#BookReview By Lou of If You Should Fail By Joe Moran @joemoransblog @VikingBooksUK #NonFiction #SelfHelp #Philosophy

If You Should Fail
By Joe Moran

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

If You Should Fail is a non-fiction book that is certainly informative and interesting. Find out more in the blurb and then my review. I also thank Viking/Penguin UK for gifting the book in exchange of an honest review.


There is an honesty and a clarity in Joe Moran’s book If You Should Fail that normalises and softens the usual blows of life that enables us to accept and live with them rather than be diminished/wounded by them’ Julia Samuel, author of Grief Works and This Too Shall Pass

‘Full of wise insight and honesty. Moran manages to be funny, erudite and kindly: a rare – and compelling – combination. This is the essential antidote to a culture obsessed with success. Read it’ Madeleine Bunting

Failure is the small print in life’s terms and conditions.

Covering everything from examination dreams to fourth-placed Olympians, If You Should Fail is about how modern life, in a world of self-advertised success, makes us feel like failures, frauds and imposters. Widely acclaimed observer of daily life Joe Moran is here not to tell you that everything will be all right in the end, but to reassure you that failure is an occupational hazard of being human. 

As Moran shows, even the supremely gifted Leonardo da Vinci could be seen as a failure. Most artists, writers, sports stars and business people face failure. We all will, and can learn how to live with it. To echo Virginia Woolf, beauty “is only got by the failure to get it . . . by facing what must be humiliation – the things one can’t do.”

Combining philosophy, psychology, history and literature, Moran’s ultimately upbeat reflections on being human, and his critique of how we live now, offers comfort, hope – and solace. For we need to see that not every failure can be made into a success – and that’s OK.


Life is measured on success and failure, sometimes a long, seemingly fixed perception that is wide-spread in society, and sometimes a more personal perception. Joe Moran talks about the culture of success and now people are told that if they fail to try and try again and how fails become success. He talks more of the reality of this theory in quite a philosophical way. He also uses case studies and quotes from people from many different walks of life to illustrate the points he makes as he tries to change people’s perceptions on failure within the arguments he presents. There are mentions of well-known psychologists like Freud, literary people like Virginia Woolf, olympians and more…

It’s an interesting, philosophical book with something quite realistic, that may have readers examine their own lives in terms of failures and successes and how they perceive them and how society perceives them. It doesn’t try and set unachievable  expectations or goals.
I wasn’t as enthralled as I thought I might have been, even though it is at times, a deeply thought-provoking book, but don’t totally discount it as there are some interesting ideas and observations at how society is. There is a reality that most people at some point will relate to and may find useful. It is a book, perhaps best taking time to ponder over as you read and to reflect and think about what is being said in its well-researched weaving of historical and current time on the subject of failure and society.


#BookReview By Lou of 100 Plants To Feed The Birds By Laura Erickson #LauraErickson #Gardening #Nature #FeedTheBirds #NaturalWorld #USA #Plants

100 Plants To Feed The Birds

Turn Your Home Garden into a Healthy Bird Habitat

By Laura Erickson

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

We all know how everything is interlinked in the world, from humans to animals to plants; well this list also works in reverse and everything has a role to play. Humans can also do their bit, in this case, the focus is on birds. This is most suited for North America.

The growing group of bird enthusiasts who enjoy feeding and watching their feathered friends  will learn how they can expand their activity and help address the pressing issue of habitat loss with 100 Plants to Feed the Birds. In-depth profiles offer planting and care guidance for 100 native plant species that provide food and shelter for birds throughout the year, from winter all the way through breeding and migrating periods. Readers will learn about plants they can add to their gardens and cultivate, such as early-season pussy willow and late-season asters, as well as wild plants to refrain from weeding out, like jewelweed and goldenrod. Others, including 29 tree species, may already be present in the landscape and readers will learn how these plants support the birds who feed and nest in them. Introductory text explains how to create a healthy year-round landscape for birds. Plant photographs and range maps provide needed visual guidance to selecting the right plants for any location in North America.


Perhaps you’re a bird lover  who wants to know more about feeding them or encourage more into your garden, or perhaps you’ve suddenly got space to grow plants, whether in the ground or pots and want a wildlife food-bar. Whether you’re a novice or know a lot, this is a book I recommend for you. You don’t need to feed the birds with only “tuppence a bag” of seed, you can also grow your own.

