The Power of Broke

powerofbrokeWHEN YOU START from a place of nothing much at all, when you’re hungry and laser-focused on succeeding at whatever it is you’re out to do, when you’re flat-out determined to get where you’re going no matter what . . .because when you are operating with limited resources – financial or otherwise – you’re forced to find creative ways to get the most bang out of every buck.” That’s what Daymond John writes about in THE POWER OF BROKE: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage.”

In 2014, 275 of the wealthiest Americans on the Forbes 400 list were self-made entrepreneurs.” Daymond John shares some of the advice that propelled him to unparalleled heights with his FUBU clothing line and further heightened his “brand” through the Shark Tank reality show. He uses his expertise, unique perspective and ability to align himself with people who want to learn and grow from him, as well as run their businesses more efficiently. If you’re thinking about starting a new business or revamping an existing business, THE POWER OF BROKE should be on your bookshelf.

  1. Set a Goal – Set it all down on paper. 2. Homework, Do Yours – There are no new ideas – only new ways to execute those ideas. 3. Adore What You Do – Own it, love it, live it . . . and you can find a way to make it work. 3. Remember, You Are the Brand – It all starts with how you carry yourself. 4. Keep Swimming – You have to be relentless, nimble, moving ever forward. These are the five key SHARK points that will help guide you.

Each chapter showcases individuals who relentlessly struggled to follow their dreams. From a college student, Christopher Gray, who developed an app named “Scholly” to help students navigate the clutter and confusion of college scholarships” (By the way, he earned 1.3 million in scholarships). To middle school student, Moziah Bridges who started his line of handcrafted bow ties, named “MO’s Bows,” as well as Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of under Armour activewear clothing line.

Daymond John also writes about the value of the smart phone. “You don’t need a whole lot of resources to change your life. Sometimes everything you need is right there in the smart phone you hold in your hands.” He also writes about the value and importance of a mentor. In a “2012 survey by MicroMentoring.org showed that people who participated in a mentoring relationship saw their revenue increase by an average of $47,000 – or 106 percent! Those who did not participate saw their revenues go up only $6,600 – or 14 percent.”

THOUGHTS For Your SOUL:

  • “69 percent of successful entrepreneurs have worked over 10 years as employees at other companies.”
  • Find a way to grow your business without changing your business model, without alienating your core customers, without taking a big bite out of your advertising or promotional budgets . . . and you’ll find a way to win.”
  • The same way you’re never too broke to find a way around a roadblock in your business, you’re never too old to get past any digital roadblocks you might find in your path.”

A fool can learn from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” – Mr. Magic. It is never easy to venture into the unknown, but if you succeed then the sacrifices were worth the risk. Daymond John sums things up quite well . . . “Being broke can actually be your greatest competitive advantage as an entrepreneur because starting a business from a place of broke – a place of desperation, hope, and hunger – forces you to think more creatively.” Now, more than any other time is the right time to take a chance, to take a risk,. “You need to bet on yourself, and you need to bet big – almost in an all-or-nothing sort of way” and make your business dream a reality. This was a book worth reading a couple of times, some really great points.

EDITORS CHOICE-PAID FORcanstockphoto6036875Let’s BOND over BOOKS  rates THE POWER OF BROKE  as  MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pgs) . . . Just the right mixture of content and pages.

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.

What I Know Now

WhatIKnowNowjpgTHERE IS NO TIME TO WASTE. It’s time to be bold about who you really are,” according to Ann Curry, former NBC Today Show co-anchor. This quote and other words of wisdom are shared in WHAT I KNOW NOW: Letters to My Younger Self, edited by Ellyn Spragins.

THIS SIMPLE YET PROFOUNDLY INSPIRATIONAL BOOK where 41 women “share the wisdom they wish they’d had when they were younger,” is full of the wisdom of the ages. In today’s world, there is more pressure on a woman to have a successful career, be the attentive mother, hang out with friends and have time for herself. Some feel like a failure or guilty because they have not found that balance. The reality is that constant balance is a struggle. Olympia Dukakis said, “There’s no ladder to success. The rhythm of life runs in cycles . . . Things live, grow, die.”

FOR MANY WOMEN, that struggle is real. The struggle for equal respect, equal pay, and equal opportunity binds all women into a sisterhood for empowerment. The stories shared are not unique, but they are deeply personal examples of the signposts that make you pause and reflect before you make your next move. Male or female, if you could write to your younger self, what would you say?

THOUGHTS for your SOUL:

  • You must embrace these changes . . . You mustn’t bury or deny the darkness. You gotta live through it; you can’t cheat.” – Olympia Dukakis
  • Every action creates a memory that is imprinted upon you and affects you in subtle ways — ways you are not always aware of.” -Phylicia Rashad
  • What I know now is that women can actually come pretty close to having it all, but you just can’t have it all every day.” – Marilyn Carlson Nelson

WHILE THE WOMEN FEATURED may be famous and their journeys may not mimic your own, each woman has a story to tell that may help one person who reads it. A story, her story worth reading, sharing and repeating. The essence and honesty of each heartfelt letter are reminiscent of the advice you might get from a sister, a grandmother, an aunt, mother or mentor. Hindsight is the bonus in life and experience is what fills in the gaps.

Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates WHAT I KNOW NOW as MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pages) . . . just the right mixture of content and pages.

Permission granted from RandomHouse Publishing

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.

Between the World and Me

Between the World and MeYOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT to be you. And no one should deter you from being you. You have to be you. And you can never be afraid to be you.” Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote these poignant words to his teenage son in “BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME.”

21st CENTURY AMERICA serves as the backdrop for the author’s reflections, observations, fears, frustrations and warnings about growing up as a black male in the United States. When Mr. Coates saw the familiar look of anger in his son’s eyes it touched a nerve deep in his gut. The look meant that very little had changed for a black male since he was a teenager.

AS HIS SON TRANSITIONS into manhood, the author wants his son to understand that while the dream is to “experience” a normal childhood, unfortunately for some black males that “experience” could be deadly.  As a father he must warn his son that “the difference is that you do not have the privilege of living in ignorance of this essential fact.”

THOUGHTS for YOUR SOUL:

  • I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world ad then chained me in the next.”
  • “To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good, or else that it’s a  well-considered act in conformity with natural law.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“CAUTION” IS THE OPERATIVE WORD. The price one pays for living long enough to enter adulthood. Interwoven on every page are examples of the “unspoken” daily stress of being black in America . . . And yes “Black Lives Matter.” In a perfect world it would not matter, but unfortunately America’s reality isn’t perfect. We are reminded of this daily through thoughts, words and/or deeds.

THE CASUAL, CONVERSATIONAL WRITING STYLE is well-suited for this topic. For many, race relations is a touchy subject to talk or write about. “BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME” reminds us that people don’t see or live life the same way. The conversation must continue. As a nation, we have to find a way to communicate and hear one another through and above the anger.

TA-NEHISI COATES REMINDS US of the gap “BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME,” that is constantly growing wider not narrower.  This book is not an indictment on all people, white or black, it is one man’s personal story to his son. For some, the written word is more powerful than the spoken one.

Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME as EASY & ENGAGING (150 pages or less) . . . straight-forward, light and to the point.

Permission granted from PenquinRandomHouse

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.