The 2011 Electric Car Guide: Discover the truth about owning and using electric cars

by Michael Boxwell

Smog, global warming (if it really exists, right?) and the ever-increasing cost of gas are all compelling reasons to seek out alternative transportation sources.  But in our mobile world, it is impossible to do without a car – most of us commute several miles to and from work each day, making it impossible to rely on buses, bikes or feet to get us where we’re going.

Enter the electric car.  Even though they have been around for years, we really don’t hear much about them yet.  Perhaps they are too expensive for many people, or there are other barriers to ownership like long-lasting batteries or high repair costs.  Whatever the case may be, I expect we will begin hearing more and more about these “cars of the future”.If you have made 2011 the year you follow through and make the leap into electric car ownership, The 2011 Electric Car Guide will help guide you through the ins and outs of buying, owning and maintaining an electric car.  The author, Michael Boxwell, has owned electric cars for years and shares his insights to help prospective owners make an informed decision.

The 2011 Electric Car Guide offers a complete guide to the benefits and drawbacks of electric cars, information on the latest models and the true environmental impact of owning an electric car.  Other electric car owners have added their insights as well, giving readers a well-rounded, true account of what it’s really like to own electric cars.

With a perfect 4-star review on Amazon, The 2011 Electric Car Guide delivers what it promises and helps give you an easier and more informed buying decision.

Initial D by Shuichi Shigeno

A story about young street racers in the mountains of central Japan

Initial D is a story about young street racers in the mountains of central Japan. Don’t get the wrong idea though, there are no hot chicks waiting at the start line in mini-skirts, no neon lights painting the ground green and no crazy police chases. The story follows a pair of high school students and a local race team, the Akina Speed Stars as they defend their home “course”.

Released in Japan in 1995 Initial D is a Japanese graphic novel commonly known as a manga. Like so many stories for young men and boys it does follow a “monster of the week” formula in this case the “monster” being a new type of car, driver or course to take on. The illustrations of the cars in action are very realistic and exciting. You get the feeling that you are looking at a photograph from a circuit race because the artist captures exactly what is happening. Conversely the character animations are sub-par which seems to prove just how important the author feels the cars are to the plot.

By themselves some of the cars are very much characters in the series. They grow and change throughout the story and even have loss. Despite the lacking character illustrations the stories attached to the characters themselves are interesting. Because you care about the characters you care what happens to them. This is a basic storytelling foundation lost on so many modern writers.

In 2002, hoping to cash in on the “Fast and Furious” trend Tokyopop released and re-translated the series for American readers. While the main story remained largely unchanged there were some critical scenes cut or edited, names changed and mis-translations made from the original Japanese version. There have been movies, a television series, video games, toys and merchandise of all types associated with the Initial D franchise making it arguably the most successful racing manga in history. Shuichi Shigeno continues to release volumes of the series to this day including a recent release in July of 2011.

What sets this story apart from being just a tale about people who race cars is the lesson aspect. As the story progresses certain types of vehicles, equipment and techniques are discussed. At some point a character will explain why this or that has advantages or disadvantages. It is an excellent way for someone who knows very little about cars and racing to get a great primer on the lingo. It takes a couple of volumes to get the story really rolling but the slow burn is worth it. I recommend this series to anyone who likes racing, cars or wants to learn more about either in a fun way.

The Tokyopop license for distributing this series expired some years ago so it may be difficult to find this in brick-and-mortar stores anymore. However thanks to Amazon, Ebay and used book stores it can be had with little fuss. In addition, since the US distribution license expiration there are now several websites such as that offer it in electronic form.

From Zero to Hero: How to Master the Art of SELLING CARS

From Zero to Hero is a book to help car salesmen improve their selling skills and bring home more commissions.  The author, Jeffrey F. Knott, was a salesman for more than 20 years, and during that time began teaching other salesmen and dealerships his techniques for maximizing sales.Knott maintains that only certain personality types will do very well at selling cars – those who are outgoing, energetic, enthusiastic and not afraid of hard work.  People with an inherent appreciation for the thoughts and feelings of others tend to do well in this business, especially when they work hard to build and maintain relationships with their clients.

