifications were made and makes itreally hard to casually read the book.

In general, this is a technicalmanual about the Tiger II tank aimed at technical history buffs andmodellers. It is a great supplement to Thomas Jentz's other book about theoperational history of the Tiger tanks. But for the technical drawings,photographs anddescriptions alone, this book is cannot be matched and isworth every penny of it's price. ... Read more


189. Two Sides of the Moon : Our Story of the Cold War Space Race
by David Scott, Alexei Leonov
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
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Asin: 0312308655
Catlog: Book (2004-10-15)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Sales Rank: 13409
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Book Description

Growing up on either side of the Iron Curtain, David Scott and Alexei Leonov experienced very different childhoods but shared the same dream to fly.

Excelling in every area of mental and physical agility, Scott and Leonov became elite fighter pilots and were chosen by their countries' burgeoning space programs to take part in the greatest technological race ever-to land a man on the moon.

In this unique dual autobiography, astronaut Scott and cosmonaut Leonov recount their exceptional lives and careers spent on the cutting edge of science and space exploration. With each mission fraught with perilous risks, and each space program touched by tragedy, these parallel tales of adventure and heroism read like a modern-day thriller. Cutting fast between their differing recollections, this book reveals, in a very personal way, the drama of one of the most ambitious contests ever embarked on by man, set against the conflict that once held the world in suspense: the clash between Russian communism and Western democracy.

Before training to be the USSR's first man on the moon, Leonov became the first man to walk in space. It was a feat that won him a place in history but almost cost him his life. A year later, in 1966, Gemini 8, with David Scott and Neil Armstrong aboard, tumbled out of control across space. Surviving against dramatic odds-a split-second decision by pilot Armstrong saved their lives-they both went on to fly their own lunar missions: Armstrong to command Apollo 11 and become the first man to walk on the moon, and Scott to perform an EVA during the Apollo 9 mission and command the most complex expedition in the history of exploration, Apollo 15. Spending three days on the moon, Scott became the seventh man to walk on its breathtaking surface.

Marking a new age of USA/USSR cooperation, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project brought Scott and Leonov together, finally ending the Cold War silence and building a friendship that would last for decades.

Their courage, passion for exploration, and determination to push themselves to the limit emerge in these memoirs not only through their triumphs but also through their perseverance in times of extraordinary difficulty and danger.
... Read more

190. Springer Handbook of Nanotechnology
by Bharat Bhushan
list price: $199.00
our price: $199.00
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Asin: 3540012184
Catlog: Book (2004-02-17)
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Sales Rank: 188051
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Book Description

"Professor Bhushan has harnessed his own knowledge and experience, gained in several industries and universities, and has assembled about 100 internationally recognized authors from three continents to write more than 40 chapters. The authors come from both academia and industry ... [This book] is a timely addition to the literature on nanotechnology , which I anticipate will stimulate further interest in this important new field and serve as an invaluable resource to members of the international scientific and industrial community." NEAL LANE, UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR, RICE UNIVERSITY FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT CLINTON AND DIRECTOR OF THE NSF

The authoritativeness of this new Handbook is guaranteed by an experienced editor and international team of more than 90 authors, including Nobel Laureate Gerd K. Binnig. The Handbook contains over 900 illustrations and numerous comprehensive materials data tables, features a fully searchable CD-ROM allowing quick access to data, and covers the broadest conceivable range of topics, including: Nanostructures; Micro/Nanofabrication; MEMS/NEMS Materials and Devices; Nanomechanics; Materials Science; Reliability Engineering; Scanning Probe; Force Microscopies; Nanotribology; Nanorheology; Biological Nanotechnology; Therapeutic Nanodevices; Molecular Technology; Industrial Applications; Micro/Nanodevice Reliability; Social and Ethical Implications ... Read more


191. Reliability and Risk Analysis
by N. J. McCormick
list price: $152.95
our price: $152.95
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Asin: 0124823602
Catlog: Book (1981-07-28)
Publisher: Academic Press
Sales Rank: 1252430
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192. American Generalship : Character Is Everything: The Art of Command
by EDGAR PURYEAR
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
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Asin: 0891417702
Catlog: Book (2001-11-30)
Publisher: Presidio Press
Sales Rank: 125956
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great reading.
This author wastes energy on knocking down a straw man: we already know that leadership and command are "art," not "science". Directing men in situations of fear and chaos requires odd combinations of qualities and that instinct usually proves more valuable than learned behaviours. Even so, this book traces what has been uniquely American about our leaders' actions, efforts and behaviour. The case studies are well chosen, as is the level of analysis. We can all learn more about our human relations from this book, which provides great value for money. ... Read more


