I think I got my reading grove back — or every book that I reserved from the library came in at once. This month it was a good mix of my favorite trashy thrillers and some new genres. I tried an alternative Western book called Outlawed by Anna North that traces the alternative history of a 1890s, all women & gender fluid gang of outlaws. It was definitely worth trying, but maybe not my favorite book of the month. Instead, that honor goes to two “mindset” books. The first was “The Million Dollar, One Person Business” which traces the recent phenomena of “micro-businesses” that make up 35% of the US work force and contributed $1 trillion to the US economy. Obviously, as someone who works for a micro-business (and didn’t even know it), it was eye opening to read the different stories. The second is Never Split the Difference, which is the ultimate book on negotiating. Whether you are trying to get a raise at work, close a deal, or just trying to set a new bedtime, Voss (a renowned FBI hostage negotiator) gives practical advice on how to successful negotiate.
I also want to give a quick word of thanks to everyone who is sending me their favorite reads. Sometimes writing this down feels very one-sided, but hearing what you are reading and enjoying is TRULY making my day.
March 2021 Reads//
It’s 1894 and Ada Magnussen is forced to leave her hometown under suspicions of being a barren witch. After the Great Flu wipes out the majority of the population and women are tasked with repopulating America. Those who can not (or are near those that cannot) are branded witches and hung. Ada ventures briefly to a local Covenant and then moves on to join the Hole in the Wall Gang, a group of outcasts, displaced from their various hometowns for suspicions of witchcraft.
I love the concept of the book- an alternate history and a reimagined American West where it’s the women and gender fluid outcasts that band together to break the law.
Read When: You’re looking for something different to read.
Read With: Whisky Neat
The Million Dollar, One Person Business by Elaine Pofeldt // A
In 2013, Pofeldt started to notice that there was record number of single-person owned businesses hitting $1 million in revenue, and spent the next 8 years interviewing and researching the different ways these entrepreneurs created such lean yet profitable businesses. By 2019, these micro-businesses made up 35% of the US workforce and contributed nearly $1 trillion to the economy. In this updated book, Plofeldt explores different individuals and their stories of starting their super small yet scalable businesses.
This was obviously a very personal read. We are celebrating our 9th year as a “micro-business.” All too often, I’ve had to defend the fact that we want to keep our business small and profitable (rather than large and leveraged).
Read When: You need some entrepreneurial inspiration.
Read With: Oat Milk Latte and a moleskin notebook, preferably in a hipster cafe.
A Deadly Influence by Mark Omer // B
Abby Mullen is many things – a NYPD lieutant, hostage negotiator, single mom of two, and a cult survivor. When she is contacted by Edie Fletcher, a fellow survivor, to find her missing son, Abby is drawn back into her storied past.
Read When: There is nothing better on Netflix
Read With: Your favorite guilty pleasure drink and/or Cheetos
Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss // A
Negotiation occurs everywhere – whether you are trying to close a deal or a bedtime. Chris Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator, who gives practical (and sometimes counter-intuitive) and psychology based methods on how to successful negotiate. From tips on voice tone to how to empathically listen, Voss provides a well written, well researched, and evidence-based way to approach the tough conversations.
If you read one book off this list, I would whole heartedly recommend this one.
Read When: You want to win the argument of what to eat for dinner (or get that raise, or win that bedtime argument)
Read With: Your favorite work drink — mine is Tetley British Blend Tea and some Fair life 1% milk.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid // B+
Emira Tucker is a Black 25 year old who doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. After graduation, she ends up as a babysitter for a wealthy White family. One night she is called away from a friend’s birthday party to babysit the eccentric toddler, while the parents deal with a crisis. While trying to keep the little girl occupied at the neighborhood grocery store, Emira is approached by the White security guard who thinks Mira has kidnapped the little girl. Such a Fun Age traces the aftermath of the incident from both Emira and Alix (the mother)’s point of View.
This is a clever, complex and layered beach read. The narrative is weirdly fun and satirical despite the deep themes of “performative allyship” and systematic racism.
Read When: You want a chill but substunative read.
Read With: Something bubbly – Prosecco or Lacroix
The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda // C-
Littleport, Maine is a small coastal town – divided by the local residents and the affluent vacationers. Avery Greer is one of the few to cross the line as she is “adopted” into the Weathliest family, the Lomans. The summer after the “apparent” suicide of her best friend, and the only daughter of the Loman family, Avery begins to question the conclusion.
Read When: You literally have nothing else to read but want to read thriller.
Read With: Cheap Beer
The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan // B
The main premise of this book is that you should focus on the ONE thing that moves you closest or fastest towards your overall goal. While it seems simple, Keller challenges some basic working norms, such as the myth of multi-tasking, and how to optimize your to-dos using the 80/20 principal. This was assigned reading for our REI class, but I would recommend it to anyone interested in optimizing their productivity. It can be repeative, but that’s the point. To be product, you need to isolate what your main goal is and then make sure everything you do there-in, is moving you closer to achieving that goal.
Read When: You have 18 different projects going on your life that you need to finish, but instead want to google “how to finish 18 projects” at one time.
Read With: Red Bull? Just kidding. Something caffeinated, though.