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markr
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Please, Mister Postman
Please, Mister Postman
by Alan Johnson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.89

3.0 out of 5 stars pleasant reading of the life a postman and union official, 29 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Please, Mister Postman (Hardcover)
This second part of Alan Johnson's memoirs covers the sixties, seventies and eighties, during which time he rose through the ranks of post office union life to the national executive. This is a very personal memoir - full of accounts of people in Johnson's life who are unknown to the reader, as well as some rather more famous ones. It is well written, full of charm, a degree of self deprecation, humour and at times real sadness. It is also a rather charming account of life as a postman in the heyday of the post office.

However it is the story of an ordinary life - great deeds are not done, and much of the work described is around arcane union disputes and resolutions, which I found rather disinteresting. If it were not written by an ex-cabinet minister I wonder what interest it would hold, or what sales it would have achieved. As it is it makes for pleasant reading - not particularly stimulating, just pleasant


Runaway
Runaway
by Peter May
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars very plot driven - not one Peter May's best novels, 27 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Runaway (Hardcover)
This not one of Peter May's best novels. I loved the Lewis trilogy and Entry Island and pre-ordered this book with some anticipation of another great read. This story revolves around a group 17 year olds who ran away from Glasgow to London in the 1960's, who 50 years later, do it again. It is in many ways a coming of age story - both young and old

This is a very plot driven book , but with for the most part pretty thin characters who failed to completely engage me. There is some good writing, and the plot (s) are pacey, but I never really believed in the characters or liked them very much. And yet strangely I enjoyed the read and completed in a few sittings...so 3 stars, and I'll look forward to the next one in the hope of a return to top form


Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography
Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography
by Walter Isaacson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.13

5.0 out of 5 stars Tells a fascinating story, 24 Mar. 2015
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I loved this - one of the most enjoyable biographys i have ever read. At almost 600 pages this is a big book, but I enjoyed every page. Telling the story, sometimes in his own words, of the man who created Apple and led it to being the most valuable tech company in the world, this combines his professional and personal lives, to ably show Job's genius and style. But this is a balanced account which also relates the way in which he treated people - everything was perfect or 'sucked' - including people - he was demanding and pushed people to extremes of hard work and creativity, and often upset or neglected people terrribly. This then is story of the man who brought us the macintosh, the iphone, the ipad, and the macbook pro. This is the story of the development of the i cloud, i tunes, and of his inspiration at Pixar for the Toy Story movies and much else, as well as with his long running, and very sad, battle with cancer .

A great book, which tells a fascinating story superbly


The Leadership of Muhammad
The Leadership of Muhammad
by John Adair
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.58

4.0 out of 5 stars interesting - though very brief, 7 Mar. 2015
This is an interesting, though very brief, look at the lessons to be learned from the leadership of the Prophet Muhammad. The author, who is a leading thinker and writer on leadership, lived for a year with a Bedouin regiment and his affection and respect for the values of the Bedouin is apparent in these pages. There are useful quotes throughout from Arab, Greek and Chinese philosophy. It all makes for interesting reading, which contains the clear message - on a journey a leader of a people is their servant


Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room [DVD]
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room [DVD]
Dvd ~ Alex Gibney
Price: £6.00

5.0 out of 5 stars fraud on a gigantic scale, 7 Mar. 2015
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Very enjoyable and informative documentary covering one of the largest frauds in corporate history. Enron were an energy company with big ideas - as they failed to meet their ambitions they employed numerous artifices and frauds to hide the truth until it all imploded in spectacular fashion. The DVD features footage of all the main characters this drama, and makes clear that even the smartest of people are happy to fool themselves ( and everyone else) at times - and it is all the rest of us who take the pain for their arrogance and hubris


The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant psychological suspense - i couldn't put it down, 7 Mar. 2015
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What a great novel, which I bought on impulse and then coudn't put it down. There are some similarities with the Gone Girl, in that the story is told through the eyes of first person narratives from a number of perspectives, which at first are out of time sequence but gradually become closer and closer together as the truth is revealed in a series of twists and shocks.

Almost nothing is what it seems, and deceit, self justification, and at times utter darkness run through these pages until the well written and very believable final twists bring it all together. This is psychological suspense of the highest order, and i found it very hard to put down indeed, turning pages late into the night to find out what would happen.

Brilliant


The Scramble for China: Foreign Devils in the Qing Empire, 1832-1914
The Scramble for China: Foreign Devils in the Qing Empire, 1832-1914
by Robert Bickers
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars China in your hands, 3 Mar. 2015
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This an interesting account of the conflicts which arose from colonisation in China during the 19th and early 20th century.Covering the broad sweep of Chinese and British policy and their mutual incompatibility, this book also looks at some of the detail of life in the trading ports during the period from 1832 onwards.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which at 400 densely packed pages took me some considerable time to read. It is pity though that the impacts of imperialism by the European powers and Japan on China today is not explored in more detail - as it is this is covered only in the very last few pages.


Night School: Wake up to the power of sleep
Night School: Wake up to the power of sleep
by Richard Wiseman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.10

5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating and informative, 13 Feb. 2015
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This is a fascinating book and I learnt a lot from reading it. The style is easy to read and very informative. I learned why 'sleeping on it' works, that we dream every night, that dreams help maintain mental health although (or because) 80% of them are unpleasant, how sleep is essential to health, how to sleep better and much more.

I also leaned what isn't true - cheese doesn't make us dream, and there is no evidence that dreams can foretell the future. They can make you a better writer, painter or musician though

The author says that sleep science should be part of the national curriculum - after reading this excellent book I am inclined to agree with him


Napoleon and Wellington: The Long Duel
Napoleon and Wellington: The Long Duel
by Andrew Roberts
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars a military comparison of two men who changed their times, 9 Feb. 2015
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This is an interesting comparison of the lives and military talents of Napoleon and Wellington. In this book it seemed to me that the author was less praising of Napoleon than in his excellent one volume biography Napoleon the Great, and that he was going out of his way to fair and balanced.

There is little here about the political lives, or the civil measures, taken by either man, although one became Emperor and the other Prime Minister - instead the book is mainly about their military campaigns and the contrasting strategies used by each man.

An interesting book, well told, which shows the strange fascination which Wellington seems to have held about Napoleon, and the often disparaging view Napoleon held about Wellington, Waterloo not withstanding. That ii is Napoleon's view of Europe which is largely ascendant today is a fitting ending to the book.However, for me, it is pity that the civil record of each man is not compared and contrasted to anything like the same extent as their generalship


The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness
The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness
by Prof Steve Peters
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.09

4.0 out of 5 stars easy to follow guide to the human brain, 1 Feb. 2015
From the many 5 star reviews it is clear that this book has helped lots of people, and in my ways it helped me too. It explains how the brain works use a model - in which the limbic system is modelled as a chimp - emotional and difficult to control - the best and the worst of us. The model is used throughout the book - with the human, the computer and moons , also used to explain some workings of the brain and of the way we think and to some extent can control our more damaging thought processes.

It does work,it is clear and easy to follow, and I found myself recognising much in my myself as i read through the book-but I found the chimp model to over simplify matters and whilst I found the appendix which explains the science behind the model useful, I would have preferred more such explanation within the narrative


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