L.E.T. Project “A.J”


 So I sent AJ some books. The first book is a dictionary, because it is literally like a translator in jail. It helps expand his diction. The second book I sent was Tupac ‘the rose that grew from concrete’ in hopes that he could be inspired by some of Tupac’s poetry. AJ says he likes poetry, and I think this would be the book he would read first. The third book I’ve sent him was ‘Man’s search for meaning’ by Viktor Frankl. You guys will automatically see me send this book to almost every inmate. This was a man who survived concentration camp under Nazi rule. Incredibly heartfelt book, it shows the power of a positive mindset under any circumstance. This book is hands down the greatest book for any one facing a difficult time. I can’t wait until I hear his take on the book(s).

~Eddiestarblog

:D✊ 

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Book review: “How not to die”

Dr. Michael Greger shares a story at the beginning of the book that details his interest in health. Greger’s grandmother at the age of 65, was left for dead after multiple attempts to unclog her artery plaque. Doctors were perplexed on what further solutions they could provide. So they sent her home and she started a vegan diet, her heart disease was reversed and lived to be 96 years old,
heart disease free. Below is a video of my review.

“The Girl on the train” book review

This was a book that I knew was a chick book, but I had to read it because it was the trending book. This review is from when the book came out. I thought it was going to be over rated. To my surprise, it was exceptional. There is a lot of plot twists and suspense throughout the whole book.

Below is my YouTube review:

 

Video duration: 6 mins

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Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss book review

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Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss

  1. Have you ever wondered why you can’t just eat one potato chip?
  2. Does it befuddle you why you cannot stop refilling that bowl of frosted Flakes?
  3. Do you feel like a vending machine fiend?
  4. Can’t stop reaching for those 100 calorie snack packs?
  5. Can’t stop grabbing that Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew?

There is a reason for that. Michael Moss, author of Salt, Sugar, Fat, examines and investigates the food industry, and their crafty practices. He starts the book off detailing a private meeting of the top food companies of the world. The meeting was    a call for these companies to end their participation in the plague of childhood obesity. The medical field was seeing an emergence of juvenile diabetes, and high blood pressure in young children. Health complications were becoming so widespread, that it needed to be addressed. As you can imagine, this didn’t go so well with a lot of these CEO’s. One of the CEO’s in attendance, went on to slam the meeting. He abruptly contended that it wasn’t his responsibility to tell kids what to eat. Moss, captures your attention at that moment, and you are a prisoner of his book until the end. It is a very long book, however, the information is worth the duration. Here is my youtube takeaways from the book.

VideoDuration: 5 mins

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Two hood books that I automatically assume you haven’t read

Raised in South Central, Los Angeles -now known as South Los Angeles- Ross witnesses a traumatic incident inside of his household. He witnesses his Uncle’s Murder. Moving to the other side of town, he resides on a street called Flower St, a street that runs parallel to the 110 fwy. Therefore, Ross and his friends became known as the “freeway boys”. He attended the local schools during a time when gang wars were at its prime. According to Ross, he never joined any gangs, even though he lived in the territory of the crips. He attended Dorsey High School and became a tennis star. He had played tennis so good that he was offered a scholarship, until they found out he was illiterate. Once scouts found out he was illiterate, he was of no use to the potential colleges. He ended up like just another Black 18 year old kid with no job or school, looking for a way to fill his idle time.

He started off small, then sold the narcotic PCP, then graduated to cocaine.  He made a connection with a Colombian and the rest is history. You already know how the story ends. Drug dealer goes to jail and ends up broke. Well, he went to jail and came out blaming the informant who put him in jail, and the secret service that employed the said informant. The Contra Scandal was the real deal, and it had a catastrophic effect on the Black and African-American community. I was born in 1984, the era of  “crack-babies”. So, I am not saying that what he claims happened is false; my gripe is that he diminishes his role, when compared to the macro level. The remorse for the actions he took were minimal, making it seem as if he was only a middle man. That is something that I vehemently disagree with him about. Conscientiously selling drugs to your own people, while seeing how the product affected families, was FUCKED UP. As any true drug dealer would privately admit, the bottom line was money. He apologizes, but only before making it seem accidental. That was what irritated me about the book.

THENNNNNN!

When he got out of prison, he saw that someone stole his alias and moniker. Parading around stage, and doing world tours, a rapper was using his name and image to make entertainment money. He got offended by the business move and took the rapper to court. Wow!!! The irony of it all.

