Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Title: Centaury for Virgo, Rock Rose for Pisces
Sub-Title: More than 400 Flower Essences for your Zodiac Path – The Complete Home Reference
Author: Debbie Sellwood
Publisher: Polair Publishing (www.polairpublishing.co.uk)
Genre: Self-Help / Health / Mind/ Body/ Spirit
Presentation: Soft cover
I received this book for review nearly 6 months ago and it was not getting read due to various reasons. When I took it up recently, I found it interesting because of its connection to astrology and health. Having a little knowledge of astrology and numerology and having a fairly good knowledge of Bach Flower Remedies / Essences, I read the book with interest.
I found Debbie’s approach to astrology quite good and she has brought out the characteristics of people born under different sun signs quite well. In practice, one’s character and mental / physical health are governed by many more factors including moon’s position in the natal horoscope, the effect of various aspects and transits etc. So, while the classification of the flower essences into the 12 zodiacal signs is OK, a personal horoscope should be cast and read to get a more accurate picture. That may also give a good indication of the right healing system to be used at a given time.
I am familiar with Bach Flower Essences and found Debbie’s recommendations quite in tune with Bach’s own teachings. Dr. Edward Bach did not suggest combining his flower remedies or selecting them based on astrology, numerology, palmistry or any other occult sciences. He stressed on helping the patient select his or her own remedy or combination and emphasized the simplicity of his system so that if needed, the patient could select the remedy.
He also declared that his system of treatment based on the 38 flower essences and Rescue Remedy is self sufficient and covers all mental states. But many others mystics developed their own plant, flower, gem, crystal and animal essences. A similar trend is seen in Reiki where hundreds of variations of Reiki have been developed. It is like art where simple line drawings have given way to complex combinations of colors.
By including a large variety of nearly 400 essences (the words remedy and essence are used interchangeably), the author has no doubt opened a good resource to those adventurous enough and willing to explore new vistas. However, self-treatment (which was the aim of Dr. Bach) becomes very difficult for a lay person in such a scenario. Even a practitioner would find it difficult to select the most appropriate Essence from that variety and one problem would be that the client would end up with a cupboard full of essences!
The index of emotions given at the end of the book should hopefully guide the patient and the practitioner better!
If you are comfortable with the extra variety (the book covers more than 400 essences), this book would definitely be a good addition to your personal library.
The reviewer is a holistic / spiritual healer with exposure to astrology, numerology, homeopathy, tissue remedies, Bach Flowers, Reiki etc.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Title: Enjoy Your Money!
Sub-Title: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It
Author: J. Steve Miller
Publisher: Wisdom Creek Press
Genre: Non-Fiction / Money / Self-help
Many years ago, working as a Quality Control Engineer, I read "The Goal" by Eliyahu Goldratt & Michael C.Gray. I loved their approach – teaching complicated management concepts in a novel format. I used to devour a novel a day those days!
Later, I reviewed a similar business novel on Lean Manufacturing (see my review of that at http://swamyreviews .blogspot. com/search? q=Lean+Strategies ). It did a great job of explaining the concepts of "lean" and the benefits of "lean" to business enterprises. So, when an opportunity arose to review the present book, I was quite enthusiastic. I am happy to report that my enthusiasm was not misplaced!
Many years ago, I read and enjoyed The Only Investment Guide You Will Ever Need by Andrew Tobias and greatly appreciated its wisdom. I have been a lazy investor and thus in a way protected myself from the bull and bear cycles of Indian Stock Market over the years and thus felt somewhat vindicated by the strategies that Miller recommends. If I could go back and relive my life, I would follow many of Millers' recommendations beautifully brought out by his main character, an older school teacher named Mrs. Kramer. Her wisdom applies across borders and across cultures.
Enjoy Your Money is one of the best and most complete resources for money management at the personal level. Yet, the concepts are equally applicable to any business of any scale. The book is divided into four parts: Investing Money, Saving Money, Making Money and Enjoying Money (including giving it away to causes that you believe in). You need to make money, save money and invest today's money for a secure future. Then, you need to find the right value systems in life (money is not the end; it is a means for the end). That message comes through quite lucidly.
