[Click on title to go directly to the review, or scroll down the page - and click on reviewer's name for biodata.]

Dutch - Biography of a Language by Roland Willemyns Reviewer Joe Sinclair

Joe Sinclair's review of Red in the Rainbow  by Lynn Carneson was published in the online announcement of the re-launch of Nurturing Potential and may be viewed by clicking on the title..

Coaching Understood by Elaine Cox -- Reviewer Julie Hay

Coaching and Mentoring: A Critical Text by Simon Western. - Reviewer Julie Hay

To read Julie Hay's review of A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Coaching and Mentoring by Bob Garvey published in the April 2013 issue of Potential Unleashed, click on the title.

The Little Book of Dyslexia by Joe Beech - Reviewer Jean Edwards

Also previously published in Potential Unleashed and repeated here is The British Constitution - A Very Short Introduction by Martin Loughlin - Reviewer Sep Meyer

Malthus by Donald Winch - Reviewer Sep Meyer

A Slap in the Face by William B. Irvine - Reviewer Joe Sinclair

Rhetoric by Richard Toye - Reviewer Joe Sinclair

Encyclopedia of the Mind by Harold Pashler, (ed.)  - Reviewer Stephen Bray

Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine & Health by James M. Rippe, (ed.) - Reviewer Stephen Bray

Cultural Sociology of Divorce: An Encyclopedia by Robert E. Emery, (ed.) - Reviewer Stephen Bray

Researching Gender, a study in 4 volumes by Christina Hughes - Reviewer Sylvia Farley.

The Magic of NLP Demystified - by Byron Lewis - Reviewer Julie Hay

The Psychology of Close Relationships - by Harry T. Reis  - Reviewer Irem Bray


Dutch - Biography of a Language by Roland Willemyns, 2013.  Oxford University Press.  289 pages. Hardback £22.50.

ISBN: 978-0-19-985871-2

Willemyns has splendidly packed a great deal of fascinating material into 260 pages of this highly readable and comprehensive survey of a language that certainly does not qualify as one of the major European tongues. 

He calls it a biography of a language because it is far more than a history, and although the early chapters are devoted to the historical influences that shaped the language, they never wander far from the sociological considerations. Indeed, throughout the book he balances the historical and the socio-linguistical aspects of Dutch, with particular reference to the considerable developments there have been in the past 20 years "into the methodology of how to sociolinguistically interpret and present historical language data." (p.xi)  

The historical section of the book occupies the first five chapters, followed by several chapters describing more recent developments of the language.  Then two chapters occupy themselves with the spread and usage of Dutch in other countries.  In fact he devotes the whole of chapter 8 most interestingly to the birth and development of Afrikaans as an offshoot of Dutch in South Africa.  Finally, Willemyns deals with the future of Dutch and what influences may be brought to bear on its progress or its decline as a language.   

My love affair with language received a boost in the mid-sixties when, in a career move, I relocated from Switzerland to Holland.  I found Dutch a difficult language to learn, not because of its differences from the other languages I had mastered, but because of its similarity to them.  The difficulty arose from the confusion between the linguistic origins of many of the words.  This derived – as Willemyns’s book makes clear – from the influences exerted by the several peoples who had hegemony over the Dutch from the seventh century AD onwards. 

“Franks, Saxons , and Frisians were the three confederations of tribes that played the main part in the genesis of Dutch, and all three ruled over part of what is now the Dutch language territory.” [p.37] 

All of which serves to make Dutch a language that is far more fascinating to the linguist than the numbers of Dutch-speaking people would suggest.  This is advanced as part of the author's thesis in his introduction, where he states that . . .  [Dutch] "has been in intense and permanent contact with other languages both within and outside its borders.  Language shift has occurred at the border with French as well as at the borders with Frisian and German . . ." (p.xi) 

Thus it was a long time before I learned to differentiate between the German, the French and the Anglo-Saxon derivation of certain words.  The temptation was to opt for a similarity to the German, but this involved the pitfalls of, for example, the Dutch word for umbrella being paraplu which clearly derives from the French parapluie. whereas the English word "gift" is commonly translated in Holland as cadeau as in France, but may also be translated as geschenk (the German word), or even gift itself.  Another difficulty I faced in those days {that echoed the Swiss insistence I had encountered that Swiss-German was a language in its own right and not merely a dialect of "High" German) was the difference between the language spoken in the Flemish part of Belgium (which they called Vlaams) and the language of Holland itself (that was referred to as Hollands).  This, I was surprised to note during frequent visits to Belgium in the 'eighties, had apparently disappeared.  Now everyone seemed to be speaking Nederlands. 

Willemyns has cleared up my confusion.  The Netherlands and Flanders had created a "language union" charged with the task of dealing with all matters relating to the language and literature of both countries. This was made official by the Nederlandse Taalunie, a "Treaty between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Kingdom of the Netherlands concerning the Dutch Language Union on September 9, 1980 . . . [that begins] . . . "His Majesty the King of the Belgians and Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands . . . have decided the creation of a union in the field of the Dutch language." " [p.176] 

The language nowadays is spoken by almost 23 million people located mainly in the Netherlands, Belgium, Suriname, Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire.  There is also a sprinkling of Dutch-speaking people in France, and a smattering of Dutch is to be found in Indonesia.  But the greatest Dutch influence is undoubtedly the transformation of Dutch into a new language spoken by a vast number of people in South Africa - Afrikaans.  In 1925 this was recognised as an official language of the country, superseding Dutch.  Willemyns devotes an entire chapter (Chap. 8) to the history, development and current situation of Afrikaans in South Africa and some of the surrounding areas such as Namibia.  Earlier in the book he also deals with the existence of pidgin and creole sub-languages as offshoots of Dutch. 

His final chapter is entitled Progress or Decay?  The Future Development of Dutch, where the author considers how external and internal factors may have an effect on language change and whether the Dutch language may be expected to decline.  Willemyns himself states "not unexpectedly, there is no unequivocal answer to be given."

Joe Sinclair


Coaching Understood  - A pragmatic enquiry into the coaching process - by Elaine Cox, 2013.   Published by Sage Publications Ltd., 192 pages.  Paperback £25.99.
ISBN No. 9780857028266

This book is a treasure trove of useful information.  Cox has collated an amazing collection of ideas drawn from many sources and, unlike pirates, she has carefully acknowledged and referenced all sources of her gems. 

She has also presented them in ways that offer many insights into the coaching process, plus plenty of practical suggestions for implementation.  I couldn’t hope to capture so much in a review, so the following is an account of the various chapters, with brief glimpses of the treasures therein, with the intention of persuading you to get a copy for yourself so you can explore the riches in more detail.

 Dr Cox begins by referring to coaching as a “facilitated, dialogic, reflective learning process… [that] is not clearly defined… [and for which] the research underpinning it is notably sparse,” (p.1).  She therefore adopts a pragmatic perspective by drawing on researches into the various components of coaching that have been adopted from other disciplines and testing the theories against coaching practice.

She goes on within Chapter 1 to introduce an experiential coaching cycle, influenced by Kolb (1984) that contains three spaces – Pre-reflective Experience, Reflection on Experience and Post-reflective Thinking – interspersed with three transition phases – Touching Experience, Becoming Critical and Integrity.  Her premise is that much learning occurs, and a coach helps with uncertainty, at the transitional phases that are missing from Kolb’s model.  Because of this, Cox prompts us that Chapters 2, 5, and 6 are the core theoretical chapters, although she recommends reading the book from start to finish to follow the cycle.

 In fact, all of the chapters contain wide-ranging theory; I was impressed by the breadth of Cox’s sources and by the way in which she relates them to coaching.  At a rough count, her 18 pages of references contain 360 entries; at a glance I see Adler and Argyris, Badura and Beck, Clutterbuck and Csikszentmihalyi…

Chapter 2 is named for the first transition phase of Touching Experience although it also encompasses the Pre-reflective Experience stage.  Cox explores the nature of lived experience, with a figure that shows how the coaching alliance works to bring beliefs and values, emotions, feeling and intuition into the conscious awareness of cognitions and plans.  The figure highlights the nature of the alliance, by indicating that both coach and client have this process, with that for the coach relating to their plans for how they respond to the client.  This chapter also contains ideas for phenomenological reflection strategies such as drawing pictures, episodic memory recall, experimental focusing (attending to the body), and ‘staying with’ the process of linking brain and body.

 Chapters 3 and 4 continue the Chapter 2 theme, reviewing how clients articulate their experience and how the coach listens.  In Chapter 3, Cox explores how memories are generated and emerge as scripts, or frames of reference, that are influenced by how clients position themselves in their stories.  These in turn can be considered as narratives, which incorporate how events are accounted for, or constructed, within the client’s history and culture. Coaches need to be alert to ways in which client narratives limit options, contain breaches, or have moved away from what really happened; coaches also need to avoid making their ‘own’ interpretations. 

Chapter 4 presents ideas on levels of listening, active listening, emphatic listening and authentic listening, with the latter seen as the more congruent approach to creating a genuine coaching alliance. 

Chapter 5 emphasises the importance of a ‘clarifying’ stage within coaching and suggests approaches such as mirroring (as echoing), clean language (Grove & Panzer 1991) used around client metaphors, paraphrasing to provide a different perspective, and summarising as perspective enhancement.

