Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Fascinating book by a fascinating author. John St. Augustine is one of those people you read about and say "WOW!" He has been from the depths of despair, living in a motel with his family, to the heights of success, where he now resides. Currently, he has his own radio interview program which he started 10 years ago with nothing but the guts to ask to do it. Since he began, he has interviewed over 8000 individuals, some names you will recognize, some you will not. Listen to the interview to learn how and why John chose the 21 individuals he chose to feature in this book. His own story, as well as those in the book, all have meaning for each of us. I know I found meaning and a tear or two along the way.
listen to interview
Monday, November 12, 2007
I really like this book. Maybe I like it so much because the author, Bob Bloom, said something when I interviewed him for dallasbookdiva.com that really hit home with me. One of the first things he said was that his book was about a simple process, not a complex process. Simple always works best for me. I also liked talking with Bob. He has such a passion for what he is doing and for what he has written, it is a pleasure to talk to him. I didn't want to stop! Listen to the interview and you will see what I mean.
The book is basically divided into four segments or steps with chapters supporting and explaining each step. The four parts of his Growth Discovery Process are CORE CUSTOMERS (the WHO of your business), UNCOMMON OFFERINGS (WHAT can you offer them), PERSUASIVE STRATEGIES (HOW can you convince them) and IMAGINATIVE ACTS (OWN IT!). Bob delivers his message in an easy-to-read style that includes illustrations from his own illustrious, successful career. The whole process made so much sense to me that I plan to apply these strategies to my own small business. Tell me what you think.
listen to interview
The language of Texas is filled with unique sayings. This book documents some 120 tried and true "Texas-isms." John Skelton takes these old sayings and uses them to illustrate various areas of work and life. This is a delightful and fascinating book, whether you are from Texas, moved here from another place, or just like a good story with some humor attached to it.
America's stress levels keep rising for any number of reasons. Research shows us how important humor and laughter can be in all areas of our lives. I have personally done research into how the appropriate use of humor and laughter benefits us mentally and physically. Google "humor and health" and you will find an unbelievable number of medical studies linking what we think and illness. John Skelton provides an opportunity for laughter with an undertone of a serious message. Laughter makes any message memorable. I think you will find many messages you will remember and be able to apply to daily living in this book.
listen to interview
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I confess! I really enjoy reading mystery fiction. I like to try to figure out "who done it" as I read by paying attention to the clues authors leave lying around. I interviewed author Helen Barer not only for dallasbookdiva.com but also for the Fort Worth Community Cable Television program "Books In Review." She is delightful.
This is the first in a series of mysteries with Nora Franke as the central character. An unlikely sleuth, Nora Franke is a foodie. She reviews restaurants, writes a food column for a magazine, "MetroScene," and lives in New York.
Nora's life has recently taken an interesting turn. She and long-term boyfriend, Max, have decided to "take a break" from their relationship. At the same time, she is offered an opportunity to work as a menu consultant at an elite fitness ranch in Baja. Nora sublets her apartment and off she goes hoping along the way to meet some new people, shed a few pounds and "mend" her broken heart. To Nora's chagrin, in addition to the tranquil spa atmosphere with its yoga classes and morning meditation hikes, someone has added murder to the menu! Nora finds herself in personal peril as she attempts to aid the Mexican authorities in solving the case. This book is truly a "cliff hanger" and I enjoyed every minute of it.
listen to interview
I enjoyed talking with Dr. Kathleen Connell and she really gave me something to think about. Her book is a fascinating, well-researched guide with on-line support.
The "Life Calculator" is available to anyone, so go to www.LifeCalculator.net. The Life Calculator allows you to really see where you are and figure out where you want to go. In the book, Connell discusses issues facing all of us like extended longevity, second careers, the idea that we will never "retire"(in the strictest sense of the word) as well as "what-if" scenarios and Life Calculator Profiles based on interviews with thousands of "real" people. If you have a number in your head that you're saving toward because you think that's the "magic bullet" for retirement, forget about it! Accumulating wealth is something we all need to know more about and this book, supported by the Life Calculator, gives you so much information.
listen to interview
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Question: What do you call an individual who runs for an elected state office?
Answer: A politician?
When I recently taped the interview with Kinky Friedman about his latest book, he told me he wasn't a politician. As Kinky himself might say, if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck...is it a duck?
By throwing his large, black cowboy hat into the ring to run for the governorship of the great state of Texas, I believe Kinky became a politician. Oh not one in the traditional sense of the word, but a politician nonetheless. He is also many other things: a humorist with a wicked, quick, intelligent, sharp-as-a-Texas-tack wit, an entertainer, an author (Did you know he has written 17 detective novels?) and a bigger-than-life-size celebrity. All of this may be good news or bad news depending upon where you stand.
The new book is a backward glance at his campaign as well as a look at his ideas for the future. The book is written in typical tongue-in-cheek Kinky rhetoric, but the message is quite clear. He is a serious candidate with some ideas I, quite frankly, find intriguing. I hope you will take the time to read his book and tell me what you think.
listen to interview
Saturday, November 3, 2007
I could hardly put this book down. Vince Poscente has such an interesting message about the speed of our lives! He uses many stories and examples of how the speed of society is affecting us and, in many cases, adding to already high stress levels. The hypothesis is that we should change the way we view both speed and time. We need to think in more of a “value-based” way about the choices we make about using our time and energy.
