Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 70% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now
Profile for Imperial Topaz > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Imperial Topaz
Top Reviewer Ranking: 7,936
Helpful Votes: 1652

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Imperial Topaz (North Africa)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-16
pixel
Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal
Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal
by Tristram Stuart
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but one of the most disturbing books I've ever read., 20 Jun. 2016
I have never been one to waste food and have always been upset at others who did so. But I had NO IDEA of the amount of food wastage in the entire industry. In rich, industrialized countries, it is estimated that out of the total food harvested (counting wastage at every level of production), 60% never makes it to consumers' mouths. This is not just vegetable waste; millions of animals are killed and then WASTED each year. It made me so angry and even sick to my stomach to read certain chapters of this book (not because the writing is disgusting in any way, but because of what people are doing).

There is also an excellent 15-minute TED talk on this subject by the author, Tristam Stewart, for anyone who is interested in a short version of what this is all about.


How to Get Rich
How to Get Rich
by Felix Dennis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Self-Made Millionaire Shares His Story and Wisdom Gained, 19 Jun. 2016
This review is from: How to Get Rich (Paperback)
I read this book some time ago and still have it as a permanent addition to my bookshelf.

I especially recall two points from the book that I want to share with other readers.

Dennis was broke and unemployed and ended up becoming a successful self-made millionaire. His book is the fascinating and hopeful story of how he did it, through TAKING ACTION, rather than just dreaming and talking.

The other really useful thing is that he discusses how and why one passes through the stage of reckless hedonistic living with lots of cash. He says that it happens to most people, but he advises that a lot of mistakes get made at this juncture in one's life, and that one should endeavor to get through this stage and back on track as soon as possible, and take care to not get permanently stuck there.

This book is an excellent read and contains great entertaining narrative, honest relation of previous mistakes and folly, and a great summation of the wisdom acquired on the journey to benefit readers.


Neanderthal Man
Neanderthal Man
by Svante Pääbo
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars True-Life Science Detective Story, 6 Jun. 2016
This review is from: Neanderthal Man (Paperback)
A hard-to-put-down true-life science detective story about decoding the Neanderthal genome. Later chapters include Denisovans. Book ends in updated Postscript telling of the latest research on the FoxP2 language gene, and what happens to nice when they have the human version inserted into their genome.


Handbook of Nature Study
Handbook of Nature Study
by Anna Botsford Comstock
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Practical book packed with ideas; very good value., 30 May 2016
One of the best resources available for parents and homeschoolers. Useful for primary teachers who are looking for fresh and practical ideas in teaching about plants and animals, as well as earth end sky.


Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour
Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour
by Kate Fox
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Many, Many Hours of Reading Enjoyment!, 24 May 2016
A book that is both extremely informative about every aspect of English culture, yet also highly entertaining to read. Written by an English sociologist who can look at her own culture through the eyes of an outsider. I'm giving this book my highest recommendation.


Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Venkatesh, Sudhir (2008) Paperback
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Venkatesh, Sudhir (2008) Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Book Which Explains the Rule of Power, Rather than the Rule of Law, 8 May 2016
I give this American sociological ethnography, researched in the Chicago housing projects, my highest recommendation for other readers. Written by an Indian sociologist, born in India, raised as an immigrant in California, and transplanted to Chicago, the book is riveting and nearly impossible to put down at each reading.

Aside from learning all about life in the Projects and enjoying the story of getting to know the people in this book, I learned several important things which I never realized before.

This book showed me what life was like in every primitive society before the rule of law. One can either have a society where the Rule of Law is enforced, or one where the Law of Power is enforced.
Where we have the Rule of Law, everyone is subject to the rule, and laws and contracts are enforced. This protects the general public against HUMAN PREDATORS as THIEVES, as well as those engaged in "OUTLAW CAPITALISM."

What we have here in the Projects is a TRIBAL SOCOETY, where the leader (warlord) manages with a combination of POWER and CHARISMA. He takes a cut (like a 'federal' tax) off of EVERY activity that goes on in the complex, from selling candy, washing cars, prostitution, sub-lets, and of course, drug sales. There are smaller community leaders (smaller warlords, male and female) who also take cuts off a number of smaller activities (like 'local' taxes).

Reading this book helped me better understand the piracy in Somalia and why we are unlikely to see it eliminated in our lifetimes. Once a society has collapsed, it goes back to this warlord model. It takes a long time for a society to build out of that; such a society cannot easily be put back together. In fact, this model probably applies to more human societies, even today, than does the democratic model.

This book helped me to better understand government corruption in the developing world. A democratic model is trying to be imposed upon peoples who behave in a tribal and/or predatory manner with each other.

This is a model that the middle and upper classes in America are far enough removed from that they don't understand it. The whole model makes it difficult for people to get out of this life paradigm.

