The Power of a Positive No

Thoughts  How to Say No and Still Get to Yes by William Ury, Random House Audio 2007, 7 hours 15 minutes

Challenge: Company Book Club
Genre: Business/Professional Development
 Why I read this now:  To participate in the company book club.

MOTIVATION for READING: I have always respected those who can say NO without fanfare or excuses. They are being true to themselves. This is a terrific skill to develop.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Ury is a negotiation consultant. He is a co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation and directs the Global Negotiation Initiative. He has a series of books on this topic; basic common sense but very challenging advice on how to be effective in solving conflict.

Find your deeper YES (what you do want!) – state your NO – suggest a yes to negotiate a win-win (yes?)

WHAT’s GOOD: SO so good. Though, at times, the book tends to feel repetitive, that only stresses how hard this stuff is!  To respect and not react, to be centered and grounded and know what we really want for ourselves before we have to work towards agreements with others. Great examples, wonderful stories, terrific suggestions on how to do all of this.

FINAL THOUGHTS: The challenge lies in getting beyond the recognition of how valuable this approach is to actually USING it the precise moment it is needed.

I give this quote:

The great problem today is that we have divorced our Yeses from our Nos. Yes without No is appeasement, whereas No without Yes is war. Yes without No destroys one’s own satisfaction, whereas No without Yes destroys one’s relationship with others. We need both Yes and No together. Yes is the key word of community. No, the key word of individuality. Yes is the key word of connection, No the key word of protection. Yes is the key word of peace, No the key word of justice.

RATING: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.




Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Exit West

Thoughts by Mohsin Hamid, Penguin Audio 2017, 4 hours 42 minutes

Challenge: Tournament of Books 
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible 
 Why I read this now: Next best to read from the TOB list.

MOTIVATION for READING: I listened to this one even though, like Eddy, it violates my audiobook length rule. I like looooong audiobooks and I hate feeling like I wasted a credit on such a short one! Oh well.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A couple in a war torn country escape via doors to other countries that don’t really want immigrants and migrants.

WHAT’s GOOD: It casts an important light on humanity and how we don’t treat well those from ‘other’.

What’s NOT so good: I didn’t get it. I don’t know, it just wasn’t for me. I do get that it has been highly praised and casts an important light on serious subjects but I didn’t like the matter of fact tone. I didn’t have enough emotion stirred up to care about Nadia and Saeed. Actually, not quite true – I liked Saeed’s father and mother. I didn’t get the other little side stories that would pop up and then never be tied up. I suppose that was the point but it was rather unjarring.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I don’t think this book on audio was the best way for me to experience. I am not saying that the author didn’t give an inspired reading but that my hearing this tale while driving in traffic didn’t work.

RATING: Two slices of pie for how I truly want to rate this but three on goodreads because I hate being contrarian and the book obviously is getting good attention — this book works for lots and lots of people (while others hated it as gimmicky) — I have no need to want to bring the rating down. I mean, it did come across as polished and important without being pretentious. I just didn’t like it that much. No pie mentioned.




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Thoughts  by John Williams, New York Review Book 2003 (orig 1965), 305 pages

Sometimes, immersed in his books, there would come to him the awareness of all that he did not know, of all that he had not read; and the serenity for which he labored was shattered as he realized the little time he had in life to read so much, to learn what he had to know.


Challenge: Classics Club 50!
Type/Source: eBook/Kindle

MOTIVATION for READING: I had heard very good things about this book; I had expectations that it would be just the kind of book I love. And it was!

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Stoner is a Professor of Literature at the University of Missouri. This book explores his entire life, start to finish.

WHAT’s GOOD: The writing.

What’s NOT so good: I love contemplative character studies. If you don’t, just skip it. It’s OK.              I LOVED this.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m so glad to finally conquer this one! Yay me.

RATING: Five slices of pie. No pie mentioned. Although, ‘magpie’ is.

“Outside, in the old elm that crowded the back-yard fence, a large black-and-white bird—a magpie—had started to chatter. He listened to the sound of its calling and watched with remote fascination the open beak as it strained out its lonely cry.”



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Sing, Unburied, Sing

Thoughts  by Jesmyn Ward, Simon Schuster Audio 2017, 8 hours 22 minutes

Narrated by Kelvin Harrison Jr, Chris Chalk, Rutina Wesley – RECOMMENDED

Challenge: Tournament of Book 2018
Genre: Southern Lit, Magic Realism
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: Hot book in the TOB that I had heard of more than some of the others. 

MOTIVATION for READING:  I hadn’t read a Jesmyn Ward book. Am eager still to read everything she produced/s, past and future.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  I will provide the official blurb from the ‘official’ reader’s guide on the publisher’s website:

In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award-winning Salvage the Bones, she brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle.

Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.

Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward’s distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied Sing is a majestic work that belongs in the canon of American literature.

