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The No S Diet: The Strikingly Simple Weight-Loss Strategy That Has Dieters Raving--and DroppingPounds: The Strikingly Simple Weight-Loss Strategy That Has DietersRaving--and Dropping Pounds
The No S Diet: The Strikingly Simple Weight-Loss Strategy That Has Dieters Raving--and DroppingPounds: The Strikingly Simple Weight-Loss Strategy That Has DietersRaving--and Dropping Pounds
Price: £7.47

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book. Worth buying, despite it being a simple concept., 1 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've just finished reading the No S Diet. I purchased the Kindle copy.

I thought the book was incredibly good and if I could I would give it 6 stars. I purchased not because I needed it but because I read the website at nosdiet [dot] com and thought it was excellent. I wanted to learn more.

There is an awful lot of misleading BS out there on the internet and some of these diets are at worst, money making schemes that won't work long term, and at best, overly complex and you end up getting bogged down in minutiae.

A little under 18 months ago I was a little overweight and successfully lost 20 pounds in 13 weeks and got back to being lean. I did that using an approach very similar to the No S Diet. It didn't have a name but it worked brilliantly well, for the same reasons that No S works.

The No S Diet is some of the must sane, sensible, down to earth and above all REALISTIC advice on losing weight that you will ever get. It's absolutely right when it says that there are no evil foods, just portions that are too big, or consumption patterns that are too regular. The world of dieting these days outright neglects the basics, the only things that matter in favour of pseudo science in an effort to appear unique new and funky.

I'm doubtful about the negative reviews on Yes, reading the website alone will probably give you all of the information you need to go away and start implementing this diet and losing some weight, but you'll be missing out. Did these people actually read the book? I don't think so. It has 7 chapters. The first is an introduction and then chapters 2, 3 and 4 detail each of the principles in turn no snacks, no sweets, no seconds.

The real value in this book for the repeat dieter who has at one time tried everything under the sun but still can't lose weight are chapters 5, 6 and 7. Those chapters answer some important questions but above all deal with the most important side of dieting. The mental side. The psychological side. The emotional side. The intangible side.

The chapter on forming habits and being strict was worth the price of the book alone. It highlights the reasons that some people will fail on this diet and gives you concrete tips to overcome those hurdles.

People get fat because they ingest too many calories during waking hours. It's that simple. The only reason you can't buy that is because numerous other diet systems have warped your mind and convinced you otherwise, leading you believe that there are other more sinister, covert factors at work, like the glycemic index etc. There aren't. We're not talking about health, nutrition, or complex medical conditions here. When dealing with weight loss, it's calories that matter, nothing else. This book acknowledges that and then gives you a system to make it psychologically easier to stay on the straight and narrow for the long term. Dieting is almost entirely mental. The physical side of dieting is child's play.

This diet will give you a method of reducing your calorie intake without torturing yourself, and one that you will find gets easier and easier. Here is how it works.

Weekdays (Also known as Non “S” Days or “N” Days)

No Snacks
You have 3 meals a day just like people did for hundreds of years. You eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. You eat NOTHING in between those meals. It doesn't matter whether it's healthy, unhealthy, big portion, tiny portion. You eat only breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Why? - Because most of the excess calories consumed in the Western world are not consumed at meal times. They are consumed BETWEEN meals. If you piled up all the between-meal eating from your entire week on the kitchen table and looked at it together as one mass, you'd be horrified at what you eat. Because you would see it all in one place. This is why some diets and personal trainers get you to keep a food diary of everything you eat, because even seeing it in writing will shock you. But because instead all this slips past your watchful eyes is tiny amounts (and not so tiny amounts) here and there, you don't see it as a problem. This is snacking and it's habitual. The No Snacks rule kills this dead.

No Sweets
You don't eat anything that has sugar as the primary ingredient. No distinction is made between refined sugar, natural sugar, fake sugar, artificial sweetners, brown sugar, white sugar, cane sugar, caster sugar. It's all sugar. Yes you can still have sugar in your tea and coffee! Things like crumbles, pastries, pies, chocolate, cakes, biscuits, ice cream etc. They all have to go. How do you know which food fall into this category? Your tastebuds will tell you. Fruit is fine as is yogurt. But if you would potentially eat it as a dessert (you know the kind I mean!), then it's not allowed.
Why? - Sugar in it's various forms contributes the most nutritionless (is that even a word?) calories to our diets. Cut it out and you will start losing weight.

No Seconds
When you eat one of your 3 allotted meals described under “No Snacks”, you don't have second helpings. Your meal should fit comfortably on to one standard sized dinner plate with NO vertical stacking allowed. If you think your getting away with stacking a garlic baguette on top of your lasagne or you can stick one pizza on top of another, think again. You eat one plate (portion), and then you're done. There are no second, thirds or fourth. There are no starters desserts or puddings. Let me spell it out for you. One plate, one portion, one helping, one course. Simple. Yes initially your portions will be massive in order to get you through to your next meal, but that's ok because you're habit building.
Why? - What matters more than anything, isn't what you eat (it does to some degree!), but how much you eat. Portion control is the name of the game here. Limiting yourself to one plate, three times a day will reduce your calorie intake, but it's a simple and easy system to remember that doesn't require any maths or brainpower.


“S” Days
These are days that begin with the letter S. That means Saturday, Sunday and Special Days. Special days are religious or national holidays or your birthday, or the birthdays of close friends and relatives. On S days the 3 rules of No Snacks, No Sweets, No Seconds are abolished and you can eat what you want, when you want. If you're having more than two non-weekend S days in a month, you're overdoing it.

This diet will not make you lose 7 pounds in a week, but it will give you long term progress. As the author says, don't focus on results, focus on behaviours and building the habits. Results will follow. You're not in this to get slim within a week or even a month. You're in this for the rest of your life, so chillout and take it slow.

Note that the diet does not offer recipes and does not tell you what you can and can't eat, it tells you WHEN to eat and HOW MUCH to eat. The treats that you save for the weekend are used as rewards, as something you savour and eat to enjoy. Knowing that you can have something sweet, sticky and wicked at the weekend is more likely to make you stick to the 3 rules during the week. Focus on getting the “N” Days as perfect as you possibly can all the time, and then look forward to relaxing at weekends.

The only weak area of the book is it's lack of guidance on alcohol consumption. The author doesn't drink more than 2 drinks a day. I would suggest if you're having 2 drinks a day, every day without fail then you still have a problem. Try 2 drinks a day on your S days and you'll be fine.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2014 2:31 PM GMT

Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management
Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management
by Mark Forster
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book. It's power is in it's simplicity., 7 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Do It Tomorrow.

There are 16 chapters in the book. Chapter 16 is two pages long and doesn't really count.

There is a lot of overlap between many of the chapters. My only criticism of the book is that after making notes on each chapter, then standing back and analysing my notes I realised that 8 of the chapters could be condensed into a single chapter that was slightly larger than average but more concisely worded. That said, this book only cost me £3.98 for a good used copy and the style in which it is written and the way it is laid out made it easy to devour this book quickly and start putting the system to use. It is well worth the money and I highly recommend it.

I've given it 5 stars despite the overlap and repetition because of the sheer power of some of the insights I've gained from the book.

There are no pictures or diagrams in the book, just text, but it still does very well making it's points.

My 3 take home points were these:

1. Closed lists are the only tool you need.
A closed list is simply a to-do list that is compiled at the end of a working day and represents your to-do list for tomorrow (hence the title of the book). The list is said to be closed because it can't be added to during the next day when you work on it. You simply do everything that is on the list and nothing more. As new work comes in, put it on your closed list for the next day. Exceptions to this rule should be rare. An open to-do list is one that has no limits imposed and can just be added to whatever, whenever. Thus it becomes rather unwieldy and most of it never gets completed.

Once you fully understand what a closed list is, keep it in mind as you read the book and you'll see that all the good time management practices that Mark Forster recommends are made possible by the use of closed lists. Likewise all the benefits of this system are derived from closed lists. Take closed lists out of the equation and the entire book would cease to exist.

2. Prioritising by importance is a complete and utter fallacy.
This was the biggest insight I gained from this book and it sheds light on and makes sense of so much other time management advice I have read over the years.

