Fit Kids: 7-17 Years, Edited by Robert Duffy

Fit kids

 

This is an excellent children’s fitness book, aimed at the parents, teachers, coaches and carers who need to help children get fit, stay fit and develop a love of fitness.

The book is centred around the BX Fitness Plan, a dream scheme that tackles the obstacles of time and space. The plan recognises that not everyone (and especially not children) want to have to go to the gym everyday and use specialised equipment to stay healthy. The plan also recognises that time is a precious commodity. The BX Plan is only 11-12 minutes long and is guaranteed to improve endurance, flexibility and strength. It’s also undeniably fun, with the chance to chart progress and hit various targets!

This book is designed to complement the BX Fitness Plan by linking it closely to the school curriculum and detailing how families can get involved in their children’s fitness. The ultimate aim is ‘fit schools and fit families,’ an especially important goal considering how physical health is closely tied to mental health and life expectancy.

Chock-full of information, this book manages to be both informative and fun. A series of introductory chapters pave the way for the BX Plan itself, with ideas for incorporating exercise into the school day, fun suggestions for informal play, and tips on how to eat healthily at home.

The BX Plan itself is beautifully explained. It’s a fairly complex system, but one that is handled expertly, with tips on how to complete the programme and progress to greater fitness levels. Each exercise is also explained clearly with instructions and step-by-step diagrams, which is very helpful for parents and teachers, who can now check if a child is performing an exercise correctly. There are different charts for boys and girls, as well as different goals for each age group, making this plan extremely versatile.

This is an inspiring and motivational guide that offers a solution to the sedentary lifestyle an increasing amount of children lead. With insights into the science behind it all, such as the effects and importance of exercise, this book is a useful source of information for everyone, not just parents and teachers, but also teenagers and even adults!

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Anxiety and Depression: Sheldon Mindfulness by Dr. Cheryl Rezek

 

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‘Anxiety and Depression’ is an excellent guide to applying mindfulness in your life. The book offers a wealth of information about anxiety and depression, detailing what the two conditions are, how to recognise and understand them, and most importantly, how to approach them. This book is about psychology and mindfulness, so has a broader scope than just anxiety and depression. As mindfulness is a concept that can be applied broadly, I found that the book speaks powerfully to the individual on a personal level.

Dr Rezek’s model is described as an ‘emerging mindfulness-based approach’ and is based around the key idea that life happens. Mindfulness is all about building up resilience to life’s challenges, finding an inner stability and relearning how to live in the present moment, an ability we all had as children but have since lost.

Dr Rezek employs a step by step approach to dealing with anxiety and depression. The book is divided into four parts, each important in their own right and each equally interesting. I especially liked reading the chapter ‘Facts, Figures and You,’ as it made me realise that anxiety and depression are conditions on a truly global scale. Mixed anxiety and depression is the number one mental health complaint in the UK, with 1 in 10 people suffering from depression at some point in their lives. Reading this book in the light of these statistics made me appreciate Dr Rezek’s work all the more. This book is an important and helpful resource, and not just for those suffering with depression or anxiety.

One of the most interesting parts of the book was the chapter dedicated to men and depression. This is an issue that is rarely discussed and yet is very important, especially considering that men have a higher suicide rate than women. The chapter details some of the symptoms of depression in men and how they differ from women, which is useful in helping people to recognise the condition, in themselves or their loved ones.

What I liked most about this book was its writing style. Clear and easy to read, the prose is nevertheless compelling. Dr Rezek’s tone is both reassuring and professional; the knowledge, experience and expertise gleaned from her career as a consultant clinical psychologist really shine through. The book is geared around helping people, and the short mindfulness exercises (such as a moment of stillness), as well as the links to audio resources, go a long way in helping people to apply mindfulness as a practical tool. The more I learned about mindfulness, the more I realised that it could be very useful to everyone, as a way of coping with life’s challenges.

I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn more about mindfulness and how it can be applied in your life. Detailed, interesting, and above all, helpful, this book is an excellent resource.

 

 

MV Ezadeen The Rising Tide by Nicholas P. Clark

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‘MV Ezadeen the Rising Tide’ is the third book in the thrilling Jack Malaney series, after ‘The Baltic Triangle’ and ‘Deadly States.’ This explosive action novel once again follows the adventures of the charismatic Malaney, but also explores some of the problems that rock our world today.

This book is based in Europe but also spans across Africa and Syria. Clark has given his story a contemporary twist, taking the European migrant crisis as a key theme. He also discusses terrorism, human rights, child soldiers and the political clashes that are happening with more and more frequency in the EU. Clark handles all of these different threads with sensitivity and raw humanity. A variety of different narrators offer heart-breaking perspectives on the humanitarian crises discussed in this novel. My favourite third-person narrator was Jabir, a young boy trying to escape his violence-riddled past and find a new home in Europe.

