Nonsense

nonsense

How do you make sense, handle ambiguity, or embrace uncertainty? We make decisions everyday without having all the information we need – or even know that we need. NONSENSE: The Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes explores how being able to “deal with what we don’t understand” affects how we manage uncertainty in our daily lives. For some, decision-making is simple and clear cut. For others it is an agonizing process.

In an increasingly complex, unpredictable world, what matters most isn’t IQ, willpower, or confidence in what we know [but rather] how we deal with what we don’t understand.” Life is not what it seems and the author painstakingly presents examples that expose out human weaknesses, our humanity or lack thereof. For example, too many doctors over test their patients with ambiguous (or unnecessary) tests, mainly to avoid potential lawsuits.

NONSENSE is a book that examines what we do “when the information we need to make sense of an experience seems to be missing, too complex, or contradictory . . .[because] this is where ambiguity resides.” The examples are too many to cite, but after a few chapters a pattern emerges, you start to see things often taken for granted from another perspective. As a reader, there are plenty of obvious opportunities to experience epiphanies  . . . only if you know they exist.

Thoughts for your Soul:

  • When our need for closure is high we tend to revert to stereotypes, jump to conclusions, and deny contradictions.”
  • “New ways of seeing aren’t necessarily clearer ways of seeing, and sometimes, the illusion of knowing is more dangerous than not knowing at all.”
  • “Urgently fixating on certainty is our defense mechanism against the unknown and unstable. However, what we need in turbulent times is adaptability and calculated reevaluation.”

NONSENSE disappointed me not because the book wasn’t good, but because it wasn’t as engaging as I had hoped – sometimes the examples/stories were dry as toast!  The book reminded me of the Malcolm Gladwell books (but they were more engaging) and I believe NONSENSE would have been more interesting if I had not read them first. With that being said, I learned a lot of “NONSENSE” facts and information that helped me connect some ambiguous dots.

If you are looking for a book to take on a trip, snuggle up with in a cozy chair, etc. this is not the book. However, if you like knowing what makes people tick, “what happens when we’re confused and the path forward isn’t obvious” then this is the book for you. NONSENSE may not change the way you make decisions, but it will change how you approach the decision-making process . . . you will probably not look at things the same way again.

Disclaimer: BONDing over Books received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review

Find Your Extraordinary

findyourextraordinaryA LIFE “So full of passion, positivity, will, tenacity, and gratitude that can transform your life from ordinary to extraordinary” is within your grasp. To have it, you’ve got to want it! FIND YOUR EXTRAORDINARY: Dream Bigger, Live Happier, and Achieve Success on Your Own Terms by Jessica DiLullo Herrin is the story of a woman’s ordinary to extraordinary.

INSIDE MANY OF US is the longing or desire to do more with our life before it gets too late. In the pursuit of passion, we often stumble upon our purpose. Jessica DiLullo Herrin stumbled onto her path while on a treadmill in graduate school. The idea sparked an insatiable thirst that drove her to ultimately drop out and while she doesn’t encourage it, it worked for her. That idea was Della & James, which became WeddingChannel.com and was ultimately sold to The Knot (the online wedding planner website) for $90 million.

TIMING AND PREPARATION are everything. Her next business venture is Stella & Dot a direct marketing, e-commerce and social media company that sells jewelry and handbags through Trunk Shows given by independent contractors or entrepreneurs.  Stella & Dot grossed over $100 million last year

JESSICA DiLULLO HERRIN writes of her struggles, her tenacity, her perseverance, and her ‘normalness’, but she never let it minimize her dreams. Struggles are real and her’s is relatable. A $100 million company comes with its own struggles, although these “new” struggles were not the struggles of an ordinary person, we can still  learn from her story.

THOUGHTS For Your SOUL:

  • Don’t think about how your past limits your future, but instead about how your unique past has made you stronger.”
  • It’s not about who is more successful – it’s simply about whether you are happy with the trade-offs that come with your choices.”

ALONG THE WAY to her dream Jessica knew she “was going to pay some dues and work some jobs that were not altogether awesome.” What are you willing to sacrifice or give up to pay your dues? Taking a step back to move forward could be the best strategic move that gives you the additional perspective needed to propel forward.

FIND YOUR EXTRAORDINARY while inspirational on so many levels, cultivates and feeds the entrepreneurial spirit. Risk is not something to fear, risk reminds us that “Extraordinary exists only outside of your comfort zone. Fear will always be there, but if you push yourself to find it, your courage is there, too.” This is the kind of book you want to read multiple times or share with a friend.

WHEN YOU ARE BRAVE ENOUGH to “Develop the will to do things your way, without fear of failure or how your choices look to anybody except yourself” you can discover your extraordinary.

Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates FIND YOUR EXTRAORDINARY as MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pages) . . . Just the right mixture of content and pages.

Disclaimer: BONDing for BOOKS received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Spiritual Sobriety

Spiritual SobrietyAS WITH ANY OTHER ADDICTION, my overzealous religious practice came with a dark side.” Elizabeth Esther chronicles her journey as a religious addict and her road back to recovery in SPIRITUAL SOBRIETY: Stumbling Back to Faith When Good Religion Goes Bad.

