Non-Fiction, Reference, Self-help, Social Commentary, Teller-Astro, Teller-Danielle

#1029 Sacred Cows: The Truth about Divorce and Marriage by Danielle Teller and Astro Teller

#1029 Sacred Cows: The Truth about Divorce and Marriage by Danielle Teller and Astro Teller was originally published on One-elevenbooks

Borgenicht-David, Non-Fiction, Piven-Joshua, Self-help, Worick-Jennifer

#986 The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: College by Joshua Piven, David Borgenicht, and Jennifer Worick

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: College by Joshua Piven, David Borgenicht, and Jennifer WorickThe Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: College by Joshua Piven, David Borgenicht, and Jennifer Worick

Many of us went to college and many of us had many questions about how college works. It’s difficult to go from being a kid to being responsible for your own life and education. This handbook has a few bits of advice that might be helpful in your college education.

What I liked

Some of this book was humorous.

What I didn’t like

This was a farce. This is not an actual advice book. It’s a joke book. While some of the studying advice could be highly useful, it seems that the rest of the book is all about how to find a party school, how to sleep in class, how to hook up in the library and about fifty different ways to open a beer bottle. While some amount of street knowledge is nice to have, it’s not really the be-all and end-all of life. College is way too darn expensive to read something like this and take it as actual advice for how to get through college.

A more appropriate use of an advice handbook for college would be advice on how to get through  college with the least amount of student loans possible. Am I right? Yes, you know I’m right–praise Jesus, Amen, all that, and a bag of chips!

On the one hand, I’m pretty sure this book was supposed to be a goof; on the other hand, how many college students who read this would take this advice to heart? Oh, there’s advice in this book about how to stall for time when the professor asks you a question? I’m in! This means I won’t actually have to read the text-book!

The Worst-Case Survival  Scenario board game is the worst thing ever and a lot of the trivia is wrong, so I didn’t exactly expect high quality from this book after playing that awful board game, but I expected at least an attempt at something. It took three people to write this book? Three? Really? Were they conferring on all the different ways to slack off at college and make a mockery of that 40K + you’re spending on a college education? I could write a book, of this length or longer, about all the ways to screw up your college education by myself. Let’s start off with advice on skipping class and extra classwork, then work our way up to vandalizing school property and getting an academic dismissal.


Did you know that BJU(Bob Jones University) is right down the road from FU(Furman University)? True story.

Weigh In

What was some good advice someone gave you about college?

Did you find advice about being a slacker just as helpful as advice about being serious about college?


One time, I was in a Mexican Restaurant with my boyfriend and there was this large group of very conservatively dressed young people. They were college aged and we guessed they were from BJU, out on the road, for something. Most of them were quite awkward and the conversation from the table was awkward. There was one girl after some guy, but he wasn’t interested, or something, but at least I had tacos.

#986 The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: College by Joshua Piven, David Borgenicht, and Jennifer Worick was originally published on One-elevenbooks

How To, Musashi-Miyamoto, Non-Fiction, Self-help

#976 The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi

The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto MusashiThe Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi

In this book Miyamoto describes all the ways in which you can take down your opponent. It’s best to stay on the point and always try to keep the upper-hand or advantage. He describes moves you can use on your opponent divided into five individual books inside of this book. There is the book of the Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Heart…joking, it’s actually the book of the Void, which was what the last Planeteer was named before everyone found the Planeteer of the Void too sulky and emo, then they got a Planeteer of the heart instead.

What I liked

For a  book that ended up being about sword fighting, this wasn’t so bad. This was probably one of the older books I’ve read. It was written in 1645. Apparently, it had developed a following among business people as well as swordspeople.

What I didn’t like

You can tell, quite easily, that this book was written by someone who did not speak English. While it may be endearing in ways, it does make the book more difficult to read as an English speaker. This book has been translated many times, so it’s not necessarily Miyamoto’s fault. He knew Japanese, so he wrote in Japanese, which makes complete sense. Whoever translated didn’t exactly do a wonderful job of making the words flow in English, but maybe the entire point of translating the way it was translated was to let people know that a Japanese person had written it, but not in English. If that was the case, then they did a great job, whoever “they” was/were.

I’m not a sword fighter, so  a lot of the information seemed irrelevant to me.


Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Only the Avatar, master of all four elements, could stop them, but when the world needed him most, he vanished“…sorry, wrong story.

Weigh In

If you were a Planeteer, what would you want to be the Planeteer of?

Have you found books about war and fighting to be helpful in other areas of life?

#976 The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi was originally published on One-elevenbooks

Bancroft-Lundy, Non-Fiction, Self-help, Social Commentary

#950 Why Does he do That by Lundy Bancroft

Why Does he do That by Lundy BancroftWhy Does he do That by Lundy Bancroft

Simply put, if you suspect, even a little, that you might be a relationship, or that you’ve been in a relationship, with an emotionally abusive person, you should read this book.

