Super Mario – Nintendo – Jeff Ryan – Scribd

Nintendo
Super Mario – How Nintendo Conquered America – Jeff Ryan

In this great audio book on Scribd, Jeff Ryan takes us through the history of Nintendo.  This was a great trip down memory lane, as Nintendo was HUGE when I was growing up.

Nintendo was a company that started in the late 1800s.  Yes, the late 1800s.  In it’s early years, it gained it’s fame from the sale of Japanese playing cards.  In the 1960s, when playing cards were not as popular, Nintendo looked into other ventures.  An interesting fact: One of the ventures would be an hourly hotel.  In Japan these are known as love hotels.  In the United States better known as No-Tell motels.  The literal translation of Nintendo is “Leave luck to Heaven”.

In the early 70s, Nintendo was involved in Light Gun arcade machines.  This same technology would eventually create the Nintendo great, Duck Hunt. Nintendo would produce electronic parts for other Arcade game makers.  They would start dabbling in their own arcade games.  The real game changer was 1981’s Donkey Kong.  This game was the first appearance of Mario.  Around this time era they also produced the single handheld Game and Watch games.

The author believes that Mario’s character was based on a Mario that was at a Nintendo business meeting.  It was just a business man with a mustache.  In Donkey Kong, one of the weapons is a hammer.  Mario was originally meant to be a carpenter.  The background of Donkey Kong does resemble a construction site.  The overalls was a nice touch and was used because it made nice use of the original pixel characters.

In 1983, they would produce in Japan the Family Computer, aka Famicom.  We would get this 2 years later in the United States under the name Nintendo Entertainment System, aka NES.  They would follow-up with another great invention in 1988, the Game Boy.  Nintendo was pretty much on top of the world and in control of it’s own destiny.

Sega Genesis would be released in 1988 and Nintendo would follow-up in 1991 with Super Nintendo.  The Super Nintendo did have the great game Super Mario World game.  Both Genesis and Super Nintendo were 16-bit, but the Genesis had a more powerful processor giving Sonic the Hedgehog that great speed.  Additionally, Nintendo did not produce any violent games.  This was a difficult business decision as Mortal Kombat was becoming very popular.

With Sony getting into the Video game console market things would only get worst.  At this point Nintendo started focusing more on game making than the console market.  But they did produce the Nintendo Wii with hopes of making a big splash in the motion control gaming.  As far as current video game systems go, the Playstation is difficult to compete with.  However, Nintendo leaves a huge legacy with their Mario products.  From movies, tv shows, lunch boxes, shirts, bedding, etc.  This book is a great history of Nintendo and wonderful trip down memory lane.

 

Gimp – Mark Zupan – Scribd – Living Paralyzed

Mark Zupan
Mark Zupan

This great audio book that I found on Scribd is about the life of a paralyzed athlete.  Mark Zupan was a star athlete that played varsity soccer and football.  His strong athleticism had landed him a scholarship to Florida Atlantic University (FAU).  After a college soccer game, the athletes were headed to Dirty Moe’s in Boca Raton.  He had calculated his available money wisely.  $10 in total, $5 will go towards cover, and then at a dime a beer special, he should be able to have about 50 beers.  That night he definitely drank heavily.  To sober up, he left the bar and went to the back of his buddy Chris Igoe‘s car to sleep.  That move would change his life forever.

Driving back inebriated, in the rain, Chris skid off the road and totaled the vehicle.  Mark got injured badly and was tossed into a nearby lake.  His body somehow managed to float upwards as Mark prayed for his life.  During this situation, Chris still didn’t realize Mark was around.  The next day, someone eating lunch outside in their vehicle, opened their window.  They heard Mark’s call for help and notified the emergency line.  Firemen had come down to the scene to rescue Mark from the water.  He was well into hypothermia, with his temperature in the high 80s.  He credits his athletic conditioning for his survival.  The hospital had given him the news that he was well aware of.  From that point forward Mark was paralyzed.

He had recounted hospital detail about the embarrassment of  having a care taker help you go to the bathroom.  Mark had rejected most of the physical therapy that was at his disposal, since he was still in denial about being paralyzed.  He would soon go back to school, enrolling in Georgia Tech.

At Georgia Tech, he found light in his life again by joining their quad rugby team.  He speaks highly of Coach Wendy, who was a former athlete and a great coach.  She introduced Mark to a lighter, better wheelchair.  After games, Mark would go out drinking with his fellow teammates.  He felt real comfortable with them.  They were a group of guys that were in the same situation.  No more feelings of self-consciousness.  Better yet, after fighting it out with opponents on the field, both teams would drink together like friends.  He excelled winning the 2004 Quad Rugby player of the year.

