Category Archives: Book Reviews

The Origin of the Master Key System by Charles F Haanel

I received an email from a reader named Derek which he wrote –

Thanks for your great posts/blog. It’s refreshing to see someone telling the truth and not selling more snake oil.

I do have a question. . .

I’m intrigued by the lineage of thoughts relating to this subject. Since you have a lot of exposure to this material I’m wondering if you have any ideas about where Haanel got his original concepts?

I am often asked that question because there is a lot of mystery surrounding Haanel and his perennial work, The Master Key System. Was he a part of a Masonic conspiracy? Did he receive his knowledge through arcane means? Someone even theorized about some Russian wizard of sorts who shared his knowledge with Haanel.

The history is quite interesting, but more blase than some of the stories would lead you to believe. The Master Key System must be looked at within the context of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The New Thought philosophy was in full swing with many books and magazines publishing the new beliefs for a seemingly ravenous audience. Based on Christian Science as espoused by Mary Baker Eddy, the Christian Scientists and many New Thought-ers held firmly to the belief about what Jesus Christ said about the powers available to each and every person.

Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. (John 14:11-13)

Thus, with enough faith and belief, one could perform miracles as Christ did. Even a cursory reading of The Master Key System would reveal to someone that this was something in which Haanel believed deeply. That being said, the monotheistic ideas that Haanel espouses is more than likely derived from his participation in Freemasonry – while the Masons do not define their God, their only prerequisite is a belief in one God. It is then through this God that miracles and extreme human potential can occur.

Before going further into this, it is worth pointing out that there were at least two other publications that emphasize the words “The Master Key” prior to the Twentieth Century. The actual phrase has been used since the 17th Century by the Freemasons and for a publication in the 18th century – Hiram, or the Master Key to the Door of Freemasonry, published in 1760. Another use of the phrase can be found in Madame Helena Blavatsky’s famous (or should that be infamous) 600-page Isis Unveiled, with its sub-title A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology, published in 1877. One shouldn’t underestimate the popularity and influence of Blavatsky and those who followed her teachings – the Theosophists.

In the Twentieth Century, two authors released books with “Master Key” in the title. The first comes from L. Frank Baum, the author of The Wizard of Oz fame, and is an early science fiction novel. It was called The Master Key and subtitled An Electrical Fairy Tale. It told of the adventures Rob and the Demon of Electricity. This was published in 1901.

Another book came out at around the same time Haanel was working on his correspondence school. Its advertisement showed a book and a man reading a book inside an hour glass. The advertisement read:

The Master Key ~ Reveals Things You Never Thought Possible. The Hour Glass of Success. You Will Never get Another Book Like “The Master key”.

It was written by L. Laurence and published by The de Laurence Company of Chicago, Illinois, USA, in 1914. To quote a few lines from it will show obvious similarities with Haanel’s The Master Key System.

“THE MASTER KEY is divided into Six parts: contains Thirty-seven full Chapters embracing Thirty-five Lessons of graduated difficulty covering Forty individual numbered Exercises in which the fundamental principles of Concentration and Mental Discipline are fully explained. “

L. Laurence, whose full name was Lauron William de Laurence, was an American author, publisher, and owner of a supply mail order house in Chicago. He has been accused of plagiarism and the illegal publication of various occult works. The number of publications by this man seems to be considerable.

De Laurence was active at the same time as Haanel and was in fact only two years younger than him. De Laurence, who was born in 1868 and died in 1936, had connections with AMORC. It is unclear whether there was any connection between the two authors.

This then brings us to the main influence of Charles F. Haanel’s: the New Thought Movement.

