Monday, June 21, 2010

The Well-Read Commuter Reviews: The FUNminute Manager

By: Bob Pike
Is a fun work environment—one that lifts people’s spirits and reminds them of their value to their managers, their organization, and to each other— a primary need for employees? Can such a work environment improve employee attendance, moral and productivity and reduce turnover? Have you ever had a manager that asked you if you were having a good time? Does the mere thought of a manager one of their employees that make you laugh? If you have ever had the misfortune of working in an office where everyone goes through the motions of the day like a 9-5 version of Night of the Living Dead and you can barely motivate yourself to get out of bed in the morning, you shouldn’t be laughing.

In the FUN Minute Manager, Pike takes us through a fable of a manager seeking to retain his top engineering talent by making the workplace more fun. The journey takes him through a nuclear power plant and a hospital with a busy trauma ward to learn how those organizations make the workplace fun. Is it even more laughable or slightly concerning that a power plant should be a fun place to work? To prevent employee burnout (which can reduce concentration and lead to deadly mistakes) these are actually perfect examples of places that can apply the Fun Minute Manager techniques. Managers of small and large organizations will find tips and tricks they can take to heart and apply today. The goal of this book is to keep your talent happy, motivated and producing. This book is a quick and easy read.

Bob Pike has developed and implemented training programs since 1969. His resume is beyond impressive. In 2007 he was voted one of the twenty most influential training professionals by Training Industry and received ISA’s prestigious Thought Leader Award. Pike has worked with such organizations as Pfizer, Upjohn, Hallmark Cards Incorporated, and IBM.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

WIN a copy of The Tax Deductable Wedding

From the Back Cover

Some 2.4 million weddings occur annually in the United States, today’s average bill being upwards of $25,000. And, nowadays, only about one in four have parents paying for the whole thing. While the numbers vary considerably, there is one almost universal truth: pre-wedding finances look very different than post-wedding finances. Indeed, many couples go into long-term debt, turning wedding bliss into marriage blues faster than a bride can throw her bouquet.

But this needn’t be the case! In The Tax-Deductible Wedding, Sabrina Rivers gives you practical advice for producing a dream wedding the tax-deductible way. Did you know that a wedding or reception held at a museum, national park, or even a zoo can mean a big tax deduction? Or that you can seek sponsors? (Really!) Rivers not only discusses the how-tos, but also gently guides you through the entire process—and even includes a section on tax-deductible honeymoons! Replete with tips, anecdotes, Q&A sessions, checklists, resources, and more for today’s cost-conscious wedding planners, The Tax-Deductible Wedding is one handbook no couple can afford to be without. Just reply to this post

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Author Article: How Stepmothers Can FInd a Good Therapist

How Stepmothers Can Find a Good Therapist
By: Rachelle Katz

At least three times a week, stepmothers email me requesting a recommendation for good therapist where they live. Usually, I don't know anyone in their area but I give them a list of questions to ask therapists before they finally select one with whom to work. Finding a good therapist requires some detective work. You need to find out some basic information to make sure you and a therapist share similar philosophies and goals. This will ensure that your experience in therapy helps rather than harms you.
Particularly with regard to stepmothers, many mental health professionals hold outdated ideas about step-families, the most prevalent one being that "blending" is the ideal goal. If a stepmother complains that she feel like an outsider in her family despite numerous attempts to bond with her stepchildren, too many therapists will suggest that she keep trying to establish a relationship with them. This can be an exercise in frustration and futility as "blending" does not occur for most step-families, and is not a necessary requirement for their overall happiness.
Other therapists unconsciously accept as true the cultural stereotype that stepmothers are to blame for all the family's problems. They lack an understanding of the real challenges faced by stepmothers, and their ignorance and insensitivity may influence how they work with you. More than likely, you will waste your time and money. A bad experience in therapy may taint you from trying another therapist, and prevent you from getting the help you need and deserve.
I have been appalled by some of the bad experiences some stepmothers have had with therapists. In one of the monthly support groups I run, one* of the stepmothers shared that she, her husband and 21 year old stepdaughter went to a family therapist for help. They were struggling to get along in her small one bedroom apartment. The stepdaughter was thrown out of her dorm for physically assaulting her roommate and needed to move in with them while attending college, and was sleeping on the living room couch. She was asked to not play the TV or radio after 1 a.m. to prevent awakening her father and stepmother. She refused to, or was unable to abide by this request and repeatedly disturbed her father and stepmother in the middle of the night. When they would politely ask her to turn off the TV or radio, she would have a tantrum (that would last for hours). When the family discussed this in therapy, the therapist felt that the stepmother was being unreasonable by asking for some peace and quiet, and should be more understanding of her stepdaughter who was still affected by her parent's divorce, more than 15 years ago. This trauma, the therapist explained, prevented her from channeling her emotions maturely.
The belief that children are victims of divorce is both common and completely accurate. It is true that many children are traumatized by divorce, but this is an explanation rather than an excuse for their misbehavior. It is unacceptable for a 21-year-old to have a temper tantrum when she doesn't get her way. Adult temper tantrums are indicative of a bigger problem, one that was being ignored by both the therapist and her father. As long as his daughter was doing well in school and abstained from alcohol and drugs, he was satisfied with her behavior. He wasn't concerned by the fact his daughter could not keep friends, got into physical altercations with them, and was fired from all of her jobs. His passivity regarding his daughter's problems prevented him from acknowledging his wife's frustrations and taking them seriously.
Not only was the stepmother disturbed by her husband's stance, she was astonished that the therapist did not support her need to get a good night's sleep since she was the only one in the family with a job. If she lost it, all of them would be homeless. The therapist did share with the family that she was a stepchild and never had a good relationship with her own stepmother. This factor probably contributed to her over identifying with the stepdaughter to the detriment of the stepmother. At her wit's end, the stepmother was considering divorce; the only viable option in an otherwise untenable situation. This situation did not have to escalate to this crisis level if the family therapist was more sensitive to the stepmother's needs.  To get the most out of therapy, you can screen for a stepmother savvy therapist by asking a few key questions, such as:
• What kind of, and how much experience have you had working with step-families?
• What training have you had that is specifically related to step-family issues?
• Are you a stepmother? If the therapist feels this question is too personal, explain that you are experiencing challenges as a stepmother and prefer to work with someone who truly understands the dynamic.
• Have you been a stepchild? Do you have a stepmother? If so, what kind of relationship do you have with her? If the therapist shares that she has had a negative one, ask the therapist if she can separate her own experiences when working with you.
• Do you believe that it's necessary and desirable for step-families to "blend" over time? If a therapist upholds that "blending" is customary in step-families and is the ideal objective, ask what he or she recommends if it doesn't happen. If they recommend that you continue to try to achieve this goal, call someone else.
• Don't forget to ask the basic questions: are you licensed, what is your fee, and if the therapist is covered by insurance.

