Wallet Activism by Tanja Hester

“An Activist’s work is to keep chipping away at a big problem over time, not giving up when things are hard and not getting discouraged when change comes incrementally rather than in big bursts.”

Have you ever thought of the impact your financial decisions have on the environment, economy or simply put every bit of the value chain that it took to get something into your possession?

I will admit that I cannot help but think often, but following through on my actions or changing my habits to match my talk is something I haven’t done. The furthest I have thought about a financial decision is evaluating the true cost of what it means to have a refrigerator- because since getting it, I spend more on my electricity bill than I did before I had it.

In this book, Tanja explores where our money goes, what we spend on stuff- in small and large scale and even something as important as the food we buy, clothes we wear, houses we live in, electronics and so on. I love how detailed her research in, because not only is it convincing, it is challenging- a call to action, to review our spending and investing habits.

She shares 4 fundamental questions to ask yourself to help you make better decisions as a wallet activist and these are: for whom? can everyone do this? is it too cheap? and finally What am I funding? She explores various issues in each chapter geared toward better understanding the impacts of our financial decisions and especially how companies do their very best to manipulate consumers.

Rating: 4 stars

This is a good book not just to read, but to discuss with friends and colleagues- to see oneself in the larger scheme of our capitalistic world. Thanks Netgalley for the eARC.

About the Author

Tanja is the author of Wallet Activism: How to Use Every Dollar You Spend, Earn, and Save as a Force for Change (coming November 2021) and Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny Pinching Way. She’s a former political consultant and journalist turned activist and early retiree. Visit her website: https://tanjahester.com/

4 Lessons Learned from Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg was published the year my elder sister was born. I read it on 18th and 19th May of 2021 and thirty five years since it broke into print, I found such comfort, understanding and encouragement reading what she had to say on writing- as art, expression, truth and life.

The book is only 171 pages and from the foreword to the appendix, she draws a lot from Zen and you’ll come across quotes from Katagiri Yoshi a lot. Here’s what I get to keep in mind after reading it:

  1. Claim your writing. This is something I struggle with. Hearing someone say they loved my book, or a character so much that they want to talk about him/her or even that they hated my work- and with the star rating index, anything short of a 3-star review is enough to have me put my music player on shuffle. She shares how important it is to claim the good and bad- to accept that you wrote it.
  2. Write anyplace. I do this a lot

“Take out another notebook, pick up another pen, and just write. In the middle of the world, make one positive step. In the center of chaos, make one definitive act, just write. Say yes, stay alive, be awake. Just write. Just write. Just write.”

3. Go further. Here she talks about going beyond our comfort zone and says that sometimes when you think you are done, it is just the edge of beginning.

4. Don’t marry the fly. I laughed so much reading this chapter because I have felt it as a reader. Sometimes when I read a book and I am following what is happening, there are certain sentences or details that throw me off- and often I feel like the author lost me, or that the author’s trend of thought changed and Natalie explains why this happens. Simply put she says, “If the writer wanders, then the reader, too, will wander.” In another sense, details are important but if you focus on one detail so much you may lose the reader.

And finally a phrase that I couldn’t resist:

“Writers live twice. They go along with their regular life, are as fast as anyone in the grocery store, crossing the street, getting dressed for work in the morning but there’s another part of them that they have been training. The one that lives everything a second time. That sits down and sees their life again and goes over it. Looks at the texture and details.”

A copy can be bought on: Amazon

Book Review: A Cobra’s Bite Doesn’t Hurt by Anil Nijhawan

The first line of this book reads:

Your Highness Mr Narendra Modi,

The story: Kalu, kidnapped from an orphanage at the age of fourteen and trained to pick pockets, is forced into a gang of thieves in Bangalore. When Babu, their ruthless gang leader, murders his best friend Ramesh, Kalu – fearing for his own life – runs away to Kolkata. While still being pursued by Babu he meets and falls in love with Tanya, a stunning and gifted career girl from an upper middle-class family.

Sir, if you ever come across a cobra unexpectedly, my advice is not to stare directly into its eyes.

