In this age of unemployment and underemployment, employees fully engaged in the work place and those seeing new career opportunities are facing countless challenges. They fear losing their jobs or that big promotion. They are dealing with stagnant wages and raises that don’t come through. Sometimes they deal with less than ideal managers, co-workers, subordinates and clients. And we can’t forget dealing the global market.
And then there are the insurmountable odds of finding new employment with obstacles that didn’t seem to exist just a decade ago.
So it is no wonder, people are turning to books to develop the skills to make them stand out and shine as a true asset in the workplace. One book is Anita Agers-Brooks book First Hired, Last Fired- How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market.
In First Hired, Last Fired Agers-Brooks, uses passages from the Bible inspire and help employees of all kinds to make them completely invaluable in the workplace and thrive and grow whether they are the boss or a subordinate.
Now, a lot of advice in this book is just plain common sense (or at least should be) to a majority of people no matter their religious leanings. Agers-Brooks is a conservative Christian and I’m a liberal who was raised Roman Catholic but now a church-going Unitarian Universalist. But I definitely agree with the author we should have such characteristics like a strong work ethic, integrity, a mostly positive attitude and sense of reliability and responsibility. I also appreciate what I call the 4 Cs-Compassion, Creativity, Curiosity, and Common Sense.
First Hired, Last Fired is laid out in several chapters with characters as both employees and managers dealing with not only work challenges but also facing challenges at home. In one part, Agers-Brooks shows these characters in less than ideal lot. In the second part, Agers-Brooks shows these characters in more positive way using passages from the Bible on how to make their work and personal lives better, therefore, making them also irreplaceable in the workplace of their choice.
As I read this book I found the stories rather fantastical and Agers-Brooks writing style verges a bit over the top. She really loads on the purple prose. She tries a bit too hard to fit various people from the Bible to fit her characters’ situations. For the most part, it’s all about God being the sole way of making things work out to sheer perfection in any and all workplace situations. It was as if God (especially from the conservative Christian viewpoint) is a fairy Godfather who will grant everyone’s wish, not bringing in the challenges we face in that have nothing to do with the real world of sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, and all kinds of bigotry, not to mention a corporate culture where selfishness and greed are considered virtues, not vices.
I hate to come across like a hater. I truly believe Agers-Brooks means well. Furthermore, she’s been an employee and as someone who has her own business, she’s spent time dealing with challenges as a boss and leader. She does know her stuff. I’ve been an employee, but I’ve also acted as a manager and a leader, and at times I’ve often looked to my faith to guide me in certain work situations. But I also know some things can’t worked out using religious teachings whether one is using the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, or other faith-based ideas.
Now, without a doubt, I’m probably not the ideal audience for First Hired, Last Hired considering my more liberal and progressive leanings. But to those who share Agers-Brooks more religious and right winged POV, First Hired, Last Fired might make for ideal reading.
Writers are amazing people. And as a passionate reader and lover of books, I can’t thank writers for enriching my life.
In the past six months so many writers, authors, editors, publishers and publicists have reached out to me to read and review all kinds of books, many of which you have read at here at The Book Self ( thanks to Good Reads, various Social Media and my presence on Book Blogger List for leading these bookish types to my blog).
I still have quite a few books to read and review-a bounty of riches! So I can’t possibly get to all book review requests. (Plus there is my off-line life I need to handle).
So I’m announcing a way to help writers market and promote their work. If interested please do the following:
- 1) Please send me a brief synopsis of a book you’d like to promote (3-5 paragraphs) with any important links (website, social media, Amazon, IndieBound, etc.)
- 2) Send to the email email@example.com with Book Marketing/Publicity in the subject line
- 3) If possible please send me a copy of the book jacket, a photo of yourself and a brief bio about you and your writing history.
Once again, thank you for reaching out to me regarding your books. I will do my best to get your entries posted at The Book Self.
***Due to some increased activity in my life, I can do only around 1-2 marketing and publicity pieces per month. As for book reviews, I prefer to read books in old school form and have them mailed to me via the post office.***
It’s a funny thing. I’m a fan of various televised crime-related shows like “Criminal Minds” and the various Law and Order series, but I’ve never been one to read a lot of crime-related books. But when local author Mitchell Nevin reached out to me to review his book Nico’s Warriors: A Veteran’s Revenge I just knew I had to read it considering it takes place pretty much in my backyard—the city of Milwaukee and its surrounding suburbs.
Nico’s Warriors is about Zak Klatter, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan now back home Wisconsin. Driving home one night after a night of revelry at a local tavern, Zak picks up a duffel bag thrown from a speeding car being chased by the cops. Inside the bag Zak finds something quite interesting and decides the contents might help him in various ways.
But Zak knows he can’t do this alone so he gathers up a rag tag bunch to help him accomplish his mission, many of them his fellow veterans. They decide to rob and fight Milwaukee’s most venomous and deadly drug gangs to some incredibly results that prove to be lethal and ambiguous.
