Sunday, October 28, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Conversation Marketing by Ian Lurie


The Internet offers a unique, two-way marketing medium. Used correctly, it can help organizations of all sizes to get attention, attract customers, and build sales.

From design to content and search engine optimization, this book provides a complete model for successful internet marketing in organizations of all sizes.


I "met" Ian Lurie through Twitter a couple years ago. Not only does he tweet frequently, but he's also interesting and funny, so it was easy to pay attention to him and join in on his conversations. At some point I became aware of his book (Conversation Marketing) and decided I should read it.

In the world of social media, there are many "gurus" out there who claim to know how to use social media effectively for marketing a business or product. However, Lurie doesn't need to call himself a guru to get your attention. It's clear from his interactions on Twitter that he knows what he's talking about.

Conversation Marketing was not what I expected. I thought Lurie was going to talk about how to have conversations on Twitter and other social media platforms for marketing purposes, but instead he talks about the "conversations" we have with our potential customers every day through our website.  Lurie is very convincing about the importance of a well designed website and analysis of the traffic on the website (for better conversations with our potential customers).

I recommend Conversation Marketing to anyone with a website who wants to improve business in some way.  Even if you think you know the basics of internet marketing, Lurie's book is bound to give you some new ideas or even teach you something entirely new. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka

Winner of the 2012 Randolph Caldecott Medal

This New York Times Bestseller and New York Times Best Illustrated Book relates a story about love and loss as only Chris Rashcka can tell it. Any child who has ever had a beloved toy break will relate to Daisy's anguish when her favorite ball is destroyed by a bigger dog. In the tradition of his nearly wordless picture book Yo! Yes?, Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka explores in pictures the joy and sadness that having a special toy can bring. Raschka's signature swirling, impressionistic illustrations and his affectionate story will particularly appeal to young dog lovers and teachers and parents who have children dealing with the loss of something special.


I enjoy reading to my kids and improvising a little, but a wordless book requires a lot of creativity! The illustrations are good, but there is a lot going on in every two page spread. I personally found it hard to come up with much to say other than "dog" and "ball" on every page.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Thank God It's Monday! by Roxanne Emmerich

ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

Thank God It’s Monday! is about loving what you’re doing and creating massive results. Roxanne Emmerich introduces you to two CEOs: one desperately struggling to stay afloat and another who’s discovered a better route to growth and profitability. As you join them both on their journey, you’ll gain valuable insights for jumpstarting positive change from anywhere in the organization…replacing dysfunctional organizational behaviors with passion and creativity…overcoming setbacks…making vision and values actually work!
Whether you’re on the front line, in an office, or running the show, you’ll see how to:
  • Replace dysfunctional behaviors with passion and creativity
  • Overcome setbacks with a “bring it on” attitude
  • Breathe results-generating life into vision and values
  • Think big and make big things happen

 Thank God It’s Monday! presents a unique approach that makes an impact on three groups at once: 
  • Employees discover how to win at work and love their work
  • Companies turn around results quickly and profoundly
  • Customers experience a powerful and visible commitment to their success
You will shift from a “why we can’t” to a “how we can” one day! Your customers will go crazy about you. You will find yourself loving to go to work where everyone exclaims, Thank God It’s Monday!


Who wants to be miserable at work 40 hours a week or to view their job as just a means to a paycheck?  Work should be fun, challenging and inspiring; and we each have the power to change our workplace environment beginning with ourselves, regardless of the position we are currently in.

"Most people spend their entire lives in unquestioned routines, never hearing the calling of how great they could be if only they refocused on making a profound difference through their work—no matter what they do." (location 354, Kindle format)

Thank God It’s Monday! is inspirational for anyone who has ever had a job, from a receptionist to a sales person to the CEO, because we all have an impact on the success of the company or organization we work for.  Understanding how we fit individually within the bigger picture and that every one of us has the power within ourselves to change the culture of our workplace is the key to making a difference.

"Leadership is not a position—it’s a way of being. It’s about being determined to make big things happen regardless of your position." (location 494, Kindle format)

Emmerich tells a lot of great stories about "leaders" who make a difference in their company just by showing up to work every day and being fully committed to the vision.  She also gives examples of team members who just "don't get it."  As managers or co-workers we can coach those people to see if we can help them, but ultimately, if they are not willing to get on board with the vision, it may be best to help them see that it's time for them to move on. 

"If most of you have positive attitudes, but the customer is exposed to one bad attitude, it reflects on all of you, on your whole company’s culture, and it will impact your business." (location 1300, Kindle format)

I found this book to be very inspirational and would encourage anyone to read it if they're interested in improving the culture of their workplace.  Even if you work in the greatest company in the world, you're bound to come across co-workers who challenge you in some way (i.e. the victim, the whiner, etc.).  Emmerich provides practical suggestions for how to deal with these situations and move on for the good of the company.

Final inspirational quote from Thank God It's Monday!:

"Nobody calls home to say they did what was in their job description. You call home when you’ve done something great, produced monster results, and made somebody’s day." (location 1598, Kindle edition)

Monday, October 1, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Pete the Cat - Rocking in My School Shoes

ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

Pete the Cat is back—and this time he’s rocking in his school shoes. Pete discovers the library, the lunchroom, the playground, and lots of other cool places at school. And no matter where he goes, Pete never stops moving and grooving and singing his song . . . because it’s all good.


My son picked out this book today at a school book fair. We read it before bed and it was one of the funnest* books we've ever read.  I typically cannot read anything with my three kids all together (ages 3, 5 and 7), because they wind each other up and I just end up reading to myself, but by the end of this book we were all singing along and fully enjoying it together.  This one will stay at the top of the reading stack for as long as possible!

* If this statement got you wondering, "is funnest a real word?," this blog post is for you: