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I have come to the conclusion that 2016 has been the year of the book worm for me. With only 6 months into the year, I’ve set a record for myself. Though I was an English major in undergrad, I’ve never considered myself to be a big leisure reader. (I know…shocking! Call my former English professors!) I’d say I typically read about 4-5 books a year…in a good year. So much to my surprise, lately I’ve been making more trips to Barnes and Noble than the mall. (Another shock!)
I plan to share more reviews on the books I’ve been reading in the months to come. Though for this post, I want to share 3 amazing books for women of various ages and backgrounds.
Beautiful Uncertainty (by Mandy Hale)
This is a great book for single and seriously dating women trying to find their way in love, careers and life in general. The author’s perspective comes from that of a Christian woman. Though I believe her story and valuable wisdom has the power to reach women from different faiths and backgrounds.
Hale transparently shares the struggles she faced ending a significant romantic relationship as well as the lonely moments experienced as a result. I especially enjoyed her vulnerable accounts of acting on her faith. One in particular was when God led her on the road to tour, via an RV acting as the tour bus, with her friend to host a young women’s multi-city ministry tour. Her friend, a singer, paired talents with Hale’s position as an established author. (Hale has authored 2 books prior to Beautiful Uncertainty.) Her adventures on the road were quite amusing yet the complete experience was so inspiring to read about.
If you find yourself in a “when will it be my time?!” season in life, I highly recommend this book. Perhaps you find yourself asking (or shouting for some) that question in regards to getting married, achieving career goals or just in between periods of getting settled in life. This book is great reassurance that, as cliché as it may sound, you are exactly where you need to be right now and the rest will work out in time. Hale has shared her testimony of how God has shaken up a few situations in her life to illustrate this point.
Again, this book caters more toward women pre-marriage. So married women interested in reading may not be able to relate in the moment to her journey in singlehood but perhaps can connect with the lessons learned in past dating experiences. If nothing else, her unwavering faith and courage is inspirational for women of many life seasons.
#Girlboss (by Sophia Amoruso)
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I wasn’t sure of what to expect from this book when I first picked it up. To be honest, I feared that it would be overrated. To my pleasant surprise it was amazingly insightful yet humorous. Amoruso is the owner and creator of the extremely successful online fashion retailer Nasty Gal. Though she is a successful entrepreneur, she does not force her brand nor does she drill the reader with business advice in a “know-it-all” manner. She admits from the beginning of the book that it is not a guide for how to be an entrepreneur. Though the transparent details of her journey, insight on her business decisions and tips for young professionals certainly provides valuable wisdom to any woman (and even men) looking to achieve continuous career success. She admits that the first item she sold online was a stolen book. However, she later turned a vintage clothing eBay shop into a $100 million (and counting) online fashion retailer. Talk about a story of redemption!
I especially enjoy how she notes the humble beginnings she came from. Having departed from her parent’s home at a young age, she had to learn how to make it on her own. Despite her poor choices along the way, from multiple shop lifting stints to hitch-hiking, she managed to land on her feet. I also find it interesting how she shares the financial beginnings of her company. She explains that she started with her own (limited) funds because no one would give her a business loan.
Now how many people does that fact alone inspire?! To think, what if you don’t need to save thousands of dollars or take out a gigantic bank loan to start your business after all! Yes, this can vary upon many factors and may not be the case for everyone. Amoruso’s attestation goes to show just how powerful drive and determination can be. In her case, so powerful that the money came as a result.
Year of Yes (by Shonda Rhimes)
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This book is empowering, motivational and inspiring yet funny and refreshing at the same time. I would highly recommend purchasing the audio book read by the author, Shonda Rhimes, herself. Many are well aware of the terrific writer she is based on her “ShondaLand” series of hit television shows: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder. She is also an amazing speaker and has an incredible sense of humor which is captured so well via audio. Another perk to the audio version is that it includes sound bites from some of her most notable speaking engagements (within the time period covered in the book) such as her Dartmouth College commencement speech of 2014.
One of the most powerful takeaways of the book was that Rhimes always found herself saying “no” to invitations and opportunities out of fear and at times unresolved insecurities. In the “Year of Yes” she challenged herself to say “yes” to more opportunities. As a result, she gained a greater confidence, established more business opportunities and found herself to be happier overall.
Rhimes also gives examples of how we often create our own barriers. She speaks of her fear leading up to delivering the Dartmouth 2014 commencement speech. She shares how fearful she was upon walking out on stage until she recognized the same fear on the graduates faces. Rhimes saw herself in that fear and gained confidence as a result.
She also discusses how insecurity can be a significant barrier. Rhimes tells of her high school obsession with trying to get her hair to be perfect like Whitney Houston’s. She spent hours with a curling iron and multiple accounts of tears trying to achieve the look. Years later she would learn that Whitney Houston’s highly adored hairstyle was in fact…a wig. The takeaway I got from this particular story within Year of Yes was that it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to be yourself.
Have you read any of these titles? If so, I’m excited to hear your reviews below. J Also, let me know if you plan to pick any of them up after reading this review post!