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Reviews Written by
Roger Sharp (Kenley, Surrey, England)
(VINE VOICE)   

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AS-Level Psychology for AQA A: Student Book for exams until 2015 only
AS-Level Psychology for AQA A: Student Book for exams until 2015 only
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A no-brainer..............., 10 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Well presented, covers the ground it needs to plus puts the subject in context. You won't go wrong. It's a thoroughly competent guide.


The I of Leadership: Strategies for Seeing, Being and Doing
The I of Leadership: Strategies for Seeing, Being and Doing
by Nigel Nicholson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.35

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, funny, insightful..............., 10 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Great leaders need to answer the questions, “Who am I and why and I here?” with conviction, honesty, and purpose that will create the bond of trust that the most powerful actions require, says the author.

Why another book on leadership? Because what leaders do matters. The book draws you in immediately by telling the story inside the head of Bush when he was told of the Twin Towers and Blair upon receiving news about the tube bombings. Each leader has a will and choices to make at critical moments. Being aware of the process, the constraints, the person, the seeing, being, and doing can be helpful to everyone who is a leader or maybe a leader.

The publishers feel the book bear comparison with Drucker's work. That's putting it a bit strong but this book has new ideas about leadership today which it conveys with style.


Kiss Me First
Kiss Me First
by Lottie Moggach
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An assured and confident first novel, an excellent read.............., 10 May 2014
This review is from: Kiss Me First (Paperback)
Leila doesn't fit in with her peers. She couldn't connect to them when they were all still in school and while they've dutifully added each other as Facebook friends she now rarely sees them and doesn't understand their obsessions with posting 'selfies' to social media outlets. Leila prefers to be by herself at home where she can both do her work, she gained employment testing websites through a family friend, and play World of Warcraft throughout the night.

One day while she's surfing the web she comes across a forum called Red Pill and the rational and intellectual debates on there about a variety of topics strike her interest. Her excellent argumentation and debating skills soon get noticed by site owner Adrian and he invites her to join an elite part of the forum. Already feeling flattered it then doesn't take much persuasion for Adrian to convince Leila to assist him with 'Project Tess'.

This is an outstanding first novel, and an author to wacth out for in the future. It's a short book (and can be read in a day) but contains deep truths about the way our society is going.


Assertiveness: How to be Strong in Every Situation
Assertiveness: How to be Strong in Every Situation
by Conrad Potts
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

4.0 out of 5 stars If you were to buy just one book on the subject, you should consider this one..........., 9 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Management self-help books are 10 a penny and often banal. So a book on how to be more assertive at work can't help but recall the customer asking the bookshop assistant to direct him to the self-help section. “It would defeat the purpose if I did,” was the reply. Presumably, a customer in need of a book on assertiveness would lack the nerve to even ask.

This book is far from a manual for the timid. It’s a practical, tip-filled 230-page book on how to communicate your ideas and feelings better, both verbally and nonverbally. And how to negotiate in a way that achieves outcomes that are good for you and others. Just the thing, in fact, for any procurement professional keen to influence decision-making but unsure how to persuade others of their value.

I little dry at times but overall a most practical and useful book on the subject.


There is an I in Team: What Elite Athletes and Coaches Really Know About High Performance
There is an I in Team: What Elite Athletes and Coaches Really Know About High Performance
by Mark de Rond
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Teamwork? It's so last year..................., 9 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Dump the team if you want to do well. Dr Mark de Rond, a leading expert on management at Judge Business School in Cambridge, says teams are so difficult to manage that it is better to avoid them altogether. “If you can do without a team I think you should. We think of teams as being relatively sexy. I’m not sure that is actually right. Ironically, since I’ve done extensive work on teams, I think that if you can avoid them you should because they can be very difficult to manage well".

He goes on to suggest that a lot of organisations are far better off getting people to work together as a working group where everyone knows what he or she has to do.

The author poses a number of questions: Why is it hard to get teams to realise their potential? How can people work more effectively on teams and why is there conflict when a team’s intentions are aligned? He looks at whether conflict is harmful or whether it helps the team dynamic. Key business issues like these, he says, mimic many of the challenges faced by sports teams, but the sports-related metaphors commonly used in business are trite and superficial, masking lessons that could be drawn from the world of high-performance athletics.

“Performance should take precedence over teamwork because over-emphasising the harmonious nature of a team can have a negative impact on performance. The assumption that many people make is that team harmony is somehow a cause or precursor for performance. A lot of the evidence nowadays points exactly the other way.”

It's an interesting point of view but it would be a brave man to minute it for the next board meeting.

Read more: [...]


Too Good to Be True
Too Good to Be True
by Benjamin Anastas
Edition: MP3 CD

4.0 out of 5 stars A palpable sense of failure....................., 9 May 2014
This review is from: Too Good to Be True (MP3 CD)
A well-written, polished tale by a writer stalled in mid-career finds thin, occasional sneers in anecdotes about being broke, cheating on his fiancée, and wondering what his new girlfriend sees in him. Anastas was one of those lucky authors who, 10 years ago, enjoyed being able to say the words “final round of bidding on my novel”, though briefly, before it sank into oblivion.

He also had to endure hearing his agent murmur, “I had much higher hopes for you,” when Anastas couldn't produce, as well as face being unable to provide for his young son, Primo, from his first failed marriage, and to reassure new girlfriend Eliza that he was really trying to help pay the rent for the Brooklyn apartment they were sharing.

