So, I've mentioned Derek before around these parts. He's a very sharp guy. Actually, I think his book reviews here - http://sivers.org/book - are basically the best on the internet.
You can get more nuanced, flowery, beautifully written reviews elsewhere. But you can't find as much raw distilled practicality as you will in Derek's reviewing. He takes notes and excerpts as he's reading, and puts his notes online when he's done with the book. 90% of one of his reviews are excerpts, with only 10% commentary.
This in and of itself is actually kind of rare, but other people do that too. What really sets Derek's reviews apart is that he picks the right stuff to excerpt. He's able to separate the fluffy parts of a book from the most actionable and impactful parts. A long, fluffy story that's meant to rouse the heart might get a single line in a Sivers review, but then he'll distill down the most practical elements into a mixed summary checklist that becomes extremely valuable. Since I personally look for practical advice rather than flowery emotional content, this suits me very well.
For instance, check out his review of Chet Holmes "Ultimate Sales Machine" - http://sivers.org/book/UltimateSalesMachine - first, I gotta agree with him on the 10/10. It's one of my top five favorite business books. But then look at how he chooses to excerpt -
TEN STEPS TO IMPLEMENT ANY NEW POLICY:
1. Get everyone to feel the pain
2. Hold a workshop to generate solutions
3. Develop a conceptual solution or procedure
4. Leader personally performs procedure or task
5. Set a deadline for testing the conceptual procedure
6. Document step-by-step procedure or process
7. Have show-and-tell role playing
8. Have another workshop on how to improve
9. Monitor the procedure directly
10. Measure and reward the outcome
I was reading about the history of South Korea, particularly the Park Chung-hee Dictatorship from 1961 until Park's assassination in 1979.
Two qualities define his reign -
1. Authoritarianism. Suppression of opposition, suppression of liberalism, militarism, war, and general high-handedness.
2. Industrialization. Rapidly modernizing, improvement in economic quality of life, South Korea's rise from the most devastated part of East Asia into a burgeoning economic power.
You'll see lots of history follow that pattern -- authoritarian societies seem to be able to rapidly industrialize and "catch up" with the rest of the world.