Tag Archive | entrepreneur

CATASTROPHES & HEROES of man-made disasters, by Jerry Borrowman (book review)

book cover of Catastrophes & Heroes, by Jerry Borrowman. Published by Shadow Mountain | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Boats and trains,
Dams and bridges,
Engineered to work…or fail.

An overloaded Mississippi River steamboat explodes, killing 1169 Union prisoners heading home from notorious Andersonville Prison, making barely a ripple in the newspapers during the closing weeks of the Civil War.

Flawed designs by self-proclaimed experts caused the horrific 1879 Tay railway bridge collapse and costly 1940 Tacoma Narrows bridge failure.

Ignoring local geological conditions led to terrible loss of life and property as the St. Francis Dam burst in California in 1928, as did Italy’s Vajont Dam in 1963.

A hurricane killed many workers building the railroad to Key West in 1935, then sabotage derailed a new Streamliner train into a desert river in 1939, far from the nearest town.

Each of these harrowing stories includes fateful choices made and their unintended consequences, victims and first responder heroes, and the professional heroes who analyzed the catastrophe and recommended ways to prevent future disasters.

Reaction to these tragedies resulted in stronger safety requirements for the modern marvels of public works and transportation that we now take for granted.

From the author of Compassionate Soldier (recommended here) and Invisible Heroes of World War II (see here) who so ably centers the human factor amid history’s facts and lists.

How can you be more ready to respond to disasters?
**kmm

Book info: Catastrophes and Heroes: True Stories of Man-Made Disasters / Jerry Borrowman. Shadow Mountain, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy, by Bil Wright (book review) – chase the dream, ignore the haters

book cover of Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright published by Simon SchusterWe all want to be respected,
successful,
and fabulous.

Carlos is already completely fabulous, a fabulous makeup artist at sixteen. He just has to show the world that a Latino guy from the Lower East Side can do perfect makeup on anyone, anywhere – including the fanciest department store in New York City.

Be sure to meet this fabulous guy with a not-so-fabulous family life, the perfect touch with his own makeup, and his ever-positive attitude soon. Just thinking about Carlos and his drive to succeed makes me smile!
**kmm

Book info: Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy / Bil Wright. Simon & Schuster, 2011 hardback, 2012 paperback.  [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: Carlos wants one thing, and one thing only: to be the most-respected makeup artist anywhere.

Oh, and for the cute guy in his high school class to ask him out, and for Mama to have a decent job that doesn’t wear her down, and for his sister to stay away from that loser Danny at work.

When he hears that the FeatureFace cosmetics counter at Macy’s is hiring, Carlos goes into overdrive: hiring cute rocker Gleason to photograph the models wearing his makeup designs, crafting the perfect job application, watching videos of interview tips, and sweet-talking Rosaria into coming to the interview to be his live model. Of course, the manager will want to see Carlos apply makeup in person – everyone knows that!

At school all day, working at the child care center till late evening, Carlos keeps his cellphone close by, waiting for the call from FeatureFace to set up his interview, to let him prove his fabulous makeup skills, to start on his way to the top!

Carlos proves how well he handles makeup, chatting his way through the demonstration to explain his techniques, so snooty manager Valentino just has to hire him – part-time, since he’s only 16 – and FeatureFace cosmetics has a new star.

Of course, there are still a few problems in life, like Mama’s precarious job situation, that rotten Danny trying to rough up Rosaria if she ever gets the guts to leave him, Soraya screening his calls (how could that problem with the borrowed boots really be his fault?), and the cute guy at school not flirting with him anymore.

Can Carlos really balance work, school, and family at 16?
As his schedule loads up, will his friends let him down?
Will Valentino’s disdain for his talents ever give way to respect?
Ready to take on the world, Carlos Duarte is fabulous indeed. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Junk-Box Jewelry, by Sarah Drew (book review) – recycled bracelets, earrings, necklaces

book cover of Junk Box Jewelry by Sarah Drew published by Zest BooksWhat to do with that earring who’s lost its mate?
Hmmm… you’ve saved all the beads from that broken necklace…
There’s got to be a way to showcase that stunning sea glass without drilling holes in it!

