Perhaps the most popular piece of 20th century “existential” literature. The Stranger addresses murder and remorse (or lack thereof), God and atheism, destiny and justice, and consequently, indifference. Camus’ anti-hero, Meursault is perhaps the ultimate man — unable to cry at his own funeral, and one of the final lines of the novel reads, “… I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.” Camus gets a special nod for his manliness for being an active member in the French Resistance during WWII. And you probably thought no Frenchmen would be on this list.
In what Collins terms a prequel to the bestseller Built to Last he wrote with Jerry Porras, this worthwhile effort explores the way good organizations can be turned into ones that produce great, sustained results. To find the keys to greatness, Collins's 21-person research team (at his management research firm) read and coded 6,000 articles, generated more than 2,000 pages of interview transcripts and created 384 megabytes of computer data in a five-year project. That Collins is able to distill the findings into a cogent, well-argued and instructive guide is a testament to his writing skills. After establishing a definition of a good-to-great transition that involves a 10-year fallow period followed by 15 years of increased profits, Collins's crew combed through every company that has made the Fortune 500 (approximately 1,400) and found 11 that met their criteria, including Walgreens, Kimberly Clark and Circuit City. At the heart of the findings about these companies' stellar successes is what Collins calls the Hedgehog Concept, a product or service that leads a company to outshine all worldwide competitors, that drives a company's economic engine and that a company is passionate about. While the companies that achieved greatness were all in different industries, each engaged in versions of Collins's strategies. While some of the overall findings are counterintuitive (., the most effective leaders are humble and strong-willed rather than outgoing), many of Collins's perspectives on running a business are amazingly simple and commonsense. This is not to suggest, however, that executives at all levels wouldn't benefit from reading this book; after all, only 11 companies managed to figure out how to change their B grade to an A on their own.
Love. Beauty. And books. This is what the story set against the terrible backdrop of war is about. Zusak accomplished a difficult feat - making me ache for the children of the enemy, the children and people of Nazi Germany, because even when caught in the middle of destruction, even ending up on different sides of artificial barricades people are still people, still deserving of love, still beautiful.
This book is the ode to those who kept their humanity in the middle of war , who were so human that nothing could ever change that. Rudy Steiner , the boy with the "hair the color of lemons" , who has so much love and integrity and life (view spoiler) [that I cried myself to sleep over his fate that Death so casually and cruelly revealed to us (hide spoiler) ] , who was by Liesel's side since the beginning of their friendship - " A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship." - Rudy, who dreamed about the kiss from Liesel (view spoiler) [ until the end of his bright and too-short life.
"She leaned down and looked at his lifeless face and Liesel kissed her best friend, Rudy Steiner, soft and true on his lips. He tasted dusty and sweet. He tasted like regret in the shadows of trees and in the glow of the anarchist's suit collection. She kissed him long and soft, and when she pulled herself away, she touched his mouth with her fingers... She did not say goodbye. She was incapable, and after a few more minutes at his side, she was able to tear herself from the ground. It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on." (hide spoiler) ]