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Stability, Sport, and Performance Movement: Great Technique without Injury
Stability, Sport, and Performance Movement: Great Technique without Injury
by Joanne Elphinston
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on stability and movement, 19 Mar 2012
I bought this book because I have a long-term balance dysfunction (an uncompensated peripheral vestibular lesion) and I was advised by my medical specialists to develop core stability and anti-gravity muscles as part of my daily rehabilitation.

When looking around for help to do this, I found that a lot of both trainers and publications seem to focus on core strength rather than core stability which due to my condition tended to increase muscular tension in unwanted places, causing additional fatigue. I have practiced Tai Chi for many years and I am familiar with a number of principles espoused by Elphinston and the book complements Tai Chi practice very well.

I found this book extremely helpful and it has become my main reference for exercises as part of my training routine. I found the introduction explaining the mechanics behind performance movement and core stability was comprehensive and educational, providing the necessary foundations of understanding to take my training forwards more knowledgeably. The range of exercises are comprehensive but they can be deceptive in their simplicity - many are extremely challenging to do properly!

The only reason I have not given this book 5 stars is because some of the descriptions for the exercises can be slightly confusing and in places a couple of pictures haven't quite matched up to the guidance. Otherwise I think this is an essential book on core stability that takes it a little further in terms of building properly integrated whole body fluid movement. It has certainly helped me tremendously as part of my rehabilitation, helping to greatly improve my dynamic balance function.


Approaches to Consciousness: The Marriage of Science and Mysticism: The Marriage of Science and Mysticm
Approaches to Consciousness: The Marriage of Science and Mysticism: The Marriage of Science and Mysticm
by Dr Brian L. Lancaster
Edition: Paperback
Price: 22.58

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightened integrative approach to consciousness studies, 19 Jan 2012
Over the years I have read a number of books in an attempt to satisfy my interest and personal inquiry into consciousness but I have found that what I've read is either; a) very much limited to the neuropsychological and neuroscientific and cognitive views which I feel are limited and lack the rich texture and depth for necessary for a full and complete exploration of our consciousness; or b) bent in the other direction towards mysticism which I sometimes find is a bit too abstract, difficult to penetrate and needing a certain grounding somehow. Unfortunately each of these views which are typical diametrically opposed tend to ignore the value of the other.

It is very clear from reading this book that Lancaster has put a lot of thinking into this book and that he has, perhaps, experienced similar frustrations. This book, however, provides what I think is a very refreshing integrative view which is aimed at inquiring into a variety of perspectives, recognising their inherent value while accepting their limitations, and providing an approach that very cohesively binds them together to provide mutual value and a more common approach.

However, in his discussion about mystical and spiritual approaches I can't help but feel that he is somewhat limited in the approaches he explores. For example, in terms of 'Eastern' philosophies, he focuses largely upon Buddhism and Hinduism and there is scant mention of Doaist approaches. Unfortunately, I think this misses some of the philosophies from other Eastern regions that have very well articulated and sophisticated methods of exploring consciousness but for centuries grew independently of Buddhist influence. A specific example of this is the Chinese Five-phase (or Five-Element) Theory.

I enjoyed his style of writing because he delivers some very complex issues in a accessible way without making it simplistic while he also 'grounds' his work.

If you are looking to explore consciousness and consciousness studies with a wider view, I think this is an excellent book to read on that journey.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 24, 2013 5:07 PM BST


The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self
The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self
by Thomas Metzinger
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.79

25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars For me, disappointing, 9 Mar 2011
I was quite excited to receive this book having read both the reviews and the blurb. After reading it I'm sadly feeling thoroughly mis-sold. I've been mulling over what he says in his book for a few weeks and I can't help but wonder what he is introducing in this book that is radical or even new. Many examples he uses are fairly common choices for authors to use in popular neuroscience and consciousness publications. Many of conclusions drawn from these example are subject to pretty serious debate and questioning in the field at present, but I was unable to find any discussion in this book that acknowledges this might be the case.

