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Showing posts from June, 2013

Let the Good Times Roll: How Baby Boomers Face Retirement - Guest Post by Louis Mack

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Too Late for A Secular Turkey? The Coming of Islam...

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Is Turkey turning its back on the West? Has it become an Islamic state, shariah-driven and autocratic? It certainly looks like it. The way Prime Minister Erdogan brutally squelched the latest wave of protest in Taksim Square and Gezi Park in the heart of Istambul, a protest that had spread to dozens of cities across the country, - resulting in over 4,000 wounded and four dead -  certainly bodes ill. 

On June 13, 2013, the Huffington Post published a long comment by Stanley. E. Weiss, Founding Chairman of Business Executives for National Security, a nonpartisan organization based in Washington, DC that I consider a must-read to understand what is happening in Turkey.  Here are the highlights (to read the whole text, click here):

 As has been expressed repeatedly in this space, since taking power in 2003, Erdoğan's Islamist Justice and Development Party has imprisoned more journalists than any nation on earth.  For good measure, it has also incarcerated more than 2,800 students, m…

How to Make Your Book a Best Seller, Learn From WOOL

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WOOL is the latest astonishing hit coming from the world of self-publishing. The author, Hugh Howey, "independently published" his book (as Wikipedia delicately puts it)  as a serial novel - meaning it started coming out in parts, each about as long as a novella and all linked together by their post-apocalyptic setting. The first came out in July 2011 and seeing the demand from Amazon reviewers pressing him for more, Howey continued producing parts until it had developed to a full length serial novel (5 parts, 528 pages printed).

An astounding success, especially considering this is his debut novel! He hadn't published anything before WOOL, he was born and raised in Monroe, a small town in North Carolina, and he'd worked as a yacht captain, a roofer and an audio technician.  Yet WOOL won Amazon's Best Indie Book of 2012 Award and gathered, just for its Part One, 711 customer reviews, averaging an astonishing 4.5 stars out of five. The book today, two years after i…

Lessons from Japan: How to (Not) Revive an Economy

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The whole world is looking at Japan wondering whether it will make it out of its 20-year deflation. It may look like what is happening in Japan is occurring on another planet and that it has no bearing on the American situation, but that sense of comfort is deceptive. Japan is actually a laboratory experiment of what might happen in future in the developed world, the United States included. Why? Because the Japanese economy has been one of the fastest growing economy ever that has reached a fully developed status, sustained by amazing technological innovations, and it is the first advanced country in the world that has a growing - and soon overwhelming - aging population.

And it's not just America that could learn some lessons,  Europe too, particularly on how to get out of its self-induced Euro-crisis that threatens deflation, exactly the way it happened to Japan.

To address the issue of deflation and economic stagnation, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has resorted to a K…

Do You Really Want to Live 120 Years? That is What Science Promises...

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Is the dream of a long and happy life within reach? The National Geographic recently published an article about the progress of science in this area and optimistically slapped a baby face on its cover suggesting that your child might live to be 120 years old (see photo, that's the Italian edition I get here, if you want to read the full article in English, click here).

The facts.

How probable is all this? More probable than you think. We all know that life is getting longer, that the new "real old age" starts at 80 and not 60, and we've all heard of amazingly old villagers in Italy, in Calabria and Sardinia. Scientists here in Italy have engaged now for years in systematic research to try and uncover the "secret" of old age. Add to that other research in other parts of the world, in Switzerland, in Ecuador, in the United States, and you get an interesting, if complex, picture of where Science stands on this question.

To begin with, this new research is putting…

Book Reviews: Why They No Longer Help in Book Discovery and How to Improve the Search for Good Reads

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Book reviews are the key to book discovery. That's conventional wisdom. And it's rooted in what the publishing industry has been doing since Dicken's time to leverage the effectiveness of book reviews:  major literary critics and authors are asked to write book reviews that are then published in major papers with a wide circulation or literary journals with a targeted audience.

With the digital revolution and the rise of the e-book, all that is changing. Traditional publishers are losing ground to what is happening on line where book reviews are "diluted" across a myriad of e-platforms, from the biggies like Amazon's Kindle Store where customers are encouraged to write reviews to thousands of small book review blogs. New websites are springing up every day, from Read Wave to Wattpad. The latest is BookLikes that claims to be like a "new Tumblr" for authors. 

Now that wouldn't matter much if the market share of e-books was small or declining - but …