Saturday, December 24, 2016

Steel Fetters by Tina Fernandez, review by S. Marie Vernon

Product Details
Miss Afia Rana is a beautiful young lady who has landed her dream job.  She’s an airline stewardess flying for India’s Southern Airlines.  She makes frequent trips to Bombay, Mumbai, and the famous Juhu Beach area surrounded by the Arabian Sea.  Exotic and romantic, Afia also attracts the man of her dreams and he’s the head of a Steel empire.  His business takes him across the middle east as a frequent flyer.  Afia is flying high and loving her life, until her baby arrives and the years slowly turn to Steel Fetters as she challenges the “false morality of the 1980’s.” Her endless love for her child gives her the strength to rise again and again against a difficult backdrop and an unfair situation that life has handed her.

The author, Tina Fernandez, does a good job with this personal experience story.  It describes the plight of countless women during this era.  While every country had its own way of chastisement for these brave single mothers there is little wonder why abortion became so popular.  There were no easy choices and no easy answers for the women who faced the dilemma, especially in India.

Before the baby, Afia’s father held a different dream for her.  It followed traditional.  He wanted to choose a husband for his daughter.  She would retire from flying, become a loving wife and raise a family.  This is the way it was done in India, except Afia hated this dream and wanted no part of it.  The situation threatened to tear the family apart.  Afia’s mother would also have choices to make and they  would not be easy.

Tina Fernandez is a successful author and business woman who keeps the cause of single motherhood close to her heart.  She champions associations that support these brave mothers as they choose life for their children.  She knows what a high price they are paying in a society that has false values and, “false morality,” when it comes to unwed mothers.  Her book will speak to women of all ages, especially single mothers.  It may also speak to the children of these single moms; the children who appreciate the sacrifices their moms made to keep them safe.  On a deep level, Steel Fetters is a story about society and moral norms that do not serve humanity and how one woman challenged them.  She broke through what seemed like steel to build a secure and happy home life for herself and her beloved son.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Toxic Client: Knowing and Avoiding Problem Customers


There is a question business owners should ask themselves every day. “Is the customer always right?”   Most owners want to believe customers are right and spend countless hours trying to please them.  This is fine and not a problem unless they are dealing with a Toxic Client.  This is a client who will quickly become their “biggest challenge.”  This client will “set them back in a significant way, not pay their invoices and could cost a small fortune to finally get rid of them.”  If only there were a way to read the customer before getting sucked into their abyss?  Corporate business author and attorney, Garrett Sutton says there is a way to do just that.  He has written Toxic Client-Knowing and Avoiding the Problem Customer, specifically to help business owners and entrepreneurs to recognize who may be toxic and avoid the agonizing process of dealing with them to the exclusion of their good clients.

Garrett Sutton is a nationally acclaimed corporate attorney and expert who has coached, guided and helped entrepreneurs and investors to be successful for over 30 years.  He has written many business books.  In his latest one, Toxic Client-Knowing and Avoiding the Problem Customer, Sutton educates even the most na├»ve entrepreneur or business owner in the very definition of what a Toxic Client is, how to spot them and what to do about them from the beginning.  Sutton disagrees with, “The customer is always right” approach.  He disagrees, but suggest using professionalism to reasonably accommodate them to resolve the issue, however, if that doesn’t work, the customer is not to be catered to.  They are moved to the Toxic Client category.  There they are dealt with on different terms.  He offers the reader many personal stories and case study details to equip them with all they need to confidently deal with a Toxic client.  Dealing with them quickly and effectively will allow a business owner to concentrate instead on the “twenty percent of their good clients or customers who actually provide eighty percent of their revenues.”  With practice, Sutton encourages the business owner, they can stay focused on this group and consistently avoid the client that will only drain them emotionally and financially. 

Sutton’s advice includes listening and paying attention to that “still small voice, trusting one’s instincts, knowing that people lie, have mental health issues and get addicted to drugs and alcohol.  Some people are narcissistic and just plain feel entitled to impose their exaggerated demands on others.  These troubled customers are toxic and they need to be avoided or dismissed in professional ways.  The author teaches his readers how to swiftly and effectively take control of the situation.  Each chapter is expertly written and goes straight to the heart of the matter.  This book is informative, compelling and an encouraging read for all types of business owners.