 Chapter 6 moves the reader into the Reflection of Experience space and the Becoming Critical phase.  Cox links it to Chapter 7, by stating that she intends to “discuss the two different modes of reflecting that are used in coaching, although this may be the first time they have been separated and discussed in this way.  The first mode is phenomenological reflecting (Bitbol and Petitmengin, 2011), which involves the bracketing of what Husserl [1952] terms the ‘natural attitude’.  The second is critical thinking, which is distinguished by its emphasis on challenging existing perspectives.  In distinguishing these two modes I hope to explain the progression from: (a) beginning to understand experience through describing feelings and events, and (b) making meaning from these events through thinking critically about them.” (p.74).  Whilst doing this, Cox warns of the risks that introspection may reinforce a split between consciousness inside the head and the world outside, and presents a model from Depraz et al (2003) of bracketing (Husserl 1952) that contains suspension (of client ‘baggage’), redirective (to unbiased perception) and letting go (and letting something else come).

 She continues in Chapter 6 to review temporal aspects of reflection (e.g. immediate, just after, hours/days after, weeks/months after, and continuing over months/years), and models of reflection e.g. Kolb (1984), Dye (2006) and Mezirow (1991) from which she emphasises the need to reflect on content, process and premise.

 In Chapter 7 Cox develops Brookfield’s (1987, 2005) material on critical thinking ‘traditions’ of analytic versus democratic and psychotherapeutic versus constructivist to provide a model of four critical thinking paradigms within a framework of psychological or sociological (vertical axis) and validating or transforming (horizontal axis): these are (top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right) being true to oneself, challenging beliefs, using evidence to make decisions based on existing, challenging what exists.  To assist clients in their critical thinking, Cox reviews how coaches can encourage scepticism, challenge client assumptions and the influence of context, and prompt exploration of alternatives and of the role of client emotions.

 Chapter 8 positions questioning as a contribution to extended cognition, provides a table of 6 stages of “question-driven understanding and learning” (p.107) and proposes that “… question generation is an idiosyncratic and dynamic process – questions are contextual and arise based on the requirements of the current task.” (p.106).  This very thorough chapter also explores: pending questions, answered without being asked; charged questions; open and closed, with open sub-divided into antecedent, consequence, goal orientation, enablement, instrumental-procedural, and expectational (Graesser et al 1995); why questions, and why they may be problematic or helpful; Socratic questions, with a critique on how these are really leading questions and hence inappropriate within coaching; and systemic questioning (Tomm 1988), where Cox gives an illustration of the use of the four types: linear, circular, strategic and reflexive.

 Chapter 9 is titled Being Present, which Cox indicates in her introductory chapter as relating to Post Reflective Thinking and Integrating but which seems to me to apply at all stages and phases because it relates to presence of the coach and client, with mindfulness as one aspect of presence.  There is a useful review of mindfulness – the various ways it has been defined and described, the benefits of it, mindfulness training, and how Cox differentiates it from flow (Csikszentmihalyi 1997).  For presence, Cox also provides a range of definitions and several models such as: Pemberton’s (1976) factors of commitment, focusing, enfolding and extending; Muller’s (2008) themes of reflecting/evaluating, apprehending and relating; and Geller & Greenberg’s (2002) processes of preparing the ground for presence, the process of presence (in each moment) and experiencing presence (immersion, expansion). 

In Chapter 10, Cox continues the focus on Integrating Experience by examining “the complexity of integrating the learning experience… [and] the process of transfer of learning and how it can be enhanced.” (p.138).  She provides a diagram of a ten-step process based on Mezirow’s (1991) steps of transformative learning, plus a chart that reflects level of environmental uncertainty, level of cognitive awareness/rationality, and level of professional experience, to arrive at four manifestations of transfer: rote application, skilled application and expertise, intuition (with its illusion of validity) and sense making/insight (that allows improvisation).  Two strategies are proposed for the coach: intention strategies that “prepare clients for eventualities that may occur in the workplace” (p.149) and include action planning and goal setting, building resources, role plays and rehearsal, scenarios and vicarious experience, and visioning and self-efficacy through remembrance success; and implementation strategies that “support them as they are actually putting their plans into action” (p.149) and include shadowing and accountability, and memory aids and cues.

 The final Chapter 11: Conclusion, draws together the previous chapters and highlights areas for more research.  I quote Cox’s own words as a closing comment: “Throughout this book I have taken a pragmatic approach to understanding coaching.  However, I have only undertaken one part of the pragmatic process.  I have looked at theories, and although I have tried to suggest applications to practice through examples, I have not tested them through research.  I have created here an initial evidence base founded on existing literature, but would invite practitioners and researchers to continue my exploration and extend the findings.  The next phase is for coaches to become pragmatic constructivists, undertaking research into their own practice and contributing to the body of knowledge in the form of ‘practice-based evidence’.  The book is meant to be a springboard for further research into how coaching really works, so that we can continue to explore coaching and understand it in all its richness.” (p.156) 


 Bitbol, M. and Petitmengin, C. (2011). On pure reflection A reply to Dan Zahavi, Journal   of Consciousness Studies, 18(2): 24-37.

Brookfield, S. (1987). Developing critical thinkers: Challenging adults to explore alternative ways of thinking and acting. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Brookfield, S. (2005). The power of critical theory for adult learning and teaching. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

 Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997). Finding Flow: The psychology of engagement with everyday. New York: Basic Books/HarperCollins.

 Depraz, N., Verela, F. and Vermersch, P. (2003). On becoming aware. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.

Dye, D. (2006). Enhancing critical reflection of students during a clinical internship using the self-SOAP note, The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, 3(4). Retrieved 15/11/11/ from

 Geller, S.M. and Greenberg, L.S. (2002). Therapeutic presence: Therapists’ experience of presence in the psychotherapy encounter, Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies, 1(1/2): 71-85. 

Graesser, A.C., Person, N.K. and Magliano, J.P. (1995).  Collaborative dialogue patterns in naturalistic one-to-one tutoring, Applied Cognitive Psychology, 9(6): 495-522.

 Grove, D.J. and Panzer, B.I. (1991). Resolving traumatic memories: metaphors and symbols in psychotherapy. New York: Irvington Publishers.

 Husserl, E. (1952). Ideen III: Die Phänomenologie und die Fundamente der Wissenschaften (translated by T.E. Klein and W.E. Pohl). Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy: Third Book: Phenomenology and the Foundation of the Sciences (Husserliana: Edmund Husserl Collected Works) (Bk.3). Springer. November 30, 2011.

 Kolb, D.A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

 Muller, B.J. (2008). A phenomenological investigation of the music therapist’s experience of being present to clients, Qualitative Inquiries in Music Therapy, 4: 69-111.

Pemberton, B. (1976). The presence of the therapist. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Georgia State University.

 Tomm, K. (1988). Inventive interviewing: Part III, Intending to ask lineal, circular, strategic or reflective questions, Family Process, 27(1): 1-15.

Julie Hay


Coaching and Mentoring: A Critical Text by Simon Western.  Sage Publications Ltd.  2012  336 pages. Paperback  £28.99 ISBN 9781848601642



It is hard to criticise this book because the author tells us that it is a transitional object written alongside his grieving process for his son and mother.  The book also comes with glowing recommendations, including Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, Erik de Haan and David Megginson.  However, to me it felt like a long book that could have been shorter.  Partly this was due to the author’s conversational writing style, partly because of the number of quotations from others, and partly because it seemed like a lengthy justification for the author’s final claim, in the Appendix, to have discovered (invented?) the Holy Grail of coaching. 

This of course is my personal opinion, so I have provided a fairly full account of the contents so you can better judge whether to get your own copy.

Explaining that he will use ‘coaching’ to mean mentoring also, the author sets out his aims as being to account for how coaching has emerged, to develop a meta-theory, offer ‘frames of thinking’ that resource practice, and to apply an emancipatory, ethical and critical approach so practice shifts from technocratic and functional to generative and progressive. 

Situating coaching as a predominantly Westernised phenomenon, he explores the contemporary social dimensions of wounded self and celebrated self between which he believes coaching is positioned.  He critiques both ‘selves’, describing how the psychotherapy focus has led to huge increases in those with “emotional ills”, whilst New Age approaches have created a culture of entitlement.  Coaching has the potential to bridge the gap, although Western worries that increased professionalization will instead lead to instrumentalized practice instead of an emancipatory force. 

The above comes from the Introduction.  Chapters 1 & 2 form Part I of the book. Chapter 1 presents a critical theory approach based on four frames: how emancipatory is coaching; how is depth analysis applied to listen to undercurrents and consider power; the need to ‘look awry’ in order to open up new perspectives; and network analysis to connect coaching to wider macro-social influences.  Western provides a useful table of the four frames, commenting that together they “offer a place to work from an ethical position… beyond the norms… to see things differently, releasing creativity and innovation.” (p.39-40). 

Chapter 2 is about defining and differentiating coaching and mentoring, and the author mentions the EMCC policy of coach/mentoring that I noted was missed when I reviewed Garvey’s book. A typology of mentoring includes mentoring in the USA (called US mentoring but that heading could be read as some kind of relational approach ;-)), informal and formal mentoring, internal and business, reverse or ‘mentoring up’, voluntary, youth and education, and peer mentoring.  The typology of coaching covers sports coaching, life, business, executive, leadership, career, tele-coaching and cyber-coaching, team/group and organisational development coaching.  Near the end, the author comments that this is not a complete review! 

