Posts Tagged ‘non-fiction’

Basic Anatomy For Yoga Instructors and Everyone In Between

Thursday, November 19th, 2020 | Books

Basic Anatomy For Yoga Instructors and Everyone In Between is a book by Alecia Croft.

It’s a pretty short read. It is 55 pages on my Kindle, including about ten pages of contents and opening matter and appendices. And most of the page space is taken up by diagrams. As such, you can get through the book in less than half an hour.

Whether you should is a different question. The diagrams are good and there is plenty of information packed into it. So, if you were to take the time to learn and memorise each of the bone and muscle names it would take you much longer. It does feel like a bit of a list most of the time, though, so that is not an inviting prospect. Having learnt this stuff in more detail previously, it was more of a refresher to me.

The Prison Doctor

Sunday, August 16th, 2020 | Books

The Prison Doctor is a book by Dr Amanda Brown. It is an autobiography (or maybe a biography given there is a co-author, although it is written in the first person) that discusses her times working in prisons.

After a spat over the new GP contract, she leaves per practice and goes to work in a young offenders prison, Wormwood Scrubs and later a women’s prison. It’s an okay read. Well written.

Gotta Get Theroux This

Thursday, August 13th, 2020 | Books

Gotta Get Theroux This is an autobiography by Louis Theroux. It was always going to be a half-decent read as Louis is such a good storyteller. Although, he would probably be one of the first to admit that his documentaries are the result of a team of people that he happens to be the face of.

I didn’t know much about Theroux’s persona life. For example, I did not realise that he started by working with Michael Moore. I knew he had a family, but to hear his dreary tales about domestic life was a nice reminder that even rockstars have to do some chores.

Some documentaries get a lot of time. Others don’t get any. As may be expected, there is a lot about Jimmy Savile in the book. The audiobook includes a whole bonus chapter about “Jimmy Savile deniers” have some have dubbed them.

Overall, a good read.

Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 | Books

Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance is a book by Alex Hutchinson.

It’s an interesting book for understanding the limits of human performance from both a physical and psychological point of view. Not that all questions are resolved. But there is plenty of discussion.

Below, I have picked out a few points.

Typically, you don’t run yourself to exhaustion. Your brain stops you before you reach that point. And that starts from the minute you start exercising. For example, cyclists set off slower from the start on a hot day.

But when you get in sight of the finish, you know the danger is over and you can sprint. Hence we can be hurting so much until the final straight, at which point we find that last bit of energy to push across the line.

How does this work? Is there some kind of internal regulation in the brain that we are not consciously aware of? Or is there another explanation? For example, could we be tapping into anaerobic energy?

It seems likely that the brain does have some control. For example, everyone finishes a marathon in just under 3, 4, 5 hours. Only the brain can respond to these abstract concepts. So why do so many more people finish a marathon in 3:59 than 3:47?

Similarly, how is it that the limit that climbing a mountain without oxygen turns out to be almost exactly the high of Everest? If Everest was a little smaller, or a little larger, would it turn out that the limits of climbing without oxygen were different also? It seems likely given that it was thought to be impossible until Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler did it. Then they changed the sums to show it was just possible.

Finally, a note on hydration. We often hear the idea that if you wait until you are thirsty, it is too late. But voluntary dehydration seems to be fine in the short term. Top marathon runners sweat more than 3.5 litres per hour. They replace nowhere near this much. If our performance drastically drops when we lose 2% of our body weight, how did Gebrselassie become an Olympic champion when losing 10% of his body weight? That is not to say drinking to thirst is the perfect strategy for running a marathon: but it does seem to be fine for everyday life.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Monday, April 27th, 2020 | Books

21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a book by Yuval Noah Harari. It looks at the near future (the next century) and the challenges that society will have to face.

Chiefly, this revolve around info-tech and bio-tech. What will happen when the majority of jobs are automated? The workforce had power when labour was required. But, as the rich upgrade their bodies to become superhumans and machines can replace the working man, how will this restructure society?

I highly enjoyed his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.

This one was thought-provoking, but not what I expected. I went in thinking there would be 21 clearly defined points that gave me something to think about. In reality, it was more of a ramble through various ideas, each spilling into the next. Interesting, but perhaps not as clear as I hoped it would be.

The Chimp Paradox

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020 | Books

The Chimp Paradox is a book by Dr Steve Peters. In it, he describes his model of the mind as two parts: the chimp, an irrational emotion-driven strong animal, and the human, the higher part of our brain that we often like to pretend is the “real us”.

It is a generalist book in that it is a useful read for anyone, not just those struggling with their own mind, but more of a popular self-help book with applications for every day relationships and problems.

I found it an interesting read, most of the time, but I don’t think I ever made it to the end.

Yoga for Athletes

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020 | Books

Yoga for Athletes is a book by Ryanne Cunningham. It provides an introduction to yoga and makes some suggestions as to how athletes can use yoga. But, to be honest, it all felt pretty vague. More like a general book of yoga with a nod given to the idea that the reader may also be an athlete and that yoga could be useful for that.

The various poses are explained, but not in a manner I found completely clear. The routines may be more useful, but only make up a few pages at the back of the book.

Content Inc.

Saturday, March 21st, 2020 | Books

Content Inc. is a book by Joe Pulizzi. In it, Pulizzi makes the case that you can build a business using a content model in which you begin by providing your audience with lots of useful content, and once the audience grows you figure out what to sell them.

It is a long-term gain. Pulizzi suggests you need to do producing regular content for 12-months before you will have a sufficient audience and understanding of the marketplace to bring in the dough. But once achieve this, it should rain down.

There is a tonne of useful information here for building a content-based business and it gels with a lot of what the internet marketing industry is talking about. Definitely worth a read if you want to make money from online publishing.

Irongran

Friday, March 20th, 2020 | Books

Irongran: How Keeping Fit Taught Me that Growing Older Needn’t Mean Slowing Down is a book by Eddie Brocklesby. She started running in her 50s, took up triathlon in her 60s, and holds the record of the oldest British woman to finish an Ironman, aged 74.

In her biography, she shares her story of how she got involved in endurance sports, went on to found the charity Silverfit, an organisation dedicated to getting older people active, and the many Ironmans she has done. I lost count but I am pretty sure she has finished at least five: Lanzarote twice, Kona, Vichy and Cozumel.

It’s not a rags-to-riches story. She starts by talking about her grandmother who was Winston Churchill’s private cook. But throughout the book, she shows a high level of self-awareness about her opportunities and ability to afford what all of us in triathlon must surely admit is an expensive sport.

Some of the story seems like a sharp contrast. For example, she says she is not well organised. And yet managed to maintain a career, running Silverfit and Ironman training: all things which sound like they need a lot of organisation. Similarly, it’s not like she never got off the couch before 50 as she did play netball competitively, although it is true that she never tried endurance sport until later in life.

Overall, it is a fun and inspiring read.

Year of Yes

Saturday, February 20th, 2016 | Books

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person is a 2015 book by Shonda Rhimes. Rhimes is the creator Grey’s Anatomy and a number of other very successful TV shows. In the book she talks about how she made 2014 the year in which she would say yes to everything.

What does that mean in practice? A number of different things. Challenging her fears for one thing. She started doing TV show interviews and accepting public speaking engagements. She said yes to her family and started making time for her kids when she ‘should’ have been working. And not feeling guilty when she didn’t.

The book is a first-person autobiography of the changes she made and how it changed her life.

Did I learn anything? Probably not. However, maybe that was the point. We all know that we should look after ourselves and spend more time with the people we love, rather than being in the office. Maybe the message is “if the woman who owns Thursday nights can do it, so can you.”

year-of-yes