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L. Ellerton (London, UK)
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Prisoner & the Penguin
Prisoner & the Penguin
by Giles Lury
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A grown-up storybook for business & marketing, 5 Oct 2013
This review is from: Prisoner & the Penguin (Paperback)
'The Prisoner and the Penguin' bills itself as a grown-up storybook for marketers, business people and anyone who enjoys a good story, and it meets every part of that promise. It's a collection of stories around some of the world's most successful brands, including how innocent smoothies got started, where the inspiration for Post-its and Pritt Stick came from, among others, and how some of the ad campaigns we know and love came about. If brands have become the building blocks of self-image in the 21st century, as some say, then this is a tale of the foundations on which they lie.

Those in marketing will almost certainly have heard some of the stories before, but I can pretty much guarantee that many of them will be new to you. For everyone else, it's a great way to learn more about the brands and products we encounter every day. I've already used some of the stories as pub fodder, including the title story, for which I won't give any spoilers.

At the end of each story, Lury has drawn out a 'moral', making this as much a guidebook to modern business as a fun collection of tales. The book's well timed from that point of view - although storytelling seems to have become the latest buzzword of marketing, most books out there are more concerned with instructing you as to the how and why of using it, rather than the stories themselves.

Each tale is fairly short - none runs to more than a couple of pages - making this the perfect thing to dip into if you're looking for a distraction on your coffee break, and the brands themselves range from the monoliths to the fast-moving start-ups of modern business.

All in all, well worth a read.


The Times Fiendish Su Doku Book 6
The Times Fiendish Su Doku Book 6
by The Times Mind Games
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this for the Super Fiendish, 19 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've purchased all of the Fiendish volumes from The Times, and enjoy puzzling over the Super Fiendish su doku (which I rarely solve, making the ones I do even more satisfying!) In this book, however, the compiler must have been having an 'off' day, as I raced through the Super Fiendish puzzles with barely a pause for breath - disappointing.


Woodware Lever Punch - Large - Heart 1"
Woodware Lever Punch - Large - Heart 1"
Offered by Mad as a Crafter
Price: 8.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Works well and a good size, 19 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this to punch out heart-shaped table confetti for my wedding - it works well and the end results look great. My only quibble is that it's a little stiff, so that large volumes of punching can be tiring, but otherwise well worth the price.


1 x Neon Fluorescent White Liquid Chalk Blackboard Marker Pen
1 x Neon Fluorescent White Liquid Chalk Blackboard Marker Pen
Offered by Quickdraw Stationery UK
Price: 2.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good option for weddings, crafts etc, 19 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The liquid chalk blackboard marker pen is pretty much as it says: a great choice for writing on blackboards at home or for wedding table names etc. It has a relatively fine tip, which is rounded rather than angled, making it a better choice for small-scale writing - probably not the best choice available if you're looking for something for larger writing e.g. on a pub sign. Once the seal is broken, the pen delivers smoothly and chalk comes out looking bright white and nice & clear. Do note, however, that it needs a wet cloth to wipe off, rather than a standard blackboard eraser. A good product at a good price.


The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read for all ages, 22 July 2011
This review is from: The Hunger Games (Paperback)
Along with 'I Am Number Four', this is one of the new genre of crossover teen books that are finding new audiences among adult readers. In the case of 'Hunger Games', those audiences are entirely justified.

Unlike so many books that have attempted to make the jump to adults recently, Hunger Games is a fantastic, fast-paced story based on a genuinely intriguing premise. I won't go into details, partly because coming to the book entirely fresh gives you a real treat, and partly because others have already done so - but rest assured, this is a book well worth picking up and very hard to put down again.

The writing style is fresh and works well with the young protagonist, without leaving the adult reader feeling 'yoofed out'. The plot keeps you reading until (literally) the last man standing, and the characters are well drawn and easy to sympathise with. It's rare that I write a review, partiuclarly in such glowing terms, but I must say that if you enjoyed the likes of Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurtz's Empire trilogy, Stephen King's 'It' or 'The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon', Maria Snyder's 'Poison Study' or Brent Weeks' 'Night Angel' trilogy, give this a go.


Love at First Site
Love at First Site
by Marc Zakian
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A long-overdue idiot's guide to love on the net!, 25 Jan 2006
This review is from: Love at First Site (Paperback)
Whether you’re a fan or not, there’s no doubt that internet dating has taken off in a big way in the UK, leaving those of us who haven’t tried it wondering what we’re missing.
Fortunately, Love @ First Site is here to provide the answer. It’s a pocket-size, very readable handbook of the pleasures and pitfalls of online dating.
If you’re haunted by media stories of online love gone wrong, Love @ First Site provides a reassuring overview of the pros and cons. There’s also a useful run-down of ‘netiquette to get you started, together with essential tips for safety.
Keep going and you’ll find reviews of all the major dating sites plus some niche ones, such as Sexintheuk.com. M:F ratios, number of members and users’ comments are invaluable when it comes to navigating the occasionally murky waters of internet love, stopping you from wasting time and money on sites that won’t suit.
Comments from both guys and girls give a useful steer on completing your profile, while the occasional cringe-inducing sample is a timely reminder of just how wrong it’s possible to go.
Love @ First Site is an enjoyable if occasionally repetitive guide to internet dating in the UK that will leave you wondering why it’s the first of its kind. If you’re not too busy trying out your new skills, that is...


