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Garry Platt’s new review column: Fahrenheit 451?

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Stairway of booksTrainingZone.co.uk has decided to create its own Fahrenheit 451 area where books, materials and products are subjected to the fierce heat of scrutiny and review. Garry Platt explains the reasons behind his ratings.







Some readers will probably have heard of or perhaps read Ray Bradbury's 1953 book 'Fahrenheit 451', a grim dystopian view of society where free speech is restricted and the written word censored. Books are destroyed by book burners who are ironically referred to as 'Firemen'. The title of this work refers to the temperature at which paper spontaneously combusts.

Photo of Garry Platt"Some work will doubtless be found lacking, pointless and/or just bad - like the Spice Girls' comeback tour."

TrainingZone.co.uk has decided to create its own Fahrenheit 451 area where books, materials and products are subjected to the fierce heat of scrutiny and review. Some work will doubtless be found lacking, pointless and/or just bad - like the Spice Girls' comeback tour. Others will emerge phoenix like, bright and shiny - and the rest will fall somewhere in between.

Editor Susie Finch has given me carte blanche (that's French) to review anything in the arena of management development and trainer training. I'd like to emphasise that unless I am making factual observations, like page length, publisher details, font size, virtually everything else that I write is merely a personal view and as such is a subjective opinion. This is no different to any other critique in any other publication but I think it's worth emphasising upfront.

"Some authors have the ability to reduce the most interesting subjects into a dry and unpalatable wodge of text, academically brilliant but not designed for human consumption."

For book reviews I have devised a summary rating scheme against three factors and I would like to explain the reasoning behind them.

1. Originality
A lot of what I read in the field of development is nothing new, it's mutton posing as lamb, Gerry Halliwell dressed as Christine Aguilera, old ideas rehashed. And whilst nothing is ever actually completely new, innovation and development is both important and significant. Consequently I am recognising it with this rating.

2. Ease of understanding
Some authors have the ability to reduce the most interesting subjects into a dry and unpalatable wodge of text, academically brilliant but not designed for human consumption. In my opinion the work of the author Peter Drucker is paper-based Valium: written in a form and a manner similar to the way food was served up in motorway cafés in the 70s, lukewarm and indigestible. Any writer who focuses on refining his message into a format which is easy to follow and understand should be applauded.

3. Practicality
Some books consist of nothing but the anecdotes, stories and experiences of the author, that's great for a biography but not much good if you're having difficulty in understanding how what they did might be helpful and useful to you. Some authors write to let us know how brilliant they are, without helping us to learn. Their writing is impractical.

Overall rating
Self explanatory.

So that's the introduction to this new TrainingZone.co.uk section. Each review will be about 500 words in length and the reviewed material will either have been purchased by me or submitted by publishers or manufacturers for review.

A request now to readers: if you know of a book or product relating to management development or trainer training which you think warrants a review then please let us know.


Garry Platt is a senior consultant at Woodland Grange specialising in management development and trainer training. He can be contacted on 01926 336621 or e mail: [email protected]

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