The most important message in this memoir is Zupan saying on multiple occasions it’s the best thing that could have happened to him.  He has become a celebrity: meeting the president, being features in Muderball which made it to the Sundance Film Festival, and getting into movie projects with Johnny Knoxville and Chris Pointus of Jackass fame.  Zupan is making the most of his unfortunate circumstances.  He has proved that being paralyzed is not the end.  This book is entertaining and a great inspiration.

Henry Ford’s Own Story – Scribd

Henry Ford's Own Story
Henry Ford’s Own Story

I found this biography about the creator of Ford Motors in Scribd.  However, this is a Librivox recording that is available to anyone.

This is one of the older audio books that I have read on Scribd thus far.  It was published in 1917, but teaches an invaluable lesson about business.  Henry Ford, was raised on a farm in relatively poor conditions.  Early on in life, he had an interest in how mechanics worked.  Like most affluent engineers today, he enjoyed to take apart things and fix them.  He was left heartbroken when his mother passed away in his teenage years.  This event made him decide to stop going to school and to work as much as possible.

Ford would work day and night.  He would start earning more money than he can spend.  After his necessities he would not have a need to spend much.  He left one job that was paying him well because he thought processes could have been better to increase production.

Henry Ford was more into his work than he was into girls, but would marry Clara Bryant.  She was very supportive of Ford’s vision, since he would spend more time creating than with the family.  Ford would gain popularity when he would enter his cars into races.

Ford did not invent the vehicle, he was a mastermind at running a business.  The main idea is to create something that everyone can use.  Back then, cars were a luxury item that would fetch about $4,000.  Ford thought of a way to produce and sell the automobile for $900.  He didn’t care about luxury, he wanted everyone to have the opportunity to afford this time saving convenience.  Henry Ford was also big on keeping his employees happy.  He did not believe in firing employees and also hired individuals that were previously imprisoned.

This is a great audio book that is available for Free at LibriVox.

Cesar Millan Short Guide – dog training

 

Cesar Millan dog training
Cesar Millan Short Guide to a Happy Dog

Cesar Millan‘s Short Guide to a Happy Dog is a great read for individuals that are new dog owners.  Cesar adds many important tidbits in this dog training book, such as the importance of micro-chipping your pet.

This dog training book is not a step-by-step guide in what you need to do each day to train your canine.  Cesar Millan focuses on the psychology of dogs and how it is different than humans.  Dogs get to know people by their smells.  In first meeting a dog it is important that they approach and smell you.  A stranger should not approach a new dog.  To the dog you are perceived as threatening their environment before they had a chance to get to know you.  Cesar’s dog training methods are focused always on what the dog is thinking.

Cesar devotes a chapter to choosing the right dog.  Dogs are a unique breed that can vary from lazy to energetic, from herding to hunting, etc.  Dog training will fail if you choose the wrong breed for your lifestyle.  If you live in an apartment, work long hours, and like to sit on the couch after work, do not get a Jack Rusell terrier.

Similar to show, this dog training book discusses the importance of being a pack leader.  Which is also another reason to not approach a dog, but let the dog approach you.  If you let the dog approach you, than you are asserting yourself as the pack leader.  When a baby is born, they typically tell you to bring something of the baby’s from the hospital to home, to have the dog get used to the smell.  Cesar takes this a step further, by discussing the importance of training the dog to keep it’s distance from that garment brought from the hospital.

Cesar discusses how someone with AIDS approached him to tell him that he saved his life.  That someone told Cesar how his dog training methods gave them the willpower to live because of the relationship they were able to have with their dog.  Cesar goes into personal matters of divorce, the death of daddy (one of his dog’s), and being financially taken advantage of.  All these negative things happened around the same time and had Cesar contemplating suicide himself.  He doesn’t outright say it in the book, but i believe the emotional strength of the person with AIDS helped Cesar overcome his own personal problems.

This book is a short guide with lots of useful knowledge.  Cesar’s knowledge into how dog’s think makes this a great dog training guide.

 

 

Beyond Belief – Inside Scientology – Scribd

Beyond Belief - Inside Scientology
Beyond Belief – Inside Scientology

Beyond Belief, is the perfect title for this Scribd audio book.  I did not know too much about Scientology before reading this book.  Now, I understand what a large cult this religion was/is.

