ARC, Books

Book 511: The Path to Personal Power – Napoleon Hill

Once you start reading self-help novels, you open the floodgates to anything and everything. From journals and experiential books like How to be Happy (Or at Least Less Sad) to the more spiritual books like The Power of Forgiveness the broadness of the genre is breathtaking. Just check out my nonfiction page, most of those are self-help with a few biographies/history book sprinkled throughout.

When the publisher reached out to me about this and I saw on Goodreads (of all places – it’s also on the back cover) that Napoleon Hill is the “grandfather of self-help” how could I turn it down?* It looks like TarcherPerigee might be turning these into a series, The Mental Dynamite Series, but I’m not sure I would the next one. Even before they’d reached out to me I added Hill’s Think and Grow Rich book to my list as it’s one of the personal finance books to read.

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Books

Book 509: The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

You’re welcome in advance for my not just writing “What a load of horse-shit.” However, as you read keep in mind that’s pretty much what I’m thinking. I’ll try to write something a bit more PC, but I’m not sure how successful I will be.

I picked up a copy of this a little over four years ago and who knows why I did this. I’m sure part of it was just that The Communist Manifesto is one of those books/works that EVERYONE has heard of but that so few have actually read, especially outside of a history course. For me though this book didn’t feel like it was meant to be read, it felt like it should have been an incredibly long and boring speech given at some sort of rally. Basically you’d be incredibly energized at the very beginning, fall asleep in the middle and then energized again at the end.

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Books, Personal Project

Book 501: The Automatic Millionaire – David Bach

I came across this book when I started listening to the Better Off podcast (iTunes link) , which is sponsored by Betterment (more on that later – including a referral link ;-D). David Bach, the author, was the guest on the very first episode. I was intrigued enough by his interview that I wanted to read the book. It sounded a lot like what I discovered on my own, but I wanted to verify and see what other tips or tricks he offered. But before I talk about the book, first the back story:

After completing my 30×30 a few years ago and getting rid of my credit card debt, I’ve become much more interested in personal finance and making sure that I am planning for the future, whether it’s mine, that of any future children I have, or the fact that my mom, dad and step-mom (and at least one aunt) are all rapidly approaching retirement age.

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Books, Professional Development

Book 485: Your One Word – Evan Carmichael

I received a copy of this from the publisher* late last year and am only just now getting around to reading a responding to it.There are a couple like that, and you’ve seen a few already. Even though I don’t generally read business books, but did read quite a few last year about managing up, I said yes to this because it sounded a bit less business and a bit more personality than the usual books.

What sucks is that I’m sure what I write later in my response is going to make it sound like I didn’t enjoy the book, but I really did. There were just a few things that weren’t to my #Taste, like that, and I should’ve noticed it from the cover of the book I mean there’s a big example of it on the front cover with #Believe. But honestly, what else could I expect from someone who has a huge social media presence for their first work.

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ARC, Books, Professional Development

Book 403: What Millennials Want From Work – Jennifer J. Deal & Alec Levenson

Deal, Jennifer J. and Alec Levenson - What Millennials Wany From WorkLong story short, Millennials are just like everyone else so quit complaining about us! 😉

When I saw the title I knew I wanted to read it as I’ve been reading everything I can recently on management, the workplace and professional development topics that interest me. The publisher, McGraw-Hill Professional, kindly provided a pre-publication copy* and it will be available the first week of 2016.

Obviously, the ultimate lessons of the book are a bit more complicated than the opening of this post, but it really does boil down to something as simple as we’re all the same, just reacting to ever-changing technology, economy and society. It was reassuring to see this with well backed global research and written in an approachable and readable way.

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ARC, Books, Professional Development

Book 380: Doing Good Better – William MacAskill

MacAskill, William - Doing Good BetterI’m torn on this one and not for any obvious reasons. I think MacAskill does an excellent job laying out the foundations of “effective altruism” and I think this is something fundraisers and nonprofits need to be aware of for the future. However, I feel like there wasn’t enough to convince me 100% that this is the best way to move forward, probably because I had questions about MacAskill’s own nonprofits and experience.

Let’s start with the good. MacAskill has created a solid evidence-based way of helping alleviate some of the world’s biggest problems. Learning what a Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY, pronounced kwalee) challenged my perception of how to rate a nonprofit, but more importantly raised questions about whether things should be comparable when you’re talking about life-saving research. The answer is yes, with a bunch of caveats.

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ARC, Books

Book 332: Male Sex Work and Society – Victor Minichiello and John Scott (eds.)

Minichiello, Victor and John Scott - Male Sex Work and Society

This book simultaneously highlights what is good and what is bad about the white tower of academia. It explores a specific topic (Amazon Afiliate link) in depth, while establishing absolutely nothing, other than the need for more research. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest opinion.

I’m going to start with my frustrations with the book (or academia/academics in a broader context) first and then move to what they did well. What frustrated me most about the entire collection were the isolationist tendencies of the authors. In a move to over-compensate for any sort of collective or global identity (and not Western-wash everything) every single paper started out within the first few paragraphs by using the almost exact phrase of, “due to cultural circumstances, male sex workers (MSWs) circumstances in this country cannot be compared to those in any other country.” The reason this was so infuriating is that there were clearly overarching themes, sexual identity (or lack thereof), technology and public health, to name a few, that Manichiello and Scott picked out and even acknowledged. However, rather than encouraging the authors to use them to tie everything together within the papers across borders and identities, they were used to bridge each of the papers between the papers in editorial asides. Seriously, if they would’ve just taken this as a given, at least 50 pages could’ve been cut out of the book due to repetitiveness.

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