As a result I think that he, unfortunately, closes down his inquiry almost immediately by sticking to a very narrow set of what he suggests are 'truths' we know about the brain/mind and which he suggests have been proven in neuroscience (although he does briefly acknowledge, but I feel brushes over, that in terms of studying brain, mind and consciousness we're still in the middle ages). I found this unfortunate because the foundation he uses to support his position therefore seems to me to be on very shaky ground and I can't help but wonder how scientific his initial conclusions really are. There is no doubt that neuroscience is taking us forwards in leaps and bounds in some areas of the study of our brains, consciousness, minds and cognition but in my view, some of the conclusion drawn from these studies are the result of mere induction.

With regards to his exploration of the experience of consciousness, the ego, and indeed lucid dreaming and empathy, it is certainly refreshing to see it presented in the way it is in, essentially, a neuroscience book. However, I cannot help but feel disappointed by the apparent lack of methodology used by him to explore these phenomena rigorously. There are many undeclared presuppositions about the quality of experience and the validity of first and third person reports. As a result I feel that he has lost the rich and deep texture of our consciousness experience, making it rather monotone. To study first and third person experience, I think one really needs to employ a formal methodology of data collection, analysis and validation, which he does not seem to do. To me that undermines his message and makes it lack a certain quality.

Regarding the way in which both our ego and states of consciousness can be manipulated; this is something that has been known about and studied for some time now (I don't mean to be glib, but millennia) and the ethics surrounding this are also in constant debate and consideration, particularly in the wider field of psychology.

Therefore, with regret, I have to admit that I'm left very uninspired and struggling to find what this book actually gave me. Perhaps there is something I have misunderstood, but I don't feel that this book goes anywhere new, nor does it represent a frontier of consciousness studies.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 30, 2011 3:20 PM BST


Cognitive Systems and the Extended Mind (Philosophy of Mind Series)
Cognitive Systems and the Extended Mind (Philosophy of Mind Series)
by Robert D. Rupert
Edition: Paperback
Price: 19.98

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I think this book is philosophically confused, 8 Mar 2011
Each time I picked up this book, I found myself confused. At first I thought it was probably my level of understanding and perhaps I'm lacking in the necessary intellect to really grapple with the concepts discussed. However, it began to dawn upon me that it might actually be the book and its author contributing to that experience, and perhaps even causing it. The first problem I grappled with was that this is a philosophical book yet I found that it was both epistemologically and ontologically confused. Nowhere did I find a flag posted to a mast to provide a grounding for this work (other than a broad brush stroke of cognitive science, that is). The second problem is that I felt he had already come to his conclusions right at the beginning and was therefore merely engaging in an abstract and intellectual exercise to prove his point rather than self-critically explore the questions.

I also thought that there are some fundamental logical flaws to his argument which raise the question of the validity of his argument. For example, regarding the principles of demarcation, he suggests that mechanisms must contribute causally to the production of cognitive phenomena yet he is proposing a systems-based cognitive view. How does one define 'causal' in a complex adaptive system? To me this indicates that he is viewing the systemic with a linear causal reductionist view and I'm not sure how that reconciles. He suggests that the systems based view put as a principle of demarcation is 'a state is cognitive if and only if it consists in, or is realized by, the activation of one or more mechanism that are elements of the integrated set members of which contribute causally and distinctively to the production of cognitive phenomena.'(p. 42) He suggests that memory, linguistic processing, visual shape recognition are mechanisms rather than cognitive phenomena in their own right (it ignores what mechanisms go into producing such mechanisms as he's defined them). For example, linguistic processing is not a one way cul-de-sac - it does not arise isolated and of itself a-contextually and therefore many mechanisms and phenomena must go into producing it. I was unable to find a definition by him of what is a cognitive mechanism versus a phenomenon and I think if you're trying to propose a new view, you've got to step up to the plate. I'm still unsure exactly what he means to be cognitive or non-cognitive, mechanism, state or phenomenon.