Scientology was created by L Ron Hubbard.  I remember when I was growing up there were constant commercials for Dianetics.  Based on those commercials I assumed the book was nothing more than a self-help guide.  Dianetics is actually one of the original guides to Scientology.  Based on internet research, L Ron Hubbard was a con man, that some how amassed a fortune of about $500 million.  He had gotten people’s attention through his charm and exaggerated stories.  Ironically, Dianetics did get lots of people’s attention and the cult known as Scientology was born.

Jenna Miscavige Hill, the author of Beyond Belief, was the niece of Scientology leader David Miscavige.  David took over the role after L Ron Hubbard died.  Her parents were members of the Sea Org.  The Sea Org was a high position in the church of Scientology.  This demanded Jenna’s parent’s time and forced her to be raised by other caretakers.

Life at what was known as “The Ranch” (a cult definition of where Jenna stayed) was difficult.  It consisted solely of work, studying, but more importantly being controlled by other members.  In Scientology, members get audited by members that can audit.  During these audits, the auditors asked very probing questions.  Some of these questions even asked for full sexual detail from anyone that was active.

Supervisors would do daily meter checks on individuals.  They used a device that L Rob Hubbard created called an E-meter.  This meter would have a needle on it that would supposedly be able to gage whether the test subject was answering honestly.

Jenna would eventually fall in love with a man.  There marriage would come to a rocky start.  Jenna believes that her husband’s faith is with the church when he disappears for a while.  When they finally speak, he can’t say much, which angers Jenna even more.  She will soon find out, that her uncle David Miscavige, and he was the one threatening Jenna’s husband.  Stabbed in the back by her own uncle.  Jenna and husband will eventually manage to escape the Church.  They would be followed by random cars for a while and threatened to not do interviews on television about Scientology.  They realized that the internet is full of similar stories.  Jenna would become a co-creator of http://exscientologykids.com/  which would soon rank very high on the Google search for Scientology.

I would highly recommend this audio book.  The last few chapters seemed like a great action, fiction novel.  Unfortunately, the sad truth is that this lifestyle was real.  Jenna is a great writer.  She is able to express her thoughts in an intellectual manner.

 

 

Following Atticus – Tom Ryan – Scribd

Following Atticus
Following Atticus

This Scribd Audio Book is a true story about the middle-aged, overweight author and his beloved Miniature Schnauzer, Atticus.  After Tom’s good friend passes from cancer, he decides to collect money for charity.  To collect money, Tom and Atticus plan on climbing New Hampshire’s 48 high peaks, twice in a winter.

The book’s focus is on the strong relationship that develops between dog and man.  Temperatures in the mountains can reach well below 0 at night fall.  They manage to stay side-by-side, building their friendship.

Tom takes us inside his life, as a tough newspaper writer.  He doesn’t get along with everyone in his town of Newburyport, Massachusetts.  When he gets Atticus from a breeder, he starts taking the dog everywhere.  Shortly, thereafter Atticus is known by the whole town.

As a small dog, Atticus is surprisingly able to hike up the mountains.  Besides collecting money for charity that walks up the mountains are important to Tom Ryan, as they improve his health.  The unfortunate irony, is that Atticus starts getting sick during the trip.  A vet tells Tom that his dog is very sick and certain surgical procedures must be done.  During this time period, Tom loses financial stability due to all the money required to pay for Atticus’ medical services.  Then, one day a letter comes to Tom’s house.  It was from a little girl that stuffed the envelope with some coins.  She had donated all her money to Atticus for him to get better.  More envelopes started rolling in.  Tom, now had enough money to pay for the procedures.

Atticus started to get a little sick again.  A buddhist monk was recommended to Tom.  The next veterinary appointment they went to, the ultra sound/X-Ray operator was shocked to see that Atticus fully recovered.  The most important thing that Tom Ryan learned from this was that they loved the mountains of New Hampshire.  With that knowledge, Tom sold the newspaper.  Then, Atticus and himself moved to the mountains.

Overall, a great book about man and man’s best friend.

 

 

One Click – Amazon – Jeff Bezos – Scribd

Amazon Jeff Bezos
Amazon Jeff Bezos

Amazon is the most well known shopping web site in the world.  This Scribd audio book delved into the history of Amazon from a biographical perspective of Jeff Bezos.

The book begins by talking about Jeff’s upbringing.  Jeff Bezos was born Jeff Jorgenson.  His mother was a teenager when she had him.  Her marriage lasted less than a year.  She later remarried Miguel Bezos.  Miguel was a hard working Cuban immigrant, who would get a degree in engineering.  Early on Jeff Bezos was a loner.  He had incredible focus and enjoyed to take things apart and fix them.  Jeff was very much into books and space exploration.