When you read Haanel’s The Master Key System, it isn’t long before he starts to use terms that can be cross-referenced. To be fair to Haanel, many quotes he uses have nothing to do with the New Thought Movement. He was a man of his time and a well-read one. He used references from eminent people of the 19th Century and talks about the inventions of that time and the early years of the 20th Century. Other quotes come from the Bible but all are rather enigmatic and symbolic which could point to being influenced by New Thought writers, the Christian Scientists, the Freemasons, or the Rosicrucians. There are several hints of a possible knowledge of Hinduism, but it is unclear of Haanel’s exact knowledge of that subject as references like Pranic Energy or Pranic Ether may be from the Rosicrucian teachings or possibly, and more likely, Theosophy.

There are several words and phrases that may be of interest:

  • “The Great Architect of the Universe”
  • “Secret Place of the Most High”
  • “Universal Mind”
  • the “I”
  • “The Law of Attraction”

The “Great Architect of the Universe” is a phrase often used to represent God or Supreme Being by Christians, Freemasons, and Rosicrucians. It may go back to the Middle Ages or beyond. Thomas Aquinas used a similar phrase but with “Grand” instead of “Great”.

“Secret Place of the Most High” can be found in the Bible in Psalm 91:1 –

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

The “Universal Mind” would seem to come from Friedrich Von Schelling and was expanded on by Georg W. F. Hegel. Ralph Waldo Emerson also made use of this term.

The concept of the “I” also seems to have its origins in the works of early German philosophers. It would seem that “I” was the first principle of Johann Gottlieb Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre – “Doctrine of Science”.

The phrase that is on the tip of the tongues of many today is “The Law of Attraction”. Like the other terms used by Haanel, this was probably not of his own inventing. It seems to have come to light first in the works of William Walker Atkinson (1862 – 1932) and particularly in Thought Vibration or The Law of Attraction in the Thought World published by The New Thought Publishing Co. , Chicago, Illinois, USA, 1906. Though the phrase itself is much older, its meaning became somewhat different with Atkinson and Haanel.

The Law of Attraction also appears in the syllabus of the S. R. I. A. – The Society of Rosicrucians. However, it is not known how old this syllabus is and it is likely that it is quite modern. The S. R. I. A. was formed in 1909 with the idea of teaching to the general public rather than Masons as with previous Rosicrucian groups. Some other aspects of the S. R. I. A. syllabus bears similarities to Haanel’s works. However, it may be that both this syllabus and Haanel’s ideas are from an older source – or a just coincidence. It is unknown which came first.

Ultimately it may be possible to trace the idea of the Law of Attraction back to certain phrases that were put into the mouth of Jesus Christ in the New Testament of the Bible.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto
you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8, King James Version)

Another book that cannot be ignored was published in 1908 and was called The Kybalion: Hermetic Philosophy by Three Initiates and published by The Yogi Publication Society, Masonic Temple, Chicago, Illinois, USA. It cannot be ignored that this book may have played a part in the development of Haanel’s The Master Key System. It certainly wasn’t a collection of lessons and exercises, but the wording throughout this book is remarkably similar to Hannel’s publications. At one point the phrase “Mental Chemistry” is used. And though there is nothing in the title remotely similar to Haanel’s work, the phrase “Master Key” is used in the Introduction and several times in the body of the book. The Kybalion also delves into the power of thought.

. . . (T)he Hermetic Philosophy is the only Master-Key which will open all the doors of Occult teachings. . . . One of the old Hermetic Masters wrote, long ages ago: ‘He who grasps the truth of the Mental Nature of the Universe is well advanced on the Path to mastery. ‘ These words are as true today as at the time first written. Without this Master-Key, Mastery is impossible, and the student knocks in vain at the many doors of the Temple. . . . The Principles of Truth are Seven; he who knows these, understandingly, possesses the Magic Key before whose touch all the Doors of the Temple fly open.

It is believed that The Kybalion is not some ancient document but was written by William W. Atkinson and the other “Initiates” have been guessed at as Paul Foster Houses and Mabel Collins. Atkinson was certainly active in the years leading up to the publication of The Master Key System and it is hard to believe that Haanel would not have known of either the man or his works. Master Key Arcana includes short pieces from the writings of several members of the New Thought Movement, including William W. Atkinson, James Allen, Florence Scovel Shinn, Henry Drummond and Phineas P. Quimby.