Unfortunately, you are not guaranteed to find the right therapist by just asking these questions. Only a consultation will give you the information you need to determine if you feel comfortable collaborating with the therapist to help you achieve greater happiness and contentment.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Author Article: How I Stopped "Waiting for Jack"

By Kristen Moeller,
Author of Waiting for Jack: Confessions of a Self-Help Junkie: How to Stop Waiting and Start Living Your Life.

The first time I met Jack, I ripped a hundred-dollar bill out of his hand.  On a cold winter day in Denver, I waited in line to see one of my heroes, Jack Canfield, the coauthor of the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series and the author of The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.  Where I wanted to be was a version of what Jack had become -- an author, a speaker, an inspiration to thousands of people. He was the whole package -- successful, kind -- a visionary for what is possible in the world. I thought, "If I can get to know him, I will become that."

When I saw the opportunity, I grabbed it. Literally. During his presentation, Jack reached for his wallet, pulled out a hundred-dollar bill, and said, "Who wants this?" Hands shot up in the audience; people leaned forward to see whom Jack would choose. But I leapt up, ran up the stairs to the stage, and grabbed the bill from his hand. As I was launching myself in the air, thoughts raced through my mind -- was I about to be humiliated in front of 800 people? Would they call security and haul me from the stage? But my desire for bold action was louder than any voice of doubt.  As I plucked the bill from his hand, he turned to me and said, "Yes, that's it! We can't wait around for the opportunities to come to us. We must take action to create what we want!"
After his talk, I waited in line to formally meet Jack and boldly asked for his personal e-mail address. Over the next several months, I sent him lengthy e-mails sharing my vision and dreams. He kindly e-mailed back one-liners of encouragement such as, "Keep thinking and playing bigger; it's much more fun that way. Love, Jack." Then my life got busy with other things. I lost sight of my inspiration and I stopped e-mailing Jack.
A year later, my dreams had grown stale. I had this idea if I got back in touch with Jack, he might just provide the perfect, inspiring nudge I needed. I was looking for something that would spur me into action, like a giant arrow that would show me the way.  I emailed him, and then emailed him again -- but got no response. As I sat down at my computer to check my email for the fifth time in 15 minutes, I suddenly woke up.

What was I doing?  I was waiting! And this time I was waiting for Jack. I realized waiting was a behavior that began when I was a little girl. I waited to be older -- surely freedom would begin when I had my first boyfriend, first kiss, got my drivers license, graduated from high school and went to college. Then I waited to know what to do with my life. I had always waited, thinking the great prize of life was just around the corner. And I had started to believe Jack was the answer; that knowing him would provide something I thought I was missing internally.
I remembered the crowd, most likely desiring that hundred-dollar bill, while they sat glued to their chairs. What were they waiting for? An Oliver Wendell Holmes quote ran through my mind, "Many people die with their music still inside them." Instantly, I knew I needed to do something about all this waiting. The inspiration came like lightening: I was going to write a book! A book about waiting and call it "Waiting for Jack!" Instantly, ideas and chapter titles came to me.
It all sounded good but then reality hit, I was writing a book. . . . Some nights I cried and wanted to give up; others I celebrated my courage. I wrote, re-wrote, ripped it all up, burned what was left and started over. I hired editors, changed directions then changed back. I danced in the moonlight and curled up in a ball on the floor. I told everyone I was writing, and then wished I hadn't. I grew, contracted, then grew again, stretching further than I ever thought possible.
Fortunately, I have surrounded myself with a life of personal development and I have access to all the tools anyone could ever want. I know I can "feel the fear and do it anyway". I know how to take action. I know how to move forward even when every molecule in my body tells me to stop.
We all have a "Jack" for whom we wait -- whether it's a person, a place or a thing. We falsely believe the gifts of life are just around the corner; that anywhere is better than here; that one day we will arrive and everything will be okay. So we don't try, we give up, we sell out, we forget who we are. We are afraid to succeed, afraid to fail and afraid to say we are afraid. But as Wayne Gretzky said: "You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take!" So I stopped waiting and I wrote.  Three years later, Waiting for Jack is a best-seller on Amazon! I have grown in ways I never expected. I know that I am capable of so much more than I ever knew before.  Now I ask you, what are you waiting for?

