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J. S. Hardman "Consultant software developer (contractor)" (Near London, UK)
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Managing for People Who Hate Managing: Be a Success by Being Yourself
Managing for People Who Hate Managing: Be a Success by Being Yourself
by Devora Zack
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful material, presented in non-academic way, 6 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As management self-help books go "Managing for People Who Hate Managing" is a reasonable one, written in a populist rather than academic style. It takes principles from various tried and tested management and personality tools and applies them to the situation where people "inadvertently" become a manager. The author describes methods that help build confidence and skills, but without becoming heavy and dry. The principles described are sound, and the various tools and suggestions are easily applicable. The author uses a rather jokey tone that does wear thin after a while, but the open and self-deprecating manner of writing seems to work. The author acknowledges that while the techniques suggested can help, they are not foolproof, and that one needs to adapt to situations and people as appropriate, without using a one-size-fits-all approach.

Recommended for those not looking for academic coverage of the subject.


A Dictionary of Environment and Conservation (Oxford Paperback Reference)
A Dictionary of Environment and Conservation (Oxford Paperback Reference)
by Michael Allaby
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I like it, but in days of search engines, not sure who the market is., 27 April 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A nicely presented dictionary of terms relating to environment and conservation, with useful references to reliable sources of information on the web (there is an associated web-site with all of the links in one place). Actually, it goes beyond a dictionary in places, with larger items more akin to an encyclopaedia included where diagrams and more explanation are required.

In these days of online search engines and wikipedia, I am curious as to who the main market is for this dictionary. I cannot make up my mind whether it is a niche or not. Certainly, it's the sort of thing that I like to have on my shelf (but I am "old-school" in that way), not just as a reference, but also to dip into, picking a random page and reading what I find in order to broaden my knowledge of an area that I am generally interested in. It's also the sort of reference that would have been useful when I was at school, whether doing projects at junior (or even primary) school, or studying for O or A levels at secondary school. I imagine the same would be true of students studying for GCSEs and baccalaureates now. And, when I more recently studied land operations as a mature student, working from a tiny building with only intermittent internet access in the middle of a forest, this is definitely the sort of reference that would have been handy to have on the shelf there.

So, a useful, nicely presented reference, with links to reliable sources of information on the web. Good for those who like a book in their hand or who do not have reliable internet access for using search engines etc.


Genuine Stihl Contrast Clear Safety Glasses
Genuine Stihl Contrast Clear Safety Glasses
Price: £12.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great safety glasses, 11 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
How often is an item of Personal Protective Equipment fashionable? Not very and these aren't either (unlike the tinted equivalents). However, these STIHL safety glasses offer excellent protection for when you need to work without tinted lenses.

I bought my first pair for use during forestry activities, using chainsaws, chippers etc (although wearing them behind a mesh visor). The second pair I bought for a family member to use when pruning roses to avoid eye injuries. The third pair for a family member to use after laser eye surgery (taped on for use at night to avoid accidentally rubbing the eye whilst healing) instead of the goggles provided by the eye clinic - these are much better.

Recommended.


Anne Frank (2001) [DVD]
Anne Frank (2001) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ben Kingsley
Price: £3.60

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not sure if this is toned down for a younger audience., 6 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Anne Frank (2001) [DVD] (DVD)
I hadn't read Anne Frank's diary, nor any of the books about it, but knew the history before watching this DVD (including having an excellent guide take me through Auschwitz-Birkenau last year). As a result, I cannot compare the DVD with the diary itself, but look at it from the viewpoints of its importance and simply as a film (although one in two parts).

Although it told what happened, and some of the acting was very good (particularly Ben Kingsley as Otto Frank), this DVD felt like it had been sanitised for a younger audience, missing the atmosphere, tension, fear and sheer brutality that it could have conveyed. Not having read the diary, I don't know if this is because the DVD reflects how the diary of a girl/young woman was written, or whether it is purely a case of how the production company decided to present it for a particular target audience.

