Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Triathlon For Beginners

Thursday, December 7th, 2017 | Books, Sport

Triathlon For Beginners: Everything you need to know about training, nutrition, kit, motivation, racing, and much more is a book by Dan Golding.

I was keen to read it to see how my current knowledge matched up. As it turns out, it matches up reasonably well. If you’ve been around the triathlon world for any amount of time, or done a few, you will probably know a lot of what is in the book.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting. Golding goes deeper into the science of each aspect so unless you really know your stuff, there is something to learn.

Take nutrition, for example. I knew we had around 90 minutes of glycogen. But, after that is gone, exactly how many kcals do I need to put in my body to keep going, and at what rate? Everyone is different, of course, but Golding provides a guide.

He also expounds on an important concept that books are picking up on more and more (including mine): you have to remind the reader that reading this book isn’t enough; they need to put it into practice, too.

How much this helps, I’m not sure. But the anecdotes about what happens probably do help. Between Golding’s recollection of being unable to get his wetsuit off, and my own experience of running out of T2 still wearing my cycling helmet, I think I’ll think I’ll be able to convince myself that transition practice is time well spent.

If you’re thinking about taking up triathlon, or you’re still in your first season, this book is worth reading.

Hairy Bikers Ride Again

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 | Books, Food

The Hairy Bikers Ride Again is a cookbook by Dave Myers and Si King. They spend their time riding around the world on motorbikes, finding new recipes and cooking. And then distilling this into books and TV shows.

In this instalment, they go through India, Argentina and Morocco and Belgium.

Chorizo crumb fish

Spicy mash

It’s an okay cookbook. It’s not your usual type: it’s split between them talking about their travels and then there is a bunch of recipes. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing will come down to your personal preferences.

The recipes worked well. They felt a little safe but produced predictably nice food. Nothing has made it onto my “recipes to come back to” list, but both the vegetable and paneer curries are definitely close.

Announcing the Skeptic’s Guide to Pregnancy

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017 | Books, News

I’m pleased to announce the launch of my new book, Skeptic’s Guide to Pregnancy. Here is the blurb:

“Are you tired of reading pseudoscientific nonsense in pregnancy and parenthood books? If so, this book is for you. In it, author Chris Worfolk offers his frank assessment of preparing for parenthood with research references to back it up.

In this short book, you will find a mixture of cold hard, evidence-based facts, mixed with Worfolk’s brand of sarcastic humour and a collection of anecdotes to help you remember it.

Invest a few hours in reading this and avoid nine months of tedious and unnecessary planning, worrying and spending on things you don’t need. And, if all else fails, you will have enjoyed the ride.”

It has been two years in the writing as I have been documenting since we started Project Venla. This month, I’ve put the final touches to it. In some ways, it’s a victory for sunk cost fallacy. But I prefer to think of it as using Darren Hardy’s time/reward matrix.

In any case, it is officially out today and will be appearing in in eBook and print, via Amazon and iBooks, in the next few days.

ITCMC: The Book

Saturday, November 4th, 2017 | Books, News

My course, the IT Contracting Master Class, is now available in book form. Should you buy it? Probably not. It’s slightly cheaper than the course. Except that Udemy is usually discounting the course, making the book more expensive.

But, if you really hate the idea of getting the video lectures (which includes the eBook version of this book), you can buy the book stand alone on Amazon.

The Wizard of Ads

Saturday, August 12th, 2017 | Books

The Wizard of Ads: Turning Words into Magic and Dreamers into Millionaires is a book by Roy H. Williams.

My current series of blog posts is a clearing out and putting to bed of all the books I have half-finished. Typically, when I start a book, I finish it. But Napoleon’s Hill’s Think and Grow Rich has inspired me to give up on a bad book.

The Wizard of Ads is somewhat more interesting. But the trouble is that I have now read most of it and I am still not sure what it is about. I think it is about marketing and advertising. But the author jumps around so much that it is almost impossible to follow his chain of thought.

Indeed, there may be done. There is no real structure to the book. It is a collection of anecdotes that Williams thinks will be useful to marketers.

And they are. There is a lot of gems to be gleaned from this book. Including:

  • People are always thinking: get their attention by giving them someone more interesting.
  • Don’t train your customers to wait for a sale
  • Tell a customer what they already know or suspect. They will believe you.
  • Save people time, not money.
  • Great presentation will cause people to buy emotionally.
  • Make people feel good, don’t point out problems.

But the lack of structure of clear theme to the book making the whole thing rambling and confusing. The religious references also get tedious.

The most controversial aspect of the book is probably that Williams rejects targeting and sales it is all in the copy. This goes against what most marketers teach. Indeed, it even goes against what Gary Halbert teaches in The Boron Letters: “more than anything, give me a list of qualified buyers”.

It does have a fun title, though.

