Off The Shelf - June


Monique Melton

Monique Melton is a brand strategist who’s pulling back the curtain on some of her client processes. She helps her clients shine brighter in business and in life. In EntrepreFriendships, Monique discusses the importance of one-on-one, in-person interaction when you’re an entrepreneur, noting that it can sometimes be an isolated world. She discusses the types of events to look for, the types of business relationships that exist, and the five types of people you want to connect with (influencers/connectors, connected to influencers/connectors, influencer/connector supporters, industry colleagues, good connections). Step-by-step, Monique shows how to create and cultivate these special relationships she calls EntrepreFriendships, with sample scripts to use at each stage. She explains why the best mindset to have is that of “support and serve.” The book is filled with action steps, valuable takeaways, and exercises to help you decide who you want to meet, how to get in front of them, how to build that relationship, questions to ask, questions to avoid, how and when to follow up — and much more. This is a great guide for anyone navigating the world of entrepreneurship.


The Start-Up of You

Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

I should have read the description more closely before digging into this book, as it’s really a guidebook for employees to treat themselves as an entrepreneur in today’s economy and workforce, rather than a book for entrepreneurs per se, which is what I was expecting (for no good reason). The book begins by likening cavemen to the self-employed: They had to find their own food and feed their families. The authors talk about the “death of the traditional career path” and how employees are more loyal these days to their horizontal network (their peers/colleagues) than they are to their vertical network (their bosses/management). I haven’t worked in a typical corporate environment for more than 15 years, but most everyone I know in real life does, and these statements both ring true. The authors discuss networkers versus relationship-builders and the importance of having allies and groups/community in your business life. Additionally they discuss how to tap into and use your network. The Start-Up of You includes real-life examples throughout from companies like Zappos, Netflix, PayPal, Pandora, and Airbnb.

This book was full of awesome takeaways/quotes. Here are some of my favorites:

·         “Adaptability creates stability.”

·         “Being better than the competition is basic to an entrepreneur’s survival.”

·         “The Best thing to do is to think and plan two steps ahead.”

·         “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.”

·         “Opportunities do not float like clouds. They are firmly attached to individuals.”

·         “The value and strength of your network are not represented in the number of contacts in your address book.”

Each chapter concludes with specific action steps and networking advice, and the Further Reading section at the back of the book includes descriptions of the books included, which I love!


Still Alice

Lisa Genova

Still Alice is the heartbreaking story of Dr. Alice Howland, a Harvard professor. She begins experiencing more than “usual” forgetfulness but when she gets lost on her daily jog in her own neighborhood, Alice is terrified. At age 50, Alice is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Her journey was frightening and she was unsure how to navigate her new reality, as her job slipped further away until eventually she had to give it up. Alice struggles with hanging onto her sense of self even as it changes by the day.

My heart broke for Alice and her family, and the story reminded me that we don’t always react to news and situations the way maybe we should. I hated daughter Anna’s reaction, focused almost exclusively on the hereditary angle of the disease, as she was battling fertility and consumed with whether she and her future baby might be affected (though as someone with experience in that arena, it rang maybe just a bit too true).

I have not seen the film, but I have heard that it was a wonderful adaptation of this lovely book.

What have you been reading this month? I'd love to hear your suggestions!