In From Zero to Hero, Knott outlines every step of a successful sale, from meeting the customer to closing the deal, and offers insights from his own lengthy experience to help readers understand what makes customers tick.

If you are slumping in sales or just wanting to improve your skills, From Zero to Hero can help you get the motivation and inspiration you need to take things up a notch.  This book says what many others do, but in a more concise way.

From Zero to Hero is a short read at 244 8.5”x5.5” pages, but it has some helpful insights into how to be a successful salesman.  With an average review of 4.5 stars out of 22 reviews, it seems to be well-received on Amazon, with reviews calling it “satisfying”, “insightful and helpful” and “a must for sales people”.  It currently sells for $12.63 in paperback format, but you can get it much cheaper for the Kindle version at just $4.62.

Don't Get Taken Every Time: The Ultimate Guide to Buying or Leasing a Car, in the Showroom or on the Internet

Dubbed the “Public Enemy #1 of the car dealers” by Washington Post, author Remar Sutton fills Don't Get Taken Every Time with 496 pages of critical insights into the darker side of the automotive business, exposing hundreds of schemes, scams and tricks auto dealerships use when trying to land a sale.This book is a must-read before your next purchase or lease.  In addition to dealership tricks, Sutton reveals internet scams, credit rating tampering and other unscrupulous tactics you may encounter with dealerships both on and offline.

In its sixth edition now, this book has been updated with the latest tricks and schemes, along with step-by-step guidelines.  Considered “the definitive guide on buying or leasing a new or used vehicle” by critics, Don't Get Taken Every Time will walk you through every step of the process, from negotiating to financing.

Don’t Get Taken Every Time is available on Amazon for $10.20, or in e-book format through Amazon’s Kindle for just $3.99.  This handy reference would make an excellent Kindle book since you can take it with you on a smart phone or your Kindle to help remind you of what you need to do at the car lot.

Out of 29 reviews on Amazon, all but five are five-star rated.  This book is proving its worth over and over again with customers intent on staying out of the tangled web of deceitful car dealership practices.  One review is titled, “Don’t Buy A Car Without This Book First!” while another calls it “Required reading for buying a car”.  Clearly, this is a top contender for car buying guidebooks.

The Art Of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein

Although the title of this book would lead you to believe it is a racing instruction manual with a very specific focus it is in fact a commentary on life told through the eyes of Enzo, a dog owned by an amateur racer. On the surface this seems like a ridiculous concept however seeing the world interpreted through the mind of a canine makes everything seem clearer and simpler.

Without giving away too much I can tell you that the story is about Enzo’s owner and the terrible misfortunes he is put through. The lead character is a beginning level race driver in an organization like SCCA or NASA. Like so many of us in the motorsports world he is balancing his work and home life with the money and time consuming world of racing. Throughout the whole ordeal his four-legged life companion is there, witnessing it all. Within these pages are many true to life words of wisdom that work both in the driver seat and in the outside world.

I must prepare any who seek to read this novel that all but the most emotionless monsters will find this to be a tear-jerker beyond Old Yeller or Where the Red Fern Grows. At 321 pages in paperback it is a very fast weekend read. Those well-versed in the automotive and motorsports worlds will love the references to specific races, drivers and machines. This book is not just for automotive enthusiasts or animal lovers, it bridges the niche gap and strikes a chord somewhere in all our lives. I would rate the novel PG-13 for content. There is also a more child-friendly version available called Racing in the Rain: My Life as a Dog.

The Art Of Racing In The Rain retails for $14.99 but can be had for less through

How to Draw Cars Like a Pro, 2nd Edition

When my husband and I first met, he was an avid car artist. He loved to spend time drawing cars of all different makes and models, and they always appeared to precise and perfect. As a more organic artist who drew mostly people or anthropomorphic animals (and a wide range between the two, depending upon which comics I was interested in at the time), I couldn’t get how he could get the angles and lines so well. It turns out that he had a secret—car drawing manuals.

