#778 A Perfect Mess by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman

A Perfect Mess by Eric Abrahamson and David H. FreedmanA Perfect Mess by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman

Is being all neat and organized really all it’s cracked up to be? Are clichés really old hat? This book is not about clichés. It’s about messes and being a messy person. Does being messy really mean you’re less successful than that woman who has the Pinterest board solely dedicated to organizing her spice rack? It turns out that being messy isn’t actually that bad. There’s even scientific evidence to back it up.

Let’s say your house is a bit messy? So what? Do you know where everything is at? Does it work for you? Does it give you more time to do the things you want? If you check, checked, checked those boxes, then there’s no problem. The authors go on to explain that there is a social stigma about being messy. We tend to associate being messy with being unproductive members of society, but get ready for lots of examples of people who were messy and they did just fine, in fact, they’re a lot of really successful people.

People who have their own brand of mess are actually more productive at life than people who don’t. So let’s say you do spend a great deal of time organizing things. Does it ever pay off? Does the time, and money, you put into the organization ever pay off? If you organize something and it saves you lots of time, great! If you organize something and you spend a ton of time looking for your things in the organized stuff and it’s only saving you a few minutes, was it worth it to spend the time and money to organize it in the first place? Questions and more questions.

The authors then go on to talk about more aspects of life that people try to neaten up, like education. Teachers have said a great deal of their time is spent on trying to get children to adhere to rigid learning structures rather than learning the actual lessons. This model is compared to an education model where children learn at their own pace and learn what they’re interested in that day. They do fine, in fact, they do very well.

People spend a lot of time,  and money, agonizing over being more organized, but really, does your label container need a label that says it’s a label container?

What I liked

This is a self-help book after my own heart. I am not a messy person, but I’m not a neat person either. If you walked into my house, right now, right this minute, you would find several cloth napkins on my couch, a space heater in the middle of the living room, five coats on one of my papasan chairs, and three empty soda cans on the table beside where I’m sitting right now. My house isn’t a total disorganized mess, but it’s organized in a way that makes sense to me, albeit much more organized than some people. I guess you could describe it as organized chaos, but maybe a degree or two removed from that, because I certainly do have organization systems. My spice drawer, although not alphabetized, is pretty freaking sweet.

I do think we place too much emphasis on this extreme organization trend. I don’t need a thousand dollars worth of stuff from Ikea to organize my socks, or whatever. If you’re spending a thousand dollars on stuff from Ikea to organize your socks, you’ve got way too many socks. You know, all these labels and fancy shoe containers are nice, but is it really worth the money and time spent on it? I totally get having trouble finding something in something that you’ve “organized.” I really don’t care if you come in my living room and see that I have five coats on a papasan chair. I switch them out and use them often, so why shouldn’t they be on my papasan chair?

There are a lot more things I could say about this book, but it does resonate with me. Life doesn’t have to be organized down to the second. Sometimes you can just do things when you feel like doing them and your house doesn’t have to be the day-dream of a professional Pinterest organizer with OCD.

I also loved the bit about education. I think it’s true. I don’t think we have to have structure environments to learn and work in. Right now, I work in an open-plan office and I listen to audio books all day. Between code testing, I read articles, or lists. It’s not organized, but I’m still productive. Listening to books and reading lists keeps me from getting bored with my job.

What I didn’t like

I tend not to like the condescending tone that self-help books all seem to have, but other than that, I can’t think of a lot I didn’t like about this one.


What if I told you that it was ok to leave stuff on the dining room table?

Oh man, my ex-husband would be ticked at that one. He would complain about stuff being on the dining room table, but put stuff there himself and he also wouldn’t clean it, but he had to complain about me putting mail there, or my purse. Makes perfect sense… not.

True story–my ex would reprimand me for having a messy mail cubby, but at the same time the room he hung out in was a disaster. There was stuff everywhere. You could hardly open the door, which he put on backward, and then stole when he moved out. I promise, this is true. Apparently, having a messy mail cubby determines the worth of your soul or something, oh well. Yes, he really stole the door, just in case you were wondering.

Weigh In

Messy? Yeah or Nay?

Do you find that you judge people harshly, or unfairly, for being less organized than yourself?

#778 A Perfect Mess by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman was originally published on One-elevenbooks


#757 How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell

How Successful People Think by John C. MaxwellHow Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell

How do successful people think that makes their lives different from everyone else’s? How did they get that idea that made them money or have them notoriety?

Part of it is just plain simple– they think. They sit down and think about ideas. They build time into their schedules to brainstorm. They don’t look at an experience as bad overall, they take the good away from it and build on it. Instead of accepting the status quo, they think outside their box, maybe in someone else’s box.

What I liked

I like it when people think, so I like any book that encourages people to think. People have brains for a reason. I know everyone out there isn’t as stupid as they act, although some are and there’s nothing we can do about that, bless their hearts. I really believe that if people actually put some work into thinking and being creative that they would find they’re really not as stupid as they think or as other people say.

I also like that John does come across as religious, but he’s not in everyone’s face about it.

I think if people thought more, the world would be a better place. Maybe you won’t have a million-dollar idea, but maybe your life will be better and you’ll improve the lives of those around you.

What I didn’t like

Like many self-help books, the author talked to famous business men for thinking advice. What about the women? What about people who think really well, but they’re in other areas? Like art? Or writing? Or programming? What makes those people successful at thinking? Really, the world does not revolve around successful business men, e en if they think it does.


I liked the thinking part.

Weigh in

Do you set aside time to think in your day?

What kind of successful people would you like self-help books to center on?

