Friday, April 30, 2010

Book Quote: Blood Transfusions in the 1880s

From Genius on the Edge by Dr. Gerald Imber (pages 43-44):

Halsted's interest in transfusion led him to focus his efforts on a common condition of the day, illuminating gas poisoning. The first residential electric lights became available in New York City in 1882, but consumers had to be within a one-mile radius of Thomas Edison's direct-current generating plant on Pearl Street in order to receive service. It would be another decade before alternating current, which could transmit current farther, became generally available. Meanwhile, homes, businesses, and streets continued to be illuminated with gas, and a by-product of burning gas was carbon monoxide. Workers exposed to illuminating gas were often acutely poisoned by it, particularly in confined spaces like the gaslit night boats plying the rivers. In the emergency ward at the Chambers Street Hospital, Halsted devised a procedure called centripetal transfusion, in which the patient's blood was removed, aerated, and returned to the donor. Aeration removed carbon monoxide from its combination with hemoglobin and allowed the hemoglobin to combine with oxygen from the air. Halsted believed it was preferable to retransfuse the blood into an artery rather than a vein, so that it would go "against the stream and not mix with other blood and cause gangrene of the extremity." Whether arterial retransfusion was of any particular value is debatable, but the blood's renewed ability to carry oxygen cleared the acute toxicity and patients recovered rapidly.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Suitcase Full of Dreams by Hoy Kersh

book cover

Suitcase Full of Dreams
by Hoy Kersh

Trade Paperback: 138 pages
Publisher: Cozilove Enterprises
First Released: 2010

Author Website

Source: Review copy received through contact with PR by the Book.

Book Description from Author Website (modified):
Suitcase Full of Dreams is a memoir that illustrates what living in the segregated South was like for a young black child. Hoy Kersh gives readers access to the sorrows and joys of growing up in the dirt-road, Jim Crow South in the 1940s and early '50s, just prior to the Civil Rights Movement.

Kersh shares her personal memories from a child's perspective. Born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Kersh's father was the son of a German sheriff who had a black mistress. The Klan drove Kersh's family out of town after her grandfather died. They moved to Mobile, Alabama, where she lived until age 16. She spent most of her days questioning authority and avoiding her mother's heavy hand.

Suitcase Full of Dreams was an entertaining and interesting memoir. It covered the time between 1941 and 1956 (her birth to age 16) and was mainly set in Mobile, Alabama. The story tended to jump around in time, and I still haven't figured out how she could be 16 in 1956 if she was born in 1941. However, the stories--snippets of memories about her life--were easy enough to follow even though her age at the time was sometimes difficult to keep track of.

The author was very cynical as a child and, if someone said "don't do this," then she did it. She lied, gambled, skipped school (a private Catholic school), trespassed, etc. It's not like she had good role models, however. She told of her life of poverty, abuse at home, the hangings and killings by the KKK, segregation, and the scandals that went through the neighborhood every so often.

She didn't blame all whites as bad. However, I got a little tired of how she wasn't consistent in her blame-game. If her mother or father hit, whipped, or belted her, she excused it as "all they knew" due to segregation and the past slavery (of some) of her ancestors. If a Christian did something bad--like incest or hitting their children-then even if they were black or had a bad background, she blamed Christianity for the abuse. If a Christian did something right, they were odd or nice in spite of being Christian or trying to make her feel guilty for being rebellious. But, since her father idealized what life was like in Africa before the slave trade started (they were all queens and kings, highly civilized, no conflict, etc.), I can see why she was drawn to the African religions she knew little about...especially when she didn't like all the rules of the "white man's religion" from Catholic school.

The story ended abruptly as she's about to move to the North. Perhaps the author is planning on a sequel. She had a unique writing style that some people might find a little difficult to read at times. She also used a fair amount of bad language while telling her story. Overall, I was glad I read this book. I think people would enjoy this memoir if they're interested in what life was like for poor blacks in the highly-segregated South before the Civil Rights Movement really got going.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
I left the South so long ago, never to return, never looking back to allow yesterday to flood on in. Most likely the images from my past will disturb me, break through the barriers guarding my heart. Maybe blame it on the softness of the day, the sweet smell of the earth after the morning rain, the sun so hot it burns through me; whatever the reason, I surrender and see her, see me. A brown-eyed little girl tugs gently on my hand. Seems like she calls me from a distant shore. I answer her and the past floods into the present, Mississippi, Alabama, Grandma Emma, Mama, and Daddy. The life I walked away from, buried deep inside my chest, has come to life again, and the tears stream softly, laughter, sorrow, good times, hard times all exposed.

