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Business / Personal Finance

  • Idea/Concept: Those with an interest in how chemicals impact our lives in good and bad ways will appreciate this articulate guide to understanding where modifications need to be made in production  and where changes may not resolve safety or health concerns. Without overt curiosity on the subject matter, the technical content will not be of interest to a general reader.

    Prose: Meticulous editing and a succinct style set the foundation for an informative textbook that explores a complicated subject in comprehensible language. Suitable for environmental scientists and specialists in related fields, the book presents varied subtopics in a coherent layout.

    Originality: Competition in marketing titles on the environment and high-scale, perhaps even high-scare, manufacturing of everyday products immerses the publishing industry in a stress-filled attempt at making one stand apart from another, as this book succeeds in accomplishing with expected references to government regulations. Exemplary for its balanced and reasonable viewpoint, the text deserves to be classified as a reference tool for countless professionals.

    Execution: Backed by case studies and extensive research, the book’s straightforward approach examines the manufacturing of metals and plastics, as well as widespread chemical use and potential contamination in the processing of virtually anything. Fair to all parties engaging in controversial and commonplace production methods, the text also warns of the underlying dangers found in natural substances.

  • Idea/Concept: Steven Arnott's The Snowman's Guide to Personal Finances explains the basics of investing and preparing for retirement for Canadians through the use of analogies. The key analogy is that investment and planning for retirement is like building a snowman, which might actually be a tricky comparison for some readers, as investments and retirement should be enduring while snowmen don't survive into spring.

    Prose: Arnott's central analogy might have that conceptual flaw, but readers likely will still find it helpful, as Arnott mostly uses it to illustrate processes. His prose is clear and persuasive in these passages, and the book does an excellent job of both illuminating why the steps are necessary and how to take them. The introduction features the book's least confident, hardest-to-follow prose; those passages do not predict the assured work to follow and may dissuade some readers from giving the book a chance.

    Originality: The analogies are fresh, and even the most familiar advice is delivered here with clarity and conviction.

    Execution: Arnott's book is clear, concise, approachable, and precisely as detailed as it needs to be when considering TFSAs, RRSPs, and RRIFs. The author's emphasis is on the how and why of investing -- how to do it, and why you should. He just as capably explains tax law as he does address the psychological barriers many readers might have toward taking control of their financial futures. Helpful tables and summaries make it impossible to miss the key takeaways.

    Blurb: With uncommon clarity and much practical know-how, The Snowman's Guide to Personal Finance lays out how and why Canadians can take control of their investments and their futures.


  • Write e Book that Doesn't Suck

    by Jaimie Engle

    Rating: 7.75

    Idea/Concept: Engle's guide book, which includes valuable insights and tips and tricks on how to improve one's process of writing a novel/story, is well-balanced and thoughtful.

    Prose: The prose is understandable and down-to-earth, while Engle's word choice and language usage allow his guidelines to be easily accessible and digestible.

    Originality: There are likely many books in this genre, but Engle’s accessible writing, original tips and enjoyable examples make this a memorable and inspirational read.

    Execution: The book writing process is explained and explored thoroughly here, and the book’s structure and development is very well executed. The author recognizes that writing requires not just creativity, but determination, hard work, and focus.

  • Plot: The book walks the readers (presumably, retail business owners) through a series of strategies and tactics designed to steer them towards success. It delivers an outline that readers can continually revisit, and encourages engagement through a series of self-assessment worksheets.

    Prose: Delaney conveys her information in a conversational but authoritative voice that comes off in a positive, friendly, and upbeat manner. There is room for improvement: the writing often veers into tangential directions that do not add value to the overall message, creating unnecessary wordiness and distracting readers.

    Originality: The book covers a topic seldom discussed in today's digitally forward business philosophies: the brick and mortar retail operations. It provides an original, refreshing, and crisp point of view that revisits age-old advice with an update to fit today's modern needs.

    Character/Execution: The book gives readers insights into the author's rationale and opinions on how to successfully run a retail business. However, other than writing with a commanding tone, Delaney fails to establish her credentials, explain what makes her an industry expert, or give readers a compelling reason why they should take her advice.

  • Idea/Concept: With a quick immersion into the basics of taking control of a business and, ultimately, one’s life, a receptive person will know how to apply the set of skills Waite lays out to virtually any endeavor. In the end, success, the author suggests, depends on techniques used to protect and maintain a valuable service or commodity without allowing clients to manipulate the process to the entrepreneur’s disadvantage.

    Prose: Conversational and straightforward, this simplified, brief text provides light and easy reading. The book’s greatest strength—a direct presentation of a business owner’s senseless errors in judgment—occasionally prattles into an entertainment-value method of delivery.

    Originality: A golf instructor and a valuable student discuss the cons of stereotypical business operations, while debating the urgency of implementing a new modus operandi that empowers the downtrodden enterpriser. This unusual way of conveying information may be fresh, yet the material itself has been seen before in competing titles.

    Execution: This succinct business title aims to coach new entrepreneurs struggling with daily setbacks. In a step-by-step approach, the narrative, which reads much like fiction, shines a spotlight on ruinous mistakes.

    Blurb: Learn to control your business and your life in this fun, educational book.