Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bestseller Catch-Up

Hi everyone!

I hope this finds you after a nice, long, relaxing weekend. Mine certainly was :)

I just now completed reading Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point and LOVED it! It's definitely a book I will be utilizing in my "game plan" at work. Essentially, Gladwell discusses three main concepts that can cause a business to reach its Tipping Point--that is, the point where an epidemic begins and everything turns around (I definitely summarized that--Gladwell spends a good 20 pages describing what the tipping point is, but you get the picture).
  1. The Law of the Few: this is really about utilizing the natural abilities of those around you, or those in your market. There are three different "types" that work well to communicate your message. These include:
    1. Connectors: Those people who connect you to others. They're the people who are big on networking and seem to know everybody. They're ones looked up to in social circles and start trends easily.
    2.  Mavens: These people are a little trickier to find, but I've definitely diagnosed myself as one of them. Mavens are those people who gather knowledge about everything. They are not necessarily persuaders, but they are personally motivated to share their knowledge. Helping you helps them.
    3. Salesmen: This one is pretty self-explanatory. These are the people who can talk you into doing anything. They often have a charm that makes you immediately attracted to their personality.
  2. The Stickiness Factor: getting your message to stick is important. Examples Gladwell uses to demonstrate include tv shows Sesame Street and Blue's Clues.
  3. The Power of Context: examining environmental impacts is essential to understanding if the tipping point can even happen. Gladwell uses some excellent examples throughout the two chapters describing this section
I highly recommend this novel to anyone interested in business novels, or looking to make their own business succeed. I would actually recommend this novel to anyone, but I know there aren't a lot of people out there like me who genuinely enjoy business novels. It's ok, I don't take it personally.

The Tipping Point was published in 2000, over 10 years ago. Forgetting how young I am, I shook my head and scolded myself for letting a business bestseller go unread for so long. Then in occurred to me--10 years ago, I was only 13. I was just getting started on reading Stephen King novels, and had no idea I would one day join the business world. Therefore, I suppose it's acceptable that I'm just now getting around to reviewing this book--but really, I should've gotten to it 5 years ago :P

Here's my information for the book:
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Rating: 5/5
Pages: 301
2011 Reading Goal: 3,222/12,500

This brings me to being a quarter of the way done with my reading goal for 2011, which means I'm right on track for this month! I'm actually kind of surprised with that, since I don't feel I've read enough to date. But it's a happy surprise!

Friday, April 1, 2011

I'm baaaa-aaaaack!

Hello, readers!

I want to apologize for my long absence. February and March were tough months for me, so I'm hoping April improves, because I don't know that it can get much worse.

Quick recap:
  • My grandma passed away in the middle of February. It was difficult to go through, but I know I'm a better person for having known her. It was nice seeing family, but bittersweet :( She will be missed
  • I celebrated my 23rd birthday...the day before Grandma's funeral. Again, a little bittersweet
  • When I returned, I tried to make my life a little more normal. I worked, read, and neglected blogging. Oops.
  • The end of February, I found out my apartment is being sold. Where I live, one bedroom apartments run for $1,500+ per month. I love the community and want to stay, so I applied for a housing loan and was approved (woo hoo!)
  • I found a house and fell in love with it. It's the perfect starter home for Matt and I. While I would much rather not have to purchase a house, I would prefer to make money each month, rather than give my paycheck directly to my landlord.
  • Spring break for my college came. I'm a 12-month position, so I don't get a spring break :( I was so busy and got so far behind that I didn't catch up until this week.
  • The inspection for my house went well. Now it is contingent on the appraisal and financing. I have my fingers crossed that everything works out.
  • Matt came to visit for his spring break. I tried taking the week off, but worked almost 20 hours. I guess that's what happens when you're a one-woman show. Because I didn't work much and everyone else did, I fell even further behind at work. I just caught up this week.
  • Matt told me he will not be finishing school. We have decided he will move here and get a job. He'll return to school when he figures out what he would like to study and what he wants to do when he "grows up".
  • I spent this week stressing, working, not sleeping, and losing 5 pounds from stress. I caught up on some sleep, and am hoping to reduce my stress enough to where it is not controlling my life.
  • We have had two blizzards in the past 3 weeks. Another one is forecast for Sunday. WILL IT EVER END?!?!?
So, this is where I'm at. I hope that covers it well enough. As I said, it has been a yucky past couple of months.

Good news:
My best friend, Jessie Mae, bought me a book for my birthday! It's one I'd been wanting to read: Jodi Picoult's House Rules. In this novel, Picoult tells the story of a high-functioning autistic son to a mother who has sacrificed everything for him to have as much of a normal life as possible. Jacob, the son, becomes obsessed with different topics. His favorite topic: forensic science. When a close friend goes missing and the body turns up, police look at Jacob as their top suspect.

Emma, Jacob's mother, fights as much as she can to keep her son out of jail--even though she isn't 100% certain he isn't guilty. As is characteristic of Picoult's novels, the story is told through the eyes of several characters; in this case, Emma, Jacob, Theo (Jacob's younger brother, who doesn't suffer from autism), Rich (the police officer arresting Jacob), and Oscar (Jacob's inexperienced lawyer).

Picoult usually does a really good job of keeping the reader on their toes and questioning guilt up until the last page. Unfortunately, with this novel, I knew before the trial even began what had happened. I haven't figured out if that's because I've read so many of Picoult's books by now, or if this particular novel was easier to figure out than those previous? Either way, it was wonderful and scored a perfect 5/5 from me! Here are my stats:
House Rules by Jodi Picoult
Rating: 5/5
Pages: 532
2011 Reading Goal: 2,505/12,500

In this entire two month period, this was the only novel I read. I am highly disappointed in myself for that reason, but am confident I will catch up.

I hope you have all had a better two months than I have. If not, then we should throw a pity party together, because misery loves company! :P  Or, better yet--maybe we should find a book where the main character sheds light on a particularly challenging part of their life and use it as inspiration. I'll see you again soon, readers.

Side note: books purchased to date in 2011: ZERO! You should all be proud! :)