My faded birth certificate reveals so little. I have it until this day. Mother's name, Mabel Elease; colored; housekeeper; twenty-two years old, father's name, James Cosmore; colored; painter, twenty-four years old. Mama's firstborn, Walter, died at six months, and Bobby was three when I was born on January 24, 1941, in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Cohoma County; home of the blues, run-down shacks, and cotton fields. I was named Catherine Rose.

Mama named me after two white women she worked for, gentle, middle-aged spinsters who loved her and treated her with respect. Miss Catherine was thin as a stick. Her eyes were almost violet colored, with the laugh lines around her mouth that happy people get.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Book Quotes: Sugar

From Life Inside the "Thin" Cage by Constance Rhodes (pages 119-120):

I first became aware of the influence of sugar on our body and brain when I read my mother's journals years ago. Intent on finding the elusive key to freedom from her bulimia, my mom had discovered a consistent connection between her intake of sugar and her out-of-control appetite. For example, she found that she would feel calmer and was less likely to binge if she chose pretzels instead of a candy bar for a snack.

Years after reading my mother's notes, I discovered this same connection in my own eating struggles. When I ate foods that were high in sugar, I seemed to crave more--even though I knew I didn't really want the sugar in my system. After a few days of avoiding candy and other high-sugar foods, I would feel calmer and less out of control.

In their book Why Can't I Stop Eating? recovering food addict Debbie Danowski and medical doctor Pedro Lazaro point out that, according to many studies, "Sugar is one of the most physiologically addictive substances." (They go on to say that the average American consumes more than 151 pounds of sugar per year!)

Many of us who watch what we eat may think we've done well to remove excess sweets from our diet when in fact the opposite may be true. For example, as we discussed in chapter 4, chronic dieters often try to maintain a low-fat or fat-free diet. What these dieters may not realize is that "in many cases, low-fat foods contain more sugar than 'regular' ones to provide enhanced flavor." Because of this, low-fat eaters often end up eating larger quantities of sugar than they realize, which only makes them hungrier.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Soldier's Promise by Daniel Hendrex

book cover

A Soldier's Promise:
The Heroic True Story of an American Soldier and an Iraqi Boy
by Daniel Hendrex, Wes Smith

Hardback: 272 pages
Publisher: Simon Spotlight Entertainment
First Released: 2006

Source: Bought through

Back Cover Description:
After the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, First Sergeant Daniel Hendrex was dispatched along with his unit, Dragon Company, to Husaybah, a small town bordering Syria in the Sunni-dominated Al Anbar Province in Iraq. Their mission was to plug the bottleneck at the border checkpoint, where foreign fighters and weapons smugglers were filtering through daily to join the increasingly menacing insurgency growing rapidly in the region. It was at this checkpoint, amid relentless attacks, that Daniel and his men found the most effective ally of the war effort in the most unlikely of sources.

In December 2003 a skinny Iraqi kid about fourteen years old approached one of the soldiers at the border and said simply, "Arrest me." Jamil, as he was called, claimed to have valuable information about the insurgency, but First Sergeant Hendrex was skeptical -- especially when the boy announced that the man he wanted to turn in was his own father. The story that unfolds is one of heartbreaking tragedy, remarkable courage, and unprecedented resiliency, as this child of the insurgency takes it upon himself to fight back with the help of the U.S. Army...and loses everything in the process -- his country, his home, and his family.

But through the power of his own conviction and his finely honed survival skills, Jamil (who was quickly nicknamed Steve-O by the soldiers of Dragon Company) sought refuge with the U.S. military in exchange for information. He risked everything he knew for a chance at freedom -- a choice few men, let alone children, have to make in their lifetimes. And after Steve-O helped save countless lives, First Sergeant Hendrex made it his personal mission to repay his debt and get the boy to safety.

