Currently Reading: The Five Love Languages

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This is one of those books that is popular in Christian circles along with, “The Purpose Driven Life” and “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”. I know a lot of people who have read the book and talk often about how it changed their perspective on love and relationships, especially married couples. So I decided to give it a go.

I got the singles version of the book from the library and from there it continued to sit on my dresser. Periodically I would think about starting it or one of the many other books stacked on top of it. Occasionally I would get a reminder from the library, in which I would then have to renew it, again. By the third time, I thought perhaps I should finally get started. So I did. Turned out to be a good read.

The book, of course, talks about there being five different love languages and how we all need to receive love through each but one of them speaks more than the other. If the one we speak the most is not met then regardless of how much we get the other languages we are still empty.

It goes through how to tell which one is yours and how to tell what the languages are of other people. This part I thought was interesting because if you know someone else’s language then you knew how to love them properly.

So what is mine? Apparently, “quality time”. Which makes sense, what I really want is for someone to just listen when I speak and just be in the room with me. I am also fine with acts of service, receiving gifts, and word of affirmation. The hard one for me is touch.

I don’t really like touching people or being touch. I can do minimal stuff but extended touching (i.e. sitting close to somebody or long hugs) really make me feel like there is something bubbling in my stomach and it won’t stop until we stop touching. Too long and I feel like running or making a loud uncomfortable noise.

I’m not sure why this is but it definitely the hardest one for me to reciprocate, especially if it is someone’s love language. I’m trying to do better with it, but sometimes I really just want to wear a shirt that says “Please don’t touch me,”.

I do recommend reading this book, it comes in various forms depending on your stage in life. It was very insightful about myself and my friends and family. I’ll definitely start putting this in practice.

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Currently Reading: Pitch Perfect

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Have you ever had a moment where you said something and wished that it didn’t come out of your mouth? Or have you ever walked away only to come up with the perfect response just a little too late? Or maybe you gave a speech and it turned out horrible? That is what this book, Pitch Perfect is about, those moments.

In this BIll McGowan breaks down the how you can effectively communicate in your personal and professional life. He introduces seven principles that you can apply.

What originally drew me to this book was the fact that my communications skills are somewhat lacking. It is not the fact that I do not communicate, it is more about how I come across. Many times I am viewed as cold or blunt when I don’t try to be. Also I have a RBF. Which essentially means that I always look angry even when usually I am happy. Sometimes I think that if I was just born with a happier looking face things would be a lot easier, lol.

The other thing I wanted to work on is pausing before I speak. I tend to stumble over my words, especially when I am excited. This is covered in his book under the No Tailgating Principle.

The speed in which you talk should be directly proportional to how certain you are about the next sentence coming out of your mouth.

He also covers how your posture, stance, facial expressions (especially when listening), tone of voice, and gestures play a part in how you come off either in a conversation or a presentation. And if you need to know how to graciously turn someone down or congratulate someone you don’t like, the book goes over that too.

Overall I think this is a great book to read. Each chapter is filled with funny anecdotes and real life stories that puts the book’s principles in perspective. The knowledge in it is easy to follow and you don’t feel overwhelmed chapter after chapter.

If you are looking to improve your communication skills this is a great book to add to your repertoire.

 

 

 

Currently Reading: The M-Factor, How the Millennial Generation is Rocking the Workplace

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I am always interested in generational differences between my own generation, millennials, and others and how we can collaborate with each other. I am especially interested in how millennials are viewed in general. So when this book came across my radar I had to read it.

The M-factor shows how each generation, Traditionalist, Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials, function in the workplace and how each generation changed the workplace scene. The book explains this by putting it in correlation to the millennial generation and how we function. The breakdown of chapters are: Parenting, Entitlement, Meaning, Great Expectations, The Need for Speed, Social Networking, and Collaboration.

I won’t necessarily cover every section of the book but here are the main points I took away from it:

  • Parenting: the first thing that hit me about this was that I was surprised by my own generation. For millennials parenting is no longer finished when college is done, now it is continuing on into the workplace. They have more of an engrossed and buddy relationship view of their parents which we then take into the workplace, no longer see higher-ups as on pedestals but instead side by side. That I agreed with but then I saw this:

In our M-Factor survey, over 10 percent of Millennials said they would “feel comfortable having my parent(s) call the boss if there is a problem,”

Uh, what?! I didn’t even know that was a thing! I would never have my mom call my boss because I had a problem at work or, like in the book example, have my parent go over my work stuff like it was school work. That is so foreign to me.