Whether Haanel was influenced by Atkinson, or any other members of this Movement, though, is another thing all together and it is difficult to be sure what his sources were.

Much of Haanel’s life is a mystery. Not many records were kept or preserved and the lack of many living descendants who knew him add to us not knowing much about him. C. W. Evans-Gunther researched and examined Haanel’s life as much as possible. His thorough biography can be found at

Researching Haanel’s influences and their play on his works is somewhat easier. As was noted at the beginning of this article, when the times in which Haanel lived are examined, you can see the influences and how Haanel used those influences to shape his thoughts and his works.

In the time period in which Haanel lived, the self-help/personal development movement (although not called by those terms) was quite large and actually very similar to today’s scene. As the saying goes, the times may have changed but things remain the same. By some counts, Haanel was a somewhat important player, although he never had the infamy of Blavatsky or a few others of the time.

It was all of these elements (at least) that came together in Haanel’s mind to form one of the greatest books about personal development.

[Please note: This article was researched by C. W. Evans-Gunther. He is also responsible for writing the majority of it. Additional information was added by me. I am also responsible for additional editing and any mistakes that one might find. More information can be found at ]

Anthony R. Michalski/Master Key Coaching

Rich Brother Rich Sister – Two Different Paths to God, Money, and Hap

“Rich Brother Rich Sister: Two Different Paths to God, Money, and Happiness” by popular author Robert Kiyosaki and his sister Emi Kiyosaki is an interesting and enjoyable book. At first, I really didn’t know what to expect with this new direction Robert Kiyosaki has taken, but I did enjoy this newest book by the author of “Rich Dad Poor Dad. “

One of the first things a person can learn, is Robert Kiyosaki knows how to make money. After make a lot of it with his book about Money, Kiyosaki is now exploring the areas of spirit and health, two other topics that rank high on the money making list of book topics. And Kiyosaki states right up front that one of the reasons he wrote this book with his sister was to make money and help her pay medical bills and become a millionaire too.

Even if Kiyosaki is capitalizing on his fame to write a book in a different genre to make even more money, that does not take away for the interesting stories about his and his sister’s lives and lessons they learned. I think many people ask the same or similar questions about life, God, spirit, etc. Kiyosaki has now shared some of his questions and the answers he has found.

At times, I felt the book was a bit redundant. Some things are repeated unnecessarily, and at other times I felt a lack on continuity between the portions written by Robert and those written by his sister Emi. However, considering the very different paths their respective lives took them along, it is easy to see why the chapters do not flow seamlessly. Additionally, at times I felt they were reaching a bit to try and make spiritual lessons from certain examples. Some people might even think that the book is a bit “preachy” with Kiyosaki’s own beliefs on morality.

These small things did not take away the enjoyment I got from reading the book. I liked the portions written about Robert Kiyosaki’s life a bit more than his sister’s, but that may be because I am more familiar with Robert and his other works, and I also spent time in the military, so I enjoyed hearing about his service and how it influenced the rest of his life. As someone who has also studied Buddhism, I did like learning of Emi Kiyosaki’s journey into her Buddhist faith.

There are sections of the book, that if you read as a book to learn from, you can gain valuable lessons to apply to your own life. I think this is true with most biographies, but this book makes a point to illustrate certain lessons. Robert and Emi Kiyosaki are both teachers, so I guess it is hard for them not to teach. There were sections that blared “here’s a lesson, listen up!” I for one liked the lessons included in this text. There were lessons on life, living, money, Buddhism, all combined in one book.

I think if you are a fan of Robert Kiyosaki’s other books, you will enjoy learning more about him. If you are not a fan, you probably won’t even read this book, and you might just be missing out. After reading this text you may just have a greater respect for where Robert Kiyosaki came from and what he is trying to do. I know I do.

