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House Of Cards: Season 2 [DVD + UV copy]
House Of Cards: Season 2 [DVD + UV copy]
Dvd ~ Kevin Spacey
Price: 21.50

5.0 out of 5 stars HOUSE OF CARDS, 23 April 2014
Machiavelli is alive and well. This series, with Kevin Spacey in the lead role, is the US remake of the earlier British one featuring Ian Richardson.

You might well think this is an excellent series - but I couldn't possibly comment.


True Detective - Season 1 [DVD] [2014]
True Detective - Season 1 [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Woody Harrelson
Price: 28.75

5.0 out of 5 stars TRUE DETECTIVE, 23 April 2014
After the demise of Walt in "Breaking Bad" I really needed a new fix. Nothing could fill the void after that superb series ended.

Then I found this


Confessions of a Medical Heretic
Confessions of a Medical Heretic
by Robert Mendelsohn
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

5.0 out of 5 stars ESSENTIAL READING., 1 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book is written by a card carrying member of the Medical Establishment, which makes his criticism of The System all the more relevant and trenchant.

Though I have written this review on April 1st, this is sadly NOT a joke! What this book points out is very real. The joke, a very sick joke at best, is on the people who BLINDLY place their trust in their doctors. This blind trust is more akin to a religious faith. Religious faith may get you to Heaven but your doctor should not be treated as an all-knowing priest. Indeed Mendlesohn likens the Medical establishment to a church with all it's attendant ritual.

This book should be viewed as essential reading. Some of what it contains may even save your life one day.


Hard Sell: Now a Major Motion Picture LOVE & OTHER DRUGS
Hard Sell: Now a Major Motion Picture LOVE & OTHER DRUGS
by Jamie Reidy
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars THE HARD SELL, 19 Feb 2014
Catchy title - but that's due to screenwriter Ted Griffin. He talked the author out of using an earlier one.

James Reidy describes his life as a pharma rep, including his being a Viagra salesman. He worked for Pfizer from 1995 to 2000. Yes I know all the jokes, stiff competition and all that.

Ideally I would award 3.5 stars for this one. I have given a bit extra for some of the inside information it contains. Sir Humphrey, of "Yes Minister", might have described Reidy as being "refreshingly candid". Reidy's saving grace is that he is often very funny. For example he writes about Viagra :- "Apart from possible death, the other side effects didn't look too bad." (Viagra is not good for guys with a heart condition).

I got this book because I wanted to see what goes on behind the scenes in the medical business. And a business it is.

"All other considerations aside, a physician runs a business. So, if the customer is always right, that puts the doctor somewhere between the proverbial rock and a hard place."

Though this is an American book, I am quite happy to extrapolate that the indiscretions that go on here probably go on in other countries too. Human nature remains constant no matter which jurisdiction it finds itself in.

I was not surprised therefore to see, as early as the Prologue, Reidy saying:-

"I had witnessed numerous violations of patient confidentiality. In spite of their best efforts to avoid doing so, doctors often dispensed advice in front of other patients."

In some sensitive cases, this is clearly the cause of a patient being extremely embarrassed. Just what you need when you are feeling sick and at a low ebb to begin with. Certainly a novel way of aiding patient recovery.

Reidy explains that Pfizer had a 6 step formula for handling doctor's objections to their latest products. It was to listen, clarify, empathise, provide proof, verify and trial close. The reps had to get this approach down pat. Videotaping was used as a training tool and no trainee wanted to look foolish on camera. Of interest too was that Pfizer hired a lot of ex military officers. The thinking was that they wanted reps who were used to taking orders and to push its message in exactly the way it was intended.

Part of the training included the IBS. "What's an IBS?", I hear you say. Well, an IBS is an attention grabbing Initial Benefit Statement. The point was to grab the doctor's attention with one just before launching into the spiel about what a wonderful drug it is that they are promoting.

He learns that all companies told their reps that THEIR company did things the right and ethical way "while the other companies cheated." Interesting that.

Reidy does well in the training and graduates to being given a company car and a sales district. (He calls the former an office on wheels for the amount of forms, dosing charts, samples etc that it contains.). Then he is let loose......

One interesting episode occurs when a doctor can't even get his Maths right:-

"A paediatrician in western Michigan once accused me of lying to him, saying that Zithromax was not the least-expensive brand-name antibiotic on the market, as I had boasted, but the MOST expensive. Fully aware that a course of Zithromax cost under $40, while all my competitors ran for at least $50, I asked him where he got his information. He smiled victoriously as he reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a laminated colour chart given to him by a competitor. Though initially panicked, I quickly recognised the problem.

'Doctor, this ranks drugs by cost per DAY', I explained. He failed to see my point.

'Yeah, Jamie, and it says Zithromax costs $8 per day, whereas Vantin costs only $6 per day! You lied to me.'

The Upjohn Pharmaceuticals marketing guy who dreamed up that cost sheet deserved a promotion. I could not believe that this physician, a very smart man, had been fooled. It was Enron math before anyone had even heard of Enron.

'Doctor, how many days is Vantin dosed for?' Ten, he answered. ''And Zithromax?" Five. I looked at him, waiting. He still didn't get it.