“No I am a Drug Lord, your Honor, he is a fraud. I really participated in the genocide of my people, by selling them drugs that would break up homes. IT WAS ME!!!…Where’s my money for being the REAL bad guy?”

Ridiculous. .

This book is based on an inner-city corrections officer who goes rogue. He talks about the ugly realities that exist inside the American prison system. Drugs, sex, murder, and hard liquor all wrapped into one book. He is vulgar and bawdy throughout the whole book. To be honest, you will need urban dictionary more than Webster’s Dictionary. He keeps it hood and gutter. It is very short and easy to read. By time you get to the part where the female officers are being auctioned off as prostitutes to shot-callers, you will become engulfed in the salaciousness of it all.

As I read the book, I could kind of tell he was pulling stories out of his ass to add shock value. I honestly cannot believe everything that was in this book.

Interesting read considering that nowadays, you have 4G cell phones being smuggled in prison for the right price. It is so rampant at this point, that many women on dating sites have to post “NO GUYS IN JAIL” on their profile.

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Life’s too short for boring books

For the past 3 years, reading has become my new hobby. For certain books I read the actual text via e-book. Other times, I use audiobooks. In this quest, I have given many books the time of day. If a book cannot capture my full attention with meaningful substance within a chapter or two, I am out. I have thugged it out with some of the most celebrated books, just to say I have read it. In my mind, I will one day go to some pretentious wine party. At this festivity they will serve wine and cheese, with caviar and crackers as appetizers. We will have a conversation about the greatest books ever, and they will ask me if I have ever read “Ulysses” by James Joyce, or Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. And I will reply with “Why, Yes. Madam, may I suggest The Great Gatsby or Mark Twain?”

“Can you pass the Grey Poupon?”

Get the hell out of here!

On the other hand, I don’t wanna be that guy who reads the baseless books that are no better than an American infomercial. “Hey, Eddie! have you read the Kim Kardashian Selfie book?”

Im not trying to be a snob, I have no animus towards the Kardashians. I am just saying that we can’t have a civil conversation about books, if you’re coming at me with these kind of book suggestions. Saying you read a selfie book, is like saying you take medical advice from Dr. Oz.

I’m still chunky after taking those “cambogia” and “raspberry ketone” pills. Curb hunger, my ass.WTF!!

There are way too many books out there that I haven’t read to be reading mundane books. I have read books that were absolute money grabs. I just read a book today that talks about how athletes are performing better. I am reading the book under the impression that he will provide an aspect that will change what I already know. The ultimate point of his book was that they challenge the odds. 7 hrs of book reading, sums up to him writing about different athletes, who said they were gonna challenge the status quo. Another historical book with 4 star reviews, talking about how immigrant meat factory workers were in disease and death plagued workplaces. Sounds interesting, only problem is that it is written in an antiquated style that takes the strength of 2 Adderall pills to understand. I completed another book of a celebrated cocksure guru, who writes in a book to “Give maximum effort, to achieve maximum results!”. Not only does he give common sense advice, he talks to you like a Pop Warner coach while doing so. I can go on and on. Books are anecdotal. Hence, whatever book causes an epiphany for you, may not cause a breakthrough with me. This is why those “20 greatest books” lists always pisses readers off.  No more tedious books for me. I hope you gather the courage to discontinue books that don’t inspire reflective thoughts.

Reasons why you should buy “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert

She made me feel like a middle-aged White feminist divorcee.
  1. Elizabeth Gilbert has the most realistic approach about dream chasing- Change your perception of failure and fear.
  2. Get out of the “apprentice” mindset when it comes to helping people. Do no favors for people when it comes to your craft.
  3. How to get out of the permission mindset: I’m too fat, not attractive enough, no experience, what if…etc.
  4. Just go for it! Success and failure are all subjective anyhow. Put the work out there.
  5. Stop taking yourself so seriously, live creative without boundaries.
  6. The suffering/tragic artist is a myth.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic and Eat, Pray, Love, writes another New York Times Bestseller. Big Magic, is not another glib self-help book written by an impudent Guru. Gilbert, attacks the common fallacies that hold us back from our creative energy. Fear of failure is almost number one on anyone’s list for anything. Reluctant to start a blog about awesome books, I felt an immense fear of failure. In spite of that, the right book will motivate the most procrastinating dreamer. Gilbert, gives you that kick in the bottom to get the inertia rolling. Just get off your stinking tail and start rolling.