Alain Burrese, J. D. is a mediator/attorney with Bennett Law Office P. C. and an author/speaker through his own company Burrese Enterprises Inc. He teaches people to live with the warrior’s edge through his writing and speaking on a variety of topics focusing on the business areas of negotiation and success principles as well as self-defense and safety topics. He is the author of Hard-Won Wisdom From the School of Hard Knocks, several instructional dvds, and numerous articles. You can find out more about Alain Burrese at his websites and

Effective Communication in the Classroom and at Home – Communicate Ef

Teaching in the home is a challenge whether you are full time homeschooling or getting homework completed! As parents it is sometimes difficult to teach those we are so emotionally entwined with. Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish have come to the rescue with “How to Talk so Kids can Learn! At Home and in School. ” Encompassing the experiences of both parents and teachers this collaboration is a valuable tool for both parent/teacher and teachers in the regular classroom setting.

This book is a pleasant read and very entertaining with the use of comics illustrating particular scenarios throughout. Being able to read the experiences of others and recognize your own struggles is a revelation. To make that revelation more poignant you are offered tried and tested solutions.

Five valuable lessons Faber and Mazlish cover are:

Alternatives to punishment

Engaging cooperation

How to deal with feelings that interfere with learning

Praise that doesn’t demean

Solving problems together

Not only so Faber and Mazlish cover these areas and more they offer solutions. Allowing parents and teachers to understand each others position in the life of a child encourages collaboration between both. Throughout the book real life experiences of parents and teachers are shared.

As a homeschooling parent and new Zealand trained teacher I have found the works of these two amazing parent child communication experts to be invaluable. The succinct manner in which Faber and mazlish deliver solutions to everyday problems in communications is refreshing.

All those involved in educating and parenting will find useful tools throughout this book.

Life is extremely busy and it is very difficult to be an expert in everything. Often parenting calls for just that! Thankfully there are some very effective resources out there to guide us in all this madness. Hurray for enlightening tools designed to make sense of parental chaos.

Margit Barreras

Tips to Choose Books For Babies, Toddlers and Nursery

Reading a book for your babies is not only pleasurable, but it also stimulates their verbal ability, promotes their vocabulary and memory, and expands the emotional parent-baby relationship. When these conditions are met, the children will love to read and they will start the habit of reading independently. Parents are encouraged to provide a range of safe, attractive, durable books for the children to pick. Reading books stimulates the brain growth.

Babies and toddlers like to see colorful, big pictures and to hear the sound related to the picture. They also like to touch and put the book in their mouth. They like to turn page by themselves. They like to bring the books anywhere they want to. They are listeners and like to be read the same books over and over again. But their vocabularies are limited, they are able to speak a few words, their attention span is short and they haven’t got the ability to see the 2-dimension shape, as they use to see the 3-dimension thing that surrounds them.

Considering the condition above, here are some tips to choose the appropriate books for babies and toddler;


  • Indestructible material: board books and cloth books
  • Hard cover
  • Easy to clean/wipe: non-toxic paint vinyl books
  • Easy to turn the page and light weight (if the toddler likes “to read” by him/herself)
  • Large size page (A-3 size) although slight heavy for toddler (if the toddler enjoys being read by mom/dad)
  • Rounded corner page


  • Bright, colorful pictures of simple objects that are familiar to them
  • Wordless or more pictures than text
  • Simple texts and good rhymes (it could include one picture with one or two words only in a page)
  • Preferably able to generate some related sounds
  • Preferably have the texture (rough, smooth, furry) to touch
  • Number of pages: 5 to 10

    Nursery (children of 3 – 4 years old) has the ability to communicate through complete simple sentences. Their vocabularies are growing. They like to make their own story and they enjoy “writing or drawing” something on the page. They enjoy being read a simple story. They are very curious about anything. They like to explore and ask anything. Although they cannot read independently, but they can turn page by themselves as their fine motor skill is improving a lot. They start to think critically and to feel being able to do anything like adult. They also like to play the socio-dramatic activity with the friends (pretend to be somebody). They start to show and tell and like to build the friendship. Usually they have their favorite character and toys. They are able to solve simple problem and to select the books to read. Parents are encouraged to support them through facilitating them and providing the books to read and guiding them should they have any question or misunderstanding.