RAISED IN A HIGHLY RELIGIOUS FAMILY, which she compared to a cult, Elizabeth Esther learned at an early age how to overindulge in the Spirit of the Lord. Through this behavior, she conditioned herself to have (what she described) an unhealthy attitude towards God. Later in life, as well as during the times she was in recovery Elizabeth discovered she was “Using God, a church, or a belief system” to measure her self-worth.

FOR ELIZABETH being a religious addict meant she had a hard time saying “no.” No, to the rituals, the attention, the euphoria she experienced when she praised God or did His work. No different from what any other addict would face, “There was the uncomfortable, sometimes painful letdown once the spiritual high wore off.”

MUCH OF HER RECOVERY PARALLELS other recovery programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Addicts Anonymous, as well as church-based support groups. She joined many support groups and pointed out that she could “Be more honest in nonreligious support groups because I wasn’t worried about tarnishing my good-Christian-girl reputation.”

THOUGHTS for your SOUL:

  • A process becomes an addiction when the process becomes the center of life, the most important reason for living, when a person becomes dependent upon the process for mood-altering relief.” – Robert Neil Minor
  • Imagination is a tool that helps us change things while fantasy is a distraction that prevents us from accepting the things we can’t change.”

MS. ESTHER TOOK ONE DAY AT A TIME and found a way to experience peace in her life. Her path included the importance of boundaries because “Without them, our vulnerabilities become liabilities and we are often left feeling used and discarded.”  She spoke with courage from her heart. However, SPIRITUAL SOBRIETY read like a series of journal entries or blog posts and missed the opportunity to be a landmark resource for Religious Addicts.

THOUGH IT’S NEVER EASY to expose your vulnerabilities, Ms. Esther showed hers. Words have the power to change lives and if this book helps one person, then it was worth reading. “Whatever your situation, surrender. Get help if you need it. Face your reality and become spiritually sober.”

Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates SPIRITUAL SOBRIETY as MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pgs) . . . Just the right mixture of content and pages.

Disclaimer: BONDing for BOOKS received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

The Art of People

ArtOfPeopleHOW WELL DO YOU UNDERSTAND PEOPLE, how well can you communicate with people, and how well can you get people to do what you want them to do?” At some point in your adult life, (whether personal or professional) one or all of these questions have crossed your mind. THE ART OF PEOPLE: 11 Simple People Skills That Will Get You Everything You Want  by Dave Kerpen gives you the road map to fine tune your people skills.

WE LIVE IN A WORLD where many people are starving for attention and connection. Bombarded daily with “man-made emergencies” and the need for “immediate answers,” it seems people have forgotten, don’t know how, or can’t communicate effectively. Today the stakes are higher and consequences of missed or lost opportunities long-lasting. We live in a self-centered society and have to find a way to stand apart from the crowd.

HAVING SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE SKILLS means that you take learning or honing these skills seriously. To get started Mr. Kerpen recommends you take the Enneagram (similar to the DiSC assessment or Myers-Briggs) provided in Appendix A of the book. The more you know about who you are, the easier it is to communicate with others. The Enneagram identifies four personality types: People-Pleaser, People-Leader, People-Guru, People-Persuader. Once identified you can work on enhancing your strengths and improving your weaknesses.

THOUGHTS for your SOUL:

  • Always accept the glass of water . . . Even if you’re not thirsty, take the drink.” – Tip 13
  • Don’t let one unkind word destroy years of praise . . . Praise is powerful, contagious, and totally inspirational.” – Tip 48
  • Make Time Your Friend . . . You can prioritize only a limited number of relationships in your life at work and at home.” – Tip 30

ELEVEN PEOPLE SKILLS and 53 simple, yet effective tips (techniques) provide the outline. Dave Kerpen weaves stories from his personal and business experiences to narrate in this clear, practical, easy-to-read book. Whether you are shy or a social butterfly there is a techniques/tip for you.

THE ART OF PEOPLE will challenge you to think beyond your circumstance; to move and act on what you have read. Implementing these tips will get you out of your comfort zone. Communication is the key that unlocks the secrets of networking. After all, “You can’t achieve happiness or success in a vacuum; it all hinges on the bonds you build with the people around you.” Any one or all of these tips could be the game-changer.

editor's choiceLet’s BOND over BOOKS  rates  THE ART OF PEOPLE  as  MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pgs) . . . just the right mixture of content and pages.

Disclaimer: BONDing over BOOKS received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Performing Under Pressure

performing under pressureDID YOU KNOW THATpressure adversely impacts our cognitive success?” Being able to manage pressure when it matters the most can be the game-changer in your life, but first, you have to know the difference between stress and pressure. PERFORMING UNDER PRESSURE: The Science of Doing Your Best When it Matters Most  by Hendrie Weisinger and J.P Pawliw-Fry will help you to understand how pressure affects your behavior and ways to deal with it.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE between stress and pressure?” These two words profoundly different, yet used interchangeably as if they were synonyms. As a society, we have adapted to constantly being on-the-go; never truly at rest.  However, it is important to remember that, “In a stressful situation, reduction is the goal. In a pressure moment, success is the goal.”