Doing the classic time management thing of prioritising by importance is meaningless. Yes, that's right, meaningless. In almost every book or blog post I've ever read on time management it mentions that you should look at what you have to do and then prioritise by importance and then take action on the most important thing to the exclusion of all the smaller more trivial things that you could be doing.

Essentially, by categorising things as important or unimportant says is that you are basically choosing what you are going to do well, and what you are going to do badly. You're choosing what you will work on and what you will leave to rot.

Prioritising by importance like this at TASK LEVEL is too little too late. It's calling 999 (or 911) after your house has already burned down.The unimportant things will never be done. They will build up, creating a massive backlog. These things may not be the MOST important things, but some of them will still be seriously important. If left undone, they will, sooner or later assert their importance upon you.

Mark Forster says that all your work flows from commitments. Commitments are goals you set for yourself, or responsibilities that are given to you (or opportunities offered to you) by people further up the hierarchy i.e. your boss.

It is commitment level that you should make decisions at, not task level. Mark's argument is that if you take on a commitment (a project for example) then you should be prepared do 100% of the tasks it creates to the best of your ability, not just cherry pick the ones you want to do.

Note that I say make decisions at commitment level, because you still shouldn't actually prioritise by importance at commitment level. Don't allocate less time to your commitments, take on fewer commitments in the first place. Advice that we have all heard before, but the way Mark Forster highlights it, it really struck a chord with me.

So if you or your team are at capacity already, don't start neglecting some of what you're doing, push back to your boss and say that if he/she wants you to do this new project or take on a new responsibility, you'll have to give up something that you're already doing.

It's like having a baby and then prioritising, at TASK LEVEL the feeding of that child over and above everything else such as the grooming, hygiene, healthcare and education. Yes the child will never go hungry, and will remain alive, but it will be smelly, unkempt, diseased and stupid.

The correct time to pick and choose is at commitment level: "Do I want to have a child at all?"

If the answer is yes, then you do all tasks related to raising the child as best you can, don't prioritise.

Other examples might be:
"Do I want to join the fund-raising committee?"
"Do I want to coach the soccer team?"

Commitment level, is where you manage your time, not task level.

Manage overall capacity, not priorities within that capacity.

3. Prioritising by urgency should be for other people's work
If you work in an organisation that deals with a lot of genuine emergencies then you will have a structure and a system in place to deal with them. Think hospitals or any of the emergency services.

Most apparently urgent tasks are urgent because somewhere along the line, someone has left something undone for a considerable period of time and it has now become urgent. If someone gives you something allegedly urgent to do, then write it down and look at the words. Think. Does this really need to be done today? What are the consequences of not doing it today? Ideally you'd like to put it on your closed list for tomorrow and DO IT TOMORROW. How long will it take? Can you action it later on when you have some free time?

You personally should never need to prioritise any of your own work as urgent because using the Do It Tomorrow system, you're so organised, you don't let things go undone for very long. You make an early start on everything using the power of the closed list, and stay on top of your workload.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 26, 2014 12:31 AM GMT

The 80/20 Manager: Ten ways to become a great leader
The 80/20 Manager: Ten ways to become a great leader
Price: £4.35

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not very good. One idea stretched too far., 3 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Don't buy this book. The amount of duplication is horrendous. It's a waste of money.

I can summarise the book for you right here:

1. You can't achieve great things on your own. You will need to work with other people. Work at building and maintaining relationships with others. Make use of their skills knowledge and experience as well as your own. If they work for you, for heaven's sake, trust them, and grant enough them sufficient autonomy to do their job well. Support them as and when they need it, but otherwise, get out of their way and let them get on with it. Don't micro-manage them.

2. Leave large chunks of time free in your schedule for thinking, planning and decision making rather not just constant, and often needless action and micro-managing. This may sound like laziness but it's not. This strategic thinking will save you lots of time, effort and heartache when you do finally act.

3. Simplify things. Get rid of the waste and pointless activities. Most of what you think you should do doesn't actually contribute much if anything to the results that truly matter. The things that make a contribution to the results are classified as important. The key thing to grasp is this. Being busy and efficient not as good as being productive and effective. What does that mean? It means doing something unimportant very well does not make it important and just because something takes a lot of time, it does not make it important.