I especially learned that the MOST important business of government--more important than defense, or infrastructure--is REGULATION. Here we have everyone needing to be a "hustler" in order to survive. We have capitalism at it's most extreme and unregulated form. This book really showed me why it is important that capitalism continue to be regulated.

This book also had a lot to say about everyday micromanagement of the drug trade on the street level. It covered a different facet than many other books on the drug trade, which concentrate on the lives of the top bosses. I learned that selling drugs on a street corner is actually the drug industry's minimum-wage job, also undertaken for the maximum risk.

Anyone interested in these subjects should definitely read this book.


Gang Leader for a Day
Gang Leader for a Day
by Sudhir Venkatesh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars A Book Which Explains the Rule of Power, Rather than the Rule of Law, 8 May 2016
This review is from: Gang Leader for a Day (Paperback)
I give this American sociological ethnography, researched in the Chicago housing projects, my highest recommendation for other readers. Written by an Indian sociologist, born in India, raised as an immigrant in California, and transplanted to Chicago, the book is riveting and nearly impossible to put down at each reading.

Aside from learning all about life in the Projects and enjoying the story of getting to know the people in this book, I learned several important things which I never realized before.

This book showed me what life was like in every primitive society before the rule of law. One can either have a society where the Rule of Law is enforced, or one where the Law of Power is enforced.
Where we have the Rule of Law, everyone is subject to the rule, and laws and contracts are enforced. This protects the general public against HUMAN PREDATORS as THIEVES, as well as those engaged in "OUTLAW CAPITALISM."

What we have here in the Projects is a TRIBAL SOCOETY, where the leader (warlord) manages with a combination of POWER and CHARISMA. He takes a cut (like a 'federal' tax) off of EVERY activity that goes on in the complex, from selling candy, washing cars, prostitution, sub-lets, and of course, drug sales. There are smaller community leaders (smaller warlords, male and female) who also take cuts off a number of smaller activities (like 'local' taxes).

Reading this book helped me better understand the piracy in Somalia and why we are unlikely to see it eliminated in our lifetimes. Once a society has collapsed, it goes back to this warlord model. It takes a long time for a society to build out of that; such a society cannot easily be put back together. In fact, this model probably applies to more human societies, even today, than does the democratic model.

This book helped me to better understand government corruption in the developing world. A democratic model is trying to be imposed upon peoples who behave in a tribal and/or predatory manner with each other.

This is a model that the middle and upper classes in America are far enough removed from that they don't understand it. The whole model makes it difficult for people to get out of this life paradigm.

I especially learned that the MOST important business of government--more important than defense, or infrastructure--is REGULATION. Here we have everyone needing to be a "hustler" in order to survive. We have capitalism at it's most extreme and unregulated form. This book really showed me why it is important that capitalism continue to be regulated.

This book also had a lot to say about everyday micromanagement of the drug trade on the street level. It covered a different facet than many other books on the drug trade, which concentrate on the lives of the top bosses. I learned that selling drugs on a street corner is actually the drug industry's minimum-wage job, also undertaken for the maximum risk.

Anyone interested in these subjects should definitely read this book.


What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America
What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America
by Thomas Frank
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.19

5.0 out of 5 stars and how so many poor seem to be aligned, 12 April 2016
As an American who lives outside of my home country, I am regularly called upon to explain to my European friends how so many in America can be against health care, how so many "common" people are voting for the Republican Party, what has happened to pro-labor policies; and how so many poor seem to be aligned, rather than opposed to, the voting policies of the rich.

This book really answers those questions well. Furthermore, the writing style is fantastic. Every time one picks it up, it's nearly impossible to put down. I read the entire thing in just five days.

The quick answer here is that Democrats used to have the votes of the common man, and of blue-collar labor, because they concentrated on economic issues. Around 1990 the Democrats stopped talking about economic issues because they needed to RAISE MORE MONEY FROM BIG DONORS. They stopped talking about minimum wage issues and business practices that hurt small workers. Those small workers only gave small amounts of political contributions anyway; therefore no one was really interested in them as a constituency. As a result, the issues the Democrats are left talking about are things like legalizing gay marriage and keeping abortion legal.

According to this book, starting around 1990, the "new" Republican wing started talking about moral issues such as not dismembering babies, not teaching children about gay sex, in addition to capturing the whole part of the country which is "anti-intellectual" above all else. They captured the sentiment of "America has changed, and it's not the America I grew up with," angry white voters, who now define all problems in America as coming from "liberals who hate America and want to destroy it." Liberals are now defined as "educated 'experts' (scientists and professionals) who try to tell us what to think (on issues such as climate change and gay marriage), who drink wine, drive Volvos, and who are NOT LIKE US, THE COMMON PEOPLE." All these people who used to be the Democratic base are now voting Republican because the Democrats have forgotten them by taking economics out of what they talk about.