    Considering the condition above, here are some tips to choose the appropriate books for nursery.


  • Books that are constructive fun with toy-like that may pop up, move, or provide other astonishments
  • Preferably the hard cover
  • Light weight and easy to carry-on or to keep in their bags
  • Another alternative: E-read books with Mp3
  • Possibility to write and wipe


  • Simple storyline, slightly complex texts with good rhythm and effective word repetition
  • Colorful picture in every page
  • Depicting familiar objects and experiences for this age of group
  • Stimulating the imagination and creative thinking
  • Including the moral/character message
  • Preferably the interactive way
  • No violence, sex and bad behavior

    Some publishers indicate the level or grade for the age group. It is encouraged to choose a book that is most suitable for the age level of your child, but it is not a problem to choose a book that is suggested for older child, you can read it to him now and later he can read it independently. You can also choose picture books with interesting story in beautiful illustration. Such books offer the child an aesthetic experience to enjoy over and over again.

    We can find easily some “classic” children books that interest everyone in the family to read aloud together. Some children find a contemporary book more appealing than a classic one. Let your child select the books that will generate reading enjoyment.

    You can also make your own book assisted by your child. Your child can draw the pages and you can write the story that your child tell you about his/her drawing. Your child also can write some alphabets or simple words. This activity will promote the language skill, writing skill, reading skill, creativity and self-esteem. Your child starts to produce his/her first master art that he/she can be proud of.

    To find a good book that is appropriate for your child, you can ask friend, teacher, and librarian, visit the book store or visit the web site. You don’t have to buy the expensive books or the most lavish ones. What you need to do is to take a look at the book, browsing the pages to find out whether the book is well written and designed. Buying books is a good investment.

    Author: Ferdinand L. Budiyasa

  • Rip Van Winkle

    I believe Washington Irving’s purpose in writing Rip Van Winkle was to teach his readers a lesson as well as entertain. Irving is telling his readers through this story that if you live an idle life, never accomplishing anything, and are always satisfied with the bare minimum life will pass you by.

    Rip Van Winkle is a character who always has been, is, and always will be. There are millions of people around the world who take his nonchalant view of life, his uncaring, unmotivated attitude and accomplish absolutely nothing. Rip is an icon to the stagnant, the lazy, and the useless. He is the person who goes through life never fully living it and before he knows it, is old and dying wondering where has the time gone.

    Rip was not a bad man as clearly illustrated in the text; he lived his life somewhat contently and simply. People liked him and he did not shy away from helping others. His only problem was his aversion to working for a living, and the problems this caused for him at home. The main character of the story is constantly getting yelled at by his wife and takes all the time he can to get away from her to enjoy himself. One day Rip walks off into the mountains to go hunting where he runs into a man hauling up a keg of beer. He encounters this man and being the good-natured guy that he is, helps him carry his drink to his friends. Eventually he starts to drink with them and before he knows it, he is out cold. He wakes up not yet aware that twenty years have passed and originally thinks he has been robbed of his dog and gun. This part is significant because it tells how he believes he has been robbed, looking at it symbolically in context with the rest of the story he has been robbed of more than just his gun and dog but of his time and life. He than walks down the mountain and everything has changed. He does not recognize the people, all of his old hang outs don’t look like they’ve been inhabited in years and his house is deserted. After talking with a few people he finally figures out that twenty years have passed him by. Rip’s daughter takes him in, and he is able to live out the rest of his life idly in old age.