The other part of this that was interesting was that Boomer and Xers are confused as to how Millennials got they way they are but don’t realize that they are the ones who raised them that way.

  • Entitlement: Now this is a big push button for me because I constantly see articles about how Millennials think they are so entitled and want the world handed to them on the silver spoon. Often I think we are misunderstood on this and what people view as entitlement is actually something else: no-nonsense.

We’ve grown up seeing our grandparents and parents struggling day-to-day in job they hate, working because they had to, and not being able to do things they’ve wanted to do until later in life. The general notion is to save up now and you can have your reward later. Well we, Millennials, saw what it means to do that and decided, that sucks. So we adjusted accordingly.

This book does a really good job of breaking down the way Millennials think and why that is misconstrued as entitlement to other generations. I could do a whole article on just that one word and I might later but I highly suggest this chapter above all the rest.

  • Meaning:

Sometimes it can feel like providing meaning for Millennials is an insurmountable task…But the costs of not paying attention to meaning are also considerable. Millennials are more than willing to leave a job if they don’t feel fulfilled. 

This is so true. Any time I start to feel bored in a job or no longer feel like my contribution even matters I start to look elsewhere. As Millennials we want to know that what we do has a purpose and meaning behind it, we want to know how our cog fits in the wheel. In that same instance we also want constant feedback. Not because we are insecure or don’t know what we are doing but because we want to be on the same page and know we aren’t wasting time with useless efforts.

We also want to know that our companies are taking a role in helping the community and the earth. Companies that are green and give back to the community are huge factors for us when choosing where to work.

  • Need for Speed: Because we are so used to a constant stream of information and new technologies, Millennials, are constantly moving at a fast speed and look for the better and faster way to do things, which causes clashes when met with the corporate world process.

Millennials… are entering a workplace where decisions work their way through a process so time-consuming it can feel like waiting for a dial-up connection on the internet.

I can’t tell you how many times I just wanted to scream at the pace in which corporations make decisions. On one hand I understand that there is a process and that change is costly but on the other hand it takes so long, for sometimes even the littlest, decisions to be made that you wonder how the company continues to function. This is a very hard thing for us to get.

  • Collaboration

We are a very collaborative generation in that we share practically everything, and in some cases too much. We feel the need to stay connected to peers and to access higher-ups for mentoring. We prefer open spaces to cubicles and corner offices. We like to be able to voice our opinion but at the same time want to hear other’s opinions. When it comes to teamwork or work in general we have no problem admitting our faults and passing the job off to someone who is more qualified because we know they are better at it.

Other generations are sometimes baffled at this as they were taught differently. But we see it as a natural thing.

 

Over all I found this book to be a good read and easy to break down as well as insightful not only as to how previous generations viewed things but also my own. I also think this is a valuable book for anyone to read. That being said I would like to make a few points about it.

  1. They talk about the interview process and how the questions that previously worked don’t really work on Millennials and now some sites are posting interview questions on websites so interviewees know what to expect.  However sometimes I think the questions are so vague and the answers so wide that nobody wins. Perhaps we should look into scenario questions, as in “this happened so you do what”. I also think if it was more staged as conversation as opposed to an interrogation that would be better.
  2. There is constant emphasis in the book about how many Millennials don’t understand dress code, work etiquette, and haven’t had a first job before when entering the workplace after college. I question these notions. I can’t think of a single Millennial I know who didn’t “work” in so some form prior to leaving college. And the whole dress code and work etiquette thing is, I think, more a product of environment/upbringing and lack of knowledge but I don’t think it is abundant in my generation. I don’t know maybe I’m just bias.
  3. There is a sentence on pg 153 that says “But they are expected to be treated like a darling, not a doofus.” I don’t know why but that sentence completely rubbed me the wrong way and almost negated what I previously read. Up until then I felt that the authors were really getting the our generation but the word “darling” gave me sudden images that made me feel like we needed to be coddled and petted. I get what was trying to be said but I would have used another word.

So that is my review on The M-Factor. Hopefully it wasn’t too long. If you read it or have any thoughts about the subject please feel free to comment below!

