Monday, June 15, 2009

Book with a View Part 1 June 2009

Act As If It Were Impossible to Fail, The Employee Handbook That Your Employer Hasn’t Given
Author: Joe Lavelle
ISBN: 9781439240724
Publisher: Booksurge, July 2009
Link to purchase:
Reviewer: Yvonne Perry (5/09)

Understanding Your Role in Career Success

I’ve always been driven to succeed and achieve. I don’t know if it comes from my upbringing or if I learned it at school, or it if is in-born, but I am task-driven and love marking things off my to-do list. Even when I was a stay-at-home mom, I organized my daily activities to optimize my day and make sure I accomplished everything I wanted to do while the kids were in school. However, I have not always lived with the attitude that I could “act as if it were impossible to fail.” That would surely have changed things!
In my younger years, I was afraid of failure and rejection. It kept me from being honest with myself and others because I did not want to be seen as a failure. I suppose that is why Joe Lavelle’s book, Act As If It Were Impossible to Fail, The Employee Handbook That Your Employer Hasn’t Given You, appeals so much to me.

In it, he says, “Yes, failure is a fact of life; however, you can learn to view failure as an important lesson rather than feeling disappointment and resignation.” Part of being successful is being able to recover from your mistakes and not allowing animosity, doubt, and negativity to creep in.

Joe gives pertinent examples using everyday comparisons such as how making mayonnaise is a lot like your boss’s job. You’ll have to read the book to understand what he means by that, but it makes a lot of sense.

Once I started my own business, I had to believe in myself and my abilities, or else I would have given up. Somehow, through trial and error, I kept going even when things didn’t turn out how I had hoped. Miraculously, I learned from the mistakes I made. Can that skill be taught? Yes, what I learned on the fly can be learned in Joe’s book. He teaches how to clearly define your role in your first 90 days on a job by setting clear and realistic goals. Beyond making a good first impression, a new employee should actively communicate his or her style and expectations. This could apply to anything in life—not just a career.

Have you ever heard of greenspace in an office environment? I hadn’t. When I read this in the table of contents, I thought Joe was either talking about getting some outdoor exercise in a space known as a greenway, or maybe he was referring to recycling and reusing office resources such as paper. According to Joe, greenspace consists of all the necessary tasks in the office that are not assigned to anyone specifically. He says that by taking on additional duties and responsibilities, you show leadership and determination that will improve your chances of advancing your career more quickly.

Another case Joe makes is for a better understanding of the role of human resources department and how mentoring programs and succession planning play an important role in long-term career success as well as the long-term success of a company. There’s an entire chapter on effective networking, and another chapter that defines how and why return on investment (ROI) is so important to a company and how to use it to your advantage as an employee. Communication, education, and play—yes, play!—are an important part of a successful corporate environment.

Each chapter ends with a summary that makes finding key facts easier. Each chapter also has “Act As If Success Steps” that give you examples of things you can do to apply what you read in the text. What I learned from Joe’s book is that our beliefs become our reality, and our expectations have a direct result on the outcome of any given situation.

Joe writes, “When you act as if failure were impossible, your actions make that belief a reality.” With that mantra and the lessons modeled in this book, the world—and especially corporate America—would be a much different and nicer place!

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab
Author: Fiona Ingram
ISBN: Paperback 978-0-595-45716-8
Cloth 978-0-595-71977-8
E-book 978-0-595-90017-6
Publisher: iUniverse, 2008
Pages: 258
Reviewed by: Barbara Milbourn for Writers in the Sky (5/09)

Author Fiona Ingram understands that young readers have no patience for long, drawn-out prologues. At the first sentence—a one-word exclamation—of The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, she jettisons readers off on an adventure to a far-away land with two young cousins.
Justin and Adam are leaving the comforts of home and the family dog for a one-week adventure in Egypt with ace writer/researcher Aunt Isabel and their loveable and zany Gran. In exchange for missing school, their assignment is to keep a daily record of things they’ve seen and learned along the way. It so happens that their aunt’s current project and the boys’ recent history lessons coincide and set the reader on firm footing before they even lift off.

Aunt Isabel has guaranteed their maximum travel experience and personal safety by booking them on a tour with a host of entertaining fellow sojourners and a tour-guide who is suspected of knowing far more than she shares with the group. Safety vanishes early in the hot, still air of a marketplace when the boys are encountered by a ragged peddler who bestows upon them four scarabs; one of which is particularly ancient and coveted.

The story flies forward from there as the boys put together fortuitous pieces of a puzzle in quest of a legendary tomb of an ancient Egyptian ruler and a missing archeologist. Ingram writes the landscape and the legend vividly and keeps the boys barely one step ahead of death and dismemberment at the hands of men in black, the fangs of a giant cobra, and all manner of danger that lurks in caves, shifting sands, and things hidden in deep, dark places.

