S2 E17 – Phil Granchi’s Dystopian Comedy Thriller, Mart of Darkness

There aren’t too many Comedy Dystopian Thrillers out there, so naturally we had to put its author, Phil Granchi, on Book Spectrum.

In Mart of Darkness, the debut author takes readers (and your audience) to an American which has turned into a weird materialistic dystopia where Ted — a screenwriter with no marketable skills with little screenwriting talent and a long list of temp jobs — who finds himself somehow assigned to take down the CEO of Allmart, who is bent on taking over the world. Ted and his new team face off with Zombie shoppers, Purple Psycho People, Converts and Black Light Specials in this satirical homage to Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now.

S2 E16 – Jacquie Abrams: Hush Money, A Story About a Woman Who Stood Up to Racism in the Workplace

Politically-charged debates are often passionate, yet at times cloud people’s abilities to agree how and when to right a true wrong. While Crying “wolf,” buzzwords and misinformation have become the norm, they minimized those who are actually suffering or lost in the proverbial cracks. Let’s take the story in “Hush Money,” by my guest Jacqui Abrams, a tale based on a true story of racism in the workplace. Due to many factors – not the least of which is fear of losing job and other people lying about or minimizing such at their own workplaces — racial preferences and racism in companies and other work environments goes unreported or ignored. Through the eyes of the characters in her book – -HUSH MONEY — , Jacquie relays an actually true story of a woman who called this out, won her argument, changed things and kept her job. We at Book Spectrum do not run with the “Woke” crowd, but we are interested in treating everyone with the respect they deserve and calling out wrongdoing when we see it. The story in Jacquie’s Hush Money is rarely told and needs to be heard.

Hush Money tells a compelling and cautionary tale that is all too familiar to Black people across the globe about the rigors of working in a large, highly bureaucratic organization and dealing with covert and overt racism. Levels and types of discrimination are chronicled in the five-year journey of Ebony Ardoin, an ambitious, young, Black woman in search of a fulfilling and rewarding career path that allows her to live the American Dream.

The twisting arcs of Ebony’s story reveal layers of emotional complexity and racial trauma as each new promotion invites praise, jealous rancor, and outright loathing. Organizational politics and protecting turf go hand in hand with discrimination, retaliation, intimidation, and racial hatred expressed in a variety of ways.

Hush Money: How One Woman Proved Systemic Racism in her Workplace and Kept Her Job, by Jacquie Abram, has been selected by the Unity and Equality Alliance, located in Canada, as their next book to read. While the organization seeks to help people of color with issues locally, in Brockville, Ontario, they also see the big picture by pushing their messages far and wide. Abram’s fictional story, inspired by true events, lays bare the struggles against racism many Black and Brown people experience in the U.S. and across the globe.

S2 E15 – Dr. Sanjay Prasad: Resetting Healthcare Post-COVID-19 Pandemic

What do you do when your doctor recommends surgery to you or to a loved one? Do you question their decision? The answer for the vast majority of Americans is no. Most of us have been trained to trust our physicians completely. After all, they’re the experts. They should know best.

In his new book, Resetting Healthcare, our Book Spectrum guest this episode, Dr. Sanjay Prasad examines the lack of transparency in surgical care and offers a solution to the problem: a new, innovative tool called SurgiQuality that connects patients with qualified surgeons, offering second and third opinions, and even suggesting more conservative, non-surgical solutions as appropriate. Dr. Prasad reveals that between 10–20 percent of all surgeries in the US are unnecessary, either because of misdiagnosis or because a more conservative therapy may have been just as or even more effective.

S2 E14 – Mark Lazar’s Pathway to Prosperity

Is it possible to change one’s financial destiny and legacy? Do get-rich-quick schemes work? Are there proven principles that lead to financial security? Why is good time management important in building wealth? Mark Lazar tackles these questions and more in Pathway to Prosperity: Your Guide to Money and Economics, a comprehensive financial literacy program that takes the mystery out of money.

Lazar knows this from personal experience, with a childhood marked by financial stress and uncertainty in a family that lived below the poverty line and struggled to make ends meet. While not a promising start, these early experiences gave him perspective, drive, and the motivation to change his future. He began working at age twelve, achieved financial independence early on, and was a millionaire by age 40. In Pathway to Prosperity he shares the common sense principles, values, and strategies that led to his success.

