Book Reviews

Since LinkedIn doesn’t have book reviews anymore, I’m going to start putting my thoughts on books I read here.  Also, if I write any in-depth posts on books and insights, I’ll archive them here, too.  I hope this inspires you to read a few of them yourself!


My Big Leap With No Regrets

Written on 4/24/2018

I recently listened to two books that have changed my personal perspective on living and my professional perspective on doing. I have pretty much told everyone who is in front of me how I’m going to implement both in order to help create lasting change in my life, and so I thought it best to also write it down here.

The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, by Bronnie Ware

I listened to this book in my car. I almost cried every single time it was on. It was a pretty emotionally exhausting week! I recommend getting a feel for her Australian accent and then picking up the speed to 1.5x in order to not drag out the feelings of exasperation of the stories of everyone’s deaths.

But it is a must read/listen! I don’t think the book would be so impactful if you didn’t get a glimpse of the dying person’s life you wouldn’t understand, or relate, to how they got to their regrets.

The regrets were

  • I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself.
  • I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  • I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  • I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  • I wish that I had let myself be happier.

With each of these came numerous stories of people who may have not led a sad life, but they may have not been as fulfilled. And some of the people just lived very sad lives because of it.

3 out of the 5 are pretty easy for me. It’s the not working so hard and the staying in touch with my friends that I want to try to hold on to. Luckily, I’m pretty good at assembling/planning functions with close friends, and I still get one on one time with some of them.

As for not working so hard…

The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks

My biggest takeaway from this book is how to know when to operate in your different “Zones” of work effectiveness.

There are four Zones

  • Zone of Incompetence
  • Zone of Competence
  • Zone of Excellence
  • Zone of Genius

When becoming an entrepreneur, everything is resting on your shoulders, but you can accidentally waste too much time in the lower zones and burn out never having actually done what your business set out to do.

So as quickly as you can, resource out any tasks in your Zone of Incompetence. For me, that’s accounting, payroll, bookkeeping, invoicing, website maintenance, and social media implementation (I still write everything, but I don’t actually load it). This has saved me more hours than I can count!

But what I wasn’t doing before this book (because I was totally already resourcing out the things I wasn’t good at), was resourcing out the tasks I was competent with. SEO for blog posts, blog featured images, assembling the content for the two different email blasts we send out each month (still writing the content though), and scheduling calls with my beta testers. I was able to unload A LOT of hours that I had spent on this. I was drowning in the perfunctory.

There are still tasks that only I can currently do in the Zone of Competence, but I am learning from my life coach, that there are times when I should batch those tasks and other times when I should focus on my Zones of Excellence and Genius.

I am defining my Zone of Excellence as tasks that need to get done that are quintessentially Patti. My blog posts, my marketing content, writing Scopes of Work, pitch decks, that all need to come from my brain because that’s what helps make Data Wonderment special (Jennifer calls me “The Mouth”). I even consider the networking events I go to at times I use my Zone of Excellence energy.

And then there’s the Zone of Genius. This is where the magic happens. This is my passive-income buildout execution, the dashboards for clients, and the data storytelling awesomeness that is the reason why Data Wonderment has its name. The more I am here, the more insights I can bring to the world. This is what lights my fire.

Therefore, it is important to dedicate time to the Zone of Genius in bigger chunks of at least a few hours at a time. Full dedication, too. No checking emails, or thinking of other things. Full Zone of Genius Mode. My minimum baseline for being in the Zone of Genius is at least once per weekend.

Then, my Zone of Excellence is 2-3 weeknight evenings and I chill out the other two nights (or workout probably). And my Zone of Competence is the lunch breaks and many times that I can squeeze in when I know I have a half hour to spare and can knock something out. That’s also usually reserved for the OTHER day in the weekend if we’re not out and about.

But there’s another concept my life coach teaches about acknowledging and using the Sacred Days. She recommends two, but with my full time and extreme hustle, I’ve settled on having just one… on Fridays… and still checking emails on my tea breaks. Sacred Days are meant to recharge, with no work at all, but I don’t feel like in my hecticness of a startup that I can give myself that yet.

Which then brings me back to the regret of the dying and of not working so hard… so I might currently work hard, but when I do play, I play hard, enjoy my friends hard, share my feelings hard, and feel the happiest for it.


On Confidence, Part One of Confidence Talk

Written on 4/1/2017

March’s theme turned out to be Confidence, so I decided to write a new mini-series called Confidence Talk.