I recommend Toxic Client-Knowing and Avoiding the Problem Customer as a handy reference guide for any business owner or entrepreneur, especially new ones who may be “excited” and “somewhat unaware” of how fast the toxic customer can descend on a business and wreak havoc there.  In addition, this book includes three Appendix’s: Appendix A, Mechanics’ Liens, Appendix B, Small Claims Court, and Appendix C, Collection Agencies.  Each Appendix is a resource within itself and may be needed to deal with Toxic Clients.  Attorney and author, Garrett Sutton can add Toxic-Client-Knowing and Avoiding the Problem Customer to his growing list of expert books designed to make business owners successful.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Dawn and Sunset by Michael Baizerman, Review by S. Marie Vernon

Dawn and Sunset is a compelling Tale of the Oldest Cities of the Near East written by amateur historian and Israeli high school English teacher, Michael Baizerman.  It’s clear, Baizerman has spent countless hours researching and documenting this work.  He has compiled minute details of everyday life of the inhabitants of the old world known as Mesopotamia and the cradle of civilization.  The oldest cities encompassed the Persian Gulf area and were referred to as Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian regions.  The Mesopotamia area today is known as Eastern Turkey, IRAQ, Kuwait, Baghdad, Iran and Northern Syria.  The Greek meaning of Mesopotamia is, “land between two rivers.”  The twin rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates nourished Mesopotamia and made it possible for nomadic tribes to begin to cultivate the land for agriculture and eventually settle into communal villages where life as we know it began.  Then much changed over the course of time.  A lot of historical ground is covered in the many millenniums referenced with some emphasis on the third and fourth millennia BCE.

This work may be more than A Tale, perhaps it’s a social study of our earliest ancestors?  Perhaps it’s closer to a documentary of facts, yet facts that are sometimes verified through myths, legends and the poetry of that millennium?  Baizerman blazes on undaunted by the scarcity of information for some periods and events.  He gathers his content from different angles to expose discrepancies and biases for what they were.  If there is no documentation to support the claim he will pursue other avenues; he will find a hieroglyphic, a poem or an architectural marker of that time period so his points are well documented.  The author himself says it best, “only artists and scholars are entitled to examine our history through a magnifying glass with inexhaustible vigor,” which he does very well in creating this   educational volume called Dawn and Sunset.

The Gods drove every decision in the ancient world.  Temples attested to their glory and power.  In the beginning, the Temples controlled the economic life of a community.  They were central to all the regions and the many Gods were worshipped and honored constantly.  Life was a battle, a consistent struggle with the hostile land and various populations of people.  Irrigation and farming allowed for communal villages to give way to more complex societies with district states.  Then pristine cities became early empires and these gave way to dynasties with corruption and exploitation that would bring in the Dark Ages and the eventual collapse of this early civilization that had been “two thousand turbulent years in the making.”  The temples fell to government rule and general’s built extravagant palaces to display power and demand respect whether they deserved it or not.  Many great leaders and warriors would rise and fall.  Some were virtuous and some were not.  War was inevitable and peace was all but nonexistent.

Though it all, writing, language and technological advancement prevailed; metals, ceramics and new building materials enhanced and changed their way of life forever.  New transportation routes and foreign trade changed the landscape, social classes, and the expectations of the people.  Division of labor and other inequities emerged that would lead to more wars and the eventual demise of a once glorious nation known as Mesopotamia.  From pre-civilization to civilization to its very downfall, this book delivers a lot as each chapter is organized and packed with great detail about the grueling and difficult historical times between the Dawn and Sunset of Mesopotamia– A Tale of the Oldest Cities of the Near East.  Ironically, through this writing we can see many parallels of modern day society as it faces some of the same indignities and dilemmas of this historical period.

After Dawn and Sunset author Michael Baizenman emerges with a new book and is already writing it.  It’s about the attitude of the Latin West to the East on the eve of the Age of Discovery.  Both books should appeal to history lovers and educators who like a dedicated spirit of inquiry and documented exposure of facts that may not be so factual.  Of course, any differences in opinion, by this author is well researched, well documented and well written.  These volumes are sure to be a handy resource for any educator who would like that little extra detail when it comes to the history of ancient civilizations.