Part II consists of Chapters 3, 4 and 5 and is headed “From Friendship to Coaching: A Brief Genealogy of Coaching.”  Western uses another 3 frames:  Friendship, which he says is “overlooked in the therapeutic and coaching fields as they attempt to differentiate themselves from it” (p.73); Soul Healer, relating to healing the soul/psyche in ways sanctioned by society; and Work Realm, where he suggests coaching may be “responding to the twentieth… rather than the twenty-first century workplace.” (p.73). 

Chapters 3 to 5 consider these three frames from three periods: pre-modern, which he says has much to teach us still; modern, commenting that this era encouraged specialists and experts; and post-modern, where he challenges coaches to challenge norms and offer new dialogues to help individuals hold onto their authenticity. 

Part III addresses the dominant discourses of coaching, which Western identifies as Soul Guide, Psy Expert, Management and Network.  Soul Guide is the focus for Chapter 6, where it is linked to mirror to the soul, epiphany, love, existential self and spirituality.  We are invited to take coaches to an art museum to reflect on who they are, what their place is, and to develop an ethical self.  It is also suggested that coaching might be viewed as a confessional journey which can lead to redemption, forgiveness, absolution, penitence. 

Chapter 7 explains that Psy originates from Rose (1985, 2011) to refer to psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, etc.  Psy Experts “work in the domain of the outward self (italics in original)… the coaching focus… [is] more on personal performance” (p.159).  Western sees this as a product of modernity, as a “further development in the expanding therapeutic regime” (p.163), and as a form of technicians of the psyche.  He refers to the uses of psychometrics, positive psychology, solutions-founded coaching, cognitive behavioural coaching, psychodynamic and humanistic approaches and variously describes Psy Expert coaching as “increasingly instrumental in its use of tools and techniques” (p.173); used to “produce the employees that conform and meet their [organisations] requirements, competencies, values and behaviours” (p.174); “goal focused and behavioural” (p.175); “reductionist, therefore issues that are complex and relational are missed” (p.175). 

The Managerial discourse, covered in Chapter 8, focuses on the person in the role, and on efficiency and output.  Commenting that the recent financial crises lead to Italy and Greece choosing managerialism over democracy when they chose to be governed by technocrats, Western provides a much shorter chapter on this (14 pages compared to 25 for Chapter 6 and 20 for Chapter 7).  He points out that the “welfare and best interests of their coaches, who may be overworked and stressed, may be in direct conflict with the Managerial Discourse that demands increasing workloads to achieve greater efficiency and output.” (p.182). 

Chapter 9 (with 15 pages) appears to be the preferred option as it is introduced as “an emergent coaching discourse that captures the Zeitgeist of our times… reflects the increasingly connected world…” (p.193).  It reflects “those coaches who are looking beyond reductionist thinking… a more holistic approach fitting with the contemporary changes.” (p.195). Quantum physics, environmental awareness, technological advances, globalisation, digital labour and techno-capitalism are cited as reasons for coaches to “guide, facilitate and sometimes cajole leaders to analyse ethics, power and resources” (p.198), to utilise systems coaching approaches and psychodynamic approaches a la Tavistock – even if these might have an undercurrent of pathologising that Western complained about in other Psy approaches. 

Chapter 10 provides an overview of the previous 4 chapters, and introduces some ‘maps’ that link the various discourses in terms of knowledge versus wisdom and social versus individual, and then shows how four coaching types fit between the four coaching discourses, with the caveat that there are as many variations as there are coaches and the recommendation that we “expand coaching to encompass the four discourses” (p.219). 

Chapters 11 to 14 are Part IV, about the future of coaching.  In Chapter 11, Western agrees with Garvey (2009) that more theory is needed, both predictive and explanatory.  He identifies three key challenges to be overcome: practitioner anti-theoretical stance; having diverse existing theories that should not all be included; and the danger that the closed system findings of evidence-based practice are not appropriate to open, human systems. 

Chapter 12 refers again to the Network discourse, this time as a way to address the macro-social elements of the needed meta-theory, although all four discourses are seen as relevant to develop the micro-practice of such a theory.  Coaching is described as a ‘point de capiton’ (Lacan 1993), or an anchor point that will hold together the four discourses and all they signify. 

Chapter 13 outlines the current state of play of coaching education, the Paternal-Maternal-Paternal developed by the author (and summarised as Build a Safe Space, Emotions & Thinking, Thinking to Action), and eight principles of a coaching pedagogy: human experience, self-knowing, emancipation, ethics and critical thinking, learning from experience, observation and practice, learning from each other, learning from play, robust theory, and portfolio assessment.  There are also ideas on how to train coaches to work within and across the four discourses, plus a suggestion that we follow the traditions of spiritual formation of monks. 

Chapter 14 is titled Epilogue.  Western points out that the desirability of untidy endings, stresses the need to free associate and offers some of his own, and suggests that as workplaces have replaced the Church and social clubs, we will need ‘communities of virtue’ with coaches as “potential carriers of culture… [who] can inspire and support, offering thinking spaces and critical reflection…” (p.297)

Finally, an Appendix outlines the Analytic-Network Coaching © that is the approach being used and developed by the author (and is also the name of his company) and which he claims is “theoretically robust… [and] has the breath of approach that transcends the limitations of many coaching approaches.” (p.299).


Garvey,B., Stokes, P. and Megginson, D. (2009) Coaching and Mentoring: Theory and Practice. London: Sage

Lacan, J. (1993) The Seminar. Book III. The Psychoses, 1955-56 (Russell Grigg, trans.). London: Routledge

Rose, N. (1985) The Psychological Complex: Psychology, Politics and Society in England. 1869-1939. London: Routledge

Rose, N. (2011) Power in Therapy: Techne and Ethos [Online].  Available at (accessed 28 July 2011) 

Julie Hay



The Little Book of Dyslexia (Both Sides of the Classroom) by Joe Beech, Edited by Ian Gilbert.  Published by the independent Thinking Press.  Available from Crown House Publications ISBN 13: 9781781350102.  Hardback.  128 pages.  £9.99

This book rings true on every page.

Written by a dyspraxic  dyslexic, who now teaches, it is packed with useful strategies for coping with the school environment and beyond. It traces the path of the dyslexic child and its experience through diagnosis, early years, primary and secondary schooling and into and beyond higher education.

The non-dyslexic parent or teacher will have their eyes opened on the world of the dyslexic and begin to understand the difficulties of the dyslexic learner.  Equally importantly, it clearly demonstrates those strategies which will help to make learning productive and enjoyable. Nowadays a wealth of technology exists to assist within school environments and for the home user ; the various aids and programmes are explained with clarity and relevant websites given for follow-up research.

The Little Book of Dyslexia is highly accessible, almost colloquial in its approach, and organised to make it easy to find information relevant for the individual reader. Dyslexia itself is explained with cogency and personal narrative underpins both the explanations and the recommended pathways of support.

It is a welcome addition to the more serious books on the subject and should be in every staffroom in the country.

Jean Edwards


The British Constitution by Martin Loughlin.  Published by Oxford University Press in their Very Short Introduction series. 2013.  135 pages.  ISBN 978-0-19-969769-4.  Paperback £7.99

When I was studying for my Inter BSc (Econ) examination at Regent Street Polytechnic in the immediate post-World War II period, one of the idiosyncrasies of our British Constitution  teacher ("Tinny" Newman) was to have us all copy the copious class notes on the subject that had been handed down from generation to generation of previous classes.  Presumably he had, in the mists of earlier time, dictated or issued the first set of notes and mysteriously they seem not to have suffered (à la Chinese Whispers) over the intervening decades.  He used the same procedure for Economic Theory and Economic History for which subjects he was also the form teacher.  The notes were brilliant.  They should have been published.  I typed mine up and bound the typewritten sheets. They served me well then and subsequently throughout university. 

I think if Martin Loughlin's short introduction [and in common with most of this series, it is neither as short nor as incomplete a study of its subject as the series title would have us believe] had been available when the first generation of Mr Newman's pupils joined him, he might not have troubled to produce his excellent notes.  Well, of course, I exaggerate, because Mr Loughlin's intention is to enlighten the general public rather than instruct serious students of the subject..  But it is not wildly fanciful, and if the book had been available to me in that  post-war period, it would hardly have replaced Bagehot, but might very well have complemented Greaves and Jennings.

If, therefore, you are a member of that "general public" whose desire is to enhance your knowledge of a subject, without going into too much detail, or to whet your appetite for a subject prior to studying it in greater depth - and if the British Constitution is one of those subjects that grabs your fancy, I thoroughly recommend that you place this small book in your inside breast pocket or your handbag, and enjoy!  Certainly I have enjoyed updating my understanding of how - in particular - cabinet government has changed since my uni days of half a century ago.

Considering that the British Constitution is supposed to be "unwritten" and that Alexi de Tocqueville held in the 19th century that "la constitution britannique n'existe pas", it is amazing just how much has been written about it.  Far more, I would suggest, than has been written about the more formal, codified, constitutions of, e.g. France and the United States.  Yet both of these are based on what Montesquieu, a century earlier,  regarded as the perfect blueprint for a constitution; above all the separation of powers and the rule of law - although the rigidity of the US constitution may have something to do with a misinterpretation of the French, since Montesquieu was writing about the distribution of powers rather than the separation of powers.

