Sunday, July 31, 2016

Review of "Why Are There Snowblowers in Miami?" by Steven D. Goldstein

Review of

Why Are There Snowblowers in Miami? by Steven D. Goldstein ISBN 9781626343238

Five out of five stars

 The title was derived from an actual event. During the time that Goldstein was head of the credit card business for Sears, which was based in Chicago, the author was able to take a January trip to a conference in Miami. While there, he visited a local Sears store and discovered four snow blowers next to the lawnmowers. Given that there has never been a recorded measurable snowfall in Miami, Goldstein asked the natural question expressed in the title.
 Upon investigation, Goldstein was told that the store gets sent snow blowers every winter season and they send them back in April. Further pursuit of the matter led him to being told that they were part of a national allocation system.
 This is an excellent story that leads into the main premise of the book, which is, “Always be questioning tactics that are done because that is the way they have been done.” Several additional examples of such mindless policies were described. One of the most amusing involved key lime pie.
 A company banquet was being held and the dessert, key lime pie, was just being served. One of the company planners suddenly realized that it was against company policy to serve key lime pie at their events so the wait staff had to rapidly gather up all the pies and provide an alternative. When the reason for this policy was examined, it turned out that former employee Judy B. hated key lime pie and forbade having it served. The amusing part was that Judy had left the company ten years earlier, yet the rule lived on.
 Using these darkly amusing examples as a base, Goldstein describes a set of solid tactics that can be used to improve the performance of your business. The last section covers what is an essential requirement of modern businesses, which is to never get complacent and as a former executive of Sears, Goldstein understands this. Formerly the largest retail store in the country, Sears is now struggling to survive. He also uses the example of Blockbuster, the now defunct video rental store.
 Packed with wisdom and humor, this is a business book that will simultaneously educate and entertain. 

This book was made available for free for review purposes.

Contents of Volume 2, "Journal of Recreational Mathematics"

Contents of Volume 2, Journal of Recreational Mathematics

Number 1

“Polyhedra Enumeration,” by John McClellan
“The Mathematics of Map Coloring,” by H. S. M. Coxeter
“An Annotated List of Recreational Mathematics Books,” by Underwood Dudley
“Dee-Dee Consecutives,” by J. A. Lindon
“A New Proof that 2 = 1,” by B. L. Schwartz
Solutions to Problems
“Hybrid Flexahedrons,” by Douglas A. Engel
“Mathematical Elixir (Limerick),” by John McClellan
Elementary Section

  “Primes with 100 or More Digits,” by Rudolf Ondrejka

  “Integers Equal to N^2 + M^3,” by Charles W. Trigg
  Mathematical Browsing
  “The Mayblox Problem,” by Margaret A. Farrell
  “Dots and Squares,” by Ernest R. Ranucci
  “The Section Called Golden,” by Maxey Brooke


Number 2

“The Game of Sim,” by Gustavus J. Simmons
“MacMahon’s Three-Color Squares,” by Wade E. Philpott
“Finiteness of a Set of Self-Generating Integers,” by B. L. Schwartz
Book Reviews
“Pierre de Fermat’s Truly Marvelous Proof -  An Imaginary Reconstruction for the Even
  Powers,” by Peter Hugh DeVries
Letters to the Editor
Rate Your Wits
“An Unusual Integer,” by Norris Goodwin
“Twin Prime Curiosities,” by Leslie E. Card
Solutions to Rate Your Wits
“Number Shifts (Squares),” by J. A. Lindon
Elementary Section
  “Sums of Squares,” by Edward McArdle
  “How to Get Something for Nothing,” by Douglas A. Engel
  “Abbreviated Dates,” by Sidney Kravitz
  “More Patterns in Primes,” by Leslie E. Card
  “A Close Look at 37,” by Charles W. Trigg

Number 3

“A Geometrical Curiosity,” by Leon Bankoff
“The Gamow-Stern Elevator Problem,” by Donald E. Knuth
“Proof That Every Integer in the Infinite Series Beginning 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, . . . has an Irrational Square Root,” by Peter Hugh DeVries
“Peculiar Properties of Repunits,” by Samuel Yates
“Integer Oddities,” by J. A. H. Hunter
“Prime Eights,” by A. R. Legard
“Prime Sums of Primes with Distinct Digits,” by Charles W. Trigg
“Inverting Coin Triangles,” by Charles W. Trigg
Book Review
Letters to the Editor
Solutions to Problems
“More on Automorphic Numbers,” by R. A. Fairbairn
Elementary Section
  “Construction of Odd-Order Diabolic Magic Squares,” by J. A. H. Hunter
  “Assembling Two Polygons Into One,” by Harry Lindgren
  “Pentominoes – Some Solved and Unsolved Problems,” by Joseph S. Madachy
  “Solving Instant Insanity,” by Robert E. Levin

Number 4

“Primes Ending in Three Like Digits,” by Leslie E. Card
“Arrows and Circuits,” by Brian R. Barwell
“Squares Ending With 0987654321,” by J. A. H. Hunter
“Bourbaki in Reverse,” by Blanche Descartes
“ An Observation Concerning the Decimal Periods of Prime Reciprocals,” by E. V. Krishnamurthy
“12 to 16 Primes in Arithmetical Progression,” by Edgar Karst
“Polyiamonds,” by Ir. P. J. Torbijn
Solutions to the Problems
Letters to the Editor
Book Reviews
Rate Your Wits!
Late Solutions
“The End of Three Squares,” by J. A. H. Hunter
“Integer Oddities,” by J. A. H. Hunter
“Integer Oddities,” by J. A. H. Hunter
“The Sums of Third Order Anti-Magic Squares,” by Charles W. Trigg
“e^π or π^e?” by Arnold A. Allen

Review of "The Spectacular World of Waldorf: Mr. Waldorf Travels to the Great State of Texas," by Barbara Terry, Beth Ann Stifflemire and Vladimir Kirichenko

Review of

The Spectacular World of Waldorf: Mr. Waldorf Travels to the Great State of Texas, by Barbara Terry, Beth Ann Stifflemire and Vladimir Kirichenko ISBN 9781943276356

Five out of five stars

 Mr. Waldorf is a sentient canine with a penchant for traveling and reading. This book is one in a series of books about his adventures, in this case he is visiting Texas. All of the books contain a subplot where in the beginning Mr. Waldorf loses his reading spectacles and finds them at the end so that he can read a book. Those spectacles appear in several of the images during the adventure.
 The level of the book is approximately that of the second grader, the images are colorful and complement the text. One feature of this book that makes it better than some of the others is that maps of Texas are included that show his journey from city to city. This reinforces the lesson regarding traveling where readers can see the shape of Texas as well as the location of some of the major cities. Many children love maps and this will increase their interest.
 This book is a great way for the young person to learn about Texas. It is a bit different than the others in the series that I have read in that the focus is more on the culture rather than the geography and animals. Mr. Waldorf plays football, participates in a country line dance, eats Mexican food and rides a bull in a rodeo. 

This book was made available for free for review purposes.