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Proops "Proops" (London)

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Business Innovation: A Little Book of  Big Ideas
Business Innovation: A Little Book of Big Ideas
Price: £2.15

2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing innovative, 17 Feb. 2014
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If you start a book by criticising other works for being too verbose, you'd better be sure your own writing style is on the money. In this case, it's not.
It's all very well stating that this is a book of ideas, but innovation isn't really about ideas: it's about implementing them. Here we see hackneyed assertions (there are references to a 31-year-old innovation framework) and meaningless statements: "competition is becoming asymmetric": Was competition ever fair? What would symmetrical competition look like?
There are disjointed statements and self-contradictions throughout. For example, we're told on the one hand that a big idea should be timeless and not confined to a particular technology, then in the same paragraph we get an example of a big idea defined by its technology.
The section on "self disrupt or self destruct" should be the most interesting but it's littered with clichés and provides no insight.
Of course books on innovation don't themselves have to be innovative. But this book is full of ideas you'll have read elsewhere, although it's hard to remember where as they're seldom credited.
If you are looking for something new, this book is unlikely to provide the answer. The best idea comes in the preface, that the Total Cost of Ownership of a book is its cost plus the cost of your time to read it. On that basis I think you should save yourselves a lot of cash and read some business blogs instead.


Business Reimagined: Why work isn't working and what you can do about it
Business Reimagined: Why work isn't working and what you can do about it
Price: £0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling ideas, powerfully argued, 12 Feb. 2014
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The author presents some compelling ideas about the world of work: in particular, about how we need to move away from measuring process efficiency to the effectiveness of the end product and how flexible working will help us to achieve it.
Dave Coplin seems to argue that these changes are both inevitable and a panacea. I'm not sure that either is the case and I don't think he presents strong enough arguments to demonstrate it. But his argument is powerful and well worth reading if you're responsible for managing teams. It's fair to say -- indeed the author says it himself -- that not every idea will work for your organisation. But the book does open your mind to the idea that the way we're working is no longer fit for purpose and that there are clear ways to improve it.


The 5-Minute Communicator: Convince Anyone Of Anything in 5 Minutes Or Less (The 5-Minutes Solutions)
The 5-Minute Communicator: Convince Anyone Of Anything in 5 Minutes Or Less (The 5-Minutes Solutions)
Price: £2.26

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear, 30 Oct. 2013
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It's difficult to recommend a book on communication which is littered with grammatical errors. Effective communication is also about knowing how language works.
Once you get past that, you then have to contend with the author's experiences based on hypnotism and magic.
If you can live with that too, you'll find a short collection of ideas you'll find elsewhere that are helpfully compiled in one place.
However, I couldn't really live with the writing style which I found to be anathema to the whole concept the book was purporting to promote. Still, the price isn't bad: free.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 20, 2014 9:18 AM GMT


A Carpet Ride to Khiva: Seven Years on the Silk Road
A Carpet Ride to Khiva: Seven Years on the Silk Road

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant social history of Uzbekistan and beyond, 27 Sept. 2012
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This is a fantastic tale, told with personality and emotion, about a young man who ends up immersed in the culture of the Silk Road and his efforts to revive lost arts of carpet-making.
But more than that, it's a social history of Uzbekistan and some of its neighbouring countries. You really get a sense of what it's like to live in a place like Khiva; the people, the buildings, the underlying - and sometimes overt - oppression.
The only reason I'm not giving this 5 stars is because the Kindle version is missing any photos - which it seems are present in the physical editions - and because none of the Uzbek terms used are linked to the glossary. Why is the eBook treated as poor relation to the printed version, I'm not sure.
Anywaay, I'm looking forward to a Tajik sequel.


RHA MA350 Aluminium Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones - 3 year warranty
RHA MA350 Aluminium Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones - 3 year warranty
Price: £29.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as isolating as Sennheiser, 26 Mar. 2012
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The sound on these buds is excellent if you're in a low-volume environment. Commuting on a train, you need to pump up the volume a little bit to retain the quality. Replacing the buds helps though.
These phones look like they've fantastic build quality, but they lasted me 3 months! The phone popped out of its casing when I was sat at my desk. Two stars because I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt following all the other positive reviews, but 3 months is frankly pathetic.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 26, 2012 11:55 AM BST


Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi Earphones
Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi Earphones

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lasted 5 months, 8 Nov. 2011
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I don't really over-stress my headphones: I wear them on the daily commute, on the tube and on the train to blot out the noise of other commuters.
The sound from these phones was ok at the £40 price point I paid. I wouldn't say they're any better than the Sennheiser, Philips or even Sony phones I've used before. The buds themselves are poor, but I replaced them with Sennheiser buds so that's no problem.
But the thing that really annoyed me about these headphones is that after 5 months they just stopped working; a faulty connection in the cable just above where the jack plugs into the mp3 player. That's really shoddy. I'd expect any headphone at this price to be a lot more robust.
My advice would be to steer clear and go for some kind of sports headphones instead to get that extra robustness.


The Golden Ass (Penguin Classics)
The Golden Ass (Penguin Classics)
by Apuleius
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great romp and great translation, 10 Mar. 2010
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This is 2nd century AD sex and drugs and rock'n'roll.

I'll echo the previous reviews by saying that this is great fun and a really engaging read. The notes are excellent too which really helps in a work like this, drawing out many allusions.

Poetry is often said to be lost in translation but the translator has captured a real sense of the Latin while retaining the fluency of the English.


What Do People Do All Day?
What Do People Do All Day?
by Richard Scarry
Edition: Paperback

5 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, 22 July 2009
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This is a shocking book. I can't believe that such sexist claptrap is still being published. There's not a single positive female role model in it. It's like some relic of the 1950s with housewives having presents bought for them by their working husbands.

The language and images are generally north American, and text is a bit erratic in how it relates to the illustrations.

And what I just don't understand is why it's called "What do people do all day" when there's not a single person in it. Why are they all animals? Why would anyone think that makes understanding people's jobs more accessible to a child?

It gets a star for some of the cut-away illustrations that my son found interesting. But steer clear of this drivel.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 14, 2015 4:10 PM BST


Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio (Penguin Classics)
Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio (Penguin Classics)
by Pu Songling
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pick'n'mix of the unexpected, 1 Jun. 2009
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The previous reviewer is right to say that this is something you pick up and come back to. It's a collection of (sometimes very) short stories, mostly about fox spirits and ghosts.
The introduction tells us that contemporary reviewers recommend that you don't read the stories for the plot, but for their style. Given that this is a translation, this suggests that there's little value in reading the stories at all! There are definitely some which spring a surprise on you and others that are interesting historically, such as the description of the Indian Rope Trick, but all in all I found this pretty disappointing.
Fans of the uncanny may find this more appealing, however.


The Good Soldier Švejk and his Fortunes in the World War
The Good Soldier Švejk and his Fortunes in the World War
by Jaroslav Hašek
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, easy and eye-opening, 1 Jun. 2009
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I approached this novel knowing little about the period or the author, but the introduction is excellent. The novel itself gets steadily funnier, so if you start to read it thinking it's a bit old hat, wait until you get closer to the eastern front...
But it's more than just ribald comedy; I really got a sense of the hardships those soldiers faced and the moral corruption of the Austro-Hungarian and by implication, the other empires engaged in fighting the first world war.
This is well worth the read.


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