The Lost Art of Good Conversation

“BEGINNING A CONVERSATION is an act of bravery . . . Feeling vulnerable is an act of gentleness. Bravery is an act of fearlessness. Without these two, conversation will never be initiated.” Once we learn how to string words together the world takes on a new meaning. Sakyong Mipham wrote THE LOST ART OF GOOD CONVERSATION: A Mindful Way to Connect with Others and Enrich Everyday Life to remind us how much power we have in and with our words.

Everyone knows that words have the power of life or death. But how often do we truly and intentionally exercise the power of the spoken word when we are engaged in a conversation. The author used his Hinayana Buddhism background to write about his insights into the topic. The common theme throughout the book is to rediscover the many ways you can be gentle with our conversations and interactions with one another. Let your conversations develop organically, stop trying to anticipate what the person is trying to say . . . just be still (ooh that is so hard at times).

In reading this book, I realized there was more I had forgotten about having a good conversation and more that I remembered about having a bad conversation. Mr. Mipham wrote, “The danger is that while we are more connected now to the whole world than we ever have been before, we are less connected to people in our everyday life.” If you are or feel disconnected, socially awkward, or just shy this book will remind you how less complicated it is to take that first step. At its core it is about the type of connectivity you choose to have with others. “Our identity is a web of interactions. We are so interconnected that our relationships define us.” Be brave and continue to redefine who you are!


  • “Identifying strongly with our thoughts and emotions, we mistake them for a solid “me,” and then defend that apparition against the world.”
  • “Conversation is a practice of nowness . . . Ultimately, nowness cannot be expressed; it must be experienced . . . and recommends these three things
    1. Nowness is nonnegotiable
    2. Nowness requires appreciation
    3. Being free of attachment – you need to be daring and delightful
  • “Conversation becomes an art when it transports us from self-absorption to being aware of the thoughts and feelings of others.”

THE LOST ART OF CONVERSATION is an easy, thoughtful book. It will leave you feeling inspired and glad that you read it. In this crowded arena of self-help books it is refreshing to find a book that you can use immediately. The title would make you think that it is a heavy, deeply intuitive book. Quite the opposite. Although we should know the difference between good and bad conversations. At the end of the day, a conversation is just that . . . Communication between two or more people who choose to make it as simple or complex as they choose. “Remember, [good conversation is] a compliment, [as well as] a gift; to accept it with grace has the effect of pleasing the giver.” Turn off the television, put down your smart phone, take a break from your solitude, and enjoy someone’s company with a good conversation.

Let’s BOND over BOOKS:

  • Recommends reading and/or sharing this book
  • Rates THE LOST ART OF GOOD CONVERSATION: A Mindful Way to Connect with Others and Enrich Everyday Life as MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pages) . . . 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.


Caught Between a Dream and a Job (revisited)

Default CoverHAVE YOU EVER FELT like you are at a point in your life where you just want more out of it? You may or may not be content with your current career choice, but there’s something inside that just keeps nagging deep within your spirit.  CAUGHT BETWEEN A DREAM AND A JOB: How to Leave the 9-5 Behind and Step into the Life You’ve Always Wanted by Delatorro McNeal II may just be the inspiration you need to motivate you to get serious right now.

ARE YOU THINKING or have you thought about owning your own business, but haven’t done it yet? Are you afraid of failing? Don’t know where to start and dread having to read one more self-help book? Well, before you throw in the towel,  read this book. It might just be what you need to motivate you.  Some of the examples are:

  • Identifying your destiny and purpose, and the need for a transition.
  • Hiring yourself and landing your real dream job.
  • Tips for stepping powerfully into your dreams.

THE GOAL OF THIS BOOK is no different from any other, but it is the infectious energy  leaping from each page that sets it apart from others, making it a worthy reading option.  Do the work, look within, and have the courage to ask yourself the hard question – “How badly do I want this?” Then put all of those good ideas into action?

CHANGE IS NEVER EASY but the rewards of your leap of faith can be as vast as you want it to be. What’s your game plan? What’s your plan of action? What’s your exit strategy? All these questions and more are addressed and/or answered. Mr. McNeal invites and reminds you to be an active participant in your future.


  • “Nothing in life is guaranteed, but one thing is; if you don’t try you will fail, it’s about taking risks.”
  • “When the social archeologists of tomorrow look back on the days of yesteryear and find your footprint, what story will it tell? What social imprint will you make? What will your legacy be?” – Jason Drenner
  • “The self-employed are the wealthy folks of America. The average net worth of a family where the head of a household works for someone else is $65,000. When it comes to the self-employed, the average net worth is $352,3000.” – Dr. Steve Sjuggerud
  • There will be 10 million new millionaires in the United States alone created between 2006-2016. Prime candidates are those people who are in direct selling, technology, in home-based business, product distribution, or wellness field.” – Paul Zane Pilzer, Economist, Trend Forecaster and best-selling author of The Next Millionaires.

Delatorro McNeal shares his personal testimony, of how he systematically worked to make that transition. The advice is practical, timely and pertinent, as well as structured to walk you through the process. Each of the best practices are explained in detail, with an inspirational quote to keep you focused. He invites and encourages you to be an active participant in your future. To do that you have to be open, take notes, highlight poignant passages, WRITE your answers down and reflect. CAUGHT BETWEEN A DREAM AND A JOB is jam-packed with suggestions. . . You just have to have the courage to step out on faith. By the end of the book, you are convinced that your dreams are possible . . . If you have the courage to pursue them and it starts with the step you take today!

