My uncle’s books

A couple of years ago, after my uncle passed away I inherited Dad’s side of the family’s books. These were the pre-Bond, post-Biggles boys’ own that my father and my uncle (who was ten years older than Dad) received. There were books given to my late grandmother, dated 1908. Imagine – 1908! Dad’s second cousin’s communion book, my grandfather’s tomes from the 1930s including the eerily prescient ‘Must Australia Fight?’. All are there, all silent reminders of eras past, when there was no TV, no I...
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Reviewed – High Wire Act: Ted Rogers, by Caroline Van Hasselt

Where to start in reviewing this 520-page tome? WHAT a book. This book is not just a biography on Canadian media / technology owner and magnate, Ted Rogers, although that's what I bought it for. It is much, much more than a biography, providing detailed insights into the personality and drive of Rogers, whose name adorns cable, sports, wireless and many other businesses in Canada. As well as the personal history of Rogers, the book goes into at times excruciating detail into junk bonds, merg...
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A tale of a cobblestone courtyard and a dank courtroom

Work experience. Remember it? Back in Year 10, when you got to wear a tie and jacket and act all, well - grown up. It was a couple of weeks out of school - getting yourself to and from 'work', doing what you knew would be exciting stuff, taking the world on. At 16. The courtroom Recently I had cause to recall where I did work experience in Year 10 in 1990. The second week was with a local lawyer, where I got, perhaps unsurprisingly, to file. I filed wills, I filed papers from near-endless piles...
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A maker of men

The tributes to Australian rules coach Allan 'Yabby' Jeans this week have focused on his legacy not only as a coach but as an exceptional leader. I often blog about leadership and read widely about leadership best practice. Well, throw away your leadership books - and read, and watch, and then listen to these tributes to Allan Jeans on Melbourne's 3AW website to start with, then read and watch some of the links to some great examples of journalism. Bookmark the video. Watch it over and over a...
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Reviewed – Paul Henry, What Was I Thinking

To be honest, I bought this book on Kindle out of curiosity to learn, if I could, what the fuss was about with Paul Henry – the enfant terrible of New Zealand media. I then went and firstly read the final few chapters which deal with his time on TVNZ and the issues that led to him leaving, and his subsequent decision to return to radio. This book, like its author, is, at times, intense – maniacally interesting, at times self reflective, and often brutally honest. The thing is, despite m...
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Reviewed – Barassi

At the outset, let me declare I’ve been a Melbourne Football Club supporter since I can remember. Flower, Grinter, Stynes. I wore number 2 on my school footy jumper and treasured the autographed photo from Robbie Flower. Barassi was a name spoken with the same reverence as Ted Whitten. That said, I knew little of the history of the Dees, less, to be honest about Norm Smith. I am therefore very glad I read Peter Lalor’s book, simply entitled ‘Barassi’. This book isn’t about one man; though it i...
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Twenty years later, what have we become of us?

It's a sobering thought that for my school's Year 12 class, next year will be twenty (count 'em - twenty!) years since we filed out of school for the last time. Yesterday I was a kid on the bus, talking with some mates about how life would be when we were really, really old - like 21! Year 10, endless rainy days and the wonder of what lay ahead don't seem that long ago - and yet, they are. Have the dreams we shared as we sat at back on the Invicta bus at it trundled its way down Maroondah High...
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Reviewed – Soldier

General Colin Powell, is, arguably, one of the most well-known Americans of the past decades - a solider, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Advisor, and then, eventually, Secretary of State. The biography on him, by Karen deYoung, is, to be honest, very long - but that's not necessarily to its detriment. It's as much a history of America and American politics, of American military history and of the Byzantine world of Republican politics in the first term of President Geo...
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It may be ‘Only Life’, but this show is a (great!) big deal

The Australasian premiere of New York-based writer and pianist's John Bucchino's show 'It's Only Life' is very, very good. At the outset, let me say I'm a Bucchino fan. Ever since I heard David Campbell's rendition of 'Taking the Wheel' I've been intrigued by this seemingly effortless mix of thoughtful commentary on life and ripping music. I've got John's CDs, and follow John's news online. His music is poignant as it can be powerful; his lyrics uplifting, and yet, sometimes, incredibly sad. Li...
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The village by the river

By any measure, it was just another small town, nestled below the hills, next to the Murray River. But to me a few weekends ago, it was a place I had to visit; a town I wanted to see; to somehow try and sense. To get a feeling of the men - a particular man - who once, many years ago, left this place on his own accord, and leaving his family behind, went off to war. He was killed in Tobruk. That bloke from Walwa. Walwa. It's not a name of a town that may necessarily mean much to you, and like...
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