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We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story [DVD]
We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dick Zondag
Price: £3.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What was all that about?, 19 Aug. 2013
Despite being a movie with dinosaurs, a good voice cast, and some occasionally interesting (for its age) animation sequences, this didn't get a thumbs up in our house. The plot has too much going on with dinosaurs learning to talk, time travel, evil circus masters and a really schmaltzy element about wishes coming true, all told in flashback to birds on a golf course! It's quite weirdly paced and while some animation, like the sequence flying through New York was probably impressive in its day, much of the character art is really ropey, and the dialogue is poor. Passable for our 4 year old, though I can't imagine she will be asking to watch it again too often.

Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys
Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys
by Michael Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, human, fascinating, 30 July 2012
Have just finished this book for the second time. Absolutely terrific.

The insider view of the astronaut programme up to and including Apollo 11 is worthy subject matter in itself, and the perspective of Collins as CMP - so the 'third man' orbiting the moon during the landings - gives it very specific angle. But it is the way that the book is written that brings it so memorable. Collins writes with warmth, humour and candour - for example, in the disarming way he discusses complex technical details, or the frank description of some of his fellow astronauts and his attitude to various aspects of life as an astronaut. One of the best books I have read on any topic.

Going on Being: Life at the Crossroads of Buddhism and Psychotherapy
Going on Being: Life at the Crossroads of Buddhism and Psychotherapy
by Mark (Mark William) Epstein
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.29

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where Freud meets Buddha, 14 Jun. 2009
My wife is a clinical psychologist and she is often talking about themes from psychoanalysis and psychodynamic theory (starting with Freud but moving on generally to ideas about how we are driven by our experiences and beliefs, and how we cling to them, sometimes even when we know they are painful or not productive). I'm often struck how these ideas are similar to those of buddhism (e.g. the four noble truths) and this book eloquently sums up the similarities of buddhism and psychoanalysis, based on the author's experiences of both.

So, for someone with an interest of the overlap of the two topics of psychology and buddhism, I cant think of a better book. PS the book is a sequel though I actually found this a better and more readable book than its predecessor.

On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious
On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious
by Douglas Harding
Edition: Paperback

4 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 14 Jun. 2009
I really thought this book was very poor. The central theme, as I understand it, revolves around the Buddhist concept of the non-existence of the 'self', and that we should move to direct experience of the world. This idea is put forward, and pretty well described (as far as something that seems to be so experience based can be) in the first two pages, so in that respect I guess it is worth a star. After that, even though it is a short book, it is very repetitive, eliptical and frankly quite boring. There are any number of better contemporary books on buddhism (e.g. "Buddhism without beliefs") and I would look elsewhere if you want to read about the experience or value of enlightenment.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 29, 2010 12:15 PM BST

Elements of User Experience: User-centered Design for the Web (Voices (New Riders))
Elements of User Experience: User-centered Design for the Web (Voices (New Riders))
by Jesse James Garrett
Edition: Paperback

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent primer, but needs background to put into practice, 29 Mar. 2007
Like the other reviewers I thought this was worthwhile read. It's worth pointing out it's deliberately not a scholarly text, (similar in tone to Krug's Don't Make Me Think) so it's an easy read on a train journey or similar. I liked the way it's very business focused - I can see that this is couched in genuine experience of working within small to medium design projects. As an example, it is probably the only book I have read on usability which both acknowledges the existence of, and the risks associated with, UAT - an exercise which has probably wasted more of my time than any other. I also like the requirements focus, and the acknowledgement of "site objectives", other than just user requirements, having a place in design. In theory it should extend out to large projects, but I think that scenario presents a whole new set of problems, only some of which are touched on.

Where I think it falls down is that, while I like the bones, there's not much flesh. I think you actually need to be trained in the arts and magics of UCD beforehand to know what technique you would apply or what design principle is relevant at any given point (and, on behalf of the graphic designers and information scientists out there, I think it is equally light on what their work involves). Yes, it talks about lab tests and contextual enquiry but it needs some expertise to know exactly which method to apply, or which design choices to make. So, if you were a newcomer without an experienced UX professional on hand, you will need to do a bit of follow up reading. And also there is not a single mention on accessibility which, for a book on web user experience, is a shocking omission.

For me, as a UX professional working in an organisation, I can see its real value as part of practical training - for instance, giving non- or junior UX people this book to read (particularly other stakeholders in the design process such as BAs) and saying to them "Have a read, and then we can discuss which methods, techniques, design principles are the best ones for your product"

The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living
The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living
by The Dalai Lama
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An uplifting message, but poorly presented, 17 Feb. 2006
"The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living" was a gift from my girlfriend who, knowing I had an interest in Buddhism and Eastern philosophy, thought this would be a good read for me.

I've enjoyed what the Dalai Lama has to say about life and how to live it, and I'd say that the book offers some powerful and positive ways of looking at myself and the world. I particularily like the way chapters are themed around issues (eg anxiety) that might affect people.

However, it's badly hampered by Howard C. Cutler's (the narrator/interviewer) writing style. The Dalai Lama's observations are embedded in hokey anecdotes about events in the author's life that are presented as a backdrop to, or even 'evidence' to support, the DL's words. At one level this is just tedious and, at another, really dilutes the message to the point where I found it difficult to follow.

Also, some of the central themes of Buddhism are brushed over, as is the role of meditation, with a few exceptions. Maybe the author thought this would be off-putting to the lay reader, but I'm sure it would be possible to emphasise their role, without saying you have to be a practicing buddhist to believe the book.

Overall, read it if you want some positive advice and something gently life-affirming (no bad thing!), but not if you want something more objective or challenging.

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