The Art Of Troubleshooting

A useful, entertaining and unusual guide that turns troubleshooting into an art form.
Debut author Maxham, a founder of a data-mining company who also pilots airplanes, is the kind of guy who likes to figure out how and why machines break. It occurred to him that this skill—troubleshooting—is one that everybody should learn: “I want to put you back in control by giving you the tools and mindset needed to have a healthy and productive relationship with the machines in your world,” he writes. The brilliance of his handsomely packaged book is in how he generalizes troubleshooting for virtually any machine or system. He offers numerous strategies for how to assess, address and fix problems, and his solutions run from the obvious (turn the machine off and on again) to the complex (“[M]alfunctioning parts, each with their own patterns, can act together to produce much more complicated and intermittent failures”). Maxham occasionally employs some unexpected methods, such as when he applies therapists’ skills to computer programming, because, he says, “machine problems are actually human problems.” Maxham’s study is a highly intriguing work that’s a deep-dive how-to guide for service technicians of any ilk. However, the book could be equally valuable to lay readers who are keen on learning how to diagnose problems. Although Maxham uses several technical examples and discusses theories that may be a bit advanced for some readers, he lightens the book with well-chosen, cleverly captioned color photographs to illustrate conceptual points. Several tables and diagrams also act as useful supplements. Overall, Maxham’s style is informative, engaging and laced with humor.

A quirky read that may be a breath of fresh air for professional and novice troubleshooters alike.

Pub Date: May 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1497522152

Page Count: 356

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2014



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955