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Mr. R. Englander "mutedcensor" (Farnham, Surrey)

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does it work? Who knows - But I wear it!, 18 April 2012
Being a keen cyclist I bought one of these as it is meant to help with recovery, sleep etc. Does it work? I don't know. I do seem to be sleeping better - but that could be coincidence. Does it help recovery? Again, hard to tell. Do I wear it. Yes. As a product it's comfortable and light. I forget I am wearing it.
I went for the blue / white one.

What You See Is What You Get: My Autobiography
What You See Is What You Get: My Autobiography
by Alan Sugar
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, but the ego does get the better of him towards the end, 5 Mar 2011
This autobiography takes us from his East End Jewish roots and charts his way through his education, his first grafts and chapters key significant events that were to propel him into the business super-league.

I particularly like the lack of "magic" that brought him business success. For example, the time when in the far east meeting manufactures and he needed to have a design for a new product by the morning, so he borrowed a piece of paper and pencil from the hotel he was staying in and drew it up himself. No "magic", just got on with it. Great!

I was really enjoying this book up to the point where he starts doing The Apprentice. At this point, somehow, his writing becomes that little bit more egotistical. It as if the camera is still on him and he's now performing for the reader as opposed to entertaining them as he had done to that point, and I found that it really started to grate on me.

It's probably a minor gripe because by the end of the book I had found his journey inspiring, honest (if not a little self-magnanimous at times), amusing and sincere. Here is clearly a man who for all his material wealth adores his wife and family (even though he is happy to point out their idiosyncrasies) and has stayed pretty grounded.

We Sing Robbie Williams (Wii)
We Sing Robbie Williams (Wii)
Price: 3.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really Karaoke, 30 Jan 2011
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Disappointing. The game production and content is excellent. The trouble is that this isn't really Karaoke. Your voice doesn't get prorected through the TV like you would expect so you are really just singing along and trying to time things properly. Unless of course we haven't set it up right?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 21, 2011 10:49 AM BST

Next 100 Years, The
Next 100 Years, The
by George Friedman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of 3 parts., 30 Jan 2011
This review is from: Next 100 Years, The (Paperback)
The Next 100 Years : A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman is a book of 3 parts. Great, fantastical, and good. George takes us on a journey of macro socio, politico, eco, and geo (and a mix of all 4) and by tracing back through history and cycles within it, has forecast what he believes to be the power struggles over the next century.

It is fascinating stuff initially, where he defines fault lines in terms of tension points around the globe and which countries will strive to make political, economic, social or geographical moves and against whom as the balance of power within continents shift and moves. It's certainly interesting stuff and as he acknowledges, he presents this in the full knowledge that he won't be around to see whether he was right or wrong (but he will I'm sure have made a good living from doing it) and so you can't really challenge his assumptions (or forecasts) too greatly.

Where the book gets a bit fantastical is around 2050 when we have the description of a world war, controlled by space centers, and troops in robotic "Iron Man" type costumes being fed electricity from Solar beams that have been microwave blasted down from solar panels on the moon. The realities of the first main section of the book seem light years away at this point (and who am I again to really challenge these assumptions?) but it does come back down to Earth again as we conclude the century with Mexico and the US in a power struggle for the control of North America.

I have read reviews of this book that suggest that it is too central to America as the power base in the world, but as a non-American, I feel that this is probably justified as the start-point for the book is where we are today and you can't really debate the influence America has on the world, whether you like it nor not.

I enjoyed the majority of the book. The 2050 war and the whole space thing began feeling like reading some science fiction novel and that was at extreme odds to the very well structured and explained first and third section forecasts, but nonetheless this was an interesting and enjoyable read.

No Expenses Spared
No Expenses Spared
by Robert Winnett
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun, 30 Jan 2011
This review is from: No Expenses Spared (Paperback)
Difficult one to put down this as I really enjoyed it. Great insight into how the telegraph acquired, planned and broke the MP's expenses scandal. I would really recommend this book. t reads more like a modern day thriller than an account of a true life scandal. Still they do say truth is stranger than fiction...

Googled: The End of the World as We Know It
Googled: The End of the World as We Know It
by Ken Auletta
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting insight, 30 Jan 2011
I really enjoyed this book. It gives a thorough and fairly well balanced (although you can soon see that Ken is a staunch supporter of Google) account of the meteoric rise of Google, the way it has made traditional media companies search (excuse the pun) for where their futures lie and also gives a good insight into the characters of the founders, and their total influence on the operative way Google works.

Business Nightmares: Hitting rock bottom and coming out on top
Business Nightmares: Hitting rock bottom and coming out on top
by Rachel Elnaugh
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.62

3.0 out of 5 stars Business 101, 30 Jan 2011
This is a very accessible book. Almost too accessible. I managed to read it in a couple of return train journeys (4 hours). It doesn't give a warts an all insight to business nightmares but as a high level skim read I suppose it is interesting enough.
The language used is not necessarily that sophisticated, which I think probably underlines the target audience for this book - not serious entrepreneurs, but merely those interested in a summary background to to some of the more highly visible failures of businesses.

Still, fairly enjoyable and good to see that the author is in an altogether better place."

A Journey
A Journey
by Tony Blair
Edition: Paperback
Price: 14.04

43 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but unlikeable, 30 Jan 2011
This review is from: A Journey (Paperback)
A Journey is the autobiographical account of his time in office by Tony Blair. It's difficult to be objective about a review without your political persuasion getting in the way, but I will try.