Currently Reading: Drive

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What is it that drives you to reach a goal or complete a task? Is is a need like food, shelter, or companionship? Is it a reward like recognition, a material item, or an experience? Or is it something more, something intrinsic?

In the book: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink, Pink explores what truly drives us to do the things that we do.

Pink questions whether or not being rewarded for a task is enough and if perhaps the rewards themselves are what hinder our work and ability to stay motivated.

The monkeys solved puzzles simply because they found it gratifying to solve puzzles. They enjoyed it. The joy of the task was its own reward.

There were two main studies in the beginning that I found really interesting. One was with monkeys. They gave to monkeys puzzles to solve and changes the variables of how they rewarded them. They found that they performed far getter when there was no reward involved then when there was.

In other experiment there were two group of subjects and they were told to solve certain puzzles. Group A was paid to do it while Group B was not. They found that with the introduction of payment for their work, Group A didn’t hold as much interest in the project a Group B.

So what does this mean? That although rewards are nice, if not done properly they can affect our joy for doing a things, or instinctive drive.

Take away:

This book was very interesting and kind of explains how doing what you love can somehow turn into something that you hate. In that moment when your third drive, passion, gets snuffed out due to a rewards based system suddenly you no longer feel the joy of it.

This is a good book for looking to understand what it is that drives you and makes you want to participate in things. From the standpoint of a boss it helps you understand the perspective of the employee and why certain rewards just don’t seem to hold as much weight as you thought they would.

Although this book has a lot of good information, it is a little dry and is sometimes hard to get through the writing. Another way to get the information that he is talking about is the video below:

Currently Reading: The Four Hour Work Week

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“Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?”

How many hours do you work a week? Twenty? Thirty? Forty? Sixty? How many would you like to work? What if you could only work four hours a week and make more money than you had in the past and do more things than you could have dreamed of before?

These are the questions that are raised and answered in:

The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

The book covers how to gain a shorter work week through remote working in your job or creating a self-sustaining business.

“The manifesto of a dealmaker is simple, reality is negotiable.”

Points of Interest:

  • Adventure Deficit Disorder: lack of having any sort of adventure in your life. Such as not taking a vacation in years or doing something fun or taking risks. Having worked many years in menial jobs I am no stranger to this. Definitely get up and go on vacation sometimes or just take days off simply because I can’t stand it anymore.
  • Define your nightmare: An exercise where you imagine what worst the could probably happen if you were to take the big leap. You have to face that fear and get over it. What are the outcomes or benefits? What if you were fired? What are you putting off? What are you waiting for? All good question in this exercise about fear.
  • Tool and Tricks: At the end of each section there is a list of useful information like time enhancers, useful apps, programs and companies to help automate your business, and such.
  • Become and expert in four weeks: a section on how you can go from a nobody to a somebody without putting years or ton of money into it. One instance of course is writing a blog!
  • 80/20: learning what makes us the most productive and what customers are the biggest buyers. Loved this chapter in relation to customers and how you should deal with them when it comes to setting boundaries and limiting options.

“Serving the customer is not becoming a personal concierge and catering to their every whim and want.”

Things that didn’t mesh:

  • Questions and Actions: at the end of each section there were a series of question and actions to followup the lessons. The questions were good and took some time, however the actions were odd. For instance you had to lie down in a middle of a walk area for an undetermined amount of time while people stare and walk around you. The point was to get you out of your skin but it was still weird.
  • “Dry testing”: promoting a product that doesn’t actually exist in order to test how well it will do. This was used in the example for building a product based business. Seems simple enough but the method of doing it didn’t really appeal to me. It seemed dishonest in a way.
  • Remote working: although it is a good idea not all jobs can offer this, namely customer service based ones. It is a suggested that you could get a job that does offer this but not sure if that solves the problem especially if you aren’t qualified or interested in those jobs.
  • Although this book comes from the example of Ferriss and his business and how he was able to automate it and create income this method seems to work mostly with product based businesses and not so much creative side ones.

Overall I did find this book engaging and it did help when it came to facing fears about my business and how I want to spend more time doing the things I want and get out of the rat race. There is a wealth of stories and examples that illustrate the lessons.

I recommend this book if you are interested in remote working or wanting to have an automated product business.

