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Age With Passion! A Boomer's Guide To Fearless Aging
Age With Passion! A Boomer's Guide To Fearless Aging
Price: 3.13

5.0 out of 5 stars A practical guide to re-finding purpose for any generation, but especially mine, 24 Jan 2014
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Margaret Nash has written a very practical and readable guide to finding your life's new direction. As the subtitle implies, it's written for 'baby boomers' (for readers outside the US who aren't familiar with this term, it refers to people born in the years 1946-1964, in the baby boom after World War 2). But the book also has many useful lessons for people younger or older than that. It arrived on my 57th birthday, so I'm right in the middle of its target audience.

One of the things I liked about this book is that Margaret reminds us how cool our generation - she calls it the 'Woodstock generation' - actually was. With our reverence for the 'greatest generation', our parents who lived through World War 2, and the media's marketing-led focus on younger generations, it's easy to forget how the Boomers - us - questioned received wisdom, fought for women's rights and civil rights, were responsible for an explosion of creativity in music, art and literature, and were determined to find our own paths beyond those that our parents laid out for us. It's affirming to be reminded of that.

The book is very easy to read, with no use of jargon, and Margaret is not afraid to share examples of frailty, and of things that have worked, from her own life. She's not the kind of personal development 'guru' who is concerned to come across as perfect.

Another useful thing about the book, both for the general reader and for coaches and therapists, is that it contains short, useable summaries of techniques like EFT and the Sedona Method, as well as some fairly standard procedures from NLP for goal-setting that will very possibly change your life if you've not come across them before.

There's also a helpful distinction between 'goal-setting' and 'manifesting', which made me think again about concepts like the 'Law of Attraction' which for a long time I hadn't given any attention to because of the number of what appear to be sharks and con artists who market themselves in those terms.

For me, though, the sections of the book which are going to be the most valuable are those on finding your life's purpose and working with Archetypes. Margaret reminds us that our life's purpose may change a number of times as our life goes through different stages, and not to get stuck in trying to live a purpose that is no longer relevant. And although I had heard of the idea of Archetypes, I wasn't very familiar with the details, so there is plenty to explore in the practical exercises that Margaret gives us.

As with any self-help book, the value you get from it will be related to the effort you put into actually doing the exercises.

I should add that I know Margaret personally - she used to co-train NLP courses with me about 15 years ago - but I would recommend this book anyway. The author's voice in the book is the Margaret I remember from then: funny, wise, compassionate and intelligent.

Andy Smith, Appreciative Inquiry facilitator and Emotional Intelligence coach

A New World: Chaos
A New World: Chaos
Price: 1.80

4.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this unless you won't miss a few hours, 23 Dec 2013
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This review is really for the series as a whole, as most readers on Kindle will come to this one first. Once you've read the first in the series, you're probably already hooked.

First, let's deal with the Z-word that I've seen cropping up in some reviews. There aren't really zombies in this book - or if they are, they're the 'running zombie' kind that you get in '28 Days Later', except that they only come out at night. Or if you have to go into a darkened building, as Jack and his team have to quite often in this series. This makes for a much harsher world to survive in - the survivors in 'The Walking Dead' have it easy by comparison.

What do I like about these books? Firstly, the hero, Jack Walker, is a decent guy, and super-competent, with just the skills you would need to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. Other characters are lightly drawn to say the least, but there's nothing that jars, and we get into a bit more depth with some of them in the later books.

Secondly, the writing is OK - by no means a given in self-published books, especially post-apocalyptic ones. Again, there's nothing that jars, and the writing is intelligent and does the job.

Third, John O'Brien knows how to end on a serious cliffhanger. I have downloaded lots of post-apocalyptic books; some I have ditched before they finish, and none of them up until now have persuaded me to spend money on buying the sequels. 'A New World' is different. I binge-read the series; as soon as I got to the end of one I bought and downloaded the next. Now I've hit the end of the series, I've got a serious Jones for the next one - I can't wait.

Stephen King talks about 'The gotta', as in: "I think I'll stay up another fifteen-twenty minutes, honey, I gotta see how this chapter comes out." That's what the 'New World' series is like - it put a serious dent in my productivity (I work from home) because I just had to find out what happens next.

