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Book details of 'Y2K Survival Guide, The: Getting To, Getting Through, and Getting Past the Year 2000 Problem'

Cover of Y2K Survival Guide, The: Getting To, Getting Through, and Getting Past the Year 2000 Problem
TitleY2K Survival Guide, The: Getting To, Getting Through, and Getting Past the Year 2000 Problem
Author(s)Bruce F. Webster
PublishedDecember 1998
PublisherPrentice Hall PTR
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Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
"Don't buy guns, cash all your stocks, withdraw your savings, and move to South Dakota unless you already had a good reason for doing so, and maybe not even then. It's really cold in South Dakota, and the last place you probably want to be is out in the countryside with a lot of other folks armed with guns and waiting for Armageddon." While those from South Dakota may bristle a bit at the impugning of their home state, the rest of us may be glad of a little sanity in the year 2000 debate. (On the other hand, maybe the population of South Dakota will be just as glad that someone is telling the nuts to stay home while Ed Yourdon [cf. BKTMBM2K.RVW] is yelling that we're all gonna die. This is, in fact, the book that Yourdon could have written, were he not so busy trying to make application to the Charlton Heston fan club.) (Also, since Webster's roots go 'way back in South Dakota, they'll probably forgive him.) Webster does not so much occupy the middle ground as look at the entire spectrum of reactions to the situation, and tries to remain rational throughout. Whoever did the cover design caught the tone perfectly: an ostrich with its head in the sand in the foreground, and a mushroom cloud in the background. And an awful lot of territory in between. Part one looks at how we got here. Chapter one starts with an overview of the problem and its cause. Unfortunately, while there are some very good points (such as the statement that it is a century, rather than millennial, problem) the basic explanation is somewhat confused, and doesn't rise above the generally available material on the topic. Whatever faults chapter one may have, though, are more than made up for in chapter two, which gives a clear and almost lyrical description of why the problem happened. Starting with limited hardware, continuing through software bloat, and ending with the seven deadly sins, the lessons are clear and unflinching. (I can even forgive the mention of the scandal du jour, given the deft manner of its inclusion.) A number of the myriad barriers to getting the job done are examined in chapter three. Chapter four reviews a number of myths in regard to Y2K. Part two looks at preparation in this last year before the deadline. This section is full of suggested actions you can take, to a greater or lesser extent, to get ready. Chapter five looks at laying a foundation: how to plan what to protect. This may seem facile, but it has a real purpose. If you can't do everything, and you probably can't, make sure you do what is most important. To you. Where other books may have a bibliography, chapter six lays out some guidelines for actually getting yourself educated for what might come. The discussion of health ranges from the possible failure of Medicare to starting a fitness program (so as to generally improve your health and avoid the possibility of hospitalization), in chapter seven. Chapter eight reviews planning for home needs. Food concerns, in chapter nine, tend to be weighted towards flour, dried foods, and other items that need preparation (and therefore, in most people's minds, electricity and water) but the exercise and some pointers are quite helpful. The "career" plan in chapter ten is probably appropriate to any situation, quite apart from the possibility of a recession, and the financial planning in chapter eleven is pretty sound. Building a community and support network is possibly the most important thing you can do to prepare, and is hardly ever mentioned apart from this book's chapter twelve. Part three is again preparation, but more of a mental type. Chapter thirteen looks at the value (and danger) of trying to see what's ahead. A variety of scenarios, ranging in severity, are presented in chapter fourteen. Part four talks about getting on with life after Y2K, and whatever it brings. Chapter fifteen suggests taking stock and making an assessment. The lessons we should learn from the year 2000 fiasco are reviewed in chapter sixteen. Two of the appendices are from work the author did with the Washington, DC Year 2000 Group. Appendix A contains testimony presented to Congress, and Appendix B gives the results of two surveys of the group members. Appendix C has a very useful set of resources for further study, heavily weighted to Internet sites. Like the more sensationally named "Time Bomb 2000" (see reviews), this book is aimed at the general population. It does a much better job of presenting the reality, and, at the same time, suggesting useful ways to address the issue. I think it's appropriate to close with another quote from the book, this one only a few sentences after the one that opened this review: "Focus on solving as many problems as you can in your own circle of influence, starting with your own life and family, but including your community. Build social cohesion. Do the same sensible personal preparation ..." copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999

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