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Professor Magellan (London, United Kingdom)

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Mondaine Mon CubeWecker A996.ALIG,20SBB Analog Alarm Clock Black
Mondaine Mon CubeWecker A996.ALIG,20SBB Analog Alarm Clock Black
Price: £108.95

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Very nice looking and solid though the on/off alarm with is fiddly and I have not been able to make the light work on any of the three clocks which I have bought. Very clear face and second hand.

Expensive but since Braun alarm clocks have collapsed in quality not much choice at the upper end of the scale.

Braun Quartz Classic BNC005BKBK Travel Alarm Black
Braun Quartz Classic BNC005BKBK Travel Alarm Black
Price: £28.65

1.0 out of 5 stars NOT the Braun travel clock that was once solid and reliable., 8 Sept. 2014
I bought mine as a replacement for one bought at leads 20 years ago. It seemed to be entirely faulty (it never told the correct time) so I sent it off (at my own expense) to their repair centre who pronounced nothing wrong with it and sent it back to me. At that stage, I gave up and bought a cheap Casio clock. This is not the Braun clock of yesteryear and management should be ashamed of their poor quality standards. And Braun continues to charge a premium price. Where are these clocks made I wonder?

Inside Trader
Inside Trader
by Trader Faulkner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly readable, amusing and moving actor's memoir., 21 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Inside Trader (Hardcover)
I have just finished reading this wonderful account of a very long life on the stage. It has two significant merits. Firstly, it is highly readable, being both well-written and witty.
Secondly, Mr Faulkner is now well into his eighties which gives him first hand experience of working with some of the giants of stage and screen, including possibly the greatest British actor who ever lived, Sir John Gielgud, as well as other legendary thespians including Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Peter Finch and Anthony Quinn. This book came to my attention when Mr Faulkner appeared on Libby Purves' midweek BBC Radio 4 programme. His memories had me laughing so much I simply had to buy the book. If you like good autobiography, or if you are interested in one of the most glorious eras of the British stage, then this is for you. One caveat: the author, despite having lived in London for most of his life, is Australian: so be prepared for some very frank writing!

Select Healthy Premium Omega 3 Fish Oil 1000mg - 360 Capsules - UK Sourced - High strength Omega 3
Select Healthy Premium Omega 3 Fish Oil 1000mg - 360 Capsules - UK Sourced - High strength Omega 3
Offered by selecthealthy
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Happy with item: but appalling delivery experience, 7 Mar. 2013
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Item was fairly priced and, I am told, seems ok quality-wise but a word of caution. I sent it as a gift but the address label was a model of sloppiness as Select Healthy left off the surname of the recipient for a delivery to an office building with over 500 people. This was somewhat embarrassing as the recipient's post room had to open the item first. This suggests that Select Healthy has a problem in their shipping department and that Amazon should take some fast action to sort it.

Strategic IQ: Creating Smarter Corporations
Strategic IQ: Creating Smarter Corporations
by John R. Wells
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.94

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every CEO or aspirant CEO should read this book, 9 Aug. 2012
John Wells may well be the top strategic thinker of his generation. His outstanding academic credentials at Oxford and Harvard (top in his year at Harvard Business School, a year that includes some of the world's best known business leaders such as Meg Whitman in the USA and Archie Norman in the UK) bear witness to the originality and agility of his thinking. Unlike so many professors, Wells has had too practical experience at the highest level in strategic consultancy and industry.
This is an extraordinary book which is essential reading for anyone who is at the top - or wants to make it to the top - of business.
Professor Wells writes with elegance and clarity. His clarion call for business to adapt or die is backed up by fascinating case examples looking at companies as diverse as Walmart, Zara and Capital One. His forensic analysis of team building, recruiting and leadership is simply required reading.
He is spot on with his discussion of social networking technology and the huge impact this has had on the corporate world.
If I have one criticism, it is that some of the charts are a bit complex (such as the Walmart Dynamic Business Model) but it is worth spending the time to master them as they provide such a rich seam of information.

How They Started Digital
How They Started Digital
by David Lester
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful read for digital wannabe entrepreneurs, 7 Aug. 2012
I very much enjoyed this book which covers 25 digital companies including such British success stories as ASOS, Mumsnet and Cheapflights. Good to see a book which does not rely on venture-backed Silicon valley companies as source material although eBay, LinkedIn and Twitter are all included too. Well told "war stories" for anyone launching a digital business.

Cables from Kabul: The Inside Story of the West's Afghanistan Campaign
Cables from Kabul: The Inside Story of the West's Afghanistan Campaign
by Sherard Cowper-Coles
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.95