Think and Grow Rich

Monday, August 7th, 2017 | Books

Think and Grow Rich is a self-improvement book, written by Napoleon Hill and published in 1937.

In it, he sets out 16 “laws” (and yes, the quote marks are there on Wikipedia, too) on achieving success. The book certainly did do that: it has sold over 100 million copies and best of all, it is a super simple formula to follow: think positive and you will soon be drowning in money.

Unfortunately, Hill seems to have been unable to apply the principles to his personal life. He frequently ran out of cash and was forced to take up touring the United States lecturing again. Most of his business ventures went south.

It’s almost as if you can’t just think and grow rich.

Though I must confess, I didn’t even make it half way through the book. Maybe all of the pearls of wisdom are hidden in the second half. Or I’m too negative a person to see the ones right in front of me. But, either way, I think there are perhaps more practical books I could spend my time reading.

The Book Thief

Sunday, August 6th, 2017 | Books

I confess that I have not fared well with Markus Zusak’s novel The Book Thief.

It is certainly a well-written book and interesting story. Who doesn’t love death as a narrator? However, it has not captivated me. Half way through I found that my reading simply stagnated and I did not get any further.

I’m just not that excited to find out how it ends. And, well, I kind of know that already, because it’s included in the story. No doubt there were some exciting twists to come. But I shall never know.

Molly Bakes Chocolate

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017 | Books

Chocolate by Molly Bakes is a cookbook for chocolatey things, surprisingly.

It starts with an introduction to the different kinds of cocoa beans there are, and some useful advice for working with chocolate. This is fine, but once you know the difference between Forastero, Criollo, and Trinitario, you want the more expensive ones.

The core content of the recipes is how to make hand-rolled truffles.

They’re very good. You make a ganache filling and a chocolate casing, and carefully assemble them in stages.

There are also recipes for a variety of other fun things. Chocolate bowls, for example:

And tray bakes, too.

If you like chocolate, this is an excellent book. It teaches you how to produce incredibly rich truffles and desserts, predominantly free from the distractions of other ingredients.

Canapes

Monday, June 19th, 2017 | Books, Food

A lot of my cooking revolves around main courses. It is easy to slip into this pattern: I only do a three-course meal once or twice per week. Therefore, a lot of the starter, lunch and dessert recipes get forgotten about.

However, I have been making a conscious effort to expand this. Adding some new canapes to my repertoire seemed a good direction to go.

A lot of the recipes in this book were too fiddly for me to bother. However, there are some firm favours. The Asian pork balls, for example. And the mini-burgers were not that difficult either.

Pancetta and tomato with basil pesto crostini, and a citrus avocado puree crostino.

Filo tartlets with beef.

All in all, I’ll give this the thumbs up. It has provided me with some great little recipes.

The 4-Hour Chef

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017 | Books, Food

Tim Ferriss is a super-star. Jeff Goins nailed it when he said that people didn’t love Tim Ferriss for the message he brings, but just because he’s such a cool person that you want to me like him.

Since rising to fame with The Four-Hour Work Week, he has gone on to push the franchise with The Four-Hour Body and this, The Four-Hour Chef.

It’s quite clever the way he sells it (or sneaky). He sends you the audiobook for free when you join his mailing list. But there are no recipes in it: every 5 minutes the narrator says “please refer to the print or eBook edition for recipe steps and sidebars”.

Ferriss suggests that cookbooks are written for those who can already cook. They are arranged by category and don’t explain what is going on. Instead, this book is arranged by technique, starting from the basics and building up.

It is arranged into five sections: meta, domestic, wild, science and pro. In meta-learning, he talks about how to learn faster and more efficiently. He then takes you through the building blocks of cookery in dom.

In wild, we are treated to a narrative of Tim’s adventures. How to survive a disaster and catch a pigeon, for example. Science is similar: there is some science in it, but also plenty of stories: the time he attempted Ben & Jerry’s Vermonster, for example, or his food marathon: 26.2 dishes in 24 hours. Something I would love to try.

Finally, in pro, he rounds off with talking to some of the best chefs in the world about how they do what they do.

I tried a lot of the recipes in domestic. They’re fun. None have made my regular rotation, but I made the Vietnamese burgers more than once.

I also really enjoyed a lot of the explanations. Why do you need to brown meat? I knew why already, but no cookbook ever takes the time to explain it: it’s more folk knowledge. Why do you need mustard in a vinaigrette? Why do you rest steak? It’s all in here.

The science is a mixed bag. It’s really interesting to learn about all of the different aspects of the cooking process, gels, emulsions, etc. However, I struggled to follow along with the theory. I more felt like I was getting starter points to learn about it on my own. And some of the science in here is a little dubious. Like his original book, I suspect Ferriss doesn’t let the truth ruin a good story.

If you’re a Tim Ferriss fan, this is a no-brainer. Get the hardback: it’s a monster.