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Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada)
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The Secrets of Droon #2: Journey to the Volcano Palace
The Secrets of Droon #2: Journey to the Volcano Palace
Price: CDN$ 3.82

4.0 out of 5 stars A great adventure continues, June 30 2015
I was right to be leery of starting a series with over 40 books! For now not only am I addicted to these books but my children are also. I am reading ahead of them and reading them a few chapters each night before bed. They love the story so far, and I am thoroughly enjoying it also. To be honest I have yet to read anything by Tony Abbott that disappointed. And going back and reading some of his earlier works has been a blast both for me and for the kids.

Droon is an interesting world to visit. For when we go there always seems to be a task for Neal, Julie and Eric to complete. And this time is no different. This time they join Princess Keeah, the wizard Galen Longbeard, and we meet new creatures the lumpies and go on an adventure. In the first adventure in Droon the Eye of Dawn a crystal that can control nature was lost to the evil Sparr. In this story our team of adventures head to his secret hideout inside a volcano to try and retrieve it. We also find out that not all things are as they appear, and some who work for Sparr might even be forced to do so. Can the team get into the volcano, can they find the Eye of Dawn, can they get back out again. Come read the story and find out.

Droon is becoming a fun place to visit time and time again. And this story has a bit of everything, a magic doorway, strange creatures, adventure, friendship, the desert, a secret lair and a hook at the end to bring you back again! As mentioned I am enjoying reading the stories, and my kids are also, and hopefully in a few years the younger kids will be able to reread these books to me. But for now Droon is a great part of family reading time.

The only real drawback is it was only after starting the series that I discovered that only the first 10 books are available electronically at the moment. I can only hope the rest become available quickly, especially at the pace we are reading them. This was the 17th book by Tony Abbott I have read, and a number of those I have read twice. His stories always entertain, and now my kids are at an age where I am starting to share his great book with them. Tony has over 100 books published so check out The Secrets of Droon of some of his other stories they will not disappoint.

The Secrets of Droon #1: The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet
The Secrets of Droon #1: The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet
Price: CDN$ 3.82

4.0 out of 5 stars Great beginning now 40 more to go!, June 25 2015
I must admit I was learn of starting this book. It is hard to imagine starting a new series with over 40 books in it that was started 16 years ago. I feared loving the book and being hooked for the whole series. And as much as I love most of Tony Abbott's books that I have read I also feared not liking it and being disappointed. With mixed feelings I must say it is the first. I now have a much bigger to read pile thanks to venturing into the world of Droon.

I find I go through spurts reading middle grade, young adult, and non-fiction almost alternately. I am really glad I picked up this book. My oldest two children are just at the point where they can read these books to me. It has been really fun going back and reading some of Tony Abbott's earlier works now that they are showing up in ebook formats. This book though simple, was very enjoyable and I know my children will love it. And the benefit is that being part of a finished series they will not have to wait for new books to come out.

This is an interesting fantasy story. For when Julie, Neal, and Eric are cleaning the basement they discover that when the door under the stairs is closed a set of steps appear leading down, those steps lead to another realm, the realm of Droon. They soon realize that Droon is a place in turmoil and after encountering red shiny men, flying lizards, And angry wizard named Sparr and some other fantastical creatures, and a princess that needs their help. And much more. Overall a great little read.

This was the 16th book by Tony Aboott that I have read out of his 100 published. It was a fun read and I look forward to where the series will go next. So give it a try and see, you just might fall in love with Droon also!

Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have
Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have
by Milo Sindell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 16.89
31 used & new from CDN$ 12.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Focus on that 70%, June 17 2015
This is a book designed to help you get the best return on your investment for personal leadership development. The main focus is finding the middle 70%, not the 20% of key strengths you already exhibit, nor the bottom 10% that are you main weaknesses but that middle ground that you can learn to make small changes at and focus on making changes there. Based on the studies they provide if you only focus on your key strengths you will become stagnant, and to quote Steven Brust:

"Failure leads to maturity
Maturity leads to success
Success leads to stagnation
Stagnation leads to failure!"

If you only rely on your strengths you will eventually either fail or become redundant. But on the other end of the spectrum if you try and change your greatest weaknesses, not only will it take a lot of effort but often there is very little return on investment. The amount you can make changes here is small. However on the other hand if you pick a skill or two in that middle ground and consistently work at you can turn them into key strengths. They will not take nearly the effort of your bottom 10% and the results will be much more dramatic.