However Mr Loughlin's aim is really to show just how the Constitution has changed under the various State and political pressures to which it has been subjected and, while he has also described succinctly and well the British Constitution as it was known in the handwritten notes of "Tinny" Newman's pupils, he has gone much further and produced a very interesting "read".  My personal fascination has been to discover the pace of change in the British Constitution in the past half-century after more than 100 years of relatively little disturbance to the situation described by that great English constitutionalist Walter Bagehot in the 19th century.  Much of it, of course, deriving from our closer relationship with Europe through membership of the European Union.  Fascinating, too, is the way in which the role of Prime Minister has changed, from primus inter pares to an almost presidential role, with suitable reference in this book to Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.

And here I should stop before this review becomes longer than the Short Introduction on which it is based.  It was good to know that Loughlin is Professor of Public Law at my alma mater, the LSE.  And he deals more than adequately with such historical constitutionalists as Edmund Burke, Albert Venn Dicey, Walter Bagehot, William Blackstone and the Baron de Montesquieu.   Alas there is no mention of "Tinny" Newman.

Sep Mayer

Malthus by Donald Winch.  Published by Oxford University Press in their Very Short Introduction series. 2013.  122 pages.  ISBN 978-0-19-967041-3.  Paperback £7.99


China maintains a policy of one child per family. .This policy was introduced in 1978 in order to "alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems" and there are claims that it has prevented more than 250 million births between 1980 and 2000, and 400 million births subsequently.

This policy and the draconian measures by which the Chinese authorities are purported to impose it, seem to follow a fairly direct line from the predictions made 200 years earlier by Thomas Robert Malthus.

It was with the anticipation that Donald Winch's book would be concerned with the relevance of Malthus's Essay on Population today in the light of such measures being taken and alarums being sounded, that I prepared to review this volume in the admirable Very Short Introductions series of OUP. My expectation was that the book would immediately acknowledge the fact that Malthus - maligned as he was as a prophet of a doom that never came to pass because it failed (inevitably) to take account of economic and social changes subsequent to his writing - has, in recent decades, been more than adequately justified.

Well, I was quickly disabused, but far from disappointed. Winch's excellent little book (and the adjective is not meant disparagingly but admiringly) covers the entire province of Malthus's life, writings, and influence - both in his own time and subsequently.  Right up to the present day, where his theories and conclusions are still debated, even in respect of the Chinese birth control methods mentioned above.  Indeed  I had to await the concluding chapter to discover that "one has to "separate Malthus the moralist from Malthus the social scientist". [and]  ". . .  Having rearranged the intellectual landscape . ..  it is then possible to consider Malthus's merits and demerits as a guide to the problems of his own day and our's . . ."

The book begins with an examination of the factors upon which his reputation is based, then a review of his life, including those political and literary figures by whom he was influenced as well as those who were affected by him. The author considers that "the character and nature of the man", to be revealed in this short biographical section of the book, are essential to an appreciation of "the ensuing treatment of his opinions". Thereafter, the major part of the book is concerned with his writings, particularly his Essay on Population and his Principles of Political Economy.

The last sentence of the biography section asks the intriguing question: "How did this obscure and mild-mannered curate come to be the author of a work that was to scandalize so many people?"

Malthus, who has come to be regarded as the first of the philosophical radicals, was influenced by Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations.  He also had considerable admiration for Godwin's Political Justice as well as Condorcet's Progrès de l'esprit humain. .In turn, he influenced Charles Darwin who found that the theory of population propounded by Malthus supported his own findings in the area of natural selection. A century later he exerted a significant influence on the theories expounded by John Maynard Keynes in his General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.

The book gives an excellent description of the years-long debate between Malthus and Ricardo who was another of the school of philosophical radicals (or Benthamites, as they are sometimes known) deriving from Malthus's Inquiry into the Nature and Progress of Rent, a debate which in some respects continues to the present day.  This was conducted in the shadow of the notorious Corn Laws, Malthus being in favour of their retention and Ricardo - a proponent of free trade - supporting their abolition. But although the debate on this subject and  others lasted for several years, it was always conducted in a friendly academic spirit.  Keynes has sided with the Malthusian view, and this is unsurprising given that Malthus anticipated the Keynsian approach to over-production and over-investment, as well as the cyclical model of economic growth.  Nowadays there is believed to be more of Malthus in the General Theory than Keynes himself was aware of.  Some modern commentators have also suggested that Malthus' theories have more in common with Keynes Treatise on Money than his General Theory.

But it was his theory of population growth and its gloomy predictions of doom for which Malthus remains most famous. He maintained that population growth, if unchecked, proceeds in geometrical ratio whereas subsistence increases in arithmetical ratio.  Inevitably the world will ultimately be unable to feed its people with resultant famine and pestilence.  There was, of course, ample reason for gloomy prognostication at the time Malthus wrote. It was set against the political and economic conditions of the French Revolution and the subsequent Napoleonic Wars.  His only solution was to keep population from expanding in three ways: moral restraint, vice and misery.

He believed that the family size of the lower class ought to be regulated such that poor families do not produce more children than they can support.   His fears did not materialise because he had no way to take account of the technological developments that both increased food supply and provided the means to transport it from areas of abundance to areas of need.  However, errors in  past beliefs do not invalidate new predictions today and in many parts of the world Malthus's forecasts are reasserting themselves.

At the end of the day it may still be the types of measure adopted by nations such as China to reduce population growth to environmentally acceptable limits of sustainable population growth, or even negative population growth, that will  provide the greatest testament to the far-sightedness of Thomas Robert Malthus.

Sep Mayer


A Slap in the Face by William B. Irvine.  Published by Oxford University Press.  ISBN 978-0-19-993445-4.  Hardback. 253 pages.   £14.99

Cover for 
A Slap in the Face

Over the years, there have been a plethora of books on the subject of insults, ranging in size from the Little Book of Insults, through the Giant Book of Insults to the Mammoth Book of Insults.  Several of them have found their way onto my bookshelves to nestle – slightly uncomfortably – between such works of quotations as the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, the Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations, The Oxford Dictionary of Aphorisms, Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, and many others.  I’m an inveterate hoarder of books.  They should have been discarded years ago, to join the thousands of other copies available on the shelves of just about every charity shop in the land, but I can never bring myself to dispose of anything in print.

They make ideal Christmas presents.  Accordingly they are displayed prominently in the stacks of shopping mall bookstores several weeks before Christmas, to be removed to adjacent stacks a week or two later, having been appropriately re-labelled “special offer”, and thence to the aforementioned charity shops.

So why did I undertake to produce a review of a book that – on the surface – appears to be just another “book of insults”?

Well because, despite appearances, this is precisely what it is not.  It is, in fact, a sociological-cum-philosophical study of the beginnings of insults, the forms they have taken, and their social significance.  Irvine has throughout the book included examples of appropriate insults to illustrate his theories, and I am sure it is a useful interpretation of social history and mores.

For me, however, the language was somewhat turgid and the book did not come to life.  This may be because the writer is an eminent academic in the field of philosophy and, while I am sure the book will form a valuable addition to anyone wishing to study this area of social mores in depth, I had been anticipating a lighter read - going by the title and the blurb - that I was denied.

Don't let that put you off.  A lot of people will enjoy the book, just as a lot of people enjoy playing golf, for which I share Mark Twain's (insulting) opinion.  So for me this book was a good read spoiled.

Since I can never discard a book, it will now grace my bookshelves where it will undoubtedly feel much at home in the social history section, snuggling up against E.S. Turner's Boys Will be Boys on one side and Harry Hopkins' The New Look on the other.


Joe Sinclair


Rhetoric by Richard Toye.  A Very Short Introduction published by Oxford University Press.  122 pages.  Paperback £7.99.   ISBN 978-0-19-965136-8

Rhetoric: A Very Short Introduction

I’m glad I did not follow my first inclination to give up the task of reviewing this book when I read a full page of Acknowledgements at the beginning of a work of little more than 100 pages, and particularly when it included a “rhetorical” reason for NOT acknowledging the “non-existent” contribution of his two sons “on grounds of youth”.   It was almost like experiencing one of the embarrassing acceptance speeches at an Academy Award ceremony.

But perseverance ultimately paid off.

Most of my mistaken preconceptions were quickly disposed of.  Indeed, many of them before I had reached the end of the 6-page introduction.

The remaining 100 pages of narrative proved to be a very exciting read, because Toye has combined a general introduction to rhetoric from the Greeks up to the present day with an eye on the academic reader (somewhat unlike the majority of Very Small Introduction titles I have reviewed in the past), providing occasional exercises (in the author's words) "which can be used either in the classroom or for 'thought experiments' by individual readers."   In addition he has provided highlighted quotations or explanations of the particular subject matter of that section that are highly illuminating.

Furthermore, when one considers the addition of numerous cartoons and other illustrations that perfectly and in some cases, amusingly complement the text, as well as providing excellent notes for further study and further reading, one can only be amazed at how this was all encompassed within the framework of a 122 page book.

The four main chapters of the book are: From the Greeks to Gladstone, The scaffolding of rhetoric, Approaches to rhetoric, and Rhetoric in the modern world.  Toye identifies the importance of rhetoric (per se) as starting with the Sophists in Athens in the second half of the fifth century BCE, although accounts of public speaking pre-date this.  The Sophists were, however, "the first self-styled professionals".  He then proceeds via Plato, Socrates and Aristotle to arrive at the Roman inheritance of the Greek tradition, with Cicero (106-43 BCE) as a major exponent.  "In Cicero's world the Republican political elite used oratory at public meetings as a means to boost their power." (p.16)  One is tempted to say "so what else is new?"