24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning. At last we know about Afghanistan. THE non-fiction book of 2011., 2 Jun. 2011
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For the first time an insider, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, has blown the lid.
And what an insider.
Not only does Sir Sherard speak Pashtun (yes, really) and know all the key player personally, his stints in embassies in the USA, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere (a meteoric Foreign Office career by any standard) give him a world view that even many senior diplomats never get to experience. And, armed with a first in classics from Oxford, he writes beautifully and precisely with enormous sensitivity and insight.
Britain has now been at war in Afghanistan for nearly a decade. The cost to the British taxpayer is apparently £6 billion a year(at least 3p on income tax to put that number in context). More importantly, brave British soldiers are risking their lives daily. And far too many have already tragically lost lives and limbs.
And for what?
We know that Afghanistan is a graveyard for empires. Britain had no luck in the 19th century when it was the world's superpower. Even the Red Army - which crushed the Wermacht and held the whole of Eastern Europe in an iron grip for nearly half a century - could not handle the Afghans.
Britain went into Afghanistan with the Americans to destroy Al Qaeda but the terrorists are present in Pakistan, in Yemen and elsewhere. So do we invade those countries too? Presumably yes - if you follow the doctrine of liberal interventionism so beloved of Tony Blair and now David Cameron.
What exactly is the end-game?
Sir Sherard's thesis is that, despite the skill and huge courage of the troops on the ground, the military solution is not the answer. An accord will have to be made with the Taliban.
Horrible thought: but then having Martin McGuinness or Gerry Adams in positions of authority did not have many of us dancing for joy. But that much under-rated Prime Minister John Major realized that, to end an insurgency, you do need to talk to your enemies and achieve compromise. The result: peace in Northern Ireland.
In Afghanistan however, crazed generals (Sir Sherard puts this very tactfully and of course would not use the word 'crazed') shower bombs and rockets like they were auditioning for Dr Strangelove. He is very specific about General Petraeus's use of increased violence. "Such a military-focused approach risks making Afghanistan safe not for better governance, but for the warlords and narco-mafias...the poor Afghan people...could be the losers" (P288-289).
One British General (apparently) wanted to deploy troops in Afghanistan only because that was a way of preserving the defence budget which threatened troop reductions.
The politicians (mostly) come across as a supine bunch with only the faintest comprehension of the history and tribal complexity of Afghanistan.
Despite all the tragedy, there is humour in the book as Sir Sherard struggled (not always successfully) to convey the British viewpoint to the prickly Hamid Karzai in the torrid conditions of Kabul under siege. Endlessly Sir Sherard had to escort London-based generals and politicans to the front line. There are shades of Graham Greene in his well-drawn descriptions.
On just about every page, it is clear there are parallels with another very similar war which was fought and lost, also with politicans and generals saying in unison: 'We are winning'. That war was Vietnam - and it cost the USA 50,000 lives.
The horrid Harold Wilson had the good sense to keep the UK out of that one.
I am surprised that the Foreign Office allowed such a frank expose to be published. Perhaps the mandarins know that the game is up.
As for Sir Sherard, he is clearly an extraordinarily brave and gifted public servant with much more to offer to his country. The book is already a best-seller and will be the non-fiction triumph of 2011.
If I have one criticism, it would be that I would like to have had more analysis by Sir Sherard of the situation across the border in Pakistan.
A postscript: apparently the New Labour Government was seriously considering a £100 million (sic) new embassy in Kabul. But happily for the British taxpayer (and unusually for New Labour) this Dome-style extravagance was not to be. The British Embassy is in fact a modest affair. Not so the (taxpayer-funded) British Council Kabul HQ whose opulent lawns Sir Sherard had to requisition for a function too large for the Embassy!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 17, 2011 1:28 PM BST

Borkmann's Point (The Van Veeteren Series)
Borkmann's Point (The Van Veeteren Series)
by Håkan Nesser
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable but not compelling, 2 Jun. 2011
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I enjoyed reading the book. It was well plotted and moves along nicely. But I did not like the 'nowhere land' in which it is set. The fun about Europe, about Scandinavia especially, is how different all the people are from each other (Danes vs Swedes) for example. By creating this amorphous amalgam, the author has got rid of one of the most compelling elements of European crime fiction. I prefer Mankell, Nesbro.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 11, 2012 11:38 PM BST

The Promise [DVD]
The Promise [DVD]
Dvd ~ Claire Foy
Price: £7.10

7 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull as Ditchwater, 13 April 2011
This review is from: The Promise [DVD] (DVD)
Let's leave aside the political bias and the historical mistakes. This should not be called drama. It was turgid. One of the dullest programmes I have ever seen. Endless repetition. Scenes that were so long I would prefer to watch paint dry. And Claire Foy's performance was a one-dimensional wonder which would have disgraced a school play. She had the permanent look of someone who has sat down on a drawing pin. I have only one question: what was that fine actor Ben Miles doing in the middle of all of this? So don't waste your money. Unless you have trouble sleeping.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 12, 2011 8:58 PM BST

Secret Son
Secret Son
by Laila Lalami
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling novel which had me hooked, 14 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: Secret Son (Paperback)
I find the BBC's coverage of the Arab world deeply depressing: one dimensional, simplistic, emotional and defined by a set of prejudices formed within the leafy confines of Islington.
Behind the cheery talk of democracy and the 'people', there is no hint of the ghastly reality of everyday lives for the vast majority of the population in most of these countries. Best to visit them to get an insight into that wretchedness.
But if you have neither the time nor the funds, then read up through the brilliant novels now emanating from the region. For instance, The Yacoubian Building tells you more in one chapter about modern Egypt than Jeremy Bowen's nightly drivel.
And for Morocco, what better book than 'Secret Son' which is beautifully written and well plotted? It demonstrates the huge contrast between the very rich and the very poor, the corruption which has become so endemic across the Arab world and the
huge dangers posed by virulent extremists preaching to dispossessed young people who have no hope of jobs or of economic security. Just like Germany around 1930.
The novel tells the story of a young man who is rescued from destitution by a well-to-do father who discovers him only when he is a teenager. But it is not a happy story. It seeps with sadness.
For anyone who enjoyed the Kite Runner or the Yacoubian Building, then 'Secret Son'
will be for you, as it was for me, a really compelling read.

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