The Bottom Line: What happens when your box of crayons decides to quit? At least they let you know first...
Saturday, September 27, 2014
The Bottom Line: What happens when your box of crayons decides to quit? At least they let you know first...
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Pro: The perfect summer read and exactly what I needed (and hoped it would be!)
Notes from the playlist: "A Strange New World" by Brian D'oliveira
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, September 20, 2014
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Notes from the playlist: "All Souls Night" by Loreena McKennitt
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, May 10, 2014
Saturday, April 26, 2014
The Bottom Line: Recommended for entrepreneurs just starting out, big business CEOs that need to re-educate themselves, and people who just love Method (like me!)
Well, turns out Eric Ryan worked seven years in advertising and Adam Lowry worked as a climate scientist that included projects like the Kyoto Protocol. So maybe not so random after all. But after their initial How We Got Started story, the two discuss the seven obsessions that they have within and surrounding their business. Their beginning wasn’t easy and they had to learn several of these along the way, but their goal with this book is to help other entrepreneurs looking to make a difference in the world with whatever it is they may want to create. Frankly, I think a lot of current CEOs and their underlings could benefit from this book as well.
Here’s a really quick rundown of the main chapters (which I normally don’t do but for some reason want to today).
Method’s Seven Obsessions:
Obsession 1 – Create a Culture Club It’s all about having an amazing work environment without having to work at it – or at least, work too hard.
Obsession 2 – Inspire Advocates That would be me. Don’t just get customers – get people who love your products and tell everyone and their grandma about them.
Obsession 3 – Be a Green Giant Be earth-friendly, be human-friendly, and rock at it.
Obsession 4 – Kick Ass at Fast It’s not about being the fastest to market, but knowing how and when to be the fastest.
Obsession 5 – Relationship Retail Make your retailers a part of the process and they’ll be more enthusiastic about selling your goods.
Obsession 6 – Win on Product Experience If people have used it before, it’s not special. Give your product an edge by turning it into an entirely new experience.
Obsession 7 – Design Forget about the same old, same old. Be new, and be stunning in more ways that one.
Those are the obsessions that the Method team lives by in a nutshell. There are a lot of great things in this book that entrepreneurs will find motivating, engaging, and downright useful. I just work in a bookstore and I wanted to go out and try something new! It’s almost as though the enthusiasm of Eric and Adam is put right into the pages. With the way it’s written, perhaps it is.
As a Method Advocate (yes, I call myself this), I found this book to be highly interesting because I learned so much about the company. It’s not facts and figures, but instead how they function within their walls, how they learn, how they grow, how they work with their suppliers and retail outlets. About some of their values, known collectively as their Methodology; “What would MacGyver do?” and “Keep Method weird.” You see how hard they work to find just the right people to fill positions, keeping a spot empty for months on end until they have someone who is close to perfect for the job. Discovering all these things made me want to work for Method. Did you know it took them 8 years to finally be satisfied with their toilet bowl cleaner? That’s how long they worked on it because they wanted to get it right – not just put out some mediocre product.
Entrepreneurs are likely to be inspired by this book. The information offered is useful and practical. Eric and Adam don’t lecture and regurgitate facts about their business. They point out people who have inspired them, ideas they’ve borrowed from other companies because of their usefulness (like Google and Zappos.com), and things they’ve discovered over the years as their company grew. They also make sure to point out areas where they have made mistakes, such as expanding too quickly or realizing the faults in one of their Methodology values. They show how they grew from those mistakes, how they’ve learned from them so they don’t make any repeats in the future.
Other established companies should really take a look at this book too. Method does many things that most of us regular folk would absolutely love for other companies to do. Things, in fact, that these other companies truly should do for many very good reasons. Excellent customer service. Hiring quality people instead of just anyone off the street to fill the position and provide awful results. Handling marketing and advertising in smarter, more efficient ways. Changes that could be made in current, sadly lacking companies would be beneficial to everyone.
My love of Method aside, I really do think this book is an excellent resource. I hope it does help some people, and I hope those people create some amazing things that change the world for the better. I know that would make Adam and Eric pleased as punch.
**Fun fact: These two have such faith in their products that when at a UK presentation, a reporter asked Eric that if their toilet bowl cleaner was so nontoxic, why didn’t he drink some? Eric promptly pour a shot and downed it. Two others followed his example. (Not that they or I am saying drink Lil’ Bowl Blu, but geez, tell me that’s not trust in your product or commitment to it?)
Notes from the playlist: "Hey, Soul Sister" by Train
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, April 26, 2014
Saturday, April 19, 2014
For some reason I’ve always been the one to read my little sister’s books before she does. Like all the Harry Potter books – the first one was meant for her, but now it’s mine and I’ve bought all the rest on my own. Heck, I just bought the second book of The Unicorn Chronicles for Christmas and read it in two days – time enough to be done with it so she can have plenty of time to read it and I’ll be off to college.
Ok, enough about how I’m a fan of good fantasy and still read books that are meant for those much younger than me. Into the Land of the Unicorns is (obviously) a book about unicorns with 21 chapters and is 159 pages long. The author is Bruce Coville – a name I’ve come to know quite well upon my travels to every bookstore in search of the second book. Don’t know Bruce Coville? My Teacher Is An Alien? No? He has a dog named Booger you know. Anyway, that’s Bruce Coville.
This is Into the Land of the Unicorns, book one of The Unicorn Chronicles. Meet Cara, a young girl who lives with her grandmother on Earth. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? However, right off the bat Cara and her grandmother find themselves being followed by a strange man, and in the midst of their escape, Cara’s grandmother gives her a strange amulet and tells her to A.) say “Luster, bring me home.” and then B.) jump from the top of a bell tower upon the twelfth chime.
Cara does just that and a moment later finds herself in a strange and beautiful land called Luster. Here she meets Lightfoot, a young (only about a hundred years old) unicorn, the Dimblethum (a man-bear), and the Squijum (a sort of monkey creature that is always rambunctious and hungry). It is with these three that Cara begins her journey to a place called Summerhaven where the Queen of the unicorns dwells so she can return home to her grandmother. On their way they meet Thomas the Tinker (who has a rather remarkable cart he takes with him) and must avoid nasty creatures called delvers, the arch-enemies (aside from the hunters) of the unicorns. They even have a run in with a dragon and someone Cara has not seen for a long, long time.
But why do these hunters seek to kill the unicorns so badly? What is so important about the amulet? What secrets will Cara unveil that will shed some light on her cloudy past? And if Cara is able to return home – will she find her grandmother? These are things that I cannot tell you – you must read The Unicorn Chronicles.
As for me, I enjoyed it. This was the first book I’ve read where unicorns have a big part. …Actually this was the first book I’ve read with unicorns in it (aside from Harry Potter – but that poor unicorn was dead). It definitely gave me a new perspective on unicorns aside from the perfect and proper way we always think of them. How is that? Well one never thinks of unicorns talking in a, well, casual manner. Or being gruff and possibly unpleasant to be around. Everyone (character wise) develops quite fast but Coville manages it without much problem (trust me, if there was a problem I would have shot it down by now). The story behind the hunters is also quite an interesting tale, something I never would have thought up, and there is a lot of richness in this book despite its size, in the ways of detail that is. And there are tons of great ideas, I might add (such as Cara's run in with the dragon and Thomas's cart), but then I’m a fan of fantasy writing myself so I have a little log in my brain of what creatures are made by what authors to do certain things etc. etc.
As for the cliché thing I mentioned, well, most people won't notice anything in the least. For people who read a lot of fantasy however, I don't know about you, but I get kind of tired of some of the names people come up with. You know, the joining of two everyday words to make a name that occasionally makes me think of Native American names. "Lightfoot." "Skydancer." "Firethroat." The name of the unicorn world is "Luster." And why not? Shiny, beautiful, magical - it's only natural the place should be called Luster I guess. But then that's what everything translates into English I suppose, so I guess it's all right. Except then there are random other names like "Squijum" so it's not exactly consistent. I dunno, that's just me.
Either way, I think this is a great book and I’d let my kids read it if they were into fun fantasy type things. Except I don't have kids. But maybe you do. Oh well, even if you don't you can still read it. Who cares if it's supposed to be for the younger generation? But then, of course, you have to get the second book…
But that is another story.
Notes from the playlist: "My True Love's Eyes/The Cottage" by Jerry Goldsmith
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, April 19, 2014
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, April 12, 2014
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Notes from the playlist: "Waiting Game" by Banks
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, April 05, 2014
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, March 29, 2014
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Notes from the playlist: "Angels" by Within Temptation
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, March 22, 2014
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Pros: Cute concept, easy read
Cons: A lot of little things that add up.
The Bottom Line: The premise of this book is very promising, but it doesn’t quite deliver.