Year of the Dead (Sustainable Earth)
Year of the Dead (Sustainable Earth)
Price: 0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Mormons vs Zombies - and Vampires!, 3 Oct 2013
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I've read a lot of Kindle freebies in the Zombie genre, and 'Year of the Dead' effortlessly outclasses most of them. It's not literary fiction (fortunately) but it's intelligently written and the short sentences, told from different viewpoints (including someone turning into a vampire, not the pale and moody conflicted kind that teenage girls like but a terrifying, almost unkillable thing that lives to feed, likes to play with its food, and can jump 40 feet in the air) really grip you. It's an adrenaline white-knuckle ride - most of the characters are hard-assed alpha male types (most of the rest of us wouldn't have survived, after all) but their self-awareness makes them believable and interesting.

The rationale for the zombie and vampire outbreaks (it's the fault of an alien civilisation) oddly makes more sense than in most books in the genre. Want to know why Mormons are more likely than most other religions to survive a zombie apocalypse? That information is right here, along with some other information like how to make a gun suppressor (the correct name for a silencer, apparently).

This book is addictive - the proof being that I went right on and bought the next in the series.

The Training Secrets of NLP
The Training Secrets of NLP
by Dr Richard Bolstad
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.13

5.0 out of 5 stars What they don't tell you on NLP Trainer Training, 17 Sep 2013
I have an earlier version of this book and it's excellent - sort of like a 'what they don't tell you on NLP Trainer Training' with lots of useful ideas and perspectives and helpful techniques from areas outside NLP like rhetoric and memory peg systems (I used his 'how to get your students to remember the Meta Model' technique on pretty much all of my practitioner courses), plus ideas for how to write ads to attract the students you want and how to move your students to action as well as inform them.

A must for any NLP trainer.

The Wild Days: Neurolinguistic Programming, 1972-81
The Wild Days: Neurolinguistic Programming, 1972-81
by Terence L. McClendon
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A must for the serious student of NLP, 8 Mar 2013
At one time, prior to the publication of John Grinder's still rare and hard-to-read 'Whispering In The Wind', this was the only account available of the early days of NLP by someone who was actually there.

While inevitably it's one person's filtered view, it gives some vivid and interesting insights into the larger than life personalities of Richard Bandler and John Grinder. For example, they apparently were big fans of Carlos Castaneda and spent some time out in the woods trying to 'stop the world'.

The tone and style of writing reads like a dispatch from the lost world of the seventies, with more than a tinge of the hippy about it. This is to be read in conjunction with Grinder's reminiscences, Robert Spitzer's article (available online) "Virginia Satir & Origins of NLP", and the interviews with Frank Pucelik (apparently the 'missing third man' of NLP) which are sprinkled around the web, to get anything like a full picture.

Definitely worth reading if you are interested in the origins of NLP and the characters of the originators.

Appreciative Team Building: Positive Questions to Bring Out the Best of Your Team
Appreciative Team Building: Positive Questions to Bring Out the Best of Your Team
by Jay and Fry Ron Cherney
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Could save you a lot of time developing your team, 31 Jan 2013
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This short book is a useful jumping-off point for anyone wanting to build a more positive and productive culture in their team.

Remember "Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing"? Have a look at this:

"Even in training programs to help teams develop effectively, the most popular models today shape participants to expect and welcome storming as a necessary phase of a good team's development. The very idea that in order to get better at teamwork, we must engage in some special form of fighting or arguing with one another is a reason people partly dread being assigned to new teams or projects. The language itself shapes powerful, often self-fulfilling prophecies."

It seems so obvious now they've pointed it out!

The heart of the book is a set of 48 multi-part `positive questions', around such subject areas as "Aligning Purpose and Goals" and "Promoting Leadership". You could use any question to interview team members individually, have the team explore a question as a group, or have team members pair up and interview each other.

Having so many questions to choose from could save you a lot of time, as you can just select (and adapt, if necessary) the questions relevant to the aspects of your team's performance that you want to develop.

By the time you have read or tried out a few of the questions, you would find it easy to create more of your own. For example, questions 7-10 are around balancing the various preference pairs in the Myers-Briggs model. You could easily develop similar questions around whatever model (e.g. Belbin team roles) your team is familiar with.

The other sections of the book cover ten ways you could use the questions, for applications ranging from "Selecting Team Members" to "Energizing Team Meetings", plus a step-by-step guide for conducting a self-managed appreciative inquiry, and a template for building your own appreciative interview guide.

