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Keith Appleyard "kapple999" (Brighton, UK)
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The Meaning of Things: Applying Philosophy to life
The Meaning of Things: Applying Philosophy to life
by Prof A.C. Grayling
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Enjoyable Read, 1 Dec. 2003
I'm sure any reader of this book will take away some favourite sections. For me, the consecutively-placed entries on Betrayal, Loyalty & Blame were exemplary juxtapositions of those complementary topics.
I would also recommend the entry on Racism.
Given the brevity of the articles, sure they can't give you an in-depth discussion on the topic, but its just deep enough to get one thinking about the topics.
I think this would be an excellent 'pocket-book' to dip into for anyone in their late teens trying to come to terms with the world.
Having read this book, I've moved directly to reading Graylings follow-up book, The Reason of Things.
Only disappointment - no Bibliography, so when Grayling frequently quotes other Authors / Philosophers, I don't know where to go to for further reading.


It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be: The world's best-selling book by Paul Arden
It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be: The world's best-selling book by Paul Arden
by Paul Arden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.79

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Useful, but too much hype, 1 Dec. 2003
(...) The flyleaf compares this book to Sun Tzu's "Art of War" and Machiavelli's "The Prince" (...)
There are some useful comments, such as
'develop a complete disregard for where your abilities end'
'don't promise what you can't deliver'

The best thing was right at the end, "Life's Creative Circle" showing the stages of life from 0-100, eg
30-40 = 'hell bent on success',
40-45 = 'repeating success',
45-50 = 'trying to keep up with the 25-year-olds'
But I wouldn't rush out to buy it as Christmas stocking-filler.


You Are Being Lied To: The Disinformation Guide to Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes and Cultural Myths
You Are Being Lied To: The Disinformation Guide to Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes and Cultural Myths
by Kick
Edition: Paperback

17 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This book is full of lies, myths & manipulations, 1 Dec. 2003
A book with an apt title, but not in the way the authors might want you to believe.
About 1 in 3 of the 60+ essays were interesting and informative, particularly the first 80 pages on the media, but when I started reading about events that I had witnessed with my own eyes, and saw how they were being misrepresented, I began to question the content of those hitherto influential other pieces.
So the revelation is that it's this book itself that is lying to me (at least in parts)! It is also very hard physically to read – large (9inches x 12 inches) and heavy (nearly 400 pages).
Then when it ran out of 'sensible topics' to discuss, we got deeper into the real fringe stuff, like how the word NAZI keeps cropping up imbedded in every day words like ‘geNerAliZatIon’ – well it doesn’t in British English where we spell it 'generalisation' - sorry to ruin the beautiful theory.
Save a few braincells and retain your objectivity – give this one a miss.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 9, 2010 4:19 PM GMT


Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel
Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel
by Scott Adams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An good intro to Weasel Management, 18 Nov. 2003
I'd seen some reviews of this book that suggested Scott Adams was losing his touch, so I bought it with some trepidation.
I read Dilbert on the Web every day (and I'm honest enough to pay a subscription so that Scott doesn't starve).
I wasn't disappointed by this book; in fact I liked the editorial material as much as the cartoon strips; even when you've seen them before the classics never die (just like Charles Schultz's Peanuts).
If I had to pick my favourite Chapter, it was Manager Weasels - of course!


The Peopleware Papers: Notes on the Human Side of Programming (Yourdon Press computing series)
The Peopleware Papers: Notes on the Human Side of Programming (Yourdon Press computing series)
by Larry L. Constantine
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic - well worth the read, 5 Nov. 2003
Fantastic : I wish I'd read these articles when they were originally published over the period 1992-1995.
There are 77 essays, which even today, 10 years after their original publication, have lost none of their relevance to those working in the field.
There was barely a single essay that I didn't get some benefit from reading, but I particularly liked the essays on.
- Cowboy Coders
- Collaboration
- All of Section 4, Tools, Models and Methods, which gives a number of very visionary essays on CASE
- Reuse
- Usable Objects
- Use Cases
I can't recommend the book enough; I'm certainly going to think twice before I lend it out to anyone, in case it never comes back!


What Would Machiavelli Do?
What Would Machiavelli Do?
by Stanley Bing
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book to be amused/bemused, 1 Nov. 2003
Confession - I'm a fan of Bing's column in Fortune.
Bing brings his style of humour to bear on all those behaviours which we've heard or seen megalomaniacs use, but hope we never get to experience them first hand, and of course we would never dream of applying them ourselves.
So, this isn't a book to use to learn new torture techniques, but to learn to identify those traits in others and be aware (or should that be 'beware'?).
Of the 45 or so Chapters, here is a selection of my favourites, giving excellent personal examples, naming names :
Responding to the question "What would Machiavelli do? He would ......"
- be a paranoid freak
- always be at war
- fire his own mother
- respond poorly to criticism
- have no conscience to speak of
- scream at people a lot
- establish and maintain a psychotic level of control
and lastly
- not be a jerk
Read the book to find the famous names who fit these profiles!