"Okay, so Vantin costs $6 per day times 10 days, which equals ..." he finished my math. Sixty bucks.

"And Zithromax costs $8 per day times FIVE days, which equals ..." He didn't finish my math this time. Instead, his face turned bright red.'"


Revolution in Dublin: A Photographic History 1913-1923
Revolution in Dublin: A Photographic History 1913-1923
by Elizabeth Gillis
Edition: Paperback
Price: 13.50

4.0 out of 5 stars REVOLUTION IN DUBLIN, 15 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A photographic bonanza of the troubled period 1913-23 in Ireland. The events include the 1913 Lockout, the 1916 Easter Rising and the dreadful horror of the Irish Civil War. And during these years Dublin featured at the epicentre of these events.

At first sight the book looks to be on the small side. Open it up however and every page has at least two photographs. Many of these photographs have been previously unpublished. The pages themselves are produced on nice glossy paper. It is refreshing to see this done. More quality books should follow this example.

This book is suitable for the general reader who is interested in Irish History. It would also make for a nice little companion volume as a light adjunct to anyone formally studying the history of this eventful period.


The Life of Adam Smith
The Life of Adam Smith
by Ian Simpson Ross
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 27.15

5.0 out of 5 stars ADAM SMITH, 12 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Life of Adam Smith (Hardcover)
Scholarly work on the life of Adam Smith. This, the now updated edition, is the definitive book on the man who can be said to be the father of economics.

Btw, it often seems to me that some people are unaware that Smith was an advocate of FAIR competition. Though he used different words to mine, he pointed out the danger of monopolies and cartels - where some scheming businessmen were prepared to take advantage of consumers, and fairness be damned. Smith strongly disapproved of such behaviour. He also disapproved of the slave trade which was still in existence in his day.


Catching the Wolf of Wall Street: More Incredible True Stories of Fortunes, Schemes, Parties, and Prison
Catching the Wolf of Wall Street: More Incredible True Stories of Fortunes, Schemes, Parties, and Prison
by Jordan Belfort
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.79

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars CATCHING THE WOLF, 11 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
"I read that book from cover to cover - 698 pages in a single day - and I laughed out loud the entire time. I was blown away. Mesmerised. Not only was it the most brilliant book I had ever read but also there was something about the writing style that resonated with my soul...."

So says the Wolf Jordan Belfort, referring to Tom Wolfe's book "The Bonfire of the Vanities".

This "Catching the Wolf of Wall Street" book is the follow-up to his original "The Wolf of Wall Street". There is inevitable duplication with first book - but enough new material here to keep us interested all over again.

What I find impressive is just how well written this book is. I enjoyed reading it so much that I began to suspect a ghostwriter had been hired to do the job. After all, this guy was not a writer. He was too busy with certain other activities to have any time left for writing.

I would have probably come away with that ghostwriter belief intact - except for what Belfort reveals at the end of the book:-

"... I must have read that book two dozen times, until I knew every word by heart. And then I read it again, to learn grammar. Then I paid my trusty laundry man, Mark the meth dealer ( who happened to be an avid reader), ten cans of tuna to go through the book with a fine-tooth comb and write down every simile and analogy on a separate piece of paper. Then I read it over and over again until I could recite them in my sleep. And before I knew it, a voice popped into my head: my writers voice. It was ironic, glib, obnoxious, self-serving, and often despicable, but, as Tommy explained it, it was funny as all hell."

The "Tommy" he is referring to is Tommy Chong (Of Cheech and Chong fame). Someone with a sense of humour placed Belfort in the same cell as Chong. Tommy Chong encouraged Belfort to get his exploits down on paper.

So what is Belfort up to nowadays? As indicated in the DiCaprio movie, he is now a motivational speaker or "power of persuasion" type of mentor. And he has his own website at jordanbelfort.com. Watching an "interview" he gives on the site, he seems to be morphing into a clone of Anthony Robbins.

One thing is for sure. This guy will never be dull.


Confessions of a Late Night Talk Show Host - The Autobiography of Larry Sanders as Told to Garry Shandling
Confessions of a Late Night Talk Show Host - The Autobiography of Larry Sanders as Told to Garry Shandling
by unknown
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars COME BACK LARRY!, 10 Feb 2014
Not as good as the live show ("Live on tape, from Hollywood.") but still funny.

The Larry Sanders Show was the best comedy ever.

His friends said that he had intimacy issues - to which he replied that they didn't really know him.


Larry Sanders: First Season [DVD] [1993] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Larry Sanders: First Season [DVD] [1993] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Garry Shandling

5.0 out of 5 stars NO FLIPPING!, 10 Feb 2014
"Live on tape, from Hollywood."

The Larry Sanders Show was the best comedy ever.

His friends said that he had intimacy issues - to which he replied that they didn't really know him.


Larry Sanders Show: Best Episodes
Larry Sanders Show: Best Episodes

5.0 out of 5 stars NO FLIPPING!, 10 Feb 2014
"Live on tape, from Hollywood."

The Larry Sanders Show was the best comedy ever.

His friends said that he had intimacy issues - to which he replied that they didn't really know him.


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