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, Professional Development

Book 507: If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? – Alan Alda

Only two ARC/Galleys left and I am all caught up! The same publicist who sent me Finally Out reached out about this book and the title had enough humor in it I figured it was worth a shot.* I enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would!

What Alan Alda—I didn’t even recognize him from M*A*S*H (IMDb link), I just recognized his caricature—is doing is what the Plain English Campaign (website) has been trying to do since the late 70s, just through a different venue: improv. Both are trying to get things translated from the indecipherable jargon of science or government into easily relatable language. Alda, has basically made a side career out of this with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, where the observations he made from his many years on Scientific American Frontiers are put into practice to teach scientists how to talk to non-scientists.

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Books

Book 505: Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight – Loren A. Olson

I’m nearing the end of my galley/ARC backlog. With this one finished I only have four more. I’ve had this since March and finally got around to it this past week.

The publicist for this book reached out to me and with my Masters degree (Gender, Sexuality and Queer Theory) and a friend who at one point studied gerontology, I of course said yes!

Finally Out is Olson’s look at gay men/MSM who come out/acknowledge their practices later in life. What seriously strengthens the book is Olson’s own story and experience of coming out at the age of 40. What Olson really needs though, is a good Queer Theory 101 course. In general he did a really good job of writing about these men, but there were some problems when it came to sexual orientation/identity/practice. He basically gets it, but in choosing not to use the pre-existing language, I feel that the book suffers.

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Books, Personal Project, Professional Development

Book 475: Difficult Conversations – Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen

stone-douglas-bruce-patton-and-sheila-heen-difficult-conversationsNow that it’s been almost a month I figured I might as well catch up on some books. I’ve actually made quite a bit of progress reading this month, given the facts of everything that’s going on and  affects my day-to-day work life (thanks Trump).

This book came to me from my current Human Resources Director when I spoke with her about how not-so-great Miguel Ruiz’s books were. Based on our few previous conversations she was like you should try this one because it’s more of a practical guide and less “worldly wisdom.” And boy was she right!

Even though the two books say basically the same thing, this one was so much easier to identify with and take action points away from it. This could have to do with the fact it was written by a group of Harvard University associated individuals, or it could also have to do with the fact that it was less spiritual and more practical.

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Books

Book 470: The Power of Kindness – Piero Ferrucci

ferrucci-piero-the-power-of-kindnessSimilar to Finding the Blue Sky, I’m not sure whether this one was great because of its own goodness or because of the three bad ones I read before by Miguel Ruiz.

The publisher, TarcherPerigee sent me an unsolicited copy of this book and I’m glad I read it.* They’ve really got either a good editorial team or a great lineage of what to print because they’ve been much more hit than miss, which I know I’ve mentioned previously.

It’s going to be hard not to compare this one to Finding the Blue Sky for two reasons: I read them back-to-back and they’re very similar. I almost wish the two authors worked together on the book because they both would’ve been strengthened by it.

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Books

Book 469: Finding the Blue Sky – Joseph Emet

emet-joseph-finding-the-blue-skyUnlike the last three books by Miguel Ruiz, this book seemed to really make sense to me and didn’t offend me with it’s contradictory stories and lessons.

I didn’t plan to end the year with a bunch of self-help books, but because work took up so much of my time in the last third of the year I’m just now catching up on all the galleys I received.* That’s a sentence I never expected to write.

As someone who is incredibly skeptical of self-help books, religion, psychology, psychotherapy or really anything doing with the mind or the ethereal, I’m not only surprised at how many I’ve read this year, but I’m also surprised at how many I appreciated. I still think there is a time and place for all of the thing above, but I’ve found that when they are well written (which most of TarcherPerigee’s seem to be) they’re worth some time investment, but not too much!

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ARC, Books

Book 457: One of These Things First – Steven Gaines

Gaines, Steven - One of These Things FirstI had no idea who Steven Gaines was and after reading this, I don’t have that much more of an idea. I’d love to say I’ve done more research but I haven’t, but I may try to read Philistines at the Hedgerow later this fall as we’re going to a wedding in the Hamptons and it’s about property there.

All of this being said, my thoughts are not a bad thing, especially as I enjoyed his writing, but an observation of my usual lack of background knowledge going in to a book.

The lovely people at Open Road Media reached out to me with a copy of One of These Things First* as I had previously read In Youth Is Pleasure and I can see the similarities in story, style and experience even though they’re set in different countries and quite a bit apart temporally.

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