Oh, I love the ingenuity of this book!

Who would have thought that it’d be in the form of a letter and not just any letter but one addressed to the Prime Minister of India and from a Street Urchin nonetheless. I love Kalu’s honesty and what hurt me most as I read this was how he took me along those streets in India, the hopes of children, the hurt and betrayal they experience at the hands of adults, the corrupt police and I was even angered by how the depiction of politicians in this book rings true for most of those in my country, Kenya. Same goes for the police!

The mode of storytelling is refreshing, for Kalu uses an old Sanyo recorder to talk to the Prime Minister. He admits that having grown up an orphan, first in an orphanage and then in the streets, he never learned to read or write.

Kalu’s charming, naive, sarcastic, hopeful…nostalgic, a hopeless romantic and sometimes, in reading you cannot help but weep for the children out on the streets of India as he depicts them and the lies and neglect that led them there.

Modiji, my Sanyo voice recorder did not start this morning. I had to hammer it several times to wake it up. Hope it lasts to the end of my story. In Japan, they would have thrown it away by now. But, we Indians don’t discard anything easily; we know how to recycle.

Rating: yellow-star-mdyellow-star-mdyellow-star-mdyellow-star-mdyellow-star-md

Buy a copy at: Amazon


About the author:

Born into a Punjabi family, Anil Nijhawan’s early schooling was in Kolkata, at the infamous (people have contradictory opinions) South Point School. His teacher of English, the charismatic Mr Utpal Dutt, an actor and a scholar of Shakespeare and English literature, instilled in Anil the love of English language at a young age. Anil Nijhawan now lives in the UK with his wife Adarsh and a family of gold fish in the garden pond. His career has embraced working in the computing industry and running his own business.

Visit his site: https://anilnijhawan.com/

Hope When Your Heart is Breaking by Ron Hutchcraft

Harvest House Publishers

I had one of those days. The kind where the weight of the world is on your shoulders and nothing seems to make the cloud of sorrow hover farther away from you.

And a colleague at work told me what I often say to her, “look on the bright side…” and I was tempted to bundle her up and throw her in the lake, because there was no bright side, no silver lining, no lesson to be learned…I just wasn’t feeling it and lately it seems like I am spiraling in this web of sorrow, hopelessness and just despair.

So, reading this book felt like my call for help, because taking a walk wasn’t helping, music was making me cry, and I couldn’t eat or sleep.

The author draws lessons learnt from his life. He shares his loss, grief and how he worked his way into living what he shares in this book and honestly, it was so refreshing to find my pain understood by another simply in him sharing his own hurt.

He expresses this connection better;

People may not want to hear your message. But they will listen to your scars.

He explores grief, faith and what it means to hope against all odds. And now, with what’s happening in the world- reading this felt like someone lighting a flashlight in the dark. What still baffles me about his writing and theme- is the power of choice. He constantly shares that there is a thin line between hurt and healing and that’s the power of choice.

At some point while reading this, I came across this question, he asks:

Is a hammer constructive or destructive?

Yes. It depends on what you do with it.

The publisher states that: Hope When Your Heart Is Breaking is an honest look at both roads, and how your greatest loss can lead to your greatest gain. Author Ron Hutchcraft writes from the deep well of his own devastating loss and grief, and points us to the practical steps that lead to peace and wholeness.
This book is a pathway to hope—a road map through the pain of grief and loss. Be strengthened by a new closeness to others and to God. And make the decisions that lead to comfort, growth, and life.

Truth is, it draws from various texts, stories and instances in the Bible and makes for a comforting read. So, if you’ve lost someone you love, a dream, a part of you, or sometimes you find yourself traveling with a bag of past trauma then, this would be something worth reading.

Loss leads to grief and in grieving we have choices and you too have a choice just like the author says:

The hammer will change you for better or worse. But it’s not the hammer that decides whether hurt or hope wins. We do. By the choices we make.

My take: 4 stars

Am I feeling better? No, I am feeling challenged to do something about this cloud that I can’t shake off and it’s not to look outside of me, but to look inside and to me, right now, that’s way better than anything I had expected when I started reading this book.