I read the booked called “Confidence Code” by Kathy Kay and a Claire Shipman. After finishing it, I decided to talk about it at the Femcity March Local Social and then got called out almost immediately on my lack of confidence at a specific moment (more on that next time). I watched the Data + Women Tableau Users Group webinar and a lot of the talk was on building your confidence as a budding analytics professional.  And I just finished the Orlando Lady Boss podcast about having the confidence to take credit for your contributions.

“Confidence Code” Highlights

There are huge differences between the confidence levels of men and women and those differences are caused both by nurture and nature. Until recently, girls have been raised to be polite and to wait their turn. Women have gotten in the habit of apologizing for way too many things (which I’ve already ranted about in a private Facebook group this past month, so I’ll forego it here).

But confidence in humans and non-humans alike can stem from the chemical makeup of their body and whether they have a fast or slow metabolism to absorb them. This is the foundation to whether you take risks or sit on the sidelines. And then parents and the outside environment help shape whether the absorption rate becomes a good or bad influence on confidence. The book also gave great advice on how we should start raising our daughters to help enable them to make good, confident choices.

I will probably read that last section on raising confident kids again in a few more years!

Feature & Benefits

Written on 4/6/2016

The past few weeks have had the the subject of features and benefits pop up a lot.

For the non-marketing people out there, let me explain the difference.

The Feature: What makes a product or service that product or service.  It’s the steak.  It’s the drill.

The Benefit: What the customer gets out of buying that product or service.  It’s the sizzle. It’s the hole.

My very well-dressed sales friend suggested I read a book he himself had just finished, Admen, Mad Men, and the Real World of Advertising, by Dave Marinaccio.  I’m only a couple of chapters in, but one of them had all to do with the importance of benefits. And everything he wrote was pretty much what I have learned in my 15 years of being in the advertising field.  Except where he learned about benefits by having to write copy about perfume (which you have to make benefits up, like having sexy times because you wear a certain perfume – his words, not mine), I formally learned about benefits from having to take the Professional Selling Skills training in my last job.  I wasn’t a sales person, but the President thought it was a good idea for me to intimately learn features and benefits so I could speak the language of sales and help in the selling process.  It was a great thing to add to my marketing arsenal.

A few weeks ago I held a brainstorming session for a local organization to help them find their Unique Selling Propositions and their Benefit Statements.

We had a big easel of paper that had sticky backing.  We first went around the room and listed out all of the features of that organization.  We then crossed out those features that other organizations also had and circled the ones that were unique.  Then, for each unique benefit, we used a new sheet of paper to brainstorm the benefits of said feature.  The benefits had to be made as statements as if the member was saying why it was important to them. W.I.I.F.M is pronounced like “wiffim” and means What’s In It For Me.

We had a wall full of individual benefits (sticky backing, remember?).  While by themselves they were strong, if we combined similar benefits together that expressed similar attitudes, they should be powerful.  So we played the “Yes And” brainstorming game where we picked a benefit statement and then looked around to the other sheets to find other benefit statements that sounded like they came from the same person.  This exercise led us to coming up with three kinds of members (and potential members) they have in their organization.  We were then able to talk about how the marketing materials should lend themselves to trying to sell to these three kinds of people in ways that matter to them, because we have a product/service that fits their needs.

My Happiness Project

Written on 6/3/2015

Who doesn’t want to add a little more happiness in their life?

I finished the book “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin.  She is a writer who had a pretty nice life and she felt pretty happy, but there were some things she new that she could/should possibly do to make her life even happier.  So she studied the idea of being a happy person, built a plan, and wrote a blog for a year.  The book is her ideas/insights that bubbled up throughout the process.

I also am a happy person.  And, after reading the book, I am inspired to continue to try to eek out just a little more happiness each day and with each interaction.  And I’ve been doing that.  And I’m pretty much tickled pink all of the time.

Gretchen offered many strategies to handle work-life balance, life-family balance, and home-outside of home balance.  She developed tactics for dealing with clutter, having better conversations with your spouse and children, and how to help start prioritizing how you spend your time with others.  It was some pretty motivating stuff.

One of the tactics I had been using for myself for awhile became more solidified after reading the book.  I had been trying to figure out when to say yes to activities and when to say no. I had come up with a priority list of how I should spend my time. But then, throw wedding planning and the onset of bathing suit season and my plan went out the window.