WHAT’s GOOD: A lot. The writing, the imagery, the connections. Masterful.

What’s NOT so good: Perhaps it was the audio, but it took me a long time to figure out a few things – that is ME, not the fault of the book. (Driving and listening in winter travel conditions might not be the best medium for enjoying a shocking story.) But upon reading other thoughts and reactions, I have come to appreciate what was happening. This is a book that gets better in your mind the more you think about it.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  This would be a great book for wise discussion and I am certain that it could only increase in appreciation. It is a powerful, masterful piece of literature and possibly could be, will be the kind of book taught in high schools for years to come; a classic already.

RATING: Four FIVE slices of pie. No pie mentioned.





Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go

Thoughts  by Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni, Berrett-Koehler Pubs 2012, 144 pages

Challenge:  Personal Professional Development
Genre: Business Improvement, Professional Development, HR
Type/Source: Tradeback, my manager’s bookshelf
 Why I read this now: very timely

MOTIVATION for READING: I have been conducting training sessions this week and last on how to give (and receive) feedback, set goals, and how to have a development mindset when it comes to performance reviews.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The subtitle for this book is “Career Conversations Employees Want” and that is where this book is strong. Providing not just the WHY this is important but also phrases and language to employ that ease into conversations, asking the right questions, and getting to a give and take flow of discussion so agreement and excitement and proactive feedback is delivered.

WHAT’s GOOD: It is short but hard-hitting. This stuff – giving employee feedback for growth — is the stuff easily ignored or brushed off but when sincere and forthright, it is powerful.  This book is colorful and superbly organized; it is easy to use for reference as well as engaging enough to sit down and devour the whole thing. A practical guidebook for anyone who is responsible for team work.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Highly recommended for any manager who has to give performance reviews. It will provide not only the impactful reasons for doing such but gives the hope and tools to engage team members in discussing futures and growth opportunities.

RATING: Five slices of pie. No pie mentioned.




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Reset:  My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao, Spiegel & Grau / New York 2017, 274 pages

pieratingsmlOne stranger wrote to me during the hardest part of the trial, telling me how, too often, “positive comments we receive we deflect like Teflon, while negative comments we hang on to like Velcro.”

Challenge: First Book
Genre: Nonfiction, Gender Discrimination, Tech Industry
Type/Source: Hardback / Purchased

Motivation for Reading: One aspect of my job is the opportunity to facilitate workshops on Respect in the Workplace, which, as you may assume, includes how our company addresses Sexual Harassment. I have been drawn to the stories in the news reporting and responding to the #metoo campaign to keep apprised and ready for how to answer questions and ask the questions so participants understand the pervasive and subtle aspects of this issue.

Which is why I wanted to read this book. Ellen Pao is a dynamo, her credentials are astounding: Electrical Engineering from Princeton, MBA Harvard, Law degree Harvard; I am grateful to her that she didn’t ‘settle’ her case and that she kept her independence in order to share her story.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: If you don’t know who she is, and I am not one of those who followed this story in detail as it was happening,  Pao worked as a Venture Capitalist in the Technology industry and sued her employer for discrimination. Why were males who were at a junior level to her responsibilities and had worked there less time promoted when she was not? She described the old boys club to a tee.

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s not tell-all with respect and dignity and humility. Maybe with that tag, it didn’t really feel TELL ALL. But do we really need to hear more crap with a mean gossipy tone? no. And she doesn’t. She comes across sincere and respectful.

While reading this, I was so saddened; that there is nothing new, there is no new layer of nuance to explore. It is a story of a company culture of entitled white men behaving badly. And then having the financial resources to win lawsuits. It’s disgusting. It’s just another story that money can buy a version of justice that is not truth; that our court systems are not perfect. 

What is encouraging is that Pao is actively working on how to create inclusive workplaces and supporting women and POC to achieve. Thus her title, let’s keep working towards a better future.

Ellen Pao has courage. I will follow and cheer her accomplishments going forward. I want to help hit Reset in my work, within my sphere of influence.

Rating: four slices of pie.

No pie mentioned.

The next book on this theme I hope to read soon:   Speaking Truth to Power by Anita Hill.




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Something for the First Sunday in December 2017

Jenny of Reading the End has a new blog idea for Sundays. The idea is to share good things.

Touched by: The color blue. I just read Percival Everett’s So Much Blue and gave it 5 stars and question why I rated it so high. Oh, I do know what and why I did, but am not confident I can debate it as ‘reasonable’. Whatever. AND THEN! I was reading an article in The Guardian of authors who share their best reads of 2017; one of the authors cited Bluets – a book of poetry I almost purchased! but didn’t. Why did I not? oh well, I didn’t and now I want it more.

Happy about: That I made it home for Thanksgiving and saw so many loved ones and happy that I made it back home to where home is NOW.

