Book Alert! How To Get Out of Your Own Way by Tyrese Gibson

Actor/singer Tyrese Gibson has written a book entitled How To Get Out of Your Own Way. Normally, my eyes would gloss over at the thought of yet another entertainer writing an autobiographical how-to for the rest of us. But, after hearing Tyrese speak about this book on The Mo’Nique show, my interest was piqued. Tyrese lived the hard-knock life growing up in Watts, California. Despite his strained relationship with his family, this talented young man was able to hit it big in the recording industry thanks to his exceptional talent and a couple of lucky breaks.

It hasn’t been a smooth ride. His divorce and a few other events have been bumps along the way. In this book, Tyrese discusses how he successfully overcame these obstacles. He also shares relationship advice as he reflects on his recent divorce. The book has mostly 5-star reviews on Amazon, so I downloaded it on my Kindle. I’m studying for the bar exam, so I haven’t read it yet. While you’re waiting on my review, check the book out and let me know what you think!

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Quick Review: The Money Class by Suze Orman

I’ve been reading up a storm, but I haven’t had much time for reviews. I had to take the time to write a quick review on Suze Orman’s latest title Money Class.

I was looking forward to this book and even pre-ordered a hard copy from Amazon. Once it arrived, I eagerly jumped into it. I was not able to get past the first couple of chapters, however, because this book so preachy. Suze goes on and on about how these days are not the good old days. She states that people need to stop spoiling their kids, stop pining for the easy jobs and easy credit of the past, and so forth.

For me, this was useless advice. I’m not a frivolous spender, I don’t spoil my kids, and I have already accepted that I’m living in a recession (despite the recession “officially” being over).  As far as wasting money, this book was a waste. When I finish reading all of the books I have on my Kindle and finish the bar exam, and any other thing that I need to do, I will probably re-visit this book and write a full review.

For now, I find this title so boring and un-helpful that I simply cannot recommend it. If I can add one positive note, the book comes with an online subscription to the Money Class on Suze’s websites which has money resources, such as links and forms that Suze mentions in her book. Some people may find this site helpful. I logged in once and I haven’t re-visited it. It’s nothing that you can’t find on Dave Ramsey’s page for free.

If you’re a huge Suze fan, I’d say wait a while and see what others have to say about this book before purchasing it. If you are really struggling to get your finances together after taking some serious hits in the recession, then this book may help you. It’s Suze’s standard advice, only updated for the current times. If you can’t stand Suze’s advice, then this book certainly won’t convert you.

Hopefully, I’ll be posting more financial book reviews soon. As always, happy reading!

Book Review | The Insider’s Guide to Getting a Big Firm Job

I purchased the book The Insider’s Guide to Getting a Big Firm Job: What Every Law Student Should Know About Interviewing (affiliate link) by Erika Finn and Jessica Olman,  back when I was a hopeful 1L. I wasn’t particularly interested in a big firm job, but I did have a couple of firm interviews as a 1L and I did not get a call back for either position as a 1L Summer Associate. I did land a fabulous summer fellowship, but decided to buy this book to prepare for 2L OCI (On Campus Interviewing).

Fast forward to the fall, and it turns out that I didn’t have to worry about OCI. Although I did have several interviews scheduled, I transferred schools and didn’t participate in OCI after all. This book fell to the wayside for a whole calendar year. Now that I am a 3L and back in interview mode, I decided to read this book to help me “brush up” on my interviewing skills.

The Review

Out of five stars, I’d rate this book a 2. There is no information in this book that you cannot get from the CSO (Career Services Office) at your law school. The book is 122 pages long, including the sample set of letters in the back. That means that a law student could read this book in one sitting – not necessarily a bad thing, considering that time is short for any law student.

The topics in the book begin with “Is a Big Firm Right for You?” Well, the answer is yes if you like money and are willing to work hard. I also sincerely hope that you thought about that question before you bought the book. The better question would be, “Are You Right for a Big Firm?” The book glazes over the fact that you have to first get an interview. In order to get such an interview, you will generally need to be at the top of your class. I won’t get too far into that, just know that this book doesn’t get too far into that, either. Instead, the focus is on OCI, which basically means that you got the interview through your school based on your credentials.

There is a 2 1/2 page section about applying outside of OCI, but it talks about using your “personal contacts” and “interacting with people.” This information is clearly geared toward the upper class of law school students are those whose parents may be lawyers. I don’t know who else would know a lot of people who work at large law firms.

