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John Bland "Mainly Factual Books" (UK)
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Designing Matrix Organizations That Actually Work: How IBM, Proctor & Gamble and Others Design for Success (Jossey-Bass Business & Management)
Designing Matrix Organizations That Actually Work: How IBM, Proctor & Gamble and Others Design for Success (Jossey-Bass Business & Management)
by Jay R. Galbraith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 20.13

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thorough but not great, 8 Feb 2013
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Probably the best book on designing Matrix organizations out there.

This book will be primarily of interest to OD professionals and others who have the responsibility of designing matrix structures. The author is clearly very experienced in his field and whilst there are some good ideas and concepts in the book, I found the book fell into the trap of making things more complicated than they need to be. I prefer experts who make things simple. In addition the book also seemed too long for the amount of content it contained.

Nevertheless an important contribution and a worthwhile read


Making the Matrix Work: How Matrix Managers Engage People and Cut Through Complexity
Making the Matrix Work: How Matrix Managers Engage People and Cut Through Complexity
by Kevan Hall
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 19.40

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of Practical Tips, 7 Feb 2013
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Very similar in style to his previous book "Speed Lead" so if you liked that one you'll like this one too.

The book deals essentially with three aspects of working in a Matrix -- Clarity, Co-operation and Control offering practical tips and advice on how to get the right balance in each area -- i.e. neither too much or too little of each. As well as the practical and pragmatic tips which I find very useful, I also like the fact that it contains many case studies are stories from business people from around the globe which illustrated what it takes to make it work, as well as the mistakes you can make.

This book is aimed at people who find themselves in a matrix and want to know what to do to make it work. I think it complements nicely Galbraith's book "Designing Matrix Organizations that Actually Work" which is more aimed at the Organizational Development Community. So I'd expect this book to have a wider audience.

I work for Kevan's company so I'd encourage you to read this review alongside my other reviews of business books


ESV Comprehensive Concordance of the Bible (a Comprehensive Concordance of Biblical Words Providing Easy Access to Every Verse in the Bible) (Bible Esv)
ESV Comprehensive Concordance of the Bible (a Comprehensive Concordance of Biblical Words Providing Easy Access to Every Verse in the Bible) (Bible Esv)
by William D Mounce
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 27.87

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No link to original language, 30 Nov 2012
I have a Young's concordance for the AV and a Goodrick Kohlenberger for the NIV, but I now use the ESV as my standard bible so I was looking for a concordance to go with that.

Unfortunately this concordance does not have any links to the original (Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek) languages so it was of no value to me. Without those links I couldn't really see the point of the concordance, because I am primarily interested following the same word in the original language and and not following the same word in English. Not least because one English word is often used for several different words in the original language. So I was honestly surprised anyone would publish a concordance without referencing the original language.


The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz
The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz
by Denis Avey
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How much fact?, 6 July 2012
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I was captivated by this book until page 94. Nothing specific to that page, but after 94 pages of endless tales of derring doo on the part of Mr Avey, I suddenly thought "This is just too good to be true". Then I went back over what had happened up to that point, being more critical both of exactly what actually was supposed to have happened and the way Mr Avey was coming across. (By the way I stopped well before Auschwitz is mentioned). The spell was broken.

I suspect that the book is based on fact but that the stories have grown and grown in the telling over the years to the point where they are more fiction than fact. Do a Google search on Denis Avey and you'll soon find a lot of other people beginning to question his veracity too.

I felt duped, because I thought I was buying fact. This happened once before when I read "The Long Walk" by Slavomir Rawicz -- a book which was clearly made up but still sells as fact. Time will tell on this offering.

If you want read factual accounts of War-time Derring Do then try these and then compare them with this tome: -
"Goodbye to all That" by Robert Graves
"Where the Hell have you Been" by Tom Carver
"Eye of the Storm" by Peter Radcliffe

Or try "Mawson's Will" or "The Worst Journey in the World" or "South" (by Shackleton) or "The Mountains of my Life" (by Bonatti) and you'll see a massive difference when compared with this book.

Does it matter? Yes, firstly because someone profiting out of this and out of me, and secondly because everyone needs to find and face the truth and we don't need either side making things up.

Nevertheless my wholehearted thanks and undying admiration to Mr Avey for playing his part in fighting and winning the war and destroying the filthsome and odious Nazi regime with it abhorrent and disgusting treatment of Jews in particular.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 8, 2013 6:37 PM GMT


The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom
The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom
Price: 3.99

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fiction not fact, 10 Feb 2012
I too, like some others feel completely conned.

There is now a lot of evidence that (to my mind at least) proves this is a story and simply not true. For more about its (lack of) authenticity try here [...].

It is an excellent story, until you realise it is just that -- a story. Then it is utter rubbish. It is NOT "a true story" which is what it says on the cover. Not sure how they get away with that given the trade description act.


