Book Reviews


I read nearly a dozen books over the past week. Vacation + a hurricane = free time. Most of the books were free, which is good because many of them were pieces of shit.

I speak from experience, here. It’s really hard to write a good book. Ethically, I feel that it’s nearly impossible to ask unemployed Americans to spend $15/pop on my career advice. I better have something awesome to say. But then I visit the local B&N and see the garbage that it out there and wonder —  what the heck is wrong with me?

My time is now.

But I digress.

Here are a few that were noteworthy.

  1. The biggest heart breaker? Hire Me Hollywood. Now listen, I wanted to love this book because I need to figure out how to be the foremost Human Resources/Career Advisor in America. I need my own reality show except I’m too old, not pretty enough, and I can’t suck in my stomach enough. But this book, sent to me by a publicist, was supposed to be my ticket to stardom. The authors examined a ton of jobs in Hollywood — from directors to actors to teachers who instruct child actors — and asked these people how they found success. Cool. Except it read like a cross between the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook and a very boring blog. No thesis. No clear and concise tips. And no reason why I would buy this book. I know the authors meant well. I really hope this book helps someone. Seriously. But the secret to Stan Lee’s writing process? Be passionate about your work and it won’t feel like work. OMFG, no.
  2. A book that’s a quick read and sorta worth it? Things You Need to Be Told by The Etiquette Grrls. I’ve seen this book mentioned everywhere — from Kelly’s blog to online zines. A publicist sent me her copy. It’s cute, a little dated, but a perfect gift for family members (cough cough) who are rude and thoughtless.
  3. A book I’ve been meaning to read and glad I did? Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim. I’ve had this book on my shelf for years. You know what? It’s really great. And it affirms some of my beliefs about work and challenges some of my other beliefs. If you hate your job, go read this book. It’s quick and easy.
  4. A great book you need to read if you’re in HR? The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson. It’s a great book. My husband recommended it because I was in London on 7/7/05 and it turns out that the UK has its own version of ‘truthers’ who don’t believe the underground and bus bombings happened — just like some Americans have doubts about 9/11. (Assholes.) Anyway, the author has anxiety (check), examines psychopathic behavior in Corporate America (check), and wonders why bloggers write for free (check). How could I not love this book? Go read it.

And if you want to know about what’s happening with Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Aniston, we can talk about that. When you’re in a hurricane, you will read all kinds of garbage to keep your mind off the potential damage to a tropical island. This includes People, Us Weekly, Oprah, Real Simple, Okay!, and even the horribly redesigned Newsweek.

What the hell happened to that magazine? Sigh.

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