Job done. For free and in far fewer words than Richard Koch.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 3, 2013 10:44 PM GMT

How to Become a Straight-A Student: The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less
How to Become a Straight-A Student: The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less
by Cal Newport
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.38

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, not just for students, but for anyone wanting to learn., 12 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I ordered this book on a Friday and less than a week later I received it and read it from cover to cover.

It is a very good book, there is no doubt about that. It's a lot slimmer and smaller than I thought it would be but nevertheless, it packs a punch. Newport's style of writing is direct and can easily be devoured in a short space of time.

Initially I thought this book was a little too simplistic and didn't go into enough detail on what the students actually did when it came to studying for their exams etc. However on reflection, once you understand the basics of the study methods highlighted, e.g. the question/evidence/conclusion method of note taking or the "quiz and recall" method of actually learning the material, you don't need page after page of detailed explanation on how to physically do these things. A couple of sentences of explanation is plenty.

What is more important, as this book highlights, is the preparation, planning, time management and scheduling that Newport adopts throughout, to turn what could be no more than a handful of quick tips into a full study strategy. At the heart of this strategy is the idea of efficiency. That is the key to everything. You get the good grades as a result of working smarter not harder. More done, of higher quality, in less time.

The book also points out, albeit somewhat indirectly, that using these methods will probably help your physical and mental health and well-being, simply through thorough planning and organisation to reduce STRESS.

I graduated from university about 8 years ago. I bought this book in order to learn how to study more effectively for non-University endeavours on which I will shortly be embarking. All the way through reading the book I was smiling, but at the same time cursing. The text highlighted every area in which I was lacking way back in 2001 when I went from school to university. It reminded me how shockingly inexperienced and woefully under prepared I was.

I really wish that someone had given me a copy of this book to read, or sat me down and explained to me the benefits of a similar approach as I'm convinced I would have done a lot better academically and socially at university as a result, rather than being lost in a sea of stress and despair. It shows that studying is a skill just like any other, that can be learned and practised.

The interesting thing this book highlights which won't even come up in most discussions of effective learning and studying, is that good academic grades have far more to do with planning and time management than they do with being allegedly "gifted". Clearly you need to have a baseline level of intelligence, but after that, it's all about consistently deploying an effective system. This book is that system.

If you are a student, or if you are anybody about to study any subject as part of a course, or just for personal development, I strongly recommend you get this book because it will make you realise the error of your ways and could save you an awful lot of time, effort and heartache.

If you are a teacher, lecturer or professor of any kind then I also recommend that you get this book, as this is exactly the sort of thing that you should teach all of your students as soon as possible.

This is a truly excellent book, although the academics amongst you will probably write it off as being too simplistic. That would be a mistake. Its power is in its simplicity.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home 12.0 (PC)
Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home 12.0 (PC)
Offered by softpursuit
Price: £38.97

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding software. I must have for almost anybody., 23 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have now had Dragon NaturallySpeaking Version 12 Home Edition for around 3 to 4 weeks. I thought that I would come back on Amazon and delete the rather rambling review that I had left in a hurry when I was first experimenting with the software. I was like a kid at Christmas and couldn't stop talking/typing as it was so much fun to watch my words appear on the screen as quickly as I could say them.

I have now discovered the video on YouTube which should show anybody who is interested exactly how good this software is. I think the video is much more powerful than any review I can write as it will allow you, the potential customer, to see exactly what you are going to be purchasing and exactly what it can do for you.

It's worth noting that although the guy in the video says he's had the software for about three weeks and has been training it, in my experience version 12 is just as accurate straight out of the box. Although clearly training helps.

I strongly recommend that you watch the whole of this video and watch it in full screen mode.

EDIT: I've just discovered that Amazon won't let me post a link to the YouTube video, so instead I will describe the video I am recommending that you watch.

It is called: "Dragon Naturally Speaking Review and Demo-Speech Recognition"

And the YouTube channel is called "TheAdiposeTV".
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 23, 2014 5:11 PM BST

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