A Soldier's Promise is an incredible story of sacrifice and courage by an Iraqi boy and the U.S. soldiers who protected him from certain death by bringing him to the United States. It's an astonishing tale of two countries and two very different kinds of people joining together against terror and tyranny, and of the young man who, against all odds, gave Dragon Company what they desperately needed -- hope.

A Soldier's Promise was a soldier's memoir covering the years 2000 to 2004. If you've read other memoirs by soldiers' in Iraq, then there isn't much new information here though it was interesting to read about the particular challenges of his location and how his tank crew had to adapt to usually patrolling on foot or in unarmored Humvees.

For me, the interesting part was Jamil's story. Stories from his childhood and the events leading up to his meeting with Hendrex were told in alternating chapters with Hendrex's story. It was interesting to see what life had been like there before the war and an inside view of the insurgency in that city.

The book was easy to read and often suspenseful. There was some bad language--usually other people's bad language was referred to in "he cussed" style while Hendrex sprinkled actual bad words throughout his narrative. There were some black and white photos of the people mentioned in the book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from pages 26-27
Jamil had been drafted into a local insurgent cell of about forty Iraqis operating under the leadership of his father and his next-door neighbor, Sayed Atta Ali, who would become a major target of U.S. intelligence agencies. The boy would also come to realize that Sayed and his father were widely feared in their own community because they were responsible for keeping local Iraqis in line with the insurgency's mission. If a male family member refused to join the insurgents, or if a family member was suspected of sympathizing, cooperating, or trading with the American soldiers in the region, these men stepped in. They raped, tortured, mutilated, and killed the offender and sometimes his family members, too.

There would be many more meetings with the insurgent cell in the weeks and months that followed. Jamil sat transfixed by the strategies and the planning but terrified at the prospect of participating. He listened as they talked about weapons caches they'd created in their homes and yards for mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and rifles. He accompanied them on scouting trips to select ambush sites along routes used by the American troops.

The American soldiers and their menacing weaponry were all over Husaybah. Yet, Jamil's initial fear of them had given way to curiosity. They were intimidating with all of the military equipment and protection they carried. He'd seen them awkwardly trying to greet people in the marketplace, although most Iraqis were afraid to trade with them for fear of reprisals from the ever-present spies for the insurgency. Jamil had watched American soldiers reaching out to schoolchildren and adults in his neighborhood with gifts of clothing, shoes, food, soccer balls, toys, and candy. Some had even helped repair the school. It was difficult for him to reconcile the men he'd observed with the hated "Great Satan" of which his father and Sayed spoke. He had never seen them attack anyone. The American soldiers could be aggressive and threatening but only when threatened themselves. They rarely fired their weapons unless someone was firing at them.

The day Jamil had dreaded finally came. Late into a meeting of the insurgency cell, his father disappeared and came back with a battle-scarred AK-47 rifle and tossed it to him. Nearly every boy in Iraq learned to fire these rifles at a young age. But Jamil had never had one of his own. And this rile was not for shooting games or target practice. His father expected him to kill with it. If he refused to fight, he was essentially signing his own death sentence and perhaps putting his other family members in jeopardy. If he did not join his father, Nassir might recruit his younger brothers. Jamil had gone along with the insurgent training, pretending to be enthused as the others even while dreading the night when he would be forced to join an attack.

Now it was upon him, and there was no turning back.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Book Quotes: Causes of Suicide

From Too Soon to Say Goodbye by Susan Titus Osborn, MA; Karen L. Kosman; Jeenie Gordon, MS, MA, LMFT (page 108):

So it is in the throes of depression. The suicidal person can't see through the murkiness of her pain to know that safety lies only a short distance away.

Suicide is never a good option. It does not solve anything. It brings an abrupt end to the resources that could have brought relief, completion of fulfilled dreams, and the return of happiness.

There are a number of mental disorders that cause chemical imbalances in the brain and may contribute to suicidal behavior. However, they can often be controlled with medication when prescribed and overseen by a psychiatrist. Although these illnesses are often treatable, some emotionally desperate patients will choose not to live.

