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Lark (North Coast of Ireland)
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The Empathy Instinct: How to Create a More Civil Society
The Empathy Instinct: How to Create a More Civil Society
by Peter Bazalgette
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.88

5.0 out of 5 stars This is just a great read, maybe an idea whose time has come, 22 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is just a really, really good read, from the introduction right through to the concluding chapter with an outline of a "Charter for Empathy" the style of writing and pace of narrative is just really good, an enjoyable non-fiction read. I admit to an interest in how innovations in neurological science, via brain imaging technology, particularly knowledge of empathy can and should inform public policy, maybe that's a personal bias but I did not think of reading this book as an exercise in personal confirmation bias.

First of all, the book has an absolutely great supporting bibliography, there are comprehensive endnotes also, the contents and index are very clear and make navigating the text much, much more easy and I would suggest accessible for any student or researcher who is not planning on reading the book in its entirety (at least at first) but aim to find points for citations. The structure of the book is done well, examining societies without empathy, such as Nazi Germany, considers the science of empathy, including the brain imaging technology, questions of nature and nurture in develop of empathy, digital dystopia (I found this chapter in particular of interest, having read a few other sources critical of the role of open, often violent or obscene media, in influencing developing minds), crime, punishment, care, health and conflict resolution, finally a chapter upon empathy and art and then the chapter with the charter for empathy.

Some of the things I liked the most about this text include the manner in which the author approaches their subject matter, defining their terms early on in the text, distinguishing and contrasting sympathy and empathy, describing two different definitions, one by another author of "imaginative sympathy" (which made me think of Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments) and another psychological definition including not simply imagining others thinking or circumstances but responding appropriately to the same (the author is clear that they themselves are not a psychologist). This rigour continues much later in the text when the author elaborates upon their charter for empathy, this is not going to be enough for some readers, or perhaps they are going to want a particular point or aspect to be developed further and further but it is by no means at all any kind of liberal or Guardian reader "shopping list" as some other reviewers I have read dismiss it as. In fact, if anything, the author maintains a sort of non-partisan position politically and could only really be considered partisan by someone maintaining a pretty hardline partisan position of their own, for instance, when Bazalgette cites Obama in the introduction it is not in any way a validation of Obama's politics, or so I thought, but an important point about an "empathy deficit". I think it would be unfair to consider the author's role in a holocaust commission for the UK holocaust memorial foundation or role as a chair of the arts council to be partisan (in fact I would think that ludicrous) but I can understand how both would involve a burgeoning interest in empathy and motivate the writing of this book.

I found the book balanced throughout and, again, it was clear from the outset in the introduction, while Bazalgette states that empathy is a "fundamental human attribute" Bazalgette also states "but we are also, by nature, tribal" at times caring for "our group" and acting hostile to those considered to be outside it. This is one reason for the empathy deficit, population displacements, the complexity of social interactions as a consequence of new digital platforms and life online are others, as is the infinite demands upon public services versus the finite tax revenue available to meet it.

If I had one criticism to make, its not a major one by any means, it would be that Bazalgette makes the point that empathy is "an idea whose time has come" and does not appear to be aware of other authors who have built manifestos around the idea before now, such as Erich Fromm's book To Have or To Be? In which Fromm seeks to recommend a number of structural changes, including something much like an arts council or cultural council seeking to counter balance the power of advertising in promoting an acquisitive society with one based upon or fostering relationships instead.


50 Politics Classics: Your shortcut to the most important ideas on freedom, equality, and power (50 Classics)
50 Politics Classics: Your shortcut to the most important ideas on freedom, equality, and power (50 Classics)
by Tom Butler-Bowdon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, an improvement on the previous in the series, 22 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I found this excellent, I already owned the philosophy and psychology 50 classics books from the series and this is an improvement, or so I thought, upon those in the series. While I thought there was a lot of unacknowledged bias in those books, the author has written a very good introduction, I do think its long but it addresses most of the areas in which there could be bias exhibited and the author themselves talks about subjectivity in the selection of the texts too.

There is a note outlining how they choose to limit the texts to fifty, which is the number running throughout the series but that it could have easily ran to one hundred, an e-mail address is included to access additional texts, they also talk about the inclusion of more recent texts which may not qualify as a "classic" in terms of enduring relevance yet and the exclusion of other texts, such as Mein Kampf or Mao's Little Red Book. The author also indicates that there are texts which have been included in other books in the series already, such as in the philosophy classics book or another which was planned for release after this one (although it is available on Amazon already) containing economics classics. This is all good and as great an attempt to achieve balance as I have noted in books of this kind, or politics writing per se too.

