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Reviews Written by
Keith Appleyard "kapple999" (Brighton, UK)

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Phantoms in the Brain: Human Nature and the Architecture of the Mind
Phantoms in the Brain: Human Nature and the Architecture of the Mind
by V.S. Ramachandran
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight into neurological problems, 18 April 2004
I first heard of VS Ramachandran when quite by accident I tuned into his giving the 2003 Reith Lectures on BBC Radio 4. His entertaining & instructive style prompted me to tune in a few nights later for the next instalment, and then to go and seek out his published work.
Phantoms in the Brain is an excellent introduction to practical studies of phantom limbs syndrome, and thus into the workings of the human brain and the concept of body imaging.
As a direct consequence of reading this book, I then eagerly awaited his next offering, the transcript of those BBC Lectures.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 14, 2009 11:46 AM BST

Essential Negotiation (Economist)
Essential Negotiation (Economist)
by Gavin Kennedy
Edition: Paperback

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the best way to learn about Negotiation, 12 April 2004
Despite the title, Essential Negotiation is not Essential. Rather than 'How To', it is really an A-Z Dictionary from Adjournment to Zero-Sum. You need prior knowledge to be able to use the book intelligently.
It's ill-structured in places : "Alternative" says 'see BATNA'; go to "BATNA" and it just says 'see page 25' - and then on page 25 you get an explanation of "Best Alternative to No Agreement".
The shortest entry must be "Quick Deal" - it just says 'Often Regretted' - isn't there any other advice to give about a Quick Deal?
Then there's other suspect entries - less than 1 page on "Hotel Purchase" - actually all about Valuation rather than Negotiation as such.
There's 1 page on "Kidnap Negotiation" and 2 pages on "Hostage Negotiation" - I think these are irresponsible, and could be dangerous in the hands of the ignorant?
All in all, very disappointing, not what I expect from the 'Economist'

Angel Customers & Demon Customers: Discover Which Is Which, and Turbo-Charge Your Stock
Angel Customers & Demon Customers: Discover Which Is Which, and Turbo-Charge Your Stock
by Larry Selden
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Make your Angel Customers Happy, 28 Mar 2004
We should all be aware of unprofitable Customers. Anyone in business should be already aware of the 80/20 rule - that 80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers.
This book goes that one step further – by some excellent case studies it shows how 150% of your profits come from 20% of your customers – they are the Angels. The Demons are those 20% of your customers who actually lose you money equal to 150% of your profit.
Its not another book about CRM (Customer Relationship Management), but it is about being Customer-focussed rather than Product-focussed.
I have multiple relationships with Companies who could do with reading this book – including my own employer, with whom I have around 20 Contracts, and yet any one Business Unit only seems to know about 1 or 2 others at best. All those lost selling opportunities – for example they know the ages of my kids from my Travel Insurance Policies, but have never tried to sell me any College Savings Plans!
Read the book and make your Angels happier – and get rid of the Demon ones!

by David Lodge
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yet another interesting work from Lodge, 23 Mar 2004
This review is from: Thinks (Paperback)
I read all of David Lodge's works of fiction when I discovered him about 15 years ago. Thereafter I read the odd one, but it's been nearly 5 years since I last read anything of his. I found this different from the others, yet not disappointing.
I could relate to most of the characters, and the story was believable, as well as containing a couple of twists that I didn't see coming.
The scientific research on Artificial Intelligence was well-covered, so much so that I stopped after chapter 3 to see in the Acknowledgements where he had got his material from?
The parodies of Amis, Welsh, Beckett, Stein etc were excellent!

Right Hand, Left Hand
Right Hand, Left Hand
by Chris McManus
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.99

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting for both left & right handers, 23 Mar 2004
This review is from: Right Hand, Left Hand (Paperback)
I'm a 'lefty', 'southpaw', 'cack-handed' etc. My daughter bought me this for my birthday. It was a very interesting read.
The only downside was that some of the chapters seemed too long, at over 30 pages? There were points when the topic of the chapter seemed exhausted, and was strung out, and on more than one occasion my interest waned, only to perk up on the next page when some new issue was introduced, and off we went again?
What I liked best was the little anecdotes (I drafted this before I read the previous Reviewers thoughts, so he stole my thunder, but I thought I'd leave it in).
Like how it took years for Canada to decide whether to drive on the Left or the Right, with British Columbia & the Maritime Provinces not changing over until after the First World War, and then still over a number years between 1920 and 1924. Similarly how Western & Eastern Austria drove on different sides of the road until 1938.
Lots of fascinating material.

