Archive for April, 2008

Turning Tables by Heather & Rose MacDowell

A fun piece of chick-lit which takes you behind the scenes of waiting tables at an exclusive restaurant.

After Erin is downsized from her job as marketing exec, she can’t find something else so out of desperation (and through family connections) she gets a job as a server at one of Manhatten’s top new restaurants. So there’s plenty of fun as Erin tries to prove herself as a server and finds a little love along the way (will it be in the kitchen with the cute sous chef or out on the floor with a handsome guest?).

A fun quick read that I enjoyed.

April 29, 2008 at 8:51 am Leave a comment

The Know-it-all by A.J. Jacobs

subtitled: One Man’s Humble Quest to become the smartest person in the world.

One word: funny.

Read this one for book group. It was my pick. I really enjoyed his humor and the amount of useless information he obtained. And I learned a few things along the way.

Basically the book chronicles A.J.’s attempt to read the Encyclopedia Britannica from A (or a-ak) to Z (Zywiec). Not to ruin it for anyone, but he succeeds, and along the way inserts various vignettes about his family and other tidbits from his life.

April 27, 2008 at 5:18 pm Leave a comment

Working with you is killing me by Kathrine Crowley & Kathi Elster

So this was recommended to me. I really enjoyed it and learned a few things (about myself and also about what I should do).

Here’s the review from Publisher’s Weekly: For anyone trapped in an energy-zapping relationship with a co-worker, boss or subordinate, Crowley and Elster offer an exit strategy-a highly practical and easily implemented guide to making the situation workable. Looking at the workplace from every employee’s perspective, Crowley, a Harvard-trained psychotherapist, and Elster, an entrepreneurial consultant, have created a book as valuable to readers on the top rungs of the corporate ladder as it is to those near the bottom. Readers in the throes of a work crisis can find a relevant case study to lead them to relief from any situation. Whether the problem’s a charming and demanding boss, dealing with a saboteur or addressing one’s own inclination to play the office martyr, the authors offer frameworks for breaking down the conflict and achieving détente. They even detail the inevitable verbal confrontation. Supervisors are provided suggestions for “parenting” employees who chronically underachieve or disappoint to help them live up to expectation, or at least their job descriptions. This empowering book delivers a sense of control over nasty workplace situations. It may also offer the answer to high job turnover.

I love where I work and enjoy my co-workers, but this book provides practical solutions for those problems that continually come up in the workplace. I also was pleased to learn that I have been practicing the art of “managing up” for a few years.

This is a quick read – about 250 pages, and easy to read to. It’s another one that will go on my management shelf.

April 25, 2008 at 2:04 pm 1 comment

Carrot Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Another delectable Hannah Swenson mystery. This time Hannah’s business partner Lisa, and her husband Herb, have planned a huge family reunion. And when long lost Uncle Gus arrives, and is this murdered, Hannah is asked to solve the mystery.

I enjoy these books, as they’re a nice cozy mystery with recipes thrown in. I am finding them to be a bit formulaic, and I was able to solve the mystery before Hannah did, which usually isn’t the case. I was glad to finally get Hannah’s recipe for Salmon Cakes, which have been made before in previous books. I think these could stand alone because there’s not too much that carries from one book to the next, they really don’t seem to build on each other. (i’m still categorizing this as a mystery series though). The one ongoing storyline is Hannah’s love triangle with nice guy dentist Norman, and hunky cop Mike. And not much happened to move that story forward during this book.

But all in all a nice diversion for the weekend.

April 20, 2008 at 5:22 pm Leave a comment

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood

I can’t say enough good things about this book, the author, and what his organization is doing. I was fortunate enough to hear the author, John Wood, deliver the keynote address at the Public Library Association conference last month. He is a dynamic speaker and his passion for this topic had me wanting to make a donation on the spot.

The book covers how he started Room to Read and also his entrepreneurial lessons learned from Microsoft and how he applied them to his nonprofit organization. It’s both a memoir and a good look at running a non-profit organization. It’s also quite inspiring. I highly recommend it to everyone. Please check out his organization to learn more of the important work he is doing in  developing nations to educate children.

April 19, 2008 at 11:31 am Leave a comment

Accident Man by Tom Cain

An excellent thriller. I couldn’t put it down. I’ve never read the Bourne books, but this reminds me of the movie, so maybe it’s what the books are like. The action unfolds quickly, and the final 100 pages are gripping.

Samuel Carver is a private assassin. Anything can look like an accident. But then Carver is hired to carry out a job below a bridge in Paris. On August 31, 1997. He’s set up and betrayed by the people who’ve hired him and now he must fight for his life.

April 13, 2008 at 1:57 pm 1 comment

Reinventing Leadership by Bennis & Townsend

This brief book was on a recommended reading list about leadership. It’s an oldie (1995) but a goodie.

The brief chapters (creating a trusting organization, empowerment, guiding vision, etc.) feature a question posed and then a dialogue between Bennis and Townsend with their insights on the particular topic. At the end of each section are questions to use as dialogue starters and for further self-reflection.

This is the type of leadership book I like, because it mixes the theoritical discussion with practical steps to move you forward as a leader.

April 12, 2008 at 5:55 pm Leave a comment

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