Posts filed under ‘Book Report’

Reading Books

Julien Smith has written some killer posts recently on his blog, In Over Your Head. Last month he posted a list of 200 books he’s read with a succinct take-home lesson from each.

Check it out here and subscribe to his blog.


March 7, 2012 at 9:44 am Leave a comment

February Reading

The Great Railway Bazaar: by train through Asia by Paul Theroux. I’ve already read his later one where he made the trip 30 years later. Our online book club wanted to try something different than the usual business books we read so we decided to try travel books. While searching for options I came across this one. Once again, he makes the idea of extended travel by train sound like fun.


A Homemade Life: stories and recipes from my kitchen table by Molly Wizenberg. Short chapters about her life, each involving and ending with a recipe.


Bioshelter Market Garden: a permaculture farm by Darrell Frey. Okay, I didn’t read every word – I have no intention of starting a market garden, but I did read all the chapters pertaining to permaculture and bioshelter design and management. This is about living the good life.


Dead Cold: a Novel by Louise Penny. A murder mystery set in Quebec. I enjoyed reading this, but I must admit I forgot it right away. I will read more by her.

March 7, 2012 at 9:24 am Leave a comment

Reading List January 2012

100 Places to go before they Disappear. This is a book about all the wonderful places being affected by climate change through rising sea levels, retreating ice, changing growing seasons, and loss of groundwater.

Creating a Forest Garden: working with nature to grow edible crops by Martin Crawford. I saw a movie about Permaculture at the Slow Motion Food Festival. I read a book about it years ago. These systems give the highest return per amount of resources and they are sustainable. We have the space.

Sing you Home: a novel by Jodi Picoult. A rather simplistic novel with an interesting premise that all works out in the end as we knew it would. I enjoyed it for all that. The book comes with a cd of songs.

Uncertainty: Turning fear and doubt into fuel for brilliance by Jonathan Fields. Love this book. I’m not sure about his premise that it takes uncertainty to be creative. I do understand how it takes being open to not being certain. This could be a difference in perception about the word uncertainty. I feel I can boldly explore a place, thought or concept that I’m not certain about, without feeling uncertain. Does that make sense?

Addendum: I can’t beleive I forgot this one.

Requiem: a novel by Frances Itani. Jumping back and forth in time from Bin’s childhood in a Japanese internment camp during WW2 to the present as he drives across Canada to see his family after the sudden death of his wife Lena. Well-written story.

And this one, although it may have been in December.

100+: how the coming age of longevity will change everything from careers and relationships to family and faith, by Sonia Arrison.  Really enjoyed this book.  A longer time to live changes things. It changes how you view multiple careers, health, inheritance, partners and retirement. How would you change your life if you knew you would live to 150?

February 5, 2012 at 10:22 pm Leave a comment

You Can Create An Exceptional Life by Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson

How many times do you hear (or do you say) “I just can’t get ahead?” How can you set yourself up for winning if that is the loop playing in your mind? How can you believe in yourself enough to put in place the kind of changes that will bring you prosperity if all you are thinking is that it’s impossible to get ahead. Our thoughts shape our reality. Guard your thoughts

I enjoyed this book. It is well written and the material spoke to me. I found they went farther along the affirmation route than I can. Thinking of my car as a good friend, giving her a name and saying out loud that I love her doesn’t work for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t pat her dash and encourage her sometimes. I’m just not into the personification of objects.


The second aspect that doesn’t work for me is the separation of my body parts as distinct from me. I had this same challenge with Eckhart Tolle’s work. I am me, not a liver me, a stomach me, a finger me etc.



Here are some of the thoughts that spoke to me and that I flagged as I read:


Every experience has value and brings the opportunity to grow and learn, even bad ones.

We all want it now, but the journey is just as important. Along the way appreciate:

  • Simplicity
  • Optimism
  • Patience
  • Trust
  • Growth
  • Service
  • Action
  • Faith
  • Magnetism (serendipity)

It takes years to achieve mastery, and in the mean time, enjoy the process of learning, the thrill of seeing improvement and the sense of accomplishment that can come every step of the way.

We are powerful, creative beings who determine our future with every thought we think and every word we speak.”

Recognize that there isn’t one right way to do things. In a study, people identified 250 different ways to wash dishes. It doesn’t mean that they would all work for you, but that you should be open to other options.

The beauty of awareness is that it interrupts a pattern.” Seeing the way things are from an outside angle means becoming present to the truth of the way it is.

As you go through your day, check in with yourself for how you feel in the moment. How do you feel about your commute? What are you thinking as you walk into your office? Are you happy when you arrive back home? The way you feel will shape how you act towards the others around you and their reaction to you. Do you see how this goes?

Sometimes the best gift you can give someone else is to accept the gift they give you.


What are your thoughts today?


January 9, 2012 at 10:32 am 1 comment

Reading List – December

The Virgin Cure by Amy MacKay. I love Ami MacKay’s books, and not just because she’s local and is in the same home-schooling group I was in. Her prose are lyrical and her characters are multi-dimensional.


Shantaram: a Novel by Gregory David Roberts This was a 900+ page novel so it took most of December to read. It was pretty dark in places, but I couldn’t help feeling total sympathy with the protagonist even as he was hurting people, being hurt and breaking the law. It read more like an autobiography than a novel.