With some crafting tools, wire, and jewelry “findings” (clasps, jump rings, etc.), you can turn these assorted bits into great jewelry – elegant or funky, casual or ooh-la-la.

Sarah Drew shares techniques and ideas from her successful handmade jewelry business in England so that you can let your imagination transform parts, pieces, and pearls into wearable art.

With lots of color photos and instructions, this Zest Books paperback hits the shelves on June 26, 2012, so zip in to your favorite independent bookstore  then, and ask your local library to order it, too.

When folks start asking to buy your one-of-a-kind jewelry, be sure to grab Kenrya Rankins’ Start It Up (recommendation) so you can build a great business plan for your new enterprise.
**kmm

Book info: Junk-Box Jewelry: 25 DIY Low-Cost (or No-Cost) Jewelry Projects / Sarah Drew. Zest Books, 2012. [author’s website] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk:  If you want to create new jewelry from interesting bits and pieces, then this is the book for you! Sarah Drew provides clear instructions and diagrams for basic and intermediate wire-crafting techniques, plus twenty-five innovative jewelry concepts from funky to fancy.

Once you have a few very basic tools and the right kind of wire and jewelry fittings from the local craft department, then you’re ready to start looking around your house, rummage sales, and even the beach for the colored, sparkly, smooth or shiny items that will feature in your creations.

Perhaps you’ll start mastering your wire techniques by remaking old beads into a new Retro-Bauble Bracelet or a fanciful Bling Ring. A Vintage Lace Choker has white glue as its secret ingredient, ornamented by a few well-placed reclaimed beads or faux gems.

You’ll learn how to suspend a beautiful stone as a pendant without drilling a hole in it, go green by making your own colorful tube-beads with magazine photos for a Newsstand Necklace, and turn hardware store finds into “charms” that will make your Toolbox Bracelet unique.

With a little practice, you can crochet wire into fanciful Cuff Bracelets or twist and twirl it around pearl-beads to fashion an intricate Art Deco Bracelet. For the prom or that special night out, create Elegant Earrings and a Juliet Headband to match your favorite outfit.

Once you’ve learned these basic jewelry techniques, you’re only limited by your imagination and the intriguing pieces of old brooches, sea glass, silk flowers, and thrift-store treasures that you find! (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Don’t Sit On the Baby! by Halley Bondy (book review) – babysitting skills and safety guide

book cover of Dont Sit on the Baby by Halley Bondy published by Zest BooksThinking about babysitting to make money?
Can you tolerate runny noses and poopy diapers?
Are you calm in emergency situations?
Ready to fold paper hats or read a bedtime story?

With the advice and skills in this book, you can become a better sitter as you advertise and run your own business providing an important service for parents and families in your community.

So update your infant and children CPR training, practice your pattycakes and freeze tag skills, and keep both eyes on the kiddos with your cellphone in your pocket for emergencies on the job.

As a mom, grandmother, and former babysitter, I think that Don’t Sit on the Baby  is a great addition to your sitter’s bag, along with the storybooks, washable markers, and origami paper. Get it today at your local independent bookstore and ask your library to get a copy so other sitters can be prepared, too.

**kmm

Book info: Don’t Sit On the Baby: The Ultimate Guide to Sane, Skilled, and and Safe Babysitting / Halley Bondy. Zest Books, 2012.  [author’s website]   [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: Babysitting can be a great way for teens to earn money and gain skills for future jobs. Use the advice and fun hints in this guide to get ready for the unique challenges of caring for children while learning how to balance their fun and safety, too.

First off, take the quiz in chapter one to see if your personality is suited for being a sitter. The author is very honest about the messes and possible behaviors of newborns, infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and grade-school kids. Certification in infant and child CPR is a must for any potential sitter. Keeping parents up-to-date on possible concerns about kids’ health and behavior is part of the job, too.

Diapers and potties are part of any sitting job, as is safety in the house and outside. Important issues covered include being prepared for emergencies, creative playtime, feeding hungry kids, homework help, dealing with tantrums, bathing kids safely, and getting them to sleep.