I’ll get another cup of tea and continue writing out what’s eating me inside.

Get a copy: here

Reading The Memo by Minda Harts

I’m all about books that advocate for the rights and well being of women, and more so black women, so a part of me was taken in by this title.

About the book:

From microaggressions to the wage gap, The Memo empowers women of color with actionable advice on challenges and offers a clear path to success. Most business books provide a one-size-fits-all approach to career advice that overlooks the unique barriers that women of color face. In The Memo, Minda Harts offers a much-needed career guide tailored specifically for women of color.

Available on Amazon: Kindle price $13.99

In ten chapters the author explores the challenges women of color experience from the narratives they are told and tell themselves, to the policies at their workplaces and she progresses into areas that they need to strengthen or invest in to secure a seat at the table.

Her tone of writing is both firm and friendly. You get the feeling and in reading her experiences understand that Sis’ has been there and felt that. So, it takes more of a mentor approach and that’s why I was impressed that in the very beginning she said ‘have a notebook and pen ready, because you’ll need to take notes.’

And here’s one note that I want to share with you:

Hear me loud and clear: Articulate your desire to advance and own your past experience. Don’t let other people’s biases and stupidity stop your show. It starts with you. You are your best advocate.

This book delves into an area we play down because we don’t want to be seen as over ambitious and it often hurts us. I kept taking notes, and reflecting on my career and the decisions I have made over the years and where it has led me.

No matter what you do, don’t leave your career advancement in the hands of someone else. If you do, they will keep you in the same basic-ass box they put other women in.  This is a huge part of investing in yourself.

Don’t treat your career like a mediocre relationship.

Since the decision to isolate and maintain a safe physical distance was set in place due to Corona, I’ve had more than 100 days to think about my life, my values, and also accept that I wasn’t prepared for any of this and as much as it scares me, it’s not as bad as not putting the effort to re-examine my values, goals and career plans.

My take on this: 5 stars

Anyone who reads this  book, more so any black woman who gets this and has long struggled with getting a seat at the table or better yet bringing her own table will learn a lot about planning, networking and speaking up.

About the author:

Visit her website, read about this program she runs to empower women of color and listen to her podcast as well: http://mindaharts.com/

 

Wiving: A Memoir of Loving then Leaving the Patriarchy by Caitlin Myer

Wiving

I love a book that gets me thinking and totally frown when it makes me feel things I wouldn’t want to acknowledge- like loss, emotional pain and most of all, anger…you know the kind that you sealed in your subconscious and swore you’ll never let it get the best of you, but here comes a trigger and bham! You’re all over the place?

Yes, that kind of anger.

About the book:

At thirty-six years old, Caitlin Myer is ready to start a family with her husband. She has left behind the restrictive confines of her Mormon upbringing and early sexual trauma and believes she is now living her happily ever after . . . when her body betrays her. In a single week, she suffers the twin losses of a hysterectomy and the death of her mother, and she is jolted into a terrible awakening that forces her to reckon with her past—and future.
 
This is the story of one woman’s lifelong combat with a culture—her “escape” from religion at age twenty, only to find herself similarly entrapped in the gender conventions of the secular culture at large, conventions that teach girls and women to shape themselves to please men, to become good wives and mothers. The biblical characters Yael and Judith, wives who became assassins, become her totems as she evolves from wifely submission to warrior independence.

My purpose is to make you happy, he types. In this way he has made himself a wife. To be a wife means to harness your desires, your ego, and concentrate your life’s purpose in your husband. I want something larger, I type.

The author shuttles between her childhood and her present time merging her memories of what she grew up believing and expecting womanhood to be. She draws from her Mormon background, her mother’s pains and struggles and it is almost as if she sees herself in the memory of her mother and she struggles with her loss, fears, disappointments in love and being a wife, and more so finding her essence in a sea of societal and moral expectations.

I love the title, the cover and the tone of this book.

