Le Style Masculin, Guide a l’usage de l’homme moderne – Bernhard Roetzel

Le look business conventionnel

  1. Le costume foncé en fin lainage constitue la base du look business. Couleurs : bleu foncé ou gris foncé. Le marron et le noir sont interdits.
  2. Avec le costume, il faut une chemise à manches longues dotée de poignets classiques pour le quotidien et de poignets mousquetaires pour les occasions. Le col à pointes boutonnées, au col mou dont les pointes peuvent être boutonnées sue le devant de la chemise, est d’abord un col business, même si les experts en style et les vendeurs disent le contraire. Mais, en Europe, cette variant est souvent considérée comme trop sportive. Encore quelques mots sur un vêtement que beaucoup préfèrent pour le bureau : les chemises à manches courtes conviennent très bien aux chauffeurs d’autobus et aux policiers, mais pas au bureau.
  3. La combinaison veste-pantalon ne convient pas pour le business, mais seulement pour la transition vers le week-end, le vendredi. Exceptions : entreprises moyennes, travailleurs indépendants, collaborateurs sans contacts avec la clientèle. Le blazer bleu marine non plus n’est pas conçu pour le monde d’affaires.
  4. La cravate reste un must. Cela changera peut-être, mais pour le moment elle fait encore partie du costume d’homme affaires dont on ne peut se passer. C’est autre chose si nous parlons de branches dans lesquelles il est de bon ton d’être en tenue décontractée. Mais ce n’est pas ce dont il est question ici.
  5. Les chaussures doivent être noires. Les conventionnelles sont des modelés à lacets et avec peu de motifs perforés. Les derbys à double semelle de cuir sont trop grossiers pour être portes avec un costume raffiné. Les mocassins sont trop sportifs pour le puriste et les chaussures à boucles font trop dandy. La couleur est cependant plus importante que le modèle.

Parfois, je suis étonné de voir le manque d’attention aux vêtements que beaucoup de hommes matures ont. Ça veut dire pas d’habiller tout le temps à la cravate, mais juste une peu d’attention.

le-style
Homme ou garçon ?

Le livre parle des règles de base pour habiller, principalement au bureau, pour hommes, pour les métiers qui ont des contacts avec les clients : finance, politique, conseil, assurance, commerce, etc. Le livre a des chapitres sur Look casual et Tenue de cérémonie aussi.

Bernhard Roetzel couvre aussi les chaussures, les accessoires, le nettoyage et entretien, silhouette et les règles de la coupe. Il donne plusieurs conseils pratique pour construire une garde-robe flexible, de grande qualité et pas chère. Les sub-chapitres sur Combiner les couleurs sont particulièrement très bien écrits.

L’auteur est strict avec ses règles, mais c’est bien de leur lire, juste pour avoir une idée qu’elles sont les grandes fautes. Pour les connaisseurs, Mr Roetzel a quelques sub-chapitres sur les tissues, filature et juste une peu de connaissance générale pour reconnaître un vêtement de bonne qualité.

Je vous laisse avec quelques images des hommes bien habillés.

kingsman-the-secret-service-colin-firth-21
Regarde la différence, Source: http://collider.com/kingsman-the-secret-service-images/
daniel-craig
Promenade au travail Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/492933121684658485/

Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke

Man was, therefore, still a prisoner on his own planet. It was much fairer, but a much smaller, planet than it had been a century before. When the Overlords abolished war and hunger and disease, they had also abolished adventure.

Childhood’s End is a good scifi from the accomplished author Arthur C Clarke. It starts with a sudden arrival of some aliens, just after the second world war. They bring peace and prosperity, but never disclose their reason to come to Earth. The book ends somewhat surprisingly, into a kind of transcendence for humankind.

childhoods-end
Quality scifi writing

Although written in 1953, the book keeps pace with current development and innovations, which shows the, what proved to be correct, vision of the author for the future.

The plot has several twists, a couple of stories being intermingled, but the narrative is kept straight and easy to follow. The anchor of the book are the aliens and the slow progress towards the inevitable end. It reminded me of the more recent series of Harry Turtledove (Colonization – also on this website).

The book is an easy read and imaginative enough to be an entertaining scifi almost 70 years after writing.

While I enjoyed reading the book, I think it could have explored more the excellent plot lines developed. A solid reading overall.

[Featured picture by ITU Pictures]

The Future of Almost Everything – Patrick Dixon

Over $5.3 trillion of currencies are traded every day, yet nations like the Philippines, Peru, Poland or the UK hold less than $80bn in reserves to defend against speculators. Enough to last only a few days.