Among Zak’s comrades include Ethan who provides the brain power, Raul, who lost his beloved niece to drug addiction and Xavier, who provides the much-needed tactical expertise. Along for the ride is the idiosyncratic Dwyer.
In the meantime, Zak opens up a tavern (with plenty of help from his father), which he calls The Fallen. The Fallen is dedicated to honoring veterans, firefighters and police officers who have died in the line of duty. Not only does it provide plenty of alcoholic beverages (this is Wisconsin after all) for its patrons, it also offers basic pub food. The Fallen also acts as a quasi-meeting place for Zak and his gang to right the wrongs brought on by Milwaukee’s most nefarious and notorious drug kingpins and drug gangs.
Among Zak’s cunning crew also includes his family, his somewhat girlfriend Mandy and other assorted friends and acquaintances.
Then there are the other characters—fellow veterans and members of the Milwaukee-area law enforcement and other assorted individuals that make up both Zak and the Milwaukee community. Needless to say, Nico’s Warriors also looks into the inner workings of the city’s drug dealing culture, one that is quite chilling but quite fascinating indeed. What I found quite enlightening is how both cultures are not conveyed fully in black and white—both are painted in shadowy shades of gray—showing the good, the bad and the downright ugly in both cultures.
Nico’s Warriors is a fun read that kept me guessing, trying to put together a puzzle of people, places and things. Just when you think things will zig, they zag. Nevin clearly knows the world of crime and law and order, which is conveyed in both the actions and the dialogue of the characters.
Needless to say, I also loved how Nico’s Warriors takes place in Milwaukee and its surrounding suburbs. It names lots of familiar Milwaukee neighborhoods and its city streets, including my very own Farwell Avenue on Milwaukee’s lower east side. I had a bit of a giggle over the name of a radio host Jack Plankinton and his show “Walking the Plank” for Plankinton is an actual street in downtown Milwaukee (it crosses Wisconsin Avenue if you need to know).
Nico’s Warriors ends on a very mysterious note. Zak and his gang don’t quite finish their mission. But don’t fret my readers for a sequel is coming out shortly and this book is part of a trilogy.
Nico’s Warriors does have a few faults. I noticed several spelling and grammatical errors, but nothing that can’t be fixed with the help of more proofreading and of an experienced copy editor.
For the most part Nico’s Warriors: A Veteran’s Revenge is a pretty solid effort for a first time author, and if you’re a fan of the crime genre, you’ll probably enjoy reading this book.
I’ve been very fortunate to read and review some wonderful books. But I’ve never had the chance to interview any authors…until now. Thanks to the lovely Elizabeth Jahns from Beacon Publishing Group, I was able to interview the iconic comedian Kip Addotta about his memoir “Confessions of a Comedian.”
According to his website‘s bio, Mr. Addotta has appeared on such classic programs like “The Tonight Show” and the syndicated show “Make Me Laugh.” He was also featured on “The Larry Sanders Show.” Not only a stand up comedian, Mr. Addotta is also a talented songwriter who wrote songs such as “Wet Dream,” “Big Cock Roach,” “Life in the Slaw Lane,” and “I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus.” Some of these songs were featured on the the Dr. Demento radio program. In 1995, Addotta released the DVD “Live From Maximum Security!”
What inspired you to write a book?
I thought it was time to write the story of my life and help other comedians become better at the art of stand-up comedy.
Who inspired you to write your “Confessions of a Comedian”?
Steve Martin’s book, “Born Standing Up.”
How did you prepare to write this book?
I simply began putting down my memories:
“From the first interactions with “The Mob” in his early childhood, his nightmarish life with his father until he was on his own at 15 years of age, through his marriages, and how he became one of the best and most famous stand-up comedians of his time, Kip Addotta tells all. He names names and details the how-to and fine-tuning of comedy.”
Is your memoir arranged in a time? If not, how and why?
It starts from when I was eighteen months old and ends at the present time!
What are the similarities and differences between writing a book and stand-up comedy?
They are two totally different things and it was difficult to write both!
What challenges/difficulties did you face when writing your book?
Remembering the order in which things happened and making my point without being ponderous!
What experiences do you feel were significant for you? (personally or career wise)
Meeting Jack Benny and trying to find my mother!
What difficulties did you overcome writing this memoir?
It gave me the opportunity to explain my behavior to my family and friends.
Did you include photographs? Do any of them hold any significance to you?
Yes I did and the ones of my grandmother, who raised me and my uncle Victor who were both Made members of Bonanno crime family!
What else should people know about “Confessions of a Comedian”?
That it is a true story!
What are your future plans? Will you continue to write?
I have another book in mind, but can’t divulge any information now so as not to impair the sales of my current book “Confessions of a Comedian.”
Anything else you’d like to add?
I am amazed at the response to my current book and the fact that people are finding it so entertaining!
For more information on Kip Addotta, his comedic work and his memoir “Confessions of a Comedian visit the following links:
Tom Wolfe in his iconic and in his ever so stylish white suit.