Perhaps, what I struggled with the most while reading this book is how much I could relate to most of what she shared especially on the early indoctrination of girls on what it means to be a good mother, wife and more so on the load of expectations centered around pleasing and seeing to the needs of a man…and that right there, triggered so many questions I’ve had over the years.

It also reminded me of how my Mom was treated when our Dad passed away…and when it got to that point, I cast this book aside and pretended not to care.

And some of the phrases that I highlighted because they truly spoke to my experiences of growing female, seeing how women are treated and the like were:

Once you believe some humans should by nature, through gender or skin or difference, occupy a lower more limited place in the world, once you believe they owe you their love, their attention, their obeisance, it leaks into everything, and this has been the story since the first story was written.

The other one was:

I trained for wiving but I’m not made to be a wife.

I am certain that this book will attract and receive mixed reviews and inasmuch as that would come to be, it doesn’t change the fact that we are brought up on expectations, and our parents dreams, those of their parents and generations before us are fed to us. Some of us carry this torch well, others burn under the weight of it, and some choose to walk in their own path.

Rating: Brown-clip-art-star-hi Clip Art at Clker.com - vector clip art ...Brown-clip-art-star-hi Clip Art at Clker.com - vector clip art ...Brown-clip-art-star-hi Clip Art at Clker.com - vector clip art ...Brown-clip-art-star-hi Clip Art at Clker.com - vector clip art ...Brown-clip-art-star-hi Clip Art at Clker.com - vector clip art ...

The book’s retailing on various platforms around $24.99 for the hardcover and $16.99 for the ebook, you can select your retailer-> here

About the author: Visit her website: https://www.caitlinmyer.com/about

 

Reading The Top 10 Reasons the Rich Go Broke by John MacGregor

Hello wet, cold, chilly and muddy Wednesday! I should probably get out of bed and pour myself another cup of coffee, but having made three trips to the bathroom in one hour, let’s put the coffee on hold until I’ve finished writing this.

How are you?

How are you really holding on wherever you are?

I traveled back to Mbita- a 3 hour drive away from Kisumu, to see to the implementation of the projects we had initiated before the Corona shutdown, and now that I am back, I can’t say I’ve been out and about- because there are still measures in place- the physical distancing, wearing of masks, washing of hands and simply making sure there is little physical contact and it’s hard especially with communities in the rural areas where I work. They saw me and wanted to hug me, greet me and some were inviting me to their homes for meal-and I truly missed such connections. It was even harder reminding them that there was still the need no physical contact to help curb Corona.

So, I settled down from Monday and started reading The Top 10 Reasons why the Rich Go Broke. I truly need to manage my finances and from March, the stringent measures taken worldwide to deal with Corona showed me that one; I had no emergency funds, surviving from paycheck to paycheck is like walking on broken glass, and I definitely have to develop and invest in new modes of income.

Respect what you do, earn enough to be careful where to put it.

The author talks an crippling internal weakness we all share which he defines as the B.E.A.R Trap: Beliefs, Excuses, Actions and Results

He asked a simple question that’s got me thinking about our education system and it’s given me ideas to explore and actualize. This question was “why do we have so much trouble understanding money?”

He goes on to share the 10 reasons we give that lead to traps that affect our finances and each chapter is dedicated to exploring these factors. Trap one was my absolute favorite “Stuck on the Outside,” because no matter how hard we try, when I look all around me, it’s the one trap we all fall into. Doing everything for the Gram! Trying to catch up with others- buying stuff we don’t need to please people we don’t know.

This is another gem I got from Netgalley- and now I have 12 more titles in different genres to read and enjoy.

And, I’m big on those phrases that spark something in me, some of the few that got me thinking herein were:

The cost of an item isn’t simply what it’s sold for, but what it costs the owner to own.

True change can occur only when a person is able to acknowledge how their BELIEFS mold their EXCUSES which manipulate their ACTIONS that opens the avenue to a sincere desire to make change for better RESULTS.

So, what’s your story when it comes to money?

