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In capitalistic society even colleges are a business. This is something that to a certain extent we all are aware of. Jeffery Selingo writes about this in depth. It is a must read even if you don't have a family member college bound.
In my opinion he could have mentioned in more detail CLEP and DANTES equivalency exams for cost reduction. But That is just my opinion.
This approachable, entertaining, well-researched book provides clear and useful summaries of medical studies on a wide range of important pregnancy-related topics: the pros and cons of various pre-natal tests, epidurals, induction, doulas, and home birth; foods that are best to be avoided, and those that are less dangerous than conventional wisdom might have us presume. It is an excellent resource-- it's like a friendly encyclopedia of pregnancy- and childbirth- related medical research!
The author emphasizes the fact that medical recommendations come from studies, not from thin air-- and that with a little guidance (which Oster provides), women and their partners can understand those studies, and how to interpret the results in the context of their own lives. Oster shares her own choices (with much self-deprecating humor), but makes it clear that this book is about providing information, not prescriptions.
I greatly appreciated her discussions of the origins and evolution of different recommendations (eg. pre-natal testing after 35, bed rest, fetal heart monitoring during labor, episiotomies); it's really informative to see how best practices change from one generation to the next, and how sometimes practices lag behind research.
The introduction is available online at the Huffington post; I'd suggest checking that out to get a feel for the book. It's a lot less controversial than many of the reviews below would have you believe.
All the hoopla around the "pregnancy vices" chapter is overshadowing some of the other important contributions of this book. In the interest of helping you decide if the rest of the book is something you might find valuable:
One of the main themes of this book is that if you want to act in the best interest of your child, you need to figure out what "best" is. Your doctor can guide you, but you can and should have responsibility and agency in these matters.
To a lot of pregnant women, choices about alcohol, coffee, and food are easy-- err on the side of utmost caution. Yet one thing Oster highlights is that most pregnancy-related choices aren't so easily dealt with-- in part because the costs and benefits aren't always clear, and in part because even when they are, the alternatives *all* have costs and benefits worth weighing.
Expectant parents have to make choices, choices that involve real tradeoffs for both baby and mother. Non-invasive prenatal screening, amnio, or CVS? Schedule the induction, or not? Epidural, or not? Home, or hospital? This book does fantastic job of presenting the most credible, up-to-date estimates of the costs and benefits associated with each of these choices, and pinpoints particular things about your situation that that might make you weigh the costs and benefits differently than your friend, your OB, or Emily herself.
I think this is where the book excels, and really fills a void: chapters about topics that are less inherently buzz-worthy than booze, but perhaps even more difficult to navigate in a sea of murky data and misinformation. The prenatal testing chapter is particularly good.
Aslan has dedicated his life to researching and documenting the historical life of Jesus, the man. I think Aslan does an excellent job of putting the stories associated with Jesus in historical context, and I found the description of the conflict and tension between the original church led by the Apostles, and the rogue version invented by Paul which eventually crushed the preachings of Jesus and emerged as Christianity fascinating.
I plan to read one or two of the rebuttal books--at least Bill O'Reilly's--but books I have read in the past which attempt to defend Christianity or the Bible generally rely on an assumption that we first agree that Jesus is the son of God, and accept the divinity of the Bible, and then "back that up" with a lot of circular arguments based on that false assumption. Plus, Aslan has a doctorate and studied the topic for decades--including citing sources--while the rebuttal books are essentially knee-jerk responses by people who were offended or feel that Aslan has in some way challenged their faith, and most likely rely on citing the Bible as a source to itself. So, I'm not expecting great things from the rebuttal books.
I was hooked the minute I started reading it. It really helped me to see the people in my life that I need to re-evaluate. This was given as a gift from my best friend and she couldn't stop raving about it. I really like Dr. Phil's no frills approach to the subject. I wish he had written this years ago.
I currently have the 2011 version installed on two laptops in my house and have had no problems. I've had less spam/junk mail in my Outlook inbox, and McAfee catches unwanted pop-ups better than pop-up settings on both Chrome and Firefox. The only irritants were its constant presence on my Firefox browser (a recent update took care of it tho'), and its blocking of safe websites I visit on a regular basis. Otherwise, the installation is easy and simple, and the program does what it promises to do. I have not taken advantage of the online backup (2G) because my hard drive was so full I needed an external hard drive, but it is a nice service to offer and it is competitive with other online back-up companies like Dropbox and SugarSync.