Time Management in 20 Minutes a Day
July 12th, 2019 by diane92345

I was cautiously hopeful that Time Management in 20 Minutes a Day would contain more than just how to prioritize your To Do list. Luckily, it has many more tips and tricks to manage your time and achieve your goals in life. Many that I have never heard of before.

The book briefly covers to do lists, prioritization, and the SMART goal-planning method so it is suitable for beginners. However, it goes further to focus on your long-term goals and using mindfulness to determine the time-sucks in your day. It also gives specific strategies to make your time more productive in specific situations including meetings, community projects, home cleaning, and meal preparation. The author also names apps, books, websites, and physical goods that may help you in your time management journey.

There really is something for everyone in Time Management in 20 Minutes a Day. I enjoyed it so much, and believe it is so useful, that I volunteered to talk about it in our bi-weekly staff meeting at work. Truly an excellent time management resource and I read a lot of them as an acknowledged To Do List Fanatic. 5 stars!

Thanks to Althea Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Healthy Habits Suck
July 5th, 2019 by diane92345

“The majority of North Americans eat too much processed food, don’t sleep enough, drink too much, and are overweight.” Why? Because Healthy Habits Suck!

Healthy behavior goes against our caveman instincts to rest, avoid pain, seek pleasure, and live in the now. To override those instincts, you must find more pros or reduce the cons of a healthy behavior like exercising. You may never experience a runner’s high but the bragging rights of running a marathon may be enough of a pro in your eyes to encourage running 10 miles before work each morning.

The goal you set has to be within your control. Sometimes, despite eating low calorie food, you just can’t lose weight. You’ve reached a plateau. So you give up and indulge in a chocolate sundae. This happens because your goal shouldn’t be “losing weight” because your body controls that. Instead, you should make “eating more fruit and vegetables” or “eating fast food only once per week” your goal because that is totally within your control.

Healthy Habits Suck uses well-researched psychological methods to allow you to motivate yourself to reach your goals. The author suggests working on only one goal at a time and reading just one chapter per week. The ideas in each of the nine chapters require some introspection so that timeframe seems reasonable. The book also has a website with a 22-page workbook used within the chapters plus three short audio files.

There is a lot to like about this book. It approaches healthy goals in new ways. This is not just another book with a diet and recipes. It digs into the underlying motivation or stagnation of our actions. It might be the way to achieve truly long-term healthier living. 4 stars!

Thanks to New Harbinger and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Succeed with Social Media
July 4th, 2019 by diane92345

If you have a product or service that you wish to sell, you must know how to Succeed with Social Media.

Here are some tips from the book:

  1. Use the 80/20 rule. Spend 80% of your time not selling your product but instead provide information about your product’s subject area. The example in the book was providing an overview of the artist, Matisse, when your product was your own artwork. The remaining 20% can be used for selling your own items.
  2. Use free programs like Hootsuite and TweetDeck to see all your social media in one dashboard. This also allows you to see where your customers are really coming from and what their demographics are.

The book clearly focuses on Facebook as the main platform and videos as the method to become viral.  While that is true, that may not be your goal. You might just want to sell your widgets without spending a lot of time trying to become viral. The author understands that thought and even states that the reader should spend some time determining their supply before trying to pump up demand. You don’t want to have the Shark Tank effect of massive advertising that turns customers away when the items quickly sell out.

There is an excellent section near the end focusing on how to know your customer and how much it costs to acquire a new one. This information is useful when making pricing decisions for your product since that cost must be factored in. It is also needed to decide which social media platform is best if you decide to buy ads.

This is definitely a beginner-level book, which might be okay if that is where you are now. At the end, the author recommends books for further reading that go into individual aspects more deeply. He follows his own 80/20 rule and only mentions one book by him out of fourteen. For a short overview of how social media works and how to make it work for you, Succeed with Social Media is a good choice. 3 stars!

Thanks to Allworth and Edelweiss+ for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: , , ,

Hangry
June 27th, 2019 by diane92345

Hangry is an empowering read letting woman get back their mojo by using a personalized diet and exercise plan.

No one wants to be an Hangry B*tch. This book will describe why woman feel tired all the time, have sleep issues, and feel overwhelmed. Spoiler partial answer: we are overwhelmed because we try to do too much for others instead of ourselves.

Hangry gives a comprehensive explanation of how and why hormones, poor eating and either over or under exercising is causing our problems. It gives a solution of five pillars and five habits. The five pillars are:

  1. Find and commit to what works for you
  2. Opt out of overwhelm
  3. Full-engagement living
  4. Be your best friend
  5. Be who you are

The five habits are:

  • 5 walks per week plus 5 minutes of breathing per day
  • 4 meals per day
  • 3 strength training sessions per week
  • 2 liters or more of water per day
  • 1 commitment to rest, recovery and real-self care

Each week of the four-week plan works on at least one of the pillars and builds one or more of the habits. The diet incorporates a combination of paleo and Mediterranean diets (lean proteins, avocado-type oils, limited fruits & starchy veggies as carbs, and a required one pound of non-starchy veggies per day). The exercise plan encourages strength training leading up to heavier weights than usually used by women and walking while practicing breathing, meditation and mindfulness.

This is one of the better diet books I’ve read lately. I like that it doesn’t talk down to its reader. It also combines science and advice I’ve seen in a bunch of other books, which will save the reader from reading all of them and trying to merge them together by herself. Of course, I love quizzes so the quiz to determine potential hormone issues is perfect. Plus it picked out one hormone issue that my doctor had already found to be true through blood tests. Overall, if you are looking to commit to a diet/exercise plan now that it is bikini season, this is a good place to start. 4 stars!