My take on this: Star clipart no background 3 » Clipart StationStar clipart no background 3 » Clipart StationStar clipart no background 3 » Clipart StationStar clipart no background 3 » Clipart Station

I would however advise that no reader should be fooled by the title. This book does not talk about billionaires or mention any of them as case studies, but rather it focuses on you and me- and if you have access to money and you think you are not rich…then that belief right there would make you miss out on some pretty good advice here.

You can get a copy from Amazon: here


About the author:

John MacGregor CFP

John has been a leader and innovator in the financial services industry for over 25 years and his true passion is helping people understand how easy it is to live a financially secure life if they have the right mindset and process in place. John is the Founder & Executive Director of ThrivePath – The Revolutionary Process to Financial Freedom and Peace of Mind. He is the author of The Top 10 Reasons the Rich Go Broke: Powerful Stories That Will Transform Your Financial Life… Forever, The Ultimate Guide to Selecting a Financial Advisor, Unlock Your Money Code – Master Your Mind And Live Your Rich Life and The Legacy Book – What To Do Before Your Loved One Passes.

To work with John visit https://www.johnmacgregor.net/

Second Chances: What I learned reading An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur

photo_2020-05-10_19-59-45

About the book: 

Across three decades and two continents, Suanne Laqueur’s fifth novel explores the unpredictability of sexual attraction, how family ties are forged, torn and mended, and how love’s downfall can turn to exaltation.

You should be able to look your income in the face- Gloria Landes

I came across this book on Netgalley- and I was intrigued by the title before I read the blurb. An exaltation of larks…well, the only collective noun I know in my sleep is a pride of lions.

The story takes us back to Chile in September in the 1970s when Pinochet’s got his grip on power and the country and we are introduced to eleven-yer-old Alejandro Penda- who watches the city crumble and with it, first his Father, then his mother and unborn sibling. He arrives alone in America and is taken in by the Larks.

Javier del Soto on the other hand, flees from home when his family shun him for getting caught kissing his cousin Nesto. Apparently, you could be a lot of things as a Dominican but never show signs of being gay. He takes on as many odd jobs as he can, anything to eat and stay alive- and also forget the insults and beatings he received from his Uncle. He meets Gloria Landes and she mentors him into being one of the Manhattan’s top-paid male escorts and he meets Alejandro/Alex and Valerie in his twenties and their story is sealed from then.

The author’s writing brings to life their struggles, the wounds they carry into adulthood- their zest for life and she gives you a front row seat into their decision making processes as well.

I loved this book and Jav carries with him one thing his Father told him:

Second chances are given or made.- Rafael Gil del Soto

In weaving their paths and working through their childhood trauma, Alex and Jav, find that they are one- their pain, their fears, it’s like being home in the presence of one another and it broke my heart when Jav at some point said it;

“Same,” Jav said. “It’s not the larks that kill you. It’s the exaltation.”

And I’m big on moments in books that move me to tears or to smile at the sheer truth in it and Gloria Landes had such moments in this book. Her relationship to and with Jav, is the one ray of sunshine that I see Jav carry on and replicate with Ari later on in the story.

“Every date you have will be an opportunity to learn something,” Gloria said. “Never stop learning. You already like to read, which is an advantage. Read everything. Newspapers, magazines, books. Be informed. Be up-to-date. Be both interesting and interested in others. Everyone has something fascinating about them, Jav. Your job is to find it. Then you can fuck it.”

The best part is that the story does not end there- Javier’s/Jav’s story continues in the next book in the Venery series, “A Charm of Finches,” and finally wraps up back in Chile in “A Scarcity of Condors.”

