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R. Hill "Rikk Hill" (United Kingdom)
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Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions
by Dan Ariely
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't see that one coming..., 11 Nov. 2008
I wanted this book to be so much better than it actually is. I've been waiting for this book (or at least *a* book about the irrational foibles of human behaviour) to be written for years now, and having finally been given one, it's turned out to be a bit disappointing.

Oh, don't get me wrong, it's an interesting book and well worth the read. It contains plenty of inventive experiments into human behaviour, described thorough and entertaining ways, and if that's what you're after, look no further. If you want a series of case studies into demonstrating the irrationality of human behaviour, this is exactly the book you're looking for.

If you're not presently of the belief that human beings are locked in a tragic cycle of making the same errors of judgment time and time again, you might walk away from this book feeling enlightened. If you're already quite comfortable with this notion, this book is just more ammunition for a gun you already own.

It also suffers a little for its written style. It feels more like a collection of blog entries than a cohesive book, and while an effort has been made to group the content into sensibly-categorised chapters, that's exactly what they feel like: collections of content rather than running themes. In spite of this, if you like the subject matter it will probably maintain your interest.

I may be being a little harsh on it, since most of my complaints amount to "this isn't the book I wanted it to be", but I can't help but feel that the book itself isn't the book it wants to be either.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 27, 2008 2:24 PM GMT


Fist Of The North Star [DVD]
Fist Of The North Star [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gary Daniels
Offered by Disc-uk
Price: £25.67

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Can you give products negative stars?, 24 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Fist Of The North Star [DVD] (DVD)
This is, without a doubt, the absolute very worst film ever produced by humanity. It's worse than Battlefield Earth. It's worse than the Highlander sequels. It's worse than A Nymphoid Barbarian In Dinosaur Hell.

Having seen this film on TV, I bought the DVD because I felt the need to demonstrate to my friends just how bad this film is. Since I don't have any friends, it's never been viewed. In fact, it's still in its plastic wrapper. I'm worried that if I unwrap it, the badness will leak out into my other DVDs, and the next time I watch Batman Begins or Fight Club, they'll all mysteriously suck.

Worst Film Ever. Run now, and save yourselves.


Watchmen
Watchmen
by Alan Moore
Edition: Paperback

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Depressing Story Ever Told, 24 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Watchmen (Paperback)
Alan Moore is a genius of the very worst kind. He produces work which you have to read, because frankly it's brilliant, but which you really don't want to, because fundamentally it's horrible.

Well, except Voice Of The Fire. Even an endorsement by Neil Gaiman couldn't put a shine on that.

Watchmen, however, is fantastic. I don't want to give it five stars, but it pries them from my begrudging hands. I have never come across a work of art so good which left me feeling so bleak and hopeless. If you're questioning your faith in humanity, or feeling at all bummed about the world, you might want to wait a bit before picking this up.

Don't say I didn't warn you. I did. This is me, warning you.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 15, 2009 10:46 AM GMT


Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (International Writers)
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (International Writers)
by Patrick Suskind
Edition: Paperback

4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't finish it, 24 Oct. 2008
Normally I wouldn't have the audacity to judge a book without finishing it, but I really couldn't tolerate another page. The written style of this book is grating and awkward, and I felt like going through it with a red pen, then keeping the copy editor in for detention.

The long and short is that it's badly written. The dialogue isn't just stilted; it's mounted on a unicycle. I don't know if person translating it into English is a native speaker, but the narrative voice certainly isn't. How are we supposed to pay attention to the story with all this going on?

Dear Patrick Süskind, I'm sorry for judging your book so harshly, but you really should choose a better translator for your future works.


The Undercover Economist
The Undercover Economist
by Tim Harford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect introduction to economics, 24 Oct. 2008
This wasn't the first book on pop-economics I've read, and it wasn't the last, but it was certainly the best I've encountered to date, and as an introduction to economic concepts it's second to none.