Midas Touch: why some entrepreneurs get rich and most don’t by Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki. I wrote a whole post about this one.


Little Bird of Heaven: a novel by Joyce Carol Oates. Is it fate or is it a series of wrong decisions? How many generations should pay? A woman is murdered. Her husband and her lover are both suspected, brought into custody and released without charges, except by popular opinion. This is the story of one’s daughter and the other’s son.

January 5, 2012 at 8:37 am Leave a comment

The Midas Touch

Midas Touch: why some entrepreneurs get rich and why most don’t by Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki

I read a lot of business books and most are full of great information. In this book, the authors have presented information from the trenches in a way that is practical and useable. They talked about business concepts in ways I have thought about them but hadn’t heard before.

They presented five traits of successful entrepreneurs which they likened to the five digits of the hand.

Thumb: Strength of Character

Index Finger: F.O.C.U.S. (follow one course until successful)

Middle Finger: Your Brand

Ring Finger: Relationships

Little Finger: Little things that count

The 2 biggest takeaways were:

  • Successful Entrepreneurs are prepared to take risk because they know that the faster they fail and learn and move on the faster they will succeed. 
  • The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.Taking responsibility in your business also means taking control and vice versa.  Without those, you won’t exert your power to win.

Here are the points I flagged as I read the book:

They talk about the Peter Principle of Small Business – your business will grow to your level of incompetence. Here’s one of those points I mentioned earlier. I wrote about this, but hadn’t heard it anywhere else.

Once you take responsibility for all you touch, the power is in your hands to make it extraordinary.

Schools teach us to avoid mistakes. The A students are the ones who can do the work the same as the teacher (or curriculum) demands. In Business, the Entrepreneur who fails the most, wins.

Your brand is the Promise you Telegraph and the Experience you Deliver. A brand is founded on what the entrepreneur stands for.

You and your business must mean something in the world. Your business must be about more than you and your product or service. In thinking about your Brand they suggest you answer this list of questions;

  • What is the problem you want to solve?
  • Why is it a problem?
  • What causes the problem?
  • If your business were gone tomorrow, what would the world lose?
  • What makes you think you can solve the problem?
  • How does your product or service solve the problem?
  • How does your product or service make your customer’s life better?
  • What do you think your customers really need from a company like yours?

(Emphasis, mine – I always wanted to say that)

Most lists of Branding questions don’t talk about the world losing without you, or making your customer’s life better (unless it’s toothpaste).

Your business is your lab – it’s your best business school. If you pay attention you will learn much of what you need.

In school, we are taught to compete for grades along a bell curve. In Business, you cannot make it on your own, you must cooperate with others to be successful.

Successful businesses focus on one little thing – lowest prices, fastest delivery, easiest buying experience. What is your one little thing?



January 3, 2012 at 9:38 am Leave a comment

October Reading

Witches’ Bane: a China Bayles mystery by Susan Wittig Albert.  I had picked up her book, ‘An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days’, her journal of thoughts, reading and writings during the tumultuous 2008.  I didn’t actually get to it before it was due back, but I decided to try out her novels.  It’s a quick, easy, fun read.

Rubies in the Orchard: How to uncover the Hidden Gems in your business by Lynda Resnick with Francis Wilkinson.  I devoured this book, trying hard not to feel inadequate.  She and her husband have successfully built several iconic brands such as POM Wonderful juice, Teleflora, Franklin Mint and Fiji Water.  They have done it with an eye to social and environmental responsibility.  I choose to be inspired!

The Last Summer: a novel by John Hough, Jr.  I enjoyed this novel and read it quickly.

And I Shall Have Some Peace There: trading in the fast lane for my own dirt road by Margaret Roach.  It’s her story of leaving Martha Stewart Magazine and moving to her house in the country.  I prefer stories where people take their lives way less seriously.  I must admit to just skimming the last half.

Raven Stole the Moon: a novel by Garth Stein.  A wonderful debut novel set in Alaska about Tlingit legends, love and grief. Thoroughly enjoyable. Garth is an entertaining guy as you can see here at a reading he does.

The E-Myth Revisited: why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it by Michael Gerber.  I reread this one.  I won a signed copy at a workshop last month so I figured I better read it! It’s a little dated, but still a great way of looking at your business.  A must-read for every business and worth rereading every few years.

November 4, 2011 at 7:31 am Leave a comment

Older Posts

The Three Success Factors

I have worked closely with 100’s of business owners and I have seen too many struggle. I have seen what works and what doesn't.

It takes 3 things to succeed:
1. Hard work - and I know you do that already.
2. Knowledge - domain knowledge: you've got that and continue to learn; and business knowledge: this is where everyone focuses and it's easy to find
3. Mindset - This is the killer app. This is what makes or breaks small business owners.

We work on Mindset here at the Business Owners Success Club: how you think about yourself and your business.

When you focus on a business that gives you what you need to live a Good Life and gives others what they need to solve a problem, everything else falls into place and you have a successful business.

Using that as a framework we work on one aspect of business every month. February is "Your Place in Your Community" month.

In March we will open the doors to our online community. Stay Tuned.

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