But then, the strategies in the book helped me get back on track.  And understanding that I need to set time aside for things that are important to me (including wedding planning) to help make sure I do them also relieves any guilt I have when I’m not doing them when I think I should be.  If I’ve made the time, I’ll get it done then.  It totally helps me focus more on the now and not on the then.

I’ve crafted prioritization categories and subcategories that take some of the weight off of knowing when to say yes to something and when to say no.

Category A: My health

Subcategory 1 – Working out with friends

Subcategory 2 – Working out with my Wah Lum family

Subcategory 3 – Working out by myself

Explanation.  My health is my number one priority.  If I don’t have that, then getting ahead in my career and living a long healthy life with my Partner In Crime won’t matter much.  My goal is to go to Tai Chi and Kung Fu once a week, but, if invited to a group yoga class or kickboxing circuit training with my closest pals, that activity wins.  And then another goal is to work out at least three times a week in the morning and once on the weekends with my Bestie.

Category B: My relationships

Subcategory 1 – My PIC (er, now fiance – still getting used to that)

Subcategory 2 – My bestie and closest pals

Subcategory 3 – My Fems

Subcategory 4 – My local web/future village

Subcategory 5 – Orlando handshakes (ie. classical networking)

Explanation. For the other two days of the week I try to spend the evenings with one of the subcategories.  If I can combine subcategories, awesome, if I can combine a subcategory with the category of Working Out, even better.

The Trifecta of “Wild”

Written on 3/22/2015

For the past two months my mind has been on Wild, by Cheryl Strayed.  The Heart of Florida United Way Women’s Leadership Council had Ms. Strayed speak at their luncheon at the end of February.  In anticipation for the event, I listened to her book via Audible.

Win #1 – The Book

Cheryl enters the Pacific Crest Trail a hot mess, hikes 1,100 miles, and leaves it knowing herself better and able to move forward with her life.  While she had a bit more struggles and angst than I have had in my own life, I appreciated the self-reflection and self-actualization she achieved.  I was impressed by her sophistication of her love of books and her dedication to certain authors.  And she really did become the Queen of the PCT.  It was a great “read.”

Win #2 – The Luncheon

There were 1,100 men and women (well, about twenty men) at the luncheon that day.  I knew a good handful of the women and were excited to get their perspective of Ms. Strayed since they had not read the book.  She gave a great keynote speech that summarized her experience hiking the PCT and how it shaped the rest of her life to have her end up here.  My friends’ reviews consisted of “I need to read that book NOW,” to “How can I get my hands on that movie? When does it come out on DVD?”

Win #3 – The Movie

The movie was released digitally last week.  So of course, my Bestie let me invite over eight smart and sassy Fems to his house to celebrate our Femfessionals Orlando three-year anniversary, have a healthy catered dinner from the Green Day Cafe, indulge in 3-Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s and in a delightful Gluten-free vegan blackberry and lemon poppy-seed with maple pecan stuffing, vanilla frosted cake from the Raphsodic Bakery, and watch the movie starring Reese Witherspoon.

Because it is a biography, a lot of the dialogue was in the mind of Cheryl – her hopes, her fears, her reflections.  While the movie showed a few of her relationships she developed while hiking the PCT, the girls that read the book first added some color to the movie, filling in some stories where we could.  The movie could stand on it’s own though, without our extra stories.  It’s definitely uplifting (eventually once you get through the hot mess) and worth a look.  But having the book knowledge while watching was very rewarding.

So read the book.  Watch the movie.  And then hope that Cheryl Strayed visits your community.  Or get her there yourself.  Because you can do anything you set your mind to; just like hiking the PCT.

Wow’d About Mad Women

Written on 2/16/2015

I just recently finished Mad Women: The Other Side of Madison Avenue in the ’60s and Beyond.  What a whirlwind of the feminist movement! Although they didn’t know it at the time, these women set the stage for all other women who wanted to work to get out there and be something.  Of course, albeit, by sacrificing either your health or your family in the process.

After having read Lean-In, by Sheryl Sandberg, and comparing it to what Jane Maas had to go through, I can see that there’s been SOOOO much progress being made, in terms of HR policies, not staying at home mommy-guilt, and just general advancement of women as leaders.  Thank goodness!

