Book Review: Start With Why

Start With Why - Book Review -

Nearly everywhere you turn, people are encouraging you to determine your deepest motivation for why you do the things you do. The book Start With Why by Simon Sinek is often cited as the key resource for this skill.

How this Book is Organized
The book is organized into 6 parts: a world that doesn’t start with why; an alternative perspective; leaders need a following; how to rally those who believe; the biggest challenge is success; and discover why. I’ve listed the titles here exactly as they appear in the table of contents and it’s not super clear to me how the book is really organized. It generally flows from a state where people behave in manners that aren’t motivated by their inner purpose and then into the benefits of having a purpose.

Overall Impression
The book provides some real examples (both successes and failures) of businesses and explains the motivations for their success and reason why. It’s an interesting read for learning the background of popular companies and background of motivation. However, there were not many concrete actionable steps that I found that I could take to help me discover my own reason why. It will take some introspection on the part of the reader to try to determine your own reason. I was hoping that this book would provide some guided prompts to help me think through my own inner purpose.

I feel like I got sufficient information on the importance and necessity of the “why” from Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk. (below)

Useful For
This book is useful for those of you who want to delve deeper into the references behind the Ted Talk or want to read at your own pace.

Amazon links are affiliate.

Book Review: The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project Book Review -

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin documents the author’s journal to improving her happiness quotient in her ordinary non-depressed life.

How this Book is Organized
Each chapter is one month with one main area of focus (e.g. January is vitality, February is marriage, March is work, etc). Each month consists of subgoals and habits related to the main theme.

The book goes through Rubin’s own goals and activities, and nicely integrates scientific literature regarding happiness. For those who are unfamiliar with the psychological research about happiness, this book provides understandable interpretations of those studies.

Overall Impression
When I first read this book, I was in a very sluggish state of mind. I had achieved all the things that I thought I had needed to up to that point. I had very little direction on what to do next. Reading this book inspired me to get back to all those activities that I loved to do as a kid. It inspired me to spend out (a concept that encourages you to use an enjoy the good stuff instead of saving it for later) and to plan out more adventures.

Useful For
This book is useful for anyone interested in learning more about the science of happiness. This book is great for anyone looking for inspiration for shaking things up in the ordinary everyday lives.

Amazon links are affiliate.

Resource Round-Up: For Introverts

Resource Round-Up: For Introverts -
photo via Death to Stock Photography

If you’ve been following the blog for awhile, you probably have noticed my public declarations of being an introvert. I’m totally more comfortable being alone in the quiet than with a big crowd of people. Talking to people all day (at work or in a conference situation) is draining to me and I often need alone time to recharge. If this sounds like you (or if you have an introvert in your life that you’d like to understand better), here are some helpful resources.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain is a book that documents the science and success of introverts in an extroverted society. (See my book review here).

Also, watch Susan’s Ted Talk:

Charge Up by Claire Deane and Allie Lehman is a guide written by two entrepreneurs who are able to nurture their introverted tendencies and grow successful businesses. The guide is filled with tips and suggestions for routines that help you optimize your energy levels as an introvert.

Tara Swiger has tons of advice for crafty business owners who are introverts. See her archives on the subject here

Caring for Your Introvert is an article by Jonathan Rauch which highlights the characteristics of introverts.

Amazon links are affiliate.

What’s Your Personality Type?

Myers-Briggs Personality -
I’m a pretty big fan of personality tests. I like that my quirks and characteristics can be explained by psychology and that I can learn a bit more about myself through broader categories.

One of the most commonly-referenced personality indicators is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI is based on psychologist Carl Jung’s research on human personality. With this indicator, there are four dichotomies for you to be sorted into.

Myers-Briggs Personality -

Extraverted vs Introverted

Getting energy from the outside world versus getting energy from within one’s own thoughts and ideas.

Myers-Briggs Personality -

Sensing vs Intuition

Paying attention to physical reality versus thinking through and interpreting the available information in your mind.