There is information that is borderline unhelpful, such as “cover up your tattoo” during an interview, as well as sections on “Networking” and “Discrimination.” Again, you can get any of this information by doing a mock interview at your school and asking for feedback, or asking the Career Services professionals at your school for free pamphlets.

Should You Buy This Book?

I didn’t read anything in this book that would give an edge to a student interviewing for a firm job. The reason why I gave the book 2 stars instead of 1 or even none is becomes it does have quotes from real life recruiters and interviewers and sections on “the view from the firm,” which would be helpful to a student whose school does not discuss big firms, or to a student who is wholly unfamiliar with the culture of a law firm.

As you can tell, the audience for this book is not the typical law student. Although the “view from the firm” sections would be helpful to any student, I think this book is geared towards a student at a Tier 1 law school who just wants to make sure that they have all bases covered after receiving several OCI bids. For your typical law school student, it’s a waste of $16.95. A better choice would be Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams, 2nd Edition by Kimm Alayne Walton. It costs more, but you get over a thousand pages of detailed advice and tactics aimed at every student, even those who are not sure that they want to practice law.

If you’ve read this book and agree or disagree, please let us know in the comments!

Book Review | The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size by Julia Cameron

dietHow I Found The Writing Diet

The Writing Diet is one of the many books that I have found rather randomly on the book shelves at Barnes and Noble, but I am very glad that I did.

As I was perusing the shelves for a summer read that would help me become more focused on my creative writing, I saw Julia Cameron’s The Writing Diet on the shelf – actually in the diet book section that I happened to stop by on my way to the writing resources area. Cameron is the author of the popular book and creative writing method The Artist’s Way.

I felt as if I had hit the jackpot! I had actually found a book about writing and dieting – or rather, losing weight and expressing one’s creativity. I purchased the book and a nice new journal to go with it.

I can honestly say that for anyone who has struggled to lose weight, this book may just be the answer. Julia notes that over the years as her students became more self-aware and increased their personal and creative writing, many lost weight quickly and easily!

How The Writing Diet Has Helped Me

I have always resisted writing down what I eat, but Cameron’s method consists of writing down not only what you eat, but why you eat, can be life-changing for someone like me, who has never been “fat” but is struggling to maintain or lose weight. Or maybe you’ve always been the “big” person and that role has become a comfort to you. Either way, opening up about your emotions through writing can be a big step towards making a change.

The first two parts of Cameron’s method include the following: 1) Morning Pages (writing in the morning as a way to express and identify what is “bugging us”) and 2)taking a daily walk.

These were small, but powerful changes that I have been able to make already. Simply by writing down what I was eating, I discovered that I was eating way too much, often chewing mindlessly when I wasn’t hungry. I was basically eating for strange reasons that had nothing to do with nourishment, such as 1) boredom, 2) to save money (eating for free whenever possible), and 3) eating when I was sad and missed my family and loved ones, or 4) eating when I felt “pressured” in group settings, and so on.

I’ve also increased my daily exercise. Instead of eating and complaining, I write out my goals, frustrations, and my plans and solutions. Immediately after writing, it feels like a burden had been lifted and I am no longer dying for a meal from Cheesecake Factory.

How The Writing Diet Can Help You

Many of you may be skeptical, but I challenge you to ask yourself, how often do you stop and think before you eat? Do you jump up and go to lunch with your co-workers without asking yourself – am I hungry? Or what does my body need for nourishment right now? Most of us simply munch, munch, munch, and then get back to work.

Some of you may not feel like writing things down, or you may have convinced yourself that you don’t “have time” to write or take a daily walk. If you are too set in your ways, or prefer to stick with fad diet after fad diet, then this won’t work for you. I will challenge you by presuming that if you have the time to read blogs, you have the time to follow the steps in this book.

There is much more to The Writing Diet method, but you’ll have to read the book to discover the rest. My favorite thing about it is that instead of telling you what to eat, the book helps you understand why you over-eat and indulge, how to get over binges, and how to forgive yourself and quickly move on when you slip up. For those who over-eat, whether you are over-weight or not, a lot of emotion is attached to food and it is important to understand and recognize this in order to fully take control.

I will be reporting back on my progress, but even if I don’t lose a lot of weight, The Writing Diet has made a difference by making me feel more productive, and more in control of what meals I choose to consume. My journal has been a daily part of my routine for over a month now since reading this book, and I truly feel a difference. For more information on Julia Cameron, visit her website at www.theartistsway.com.

If this detailed review was helpful to you, please leave a comment below.