In my garden, in the UK, for example, we grow cornflowers. Leave the flowers after they’ve finished flowering and birds like goldfinches will gorge on the seeds. This book will show you more plants and trees you can also grow and native to North America. It gives clear information about the plants to grow, how to care for them and a guide for sun exposure.

It’s useful as a reference and guidebook for those wanting to create or expand their own wildlife haven, as of course the plants you grow will attract more than birds too.

#BookReview By Lou of Simply Psychology By various @dkbooks #Psychology #SimplyPsychology #NonFiction

. .

Simply Psychology 
By various 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today l have a review for the book Simply Psychology by  is easy to follow and you don’t need to be an expert or even have a degree to read and understand and gain something from it. Thanks DK, I have a blurb and review for you.

Grasping complex psychological ideas has never been easier.

Transforming complicated ideas into easy-to-understand graphics, supported by accessible text, Simply Psychology is the perfect introduction to the subject for those who are short of time but hungry for knowledge.

Covering the key psychological theories from moral development to cognitive behavioural therapy, each easy-to-read, single-page entry explains the concept more clearly than ever before.

Organized into chapters covering each branch of psychology, the book maps the development of psychological study, unpacking the complex ideas from the philosophers, psychologists, and scientists who have shaped our understanding of the human mind. 

Whether you are studying psychology at school or college, or simply want a non-specialist insight into the subject, this essential guide is packed with everything you need to understand the foundations quickly and easily.

Psychology is a wide, varied and fascinating subject. It involves every single one of us, whether you’ve got good or not so good mental health. It is far more than this. It is everything to do with our brains, how they function on a physical and emotional basis. It’s something that has caught the attention of many people for centuries.

Studying The Mind, Growth and Development, Self and Society, Disorders and Therapies, Identity and Difference are the man header topics covered in Simply Psychology.

The study of psychology and mental health and wellbeing, although talked about perhaps more predominantly these days, this book reminds people that in reality it goes way back in time to Plato etc. Even the Nature v Nurture debate is no new concept and the  phrase and was coined by Francis Galton in 1875.

Simply Psychology is fascinating. It shows what psychology is, the origins of thought, which grounds everything and will give people understanding of where modern thinking comes in and credits early psychologists. It will give readers a greater understanding when, how, why and where psychological theories originated and grew from. It’ll get readers thinking about how they relate to current thinking.

There is a section that explains disorders and treatments, that readers will also find fascinating, written in easy to follow snapshots of each. 

This isn’t as heavy as it sounds. It’s in an easy format with easy to follow language that won’t overwhelm. You don’t have to be studying a degree to read it.


#Review By Lou of Every Family Has A Story By Julia Samuel #JuliaSamuel @penguinlife @penguinrandom #NonFiction #Families #MentalHealth

Every Family Has A Story
By Julia Samuel

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Every Family Has A Story is emotional, fascinating and insightful all in one gulp. At a time when some families find dealing with family challenging, they may find this useful. It’s a book for all year round and covers a lot. Discover more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the review below. 


Why do some families thrive in adversity while others fragment? How can families weather difficult transitions together? Why do our families drive us mad? And how can even small changes greatly improve our relationships?

In Every Family Has a Story, bestselling psychotherapist Julia Samuel turns from her acclaimed work with individuals to draw on her sessions with a wide variety of families, across multiple generations. Through eight beautifully told and insightful case studies, she analyses a range of common issues, from loss to leaving home, and from separation to step-relationships, and shows how much is, in fact, inherited — and how much can be healed when it is faced together.

Exploring the relationships that both touch us most and hurt us most, including the often under-appreciated impact of grandparents and siblings, and incorporating the latest academic research, she offers wisdom that is applicable to us all. Her twelve touchstones for family well-being — from fighting productively to making time for rituals — provide us with the tools to improve our relationships, and to create the families we wish for.

This is a moving and reassuring meditation that, amid trauma and hardship, tells unforgettable stories of forgiveness, hope and love.


Every Family Has a Story is an apt title. This is so true. There’s love, loss, joy, sadness, past and present in every family. Julia Samuel is a therapist and by the kindness and careful thought of a few families, she has compiled their stories together to create this fascinating book, that shows how interconnected families are. They are the life-blood of so much, whether its a traditional nuclear family or not.

There are families experiencing grief, trying to find someone, trying to adopt and so many more situations and so much more… The families come from all sorts of backgrounds, religions, relationships, mental health illnesses, physical illnesses. Each seeking help in a way that they haven’t all done before, by having a psychotherapist.