It was a really fun ride to read.  Learning about how Jane got into the business (how most women got into the business, actually) how they started to climb the corporate ladder, how they started realizing that “having it all” didn’t actually exist because it was the women allowing the men to get there, but the men had know clue as to how to help the women (well, except for Jane’s husband, he was awesome). The stories she has about the drinking, the smoking, the sexing, and the relationships she had with mentors and colleagues really brought the era to life for me.  I really liked how she interviewed people in the ’90s about their experiences and how they were very open about sharing their stories.  Jane was really at the right place at the right time and it’s great that she was able to take advantage of it.

I actually got to meet Jane a few years ago, which is how I got my hands on the book.  She was the guest speaker at our local American Advertising Federation Chapter.  She walked through a couple of the stories in the book and was an all around great speaker.  Before the event she was wandering around the networking area chatting everyone up.  In my book I had her sign, she wrote to me “For Patti, My fellow Mad Woman, and fellow believer that outdoor is the most demanding medium of all… and the most rewarding. Best to you, Jane.”

Cutest retired copywriter ever, don’t you agree?

Jane Maas and me

 Malala is Legit

Written on 1/20/2015

I just finished reading “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai.  I could only hope I would have a fraction of the drive and energy this girl has for her cause if I were in her situation.

If you have been under a rock, Malala is the famous girls’-education rights activist from Pakistan.  She has been on various talk shows and written under a pseudonym about her daily life as well as then writing as herself.  She is considered the Mother Theresa of our time.  She is also the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize at 17.

Or, you might remember her from the Taliban shooting her in the face when she was only 15.

But this isn’t really what her book is about.  It’s a fantastic chronicle of the struggle of the Pakistani people and most especially its women and girls.  She thoughtfully details the ups and downs of her Swat Valley from its creation and then fluidly moves from her families’ history to her own present day accounts.  I’m incredibly impressed by her leadership, intelligence and that she is a “normal” teenage girl whose favorite subject in school is physics but she still loves the Vampire Diaries.

If you want to be inspired by a future world leader, read her book now.  It will give you an amazing and timely perspective of the situation in the Middle East and why it is going to be so difficult to help bring them up to the education standards that every child deserves.  If she ever asks for my help, she’s going to get it.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Book By Doris Kearns Goodwin

Written on 12/29/2014

I originally wrote the first paragraph of this review on GoodReads, the newest way I find new books to read recommended by friends.

This book was so well thought-out. It used so many sources I couldn’t keep track as it built a web of story-lines from most members of Lincoln’s cabinet. I was so vested in learning about the people that I felt very moved to learned the details of the day of Lincoln’s death – and that was only in the last hour of the 40 hour Audible! And I was engrossed the whole time. It was fascinating to learn about Lincoln’s strategies of handling prominent men (herding prideful cats) and their politics. I loved getting a glimpse at diaries and correspondence as that was really what gave the soul to the book.

Interesting facets that I share with people to this day are as follows:

-Did you know they invented the current currency during his presidency? You get to learn all about Chase, his original Treasurer and later a Supreme Court Justice (and his name is what makes up Chase Bank!)  You also get to learn about his beautiful daughter who was the hostess with the mostess in DC.

-Lincoln selected a really bright man to reform the US Postal Service.

-Seward (his Secretary of State) was incredibly interesting, least being that he stood strong on saying getting Alaska was a smart idea (Seward, Alaska, right!?!)

-Learning the pressures Mary Lincoln faced as first lady with judgments from all sides (for fashion, hostessing, being “a ruffian from the Midwest,” and having her family living in the South during the entire Civil War) definitely made her a little crazy once she lost her children and husband.

-The constant criticisms coming from Frederick Douglass (his auto-biography I read twice, by the way) about how Lincoln handled slavery and the hesitancy he had to going to war; but then the later pride and friendship they exuded upon each other once they met and Douglass realized that Lincoln was an Everyman and should be supported and praised for his consistency with how he treated all of his fellow men.

-How puffy and flowery men used to write to each other in correspondence – they were very mushy to each other, actually.

-How many people kept diaries and how many of them were preserved. It was an amazing time in history and we should revel in the fact that even though they didn’t have Facebook, memories and descriptions remain.

I also once read Lincoln on Leadership and I think I will put that back on my reading list again now that I have the entire framework for his life.  And since it’s a small-ish book it will act as a refresher when I do finally get to it.  My reading queue is quite long!