© 2010 Kristen Moeller, author of Waiting for Jack: Confessions of a Self-Help Junkie: How to Stop Waiting and Start Living Your Life
Author Bio
Kristen Moeller, MS, is the bestselling author of Waiting for Jack: Confessions of a Self-Help Junkie: How to Stop Waiting and Start Living Your Life. As a coach, speaker, and radio show host, Kristen delights in "disrupting the ordinary" and inspiring others to do the same. She first discovered her passion for personal development in 1989 after recovering from an eating disorder and addiction  Kristen is also the founder of the Chick-a-go Foundation -- a not-for-profit that provides "pay it forward" scholarships for life altering training programs reaching people who otherwise cannot afford such opportunities.  When she is not actively making a difference in the world, she thrives in the beauty of Colorado and enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, riding her horse or just spending time reading or relaxing in her magical, solar-powered house on the side of a mountain with two large dogs, an ornery cat and her best friend and husband of 15 years.For more information please visit and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

The Well-Read Commuter Reviews: Throw Out Fifty Things Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life

By Gail Blanke

Can throwing out the stuff that is cluttering up your closets, medicine cabinets and basement lead to a complete revelation and the discovering of your true self? Motivational life coach Gail Blanke thinks so and she wants to prove it. Blanke set up her new book, Throw Out Fifty Things- Clear The Clutter, Find Your Life, in a format that is easy and fun to use. The book starts with a room by room clean out guide with a tally sheet and instructions to help you decide what to keep, what to pitch and what to donate for every room. There are some really fun and modern tips to help you clean up safely and without incurring the wrath of others. One of her rules is don’t throw out other people’s stuff as it can really make them mad. Having incurred my husband’s wrath on more than one occasion, I can completely agree. She also gives you tips on how to dispose of things like old medications in an environmentally friendly fashion, recycling goals and fun ways to donate items to charity. The second half of the book gets into some personal development and talks about letting go of regret, the need to be a people pleaser and finding the person that you were meant to be now that your physical and mental space is not cluttered with unnecessary ideas and unwanted items. This book is no holds bar and the final word on letting go and moving on.

Reply to this post to enter our contest to win a free copy of the book!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Book Giveaway!

Book Give-Away June 7 - 14: Interview with Author Laura Lyseight and book give away! Laura has been a source of inspiration and great influence in the lives of many teenagers and children. Her burning ambition to see teens find and reach their full potential has driven her to write books to challenge, empower and enrich their lives beyond their own expectations. A private tutor and coach, and a best-selling author, Laura is mentoring teens to leadership and helping them create their own success stories. Visit and leave a comment if you’re interested in this amazing book.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Book Review: The Finger Prince

The Finger Prince
By Peter Begley

A fun book for children that talks about all the little fingerprints that they make. Of course there is a bad guy that can't wait to eat them all up.

I enjoyed quite a bit the graphics with the fun finger prints and the various "finger people" they made. I will definitely be reading this to my son when he gets a little older.

One quick note - some books I would consider highly educational in nature. This is not one of them. It is more just a fun book for all.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Top Guilty Pleasure Books

What books do you have that you love - but don't want anyone to know you read?

Why do you try to keep it a secret?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We Have a Winner for the Carla Collins', Angels, Vampires & D-Bags Contest

We have a winner! Thanks for participating! description:
In this candid confessional, comedian Carla Collins divides the world into the angels who guide us, inspire us, and save our butts; the sexy and trendy vampires who suck the life out of us; and the douche bags who constantly annoy, disgust and taunt us. With a fast wit, fake breasts and real heart, Collins shares her unconventional journey from a small steel town in Ontario, Canada to Tinseltown L.A. On this wild and revealing romp, she navigates her way through seventy-two imaginary friends, multiple fianc├ęs, eight dogs, two marriages, and one topless grandmother. Her hard-earned life lessons will show you that by taking risks, embracing humiliation and tapping into the power of laughter, anything is possible--and everyone is manageable. Attract more angels into your life, control your vampires, and keep all the douchebags at bay. Angels, Vampires and Douche Bags is original, edgy, uplifting and laugh-out-loud funny.