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Smithy "smithie" (UK)

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108 Sonnets for Awakening: and Selected Poems
108 Sonnets for Awakening: and Selected Poems
by Alan Jacobs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 22 Aug. 2012
I loved reading these poems. They express spiritual truths easily and beautifully. The sonnet form seems to suit the spiritual subjects perfectly. It's a great challenge to use a form like the sonnet - which is quite strict - and be completely natural, and even liberating. There is hope, longing, beauty and most of all reassurance in the radiant spiritual nature of reality in these poems. They are great examples of the close link between spirituality and poetry, as evidenced by poets like Rumi, Kabir and Walt Whitman. Alan Jacobs is their worthy spiritual and poetic descendant.


Never Say Die!
Never Say Die!
Price: £5.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So pleased other people like it!, 18 July 2012
This review is from: Never Say Die! (Audio CD)
This has always been one of my favourite albums - not just by Black Sabbath but by anyone. I've always been surprised at the way it's been criticised by the band and by reviewers. I thought I must be mad - so it's great to see that other reviewers like it too. It's full of fantastic musical ideas and great riffs, quite close to prog rock at times. And my favourite song on the album doesn't have Ozzy on it - it's Bill Ward singing 'Swinging the chain.'
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 10, 2014 1:21 AM GMT


Rip It Up: The radically new approach to changing your life
Rip It Up: The radically new approach to changing your life
by Richard Wiseman
Edition: Paperback

24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 10 July 2012
I found this book disappointing, as I felt as though I had read nearly all of it before in 59 Seconds. It seems to be like a very long addendum to that book, taking one of its ideas and stretching it over 250 pages.


The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence In History And Its Causes
The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence In History And Its Causes
by Steven Pinker
Edition: Hardcover

78 of 147 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unreliable and one-sided, 9 Oct. 2011
From reading the first section of this book, I lost trust in the author's objectivity. I did read the rest, but with a lingering sense of doubt. You assume that a professor such as Pinker will be objective and fair in analyzing his evidence, but it's soon clear that he's simply cherry-picking and manipulating it to fit his thesis. As an evolutionary psychologist/sociobiologist, he has a pre-existing belief that warfare is fundamental to human nature, and has always been present. He claims that men in early hunter-gatherer societies were more likely to die in a war than men alive today and bases this assertion on date from a number of societies, including the Jivaro and the Yanomamo. The problem is that none of these societies are representative. For a start, none of them are `immediate return' societies, as human beings were for 95% of our time on this planet. Three of his groups are from the Amazon, a region where indigenous groups have always been known to be much more war-like than normal (due to a combination of historical and geographical factors). Another of the groups he chooses are the Murngin of northern Australia, who had suffered massive cultural disruption by the time data was collected in 1975. There are similar issues with the other groups - other anthropologists have argued about interpretations of the data. Pinker could have picked many other hunter-gatherer societies who have shown a much lower level of violence, so I find it very dubious that he has simply focused on these examples. There is no mention of the many other anthropologists and archaeologists who believe that war was a later development in human history and extremely rare in prehistoric societies, such as Brian Ferguson, Doug Fry or Leslie Sponsel. I have just read another study by the Dutch anthropologist J.M.G. van der Dennen, who surveys over 500 tribal groups, the vast majority of whom he finds to be 'highly unwar-like', with a small proportion who have 'allegedly mild, low-level, and/or ritualized warfare.'

In conclusion, then, I feel that the purpose of this book is to present an ideology - the old ideology of sociobiology, now re-jigged as evolutionary psychology. This field has become increasingly discredited in recent years, and Pinker's unscholarly and prejudicial 'research' will not help its cause.
Comment Comments (21) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 4, 2014 12:30 PM BST


Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action
Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action
by Susan J. Jeffers
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.84

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful and extremely practical, 18 Mar. 2011
This book is so simple and practical - Susan has a great gift for paring concepts down to their essential meaning, and expressing them very clearly. There are numerous exercises and lists of bullet points to bring out the practical side of the text; as a result, it never becomes abstract or airy-fairy, like so many personal development or Mind Body Spirit books. The book shows that, paradoxically, fear is nothing to be afraid of. We all have the ability to become stronger, deeper and more fulfilled, simply by dealing with the challenges life offers us, rather than shrinking away from them. A must read together with Steve Taylor's book Out of the Darkness, which also shows that we have much less to be afraid than we think. Susan Jeffers calls Steve's book 'Truly inspiring.' Out of the Darkness: From Turmoil to Transformation


Wake Up The Nation
Wake Up The Nation
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.20

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT, 26 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Wake Up The Nation (Audio CD)
There's some frankly bizarre stuff on this album, and it's easy to see why some people find it a little too much to stomach. But I love it - even the crazy stuff shows that Weller's still experimenting and still creatively alive. How wonderful that he's not settled for repeating himself ad infinitum and has the vitality to still be pushing the boundaries!


The Breakthrough Experience: A Revolutionary New Approach to Personal Transformation
The Breakthrough Experience: A Revolutionary New Approach to Personal Transformation
by John F. Demartini
Edition: Paperback

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars egomaniacal, 26 Aug. 2010
This book is well written and has some interesting stories but for me it's spoiled by the author's nauseating self-regard. There's some item of self-promotion on every page - at one point he even claims to be able to do miracles. Anyone who is so egotistical must be lacking in objectivity and self-knowledge, and so it's difficult to take any of his claims seriously. I'm sure that this guy's success is based more on his talent for self-promotion than on any geniune spiritual insight.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 13, 2016 1:26 PM GMT


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