PERFORMING UNDER PRESSURE focused on how to manage pressure in your life. The authors studied over 12,000 people, which included high school students, sales representatives; professional and Olympic athletes. They used practical and scientific approaches to determine how each person performed under various pressure situations.

ALONG WITH SEVERAL TYPES OF PRESSURE, such as time pressure and performance pressure, there are three traps, the Support Trap, the Competition Trap and the Incentive Trap which can inflict undue pressure on a person. The authors also explain the concept of “choking” and how fear, anxiety, and panic disorders also contribute to a more intense response to pressure.

PRESSURE IS AS MUCH a part of your DNA as the fight or flight syndrome. To manage and combat the effects the authors developed a series of 22 simple powerful short-term solutions to use “when you are in the midst of a pressure moment – or about to encounter one.” They also “offer long-term strategies to help you build a metaphorical suit or COTE (Confidence, Optimism, Tenacity, and Enthusiasm) of Armor.”

THOUGHTS for your SOUL:

  • Seeing pressure as a threat undermines your self-confidence; elicits fear of failure; impairs your short-term memory, attention, and judgment; and spurs impulsive behavior.”
  • Continually confusing stress for pressure habituates, and we lose the ability to think clearly. Misdiagnosing stress as pressure reduces our abilities.”

AFTER YOU HAVE READ PERFORMING UNDER PRESSURE you will be able to identify whether you are under stress or under pressure. Armed with the appropriate relaxation techniques, the 22 short-term pressure solutions and the COTE of armor you will be able to navigate through the pressure traps and handle any situation.

 

Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates PERFORMING UNDER PRESSURE as MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pages) . . . just the right mixture of content and pages.

Disclaimer: BONDing over BOOKS received this book from Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Digital Nature Photography

John Shaw's GuideTHE ACT OF PHOTOGRAPHY is the capture of optimal data. The ART of PHOTOGRAPHY is the capture of optimal vision.” Taking your first picture with a Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) – aka a digital camera is like your first love . . . you never forget it!! You may not become the next Gordon Parks or Ansel Adams, but you can become the best  you  behind a camera. After reading  JOHN SHAW’S GUIDE TO DIGITAL NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY  you will discover that the possibilities are unlimited.

KNOWING HOW TO USE your digital camera for more than just a “point and shoot,” camera on autofocus takes practice because “most of us are only occasional photographers; consequently, we’re always starting over in the learning process . . . an understanding of the fundamentals will definitely help you work toward becoming a better photographer.”

WHAT JOHN SHAW’S GUIDE TO DIGITAL NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY offers you is the opportunity to learn from one of the best in his field (without even having to go on a photo tour or take a class). If you are an enthusiastic novice, the occasional amateur weekend shutterbug, or an accomplished photojournalist . . . nothing is taken for granted, no assumptions made in the information shared. What you didn’t know, you learn and what you know is reinforced (or maybe a better/new option is presented).

THE AUTHOR WRITES with caution about buying a lot of equipment or the least expensive when just starting out. Although he clearly has his favorites, which he states that up front. He gives you the reasons why they are on his short list. “The very best equipment, the top-of-the-line camera bodies and lenses, can produce no better than the photographer handling them.”

THOUGHTS for your SOUL:

  • Photography should be both a process of discovery an a procedure for recording that discovery … without passionate involvement, our pictures are noting more than records.”
  • Purchase good equipment, treat it well and learn to use that equipment in the best possible manner … develop your own way of working your own equipment choices, and, most of all, your own vision.”
  • Light has a direction, a character, and a color. The ability to recognize these distinctions and the ways in which they can be used graphically, both singly and in combination, is one of the things that sets the professional apart from the amateur.”

THE STRENGTH OF JOHN SHAW’S GUIDE TO DIGITAL NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY is the simplicity of which the book is written. The author spends a lot of time, often repeating key points (in multiple chapters) to make sure the understanding was clear. This is not a manual that dissects every aspect of photography. It is a resource tool that is designed to be read over and over again until you feel comfortable enough to leave it on the shelf. John Shaw’s belief is that “mastering the technical nature of photography frees you to concentrate on the aesthetic side . . . learning how to control the machine.”

THE ENTIRE BOOK is well written, concise and to the point. The photographic examples were good, but without “before” pictures it was hard to “see” what he’s talking about. After the last page has long been forgotten, the tips that mean the most to you will remain. Nevertheless, with practice and consistency you will become a better photographer, because “without passionate involvement, our pictures are nothing more than records.”

Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates  JOHN SHAW’S GUIDE TO DIGITAL NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY  as MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pgs.) . . .  just the right mixture of content and pages.

Disclaimer: BONDing over BOOKS received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.