The chapter continues through mediaeval and renaissance times, the Enlightenment, Revolution, via a final section entitled The rhetoric of mass democracy to the "Grand Old Man" of nineteenth century English politics, William Ewart Gladstone whose "techniques were evidence of his rabble-rousing demagoguery".

Chapter two gives a deferential nod to (conceivably) the twentieth century's most outstanding rhetor, Winston Spencer Churchill, by heading it with a phrase of Churchill's own. In an unpublished article of 1897, entitled The scaffolding of rhetoric, Churchill wrote: "Of all the talents bestowed upon men, none is so precious as the gift of oratory"  A very suitable title you might think. I was, however, a bit disappointed that Toye gave so little space to Mr Churchill's rhetorical abilities, other than to describe the "breakdown" that caused him to discontinue impromptu oratory for a written text. (p.42)

In this chapter the author states that "in order to be successful, a speaker need not necessarily have a lot in common with the audience" (p.50) and this statement is very amusingly illustrated later by a cartoon of a speaker on a public rostrum, with bystanders saying "Good God!  He's giving the white collar voters' speech to the blue collars.". The chapter describes "five canons":of rhetoric: invention/discovery, arrangement, style, memory, delivery. Later Toye describes "The three appeals" to ethos, pathos, or logos - derived from categories identified by Aristotle.  I was fascinated to see how Toye uses these "appeals" to influence his students.  Almost a variation on a popular quote, viz: "he who can teaches; he who cannot does."

Chapter three impressed me with the further illustration of Richard Toye's ability to balance the academic with the popular appeal.  It starts with a description of a scene in a Hitchcock movie (The 39 Steps - and I was delighted to see that he had chosen the 1935, Robert Donat, version -  my favourite!) to demonstrate how "words acquire meaning from the circumstances in which they are delivered." (p59)  The subsequent exercise is based on St. Francis of Assissi's Sermon to the Birds. Quite a leap, you might think.  (Or was he still thinking of Hitchcock?) The chapter concludes with a very detailed section on how to conduct a rhetorical analysis.

The final chapter on rhetoric in the modern world again starts somewhat light-heartedly with a comparison of the inaugural addresses of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, pointing up the tremendous advantages to the modern rhetor of electronic and technological advances.. In the section on The rhetorical history of World War II Toye refers to Winston Churchill [see my earlier comment starting "Chapter two"] where he acknowledges Churchill's "gifted oratorical leadership", but suggests that "it would be wrong to place excessive explanatory power on the talents of one man". (p.86)  I venture to suggest that much of the difference between Toye's and my view derives from the difference in our ages.  I was a schoolboy when Churchill delivered his speeches and listened to every one of them - in common, I would hazard, with virtually everyone in possession of a wireless set (as we called it then).  The effect on morale is indescribable.  Perhaps the passage of time has provided historians with an opportunity to put it into more realistic and less sentimental perspective.  But I'd like to think not.  I'd like to cling to my mawkish memories.

The book ends with a proposed exercise to “conduct a rhetorical analysis of this book”.  It seems to me that this is what I started out to do in this review.  I hope that I did not fall into the trap of maintaining that attitude, and that readers of my review will be encouraged to read the book and devise their own rhetorical analyses.


Joe Sinclair


Encyclopedia of the Mind by Harold Pashler, (ed.)   Print ISBN: 9781412950572 | Online ISBN: 9781452257044| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.  Sage Publications, Inc.


This ambitious volume covers 293 topics arranged alphabetically, on topics as diverse as 'Access Consciousness' and 'Working Memory in Language Processing'.

There are no entries after the letter 'W', which at first seems puzzling because one might anticipate entries such as 'Xenophobia' and 'Zoophobia'. Fortunately these omissions are explained, although not specifically, in the entry 'Affective Forecasting'.

 "The capacity to make such affective forecasts stems from humans' exceptional ability to step back from their present experience and mentally travel through time to re-live or “pre-live” personal events. However, our emotional projections can often be biased. This entry introduces the notion of forecasting errors and the two main reasons behind them."

 Forecasting errors assume lots of different forms. One  fundamental source of forecasting error lies in the failure to appreciate the power of context. This was my error!

 This isn't a work about psychopathology, but rather about labels applied to descriptions of the ways our minds work. However, I must qualify this by stating that there are entries which touch on psychopathology, such as the one on 'Anxiety Disorders'.

 On the whole the editor Harold Pashler does a good job in collecting the writings of disparate specialists in psychology under one umbrella. Inevitably such a work is conservative in its nature. For example the entry 'Time Perception' has a bias toward a Cartesian view of time, omitting any reference to more recent paradigms such as those of Noetics.

That said, were I still employed in the field of psychology I would value access to this work, either as a hard copy, or in the on-line version.

  Stephen Bray

Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine & Health byJames M. Rippe, (ed.) Print ISBN: 9781412950237 | Online ISBN: 9781412994149| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.


This is a significant and important reference for healthcare professionals. General practitioners, and practice nurses come immediately to the forefront of my mind when thinking about who may benefit from access to this volume. It's also a good starting point for those wishing to explore the medical efficacy of certain forms of exercise, or lifestyle.

I enjoyed the down to earth, yet comprehensive, descriptions on topics such as: 'Aerobic ', Breakfast and Health', 'Caffeine', 'Car Safety for Infants and Children', 'Cereals Breakfast', 'Chewing Gum', 'Fad Diets', 'Food Allergy', 'Grains, Whole and Refined', 'Imagery in Sport Performance', 'Mediterranean Diet', 'Motivational Interviewing', 'Nutrition in Cancer', 'Nutrition for Children', 'Nuts', 'Obesity Risk Factors in Children and Adolescents', 'Omega-3 Fatty Acids', 'Organic Foods', 'Preventing Traffic Injuries', 'Recreational Activity, Dietary Intake, and Weight Management', 'Sleep', 'Snacks', 'Successful Aging', 'Traditional Medical Systems: Origin and Global Spread', 'Vegan Diets', and 'Vegetarian Diets'.

Indeed these entries might have been written for a parent, or other conscientious family member.

 'Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine & Health' has many more specialised entries, such as those on: 'Adipose Tissue', 'Spinal Cord Injury', 'Amino Acids in Nutrition and Metabolism', 'Ankylosing Spondylitis', 'Bariatric Surgery in Obesity Treatment', 'Cancer, Behaviour, Diet, and Exercise, Epidemiology Of', 'Cardiovascular Fitness: Maximal Oxygen Intake Measurement and its Significance', 'Cholesterol, Dyslipidemia, and Lifestyle', 'Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease', 'Cognitive Function and Physical Activity in Children', 'Diabetes, Insulin Resistance, and Visceral Adiposity', 'Drug Interactions and Functional Status in Older Adults', 'Energy Metabolism and Thermogenesis in Human Obesity', 'Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease', 'Hypertension: Lifestyle in Etiology, Prevention, and Management', 'Mechanisms of Change and Adherence in Physical Activity and Exercise', 'Multidimensional Functional Assessment', 'Oxidative Stress', 'Psychosocial Influences on Physical Activity and Exercise', 'Resistance Training and Immune Response', 'Statins' and 'Youth Risk Behaviour Surveillance System'. These firmly position it in the market place for health care professionals, who have the required training to understand the topic headings.

 To be fair many, but not all, of these more technical entries are written in a clear home-spun manner that would be clear to a country doctor practicing in the mid-west 100, or so years ago.

Digging deeper, I have some quibbles with some of the entries. The entry 'Beef', for example begins: "Probably no other single food evokes such discussion and controversy as does beef. When this began is difficult to determine accurately, but recommendations to reduce “red meat” consumption, which principally meant beef, became more commonplace in the late 1970s. Much of the discussion about beef dealt with its perceived contribution to fat, primarily the saturated kind, in the diet. Without question, beef from the past—through the way it was produced and merchandised—had excessive fat. Since the 1970s, changes in genetics, management, marketing, and merchandising have resulted in the leanest beef ever produced."

 Exploring further into this entry one finds that the source of this, and similar assertions originate from 'The National Cattlemen's Beef Association' and organization which states on its web site: "Through three mergers, numerous organizational splits, economic busts, natural disasters, world wars, changing political views and evolving consumer wants, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association has persevered as the voice of the American beef industry." Similarly, some of the entries on dairy products also reference the 'National Dairy Council', an organization claiming impartiality but which states clearly on its web site: "Decades of nutrition research have clearly established the health benefits associated with adults and children consuming three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, or yogurt." In an age when many cows rely upon injections of antibiotics, which in turn gets into the human food chain, I wonder who funded that research?

 Despite such criticisms, which in my view weaken the text and lead one to believe that the editor is keen, or under pressure, to adhere to the dominant paradigms of lifestyle health, this is a good reference work. Every doctors surgery should have one of these, and with a little simplification and editing in the headings it would also be a useful adjunct on the family bookshelf.

 Stephen Bray

Cultural Sociology of Divorce: An Encyclopaedia by Robert E. Emery, (Ed.) Print ISBN: 9781412999588 | Online ISBN: 9781452274447| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.


There are 426 headings in this volume, which may seem an indication of the changes in divorce in the context of history over time, but in fact the entries are expanded by the listing of customs in different countries. There are also listings applicable to different religious faiths.

In my parent's day, in England, to be divorced was rare, and to be avoided, although people did separate and some lived with partners other than their spouses. It's clear from reading a 'Cultural Sociology of Divorce' that this remains the case in many traditional cultures.