I loved the movie script or play format! It worked for this book, transforming a large amount of research into an entertaining and easy read. The characterization of the participants is quite good and the style is very good, holding the reader's attention quite well. The book is well edited and nicely printed with just a couple of errors that won't affect your enjoyment or understanding. The Epilogue is quite surprising! I won't spoil your own enjoyment by revealing it.
The book gives many other useful resources (websites, other books etc.) and thus points you in the right direction if you want to explore further. The biographical sketches (from Warren Buffett to Sam Walton to Led Zeppelin) are informative and inspiring.
In summary, this is one of the best books on money management that I've ever read. I strongly recommend it to one and all.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Author: Dr. Bruce Fife
Publisher: Piccadilly Books, Ltd.
ISBN: 978-0-941599- 66-5
Genre: Non-Fiction / Health
Presentation - Soft Cover
The water of a tender (green) coconut is a natural electrolyte, rich in potassium and other minerals needed. It is thus a natural sports drink. I knew that much before I accepted this book for review and was curious how a book could be written about that!
I was in for a pleasant surprise when I received this beautifully printed book with a colorful cover and found it well edited, printed well with a good collection of photos to drive the points home.
In 10 chapters, a few appendixes and 223 pages, the author succeeds in educating us about all the health benefits of coconut water. Did you know that Coconut water cured the cataract of eyes of a person? Well, I did not know that! Did you know that coconut water is a good way of detoxing without many problems associated with plain water fast and fruit juice fasts?
There are many more uses of tender coconut water and many of the same benefits are obtained from packaged coconut water too. Coconut milk is not to be confused with coconut water. Dr. Fife has given several recipes at the end of this book that use coconut water, coconut milk or desiccated coconut etc. Fresh tender and mature coconuts are of course available in many parts of the world and can be used.
All in all, this is a highly readable book on the several health benefits of coconut water. I am lucky to be in a country where tender coconuts are sold roadside and also packed coconut water is available in departmental stores just in case, I need to travel to places where fresh coconuts may not be available.
Bruce Fife, N.D. is the author of 18 books including The Coconut Oil Miracle (formerly titled The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil), Coconut Lover's Cookbook, and Eat Fat, Look Thin, The Detox Book, Saturated Fat May Save Your Life, and Health Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation etc. He is the director of the Southern Colorado chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation and serves as the editor of the Healthy Ways Newsletter.
I am glad to recommend this book for all interested in health of themselves and or their family members, friends etc.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Title: Southcrop Forest
Author: Lorne Rothman
Genre: Fiction / Children / Science / Ecology
This book is presented as a novel but is in fact a good introduction to the interdependence of various life systems in our world. The story is set in Canada and involves many trees and a colony of crawlers with a single intelligence (soul). The Colony of crawlers (caterpillars) calls itself Fur and is able to communicate with the trees, starting with Auja, a young Oak and then through her with others. Fur is persuaded by the trees to leave Southcrop, go to Riverside Farm, collect some mysterious fungal spores, cross Oak River and carry the spores to the forests of Deep Sky. The journey of Fur through the forest, the many problems faced by Fur and how Fur pushes itself against its own impulses to give up makes good reading.
Through the interesting and fairly readable medium of the story, the author presents an interesting account of the various trees, birds, animals and insects that inhabit the forests. He brings out the danger to the ecology that human greed is bringing and succeeds in his message for a more holistic approach from us towards the environment. The story ends with a startling discovery by Fur but that is best left for you, the reader to find out.
It is an interesting concept and the author has succeeded in making a readable book. The book is recommended for children in high schools and their educators, parents etc.
Friday, October 02, 2009
Author: Hitoshi Nakagawa
Publisher: One Peace Books
Genre: Non-Fiction / Popular Science / Astronomy
Presentation: Paper Back
The book certainly lives up to it's title. It is simple to read and holds the reader's interest well. It is a small book and can be read while waiting for a flight or while travelling to the office etc.
You may find it useful when your children or grandchildren come to you with questions about space, solar system, moon and stars etc. Of course it is a good gift for giving to children to read at their own pace.
It is well printed and is strongly recommended to individual homes and schools.
The author is a Japanese Aerospace Development Specialist turned high school teacher. The reviewer is a physicist with interests in many fields including astronomy.
