Nik's books and CDs page

The idea is that I can list all sorts of books and CDs that I have some reason to like.  My primary intent is to share and promote what I think is good.
(You can click on the images and links to buy these items from Amazon - this will help supplement my site costs)

Life's Other Secret
by Ian Stewart

Life's Other Secret - by Ian Stewart

Easy-read introduction to the beauty of creation via maths

I read this book on holiday. I will never forget the holiday. Our daughter was six at the time and she and I had days of fun as a result of this book. We counted fibonacci series numbers in pine cones and petals and spent hours investigating nature for the clues introduced in the book. And if you don't know what pronking is you should read this book (and try pronking on the beach). We caught Mackerel and were fascinated by the patterns on their backs. But there is much more to this book than fun. It is a tremendous introduction to the expanding field of mathematics in all its forms. It takes a journey through the principles of self-organising systems and self-replication. It looks at the mathematics of form and clearly indicates the context in which DNA exists. In layman's terms (that's my terms) the author illustrates how DNA does not need to carry all the information. DNA nudges the environment and it's the underlying structure of the universe that contains the laws and mathematics that result in the diversity of life itself. I can't rate the content and ideas in the book highly enough. It is a fun book, easy to read, and it will enhance your life!

When Rabbit Howls
by Truddi Chase

When Rabbit Howls - by Truddi Chase

MPD yes. But also a profound insight into human existence.

I was gripped by this book from cover to cover.  It’s not exactly easy reading though it’s not too difficult either.  It seems, reading a number of reviews, that the book is mostly seen in the light of the psychological condition of MPD (multiple personality disorder - incidentally a term not always approved of by people with multiple personalities) or in the more general domain of sexual abuse and the damage it causes.  For me, however, these are by no means the sole significance of the book.  For me it is much more a philosophical issue and a human one.  Truddi Chase, the author, and the physical “person” (forgive the shorthand) was seriously abused by her stepfather and as a consequence she developed what are referred to as multiple personalities.  The human aspect of this story is the extreme tragedy.  That human beings have to endure such incredible terror and distress is, for me, bewildering.  And that Truddi Chase managed to survive and come some way to terms with it is phenomenal.  The endurance and courage are stunning and the commitment to make some sense and some purpose of her life against such odds is encouraging in the extreme.  The philosophical aspect is that the various personalities are indistinguishable, in their perception, from individual people in the “real” world.  The book transported me into their world just enough for me to realise that in some deep philosophical way we have no more ability to comprehend our relationship to each other than they have to comprehend the outside world’s view of their relationship to each other.  Put simply - one of them sees the world the same as one of us.  So how could we tell the difference?  That then begs the question: Am I one personality in a multiple personality?  The odd thing is that I am tempted to realise that this is necessarily true.  It is only what many religions ultimately conclude.  I recommend this book to any one with an interest in finding themselves and improving their own experience.  This is a seriously thought provoking book.

The Biology of Love
by Arthur Janov

The Biology of Love - by Arthur Janov

Physiological view of what happens to us emotionally.

Whew! That’s a book and a half.  There seems to be a lot of literature on the future of the human race, its spirituality, the meaning of life etc.  This book is what I would consider a “real” book about us and how we can prosper.  For those who are unaware of Dr Arthur Janov he began his psychological/emotional therapy in the 1960’s and is best known for his “primal therapy”, the most famous recipient that I am aware of being John Lennon.  Fundamentally Janov has pursued his therapy and developed his theories for over 30 years in a respectable and scientific manner.  He has significant statistical research data to back up his ideas and for me it seems quite obvious that what he is saying is valuable and accurate.  It is difficult for me to make a brief comment on this book as the relevance to the human race has to be huge.  Broadly speaking psychology can be split into two groups: those who deal with ethereal concepts to try to describe what we experience and those who regard our experience as “chemical” stuff of the brain.  (I know this is simplification in the extreme)  Janov never looses sight of the fact that we experience things and that the “meaning” or “purpose” of this life is currently intangible but he explores the biology, chemistry, electronics of what happens to us.  Each experience we encounter has a physiological affect.  Like ripples from a stone dropped in a pond, the affect exists in the physical world and doesn’t just disappear.  He explains how our physiology contains the ripples of experience and what we can do to maintain and promote a harmonic resonance of experience and describes some issues relating to therapeutic models for improving or fixing emotional injury and damage.  He shows how love has a physiological effect.  Stroking, touching, observing, nurturing, playing, appreciating, and being with a baby has physiological consequences that are measurable and enhance the baby’s capacity and efficiency as a biological entity.  In short - the biology of love.  This book has been an eye opener for me in realising that any notion of a spiritual world resides in reality.  That’s what we have to deal with and it is urgent.  A previous book of Janov’s that I would recommend is “Prisoners of Pain” but I think it is currently out of print.  I don’t think it’s an easy book to read but it’s equally not too heavy either.  But the content is worth the effort.

I'll get round to writing a review for this some day but it is highly recommendable.

On Giant's Shoulders by Melvyn Bragg


Following the above list of my favourites, here are a few that other I know would like to promote.

Cecilia Bartoli: Gluck Italian Arias

And another

Valerie Harms: The Inner Lover