The impact of the society into which one is born, and the religious customs of that culture cannot be minimised. The Roman Catholic church, for example, doesn't recognise divorce regardless of its status in civil law. In recent times the Church has tended to annul more marriages than was so in the past. Buddhism, however, regards marriage as strictly a civil matter and in some branches priests are not allowed to officiate at ceremonies. Islam encourages marriage, but has always permitted divorce in certain circumstances. As far as I could see, broadly from studying this volume, no religion encourages divorce and all extol similar values for leading a healthy moral and spiritual life. 

Aside from such religious differences, and the ways countries such as, for example, Burkina Faso treat divorce differently from Djibouti or Kazakhstan, there are many other headings left to explore. Many of these have practical implications such as: 'Abandonment: Children's Fears', 'Absentee Parents', 'Abuse of Children', 'Age at Marriage', 'Alcoholism', 'At-fault Divorce', 'Attachment to Former Partner', 'Blended and Bi-nuclear Families', 'Celebrity Divorces', 'Child Custody', 'Child Support', 'Children Blaming Themselves For Divorce', 'Children's Legal Rights', 'Cohabitation Before Marriage', 'Costs of Divorce', 'Deadbeat parents', 'Debt Division', 'Depression in Divorced Adults', 'Electronic Divorce', 'Empty-Shell Marriages', 'Family Systems Theory', 'Gender and Divorce Law', 'Glamorisation of Divorce', 'Grandparent's Legal Rights', 'Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce', 'Internet as a Cause of Divorce', 'Kinship and Foster-Care', 'Late-life Divorce', 'Life Expectancy', 'Loneliness', 'Low Income: Risk of Divorce', Marriage Multiracial', 'Marriage Multicultural', 'Men as Initiators of Divorce', 'Midlife Crisis', 'No Fault Divorce', 'Parental Dating', 'Polyamory', 'Polygamy', 'Prenuptial Agreements', 'Property Distribution', 'Risk Factors', 'Simplified Divorce', 'Spousal Support and Alimony', 'Step-parents Custody Rights', 'Therapeutic Divorce', and 'Visitation Rights'.

 Then there are sections history including headings on 'Roman Empire', 'Origins of Divorce', 'Law  Comparative Perspectives', and 'Historical Figures and Divorce'.

 All in all it's a broad mix of topics in a work ideally suited to those doing further research. Journalists preparing articles for publication in specialist magazines, or students of such topics as family law, family therapy and counselling will appreciate its detail.

 Stephen Bray

Researching Gender  by Christina Hughes, in 4 volumes. 1592 pages.  Hardcover.   ISBN 9781446248744.  £600.00. Published by Sage Publications Ltd.


Christina Hughes is Pro-Vice Chancellor of Warwick University.  As Professor of Women and Gender, her research is firmly based in feminist issues and methodologies. This major work is a four volume collection of 79 feminist research papers published between 1983, (Mary Hawkesworth,Hand, Brain, and Heart: A Feminist Epistemology for the Natural Sciences)and 2011, (Rachel Cohen,‘The Methodological Impact of Feminism: A Troubling Issue for Sociology?’ ).

As a woman who is not a feminist, I found the title misleading as it might more clearly have been entitled, ‘Gendered Research’.  I had eagerly anticipated reading the latest research into the physical, cultural and emotional expression of gender along the vast continuum of possible gender identities through straight male and female to homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer, which are not simply sexual referents.  But I found myself undergoing a crash course in feminism and epistemology. More careful reading of the cover announced it as one of a series of Sage Fundamentals of Applied Research. The introduction revealed a study of research methodologies, largely from a range of feminist points of view and concerning mainly feminine experiences.  In fact it forms a very comprehensive literature review of changing feminist opinion about the nature of knowledge and the validity of research methods, standpoints and interpretation over the last 30 years. 

Volume I: Situated Knowers and Feminist Standpoint 

Plato said that knowledge is not valid unless it is true, justified and believed. Situated knowledge is different according to its context.  Religious knowledge differs from scientific knowledge which in turn differs from historical knowledge. 

Feminist standpoint theory assumes that since women are positioned outside the hierarchy of social power, they are privileged to have access to ‘objective truth’ rather than the ‘accepted truth’ that Marx claimed was formed by a ruling class. Sandra Harding and Nancy Hartsock were key figures in developing feminist epistemology, standpoint theory and the multicultural study of science, as well as demanding stronger standards for objectivity, themes which constantly cross and recross in all four volumes of this collection. 

Volume II: Representation, Voice and Intersectionality 

These papers carry standpoint theory into postmodernism and post-structuralist thinking, arguing that identities are defined socially by means of signs, language and discourse.  Because of this, research often silences many of the varied viewpoints it is intended to elicit. Not only differences between men and women, but differences among women and within individuals which intersect and enrich objective truth, are often excluded by rigorous and over-simplified research methods.  Intersectionality embraces all the aspects of  gender, social location, ethnicity, religion, and age.

Debates centre on the authenticity of voices not normally expressed through language or positions that cannot be expressed nor understood from outside, and on the exclusion of experience that does not fit parameters designed by research methodologies.  For example, in ‘Responding to the Imperatives of an Indigenous Agenda: A Case Study of Maori’, Linda Tuhiwai Smith (1999) argues that the Maori people should lead in their own research as they harbour a resentment of research processes that are seen as colonial in origin and detract from their self-esteem and self-determination.  

Volume III: Strong Objectivity and Feminist Empiricism 

Objectivity is argued to be the representation of masculine, quantitative and empirical ways of knowing which are unsuitable for reporting feminine ways of knowing.  Strong objectivity is achieved by submitting research to scrutiny by the subjects of that research.  

Although, arguably, feminist research methodology such as narrative, discourse, participant observance and ethnography, loses credibility by resistance to statistical analysis, Oakley, (1998), there is really only one essential to feminist research, that it is done by women.  Kwan (2002) encourages feminists to get involved in seeking change by involvement in data-led technology, identifying trends and supporting feminist objectives in such fields as health, Perry (1994) geographic information, and public policy, Fonow and Cook, (2005)  

Volume IV: Researching Bodies, Emotions and New Materialisms 

This final volume broadens the horizons of feminist research to embrace the emotional affect of research on both researcher and subject, the effect of research on material reality, and the need for feminist researchers to engage with new worlds in fantasy, Rice (2009), cyberspace, Wilson (2009), and quantum phenomena, Barad (2007). 

The entire work traces the evolution of feminist research from disaffected, theoretical data collection, to the emotional and material realities of involvement, mutual affect and social, material and political impact on ontology, or the nature of being.

 Sylvia Farley

The Magic of NLP Demystified  by Bryan Lewis, 197 pages. Paperback.   ISBN 9781845908034, 1845908031. £16.99 . Published by Crown House Publishing.   Also available in kindle version.



This will be a useful book for beginners, although if you already have the earlier version, you will find that it is almost identical apart from the addition of Michael Hall’s (1995/2002) work on extending the Meta Model.  Also, this time the author is Byron Lewis only whereas previously Frank Pucelik was co-author.

As I read, some of the comments about the previous book were confusing, such as when I read in the Notes to the Preface that “This revised edition is the first that actually involved the authors.  Previous 'revised' editions were created by the previous publisher without any input whatsoever from me or Frank, and as far as we can tell, the only actual revision made was to the title which now includes the words 'of NLP' after magic.” (p. vii).  This sentence puzzled me so I looked on the Internet for the previous publisher, Metamorphous Press, and it seems to have gone out of business although various bookstores are still offering earlier editions.  Nowhere on the Internet could I see references to a second edition other than this one, so I wonder whether what Lewis now refers to as revisions were actually simply reprints, albeit with a title change to add in NLP at one point. 

What is useful is that the book is now available again, in e-reader format as well as paperback, even though it is somewhat confusingly copyrighted by the author as 1990 and 2012.  It is of course of a much higher quality than previously, in terms of paper used, layout and font, although when it came to the appendices I found it irritating that the Representational System Bias Test now has its answer scoring on a separate page to that where you have to fill in the totals, so that you have to keep turning the page backwards and forwards; and the Communication Categories Model is likewise spread over more pages than it needs to be, so that the patterns for Visual and Kino appear across two pages whereas on the original version these were on one page, with the patterns for Tonal and Digital on the facing page, so that you could see all 4 patterns at a glance.

Apart from adding the Hall material, the Chapter headings are almost the same as before; the illustrations are also the same, including two that I particularly liked: a direction sign that reads one Way but has arrows pointing in both directions (p.ii); and a road sign that says Caution and underneath it, Generalisations Ahead (P.56).  The diagram showing the constraints that affect the construction of our models of the world is the same, and useful, showing how the external stimulations of tastes/smells and sounds are processed through feelings and then sight, via neurological constraints as a VKAOg 4-Tupple, on through social constraints into internally created experiences and individual constraints, and finally into memory box.  Other useful illustrations present short comic strip items that help to explain the text.  The visual illustrations seemed particularly relevant bearing in mind that Lewis concentrates on Visuals and Digitals, with the latter having the whole content of the book to suit them.

For those of you without access to the first edition, the book has four main chapters, each divided into many sections.  Chapter 1 looks at the use of models; the neurological basis for them; the well-known NLP ‘rules’ of Generalisation, Deletion and Distortion; gaining rapport and being understood; and the neurological, perceptual, social and individual constraints on our model-making.  Lewis includes explanation of neural impulses within the brain and how selective attention works.