I’m a sucker for ghostly love stories, but they’re tricky because it means that somebody is already dead – so how can there be a happily ever after in that case? Either way, I wanted to see how this one ended because hey, the summary made it sound like love might just find a way.
Giving the mystery case a time limit makes for a good ticking clock, but Lori only had about three days. Three! First of all, that’s not enough for a Civil War cold case. It isn’t nearly enough time for them to fall for each other to the point that they’re taking up time because they’re making out (during the battle’s anniversary he gets to become physical for a while, hence the ability to make out). Likewise, I’m pretty sure Nathaniel would feel making out with a girl without properly courting her is inappropriate, even if he has been lingering around in this plain of existence long enough to comprehend many of the changes.
While I do nag on this book a lot, like I said it’s a lot of little things that just added up that I wish the author’s critique buddies, agent, or even editor had pointed out. It was still a very fast and easy read, and I really liked Nathaniel (he’s a union soldier by the way, but I guess that wouldn’t have sounded as good for the title), and it was neat having a setting in Gettysburg with a Civil War mystery going on. Maybe nab it from the library and give it a whirl – maybe you’ll like it more than I did.
Notes from the Playlist: "The Mystic's Dream" by Loreena McKennitt
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, March 15, 2014
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Notes from the playlist: "Merida's Home" by Patrick Doyle
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, March 08, 2014
Labels: children's books
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Notes from the playlist: "Skyfall" by Adele
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, May 04, 2013
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Blood for Wolves by Me!
Yep. I have finally done it. I self published my book. I went the ebook route for now just to test the waters. I love it, naturally, so I guess the question will boil down to - will you?
As a wolf biologist, Caroline McKenna hates those old fairytales where the wolf is always the bad guy.
Except when she tries to keep a lost little girl from drowning in a pond, she ends up in the Kingdom of Red—where wolves are the bad guys.
And the girl she tried to save? Nowhere to be found.
Now, Caroline has no idea how to get home, and the Kingdom—once ruled by Little Red Riding Hood herself—is in trouble. Her only guide is a man named Wolf, whose golden eyes and oh-my-what-big-teeth-you-have are as startling as they are enticing. Caroline isn’t willing to leave without knowing the young girl is safe, but that means sticking with Wolf. Especially since her only other option is to wander around a fairytale forest alone.
But that means facing dangerous creatures and evil enchantments. There is more happening in the Kingdom than anyone realizes, and if Caroline wants to stay alive she has to figure out her role in this story—and she knows Wolf isn’t telling her everything.
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, April 20, 2013
Saturday, April 13, 2013
This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, April 13, 2013
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Redshirts by John Scalzi
I've been wanting to read this book for a while, and considering how much I enjoyed Old Man's War, I figured this would be pretty good since Scalzi knows how to bring on the humor while keeping plenty of seriousness in check. Here we have Dahl, who just got an assignment to the Intrepid. Sounds like a great job - except there's a very high death rate in the ship. In fact, it seems as though every time there is an away team, someone dies. Someone unimportant. The captain and other high ranking officers always come back. So what's going on? Why are all the low ranking guys dying? Start channeling your inner Guy from Galaxy Quest and ask the right questions - while this was a teensy bit predictable, I had a good time and look forward to getting my hands on Scalzi's other works. I still like Old Man's War better, though.
Notes from the playlist: "Rise" by John Dreamer
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, April 06, 2013
Saturday, March 30, 2013
The Duckling Gets a Cookie by Mo Willems
First the Pigeon wants to drive the bus. Then he finds a hot dog. Then he wants to stay up late. But now there's a Duckling involved - and today the Duckling has somehow, inexplicably, managed to get a cookie. The Pigeon can't believe it. How on earth did the Duckling get a cookie when the Pigeon can't even have a hot dog?? This is inexcusable. The Pigeon won't stand for it. That cookie has chocolate chips and nuts and everything. But perhaps this time the Pigeon will be in for a surprise... This was the first book I read from Mo Willems involving the Pigeon and it was definitely amusing. Such a simple concept involving a duck, a pigeon, and a cookie. Who would have thought? It's a giggle-worthy book that kids will like, so make sure they get their Pigeon plushie ready (and maybe some cookies at the end).
Notes from the playlist: "Metal Gear Solid Main Theme" by Harry Gregson-Williams
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, March 30, 2013
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Notes from the playlist: "Bangarang" by Skrillex
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, March 16, 2013
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Notes from the playlist: "One Way Trip" by Alan Silvestri
Posted by Nicole at Saturday, March 09, 2013