Sub-title: Strength-Training Program that Stops Pain without Drugs or Surgery
Author: Mitchell T. Yass, PT
Publisher: Sentient Publications
Genre: Non-Fiction / Health
The author is a physiotherapist (physical therapist) and personal trainer. He has helped thousands of patients avoid unnecessary surgery and drugs through strength training. In this book (and through several articles and lectures) he shares his approach to pain relief by physical therapy, strength training (of muscles).
The book is well illustrated with photographs of various exercises that he recommends to overcome specific problems.
When I had a fall in 2006 I was unable to put my weight on my left leg and had to be hospitalised for about 10 days. After x-ray tests established that there was no fracture and after drugs helped with the initial pain management, I had the benefit of seeing first hand how a good physiotherapist can help in rebuilding the range of muscle movements through exercises of the affected muscles. When I was reading this book, I could thus relate very well with the explanations of the author in Chapter
The approach is quite technical at places and some readers may not be able to follow the same but the main part of the book in Chapter 5 that covers the work out sessions (and which is well illustrated) will certainly hold the attention well.
In any case, it is imperative that any such exercise program should be taken up after a thorough evaluation by a physiotherapist (physical therapist) and a qualified training instructor.
The book is a welcome addition to the growing literature on pain management. Readers of this review may also check out
"The Journey to a pain relief - A hands on guide to breakthroughs in pain treatment" by Phyllis Berger
"Painfree 1-2-3" by Dr. Teitelbaum (it disucsses many approaches to pain management).
Contents of the book:
Chapter 1 - Weight Lifting isn't just for Bodybuilders
Chapter 2 - Be Safe, Be Effective, and gain Muscle Strength
Chapter 3 - What it means when you are in pain
The Neck, The Lower Back, The Shoulder, The Elbow, The Wrist, The Hip, The Knee, The Ankle, The Foot are covered in separate sections
Chapter 4 - The golden rules of weight training
Chapter 5 - Enough talk - Let's get to work
Under this he covers The Chest, The Abdominal Group, The Back, Upper Back, Lower Back, Entire Back, Biceps, Forearms, The Thigh, The Calf, The Shoulders, The Triceps
Chapter 6 - Stretch, Don't Strain
Chapter 7 - A workout schedule that works for you
About the Author
Monday, August 17, 2009
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Authors: Tony Newby & Sean McManus
Publisher: Management Pocketboooks “Words that speak volumes”
Publisher’s website: www.pocketbook.co.uk
Presentation: Softcover, pocketbook, landscape mode
The first edition of this book was authored by Tony Newby in 1991 and became a very popular guide for customer service. After his death, the book was revised by Sean McManus and the 2nd edition was published in 2002.
Download a free chapter of The Customer Service Pocketbook at Sean's website.
The cartoon on the front cover catches your eye (the lady bending over backwards for providing customer service with the Customer 1st slogan prominently displayed in the background). There are more inside to add a light touch and to bring home the message. The print design is very attractive and you will feel like reading and re-reading the book. In the space of about 100 pages, the book manages to highlight the importance of customer service.
The topics covered include:
- Why Customer Service Matters
- What’s Different About Good Service?
- Effective Customer Communications
- Turning Complaints Into Opportunities
- Empowering Great Customer Service
- Measuring Customer Service
- Personal Action Planning
- Appendix: Notes for Trainers
- Recommended Further Reading
The subject is dealt well, concisely and at the same time, not leaving any essential topic. The book reads like a mini-seminar on the subject and of course the Notes for Trainers gives specific and helpful hints how to structure the one day training programme based on this book.
The graph on page 7 could have done better (the x-axis has no scale and does not show any particular parameter). The book is otherwise edited well and the print quality is excellent.
It will be a good addition to the personal library of managers at all levels and will also be a good candidate as a handout / introduction to the subject.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Author: Sharon Tregenza
Publisher: Floris Books
Genre: Fiction / Children / Mystery
Presentation: Soft Cover
The title is a mystery and the story is also a mystery involving two children Jack and Izzie (Isabel) set in Shetland, a group of islands off Scotland. The theme is animal smuggling and the story starts with Jack and Izzie discovering a tarantula whome Izzie calls Octavia. Though the main characters don’t realize who the culprit is, the readers can guess by the middle of the book and it is satisfying to know that one’s surmise is correct. The real mystery in the book is about Jack’s dad and that comes as a surprise. The story has a happy ending with Jack and his photographer mother vowing to come back to the enchanted place.