Rightly or wrongly, for me, there is one logical flaw that undermines the whole basis of his argument. In his argument from demarcation, in premise 2 he proposes that 'the system-based principle places human cognition inside the organism, either entirely or in the main.' From this he concludes that the extended cognitive view should be rejected.' So what about in the main - what exactly is this? Fundamentally, however, I am unsure how one can have a systems based view that does not also include the wider systems of an organism that it exists within and belongs in. His artificial and, I think, arbitrary systems demarcation fall foul of his own arguments.

Finally, used in support of his argument is the success of cognitive science yet one has to raise the question regarding this success as, typically, cognitive science takes organisms outside their natural environments to conduct tests. It is one thing to see test results in artificial environments, but quite another for those to generalize across into the natural environment. Plenty of science has shown us that.

I should note that this criticism I'm levying is not saying that I'm of the extended view and therefore I don't like what he's saying. I think cognition and consciousness for that matter is not an either/or phenomenon but rather a far more complex and and and.


Park Tool Big Blue Bike Repair Book - 2nd Edition -
Park Tool Big Blue Bike Repair Book - 2nd Edition -

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential bit of workshop equipment, 14 Nov 2010
Even though I have done a lot of mechanical work on bikes to cars, this book has been an invaluable manual to have around for maintaining my mountain bikes. I've picked up numerous time and effort saving tips and don't hesitate to recommend it as a reference. It covers most of the relevant aspects of a bike and explains differences between the various component manufacturers too. I find it does it clearly and succinctly too.


Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership
Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership
by Bill Torbert
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.09

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missing in method, 14 Nov 2010
I have just completed a master's project where I used an Action Inquiry as a methodology. The fundamentals are simple; it is about learning to simultaneously act and reflect upon action and modify that action as necessary. It is a very challenging process to enact and therein lies my disappointment in this book. Despite a comprehensive discussion about the underlying principles and then a description of various action logics, I did not find they tied together particularly well. The other major aspect missing from this book is a method of Action Inquiry which I anticipate will leave readers, like me, a little bit at sea trying to implement what is proposed and move through the various action logics. However, I do have to say that once I found a method that worked from me, the outcomes were extremely positive.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 8, 2011 8:57 AM GMT


Feeling and Personhood: Psychology in Another Key
Feeling and Personhood: Psychology in Another Key
by John Heron
Edition: Paperback
Price: 33.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Allow time to brew, 14 Nov 2010
I initially read this book as part of research into contemporary theories of learning. Following Heron's model gave me greater insight into the extended epistemology he proposes within this book which yields a very holistic approach to learning. On my first reading, I didn't fully understand what he was proposing and felt he was at times grasping for the language to explain what he meant . In time it began to make sense to me and I realised the value of this book.


Mountain Bike Like a Champion: Master the Techniques to Tackle the Toughest Terrain
Mountain Bike Like a Champion: Master the Techniques to Tackle the Toughest Terrain
by Ned Overend
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.12

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 14 Nov 2010
I was really impressed with this book. I bought it wanting to know more about xc riding technique and this book provides a really good range of technique in enough depth along with good anecdotes too. I really enjoyed it.


Mountain Biking the Manual
Mountain Biking the Manual
by Chris Ball
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.40

3.0 out of 5 stars Left wanting, 2 Nov 2010
There's something about this book where every time I read a bit I'm left feeling disappointed and short changed. I wanted a book that had some depth to the technique covered and this book doesn't have it in my view, more tasters. I suppose it's a little bit like the difference between a Haynes car manual versus a factory workshop manual - this is the Haynes. I already know quite a bit of technique and maybe that's where the problem lies. If you don't know technique then perhaps this would be a good introduction. With a background in psychology the section on psychology I felt was just poor. I also got the feeling that it is a bit biased towards downhill rather than cross-country riding.


Essentials: Trailriding Tips and Techniques from Glentress
Essentials: Trailriding Tips and Techniques from Glentress
by Emma Guy
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little manual, 24 Feb 2010
I think this is a great little manual of the basic techniques for mountain biking. Ideal to have around to dip into as a reminder. The best thing about it is the emphasis on the practical and keeping it simple. It gives you just enough on the technique for you to then go out and practice.


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