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S Smyth (Belfast, Co Antrim United Kingdom)
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The Social Entrepreneur's Handbook: How to Start, Build, and Run a Business That Improves the World
The Social Entrepreneur's Handbook: How to Start, Build, and Run a Business That Improves the World
by Rupert Scofield
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.34

5.0 out of 5 stars Clearly written and thorough., 9 Sept. 2011
This book by Rupert Scofield details the steps that the aspiring social entrepreneur should expect to take, if they are to improve the likelihood of realising their ambitions in the world of the non-profit. This includes the initial poverty experience phase, in order to develop empathy towards the clients and the mission, and proceeds onward through the stage of apprenticeship and a possible career path within an established non-profit, or the choice of breaking out and establishing a non-profit of one's own.

The structure of the book is helpful with its breakdown into main sections, principles and anecdotal examples. The quality of writing is consistent in style, and is peppered with amusing similes that demonstrate Rupert Scofield's creative writing prowess, which are often and obviously superior to those who use such literary devices in literary fiction. For example: When criticising a piece of troublesome financial management software: 'buggier than nightfall over a Bangaladeshi rice paddy' :-)

In addition, Rupert Scofield covers the subject, warts and all, with regard to the highlights and lowlights, the highlifes and lowlifes that are likely to be encountered. Sometimes, and alarmingly too often, to the extent of being a serious risk to life and limb.

A point touched upon, and which will continue to be a serious challenge, in spite of the Arab Spring, for example, is the predicament faced by developing nations over how it is possible for there to be a safe enough and stable enough environment within which those who have been lifted out of dire poverty, can remain in the country, so as not to lose the benefit of their new found prosperity and ambitions to more stable locales abroad, that really do not need their presence, and which contributes too much to an endless cycle of poverty, that may, at best, remain just above dire.

Finally, with its focus on organisation and management systems, as the means to improve the likelihood of a successful non-profit, there is useful information to be had for those who would be entrepreneurs in the manjana, manjana economises of southern Europe, who need to more gently progress from ground zero, to the rigours of the for-profit enterprises that their countries, such as Greece, Portugal and Spain, so badly need.

I would also recommend The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators by Jeff Dyer, to complement this title, so that the development of the social entrepreneur's innovation skills, are more rapidly and successfully developed.

The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators


Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America's Schools Back to Reality
Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America's Schools Back to Reality
by Charles Murray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for our time., 18 Aug. 2011
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A book that comprehensively clarifies what astute parents already know/suspect. A book that should be read and understood by those in government and in education authorities who formulate education policy, and by parents who want to better direct their kids, so that heir kids are less likely to be misdirected into lines of education for which their kids are ill-suited, and thus be better able to achieve a lot more, than hey are too often encouraged to pursue.


The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators
The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators
by Jeff Dyer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £21.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful and clearly explained., 15 Aug. 2011
This book is useful to the extent that it identifies and rationalises the things that those of an innovative mind already do, but not necessarily to the degree, emphasis and interconnectedness that would make them more effective innovators.

In addition, the principles described in this book, can be applied to a broad range of activities, such as pertain to industry and the liberal arts. Which is not surprising, since the development of an innovator's increased powers of association, are to be derived from a broad range of influences, as described for the Steve Jobs' example.

The website material that is mentioned in the book is also a useful adjunct, since it provides the means with which to self-assess one's potential as an innovator, and provides guidance about how one may take steps to improve one's potential as an innovator who is better able to prosper in an increasingly globalized and knowledge dependent economy.


Film and Video Budgets
Film and Video Budgets
by Michael Wiese
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A book about budgeting., 12 May 2011
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This review is from: Film and Video Budgets (Paperback)
This is a good book about movie budgeting for those who want useful information about movie budgeting, but do not want the book to be an extended product endorsement for Movie Magic Budget, as almost all of today's books about movie budgeting now are. In the first chapter, a vitally important point is made with regard to contracts and copyright: A contract is about an exchange of title to property, even if the exchange of title for what could be considered a favour, is no more than a thank you note and a box of chocolates. This is to avoid the disagreements--legal and/or otherwise--that can arise because of an agreement with its implied 'if' statements. For example: Sure, John, you certainly can borrow my computerised, telephoto lens, for all of next week's principle photography. (If I have it to lend, and if I do not change my mind).


Predator: South China Sea
Predator: South China Sea
by Jeff VanderMeer
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A good read., 12 May 2011
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This is a well written Predator that suffers from the effect of a cast of thousands, too many locations and a style of viewpoint that adds depth to the characters, yet detracts from their objective impact. Nevertheless, the fen of Predator will enjoy this title.


Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle
Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle
by Dan Senor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leapfrog., 21 Mar. 2010
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Through the recent availability of venture capital and the utilisation of the capabilities of IDF personnel, Israel has begun to establish a viable economy, based on innovation in new lines of technology. This accomplishment is further bolstered by the Israeli culture, which, in general, is distinct to the region and the rest of the world due to its lack of social hierarchy and willingness to tolerate challenge to authority.