Assuming that this was produced with a young audience in mind, it's perfectly adequate, and certainly something to base discussion around, whether as part of a school curriculum or as part of discussion at home. For an older audience who already know much about the horrors committed during WW2, the diary of Anne Frank is definitely something that should be read or viewed, but I think I would recommend reading it rather than watching this DVD (unless you want to do both).

It is far from impossible that history could repeat itself, but I would like to think that it is less likely if people know what has happened before. Unfortunately, even that is no guarantee. However, it is still important that people know. To that end, for an older audience, I'd recommend some (subtitled) Polish-language films about WW2, including Katyn. For secondary school age and above, the series "The World at War" available on DVD is excellent viewing. For early secondary school age (say 11-13), this DVD of Anne Frank might be useful, but for ages above that I'd suggest reading the diary or one of the books about the diary. For things that have happened since WW2 that demonstrate just how easily such things can happen again, I'd recommend some of John Pilger's DVDs.

DVD of Anne Frank recommended for early secondary-school age range.


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [DVD] [2011]
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Gary Oldman
Price: £3.65

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty much on a par with the Alex Guinness version, 31 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I rarely watch re-makes of classic films/series as they rarely live up to the originals. However, this one - "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" is actually pretty good. I miss the sound of Alex Guinness's voice, but otherwise this film is pretty much on a par with the Alec Guinness version. I'm very familiar with Le Carre's works, having read or listened to (on audio CD) many of them. As a result, I`m aware of the background stories to some of the characters. I'm also used to the pace of the stories. For people watching this film without that background, I'm not sure how well it would work. Certainly, this is not a film for those who like car chases and gun fights. This is a literary, thinkers film, but probably one for people au fait with Le Carre already.

Recommended for those already familiar with Le Carre, and George Smiley in particular.


Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps [DVD]
Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Douglas
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.02

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Incoherent, disjointed attempt at a sequel. Fails badly., 31 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I enjoyed the original Wall Street film, so despite very mixed reviews thought I would give Wall Street Money Never Sleeps (a.k.a. Wall Street 2) a try. I wish I hadn't.

Whilst *some* of the financial stuff in the film did actually make sense, the attempt to string different financial bits together was very tenuous. In fact, the whole thing was so disjointed, that I wonder if the script was rewritten as filming continued as a result of things happening in the real markets. If that's the case, I'm assuming it was too expensive to re-shoot earlier bits to try to produce a coherent film. Whatever the writing and filming processes were, the result is a mess. It might have been better if what was going on at the time was completely ignored. Trying to explain the ins and outs of the multiple aspects of the financial crisis and the long history that led up to it, to laypeople is nigh on impossible, so trying to make a populist film sitting on top of those events will always be difficult.

In terms of the film itself, the majority of the script was poor, the continuity awful, the use of techniques and soundtrack that felt like they were "borrowed" from "9 to 5" really dated the film, a cameo from Charlie Sheen just felt like a desperate (awkward, painful) link back to the original film in the hope of giving this one some credibility, Shia Labeouf and Carey Mulligan were simply uninteresting, the whole thing was just awful. Even Michael Douglas seemed to struggle to make anything from the material and direction he was given. He had moments that were fine, but others that were painfully wooden.

So, as good as the original Wall Street was, Wall Street Money Never Sleeps is just awful. Remember the first film. Don't ruin that memory by watching this one. Avoid.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 18, 2013 11:07 PM BST


Create a Nights Sky - Science Museum
Create a Nights Sky - Science Museum

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Amazed the Science Museum put their name on this - very poor, 31 Mar 2013
Although it's cheap (I paid more than it is shown as on Amazon today, but didn't pay the extortionate P&P being shown on Amazon today), as this is labelled as a Science Museum product, I had high expectations of it. Sadly, even if I hadn't had such expectations, I would still have been disappointed.

That it is little more than a single bulb, a switch mechanism, and a piece of cardboard that the purchaser has to punch holes in, wouldn't be a problem given the price. That the end result of punching those holes is still woefully poor is a problem. I followed the instructions to the letter, gave it a try and the result was hopeless. I went back and did more work on the holes which improved things marginally, but the result was still very poor.

