Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Read Any Good Books Lately?

I love words - written and spoken. Always have, always will. And anyone who has spent even a short amount of time with me would agree 100%. Several years ago, I gave away hundreds of books and, as you can see from this photo of a small section of my bookshelves, I still have over a hundred.

What do I read? Everything! I have eclectic taste and one day you might see me reading a romance novel, the next day a business book, followed by a management book, then a biography or a book about money, health or fitness. I'm also constantly checking out the bestseller list of fiction books.

And let's not even talk about magazines. I subscribe to at least 10 - everything from Shape, Self, Reader's Digest, Fortune Small Business, Travel & Leisure, Ebony, O - The Oprah Magazine, to Best Life (I know...I know...that's a magazine for professional men on success) but I ordered it for my hubby and he never got around to reading it, so I started. It's actually been a great way to gain a better understanding of men, what's on their mind, and what drives them.

Not only do I love to read, I get a kick out of telling other people what to read. And sometimes, my hints are not so subtle.

When I came across the book Skinny Bitchin the Chicago O'hare airport during a 2-hour flight delay almost 2 years ago, I read it in 24 hours and then immediately gave up eating meat and dairy the next day. What did I do next? I sent out about 25 copies to my friends and family and demanded that they read it. And of course, I badgered them until they did!!!

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I hung out with my best friend in Chicago. She's a fitness competitor and shares all of her healthy eating and workout tips on her blog. We made a trip to the bookstore and I picked up several books that turned out to be pretty good reads. Thought I'd share them with you - but this time, they'll be no badgering!

Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life)
by Cathie Black

Every woman dreams of having a wise, funny mentor who understands the challenges she faces. Now, Cathie Black—one of Forbes’s “100 Most Powerful Women” and Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business”—offers invaluable lessons that will help you land the job, promotion, or project you’re vying for. You’ll find out how to handle interviews, which rules to break, and why you should make your life a grudge-free zone. Filled with surprisingly candid, personal stories and advice, this is the only career guide you’ll ever need.

Black heads Hearst Magazines, a division of Hearst Corporation. She manages the financial performance and development of some of the industry’s best-known magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, and O, the Oprah Magazine. Black made publishing history in 1979 as the first woman publisher of a weekly consumer magazine, New York, and she is widely credited for the success of USA Today, where for eight years, starting in 1983, she was first president, then publisher.

How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else
By Michael Gates Gill

In his fifties, Michael Gates Gill had it all: a mansion in the suburbs, a wife and loving children, a six-figure salary, and an Ivy League education. But in a few short years, he lost his job, got divorced, and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. With no money or health insurance, he was forced to get a job at Starbucks. Having gone from power lunches to scrubbing toilets, from being served to serving, Michael was a true fish out of water. But fate brings an unexpected teacher into his life who opens his eyes to what living well really looks like. The two seem to have nothing in common: She is a young African American, the daughter of a drug addict; he is used to being the boss but reports to her now.

For the first time in his life he experiences being a member of a minority trying hard to survive in a challenging new job. He learns the value of hard work and humility, as well as what it truly means to respect another person. Behind the scenes at one of America’s most intriguing businesses, an inspiring friendship is born, a family begins to heal, and, thanks to his unlikely mentor, Michael Gill at last experiences a sense of self-worth and happiness he has never known before.

Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell poses a provocative question in Outliers: why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential? Challenging our cherished belief of the "self-made man," he makes the democratic assertion that superstars don't arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: "they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot." Examining the lives of outliers from Mozart to Bill Gates, he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages, "some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky."

Outliers can be enjoyed for its bits of trivia, like why most pro hockey players were born in January, how many hours of practice it takes to master a skill, why the descendants of Jewish immigrant garment workers became the most powerful lawyers in New York, how a pilots' culture impacts their crash record, how a centuries-old culture of rice farming helps Asian kids master math. But there's more to it than that. Throughout all of these examples--and in more that delve into the social benefits of lighter skin color, and the reasons for school achievement gaps--Gladwell invites conversations about the complex ways privilege manifests in our culture. He leaves us pondering the gifts of our own history, and how the world could benefit if more of our kids were granted the opportunities to fulfill their remarkable potential. --Mari Malcolm

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite
by David Kessler

From Publishers Weekly: Conditioned hypereating is a biological challenge, not a character flaw, says Kessler, former FDA commissioner under presidents Bush and Clinton). Here Kessler (A Question of Intent) describes how, since the 1980s, the food industry, in collusion with the advertising industry, and lifestyle changes have short-circuited the body's self-regulating mechanisms, leaving many at the mercy of reward-driven eating. Through the evidence of research, personal stories (including candid accounts of his own struggles) and examinations of specific foods produced by giant food corporations and restaurant chains, Kessler explains how the desire to eat—as distinct from eating itself—is stimulated in the brain by an almost infinite variety of diabolical combinations of salt, fat and sugar.

Although not everyone succumbs, more people of all ages are being set up for a lifetime of food obsession due to the ever-present availability of foods laden with salt, fat and sugar. A gentle though urgent plea for reform, Kessler's book provides a simple food rehab program to fight back against the industry's relentless quest for profits while an entire country of people gain weight and get sick. According to Kessler, persistence is all that is needed to make the perceptual shifts and find new sources of rewards to regain control. (May) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

And of course, if you're looking for some good summer quick reads, you can always check out one of my fiction books.

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Happy Reading!!!

1 comment:

  1. There is nothing like a good book! Ahhh....a way to escape our own lives for a bit and get lost in the imagination of the writer. I recently finished the End of Overeating as well and would highly recommend it to anyone who is trying to get a handle on the psycology of WHY we overeat.