However, this said, there remains, I think "accents" or subjective preferences, when various perspectives are mentioned in the introduction the only one mentioned with a detraction or majorly qualifying note was that of Marx's perspective, there was not, for instance, mention made that Hayek or Thatcher's perspectives had also been exploited by dictators such as Pinochet. It is perhaps something which will go unnoticed and perhaps more people, from a particular perspective, are going to find Marx objectionable than the contrary, like myself.

I very much like the structure of the chapters, as I have mentioned in my reviews of the other books already, that each chapter begins with an "in a nutshell" summation, a longer note and collection of quotations of relevance from main texts, then the chapter follows with subheadings. I think all the chapters are very balanced and fair, taking the chapter on Marx as an example, there are also references to up to date interpretations and commentators upon the perspective in question, for Marx it is Thomas Piketty's books, and good points are made about the difference between description and prescription, while the later has been judged wanting by history, the former has proven relevant, at least in so far as Marx scrutinized the ever greater concentration of wealth in a smaller and smaller group of legacies.

As the author themselves indicate they tried to include a sufficient range of differing and diverse opinions in order to allow readers to engage in a kind of comparing and contrasting of opinion, in this respect I can say that they have succeeded and I really, really respect their attempt to do so. The one author I think who really succeeded in doing this, while also attempting to shake up the expectations or certainties of anyone subscribing to a "block" opinion was Andrew Vincent's Modern Political ideologies (recommended) but this is a very close second to that book. I would hope to be as fair to this author as they have tried to be to their subject matter in this anthology because it would be as easy to edit a collection of 50 socialists classics or 50 liberal classics or 50 conservative classics so diverse are those actual perspectives themselves.


Hallmark Muppets Dad Father's Day Card 'From Your Son' - Medium
Hallmark Muppets Dad Father's Day Card 'From Your Son' - Medium

5.0 out of 5 stars This card made me smile and laugh, 22 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This card made me smile and laugh, there is every chance that the father's receiving this will be more aware of who Animal from the Muppet Show is than the sons likely to have bought it for them, especially if its a young father (well, maybe they'd know Animal from the Muppets movies).

Its a really nice card, which provides space for a greeting of your choice alongside the message which has been provided by Hallmark, I think that it would be appreciated by anyone who receives it. Its a card which communicates fun and joy, a lot like the character of Animal the muppet himself.


Hallmark Father's Day Card 'With Love' - Medium
Hallmark Father's Day Card 'With Love' - Medium
Price: £4.20

5.0 out of 5 stars A good sensible card for the occasion, 22 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a good, sensible card for the occasion of father's day, it has a good message but also allows plenty of space on the inside to record a message of your own.

For anyone wishing to provide their father with a greeting card whose message is one expressing the bond of love between a father and their children this is a fine card, better than some others and as good as many others, there is a wide range of choice in greeting cards out there but this one recommends itself I think.


Picturing Prince: An Intimate Portrait
Picturing Prince: An Intimate Portrait
by Steve Parke
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.95

4.0 out of 5 stars A great coffee table book of a music icon, 22 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I confess that I have not read any other biographical material or books about Prince, I have only been familiar with Prince from the headlines, pop cultural references and the movie Purple Rain, however, I can say that I really liked this book.

There was, I thought, a good balance between photographic content and text, I think this is more of a coffee table book than a biography but that is not because I think it is light on research or padded out with photographs. I found it accessible and suspect that a fan or someone like myself who is more casually interested in Prince alike would be pleased with it. The author's style of writing and pace of writing are both good and it makes for an engaging and easy read, its a book which you can spend more time reading at a single sitting than you intended to. I also thought that the photography is good too, I do not own a lot of photo books, besides a few National Geographic collections, and I dont own any photo books pertaining to pop stars or music legends but I liked the photographic content but this is good material. Recommended.


BIC Kids Oil Pastel Crayons 12 Pack
BIC Kids Oil Pastel Crayons 12 Pack
Price: £3.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I could see these lasting a long time without breaking or the nib flattening to a stub quickly., 22 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I reviewed these with the assistance of my dad who has an interest in art with pastels, sketching and drawing.

