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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Here are my reading stats for the month of April.

Not as impressive as March but good enough given some other priorities that took time away. Overall, quite happy at having completed 16 books this month!

Also since I’ve been scouting books for my #BookReviewBlogChallenge, most of the books I chose were of stellar quality, leading to the high-score ratings this month!

Monthly Reading Stats

  • Audiobooks: Re-read couple of chapters to refresh my memory on some wonderful books.
  • Ebooks: 12 books, including 5 ARC from #NetGalley! ?
  • Books: 4 books totaling 1,232 pages.
  • Avg. Rating: 4.75*

Audiobooks

Not rating these, since I read them last year, but just wanted to review some chapters of interest.

  • Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. David Epstein. 1:45 hrs
  • Creating Personal Presence. Dianna Booher. 2:00 hrs

Ebooks

  • Whatever Works. Thalma Lobel. 4* ARC
  • Logging Off. Nick Spalding. 5* ARC
  • Your Next 5 Moves. Patrick Bet-David. 4* ARC
  • The Mighty Warrior Kings. Philip Potter. 4* ARC
  • To Bed the Baron. Emma Leech. 5* Pre-order.
  • Think like a Rocket Scientist. 5* ARC
  • Mirror Work. Louisa Hay. 4*
  • Time to Break Some Rules Sweetie. Rebecca Pavlik. 5*
  • Sapphire Beach Cozy Mystery – Volume 1. Angela K Ryan. 5*
  • Influencer. Brittany Hennessy. 4*
  • Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon. Author = Iris Apfel. 5*
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Robert Cialdini, PhD. 5*

Physical Books

  • The Husband Hunters. Barbara Cartland. 5. 119p.
  • The Greatness Guide2. Robin Sharma. 5. 244p.
  • The Accidental Creative: How to be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice. Todd Henry. 5. 242p.
  • Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World. Tim Ferris. 5. 627p.

Until next time, Adieu and Happy Reading!

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Welcome to Day 04 of #BookReviewBlogChallenge. Today’s prompt is “Family”. Any book that reminds you of strong family ties will suffice for today’s challenge.

Let me start with a hat tip to Isabella of “Welcome to She Reads” for choosing the book “The Great Gatsby” for the previous prompt on Golden Classics. All the entries were amazing, which just shows how many authors write evergreen content that lasts for centuries! However, this particular book was by far the oldest one, published way back in 1925! Would like to add that Gatsby has been made into a movie multiple times, the last one in 2013 starring Leonardo di Caprio. The 2013 movie grossed over $353 million worldwide and won two Academy awards, besides being nominated for eight categories.

Today’s prompt

Coming back to today’s prompt – This was a tough choice as there are so many titles and authors to choose from. Finally decided to go with this old Barbara Cartland book I read as a young girl.

  • Title – The Husband Hunters
  • Author – (Dame) Barbara Cartland

The story revolves around 3 sisters who come to London to find a husband and their interaction with each other. Plus, this was a book that we brought home from the local library and my entire family took turns reading it. This includes me, my twin sister, my mom and my grandmother! Yes, we are a family of bibliophiles! Addiction to good books runs in my blood! ?

Anyway, this book reminds me of the fun times of my happy childhood, so it felt perfect to use it for today’s prompt.

REVIEW SCORE = 4.5/5 *****

Why I love this book

I love Barbara Cartland (BC) books for many reasons. First, have you seen the covers? This was an age before Photoshop and image editors, so the quality of the hand painted illustrations always dazzles me. All BC romances have such brilliant covers.

Second, have you read the biography on the author? She was awarded a knighthood (Dame of England) for her prolific writing skills, she was a writer for the Society (read gossip) column for the biggest newspaper and she was known to throw the most amazing balls and parties. Her sense of style also made her cult icon of her times! I always assumed she used her personal experiences to portray the minute details in the dresses and balls she wrote in her books.

Did you know Dame Cartland is a relation to Princess Diana? Look it up!

Third, the story is always a Victorian historical romance, so it is filled with ballrooms, haute couture, political intrigue (sometimes) and vivid characters. Some readers might find the female characters too weak or submissive, typically not the lead heroine though. However, this was an era where women were treated like chattel, so the logic is contemporary by those standards.

Unlike many historical romances, BC books are “clean” romances. With hindsight, I assume that is why my grandma allowed 10-year old girls to read these books in the first place! ? As an adult, I find it remarkable that the author wrote hundreds of books without having to resort to steamy scenes to keep readers engaged!

This book stands out because the sisters arrive at London with an extremely specific image of their potential husbands but who they ultimately choose is not what they expected. The final twist to show the true character of the stern, almost Draconian Duke, their sponsor, is revealed cleverly at the end.

If anyone wants to read a clean romance, or just a lighthearted reading for pure entertainment and good writing, then pick this one or any of the other titles by this author. You will not regret it at all!

Similar Works

  • Books – Any other historical romance by this author (Barbara Cartland). Julia Quinn and Emma Leech are similar.
  • Movies – Pride and Prejudice. Many of BC books have been turned into movies. Notable among them are “Hazard of Hearts” and “A Ghost in Monte Carlo”.
  • Genres – Historical Romance, Clean Romance.

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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If you like Agatha Christie books or TV series “Monk” or relish CSI Miami without the gore, then you will love this series!

Sapphire Beach Cozy Mystery Collection Volume 1 (Books 1 to 3)
Sapphire Beach Cozy Mystery Collection
  • Title – Sapphire Beach Cozy Mystery Collection [Volume 1]
  • Author – Angela Ryan
  • Books – 1) Condos & Corpses, (2) Surf, Sand and Skeletons, (3) Piers, Pliers and Problems.

I bought this series bundle during a deal from BargainBooksy. I wanted a change from my normal self help and romance novels. I am huge Agatha Christie fan but haven’t seen many authors write that type of genre in recent times. I enjoy thrillers (Daniel Silva, Robert Ludlum) but sometimes you just need a simple whodunit, without too much gore or ramifications for world chaos!

REVIEW SCORE: 5/5 *****

So glad I found this author. I loved the volume so much that I went ahead and pre-ordered the next few in the series!

The set I read has 3 consecutive books, but all the three can be read as standalone books. Think Nancy Drew or Monk TV series. A few ancillary story threads propagate forward, but you can get the context without having to read the previous books. In this case, the underlying threads are the budding romance between the heroine and a detective, as well as the heroine’s Fair Trade jewelry store.

Personally I loved that the books are set in Florida. Sun, sand and mystery – what else could a girl want on a gloomy day of quarantine! 🙂 Here is an image I took on a vacation to Miami and the Florida Keys, to pique your interest further!

Florida beaches

Overall, I think its a great series for mystery lovers of all ages, young and old!

Similar Works:

  • Books – Any book by Agatha Christie, Nancy Drew, Dick Francis.
  • Movies – Murder on the Orient Express, Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit, Shattered Glass.
  • TV Series – Monk. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Murder, She Wrote. Sherlock Holmes, CSI Miami without the grim violence!
  • Genres – Mystery, Mystery Anthologies, Action & Adventure

Until next time, Adieu & Happy Reading!

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