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Richard Murphy (Winchester, England)
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Managing Risk in Construction Projects
Managing Risk in Construction Projects
by Nigel J. Smith BSc MSc CEng FICE MAPM
Edition: Paperback
Price: 45.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting introduction to the challenges, 23 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I had two reasons for getting this book: I work with businesses to help them manage risk (in a different field) and may well have management oversight responsibly for a construction project in the next few years.

As the authors note in their Preface, they doubt many people will read this book from cover to cover. They have brought together a mix of theory and practice to guide those managing real projects.

The focus is on taking a practical rather than a theoretical approach. However they make the case that, for larger projects, failure to take the time and effort early in the process to assess the risks and work out how to manage them can extremely costly.

There are some nice touches in the book including : the approach to a risk workshop (section 3.5); soft system methodology (section 4.6); useful checklists throughout; and a nice list of the limitations of using computer models (section 7.10).

It is certainly not a light read but for those looking to take a robust approach to managing complex projects, there is plenty of food for thought here.


Men Rock Cut Throat Shavette
Men Rock Cut Throat Shavette
Offered by Gadget Grotto
Price: 9.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well built, sharp, challenging, 6 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having always wet shaved and liking the idea of a straight razor, I thought I would give this one a go.

With a bit of practice (and some bloodshed) this does give a very close and smooth shave. I like the idea of changing the blade rather than trying to keep a sharp edge on one and the mechanism worked fine.

This was a good cheap way to have a try shaving with a straight razor.


Sennheiser G4ME ONE PC Gaming Headset - White
Sennheiser G4ME ONE PC Gaming Headset - White
Price: 189.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Genuinely stunning bit of kit, 23 Feb 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The first 24 hours with the new Sennheiser G4ME ONE headset was great fun.

The headset was impressive even before I plugged it in. The design and build quality are excellent, managing to be both light and robust. It definitely feels built to last. It slipped on nicely and adjusted to the various head sizes in our household without any problems.

It all works – with the headphones and the microphone delivering as described on the box.

I have an older set of Sennheiser headphones, so was used to the sound quality but it was still terrific to hear. The claims of long term comfort held up as well. I used It for much of the day and then, after 6 continuous hours of gaming, my 13 year old son also confirmed that the claimed long term usability and comfort held up – and without me demanding the headset back he would have kept going.

The niggle is the single volume control. It would be good to be able to vary the volume between the game sounds and the chat (but for our level of use, this would be very much just a nice-to-have).

They were impressive just as headphones for music, delivering everything from Beethoven to Blurred Lines beautifully.

And the black and white colour scheme with the red touches looks great as well.

Overall, hard to fault, other than the price, but you are getting a lot for your money.


Cool Infographics: Effective Communication with Data Visualization and Design
Cool Infographics: Effective Communication with Data Visualization and Design
by Randy Krum
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.62

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting thoughts on this fast-developing area, 17 Feb 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The world is now full of data and the challenge is how to communicate information in a meaningful way. His definition of infographics is: “a larger graphic design that combines data visualisations, illustrations, text and images together into a format that tells a complete story”. They are made “to inform, entertain or persuade an audience”.

It is not just about pretty graphs. The impact comes from the way people react to clearly presented information. The book is filled with well-chosen examples of quality infographics, and he steps through how they are affective and some of the pitfalls they have avoided.

He is sensitive to the criticism that many infographics we see are factually inaccurate or poorly constructed, and had good practical suggestions for how to address issues as you construct your own.

For me Chapter 4 Infographic Resumes was the most interesting, as it was not a concept I had come across before. Standing out from the crowd in the jobs market is always a challenge and he does an excellent job of making the case for using infographics in your resume. What is stressed here, and elsewhere in the book, is the importance of planning and designing it well. Ill-though through resumes created from internet free templates are likely to count against you. However the examples shown clearly (for me) showed the power of the approach.

The later chapters focused on the practicalities, with lots of useful links and tips.

Overall, an interesting overview of this developing area.


Astrobiology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Astrobiology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by David C. Catling
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating summary of current thinking on life, the universe and everything, 3 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am a fan of the "very short introduction" series of books and have quite a few of them. This is my favourite so far. It is clearly written, wide ranging and on a great topic.

I have always been interested in the origin of life on Earth and the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. This is a scientific area where there have been huge developments in the last decade and the book neatly draws the separate strands together.

It includes theories on how elements have arisen; how planets form; the possible original sources of life on Earth, the development of life (and in particular its interaction with what we now know about how the Sun and the Earth changed over the last 4 billion years); the prospects for life in the rest of the Solar System and the rest of the galaxy; and the study of planets around other stars and how we can test for habitability and even for life.