The sections in the book are:

Introduction
Part 1 About Hidden Strengths
1. What Are Hidden Strengths?

Why Hidden Strengths?
The Risk of Focusing on Weaknesses
The Risk of Overrelying on Strengths
The Reward of Focusing on Hidden Strengths
2. The Four Principles of Hidden Strengths

Principle #1: Leverage Your Traits, and Develop Your Skills

Leverage Your Traits
Develop Your Skills

Principle #2: The Middle Is the Source for Development
Principle #3: Practice, Practice, Practice
Principle #4: Always Be Working on Your Hidden Strengths

Part 2 Uncovering The Gold Mine Of Opportunity
3. Identifying Your Natural Strengths, Hidden Strengths, and Weaknesses

The Twenty-Eight Skills
Leading Self
Leading Others
Leading the Organization
Leading Implementation

4. Reviewing Your Results

Your Hidden Strengths Report

Part 3 Harnessing Your Potential
5. Making Your Hidden Strengths Work for You

Hidden Strengths Development Plan
Step 1: Find Your Motivation
Step 2: Identify Your Goals
Step 3: Choose Your Hidden Strengths to Develop
Step 4: Turn Your Hidden Strengths into Learned Strengths
Step 5: Evaluate Your Progress

6. Leading Your Evolution

Sustainability
The Never-Ending Adventure
Share the Love

Appendix A: The Twenty-Eight Skills and Why They Matter
Appendix B: Hidden Strengths Development Worksheet
Notes
Accessing Your Free Hidden Strengths Profile
Acknowledgements
Index
About the Authors

This book was a great read and I have already recommended it to a number of people. It clearly lays out the why - focus on the middle 70%, and only focus on changing 1 or 2 at a time. The how - do the online survey, find your area's and work on them diligently. With the book you get access to the survey and can do it as many times as you need. After you get your results you apply Part three from the book and work on them and turn them into true strengths.

This is an excellent read and I highly recommend it and know I will be using the tools it provides to help me grow that middle 70% and you can also!

Fit Dad Cooking: A tasty tale.
Fit Dad Cooking: A tasty tale.
Price: CDN$ 9.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing guidebook!, June 9 2015
This is the second book published by Mark and to be honest with each book I have a great desire for more output from this author. I met Mark through DDP Yoga community. He is a man who has transformed his life and now has a passion for helping others to make changes themselves. This cookbook will wet you appetite, give you some great jumping off points and serve as a reminder that healthy nutritious food can be amazing to prepare and share.

The layout and design of this book is amazing. I will be honest the first thing I do when I look at a cookbook is flip through the pages and see what photo’s catch my eye, with this one almost every page did and I stopped flipping and started reading pretty quickly. One of the greatest strengths of this books is Mark’s friendly style, he encourages experimentation, and he states “Have fun with the recipes and by all means, make them your own.” For me recipes have always been a starting point, Mark not only encourages that he offers a number of variations or options for modifying on almost every recipe. In fact my only criticism of the book is that Marc said there are no desserts because he does not bake. But I would love to see what he could come up with non-baked desserts, homemade sorbet, fruit or veggie desserts that surprise and amaze. I am sure he could impress himself and us if he gave it a try.

This is an incredible cook book. Not just because it has great recipes that you can copy verbatim. But because it is a guide to cooking. It will be a starting point to help you become a great cook through trial and error. And like some example in the book sometimes mistakes create something completely unexpected that becomes awesome in its own right; see the example of falling up! So get the book, read it and get experimenting in the kitchen and pretty soon you too can be healthier, wiser and enjoying your time in the kitchen!

Learn to Read  with Great Speed! Only 10 minutes a day! (How to Change Your Life in 10 Minutes a Day Book 2)
Learn to Read with Great Speed! Only 10 minutes a day! (How to Change Your Life in 10 Minutes a Day Book 2)
Price: CDN$ 1.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource!, May 14 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
When someone heard I was reading this book they asked why. I read on average over 100 books a year. My reading speed is over 400 words per minute. But it was not always that way. I have a dual form of dyslexia and came out of grade 7 reading at a grade 3 level and went into grade 8 reading at a University level because I spent my whole summer break in school learning how to read. With this book you can achieve that in just 10 minutes a day! My answer was threefold, first I am always looking to improve and grown and second I often get asked for book reconditions for people looking to read more. And third I have loved all of Michal's books that I have read and want to read his complete cannon. Up until now I would always recommend either The Coles Notes Your Guide To Speed Reading or Teach Yourself Speed Reading from the Work Smarter series. Both of which I have read and recommended to numerous people who have had success in increasing their reading speed. But now my first pick now will be Michal's book!