#754 Good Health Good Life by Joyce Meyer

Good Health Good Life by Joyce MeyerGood Health Good Life by Joyce Meyer

In this book Joyce Meyer outlines 12 keys for being a healthier person. She advises to start small and always remember that God can help you through any changes you’re trying to make in your life. She also outlines good goals procedures. It’s better to make easily definable goals and build on them.

What I liked

Unfortunately, I can’t get into a huge summary without really going into Joyce’s keys. Ultimately, it’s pretty simple, make a choice to be healthier and make small manageable goals remembering that God is on your side.

Joyce is religious and it definitely comes across in this book, but it’s not annoying. Joyce is able to be religious in a book without sounding patronizing or “holier than thou.” I haven’t read anything of Joyce’s before, and, yes, I do know who she is, and I was pleasantly surprised with her book. I even had to get up and go fill up my water bottle during the part of the book about drinking water. I feel like Joyce is a good motivational person, one that doesn’t make a person feel bad for themselves. I feel like Joyce has an eye on improvement that builds on a person, rather than trying to guilt a person into changing.

I feel like Joyce is more of an encouraging grandmother and that’s not a bad thing.

What I didn’t like

Joyce says never to get fries when you’re eating out in order to reduce refined carbohydrates. As if, Joyce. I mean, I try to eat healthy, but if I’m out, I’ll get fries. Fries are my favorite fast food. Wendy’s and McDonald’s have the best fries. I will almost always get fries when I’m out, unless I’m just particularly feeling a salad, actually, there are lots of times when I pick a steamed vegetable, or coleslaw, or green beans. There is only so much bland steamed broccoli a person can take though, at least season the stuff. Sometimes I’ll get a fry and a side salad at a restaurant and that will be my meal. In all honesty, if you do eat out a lot, it’s probably better to get something other than fries when you’re out. Get the dollar burger and the side salad, whatever.

You’re not going to find anything revelatory in this book. If you’ve read any self-help health improvement books, you will have heard many things like Joyce’s advice, but like I said, I do think Joyce is a little more encouraging in the manner that she presents her ideas.


Let’s all go eat an apple and drink more water.

Weigh In

Do you like Joyce Meyer?

Would you skip the fries?

#752 On Becoming Fearless by Arianna Huffington

On Becoming Fearless by Arianna HuffingtonOn Becoming Fearless by Arianna Huffington

Arianna realized that her daughters were governing their lives by fear and realized that her daughters’ fears were some of the same fears she had dealt with at their age. She wanted her daughters to be fearless, so she wrote this book.

Women have had fears about a lot of things, some of those things don’t even matter in the end.

Arianna’s fighting back against these fears. She wants women to do what’s best for them, and their children. Women should not be afraid of the unknown; something will happen. Women should not be afraid to desire things in life. Women should not be afraid to make their own decisions. Women should not be afraid of their bodies. Arianna also gives strategies for turning those fears off.

What I liked

I like her. I like Arianna. I think she’s got a lot of spunk and, yes, she is certainly fearless. I like that she’s gone out and done all these things. She really does seem like the kind of woman you’d want to be your role model.

I like this idea of not being fearful–this is coming from someone who has been shy and has had anxiety, which is just a lot of fear.

What I didn’t like

I don’t know how sincere Arianna is. Is she the kind of person that would back-bite another woman, calling her fat behind her back, or openly to her face?

While I love a lot of the things Arianna wrote, it’s not so easy to turn off fear. If you’ve been scared of something your whole life, how are you just supposed to quit being afraid of it? It’s hard to turn off such a strong emotion and the connection that goes with it. I like Arianna’s ideas, but it’s not so easy as flipping a switch.


Try to be a little less fearful in your life.

Weigh in

Do you have fears you’ve carried with you your entire life?

Do you think women have more fears than men?

#748 The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Network Marketing People by Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Network Marketing People by Stephen R. CoveyThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective Network Marketing People by Stephen R. Covey

What are good habits to have as a highly effective network marketing professional? Well, Stephen explains seven of them in this book. These seven habits are, of course, from his other highly successful book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, known the world over. These seven habits are explained in terms of network marketing in this short book.

What I liked

I like the idea of breaking effective habits down into seven areas. I have not yet read Stephen’s main book. I do like the idea of first seeking to understand, then to be understood. I also like the idea of questioning whether your endeavors are spiritually fulfilling. I know this bit comes from Stephen’s religion, but it’s good to question whether something helps you grow spiritually as a person, even if you don’t believe in any higher power. Do you feel that this project nourishes you or sucks the life out of you?

What I didn’t like

I don’t entirely understand the concept of networking. To me, looking in from the outside as an introvert, the term “networking” sounds an awful lot like bragging to strangers about yourself. First of all, I’m shy. Second of all, why should I go around telling everyone what I can do? Third of all, does it even work? I’ve never gotten a job because I “knew someone.” I’ve gotten jobs because I applied for them. I showed up. I backed up my skills. That’s how I got my jobs.

I somewhat get that within your field, you’re supposed to know other people within your field. If you’re an artist, you find other artists and maybe you just talk about making artwork, whatever, you know…but this whole practice of going out of your way, to talk to strangers, about yourself is so weird. I have no personal proof that it works, or that it even helps with anything. For all I know, people would think I was a big dork for walking up to them and telling them what all I could do.

While I do like the framework of Covey’s seven habits, networking is a concept that has yet to be proven for me. I wish someone would write a book about networking from the perspective of an introvert, or someone with social anxiety. Maybe then, I could understand what in the heck the big deal was. To me, if you want to succeed in life, do good work, place it out into the world, back it up with your knowledge and skill and if that’s up to snuff, you’ll get somewhere.


I need a book about the seven habits of highly effective sleepers, because I could use some sleep right now.

Weigh In

Do you get networking?

Do you like the idea of seven habits?