Non-Fiction books

Here are my reading stats for the month of May.

I did re-read some books for my #BookReviewBlogChallenge. If you have not looked at the winners yet, please see this post. Thanks to some of the stellar recommendations, my TBR pile is sky-high! 😊

Monthly Reading Stats

  • Audiobooks: Not much in this segment, a mere 35 minutes but spent with my husband who redeemed an Audible credit.
  • Ebooks: 9 books, no completed ARCs. ☹ However, one was a pre-order from Emma Leech which I gleefully read up the very day it was released! Hurrah!
  • Books: 3 books totaling 1,577 pages. The page count is high thanks to 2 really fat books.
  • Avg. Rating: 3.88*

Audiobooks

Even though I am only 25% through the book, I do want to rate it at a 4 on 5, due to the excellent beginning.

  • You are a Writer. Jeff Goins. 4/5. 00:35 hr.

Ebooks

  • To Ride with the Knight. Emma V Leech. 4.5*
  • The Overdue Life of Amy Byler. Kelly Harms. 5*
  • Finding Home. Jackie Weger. 3*
  • A Little Bit Cupid. Box set, multiple authors. 3*
  • You are a Badass. Jen Sincero. 4*
  • Next Door to a Star. Krysten Hager. 4*
  • Supreme Leadership Mentors. Alinka Rutkowska. 4*
  • Write and Grow Rich. Alinka Rukowska, Adam Houge & Alexa Bigwarfe. 5*
  • Rebel Talent. Francesca Gino. 4*.

Physical Books

  • 365 Days of Fibbing. Nirupama PRV. 5*. 434p.
  • Tribe of Mentors. Tim Ferris. 4*. 627p.
  • Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. 2nd Ed. 5*. 520p.

Until next time, Adieu and Happy Reading!

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Today’ review is long overdue – about Jen Sincero’s first book of the “You are a Badass” series.

  • Title – You Are a Badass
  • SubTitle – How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
  • Author – Jen Sincero

A refreshingly honest self-help book that claims to help people who desperately want to improve their lives but do not want to kill themselves doing it! The book has 27 short chapters with anecdotes, easy exercises, and (occasionally swear words) aimed to help you correct your self-sabotaging beliefs and start on the journey to create a life you love!

REVIEW SCORE = 4.0/5

Thoughts on the Book:

Honestly, when I read the blurb, I felt the premise was a bit misleading. Success is never easy – you can leverage some skills/ platforms/ contacts to reduce the work. However, hard work and hustle is still needed! Felt some readers might be unintentionally deceived into thinking life will be a piece of cake!

That said, the book does offer tons of solid advice! I personally have read too many self-help books, so part 1 was boring to me (Yawn!) However, part 3 and 4 were amazing – unbelievably useful!

Thoughts listed in this book that totally resonate with me:

  • Vision boards
  • Try it out! Do not wait for the stars to align.
  • Practice gratitude.
  • Don’t treat money as evil.
  • Own your Ugly! [Sounds weird, but if you reflect upon it, it is quite pithy!]
  • Your faith in the Universe must be stronger than your fear of failure.

Like Tim Ferris book “Tools of the Titans” or “Tribe of Mentors” you will want to savor this book. Do not feel compelled to read the book cover to cover. Instead here are some snippets and chapters you MUST read:

  • Decide you would rather be happy than right! (pg125)
  • You will not even remember this in the future. (pg127)
  • When we say we are unqualified; it usually means we are too scared to try it! (pg 151)
  • Procrastination is the most popular form of self-sabotage. (pg152)
  • Love yourself. Repeated ad nauseum throughout the book, but we all need to hear this!  

Another parting thought – some sections in this book sound similar to Rhonda Bryne’s book “The Law of Attraction”, but this one is a lot more practical.

Similar Works

  • Books – “Girl, Wash your Face” by Rachel Hollis, Iris Apfel, Tools of the Titans by Tim Ferris.
  • Movies – Joy. Legally Blonde.
  • Genres – Self-Help, Personal Success, Business, Motivational, Personal Transformation.

Until next time, Adieu & Happy Reading!

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Welcome to Day 06 of #BookReviewBlogChallenge. Today’s challenge is to review any book with 400+ pages.

Shoutout to Miss Camilla and her blog . All the entries were brilliant. But Camilla’s style of “rebelling” was both unexpected and unique. The bonus of getting to read 4 reviews for the price for one? Awesome!  Hat tip, Rebel Camilla!

Prompt Choice

For today’s challenge I went with another masterpiece by Tim Ferris – “Tribe of Mentors”. At 627 pages, the book is fatter than most dictionaries! This book is basically a compilation of success tactics used by the world’s most brilliant performers. This is literally “Mentor in a Book”.

  • Title – Rebel Talent: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World
  • Author – Tim Ferris

REVIEW SCORE = 4/5

Book Review

The book asks a set of 11 poignant questions to experts in different domains, styled after his podcast interviews. The answers are mind-blowing and immensely practical. Each chapter in the book contains answers and thoughts from one influencer who is considered the leader in his/her field. Industries and names include authors (Neil Gaiman), graphic designers, chefs, actresses (Aisha Tyler), athletes, swim coaches (Terry Laughlin), filmmakers (Darren Aronfsky), CEOs and many more.

Word of warning – If you have already read “Tools of the Titans” (which I reviewed earlier) by the same author, like me, then some parts might seem repetitive. For example, tech genius and venture capitalist Naval Ravikant features in both books. However, his advice is incredibly spot-on, so I did not mind reading it all over again! Consider it “reinforcement learning”.