193. Professional and Technical Writing Strategies: Communicating in Technology and Science (5th Edition)
by Judith S. VanAlstyne, with Merrill D. Tritt
list price: $86.60
our price: $78.81
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Asin: 0130412791
Catlog: Book (2001-07-19)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 449799
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best and simplest
This is the best book on the subject I have read thus far. Easy to read and simple to follow, this is text for the those serious about tech writing.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for learning technical writing
This book concentrates on the technical writing and communicating for people who would like to make professional progress on one's career. It teaches a lot of techniques for improving orgainzation and clarity of writing. It also clarifies many common misunderstanding in the technical writing. It is a must for people who have to take care of technical writing. ... Read more


194. Probabilistic Risk Analysis : Foundations and Methods
by Tim Bedford, Roger Cooke
list price: $70.00
our price: $59.50
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Asin: 0521773202
Catlog: Book (2001-04-30)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 136352
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Book Description

Probabilistic risk analysis aims to quantify the risk caused by high technology installations in situations where classical statistical analysis is difficult or impossible. This book discusses the fundamental notion of uncertainty, its relationship with probability, and the limits to the quantification of uncertainty. Drawing on extensive experience in the theory and applications of risk analysis, the authors focus on the conceptual and mathematical foundations underlying the quantification, interpretation and management of risk. They cover standard topics as well as important new subjects such as the use of expert judgment and uncertainty propagation. ... Read more


195. Working Safe: How to Help People Actively Care for Health and Safety, Second Edition
by E. Scott Geller
list price: $39.95
our price: $31.96
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Asin: 1566705649
Catlog: Book (2001-05-25)
Publisher: CRC Press
Sales Rank: 66148
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Written by world-renowned health and safety researcher E. Scott Geller, Working Safe: How to Help People Actively Care for Health and Safety, Second Edition presents science-based and practical approaches to improving attitudes and behavior for achieving an injury-free work environment. This book teaches proactive applications of behavior-based psychology for improving health and safety. Relevant theory and principles are clearly explained and practical step-by-step procedures are detailed. Dr. Geller's anecdotal and non-academic writing style makes the book fun and easy to read.This research-based text is completely updated and expanded from the 1996 edition.It includes three new chapters: one on behavioral safety analysis, another on intervening with supportive conversation, and the third on how to promote high performance teamwork. Thus, this second edition continues to provide the practical advice safety leaders rely on.Working Safe: How to Help People Actively Care for Health and Safety supplies the research and theory needed to customize effective behavior-based procedures and tools in your workplace. The information and examples provide health and safety professionals with behavioral science methods capable of enhancing safety awareness, reducing at-risk behavior, and facilitating ongoing participation in safety-related activities. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Total Safety Culture: A Concept for High Performance
This is by far, the best book on behavioral safety I have ever read. Dr. Geller has a very laid back style of writing, which is very comfortable to read and easy to understand. He outlines many psychological theories in a very comprehensible manner, and reinforces ideas with models and anecdotes from his own experiences.

My interest in Total Safety Culture was its application towards unleasing latent resources in the union environment, essentially making safety a common ground for labor relations. This book is well worth the money, and a cover to cover read will likely make you want more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Understanding workers performance on active care for safety
I liked the way the author explained the principles on behavior. With the book, I could understand more about the human feelings on prevent accidents. The book shows some examples to improve safety procedures at work and help us with adittional information on the evaluation for continuos increasing on actively caring behaviors. ... Read more


196. Accidents May Happen
by CHARLOTTE JONES
list price: $11.95
our price: $8.96
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Asin: 0385322402
Catlog: Book (1998-03-09)
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Sales Rank: 60257
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From Wheaties to telephones, microwave ovens to yo-yos, here are the inspiring and often funny stories of 50 mistakes and misunderstandings that helped bring about life as we know it. With hilarious cartoons and wacky facts, this fascinating compendium illustrates the adage "If you don't learn from your mistakes, there's no sense making them." ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fifty amazing inventions with interesting explaination.
I read this book and I found some amazing things behind the inventions which are now fads. As the yo-yo is a really cool thing around it used to be a weapon and then it accidently turned into a toy for children. You may think that Nursery Rhymes are not very cool, but the cool part in Nursery Rhymes are stories of old history. For example, Ring Aroud The Rosey used to be a poem about a disease that killed people in the old times. The first line, "Ring Around The Rosey," used to be one of the symptoms of the disease which was a rosey rash on the person's body. "A pocket full of posies," was flowers that would supposedly keeep evil away for the human. The next line, "Ashes, Ashes," was "A-tishoo, a-tishoo," which they would need because they sneezed a ton. "We all fall down," was the last thing that happened to the people that got this, they would fall on to their bed and die. There is the thing behind,"Ring Around The Rosey." There are many other cool inventions in that story and all of them are great. I really liked the book. ... Read more