What Not How: The Business Rules Approach to Application Development
What Not How: The Business Rules Approach to Application Development
by C. J. Date
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A reasonable introduction with weak worked examples, 30 Oct. 2003
At first I was pleased with this Book, but as I progressed through the Chapters I got progressively more disappointed. In conclusion, I think the comments on the back page say it all "provides a good grounding" - I'd rate it 'average to good' - but certainly not 'excellent'.
What lets it down are the pitiful worked examples. They are key to explaining the concepts, but the choices are terrible. They focus on Inventory Control, but I wonder if the author has ever done any real analysis in this arena?
In Chapter 4 a few examples are introduced, that reappear throughout the book, for example :
(a) "Suppliers S1 and S4 are always in the same City" - and this is reaffirmed as 'being not all unrealistic'
(b) "Suppliers in Athens can move only to London or Paris"
(c) "Average shipment quantities never decrease"
but in my 25 years experience in systems design I could never imagine these rules as being acceptable in their own right, never mind as 'classics' to be used in training/education?
When one finds poor examples like this, it always make me wonder whether there's other topics in the book that in my naivety I am accepting hook, line & sinker, and others readers more familiar than me would similarly find to be in error? I suppose I'll never know. So I still need to read further about the topic in case I've been misinformed; so if you're going to buy one book about business rules - then this isn't the one.


Why Pride Matters More Than Money: The Power of the World's Greatest Motivational Force (Crown Business Briefings)
Why Pride Matters More Than Money: The Power of the World's Greatest Motivational Force (Crown Business Briefings)
by Jon R. Katzenbach
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fine Sentiment -- not matched by the contents of the book, 29 Oct. 2003
This was a strange book. I'd read Katzenbach's 'Wisdom of Teams' many years ago and really enjoyed it. But I didn't enjoy this book.
I wholeheartedly embrace the sentiments expressed on the flyleaf, such as "pride in one's work ... and in the sense of accomplishment, camaraderie and emotional attachment that comes with it is the key to success ...".
But what did I actually 'learn' from this book that I could take away and use, to change myself or to shared with others? The answer is -- nothing. Contrary to the flyleaf, I found it neither "inspirational" nor "practical", just 'light'.
Maybe the 19-page Introduction should have served as a warning, but there was just no substance to the book. If a College Student had turned this in as a paper, then I would have accused them of stringing together a number of disparate stories, but never once did it actually come to any conclusion as to 'why', 'what' or 'how'?
It just relies on the innate 'sensibility' that "show me the money" isn't the answer, but it didn't explain to me what 'is' the answer.


Simply Brilliant: The Competitive Advantage of Common Sense
Simply Brilliant: The Competitive Advantage of Common Sense
by Fergus O'Connell
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Simply Brilliant - but this is not, 28 Oct. 2003
Was there ever a book whose title didn't reflect its contents & promise?
Yes you can read it in an hour or 2, enjoy doing the little quizzes with as much pleasure as doing the 'quick' crossword, and the book has just about as much staying power.
If you've never thought about Time Management, then sure read this book once, and get some basic ideas, but it won't transform your life.
With chapter titles like "Know what it is you're trying to do" and "Things don't get done if people don't do them", it's all very simple.


Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value (J-B Warren Bennis Series)
Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value (J-B Warren Bennis Series)
by William W. George
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £21.99

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very timely criticism of American values but not far enough, 28 Oct. 2003
Let me start by announcing I have no doubt regarding Bill George’s own personal integrity and authenticity.
There’s plenty of good material in here about how to become an Authentic Leader and how to build an Authentic Company, but I don’t see this book as the panacea to all ills. It’s a timely criticism of American Values, but it doesn’t go far enough, because Bill is still a victim of his Culture.
When you open the book, you have to wade through no less than 33 advance reviews from other CEO’s and Academics – this is overkill – let me get at the book proper!. Also this book was published in July 2003, and so it is ironic that one of those acclaiming ‘authenticity’ is the former CEO of the NYSE.
Bill has a few good words to say about having a Balanced Life, but the USA is still on a different planet.
On page 46 he rightly criticises those people who ‘live for work’, and do 80 hours per week; but then he praises those who work 50-60 hours per week, and who in his opinion have achieved ‘a balance between their work and the needs of their families’. In my experience, the only way to see your kids weekdays as they are growing up, to read them a bedtime story or help them with their homework, is to try to never exceed 45 hours per week. Then on page 48 Bill talks more about the need for a Work-Life Balance, defining the problem, but then never discusses the solution. This 1-page is all you get, in a 200+ page self-help book?
All good stuff thereafter for the next 80 pages.
Then on pages 128-131 Bill describes an Ethical Challenge he experienced with a European subsidiary. No problems with what he did and why, but only with the principles he advocates in general. He was accused of being a typical American ‘trying to impose American values on Europeans’. He’s in favour of global principles, but only if they’re on the American model – a true hegemonist. Bill is in favour of ‘when in Rome...’ just so long as the Romans are Americans. Americans should try to learn the opposite – to import European values. Anyone found consistently working more than 50 hours a week should be investigated – they can’t be up to the job, or they are doing the job wrong – and that applies at all levels.
Bill never comments about the Minimum Wage, but since its now 'official' that if you're only paid the Minimum Wage you can't ever earn above the Poverty Level, its a shame he doesn't discuss what he think about the ethics of that?
In closing, before any American Reader refutes my claims, let’s just point out that the UK has (a) a higher Minimum Wage than the USA, (b) we work less Hours than the USA (48 hours max by law for most workers), (c) we have more Holidays/Vacation than the USA (20 days minimum by law, typically more than 30 days), and yet we have a lower Rate of Unemployment & a Lower Rate of Inflation. The higher standard of living in the USA is based upon working longer hours, and I’m afraid Bill isn’t proposing to challenge that regime.


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