“I swear I’m gonna start my fitness DVD. Soon!”

Gilbert, had this concept of a book that involved a Minnesotan woman traveling to an Amazonian jungle on a business trip, that eventually turned into her falling in love with her superior. Abandoning the book project for her young love life, Gilbert, lost her motor to complete the book. Traveling to some event later on, she met some woman that coincidentally had the exact same story that Gilbert abandoned. This is where Gilbert inserts her incredible belief of spirits, and creative energy being transferred in the universe. Due to my skeptic nature, I became disconnected from the whole “energy in the universe” mantra. Eh, I don’t know about that. This is starting to feel creepy.

“No thanks, I’ll pass. I don’t want to hear what my dead Grandpa Henry has to say to me.”

Besides that, the book is a knockout hit. Unlike most self-help books, Gilbert, feels as if she is talking WITH you. The vibe of the book is like an expensive lunch with a mentor. Gilbert, has a mastery of storytelling that is impeccable. She can talk to you about bagpipes in Scotland, and you will feel inspired to put on a kilt. The theme of the book is similar to Nike: ‘Just do it!’ Get off your ass and fail, then fail some more, until you ultimately succeed. Gilbert, failed many times over, dealing with constant rejection and botched efforts. Unequipped with any certainty, Gilbert, created Eat,Pray, Love and her career took off. Many people loved it, another crowd of people hated it, and dissected flaws in the story. Nevertheless, the movie and book were an international success that catapulted her into stardom. Gilbert’s response to the critics:”If people don’t like what you’re creating, just smile at them sweetly, and tell them to go make their own fucking art!” This is so true. Imagine if Gilbert, or any other luminary you admire, stopped and revised their art for the sake of pleasing everyone. Inevitably, the work would be compromised and disingenuous.

Just stick to what you know is authentic. Don’t change to fit everyone’s flavor.

For the millionth time I questioned myself why I haven’t followed my dreams. After reading Big Magic, I clearly understood why I never allayed my creative appetite. The fear of being a gigantic screw up was looming over my head.  I have no experience writing a blog, and I feared that I would be exposed for the flaws of my inexperience. Without truly conceptualizing my actions, I was giving the imaginary internet troll, or English major wise-ass, permission to prevent an action I never even attempted. Gilbert’s Big Magic, helped me grasp an understanding of  this logic that was present inside of me. Maybe I’ve read it in another self-help book, and it isn’t original, however, the way that she presented the information had a different angle to it.

The last thing I will leave you with is her take on the tragic artist myth. She asserts that you don’t have to be the suffering artist who translates pain into beautiful creativity. Her message is be yourself, create your own story, and stop conflating art with money. Don’t be upset at your creativity for not making money, because art is simply art.

Gilbert says: I told the universe (and anyone who would listen) that I was committed to living a creative life not in order to save the world, not as an act of protect, not to become famous, not to gain entrance to the canon, not to challenge the system, not to show the bastards, not to prove to my family that I was worthy, not as a form of deep therapeutic emotional catharsis … but simply because I liked it.”

She is one hell of a speaker also. Check out her ted talks on YouTube:

Stop playing around, and add this book to your book collection. You will not regret it. Information posted below.

http://www.amazon.com/Big-Magic-Creative-Living-Beyond-ebook/dp/B00S52M350

5 compelling books that will change your life.

 Man’s Search For Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl

One of the illest books ever written, SON!!!

Nothing has ever made me feel transformed like this book did. As a man who suffers from depression, I have to read this book at least twice a year. This book was originally going to have no author, Frankl, originally intended for this book to be written as Anonymous, or his assigned prison number. Frankl, was a psychologist who endured a German Nazi concentration camp, and had the gumption to write a book recalling all of the mental/physical tortures done to his community. The details and descriptions of the masochistic psyche of Nazi’s were so perverse it planted you inside of the author. The tension was so palpable in this book, it made my stomach turn. The psychological terrors were so visceral that a man suffering from his worst nightmare would be in Paradise in comparison to reality. Not only the psychologist is a compelling writer, he is an actual survivor of the reprehensible concentration camp. Losing almost everything that was associated with him to the abysmal hell -family, friends, everything- he comes out with a mind clear enough to write a thorough masterpiece that is a classic for the ages. If this man can survive a calamity, and have a clear mind after such a dark tunnel, he absolutely understands the meaning of life.

Spittin’ that ether!

The Republic, Plato

The man behind religion.

