Saturday, 22 August 2015

I Am Margaret - Corinna Turner - I Am Margaret Book 1

I Am Margaret
I Am Margaret Book 1
Corinna Turner
UnSeen Books an Imprint of
Zephyr Publishing, UK
US Edition
eISBN: 9781910806074
ISBN: 9781910806067

Sometimes it really pays to follow authors you really like. Regina Doman recently posted about this book, and it caught my attention. To be honest I had never heard of the author or the series. I am so glad it did. This is one of the best books I have read this year and the best new Catholic fiction author I have discovered in years! This book was incredible.

I literally could not put this book down. Even though I had to be up early to travel I stayed up way way too late to keep reading. I could barely put it down the two times I had to take breaks from reading it. And each time all I could do was keep thinking about it. In fact it was so powerful even though I finished it two days ago I keep playing over parts of the book and wondering what will happen next. It was only towards the end of the book that I found out that it is part of a series. Something I am extremely grateful for.

For me there are a few hallmarks of great books:
1. I know I will read it again
2. I can't wait to share it with my children as they grow up
3. I keep sharing about it with others
This book meets all three of those categories. And it was one of the best books I have read in ages.

This story is set in the near future, much of the world's nations have amalgamated into regional entities. And all regions have been banned. Margaret Verrall lives in the EuroGov and at 18 there is the sorting test. Those who pass go on to productive lives in society and those who do not become ReAssigness and are literally recycled. They go to a facility and for the next 2 years are being prepared to be in prime condition for harvesting unless there is a specific need for their parts before then. But Margaret has two major problems first she is pretty sure she will fail the testing as she really struggles with math, and second she is part of the underground network of believers. But she is in love and Bane will not just let the government take her.

This story has incredible characters. Runs at a breakneck pace from start to finish. And is very very well written. Give this book a try it will enthrall you and leave you hungry for more of the story.

Books by Corinna Turner:
I Am Margaret Series:

I Am Margaret
The Three Most Wanted
Bane's Eyes

(Images on left are US Edition - right are European Editions)

To purchase in North America contact Chesterton Press!
I Am Margaret
The Three Most Wanted

Monday, 17 August 2015

Beyond Engagement - Brady G. Wilson

Beyond Engagement
A Brain-Based Approach That Blends the Engagement Managers Want with the Energy Employees Need
Brady G. Wilson
BPS Books
ISBN 9781772360172
eISBN 9781772360189

Being in the middle of a yearlong leadership development course at work I have read far more business books this past year than in a while. And I must be honest and say this book was amazing. Brady writes in a very engaging manner. His text is clean, crisp and concise. He drives home each chapter with a case study from work they have done with other clients. In many ways reading this book was like reading John Maxwell, Patrick Lencioni, or Spencer Johnson. But there is a freshness or energy in Brady's writings that reflects what he is teaching.

Brady focus a chapter on each of 10 leadership principles and therefore sections in this book are:

1 Manage Energy, Not Engagement
2 Deliver Experiences, Not Promises
3 Target Emotion, Not Logic
4 Trust Conversations, Not Surveys
5 Seek Tension, Not Harmony
6 Practice Partnering, Not Parenting
7 Pull Out the Backstory, Not the Action Plan
8 Think Sticks, Not Carrots
9 Meet Needs, Not Scores
10 Challenge Beliefs, Not Emotions
Appendix / Wants vs. Needs

The purpose of this book is the help manager, leaders, and shapers within any organization see improvements in employee engagement. But not just in the short term, this book will help you find lasting changes and in some ways change how you do business. But if you follow the direction the business will do better and your people will be more satisfied and balanced. Brady does this by focusing on the connection between the brain and energy within the individuals that then rolls up to teams, departments and the organization as a whole.

One of the case studies Brady serves up to us is A Tale of Two Marathons and it is his story of two different runs at the Boston Marathon. Once you have read this story you will be hooked. Brady states: "Engagement is essential, foundational, elemental. But by itself it is insufficient. Without energy, it is simply unsustainable. Let's face it: it takes a lot of energy to sustain engagement." We have all see this in organizations and teams we have been on. Brady gives us the tools to provide fuel to the energy so that the engagement continues in not only a sustainable buy in a way where it can grow.

This book was an amazing read. I have already passed off my copy and mentioned it to numerous other people. Even if you are not a manager you will benefit from reading the book and applying the lessons to your own work and life. If you are a manager you can help take good teams and make them great> If you already have that great team this book will help you sustain their level of commitment. So pick it up and give it a try you will not be disappointed!

Books By Brady G. Wilson:
Juice: The Power of Conversation
Love at Work
Finding the Sticking Point
Beyond Engagement

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Stand Up! Stand Up! The Transition to Working at A Standing Desk

Stand Up! Stand Up!
The Transition to Working at A Standing Desk

There is a saying that 'sitting is the new smoking' and though I am not sure it is that bad, I do believe we in the developed world sit too much. I know many people that sit for an hour plus commute each way each day for work, sit for 8 hours at work then sit at home in the evening. If there are things we can do to change that we should pursue the change. And I have finally joined the ranks of those using a standing desk.

To be honest I have wanted a standing desk for a few years now. Yet when I first enquired about it there was some serious resistance. But after a trip to Phoenix where almost half the office has standing desks it was back on my mind. Then a few other people in the office started converting their cubicle desks to standing desks I asked my manager if we could look into it for me. Depending on the style of the workstation there were a number of different solutions. I am very happy with how mine worked out. We had originally ordered legs that would make the center piece of my desk adjustable manually. But the wrong one was ordered and could not go high enough as I needed at 42 inch high platform.

