(Image Source: Authors Own)
The deets:
Author: Paul Arden
Pages: 124
Publish Date: 2003 my copy was is a 2007 reprint. 
Publisher: Phaidon
Genre: Non- fiction


It’s Not How Good You Are… is a concise guide to making the most of yourself – a pocket ‘bible’ for the talented and timid to make the unthinkable thinkable and the impossible possible. 

This book has been reviewed loads of times by creative bloggers, working in a creative job myself I was intrigued how this book could change the way I approach tasks therefore I bought it on-line and took it with me on holiday.

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be is very different from the norm. For the start there are images- lot’s of images and quotes. It is a great way to pick yourself up when you are having an off day or need a kick up the ass.
How does it do that? Paul Arden does this by tapping into the unknown, he tells you why it is right to be wrong, why taking risks could pay off and a negative situation can be turned into a positive through positive thinking. This book essentially delivers cool career’s advice on the cheap.
Further examples include promising what you can’t deliver and learning to accept responsibility and that aiming high isn’t necessarily a bad thing. All the necessary techniques you need to boost your ego and make your work better. A great example of this is shown clearly on the front cover with the words ‘The World’s best- selling book by Paul Arden’. We don’t know if the book is a best seller or not by displaying that sentence instantly means to the readers that the book must be good.

Another example Paul Arden gives which sticks out in my mind is of Victoria Beckham. Victoria aspired to be more famous as Persil Automatic. Victoria wanted to be a brand and she went and worked for it. What originally sounded like a silly, laughable even dream turned into reality.  

As I said above, this book is perfect to dip in and out off, particularly for creative types as a lot of examples Paul uses are from his career in advertising. What did you think of the book?



Still Alice Book Review
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‘I can’t stand the thought of looking at you someday, this face I love, and not knowing who you are.’

Alice is just fifty when she finds herself in a downward spiral, increasingly disorientated and forgetful. A university professor, wife and mother of three, she has books to write, places to see, grandchildren to meet. But now a tragic diagnosis of early- on- set Alzheimer’s disease is set to change her life- and her relationship with her family and the world- forever. 

Losing her yesterdays, living for each day, her short- term memory is hanging by a frayed thread. But she is still Alice.

Picked up this book in my local Tesco looking for something to pass the time when I used to travel on the train. This is my review of the book below.
The backdrop of Alice’s life is set out to tap into your worst fears. A successful Harvard professor in Cognitive Psychology renowned in linguistics, married with three adult children. Suddenly has early onset Alzheimer’s. It starts with simple things that you or me could do. Forgetting a word or where you put the phone charger however as the narrative progress, it starts to become more sinister as names and where she lives are suddenly not as clear and are difficult to retrieve. 
Diagnosis comes at the worst time. Her husband, John,  is distant as ever, Anna, her eldest daughter is trying to conceive and her younger daughter Lydia is trying to make it as an actress- a career Alice disproves. You start to understand how fast Alzheimer’s develops when Alice sits in her lecture theatre waiting to be taught not realising that she is the one meant to be teaching. When she forgets that her daughter is performing in a play, and her husband who has to go running with her as she cannot go out alone. You realise it is serious.  
There are numerous symbolisms in the book that do not go unnoticed. A few worth mentioning (it is only a book review, not a literature essay!) is the bitter irony of the situation. Alice teaches and research’s psychology every day. Therefore, it seems so sad that her brain fails her. 
Alice although has had a successful life it is a life that has been fraught with sadness. Both her mum and sister died in a car accident that was caused by her alcoholic father driving the car back from visiting Alice at university. The sadness of her upbringing is punctuated with the upset that comes in how her life will end. The life theme manifests itself when Alice’s older daughter is struggling to conceive and further to this when all three children have the option to see if they have Alzheimer’s.

A final theme is spontaneity. Alzheimer’s has been sprung upon what has been a linear life for Alice. John had lead a linear life working his way up and so has Alice to an extent. Her two children Tom and Anna are living there lives the way in the order in which life usually goes (to use Anna’s case as an example becoming a lawyer, getting married and now wanting a child). However, Lydia is the anomaly in this, from not going to university to being the only child to choose not to find out if she has Alzheimers.

I like the idea that the book is told by Alice, it’s her story and no one else’s. Although the Alzheimer’s is stripping her away. Allowing us to live the story through her eyes gives her some dignity. 
To conclude, I felt the story was a really good read. This is through the narrative and the plot that was well thought out and not too scientific that you need a degree in psychology to understand it. On a side note, interestingly Genova had self- published this book before it was acquired by Simon & Schuster. In the reader’s group guide after the book Genova felt self- publishing was a great way to get yourself noticed and not wait around for rejection or otherwise. Hence, look at the success she has now! Not a book I would usually pick up or a topic I was particularly interested in, it is certainly worth a read. I want to watch the movie now.   
      


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Frank Chalk is a teacher in a fairly poor inner city school- a school where the kids get drunk, take drugs and beat up the teachers… when they can be bothered to turn up.

He confiscates their porn, booze and trainers, fends off angry parents and worries about the few conscientious pupils.

Terrifying and hilarious, IT’S YOUR TIME YOU’RE WASTING is Chalk’s real- life diary from the front line of the modern edukashun system.

I haven’t written a book review in years. Eeeek….

I have had this book a number of years and it is one of the few books I have read over and over again. I bought it at a time when I really wanted to be a teacher (before I saw sense). It’s Your Time You’re wasting was published by a small book publisher Monday Books, known for publishing real life books. The book narrated by Frank Chalk (not his real name, probably to save his sanity) goes through the tale of his time as a supply teacher at St Jude’s which is based in the Cherry Tree Estate. He tells us tales of sloppy staff and even sloppier school children all of this which is punctuated with descriptions of the Cherry Street estate so you get to understand why the children behave like they do. 

The story is easy to read as it is in a chatty style, there isn’t any chapters as such, there is just one tale after another all following each other (I have noticed this is the style of writing in other books Monday has published). The author doesn’t feel sorry for himself either, you just let the story wash over you as you find yourself laughing and sinking into despair at the naughty children and feeling really sorry for those poor children who are just trying to get on with life.

The book hit a chord with me because you can see through Frank’s eyes how the education system has failed the children. This is through two ways. One the lack of support at home. Frank visits a few children homes to tutor them and he see’s the effect of constant TV, fast food, the lack of books and interest from the parents resulting in the children being disengaged with anything that is longer than two minutes. The result of this being children who vandalise school property, not being able to understand school work and being downright nasty to anyone. You could argue that his book reinforces stereotypes, through the names of the children and the description of the council estate. But this is the reality of modern Britain as it is repeated through books like this one and on programmes on the TV such as Tough Young Teachers. So disillusioned is Frank with the school that he tells parent’s of a child to move to a better school. However, I feel that the author is realistic and what comes across well is Frank wants to teach but with the children not accepting responsibility, there doesn’t seem the point.

To conclude, this book is well worth a read if you want to while away an afternoon or want some escape. If you truly hate your job this book may also be of use, as by the end of reading you may think your job isn’t too bad 😉