Book Reviews:The Irresistible Introvert-Harness the Power of Quiet Charisma in a Loud World by Michaela Chung

25898753_iiMy fellow book lovers, does any of the following sound familiar?

“You need to participate more in class.”
“You’re too quiet. Speak up!”
“Get out more! Socialize! Stop being such a hermit.”
“What do you mean you’re leaving early? The fun is just beginning!”

If you’ve heard these phrases countless times, most likely you are an introvert, as am I. And so is Michaela Chung, introvert coach, writer, entrepreneur and now the author of The Irresistible Introvert: Harness the Power of Quiet Charisma in a Loud World.

The Irresistible Introvert is a mix of memoir, manifesto and self-help that combines Chung’s personal struggles with introversion, celebrates the unique traits of introversion and finally, offers sound advice on how to navigate both the professional and personal realm as introvert in a society that favors extroverts.

There is a myth that introverts aren’t as cool or as interesting as extroverts. Chung blows this myth out of the water by relaying her story of selling her belongings so she could travel the world. I’d love to sit down with her and listen to her globe-trotting adventures. Furthermore, we could bond over our love of dancing, salsa dancing for her, belly dancing for me.

But Chung also shares a lot of the pain and confusion she dealt with as an introvert. She often felt out of sorts with her most extroverted peers. Teachers would admonish her with the ideas that introverts are withdrawn, anti-social and depressed. At times, she felt over-whelmed and over-stimulated by the outside world, which she thought made her deeply flawed.

While reading these passages, I couldn’t help but nod my head in introverted alliance with Chung. Like, her I thought I was horribly flawed because of my introverted nature. It’s only in the past few years, I’ve been able to feel comfortable with being an introvert, and even celebrate it a bit in my quiet and discreet manner.

Throughout the Irresistible Introvert Chung discusses things that affect many introverts such as clutter, noise and being overwhelmed on making certain decisions. I know for myself, I am often overwhelmed by huge parties, crowds (I avoid Black Friday because of this), obnoxious speaking voices, and open office spaces hinder my ability to produce and work productively. Introverts need to be aware of these issues, and using the ebb and flow of our introverted energy to cope with these things as we face them. Fortunately, there are practical tips in Chung’s book that helps us do just that. And these tips also reminded me of some things I do personally when I feel over-whelmed like deep breathing and meditation, exercise and escaping into my favorite solo activities after a rather busy, challenging day like baking, reading or crafting.

Now what about being an Irresistible Introvert? How do we go about doing that? Well, one way is just by accepting our introversion, and cherishing and celebrating those introverted traits that make us interesting, lovable and charming. Let’s face it; despite introversion being a bit more understood that it was as little as five years ago, extroversion is still considered ideal. We live in world where so many people are clamoring for attention whether it be through social media, reality TV or by never shutting up, talking about topics that are totally TMI on a multitude of topics-sex, families, work, money and political persuasions.

It’s all so maddening and obnoxious. And perhaps this is where being an introvert is a plus, not a minus. Let’s harness our more quiet, thoughtful and mysterious qualities and softly shine them into the world. It just might be a very welcome reprieve.

Throughout Chung gives practical advice that help introverts navigate the world both professionally and personally. She has down-to-earth advice on shedding the mask of introversion, using one’s energy to achieve positive engagements, the best communication skills for introverts, establishing intimacy comfortable for introverts and a lot more. This practical advice includes both verbal and non-verbal communication.

The Irresistible Introvert is written in a down-to-earth and charming manner. Not quite as thorough as Susan Cain’s iconic book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Chung’s book is still a worthwhile read for both introverts and the extroverts who love them.

 

Book Marks

bookmarks obamaJK Rowling sends Harry Potter books to a little girl in Aleppo, Syria.

The worst sex scenes in books named.

The stage is set for the symposium of the future of libraries.

Writer Marcy Campbell describes her struggles with being a creative person.

Book Riot’s guide to gift giving.

Have you been pronouncing writer Roald Dahl’s name wrong? Yep, me too.

Celebrate Indies First 2016.