He created three different landscape drawings and one of our family dog and they were all very good, he said that the pastels were not too soft, did not break under pressure or prove too course or require heating, for instance by gripping for a bit in the hand, to become pliable to the page.

He did say, and I agree, that they are really, as it says on the label, kids pastels for creating fun, colourful drawings rather than anyone trying to produce some finer composition or artwork. I could see these lasting a long time without breaking or the nib flattening to a stub quickly.


Eightnight Tactical Flashlight Adjustable Focus Zoom Waterproof 3-Mode XM-L2 800 Lumens Mini LED Handle Torch Powered by 18650 3.7v Recahargeable Battery
Eightnight Tactical Flashlight Adjustable Focus Zoom Waterproof 3-Mode XM-L2 800 Lumens Mini LED Handle Torch Powered by 18650 3.7v Recahargeable Battery
Offered by Eightnight

5.0 out of 5 stars Compact but powerful torch, 15 May 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a fantastic, very compact and powerful torch, the switch is contained in the base, which can be switched on and off using the thumb while the torch is gripped in the palm of the hand pointing the beam, this leaves a hand free to open or close doors or lift or drop etc. There is a clip on the torch which would allow for the torch to be attached to a bag strap, clothing, pocket etc. The clip can stop the small torch dropping into a deeper pocket and makes it easier to retrieve.

Its a great torch to carry and use with a single hand, I have found, when walking the dog later in the day when light is not as good or in the darker evenings because it leaves a hand free to hold the leash, whether its a static leash or retractable one it means I am able to control the dog easier and provide illumination with the torch.


Rapid Mini Stapler and Hole Punch Set, Staple or Punch up to 10 sheets, N°10 Staples Included, Purple/Apricot, F5, 5000372
Rapid Mini Stapler and Hole Punch Set, Staple or Punch up to 10 sheets, N°10 Staples Included, Purple/Apricot, F5, 5000372
Price: £11.72

5.0 out of 5 stars The girliest stationary set ever..., 15 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is one of the girliest stationary sets I've seen, so I think it would be a great idea for a gift for a daughter, sister, female friend or mother who is commencing studies or a new office job, it is a very compact set, supplied in a single blown plastic case (of the kind it can be a little difficult to open and a can opener can be a novel way of opening it) or box, together the stapler, stapler remover and hole punch would all fit neatly into a single pencil case or desk drawer.

Its the sort of stationary I could see being appreciated by anyone who wants to customise or personalise their stationary, either to discourage other people casually borrowing it or in order to be able to easily identify it if its been borrowed and not been returned.


Who will tell whether one happy moment of love ... - Erich Fromm - quotes fridge magnet, White
Who will tell whether one happy moment of love ... - Erich Fromm - quotes fridge magnet, White
Offered by photosiotasmagnet
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A great fridge magnet and I like the quote from Fromm too, 15 May 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I would buy from photomagnets again and recommend them to others, it is a basic magnet but it holds to the fridge door or inside locker door and does not drop off when you open or close the door or pin a single sheet of paper beneath it, anything more than that and you could have trouble but it is a message magnet, to accessorise and display a message, rather than something like the close peg or bulldog clip for notes or note paper.

I like this quote from Fromm too, its not the best and its not my favourite but its a good one. Reminding me that if I'm having a hard day that life is more than my troubles. In fact, more than a match for life's troubles, if you can experience love and take enjoyment in the good of life which is anywhere and always available to everyone and which its easy be deprived of once they have come to know it.


8-bit Video Game Ringtones
8-bit Video Game Ringtones
Price: £0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Its a great nostalgia trip and reminds me of all the great games that I can recall from childhood and adolescence, 15 May 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: 8-bit Video Game Ringtones (App)
I do not use the Amazon app store very much and I have to say I was pleased with this "purchase", like the Kindle and Prime before it, I will use the app store again and will look for other 8-bit video game ringtones.

As an example of an 8-bit video game ringtones this is great, it is easy to download and operate, it is not jammed with adverts or other marketing software and does not alter the operation of the phone, slow the phone, drain the power of the phone in any really pronounced way. Its a great nostalgia trip and reminds me of all the great games that I can recall from childhood and adolescence (showing my age) and the accompanying sonics and soundtracks.


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