That said, because of the focus on skills obtained in the IDF, and with venture capital directed towards a limited variety of options, the economy is in danger of being akin to a wagon with only one star to hitch to, and overburdened with the Haredi and Israeli Arabs who are often excluded from participating in the economy because of their own actions, or because they have skills and qualifications, but lack the professional and social networks that IDF personnel have developed and have access to. So it is essential for Israel to develop the means that will enable Israeli Arabs and Haredi to gain the skills they do not gain in the IDF, and for IDF personnel who have not had to test their abilities on the battlefield. Hard to believe, I know, but not all of the IDF are fighting all of the time :-)

The Science of Success by Charles G. Koch, and The Puritan Gift and William and Kenneth Hopper, may be useful sources of inspiration for Israel, and for those keen to emulate Israel's success.


The Israel Test
The Israel Test
by George Gilder
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes a sound case., 12 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: The Israel Test (Hardcover)
Within the context of how history panned out, and with the need to adopt a rational position vis-à-vis the existential threats which emanate from within and without, by those of an Islamist and/or not dissimilar disposition, this book makes the convincing case that Jews are an indispensable component of any country which advocates liberty and prosperity, underpinned by capitalism. And that Israel is a country to be supported wholeheartedly instead of being vilified for perceived abuses, as propagated by the sworn enemies of liberty, prosperity and capitalism.

As per the Arrivista of Dubai, it would make good sense for them to be stacking this book at Dubai International as a counter to the stacks of Mein Kampf at Jordan International, so as to head off the likelihood of the Burj Dubai becoming a victim of the 'dirt and rubbish' syndrome, to be a castle made of sand, that slips in the sea, sooner than eventually. Albert Speer Jr. (Der Spiegel) gives a significant amount of Dubai as little as ten years, before it has to be demolished.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 14, 2010 12:41 AM GMT


A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice
A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice
by Malalai Joya
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How not to win friends and influence people., 10 Dec. 2009
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This book certainly conveys the essential character of Malalai Joya as can be viewed on her various webcasts, such as those broadcast on Youtube, for those, like myself, who have not had the opportunity to see her at any of her speaking engagements.

The co-authorship by Derrick O'Keefe has worked well, with the addition of naturalised English and a consistency of style throughout the book. Although her comments about the quality of the Afghan government and the Afghan parliament are generally accurate, she has somewhat created a position for herself where she is winning all the arguments, but has marginalized herself and her efficacy, so much so, that she has no support beyond those, including her constituency, who have no power to make a difference.

Her greatest lack of judgment is with regard to the US, its policy and armed forces. Without the US intervention, there would be no European intervention and the Taleban would still be in total control of Afghanistan. The US are occupying a position as per the self-interest of the US in the region, within the context of which, Afghans, including Malalai Joya have an opportunity to develop a democracy. And although this is hampered by the obvious lack of virtue of the warlords, fundamentalists, et al, the US does not want to get embroiled in the China Town that is Afghan culture and tribal and ethnic loyalties. That's for the Afghans to figure out, for themselves.

In addition, she should make some effort to be cooperative with some of the more agreeable entities of Afghan politics. Dr Abdullah Abdullah would not be a bad choice. After all, as Hans Herman Hoppe, et al, have pointed out, democracy has its limitations. And Malalai Joya aspires to be involved in politics, not a popularity contest.


Crash Proof 2.0: How to Profit From the Economic Collapse
Crash Proof 2.0: How to Profit From the Economic Collapse
by Peter D. Schiff
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.90

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's get out of the bunker., 3 Nov. 2009
Whilst this book clearly explains the economics and moral hazards which have led to the neutron-bomb economics of the US in particular, but not excluding most everywhere else, the remedies proposed are akin to stitching the family jewels into coats and fleeing the country, as European refugees had to do when escaping to the west: the UK or the US.

Unfortunately, even this possibility is now almost not a possibility due to the recent anti-terrorism legislation and money-laundering legislation which has recently been implemented, and is in force in Switzerland, the US and UK, and almost everywhere else. An example of what this means in practice, is 'Operation Rize' as executed by the London police.

Therefore, Americans have no alternative but to seize their democratic opportunities in 2010 and 2012, and install government which adheres to constitutional principles as per property rights, the soundness of money and the proper relationship between the state and the individual, so as to maximise liberty and happiness.

The alternative is to sink to the level of the beans-and-bullets brigade and a bag of scrap silver, which is precisely where Americans in 2010/2012 cannot realistically want to be.


Michel Thomas: The Test of Courage
Michel Thomas: The Test of Courage
by Christopher Robbins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With your head above the parapet, you're Vogelfrei., 7 Sept. 2009
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Michel Thomas has proved himself in war, and his language courses do what is claimed of them. From my experience of learning French and German from the audio courses, the free-market availability of the audio courses has motivated institutions such as the Open University to introduce elements which would have been part of their more advanced courses, into their level 1 courses. So Michel has caused academia to change its ways.

As for the Los Angeles Times article by Mr. Rivenberg, my sense about this, is that Michel became 'fair game' for those with a vested interest in the $350-billion education industry who utilised the delicate subject of the Holocaust, to besmirch Michel's reputation. When this happens, there is the judicial route, which is fraught with risk, even if a judgement would have been in Michel's favour. Which leaves--if one has the courage to allude to it--the Richard Pryor riposte: Who're you gonna' believe, me or your lyin' eyes?.

Thus, it would probably have been better to ignore the The Los Angeles Times article, in the same way as the belligerent group of Afro-American students, so that the truth would ultimately prevail.

Useful further reading is: College Is For Suckers: The FIRST College Guide You Should Read and No Sucker Left Behind: Avoiding the Great College Rip-Off.


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