197. Special Forces: A Guided Tour of U.S. Army Special Forces
by Tom Clancy, John Gresham
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
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Asin: 0425172686
Catlog: Book (2001-02)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 18402
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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The seventh in a series of books by Tom Clancy offering in-depth "tours" of the U.S. military, Special Forces surveys the soldiers who "are perhaps America's most professional and capable warriors." Who are they? They are the men--and only men, for women are not allowed to become SF soldiers--who are "specially selected, specially trained, specially equipped, and given special missions and support." The Army Special Forces--known to much of the public as Green Berets--are often the first troops on the scene in a crisis. They're also incredibly versatile: "If you're looking for a Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger, don't expect to find them in today's Army Special Forces." That's because specialized missions--involving anything from psychological operations meant to undermine enemy morale to guerilla warfare in remote jungles--require flexibility. "Specialized missions (paradoxically) require a broad range of general capabilities and skills," which means SF soldiers, "while physically fit, tend to be more balanced (like triathletes) than specialized (like marathoners and weightlifters)."

Clancy and his coauthor, John Gresham, describe how SF soldiers are recruited, trained, and assigned. There are plenty of interesting notes about SF culture: They don't especially like being called "Green Berets," for instance, even though most units carry a copy of the John Wayne movie The Green Berets in their traveling video libraries. They are typically in their 30s, divorced and remarried, intelligent, interested in the news, and able to speak more than one language. There are also lots of details on weaponry, chronicles of training missions, and plenty of maps and pictures. The book ends with a fictionalized account of an SF mission in 2005 and 2006.

Special Forces is replete with Clancy's tough-guy prose: "The overall media presentation of the Army Special Forces has generally been one of contrived crap." And the book is essentially a celebration of a premier fighting force, rather than a critical treatment of it. But this is not necessarily a weakness. Special Forces will appeal to anybody interested in the modern military, and it may bring civilians closer than they'll ever come to these important troops. --John J. Miller ... Read more

Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars Beyond the Beret: Clancy's book dispels myths about SF....
Special Forces, the seventh and final entry in Tom Clancy's nonfiction Guided Tour series about America's armed forces, sets its sights on the shadowy -- and often misunderstood -- roles and missions of the men the author calls "the quiet professionals" of the Army's Special Forces command.

Although the public image of the Special Forces stems from such movies as John Wayne's 1968 cornball classic The Green Berets and the Rambo trilogy (Stallone's John Rambo is a former SF veteran who served in Vietnam) and Sgt. Barry Sadler's once-popular "Ballad of the Green Berets," Clancy and his co-author John D. Gresham point out that far from being hell-for-leather, shoot-first-ask-questions-later killing machines, SF soldiers are actually among the best troops in the U.S. Army. They have to be, because their missions -- ranging from blowing up a bridge or weapons factory far behind enemy lines to organizing, training, advising, and assisting foreign armies and police forces of "host" countries "to protect their societies or free them from subversion, lawlessness, insurgency, and terrorism." This means that in addition to their combat roles in Afghanistan and Iraq, SF teams are among the busiest of America's soldiers.

One of the more interesting insights I got from reading Special Forces is related to the role played by SF deployments in El Salvador during the darkest days of that Central American nation's long-running civil war. The Reagan Administration, knowing that any major American military intervention would be very unpopular at home and abroad (a Vietnam II in our own back yard, to put it bluntly), was caught in a decision-making dilemma. Clearly they did not wish El Salvador to "go Red" as Cuba and Nicaragua had in the past, yet they knew the ruling class -- derived from the wealthy class of landowners and other top honchos -- was also very indifferent about the conditions of the Salvadoran poor, particularly those in the countryside. Using the army and national guard -- themselves derived from El Salvador's small middle class -- in repressive and counterproductive ways, El Salvador's government just made matters worse, using indiscriminate tactics and the infamous death squads. Surely, Washington couldn't be too closely linked to a small group of wealthy "patrones" whose only interest was to maintain their lock on power and to ignore the people's legitimate demands for justice and social reform.

