June 2011

Bookshelf24 Jun 2011 10:04 pm

In this apocalyptic novel, the world didn’t end in 2012 as many believed it would. In fact, the heralded 21st day in December that year was actually the beginning – the birth of the “Eight” and the dawn of a new era in humanity.

The Seraph SealThat’s where the book begins, but the bulk of the action takes place in the months leading up to the 36th anniversary of this fated birth. The world is breaking down and falling apart all around our main characters as they embark on a mission they don’t fully understand. Lead the world into the coming dawn, rescue humanity, restore faith, save the cheerleader and all that good stuff. Unfortunately, this would be thriller doesn’t quite deliver despite the potentially compelling backdrop.

Doubling as a philosophical manifesto, The Seraph Seal comes across heavy handed, paranoid, and, at times, pretentious. The plot lines, though ambitious, don’t exactly mesh as well as they should (or in some cases they align themselves too well) and time lines are often muddy. The dialogue rings false and, as such, the reader has trouble identifying and empathizing with the characters. Moreover, many times the authors seemed to overwrite the scenes to force emotion or depth within the characters, but it actually slows the story and drags out the action.

All in all, The Seraph Seal was disappointing, given the potential of the subject matter, authors (I’ve enjoyed some of Sweet’s non-fiction work), and cover art (can’t judge a book…). Despite the effort, Sweet and Wagner are not storytellers on par with Dan Brown (DaVinci Code) or Darlton (Lost) which is the gold standard I’m certain they were going for.

peace… love… bdg…

Bookshelf22 Jun 2011 11:13 pm

It took me two hours to get to work the other day. I only live 23.8 miles from the office but still, there I was, between the hours of seven and nine AM, stuck in the daily northern Virginia rush hour. Fortunately, this is not my normal routine. About a year ago, my work environment changed such that I can work from home most days and only go into the office for meetings, appointments, and the occasional “stir crazy” day, when I’m so out of my mind that it seems like it might be a good idea to drive in.

No More Dreaded MondaysLooking around at the stressed out masses of commuters reminded me all too well of how blessed I am and how many others out there need to improve their circumstances. Therein lies the rub. Most of us don’t think we actually have the ability to affect our work situation. Too many of us believe it’s out of our control and it’s just something we have to deal with to get enough money to pay for all the pleasures of life. We punch in and out every day, putting in our work hours, hoping to make it to the weekend, where we can actually live. The trouble is, schedules are getting so full these days that the line between work and “life.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. It can be better.

As Dan Miller discusses in his reissued and updated book, No More Dreaded Mondays, we can take control over our employment. It’s not only possible to improve your circumstances, it’s essential to find the right work environment to suit your interests, goals, and passions. It starts with a change of perspective – from that of a victim to one who is empowered. Beyond that, change stems from understanding yourself and adapting each of your daily tasks to ensure you’re performing meaningful work that enriches your life and aligns with who you want to be. Some of these changes may require drastic measures – quitting your job, starting your own business, or reworking your schedule – but the results are certain to inspire your very best and most fulfilling work.

For all the benefits I enjoy by working from home a lot, I’m still not at my ideal working environment. Working from home saves me on average 3 hours each day, but I still have a lot of work to do if I’m going to break through the limitations placed on my full potential. The advice in this book (and others) is helping me take the next steps to shaping my career in the direction it should be going.

peace… love… bdg…