The book is trying to identify future trends, developments that human society might take. Dixon considers that there are six main future trends, conveniently named: Fast, Urban, Tribal, Universal, Radical and Ethical (FUTURE).

Patrick Dixon has a lot of guessing and the arguments he shows are shallow. There are so many statements that some will certainly turn true.

future-of-everything
Guessing the future

Nonetheless, he is intriguing and has a good grasp of what is happening in the world. It makes a good overall read and challenges the reader. However, I did not feel that he bring anything new, all being trends that exist already and are extrapolated into the future.

Patrick Dixon is a professional futurologist, having a company specialized in this niche, with many reputable international clients. He writes often, on various subjects.

The style of reading is very fluid and it follows very neatly the logic of each chapter or trend. It make a good read overall, but not exceptional.

[Feature photo by Kristian Bjornard]

Man of war (series) – H. Paul Honsinger

New contact!” Lieutenant Kasparov announced from the Sensors Station.  “Infrared and mass detection, bearing three-five-seven mark zero-six-eight.  Designating as Hotel eleven.  Classified as definite hostile.  No effort at stealth.”  Then, under his breath, he added, “Arrogant bastards.”

“Very well.”  Lieutenant Commander Max Robichaux, Union Space Navy, Captain of the Khyber class destroyer USS Cumberland, acknowledged the contact report but let the comment pass, not because it was appropriate–which it was not–but because he heartily concurred.  Judging by the quiet murmurs of agreement from the dozens of men at their General Quarters stations in the Cumberland’s Combat Information Center, he wasn’t the only one.

The destroyer’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant Eduardo DeCosta, leaned toward Max and said in a low voice, “No stealth.  Looks like disdain.  We’re not a threat to them, so they don’t need to waste effort making themselves hard to detect.”

Max shook his head and answered at the same volume—his voice would not carry beyond the Command Island, the platform in the center of CIC where the Commander’s and Executive Officer’s Stations, as well as an additional console known as the Commodore’s Station, were located.  “That’s not it, XO.  Krag disdain for us ‘blaspheming monkeys’ is a given.  Their goal is intimidation.  They want to make sure we know they’re here and how many of them are hunting us.  They want us cowed.  Too scared to think.  Believing we’re already dead so we’ll stop fighting to survive.” [Book 3 – Brothers in Valour]

The series follows the adventures of Max Robichaux, captain of a war spaceship engaged in the war with an alien empire, some 300 years in the future.

There are three books in the series: To Honor You Call Us, For Honor We Stand and Brothers in Valour. Interestingly, the first two were self-published (this means there was no publishing house behind them) and enjoyed an immense success.

The series are classical in the sense of story building. Captain Robichaux gradually earns his success and military victories, while training and giving confidence to his destroyer’s crew. On his side, there is his best friend, Dr Sahin, and a reliable council of advisers. The victories follow one after the other, but not without losses. The focus is on the hero and his crew, less on the ship itself.

to-honor-you-call-us
A nice, relaxed reading.

There are writers who like to introduce convoluted psychological plots and mind games. However, the author, Paul Honsinger, likes his story clean; the focus is on the fight itself, on the universe around it and on the crew. This makes the story easy to follow and engaging.

There is no hard scifi in those books, but the plot is imaginative, with nice twists. Also, every decision from the universe (such as why no women on board) is given a credible explanation (a genophage virus  sent by aliens to kill human females, due to the low reproductive rate of human species in comparison with aliens).

The battles are very creative and well described. The evolution of the hero and the crew is impressive. The captain is just an ordinary guy (not a prince or the son of a general), with a lot more grit, common sense and willingness to win that others. This type of character makes the reader to identify him/herself with the hero and follow his decisions.

I loved the series, it was easy to read. It was not a big,  convoluted plot where you have to make notes in order to remember what is happening. One of the most relaxing reads of military scifi.

Intelligent Research Design – Bob Hancké

The single-most relevant piece of advice, though, is to think carefully who you are writing for. Many, possibly most, research students write just for their supervisor. That is a big mistake: yes, you need to convince him or her of the important of what you are doing, but they are not the ultimate yardstick – and it’s too bad for them if they don’t know that. you should really have a broader, mostly sympathetic, audience in mind when you write, and should probably also diversify your imaginary audience a bit.

Although a book and not an article, I add this post in the Energy section, because it is more related to studies than reading.

Intelligent Research Design is a book offering advice for doctoral researchers at the beginning of their research. While short, the material is condensed and it takes a while to digest. Bob Hancké offers a guide to construct a thesis, from the research question to research design, methodology and presentation.

intelligent-market-design
Learning to construct science

The writing is easy to follow, although the material covered is difficult. It teaches the reader how science is created, the benchmarks of an academic paper and the questions we should ask when reading an article, revealing the potential gaps.

