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Derek Sivers just posted more book reviews. That makes today a good day.

So, I've mentioned Derek before around these parts. He's a very sharp guy. Actually, I think his book reviews here - http://sivers.org/book - are basically the best on the internet.

You can get more nuanced, flowery, beautifully written reviews elsewhere. But you can't find as much raw distilled practicality as you will in Derek's reviewing. He takes notes and excerpts as he's reading, and puts his notes online when he's done with the book. 90% of one of his reviews are excerpts, with only 10% commentary.

This in and of itself is actually kind of rare, but other people do that too. What really sets Derek's reviews apart is that he picks the right stuff to excerpt. He's able to separate the fluffy parts of a book from the most actionable and impactful parts. A long, fluffy story that's meant to rouse the heart might get a single line in a Sivers review, but then he'll distill down the most practical elements into a mixed summary checklist that becomes extremely valuable. Since I personally look for practical advice rather than flowery emotional content, this suits me very well.

For instance, check out his review of Chet Holmes "Ultimate Sales Machine" - http://sivers.org/book/UltimateSalesMachine - first, I gotta agree with him on the 10/10. It's one of my top five favorite business books. But then look at how he chooses to excerpt -

TEN STEPS TO IMPLEMENT ANY NEW POLICY: 1. Get everyone to feel the pain 2. Hold a workshop to generate solutions 3. Develop a conceptual solution or procedure 4. Leader personally performs procedure or task 5. Set a deadline for testing the conceptual procedure 6. Document step-by-step procedure or process 7. Have show-and-tell role playing 8. Have another workshop on how to improve 9. Monitor the procedure directly 10. Measure and reward the outcome

A Starting Point

On The Happy Dolphin

So I read this awesome post on buzzfeed: College Students Explain why Feminism is Important.

It kind of blew me away. As a woman, I've never considered myself a feminist. I grew up in a very conservative home and culture that did not emphasize gender equality. In fact, I would probably say the opposite - not that it was explicit that women did the housework and men mowed the lawn... I think more probably that it just kind of happened that way and my parents didn't do anything to change it. My dad worked away from home most weeks, so there was never a male role model to show my brothers what a man looks like doing dishes, vacuuming, or contributing to the household. My mom worked full time and managed most of that as well. From when I can remember, it was typically the girls who cleaned up before mom got home. We were the ones who scrambled to pick up the toys and tidy up. I mean, honestly, none of us did a very good job. But I will say that it would seem that it was expected that the girls were the ones in charge of making the house look good, keeping things managed, and organizing. Which is kind of funny, because my mom was an excellent model of what a working woman looked like. She's the reason I even went into the medical field and aspired to have a full time career.

That aside, I never fully realized until I got into the working world how frequently women encounter points of view that are demeaning towards them. Co-workers, clients... I have a list of comments made, mostly in jest, that have been said to me since entering the work force. Some of them even from my female friends, though said jokingly, have shocked me. One particular comment comes to mind in which a friend of mine indicated that I got my recent schedule changes because of sexual favors to my boss. While she was kidding, I was completely taken aback. I have also noticed that male opinions expressed confidently, and sometimes overly so, are at least tolerated. When a female expresses strong opinions there is a slight undercurrent that she is just being "hard to handle." If you read the article, I believe a young woman expressed this perfectly with a sign that states "I need feminism because speaking my mind shouldn't make me a bitch..."

I am married to a wonderful man who shares responsibility, values my opinions, and fully believes I can do anything. I think this helped cushion the blow a bit. I also know many wonderful women and gentlemen who hold very respectful and progressive ideals about women. But for each person that does, it would seem that there are just as many who are still unfortunately in the dark ages. And this is in America...I don't pretend to have any notion about those who have grown up in countries where rape is regularly overlooked, where women are not allowed to drive a car, where girls are married at 13 and treated as property. While this probably does happen in the land of the free as well, these are regular and accepted parts of life for many women, and that breaks my heart. The women who stand up for themselves, who fight against the "norm", these are the brave awesome women I hope to someday teach my daughters about. I would hope to teach my girls that no matter what they want to be they have that potential. It may be a stay at home mom. It may be a marine biologist. It may be a nurse. Whatever they decide to do, hard work can help get you there.

But we've still got a long way to go. For each flippant "but you're a woman. you wouldn't know anything about that" said jokingly in the staff office, the "girls aren't suppose to do that" shouted by each little boy on the playground, each "bitch" muttered under someones breath... there's a step backward. So often under the guise of "joking" we get away with sexism, and this truly bothers me.

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