After graduating college he would get a job at DE Shaw.  David Shaw was a Columbia University professor.  Shaw helped create programs for investors on Wall Street.  He was offered so much money for his programming that he went on his own and started DE Shaw.  The company was known to hire the cream of the crop technology candidates.  They would only take in 1% of the applicants.  After obtaining this position, Bezos got promoted often.

Bezos, following his interest in books, went to a book store business seminar.  He was interested in mixing technology with book selling and Amazon was born.  The name was strategically picked out, as it started with the letter A and he wanted his company to be large like the Amazon river.  In the beginning stages of the company e-commerce was relatively new.  Customers would be required to email a customer service representative their credit card number.

Bezos wasn’t too concerned about the company losing money, as they did lose quite a bit of money in the beginning.  Instead of taking in profits they invested heavily into other acquisitions.  They would soon be known as books and electronics seller.  Customers didn’t like the bulky packaging that came with their products, so he changed the packaging.  In the quest to be the best, Amazon was constantly looking into creative ways to move ahead.

Amazon hired some experienced programmers to come up with a one-click ordering system.  Then Jeff patented the idea, so no other online retailer could use it.  If a retailer did want to use the system they had the option to pay Amazon royalties.  Another great idea followed, Amazon published reviews from customers on products, good or bad.  He was asked, why he would allow negative review on his site about products they sell.  Jeff’s response was customer focused.  He wanted customers to have the ability to make an informed purchasing decision.

Through the hard work and dedication, Amazon would soon bring in a big profit.  Borders would go out of business and Barnes and Noble would struggle after Amazon.  To make their online store even bigger, they started a retailing on Amazon program.  Retailed could sell their items on Amazon and Amazon would get a cut of the sales.  To keep their loyal customers, Amazon created the Prime program.  For an annual fee (which i believe is currently $99), customer get free 2-day shipping.  Other perks such as Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Prime Music are included in this program.

The book concludes with the introduction of the Amazon Kindle.  Studies were done showing that people would rather read books on paper.  Also, the first Kindle, sold for $399 was criticized for looking like an old piece of technology.  Many Kindles came afterwards and most people have changed their mind to reading digitally instead of paper.

This is a great book about Jeff Bezos and Amazon.  It’s an interesting story of how Amazon got to where they are today.

 

Steven Tyler – Aerosmith – Noise – Scribd

Steven Tyler Aerosmith
Steven Tyler Aerosmith

It’s official I am addicted to Scribd.  This is definitely the most original audio book I have listened to thus far.  Steven Tyler is very creative in his thoughts and writing style.  If you crave an inside perspective into Aerosmith than this is the book for you.

Steven Tallarico was born in 1948.  He grew up in NYC to parents with musical backgrounds.  From a young age he was practicing singing and dance moves in the mirror.  Many people had believed that Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones) was Steven Tyler’s major influence.  At a young age Tyler had lied to people about being Jagger’s brother (resemblance in the thick lips).  However, Steven Tyler’s major influence was Janis Joplin.  His fashionable scarves come from his respect for Janis Joplin.

At the age of 16, Tyler smoked marijuana daily.  He even writes about being caught in a high school undercover sting operation.  In addition to marijuana he enjoyed using speed and LSD.  The large cocaine addiction would come later.  Tyler credits the drug use for much of his lyrical success.

His parents owned a summer home in Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire.  This is where he met members of the band that would soon be known as Aerosmith.  Before that the band had dabbled with band names that included Strangeurs and Chain Reaction.  Aerosmith was derived from a Lewis Sinclair book titled Arrowsmith.  Steven Tyler loved his LSD and the thought of space exploration, so he changed the name to Aerosmith.  The word Aero being dervived from Aeronautics.

In addition to drugs, Steven Tyler was addicted to women.  Once the band became popular he talked about how easy it was to get women.  He spoke about a place in England that the popular bands were able to obtain any escort for a specific fetish.  He was married a few times, but being faithful was quite challenging for him.

When you think of Aerosmith, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry come to mind.  This book discusses Steven Tyler’s difficult relationship with Joe Perry.  Tyler sites the main issues as Joe Perry’s focus on his woman over the band and Joe’s drug use.  Steven Tyler then concludes the book with his adventures in different rehabs.