It is insightful in that you get to see a bit of Julia Samuel’s work and how a psychotherapist works and treats clients and work out what may work with each individual and each family.
It is also insightful as to how much, in such fragile situations, her clients are willing to open up and tell and show so much. She, in-turn, seems to have won her clients trust.

It’s a book that is impactful and will hold much interest for many families, and certain elements may strike a chord or inform.

After Steve – How Apple Became A Trillion-Dollar Company And Lost Its Soul By Tripp Mickle @trippmickle @HarperCollinsUK #Apple #Biography #NonFiction

After Steve

How Apple Became A Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost It’s Soul 

By Tripp Mickle

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I have a review about a book that may well interest people who are into their Apple Products or interested in technology or growth of companies and how they change from humble beginnings as well as what happens… I also think it’ll interest UK readers, certainly, who watch series on tv like “How do they (company name) do that and Inside (company name).

Below I have the blurb and my review and a bit about the author. I also thank Harper Collins UK, Non-Fiction for allowing me to review.


From the Wall Street Journal’s Tripp Mickle, the dramatic, untold story inside Apple after the passing of Steve Jobs by following his top lieutenants—Jony Ive, the Chief Design Officer, and Tim Cook, the COO-turned-CEO—and how the fading of the former and the rise of the latter led to Apple losing its soul.

Steve Jobs called Jony Ive his “spiritual partner at Apple.” The London-born genius was the second-most powerful person at Apple and the creative force who most embodies Jobs’s spirit, the man who designed the products adopted by hundreds of millions the world over: the iPod, iPad, MacBook Air, the iMac G3, and the iPhone. In the wake of his close collaborator’s death, the chief designer wrestled with grief and initially threw himself into his work designing the new Apple headquarters and the Watch before losing his motivation in a company increasingly devoted more to margins than to inspiration.

In many ways, Cook was Ive’s opposite. The product of a small Alabama town, he had risen through the ranks from the supply side of the company. His gift was not the creation of new products. Instead, he had invented countless ways to maximize a margin, squeezing some suppliers, persuading others to build factories the size of cities to churn out more units. He considered inventory evil. He knew how to make subordinates sweat with withering questions.

Jobs selected Cook as his successor, and Cook oversaw a period of tremendous revenue growth that has lifted Apple’s valuation to $3 trillion. He built a commanding business in China and rapidly distinguished himself as a master politician who could forge global alliances and send the world’s stock market into freefall with a single sentence.

Author Tripp Mickle spoke with more than 200 current and former Apple executives, as well as figures key to this period of Apple’s history, including Trump administration officials and fashion luminaries such as Anna Wintour while writing After Steve. His research shows the company’s success came at a cost. Apple lost its innovative spirit and has not designed a new category of device in years. Ive’s departure in 2019 marked a culmination in Apple’s shift from a company of innovation to one of operational excellence, and the price is a company that has lost its soul.


Apple is a company that’s a huge deal in the tech world. Most people own or have owned an Apple product of some description or been an onlooker. It’s a hard company to ignore with its technological advancements and widespread advertising. Even today, with my laptop needing a bit of fixing, I’ve turned to an Apple I-pad, my only Apple product, but a significant one, to use to write this review. As we all know though, there are multiple generations of the Mac, I-phones, I-pads, with major stores in cities, plus online. It’s a global trillion dollar company, and here, the author lifts the lid on it with a number of revelations.

Steve Jobs seemed creative with a vast get up and go attitude and vision, coupled together with that important know how as well (inspiration and vision is after all only part of what you need for anything), that is also hard to ignore.

There are recollections of meetings with Steve Jobs, referred often to Jony in the book, by staff. Steve Jobs, it seems, was well aware of his own mortality and it’s interesting how he looks at other companies such as Disney and Sony and what initially happened to them after the death of their original creators, as well as attempts to solidify his team for its future CEO.

I remember when it was announced in the UK about Steve Job’s death and everyone was shocked, from the tech geeks to the dabblers. The book gives a momentary glimpse into just how big a figure he was.

It’s fascinating being able to read about the staff, not all of it is in a business sense and you get a bit of a feel for their personalities, as well as seeing the ups and downs, some of the conversations had. It shows passion and encouragement as well as tempers and attitudes come to the fore at times. The direction of Apple itself is also interesting, with all the huge personalities and ideas, before and after Steve Jobs died in 2011. It shows the difference between Jobs time and post Jobs and the controversies and politics that followed.