The story is well written and is not too fast nor too slow. The style is good and the book is generally well edited. However, some sections slipped through the editor’s watchful eyes and I will be sharing the same with the author for correction in future editions.
All in all, a good read.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Publisher: Nightingale Books
Genre: Fiction / Children / Fantasy/ Adventure
The cover photograph is rather odd and the story is odd too. It is a fantasy of children being converted to dolphins, staying in the sea for a few hundred years and getting reconverted into children thanks to a kiss from an adolescent girl, Katie.
Katie is forced to relocate from England to a small village in Spain because of her father’s business. What she thought would be a boring life turned out to be quite an adventure thanks to the dolphins / children, the eldest being a little elder to her. It would not be fair to reveal what happens after they get transformed into children and the ending is rather interesting.
Lookman was born in Surrey in 1950, a time when children roamed freely and adventurously and made their own entertainment (not having so many gadgets to distract them as now). His interest in Sufism led to his use of the pseudonym Lookman, after the wise sage in Qur’an. The Sufi leanings of the author come through in the story and if you are a fundamentalist in any religion (something alien to Sufism), you may not relate to the story.
The story is interesting enough to keep reader’s interest and the style is good enough to keep you going. Some passages in the story are moving and the account of religious persecution strikes a chord even today!
Though the book is meant for children (I would say the suggested age group is 10 to 15), it may appeal to elders too, especially those whose inner child is still alive and active. Give it a try and decide whether it is for you. I would rate it GOOD.
Monday, April 06, 2009
Sub-title: Writing a Path to Peace
Edited by: Persis R. Granger
Publisher: iUniverse Star
Genre: Non-Fiction / Health/ Memoirs
Presentation: Soft Cover
This book is a collection of personal stories shared by daughters of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. The shock, the anger, the grief, the stress etc. are brought out with sincerity and honesty by the different authors. The editing by Percis R. Granger is by and large excellent and the book is highly readable (though my sharp eye caught some slips, they won't interfere with the reading). The book is not easy to read because of the emotions that are shared but is a valuable addition to the growing literature on Alzheimer's disease, a progressive and as of today incurable form of dementia, whose final diagnosis can only be made through a postmortem!
More and more people are becoming victims of Alzheimer's (partly because of increasing life span) and caring for them when they fail to recognize themselves and their care givers is no easy task. Relationships get affected apart from financial difficulties. Sending the person to an institution for care is one of the toughest decisions and the stories give an intimate look at the emotional trauma of the care givers. The book is thus moving at many places. In a country like India, where elders are supposed to be taken care of by children and there is no real infrastructure for their separate living, the relationships are affected severely due to the stress and strain of chronic illness and consequent burden on the care givers. Some of the stories in the book will thus strike a chord for such readers too!
Though the book focuses on Alzheimer's, any chronic illness that makes the person dependent on others causes similar problems and thus the book would be relevant to patients and caregivers of other chronic and debilitating diseases.
The book has a foreword by Pat Jimison, an introduction by Kathleen Adams and resources section at the end. However, alternative, holistic treatment options if any are left out and it is hoped that the future editions and a website will carry such information (as of now there is no specific website for the book). A lot of research on the role of antioxidants and herbs in delaying the onset of or improvement of Alzheimer's is now coming up and the book / website could have covered that.
I went through many emotions as I was reading this book since my own mother passed away in 2003 at the age of 89 and I felt (and feel even now) that I could have been a better son as far as her care is concerned. Her presence in the house was not stress free and many times I felt helpless! Journalling as suggested in the book is a good and effective way of coming to terms with the emotions that one cannot process immediately.
I recommend this book to all caregivers and even to chronic patients to give them an idea of the life ahead for those in early stages of Alzheimer's.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Author: Joseph Collins
Publisher: Foremost Press
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / Epic
Presentation: Soft cover
The Whispering Fields is a work of fiction, a fantasy where dogs and other animals talk, sing etc. and as mentioned on the cover, we may think of it as an epic, since it is conceived and constructed on a grand scale and is quite poetic though written in prose (there are quite a few poems in between the prose).
