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Nick Fitzherbert (UK)
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The Cape Crusaders: Driving a Dennis fire engine from the tip of Europe to the bottom of Africa
The Cape Crusaders: Driving a Dennis fire engine from the tip of Europe to the bottom of Africa
Price: £5.66

5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, insightful - and fun, 16 Aug 2014
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How many of us can truly claim to have been on adventure? You will certainly wish you had after reading this really heartwarming account of seven young friends who got further than just talking about it - they actually did it!

It's full of all the exploits you might expect and many more besides, including arrests in Zimbabwe, border control bribes, Pygmy tribespeople and a variety of accidents, diseases and emergency medical attention. Puns and schoolboy humour abound, but somehow it's all the more interesting and insightful due to being related some 25 years later. An inspiration to us all.


Want You Dead
Want You Dead
by Peter James
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Best yet, 7 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Want You Dead (Hardcover)
Without a doubt the best Roy Grace novel to date. All the familiar characters are there - one or two featuring unexpectedly! - and a particularly nasty character keeps the plot rattling along thanks to his expertise with magic, illusion and escapology.


The Caterpillar Factory: Kick Start Your Career in the PR Business
The Caterpillar Factory: Kick Start Your Career in the PR Business
by Vyvyan Kinross
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.26

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really useful advice about the operational side of PR consulting, 16 April 2013
At a time when you could be forgiven for imagining that PR had become almost solely about maintaining social media profiles, this book provides a much needed dose of reality - and does so very effectively indeed.

It is not simply another book about PR practice, though it does provide some very useful overviews and checklists. What it's really about is the nuts and bolts of operating as a PR consultant - and that is going to prove a real gold mine for all sorts of readers. I was fortunate enough to learn principles such as budgeting, time recording, programme planning etc on the job, but I well remember having my ear bent on numerous occasions by talented friends who had set up as PR consultants having been in areas such as trade press or show business and finding all of that a complete mystery.

Kinross's experience in and passion for PR comes across on every page and through a series of really meaningful and practical exercises. I also like the way he keeps up to date with latest developments, while also weaving in some fascinating detail on leading figures from PR's history. Finally, because I happen to be a member of The Magic Circle, he won me over with his repeated use of the phrase 'the trick is....'. Thinking about it though, that phrase really sums up the whole essence of this highly recommended book.


The Art of Influencing and Selling (Guru in a Bottle)
The Art of Influencing and Selling (Guru in a Bottle)
by Ardi Kolah
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.03

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A successful intertwining of core business skills and softer, less tangible psychological techniques, 22 Nov 2012
There is an awful lot packed into The Art of Influencing and Selling, which sets out to re-define selling in this digital age and dispels quite a few myths and anachronisms along the way. Ardi Kolah does this drawing on a wide variety of experts, both familiar - as he says, there is still much to be learned from Dale Carnegie, current such as Mary Portas and Amazon, and surprising - Grateful Dead turn out to be much more than a bunch of hairy rockers!

As well as taking you step by step through the essential processes, it works on a number of different levels. First, it contains very useful and comprehensive overviews of topics such as social networking sites. Second, it is invaluable as a `cheat sheet' for certain subjects where you really should be up to speed, but may have fallen behind. Third, it directs you to the right sources for associated topics where you might need more detailed information.

What the book achieves above all, however, is successfully intertwining core business skills with the softer, less tangible psychological techniques that are becoming increasingly important to business success.


Ride a White Swan: The Lives and Death of Marc Bolan
Ride a White Swan: The Lives and Death of Marc Bolan
by Lesley-Ann Jones
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting tribute and a fascinating insight, 18 Nov 2012
Lesley-Ann Jones has done it again! Her Freddie Mercury book was a fascinating insight into the whole music scene of the 70s and 80s as well as a terrific biography. I was expecting rather less with this book - after all, many of the leading characters have passed away, and my musical tastes took a bit of a side-step when it came to the glam rock era. What a surprise, therefore, to be absolutely hooked from the opening chapter onwards.

It all starts rather earlier than you might think because Bolan actually had a rather long, drawn out rise to fame. Along the way we get to know all about the so called Tin Pan Alley and the amazing characters who hung out there. It's all highly incestuous and like the most complicated Pete Frame Rock Family Tree you could imagine. As with the Mercury book, it's the attention to detail that sets Lesley-Ann Jones apart in her field. If others took so much trouble to check out conflicting stories and correct longstanding myths, they would probably have the reader fast-forwarding through the pages. With Lesley-Ann Jones, the detail serves to bring the characters alive and draw you further into the scenarios. That said, she can be wonderfully succinct when required - her half-page summary of the economic climate in the 70s that led to punk rock and, ultimately, Thatcher, is the best I have ever read.

It's a fitting tribute to a star who should have received more acclaim another terrific insight into a musical era that continues to fascinate.


The North Downs Way
The North Downs Way
by Belinda Knox
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.55

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's reawakened me to the beauty of the countryside I which I grew up, 20 Sep 2012
This review is from: The North Downs Way (Hardcover)
This is a truly stunning collection of photographs that are all the more effective for the very informative text that accompanies them. It has brought back many memories and reawakened me to the beauty of the countryside that surrounded me when I was growing up. A few Christmas present conundrums are definitely sorted with this terrific book.