The solution? To use Special Forces to gradually change the mindset of the Salvadoran army. It took time, and quite a few of the SF advisers lost their lives in the crossfire between leftist forces and the army. Nevertheless, the Salvadoran officers and soldiers were "re-educated" and, as Clancy writes, "the Salvadoran Army tried acting in other than brutal and repressive ways toward their fellow countrymen, they began to halt activities of their death squads and to actually show respect for basic human rights.

As a result, the rebels lost a lot of support, the Army started winning hearts, minds, and territory, and "by the end of the Cold War [a] peace treaty was a done deal, the civil war had ended, and today there is a coalition government...." Granted, the SF deployments alone were not responsible for this achievement, but they had a major effect in getting the Salvadoran people to see that the way things were being handled by both the government and the rebels were just leading to more bloodshed and chaos.

As in all the Guided Tour series, which are being updated to reflect changes in technology, doctrine, and world realities, Special Forces gives the general reading audience a look at the equipment, training, organization, and the soldiers themselves. There is an interview with Gen. Henry H. Shelton USA (Ret) former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and an experienced Special Operations veteran who served with the Special Forces and also commanded Special Operations Command from 1996 to 1998. There are also overviews of the larger Special Operations Command and, finally, a short fictional account of SF personnel in action.

(Oh, and while the Special Forces troops are proud of their famous headgear, they really don't like to be called "Green Berets." As one of them told the authors, "We are NOT hats!")

3-0 out of 5 stars Kind of dry...not really written by Clancy
The thing I kept thinking when I read this book was -- why does Tom Clancy put his name on this? It was very obvious through the whole thing that his research assistant did all the travel, research, and probably wrote everything, too. Is Tom Clancy just a brand now, and not really an author? I wish they would explain that better.

And as other reviewers have mentioned, it seemed awfully "patched together" with no flow between the force descriptions, travelogues, and the mini novel in the back.

The book has a lot of info about the Army Special Forces ("Green Berets") and what their specific role is in realm of special forces. I definitely understand a lot more about how SF teams work, think, and act.

It was NOT one of those books I "couldn't put down" I found myself wanting to finish it and just get the info. After reading it, I understand a lot better about how the special forces operate.

The mini-novel at the back was kind of weak. It was just a quick fictionalized example of all the info in the rest of the book. That felt pretty thrown together, too.

4-0 out of 5 stars Right on the mark!
Very accurate book, I am not sure what the most everyone else is talking about in saying otherwise. This book is "dry" because it is meant to inform the reader more than it is to entertain him. But, if you like non-fiction military books, you should have a pretty good read here. Just as a side-note: there is no "SEAL bashing" in this book;I know that Mr. Clancy has a lot of respect for the Navy Seals as well every other U.S. military branch; just because he admits that the U.S. Army Special Forces is his favorite dosn't mean he's bashing other units/branches God bless

2-0 out of 5 stars A Weak Showing from the 'Master of the Techno Thriller'
I should have known when I noticed in the store that this book lacked an index, that I should have put it back on the shelf. The omission of an index in what is purportedly an information resource is generally a bad omen, as illustrated by this book.

The book feels rushed and half-hearted. The information included, whether on weapons systems or unit history is spotty, at best, and missing or incorrect at worst. Delta, which admittedly is not officially operational, rates only a single, offhanded mention. There is a definite biased slant towards Army Special Forces at the expense of other branches, and while it would be expected if this were written by an USASOC denizen, it is inappropriate and unprofessionial in this context.

The photos are grainy and rather oddly chosen and the use of black and white printing, presumably to save money, shows a sincere lack of attention when the book shows different SF unit badges as uniformly gray patches.

This book pales when compared to earlier efforts like Marine or Carrier and comes across as a quickly produced reaction to growing interest in U.S. Special Operations.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Great Look at the U.S. Special Forces from the Outside
I am not a reader of Tom Clancy's novels. This is not one of Clancy's novels. This is a biography of the United States Army's Special Forces unit. i have done a lot of reading of numerous U.S. military elite units, but never done too much on the Army's SOF. This is a very well researches and presented book. The reader can come away from this book with a thorough understanding of how to apply for the USA SOF, the training, the specialty training, unit selection, and what they do and why they are called to do it.

There is a small biography of General Shelton, which I enjoyed because I saw so much of him after 9/11 but knew little about him. I wish he was given a little place to write in this book because I'm sure he's got lots to write considering he's the first SOF Joint Cheif Chairman. This book, I feel, leaves out much of the history of the Army's SOF history. The Army has such an interesting history I don't see how some of it was not written about. If you want a history book, you'll be upset when you get this book.