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

Book by Daniel M. Pink

Written on 8/17/2014

About a year ago, Simon T. Bailey recommended that his followers read this book.  Since I have a queue, I just finished reading it.  I enjoyed Mr. Pink’s insights on how our education system as created so many Left-Brain thinkers (myself included) and how these people need to learn to adapt in order to stay relevant in their career.  He talks about how modernization and assembly-lines have created efficient thinkers and products, but that now the only way employers and consumers will purchase these seemingly undifferentiated people and products is to have those people and products think more creatively or be creatively designed.  A great product example of this is toilet brushes.  You can go anywhere and buy a simple toilet brush.  They are all pretty much the same – EXCEPT for the toilet brush designed by Michael Graves for Target.  That thing is a work of art and people are willing to pay more for something unique and interesting.

This book falls in line with the same theme as Linchpin in that workers need to make themselves invaluable.  Like Linchpin, this books gives tips, but it also gives so much more.  He lists out things you should do to work your Right-Brain muscle and makes you look at the world differently.  The exercises definitely make you appreciate the robust creativeness the world has to offer; we just have to learn how to tap into it.

There was one section that I thought was thought-provoking enough to hit the bookmark button while I was listening to it.  It was a section about how to create “symphony” in your own work and life.  The Left-Brain has been so used to processing systematic pieces parts and the Left-Brain has begun to atrophy on being able to register the whole forest.   He provides a list of other books to help to get your “symphony” back.  They are:

Beethoven’s Anvil: Music in Mind and Culture by William Benzon

Dialogue: The Art of Thinking Together by William Isaacs

Metaphors We Live By by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson

How to See: A Guide to Reading Our Man-Made Environment by George Nelson

What books do you think just made it to my To Be Read List?  If you’re curious about what else I’ve read or am going to read, check out my Pinterest Board where I keep my list here.  I also just joined “GoodReads” and you can be my friend if you sign up and click here.


Linchpin Thoughts and a Colleague’s Tips on Climbing the Career Ladder

Written on 7/20/2014

I now have another book to offer young people out of college and just stepping into their first jobs of their career: Linchpin, by Seth Godin.  If you recall in one of my post from the #BizWomen Orlando Business Journal Women Mentorship Program, Shirley Decker, with I.D.E.A.S. recommended I read this book.

Because I’ve now been in working my career for more than 10 years now (AACK, OMG, IT’S BEEN THAT LONG?!? I JUST BLEW MY OWN MIND HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME), the book was more of a pat on the back for the fact that I followed the book to a T before it was written.  And so that’s why I want to recommend it to new people.  I think it will really help the Millenials coming into the workforce understand that, while “paying your dues” is something they don’t have to tolerate (because they are demanding a more work-life balance than those of us that came right before them), they do need to make themselves indispensable if  they don’t want to work their butts off.  The book outlines many ways people have made their mark and gives tips on how one can showcase their creativity, problem-solving skills, and expertise in their field.  There were great life lessons that if one can learn them vicariously from the author of this book, they’ll be able to to make easier leaps to better positions – or they’ll be helping create their own positions in life (kind of like I did… I love my job, by the way.)

A colleague whom I wish I could call mentor but frankly I’ve never gotten to spend enough time with him (although I did try back in 2009 or so) has written an article on his agency’s blog on this same topic as well as created a video discussing the same content.  That swell person is Terry Mooney, the COO of Evok, one of the larger ad agencies in the Orlando Area.  They have a newsletter they post, which you can sign up for here, and his video, posted below with his permission, is another great asset that young people should watch and absorb. (Actually, click on the youtube button because they keep adding videos and I haven’t figured out how to get it to start on Terry’s… but he’s easy to find in the playlist.)



The Art of War and Lean In

Written on 6/8/2014

As you might have read in another blog post of mine, I was given book reading advice from many prominent women in the community.  When I asked one such woman what book helped her become the leader she was, without hesitation she said, “The Art of War, by Sun Tzu.”  A few of the other older women at the round table nodded their heads in agreement so I took that as a good sign.

I’m an Audible app junkie.  I listen to a book a month and flip flop between fiction and non-fiction.  So when non-fiction came up, that was the first book in my mentor list that I downloaded.  It’s actually a fairly short book.  Sun Tzu was pretty succinct, so I got the extended version that talked a little bit more about how others have viewed and/or interpreted the book.  So I pretty much read it twice.

