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By James Minter, Jan 16 2018 02:59PM

For me “how to” books are the best and V.V Cam’s books are up there with the most useful. This book is the latest addition to her “Because Money Matters” series and is a very worthy addition it is indeed.

V.V Cam has a particular structure and style to her writing – honest, inclusive, and written from hard-won experience and knowledge presented in a concise, yet extremely readable style. She includes many self-check questionaries’ and dozens of links to really valuable websites for the reader to get extra information or guidance.

Although this book focuses on as the platform on which to build your freelancing business, the breadth and depth of the content and lessons learnt make it suitable for any intending, new or recent person thinking of going it alone. Becoming your own boss sounds very glamorous, but the reality is, the buck stops with you every time: this fact alone makes many an individual think twice about going down this route. The truth is, with planning, preparation and a copy of V.V Cam’s book under your arm you will be off to a great start…and just in time.

The rise of the Gig Economy - an environment in which temporary positions are common and organisations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements, i.e. freelancing – is predicted by Intuit to account for 40 percent of American worker employment by the year 2020. This book is very timely, and for only the price of a cup of coffee, a very worthy investment. Hone your skills, develop your communication abilities and take control of your working life.

A copy of this book was provided by the author for review purposes.

By James Minter, Jan 16 2018 11:15AM

The day I sat down to read this book, quite by chance I observed two entirely unrelated events. One was a TED Talk by Iain McGilchrist, a Fellow at All Souls college, at the University of Oxford: discussing what’s happened to our soul or spirit. And the second, an event on a TV show for pop-star hopefuls. One contestant, a lady in her early thirties, had been driven for as long as she could remember to become a singer. So much so, when she was 9-years-old, she had made up her mind to seek a place at a school specialising in music education. She worked hard and won a scholarship. At the school, she achieved a great deal, but her success was in opera singing when she really wanted to be a pop singer. However, she stuck with opera to please her teacher, her parents, grandparents and other family members. In other words, she lived the life they wanted for her, not the life she was supposed to live. It was only on the death of her younger brother did she realise, in the words of Heaney, “You see, a life doesn’t last forever, and then you become dead.”. At the moment she promised herself to switch from opera to popular music-her lifelong dream-and competing for a place on the TV show was her starting point to start living the life she was supposed to live.

“A Yorkie's Tale” operates on a number of levels – for a child, the beautiful illustrations will engage their young minds as well as the array of diverse characters which populate the story – a rat, an owl, a possum, a parrot and many more – plus it’s a well-written to boot. For the adult reader, woven into the plot are messages we all need to remember. For example, we all live in our own world, but actually, there is a much bigger world out there – we have so much to learn and experience. Equally, it’s not about how we look on the outside, but what’s important is who we are on the inside: our spirit or soul. As Heaney says, “It’s the spirit that puts the light in your eyes and the love in your heart.” This is what McGilchrist explored in his presentation.

Heaney also recognised that leaving the familiar is always uncomfortable but a discomfort which has to be borne to find the life you should be living. This is shown, in the above example, by the hard decision the promising pop star had to make and relay to her family and teacher. But notwithstanding, it’s a complicated world, meaning that what is good for one is not necessarily good for others.

Heaney doesn’t make light of deciding to live the life you’re supposed to. He recognises it’s only the start, and nothing is easy. Our chosen path can lead to uncertainty, to moments of doubt and even regret. Being strong is necessary. “The road you are on, the quest undertaken, immovable obstacles seem placed in your way. Ne’er turnaround now; to learn, you must stay…or the truth you shall miss.”

“A Yorkie’s Tale” is full of great life lessons we all need to absorb or be reminded of. To treasure friendships; the importance of generosity and kindness; take nothing for granted and look for the richness of the world in which we live; joy and contentment can be discovered almost anywhere; and that latter exist as much inside us as outside.

Heaney continues, we should not fear death since our mortality urges our spirit to seek out what our lives mean, and living the life you’re meant to live is about embracing the totality of the life you live.

By James Minter, Aug 9 2017 01:57PM

Firstly, I loved this book. I was hooked as soon as I started reading ‘How this book Began’ and when I moved on to ‘A Glimpse into a Chapter of My Life’ I was captivated by the author. She has real credibility and I wanted to learn all that I was able from her. Whatever it was she was about to teach me!

It' particularly well written with good language, beneficial and insightful exercises, and a layout which makes it easy to follow in a step by step manner. Anyone who is interested in taking control of their lives – and finance is an important aspect of anyone’s life – would benefit from reading this book. It covers the factual issues needed to be more financially competent and the capabilities required to make it work. But it also takes into account the huge emotional journey that taking control of one's finances requires.

This is a must read book for everyone, at any stage of life, but especially for young adults who have the luxury of time to follow the preparation and planning for their financial future. The tips on how to focus on earning as much as possible with the abilities you have is a real eye-opener for people who are on their career ladder and has excellent advice and tips on how to take responsibility for oneself.

Having shared all her knowledge, advice and experience with us, Ms Cam then goes on to give even more in the glossary of terms, a huge list of tools to help the reader on their journey and links to articles and blogs that cover a wide range of financial subjects.

There are self-help books and then there are excellent self-help books. I am privileged to have been given the opportunity to read this author’s inspiring and life-changing book on money and how much it really matters to everyone.

By James Minter, Jun 14 2017 01:01PM

This book is close to my heart, and I have to applaud Luke Christodoulou for making these ancient stories accessible to modern youth. My preoccupation is with teaching positive values to children through storytelling in the Billy Books series ( ) of the behavioural aspect of a person. Whereas morals are a system of beliefs that are taught for deciding good or bad, Values are personal beliefs that come from within. However, the two are emotionally related for choosing right or wrong.

Over and above rewriting the stories in contemporary language, for each fable, Mr. Christodoulou has included extra pages for parents to make clear the moral under discussion, and he’s proposed a number of activities parents can do with their children to help to reinforce the message. Also, he has also included suggestions for YouTube where children can see cartoon versions of each fable.

My only reservations with the book are the extra ‘parent’ pages – Mr Christodoulou is an English graduate, and some of his exercises appear a little demanding. The book is an eBook I would have expected to see clickable links to YouTube versions, and some of the parent’s pages seem to be rushed making them light on content. Though this is still a very worthwhile read, I feel there is an opportunity to revisit it to make it easier to use in this digital age.

By James Minter, Jun 2 2017 03:15PM

We are all different. It’s a fact and one that should be embraced and fostered. Without differences, the World would be a very grey, boring place, and without the vast array of innovations and cultures we all take for granted. Left-handedness is another example of the differences between people, and like all differences, it brings out prejudices similar to those held toward skin colour, religion, gender, height, weight and more.

Prejudices are negative behaviours learnt in childhood from parents, peers, and society as a whole, and reflect the values held. Since prejudices are not likely to go away anytime soon, children and teens need to be taught to understand and embrace differences at a minimum and to become resilient to the bullying, name calling, and aggression that often follows.

Jean Gill has done a good job opening up the left-hand, right-hand debate. However, this book is actually two books – the first one covers who in history is left-handed, and what it’s like to be different, and is fascinating and well researched. The second is a story dealing with being a left-handed teenager and trying to educate peers about the issues encountered, while dealing with the usual angst of being an adolescent, and at the same time, running a long-distance friendship.

A lot is going on in this book. Mixing the two books together, with the friendship storyline, plus extraneous scenes like, for example, the band members getting drunk in the coal shed, added little to story and became a distraction to the message. This is an important issue book, and brings with it a great opportunity to open up conversations about left-handedness in the classroom and at home. Definitely worth a read though. 4.5 star.

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