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Stephen Waddington (London, UK)

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Culture Shock: A Handbook For 21st Century Business
Culture Shock: A Handbook For 21st Century Business
by Will McInnes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.64

5.0 out of 5 stars A manifesto for modern business, 6 Jan 2013
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Culture Shock by Will McInnes is a manifesto for modern business. It isn't an easy read because it challenges almost everything that we've learnt and know about business but ultimately you'll find little with which to argue.

I started reading the book last August. I kept reading a bit, reflecting on the content, and coming back to it afresh. The corners of my copy are well-thumbed and turned-over and the margins are littered with scribbled notes.

McInnes has learnt on the job. His views are formed from founding and operating NixonMcInnes, a pioneering social business consultancy. His clients have included BBC, Barclays, Channel 4, Cisco, O2, The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and WWF.

Technology is a consistent theme that underpins Culture Shock.

Ubiquitous Internet connectivity is forcing a change of pace in business. But there are other issues at play. The failure of the banking system, global warming, the Arab Spring and the rise of the so-called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies are driving what McInnes calls an ever increasing change velocity in business.

"To hate is not enough because to sit back and criticise business and bonuses and bankers and the way things just are will not make the slightest bit of difference," says McInnes.

The solution that McInnes offers is a journey that re-defines the purpose of an organisation and calls for a radical reappraisal of finance, people, leadership and openness.

The book shares the stories of companies that have found new ways of doing things. Organisations such as Apple, BrewDog Google, HCL Technologies, and Patagonia, that are driven with a purpose greater than profit, and are engaging with their customers and motivating staff in new ways.

McInnes calls us to join him in the Culture Shock movement. I suggest that you buy a copy of his book and sign-up.


The Public Relations Strategic Toolkit: An Essential Guide to Successful Public Relations Practice
The Public Relations Strategic Toolkit: An Essential Guide to Successful Public Relations Practice
by Alison Theaker
Edition: Paperback
Price: 23.39

5.0 out of 5 stars A book that student, teacher and practitioner will want to keep close to hand, 7 Nov 2012
I received a review copy of The Public Relations Strategic Toolkit: An essential guide to successful public relations practice when it was first published in July. It has been sat on my desk at home ever since. Not because I haven't read it but because it's a very good book that I've regularly dipped into.

The Public Relations Strategic Toolkit by Alison Theaker and Heather Yaxley is a toolkit as the title suggests. The book is a mix of public relations theory, case studies and practical guidance. It provides a thorough grounding for anyone new to the industry and is an instant aide memoir for experienced practitioners.

Strategy sits alongside tactics and old with new. The book tackles the disintermediation of media and the shift to digital in a chapter on digital public relations but sticks to the fundamental principles of organisational engagement via the internet.

This is a textbook but not in the traditional sense. Theaker and Yaxley have a mix of academic and practical experience from careers as teachers and practitioners.

The Public Relations Strategic Toolkit is packed with insight from recent public relations campaigns and prompts for discussion and further information. Its 22 chapters and 480 pages cover the public relations profession, planning, corporate communication and stakeholder engagement.

The book is well produced. The bibliography and the index are first rate. If you're studying public relations you'll appreciate the exhaustive list of third party sources and if you're a practitioner the index will guide you quickly to the information that you seek.

There is also an excellent Appendix of template documents that alone provide the fundamental building blocks for a modern public relations operation and payback for the cover price. At 25.99 it's a significant sum for students but undoubtedly reflects the work that the authors have put into the book.

The Public Relations Strategic Toolkit is a book that student, teacher and practitioner will want to keep close to hand. It's a primer for the public relations industry.


What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us
What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us
Price: 0.77

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good basic guide to social networking and Google+ and a bargain at 49p, 8 Oct 2012
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Guy Kawasaki borrows Steve Jobs' famous phrase, "There must be a better way" to explain the potential for Google's social network. Google+ is to Facebook and Twitter what Macintosh is to Windows, he says.