Inspired by: Anyone who can be calm and rational and hopeful.

Proud of: Myself that I didn’t say things to loved ones that I would be sad and shamed to have said and equally sad that I didn’t have the courage to say things I might have should have said. Sigh.

People are so damn complicated.

Enjoyed: Husband cooked so many amazing meals tonight and day before yesterday and for Thanksgiving! such yummy food. MMmmmmm

Charmed by: Chip and Joanna Gaines. I won their book  at a holiday party today. Love their show.

Giggling over: Esther talking in her sleep. I really missed my pups while we were away.


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August, You Were a Friend of Mine

August, You Were a Friend of Mine

Here’s my list from August:
The Grand Sophy / Georgette Heyer eB (1950,387) ***** 61
The Silent Wife / Kerry Fisher eB (2017,352) ** DNF 60
The Almost Sisters / Joshilyn Jackson ARC Tb (2017,339) **** 59
The Nightingale / Kristin Hannah Tb (2015,440) *** 58
Finders Keepers / Stephen King pb (2015,448) **** 57
Wake in Winter / Ndezhda Belenkaya eB (2016,368) ** DNF 56

Reviews, out of order…

I DNF’d Wake in Winter and The Silent Wife. I remember that Wake in Winter got off to a very clunky start with drastic change of tone and perspective of voice. Is the author talking or the character? Very abrupt. And… as always, when I get that distracting voice in my head that starts to question what is the what, I do looking for reviews. I found many critical negative reviews and it solidified my need to give it up. I can’t even remember what made me give up on The Silent Wife. Wow, nope, I don’t remember and don’t feel necessary to go find out. I’m sure I had good reasons. Feel free to click on the titles to go see the books in goodreads and do your own research.


I’ve already mentioned elsewhere on the bookish social media outlets that I have an allergy to Kristin Hannah. I’m sure she is lovely and she is obviously held in high esteem by her fans and that is great. I just don’t like her style of writing. I do appreciate her giving attention to the amazing women who resisted the Nazis in WW2 and for that, The Nightingale gets three slices of pie. Bonus Apple Pie.

Another issue I had with The Nightingale was that the copy I purchased from Target had 40 pages missing!!! I kept reading and have decided I didn’t miss a thing. I was able to return the book for credit which I immediately used to buy another book.


Stephen King’s Finders Keepers was that book. This is second in the Bill Hodges trilogy. I liked it. I tagged it as having a pie mention but will look it up another time.  (I read book #3 in September…)


I very much enjoyed the humor and writing in The Almost Sisters. I think Joshilyn Jackson has talent. The story, at times, had a few things that made me cringe (like why do we think we have to rush the old people into a home! GEEEEESH) but otherwise, I thought the main character has some fun things going for her and she made me laugh. Maybe made me cry, too. I don’t remember that part but it might have had some heart tugs. Bonus pie mentions: ice pie, church pie, the making of pie crusts.


And the BEST OF AUGUST! is Georgette Heyer’s The Grand Sophy. Fun stuff and always a vocabulary booster. If you like strong women in times that never expected strong women, these are a treat. Keep in mind, some character depictions will/may offend today’s sensibilities.



Copyright © 2007-2017. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Petty: The Biography

Thoughts  by Warren Zanes, Audible Studios 2015, 14 hours

Narrated by the author

Challenge: none
Genre: Rock Biography
Type/Source: Audioboo / Audible
 Why I read this now: I don’t remember why I purchased when I saw it, but I don’t regret it.

MOTIVATION for READING: I am fascinated by singer/songwriters. It was April. April was Poetry Month.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: All about Tom’s life and his band The Heartbreakers.

WHAT’s GOOD: The literary style. I am craving the music. I also enjoyed the bonus material – the interview at the end where Zanes precisely articulates his motivations and goals for this project. I would read another book by Zanes.

What’s NOT so good: It does not go in chronological order so I would occasionally say to myself, “Hey Self, are we back in the 80s here are the 90s?” and I would answer, “Self, don’t worry about it. Just go with it.”

She’s a good girl, loves her mama
Loves Jesus and America too
She’s a good girl, crazy ’bout Elvis
Loves horses and her boyfriend too

It’s a long day living in Reseda
There’s a freeway runnin’ through the yard
And I’m a bad boy ’cause I don’t even miss her
I’m a bad boy for breakin’ her heart

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah, I’m free, free fallin’

And all the vampires walkin’ through the valley
Move west down Ventura Boulevard
And all the bad boys are standing in the shadows
And the good girls are home with broken hearts

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah, I’m free, free fallin’

Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’, now I’m
Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’, now I’m

I wanna glide down over Mulholland
I wanna write her name in the sky
I’m gonna free fall out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world for a while


FINAL THOUGHTS: I remember listening to Damn the Torpedos because it was an album my brother owned. After that, I must admit, I never listened to a Petty disc again –  only loving the many top hits that the radio would play year after year after year. I really didn’t have a good concept of how long and how strong he has been performing. I’m really not one of these music aficionados. I like what I like when I hear it but I don’t chase it like I do ‘books’.