This book is an excellent tactical view of the Army's Special Forces. After reading this book the reader will fully understand that The Green Berets and other Special Forces soldiers are not what are diplicted in Hollywood. Sometimes the truth can be quite boring, but not when it comes to this topic. Unfortunately this book is obviously written by a person who has never experienced life in the Special Forces. It would have been nice to read some commentary from a man who has gone through the training, endured the harsh physicality of SF life, and who can comment on various aspects of the life in this elite group of men. Clancy has probably done as good a job that a civilian could. The novel at the end was unecessary and I didn't read much of it.

This book is well written and easy to understand. I enjoyed reading it. This is not typical Clancy, it's better. ... Read more


198. Antique Boxes, Tea Caddies, & Society 1700-1880 (Schiffer Book for Collectors,)
by Antigone Clarke, Joseph O'Kelly
list price: $89.95
our price: $89.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0764316885
Catlog: Book (2003-03)
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing
Sales Rank: 207131
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Novice and Expert alike
One does not have to be an expert to love this book. It is a treasure trove of information on all kinds of English boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. Packed with photographs and intelligent text, it is simply the best, most informative, most comprehensive book on the subject. It's easy to tell the writers are not only experts with vast experience but lovers of these boxes too.
I'm particularly interested in writing boxes, and I could wish for more chapters on these, but that is purely out of a sense of greed. The whole book is fascinating, whether one is browsing or studying. Thanks.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great resource on the subject
This book is an exceptional resource for information and insights about writing boxes, lap desks, etc., from authors who clearly know the subject extremely well. The photography of examples is consistent with the high quality of the rest of this book. Definitely a must have for those of us interested in the subject and worth the price.

5-0 out of 5 stars Boxes: Touching the Past
Anyone who's ever touched a small box or tea caddy or folding writing desk from several hundred years ago knows the thrill of holding that object, one used by ancient sets of hands. Or maybe it's the thrill of seeing rare and ancient woods -- amboina or coromandel or burled yew or satinwood -- up close. Whatever leads you to boxes, lead yourself to this book. The pictures are gorgeous, but even better is the precision of the social history which surrounds them, whether it's the intricacies of the tea-opium trade, or the influence of the penny post, or the Prince Regent's taste. Many books I've seen before -- small "Shire" studies of writing antiquities, for example -- are good but small, and almost impossible to find in the States except at occasional antique shows. This is both scholarly in its documentation and readable, even enjoyable, in the portrait of Britain it unfolds. And the pictures are a refreshing change from the blurry amateurism that marks too many specialized "guides." Pricey but worth it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A BOOK BEGGING TO BE OPENED!
Like a box begs to be opened, so does this book!

The history of antique boxes is finally told in a comprehensive way with wonderful photos of quality boxes and details of the contemporary events and fashions that influenced their design and construction.

Whether you are a collector or not, this book will captivate you as it takes you back to a time when the box was as necessary in society as today's computer. The box is now a time piece that represents the artistic flair and superb craftsmanship prevalent in the 18th and 19th centuries. This book gives antique boxes the admiration they deserve! ... Read more


199. Deep Time: How Humanity Communicates Across Millennia
by Gregory Benford
list price: $13.00
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Asin: 0380793466
Catlog: Book (2000-12-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 237884
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Combining the logical rigor with the lyrical finesse of a novelist , award-winning author Gregory Benford explores these and other fascinating questions in this provocative analysis of humanity's attempts to make its culture immortal.  In Deep Time he confronts our growing influence on events hundreds of thousands of years into the future and explores the possible "messeges" we may transmit to our distant descendants in the language of the planet itself, from nuclear waste to global warming to the extinction of species.  As we begin our incredible journey down the path of eternity, Gregory Benford masterfully calls forth some of the intriguing, astounding, undreamed-of futures which may await us in deep time.