As I started listening to the book, it started to dawn on me that by understanding the strategy and tactics that one should use when going to war, one could either use those in business, or try to steer clear of those people that do.  Not to knock people that subscribe to these strategies and implement them in business, tennis, volunteer organizations and treat life like it’s a game of chess, but I don’t think it’s for me.  Having to know all of the pieces so that you can strategically move them into positions that benefit you and eliminate others before any confrontations even occur  sounds exhausting to me.  I feel like a person who is in constant battle mode may always know how to be on top of any situation, but sometimes situations shouldn’t be conquered.  I feel like while it is good to know the ins and outs and the weaknesses and strengths of the people you are working with, you should never view anyone as an opponent that needs to be taken down or put at bay.

Which is why I really enjoyed the book, “Lean In.”  The juxtaposition of how women in the twentieth century needed to scrap and claw their way to the top using the Art of War and how now women are needing to understand that collaborative efforts where everyone raises everyone up together produces better work.  Cheryl Sandberg has looked at how because the corporate ladder has really become a jungle gym, old strategies of using people for their worth and discarding them when you move up is no longer relevant.  And the goal is to maintain open, honest, caring relationships with all fellow workers (all of mankind, really) because more things can get done… better things can get done.

So I can appreciate knowing how some people may utilize “The Art of War,” but I generally prescribe to just leaning in and embracing everyone as a valuable relationship.  If I can help as many people along the way, maybe when I need a little help, I’ll have nice, happy people to ask a favor of.

Thanks for reading the ramblings.




Written on 4/13/2014

All of the Business Journals around the company held a “speed-mentorship” program on Monday April 7.  I was in attendance (and now front in center on the Orlando Business Journal’s article about it, yikes! Picture below and article/picture here.)

I decided to take a strategic approach to whom I was going to visit with.  We only had between 5 and 7 chances to sit with extraordinary women and I didn’t want a moment to be wasted.  I reviewed all of the bios of the women and made a hot list of ten.  This way, if someone’s table was full one round, I could quickly move onto the next.

I also wanted to make sure I had a question that I could use to help better myself (and also make a good blog post), so I decided to ask each woman, “You are now a business leader.  What books did you read or tools did you use to help you become a better manager of people and your business?”

And I got some GREAT answers!

Nancy Port Schwalb with Schwalb Public Relations

She’s had her company for 25 years, but in the beginning she relied on people she admired in the community and looked to women leaders already established in order to find good mentors.  She also said to rely on your core competency and look to other to help where you are not strong (she was referencing using social media for PR purposes).  And, she said, as a business owner or freelancer, you have to remember that not all business is good business.  There are some clients that are too much of time sucks that prevent you from doing your best for your other clients.

Shirley Decker with IDEAS_The Innovation Studio

Mrs. Decker is the head of new business development for IDEAS so her answers were based on how she maintains leadership in gathering new clients. She said that she loved Seth Godin’s “Linchpin,” Malcolm Gladwell’s “Tipping Point,” and that she used to read Forbes and target companies’ annual reports to gain insight.  Now she surfs the web for the same kind of information.  She also mentioned that her biggest lesson learned was that when you pitch anything to a client, you have to remember to focus the pitch on the client, not yourself.  If all you do is talk about yourself, the client will get the feeling that you don’t understand their needs, or at least be able to not make the connection that you do.

Erica Crawford Dafiluelo with Crawford Designs

She really leaned on the learnings of Steven Covey (a personal favorite of mine) and Anthony Robbins.  They helped lay the groundwork for how she managed her business.  She mentioned that balance is very important to being a leader, because if you’re not in balance, your leadership will be poorly executed.  She also says to always live authentically.  Sometimes you have to walk away from business when your light isn’t shining through (I know the feeling on that one).

Sara Brady with Sara Brady Public Relations

I already downloaded from Audible her first recommendation – “The Art of War.” Mrs. Brady is a PR professional who specializes in crisis and reputation management and said that the teachings of Sun Tzu are applicable to every aspect of her work.  She also recommended Everyday Greatness and to sign up for Totally Unique Thoughts for a mood pepper-upper (I’ve been a subscriber since 2006!).

Kathie Canning with Orange County Convention Center

Mrs. Canning is the Executive Director of the convention center.  Busy, busy lady.  She said to use your time up front to get the degrees and credentials you need to back up your resume and to attend networking programs like this one in order to find those mentors, because you’ll find more practical knowledge from them than you will in a book.

I then ran out of time to meet anyone else!  However, I was able to lock down a few moments after the event with one last lady on my list.