Currently Reading: Thinking For a Change

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You can act you way into feeling long before you can feel your way into action. If you wait until you feel like doing something, you will likely never accomplish it.

We are always thinking whether we realize it or not. We think about what we are going to eat, what we are currently doing, what we are going to do tomorrow. We analyze people’s reactions, wonder about insignificant things, and wonder about our future.

But what is the difference between just thinking and thinking with a purpose? What thoughts do we create that take us from one path to the other and how do we make sure that, that is the right path that we want.

Thinking for a Change: 11 Ways Highly Successful People Approach Life and Work By John C. Maxwell

In this book Maxwell explorers the different ways in which we can create intentional thought. He opens with an introduction as to how we think, change the way we think, and make our thinking intentional. He then moves on to the 11 different ways to do this from big picture thinking to bottom line thinking.

Two of these stood out the most for me:

1. Focused Thinking

Focus thinking deals with zoning in on the details of things. Taking your dream and clarifying it down in to the details. It is also realizing the distractions around you and removing them. Know that you can’t do everything, know everything, and be everything and that is okay.

Being willing to give up some of the things you love in order to focus on what has the greatest impact isn’t an easy lesson to learn.

2. Question the Acceptance of Popular Thinking

Popular thinking is the general consensus of things. At one time popular thinking thought the Earth was the center of the Universe. It was those who thought differently who changed that. Question the popular thinking always. Question especially when it is about you and the negative things people think about you. Just because a lot of people say it, doesn’t make it true.

It doesn’t matter how sound your thinking is if it’s based on faulty data or assumptions. You can’t think well in the absence of facts (or the presence of poor information).

Overall this is an informative book whose purpose isn’t necessarily to centered on business and strategy but instead on getting you to think on your own and figure things out for yourself. This book also doubles as a worksheet with questions to fill out and exercises to do.

Side note: I had actually read this before and written in the workbook part. It was interesting to see what I had written at that time and notice just how different my thinking and my goals are now.

 

 

Currently Reading: What’s Mine is Yours

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In a day and age where everyone seems to be a mass consumer there are a few companies popping up that seem to go the other way where things are shared.

What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers

The book starts out with an illustration of our over consumerism in the form of the The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. A stretch of ocean that is twice the size of Texas and carries about 3.5 million tons of garbage most of which is plastic. This came from the rise of disposable products such as plates, cups, and bottles.

Garbage patch

From the moment you start reading you see this case building and how we came to where we are now  with excess stuff and an abundance of trash. What is so great about this book is that it doesn’t just leave it there but shows how we are creating solutions to this ever-expanding problem.

From Generation Me to Generation We

There is now a significant amount of consumers who are moving towards homemade items, recycled materials, second-hand products, and shared living spaces.

The book touches on companies like Etsy, Airbnb, Growing Chefs, and RideShare, all of which make collaboration and reuse as part of their backbone.

It also talks about crowdsourcing but not as a way to make money but at as a way to solve problems and sharing a huge task, like picking up large amounts of trash, between several people so it takes less time and money. This is also applied to open collaborative tech projects and artists initiatives.

The Millennials are not a generation of Mother Teresas. They are not all do gooders shunning well paid jobs and luxuries for a utopian dream…But they are abandoning the prevailing ethos of their parents’ generation of baby boomers  and adhering more to the values of their grandparents, the war generation.

Millennials are the backbone of this newfound driven collaboration and community of Entrepreneurs and consumers. “Generation We” has created a new value shift.

What will you get out of this book?

This book portrays how the world is ever-changing especially in the hands of Millennials. It’s not all about what “I” can get but what “we” can get and for Entrepreneurs it is important to understand your audience and how new businesses are popping up all the time to meet this need.

I like this book particularly because it helped me understand my own generation and it also gave me insight into what businesses are doing now. I definitely recommend this if not as a way to help your business but as a case study/social commentary of where we are today as consumers.

 

Currently Reading: The Crowdfunding Bible

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I’m sure as Entrepreneurs we have all heard of crowdfunding and how you can use that to create capital for starting projects, launching initiatives, or even funding a vacation. But because you know of it doesn’t mean you know how to do it and do it successfully.

As a person who is currently looking into crowdfunding as an option for financing a film I started to research how it is done and came across this book in my search.