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Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars Deep Time/Deep Self-Revelation
I very much enjoyed reflecting on the ideas presented in Benford's discussion. The content and organization of the book are not specifically addressed in previous reviews on this site, so for the reader wondering what the book is about, a road map might be useful.
Deep Time has four sections:
(1) Ten Thousand Years of Solitude describes a project in which the author was involved, which addressed how (or if) society can design safe repositories for nuclear waste with effective means of communicating across millenia to people who will not share our culture, technology, or language, "don't go near this place." Past epic attempts to communicate over the millenia and present attempts to preserve computer data for even a few years do not build confidence that this critical message will speak properly to its unimaginably distant audience.
(2) Vaults in Vacuum is a rather darkly amusing discussion of the etched plates NASA sent out on some space missions intended to communicate with whoever finds them about Earth, Sol, and humans. The unintended humor of the political process surrounding their design communicates more to us about human nature than the disks themselves could ever communicate to aliens! The fate of the diamond disk that was supposed to ride with Cassini-Huygens to Saturn is nothing short of hysterical.
(3) The Library of Life is a depressing description of the potentially Chicxulub-scale loss of biodiversity caused by humans in the last few centuries. It argues almost poignantly, perhaps quixotically, for building cryogenically-preserved DNA libraries to store the basic information on biodiversity, so our far descendants, if we manage to leave any, might be able to resuscitate what we are destroying -- "Jurassic Park" on ice.
(4) Stewards of the Earth: The World as Message is a vaguely postmodern discussion of the earth we're leaving behind us for our descendants as a text and what that text reveals about us. The message is not flattering or hopeful. Should human society with its next-quarter or, at most, decades time frame begin to design and effect centuries-long agendas to assist the planet to support us at a high level of technological civilization, our primate cleverness may yet evolve into wisdom and conscious design of what the earth says about us to our long-distant descendants.

5-0 out of 5 stars 2 years...
It's been around two years since I first read this book, and i must say i reference it to people all the time. the reason: it is so darn fascinating. i really liked how the author put things in context and made me think about media forms and how we transfer data. if i gave you an 8-track tape right now, would you know what to do with it to get the info contained on it? younger folks might not know what it is. they would recognize tape (maybe), but 100 years from now, how many players would be around? the book talks about a project the author was on. a nuclear waste site in new mexico needed to have a way to communicate to humans (or others) in the future that the site is radioactive. since the radiation could last 10,000 years, the message would have to be able to be understood centuries from now. what would the message be like? if you read the book you'll find out! lots of different ideas are kicked around and i just couldn't put the book down. buy it, have fun!

4-0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking idea, not completely carried through
This book, by a physicist and science fiction writer, starts off well with a philosophical perspective on Humankind's collective attention span. The desire to convey some essence of ourselves, Benford writes, is the great impulse behind deep time messages. But there also is a desire to shape the future, and to use the idea of the future to shape the present. He describes his personal experience as a member of a group advising the Department of Energy on what kind of markers should be used to warn future humans of an underground radioactive waste depository. He then turns to the design of plaques to be attached to spacecraft that will leave the solar system, unfortunately getting bogged down in bureaucratic and interpersonal battles involving NASA officials. Other subjects addressed are preserving a record of biodiversity in a "Library of Life" and addressing human-caused climate change, leading toward "planetary management." These are all good themes, but Benford's conclusion does not propose an overall approach or a more systematic way of addressing our long-term future.

3-0 out of 5 stars I found it boring
The concept of public servants trying to communicate messages to a distant future it quite interesting. I found it interesting that even we have lost even the locations of some time capsules even 50 years ago. It certainly had some good ideas.

The main problem I felt was that the writer was trying to write like a science fiction and a philosophical work. It just could not keep my interest up.

However it would make a good project book for someone in a class trying to keep students interested. Which is what I am series thinking of doing.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Topic, but Benford Skims the Surface
The first third of the book is interesting and enlightening. Benford discusses his work as a consulting scientist on the U.S. government's plans to secure a nuclear waste despository for ten thousand years into the future. There is a lot of unintended humor because it turns out that perhaps the best approach may be to simply leave the site unmarked! But we all know that will never happen because ther's government money to be spent...

The next section describes work he did for a solid diamond marker medallion that was to fly with NASA's Cassini mission to explore Saturn and put a probe on the largest moon, Titan. This section is somewhat silly, and includes a lot of gossip and innuendo about other scientists and the NASA bureacracy. The whole plan falls apart at the last minute, and naturally, the author of _this_ account is not the bad guy. Common sense tells us that casting a 28 mm diameter diamond disk into the methane sea of Titan probably is not the best use of taxpayer dollars.

