Book review: Confessions of a Global Negotiator

I’ve read a few books on negotiation. What makes this book special is its practicality and story-telling. It’s full with many a readily implementable tip on this subject, with each chapter ending with neatly summarized takeaways of the chapter, which makes it an ideal textbook on negotiation. Yet, it’s by no means textbooky. it wasn’t a dry read for me. In fact, it was fun thanks to the author’s great storytelling ability, and he does have great stories and anecdotes to share with you, the reader.

With the far-reaching principles and tips, this book will prove to be very beneficial for both professional negotiators and “occasional negotiators” alike – we all will have to engage in negotiation at some point in our lives, be it haggling with a prospective landlord, car dealer, or negotiating a potential pay raise with your manager. With that said, make sure you pick this book up before going to the negotiation table!

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Book review: American Accent Training

Many (including native English speakers and other non-Chinese speakers) people have asked me how I managed to acquire such a heavy American accent, despite the fact that I’ve never been to any English-speaking countries. Furthermore, numerous ESL learners and even some native speakers (Americans included) thought I was an ABC (American-born Chinese), until I told them otherwise. Well, this book is the answer. It was very helpful during my early years of studying how to speak “the American way.” It goes without saying that consistent, frequent practice and actual application (i.e. by conversing with Americans) are essential for your pursuit of the otherwise elusive American accent (that is, if you weren’t born and raised in the States). Trivia: Back when I was dating an American girl, she insisted that I must have stayed in the USA for a long time and that I simply had memory loss. Like I said earlier, I’ve never been to the States to this day. If I could make it, you can, too. Trust me, you CAN change your accent, provided that you’re committed enough and that you do your practice regularly for a considerable amount of time. Fake it until you make it.

To conclude, I can’t praise this masterpiece enough. Ann Cook surely knows what she’s talking about. If American accent (by which I mean the so-called “standard American accent” commonly heard in public broadcasts such as NPR and among educated Americans) is what you’re aiming for, you do not want to miss this book.

It’s not a hyperbole to call it the Holy Grail of American accent. Period.

I finished reading this book sometime around 2012-2013, so this book review is long overdue!

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Book review: Barbarian at the Gate: From the American Suburbs to the Taiwanese Army

As an R.O.C. citizen who just finished his national service (though it only lasted for a year), I can relate to the stories and tales in this book. I am not sure if I’d do the same if I were in his shoes, i.e., renouncing much-coveted American citizenship in exchange for R.O.C citizenship whose country is not officially recognized by most of the members in the international community. That said, I enjoyed the book from cover to cover, feeling like I was also being yelled at by the master sergeants and given all the raw deal along the way as I flipped through it. Indeed, I did get roughly the same “treatment” as the author did in the army, and that in a way only manifests an important point he’d been seeking :being treated like anyone else, not left alone.


I am glad he found a sense of belonging to the place where I was born and raised, for I feel the same for her.

For foreigners wanting to know more about Taiwan, aka Formosa, you don’t want to miss this book.

Book review: 1984

Not too bad. This was a very inspiring book but its character development wasn’t as good as I had expected……The torture part was very disturbing and honestly I didn’t quite enjoy it. I flinched as I flipped through the pages.

Having said that, this is a legendary work that powerfully warns us not to take our hard-earned freedom for granted.

Book review: The Elements of Style William Strunk Jr.

Loved it. The book offers a great deal of tips on how to write succinctly and beautifully. It’s something worth pursuing however difficult it may be. I’ll keep it at hand as a reliable and handy reference book.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who’s keen on writing in the English language elegantly.

Book review: Dictionary of American Idioms (Barron’s Dictionary of American Idioms)

Some slang is quite interesting, but I found some to be offensive without being attached with a disclaimer whatsoever. For example, “for a coon’s age” meaning “for a long time” is covered among other slang expressions in the book. However, I was told by an African-American friend of mine that the word “coon” is offensive and is better avoided altogether.

Book review: Word Power Made Easy

Well organized and extremely helpful for anyone wanting to expand his vocabulary. It goes without saying that studying etymology of English words will efficiently boost one’s vocabulary, though it can’t be achieved with constant and extensive reading. That said, knowing a thing or two about etymology is arguably the most efficient way to expand one’s linguistic pocket.

Highly recommended!