David Roberts has made a career of writing data-heavy, content-light books about music. There's not much scope for doing more in the Guinness books, bDavid Roberts has made a career of writing data-heavy, content-light books about music. There's not much scope for doing more in the Guinness books, but here he has the chance to spread his wings. It turns out he's more emu than eagle.
Rock Atlas is full of pictures, mostly accompanied by no more than a couple of paragraphs of the scantiest details. Quantity, not quality is the watchword here. No sooner has your interest been piqued than he's on to the next titbit, like a buffet composed entirely of snacks. ...more
By no means comprehensive, this is largely a collection of uncoloured designs, year by year through the decade, for use by fashion students. The subjeBy no means comprehensive, this is largely a collection of uncoloured designs, year by year through the decade, for use by fashion students. The subjects are strictly upper middle-class, aged around 30 and 80% female. There is a cursory two-page introduction, but it's meant to be a blueprint for those making their own clothes. Useful for them; little use or interest for anyone else....more
McCandless's book is both an inspiration and a warning. He and his team have created a huge array of infographics covering pretty much everything: socMcCandless's book is both an inspiration and a warning. He and his team have created a huge array of infographics covering pretty much everything: society, media, the economy, trade, the environment, entertainment and science. Nearly all of them are beautiful, some are fascinatingly revealing, others are horribly complicated and impenetrable. Often the text is so small as to be unreadable. The designers have deliberately tried to test the absolute limit of infographic design. 'Knowledge is Beautiful' is to design what Yes were to rock music; alternately thrilling and baffling. ...more
There are a lot of dodgy boozers in London. Thank heaven, then, for this lovely, modest guide to the best ones. The book is divided into sections: quiThere are a lot of dodgy boozers in London. Thank heaven, then, for this lovely, modest guide to the best ones. The book is divided into sections: quirky pubs, late pubs, early pubs, pubs to meet friends, pubs to be alone in, etcetera. Each pub gets a short, half-page review (and it's a small book, designed for carrying), which is just enough to whet your appetite.
There's a warmth and humanity about the book, showing that the writers genuinely care about their subject.
Special mention goes to the detached map at the back, which must surely be the worst map ever printed and is enough to cost this book a star (I even considered docking two stars). Absolutely everything about it is terrible. Some streets are unmarked and the choice of which ones to include seems totally random, and their location doesn't match the terrain. One tube station is labelled wrongly and the pubs are identified by red blobs with white numbers in them, which in the key are so small that I can't read them even with a reading lamp and reading glasses. I know London pretty well but there's no way I could use this map to find anywhere. So, when I venture forth to find one of these gem pubs, I'll have to take a map printed off the internet. ...more
This book contains brief, concise essays by today's artists on the art of yesteryear. It keeps its focus by getting the artists to concentrate on (usuThis book contains brief, concise essays by today's artists on the art of yesteryear. It keeps its focus by getting the artists to concentrate on (usually) one work: the one that knocked them backwards.
In the space of two or three well-illustrated pages, the artist explains their reaction to the art and how it influenced them. This focus prevents the book being shallow or just a coffee-table book of lovely pictures, although it's that too. One could argue that we can't see how the writer was influenced, but it would be difficult to show that without doubling the size of the book, since influences can be quite subtle. I'm happy to concentrate on their inner response.
We can't help wondering how we are "supposed" to respond to art, even though we know it's a foolish question. Here we get the best answer we'll ever get: we see how other artists responded and were inspired. And it's not just painting: Man Ray and William Blake also get a look-in.
Reading a whole book about art can be daunting. This is a perfect book for those who want to dip in, learn something useful and then go away and think....more
Buy this book now. It will be out of date by next Tuesday lunchtime - a fact that several of its authors recognise, having been compiled and written lBuy this book now. It will be out of date by next Tuesday lunchtime - a fact that several of its authors recognise, having been compiled and written late in 2011 and early 2012. But for now it's a useful guide to social media for PR workers.
