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The Personal MBA: A World-Class Business Education in a Single Volume
The Personal MBA: A World-Class Business Education in a Single Volume
by Josh Kaufman
Edition: Paperback

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mostly useless, 23 Aug 2011
If you want a series of banal self-help truisms and very simple business concepts very briefly explained, this is the book for you. One representative chapter wholly consists of the advice to "Find the middle path and stay on it. In business, as in other fields, it is better not to do too much or too little." This isn't even just hackneyed, it is tautological. I doubt many would-be entrepreneurs would have "do too much" in their business plan.

I learned bits here and there from the section on finance, but nothing in depth. This is possibly because the average chapter is no longer than 1-2 pages. Just long enough to provide a dictionary definition, use a vaguely related quote from a poet/author/wholly unqualified blogger, add a bit of cod-inspirational blather and move on.

This could have been a useful academic book, using theoretical evidence on the best financial and management strategies for starting a business. Or it could have been a how-to handbook, for applying principles to practice. Instead it contains no references, case studies or workable models. Just drivel.


The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1: v. 1
The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1: v. 1
by Arthur Schopenhauer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.99

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but fascinating, 6 April 2008
The World as Will and Representation is Schopenhauer's major work, intended as a systematic philosophy to go beyond the limits of Kantian critique. It is perhaps because he is judged by this standard that Schopenhauer largely remains a marginal figure in mainstream academic philosophy, a footnote to Kant and Hegel, and worthy perhaps of inclusion in prefatory remarks on Nietzsche. But it is a shame to miss the real originality and insight of his thought and particularly that on art and ethics.

The first two parts of the book deal with matters of the nature of reality and what we can know of it. Schopenhauer here advances arguments that may be rather dry and technical for the layman reader - though certainly far less intimidating than Kant, and often illustrated with illuminating examples - and that collapse under the mildest philosophical scrutiny. But they provide the basis for a rethinking of the nature of man that would be profoundly influential. In Schopenhauer is the idea of man as fundamentally governed by impersonal drives. The idea of philosophy as the study of the divine faculty of human reason - present at least up to Hegel - is here supplanted by an account that brings humans back to earth with a notion of Will that would anticipate Nietzsche's Will to Power along with Freud's theory of the unconscious. What follows is a brilliantly pessimistic account of life as a ceaseless, vain striving after temporary pleasures - but also a sketch of possible redemption in the renunciation of the will and in the contemplation of art. These are the passages that make the text worth reading, creating from the carefully observed analyses of the life of the will a more complete picture of the human being, and bringing to light the possibility of escaping the banality of brute existence. Regardless of the ultimate validity of its grand claims, readers of all backgrounds can take something genuinely edifying from any part of The World as Will and Representation.

However, I would recommend the Everyman edition, which can be found under the different name of The World as Will and Idea. This version presents the best opportunity to appreciate the vivacity of Schopenhauer's prose. It combines both volumes of the original text into a single, short book, cutting out much of the unnecessary verbiage and frequent technical digressions in order to bring his central themes into focus. Moreover, the excisions in this edition are sufficiently well-chosen for me to recommend it as preferable even to readers studying the text at university.


The World As Will And Idea (Everyman)
The World As Will And Idea (Everyman)
by Arthur Schopenhauer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.57

22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but fascinating, 5 April 2008
The World as Will and Idea is Schopenhauer's major work, intended as a systematic philosophy to go beyond the limits of Kantian critique. It is perhaps because he is judged by this standard that Schopenhauer largely remains a marginal figure in mainstream academic philosophy, a footnote to Kant and Hegel, and worthy perhaps of inclusion in prefatory remarks on Nietzsche. But it is a shame to miss the real originality and insight of his thought and particularly that on art and ethics.

The first two parts of the book deal with matters of the nature of reality and what we can know of it. Schopenhauer here advances arguments that may be rather dry and technical for the layman reader - though certainly far less intimidating than Kant, and often illustrated with illuminating examples - and that collapse under the mildest philosophical scrutiny. But they provide the basis for a rethinking of the nature of man that would be profoundly influential. In Schopenhauer is the idea of man as fundamentally governed by impersonal drives. The idea of philosophy as the study of the divine faculty of human reason - present at least up to Hegel - is here supplanted by an account that brings humans back to earth with a notion of Will that would anticipate Nietzsche's Will to Power along with Freud's theory of the unconscious. What follows is a brilliantly pessimistic account of life as a ceaseless, vain striving after temporary pleasures - but also a sketch of possible redemption in the renunciation of the will and in the contemplation of art. These are the passages that make the text worth reading, creating from the carefully observed analyses of the life of the will a more complete picture of the human being, and bringing to light the possibility of escaping the banality of brute existence. Regardless of the ultimate validity of its grand claims, readers of all backgrounds can take something genuinely edifying from any part of The World as Will and Idea.