This review may differ slightly from the original January 8, 2014 post.

Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates CAUGHT BETWEEN A DREAM AND A JOB as MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pgs) . . . Just the right mixture of content and pages




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

Power Surge

powersurge The world has changed faster than the church, and now it is time for the church to catch up and learn to speak and act in ways that the world can understand.” The ways of old are no longer sufficient to draw people to church. POWER SURGE: Six Marks of Discipleship For a Changing Church by Michael W. Foss provides his opinion on how churches can make the transition easy.

Although POWER SURGE is written for the leaders of the church, it is applicable to everyone in the church because it touches on many aspects of church governance. For some, it is a reminder of what the role of a church “leader/visionary” should be.

POWER SURGE focuses on the obstacles that hinder growth, such as attitudes of entitlement, lack of knowledge, stubbornness, etc. Unfortunately, many church leaders are managers who maintain the status quo rather than take a risk and step out on faith who are responsible for making decisions that will shape the future of their church. The author outlines six critical marks of leadership to help us understand the process:

  1.  Leading From Faith – “[Leaders] should recapture the spiritual roots of their calling.”
  2. Seeing and Casting the Vision – “No matter what a leader’s vision might be, it must be capable of capturing the hearts and wills of those who follow.”
  3. Contextualizing the Vision – “To place the vision firmly and realistically within the community’s context . . . The passion of the vision is achieved when the leader entrusts it to the whole community.”
  4. Aligning the Congregation to the Vision – “Making a personal commitment to spiritual growth with spiritual integrity as an up front requirement, and change the culture of a large organization through the power of a new vision.”
  5. Continually Communicating the Vision – “Keep repeating the vision and inspiring those who follow to embrace it . . . Leaders all too frequently under-communicate the vision.”
  6. Change Management – “Manage change through continued implementation because the natural resistance to change does not go away simply because change has been introduced.”

All of the plans, strategies, and programs don’t make a difference if you don’t have a product to sell (think about the vision). The wisdom shared is relatable, applicable, whether reading POWER SURGE individually or as a group, it does not make you more religious, hopefully it will make you and you fellow members more empowered.


  • There is a “High percentage of north american adults who nominally claim to be Christian but whose beliefs have little or no power to shape their lives, let alone add value or significance to their families and communities.
  • “Failure and conflict are harsh teachers, but they are teachers. The key is to not get stuck in them but to learn from them and get back to work.”
  • “Biblical and theological integrity demands that we make our positions clear.”
  • “Persistence is the Siamese twin of courage. Perseverance will overcome great barriers and outlast strong opposition.”

I enjoyed reading POWER SURGE and before you dismiss it as just another “church” book, read it with an open mind because it offers fresh ways of approaching ministry. It reminded me that there is very little difference between the governance of church and running a company. Both revolve around power, control, and while the intentions are admirable, the tendency still leans towards maintaining the status quo and slow to embrace change. While on the other hand, many church leaders crave and relish power/control and don’t want to give it up.

Whether impulsive or cautious, we are still accountable for the change we seek. How can you hold someone to a standard you are not willing to hold yourself to?

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

Disclaimer – Permission granted from Augsburg Fortress Publishers.


brainwashedMERRIAM-WEBSTER DEFINES BRAINWASHED as “A forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes, and accept contrasting regimented ideas.” Tom Burrell, a marketing professional with over 45-years experience wrote BRAINWASHED: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority  to share his unique perspective on the brainwashing of Black America.

Mr. Burrell used an advertising and marketing platform to show the reader how advertising shapes the attitudes and behaviors of society. This institutionalized negative strategy was simple – flood the airwaves with consistent, concentrated negative messages that tell and/or remind (both subliminally and/or openly) that there is something wrong with being Black and before long those negative thoughts will become second-nature.

He also writes about the history of a deliberate and strategic marketing campaign to disenfranchise African-Americans from the inclusion of a “Single society with two outrageously parts: one built on a vicious, governmentally sanctioned destruction of human freedom – all with the same history-making pen” of Thomas Jefferson. BRAINWASHED is about the brainwashing of not only Black America, but America as a whole.

BRAINWASHED addresses several topics, such as: Why are black and beautiful still contradictions? Why can’t we stop shopping? Why can’t we stick together? Why is there still disproportionately negative media coverage. These are examples of some of the conversations often discussed in the African-American community. Mr. Burrell takes a heartfelt and straightforward approach to dispelling these myths with  pertinent, timely, and for some eye-opening information.


  • “The disparities of news coverages regarding black lives and non-black lives . . .
  • We [African-Americans] “over-indexed,” spending disproportionate amounts in every product category related to cleanliness, . . . primarily to compensate for being historically stereotyped as dirty.
  • The greatest achievement was the conquest of the minds of most of the people of the world.” This quote by historian, John Henrik Clarke as he examined the propaganda which was central to the European domination of the planet in the 15th and 16th centuries.

There are many people who say, “Not another book about the struggle, issues, or victimization of black people.” For those people, until African-Americans are able to have honest dialogues and honest conversations with White-Americans, along with the respect of being heard and not silenced there will always be “these” kinds of books. BRAINWASHED was thoroughly enjoyable and will give you the opportunity learn at least one thing about African-Americans that you did not know before which will begin to dispell the myths of black inferiority.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

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

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 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.


  • 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.