Thursday, October 1, 2009

Our Favorite Reads for September

Gerard's Favorite: It's a tie between Old Dogs Are the Best Dogs and Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI 1933-34 by Bryan Burrough and Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan are so far tie for my number 1 books of the year. This book is about the gangster era of the early 30s featuring Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger and a few more. The stories about these people are so fascinating that it made me want to keep reading. A ton of research went into making this book come alive. I really, really enjoyed this book and plan to see the movie based on it one day. I think this book would appeal more to men than women though--a great read!

I LOVED Old Dogs Are The Best Dogs by Gene Weingarten! If you have a dog, thinking of getting a dog, or unfortunately, just lost your dog, read this book! It’s wonderful! The pictures alone are enough for you to get this book. They are fantastic and in the stories about each dog, you can just feel the love the owners have for their dogs! I’m so glad I read this book and you will be too!

Karen's Favorite: I didn't read much in September but had several I liked in August so I'm going to share one of my favorite August reads this month. I choose The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch because it is a popular book full of good advice for living which has made an impact on me. It was written by a terminally ill cancer patient, a husband of eight years and father to three young children. Randy Pausch was a college professor who lived a full life and had an optimistic attitude. He gives lots of tips that parents could find useful. The book has lots of good advice in it and I highly recommend it. The actual “last Lecture” can be viewed at

Here are the nuggets I gleaned from his book about living that have made an impact on me:
· Develop self-esteem in kids, not be coddling, but by giving them something they can’t do, encouraging them to work hard until they find they CAN do it.

· Read Wikipedia/encyclopedias.

· Let kids express themselves in their room—his parents gave him permission to paint things on the walls of his bedroom the way he wanted and it became the “coolest” room in the house. His friends all though he had cool parents to because they let him do it.

· Follow your dreams, if you can dream it, it can happen.

· His hero was Captain Kirk who didn’t believe in a no-win scenario. Captain Kirk is a model leader—knew how to delegate and keep up morale of his crew.

· Coolest guy at a carnival is the one with the biggest stuffed animal. He ended up giving his away at the end of his lecture.

· Enjoy each day as it come and live in the moment.

· Recognize that people are more important than things—even new cars. He took his niece and nephew for ride in his brand new car and their mother told them to be careful not to mess it up. Randy knew that was setting them up to fail so he poured Coke on the backseat. Weeks later, when his nephew threw up in the car, he didn’t feel like he wrecked it then, having seen Randy pour the Coke on the seat weeks earlier.

· Great Tips for Building Teamwork:
Groups on project sit together.
Meet people properly (names-contact information)
Find things you have in common.
Food softens a meeting.
Let everyone talk.
Check egos at the door—refer to ideas, not who suggested it.
Praise each other.
Phrase alternatives as a question (What if we ____ instead of ______?) This encourages discussion from others instead of defensiveness in defending their position.

· Use handwritten thank you notes to be noticed.

· Help others achieve their dreams.

· Do for others what others have done for you. How have others helped you? Help others the same way.

· Include thin mints (or other special treat) with an assignment or task with instructions, eat only after you finish this task. Follow up by asking, have you eaten them yet?

· Choose to be a Tigger, fun loving optimist rather than an Eeyore

· Don’t underestimate the value of customer service—have a heart when doing business.

· Just ask—sometimes you’ll be surprised and get what you want.
The plus about dying slowly, such as with a terminal illness: you have time to do those things you’ve always put off doing. You also can get things in order to help your loved ones realize how much you love them after you’re gone. Make a video of doing fun things with them and of you telling them what special things you love about them.

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Daisy said...

Those are some great tips. My Mommeh is into reading a bunch of pet nutrition books lately. That's good for my tummy!

Tina T said...

Great reviews. Old Dogs are the Best Dogs looks like a must read, so does The Last Lecture. I like that you shared the nuggets that you gleaned from it, because the publisher's description would never have made me want to read this.

Lin said...

Wow, those are some great points. I wish I could be so darned easy-going as he!

Tina Kubala said...

I've seen the tape of The Last Lecture a couple times. I always cry. It is not so much the sadness of knowing he died, but seeing such a powerful sprint.

His only flaw, of course, is idolizing Kirk ;-) As a Trekkie, I've always found the Captain overrated. Without the rest of the crew, he'd be up the creek.

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

Daisy: Nutrition books sound boring to me.

Tina T: It's hard to know just how much share about a book without giving it all away but there was so many tips for living in this one. I just thought more detail would give a better idea of exactly why I liked this book so much.

Lin: Yeah, he had a great attitude, I though.

Tina: That was his point basically, that Kirk's talent was leadership but he really didn't know anything else. It took a good leader to get all those talented people to work together well and he had a good attitude about never quitting. Personally, Spock was my favorite.

The Author said...

I have old dogs and they are so precious. Nothing more sweet than their gray faces.

I'm a big believer in following dreams. If you don't try, you'll never know and look back with regret.

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