Brilliant Presentation: What the Best Presenters Know, Do and Say (Brilliant Business)
Brilliant Presentation: What the Best Presenters Know, Do and Say (Brilliant Business)
by Richard Hall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books on Presentation just got better!, 11 Nov 2011
If you read one Richard Hall book you'll soon find yourself reading them all because he is so full of wisdom on business communication issues and so engaging in the way he communicates it and shares his knowledge. This is billed as the 'third edition' but is actually a complete re-write for reasons he outlines upfront. You won't find any mentions of Winston Churchill or Martin Luther King here - it's the modern classics such as Steve Jobs and TED talks, a few surprises such as leading sports personalities, and events that took place in 2011.

Hall makes the case for taking Presentations Skills seriously very powerfully, pointing to the chief executives who are losing their jobs as a result of poor communication and to current issues such as the increasing need for transparency that is heightening the need for excellence in communication. He nails the secret of Steve Jobs' success in the field with the words 'simplicity, surprise, certainty' and bemoans the way that David Cameron, having won his party leadership contest as 'No notes Dave', has become 'Pedestrian Dave' under the burdens of high office.

A structure to follow in improving your Presentation Skills comes with a nicely observed Five Levels model and he goes on to identify four different types of audience. Tips come thick and fast throughout the book, with recurring themes such as the importance of context. Perhaps best of all, however, is that there is no hectoring over inevitable issues such as proper preparation. Instead, Hall entices the reader to join a rather special 'club' that you feel will become more and more useful to you. You end up feeling you might even rather enjoy the experience rather than live in the traditional dread of having to get up and address an audience.


Perfect People
Perfect People
by Peter James
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.55

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very welcome return to the thriller genre for Peter James, 8 Nov 2011
This review is from: Perfect People (Hardcover)
For anyone who has ever enjoyed Peter James's Roy Grace series, here's a little secret: some of his standalone thrillers are even better! So check out a few of the following: Sweet Heart, The Truth and Host. As with the Grace series, all are meticulously researched and hugely atmospheric and this latest novel Perfect People is a fine addition to the series. It really does get you thinking - as well as scared - about all sorts of very important topics, but there is one thing that worries me. With all the effort and authenticity that James puts into his writing, just where does he get the inspiration for some of the most twisted and evil characters you will ever find in print?


Freddie Mercury: The Definitive Biography
Freddie Mercury: The Definitive Biography
by Lesley-Ann Jones
Edition: Hardcover

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evokes the music biz in the 70s and 80s perfectly, 18 Oct 2011
The whole story and legacy of Queen and Freddie Mercury have moved on so far since Lesley-Ann Jones's original book in the mid-90s that there is plenty of scope for an update, but this book goes way beyond a mere update and is very timely what with the movie coming out next year.

The research is very impressive - how many rock writers would actually travel to somewhere like Zanzibar to ensure they nail the detail and give the full flavour of their subject's birthplace? And she makes a point of correcting many of the of the inaccuracies that have occurred and probably been repeated in other accounts There is no doubt that certain people in the story - the band members for instance - remain tight lipped to this day but Jones seeks out many of the key players in Mercury's private and professional life, so comes as close as anyone is going to in terms of telling the proclaimed 'definitive' story.

What is best about the book, however, is not so much the truly scary stuff about about AIDS setting in, nor even intriguing snippets such as Freddie's friendship with Michael Jackson - it's the atmosphere it evokes of the music industry in the 70s and 80s. For music fans, whether they are into Queen in a big way or not, the chapters about the band's seemingly eternal struggles to gain a record deal, the characters around the band and the lives they all led, are priceless.

Lesley-Ann Jones combines her journalistic skills and experience with her love of the music and comes up with a terrific read.


Brilliant PR: Create a PR Sensation, Whatever Your Budget, Whatever Your Business (Brilliant Business)
Brilliant PR: Create a PR Sensation, Whatever Your Budget, Whatever Your Business (Brilliant Business)
by Cathy Bussey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rather brilliant introduction to PR, 18 Jun 2011
Anyone who has ever worked in PR will know that it can be difficult to explain to friends and family quite what it is they actually do for a living. After 20 years in the business I found my own mother was still somewhat mystified; and I was meant to be an expert communicator! Full marks, then, to Cathy Bussey who pretty much nails it in the first two pages of her brilliant new book.

She sets out to demystify PR for the small business person and it that respect it really is rather brilliant in that everything is kept simple and straightforward. As such, it is also a great introduction to anyone considering PR for the first time, be they a student or, perhaps, a marketing executive who has had responsibility for managing a PR consultancy thrust upon them.

As Bussey acknowledges, there is always a certain degree of conflict between journalism and PR and she manages to straddle both camps in a highly objective manner - something I have not seen achieved before. I have never felt completely comfortable recommending a PR book before, even when they have been kind enough to cover my own case histories. I have no hesitation, however, in recommending this as a good, straightforward and up to the minute introduction to the discipline.


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