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!

THOUGHTS For Your SOUL:

  • “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.

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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.

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.

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