I am reviewing the album Caustic Love by Paolo Nutini which is an excellent album. This album mixes elements of pop, blues and rock really well and has been called the best blues album since the 70’s. In Britain it was the fastest selling album of the year. In the Irish chart it sold 5 times as many as the number 2 album The Vamps in its debut week. He is from Paisley near Glasgow, the biggest town in Scotland. This is his 3rd album and I think I did review Sunny Side Up his 2nd album on this site. The lead single was Scream (Funk My Life Up) which made number 12 on the singles chart. It probably is the best track on the album. This album is as good as Sunny Side Up. He did take a bit of a break as well as doing a tour later and had to go through a period of detox. He co-produced the album and is one of the brightest British songwriters. His biggest single was A Last Request which didn’t quite get to number 1 in Britain although it deserved to. It is quite a beautiful love song. He is of course of Italian descent which is probably obvious from his name. He has had chart success in Switzerland & Belgium. It’s an album I really enjoyed and I think I would definitely recommend it.

I am reviewing the compilation album Don’t You Want Me The Collection by The Human League which is a very good album. The tracks near the beginning of the album tend to be all their big hits and are mostly good and quite a few of the tracks are remixed. Perhaps surprisingly the group are still releasing new material and do still tour. There 2 most notable albums are probably Dare & Human. Don’t You Want Me their biggest hit was considered a filler track by Phil Oakey and was released as a fourth single to capitalize on the success of Dare and he didn’t want it released. The Track Human also was a number 1 single in the USA. The group formed in 1977 and only Phil Oakey remains as one of the original members. They went under various names like The Future initially. The 2 lady backing singers were brought in, in 1980 and because they were very young had to get permission from their parents for them to tour. Don’t You Want Me Baby was Virgin Records first UK number 1. Many music magazines saw The Human League as potentially changing the face of music with their synthesizer pop as much of the music at that time was punk and new wave. They heralded the new romantic invasion in both Britain & America. Phil Oakey did also have the hit single Together In Electric Dreams with Giorgio Moroder which was part of the soundtrack to a film. The group originally come from Sheffield. I did quite enjoy this album album their is a lot of not very commercial stuff on it which probably remains interesting nonetheless.

The book I read to research this post was Putting The One Minute Manager To Work by Kenneth Blanchard et al which is an excellent book that I bought from a local bookstore, a long time ago. This is one of the sequels to the One Minute Manager. Like that book it is quite short only around 95 pages and uses a story to get its points across. These books are great for anyone who maybe intimidated by business in general and are easy to understand. This book looks at applying the principles of the other book and was published in 1984. It uses what are called A,B,C’s which stand for activators, behaviours and consequencies. Activators are what a manager has to do before a junior employee can carry out a task. Behaviors are what the does to carry out the task. Finally consequencies are what happens when the results are either achieved or not achieved. One important point is when he is learning a job he is encouraged and not given a reprimand just because he made a mistake. A reprimand which focuses on the action not the individual is given when he has consciously not done something. A reprimand always with something positive like this isn’t like you, you are normally a good employee. This encourages the employee to focus on the action and not how you responded to it. There is another acronym KISS which is keep it short and simple. Hence the idea of one minute reprimands, appraisals and goal setting. By one minute it is an approximation of how long it takes. You should also when you give someone in doing a task involve them in what activators need to be carried before they can carry it out. Many companies spend less than 1% of there budget on training and human development which obviously they should spend a lot more. I really enjoyed this book. I may very well try and get the other one minute manager books and review them quite soon.

The book I read to research this post was The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard et al which is an excellent book that I bought from a local bookshop a long time ago. This book was first published in 1982 and is very much a business classic from that period. It is probably a little dated now but was very successful as well as creating quite a few sequels. It is only a short book around 130 pages and teaches you by telling you the story of an eager manager and his efforts to become successful. The essence of the book is there is one minute goal setting, one minute appraisals & one minute reprimands. One minute goal setting is writing down in less than 250 words what your goal in doing a task is and how you are going to achieve it. Employees are left to decide for themselves how to carry out a task with help as and when needed. They keep records of what they do but the aim is to catch them doing something right and praise them when they do. Reprimands criticize the behaviour not the person and the matter is dropped after the person is told off. This is a really enjoyable read.  It blends psychology with things like time management and personnel management. I think a lot of present day managers could do with reading this book.