The book consists of 15 chapters that together form a user guide to Google+ covering topics from circles to comment, and from photos to followers.

There are couple of chapters that apply equally to any form of social media on topics such as sharing content, engagement and etiquette that experienced users of Facebook and Twitter might want to skip.

Kawasaki writes in plain English and has an encouraging and engaging style. He is candid about his own use of social media and passes on information that any individual or organisation, whether starting out or experienced in social media, will find helpful.

It's the sort of book that you could read from start to finish in a single sitting, or more likely dip in and out of trying stuff as you go.

The second edition of What the Plus! Google+ for the rest of us is published tomorrow by McGraw-Hill at 6.99. Alternatively there is a Kindle edition priced at a bargain 0.49.

It's the first time I have come across an e-book that has been priced to accurately reflect the cost of a digital format. Could this be one of the first examples of the future of book publishing?

What the Plus! Google+ for the rest of us is a good basic guide to social networking and Google+.


Nature in Northumberland's Upper Coquetdale
Nature in Northumberland's Upper Coquetdale
by Dave Robinson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful piece of work that'll have you reaching for your walking boots, 24 Sep 2012
Nature in Northumberland's Upper Coquetdale is a beautiful book that tells the story of the flora and fauna of a very special corner of Northumberland.

It's a beautiful piece of work. The photography is stunning and will surely make an exhibition in its own right in due course.

But it's the broader narrative, the combination of words and photos, that makes this book really special. Dave Robinson and Hugo Aiken take the reader on a guided tour around Upper Coquetdale through the seasons and share their passion.

Inevitably you'll want to reach for your camera and walking boots and attempt to retrace their steps.


Tyne View
Tyne View
by Michael Chaplin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 18.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly original piece of contemporary storytelling, 23 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Tyne View (Paperback)
Michael Chaplin assembled a talented crew of Tynesiders that included photographer Charles Bell, poet Christy Ducker and artist Birtley Aris, to join him in the walk up and down the tidal stretch of the river, from South Shields Pier to Tynemouth Pier via Wylam Bridge.

The group meet ship builders, engineers, a horse dentist, the bloke that operates the Swing Bridge in Newcastle is a highlight, scrapyard dealers, mechanics, textile artists, a pigeon fancier and boatmen. The list goes on.

It would be very easy for a social history of this kind to be sentimental but Chaplin's perspective is candid, witty, insightful, occasionally moving, and almost always upbeat.

In the final chapter of the book Chaplin looks to the future. He finds people and communities along the river adapting to change beyond its banks. The scars of the decline in the UK shipbuilding lie up and down the river and while there are pockets of modern hi-tech manufacturing industry the going is tough.

Chaplin, with help from some of the people he met on his journey, concludes that the future of the river lies in embracing the complexity of global markets and in doing so create new opportunities for commerce.


Public Relations and the Social Web: How to Use Social Media and Web 2.0 in Communications
Public Relations and the Social Web: How to Use Social Media and Web 2.0 in Communications
by Rob Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 19.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Well-argued book about the future of public relations, 15 July 2012
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Public Relations and the Social Web is a good introduction to how the internet is destroying the media and its impact on the public relations industry.

It's a practical book that explores how public relations practitioners need to move beyond the traditional media and build relationships directly with audiences using digital and social forms of media. It's not just a well-written text but is a near comprehensive catalogue of what practitioners need to consider when planning a public relations campaign.

I recently returned to the book after collaborating with author Rob Brown on Share This, the crowdsourced social media handbook from the CIPR. Inevitably new technologies and social networks have emerged but the shake out of the traditional media remains a work in progress, and the book is as relevant as when it was first published.