The Pirate Inside: Building a Challenger Brand Culture Within Yourself and Your Organizations
The Pirate Inside: Building a Challenger Brand Culture Within Yourself and Your Organizations
by Adam Morgan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 21.00

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shortsighted employer driving you crazy? This one's for you., 25 Jan 2006
Following the success of his bestseller, Eating The Big Fish, what Adam Morgan sets out in The Pirate Inside is a clear and very readable guide to exchanging a tradition-led and unwieldy corporate model for that of a sleeker – and more successful – Challenger culture. As such, The Pirate Inside is a manual for anyone who has felt that they could build something more from their brand, were it not for the sometimes-shortsighted demands of management or shareholder.
Although in recent times the concept of the Challenger business has become an established component in the marketing lingo, it is worth revisiting Morgan’s definition of it before going any further into The Pirate Inside. According to Morgan, a Challenger is a brand or company that positions itself in such a way as to compete successfully against one or more clear market leaders, despite the inequity of its available resource. Moreover, the Challenger achieves this by refusing to obey some or all of the traditional ‘rules’ of its category or market.
Where Eating The Big Fish sought to detail the behaviour and attitudes that belong to a successful Challenger, The Pirate Inside concerns itself with the practicalities of the transformation into such a brand or business. Morgan makes no assumption that his reader is intimately acquainted with Eating The Big Fish, instead ensuring that an analysis of processes and requirements is combined with a wide range of case studies to provide a step-by-step path for the reader towards achieving the key aspects of a Challenger culture and attitude.
Having said that, The Pirate Inside takes for granted that the reader knows enough of the advantages and disadvantages of the Challenger business model to recognise its value to his business. As such, the book spends little time extolling the virtues of a Challenger approach per se, although exceptions occur at those points where Morgan seeks to aid the reader in implementing a greater understanding of its benefits within his own organisation.
The book’s title is taken from a comment made by Steve Jobs during an interview that: “It’s more fun to be a Pirate than to join the Navy”. Although Morgan could be accused at times of working the metaphor a little too strenuously, his secondment of it for The Pirate Inside is in general very successful. He opens by asking what attracts so many of us to the idea of pirating – the freedom, and dangers, of life outside convention – and follows this by examining the factors that prevent us from striking out on such a career path. These factors are summarised in what Morgan calls: “The Six Excuses People Put Up For Staying In The Navy – doing the same as everyone else has always done”.
At the same time, The Pirate Inside sets out to take Jobs’ statement a step further, arguing that it is possible to combine the two cultures of pirate and navy. Morgan accepts that while there will always be born ‘pirates’ such as Jobs or Branson, the majority of us are far less comfortable with the idea of trading security within an established company for the risks of business life as the captain of our own ship. It is a key insight, and indeed one fault of the book is perhaps that Morgan could afford to be more explicit in his rebuttal of this ‘either/or’ mindset.
A primary concept within The Pirate Inside is that for a brand to succeed as Challenger depends upon its people adopting a new ‘personal and cultural model’. At this point it is worth digressing to note that, throughout the book, Morgan insists that we view such an action as: ”the deliberate move from one less suitable and successful…model to another that is more appropriate to the opportunity for the brand”. Even pirates, it seems, have some rules.
Be this as it may, the inclusion of the ‘personal’ is central to Morgan’s exposition – throughout the book he makes it clear that such a change cannot take place without a significant commitment from the potential catalyst; both to his brand and to a potentially high degree of personal exposure. This is not a book from which the reader can come away with a couple of pithy phrases and an exercise or two, secure in his mind that he has thereby done right by his business. Instead, The Pirate Inside aims to help those of us who have thought longingly of shifting paradigms, breaking moulds and smashing parameters, but have little or no idea of how to go about such violent pursuits.
To answer that question, Morgan has included case studies from both the UK and the US, drawn from a diverse selection of industries. In doing so, he ensures that all but the most widely read of us will take something new away. Interviews with the key personnel behind each example provide valuable insight, not only into the brands and businesses concerned, but also into the personalities that are drawn to offer such commitment to them.
If nothing else, even the most blasé of readers should enjoy the anecdotes and lessons supplied by some of these industry leaders, demonstrating that even the best business minds haven’t always had plain sailing. For the rest of us, The Pirate Inside is a book that offers marketers from any industry or background a business vision to be proud of – and far fewer grounds than before to justify abandoning it.


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