The author initially appears self-pitying, mystified by his inability to earn money as a well-educated published author, reduced to scrounging for coins in order to entertain his son, and somewhat comfortably accustomed to his role of getting kicked around by creditors, ex-wife, therapists, even the new boyfriend of his ex, called the Nominee (for a Major Literary Award, no less). The author can come across as insincere, but he does redeem himself with a closing poignant letter of promise addressed to his son.


Reshaping Retail: Why Technology is Transforming the Industry and How to Win in the New Consumer Driven World
Reshaping Retail: Why Technology is Transforming the Industry and How to Win in the New Consumer Driven World
by Stefan Niemeier
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.14

3.0 out of 5 stars A reasonable overview, but lacking depth............, 9 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The modern retail system has worked to dazzling effect. From the 19th century, store owners emerged from small beginnings to set in train an industry that has seen some operators become nationally, even globally, dominant. Along the way, they turned retailing into an art, and then a science. Now retailers in emerging markets appear to be repeating the story all over again, except on a scale and at a speed beyond anything we have seen before.
Given all of this, it can be hard for those who work in retailing to accept that the industry as we know it is living on borrowed time, on the brink of transformation. There is now an urgency with which conventional store-based retailers must now act and the extent of the challenges this change represents in strategic, organizational, and above all, technological terms.

Reshaping Retail sets out the driving causes, current trends and consequences of a transformation in retail triggered by technology. The changes go far beyond making items available for sale on the internet. Starting by briefly setting the historical and business system contexts for retail and describe the role that technology has played in the creation of modern retail it then explains the underlying technological drivers behind the current revolution – radical changes in the capacity of both hardware and software, mobile telecommunications changes and the advances of the Internet.

Ultimately, success will hinge on more than competence; it will come down to a way of thinking. Customer-centricity will need to be valued not just by the store owner, as in the past, but also by all employees in the organization. It will need to become embedded in their daily tasks. The same applies to technology, which must be at the center of the organization and recognized as such by everyone.

Reshaping Retail is an adequate overview but there are more useful books that cover the subject in greater depth and breadth.


Jugaad Innovation: Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth
Jugaad Innovation: Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth
by Navi Radjou
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a message for our time - "doing more with less"............., 9 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In India, everybody recognises the word "Jugaad": it refers to a quick, ingenious way of solving a problem. At a time when markets are shrinking and competition is so great, this Asian approach to problem solving can be a powerful tool for individuals, companies and governments.

The concept of Jugaad has also taken hold in the West. In the midst of recession people are coming back to a frugal way of life and they are realising that they can actually be very creative with very few resources.

This book truly has something new to say and it's arrival is most timely.


Stop Drifting, Start Rowing: One Woman's Search For Happiness And Meaning Alone On The Pacific
Stop Drifting, Start Rowing: One Woman's Search For Happiness And Meaning Alone On The Pacific
by Roz Savage
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An inspirational story and a rolliking good yarn........................, 9 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In the year 2000, Roz Savage seemed to have it all. But she felt there was a mismatch between the person she was pretending to be on the outside, and the person she wanted to be on the inside. Leaving behind her life as a London professional, she set out to row across the world's oceans. Her goal was to raise awareness of the heavy toll that human beings are taking on the Earth - and how it will rebound on us if we don't change course.

This book tells the story of Roz's record-setting solo row across the Pacific Ocean. In the course of her three-stage voyage, Roz braved 20-foot waves, was capsized 3 times in 24 hours, faced death by dehydration, encountered whales, dolphins, sharks and turtles, and witnessed the breathtaking beauty of nature. The ocean forced her to develop courage, tenacity, perseverance, and the strength to transcend self-imposed limits.

Not only is her story an amazing adventure tale, but it is a timely message of hope and optimism for the future, emphasizing the power of individual action to make a difference.


A Very Cool Christmas [DVD]
A Very Cool Christmas [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sam Irvin
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £1.26

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Christmas - not mawkish, a tad cheesy but with the right feelgood factor......., 8 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Very Cool Christmas [DVD] (DVD)
We must have just about every Christmas DVD made! This one excellent. It's well made, not too sentimental, well acted and has a good script.

Just to give you an idea about the plot. Sixteen-year-old Lindsay Deerfield wants absolutely zilch to do with the whole deal of Christmas, especially hanging out on Christmas Day with her family. Lindsay's just way Too Cool for Christmas. She'd totally prefer going skiing with her buds and chilling with the wickedest guys in school. But as sometimes happens on Christmas Eve, Lindsay meets a whiskery old chap whose magic stirs up her spirit and transforms her life forever.

Anyway, it went done well here, even with our own "Lindsay Deerfield"!

By the way, if you're looking for a Christmas DVD, a few of our all-time favourites are -

* "Deck the Halls", with Danny DeVito, Matthew Broderick, Kristin Davis, and Kristin Chenoweth
* "The Grinch", with Jim Carey
* "Elf", with Will Ferrell

The three above are suitable for all age ranges, and the two below for younger children -

* "The Dog who saved Christmas, with Dean Cain, Gary Valentine and Mario Lopez
* "The Search for Santa Pawz", a Disney film with Reese Alexander, Diedrich Bader and Sahar Biniaz

If you are looking for a Christmas film, a top tip for avoiding a turkey (sorry!), is to pick one either by Disney or that stars at least one actor you've heard of. Merry Christmas!


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