This is the book I recommend to people when they show signs of moving beyond "economics is all just money, innit?", and every person who I've introduced it to has come away from it saying it's improved the way they look at the world.

If I were to assemble a list of reference books for someone wanting to know how the world works, this would be amongst them.


The Graveyard Book
The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Hardcover

65 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raised *by* the dead? That doesn't sound right..., 20 Oct. 2008
This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Hardcover)
What one word best describes this tale of an infant whose whole family are murdered, and who toddles to the safety of a local graveyard, where he's raised and educated by the resident dead? That word, surprisingly, would be "charming".

And it is, in every sense of the word. It's eloquent without being condescending, comforting without being soft, sharp without being bitter, and it captivates your attention throughout its entirety, leaving you perfectly satisfied by the end.

The cast of characters are written to perfection. The dead maintain an eerie timelessness, whilst the other supernatural creatures are subtle yet distinct, ("Silas ate only one food, and it was not bananas"); the villains pull off the trick of being both evil *and* credible; the living have a refreshing mundane quality, and Bod the protagonist is left with the uneasy struggle of being neither fish nor fowl (nor dead).

A delight to read and a joy to think about.


The Armchair Economist: Economics and Everyday Life
The Armchair Economist: Economics and Everyday Life
by Steven E. Landsburg
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little caustic, but quite interesting, 7 Oct. 2008
If you're anything like me, you enjoy reading interesting subject matter written by a passionate author, and whilst this book certainly counts as such, it isn't without its flaws. Steven Landsburg provides an introduction to the field of economics for the uninitiated, and then walks us through various unlikely and often entertaining consequences of viewing the world through an economist's eyes.

At the moment I can't seem to get enough of pop-economics, and this book, being billed as the progenitor of the breed, seemed a little too irresistible. Published as it was in 1995, the material is starting to show its age, but its examples are still very relevant. Far more distracting is the author's tendency to sensationalise his assertions before justifying them. The entire book would read better if the audience were allowed to digest the enormity and validity of his proposals for themselves.

If you were looking for a lay introduction to the subject of economics, I'd recommend Tim Harford's Undercover Economist, which is intrinsically more pleasant to read. If that whets your appetite, you might want to continue with this.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 27, 2012 3:46 AM BST


The Paranormal Puppet Show (Invisible Detective)
The Paranormal Puppet Show (Invisible Detective)
by Justin Richards
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Bought (almost) Sight Unseen, 6 Oct. 2008
I am a 26 year old man, and bought this on impulse for a pound in a discount bookshop. That should give you some impressions of the expectations I had, but I was immensely surprised by how quickly it drew me in.

Although clearly written for younger readers, these books (I've read one other, also a pound, and worth every penny at least five times over) are based on clever ideas, written intelligently and with a keen understanding of quality storytelling.

Their short length also makes for a convenient, low-commitment read if you're looking for some entertaining sci-fi/fantasy/mild horror to fill a bit of time. All in all, quite splendid.


Nation
Nation
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Hardcover

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A National Treasure, 7 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Nation (Hardcover)
Terry Pratchett loves writing about micro-societies. He did it with the Bromeliad books, on many occasions in Discworld, and now he does it again with Nation. Many have described this process as satire, but I think it's much fairer to describe it as a highly detailed thought experiment, addressing questions about society, the answers for which we either take for granted or don't think we need. The fact that these thought experiments are so entertaining to read is testament to just how barmy the world really is.

The result of this particular experiment? I think that would constitute a spoiler, but I feel it's only fair to divulge that its methods are second to none, and it effortlessly earns itself five stars. Taking a look at the cultural roles of mythology and religion, societal development and Imperialistic hubris, Nation is a riveting read, expertly paced, with humour and poignancy in just the right proportions to lubricate its themes into place. Add to this a guest appearance from a certain tree-dwelling cephalopod and it rapidly threatens to make itself something I doubted I'd ever have: my favourite book.

Thank you, Mr. Pratchett. You are, and will forever remain, a National Treasure.


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