How to Draw Cars Like a Pro is one such book. It is filled with plenty of how-to descriptions about how to draw the perfect car, and dozens of examples of how car drawings should appear. The paperback book is widely considered a helpful and effective tool to use when cartooning, drawing real life cars, or doing caricatures in between. You get to really know the body and style of the basic car model while you doodle, learning how to really draw the classics and build upon them in your art. 200 examples from the best artists in the industry are also provided for quick reference.

You can get a copy of this book at for $14.89.

Interview with Computer Repairman

A cousin of mine is a computer wiz who occasionally does computer repair on the side; he typically works as a manager of a store full time. He agreed to answer a few of my questions about the job that he loves to do—tinker on the guts of many a computer.

How did you get started in computer repair?

That was my original passion. I went to school for computer repair and that’s what my degree is in. You know I’m a gamer and computers and games are what I love most.

So why don’t you work in computer repair full time?

I sort of just fell into the manager job I have, and started working up so I could buy a house and raise a family. I might do it fulltime someday; I don’t know. I don’t mind my job and it gives me plenty of time to spend with my family, and I don’t have weird hours that I might have if I worked on computers full time.

What do you charge per visit?

Usually a base rate of $50, less for family and friends. If it’s really complicated and I have to take it home to fix I charge more. If it’s something really easy and I’m out of there in ten or twenty minutes I usually only ask for $25 to be fair.

The Little Book of Mini: 50th Anniversary Edition [Hardcover]

Brian Laban (Author)

Amazon is offering The Little Book of Mini: 50th Anniversary Edition [Hardcover] for only $9.99 with FREE shipping if you spend over $25 or have Amazon Prime.

"This is the story of an extraordinary motoring icon celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2009.  A car that was conceived as the answer to a crisis but which became one of the best known.  It is the story of a car that was designed for the masses but became a must-have fashion statement for the rich and famous."

Furniture Repair Book By Creative Homeowner Press

Want to save yourself a little cash this year? Perhaps instead of buying new furniture - you can repair the stuff you already have! It will almost certainly save you money, but, in addition - you can do something to help stay in shape (or get there) and provide some time to just enjoy a hobby! The Furniture Repair Book By Creative Homeowner Press. This book takes a hands-on approach, teaches through step-by-step instructions and full-color photo sequences. All tasks are rated for difficulty and feature tools and materials lists. Contains over 350 color photos and illustrations, a complete glossary and an index.

American Highway Roulette

Author: Denton Gay

Are you a geeky car buff looking for that next big auto read? Perhaps you should check out American Highway Roulette by auto insurance claim professional Denton Gay. It will really open your mind (as well as your eyes and ears) to the new rules of the road and what to look out for. The book talks - in detail - about auto accidents and the physical, emotional and financial burdens that come with. You can get your own copy at Amazon for only $9.99 - but with all of the great information, you might just save yourself thousands in the long run.

FROM AMAZON: American Highway Roulette: Driving Risks and Consequences of Automobile Accidents, by auto insurance claim professional Denton Gay, is a book that every parent and teenage driver should read. In addition to discussing the physical, emotional, and economic ramifications of automobile accidents and how to minimize the risk of collision, the author gives a simple explanation of the insurance and legal systems we must face when dealing with coverage and claims, as well as the important procedures to follow if involved in an accident. Readers will be fascinated-and often shocked-by the information about auto accidents. Using roulette as a dramatic comparison, we soon understand what the odds are...and how to beat them. The author delivers compelling information about everything from claim values to death benefits, juries to awards, legal rights to repair costs. Readers will find this book highly informative and sobering. Whether they are parents or teenage drivers, educators or consumer groups, this is a book that will improve the odds for everyone.

Check it out and share your experiences!