But for some reason, I like musician biographies. (And comedian memoirs.) I  have read Patti Smith’s Just Kids, I own Bob Dylan’s Chronicles but just haven’t read it yet, I might be interested in Springsteen’s but I have never really jumped onto his bandwagon.

You know sometimes, I don’t know why
But this old town just seems so hopeless
I ain’t really sure, but it seems I remember the good times
Were just a little bit more in focus
But when she puts her arms around me
I can somehow rise above it
Yeah, man when I got that little girl standin’ right by my side
You know, I can tell the whole wide world shove it, hey!

Here comes my girl, here comes my girl
Yeah, and she looks so right, she is all I need tonight

Every now and then I get down to the end of the day
And I have to stop and ask myself why I’ve done it
It just seems so useless to have to work so hard
And nothin’ ever really seems to come from it

And then she looks me in the eye and says,
“We’re gonna last forever”
And man, you know I can’t begin to doubt it
No, ’cause it just feels so good and so free and so right
I know we ain’t never gonna change our minds about it – hey!

I do miss those leisurely days when I would put on an album and listen and listen again. Ya know, preteen and teenage years. I had April Wine (The Nature of the Beast), REO Speedwagon, and Styx (though, that might have been my brother’s too.) I loved Queen’s The Game. Wore that one out. But I was never a collector. True confession, my first album was Barry Manilow’s Greatest Hits…

But to hear how many albums Petty made with and without The Heartbreakers and Mudcrutch and The Traveling Wilburys! Wowza. I have a lot of music to listen to.

To celebrate April as Poetry Month, here’s the link to the amazingly long list of Tom Petty lyrics.

Well, I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up and the world got still
I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

Now the good ol’ days may not return
And the rocks might melt, and the sea may burn

Now some say life will beat you down
Yeah, it will break your heart, steal your crown
So I started out for God knows where
But I guess I’ll know when I get there

I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings
But coming down is the hardest thing
Yeah, that’s

I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings
(I’ll tell you one thing, baby, I’m gonna learn to fly)
Coming down is the hardest thing
(Yeah, and fly over my troubles, fly over my worries)

I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings
(Yes, it is, yes it will, gonna work, fly)
Coming down
Baby, that’s the hardest thing


Rating:  Four slices of pie. No clip of pie mention that I could remember.


What’s your favorite Petty song?

Copyright © 2007-2017. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Disappearing Spoon

Thoughts : And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean, Back Bay Books 2010, 416 pages

Challenge: What’s in a Name: Cutlery Category
Genre: Pop Science
Type/Source:  Tradeback Paperback / Local Indie Bookstore
 Why I read this now: I think it took me all month to read it. I wanted something new and different after all the 2016 pub’d books I had furiously flown through.

MOTIVATION for READING: I like fun science. This satisfied the cutlery challenge and looked interesting. My other option was Consider the Fork about technology and food. (Yep, another nonfiction.) If you want a title with a knife, I only recommend The Knife of Never Letting Go if you have ALL books in the series. I hate cliffhangers.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The author walks the reader through the elements of the Chemistry Periodic Table regaling with history, personalities, OF COURSE some science and other oddball tidbits to fascinate.

Jupiter is a fantasy camp for elements.

WHAT’s GOOD: Easy to understand sections about how they figure the age of the world. I enjoyed the personal anecdotes about the fascinating scientists that worked out these challenges. The author does a fair job of recognizing and discussing privilege in science/history. And how much we still don’t understand – the chapter on the alpha constant! It’s everywhere – totally fascinating. He highlights many recent stories that show how science of the elements is still evolving. [doh. The study of medicine/pharmacology, anyone?!] I know that I have internal bias that science discovery was all done ‘back then’ and when he mentions research and experiments past 2005 — I admit, I am embarrassed to wonder “hey- that is recent!” Maybe it is the realization that I have lived some of this history but how can I be that old already? It really is an odd thing to sense one’s own aging; it still befuddles me.

“If anything runs deeper than a mathematician’s love of variables, it’s a scientist’s love of constants.”

What’s NOT so good: I had to have two bookmarks – one for the text and the other in the footnotes section. I’ll never remember most of it! Only occasionally, the presentation is dense and extremely technical but also easy to skip over and get to the good stuff.

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you like science history, this is a don’t-miss. But then again, if you really love science history, you probably know a lot of it already.

It often reminded me of that episode of the Big Bang Theory when Sheldon adopts the cats…

RATING: Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned.




Copyright © 2007-2017. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.