Vince talks about the “blur” between home, business, leisure and family time. He also discusses that we are using a mindset about time that comes from the 50’s! He identifies four styles of utilizing time: Zeppelins (resist speed); Balloons (resist speed but are often successful because of the nature of the business); Bottle Rockets (start fast and burn out); Jets (learn to use speed and agility for success). Vince gives real world examples and his ideas are intriguing. I found myself really interested in his ideas and I’m going to try some of them! I think this fascinating book will equally captivate you.
listen to interview
Tim Irwin’s book begins with a story about he and his son running with bulls in Pamplona. The event can be viewed on-line at Tim’s website. It’s worth your time to watch! From the experience, came the idea for the book.
I have worked for and with corporate “bulls” and so have many of you. I love one quote from the book: “…These organizational bulls are indifferent to us-not caring whether or not we reach our goals but only whether or not they reach theirs.” For me that summed up the attitudes of some of the various individuals I have worked both for and with!
This is a grounded book with good advice. The research was done with interviews of over 10,000 individuals from all levels of organizations, from the top to the bottom. I thought the ideas translated well for individuals who feel “stuck” in their organizations and need something to renew them as well as for the newbie in the job market who just graduated and is in the world of work for the first time. Tim’s writing style is engaging and informative. I liked this book.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Nora Roberts has legions of fans for a reason. She tells an excellent story. In “High Noon, “ Police Lieutenant Phoebe MacNamara is a hostage negotiator for the police department. She has worked for the FBI, but decided to come home. She is called out on St. Patrick’s Day to talk down a would-be suicide.
The case changes her life forever when she meets Duncan Swift. Phoebe does not need to find herself distracted by and attracted to the handsome Mr. Swift. Her life is already quite complicated thanks to her fashionista daughter, her agoraphobic mother, memories of a bad marriage and to top things off, Phoebe finds herself in personal danger from an unknown stalker.
The novel unwinds in typical Roberts form with several plots moving inexorably toward the climax. She leads the reader in a dance of romance, danger, family devotion and a trial by fire. This is yet another excellent novel by an excellent writer. If you enjoy detective fiction with a twist, you will enjoy this book.
I like the Stephanie Plum mysteries. Stephanie Plum is the bounty hunter/detective character created by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie isn’t exactly the perfect bounty hunter. Her life is complicated by a cast of “characters” in every sense of the word.
The latest novel involves an ex-husband who ends up missing, lots of money also missing, a current crazy girlfriend of said ex-husband who has her own agenda, the mysterious Ranger who is always a turn-on to read about and Joe Morelli, the Italian Stallion cop who has Stephanie’s pulse and libido racing! Evanovich entertains with effortless ease.
If you’re on a long flight or stuck in the waiting room of a doctor, this novel will have everyone around you wondering what you’re reading that is making you laugh out loud. These novels are popcorn for the brain in the best sense. You can just read and enjoy.
What a pleasure to interview Louis Barajas. I enjoyed his down-to-earth approach. His "5 Steps" are logical and make sense on a real-world level.
The 5-Steps are:
1. Your Life Blueprint - The Purpose of Your Business is to Give You More Life
2. Your Vision - The Source of Leadership
3. Your Business Blueprint - Your Business Is Your Business, Not Your Product or Service
4. Your Business Systems - Make It Easy To Build Success
5. Your Team - The Bigger the Dream, the Better the Team Needed
This is a book aimed at so many of us. If you're starting your own business, have been down-sized, or are looking at starting "something new" after retirement, this book will be an invaluable tool.
There are some authors whose books I buy because I enjoy the kind of books they write. Jeff Deaver is one of those authors. Man, does that guy know how to tell a story! His latest novel has a female detective, Kathryn Dance, as its main character. I really liked her and was surprised that a man could write a female character that felt so authentic. No offense, Guys!
She is a brilliant kinesics expert with the California Bureau of Investigation. She interrogates a really creepy and believable sociopath, Daniel Pell, just prior to his escape from prison. The chase is on!
Deaver is a master at plot and plot twists. Characters do things you don't expect and it all adds to the suspense of the plot.
I am not gong to disclose much about this book, other than I couldn't put it down. Want to make that airplane fight shorter? Pick up a copy of "The Sleeping Doll" and the time will literally fly!
This is a captivating novel. It made me want to do research! Time capsules play a prominent role in the book. Morrell did extensive research and much of what you read about time capsules in this book is true. The main character, Frank Balenger, may be familiar to readers from Morrell's last novel, "Creepers." He is a physically and mentally damaged hero who finds himself and the woman he loves trapped in a nightmarish game of fear and death. The brilliant self-proclaimed omniscient Game Master has an obsession for unearthing the past, and constructs a deadly game to uncover a 100 year old time capsule.
Morrell weaves video gaming, history, murder, and mystery into a tale that grabs the reader by the throat and doesn't let go until the last page! I really enjoyed the novel.