Just like in the previous two novels in this series, Clark shows his flair for well-rounded, fully developed characters in this book. We see a whole cast of characters throughout the course of the novel, some old and some new, but all handled with grace and precision. I loved reading about all the little details, such as coast-guard (but also special agent) Ryan’s quirky heritage. Clark’s handling of our charming protagonist Jack Malaney was also spot-on. Jack practically bounces off the page with his sparkling dialogue, his use of humour in the face of danger and sheer amount of style.

Clark’s plot is full of twists and turns. There’s always more surprises, more cliffhangers. ‘The Rising Tide’ is certainly a page-turner, a quality that is helped by Clark’s riveting prose. Every sentence flows nicely and the dialogue is sharp and realistic. Clark’s writing style is really what brings this book to life: it adds a human element to the horrors of the refugee crisis and also ensures that every interaction between characters is full of chemistry.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good action thriller, with brilliant characters and a sensitive handling of some difficult themes. Clark takes some of the humanitarian crises that threaten the world today and explores them thoroughly against a backdrop of politics and espionage. In my opinion, this is the best Jack Malaney novel yet.

Exclusive Author Interview! Meet Uwe Techt

Uwe Techt is a managing diUwe picrector, public speaker and author of several books and specialist articles, including Goldratt and the Theory of Constraints and Projects that Flow. I was lucky enough to catch up with Uwe over Skype and have a chat about his work and interests.

  •  Could you tell me a little about yourself?

I was born in 1964 and my first love was music. I played the flute and studied music, but I decided that it just wasn’t for me. When I was around 14/15 years old I composed some music of my own, and it was during my
search for a publisher that I made the decision to found my own publishing company. I sold the company when I was 22. There was no big money involved but it was a very interesting experience!

  •     What is your writing process like?

It depends on the book. Goldratt and the Theory of Constraints took me 6 weeks to write, but Projects that Flow took 6 years! I usually write every now and again rather than in big, marathon sessions.

As far as research goes, the general ideas presented in the two books come from Goldratt and other such genius thinkers. In the case of Goldratt and the Theory of Constraints, I used several sources from Goldratt as well as others, so as to present the Theory of Constraints in a compressed, but nevertheless detailed, way. When I was writing Projects that Flow, I drew on Goldratt again but I also put this knowledge into practice. I wrote the book based on my own personal experience as well as the experiences of my colleagues, which we had gained over a number of years working with and exploring these concepts.

  • Could you tell us about your publishing experiences?

I self-published my first book, Goldratt and the Theory of Constraints, which was an interesting experience to say the least. It worked though, it definitely worked. If I had to give some advice to anyone looking to self-publish, I would say focus on the content. You can do all the marketing you want for a book, but it’s not going to matter unless the content is good. I didn’t do any marketing for Goldratt and the Theory of Constraints, but now I’m starting to do a little more, such as get more reviews. My books don’t tend to need much marketing because of their target audience. Every manager at my company receives a copy of Projects that Flow to help them get all their projects organised.

I didn’t self-publish Projects that Flow because of the way the books are gaining momentum. I write in German, and as the books have been translated into three languages, I like having someone to edit, translate and format.

  • Are you working on anything right now?

As always, I’m working on several projects! The main one is Success in Project Business, a follow on from Projects that Flow. If Projects that Flow is about how to manage the business, Success in Project Business adds that competitive edge and presents ways of making money.

Right now I’m also collaborating with a ghost-writer, but we’ll see how it turns out. I’m not sure at the moment if I prefer to work with another person or not, but I like the new experience!

  • Do you prefer public speaking or writing?

 I think I prefer public speaking, but the writing is fun too! Right now my favourite part of my job is when I work with the customer service teams. I love having discussions and exploring the more interactive side of my work.

  • Do you have a favourite motivational phrase?

Yes, “the sky is not the limit.” I think one day I might use it as the title of a new book.

  • Finally, does music still feature in your life?

Yes. I picked the flute up again 5 years ago and have been having lessons every few weeks since.

Thank you so much for you time, and good luck with your various projects!

 You can find out more about Uwe at www.uwetecht.de 

 

Projects that Flow by Uwe Techt

Projects that flow pic‘Projects that Flow’ is another brilliant guide for successful business management by MD and world expert Uwe Techt.

This guide promises to help businesses everywhere complete more projects in less time, by addressing some of the key problems that stand in the way of efficiency, such as thinly distributed resources and Murphy’s Law.

Although this book specifically provides business solutions for the struggling multi-project organisation, Techt’s words of wisdom are, in some ways, applicable to everyone. His tips and slogans, such as ‘efficiency before effectiveness,’ can be applied in the much broader context of general life. This book is useful for anyone with projects to complete, but especially helpful for business managers faced with multiple projects.