Often external circumstances such as job loss, financial disaster, loss of a child, failure in school, or marital problems are blamed for suicide. However, these events may act only as triggers. In a moment where reality is lost, suicide occurs.

Shame overwhelmingly surrounds a suicide. Society does not accept it in the same way as dying from a dreaded physical disease. Nonetheless, suicide represents horrific illness, one of the emotions and mind.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Scent Trail by Celia Lyttelton

book cover

The Scent Trail
by Celia Lyttelton

Trade Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: New American Library
First Released: 2007

Source: Bought from

Book Description (from publisher's website):
Lyttelton’s passion for fragrance inspired her to have a signature perfume created just for her—and then to embark on the ultimate olfactory odyssey. Armed with a list of ingredients, she tracked down each component of her scent, tracing its origins, history, and culture.

From the iris fields of Tuscany to the vetivert distilleries of India, from the nutmeg plantations of Sri Lanka to the shores of the Arabian Sea, Celia gives readers a glimpse into the world of scent that few people have ever experienced, providing delicious details on its place in history—for example, how Casanova added small amounts of ambergris to chocolate mousses to aid his amorous adventures, and how Charles Dickens carried a monogrammed pocket nutmeg grater in his waist coat at a time when nutmeg was used to ward off evil and to spice rum.

The Scent Trail is a travelogue focused around finding the ingredients for the author's custom-created perfume. The first chapter talked about the process she went through to decide which scents to have the perfumer put into her perfume. She then traveled to France, Morocco, Turkey, Italy, Sri Lanka, India, Yemen, and Socotra to personally buy the ingredients for her perfume.

Along the way, she gave snippets of interesting history and information about the perfume trade. We also learn about the countries (especially as regards the perfume trade) and the history of the perfume ingredients: mimosa, neroli, petitgrain, damask rose, iris, nutmeg, jasmine, vetivert, frankincense, myrrh, and ambergris. She also summarized the conversations she had with several perfumers and described tours of several buildings where the ingredients are distilled or made into concentrate or absolutes for the perfume trade. While there was a lot of interesting information, she rarely went into any depth on a topic.

Her love of scents and travel came through strongly and made me want to smell the scents she described. However, I would have found some pictures helpful as I had a hard time picturing some of the places and things she described.

People who are interested in both foreign countries and perfume will probably find this memoir/travelogue interesting.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
There are only a handful of Bespoke perfumers in London, and Anastasia Brozler, the founder of Creative Perfumers, is one of them.

When I asked her to concoct a formula for my own bespoke perfume she immediately drew me into the world of scent and the magic that smells can conjure up. When I first met her, before she'd founded her own company, we sat down together in front of a cabinet modeled on a Chinese medicine chest which had about one hundred tiny little drawers. From these drawers, she randomly took out lumps of balmy myrrh, earthy orris (iris) roots, vanilla pods--which smells mouthwateringly like chocolate--exotic Iranian saffron, heady Indian sandalwood, spicy nutmeg oil, aromatic cloves and bergamot, basil and even tomato oil. The smell of those last three together reminded me of al fresco suppers on Greek islands.

Some of the ingredients Anastasia held under my nose I'd never imagined making up a perfume: tomato oil, for instance, and guaiac wood from the Holywood tree of Paraguay; and some smells, such as ambergris, musk and civet, I had never smelled before. In parts of the Middle East real musk and civet are still used and sold, but covertly, because the trade is illegal. Ambergris--which comes from the vomit of sperm whales--can still be bought, but it is exceedingly rare, as the whales are difficult to find. So most perfumers use synthetic substitutes.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Book Quotes: Black Magic

From A Passion for the Impossible by Miriam Huffman Rockness (page 160-161):

As usual, during Ramadan, numbers sheered off from the tiny remnant [of Muslim converts to Christianity], but in addition to the invariable social pressure brought to bear on Christians during special times of fasting and feasting, the women were becoming aware of another force as insidious as it was subtle. Black magic was commonly employed in North Africa: to cure a friend, kill an enemy, or drive a desired woman crazy with love. A sorcerer, by the use of charms (melted lead forms), sacrifice of birds, invocation of demons, hypnotism, or poisons, could work his or her will upon the object of concern.