The Crowdfunding Bible: How to Raise Money for any Startup, Video Game, or Project

by Scott Steinberg

In this book it covers topics such as:

  • What is crowdfunding
  • Who should consider it
  • And how to get your crowdfunding project off the ground

Great pieces in this book includes the list of crowdfunding sites, examples of successful campaigns, ideas for your own campaign. The big thing about creating your campaign, and the thing that will help you the most, is research.

The book suggests that you look at other campaigns that have been launched and assess what they have done from their video, to prizes, their goal, and how they are marketing their campaign.

It also breaks down each crowdfunding site and their fees and requirements for payouts when it comes to reaching your goal.

Please note that this isn’t a step by step outline of what you can personally do for your campaign but more of a general outline of the steps needed to take but it does offer a great amount of information for anyone who is looking to get started.

As of today you can purchase the book in Amazon for the kindle app for free. However it’s not apparent how long that will last as the book usually cost $13.99 and the digital list price is $2.99.

Currently Reading: Platform Get Noticed in a Noisy World

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Writing a blog or trying to create some sort of presence in social media isn’t easy and it doesn’t always come naturally. I have twitter, facebook pages, instagram, and the like but to say I have a presence on them is a stretch. I’m just not used to always tweeting my thoughts, taking snapshots (and certainly not selfies) at events, or posting content beyond a blog post.

It’s not always that I don’t want to do it, mostly that I forget and don’t really have a system in place to back it up.

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy Wold by Michael Hyatt 

This a great book to get started with creating a lasting social media presence. The book has five parts in it get you on your way.

Part One: Start With Wow

This is all about creating a marketable product and making it big.

Part Two: Prepare to Launch

This is all about the preparation it takes to successfully launch your brand like the various social media sites available, profiles, staff, personal pictures, endorsements and such.

Part Three: Build Your Home Base

Learning how to use all social media sites so that they flow seamlessly with each other. A lot of this one is centered around creating a blog and great blog content.

Part Four: Expand Your Reach

This one is about how to understand Twitter, gaining more followers, learning how to get more traffic, and understanding what your current traffic means.

Part Five: Engage Your Tribe

How to get more interaction with people on your blog and eventually how to monetize it.

This book is all about attracting that audience, and turning on the brightest lights you can find, and building passionate loyalty so your audience stays with you through every line, every scene, every act. It’s not about ego or being the center of attention. It is about having something of value to others and finding the most powerful way of getting that message to other who can benefit from it.

Great aspects of this book:

I really liked how the chapters are structured. Most are no more than five pages which allows you to get through the material fast but also doesn’t make you feel bogged down with information so you can easily stop or come back to it later.

There is also great use of storytelling from the author’s life as well as successful people to keep things interesting. There is also a wealth of knowledge in it so you can use it again and again as a reference book. Reading it once definitely is not enough.

Keep in mind though that a lot of this information is basics and great for people starting out but if you are looking for something a little more advanced than this might not be for you. That being said I did find this book very helpful and I recommend reading it.

Currently Reading: How to Write Great Blog Posts that Engage Readers

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To be the best you can be you must always continue to learn. As part of this, every week I will share a resource that I have found helpful and that hopefully you would find helpful too.

How to Write Great Blog Posts that Engage Readers

by Steve Scott

This was one of the first books I had picked up when looking to start this blog again. The big thing that hindered me when it came to blog writing was simply having nothing to write. I had built up several blogs before this that had started out strong but then eventually died.

Before starting this one I had to assess just what it was that made me stop. Was it time constraints? Yes and no, but really I could make time if I wanted to. Was it a lack of material? Sometimes yes, but one of the blogs I was doing was an indie movie review blog. There are tons of indie movies out there so really no lack of material. Then what?

I’d realized that I lacked a clear outline and focus of what my blog was truly about and why I was doing it. I also realized that I was using the same type of blog posts again and again and I was seriously craving some creativity. So thus the blogs faded off into a slow oblivion.

What this book does is lays out the basic set ups of blog posts and the usual types blog posts fall into. What makes this beneficial is that you learn how to build a good blog post and start to get and idea of how to structure your blog.

I really needed a kick to get this started because otherwise this would have remained empty and just another failed attempt. This book helped with that and I hope it can help you.

How to Write Great Blog Posts that Engage Readers by Steve Scott is available here on Amazon and the best part, it’s a good about of information and resources and it only costs $0.99!