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Review of: Trash Talk

If you want to save money and help the earth too, Trash Talk is a "must read."

Price: $19.95

It's very likely you will earn back the purchase price every month, if you put just a few of this book's many wonderful suggestions into practice.

Availability: Usually ships within 24 hours
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Review of Trash Talk, by Lillian Brummet and Dave Brummet

Reviewer: Mark Lamendola

When I was very young, the authorities drained most of a small lake in the state park near my home. My mother took my best buddy and me out to the lake, and we walked around for hours picking up trash. It was a stewardship lesson I never forgot. To paraphrase Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, I will treasure that time cleaning up the lake for as long as I shall live.

But, it was one of many lessons about being a responsible resident of the planet. I grew up in a home where we already practiced much of the advice in Trash Talk. That made us unusual, in a positive way. As an adult, I continue those same practices--because they are good for the earth and good for my wallet. They simply make sense.

I did learn some new things from Trash Talk, which in itself was a surprise because I am noted for being able to stretch a buck and not waste things. I like the ability to live cheaply without being a cheapskate to do it. Not all surprises are good, but this one was. And I've already begun implementing some of what I've learned. Even very frugal, waste-conscious people are likely to realize monthly savings in excess of what they paid for this book. The average person could easily save that much each week.

As a professional speaker on time management, I was delighted with the way the Brummets organized this book. The "don't waste" philosophy of Trash Talk also applied to the actual reading of the book. That shouldn't be surprising, as planning and organization are key elements of reducing trash and cutting costs.

Trash Talk explains the three Rs: Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle. It then adds a fourth R: Refuse (as in, refuse to buy the wrong items). These principles form the foundation for the hundreds of useful tips in Trash Talk.

The book is organized into four parts.

Part One addresses commonly wasted items and explains how to reduce waste and extend the usefulness of each item. Every item has its own section, and each section ends with a bulleted list of the benefits from following the advice in that section. The items include such things as bags, carpets, cloth, containers, dryer sheets, furniture, glass, hangers, nylons, plastic rings, soap, and toothbrushes.

Part Two is less oriented around specific products and more around areas of concern. Each of these has its own section, as well (again, with those wonderful bulleted lists). Areas of concern include energy use, holidays, indoor air, infant and feminine hygiene, kitchen waste, organic gardening, and water use.

Part Three is really about saving trees. There's much more to this than most people realize. If everyone followed some simple steps, as outlined in Trash Talk, the benefit to our forests, streams, and air would be immense.

Part Four provides short examples of good things happening. The point of including these is to show that significant trash reduction is a reality for many corporations and other organizations. An extensive list of resources follows the examples.

Form is important and Trash Talk could use some editing. But even so, it was enjoyable read and easy to understand. This book is valuable, in many ways. First, remember that this book is a financial investment. It will pay dividends exceeding its purchase price, not long after you start putting it to use. Second, it provides badly-needed advice on how to be good citizens of the world. It's not a "feel good" book written by some politician or celebrity who wants to spout some politically correct blather. It's a practical "how to" guide written by people who walk the walk.

Buy this book for yourself. But also consider giving it as a gift to others. It may be one of the most durable gifts you have ever bestowed on another person. Your planet will thank you.


About these reviews

You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?

I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?

And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.

This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.

My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.

A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.

About your reviewer

  • Books are a passion of mine. I read dozens of them each year, plus I listen to audio books.
  • Most of my "reading diet" consists of nonfiction. I think life is too short to use your limited reading time on material that has little or no substance. That leads into my next point...
  • In 1990, I stopped watching television. I have not missed it. At all.
  • I was first published as a preteen. I wrote an essay, and my teacher submitted it to the local paper.
  • For six years, I worked as an editor for a trade publication. I left that job in 2002, and still do freelance editing and authoring for that publication (and for other publications).
  • No book has emerged from my mind onto the best-seller list. So maybe I'm presumptuous in judging the work of others. Then again, I do more describing than judging in my reviews. And I have so many articles now published that I stopped counting them at 6,000. When did I stop? Probably 20,000 articles ago! (It's been a while).
  • I have an engineering degree and an MBA, among other "quant" degrees. That helps explain my methodical approach toward reviews.
  • You probably don't know anybody who has made a perfect or near perfect score on a test of Standard Written English. I have. So, a credential for whatever it's worth.

About reading style

No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.

Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.

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