This book contains some extremely interesting ideas. Parkinson’s Law, for example, proclaims that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion,” a bit like gas particles in a container. Techt argues that, in response to Murphy’s Law, (the idea that everything that can go wrong will go wrong), managers give employees ‘safety buffers’ to make sure they meet deadlines. Employees will invariably complete their work so as to meet the safety buffer’s deadline and not before, due to Parkinson’s Law. This makes projects take longer than is necessary. Techt’s solution is to remove the safety buffers and ensure that departments are not assessed on their local efficiency.

This book doesn’t have to be read chronologically. It’s a dynamic, hands-on guide, where the reader is encouraged to take an active role and apply Techt’s theories and ideas for themselves. It’s perfect for leafing through, focussing on a section that catches your eye, before jumping back to the start for a spot of cross-referencing and a more in-depth knowledge of some of the theories.

The versatility of this book doesn’t mean, however, that it’s not possible to read this guide in one sitting, from start to finish. Techt’s prose is direct and to the point, marvellously concise and very easy to read. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a hardback copy, and it was certainly worth it! Each page is neat and well-presented, organised into concise paragraphs. Every section has a helpful summary and flow diagrams to ensure complete understanding.

Techt pulls out all the stops to guarantee that this guide is perfect for the aspiring business manager. There are subtly integrated study materials, such as analogies, questions, diagrams and checklists that help readers to apply the ideas and solutions to their own unique situations. It’s never been so easy to implement a business solution!

All in all, this guide is perfect for managers of multi-project organisations. It’s certain to increase productivity and efficiency in the business world. Techt’s ideas can also be applied in a wider context, making this guide even more useful to the reader. A joy to read as well as providing a wealth of information!

Thirty Days in February by John Ault

Thirty Days in Feb pic.jpgThis is a highly enjoyable book about how one man came to experience a remarkably long February. It also features the more diplomatic side of espionage, global travels and the importance of Test Ban Treaties.

This book takes the form of a first-person memoir, with each day in February explored in detail. Ault mixes wry humour with sparkling prose and the occasional, beautiful sketch to create a very entertaining read. This is helped by the fact that the protagonist himself is very likeable. He’s a marvellously intelligent Oxford dropout with an endearing awareness of his own abysmal cooking skills and a noticeable love of sleeping. The footnotes that appear every so often are a testament to these qualities: sometimes hilarious, sometimes informative, always insightful. The well-chosen quotes at the start of each chapter are also a reflection of the kind of insightful wit that makes this novel so enjoyable.

What I liked most about this book was its global scale. Ault handles the global stage of politics with ease, exploring the impacts of nuclear tests and the interactions of various security services with poise and skill. As well as dealing with international politics, ‘Thirty Days in February’ is also the first-hand account of a whirlwind trip around South-East Asia, from Singapore, to New Zealand, to Hawaii, with loads more countries and excitement in between.

This book has a strong sense of adventure attached – it’s impossible to read Ault’s stunning descriptions of New Year in Hong Kong without wanting to hop on the next plane out. Although tension builds throughout the novel as the main plotline draws towards its potentially terrifying conclusion, our hero still finds time to relax on gorgeous beaches and chill out in bars with friends. Ault combines tension with good old-fashioned fun, and the result is a humorous, unorthodox and interesting read.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good thriller, with a travel-orientated twist, lashings of comedy and a very enjoyable writing style.

Uwe Techt: Goldratt and the Theory of Constraints

Goldratt and the ToC

‘Uwe Techt: Goldratt and the Theory of Constraints’ provides a brilliantly in-depth overview of Goldratt’s famous business management theory. The book takes the Theory of Constraints and applies it to practical business situations, exposing some of the theory’s shortcomings and offering some startling new perspectives.

For those who have not yet come across the ToC, this book offers a crash course in business management. Written in sharp, concise prose, with helpful summaries and frequent ‘food for thought’ sections, no matter what your level, it’s impossible to read this book without experiencing a sharp learning curve. Techt uses bullet points and easy to follow Five Step Plans to ensure that this book is accessible and useful to all.

This book is perfect for aspiring successful business managers everywhere. The plethora of facts, statistics, diagrams and graphs ensure that even those already familiar with the ToC also gain new insights and ideas about fresh applications of the theory.

The best part of this book for me was its engaging tone. Although technical language is used, Techt ensures that readers are never lost. Analogies are dotted in to aid understanding. Techt often employs several different analogies in each section, so as to guarantee complete comprehension. Each analogy is more creative than than the last and I thoroughly enjoyed unpicking and exploring each one. The wealth of comparisons, examples and analogies mean that its easy to apply the ToC to all situations and business models.

This helpful guide offers a fresh perspective on the ToC, as well as new ideas on its practical applications. Techt places the keys to success in the hands of business managers everywhere, and although the book isn’t very long, readers are bound to emerge very knowledgeable indeed.