Meditations (Classics)
Meditations (Classics)
by Marcus Aurelius
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

42 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read this one and avoid any inferior translations, 23 Mar 2004
I picked up a more modern translation of this work, and phrases like 'if you keep putting things off' leapt out of the text. Consternation – did the Greek original actually have words like that? It was a 'modern' translation – 'modern' as in 'dumbing down'.
So I went looking for this translation, only 40 years old, but more faithful to the original, as in 'think of your many years of procrastination' rather than 'if you keep putting things off'. I'm sorry, but if you can't handle good English, and need the 'dumber' versions, then you're probably too dumb to appreciate the finer points of the work in the first place. Both versions were the same price, so that didn't influence my decision.
Then you can sit back and enjoy the thoughts and the musings of this interesting man.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 16, 2011 4:37 PM BST

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard Feynman
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard Feynman
by Freeman J. Dyson
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting new material, 17 Feb 2004
I've read numerous other works by Feynman, so I expected this to be a composite of previously published material. In parts it was, but there was some new material.
Given that some of the material was based upon recordings for TV Interviews & Speeches, there was new stuff.
I particularly found his musings on nanotechnology interesting, showing how much of a polymath the man was; also the analogy of observing a games of Chess, not knowing the rules, for progressively uncovering the Laws of Science.

Netocracy: The New Power Elite and Life after Capitalism
Netocracy: The New Power Elite and Life after Capitalism
by Alexander Bard
Edition: Paperback

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars pseudo-intellectual disappointment, 1 Feb 2004
I found that the contents of this book didn't even begin to deliver the message as on the flyleaf and from other reviews.
Probably 10% of the contents even made sense, and the rest of it was a wide range of disparate ideas strung together to pad out a book that could say what it had to say in 20 pages.

London: The Biography
London: The Biography
by Peter Ackroyd
Edition: Hardcover

10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well researched pot pourri of facts, 25 Jan 2004
This review is from: London: The Biography (Hardcover)
This is described as a biography rather than a history – but what is the difference? According to my dictionary : one is an account of a life, the other is an account of past events - same thing?
In fact the first 4 chapters are a conventional history, from pre-Roman through to Early Middle Ages.
It’s only thereafter that we get chapters on individual 'themes' that cover all ages, so you keep going back & forth hundreds of years every few pages.
Unless you're a native/resident of London, you'll probably enjoy the book better if you have a London Tourist Guidebook to hand. There are a couple of Modern maps, but only of the City & West End, so trying to understand what's being described outside the Roman City Walls is sometimes difficult. For example, why wouldn't a stranger think that Kentish Town is near Kent, ie to the South & East, when in fact its to the North & West? Also an Underground/Subway map might be useful.
Whilst there's descriptions of the transformation due to the docks & the railways, there’s no mention of air travel (whether it be from Croydon/Heathrow/Gatwick/City).
In fact it is interesting to note all the things that never get a mention : OK so the book is about London, but there's not a word about Queen Victoria (Winston Churchill gets a one-line quote). There's a picture of the Thames Flood Barrier on the front cover, but no mention of it in the chapter dedicated to flooding.
Plenty of pictures of London Bridge over the ages (and very nice they are too), but no pictures whatsoever of Big Ben or Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace or Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge or Tower of London?
London is famous for its Museums & Art Galleries, and it would have been interesting to read about their foundation. But apart from 3 mentions of the Tate Modern in the chapter on South Bank, that's your lot. No mention of even the existence of the British Museum, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate Gallery, National Gallery, Royal Academy etc etc - surely there could have been 2-3 pages on those?
For all the talk about commerce and in which streets you could buy what goods, there's no mention of the foundation of larger emporia such as Harrods or Selfridges?

So all in all, very pleased for what is to be found in there, but disappointed at what has been overlooked.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 14, 2008 12:17 AM GMT

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
by Larry Bossidy
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.99

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gives a very good message & many of the answers, 25 Jan 2004
As the book says "putting an execution culture in place is hard, but losing it is easy" – Bossidy put one in place at Honeywell and then retired in 1999. In 2001 they invited him back, because they'd lost it. I'd have liked to have understood more about what went wrong, and how to prevent a repetition.
There's great emphasis on facing reality, setting clear goals, and dealing with underperformers – a good message.
Under 'know your business' & Strategy Reviews, I didn't see any emphasis on another aspect of reality – 'marketing hype'. I was once presented with a Business Plan for a Canadian subsidiary that projected to achieve 35% market penetration in 3-5 years. Turns out the Marketing team hadn't studied the demographic realities of Canada, and had simply re-used some US Statistics, and arbitrarily adapted them. That was a strong lesson they learned from me, and I'd have been well pleased to see something similar in here.

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