I have now been using the standing desk for 2 months and absolutely love it. It did take a while to get adjusted to it. I had some hip and lower back pain off and on during the first 2 weeks but after that it has been smooth sailing. And we are now up to about 20 people with standing desks in our office. A few have come by tried mine and made the decision to jump out of their chairs and join the ranks of us standing up.

In serendipitous moment the day I posted about getting approval for my standing desk Dean Pohlman from ManFlow Yoga posted a video about stand up desks and some exercises you can do at them. And Mark Sisson from Mark's Daily Apple has written often about standing desk, two of my favorites are 15 Tips for Standup Workstation Users and How-to Guide: Standing at Work.

In fact the only thing that I think would be better than the standing desk would be the walking desk ala Arthur Slade, here, here and here.

For now I am very happy with my standing desk and the health benefits for not sitting all day long! And with an organization that not only allows but encourages healthy lifestyles. 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The Ultimate Guide To Rebounding Exercise - Richard Bell

The Ultimate Guide To Rebounding Exercise
How To Use A Mini Trampoline Rebounder To Transform Your Health And Fitness
Richard Bell
Amazon Digital Services

To be honest this book was not bad, but it was not great either. After finishing it - it felt sort of ho-hum. Other than chapter 6 on Advanced rebounding exercises there was little in the book you could not quickly find on numerous websites with information on rebounding or use of mini trampolines. Other than this information being radially available on numerous websites the book also included no pictures. For a book on fitness practice I found this highly unusual and extremely disappointing.

The sections in the book are as follows:

Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Rebounding Exercise
Chapter 2 Benefits of Rebounding exercise
Chapter 3 FAQ
Chapter 4 Tips
Chapter 5 Rebounding for beginners
Chapter 6 Advanced rebounding exercise
Chapter 7 Special considerations

I did give this book a 3 out of 5 stars even with my issues, that was in part because the writing is very good, excellent grammar and formatting. But as stated other than Chapter 6 it was really a waste of time. Comparing it to 3 other books I have read on this topic this was the weakest in terms of both content and delivery of that content the complete lack of photo's. The book reads as a collection of information gathered from other sources and with no photo's little effort or work was put into the compilation of the content. If I were you I would just skip this one and try one of the other offerings.

Monday, 27 July 2015

The Miracles of Rebound Exercise - Albert E. Carter

The Miracles of Rebound Exercise
Albert E. Carter
National Institute of Reboundology & Health
ISBN 093302019
1980 Edition

It is strange how some books come across our paths. This book was given to me by my 72 year old mother in law. She has been using a rebounder daily for a few months now and wants to get one for us and the kids. But she wanted me to read the book first. And I must be honest going back and reading a fitness book from a fad from the 70's and 80's was a little different. Yet the more that I read the more interested I became. Since then I have read this book twice, looked at a few other books about Rebound Exercise, and yet this older book has some great material, excellent scientific research and I became more and more intrigued.  Doing some research I came up with this timeline of rebounding:

1936 Nissen Corporation creates modern Trampoline
1975 Victor Green patented Small trampoline - Rebounder
1977 pamphlet "Rebound to Better Health"
1979 Albert E Carter publishes The Miracles of Rebound Exercise
1981 Dr Kenneth Cooper research rebounding get 25% more gains than jogging
1981-1985 The Far-Craze Phase of rebounding
1988 publishes "NEW Miracles of Rebound Exercise"
2005 Publishes "Rebound Exercise: The Ultimate Exercise for the New Millennium"

In this book Albert Carter goes through his own history and research and also shares numerous testimonies from people who have used the practice of rebound exercise to improve their lives. Now yes the book is dated and there are some newer versions but Albert and numerous other authors. For example on p. 85 it states "Although most of us have some hidden desire to be like Charles Atlas or Bruce Jenner, we recognize the improbability and are willing to settle for some exercise program that will merely help us endure to the end." Now today in 2015 I am not sure a lot of guys would want to look like Bruce Jenner, but the concept still holds. The other quote that really grabbed me was on p. 102 "Your challenge is to study the concepts of this book and either prove, disprove, or use these concepts for better health."

Table of Contents:
The Often Invisible Obvious
A Dream and a Dreamer
Discovery of a Void
Three Powerful Horses
Rebound Exercises - Past and present
Rebound Exercises and the Lymphatics
Rebounding - A Cellular Exercise
Rebounding to Muscular Strength and Physical Fitness
A Vital Exercise for Vital Organs
Aerobic is Necessary, but
A Safe Answer to Jogging
And The Eyes of the Blind Shall See
Startling Breakthrough in Education
Success Stories

Now having read the book through twice, now I will share my story. I tweaked my knee a number of weeks before writing this review. It was progressively getting worse. I was at my mother in laws and in a fair bit of pain and thought what have I got to lose. So I got on the rebounder in the living room, actually limping to it. Very gingerly I started with the Health Bounce feet not even leaving the surface. I did a hundred bounces very gently and then 100 more - more vigorously. Then I did 100 jumps and 100 twist jumps. When I got off there was no longer any pain. I slept through that night for the first time in weeks without waking up to knee pain. And it felt better for days after.

I am looking forward to getting our rebounder and maybe even one for my standing desk at work and getting on it the 3 to 5 times a day recommended and seeing what happens. As Carter said you need to either prove, disprove or use the concepts presented. My own limited use and my mother in laws testimony both prove it, so I suggest you track down one of his book read it and give rebounding a try! You really have nothing to lose but maybe your pain, your discomfort and you can gain greater health and wellness.

The only hard part is all of his book currently are out of print and no ebook editions seems to exist but we can hope for either a reprinting or ebook versions again soon.

Books by Albert E. Carter:
Rebound to Better Health
The Miracles of Rebound Exercise
New Miracles of Rebound Exercise
Rebound Exercise: The Ultimate Exercise for the New Millennium