Chapter 2 is entitled The Communication Categories Model and includes an explanation of representational systems and predicate preferences and how to use our knowledge of these.  Posture and body cues are also provided for the four systems, which Lewis labels as Visuals, Kinos, Tonals and Digitals, although elsewhere in the book he still refers to auditory (and kinaesthetic) categories.  In this chapter he also links the four systems to Satir’s (1972) stances, suggesting that: visuals take on an aggressive stance like ‘blamer’; kinos operate as ‘placaters’; digitals cross their arms and avoid eye contact like ‘computers’; and tonals may assume the role of ‘distracters’.  Lewis reminds us of Satir’s point that there is often a difference between what the body signals and what is actually going on inside.

Chapter 3 is a detailed description of the Meta Model, explaining it as a digital representational system and linking it to transformational grammar.  Lewis then provides the customary list of the various items under the headings of Gathering Information e.g. referential index, nominalisations; Expanding Limits e.g. modal operators, universal quantifiers; Changing Meanings e.g. mind reading, cause-and-effect; what he refers to as The Hall Extensions e.g. over/under defined terms, multiordinality, etc; and finally Metaphors.  Each item is explained and there are useful examples of what they sound like and how a therapist might respond.  The Summary of this chapter is particularly useful as a checklist for the first three headings and their basic response questions.

Chapter 4 is entitled The Visual Model and explains the visual system in the brain, what happens to our pupils and how to interpret eye movements.  Lewis writes that these can “. . . provide information about how an individual is thinking . . . assist you in determining the meaning of certain patterns of behaviour . . . more easily facilitate the rapport and trust important to effective communication . . . be used at any time during the course of an interview, therapy session, or any setting . . .”   (p. 162)   He does, however, comment that there are still questions about the validity of the model and the reader should follow the relevant developments in research.

The author comments in his Foreword dated 1979 that “while the goal of this book is to present models of basic Meta principles that underlie the “magic” of effective change-oriented communication, it is essential to keep in mind how important it is to remain open to experience in order to prevent becoming trapped or limited by a model.” (p.ii). In my view, the book achieves that goal as it does give a very clear, accessible introduction to representational systems and the Meta Model.  The author also reminds us frequently that we should keep an open mind and accept that individual people will not fit strictly into models.


Hall, L M (1995/2002) Meta States: Managing the Higher Levels of Your Mind’s Reflexivity. Clifton, CO: Neuro-Semantics Publications

Satir, V (1972) Peoplemaking. Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior Books

Julie Hay


The Psychology of Close Relationships By Harry T.Reis. (Editor)   Hardcover  2,160 pages in 5 volumes.  ISBN: 978144208816.  Price £825.  Published by Sage Publications Ltd.



 In 1889 Sigmund Freud studied with Dr. Hippolyte Bernheim a French physician who had taken up hypnotism. In one of their experiments, which has since been repeated many times, it was suggested to people that when they awoke from a trance, at a pre-arranged signal, they would open an umbrella in the room. 

When asked why they had done so all had different explanations, but none stated that they had been hypnotized. Instead they said 'I wanted to see to whom it belonged' or, 'I wanted to make sure it was working correctly', and a host of other reasons. 

Freud concluded that people have needs and motivations about which they are completely unconscious, yet affect their everyday behaviours

This is the beginning of the concept that has become to be known as 'the unconscious', which sounds like an ominous force that rules our lives, but truly simply refers to information we know at one level and is unavailable to our awareness. We might say that events happen because they happen, and then we go on to make up theories and stories to explain them. 

It's because people don't really know why they do things, but are arrogant enough to think that they are in full control, that psychological research is so essential. For example, people tend to assume that good, or bad events, depending upon their self concept, are likely to happen, not only to themselves but also to their partners, and close friends with more regularity than occur for similar people whom they have no personal knowledge.  

'Psychology of Close Relationships' is five volumes of tightly written articles about what brings people together, keeps them together or propels them apart. 

To research relationships is a departure from Freud's psychology since it demands abandoning the focus on individual behaviours i.e. looking for laws that govern the behaviour of an individual, or even genetics and neuro-physiological determinants. Relationship scholars seek laws governing the interactions between individual people. This isn't to state that all psychologists focused on the individual in past times. Studies in crowd behaviour existed even before the 1920s, nevertheless mainstream psychology tends to focus on individuals and their pathology and has been slow to embrace interconnectedness as have some other sciences. 

The first volume focuses on two broad themes: (1) basic theoretical arguments about the importance of relationships for human behaviour and (2) demonstrations of the consequences of relationships for health and well-being. This section also includes articles about the diversity of human close relationships across a life span. 

Successful close relationships are found to be the preeminent factor in determining the  happiness of most people and individuals have been found to make better decisions and have better cognitive ability when in good moods, than when in bad. 

Relationships play a significant role in health and illness. It seems people with better relationships had about a 50% greater likelihood of not dying prematurely than people with poorer or insufficient relationships. 

Some will claim that all these findings are no more than 'common sense', and costly research is unnecessary to discover such facts. There is really no merit in such assertions because many findings in psychology, and other life-sciences, run counter to intuition and so even the most simplistic theories need to be put to the test if psychology is to progress. Moreover, social policy and legislation, must be based upon the foundation of well researched psychology if it is to avoid creating chaos. 

The implications of such research is that 'Mind' is comprehended by some researchers as a Cognitive-Affective Processing System, (or CAPS network) - where a network of relationships acts in union in terms of identity, beliefs, capabilities, and specific behaviours.  

An interesting finding is that people tend to suggest that relationships are troubled because there is a misalignment between them and their partner's  personal values, however, after a relationship has broken they are more likely to attribute the cause to social and environmental pressures, which were ignored when discussing difficulties with counsellors. This suggests that to foretell a relationship’s future, we also have to predict the nature of the environments the relationship will inhabit as it moves through time. 

One might feel overwhelmed when reading through the first volume since matters as diverse as juvenile delinquency, and clinical depression are added to a list of common ills in today's society and attributed, with sound research data, to the quality of personal relationships. It is beyond the scope of this review to itemise these, but all lead to the conclusion that human beings have a strong need to belong. 

Many of the psychology of close relationships researchers espouse positive psychology - that is the study of what works, rather than pathology. Positive psychologists have labelled optimistic expectancies for the future as positive, they have labelled optimistic or benevolent explanations of the present as positive. However, some authors have noted that optimistic interpretations about one’s own negative behaviour can undermine the motivation to seek improvements. Positive psychologists have also extolled the benefits of kindness. Other research indicates that unkindness can offer benefits to relationships. Longitudinal research demonstrates that whether optimism, or unkindness harms or benefits relationships depends on the nature of those relationships. 

Volume one concludes by examining the nature of the socially single. In the U.S. there's discrimination against single people both in terms of legislation and also areas such as insurance. 

Volume two is titled: 'Attraction and Relationship Development'. Whilst most people think relationships are the coincidental coming together of people with similar interests and dispositions the research shows this to be untrue. 

There are systematic processes which explain how, and why, we're attracted to others, and subsequently how that attraction in due course leads to the beginnings of relating together. 

We evolved to today being able to make snap judgements about situations and people, a process known as 'thin slicing'. More than randomly correct these judgements, accurate or not often determine with whom we seek to interact, and who to avoid. 

It's often claimed that we seek out those who are in some ways similar to us. I've heard that we seek out the physical characteristics of our parents of the opposite gender, and think there may be some merit in this idea. Studies in 'The Psychologist of Close Relationships' also reveal that although similarity in appearance, beliefs, and interests, may bring people together once a relationship is formed similarity alone doesn't make those relationships more enjoyable. Although actual similarity may not produce greater satisfaction in ongoing relationships, perceived similarity does. In other words, feeling similar to relationship partners seems to be more influential in established relationships than being similar. 

The second part of Volume 2 is about the development of relationships - why people continue to stay in contact with each other. It appears that self-disclosure, as well as communication play parts in the evolution of intimate relating, (this may or may not have a sexual component). Further research suggests that it's not simply self-disclosure that results in deep relationships, but also a sympathetic response to the disclosures being expressed. 

"Intimacy involves feeling understood, validated, cared for, and closely connected with another person. It inherently entails lowering defences and reducing self-doubts and self-reproach. It includes enjoyment of caring for another, of fostering his or her increased self-insight and personal growth." (Reis and Shaver - Intimacy as an Interpersonal Process in The Psychology of Close Relationships p. 358). 

In the latter part of Volume 2 there is a discussion about the family life cycle, and the ways relationships change and flourish with the passing of years, and the departure of children. As a family therapist it was interesting to revisit this idea, which was once so central to family therapy and more recently has lost favour. Reading about it in 'The Psychology of Close Personal Relationships' enabled me to comprehend it with a fresh lens, and to understand how longevity in relationships can lead to different personal narratives. 

The third volume is titled: 'Relationship, Cognition and Emotion'. According to the editor Harry T. Reis,  Professor of Social Sciences and Psychology at The University of Rochester, relationships affect our thoughts and feelings, and in turn these thoughts and feelings influence the development of our relationships. Among the topics encompassed are attachment, love, and social cognition. 

Whilst this is true at a basic level, it would be more accurate to state that it is the stories that we make up, and tell ourselves about our partners and relationships that affect us. As Reiss states: "Relationships affect our thoughts and feelings – in fact, relationships are among the most common topics of our thoughts and the most potent sources of emotion."