Practical advice on how to remove filters from your writing and connect with readers.

President Obama’s essay on the book The Lonely Planet.

Author Zadie Smith on everything from male critics to Donald Trump.

I Read It So You Don’t Have To: Miss O’Dell-My Hard Days and Long Nights with the Beatles, the Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and the Women They Loved by Chris O’Dell

6455172I’ve always been interested in reading rock and roll memoirs, especially by people who were behind the scenes. But when these books are written by women they are usually written by wives, girlfriends and groupies. Now I like these books; Pamela Des Barres’ I’m With the Band is one of my favorites. But I want to read books by women who actually worked in the music business. So when I came across Chris O’Dell’s Miss O’Dell: My Hard Days and Long Nights With the Beatles, the Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and the Women They Loved I thought I had hit the jackpot. Chris O’Dell worked for the Beatles’ Apple Records and managed several rock tours. Surely, she’d have some great insight on what it was like to be a women in a mostly man’s world and perhaps provide some inspiration to young women who want to do more than provide favors to roadies and rockers. Sadly, Chris O’Dell’s memoir turned out to be a huge disappointment.

Miss O’Dell begins in the late 1960s. O’Dell is living in Los Angeles. A chance meeting with Beatles’ insider, Derek Taylor, leads to her getting a job in London at the Beatles’ fledgling Apple Records. It’s never quite established why Taylor thought she’d be such an asset. Did she already have the experience and impressive professional track record? Or was it because she was an attractive blonde? Okay, I shouldn’t hate. Given the chance, I would have jumped at this opportunity.

While at Apple O’Dell does things that are done at any other office. She answers phones, delivers messages and procures lunches. But she also gets to do lots of cool things. When the Beatles played their infamous concert on top of the Apple building, O’Dell was right there with them, soaking up all that rock and roll energy. Any Beatles fan would give his or her eye teeth for such an experience. Lots of rock gods and goddesses roamed the halls of Apple, and O’Dell can’t help but get a little bit fan girlish over the famous people she met. I can’t say I blame her for this. If I had gotten a job at U2’s Principle Management, I would have been squee city. “OMG! Bono said ‘hi’ to me! I can’t wait to tell my mom!”

However, O’Dell soon gets bored and high tails it back to LA. She lives with musician Leon Russell for a time. He had written the song “Pisces Apple Lady” in her honor. Unfortunately, the relationship soon sours. Bored once again, O’Dell begs to get her Apple job back, and is off to London. This turned out to be a common theme with O’Dell. She goes to London, gets bored. She goes to LA, gets bored. Rinse and repeat.

It’s not long before O’Dell is managing major rock tours. She manages tours for Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the Rolling Stones, and later in the book, Echo and the Bunnymen. Not surprisingly, debauchery was a huge part of these tours. Music seemed to take a back seat to snorting up cocaine and sleeping with any available musician, not too mention a lot of fighting among band members and tour staff.

No book about the 1960s and 1970s would be complete without a lot of passages about drugs and sex. Miss O’Dell is no different. However, instead of finding these passages shocking or salacious, I was bored. Reading about endless drug and alcohol-fueled happenings was truly tedious. I could barely stifle my yawns. O’Dell also slept with lots of musicians. Ho-hum. By the time O’Dell mentioned she slept Mick Jagger, I thought, “Who hasn’t? Mick Jagger has probably slept with every third person on the planet. That man would shag a shoe.”

O’Dell also writes about the intense friendships she had with many musicians and their wives/girlfriends, especially George Harrison and Pattie Boyd and Ringo Starr and his wife Maureen. She describes in very full detail of the long conversations she had with these people and the fun times they had. But she seemed more like a free-loader than a good friend. She takes a considerable loan from George Harrison, and never pays him back. While house-sitting for Eric Clapton, she decides to paint his kitchen yellow and orange and then runs off. She later stiffs him on a hotel bill. She constantly took advantage of her rock and roll friends’ generosity, never showing any appreciation. And when she later sleeps with Ringo Starr while he is still married to one of her friends, I wanted to shake her.

It doesn’t help the book’s writing itself is clumsy and amateurish. But what I couldn’t take was the lack of character development on the part of O’Dell. Sure, she does get over drugs and alcohol addiction, but this turning point in her life is given a scant few pages. Never once does she show any remorse for her actions or any semblance of growing as a person. O’Dell is very self-absorbed but not exactly self-aware. Also, she totally ignores the huge cultural and social changes of the era. O’Dell’s memoir takes place during “I am Women. Hear Me Roar” second wave feminism, yet she never mentions what it was like to break ground as a woman in the world of music. I don’t know if all the drugs dulled her memory or she couldn’t be arsed to care.

I wanted to love this book, but I almost threw it across the room. Miss O’Dell isn’t inspiring or even that interesting. However, I do hold hope that a woman who was a true pioneer in the behind-the-scenes world of music will write her memoir. Suzanne de Passe, please write your memoir.

Writer’s Block

heart-safety-pinMy lovely readers, this has not been a good week for me, and my heart is heavy with sorrow. Needless to say, I’m not happy with the election results, which has lead me to eat my feelings, cope with my morbid depression, have several sleepless nights, and put off various tasks and responsibilities.

However, I need to get over my grief and get back to work. I should have a book review up next week. I’m also working out other writing muscles and writing a bit of fiction. Considering my life writing non-fiction working as a copywriter, journalist and tech writer (not to mention this blog) fiction is sort of a brand new world for me. I haven’t written any fiction in ten years so I’m a bit rusty. Thank goodness, I have some fiction friends who are giving me some wise counsel. I just sent them a copy of my first chapter.

What else? Well, Xmas is almost here so I got to get cracking with crafting, shopping, baking and the like. That will keep me pretty busy for a month and a half so please forgive me if my dedication to this blog is a bit scant.

Thanks for all of the support.

Peace!

Book Marks: Get Out and Vote

i-voted-quoteA little history on presidential memoirs

Great books for little kids about voting and elections

Famous political writers
http://www.ranker.com/list/famous-political-writers/walter-graves

Here is a resource on top notch political writing

Hillary Clinton related books

Donald Trump related books

List of books on suffragettes

List of books on the history of voting

Funny political-related books

The most influential political cartoons of all time
/

 

 

 

 

Taking One for the Team: Right for a Reason-Life, Liberty, and a Crapload of Common Sense by Miriam Weaver and Amy Jo Clark

right-for-a-reason-life-liberty-and-a-crapload-of-common-sense-198x300Has this election season made you a nervous wreck? I know it has me at the end of my tether, and with my bad allergies, morbid depression, and chronic insomnia, I don’t know if I should make a plate of brownies, charge my smart phone, or buy a truckload of Xanax. Either way this election goes (I’m going to plug my nose and vote for Hillary Clinton), by this time next week we will have a new President-Elect.

Anyway, here is my latest installment of “Taking One for the Team,” Right for a Reason: Life, Liberty, and a Crapload of Commonsense by Miriam Weaver and Amy Jo Clark, two Indiana-based conservative pundits who go by the name of Chicks on the Right. The Chicks have a radio show on WIBC in Indianapolis, an occasional newspaper column for the IndyStar, their own website featuring their opinion pieces (under the pen names Mockarena for Weaver and Daisy Jo for Clark), links to other like-minded conservative websites and memes well-versed in the radical right mindset. Their social media has plenty of followers and they are often profiled and interviewed by more mainstream media outlets.

Not living in Indiana, I first became aware of the Chicks when they wrote a scathing screed for the IndyStar lambasting liberal feminists for wearing vagina costumes or thinking tax payers should pay for their birth control pills or being all-around entitled, whiny, crybaby harpies. They claimed they were the true feminists because even if their husbands left them for “younger models” they would just pick themselves up by their bra straps, soldier on, and not expect any type of safety net to bail them out. And for some odd reason, stiletto shoes were also involved in the world of Chicks-fried feminism.

Well, as one of those liberal feminists the Chicks love to hate. I can’t recall seeing anyone in a vagina costume, and I don’t exactly expect anyone to pay for my birth control; I just believe there should a safety net for people who are struggling and a woman’s reproductive issues are a very important component of health care. I hardly think this makes me a virulent shrew. And I have to remind the Chicks, even this libtard, feminazi in sensible sling backs, pays her fair share of taxes.

This opinion piece went viral, picked up by other media outlets including Bust, Jezebel, We are Libertarians, and Democratic Underground. My curiosity piqued, I decided to learn more about the Chicks. I found their website, which included a high-heeled shoe in the logo (because the ladies love their shoes, amirite?). The Chicks’ apparent goal is to give conservatism a “makeover” because when people think of conservatism they think of old, white, silver-haired, dour and boring men. Well, actually I think of skinny blonde women talking smack…and writing smack.

Which finally brings me to Right for a Reason…

In Right for the Reason, the Chicks go deep as a Jimmy Choo in-step when it comes to serious topics regarding capitalism, race, feminism, guns, abortion, political correctness and LGTBQ issues.

On the surface, Right for the Reason’s first chapter, Capitalism is a Good Thing, isn’t exactly something I disagree with. I am very grateful for living in a country where entrepreneurs of all kinds from my friends Laura and Myra making a living designing jewelry to domestic diva, Martha Stewart, can hone their skills, talents and expertise and become successful. But capitalism is not without its faults whether it’s the malfeasance found on Wall Street or CEOs making 400 times what the average worker and treated to a golden parachute worth millions even though they make decisions that sink a company and screw over employees, clients, consumers, shareholders and other invested interests.

And then then there is their take on Occupy Wall Street, which to the Chicks, pretty much was made up of dreadlocked hippies pooping in the streets while updating their Twitter feeds on their iPhones. Sure, there were quite a few members of Occupy Wall Street that fit that tired stereotype. But if one looked any further, you would also find knitting grandmas, blue collar types and suit-wearing professionals. They also found one ridiculous Occupy Wall Street manifesto that they use to sum up the entire movement. That’s like me saying all members of the Tea Party can’t spell, are total bigots and dress like Paul Revere. I wouldn’t because I’m pretty sure the Tea Party types have a variety of people in their ranks, too.

When it comes to the poor here in the United States, the Chicks compare the poor in a first world country versus those in a third world country. Well, of course there are differences! We talking about a first world country compared to third world countries, where there are vast differences in policies, infrastructure, education, and so on. But the Chicks never delve into those complex topics. Instead, the poor in America often own TVs, DVD players, stereos, kitchen and laundry amenities, and even cars! Well, a lot of the poor live in apartments where kitchens come fully equipped and there are laundry facilities. One can buy certain luxuries like a TV used or have they been given as gifts. And if someone doesn’t live in a place with reliable public transportation a car is a must to get to work, school and to run errands. Yes, a lot of poor people work and/or going to school. Not everyone who is poor is lazy, popping out babies, uneducated, not working, watching “Jerry Springer” and fully dependent on the taxpayer. And it seems to the Chicks the only people who pay taxes are themselves and their fellow conservatives.

As for corporate welfare? The Chicks briefly refer to corporate welfare was the bailouts, which mostly happened in 2008—when Bush was still President.

In this chapter, the Chicks bring up the idea of “mincome,” which apparently all of Canadian liberals played around with back in the 1970s and it was a huge failure because everybody became a lazy slug or something like that. I had heard of mincome so I did some investigating. Turns out mincome was something relegated to mostly Manitoba, and the only people who pulled back on working and earning a paycheck were teenagers and mothers with babies and very young children. Most citizens continued to work regular jobs while also receiving a decent minimum income from the government.

And just who were among these unwashed hippies who came up with the idea of mincome? Milton Friedman, yep, that Milton Friedman.

In America is Exceptional the Chicks go all neener, neener on liberals who have the audacity to point out America’s flaws, both past and present. And Weaver tells the tale of her father coming to America as an immigrant and having nothing but good things happening for him, not quite owning up to the privilege he already had in place—being white and highly educated. He certainly had it better than some immigrants coming from places like Mexico and Syria, or what my great-grandfather, Max, faced coming here as a poor orphan from Germany when he was still a teenager. Anyway, the vastly smarter and funnier, Jimmy Dore, sums up what’s great about America in the final chapter of his book, Your Country is Just Not That Into You.

Other subjects where Chicks have all the intellectual heft of a feather include the idea of hands up, not hand-outs. I guess you’re alright to get some help if you’re a single mom who identifies as a conservative. The rest of us can just die in a fire.

When it comes to the first amendment the Chicks bitch their right to free speech is being violated due to one set back on Facebook, not quite acknowledging they have a radio show, a newspaper column, an active social media presence and a book. If that’s called having one’s first amendment rights being trampled on, sign me up! They also call political correctness stupid with all the maturity of kindergartners in a sandbox, claim they don’t see color when it comes to the thorny topic of race, stomp their stiletto-shod feet for their right to own things that go Pew-Pew-Pew (to the uninitiated they are talking about guns, not Pepe le Pew). They think the war on women is a load of crap (yep, these two classy dames love to use the word crap), but throw plenty of insults when it comes to women they disagree with, often using hateful dialogue to disparage a more liberal women’s looks. They are proudly pro-life and are convinced that all clinics that provide abortion services resemble the horrors of Kermit Gosnell’s clinic; most clinics don’t resemble Gosnell’s clinic at all.

And if you happen to be gay? Well, quit being so obvious about with your same sex wedding announcements, gay pride parades and suing Christian bakers. Yea, like the heterosexuals have to hide their lifestyles and loving with abiding shame.

In the final chapter the Chicks offer their declaration on why it’s time for a conservative makeover. They claim it’s not cool to be a conservative, not mentioning conservative ideas and opinions can be found all over in print, televison and digital media. As I write this, one of the hottest pundits in right wing media is yet another skinny, blonde, Tomi Lahren. Heck, she’s so hot she’s allegedly dating a cast-off of The Bachlorette!

But just how do the Chicks plan to give conservatism a make-over. Well, according to the cover and the contents of Right for a Reason it has to do something with Christian Loubatins, clothes from the MILF Collection at Forever 41 and calling out Nancy Pelosi for using Botox. Actually, the Chicks call conservative makeover consist the following:

1) Discuss conservatism with young people
2) Stop being prudes (it’s okay to cuss)
3) Remember the 80/20 rule (it’s okay if other people agree with only 80% of the time)
4) Stop with the labeling (interesting, considering the Chicks have a pretty strict guideline for what makes a true conservative)

As for the GOP, among the things the Chicks suggest include being offensive (no problem there with Trump as a possible next president—shudder) rather than defensive, use limited government, the Constitution and personal freedom when it comes to messaging, empower women and minorities, use all media platforms, and fight fire with fire.

Okay, the Chicks do have a point on certain things. I think they bring up interesting concepts when it comes to messaging. And they call out both Todd Akin and Todd Rokita for their positively boneheaded remarks, Rokita making condescending compliment regarding CNN’s Carol Costello’s looks and Akin’s opinions regarding rape. And though the Chicks are pro-life, they are also in favor of contraceptives and Plan B.

But ultimately, Right for a Reason is just a shrill and malicious, with writing on par with a middle school mean girl’s Twitter diatribes against various liberals, feminists, progressive activists, not to mention President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Sandra Fluke, Beyoncé, Al Franken, Sheryl Sandberg, and Whoopi Goldberg. Their offer no promise of hope and how to reach across the aisle to truly improve the state of the USA in the 21st century. Right for a Reason is also devoid of carefully honed research on issues that are crucial to us as citizens at one of the most critical times in country’s history. In the end, you aren’t left with the feeling conservatism doesn’t need a makeover; it needs a complete do-over, a total reboot, the kind of boot that can’t be found at any pricey shoe boutique.

Right for a Reason: Life, Liberty and a Crapload of Common Sense is right on one thing. It is a crapload.