The last third of the book is largely envrio-paranoia babble from a scientist who should know better. Benford claims we should try to cryogenically preserve thousands or even millions of species so they can be studied in the future. His rationale is they might become extinct before scientists can catalog them. So how do you preserve something that you don't even know about yet? Simple - you go out to the edge of the rain forest (or wherever) and scoop up buckets of junk and - you guessed it - freeze it! Yes, that is the proposal: buckets of mud, sticks, and poop in liquid nitrogen dewars. Never mind the fact that earlier in the book, he comments how our present state of technology and stable civil institutions might be temporary, and we can expect major disruptions in the near future. What happens if some day all of these freezers are "unplugged"?

He redeems himself in the final chapter by admitting that the Human species is at a point where we will soon be able to take charge of our evolution, and that it may be possible to alter global climate through the application of technology and fix problems like excess CO2 production. The afterword is so beautifully written, it makes you pause and wonder, what happened with the rest of the book?

All told, this book presents some valuable ideas and insight into a subject that few people have considered. ... Read more


200. Genius : The Life and Science of Richard Feynman
by JAMES GLEICK
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
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Asin: 0679747044
Catlog: Book (1993-11-02)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 30767
Average Customer Review: 3.91 out of 5 stars
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If you've read any of Richard Feynman's wonderful autobiographies you may think that a biography of Feynmanwould be a waste of your time. Wrong! Gleick's Genius is a masterpiece of scientific biography--and an inspiration to anyone in pursuit of their own fulfillment as a person of genius. Deservedly nominated for a National Book Award, underservedly passed over by the committee in the face of tough competition, and very deservedly a book that you must read. ... Read more

Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent companion to Feynman's own writing
Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, Gleick
Q: "I read both of Feynman's autobiographies! Why would I need to read a biography?"
A: "Because it's awesome."

Gleick, firstly, goes far deeper into Feynman's life than Feynman did. Feynman didn't consider his books to be autobiographies; they were "Adventures of a curious character." They were a few hilarious events picked from his long, full life.

Gleick's book covers many of the hilarious aspects, but also covers the painful and formative aspects. Also curiously missing from Feynman's books were his science. Feynman wrote about his adventures, Gleick covered the adventures, the disasters, and the science.

Brilliant, enthralling reading. Highly recommending to anyone who enjoyed Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Which is, in turn, recommended to anyone who likes funny stories. It reads fast, BTW.)

5-0 out of 5 stars The life and times of a " half buffoon , half genius "
James Gleick's life of Feynman comes highly recommended to anyone concerned with the scholarship of safe-cracking , impromptu Brazilian samba ensembles and the fineries of quantum electrodynamics . Space shuttle design and the Manhattan Project are also included , so that no critic can claim in any seriousness that Feynman lacked balanced life-experience. This book is highly and competently researched ( 70-odd pages devoted to notes , acknowledgements and bibliography ) but it is no mere archive - there is a sense of presence in Gleick's narrative which , at times , borders on the voyeuristic (see , for example , the chapters detailing the correspondence between Feynman and his first wife Arline while he , shrouded in systematic censorship and effectively isolated , worked on the Bomb and she died slowly of consumption.) His account of Feynman's physics is similarly uncanny, making esoteric and , dare I say it , deep , theoretical material accessible to non-specialists . Perhaps this success in transmitting his ideas in a second-hand fashion is due to some aspect of the nature of Feynman's thinking - he was what might be called a ' freehand ' theoretician , prepared to step outside the realm of the accepted processes in order to see new ways of achieving old results , and thus to reconfigure the family-tree of physics and open new branches of inquiry . His closest rival for much of his career , Julian Schwinger , also comes across as his antithesis - Gleick , in any case , would have us believe in two incompatible minds , in Feynman the intuitive doodler and Schwinger the rigorous draftsman , both working to slice the same pie but with different mental utensils , one with a machete and the other with a laser . This was an academic showdown of the first order and one of the more compelling themes in the book . Compiling the life of an arch-scientist with a penchant for percussion and amateur safe-cracking is no mean feat . Feynman was enigmatic as an individual , to say the least , but this book goes! a lot of the way to answering , in the positive , the old freshman question " IS FEYNMAN HUMAN ? "

5-0 out of 5 stars A Real Genius!
Richard Feynman is certainly one of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century,one who belongs to the small group of the chosen few(Einstein,Bohr,Pauli ,among others)and one who fully deserves to be called a genius!His biography by James Gleick is nothing short of excellent:it is very well documented and very well written.For those who want to understand the role played by Feynman in the advancement of modern physics, and especially in the genesis of the theory of Quantum Electrodynamics,this book is a must!It also gives a thorough account of Feynman's life, which makes very good reading ,even if one is not interested in physics...
But a five- hundred- page book will always contain a few paragraphs which are not at the same level as the rest of the book!One such paragraph will be found at page 177,where the author wastes the reader's time in explaining Hans Bethe's mental calculation ability in the "squares-near-fifty trick".Apart from the fact that this sort of ability has nothing to do with genius and is within reach of any intelligent High School student,James Gleick explains it wrongly!He says that"...the difference between two successive squares is always an odd number,the sum of the numbers being squared.That fact,and the fact that 50 is half of 100,gave rise to the squares-near-fifty trick".In fact ,the trick is based on the "remarkable identity" (50+/-a)^2=2500+/-100*a+a^2.Nothing to do with the difference of two successive squares!