 Cognition and emotion are considered by psychologists to be the essential mediating components representing a person’s story about what is occurring in their social environment and, by activating certain goals, wishes, and visceral stimulation within a person, they bring about behavioural responses. 

Cindy Hazan, suggested that adult romantic relationships often fulfil the same psychological functions (a safe haven during distress, a secure base for exploration) for adults as relationships with caregivers do for infants. This idea goes a long way to explaining why people frequently choose partners who resemble a parent of the opposite gender, both physically and in other ways. 

One paper discusses how our minds link mental representations of ourselves with those of close others, so that information processing about those others begins to resemble information processing about the self. This intriguing idea has yielded numerous valuable new understandings of social life, and, for me, explains why 'circular questioning' a common technique of family therapy developed in the 1970s in Milan, is so effective. 

In the first paper in the section Shaver and Mikulincer explain how stress reactions, to perceived threats, arise more easily within those lacking secure attachment figures. Although they don't go so far as to describe a psycho-biological description of stress the paper reminded me of some of Earnest L. Rossi's prior on such mechanisms. 

The section makes frequent references to Bowlby's concept of attachment, and Ainsworth's development of this into various categories of attachment style -  

Proximity Maintenance - The desire to be near the people we are attached to. 

Safe Haven - Returning to the attachment figure for comfort and safety in the face of a fear or threat. 

Secure Base - The attachment figure acts as a base of security from which the child can explore the surrounding environment. 

Separation Distress - Anxiety that occurs in the absence of the attachment figure. 

These categories, originally thought solely applicable to infants are explored in relation to adults within this section of 'Psychology of Close Personal Relationships'. Two styles of problematic attachment are proposed for adults: a fearful style, characterized by a conscious desire for social contact counteracted by fears of the consequences of attachment, and a dismissing style, characterized by a defensive denial of the need or desire for attachment bonds. 

People differing in attachment style also recall memories of attachment-related episodes differently. It also affects how people regard romantic love. Secure lovers said that romantic feelings wax and wane but at times reach the intensity experienced at the start of the relationship and that in some relationships romantic love never fades. Avoidant lovers said the kind of head-over-heels romantic love depicted in novels and movies does not exist in real life, romantic love seldom lasts, and it is rare to find a person one can really fall in love with. The anxious/ambivalent subjects claimed that it is easy to fall in love and that they frequently feel themselves beginning to fall, although (like the avoidant subjects) they rarely find what they would call real love. Like the secure subjects, the anxious/ ambivalent subjects said they believe that romantic feelings wax and wane over the course of a relationship. 

Beliefs about the importance of love have consequences for marital decisions. Respondents assigning greater importance to love, particularly for decisions about the formation of a marriage, tended to come from nations with higher marriage rates, lower fertility rates, and higher divorce rates. 

Volume Four in the series is devoted to 'Relationship Maintenance and Self-Regulatory Processes'. In it models of trust in close relationships that are grounded in interdependence theory are explored. Trust, follows from confidence that the partner’s attachment to the relationship is at least as strong as one’s own. One paper looks at how some people create 'positive illusions', which idealise a partner and thus maintain relationships.  Sometimes these idealistic perceptions of one’s partner lead to complications, especially when the ideal projected doesn't match the partner's self-image. It seems anxieties engendered by the spectre of rejection may feed the emotion that shape some romantic experiences. 

Another paper demonstrates whether we prefer our partners to adore us or to see us  as we see ourselves, or as we are devoid of self-delusion. The research reported in this article indicates that early in a relationship, when partners are sensitive to issues about acceptance and rejection, enhancement may predominate. Later, when partners’ commitment provides a greater sense of security, accuracy becomes more valuable. 

In some situations control becomes a substitute for trust, and attendant risk taking. In such cases paths that may provide more positive experiences are suppressed and individuals become more dependent. The psychological costs of rejection only increase as interdependence and closeness grow. One must not underestimate the pain experienced when relationships of several years duration splinter unexpectedly. This may be because research points to how across close personal relationships, people’s views of themselves mirror the image they perceive in the eyes of others. 

Maintaining close relationships differs from the processes and considerations that pertain to other stages within the life cycle of relationships. One important consideration may be that partners communicate outside of the family about the positive qualities of partners. Another is how partners attribute each others' critical comments. When people see criticism as examples of on-going trust in the evolution of a relationship that relationship is likely to be more robust. 

The fifth and final volume in the series is called: 'Relationship Deterioration', which looks like the title of manual of how to split up, but its not like that at all. 

The series' editor Harry T. Reiss introduces the section by stating: 

"Researchers have in fact had a longstanding interest in identifying and understanding the antecedents, processes, and consequences of deteriorating relationships. Extensive evidence demonstrates that toxic relationships – relationships characterized by repeated dysfunctional interactions – may have devastating consequences for all persons involved – the partners themselves, and also their children, family, friends, or co-workers. Indeed, there is little reason to doubt that dysfunctional relationships play a central, causal role in many of the most prevalent problems of modern life – drug and alcohol abuse, interpersonal violence, sexually transmitted diseases, depression and loneliness, divorce and the deterioration of families, poverty, suicide, health-impairing behaviour, and so on. In almost any way of looking at individual and societal problems, it’s clear that the effects of dysfunctional relationships are substantial and widespread." 

But, just as importantly research into why relationships come apart also can focus on how the nature of relationships changes over time. Clearly this is related to some of the papers already discussed in the series, especially those concerned with the lifecycle of relationships, with its attendant challenges, and necessary adjustments. It also is entwined with the issues of context which are discussed in Volume One, and elsewhere. 

The simplest way to understand the deterioration in relationships involves negatively by either engaging in relationship conflict or avoiding it. 

One paper reviews the literature of 'Processes of Adaptation in Intimate Relationships' [PAIR], another the challenges the myth that personality alone accounts for the deterioration of close relationships despite the popularity of this explanation amongst lay people.  

Despite studies referring to domestic violence, later in this volume, and referred to in previous volumes, one of the main predictors of deteriorating relationships is the prevalence of demand-withdraw interactions. What appears to matter is the way in which couples communicate about conflictual issues, rather than the conflict itself. This may surprise many, but it's hardly a revelation to therapists working in the field of family relationships, including family business consulting. 


Reviewing these five volumes has been a taxing, but rewarding task. My original notes comprised many pages, which had to be systematically reduced to just a few salient points. 

The strength of the series perhaps lay in Editor Harry T. Reis's choice of articles. Some are inevitably his own research, but on the whole he is modestly devoting just two articles to his research in the field. The papers he has chosen are diverse in terms of topic and methodology, but perhaps regrettably he chooses not to include research originating from various schools of family therapy. For example the paper 'Conflict in Marriage: Implications for Working with Couples', Frank D. Fincham and Steven R.H. Beach, in the latter section, it is noted that noted that distressed couples emit more negative-statements and fewer positive statements and show greater reciprocation of negative behaviours during problem-solving interactions, but there is no mention of the prevalence of high expressed emotion (E.E.) within such situations, although there must be scores of references to it in family therapy literature. 

Nevertheless this is a wonderfully concise, and well presented set of papers quoting recent and longitudinal research, which deserves to be available to clinicians as well as researchers. 

Irem Bray




Professor Julie Hay FCIPD, MCMI, consultant, coach, supervisor, author of numerous books, packs, audiotapes and articles, internationally accredited as Teaching & Supervising Transactional Analyst (Organisational and Educational) and internationally licensed NLP Trainer.    

Julie runs transactional analysis programmes in the UK, Poland and Russia, previously in Turkey and the Ukraine, and elsewhere on an ad hoc basis, for those seeking international professional certification in transactional analysis.  She also leads an MSc Professional Development (Developmental Transactional Analysis) and expects soon to add an MSc in Developmental- Supervision and an MSc in TA Training.  Julie is a past president of the international and European TA associations, was a vice chair of the UK ITA and inaugural Chair of the UK IDTA.



I have been a sufferer from Multiple Sclerosis since I was 14 years old, but have lived and worked from the Arctic to the Equator, originally as a horticulturist, (UEI, CDH, RHS) raised a family, had 4 husbands, 3 children including an autistic son, a near-death experience, seen ghosts, met con-men, been deserted, told fortunes, sung in clubs and appeared on Radio and TV, written prize-winning books and poetry, sailed thousands of miles fund-raising, learned several languages including French, Swedish, Finnish and Chichewa, obtained a BA Hons in Psychology and an MSc in Social Science Research and maintained a free self-esteem counselling web site - now defunct.

My MSc dissertation was on alternative sexuality, an ethnography researched as a participant-observer for 10 years in my 50s-60s.

At almost 70 years old, I have now moved to Catalonia in Spain where I am currently resident, learning 2 new languages, Spanish and Catalan, and can live frugally but comfortably on my state pension, supplemented by the organic fruit and vegetables I grow on my riverside smallholding.



JOE SINCLAIR  is the Managing Editor of Nurturing Potential.  Anything more would be hyperbole.





JEAN EDWARDS  is the SEN co-ordinator at Bromley High School (Girls' Day School Trust) in Bromley, Kent.




SEP MAYER a graduate of the London School of Economics, long retired  from commercial life, has been devoting his time to totally non-commercial literary acivities.



IREM BRAY is a consultant psychologist and family therapist based in Turkey.  Her website is