Viral Marketing: Get Your Audience to Do Your Marketing for You: Make People Your Willing Advocates
Viral Marketing: Get Your Audience to Do Your Marketing for You: Make People Your Willing Advocates
by Russell Goldsmith
Edition: Paperback
Price: 15.99

4.0 out of 5 stars One of the first books about word of mouth marketing, 15 July 2012
This is an interesting book that is worth reviewing from a historical context given that it was written more than a decade ago in 2002. The technology may have changed but the fundamentals remain the same: brands that create good content can motivate networks to share marketing messages.

I'm not sure why earlier reviewers have been so harsh. Viral Marketing was of the original texts on internet driven word of mouth marketing and as such deserves recognition.

Steve Earl and I spoke to the author Russell Goldsmith and his colleagues when we were writing Brand Anarchy, and we collaborated on Share This, the crowdsourced social media handbook.


One Girl And Her Dogs: Life, Love and Lambing in the Middle of Nowhere
One Girl And Her Dogs: Life, Love and Lambing in the Middle of Nowhere
by Emma Gray
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.36

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspirational autobiographical story, 16 Jun 2012
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One Girl and Her Dogs is a heart-warming autobiographical story about 23-year Emma's bid to take on a farm in a rural location and build a business around her skills as a shepherdess and dog trainer.

Emma took on the tenancy of Fallowless Farm, near Elsdon from the National Trust, after she split with her fiancé a couple of years ago. This area of Northumberland is remote in a way that it would be difficult for anyone from a town or city to understand.

The book is an insight into how difficult it is to generate an income from a small tenant farm in 2012. The plain fact is that it isn't and Emma combines building her own flock of sheep with numerous other jobs including contract lambing, clipping and sheepdog demonstrations.

The countryside is a stunning place to live but it doesn't pay the bills.

Emma light-heartedly compares herself to Hannah Hauxley on more than one occasion. Hannah was a shepherdess that lived an isolated life in rural Yorkshire and was discovered by the media in the 1980s.

But farming and a fondness for animals and the countryside is where the comparison between Hannah and Emma begins and ends. Emma should be a poster girl for Northumberland and young farmers in the UK.

One Girl and Her Dogs has done the rounds of the family. It showed my 11 and 13 year old daughters that it is possible to follow your passion and that it's also possible to live and generate an income from the land in a rural Northumberland. But it's not easy.


When I Die: Lessons from the Death Zone
When I Die: Lessons from the Death Zone
by Philip Gould
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.99

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I hugged my wife and children that little bit harder this morning, 22 April 2012
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In his forward to When I Die editor Keith Blackmore describes the book by Philip Gould as his last great campaign. It's a campaign that pushes hard against the taboos of cancer treatment and death and asks us to appreciate those around us.

The book describes Gould's four-year journey with cancer in his own words with insight from his wife and children. It should be deeply depressing. It's anything but. It's a life-affirming story about a family and friendships. Gould battles with cancer to the end yet accepts and prepares for his own death completely.

It isn't an easy read. You will cry. But it is compelling. I read it over two evenings late into the night and early morning. I couldn't put it down. In time I'll re-read it again. Its a book I want to reflect upon and come back too. Georgina and Grace Gould's description of their final months, weeks and days with their father as he faces death are intense and heart breaking.


The Business of Influence: Reframing Marketing and PR for the Digital Age
The Business of Influence: Reframing Marketing and PR for the Digital Age
by Philip Sheldrake
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you work in communications and want to continue working in communications this book is a must read, 24 Jun 2011
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The Business of Influence is a serious attempt to close the gap between the PR industry and business. Philip Sheldrake tackles head-on how you measure the value derived from communication. Expect your existing prejudices and thinking to be challenged.

Sheldrake scrutinises the flows of influence around an organisation and concludes that for too long organisations have obsessed about pushing information out with little regard to other communications flows.

It's a highly original piece of work in which Sheldrake develops the balanced scorecard, the dominant framework for business performance management conceived in the 90s, and applies it to the business of influence.

If you work in communications and want to continue working in communications this book is a must read.

Disclosure - I've worked with Sheldrake on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in the UK. He quotes me in the book, as well as my daughters on their influences and networks.


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