This has been a great read this week and it’s the highlight of my week especially after having worked a lot on a project that I hope to launch towards the end of this year:

Flying Bird clip art | Clipart Panda - Free Clipart ImagesFlying Bird clip art | Clipart Panda - Free Clipart ImagesFlying Bird clip art | Clipart Panda - Free Clipart ImagesFlying Bird clip art | Clipart Panda - Free Clipart ImagesFlying Bird clip art | Clipart Panda - Free Clipart Images

“His uncle had collected people the same way he collected books and art.”- Alex

About the author:

1 About Me.png

Visit her website: http://suannelaqueurwrites.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Believe Everything You Feel by Robert L. Leahy: Book Review

About the book: Don’t Believe Everything You Feel offers a groundbreaking approach blending CBT and emotional schema therapy to help you explore your own deeply held personal beliefs about emotions, determine if these beliefs are helpful or harmful, and find the motivation to adopt alternative, healthier coping strategies. Each chapter contains exercises such as self-assessment, expressive writing, or guided questioning to help you manage your emotions more productively.

My take on it: 4 stars

I was drawn to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy ( CBT) whilst studying Psychology and my undergraduate lessons were the very best on this. However, over the years, I learned that it’s never about what people want to do but what they are willing to do. And CBT asks that you put in the effort, a step by step approach to get better.

Dr. Leahy shares the Emotional Schema Therapy approach here which he developed years ago to help us cope with our emotions and at the core of it says that:

“it’s a realistic approach that proposes that difficult and pleasant emotions are all part of the experience of a full life. Rather than focus on feeling good, we focus on the capacity to feel everything and grow in the process.”

This is an insightful read one that even those who think they’ve mastered their emotions could learn a thing or two from.

I love the fact that it is very hands on, and is formatted as a workbook meaning that you read and evaluate and reflect on each chapter as you go on.

In it he shares his 5 principles of the Emotional Schema Therapy and goes on to expound on 6 wise strategies for coping with emotions that are positive as they are involving.


Where to get the bookAmazon

 

Get Out of Your Own Way by Dave Hollis: Book Review

Oh, I loved this book! Dave truly went there, he had the conversation that he didn’t want to and out of it wrote this book that called out most of the lies we tell ourselves.

About this book:

When Dave Hollis’s wife, Rachel, began writing her #1 New York Times bestselling book, Girl, Wash Your Face, he bristled at her transparency and her willingness to talk about such intimate details of their life. But when a looming career funk, a growing drinking problem, and a challenging trek through therapy battered the Disney executive and father of four, Dave began to realize he was letting untruths about himself dictate his life. As he sank to the bottom of his valley, he had to make a choice. Would he push himself out of his comfort zone to become the best man he was capable of being, or would he play it safe and settle for mediocrity?

In Get Out of Your Own Way,Dave tackles topics he once found it difficult to be honest about, things like his struggles with alcohol, problems in his marriage, and his insecurities about being a dad. Dave helps us see our own journeys more clearly as he unpacks the lies he once believed—such as “I Have to Have It All Together,” “Failure Means You’re Weak,” and “If They Doesn’t Need Me, Will They Still Want Me?”—and reveals the tools that helped him change his life.


My take on it:

It does not matter that his wife is also a great writer- calling out BS in women and the lies society indoctrinates in us- or that he’s writing from his life experiences as a man- this book is a great read because from the very beginning he calls out the truth on self-help books. He says “self-help is the tie between growth and fulfillment.”

He drives the point home “in order to grow, you need to put in the work and learn to kick the lies putting limits on who and what you can be.”

He calls you out before you give excuses. You’ve got to put in the work, like he learned to and continue doing so if you’re to get any better.

Some pointers that stood out for me and I am currently working on during this period of isolation are:

Commit to the habits that fuel you.

Success can mess up with you just as much as failure.

Roll up your sleeves and do the work

Redefine how you measure success in your work

A huge thank you to the publisher for granting me an eARC, this book will appeal to everyone who’s ever felt like they aren’t enough and the tone of writing makes it a book you can read anywhere at any time, with take away points for reflection.

Verdict: Vector Yellow Star Material, Star Clipart, Creative Star, Stars ...Vector Yellow Star Material, Star Clipart, Creative Star, Stars ...Vector Yellow Star Material, Star Clipart, Creative Star, Stars ...Vector Yellow Star Material, Star Clipart, Creative Star, Stars ...Vector Yellow Star Material, Star Clipart, Creative Star, Stars ...

Get a copy:  from Amazon