Saturday, October 11, 2014

Thorough SAP ERP Exam Preparation

This is as thorough an exam preparation book as I have seen for any examination.  The authors have taken a highly specialized exam and created a resource to help qualified test takers do their best and earn their Financial Accounting (FI) Certification.

A large part of success in taking an exam is to be familiar and comfortable with the test structure and format.  The authors tackle this immediately, offering an overview of key exam features: time limit, computer-based format, official pass rate, etc.  Particularly important is the knowledge that some questions have more than one answer and missing one of the options results in an incorrect answer.

A Quick Quiz section follows the introduction, giving the reader the general “flavor” of the examination.  This allows the reader to quickly get a sense for whether or not he/she is ready to prepare for the examination or needs more practical experience before tackling the remaining sample test questions.

The rest of the book groups sample questions by topic, e.g. fundamentals, automatic payments, logistics integration, and workflow.  Sample questions include both single answer and multiple answer format, so the reader gets practice in both types of questions.  Answers immediately follow each question, so there is no leafing back and forth to check answers.  Each correct answer is followed by a helpful explanation. Charts are included where a visual aid is helpful.

If you know how to use SAP ERP 6.0, this guide will help you prove it.  Enter the certification exam with confidence if you have worked through this book.

I received a free review copy of this guide for my honest review.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Important Resource for Women

Book Review: LoveBeyond Your Dreams by Riana Milne

This is a long book, but well worth a woman’s time.  There are two areas this book covers that you won’t find in many “relationship” books.  One is a detailed description of the signs of a toxic person.  The other is practical advice on steps to take to protect yourself early in dating.

Toxic people come in many different “flavors” and Milne has seen them all in her work as a counselor. To help the non-professional identify people who might become problems, lists are provided so a reader can recognize behaviors that are not normal.  This is so important, because people who grew up in homes with a toxic person (e.g. a narcissist, a Mother Hater, or an Adult Child of Alcoholics) probably don’t know what a normal relationship should look like.  Such a person could read one of the lists and think, “Oh! it’s not normal for my boyfriend to do X or Z.”

The practical advice is quite detailed and includes such common sense practices as protecting your home by meeting dates outside your home until you are in a real relationship. Not responding to late-night text messages is another tip.  Readers are assured that a man who really wants a relationship with them will keep up the pursuit.  Your safeguards protect you and help separate the wheat from the chaff.

I recommend this book to women of all ages.  The young can learn to keep themselves safer by establishing the healthy boundaries and avoiding unhealthy relationships in the first place. Older women may need information on safely leaving an abusive relationship (don’t do it without help) or resources for helping friends and relatives.

Healing is also covered, of course, so there is hope for the reader who is in a bad relationship or is recovering from a bad relationship. The author's personal and professional experience really show here!

I received a free review copy of Love Beyond Your Dreams from the author for my review.

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Book about a Journey

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami - A 15-minute Instaread Summary

Instaread summaries are helpful to me when I approach a book outside my usual comfort zone.  Japanese authors and culture are not my usual fare, so I turn to Instaread to see if Murakami’s book should be added to my reading list.

Instaread gave a broad overview of the book, followed by chapter summaries.  The book is an account of one man’s journey from rejection and bewilderment to a fresh start. Tsukuru spends sixteen years of his life not knowing why his high school friends suddenly turned away from him.  He assumes there is something wrong with him until Sara enters his life and suggests, quite sensibly, that simply asking for the truth would be a great way to get past his past. Tsukuru learns the truth and the book ends with him making a decision that will move him forward in his life.

Instaread offers a “Reader’s Perspective” which serves as an opinion about the book.  I agree that the switching from past to present from chapter to chapter was a good device for understanding Tsukuru’s pilgrimage.  The point of the book was to show how his wrong thinking had stalled his life at several key junctures.  Once he learned he was not colorless and worthless, however, he was ready to pursue a new relationship and move forward with his life.

I received my copy of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami - A 15-minute Instaread Summary free for my review.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Subversive Living: Fight Back, Young Women!

Subversive Living: Fight Back, Young Women!: Be Rebellious by Megan Clinton is a call to young women everywhere to take charge of their destinies and become the women they were cr...

Friday, September 19, 2014

An Instaread Summary of D'Souza's "America"

This little book was my introduction to the Instaread series.  Since I have not yet read America: Imagine a World Without Her by Dinesh D’Souza, this summary was a good way to find out if that book is different enough from D’Souza’s other books (which I have read) to justify my time and cash.

I was not disappointed.  Instaread first gave a broad overview of the book, which is an account of the two different viewpoints in American politics and culture today.  On one side are the progressives (also recognized by D’Souza as anti-colonialists) and on the other are the conservatives/constitutionalists.  Very brief accounts of key people are also included in the introductory matter, in case the book is read by a political or historical novice.  Notable is the summary of Saul Alinsky’s 4-point Lucifer strategy: polarize, demonize, organize, and deceive.  D’Souza appears to have nailed the progressive plan.