In my own research, trying to figure out why certain things in life have happened to me when I did nothing to deserve those things, I came across recommendations for this book. I was pleased with the subject content.

Lundy runs a program that attempts to reform men who have been abusive, both physically and mentally. This program was really one of the first programs of its kind.

This book describes behavior of the abusive person, why they do it, and what you can do. Unfortunately, the what you can do part is most often getting away rather than reforming because reforming is incredibly rare.

If you’re looking for a text-book explanation of what mental abuse is or can be, this book has you covered.

What I liked

Although this book is full of a terrible subject matter, it is highly useful. I read this book and feelings I had about relationships in the past were confirmed. I was right to trust my gut and err on the side of caution in many cases. I dealt with a “Mr. Right,” as in, someone who is always right, no matter what, you’re always to blame, you’re not as smart as they are, and they seem to have an opinion about everything. I didn’t really have a description for this before I read this book, but it fits.

This book confirmed that my actions were correct, or mostly correct, in dealing with this person. I would have liked to have known more of this when I was in the situation. I would have made different decisions, that got me out of the situation faster.

What I didn’t like

Despite having all of this explained, no one has a right to do any of this behavior, whether they be man or woman, but it still happens. These people don’t think they’re doing anything wrong because of their sense of entitlement, so they’re not just going to wake up one day and realize what they’re doing is awful. They don’t think they’re bad people, and in truth, they may not be all bad, but they’re abusive and it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

Everyone else just has to deal with it or escape it. There isn’t really the option of reforming this person, because it’s like many other things–they have to make the choice on their own to change and if they don’t realize they’re doing anything wrong, they can’t admit they’re doing anything wrong, and therefore cannot start the process of change.

In my experience, you have to get away from the person–cut them out of your life. No phone calls. No emails. No addresses exchange. The less they know about you, the better. The less you know about them, the better. This person, or persons, whatever the case may be, doesn’t have a right to your life. End of story.


You should read this; no matter where you’re coming from this book will help you recognize abuse whether it’s your own life, or a friend’s. This book will point you in a direction that’s productive.

Weigh In

If you’ve had a toxic person in your life, what did you ultimately end up doing in regards to that person?

If you have been in an abusive relationship, spouse-spouse, parent-child, whatever, do you find that it negatively affected your life views from that point forward?

#950 Why Does he do That by Lundy Bancroft was originally published on One-elevenbooks

Brown-Kelly Williams, Non-Fiction, Self-help, Social Commentary

#937 Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown

Adulting by Kelly Williams BrownAdulting by Kelly Williams Brown

Being an adult is not easy sometimes, but never fear, Kelly has written a book that you can follow to become an adult in 468 easy(ish) steps. Kelly really tries to cover all the grounds for being an adult. These include renting an apartment, paying your bills, saving for retirement, taking the higher road in some situations, and generally keeping yourself alive and off of the street.

What I liked

I thought this book was fun, but it certainly wasn’t something I needed. I practically raised my three younger brothers, I worked full-time and went to school full-time when I was getting my first degree. I’ve been married, divorced, bought a house, sold a house, and bought several cars. I’ve paid plenty of bills. I save for retirement and do responsible adult things and I’ve been doing those responsible adult things for quite a while.

Now, that isn’t to say that this book doesn’t have a place, because it totally does. I know of plenty of people who wouldn’t be able to do half of the things in this book without some guidance. There are people who need this. There are twenty-somethings who don’t know how to write checks or have any idea how much it actually costs to live on your own. Newsflash– you have to be making around $40K a year to live comfortably on your own, and that’s not a great comfortable. If some of those twenty-somethings read this book, they might learn a few things and it would be to their benefit.

What I didn’t like

Kelly has a lot of great advice, but there’s some of it that is so-so on the advice scale. Kelly states that buying a used car from a car lot is not a good idea. Yeah, maybe buying a used car from a backwoods car lot, out at a four-way intersection, run out of a single-wide trailer isn’t the greatest idea, but buying a used car from a car lot that also sells new cars, or has certified pre-owned programs isn’t a bad idea. Sometimes, people trade in their cars at the car lot and there’s nothing wrong with them.

Some of Kelly’s social advice seems very superficial. Look, I get that people generally don’t go around talking about their digestive issues, or whatever, upon first meeting, but, you know what, sometimes friendships happen that way. Sometimes you find a person who is in your tribe by talking about something weird and if you hadn’t talked about that weird thing you might have never seen them again.

I also think Kelly has a lot to learn in some aspects, which is fine. We all mature and reach certain mile stones at different points in our lives.


Being an adult means eating zucchini is a choice you made happily.

Weigh In

When did you realize that you were an adult?

Was there some advice someone gave you about being an adult that really helped you out?

#937 Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown was originally published on One-elevenbooks

Abrahamson-Eric, Freedman-David H., Non-Fiction, Self-help, Social Commentary

#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

Maxwell-John C., Non-Fiction, Self-help

#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?