“The bad news is there is no magic formula or get-rich-quick scheme,” states Lazar. “The good news, however, is that by building your wealth the right way—by understanding and incorporating sound financial principles into your everyday life and doing a handful of things a little better—over time you will become financially secure.”

S2 E13 – Bevis Longstreth: Chains Across the Hudson River

During the Revolutionary War, undermanned but with something of a home-field advantage, leaders of the Continental Army concocted a cunning plan to keep the British from advancing up the Hudson River: setting up long metal chains in some locations from end-to-end. While a sound defensive strategy, the chains were not needed. Historian and author Bevis Longstreth, a Hudson Valley resident, imagines a scenario where the British found a way into the Hudson and would face the mega-traps in his new book, Chains Across the River.

Longstreth brings to life the efforts of the Secret Committee of the “Committee of Safety” and how Thomas Machin was dispatched to handle the situation. He then tells the story of what might have happened had the British Empire sent an armada upward to try and take the Hudson.

“Why do historians devote so little attention to Machin?” says Longstreth. “It’s because of what didn’t happen on the Hudson. The British cut the first chain without testing it, and they never sailed against the second. Washington and Machin understood that the chain could deter without being tested at all.”

Bevis Longstreth is the author of four historical novels: Spindle and Bow, Return of the Shade, Boats Against the Current, and Chains Across the River. He combines his passion for history with a unique, contemporary perspective.

Pick up Chains Across the River here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56186392-chains-across-the-river—a-novel-of-the-american-revolution

S2 E12 – 100 of the Worst Ideas in History with Mike Smith

There were some pretty bad ideas throughout history, and not just picking the wrong color for a room or something line that. Writer and Producer Mike Smith has compiled a list of 100 huge ones in his new audiobook, The 100 Worst Ideas in History.

Mike – with a lot of humor and several guest voices – tells these stories in the audiobook and will discuss them with you and your audience, hoping we are not doomed to repeat humanity’s historically boneheaded moves including:

How a confused chauffeur helped start World War I
Who turned down the greatest product placement opportunity in cinema history
How a baseball game helped hasten the death of discoa
A toad that nearly ate Australia
The most dangerous children’s game ever invented
The tasty new snack food that’s likely to give you diarrhea
What was President William McKinley thinking by opting to not wear a bullet proof vest on the day he was assassinated?

Enjoy our conversation with Mike Smith.

S2 E11 -Top Entertainment Lawyer Norman Bacal’s Advice for Young Professionals Post-COVID

What is the difference between an average career and a successful one? Why are stellar communication skills critically important? What is grit and why does it matter more than innate natural ability? How do some people pull themselves out of poverty and into the ranks of successful entrepreneurs and professionals? Top Entertainment Lawyer Norman Bacal, in his clear and insightful book Take Charge, faces these questions and challenges young professionals to build the skills which can empower them toward professional success.

“You can float along, hoping everything works out; or you can take charge of your future beginning right now. There are tools you need to survive and thrive,” says Bacal.

The founder of prestigious Canadian law firm Heenan Blaikie and an attorney, Bacal has decades of experience and learned wisdom to draw on. Across the span of his career, Bacal noticed a void between what he was taught in law school and the practical skills he later developed that actually made a difference in building a successful career. In Take Charge, he provides a guidebook which gives back to the world of budding professionals, helping students and young entrepreneurs find their way toward success.

Norman Bacal is a retired attorney and the founder of the Toronto law office Heenan Blaikie. While building and leading this firm, he also became a widely sought expert in tax law for the entertainment business. He has represented studios such as Warner Brothers and MGM, and served on the Board of Directors for Lionsgate while they were producing the Hunger Games film franchise.

Upon retirement from practice in 2015, he took up writing, authoring the Globe and Mail bestselling memoir, Breakdown, as well as his Amazon bestselling fiction novel Odell’s Fall and a soon to be released second novel, Ophelia. Bacal actively mentors young professionals and is a frequent keynote speaker at universities, firm retreats, and conferences. Bacall holds a third degree black belt in Shotokan Karate and is an avid golfer. He currently resides in Toronto with his wife, Sharon.
Visit his website at www.NormanBacal.com

S2 E10 – Kenneth James Moore: Pieces of Wood. Exposing WWII Atrocities Against Women

If we do not learn, or know enough about history, perhaps we will repeat mistakes of the past. In an era when history has been oversimplified, much of the important events and lessons are forgotten or completely ignored. Such is the case with the atrocities committed against women by the Imperial Japanese before and during World War II. Kevin James Moore tells the story about the regime’s “Comfort Women” in his new novel, Pieces of Wood.