What I'd like to see in the next edition: 1) perhaps a little more practical advice on how to get the process going if you're starting with a very cynical or demoralised team, and 2) an index.

Overall, this is a very handy book for team leaders who want to create a more positive and productive climate in their teams.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 13, 2013 3:38 PM GMT

Job Interview Confidence - Replacing Anxiety with Self-Belief (NLP series for people who stammer)
Job Interview Confidence - Replacing Anxiety with Self-Belief (NLP series for people who stammer)
Price: 4.11

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for anyone who gets nervous about interviews, 23 Aug 2012
First, a disclosure - Dr Hiten Vyas sent me a review copy of the book.

I am very impressed with it. The author has taken some quite advanced interventions from NLP, neuro-semantics and (I think) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and broken them down into simple, doable self-help exercises. Even more impressively, he's done it without a word of jargon!

The book is attractively produced, flab-free (getting pretty much straight into the self-help exercises) and makes good use of its colour photograph illustrations. It gives examples of the kinds of problems people face in interviews, and how they might use each exercise to reframe them, before asking you to do the same.

There are ten different reframing exercises to choose from, so at least one or two of them should work for you.

Although the book is the first in a series aimed at people who stammer, it would also help people who don't stammer but do feel anxious in job interviews. The exercises would also help relieve anxiety in other situations such as presentations.

Finally, almost anyone who has read a technical book on neuro-semantics will know how clunkily written most of them are (sorry, NS fans, but they are) - so we can probably also say that this is the most elegantly written book in the neuro-semantics canon!

Thinking, Fast and Slow
Thinking, Fast and Slow
by Daniel Kahneman
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Essential book for understanding the mind, 20 Jun 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you're interested in how the mind works, this book is a must-read. Simple as that.

It's peppered with illuminating examples of how 'fast' thinking can mislead us (even though it's also essential for making it through the day - if we had to think everything through consciously, we would never get anything done). As a trainer, I also appreciated how it supplies some great questions and thought experiments that can be used to show course participants that they are not immune from cognitive biases.

by Chris Cleave
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.86

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chris Cleave delivers again, 20 Jun 2012
This review is from: Gold (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Anyone who has read Chris Cleave's previous book, 'The Other Hand', will know that he's really good at two things - getting inside kids' minds, and delivering an emotional whack. Both of which he does superbly in 'Gold'.

As someone who is not remotely interested in spectator sport, least of all cycling, I was surprised by how interesting Cleave makes the lives of professional athletes. By the end of the book I had a new understanding and respect for anyone who can follow such a punishing training schedule and focus so intensely.

Other pluses - for me, as an honorary Manc, any book set in Manchester is crying out to be read. I could just imagine Zoe's flat in No. 1 Deansgate (looking out over a massive hoarding of her face advertising Perrier). All the characters are well rounded and believable, and I found myself caring what happened to them.

But the real 'gold' in the book is the depiction of the 8 year old, very ill, and Star Wars-obsessed Sophie. Damn I wanted her to make it! But I won't spoil the book for you by revealing whether he does...

You Talkin' To Me?: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama
You Talkin' To Me?: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama
by Sam Leith
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very readable first book on rhetoric, 25 Nov 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Rhetoric, at one time a huge part of the educational curriculum, is now almost forgotten outside the world of professional speechwriters. This book aims to resurrect the subject of rhetoric to its rightful position. It's vital to understand rhetoric both to be a better influencer and persuader yourself, and to recognise when a politician or advertiser is using some rhetorical trick on you.

One of the things that puts people off studying rhetoric is that it appears dusty and difficult, because of the vast number of different rhetorical devices, each bearing a Latin or Greek name which doesn't convey much to anyone without a classical education.

Sam Leith has done his best to blow the dust off the subject by writing a breezy, entertaining introduction with lots of examples from history and from modern American and British popular culture (some of the Brit references will be unfamiliar to an American reader, although curiously enough we get all of theirs). There's also a glossary of rhetorical terms and a guide to building your own 'memory palace'.

So, a useful introduction, and maybe all you need, although Leith gives plenty of references for further reading. If you're interested in speeches and persuasion, I can also highly recommend The Political Brain The Role Of Emotion In Deciding The Fate Of The Nation.

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