For those who have not heard of Naval – he is the founder of AngelList, a recruiting platform for startups. He also invested in 100+ companies including Uber, Twitter, Clearview AI and multiple others, making him a billionaire considered to have the “Midas touch”.

The Qs Tim asks are designed to extract pearls of wisdom that these luminaries use – imagine how amazing your life can be, if you followed 3 or 4 religiously! Some example Qs from the book:

  • What do you do when you feel unfocused or overwhelmed?
  • What is the book you have given the most as a gift and why? Books that influenced your life. Special note to readers – this single point alone proves an important fact – all successful RICH people read books! 😊 If that does not motivate you to read more, I wash my hands off you!
  • Your best investment of $100 or less.

Quotes from the book:

Some of the advice from the book that resonated the most with me are listed below:

  • Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep.
  • It is easier to ask forgiveness than to ask Permission.
  • Play iterated games. All returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships or knowledge come from compound interest.

Similar Works

  • Books – “Tools of the Titans” also by Tim Ferris. “Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success” by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness. “Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World” by David Epstein. “Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life” by Ozan Varol.
  • Movies – Rocky, Theory of Everything, Slumdog Millionaire, The Intern, Joy (starring Jennifer Lawrence).
  • Genres – Self-Help, Productivity, Popular Development Psychology

Until next time, Adieu and Happy Reading!

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Welcome to Day 05 of #BookReviewBlogChallenge. Today’s prompt is “Rebel”.

Shoutout to Niru from “Opinions of a Catty, BookLoving Couch Potato” for her witty review of “The Duke and I”. The book was a perfect fit for the theme, the review notes were heartfelt and Julia Quinn book covers themselves are so quirky and attractive!

For today’s challenge I went with a relatively safe choice – “Rebel Talent” by Harvard Business school Professor, Francesca Gino. This book explains why creative rebellion is essential to find joy at work and in life, using diverse examples like a Michelin star chef, the Head of animation studio Pixar and many more!

  • Title – Rebel Talent
  • Author – Francesca Gino

REVIEW SCORE = 4/5

The book uses the term “Rebel” to mean outlier and someone who shatters conventions, not necessarily mean or evil or aggressive. The author argues that rebel employees are critical to companies and help to raise the bar on innovation, thus contributing to profits and branding and shareholder value.

We all can agree that mindlessly following rules and policies and repeating mundane tasks does suck the satisfaction out of work and life! However, not many of us can gather courage to break the norm, or risk failure. The special few who do are the ones who reach spectacular success!

Note that the author is not suggesting that every employee start breaking rules. Rather the book shows how to balance social conventions and be rebellious for useful purposes. The book also has tips for managers to reign in rebellious employees just enough to maintain a healthy equilibrium between hellion and star performer.  

The book reminds me of a quote from Iris Apfel’s book “Fit in before you Step Out”.

The “Pygmalion effect” in the book and the anecdotes in the book were quite interesting. What I would have liked to see more steps to cultivate this mindset, especially for employees who have been conforming for too long. This was a bit lacking in the book.

Similar Works

  • Books – “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, “What You Do is Who You Are” by Ben Horowitz. “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” by Peter Drucker. “It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work” by Jason Fried and David Hansson. “The Remix: How to Lead and Succeed in a Multigenerational Workplace” by Lindsey Pollak.
  • Movies – Legally Blonde, Braveheart, Brave.
  • Genres – Organizational Culture, Workplace Behavior.

Until next time, Adieu and Happy Reading!

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Welcome to Day 03 of #BookReviewBlogChallenge. Today’s prompt is “Golden Classics”. Any book published before 1995.

I chose Robert Cialdini’s evergreen bestseller “Influence” for today’s prompt. This book was published in 1984 but the evergreen content still holds true after all these decades!

Bestselling authors like Malcolm Gladwell and Tim Ferris suggest that everyone should read at least 3-4 books written 50-100 years ago. These books have stood the test of time, so the wisdom remains immortal across generations! Some other perennial classics are listed in the end of this blogpost.

  • Title – Influence
  • SubTitle – The Psychology of Persuasion
  • Author – Robert B. Cialdini, PhD

REVIEW SCORE = 5/5 *****

The book outlines six main principles of persuasion that you can use to influence others and be aware, so others do not take undue advantage of you! Must read for anyone looking to accelerate their career or business, not just marketing professionals or sales folks! If you work in product design, social media marketing or want to boost your personal branding, then please pick up a copy today!

The principles listed in this book have a very sound foundation in science and decades of research. But the book is never dry or boring and uses compelling examples to explain the topics. This book was a recommended reading for my organizational behavior and strategy class during my MBA program.

As a female immigrant, I sometimes encounter subtle prejudices and unconscious bias. I have used the principles of this book to great success to counter these effects.

One example of the effectiveness and ageless insights of this book is the principle of social proof. This book was written before the internet ever existed, but today we rely so heavily on social media reviews on Amazon, Google testimonials, Yelp stars and other proof before making even a $20 purchase.

Even Ramit Sethi, New York Times bestselling author of “I will Teach You to be Rich” and coach of Growth Labs also recommends this book as a must-read for anyone starting their business.

Similar Works

  • Books – “Alchemy” by Rory Sutherland, “Made to Stick” by Dan and Chip Heath.
  • Golden Classics – “Art of War” by Sun Tzu, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, “Sherlock Holmes” by Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • TV Series – Mad Men
  • Genres – Applied Psychology, Social Psychology, Consumer Behavior, Marketing for Small Businesses.

Until next time, adieu and Happy Reading!

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