Toby is a dog that is abandoned by its human master and after failing to find him, after waiting in vain for some time hoping against hope for his return, he starts a long journey of trying to fend for himself, makes a few good friends, loses two of them in rather strange circumstances and makes a determined enemy who wants to switch his spirit with Toby! Toby and his two other friends finally find the paradise (The Whispering Fields promised in the folklore) that they are searching for. The ending is not what the reader imagines it to be and even Toby and his friends did not realise that their search really ended till almost the end.
The style is reasonably good though not unput-downable and a few editorial slips caught my eye. But they are so few and so minor that the reading is unaffected. The narrative is rather too detailed at places and the poems did not strike much of a chord with me, mainly because poetry is not my cup of tea.
All in all, I found the book sufficiently interesting to keep going and would recommend the same for all animal lovers (especially dog lovers) and those who like fantasies that convey some good morals. The message of the book is valid for human beings too.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Author: A. Scott Pearson
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Genre: Fiction / Medical Mystery
Rupture is a medical mystery. An implant, that is supposed to save the lives of patients by preventing the rupture of aneurysms starts becoming a killer. The best efforts of the surgeons fail. And the mystery becomes deeper when a blame game starts. The main players Dr. Eli Branch and the pathologist Dr. Meg Daily get sucked into the malevolent plot of a company that tries to protect its interests at any cost. In that process, a lot of information is presented about surgical procedures, stem cell therapy etc. A few other topics, not so good are also touched upon (necrophilia for example). If you are rather squeamish, better keep away. The story ends well with the hero Dr. Eli Branch becoming a national hero and suggests the rather controversial topic of a permanent cure for juvenile diabetes by stem cell therapy.
The book is written in an excellent style. The details of the medical surgical procedures and the details about the cells, stem cell therapy etc. are interesting to those with a little background. Even if one does not understand the terms, one can probably appreciate the story for its suspense and human drama.
Since I received an uncorrected copy (ARC), I cannot comment about the final print quality. I did not notice any major editorial mistakes but some editing might have been done to improve the text.
My impression of the book is that it is a very good read. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to more offerings from the author.
Sub-Title: Leadership Succession Between the Generations
Author: Camille F. Bishop, PhD
Publisher: Authentic Publishing
Genre: Non-Fiction/Management/Leadership/Team Building
Presentation: Soft Cover
'We're in This Boat Together' is a 2-in-1, a business novel and a dissertation about the Leadership Succession Between Generations or the Generation Gap and its effects on leadership. The experiment with the format is laudable but the result is a little unsettling. Read on for my perspective.
When the request for review came, I asked for and got a peek into the first few pages of the book ending with the prologue. I skipped the preface etc. and read the prologue and was thrilled. Here is a book on management with a good focus on leadership transition between the generations written like a business novel and the prologue was so good in style! I accepted the review request and got the printed book.
The book is printed well, the paper quality is good, the type is clear and the readability is good. As already mentioned, the starting is good, rather racy in fact!
The book is about the team building exercise through a river rafting expedition, an exercise to which a team of four from the IT Department of a mid-size company was sent by the management. The team starts as four independent individuals wondering why they were sent for this and ending up as a well knit team at the end of the expedition, in which they were subjected to challenges that test their willingness and ability to work as a team in a crunch situation. The team finds a real life parallel in the office when leadership transition takes place. The concept is good and the parallel of the river with its rapids is highly apt to life in general and change management in particular. Thus the author is to be commended for taking up a worthwhile topic in change management. Leadership transitions are brought on by several factors and the leadership transition brought on by generation gap is an important element. There are other factors of course that affect leadership styles.
The book adopts a rather novel approach. The text keeps alternating between the smooth flow of a novel and the not-so-smooth flow of a good dissertation on the effects of generation on leadership. The smooth flow of the novel like presentation is interrupted by the highly academic dissertation on the leadership styles of the different generations. Much as the author tried to present that part in a simple and readable style, the transition is too abrupt. This continued through out the book.
Having read and enjoyed management books written in the novel format (who hasn't read The Goal?), as well as a non-fiction essay format, I found the sudden changes in the style and the pace rather unsettling. It is as if the author was affected by the river!
I hope the author will attempt a smoother transition between the two formats in a future edition. I believe that it is possible to convey all serious topics on science and management through the novel format.