The book is a provocative and interesting excellent read.


Master and Disciple: The Cultural Foundations of Moroccan Authoritarianism
Master and Disciple: The Cultural Foundations of Moroccan Authoritarianism
by Abdellah Hammoudi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Explains Moroccan Behavior Which Confuses Foreigners, 12 April 2016
As a foreigner living in Morocco, this book explained behavior which I had not previously been able to understand. For example, I have witnessed employees (even in tears) who were poorly treated by their superiors, who after promotions in subsequent years, turned right around and treated their new underlings even worse? Why would they do this? I have witnessed a number of husbands transform from friendly, open-minded young men, into angry, dissatisfied tyrants within the family setting. Why this odd transformation? I have witnessed people of many different ages be verbally abused by people who are older, only to witness them turn around and behave the same way to people who are younger. I have witnessed people in businesses, who instead of being helpful to each other, working together ans a team and sharing information in order for the business to run smoothly for the benefit of all, are working against each other, seeming in competition, obstructing the flow of information and backstabbing each other. Again, why?

This book really helped me to understand all of this behavior, through reading "between the lines" and comparing it with my own experiences in Morocco. The book is actually about the topic of why Islamic societies all seem to end up with authoritarian forms of government, and looks at Morocco as a microcosm of this larger question.

However, this book is most definitely not for the casual reader. It uses a difficult vocabulary and some of the concepts are obscure to the casual reader. Nevertheless, it goes into great detail about Moroccan history in three phases: traditional authoritarian practices in the pre-Colonialist period (two-thirds of the book); authoritarian practices as they developed during the Colonial period; and the continuation of authoritarian practices in the post-Colonialist period.

The book goes into great detail about the pre-Colonialist historical practices of gift-giving; how taxation was conducted through tax-farming methods; how taxes were extracted first from the populace by the caids, and later by the sultan from the caid by the sultan sending his army in order to obtain them; as well as the uses to which the funds were put.

Reading about all of these historical behaviors, I felt as if I could see those behaviors reproduced today in nearly every family, in every office, in every company, and in the way people make decisions and treat each other.

I do highly recommend this book, but not to the "average" reader. I recommend it to anyone with experience living in Morocco, who is a REALLY SERIOUS reader who is interested in a REALLY SERIOUS ethnography of the origin of power and authority in Morocco. I also highly recommend it to anyone who does business in any country and wonders about where the practices of giving gifts to officials and employees are the usual mode of doing business or getting things done would have come from. I suspect that the dynamics described in this book are applicable to many countries in Africa, perhaps to countries like Russia (although I've never been there), and certainly any countries with tribal backgrounds, or countries where democracy or business relations do not seem to work well due to nepotism and loyalty considerations with various groups.

This was an excellent book, but a difficult read. It's more oriented to scholars (professional anthropologists) than to lay-readers. This style of academic writing lends itself to obtuseness, particularly in the introduction. This is the main reason I am giving it four stars instead of five. However, following the introduction, starting with Chapter 1, the book becomes much more readable.

If you are thinking about ordering this book, definitely go onto Amazon and use the "look inside" feature to read some of the text and be sure it is for you, first. The text is only 158 pages, but it takes about the same amount of effort as a typical 400-page book would, so just be prepared for that. Furthermore, this book is difficult, so if French is your first language, DO order it in French from Amazon.fr.


Barack Obama: Dreams from My Father (A Story of Race and Inheritance)
Barack Obama: Dreams from My Father (A Story of Race and Inheritance)
by Barack Obama
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best autobiographies I've ever read, 1 April 2016
Extremely well-written autobiography ad difficult to put down. I really enjoyed the detail about his life and feelings growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia, as well as details of his later first visit to Kenya. It gave me a lot of insight into what sort of person he is.

As an American living overseas in a Muslim country, some of the people back home in America go on and on about Obama being a "secret" Muslim. Reading this book totally put a nail in the coffin of this silly idea for me. Anyone who thinks that doesn't know anything about Islam and Muslims and is just listening to propaganda.

When I told people back home I was reading this book, some of them told me it was "very controversial" and "filled with untruths." Anyone who thinks that hasn't read this book and doesn't think for themselves.

I really enjoyed reading about Obama's family and childhood--in Hawaii, in Indonesia, and his visit to Kenya. I enjoyed reading about the racial identity struggles he went through in his teens and twenties. I feel this book really enabled me to know his thoughts and feelings and how he became the person he is today, as well as how he became the president he is today.

Without a doubt, this is one of the best autobiographies I have ever read, and I would highly recommend it to everyone.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-16