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: , , ,

Me, Myself & Ideas
May 3rd, 2019 by diane92345

Whether you are trying to think up the perfect plot for your great American novel, create a new business, or energize an existing business with a new product or marketing plan, Me, Myself & Ideas can help.

Brainstorming is usually done in a group. But what if there is only you in the room? The authors have modified traditional brainstorming ideas so they can be performed by one person. They begin with breakouts and icebreakers to warm up your brain. But the meat of the book is in the brainstorming exercises themselves. Divided into methods using art, English, drama, and science as their muse, it is likely that at least one or two types will work for each reader.

There is nothing really new presented here. However, the style and humor in the book are a welcome addition to the surprisingly dry academic books on creativity. Years ago, I took a Master’s level Creativity Class that was my favorite MBA course. It presented these same ideas (i.e., mind maps and new ways of seeing old ideas). These methods work!

If you want to up your creativity with some pizazz, Me, Myself & Ideas is a good way to do it. Just a head’s up, I wouldn’t read this book from front to back. Stop and do some of the ideas as you read. 4 stars!

Thanks to Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Goldmine Record Album Price Guide
April 5th, 2019 by diane92345

With over 110,000 albums listed, the Goldmine Record Album Price Guide is the most comprehensive listing on the market.

This guide lists all albums that are worth at least $15 in near mint condition. In addition, it lists promo and dj copies when available. There is a section describing how to determine the condition of an album. This book includes very clear descriptions of how to tell the $250 copy from the $15 copy using color or changes in the album photo in addition to the catalog number. There are rock, folk, pop, jazz, country, soundtracks, and compilation albums included. Despite being 800 pages in length, it is very easy to find a particular album as they are alphabetized by artist or group name.

It is interesting to go through and see how much the albums from your youth are worth now. For example, Prince is worth more than both Madonna and Michael Jackson. Most of the pop and rock albums are only worth $15, which with inflation is probably what you paid for them. Not only that but trying to reach the near mint condition required to get the $15 basically means that you can’t have played the record much as even bent corners on the sleeve will downgrade the album. It appears that you will have better luck searching for 1960s jazz albums in thrift stores or pawn shops if you are hoping to find a profitable album. My only complaint is that I would like to see more pictures of the album covers in the listings. At most there are only a few per page. But that is a minor complaint. Overall, if you are interested in albums from the 1950s through the 1990s, the Goldmine Record Album Price Guide is the best choice out there. 4 stars!

Thanks to Krause Publications and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: ,

Wild LA
March 21st, 2019 by diane92345

Who knew there is so much nature around urban Los Angeles? It really is Wild LA.

This guidebook contains something for every Los Angeleno (or visitor). There is a page of pictures, descriptions, and interesting facts for 101 species including birds, mammals, insects, reptiles, snails, mold, and plants. All are found in greater Los Angeles and each profile gives the best locations to find them. There are twenty-five field trips around LA described that include directions, maps, and things to see. Ways to turn your own backyard into a wildlife habitat are also included.

A comprehensive and useful guide to the nature that is all around Los Angeles. Wild LA is recommended for nature lovers around LA and those who wish to educate their children. 4 stars!

Thanks to Timber Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: , , ,

100% Unofficial Fortnite Essential Guide
February 16th, 2019 by diane92345

So you are not an early adopter (or you have been hiding under a rock) and are just now trying to join the Fortnite craze. The 100% Unofficial Fortnite Essential Guide will catch you up to speed quicker than just learning by playing (like all those first players had to do).

 The guide begins with which console is best and continues with comprehensive instructions on controls, movement, combat, looting, building materials, and weapons.  All instructions includes copious amounts of picures making this a good guide for kids. The only negative is the maps change frequently so the ones in the books will probably not be of much use. However, the Guide is still recommended to noobs of all ages. 4 stars!

Thanks to Becker&Meyer Kids and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with: , ,

Project Management Essentials
December 9th, 2018 by diane92345

A brief look at Project Management Essentials using the sixth edition of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) as a map of how to proceed.

Within project management, there are five processes:

  1. Initiating
  2. Planning
  3. Executing
  4. Monitoring and Controlling
  5. Closing

Included within the Initiating process is selecting the right project even before the project begins. Project scope, cost/budget, scheduling, staff selection and risk management are all determined during the planning stage. During Closing, lessons learned are notated so negative results will not be repeated and positives will.

Project Management Essentials has many great examples of how little things, like having a “change pot” to limit how many changes may be made, can save future project managers aggravation. It is also much easier to read than the more technical PMBOK. Project Management Essentials is a great resource for practical advice for how to run your next project and achieve the expected results in the least painful way. 4 stars!

Thanks to Maven House and Edelweiss+ for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: ,

How to Facilitate Productive Project Planning Meetings
November 16th, 2018 by diane92345

The title, How to Facilitate Productive Project Planning Meetings, sounds intimidating. However, everyone has project planning meetings in their everyday life. Are you planning a Christmas party? Or a vacation? Or how to clean your house?

Your stakeholders are your family members. Your project scope for house cleaning may include only the public areas—not individual bedrooms—and not the garage. You have to create a schedule so procrastination doesn’t force your team to clean the entire house in an hour. You may incur some costs by purchasing extra cleaning supplies or renting a rug cleaner. Finally, as Project Manager, you must verify that tasks are completed on time. If not, a reallocation of resources (your children) may be necessary.

How to Facilitate Productive Project Planning Meetings is a comprehensive look at how to run project meetings. The meeting goblins section is invaluable to silence grumblers, side-talkers and truly hostile attendees. The appendix contains a brief rundown of the entire project management process. It also describes the different certifications that are available, has brainstorming instructions and includes meeting war stories. Overall, it is an excellent book for those tasked with leading project meetings at work or elsewhere. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Maven House, and Edelweiss+ for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: ,