Like the other books in the 10 Minutes a Day series this book follows a simple format but presents a lot of great information in a small concise package. The sections in the book are:

Introduction
10 Minutes
Speed Reading Obstacles
Techniques
Program
Free Resources
The Stories
Nathaniel's Story
My Story
Conclusion

Early on Michal states: "Your background, your education, your interests, your general knowledge - all these factors influence your reading speed, because they determine your vocabulary and your reading confidence." And from my previous reading and experience that is very true. But based on Michal's story: "I'm living proof that a 10-minute practice can be fruitful. I can read more than 50% of what I read a year ago within the same time. I can read 90 minutes a day (including the speed reading practices) and still read the same amount of text that used to take me two hours to read a year ago." And that can be true for you also. So pick up the book and give it a try. As Michal declares "Value your time. Your time is your life. Start today, grab a book and use your finger as a pointer, or read and simultaneously pat your thigh rhythmically. Just for ten minutes. Discover that there is no magic in speed reading and keep practicing." And who knows what your reading speed may become, you will have more time to read or for other activities. Basically it is a win win situation for you.

How To Do A Handstand: Learn To Balance A Fearless Handstand In 20 Days Or Less
How To Do A Handstand: Learn To Balance A Fearless Handstand In 20 Days Or Less
Price: CDN$ 3.28

1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth it, May 12 2015
Few books that I can recall ever reading were as disappointing as this one. This book was the first Kindle book that I have read after reading it completely. Basically the book is a short paragraph and then a link to a youtube video. The descriptions of the youtube video's overlap with the content in the book for that specific chapter. So you pay for the ebook and get links to publically available videos on the author's channel.

If you ever watched Friends, and how most of the gang respond to Janice's voice is like listening to Robin's video's. The only reasons I gave the book a 1 star and not 0 star rating, is that my reaction to his voice I know will not be all people's and second, some people might actually be able to use this to learn to do handstand. Second you cannot actually give it less than 1 star. For me it just would not work and paying for links to public video's seems ridiculous.

So my opinion of this book is it is less of a book and a brochure you buy with links to the real content.

Greatly disappointed and really cannot recommend it to anyone. I cant even give it an A for effort.

The Art of Persistence: Stop Quitting, Ignore Shiny Objects and Climb Your Way to Success
The Art of Persistence: Stop Quitting, Ignore Shiny Objects and Climb Your Way to Success
Price: CDN$ 3.62

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource!, May 7 2015
This book showed up in my Amazon recommendations. I am very thankful that it did. Now at first I was hesitant to buy this book based on the price point, number of pages and not knowing the author. But at the time his book The Fitness Expert Next Door (How to Change Your Life in 10 Minutes a Day) was available for free on Amazon. I read it and loved it. I have read 5 of Stawicki's 8 books in the last few weeks and will finish the remaining books soon. One of the quotes from this book that grabbed me most was "Understand that each decision or action in your life could be the beginning of a change in direction." Reading this book can be one of those decisions for you!

Some reviews of Michal's books criticize the English. And Michal admits that his native tongue is not English, but he does an excellent job communicating. And the few rough phrasings are more than made up for by the quality of the content. In another review I compare his writings to those of Robin Sharma, Stephen R. Covey, Dan Millman and John C. Maxwell. This book is short, concise and relays some great information. And it is not just head knowledge it is knowledge that Michal has gained from making changes in his own life. The power of story, his story, and stories he uses of others to give examples beyond his own can motivate you to making changes in your own life.

