A Hole in Science

A HOLE in SCIENCE
Arevised edition in 2016 e-book by Ted Christopher that he has subtitled: An opening for an alternative understanding of life.

The book’s synopsis recalls the fact that problems have always existed for the scientific understanding of life, particularly with the number of unusual behaviors encountered and suggests exploration of alternatives. For example, with advanced studies of DNA and the genome it was believed that the age of ‘personalized medicine’ was at hand where hereditary disease would be eliminated. Sadly, we are not quite there yet. Hereditary diseases which supposedly could be wiped away by finding and destroying the common variable(s) in their genetic origin, were discovered to have far too many variables. The common factor(s) present could explain only six per cent of the hereditability and almost none of the causality. It is accepted that 99.9 % of human beings are identical. However, that remaining 0.1 % still has a huge variability. The author then proceeds to discuss a number of the variabilities as encountered in monozygotic (identical) twins; Intelligence Conundrums – childhood behavioral syndrome, the child prodigy, the Einstein Syndrome, the Savants and the Flynn Effect (environmental influence); animal mysteries (strange social behavior); those of families; groups; gender; all with a considerable amount of discussion within a religion/science context rather heavy on transcendentalism, reincarnation and similar. A short author’s biography and quite extensive list of references round out the presentation.

Discussion: This is an interesting book for non-scientists. The author in his closing comments states that he wished to provide a discussion “for the curious” and that “The main point of this book has been to point out some of the basic problems with the material-only vision of life.” Even more specifically perhaps, he has listed some of the many questions surrounding life and the manner in which they offer challenges to materialism. Also in his closing remarks, the author cites a strong personal interest in transcendental views as a result of inexplicable dreams as a child as well as a “deep phobia and somehow sensing a connection to someone who had died in a difficult scenario”. The residual effects of such experiences quite obviously can provide intense pressure to investigate, hopefully to deliver some manner of personal catharsis. Certainly this is an acceptable cause that furnishes simultaneously interesting and thought producing material to the inquisitive mind that has not previously had the benefit of exposure to much of the material provided.

Summary: Interesting introductory scientific discussion with religious overtone for the previously uninitiated. Some further editing may have been helpful.

4* somewhat scrambled but interesting book for uninitiated inquisitive reader

SELF PUBLISHING

SELF PUBLISHING, The Secret Guide to Becoming a Best Seller, an e-book by Richard McCartney.

This is the third book offered by this author with respect to selling your self-published book. In the first, he provided “The Secret Guide to Becoming A Best Seller”. In the next (which he graciously offers to readers of this present volume) he added a most useful marketing ‘Cheat Sheet’ of “some of the lesser-known facts about buying and selling books on Amazon”. In five chapters he explains how to work your way through the Amazon jungle to best market your book AND does so in explicit, detailed steps. The present volume does contain some repetition of a small portion of material presented earlier, but is acceptably compatible in context.

Further in this present volume he has added definitions and highly pertinent discussions with respect to how Amazon works to employ ‘click through rates’ (CTR), ‘conversion rates’ (CR), etc. in determining book sales. Also set forth are ways for placing your book on listings other than only the ‘Best Sellers’. There also are comparative descriptions of the sales success rates to market one’s book gained from social media sources such as Facebook and Twitter versus those of alternative means such as Book Subscription Services. A list of the more prominent ones available is included. Even more importantly, he provides comparative statistics of value received for dollars spent (ROI – return on investment). Perhaps one of the most helpful discussions is about, and the importance and value of, book reviews, their honesty, and how to obtain them.

Discussion: At a time that extended through part of the advent of POD and the earlier phases of self-publishing this reviewer provided a university level course in writing/publishing. After studying what was available for marketing and being particularly disenchanted with the limited helpfulness of social media (strengthened by statements, and even limited studies performed by one highly respected author), my straightforward advice to my classes was: “It is my firm belief that to be even moderately successful in today’s market, you must have a sizable group of readers with whom you share a common interest. Without it, publishing and selling novels is quite simply a crap shoot. So, if you don’t have a sizable group with whom you have established a common bond, or if you cannot establish one, you had better really enjoy writing, because your sales may not come anywhere close to your expectations. There is an adage that has been around for many years in the writing profession: ‘Don’t be in a hurry to give up your day job’. AND, if you still wish to become ‘a published author’, bring your expectations to a plausible level, continue to write for the pure enjoyment and sense of accomplishment that the activity brings, and accept any monetary recompense as a most pleasant and additional result. If you still wish to reach a more meaningful level of book sales, either prepare to work as hard or harder marketing them than you spend in the writing, or be willing to spend a sizeable amount of money to accomplish the goal.” Obviously and regrettably the material presented by this author was not available at the time.

Conclusion: McCartney has set forth a well written treasure trove of information literally vital to the independent author IF after thoroughly examining the true purpose of their desire he/she wants to attain a level of respectable compensation. It indeed is regrettable that this information was not available at an earlier time when attempts were being made to shepherd a group of neophytes. Once more, as with the previous book, it is strongly suggested that this book is a must read for Indie authors.

5* Must read for serious Indie authors.