Myers-Briggs Personality -

Thinking vs Feeling

Making decisions based on logic and evidence versus making decisions based on empathy and compassion.

Myers-Briggs Personality -

Judging vs Perceiving

Others seeing you as task-oriented and organizing versus others seeing you as flexible and spontaneous.

I’ve taken a test like this multiple times and I can say that I agree with the results for me. There are a lot of ways that I think I totally embody the traits of INTJ.

What personality type are you? Take a test here and let me know in the comments!

More reading about Myers-Briggs at The Myers & Briggs Foundation.

Additional reading for introverts:
A Quiet Book Review
Charge Up: eBook

A Quiet Book Review

Quiet Book Review -

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain is a book that documents the science and success of introverts in an extroverted society.


Cain tells personal stories and the stories of other introverts to illustrate the perspective of the introverted mind. The stories (and research cited) are more narrative than outline format. The book covers topics of the current extroverted ideal in society, the introverted psychology, and recommended actions of how to co-exist.


As sometime who is quite introverted, I appreciated reading about the background of how we tick. It was mostly useful to read about the common misconceptions and the cited research.

Useful For

Everyone who is an introvert or works/lives with an introvert. This will increase the ability to understand background personality differences and what it means to really re-charge. The book is pretty information-dense; a feature (not a bug) of its comprehensiveness.

Amazon links are affiliate.

Resource of the Week: Charge Up

Charge Up eBook Review -

I am an introvert.

I know that being around crowds of people and making polite small talk with a smile on my face drains me. Sometimes that makes me feel a little weird or different because it’s not socially acceptable to want to be alone and quiet all the time.

But I know that I’m not alone. Being introverted is not a flaw. It’s a part of my personality. And a part of a lot of other people’s personalities. Introversion comprises enough of our population to inspire the work of Susan Cain and her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and the resource Charge Up by Claire Deane and Allie Lehman.

Charge Up is a guide written by two entrepreneurs who are able to nurture their introverted tendencies and grow successful businesses. The guide is filled with tips and suggestions for routines that help you optimize your energy levels as an introvert.

For me, this guide reminds me that I’m not alone. It also reminds me to stick to my guns when it comes to saying yes or no to things.

Read Claire and Allie’s product description page for more information and to access an excerpt.

Links throughout are affiliate. I purchased this guide myself.

Putting Your Strengths to Work

Putting your strengths to work -

I’ve already talked about identifying your strengths and how the StrengthsFinder 2.0 book gives some tips for leveraging your strengths.

Go Put Your Strengths to Work by Marcus Buckingham is another useful resource for optimizing your strengths and building a life that energizes you.

Buckingham redefines what a strength is and what a weakness is, and it has nothing to do with what you’re good or bad at. Instead, it has everything to do with what gives you energy and what drains you. There are exercises embedded throughout the book to really help you identify those tasks and activities that can be called your strengths and weaknesses.
>Putting your strengths to work -

My favorite activity was to write out my favorite versus least favorite tasks for the week on green and red cards. The way that he frames and asks the question really gets to the heart of the issue… What do you do that makes you so engaged that you lose track of time? And what do you procrastinate at doing? (The hard copy comes with prompt cards at the end of the book that you can tear out and write on).

After you’ve established your strengths and weaknesses, the book provides strategies for how to maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. There are stories of people who have implemented these strategies effectively, as well as templates for action plans for applying to your own life.

I can’t say that I’ve been able to execute and implement everything that I’ve learned yet, but I’m definitely focusing more on my real strengths (the things that excite and energize me), rather than my perceived strengths (the things that I’m good at, but dread).

Who’s Olive?

Hi, I'm Olivia, aka Olive. I've been an avid reader of blogs for years and decided that it was finally time to start producing instead of just merely consuming.

I'm one of those people who always insisted that I was boring. Nothing exciting or glamorous. But you know what? I realized that I don't have to be glamorous to share the bright and colorful spots in my every day life.

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