A foreign concept to the western mentality of the missionaries, black magic was a constant threat to young converts who were becoming prey to the mixture of poison [or drugs] and magic as a means of dulling intellectual faculties and numbing the will. As Lilias became more familiar with these practices, she would come to recognize the sudden pulling away of the young converts as symptomatic of poisoning (secretly administered into their food or drink) which, she observed, made them susceptible to suggestion and satanic influences.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum

book cover

The Poisoner's Handbook:
Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York
by Deborah Blum

Hardback: 323 pages
Publisher: The Penguin Press
First Released: 2010

Author's Website
Author on Twitter

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description (from publisher's website):
Deborah Blum, writing with the high style and skill for suspense that is characteristic of the very best mystery fiction, shares the untold story of how poison rocked Jazz Age New York City. In The Poisoner's Handbook, Blum draws from highly original research to track the fascinating, perilous days when a pair of forensic scientists began their trailblazing chemical detective work, fighting to end an era when untraceable poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime.

Drama unfolds case by case as the heroes of The Poisoner's Handbook—chief medical examiner Charles Norris and toxicologist Alexander Gettler—investigate a family mysteriously stricken bald, Barnum and Bailey's Famous Blue Man, factory workers with crumbling bones, a diner serving poisoned pies, and many others. Each case presents a deadly new puzzle and Norris and Gettler work with a creativity that rivals that of the most imaginative murderer, creating revolutionary experiments to tease out even the wiliest compounds from human tissue. Yet in the tricky game of toxins, even science can't always be trusted, as proven when one of Gettler's experiments erroneously sets free a suburban housewife later nicknamed "America's Lucretia Borgia" to continue her nefarious work.

From the vantage of Norris and Gettler's laboratory in the infamous Bellevue Hospital it becomes clear that killers aren't the only toxic threat to New Yorkers. Modern life has created a kind of poison playground, and danger lurks around every corner. Automobiles choke the city streets with carbon monoxide; potent compounds, such as morphine, can be found on store shelves in products ranging from pesticides to cosmetics. Prohibition incites a chemist's war between bootleggers and government chemists while in Gotham's crowded speakeasies each round of cocktails becomes a game of Russian roulette. Norris and Gettler triumph over seemingly unbeatable odds to become the pioneers of forensic chemistry and the gatekeepers of justice during a remarkably deadly time. A beguiling concoction that is equal parts true crime, twentieth-century history, and science thriller, The Poisoner's Handbook is a page-turning account of a forgotten New York.

The Poisoner's Handbook is the perfect mix of history, true crime, and biography. This well-written and very readable book was an eye-opener. While it covered interesting and unique criminal murder cases, it also described cases of poisoning due to ignorance about the toxicity of various newly discovered elements and chemical compounds. I don't think I'll ever look at the world the same way again.

The book covered the period between 1915 to 1937, starting with Norris and Gettler being appointed to their positions and how they pushed for changes to the coroner system. The author focused on the cases they encountered that required them to make advances in forensic toxicology and the the social/political conditions, like Prohibition, and scientific discoveries, like radium, that made certain poisons the focus of their work. In an effort to make their findings accepted as evidence in court, they moved forensic toxicology to new levels of knowledge and reliability.

The main poisons covered were chloroform, cyanide, arsenic, mercury, lead, methyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol, carbon monoxide, radium, nicotine, and thallium. During the description of the cases, we're told how the poison works and how quickly, the signs of poisoning, and how they found a way to detect it or improved on how to detect it.

I learned a lot of interesting information and trivia. Have you ever wondered why car gas is marked unleaded? Since it's all unleaded, I often wondered why they bothered to mention it, but now I know--and appreciate!--why it's unleaded.

If you like true crime books or books that describe how things got they way they are now, you'll find this book fascinating. I'd very highly recommend it.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
It would, of course, be in the cursed winter of 1915--when ice storms had glassed over the city, when Typhoid Mary had come sneaking back, when the Manhattan coroner was discovered to be skunk-drunk at crime scenes--that the loony little porter would confess to eight poison murders.

