Friday, August 29, 2008

StrengthsFinder 2.0

Chances are, you don’t. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.
To help people uncover their talents, Gallup introduced StrengthsFinder in the 2001 management book Now, Discover Your Strengths. The book ignited a global conversation, while StrengthsFinder helped millions discover their top five talents.
In StrengthsFinder 2.0, Gallup unveils the new and improved version of its popular online assessment. With hundreds of strategies for applying your strengths, StrengthsFinder 2.0 will change the way you look at yourself—and the world—forever.
AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY IN STRENGTHSFINDER 2.0 (using the access code included with each book)
• The StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment, fine-tuned to be faster and more accurate
• A Strengths Discovery and Action-Planning Guide featuring: A customized version of your top five theme report; 50 Ideas for Action for building on your top five themes; A strengths-based action plan for setting goals
• And much more on the StrengthsFinder 2.0 website: A strengths community area; Resources, activities, and discussion guides; A strengths screensaver and program for creating display cards of your top five themes

After reading this summary I snatched this book up and quickly went home to read the intro and take the online assessment. I was nervous what I would find out but as soon as I saw the report I felt like there was a psychic in my computer. This is SO me! But I didn’t even realize it until you spat out this report! Thank you for helping me find myself computer!

The report is great because it goes in depth to each of your strengths- tells you what the theme means, what actions you can take to develop them further, and gives real life examples of each strength in the real world. It is a great tool and gives you some focus for your professional development.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars (worth every penny)!

Learn more about StregthsFinder 2.0

Monday, August 25, 2008

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

What has changed in the last 3 years of your life? If you suddenly lost all those years would you recognize yourself or your life? This is what happens to Lexi Smart, Sophie Kinsella’s main character in “Remember Me?” After a car accident she wakes up in a London hospital and thinks it is 2004. During the 3 years she lost, she has transformed into someone she doesn’t even recognize (literally thanks to a crash diet, collagen injections, veneers, and a great stylist). In that time she has been on a reality TV show (why do I keep picking books with references to reality shows?), gotten married, become the boss of her department (not to mention a millionairess), given up carbs, and lost her closest friends. She tries her best to figure out her new life and face all the secrets, schemes, and bombshells that come her way during the process as she figures out why, when, and how she turned into this person she doesn’t even know.

I loved this book! It was full of laugh out loud moments and suspense that kept me up late reading every night. It made me think about how unrecognizable my life would be in her situation. I would have missed so much! Overall it was a great book and I highly recommend it!

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

If you don’t already know Sophie Kinsella (real name- Madeleine Wickham, she also publishes under this name), she is the author of the Shopaholic series. Here is a link to her official site:

They are making a movie out of her Shopaholic Series starring Isla Fischer (Wedding Crashers):

AND they are making a movie out of another book of hers “Can You Keep A Secret?” that will star Kate Hudson!

She is a GREAT writer and I predict someone will pick up the rights to this book too! Now who would I want to star? Hmmm…Reese Witherspoon maybe? She’d have to go brunette though. I’ve always like Rachael Bilson…

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst

Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst was a book about secrets and how they can eat away at you until you explode. The book follows the contestants of a “reality” show called Lost and Found (similar to The Amazing Race). The contestants include a mother daughter pair who have a secret about a baby (Did you know...there's a baby?), an ex-gay married couple (man and wife found God and put their evil homosexual ways behind them- or are they just lying to themselves?), a pair of divorced brothers (one has a sick kid at home), a pair of childhood TV stars (who are trying to hold on to their fame), a pair of millionaires, and a few others (who only appear briefly in the book). Each chapter is from the perspective of a different contestant which keeps you on the edge of your seat a bit. The producers of the show go to great lengths to expose everyone’s secrets so they can get some good TV out of it. If you like drama and reality TV, you will surely love this book.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Life's a Beach by Claire Cook

“Life’s a Beach” by Claire Cook (who is also the author of “Must Love Dogs”) is the story of a 41-year old woman, Ginger, who really doesn’t know who she is or what she wants. She is living in a FROG (Finished Room Over Garage) at her parents house. She has a cat named Boyfriend (which I thought was funny at first, but then not so much later as I saw how much of an indicator it was of Ginger’s “issues”). She has a (sort of) real boyfriend, Noah, who seems like a great guy but never calls and basically just pops by randomly throwing pebbles at her window to get her to open the door. Her sister, Geri, is the total opposite of her and has the house, husband, kids, and great job to prove it. Geri is constantly stressing over her upcoming 50th birthday. Their parents (who have their own “issues”) are trying to sell their house which forces Ginger to think about what she wants to do next. She recently started a sea glass jewelry business (which isn’t exactly booming) but spends most of her time watching her sister’s kids. The journey really starts when a shark movie starts filming in her small beach town and her nephew gets a part in it. It all wraps up pretty neatly with the unexpected 50th birthday party for her sister.

There is a lot going on in this book, but none of it is really enthralling. It is an okay book with lots of laugh out load moments, but it never really had me on the edge of my seat. I did manage to finish it in about a week, so it wasn’t bad, just sort of a basic fun story. One thing I did pull away from the book was the idea of sand bottles (it was worth reading just for that).

I give it 3 stars out of 5.

Here is a link to the author’s website:

(It looks like she has a new cute book out called “Summer Blowout”)

The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski

“The Next Thing on my List” by Jill Smolinski was basically the inspiration for my own “30 List”. In the book the main character June is your typical, single 30-something who is involved in a terrible car accident which ends the life of her passenger, Marissa. In her own way of dealing with this devastating event, June tasks herself with completing Marissa’s “25 things to do before my 25th birthday” list. It is an interesting spin on an old concept. I mean it is going to be hard for me to complete my own list, I can’t imagine trying to complete someone else’s list. Some things on the list aren’t too hard like “Throw away the bathroom scale” and “Eat ice cream in public”. Marissa was practically a stranger to June, so completing other things on the list aren’t so easy. “Change someone’s life” and “Make Buddy Fitch pay” really challenge her to pull out all the stops.

It is a really good book. Throughout the story, June learns a lot from “the list”. She learns a lot about herself and also about Marissa’s life (and manages to have some fun along the way!) June’s life dramatically changes throughout the experience as she races to complete the list on time. It leads to lots of crazy adventures, lots of awkward moments, life changing decisions for June, and even an unexpected romance.

All in all, I give it 4 stars out of 5.

It apparently is also going to be made into a movie that is slated to come out in 2009!

Here is a link to the author’s website:

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