The format is of several short chapters, each the equivalent of a 5- to 10-minute speech, highlighting one aspect of the revolution from the point of view of PR professionals. There are few blinding insights, although it's surprisingly light on management-speak and PR gobbledygook, and for the most part is concise and informative.
It doesn't always avoid those pitfalls. Philip Sheldrake's explanation of Web 3.0 is so cursory that one wonders whether he really understands it himself (it's going to be semantic, apparently). After what seemed a simple enough explanation of PR skills, Daljit Bhurji concluded: "We need to eat our own dog food when it comes to social media," which left me scratching my head and wondering whether I'd understood him after all. Top prize goes to Simon Collister for: "Fully networked 'Join In' non-profits operate as just another node within social media-enabled networks"; a sentence that seems fully leveraged for SEO ecosystem solutions.
The book has been compiled by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, which is as respectable a provenance as you can get in PR, and the fact that it has several authors, all of whom are writing for an editor who understands their business, means that there is a welcome lack of Guru-Ego nonsense.
So it's a dry but readily comprehensible reference book; one that most companies should have a look at....more
Either you like business books or you don't. I tend to dislike them for their shallowness or their hysterical evangelism. The lack of these qualitiesEither you like business books or you don't. I tend to dislike them for their shallowness or their hysterical evangelism. The lack of these qualities makes 'Change Your Business With NLP' one of the better offerings out there. It's largely jargon-free, and the advice it offers is structured, practical and realistic. Unlike most books in this genre, you get the impression that the author has some understanding of what it's like to work in a modern business organisation.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming is sneered at by many (Derren Brown is particularly dismissive), but this book uses it as a practical tool to understand how people think - and to organise your own thinking - rather than a piece of transformative magic that will help you bend unsuspecting victims to your will. It uses NLP as a means to an end rather than an end in itself, and stays focused on the object of improving your organisation's effectiveness without coming across like a management evangelist who thinks he's Yoda....more
This pocket guide is a bit of a gem. I'm a regular Festival-goer, so I know a bit about Edinburgh (less about Glasgow, but I have been there). First,This pocket guide is a bit of a gem. I'm a regular Festival-goer, so I know a bit about Edinburgh (less about Glasgow, but I have been there). First, it's a handy size - about 6"x3", or about the size of a pocket diary but a bit fatter - and includes a folding map that can be carried separately. There are also maps in the book itself, annotated with the locations of places mentioned in the text.
The layout follows the style familiar to readers of Time Out magazine, with an introduction to each section including highlighted attractions, followed by listings with about 30 words for each entry, with locations, map references, opening times and other essential details. Unlike Time Out, it doesn't have separate sections for specialist interests (e.g. Families, Gay & Lesbian), although information on these can be accessed via the index.
It concludes with a section of useful local information - tax, currency exchange and even a few dialect words that travellers might encounter, plus a brief history of Scotland. There's even a warning about taking Scottish banknotes into England. I've heard it can cause problems, although I've never had any difficulty (except once, with a Clydesdale Bank tenner), and I always take Scottish money home because I find them exotic and I also like to be awkward.
I'm looking for something negative to say, because no guide is perfect, but every time I look for something I thought was missing, I find it. If I do get to the Festival this summer, I'll definitely take this book with me, and I'm sure it will enhance my visit no end....more
Some cookbooks want to transform your entire life; in fact they're off-the-peg lifestyles in themselves. Cookery is only the medium by which they tranSome cookbooks want to transform your entire life; in fact they're off-the-peg lifestyles in themselves. Cookery is only the medium by which they transform your miserable, inadequate self into a kitchen domestic deity.
Hamlyn's book isn't like that. It's a set of recipes that will make mealtimes simpler. There's no magic way of getting more vegetables into my kids, and there's no instant gourmet use for the scraps in my fridge. It's just some simple ideas for varying the fare at mealtimes, using simple and easily available ingredients.
The instructions are clear enough and easy to follow, but many of the recipes will need supplementing to make a complete meal. It also loses one star because of the index: there are some interesting-looking recipes there; unfortunately they aren't in the book. ...more