For the purposes of transparency, I should state that I didn't vote Labour but I will try, as I said, to be objective.

Firstly, I would recommend this book. I think it gives a valuable insight into the trappings of power, the workings of parliament, the numerous (and diverse) challenges that challenge today's modern politician and indeed, Prime Minister.

The book itself is lengthy, and gives fairly detailed accounts of the key issues that challenged Mr. Blair during his presidency leadership of both the Labour Party and the country. Iraq, Afghanistan, New Labour, Gordon Brown, Fuel Crisis, Irish Peace Talks, the odd scandal, Europe, September 11th, Diana, etc. It's all there and reads like a very modern history, and serves as a good reminder about how much occurred during his leadership.

His writing style is almost conversational, as you might expect if he was recounting verbally to you, which I quite enjoyed and found accessible. It certainly help through some of the longer winded (and to me) less interesting phases of the book.

This review is meant to be a quick review so I am going to cut to the quick with my summation.

In my view he never really answers the Iraq question. His reasons for invading still don't appear to justify it (from a "legal" perspective) but what is clear and I believe is sincere, is the toll the losses from conflict have taken on him mentally. I truly do.

The Tony Blair / Gordon Brown piece, well this is his side. You could say his view in the book has been justified by Gordon Brown's subsequent leadership disaster, but I think I'll withhold my conclusion until I read Mr Brown's memoirs.

His position on Labour is interesting. Basically he says that Labour will go back to being an occasional government if it goes back to it's left roots and gives up on the New Labour program. Time I guess will tell on that conclusion.

Really interesting was his often bitter attack on the press. I'm intrigued by this since New Labour (in my humble opinion) were the first real example of a "spun" party and government. True, the reforms (when you are reminded of them) are impressive on the face of it, but I can't help recalling the spin that Alistair Campbell and co used to masquerade at the height of their power, fully supported by the media. When the media turned their back, clearly Mr Blair thought it unreasonable and unjustifiable, which of course is laughable. Being in office and being PM ends in only 1 way. Just like a football manager. He should be big enough to acknowledge that.

And therein lies the ultimate end point for me. I still get the impression that Mr Blair feels that he was abandoned by party he reformed and got into power for their longest serving period ever, and is still very bitter about that. He never really acknowledges some of the bigger issues he perhaps didn't manage as well as he could have, even in hindsight, which leaves him accepting odd little mistakes that would have made no difference here or there. At times the account therefore seems a little disingenuous. Don't get me wrong, I didn't expect him to turn around and say he was wildly wrong in so many areas, but not accepting fault or blame for certain things, I believe could undermine the sincerity he places on the more important elements of his account.

Nevertheless, I would recommend reading this book and trying to read it as objectively as possible. It's a fairly riveting read (although there are passages on foreign policy and religion that do go on a bit) and a great insight into the world of modern "presidential" politics.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 28, 2011 5:58 PM BST

Simon Cowell: The Unauthorized Biography
Simon Cowell: The Unauthorized Biography
Price: 3.59

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible book, 30 Jan 2011
Truly badly written from the start and should only take you an hour or 2 to read. Nothing particularly new in this book (in fact if the art of writing a book was to read 2 other books on the subject and sit through a few series of reality TV shows this wins the award) although good as a reminder of a couple of things.
First, the relationships between Cowell and the likes of Pete Waterman and Simon Fuller and how they became involved, and uninvolved with each other.
Secondly, Cowell's undeniable guilt at unleashing the likes of Robson & Jerome, Power Rangers and Teletubbies on the music scene!

Decision Points (Random House Large Print)
Decision Points (Random House Large Print)
by George W. Bush
Edition: Paperback

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good insight, 30 Jan 2011
As with my review on Tony Blair' "A Journey", I'm not going to write this review as a political analysis of the man himself, but rather a summary on the experience of reading the book "Decision Points" by George W. Bush.

Clearly with the help of a ghost writer, and his aids to recall the individual names of people he met just once (sometimes for just seconds), this (auto)biography is a stark contrast to the "A Journey" experience.

It is an extremely light read (even through some of the more traumatic passages of time), and dare I say it, an enjoyable to read. Comparing the book to "A Journey", Bush seems to open himself up fairly admirably, takes pots at himself fairly routinely, and doesn't ever seem to take himself that seriously.

This is not to say that he took the role of President lightly, but his manner and the writing style is unsophisticated and actually quite endearing. I actually ended up quite liking the person.

He doesn't ever try to justify his decisions by appealing to the reader, but rather details the process that led him to that decision. You may agree or disagree with the decision he ultimately makes, but at no time does he try to reason with the reader, which again in contract to "A Journey", makes this read so much more enjoyable and endearing.

For me, Bush, and the way he approaches writing this book can be best summarised by the following paragraph taken from the final chapter.

"I knew some of the decisions I had made were not popular with my fellow citizens. But I felt satisfied that I had been willing to make the hard decisions, and I had always done what I believed was right."

In my mind you can't ask fairer than that, especially given some of the situations he was asked to lead on, and regardless of whether you are a supporter or otherwise of this president, this approach in his writing through the book is always consistent.

I would absolutely recommend this book and an open, accessible and entertaining read on life as President 43.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 24, 2011 1:06 PM GMT

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