Republic, by Plato, is so far ahead of its time, it is ridiculous. The book starts with a spirited debate over who holds more power, a just (righteous) human being, or an unjust person. Plato commences to verbally emasculate the guy in front of his squad of mentors and comrades. The book goes on and on about how a society should be built from scratch and what logically makes sense for the greater good of mankind. I found myself shaking my head several times in disbelief of the crazy assumptions that Plato held. As crazy as it seems in current times, these ideas were the inception of laws, military, and religion. He started the argument for what is morally correct, and what is immoral before the celebrated Christianity came into existence. His teachings were what spawned Aristotle into surpassing him. Aristotle is responsible for writings that would inspire Eastern philosophy and religion. So, this one book would eventually ignite some of the greatest minds to ever write. St. Augustine, the creator of Western Christianity, was inspired by Plato. St. Augustine inspired Martin Luther, creator of the Lutheran bible . The Republic, is responsible for the ideology that inspired Western culture and religion.

Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin

Talk about black-face, for real.

Many people from other races automatically assume that African-Americans don’t have it that bad. Countless amounts of conservatives fall under the assumption that America is a country that is based on the content of one’s character. John Howard Griffin is an exception to the rule. Griffin, underwent several dermatology procedures to darken his skin. Griffin literally becomes a Negro in the Jim Crow era, traveling to the deep south, and facing the ugliness of racism. Ladies and gentleman, you may ask yourself “What is the difference between him and Rachel Dolezal?”. This man did it for 30 days and continued to fight as a white man for racial equality. Dolezal intentionally beguiled people who genuinely trusted her. She continued a facade of Pan-Africanism, and never remained true to herself or others. Griffin had the gumption to face the ills of his own race, and internalize the insecurities that a black man carries within him. He recognized not only the burdens of the white gaze, but also a coded black behavior that is implicated among the race. Griffin comes in constant conflict with the white privilege he is afforded, while being deprived the right as a black man to use a restroom. The fear of southern white backlash was so great among whites that liberal whites were afraid of being civil to African-Americans in public. In those times, it was more acceptable to be known as a white racist, than a “nigger-lover”. The repercussions for inter-racial relationships were violent. Griffin, had the balls to face the ugliness of white supremacists, while risking his life fighting for a cause that he knew was absolutely correct. He marched alongside blacks in the prime of racial turmoil, and received local death threats that put him and his family in peril.This is the definition of death defying courage.

Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman

Too much awesomeness contained in one book

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner and psychologist, opens up your brain and splits it in two. Not literally, but in the philosophical sense by making you examine the two operating systems in your brain. System 1 is the FAST system that is sheer reaction. These are the things that you do instinctively without apprehension. System 2 is the system that is SLOW. This is the system you use when you play a puzzling strategy game, or use to fix a broken piece of equipment. Kahneman, sheds light on the flawed biases that we involuntarily assume are correct.He dissects the situation and uses algorithms over imagination. Everything that you believe is true may not actually be constructed as such. Pundits and so called experts can actually be the worst type of advisers due to the inability to admit fault. A pundit will almost automatically assume he or she knows best, because of expertise and intuition, which is nothing more than a gut feeling. Perhaps using algorithms over experts could’ve prevented the economic collapse of 2008. Kahneman, reveals the issues of  the anchoring effect, and how framing a question could elicit predictable answers. One of the most compelling books that I’ve ever picked up to read.

Damn Gina!!

The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli

The original cynic. King of keeping it 100!

Niccolo Machiavelli, is the original king of keeping it real. Machiavelli specifically speaks on autocratic systems- ran by one individual ruler. In the book he expounds on the failures of past rulers with errant tactics that either got them impeached or banished. Furthermore, he talks about the importance of appearing to have the citizens interest at heart. The appearance was more important than truly giving people what they wanted. His ideology was “it is better to be feared, than be loved”. Say whatever it takes to gain the people of the town’s trust, and then stay true your personal values. My favorite example he uses in the book is of a General who hires a henchman to carry forth a violent act in another part of town. The people of the town claimed the henchman’s act of violence was so brutal that the public called for the General to execute him. The General orders the same goon – that did all of his dirty work- to be beheaded before the crowd. Is that example far fetched from the backstabbing and posturing that goes on in today’s politics? I don’t think that it is. A politician will say whatever will capture the citizens vote, while concealing ulterior motives. The Prince, offers compelling points that aren’t morally acceptable, but nevertheless true in many cases.

a.k.a reality shows and publicity stunts