The body of the book consists of chapter summaries.  I can tell from these summaries that the book includes detailed discussions of the value conflicts between conservatives and progressives, including economic freedom v. sexual/social freedom and entrepreneurship/capitalism v. tolerance/entitlement.  The chapters cover reparations, foreign policy, bureaucracy, domestic spying, and many other issues relevant to concerned Americans today.

Reading this “30-Minute Instaread Summary” has made me more enthusiastic about making time to read the entire book by Dinesh D’Souza.  I also will seek out more Instaread e-books as a supplement to reading reviews on book websites.

I received my copy of America by Dinesh D'Souza - A 30-minuteInstaread Summary free for my review.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Roar Blog Tour Stops Here in North Carolina!

As an older woman and a Libertarian (once a Reagan Republican) I was interested to hear and understand what a younger woman really thinks.  Hughes has given me hope that not all women of her generation are dressing in silly vagina costumes and plotting the socialist demise of America while aborting their helpless babies conceived in a one-night stand with a community organizer.  Get this book if only for the great chapter on gun control, or the great chapter on what women really want economically, although there is much more to like.

Scottie Nell Hughes is a journalist, trained in the (now lost) art of journalism.  One chapter of the book laments the loss of the distinction between news reporting and editorial content.  With the lines so blurred in both traditional and new media, objective truth is more elusive than ever.

Hughes has a chapter on being a parent in modern times.  As one who lived through the transition from the traditional upbringing (what I got from my family/school/community) to the safety/self-esteem/precious princess/non-competitive/organic world of modern “parenting,” it was nice to hear from a mother with a balanced view: who uses car seats, but doesn’t think we must be forced to keep kids in them until they are 18 years old and 200 pounds, for example.  She sums up the dangers of the post-Christian, postmodern society as follows:  “…there are more tools to help lead our children astray than there are ways for us to keep them on the straight path.”

Older women, read this to regain an ounce of hope for the future.  Young women, read this to know you are not alone in wanting to protect and defend your family and country from those who are tearing them down.

I received a free copy of Roar for my review from Worthy Publishing.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Does Modern Education Endanger Reading?

Do our students read enough? Are technologies crowding out recreational reading time? Given the importance of reading in a free society, where an educated population is essential, these are important questions. Reading engages the mind, exercises the imagination, and improves concentration. Through literature we interact with other literate people across time and space. Good literature may reinforce our beliefs or challenge them. Literature provides a model for us as we compose our own essays and stories. Students who do not read great writing cannot be expected to produce great writing. More importantly, children who do not read will become adults who do not read.

It is worth asking ourselves whether school, with its increased emphasis on testing, testing, testing, is crowding out time that students formerly spent reading literature. Is it possible the increased emphasis on skills that can be readily measured by end-of-grade tests means less emphasis on reading and evaluating great literature? Without exposure to literature in school, young people are less likely to be aware of or to read literature outside class. Easy books based on popular culture are the literary equivalent of junk food, yet those are the books children are more likely to access without an educated adult to guide them toward more challenging titles. Here is an area where librarians can help to fill the gap, by actively encouraging young people to tackle great literature.

Another way in which modern education might be endangering reading is the great reliance on textbooks. Students read only excerpts from a literature book or history book rather than reading an entire novel or biography. This is the literary equivalent of a snack instead of a full meal. Good readers can be turned off by textbooks, since textbooks are written to be accessible to the hypothetical average student. A good reader wants to be challenged--to interact with a greater mind. Textbooks are designed to cover a state's standard course of study, not to serve as models of good literature. A better approach than textbooks is the "living books" approach (see Shafer) used by Charlotte Mason and adopted by many modern home schools and private schools. This approach uses great literature and biographies rather than textbooks, and encourages students to learn to write by copying examples of good literature for handwriting practice. For example, students could study American history by using a history textbook, memorizing Patrick Henry's "War Inevitable" speech, and reading great literature such as Johnny Tremain and Carry On, Mr. Bowditch.

Many simply blame the decline in recreational reading on the proliferation of electronics. Television time certainly displaces some reading time for many people. Recreational computer use can also be anti-reading if the internet is used only for watching video clips of silly pet tricks or looking up movie times at the local theater. However, I agree with the Electronic Literature Organization that our electronics are also a tool that can enhance literary reading (see Kirschenbaum 1-2). The computer can even provide quality new literature for our reading pleasure and enrichment. Seek out quality reading material for children online and they will read.

Reading is at risk, but it need not die. By harnessing the power of our electronic tools, there is no reason America should not see a new golden age of literacy. Our technology can be a tool for enhanced readingrather than an excuse for not reading. The traditional print book is also a viable technology and can still be appreciated by children when a respected adult guides them to the best books.

Works Cited:

Kirschenbaum, Matthew G. "A Response to Reading at Risk." letter on behalf of Electronic Literature Organization.

Shafer, Sonya. "What is the Charlotte Mason Method?" 21 August, 2009.