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/

On Life, Living, and Little Instructions from Jackson Brown

A few years ago, Jack Brown jotted down a list of fatherly advice for his son as Adam left home to begin a new life as a college freshman. That list became Life’s Little Instruction Book, the phenomenal guide that has sold more than five million copies.

So, I came across this book on Academia and you know those itty bit titles that make you scroll down, read and change positions as you flip page after page after page? Yes, this was a good one to read and here are 10 instructions that I loved:

  1. Do a good job because you want to, not because you have to. This puts you in charge instead of your boss.
  2. Don’t take good friends, good health, or a good marriage for granted.
  3. Never type a love letter, use a fountain pen.
  4. Spend your life lifting people up, not putting people down.
  5. Don’t judge a man’s wealth by how well he’s dressed, but by how well his wife is dressed.
  6. When declaring your rights, don’t forget your responsibilities.
  7. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
  8. Be forgiving of yourself and others.
  9. Give thanks before every meal.
  10. Don’t judge people by their relatives

So far, my Friday’s been good, I woke up feeling unwell had a quick visit to the clinic and turns out what I do have is a sore throat and signs of a bacterial infection so with lots of antibiotics and the stern warning to take things easy, I did something extra- I cooked. I thought the best thing that I could do to feel good was make chicken stir fry and spaghetti and I even took pictures to gloat!

On writing: I am still at this and working my way back to a routine that involves writing at dawn because I have learned that I have more time when I wake up that I could use to write.

On reading: I am in the company of good books and having read Before the Fall by Noah Hawley, I am currently going back and forth between two titles: Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave and Are Men Necessary by Maureen Dowd.

Have an awesome weekend. Stay safe wherever you are!

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

Women at Work: A book review of The Good Boss by Kate Eberle Walker

It is International Women’s Day. Women are every where, and in most nations there are events, conferences, demonstrations- all a call for better treatment of women, provision of equal opportunities for women, regard for their welfare, well being and in some of these nations- bills are being pushed in parliaments to protect women in workplaces.

This is not just any day for me, it’s my birthday as well. Every year on the 8th of March I am reminded of two things: One is that I share my birthday with all the women in the world and two, is that I am truly a Pisces.

I was reading The Good Boss by Kate Eberle Walker yesterday- and it was so good that I couldn’t put it down and this is because in writing about bosses and the workplace, she reminded me of my experiences as a woman at work and there’s something she shared from the very beginning that stuck with me:

Women not only need to do their actual work but they also need to think about how they are being perceived as they are doing it.

On the pressure women face at work, The Good Boss by Kate Eberle Walker

About the book:

When it comes to a woman’s day-to-day experience and her career trajectory, one key player has the most significant impact: her boss. If we really want to support women in the workplace, managers must step up.

The good news is that many of the things you can do to be a better manager for women are easy. 

In The Good Boss, CEO and business consultant Kate Eberle Walker offers timely, tactical advice based on her experience coaching managers, as well as the lessons she learned working her own way up the corporate ladder. Eberle Walker outlines nine straightforward rules that any manager can follow to help the women on their team—whether they oversee one, one hundred, or one thousand employees. 

So, what are these 9 rules? How about I share 5 of my absolute truths and favorites!

  1. Call her by her name
  2. Don’t ask “What does your Husband do?”
  3. Speak up so that she doesn’t have to
  4. Be an equal opportunity Asshole
  5. Don’t sit in her chair

These 5 rules are the ones that I kept screaming “YES!!!” when reading because I’ve experienced them more so rule number 3: Speak up so that she doesn’t have to and this was in relation to a boss that was female and she would talk down on all of us, quick to insult and delay salaries if we did not please her!

Talking about what a woman’s spouse does is a complete no-go area. In some instances it is more like you can get away with or afford so much because your spouse does this and that. And while we are at it, if she qualifies for a position, an opportunity- give it to her, give her the chance and in some interviews I lost out on an opportunity because I was single, unmarried and without a child and I remember on particular interview where the man on the panel asked me, “this job comes with a good pay package and if we take you in, give you a two or three year contract, won’t you get comfortable and choose to start a family?”

Finally, rule number 5: don’t sit in her chair is the reminder that if a woman goes away on leave, when she comes back ensure her space is either as she left it or better than she left it. Don’t give someone else her office, chair, position or regard- not unless you are promoting her to a better office, position and holding her in high regard.

The Good Boss is a book that I know will speak to many women in the work place on the challenges we face, and also a must-read for managers- both men and women on ensuring a safe space for women at work.

The book will be available on Amazon stores on March 16th 2021 for $18.99 on Kindle and $24.95. You can pre-order a copy: on this link. Visit the author’s website: here

I was Ghosted so I found myself reading Sorry I Missed You by Suzy Krause

Have you ever been ghosted?

You meet someone and it’s all good, the phone calls, texts and meetings and then out of the blue the trail grows cold. A friend calls it “Kujitoa kwa mix,” and don’t get me started on those blue ticks on whatsapp and how after a while you call and they don’t answer then it hits you that they left you long before they stopped communicating with you.

So, I’ve been ghosted and I have ghosted people as well- and even gone ahead and ignored the various strangers who send you messages on Facebook Messenger with ‘hi’ or ‘hey’ or ‘hi babe.’ It hurts even more that now you cannot delete your messenger account/ if you uninstall the app- someone can still send you a message and wait for years before you respond! So, when I saw this book on Netgalley- I had to read it, for there is nothing as awesome as bonding over shared experiences!

About the book:

When Mackenzie, Sunna, and Maude move into a converted rental house, they are strangers with only one thing in common—important people in their lives have “ghosted” them. Mackenzie’s sister, Sunna’s best friend, and Maude’s fiancé—all gone with no explanation.

So when a mangled, near-indecipherable letter arrives in their shared mailbox—hinting at long-awaited answers—each tenant assumes it’s for her. The mismatched trio decides to stake out the coffee shop named in the letter—the only clue they have—and in the process, a bizarre kinship forms. But the more they learn about each other, the more questions (and suspicions) they begin to have. All the while, creepy sounds and strange happenings around the property suggest that the ghosts from their pasts might not be all that’s haunting them…Will any of the housemates find the closure they are looking for? Or are some doors meant to remain closed?

My take:  This book is funny, quirky, nostalgic and oh so true because if you’ve ever been ghosted/ had someone grow cold and distance without warning- then you would probably enjoy this read.

Maude brings to life the feeling of being ghosted most when she feels:

She knew she wasn’t the first person to be left like that; leaving was what people did best and most often. But the abruptness of this leaving, the unexplained nature of it, was torture and it came as close to killing her as anything ever had.

The personality of these three women clash; Maude doesn’t want to be disturbed and she is lonely, bitter, brash and pushes boundaries. Sunna has mastered the art of not caring, though she is brilliant, witty and upfront- she also is insecure- needing friends but not necessarily working towards making them. Mackenzie is as cute as a button- cares about how other people feel, and is a closed shell.

When Maude sets up a meeting with Richard to get closure and invites the girls to sit in the conversation, Sunna sets the record straight and I loved what she said so much that I noted it in my journal:

That is how explanations work. They explain. They do not assuage your guilty conscience.

I nearly jumped into the book and hugged her. I laughed at their meetings at the PaperCup cafe. It made my Friday evening.

You can get a copy on Amazon: Kindle $4.99 / Paperback $10.99

This definitely gets 4 stars: Download Orange Star Clip Art PNG Image with No Background ...Download Orange Star Clip Art PNG Image with No Background ...Download Orange Star Clip Art PNG Image with No Background ...Download Orange Star Clip Art PNG Image with No Background ...


About the author:

Suzy Krause

Suzy Krause is the author of Valencia and Valentine. She spends her days with her kids and writes when they sleep. She still occasionally finds time to blog just for fun at http://www.suzykrause.com. She lives in Regina, Saskatchewan.

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/

Friendship and Proverbs: Reading When the Apricots Bloom by G.N.Wilkinson

About the book:

Inspired by her own experiences stationed in Baghdad during Saddam Hussein’s rule, former foreign correspondent Gina Wilkinson’s evocative, suspenseful debut is told through the eyes of three very different women in Iraq at the turn of the millennium. A secretary, an artist and a diplomat’s wife, each must confront the complexities of trust, friendship, and motherhood under the rule of a dictator and his ruthless secret police…

In a perfect world, we could wait until the apricots bloom. Alas, the world is not perfect.

Rating: Apricot PNG Clip Art | Gallery Yopriceville - High-Quality Images ...Apricot PNG Clip Art | Gallery Yopriceville - High-Quality Images ...Apricot PNG Clip Art | Gallery Yopriceville - High-Quality Images ...Apricot PNG Clip Art | Gallery Yopriceville - High-Quality Images ...Apricot PNG Clip Art | Gallery Yopriceville - High-Quality Images ...

I saw this book on Netgalley and I had to request the publisher to read it because I was drawn to two things on the blurb: the fact that it’s set in Iraq during Saddam’s reign and the second aspect involved three different women. I asked myself what could a secretary, an artist and a diplomat’s wife have in common?

The story delves into the need for control by Saddam’s government, enforcing rules and corrupt police officers who demand that people do as they ask and if they do not, someone close to them or simply the people themselves disappear. The diplomats are also spied on by the Iraqis and the police visit anytime to glean information from the Iraqi spies- mostly in their homes, reminding them of the hold they have on them.

As the story begins, the author introduces us to both Huda and Rania, as young girls who take a blood oath to always protect each other’s secrets. As the story unravels, Huda comes off as the one who would go to any lengths to protect her family, including blackmailing her former childhood friend, Rania, and it does not help that she is also working for the police as an informant- giving details of Ally’s life.

A secret is like a dove, once it leaves your hand, it flies where it wants.

In reading this book, Huda was ice cold towards Rania and you could not help but wish that she could take a step back and soften towards her friend. Rania on the other hand is the artist, both wise and calm and she knows when to push and when to refrain. What I found oddly satisfying was that both women had suffered the loss of their loved ones at the turn of Saddam’s reign, yet their approach towards this loss was utterly different. Rania was warm towards people while Huda was aloof. Her words could slice you open.

Ally, the diplomat’s wife, is noted as ‘housewife’ on her Australian passport- but her coming to Baghdad is not just to support her husband, Tom, but it’s to find out about her mother- a child’s last hope of trying to put together the pieces of her mother’s life. She starts asking questions and soon learns that in a dictatorship, your words could make you or kill you, literally.

I love proverbs and sayings and I came across many of them in this book, some that stood out are:

A lie takes only one moment to leave the mouth, but it can linger to the grave.

Sorrow sweeps everything out of your house violently, so that joy has space to enter.

A friend knows better than an enemy how to do you harm.

The story of these three women is both nostalgic as it is heartbreaking and it reminded me of the countless number of lives that are affected in war-torn countries, countries facing civil unrest, and more so dictatorships.

This book is also beautifully written that you cannot help but urge Huda, Rania and Ally on, in their quest and their friendship.


About the author:

Gina%2520Headshot%2520large_edited_edite I’ve been a nomad from the age of six-months, when my parents packed me and our Siamese cat into an old Renault and set off for a remote gold-mining town in Australia’s Nullarbor desert. Since then I’ve circumnavigated the globe many times. As a foreign correspondent, I reported from some of the globe’s most intriguing and dangerous places for renowned broadcasters such as the BBC, NPR, and the ABC. 

Visit her site: https://www.ginawilkinson.net/

The Bee Keeper’s lessons

I have been reading The Honey Bee: A Business Parable about Getting Un-Stuck and Taking Control of Your Financial Future. This book popped up in my “Read Now” galley on NetGalley and I wanted to read it because I can’t seem to get my finances in check, and also I’ve been exploring modes of investing and saving that go beyond the ordinary “chama” that we have here in Kenya.

It’s written by Jake Stenziano and Gino Barbaro.

178 pages/ River Grove Books

The authors take a fictional approach to unpack six lessons that they’ve learned in the course of their lives and financial investments. It’s a short book, easy to read and I love the kind of books that make you want to sit down and re-evaluate your life.

This one does so in the most creative way- there’s the final section in each chapter that summarizes the lessons learned and each lesson builds upon the previous one.

I’m yet to meet anyone who hasn’t struggled with managing their finances and for as long as we can make money, there’s also the desire to find as many ways of doing so, and never running out it. This is why I feel a lot of people would relate to this book.

The greatest lesson I learned from this book is:

Create Streams of Purpose: Money isn’t your reason, it only finds it.

I could spoil it for you and share all the 6 lessons, but then what’s the fun in doing that? You may learn a thing or two, if you go in search of the book- besides who’s to tell what your experience may be reading it?

It’s going for $0.99 on Kindle and $14.93 on Paperback

Reading Renee’s ‘Harness the Power of Personal Branding and Executive Presence.’

I’ve been reading interesting books this August and since I’m always looking to be better each day, it was no surprise that I would automatically read Renee Smith’s “Harness the Power of Personal Branding and Executive Presence.”

This is the kind of book you read with a pen and notebook in hand.

Here’s a bit of the background story about the book: Harness the Power of Personal Branding and Executive Presence has one purpose–to show you how to embody your authenticity and elevate your life and career.

S. Renee Smith, a nationally recognized self-esteem, branding and communication expert, and speaker, simplifies personal branding and demystifies executive presence. With each eye-opening insight, well-illustrated example, compelling story and mind elevation exercise, you’ll be engaged and inspired as you see yourself, your life, and your dreams take flight.

My take on this:

The author takes you through the personal branding journey and each chapter builds upon the previous one, such that when you are done reading, you’ve got so many things you jotted down that you’ve done or are to do that you never even thought of.

I love that she shares tips that you can use every day and not just in tune with business and investing, but also about exuding power and confidence.

Some insights that stood out for me:

Nothing is arbitrary. When someone knocks on your door with a huge opportunity that you think you aren’t ready for, stand on the fact that no one is going to put their job at risk for you. They are connecting with you because they believe you can make them look good.

Challenges set you up for success.

What is the state of of your mind?

Be still until you are ready. This is so true when it comes to change, for once you are ready to change, you owe it to yourself to be fully prepared for that journey.

How much do you charge? Every time we interact with people we are costing them something, be it time, money, emotions, productivity, so ask yourself how much does it cost to interact with you? [I’ll write a post about this one]

You can get the book on Amazon for as low as $9.99

Visit her author page for more titles: here

There are a lot more insights on branding, presence, networking and communication on her website: https://asksrenee.com/

courtesy of the author’s website: http://www.askrenee.com

 

I Lost Me When I Found You by Miss T.N.King

Once in a while, you experience moments that call you out or bring such clarity in your life that you cannot help but sit back, reflect and change your path.

I came across Miss T. N. King’s book, “I Lost Me When I Found You” on Netgalley last week- and I wanted to read it, because for a while there have been blurred lines in my understanding and experience on love, with love and for love.

About the book: Have you ever lost yourself? In a candid and inspiring call to action, Miss T.N. King invites every woman who has felt depleted, hopeless, or “not enough” to reconnect and uncover her true, divine self—known as her Inner Goddess.Throughout this book, King exposes the “idols” we create in our minds and the lifestyles we use to distract ourselves—which leave us feeling lost and empty. She breaks down exactly how this happens and how we can transform our pain, fear, and setbacks into power, faith, and success.

King shares details of her personal journey, as well as the stories of several courageous women, and provides practical, proven tools to truly elevate us and our quality of life. Miss T.N. King shines the spotlight on relationships, career, money, body image, social media, the “superwoman” complex, women bashing on other women—and even “situationships”!


I loved the format of this book, first are the stories shared by other women “I lost myself when…” and you can actually relate to their situations. Then come the insights drawn from the Bible, the author’s experiences and famous people’s experiences and finally a call to action and those keys for reflection are amazing. This book would be great if it came with a journal. Some of the things that stood out for me were:

1.

A common mistake I notice us women make is that we stop loving ourselves when we start loving a man.

2.

In order to get something you’ve never had; you have to do something you’ve never done.

3.

What happens when you settle for a situationship? You end up becoming the “New Side Chick”- a woman who has decided to stay by a man’s side after he had expressed his lack of relationship intentions with her through his words and actions.

And finally my favorite:

Be attracted to the way a man treats you, before you are attracted to anything else about him.

If you’d like to read the book for more insights, you can visit Miss King’s website http://www.misstnking.com/  and pre-order a copy of the book on Amazon currently priced at $9.99

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Picture courtesy of Miss King’s website.

I’m glad that my 30 day new challenge for August has been sparked by reading this book and I made a list of things I love about myself and then another of things I wish I could change about myself and why-and looking at the two is my next step of action.

Can’t wait to see what this new challenge brings me.