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab is entertainment for readers up to around age fourteen and for those who wish they were fourteen again. It is at once adventure and history, art and architecture, humor and redemption, travel writing and social studies, and great fun. Fiona Ingram presents this as her first of seven in a series titled Chronicles of the Stone.
The Savvy Book Marketer’s Guide to Successful Social Marketing
By Dana Lynn Smith
Publisher: Texana Publishing, 2009
Contact Reviewer: (5/09)
Publisher's Site:

Understanding Frugal and Effective Social Marketing

Veteran Marketer and Author Benefits Promotion-minded Authors

Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, award-winning author of This Is the Place and Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, Tracing, a chapbook of poetry, and the author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers.

I am an avid social marketer, even though I don't consider myself an expert. There is just so much to know and so much new coming down the Internet avenue each day.

Having said that, many books I've read are way too techy. They use terms I don't understand. And they tell me how to do things I'll never needs. So I thought I'd share a book I loved with WITS subscribers. The Savvy Book Marketer’s Guide to Successful Social Marketing by Dana Lynn Smith that can't be said in one sentence is basic and clear enough for writers just beginning to use social marketing as a marketing tool but complete enough that even veteran social marketers will find new applications and new marketing ideas within its pages.

As an example, I had just been disbarred (they say disabled but I think the term a bit strong!) from Facebook for simply answering too many invitations at a time. I'd save up my invitations for a day and answer anywhere from two to six at once. I like answering personally so I used the message link on the friends request page. Wrong! Their algorithms interpreted that as SPAM even though I used different messages for each one. So, once accepted back into the fold I was trying to avoid the same situation by painstakingly answering each friend request as it came to my e-mail box. I sure didn't want to go through that disbarred thing again and lose hundreds of friends!

Dana Lynn Smith to the rescue. She gave me a better way to send those thank you notes to people who had befriended me because it is well...more public. Networking is what Facebook is about after all! But this other method I learned is also a lot more friendly and faster.

This book is well organized and even includes calls to action at the end of each major section as an extra help. I would have wished for a real in-the-hand book because that's the way I am, but with something as explosive as social marketing, an e-book is perfect. Smith will find it easy to keep her book and its multitude of links fresh for you with new online developments. I'll be recommending it to those taking my marketing classes at UCLA for sure.

If you've been saying "I don't 'get' Twitter," this is the book for you.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s first novel, This Is the Place, has won eight awards. Her book of creative nonfiction Harkening, won three. A UCLA Writers' Program instructor, she is also the author of another book essential for writers, USA Book News' Best Professional Book of 2004, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't. The second in her HowToDoItFrugally series is The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success also a USA Book News pick and winner of Reader Views Literary Award and the New Generation Award for Marketing. Learn more at

Wai-nani: High Chiefess of Hawai’i-Her Epic Journey
Star PublishLLC, $17.95
Reviewed by Leslie Forbes Owen
Sherman Oaks*Studio City News, California

“Wai-nani: High Chiefess of Hawai’i” is, Studio City-based author, Linda Ballou’s layered vision of ancient Hawai’i in historical fiction.

Wai-nani’s character is based on the life of Ka’ahumanu, the favorite wife of King Kamehameha the Great, and the novel illustrates ancient Hawaiian culture, customs, and taboos through her eyes.

Combining Hawaiian vocabulary and vivid imagery, Ballou transports her readers to the islands, where the surf, sand and mountains come alive. (Even though Ballou employs a considerable Hawaiian vocabulary, the author thoughtfully includes a glossary of terms as well as historic citations, affirming her reverence for detail and accuracy.)

Mixing history, mythology and places familiar to Hawaiian travelers, the novel chronicles the development of Wai-nani from an athletic, tomboyish, teenage girl into a wahine (woman), her travels, and the male barriers she encountered and broke.

For those who have visited the Hawaiian Islands familiar places are picturesquely drawn. Ballou’s writing is intense and colorful. Like the waves of the Pacific, the intensity of her images come pounding at every turn, at times at the point of distraction.

If traveling to Hawai’i is not within reach this summer, “Wai-nani: High Chiefess of Hawai’i" affords an opportunity to visit a land where fragrant plumeria flowers bloom, dancing dolphins play offshore, and a lost echo of sacred culture once more comes alive.


Linda Ballou said...

Thank you Yvonne. I appreciate your support.
Linda Ballou

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I always encourage my writing students to do more reading. More reading about the publishing industry, the craft of writing and, yes, of books in their genre. This is a great encouraging blog, Yvonne.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers