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 Teachers would admonish her with the ideas that introverts are withdrawn, anti-social and depressed.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.