Bob Hancké  is Reader in European Political Economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science and he draws for his decades of teaching experience and grading to show how a good academic paper should look like.

I enjoyed reading the book and I could easily see the points that Hancké wanted to make. I would have liked to recommend the book to my younger me, writing the Masters dissertation.

Center of Gravity (Star Carrier, Book 2) – Ian Douglas

In the evolution of every sentient race, there is a turning point when the species achieves transcendence through technology. The warlike Sh’daar are determined that this monumental milestone will never be achieved by the creatures known as human. On the far side of known human space, the Marines are under siege, battling the relentless servant races of the Sh’daar aggressor. With a task force stripped to the bone and the Terran Confederation of States racked by dissent, rogue Admiral Alexander Koenig must make the momentous decision that will seal his fate and the fate of humankind. A strong defensive posture is futile, so Koenig will seize the initiative and turn the gargantuan Star Carrier “America” toward the unknown. For the element of surprise is the only hope of stalling the Sh’daar assault on Earth’s solar system-and the war for humankind’s survival must be taken directly to the enemy.

Center of Gravity is the second book of Ian Douglas in the Star Carrier series. The story revolves around the struggle of humanity to battle technologically superior races of allies, in distant future. The main protagonists are Commander Koenig, admiral of a human fleet, and Trevor Grey, pilot on one of the ships from Koenig’s command group.
center-of-gravity
Battles around the stars

Koenig allows the reader to see things at the strategic level, why the fleet retreats or attacks and the overall plan. Grey’s narrative level is more emotional and tactical, about simple people and how the war affects them.

The main ship of Koenig’s command group is kind of a spaceship carrier, where Grey’s spaceship is allotted to, hence the name of the series,  Star Carrier.
Humans battle an alien species called Sh’daar which fight through various other alien species under their control. In the first book, the aliens attacked Earth and humans barely succeeded to repulse the attack, through the efforts of Grey and Koenig.
In the second book, humans strike back, The pace is fast and the star battles and the ship to ship action are dynamic and engaging. While not as innovative in new technologies and ideas as the first book, the story still reads well. Overall, it is a good piece of military scifi.
Link to Book 1 review.

The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-first Century – Ronald Bailey

Back in 1972, the computer modelers for The Limits to Growth calculated 42 years ago that known world copper reserves would be entirely depleted in 36 years, lead in 26 years, mercury in 13 years, natural gas in 38 years, petroleum in 38 years, silver in 16 years, tin in 17 years, tungsten in 40 years, and zinc in 23 years.

The book from Ronald Bailey is a skeptical view of doom prophets, reminding readers how many predictions turned out to be false. Bailey gives several examples, such as the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth, agriculture or the  Swedish sperm count, among others.

Books predicting future become old quickly, so it is more constructive to look at books analyzing available data. His book is a well research argument for a libertarian view of the world, putting in place the notion that we live the best lives in the history of human kind. However, the book challenges one’s beliefs and it is difficult to read by an environmentalist.

the-end-of-doom
Questions on risk aversion

The author argues that never do anything for the first time also known as the precautionary principle will never allow innovations and the society having this as principle evolve (kind of the Chinese society in the 15-19 centuries).

Bailey’s interestingly notices the concept of pathological science, when researchers become blinded by their own moral beliefs.

On climate change, he notes, quoting Dan Kahan and the Yale cultural cognition project, that the debate is chiefly not about science, but about a clash of strongly held values, between mainly Individualist/Hierarchical and Communitarian/Egalitarian set of beliefs, both having different risk aversion. The more educated each person from this division, the more empirical evidence is found consistent with own beliefs, hence a confirmation bias.

On environment protection in general, Bailey’s notices that rich nations protect nature better, for example forest surface re-growing and air quality.

Between Malthusian doomsters and cornucopian optimists, the book tries to strike a balance and the author is conscious about his own potential biases.

Nonetheless, he correctly highlights that the environment discussion is a clash of ideas rather than a scientific debate, both sides having good, solid arguments. Linking with a previous book I just read, Guns, Germs and Steel, which has a liberal view in the US politics sense, environment protection is important: human societies in the Americas, for example, likely killed all large fauna (over 100 kg) crippling their future development. On the other hand, excessive risk aversion and a view of a perfect past (such as a pristine nature) could hinder and eventually destroy a society with this view.

It is a good book that I would recommend reading in balance with Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, so the reader can make its own opinion.