Fortunately,the book does not contain many passages like this one!

3-0 out of 5 stars mediocre
Gleick's biography of Feynman is certainly palatable for even non-techical readers... however, if you're interested in Feynman as a person, you're far better off reading it in Feynman's words: "Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman"... not only was that book much funnier and an immense joy to read, but you get a much better feel for a lot of the anecdotes that are relayed again in Gleick's book.

If you're interested in learning about the history of QED and Feynman's hand in its development, this book is a nice teaser, but it really doesn't go into much depth. It focuses too much on the shallow rivalries between the physicists of that time, without really making clear what the developments were or how they were developed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Captures Feynman Folklore but Fails to Put Him into Context
This is a fun book, hard to put down, and is comparable to a romance novel or a so-called "chick flick"--with unfortunately about as much depth. If you are a Feynman fan or a Physics fan or someone who is considering Physics as a career--this book is 5 stars. What the author omits one can can figure out,if you already know quite a bit. I dropped out of Physics as I preferred reading about the great Physicists to working through the problems in the Electricity and Magnetism or Quantum Mechanics texts, and did not have the feel for all those waveicles.

Since my brother was for a time a theoretical Physicist I heard much of the Feynman folklore. Gleick captured the folklore quite well. But the power and influence of the famous lectures given by Feynman to Caltech freshman and sophomore Physics students(known simply as Feynman's Lectures)was understated. During the last half of the 60s and through the 70s it would be hard not to find Physics Graduate students at the elite Universities (Chicago,MIT and so on) intensely studying Feynman's lectures as preparation for their PHD comps. This is so well known that the conceitful dream of other introductory text writers such as Samuelson in Economics, is to have the same role in their field.

The real shortcoming of the book is that it is a 90% solution. It would be interesting to have compared him with other Physics theoreticans--as a group. They are quite similar in many ways. You look at the famous and not so famous in that area and they have a set of commonalities. They will have self-taught themselves Mathematical subjects and found those challenges less exciting than understanding the physical world. In fact,that is the rationale of their existence, at least for a time. They all need to be do-it-themselfers. Many are great puzzle solvers in other contexts. They almost all had a certain kind of nurturing to encourage them to develop their talents along the way. The author leaves the false impression that these are special characteristics of Feynman. They are not--he is special enough in his achievement.

The title genius in that already extremely intelligent group goes to those, like Feynman's fellow Noble recipients for developing Quantum ElectroDynamics (QED),who learned the regular stuff/theory so well they were smart enough to figure out difficult solutions for the problem that was implicit in the prior theory. The rarer type of genius is the Feynman treated the problem as if he had figured out just enough to know what the problem was and used novel means (now known as Feynman diagrams)to solve the problem--ignoring the powerful but obscuring technology developed by those who came before and developing new more usable tools.

Despite its originality Feynman did not regard the QED in the same light as his discovery (independent initially of his fellow Cal Tech professor Gell Mann)of a theory of weak interactions. But he regarded his Lectures in Physics as his great contribution--no where could you get that from Gleick. A very interesting oversight was that Gell-Mann suffered writers block but was emersed in the standard literature. But Feynman often worked things out but would not work them out in publishable form but when they were forced to work together they did very well indeed. This relationship should have been explored in more depth. I wondered did Gell-Mann serve as the filter to let some of the standard work or not?

The late great contemplative Thomas Merton kept himself cut out from the news while in the monestary except that which was shared with him by friends such as the Berrigan brothers and James Forest. Did Feynman have similar friends or associates who informed him of problems out in the Physics world he might be interested in? Feynmann appeared to have few lifelong friends beyond family if you listened only to Gleick, but some of his sometime collaborators seemed to have been friends, but not of long standing.

This book generates more questions than answers and adds too little to the knowledge of Feynman but synthesizes quite well. Good work, well written but not up to the clarity or completeness standards of the subject. ... Read more


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