Enjoy “Tales From the Crib” recounted by teen sitters, like the lengthy question-and-answer game to find something (anything!) that a toddler would eat, an unstoppable smoke alarm, and the four-year-old who discussed how her boyfriend proposed marriage on the playground.

Since sitting involves money, this book also includes advice on how to advertise, interviewing with parents, deciding how much to charge, your income tax obligations, and how to gracefully resign. An annotated list of websites about sitter training, emergency information, and kid-friendly entertainment ideas rounds out this great guide to a popular and important teen job. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Illuminate, by Aimee Agresti (fiction) – H for Haven, Hotel, and Hell?

Al Capone had his gangster headquarters at The Lexington Hotel,
President Benjamin Harrison enjoyed its luxuries as he dedicated Chicago’s famous World Columbian Exposition,
and now shy Haven Terra will be part of its gala grand re-opening.

She doesn’t recall applying for an internship in hotel management, but is glad for anything that will help pay for college…and she gets to live there full-time instead of enduring spring semester at her high school, too! Great!

But soon she and fellow intern Lance find flaws in The Lexington’s quest for perfection – a hidden agenda that will require guests to check their souls at the door, their beautiful bosses’ evil alliances, and mysterious messages telling Haven how to stop this devilish enterprise.

It’s up to her to find a way to Illuminate the dark secrets of this surface-bright world and to keep her friends from being lured into its depths…forever. First book in The Gilded Wings series and Agresti’s writing debut – it’s a thrill ride!
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(p.s. LAST DAY! Giveaway for ARC of Cat Girl’s Day Off continues here closes at 11:59 p.m. Monday, April 9, 2012.)

Book info: Illuminate / Aimee Agresti. Harcourt, 2012. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer]

My Recommendation: Haven was surprised to be chosen to intern with the successful young owner of the swanky Lexington Hotel – and get school credit, too. The suave and glamorous trainees there seem rather soulless, though, like being a member of “The Outfit” has polished away their own personalities…

It’ll be hard to give up working at the children’s hospital and living with Joan, the nurse who found her as an abandoned five-year-old and gave her a home. Nothing ever discovered about Haven’s past, why she had those terrible scars on her back, why she had been left in the frozen mud. But it’s only for the spring semester.

Shy, smart Haven sure won’t miss feeling like an outcast at her high school, especially since her best (and only) friend Dante will be shadowing The Lexington’s amazing chef. And Lance from their school will be there, working with handsome manager Lucien. Everything will be fine, especially when owner Aurelia gives Haven a great camera and charges her with filling the lobby gallery with large-format portraits of The Outfit for The Lexington’s grand opening.

Browsing the hotel library for more history about its heyday when Al Capone was a regular, an odd little book intrigues her. And later, the book starts to write messages to Haven in its back pages… messages that warn her to trust no one, to explore carefully, and to train her muscles and stamina for a future challenge.

As the hotel’s grand opening nears, The Vault basement club starts welcoming Chicago’s elite and famous to its “ring of fire” seating and exquisite cocktails. All the gorgeous young people of The Outfit spend their evenings there too, so Lucien and Aurelia ask Haven to take lots of publicity photos. Lucien particularly enjoys having Haven nearby…

When Haven sees Lucien open an iron basement door into a fiery pit, she knows that The Lexington is not just another fancy hotel. And surely it’s not coincidence that her own high school has scheduled its prom there!

Why are hideous distortions appearing on every photo of The Outfit that Haven takes? Why is Dante suddenly so distant? Can Haven and Lance stay clear of the hotel’s mysterious perils? Why is the book warning her to be prepared against evil? What’s this about Haven keeping souls from…extinction?

Agresti’s stunning debut novel is the first book in The Gilded Wings trilogy. Step into The Lexington with Haven, if you dare. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

50 Jobs in 50 States, by Daniel Seddiqui (book review) – 1 year to find perfect job

Months of fruitless job-searching left USC grad Daniel exhausted and his parents unhappy that he’d had to move back home. But he decided to act on a seemingly wild idea to work in each of the 50 states, meeting their people as he tried out one of the jobs unique to each place. This Fun Friday feature is an autobiography that roves across America, in search of more than just a job.