The Man Who Changed Everything: The Life of James Clerk Maxwell
The Man Who Changed Everything: The Life of James Clerk Maxwell
by Basil Mahon
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but..., 10 July 2011
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I really enjoyed reading this book which covers the life of James Clerk Maxwell, the man famous for his equations that tied together electricity and magnetism to create formulae for electro-magnetic radiation including light. The book covered his life and his science and made me aware of just how much more he had contributed in addition to these famous equations. As it goes through his life it gives you enough to understand what he did, where he did it, and with who etc.. And it's a nice length too.

But a few disappointments. Firstly there was some maths in there, but not enough to really understand (unless I suspect you had already done it at University). So we are introduced for example to curl. The author makes a valiant attempt to describe what this means, but for me ultimately he fails -- there just isn't quite enough to "get it". And even with repeated recourse to Wiki, I'm still not sure I've quite got it. So either more maths and diagrams or less.

Secondly there is nothing bad said about him. I could just about live with this until I read the authors comments about his wife. There, despite the fact that everyone seems not to have liked her, the author refrains from that conclusion, preferring to question the reliability of the sources of criticism. So I have to conclude that Dr Mahon is rather biased and blind to any faults Maxwell may have had. In the Authors mind it seems Maxwell can do no wrong.

Thirdly most of the notes should have been in the text. All were interesting so no need to relegate them to the end

And lastly I do wish he referred to Maxwell and not to James. I've just read a biography of Einstein and I can't imagine anyone referring to Albert all the way through. So I found "James this" and "James that" way to informal, and rather irritating -- but then that is a personal preference.


One From Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization
One From Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization
by Dee Hock
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.60

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but not what it says on the cover, 6 Nov 2010
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I was expecting to read an account of what the "Chaordic Organisation" was, how it worked, how it is different from other organisations, and how and where it could work elsewhere.

This book is more about one man's career -- a very american man who I didn't really connect with. It was interesting enough for me to finish the book, but not what was on the cover.

It's about a maverick with a mission, and that mission is hard to define, except to say "be different".

For example from the chapter "The impossible imagined" I was left with an understanding that the chaordic organisation is based on five principles. But then Mars is also based on five principles, as well as many other companies so is VISA really that different? And I also understood that there were a lot of regional committees in the early stages of the NBI. But when it came for example to changing the brand name to "VISA" it seemed to be little more than "An extremely tough discussion in a nice place (Hawaii)". I've been part of many similarly tough disucssions before, but usually in a less nice place, and I really couldn't see any difference. And finally, when he admits to using command and control to prevent command and control, VISA seemed to be like any other corporate, but just run by a charismatic and energetic CEO.

So I'm still left with the questions I read the book hoping to answer and none the wiser. I know more about banking but the lessons and stories did seem to be about banking.

Net -- a good read, but not what it says on the cover


This is Your Brain on Music: Understanding a Human Obsession
This is Your Brain on Music: Understanding a Human Obsession
by Daniel J. Levitin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

14 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Argument rather than information, 31 Jan 2009
I read this book in the expectation that it would inform me, and because of the outstanding reviews on the cover (particularly classic fm magazine).

I'm a musician, and PhD biological scientist and I was extremely disappointed and won't be trusting these reviewers again.

I found it very wanting on facts, evidence and hard information... ... this is how this works, or this is how we know this, or we have observed this. Rather it is filled, almost entirely, with "this is how this may happen" and similar.

A couple of insights did come out (talent vs hard work for example, or how accurately we remember the speed of a piece of music) but that was about it!

If you like (academic type) debate and speculation then buy it and enjoy it.

If you are looking for information and facts I'd recommend against. In particular if you know music already then you'll find the early chapters unnecessary. Equally if you don't believe in evolution then I'd also recommend against. (NOTE this is not trying to open up the creation vs evolution debate, but simply help guide book buying choice).

Finally it would benefit from pictures and graphs too. It seems perverse to read a paragraph describing U-curve when a simple picture would do it!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 12, 2013 6:55 PM BST


The Road To Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe
The Road To Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe
by Sir Roger Penrose
Edition: Paperback
Price: 16.00

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Impenetrable, 27 Nov 2007
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The Emperor's New mind was a good read. This is impossible unless you have a very high level of Maths (at least to University Standard) and my further A-level maths of 30 years ago allowed me to get as far as chapter 6 or 7 of 34!

Beware.

Also he sets problems in the book and gives a web page for the solutions. The web page is blank. :-(


The Franco-Prussian War: The German Conquest of France in 1870-1871
The Franco-Prussian War: The German Conquest of France in 1870-1871
by Geoffrey Wawro
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 27 Nov 2007
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Much better than his book on the Austro-Prussian war this book is very interesting, if still a little dry.

It covers the war broadly in chronological order including the lead in and the compaign itself.

Wawro is at his best as he details the movements of the armies, their battles and their tactics -- basically as he answers the "what happened?" question. By the end of the book I knew exaclty what had happened where, when and who was involved. That was really interesting and added enormously to my understanding of European History.

Nevertheless I find some of his explanations less convincing. To me Wawro is too critical of the losers -- an all to easy thing to do in hindsight. As one example I was left thinking that the French should have won as they had the better rifle!


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