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Living and Working in London (Living & Working in London) Paperback – 30 Apr 2004
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This book attempts to provide a grand overview on the challenges that expatriates will face when they relocate to London. The book does present a broad overview of the many things expatriates need to do when relocating to London. For example, it does thoroughly explain the work permit and visa process, and it gives plenty of information on setting up utilities in a new home. It also provides some warnings about situations unique to London, such as the viscious, unregulated real estate market, and it provides some tourism information as well.
Additionally, the book provides multiple comparisons of the London boroughs, and the first section of the book provides summary information on each one. However, the summaries are frequently too short to provide a good overview of some of the more diverse boroughs, and some of the criticisms are overly harsh (as they were for Hammersmith and Fulham).
The book has a few major faults. The greatest major fault is that it fails to provide vital information needed for relocation. It does not explain how to solve the permanent housing / bank account / job paradox (where, to acquire one of these things, an individual must already have the other two). This alone significantly weakens the book. However, the book also does not provide information on other things as well. For example, it explains nothing about acquiring a credit card or building up a credit rating in the United Kingdom (which can be frustratingly difficult for a U.S. citizen). It provided some information on dentists, but it did not explain how to sign up with a dentist. It also does not explain U.K. taxes, which are very different from U.S. taxes. While this book does provide information on shopping, the shopping information is oriented towards tourists with high incomes, not residents with low or mid-level incomes.
Aside from the lack of information on important topics in this book, I also dislike it for already being out-of-date (or unfairly biased), even though it was published in 2004. Some of the criticisms of some boroughs are already out-of-date, possibly biased by older impressions from the last century. Many websites suggested by the book either have not been updated for months or are not functional. Also, the transportation information is woefully obsolete, as the Underground in particular has changed (and improved) significantly since the book's publication. I can only imagine that many sections of the book that I have not examined closely also provide dated information.
In conclusion, I would only recommend this book as a supplement to London relocation information rather than as a prime source of information. It simply fails to answer many crucial questions (especially questions about the residence/banking/job paradox), and too much of the information either seems biased or obsolete.
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