What also comes across is his enthusiasm for the topic and his conviction that this is going to be one of the most exciting areas of science over the next few years.

A great read - highly recommended.


Circulon Acclaim Triple Pack Frying Pans - Black
Circulon Acclaim Triple Pack Frying Pans - Black
Price: 56.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Quality solid set of frying pans, 30 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having used some cheap non-stick frying pans for a while, I thought I would try these out.

We have now been using them for a month. They feel solid (but not too heavy) and well made, they give a nice even cooking surface, the non-stick works and it is great that they are dishwasher-proof. Cooking for four and any guests we have in the house, it is handy to have the set of three.

At 64 (Dec 2013) they are pricy but they feel like they are well put together and will last.

If you are looking to treat yourself to a set of quality frying plans, these fit the bill.


What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets
What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets
by Michael Sandel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.10

4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking ideas. but a bit light on content, 25 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It might seem an obvious statement that there are limits as to which of the world's problems can be solved by introducing financial incentives or by creating a market where demand outstrips supply.

However we are living in a world where we find market-based solutions are being applied widely but with very little public debate on whether it is really a good idea.

There are some cases that are almost universally opposed, such as allowing people to sell (rather than volunteer to donate) a kidney to someone who needs a transplant. Others are generally accepted, like paying extra to jump the queue in theme parks, but make most people feel uncomfortable that some unwritten social bond is being broken. Essentially he argues that for many things in life, the world is a worse place for allowing those who can afford it to jump ahead of those who cannot. He also argues that in some case financial incentives make things worse, for example: the evidence is that by paying people to donate blood, it means that those who would give it freely for altruistic reasons are less likely to do so. And should we pay children to read books, or find other ways to persuade them of the benefits of reading? Should we allow corporations like Coca Cola to advertise everywhere, including within schools, or should we as a society decide to have spaces in our lives where we are not bombarded with advertising?

This book explored these issues and related ones with some excellent further examples. It is worth reading just for the way it brings together the thinking on these thorny points. There is also an extensive set of references at the back for those wanting to go further into the topics.

However, for such an important and challenging topic, the book did feel a bit light on content, analysis and opinion. Many of the points are just touched on where there is clearly a lot to say.

So I both enjoyed the book and was frustrated at its limitations.


The Power of Doing Less: Why Time Management Courses Don't Work and How to Spend Your Precious Life on the Things That Really Matter
The Power of Doing Less: Why Time Management Courses Don't Work and How to Spend Your Precious Life on the Things That Really Matter
by Fergus O'Connell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.68

5.0 out of 5 stars The title says it all, 30 Nov 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The message of the book is clearly expressed in the title: if you have too much to do, stop trying to get more efficient - try just doing less. Simply say no to things and see what happens.

The book is a bit more than that; there are ideas here and practical exercises. The author runs seminars and the book captures that well. The content of the book has clearly been honed in front of audiences.

Writing something that standing out from the crowd in the self-help book market is a real challenge. This book is definitely above average and would make a good Christmas stocking-filler for a busy loved one.

And it is not too long - which will suit it's target audience!


The World Atlas of Wine, 7th Edition
The World Atlas of Wine, 7th Edition
by Hugh Johnson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 24.80

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2.25kg of wine fun, 30 Nov 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a big book.

Its (slightly plaintiff) opening to the introduction points out that the world of wine has changed enormously over the last few decades and that the older versions of the atlas are just out of date. The message is clear: if you are a fan of the book and have a previous edition, then it is time to upgrade.

I came to it as a new reader and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Encyclopaedias can be very dry, but they have made a huge effort to make sure their personal views come across all the way through. This is also not a wine guide knocked together by celebrity wine commentators in their spare time - this is a quality read.

The introduction gives a potted history of wine and a fascinating snapshot of how production is changing. Then follows an incredibility detailed survey of world wine with pictures, maps and commentary. Each section (usually 2 or 3 pages) is effectively a stand-alone article, making it easy to dip into, whether that is for for 5 minutes or an hour.

In a world of internet guides and Kindle editions, this is a reminder that sometimes to get the full benefit, you need to buy the book.


Planet Waves PW-CT-12 NS Micro Headstock Tuner
Planet Waves PW-CT-12 NS Micro Headstock Tuner
Price: 11.82

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent little tuner, 26 Oct 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have been using this for a couple of weeks and it is very impressive. Simple to use and it works.

It is small and unobtrusive, unlike tuners I have had before. It was easy to attach to the guitar I use most and has not moved since. In our house we break tuners reasonably regularly and, while it is early days, it does seem like its design means its survival chances are better.

Recommended.


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