The chapters in this book are:
1. The Instant Gratification Curse
2. Closing the Gap
3. Definition
4. Four Lessons from a Millionaire
5. The Significance of Consistency
- Paco
6. Two Kinds of Motivation
7. Utilizing Motivation
- Ellyn
8. Purpose
9. Purposeful Motivation
10. Mission
- Teri
11. Personal Philosophy
12. Shape Your Philosophy
13. Cornerstones
- Ludvig
14. Tiny Habits
15. Tracking
16. Focus
- Stan
17. No Blueprint
Summary

Each chapter has the main teaching points and then a Knowledge Items summary at the end, and some have action items so you can start putting the tips into practice. I found I copied a number of these Knowledge summaries as reminders of next steps. On page 22 he states "Intention, attitude, and commitment determine your consistency" This knowledge point was one of the most impactful for me in the book. He also provides links to some other articles, TED talks and other resources to go deeper on some of the key teachings. Later in the book he declares "If you wanted to walk north, you would follow a compass. The compass needle would show you the way. Reason-powered motivation is your internal compass, always pointing you north. It's the real reason for starting and continuing a discipline. It is a values-driven decision from deep inside that you want a certain result. Some days you will not feel much like going out and working toward it. The flames in your fire may be burning low from time to time, particularly after a big discouragement. But the fire never goes out.
You can't depend on emotion-based motivation to fuel consistency. Depending on emotional motivation is a recipe for catastrophe as emotions are not constant.
Rather, you should place much more reliance on reason-fueled motivation. The real reasons for a journey don't just disappear in one instant. Your ambition to go "north" will motivate you to keep going when the going gets tough. It can back you up when you lose your hope. It can add a needed pinch of passion to your mundane activities, which will make them interesting enough that you continue your journey. It may save your life literally and metaphorically." Further on he says: "You can do this too. Motivate yourself with purpose-driven self-talk and reflection every day, and you will enjoy a fresh source of sustained energy that will propel you towards your goals.
Motivation is a powerful tool. Look for ways to motivate yourself into action by drawing strength from the inspiration that comes from your ideas and the power that comes from your beliefs and values." From these two and the following quote "A life purpose is so powerful because, as its name says, it's a part of your whole life. It's always deep in your heart and will support you in your struggles" we get the main point of his argument. In order for changes to take hold, for them to last and become habits the desire to change needs to be values based, and not just passion based. From that values centred if you can craft your life purpose, and work towards it every day it will fuel the journey and drive the change even when you hit the hard times.

What is your purpose, are you striving towards something or just existing? Michal says: "Your personal philosophy is your life attitude, which is formed by all of your past experiences and the meanings you gave them. It's your accumulated life knowledge and wisdom. As you become aware that you have an attitude towards life, you can systematically investigate and develop it using your analytic abilities. Unfortunately, not many people do this. For most people, their personal philosophy is just something that has molded itself through various life experiences rather than something they deliberately shaped." Are you willing to work to find your purpose and then pursue it? If so this book and his book A Personal Mission Statement: Your Road Map to Happiness will help you along that path.

Some of the best advice in the books is: "Here are some ways we can work at the detail level to improve your general capacity to be consistent:
1. Make it as enjoyable as possible.
2. Make your goal public knowledge.
3. Make time for the activity you want to undertake.
4. Don't set the bar too high too early.
5. Make it easy to say yes (or no).
6. Track your progress.
7. Make decisions now."

Michal declares: "If you really want to be satisfied in your life, to say goodbye to your frustrations, you must start enjoying the process of achievement, not just the destination itself." So grab this book and start that journey, and if you are already on it, it will likely help you forward. "Realize this: there is no magic formula that ensures results through processes you will always enjoy. Keeping your focus on being consistent is often plain hard work. But if you don't get at least some satisfaction from the steps along the way, your chances for staying consistent in your efforts will lessen rapidly." So get the book and let's get to work!

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health
Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health
by William Davis
Edition: Hardcover
77 used & new from CDN$ 2.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now to get it into practice., April 30 2015
I have now read this book three times over the last three years. I must admit even with all the knowledge presented in the book there are still times that I struggle with it. It is hard in part because I am the only one in my family who has gone gluten free. It is very hard when pizza is in the house, or making toast of bagels for the kids. I really believe the message of this book, but I cannot force my wife to change or force changes in shopping habits until she is convinced. The other thing that makes it so very hard is how pervasive wheat is as an additive, filler, packager and more. Between wheat and corn you eliminate almost 80 of the groceries in the store, and if you try and go dairy free also take out another 10%.

That being said, I know I feel much better when I am following the advice in this book, and it is not just about the waist, and weight loss. It is about overall wellbeing, energy, emotional balance and just plain drive and focus are so much better by following the advice in this book. The Appendix 'Looking for Wheat in All the Wrong Places' will blow you away. The last time I had accidental exposure to gluten was a tin of Cashews, they were on sale and a different brand and my wife picked them up for me. I ate a couple of handfuls after a workout as a snack, an hour later I was feeling bloated, brain fog and generally unwell. I went and checked the can and wheat was listed as an ingredient. I literally could not believe it why in the world add it to the nuts?