You’ll want to read for yourself how he persevered in his dream, rising above his parents’ disapproval, the logistics of finding the right job in the right area during the right time, and the immense difficulties of funding travel all over the USA. Yes, Daniel wanted to do this challenge on his own terms, not bound to a corporate sponsor‘s restrictions on which jobs he could try or how many times he had to tout their product in his blog.

Along the way, he met more supportive people than naysayers, tried his hand at skills that he never knew existed, and learned more about himself than he ever imagined.

Coal miner? Did it. Amish woodworker? Satisfying work. Baseball scout? Lots of dreams and talent out there – like our roving pal, who shares the high points and lowest lows of his adventure with us, in a conversational way. I guess “Inspirational” should be Daniel’s new middle name!
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Book info: Fifty jobs in 50 states / Daniel Seddiqui. Berrett-Koehler, 2011 [author’s website] [publisher website] [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: After many interviews yield no job, Daniel decides to hit the road and work his way across the USA – one iconic job in each state – to find out what he truly wants to do with his life.

You’d think that good grades in college and a great resume would guarantee a job after graduation, but that’s not always true. But instead of giving into despair and taking a minimum-wage job, Daniel turns his back on the months-long, frustrating search for a position in economics and hatches the idea of traveling the United States to discover where he should really be and what career would use his talents best.

It took four months to set up his first short-term job and even longer to scrape together some funding to travel. His parents thought he was wasting his time; his on-again-off-again girlfriend thought he was crazy – Daniel knew that he had to do this to find his way in the work-world.

Rodeo announcer in South Dakota, corn farmer in Nebraska, landscape architect in New Mexico – he met helpful people, learned new skills, faced trials and setbacks. Meatpacker in Kansas winter (frozen fingers), bartender in New Orleans during Mardi Gras (lotsa kinds of crazy), peanut sheller in Georgia (allergic reaction) – Daniel never gave up.

Sharing his adventures through the media and his own blog, this young guy from California inspired many folks facing challenges and job losses to keep on trying. Enjoy this talking-to-your-buddy autobiographical travelogue through all 50 states as you root for Daniel to find his niche and to find someone to share his journey through life. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

For the Win (fiction)

Quick! Which of these is fictional (not real):
a) Online game playing as prison punishment?
b) online gamers forming a trade union?
c) Gold farming?

If you said (b), then you win! Cory Doctorow’s newest book delves into the world of gold farming, where some teens play online games to make a tiny bit of money to survive, not for fun. When they try to form a union so they can keep part of the “gold” that they win online instead of turning it all over to their bosses, both big business and their governments get angrily and mightily involved to protect their economic interests.

Make no mistake – in places where labor is cheaper than technology, real people are being forced into gold farming yet earning hardly anything, right this minute (like the Chinese prisoners noted above). And now scripted ‘bots can be set loose to play a low-level character on auto-pilot, earning a little gold, then repeating – lots of bots can equal a fair amount of pocket change, along with the risk of being discovered and banned from the game.

If you want to read the WHOLE book online, go here with Cory’s blessing. Yes, the author wants you to read his book online for FREE. That’s because Cory knows you’ll want to buy a copy so you can reread it, share it, and even remix it – yep, Creative Commons License. The guy is a genius! (seriously! I’ve read all his short stories and books online, then gone on to get the print books)

On World Wednesday, this fast-moving story takes you to China, India, Singapore, and the United States – who will really win?
**kmm

Book info: For the Win / Cory Doctorow. Tor Teen, 2010. [author’s website] [author interview] [publisher site] [book trailer]

Recommendation: Playing games online all day, every day sounds like fun, doesn’t it? But for young people packed into smoky internet cafes in Singapore, Shenzen, and Mumbai, it’s a matter of survival.

People have discovered how to turn online “gold coins” and “magic gems” into real money, so the biggest online game worlds have larger economies than many nations, and youngsters in less-developed countries are recruited as “gold farmers,” playing online in teams and turning over their winnings to the bosses who hold their return-home tickets.