Ashley Cisneros with Chatter Buzz Media

Mrs. Cisneros is the so-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, a company that specializes in website design, SEO, social media marketing and content marketing.  She admitted to me that in order to find time to read, she gets up super early in the morning and goes straight to her Feedly account.  She focuses on relevant articles from the day from magazines like Fast Company, Inc, and Entrepreneurship.  So as soon as I got back to my office I started an account and subscribed to those feeds.  Gold mine!  I found an article from each of them that same day that were highly applicable, motivating, and thought provoking.

That was the most valuable two hours of my week last week.  I’ll be able to take all of the information given to me and chew on it for months.  Yum….



Developing Distinction in Women, Part 2

Written on 5/26/2013

A couple of weeks ago, the organization of female professionals I belong to (Femfessionals) had a book club-type meeting to discuss Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In.” This book ties in perfectly to what the women at the CFAWL’s “Developing Distinction in Women” seminar had to say about women finding success.

The panel on professional development consisted of Orange County Commissioner Tiffany Moore Russell, Orange County 9th Judicial Circuit Court Judge, the Honorable Faye Allen, and Mid-Florida Medical Group Physician Dr. Heather Crider, N.D.  They each gave their story that led them to success and offered the following advice about women gaining their own success:

-Women have to get out of their own way.  We put so many perimeters around our career based on our home life (or our desired home life) that we sometimes lose the ability to accept opportunities that will eventually help enhance our home life because of increased pay and advancement.

-We have to learn to talk about ourselves better when discussing our achievements.

-We need to get a bit thicker skin (and wait to cry until you get home).

-If something isn’t working, stop, reassess, and take another route (this goes for all parts of life – work, home, and health).

-We have to remember that there is politics in every aspect of life.  In work, you have to understand career advancement dynamics in your organization and at home, you have to know how to negotiate with your 18-month year old.  (And if you can negotiate with that tiny person, you should be able to negotiate with any big wig anywhere.)

-We have to prioritize; we can’t do everything.  Something will fall to the wayside.  And we each need a village to help support us.  Your kid having lots more aunts than you have sisters isn’t a bad idea.

As far as the book, Lean In, I think that it is a very applicable book to my life as well as to my friends, both male and female.  The stories that are discussed and her personal lessons learned act as great guide posts to how I want to manage my next steps of success.  One of the most important lessons I took from the book is that one’s career is more of a jungle gym than a ladder.  You may move left, right, up, or down, and as long as it continues to make you fulfilled, then that’s all that really matters.



Old LinkedIn Reviews

(If you don’t know how to access your old reading list, click here and scroll down to the moderator)

Release Your Brilliance: The 4 Steps to Transforming Your Life and Revealing Your Genius to the World

by Simon T. Bailey

This book altered my perception on what my personal standards of brilliance should be. I am grateful for the insights I learned and can actually say this book changed my life. Thank you Simon!

Start-Up Nation

by Dan Senor, Saul Singer

Just finished it. It really shows the unique characteristics of entrepreneurship while giving excellent back-stories of start-up companies created in Israel. Thanks for telling me to read it, Gary!

Earth (The Book)

by Jon Stewart

Took me awhile to finish it – I used it as a coffee table book that I could read in little ten minute spurts. I enjoyed it and will probably pick it up every so often to retain my new perspective on Earth and its inhabitants.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

by Seth Grahame-Smith

Felt plausible after awhile. Really interesting and well-written as a biography. I might read it again in a few years.

Macbeth: A Novel

by A. J. Hartley, David Hewson

I got it as a gift and it was amazing! I’m a big fan of Macbeth and this narrative takes it to another level. The characters are fresh and alive, all the way up to their tragic deaths. And their is beauty in reading it as an omnipotent being instead of a third-party witness. The characters thoughts help drive their motives which gives great clarity to their flaws and strengths.

Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions

by Keith Rosen

It was recommended to me by several people from my company. Very insightful. I found the examples very useful and I look forward to applying what I’ve learned.

Good to Great

by Jim Collins

A couple of people have recommended it and I really enjoyed the methodology behind the book, as well as the insights. The overarching theme of the book is understanding that you first have to get the right people on the right seat on the bus. And then you can figure out where to take the bus. And it walks you thoroughly on how to handle this process. I also like something that was said in the book: Saying something is a once in a lifetime opportunity is a fact and not a reason to actually do it. Does it fit with your hedgehog mentality?



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