At first the confession seemed just more of the general craziness spiking across the city. New York was mired in winter, horse-drawn carriages careening through snow-drifted Broadway, trolleys stuck in place from the Bronx to Coney Island as the weight of ice dragged down the lines. The streets commissioner had hired fifteen thousand "snow fighters," as he called them, to dig out the roadways. Even as the fighters shoveled and chopped, new snow dropped, new sleet kept falling, laying down yet another treacherous layer.

During those same days of darkening skies and frozen streets, public authorities were desperately trying to stop a sudden outbreak of typhoid fever. The city's most notorious carrier, Typhoid Mary Mallon, had violated the conditions of her release from a sanitarium and gone to work as a cook at a local hospital. Twenty-five people were sick and two dead before they managed to hunt her down and take her--screaming and cursing them for persecution--back into custody.

The city's coroner had been no help in that investigation, if indeed he ever was.

Instead, Patrick Riordan was trying to fast-talk himself out of charges that he showed up for work sodden drunk. Or as one angry witness put it, he stumbled into a death scene with "a glassy eye and smirky face" to sneer at bodies. That indictment followed an accident on the Ninth Avenue Elevated, the crowded commuter line run by the private Interborough Rapid Transit Company.

The collision had occurred several weeks earlier, in the last days of December.

Read the prologue.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Book Quotes: Getting Men to Listen

From The Male Factor by Shaunti Feldhahn (p. 259-260):

Take a look at the survey results to the scenario I created:

Imagine you are in a business meeting, and a woman with a great body stands up to give a presentation. She is all business, but she is wearing a suit and blouse that show off her figure in some way (for example, a low-cut blouse or tight skirt). Which answer below most closely describes the likely impact of that on your ability to concentrate on her presentation? (Choose one answer.)

14% - I'm instinctively drawn to look at her body, and sneak in peeks when she won't notice--so I'm missing quite a bit of what she says.

50% I try to concentrate, but I'm distracted from trying to look at her face and not her body--so I miss some of what she says.

36% I'm not affected; I can concentrate fully on her presentation.

Two out of three men said that they would be missing either "quite a bit" or "some" of what the woman was saying. Only one third said they would be able to concentrate fully on her presentation. And nearly every man to whom I have shown this has expressed amused skepticism about the latter number.

....the men I interviewed universally agreed that there were different degrees of distraction depending on what the woman wore and how she wore it.

and from page 265:

Douglass, the corporate sponsorship executive I introduced previously, says:

Realize that breasts can be distracting before they are sexual, and seeing part of a woman's breast is distracting. Conversely, a woman can be extremely attractive, but if she's not showing skin or wearing really form-fitting clothes, the issue doesn't come up. She's just...attractive. Women have the ability to be completely beautiful and completely appropriate...But there is a line a some point that you cross where it becomes distracting, and another line where it could become sexual. At least that is how it comes across, to me.

and from page 269:

[From Mark]: "It's sort of like what I tell my daughters: You don't have to show your figure for guys to know you've got a good figure. They get it! It's their job to always be aware of that!! You don't have to wear that outfit for guys to notice."

and from page 274:

Here is what one businessman told me with regard to outfits that tend to trigger a response in men:

It's all about curves, bare skin, and, frankly, the sight of whatever is supposed to be covered. That is what a man's eyes will be drawn to. A tight outfit, a short skirt, a bra strap showing, low-cut pants in the back where you can see the top of whatever she is wearing underneath if she leans over a bit...any one of those things. And cleavage. Breasts are always distracting.

It is so frustrating when I see in the morning that my one female colleague is wearing a button-down shirt, because she regularly has those types of shirts unbuttoned one button too low, and where it gapes or she turns sideways you can see everything. And I try to avoid looking, but I cannot put my hand up and go like this [he put his hand up as if to block his view of her chest] when I am talking to her, so that is a really difficult thing.

[I've also heard mentioned as distracting: very-short shorts that show butt-curve when the gal leans over.]

and from page 275:

"Tell the women to remember that men are taller than they are. The blouse may look fine straight in the mirror, but think about what it will look like if someone is six inches taller and looking down."

There's even more useful information on this topic in the book.