I am reviewing the live album Rattle and Hum by U2 which is an excellent album. This album had a bit of a mixed reception from critics who objected to Bono’s so called preaching, U2 numerous references to other artists and there not being more new material. What is on the album is pretty good nonetheless. It was meant to be an exploration by U2 into American music especially Blues. Featuring Helter Skelter by the Beatles seems a bit pointless but is a good version. The album features people like BB King & Bob Dylan but you can’t help but thing they could have been put to better use. It was recorded at a stadium in Arizona after a proposed tour of South America where it was going to be recorded was cancelled. There was a feature film made as a companion piece. I think they would have been better off doing a straight forward U2 concert. I do agree with what he says about things like apartheid but I think a lot of people feel Bono is too political in what he says at concerts. I think I am undecided on that subject because at the end of the day if he can encourage people to campaign on them kind of issues it may be a good thing. The album was hugely successful selling 5,000,000 in the USA alone. I think U2 where at their peak when this came out. The title came from a lyric in the track Bullet the Blue Sky. Johnathan Demme & Martin Scorcese considered and were shortlisted to direct the feature film. It is one of the best live albums I have heard. Finally the crowd noise was sampled by The KLF for their singles.

I am reviewing the alternative music album A Northern Soul by The Verve which is an excellent album. This is the Verve’s 2nd album and their previous album had been a rock album. It was the first to feature their distinctive layering in the tracks. The group was formed at a Sixth Form College in Wigan, Lancashire in 1990. Magazines like Q & NME regularly feature this album on their Best Album Charts. The Verve did go on to do an even better album, Urban hymns which resulted in this album re entering the album chart in the UK. Richard Ashcroft also had a successful solo career. The Verve did had problems getting on with each other which were probably fuelled by drug taking and have seen the group form and split up 3 times. One of the group smashed up a hotel room whilst on drugs in Kansas during a tour and got arrested. It’s a shame because they are very gifted musicians. They did win 2 Brit Awards when Urban Hymns was released including Best Group. Noel Gallagher from Oasis & Richard Ashcroft did dedicate a song to each other’s musical ability. This album’s songs were very much influenced by a troublesome break up with a girlfriend Richard had at the time. The title A Northern Soul came from the Northern Soul music which was popular in Britain in the late 70’s and early 80’s and this album had similar lyrical themes to the subjects these songs used to be about. Musically of course the album is very different. I would definitely recommend this album.

The book I read to research this post was Teach Yourself Public Speaking by Dennis Castle et al which is a very good book that I bought from a secondhand bookstore. This book was published in 1980 so must be long out of print and even a website like Amazon wouldn’t have it for sale secondhand. I think if like me you see it for sale somewhere cheap it is a great buy. It is well written and covers the subject well. To reach the very top of business and management you need to master public speaking and what you say is probably less important than saying it in a charismatic way. You nonetheless do need to master the subject you talk about and a lot of getting good at it is practice. You may get worried about getting anxious about giving a speech but in moderate amounts that is actually a good thing and helps you perform well. There are groups regardless what subject you want to speak about who are interested in you giving a talk to their members it is only a matter of finding. I think there is a group called Toastmasters where members can give a talk on any subject and the aim is to get members confident enough to give a speech. One of the important things is at least limiting the use of words like errr and you know. In a stressful situation most people use these at least a little. Another thing is making yourself understand and if you have a strong accent you may have to watch how you pronounce words. To a certain degree though an unusual accent can be quite charming. If you are introducing someone else you have to watch you use the correct protocols, many people have certain titles you must use. At appropriate times a funny story or anecdote can work wonders. Even an unusual story can often break the ice. One thing I was advised before going on a radio interview is focus on the interviewer and try and forget you are on radio. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it and it is around 160 pages so is a reasonable length.