But what if the gold farmers organized, banded together for better working conditions? How does a kid from LA wind up in China to help the gold farmers unionize? And what happens when the big businesses who own the big online worlds strike back?

Meet young teens in China, India, and Malaysia who work as gold farmers to feed their families, who face violence from police and rival bosses when they’d rather go to school, who risk their lives to make a difference. This page-turner looks big, but reads fast, a techno-thriller that could happen tomorrow or might be happening today! 480 pages (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

Luck of the Buttons, by Anne Ylvisaker (fiction) – small-town mystery, big excitement in 1920s

Independence Day!
Pie-eating contests!
Patriotic essay competitions!
Three-legged races!

Is bad luck something you’re born with or something that you can rise above? Are bullies part of every school and neighborhood? Does the world look different when seen through your camera’s lens?

This is a great summer story as Tugs investigates a mystery that the grown-ups in town just can’t seem to see. Wishing you plenty of pie, family, and fireworks this holiday weekend!
**kmm

Book info: The Luck of the Buttons / Anne Ylvisaker. Candlewick, 2011 [author’s website] [publisher site]

Recommendation: Tugs is good at reading and good at running, which keeps her ahead of the Rowdies gang in their small Iowa town in 1929. Independence Day is next week, so she writes a patriotic essay, like every other 12 year old in town, and practices with Aggie for the 3-legged race. Thank goodness, she doesn’t have to run with her short, tubby cousin Ned this year. And she has some tickets for the raffle of a Brownie camera, too! Of course, no one in the Button family is lucky at all, so she’s not getting her hopes up about anything.

Uh-oh, it’s time to worry when Mama has a pie ready for lunch (Buttons always have pie when something bad happens). Granny is moving in, taking her bedroom! Well, at least Tugs can escape to the cool quiet of the library, browsing through the dictionary and reading old newspapers. This newcomer Harvey Moore is so busy collecting money to start a newspaper in Goodhue that he isn’t really starting it at all, so Tugs starts investigating.

On the fourth of July, it’s time for the 3-legged race, the raffle drawing, and the essay contest announcement. Will it be time for pie at the Button family table again? Can Tugs stay ahead of the Rowdies? Does the world look different through a camera lens? And how did Tugs get her first name anyway?

The summer of 1929, surrounded by cornfields and caring, is a great place to be with Tugs and her pie-baking family, as she wonders about luck and persistence in this easy-reading story. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

Start It Up, by Kenrya Rankin (book review) – your small-business guide

book cover of Start It Up by Kenrya Rankin published by Zest BooksIf you’re thinking about starting a business, I suggest you check out this book – Rankin has great checklists, quizzes, and advice, all in a well-crafted package.

New best friend for up-and-coming entrepreneurs, ask for it at your local library or independent bookstore.

**kmm

Book Info: Start It Up: The Complete Teen Business Guide to Turning Your Passions Into Pay / Kenrya Rankin. Zest Books, 2011. http://www.zestbooks.net/ Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: Your hobby or favorite activity could be a great way to make money, so use this business guide for teens to get started! Successful entrepreneurs (people who start their own business and work for themselves) work hard, communicate well, can multitask, are organized, and manage their time and money carefully – if you don’t have all these skills, you can learn them as you create your business.

Well-organized, with many checklists and questions to ask yourself, Start It Up helps you write a business plan, scope out your prospects, build a realistic budget, and keep track of all the paperwork entailed in owning your company. Quotes and notes from teen entrepreneurs who’ve succeeded in their chosen line of work are encouraging, yet realistic.

You’ll learn about hiring and managing employees, publicizing your business, providing great customer service, and using your business to make the world a better place. Lots of resources for each chapter point you to sources of further information.

Whether it’s gathering a board of advisors, raising start-up money, registering your business name, or filing your self-employment taxes (yes, you have to pay taxes even if you’re not an adult), you’ll find information and remember-this guides to help you avoid common new-business pitfalls as you follow your passions to a well-deserved payday.  (one of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)