Kenneth James Moore was researching the whereabouts of his World War II hero uncle who died during the battles in the Pacific Ocean between US and Japanese forces. While tracking down the events of his uncle’s service and death, Moore uncovered information about how women were taken from poor villages in Japan and the nations it occupied then brought to any one of a series of facilities to be used as “Comfort Women” to be brutalized and used as sexual slaves by Imperial Soldiers. Moore turned this information into the informative and intriguing novel designed to tell us what schools and much of the media eschewed.

When one is seeking answers regarding World War II in the Pacific, it is virtually impossible to avoid uncovering Imperial Japanese atrocities,” says Moore. “I was looking for data regarding my uncle’s plane. I initially had no intention of writing a novel focused on violence against women. Though that subject has haunted me the vast majority of my adult life, it wasn’t until happening upon the ‘ovens’ that the need to write such a work imploded across every measure of my being.”

Kenneth James Moore was born in 1949 in Tacoma, Washington. He graduated from Arizona State University and continued his education as a graduate student at Georgetown University. Political science and international relations were his calling.

Mentored by a former professor who was a Cold War counter-intelligence officer, Ken spent a year long stint as a volunteer alongside Admiral Bobby Inman, the Director of the National Security Agency during its reconstruction phase. Ken and his wife Patricia moved to Southern California, where Ken worked at Beverly Hills Securities as a commercial loan officer. He quickly moved to the investment banking side of the house and was able to retire at 45.

In 1994, Ken was the victim of a horrific automobile accident. Rehabilitation consumed every moment of the next four years as he relearned how to talk, walk, and swallow solid foods.

Ken was haunted by a promise he had made to his mother at age seven, pledging to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of her youngest brother during WWII, Lt. Billy Weber, a B-29 Bomber pilot. His journey to the Pacific theater lead him to write the books The Hunt for the Life of Riley and Pieces of Wood. Learn more about Ken at www.kennethjamesmoore.com.

S2 E09 – Julie Willis: Conceal Reveal

Did you know the U.S. Military’s technical and defensive capabilities are not exactly up to the level it should be? Why would that be? Did you also know there are a lot of business opportunities for entrepreneurs to work with the Defense Department?
This week on Book Spectrum, Julie Willis, CEO of DEFIANT Communication and author of Conceal Reveal: The Space between Entrepreneurs and the Defense Industry, discusses both aspects of military contracting: the opportunities and where national defense is lacking when it should not be,
Willis reveals the dysfunctionality of military modernization and the environment built around it, why we should be more advanced, tech-wise, than we are and potential openness to espionage.

In the book, you will find out:
What is blocking the disruptive technology our warfighters need to protect and defend our country
The true cost of research and development
How you can contribute to the success of our military in 2028 (and beyond)
How DEFIANT Communication pivoted to serve the community of disruptors at the heart of defense innovation

Julie Willis is an entrepreneur, longtime military contractor and CEO of DEFIANT Communication. Find out more about Julie on her website: https://www.defiantcomms.com/
To pick up Julie’s book: https://www.amazon.com/Conceal-Reveal-between-Entrepreneurs-Industry-ebook/dp/B08Q3H57WR

S2 E08 -Leena Patel and Raising Your Innovation IQ

Leena Patel is an innovator, leader, philosopher, CEO and yoga guru who is also one of the nation’s most sought-after speakers.
Learning much of her ideals and principles from her grandfather. a direct disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, who mentored her from a young age, Leena offers insights in her new book, Raise Your Innovation IQ, far beyond what a normal business tome would. Drawing from her grandfather’s teachings, life lessons and entrepreneurial acumen, the founder of Sandbox2Boardroom and best-selling author will teach you how to tap into your own inner innovator.

Leena has trained and consulted for leaders from USA, England, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Scotland, India, Kenya, and Thailand.

We talk about all of this and her many talents on this episode of Book Spectrum.

Find out more about Leena and her book, Raise Your Innovation IQ, on her website: https://www.leenapatel.net/