    Using the time period of the revolutionary war was symbolic in this story. For starters in symbolized change, change in the whole makeup of American as well as a revolutionary change in Rip Van Winkles life (he is now an old man). It also could have symbolized a new beginning for Rip in that he no longer had to deal with his nagging wife and could live the life he wanted for himself similar to the new beginning of The United States of America.

    I was best able to contrast Rip Van Winkle with Charlie from Babylon Revisited. Although both characters started out in the beginning as being very similar, Charlie changed his life for the better, he made something of himself and gave up his foolish ways. Rip on the other hand just went back to being his same old self. Charlie learned from his mistakes Rip Van Winkle did not.

    I agree with the author’s message that if you are always idle life will pass you by and you will be old and virtually by yourself before you know it. The most important things in Rip’s life should have been his family and providing for them. Instead, he thought of only himself and what made him happy. His wife’s incessant nagging was his own fault for falling short as husband and father. Rip Van winkle was selfish in that regard, he cared nothing for his family and only in satisfying himself. I found it to be a great act of charity that his daughter took him in after twenty years; most children would probably be bitter after their father left for so long. Rip is an eternal character. As long as there are people, there will be those who are content doing nothing. Life will pass them by, they will oblivious to what’s going on around them and will rely on others to take care of them.

    John Schlismann has an interest in American Literature.

    Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour An Introduction (196

    Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters (1955) and Seymour: An Introduction (1959), are a pair of long short stories written by Salinger about the Glass family. The former ostensibly about Buddy Glass, and the latter about Seymour Glass, but quite often it appears that the opposite is true. Although, really, both stories are about the relationship between the two brothers, Buddy and Seymour, or more precisely, Buddy’s recollections of their relationship.

    Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, follows Buddy to New York in 1942, where he is taking leave from the army to attend Seymour’s wedding to Muriel. He arrives just in time to discover that Seymour has not turned up, and somehow manages to end up in a car with the Matron of Honor (sic), her husband the Lieutenant, Muriel’s Aunt Mrs. Silsburn, and Muriel’s deaf-mute great-uncle. The topic of conversation rarely strays from Seymour and his deficiencies. Unsurprisingly, Buddy is reluctant to reveal his own identity.

    This first story is fairly typical of Salinger’s work, particularly his Glass family saga, in that it is tightly written, unfolds over a short space of time, and consists of human interactions (with a playwright’s ear for dialogue. ) The second story, Seymour: An Introduction, on the other hand, is quite a departure; it takes the form of a stream of consciousness portrait of Seymour by his brother Buddy.

    The formal elements of this second story are what surprise the most. It is, at least seemingly, self indulgent with paragraphs that last for several pages, and has an overuse of parenthesis, italics, foot-notes, and out of place capitalization. I say seemingly, because, is the self indulgence Salinger’s or Buddy’s? Is it not just Salinger’s portrait of Buddy’s (mid-life crisis induced?) self indulgence? Of course, Salinger chose to write the story, so one could easily argue either way.

    Nevertheless, both stories are interesting, although I, personally, prefer Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, but having said that, I can’t help but be intrigued by Seymour: An Introduction. Its diary-like informality really makes one feel like one is witness to a truly personal and intimate portrait of, not the titular Seymour, but the author himself, Buddy, or perhaps, even Salinger himself. One comes away from the story with a picture of a lonely 40 year-old man who desperately misses his brother, a person that he not only shared his early life with, but whom he continues to measure it against.

    The One-Line Review

    This, That, and Other Bits and Bobs

    A Provocative Essay on Marjane Satrapis Universally Acclaimed Perse

    Marjane Satrapi’s engrossing, poignant, and sometimes hilarious “graphic memoir” Persepolis (2003) is further proof that the graphic novel itself has come a long way since the days of Superman, Batman, Hellboy, and those other superheroes we idolize in our popular culture. However, I believe young adults will find Satrapi’s memoir of growing up during the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, and the bloody Iraq-Iran War that followed, no less appealing than the flashy comics they normally read during their spare time, and for a few very good reasons.

