Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spirit of Aloha

All about cycles

With all the talk of short term boom and bust, it's surprising that more people are not taking a longer term approach and looking back to the Russian economist Nikolai Kondratiev. Before he got carted away and shot by Stalin, he predicted that a fall in the world economy was due some time in the 1930s, having examined the previous two depressions from the 1830s and the 1880s. He also suggested the existence of long term economic cycles which last 50 or 60 years.

Well, the next global correction hadn't arrived by the late 1990s but this was perhaps due to the fact that governments artificially staved off the inevitable fall through a bloating of the credit markets. Now, with the economy sicker than ever under his ill-advised guidance, Gordon Brown wants to try and stave it off even longer by spending his way out of trouble. But we've already suffered enough from his profligate ways. As any responsible householder would tell him, if you're in a financial mess of your own making and up to your ears in debt then a bit of discipline and prudence might be the order of day.

More worrying still is that he's using the recession to bring forward even more of his reckless spending plans to coincide with, you guessed it, a general election in the next couple of years. If only he can hoodwink the electorate one last time. But let's be clear. His days of creative accounting and tax and spend by stealth are over. This is a blunderbus of the most obvious kind. Socialism in all its most self-interested misguided glory. Which at least provides an opportunity for the Tories to kill it off once and for all.

I just wish they'd stop pussy-footing around and get on with it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

New book on stress

I'd like to recoomend a book by Dr Hugh Koch and his son James Koch called 'Active Steps to Reducing Stress - Life Skills for Feeling Calmer'. Both authors are psychologists and in this book they explain many of the psychological tools which are available to those who live and work in stressful environments. First they analyse exactly what is stress and why it can cause problems. Then they go on to look at how people can change their thinking, their lifestyles, their communication and ultimately their behaviour as part of a strategy to reduce stress. It is a down to earth and practial guide to this important topic and I am sure it will help many people who have hectic, busy and stressful lives. The book is published by Bracken Books and if you are interested in obtaining a copy, you can email Hugh at enquiries@hughkochassociates.co.uk.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Recession-busting USB Cell

I've covered the USB Cell rechargeable battery before. This year it's producer Moixa Energy has been an EU Cleantech 100 company and Barclays ‘Green Leader in Business’ – www.usbcell.com/awards and also won an iF Gold top 50 global design award with Apple at Cebit this year.

The rechargeable batteries are a great example of a product you can buy now and carry on re-using hundreds of times – simply by recharging them in USB ports on computers or games stations, instead of spending hundreds of pounds on disposable alkaline batteries that are bad for your wallet and very bad for the environment on C02 and landfill waste. USBCELL batteries are an example of numerous ‘recession proofing’ products, such as installing solar panels for free home electricity, home insulation to reduce heating, water filters to avoid buying plastic bottles of mineral water and low energy light bulbs.

In the Seventies everyone looked for ‘local resilience’ in building Green homes and self-sufficiency and labelling every light switch with ‘Save-It Stickers’, but the end of the then oil crises combined with the last 30 years of Financial ‘Exuberance’ has obscured the need for consumers to use products and energy more efficiently. Interestingly, Moixa believes that green energy and re-usable products may become viable currencies in their own right – as consumers use/exchange them with neighbours. Solar powered homes in Germany already ‘sell’ energy to neighbours or back to the grid, and is more likely to become law in the UK given recent support by the UK Prime Minister for a ‘Green Feed in Tariff’.

For more information on the USB Cell rechargeable battery, click here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Surf Nation moves to A1 Surf

Delighted to see that Alex Wade's excellent blog on surfing in Britain and Ireland which started with The Times has now moved to A1 Surf. To read it, click here. To buy a copy of the latest edition of Alex's book of the same title, click here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

CPD Webinars - a new way to do CPD

Please take a look at CPD Webinars which provides online video training in personal injury and employment law. I helped to start it at the beginning of last year and it has already become an extremely popular way of getting your CPD hours. For more information click here. To receive a FREE webinar which will give two CPD hours, click here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wave Dreamer

Heads up for a great new site called WaveDreamer which is run by cinematographer and film director Richard Gregory. Having produced a movie on the Brighton Surfing scene called Not California, he has since turned his attention to North Devon where he now lives and is currently in the process of producing a movie about its surfing which will be called 'One Day' and which will, as the label suggests, be filmed in a single day. He has already had a practice run recently and a clip can be seen here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New album from Douglas E. Powell

Braunton folk singer Douglas E. Powell has a great new album out on the Twister Valley Records label. it's called 'Iron Coast' and I highly recommend it. You can listen to samples and buy the CD here. Look out in particular for track number 8 'Birth, Birds and Trees'.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Review of 'Why Lawyers Should Surf' at DailyStoke.com

The following is a review of 'Why Lawyers Should Surf' at a great resource for surfers called www.DailyStoke.com. To see the article click here or read below.

I’ve recently stumbled upon a very interesting and unique book where surfing is a…err…groundswell…throughout. The book, titled Why Lawyers Should Surf is written by Tim Kevan, a British surfer (and lawyer, to boot) and Dr. Michelle Tempest, a British shrink. As the title so clearly and un-lawyer-like suggests, the book is less about surfing and more about life. It is a welcome contribution to bookshelves at your local shop filled with tales of “making the drop at Pipeline in the mid-1980s” etc. (As an aside, I think I did a double take the first time I saw the truly beautiful cover, reading it to be Why Lawyers Shouldn’t Surf. There’s your sequel, Mr. Kevan!)

To give readers some context, the book is divided into parts that delve into psychology. The first is Mind Power - which explores how thoughts and visualization determine how we end up living our lives. The second is Communication - which explores ways for more effective communication in all aspects of life, but particularly for those where effective communication is very important. (Notice I haven’t mentioned aerials just yet.) The third is Taking Action - which, to use a surfing metaphor of my own - is the transition from surfing in theory to getting out and paddling for some waves. The final section is about the Work-life balance (perhaps one of the easiest part for a surfer to contemplate, given that even the surfing-lawyers out there must all be working in order to surf. I won’t comment on that.) The strongest part of the book is the first part about Mind Power. This book will help anyone understand how our thoughts and words control of our day to day lives and our own approach to living. How we live is directly correlated with how we choose to think, speak, and believe. It would be impossible for me to cover the complexities of this book in this review - and it is not light reading. That said, I was hooked from the get go. All of those elements in surfing that surfers might take for granted - such as paddling out or waiting in the lineup for seemingly endless minutes - are good metaphors for the times where we can’t get to the beach and are chained to our desk. The book couples the surfing metaphors with inspirational quotes and stories of surfers and non-surfers alike.

Why Lawyers Should Surf is essential reading not simply for lawyers or other professionals but for surfers of every stripe who are seeking to understand how to better live their liges. ”Don’t fight against the rip” might have more to do with your life than you had ever thought. Read the book and judge for yourselves. For surfing fanatics and those interested in improving themselves, you can pick up the book here.