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by Alan Hargreaves

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Mindfulness: how doing nothing can help

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Alan's Bookshelf


Getting started in Small Business IT

4 out of 5 stars.

Wiley Publishing Australia, 220pp, 2011. Rrp $19.95 

Thank the lord for the Dummies series. You might be embarrassed to be seen buying one in a bookshop, but you’ll know what you are buying and why.

Dummies are one of the strongest brands in publishing. They’re the McDonalds of “How to”.

I’m not a huge fan of McDonalds but when you have a carload of hungry kids, it’s the easiest decision. You know what the product will be like, how much it will cost and how quickly you’ll get it.

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Choke: Using the secrets of your brain to succeed when it matters most

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Sian Beilock, Melbourne University Press, 2011

What a boon the MRI has been to psycho-social research. Neuroscience has grabbed brain imaging by the throat over the last two decades. The result has been a plethora of books explaining why we do what we do.

Choke is such a book. Like others in the genre, it is pretty much a corroborative exercise. A lot of research simply states the obvious like, for example, we can freeze under stress.

What Choke does is give us the science about why we freeze. It provides a platform for formulating ideas for behavior modification.

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Adapt: Why success always starts with failure

3.5 out of 5 stars

Tim Harford, Little Brown, $17.82

Failure is a fashionable topic. No less than the Harvard Business Review recently devoted an entire edition to the issue.

It’s hardly a new idea. Most product launches fail initially, but if the process is handled effectively, it can lead to success.

It is still argued that the introduction of “new” Coke wasn’t a failure. The problem was addressed and in the end Coca Cola market share was lifted.

Harford says failure is endemic in modern business and society, not because people are more prone to failure, but simply because everything is more complex.

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The Procrastination Equation

4 out of 5 stars.

Piers Steel, Murdoch Books, RRP $17.15

How many students perform well in the structure of school only to drop out in their first year of university? It’s not a matter of intelligence.

Often they left school on a high of academic achievement. Then suddenly they are confronted with an array of choices – not all of them good ones – in an environment where the structure is all up to them.

Lots muddle through; many don’t. Even those who succeed remember the stress they put themselves through.

You may not be one of them, but you may have to manage them. This book will help.

Steel distills this tendency into an equation then works through it, examining each of the variables and what you can do about them.

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