    Satrapi was born into a highly intellectual, politically conscious family during the rule of the Shah. While other Iranian children were reading the usual fairy tales before the Shah’s fall, her family convinced her to read cartoons and other materials on Marxist-Leninism, something she picked up on right away. But when the Islamic Revolution started, she and her family’s dreams of a more liberal Iran began to fall apart. Under the mullahs and other religious fundamentalists, she began to rebel against an even more oppressive regime than that of the Shah’s. She was segregated from men in school. She, again, had to put on her hijab wherever she went. And, when secular Iraqi President Saddam Hussein started his military campaign against theocratic Iran, everyone in the country had no choice but to mourn the dead at least twice a day.

    One of the most interesting aspects of life Satrapi discovered under the rule of the Ayatollah Khomeini was that upper-class Iranian teens like her still congregated at a Western-style burger joint named Kansas to get away from it all, despite the risk of becoming political prisoners, and even the innate possibility of death, in the process. To channel her anger and frustration with the theocratic regime’s repressive policies, she decided to express her love for all things American pop culture. She wore Nike shoes, denim outfits, a Michael Jackson button, and even picked up on the punk rock scene, despite the fact that she and her family risked severe physical and emotional intimidation in the process as well.

    With her concerned family fearing for her own life, Satrapi was sent to Vienna at the age of 14 to get the liberal education they thought she really needed. But this was not without its pitfalls, too. Like every other teenager in contemporary society, she felt extremely uneasy about her place in the world and, as a result, decided to start dealing drugs with her nonconformist peers. Even worse, no matter what types of people she lived with in Vienna, she eventually found herself homeless and in complete emotional distress.

    Forced to return to her homeland after her high school graduation, Satrapi, once again, got back to her cultural and customary basics. Ironically, her otherwise loving parents had enough faith in her to allow her to make the wrong decisions when she came back, especially when she married a narcissistic artist she really did not love so much to begin with. All in all, she continued to ponder her place in the world, wondering if she ever had a real home in her native Iran in the first place.

    Although young adults are less likely to be interested in what they would consider “ancient history” than in the usual graphic novel fare, Satrapi’s “Persepolis” is still a remarkably universal account of a young woman who goes through a lot of the usual angst teens go through on a regular basis. She deals drugs with her Western friends and acquaintances, suffers from chronic depression, thinks about killing herself, and feels an overall sense of isolation and bewilderment from the rest of the world.

    Perhaps even more beneficial for young adult readers is the ways in which “Persepolis” shatters many of the negative stereotypes we associate with Middle Easterners in a post-9/11 world. Satrapi and her parents retained their liberal ideology, even in the face of tremendous religious and political upheavals in their native country. Satrapi herself liked what young adult Westerners were reading, watching, and listening to at the time. The list goes on and on.

    One of the most fascinating elements of Persepolis’ appeal to young adult readers is that Satrapi’s deceptively simple black-and-white illustrations suggest something more than just a colorful, fast-paced adventure for teenagers to sink their teeth into. Important metaphors and nuances abound, so even if the youngest of young adults have trouble understanding what the word “abstract” represents altogether, the stark yet easy-to-comprehend impressionistic illustrations will literally more than make up for their substandard social and moral intelligence quotients altogether.

    The Brutal Art of Ripping, Poking and Pressing Vital Targets – Book R

    The Brutal Art of Ripping, Poking, and Pressing Vital Targets” by Loren W. Christensen is a book full of what some people would call dirty fighting techniques. But as Christensen points out, all fighting is dirty. This is not sport, it’s fighting. In the ugliness that is a street fight, techniques to the eyes, throat, ears, groin, nerve points, and other acutely vulnerable targets are not foul, but necessary to ensure you go home unhurt and it is your attacker that regrets attacking you.

    While this book is over 270 pages, it has less written words than many of Christensen’s books. There are over 400 clear photographs illustrating the techniques Christensen provides in this text. Christensen’s criteria for techniques included in this book were that they be simple, they hurt, they are executable within just a few inches of space, they give direction to the attacker, and they have psychological and physical shock value.