I purchased this some time ago. As it was so poor I put it to one side as I don't like throwing things away that I have just bought. However, I'm having a tidy up today, and it is finally going in the bin, unused after those first attempts 1-2 years ago.

Very poor. Avoid.


Gore Universal Windstopper Thermal Balaclava Mask
Gore Universal Windstopper Thermal Balaclava Mask
Offered by Leisure Lakes Bikes
Price: £29.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Used in extreme conditions, and it still did the job., 29 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Sold as "Bike Wear", I bought this Gore Universal Windstopper Thermal Balaclava Mask for use on a trip north of the Arctic Circle, to wear under either a trapper hat or a helmet depending on which activity I was doing at the time (anything from husky sledding, cross country skiing, snowmobiling or simply sitting in a snow-hole after dark waiting for the Northern Lights to appear). In temperatures well below zero, and during snow fall, the combination of this balaclava with hat or helmet worked perfectly. Even during hard work, having the balaclava was useful as it absorbed perspiration - at the end of the activity, the balaclava could be removed to prevent the outer headgear freezing as body temperature returned to normal. The balaclava also helped prevent irritation that would have resulted from the outer headgear getting sweaty.

Recommended.


Choir: Gareth Malone
Choir: Gareth Malone
by Gareth Malone
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not overly exciting, but nice. Some background to the TV series., 29 Mar 2013
This review is from: Choir: Gareth Malone (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Gareth Malone is one of those people who can inspire people to do things that they would never normally even attempt. Having watched most of his TV series, this book ("Choir" by Gareth Malone) is a nice addition that gives Gareth's view on some of the scenes from the series, with some extra information thrown in. It provides a little information about Gareth's personal life and his ambitions for the choirs he creates and works with. And it confirms the message that singing is both fun and useful therapy. The book reads easily, and chronologically works through the various Choir series, although at times the individual chapters then jump around a bit. As another reviewer mentioned - it has a feel of having been ghost written, but I don't know if it was.

To summarise - not hugely exciting, but nice.


The Negotiator in You: At Work (BBC Audio)
The Negotiator in You: At Work (BBC Audio)
by Joshua N. Weiss
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £7.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poorly presented, not much more than bullet points, 23 Mar 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
"The Negotiator in You At Work" written and narrated by Dr Joshua N. Weiss, is one of those single CD audio books that you know is going to be pretty superficial. When the running time of the CD is only 30 minutes, it's obviously going to be very superficial. So, when I listened to this for the first time, my expectations were not high. On the amount of content, what the CD delivered was pretty much what I expected (although I have heard even worse on other similar titles), but what really struck me was how appalling the delivery was. Dr Joshua N. Weiss is not a natural narrator - the words just coming burbling out of his mouth at such a rate that the listener does not have time to take in what he said before he is onto the next subject. There is no pausing, no emphasis, just a stream of words. If you listen to this, you will either discard it after the first listen (or give up part way through), or you will listen to it multiple times to try to pick up each point that he is making. I listen to audio books whilst driving, and played this one three times in order to try to pick up everything that was said. Lesson for "AudioGo" the company behind this - listen to your narrators, and if they are unsuited to the task, get somebody else to do it.

In terms of content, there isn't much, but when the CD is only five pounds on Amazon, and Dr Weiss can probably rake in large consulting fees, he probably doesn't have much incentive to put much material on the CD. It's more a taster to try and get people's interest. I suspect that if I were to pick out any useful bits and list them as bullet points, there wouldn't be that many. Actually, what this CD feels like is exactly that - a presentation done with bullet points where a visiting consultant delivers his spiel to a small room of junior staff. In that situation where time can be taken to expand on each point, and people have time to think about what is said and interact with the person giving the presentation, it could be useful. But, delivered as badly as it is, this stream of words is not very good. Where it makes up for it though, is that there is a PDF workbook that can be downloaded (as far as I can see, you don't actually need to buy the CD to get the workbook). That PDF is basically the bullet points etc. It still isn't in any great depth, but at least it gives you something you can look at to remind yourself of things in future.

Audio CD not recommended. PDF download of some minor interest, but probably available without buying the CD.


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