The book’s sub-title is “How Apple Became A Trillion Dollar Company and Lost it’s Soul”. Within the book, you can see how this happened and why that is so apt. It also quickly becomes clear, the amount of substantial research that was done.

Interestingly the book a little goes into 2016 when a shocking incident happened with a gun wielding person getting into a meeting room. It certainly captures attention again, or at least in a way when in a country where that is not any type of norm. It then takes the company to 2019 when business-wise it gets interesting.

The book shows how powerful Steve Jobs was and those who surrounded him became. It shows how technology moved on in droves and the cracks that appeared and a glimpse into how amongst all the glitz and glam of new product launches, it’s still a company that, whilst still powerful, is still having issues to present day, especially 2021. It’s fascinating to read the impact staff taking over in top jobs have after the original founder leaves or in this case dies. Sounds like Apple and probably many others are lucky to still be around, but have increased turbulent times to navigate. The insight the book gives can be profound at times, as well as generally interesting.

It is a book that was better than I thought and piqued my interest in a way I had not expected it to. I was glad to take a punt on this book, even though it’s far from what I’d normally read, but Steve Jobs and Apple and the subsequent CEOs are, as I eluded to, are all around us and hard to ignore, as they all seep even further into the public consciousness, many use their products everyday or most days in some form or another. It feels an honest account of where Apple is and where it’s been heading. It’s surprisingly not all business-like, sometimes it has a raw emotion and other times, reflective. This certainly adds to the readability and accessibility, even if it piques your interest just a little.

About the Author 

Tripp Mickle is a technology reporter for The New York Times covering Apple. He previously covered the company for the Wall Street Journal, where he also wrote about Google and other Silicon Valley giants. He has appeared on CNBC and NPR, and previously worked as a sportswriter. He lives with his wife and German shorthaired pointer in San Francisco.

#Review by Lou of #Memoir – Over The Hills And Far Away – by Nikky Smedley @StoryNikky @sandstonepress #Autobiography #NonFiction #Teletubbies

Over The Hills And Far Away
My Life as a Teletubby

By Nikky Smedley 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In the 1990s, the latest obsession for pre-school children was Teletubbies. I was on work experience in my final years at school, in a nursery and I still remember to this day the majority of children wanted a Teletubby  cake and Tubby Toast for their birthday celebrations. It is to be reincarnated on a streaming channel, but Nikky Smedley, who appeared as herself on the morning news programme – Breakfast recently, talking about its global appeal and reminiscing of the phenomenon, was the original LaaLaa, the yellow Teletubby . I have a review of her fascinating memoir of this time.


Say ‘Eh-Oh’ to the performer behind the beloved Teletubby Laa-Laa in this candid and entertaining book.

Lifting the curtain on what it was like to be Laa-Laa and experience the astonishing success of the Teletubbies phenomenon, Nikky Smedley’s enchanting story is warm, affectionate and as lively and funny as the Teletubbies themselves.

Unique in its use of educational theory, child psychology and revolutionary linguistics, Teletubbies achieved global viewing figures of three billion a year. Airing in 120 countries in 45 languages, it was one of the most internationally successful television programmes ever.


Teletubbies as I said, was a global phenomenon as Nikky Smedley recalls. It also turns out, which I think is nice and respectful, that she is to be a consultant for its rebooted version. There were Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, who were these funny characters who lived over the hill and far away.

The book is insightful into what the author is doing now for the reboot, but also in her memories of what it was like to be part of the production and some of the things behind the scenes, such as a certain clause makes for stark reading and makes you feel sorry for the cast of actors. It’s a real eye-opener into what one would assume was something that happened pre-90s.

She reminisces about what it took to get the part and then to be Laa-Laa, to create that character and truly embody her, costume and all on set in the countryside. She lifts the lid on what looks easy and perfect on-screen had its challenges to make it look accomplished. Then she regales the merchandise, of which there was loads.

With the success came extended contracts in 1999, which is when I first heard about it. It had been filmed for 3 years and at the end of the run, more series were wanted, despite some criticism along the way.

There is also an interesting look into life after Teletubbies for Smedley and the others who played the other Teletubbies and what became of them as it all came to an end in 2002.

It’s also interesting what being in Teletubbies meant to her and her lifestyle. The book is so down to earth, with concerns, happiness, sadness that is relatable on some level to people in and out-with show-biz. If you’ve heard of The Teletubbies or watched it in your youth, this is actually worth reading and more so than I originally anticipated.