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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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23 04, 2015

Review: Win Friends and Customers by Lawrence J. Bookbinder, Ph.D

By | April 23rd, 2015|Categories: Business & Investing, Health, Mind, & Body, Motivation & Self-Improvement, Nonfiction, Self-Help|Tags: , , , |1 Comment


win friends and customers book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

Have you ever noticed that some people are just naturally good at making friends, can sell just about anything and are liked by nearly everyone? Then there are those who are just plain awkward and for whom a basic conversation seems like a victory. Years ago, when I found myself in the awkward camp, I remember thinking that the art of conversation was a bit of a mystery.  Eventually, I realized that listening to other people and asking questions about them was so much easier than contrived topics or defaulting to the weather.

Due to my own struggle, my interest was piqued when I came across the book, Win Friends and Customers: Relationship and Business Success from Empathic Acknowledging by Lawrence J. Bookbinder, Ph.D. As a clinical psychologist for over 30 years and an expert

2 04, 2015

Review: Living Well Spending Less by Ruth Soukup

By | April 2nd, 2015|Categories: Business & Investing, Christian Living, Nonfiction, Personal Finance|Tags: , , |5 Comments


living well spending less book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

In a world filled with messages that constantly encourage us to pursue bigger and better things, temptations hide around every corner. When our minds focus on our lack rather than contentment, it steals our joy and doesn’t bring the happiness we expect. In her book, Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life, Ruth Soukup shares her own journey through the topic of personal finance and the lessons she learned along the way.

As a self-proclaimed spendaholic, her story of over-spending and self-indulgence nearly ended her marriage. Out of that mess and in an attempt to get her spending under control, she started a blog by the same name, Living Well Spending Less. Her original intent was simply to find better deals so she could buy all the things she still wanted

31 03, 2015

Review: The Like Switch by Jack Schafer & Marvin Karlins

By | March 31st, 2015|Categories: Business & Investing, Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction, Parenting & Family, Self-Help, Success|Tags: , , , , |3 Comments


the like switch book coverReviewed by Garret Rose

Humans have the need to love and to be loved. Relationships are integral to our growth as well as a means to help us navigate through an interesting and sometimes difficult world. Sometimes that doesn’t come easy. If you are an introvert, a.k.a. a shy person, or timid around people, then The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over can be a great fit for you. It can teach you how to look for signs of attraction (either friendly or romantic), as well as how to maintain the appropriate space, eye contact, and physical contact in a budding relationship. Schafer and Karlins give advice on the “Friendship Formula”, “The Laws of Attraction”, “The Curiosity Hook”, and a very important chapter at the end titled “The Perils and Promise of

27 02, 2015

Review: The Antidote by Barry Werth

By | February 27th, 2015|Categories: Business & Investing, Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction|Tags: , |2 Comments


the antidote book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

In his book, The Antidote: Inside the World of New Pharma, Barry Werth uses extensive research to follow the bio-pharmaceutical company, Vertex, from its infant stage through the next twenty years. Using his skills as a successful journalist, he goes behind the scenes to discover the step by step process involved in starting a successful drug company, bringing a new medicine to market and the lives of the dedicated scientists that make such breakthroughs possible. Primarily, this book focuses on two drugs, one for Hepatitis C and the other for Cystic Fibrosis. Both were huge advances for people suffering from these conditions.

I was interested in this book as a way to understand what goes on behind the scenes in pharmaceutical companies and a bit about the process of creating new drugs. However, I do

24 01, 2015

Review: Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

By | January 24th, 2015|Categories: Business & Investing, Economics, Management & Leadership, Nonfiction, Social Sciences|Tags: , |2 Comments


think like a freak book coverReviewed by Poppy Johnson

Think Like a Freak is the sequel to Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics. The book provides readers with advice on revolutionizing one’s thinking to clarify thought processes, problem solve, and reform business models to move a business toward prosperity. The idea of thinking like a “freak” is actually meant to be a positive thing–it is the out of the box realism that makes the world go around. The book’s nine chapters cover what it means to think like a freak, the impact of words, problem-solving techniques, finding the root cause of a problem, thinking like a child, reviewing incentives, the theory of false positives, persuasion techniques and the upside to quitting.

Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner use an interesting mix of real life scenarios, hypothetical questions, examples from history and contemporary name brand companies to explain the genius behind

30 12, 2014

Review: The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin

By | December 30th, 2014|Categories: Business & Investing, Management & Leadership, Nonfiction, Psychology, Social Sciences|Tags: |4 Comments


the organized mind book coverReviewed by Poppy Johnson

In his book, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, Daniel J. Levitin discusses how people can keep organized in the current age of digital information overload. Levitin states that our human brains can only really process small amounts of information at one time. It can be very helpful to learn to separate various brain regions–for example, economic and ethical decisions are managed by different brain regions. We can learn to stretch our brains and their capacity by continuously playing stimulating brain games. Our own world provides clues as to how we can analyze and categorize information better.

Among other things, Levitin covers the processing capacity of the human mind, which is measured at 120 bits per second. This is the bandwidth at which the human brain can safely focus within itself to complete all of the

28 12, 2014

Review: Mistakes I Made at Work, edited by Jessica Bacal

By | December 28th, 2014|Categories: Business & Investing, Health, Mind, & Body, Job Hunting & Career Guides, Nonfiction, Personal Finance, Self-Help, Success, Women & Business|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments


mistakes i made at work book coverReviewed by Poppy Johnson

Women work outside the home in record numbers. Meanwhile, it has become increasingly more difficult to define our meaning of success; how women measure their own success today differs significantly when compared to a decade or two ago. Mistakes I Made at Work – edited by Jessica Bacal who worked at Smith College on the Women’s Narrative Project (WNP) – expounds on what it means to be successful for a modern working woman. Bacal began the project as an “experiment” to ask females about their goals, dreams, and values; she wanted give women the opportunity to later reflect on their narratives and help lead them to successes in their jobs down the road.

Bacal interviewed 25 (by all accounts) successful women. The women surveyed shared information about their lives and their personalities; they went into detail about the

2 10, 2014

Review: Supersurvivors by David B. Feldman, PhD and Lee Daniel Kravetz

By | October 2nd, 2014|Categories: Motivation & Self-Improvement, Nonfiction, Psychology|Tags: , , , |5 Comments


Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Surviving a loss has a silver lining…

Everyone has a story of hardship and the resulting success or challenges: overcoming an illness, triumphing through financial distress, suffering loss that leads to spiritual rebirth, or numerous other scenarios. You may even have that story yourself. People who experience intense loss often find a renewed interest in life as a result of their hardship. People who “bounce forward” after a trial are called “supersurvivors”: a group of individuals who form the premise behind Feldman and Karvetz’ book of the same name.

Nine chapters in Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success discuss the influences that alter an individual’s success during and after a challenge. Summarizing major loss, the potential harmful effects of excessive positive thinking, the truth in human perception, and the role of forgiveness in recoveries, the book makes some

17 04, 2014

Review: Hibernate by Elizabeth Eslami

By | April 17th, 2014|Categories: Entrepreneurship, Literature & Fiction, Short Stories|Tags: |2 Comments


ESLAMI_-_HIBERNATE_COVER_JPGReviewed by Alisha Churbe

Hibernate is a collection of eleven rich short stories.  Each of these stories need a bit of time to marinate after they are read.  I tried to read two or even three in a single setting, but I found myself distracted by the story I had just read that it was too difficult to focus on a new story too quickly.  Short stories should very much stand on their own and demand singular attention.  Eslami has done a wonderful job of creating this emphasis, both in character and in the settings, in each of the stories that appear in this collection.

The title story, “Hibernators”, follows a young couple who are determined to embark upon new experiences.  They give up their ordinary life to head out on a new journey.  In “Victory Forge”, Eslami tells us a story of a

22 02, 2014

Review: Moments of Impact by Chris Ertel & Lisa Kay Solomon

By | February 22nd, 2014|Categories: Business & Investing, Health, Mind, & Body, Leadership, Management & Leadership, Nonfiction, Self-Help, Social Sciences|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments


71s0K1x756LReviewed by Poppy Johnson

Businesses are in existence to be profitable and generate revenue. Most everyone will agree to this premise. Most managers have meetings to discuss company business, review issues of concern, and decide how to take the organization to the next level of profitability. Unfortunately, these meetings are usually ineffective at best because managers are often ill equipped in the skills of effective communication. Meetings are part of the workday at most businesses, and no one gets to a higher position without spending dozens of hours in meetings. I challenge you to make a phone call right now to the highest paid executive you know, and I guarantee that that person will most likely be in a meeting.

Meetings make the world go around. But some businesses in general and managers specifically notoriously waste time with meetings–through ineffective communications within (and