This biography is unique.  Steven Tyler is very deep in his thoughts.  It’s challenging to understand where he is going with some of his thoughts early on.  As you progress, you realize the thoughts are emotionally intelligent.

Tony Dungy – Quiet Strength – Scribd

Tony Dungy - Quiet Strength
Tony Dungy – Quiet Strength

This book is a great spiritual guide to winning in life.  Tony Dungy is a religious individual who uses his faith to guide him in the challenging career of being an NFL coach.  He is consistently optimistic, no matter what the circumstances are.
A great coach on the field and a great friend off the field.

After being fired from Tampa, he got the opportunity to coach the Indianapolis Colts and bring them to a Super Bowl championship.  In his conquest to get to that point he never let any of the losses as a coach bother him.

I will say it again, Scribd has so many great audio books.  And I have to admit the reason for choosing this book was his son’s suicide.  I thought I was going to read a book about a tough father who only cared about winning.  After reading this book I am just as confused as Tony Dungy about the unfortunate circumstance.  Due to changes in hormones, teenagers tend to be prone to depression.  What I did actually get from Dungy was a great quote that will help anyone battle an unfortunate circumstance.  “G-d can provide joy in the midst of a sad occasion”.  So simple, yet so powerful.

Tony Dungy is a successful individual who is motivated by faith.  This is not the book for you if you simply want a play-by-play focus on someone’s professional sports life.  It also does not have any typical wild professional athlete stories of wild parties and debauchery.  If you never even seen a football game in your life this book may be for you.  It is more a spiritual guide through the journey of an individual’s success that will inspire you.  I look forward to reading more of Tony Dungy’s books.

 

 

 

Bitter Brew – Budweiser Anheuser Busch – Scribd

Bitter Brew - Budweiser - Busch
Bitter Brew – Budweiser – Busch

2 days ago I received another credit from Audible.  I have a free 3-month subscription to Audible for being an Amazon Kindle Unlimited member.  Scribd has so many great audio books that I don’t know when I will do an Audible search.  This book was a very lengthy biography of the Busch empire.

Budweiser is a European beer formula that was created by monks.  Adolphus Busch brought this formula over to the United States in 1876.  During that time period there were many breweries producing beer.  Busch started dominating the market when it became the first brewery to implement pasteurization.  This improved the shelf-life and the ability to transport the products even further. Busch also was the first brewery in America to start utilizing refrigeration technologies.

The Busch family was very strong with their marketing efforts.  During times of war, they shipped beer to soldiers.  They also used this to their advantage in marketing the beverage as the soldier’s beer.  When the St. Louis Cardinals were in financial trouble they bought the team.  Initially, the team didn’t do very well.  However, it didn’t matter because the team purchase had increased sales of Busch beer tremendously.  When the team was purchased the St. Louis Cardinal did not have black baseball players.  Busch purchased black baseball players from other teams.  It was hard to tell whether Gussie Busch was really emotionally invested in having black players on the team.  From a business, stand point many black people had drank beer and Gussie wanted to show support.

August Busch IV was the most interesting of the Busch line of men and owners of the company.  His contribution was that he was able to revive sales of Budweiser through marketing.  He was behind the Budweiser frog commercials that were a big hit in the Super Bowl commercials and other commercial air time.  An outside marketing agency came up with the idea, but he accepted.  Unfortunately, he also destroyed the company through poor business decisions.  One of the bigger disappointments was an interest in caffeine/alcohol drinks.  Busch’s versions were known as Budweiser Extra and Tilt.  Their marketing efforts for those products seemed to be aimed at under aged individuals.  After a culmination of bad decisions Busch had to sell the company to InBev.  After the hostile takeover the corporate culture became more focused in production and making money for shareholders.  They took the fun out of work.

The book goes through details of August Busch IV life.  From early age to owning the company to the aftermath.  August was selective of his friends.  He hung out with kids that were part of the millionaire’s boys club.  He had them do everything for him, but footed the bill.  In college he got into a car accident that killed Michele Frederick.  Somehow blood and urine samples disappeared and Busch was off the hook.  The book goes into detail about Busch taking a trip to Key West to promote the beer.  He was there with Jesse Jackson’s son Yusef Jackson.  They spent time their with escorts and drugs.  Later on in life Adrienne Martin, Busch’s girlfriend at the time, was found dead in his house.  She had died of an apparent drug overdose.  August got away with that one as well.  After selling the company he just kept using drugs and became extremely paranoid and depressed.  He would walk around with a gun shooting at things.  Eventually, the police came and he was sent to a mental institution.