The Everyman edition presents the best opportunity to appreciate the vivacity of Schopenhauer's prose. It combines both volumes of the original text into a single, short book, cutting out much of the unnecessary verbiage and frequent technical digressions in order to bring his central themes into focus. Moreover, the excisions in this edition are sufficiently well-chosen for me to recommend it even to readers studying the text at university.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 20, 2013 10:35 PM BST


This Nations Saving Grace
This Nations Saving Grace
Price: 8.71

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mighty, 5 April 2008
This Nation's Saving Grace finds The Fall in typical swagger. Bombast, the first track proper following an instrumental opener, is delivered with a force that renders its performance less a statement of intent than a full-blown manifesto. But beyond frontman Mark E Smith's trademark truculence and his band's by then long-established mantra of repetition (repetition repetition), the record shows flourishes that point beyond the group's artfully studied minimalism. Recent addition and Smith spouse Brix lends synth sheen to the slick LA, giving the lie to her husband's "if you can't play it like a garage band, f- it" ethos, and bonus track Cruisers Creek, a high point of the reissued album, manages to configure country rock and garage punk as long-lost brothers reunited. The clear Krautrock influence, manifest since Two Steps Back on their '79 debut, is explicitly heralded in the Can tribute I Am Damo Suzuki - a standout track which can be paid no higher tribute than that it would fit quite comfortably on the setlist of either group.

For those new to The Fall, This Nation's Saving Grace is an ideal place to start, edging out the more accessible The Wonderful and Frightening World Of with a stronger set of songs, by turns both scathing and playful - and more focussed and consistent than many of their many records. If you don't like this album, then you don't like The Fall - here Smith and the band applied the full range of their wit, passion, invention and conviction.


Super Monkey Ball
Super Monkey Ball
Offered by aardvark-games
Price: 38.72

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect multi-player - and brilliant on your own, too, 23 Sep 2004
This review is from: Super Monkey Ball (Video Game)
Super Monkey Ball is the finest multiplayer experience on the Gamecube without doubt. The 6 games on offer are a perfectly designed blend of accessibility and addictiveness - simple enough for anybody to play yet maddeningly difficult to stop. Monkey Target for example, in which you have to land your flying monkey on large floating darts-style targets in the sea, is particularly compulsive and long, long sessions with friends on this game alone are not uncommon. It really is that much fun.
The single-player mode is very different, but just as great - an intimate test of dexterity that infuriates and delights in equal measure. The beauty of the level design is in its simplicity - upon failure only you, the player, are to blame and you soon realise that with practice the seemingly impossible, infuriating feats of improbable aptitude become levels that you are positively racing through for extra points, grabbing every last banana on your way. It's a triumphant return to the old-school gaming ethic - gaming as a challenging endeavour of self-improvement, rather than the prevailing modern trend of narrative progression. There is no story here - just a series of increasingly difficult obstacles between you and high-score glory. As such, those looking for an easy time should perhaps look to other titles - or perhaps just to the sublime multiplayer games, all of which can be played solo, against computer-controlled opponents. Easily one of the best games on Gamecube or any format, Super Monkey Ball is irresistable fun and an essential purchase.


Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Dover Thrift Editions)
Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.28

32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-changing, 23 Sep 2004
As a philosophy student it was compulsory for me to read this book, and soon after starting I realised why the subject is such a joy for me. Beyond Good and Evil is compulsive, written throughout in the acerbic prose and (necessarily) non-linear structure that characterises Nietzsche's writing. Whether or not you agree with his strong, controversial assertions, you will certainly question the foundations of your knowledge throughout. A general knowledge of philosophy is certainly helpful before reading, as the author references, invariably polemically, a good many of the philosophical canon throughout. However, the aphoristic nature of the text also allows for readers perhaps struggling with the text to skip parts without losing too much - Nietzsche's key themes are fairly evident throughout. A staggeringly iconoclastic work essential for anybody interested in philosophy, ethics or 20th century social history in general - Nietzsche's work would go on to have profound influence on Freud, Derrida and Sartre, to name just three prominent followers in the continental tradition. Unreservedly recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 18, 2009 6:41 PM BST


Ikaruga
Ikaruga

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Gaming, 22 Sep 2004
This review is from: Ikaruga (Video Game)
Treasure dazzle again with that special brand of gaming bliss fans have come to expect - frenzied 2D action with the emphasis on an addictive core gameplay mechanics, rather than superfluous graphical effects that have increasingly come to typify modern game development. Ikaruga is a game based on a single, maddeningly addictive concept, and a supremely realised risk/reward structure. Hard to learn and harder to master, Ikaruga is neither for those who want a game of docile progression, nor for those who balk at games where attaining high scores is the aim - the game lasts just 25 minutes, but within the context of devising the most profitable strategies through each level, this is the perfect length. For the gamer looking for a novel and challenging game, not to mention a visual tour de force, Ikaruga is perfect. With over 20 hours of play on the clock, Treasure's latest masterwork continues to thrill, intrigue and invariably frustrate. Which is precisely why I love it.


The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GameCube)
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GameCube)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best game on the 'Cube, 22 Sep 2004
A new Zelda game brings with it massive expectations, and understandably so. Every Nintendo format since the NES has seen at least one instalment in the franchise, and often they have proven definitive experiences - in particular, Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64 stands out as easily the greatest game on the sadly underrated console, and in many minds amongst the greatest games of all time. The Gamecube iteration, overall, stands up to previous iterations in delivering a highly enjoyable and immersive experience. The controversial cel-shaded graphics work perfectly, conveying expressive nuances perhaps impossible through traditional rendering - certain scenes have Link's sorrowful demeanour elliciting genuine pathos, always a remarkable achievement in videogames. The explorative element essential to all Zelda games is fleshed out wonderfully here, with a welath of opportunities always open and the thrill of exploration ever-present. Even the combat has been improved visually and ludologically, each bout now often a sizable melee of flying bodies and pyrotechnic histrionics, tests of timing and tactics. Though not the best game in the Zelda series, losing focus in places and perhaps a little short, it remains a profound, magical experience and easily the greatest game on the Gamecube.


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