    The book is full of pictures of simple applications of ripping, poking, pinching, twisting and pressing. These techniques may not be the first that come to mind when people think of fighting. Punching, kicking, and grappling probably top most people’s lists. Well, after reading this book, you won’t think a pinch is just a pinch any longer. Christensen’s techniques include things such as pinching your attacker’s eyelid and snapping your hand back as if you are ripping a bandage off a wound. Or how about going Mike Tyson on your opponent’s ear by chomping his ear with prejudice? Christensen advises that you tear into his ear like a dog on a rabbit, jerking your head from side to side.

    These are the kinds of techniques this book is full of. These techniques are not pretty, there are not flashy for the movie screen, but these techniques could just save your life. In real fights, you don’t know what you are going to be able to do. You often just take what you can get and count your blessings that you were able to get that. These techniques may be the only ones you have opportunity to use, and if you read this book, add the techniques to your repertoire, and practice them so that you can use them when needed, they may be just the thing that turns the table on your attacker and provides you with the arsenal to be the victor in an otherwise drastic situation.

    This book has nothing to do with sport. However, if you are interested in practical, realistic, and sometimes extremely brutal, techniques for real self-defense, this book belongs on your self-defense book shelf. Just make sure you read it, and practice what it contains.

    Alain Burrese, J. D. is a mediator/attorney with Bennett Law Office P. C. and an author/speaker through his own company Burrese Enterprises Inc. He writes and speaks about a variety of topics focusing on the business areas of negotiation and success principles as well as self-defense and safety topics. He is the author of Hard-Won Wisdom From the School of Hard Knocks, several instructional dvds, and numerous articles. You can find out more about Alain Burrese at his websites or

    Childrens Book Review- Pearls Adventures Volume 1

    Variety is the spice of life. Children need to have a variety of reading experiences if they are going to learn to make good decisions. Children’s books should be food for their thought process. There are two separate stories to each volume. This Manuscript is a story about a bear named Pearl. Pearl lives on a boat with her Mum and Dad.


    “The first adventure Hide and Seek reveals that Pearl was named after a pirate ship named the Black Pearl. Pearl cannot leave the boat without an adult because she might fall in the water.

    Pearl enjoys playing Hide and Seek with her Mum and Dad on the boat. Pearl climbs up the ropes of the boat to play the game with her parents. Pearl’s Dad finds her.

    After she is found, Pearl helps her Dad to find a pulley and fix the boat. After the pulley is found Pearl holds the wheel straight. After helping her Dad, Pearl is tired and goes in for the day.

    This manuscript aims to show children what it’s like to live on a boat. It also shows the love between a child and his or her parents. “

    Letter from Managing Director Dorrance Publishing

    “My editorial staff has completed the review of ‘Pearl’s Adventures Volume 1: Hide and Seek’ and has provided me with the attached readers report. I am pleased to advise you that we think your work would make a positive addition to our Dorrance Publishing list of titles. “

    ROPES and COLOURS is the second story in PEARLS ADVENTURES VOL 1. Pearl is being shown the use of each rope on the boat. The ropes are different colours so Pearl can remember what they are used for.

    Pearl also gets to play, and tidy the bundles of rope that are not being used. Sometimes she gets in a real mess, but Pearl tries to remember to always play safe.

    Pearl listens very carefully as her Mum explains what the colour of the rope is and what that rope is used for. Not long after they had finished Pearl decided that she would like to tighten some of the ropes.

    Pearl insisted on doing this until Mum gave in. Pearls Mum had already tried to explain that she may be too little, but that didn’t stop Pearl from trying.

    This manuscript aims to educate children on some of the basics on the handling of a boat. It also shows that children do not always agree with their parents.

    If you are short of something to read to your child tonight click here and download now.

    Written by Helen Rogers.