I highly recommend this book and to be honest the practice of going wheat and mostly grain free. This book will bring the head knowledge you need to make an informed decision and then you will need to move it to heart knowledge so that you consistently put it into practice. That will be the hard work and I hope that Dr. William Davis new book Wheat Belly Total Health will help me get there!

The Fitness Expert Next Door: How to Set and Reach Realistic Fitness Goals in 10 Minutes a Day (How to Change Your Life in 10 Minutes a Day)
The Fitness Expert Next Door: How to Set and Reach Realistic Fitness Goals in 10 Minutes a Day (How to Change Your Life in 10 Minutes a Day)
Price: CDN$ 0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Great book amazing author!, April 27 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I picked up this book to read for a few reasons. In part because Michal's book The Art of Persistence: Stop Quitting, Ignore Shiny Objects and Climb Your Way to Success, was recommended to me but I knew nothing about the author. It looked rather interesting but I am always a little leery of self-published authors with a number of smaller books on amazon. This book was currently being offered for free so I wanted to check out the writing style and content. I can only state categorically that I was immensely impressed. Even though this book comes in under 70 pages, I was only about half way through this one when I went and bought most of his other books.

Michal's native tongue is not English, but he does an excellent job communicating. In reading this book and parts of two others I would compare him to Robin Sharma, Stephen R. Covey, Dan Millman and John C. Maxwell. It is a mix of some incredible insight, great tips, practice advice and some good steps to get you there.

While reading this book I highlighted 19 passages and found some great advice. Some of those snippets are:

"What you need is an incentive. An internal motivation. A story which will make you think that this is actually doable in your case, too."

"There are only two 100% effective methods to not achieve any goal: never start or give up (before you reach it). But every - even the tiniest - consistent action brings result. It's the core of this philosophy and it overcomes the two major obstacles of any lasting change: fear of failure, which stops us even before we begin and giving up which stops us after we begin, but before we get things done."

"And I claim that your mindset is 80% of your weight loss."

"What amazes me is that the key factor to any lasting change is so often overlooked: you need a compelling reason to change."

"But you have to be conscious that your self-talk, this immaterial process taking part inside your head does affect your outer world. Thinking: "I'm fat, I'm hopeless, I'm fat" a hundred times a day is not going to help you either. Such thoughts are the shortest way to failure."

"The thinking takes place before action, but it is action which brings results. You need right thinking or good enough thinking in the first place, so you'll take action, persevere and not give up. And that is 80% of success. The last 20% is proper action, skills and knowledge."

"As long as you continue your commitment there is a chance to succeed. The moment you stop is the moment this chance is lost. Never give up."

"Every extremity is dangerous. But most of our society, me two years ago and probably you reading this book - are just on the other side of extreme. We are absolutely careless about what and how much we eat. We don't think about it at all. To the effect we eat too much. And that's the reason for our fat rolls."

"Being mindful makes miraculous changes to your behavior."

Those samples will give you a taste of the wisdom contained in this book and from my further reading across all his books. To be honest I picked up this book in part because it was being offered for free, but it opened me to the world of Michal Stawicki's writings and for that I am very grateful. I know that within short order I will have read all his books and be eagerly anticipating the next one.

Oddly Normal Book 1
Oddly Normal Book 1
by Otis Frampton
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.23
32 used & new from CDN$ 4.56

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Story amazing art!, April 13 2015
This review is from: Oddly Normal Book 1 (Paperback)
It has been a few years since I have read any graphic novels or comics, but the title and cover art on this one really grabbed my attention. I was not disappointed! It was a great read and I am looking forward to the other books in the series.

Oddly is a 10 year old girl, she is an outcast at school, and her home life is odd. He mother is a witch and her father human. And her life is never what she hopes it will be. On her 10th birthday she makes a wish and it comes true! But it is the sort of wish one regrets once it comes true. Now her parents have disappeared and he Aunt brings her to the world of magic to keep her safe. This is a world of vampires, werewolves, monsters and creatures unknown, and Oddly has ended up an outcast yet again.

The story in this book was great, but the artwork was amazing! The images are stunning; I have gone back and read the book three times through. This is a great graphic novel and I can highly recommend it.

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