Tag Archives: book review

Hunger Games

I started reading the Hunger Games when I received my Kindle Fire for Christmas. About two pages in I thought I would have to stop reading: too upsetting. I’ve never been much of a fan of violence towards children. Ever. I can’t watch TV shows on the topic, can’t watch movies if that’s part of the story and I definitely can’t read books like that. However, I’d heard enough raving reviews about the Hunger Games to try to stick it out.

I’m so very glad I did.

The books are, admittedly, targeted at people younger than me. That doesn’t bother me so much: a good book is a good book, right? There is something about this book that somehow makes the reader accept the crazy, grotesque reality that faces the youth of Panam. Sending children into a huge arena to, quite literally, fight to the death is something that the people of Panam are forced to accept. I think that’s how it somehow made it seem OK to keep reading after I realized that was, in fact, the plot of the book.

I loved the first book and couldn’t wait to start the second. While I didn’t like it quite as much as the first (do we ever?) it was still a really good read. The third and final book was also great but a little more on the Science Fiction side than the others – although arguably they could all fit into that category.

The movie is now of course out and I was really happy to hear such positive reviews from other people who read the books. Seeing the movie this week…hope it lives up to the hype!

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We All Need to be Delivering Happiness

Boy, have I got a treat for you.

I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of the book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose, a book written by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos.com. I was also lucky enough to receive an additional copy to give away to one of you. (See the end of the post for details on how you can win.)

Before I get into the details of the book, I have to say I love it.  It was a fast, fun and fascinating read.  So many of the choices Hsieh made literally shocked me – everything from starting his own business in grade school to changing his business model in the eleventh hour. I saw this tweet today and believe Hsieh will more than reach his goals for writing the book:

The book takes the reader on a journey through Tony Hsieh’s life and highlights different lessons he learned along the way that shaped him as a person and businessman.  He has a keen way of being able to take a look at his own life and pinpoint how select moments shaped him.  It’s fascinating.

One section of the book brilliantly compares business to poker – it makes perfect sense.  Think about it.  Here are a few of his points (in no particular order):

  • Hope is not a good plan.
  • You’ve got to love the game.  To become really good, you need to live it and sleep it.
  • Educate yourself.  Read books and learn from others who have done it before.
  • Don’t cheat.  Cheaters never win in the long run.

…I won’t spoil it but the list goes on.

Zappos wasn’t a success right from the start.  When their future was unclear, passionate employees gave up pay, benefits, you name it to continue working on a project they knew was going to be successful.  Those who weren’t passionate about the venture left, making the business that much stronger.

One of my key takeaways from the book is the importance of work culture.  This is not a new concept but one that may often be ignored.  When you love what you do, you not only do it better for your job, but do it better for you. You’re happier.  Your boss is happier.  Your customers are happier.  We are all happier.

They emphasize the Golden Rule: treat others how you would like to be treated.  Sounds logical enough, right? Logical, yes, but not always carried out.  The lines of communication at Zappos are open – they have a monthly newsletter where employees are encouraged to ask anything anything about the company.  When they had layoffs, a memo was sent out outlining the exact reasons of why it absolutely had to be done.

Everyone needs to read this book.  Even if you think it wouldn’t apply to you, it does.  It’s more than insights on a company and more than insights on business.  It’s insights on life, how to be a good person and how to, well…deliver happiness.

Purchase the book on Amazon.com.

Delivering Happiness

WIN A COPY OF THE BOOK: As mentioned, I’m giving away one free copy of the book courtesy of Delivering Happiness.  To win, leave a comment describing your favorite work-related memory – did you win a business deal? Have a great conversation with your boss or mentor?  Come up with a creative solution to a work issue? Laugh until your sides hurt at coffee with a colleague? Be creative!

The contest runs through June 21st at midnight EST.  One entry per person.  Good luck!

I received advanced copies of the book free of charge from Delivering Happiness. My opinions are my own.

CONGRATULATIONS to Courtney for winning the Delivering Happiness contest.  I’ll be contacting you via the email address you provided to send you the book.  Thanks to all who entered!

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