Fully-charged review of Thom Singer’s “*Batteries Not Included: 66 Tips to Energize Your Career”

This is my first “official” book review, and it’s taken me a little longer than I had wanted to get it written and posted. The book I’m reviewing, had I read it prior to this review, would have encouraged me not to procrastinate. But alas, that was not to be.

batteries_cover_webThe book, “*Batteries Not Included: 66 Tips to Energize Your Career” is authored by nationally recognized professional speaker Thom Singer. It is a part of New Year Publishing’s “Airplane Book Series,” meaning it “is designed to be read in a coffee shop or airplane.” However, I think it is much more than just a book to read while on a flight to your next destination and then never considered again.

Each of the passages in the book make you think. And if you want to get the most out of the book, that’s exactly what you’ll do as you read it—think about how what Thom writes about is impacting your life and how his advice can help to change that impact into a positive. That’s what is really great about this book. It looks at normal, every day situations that come up, both at and outside the office, and puts a positive spin on them. That is, I think, Thom’s underlying goal in this book, to demonstrate to the reader that as life runs your batteries down, there are simple, positive ways to recharge them and get the most out of life.

There are so many good passages in the book that exemplify and underline this point that it is hard to pick just one to talk about. However, tip #25 “Make an Impact” is a prime example that really speaks to how Thom communicates a message of positive action to his readers.

The tip begins with a very powerful statement: “You have the ability to impact the world around you.” Simple. To the point. But not always something we hear and acknowledge about ourselves and our place in this world. Each and every one of us has the ability to impact this world we live in, some how, some way.

Making an impact in this world. Think about that for a minute. It’s a big thing to tackle, right? Well, not really. Keep reading tip #25 and you see that Thom lays out a very simple way to break down the big into the small in order to then build up the big again.

Here’s what I mean. He writes: “Decide today that you are going to do more with your everyday life. Start small. Look at your current daily activities and find was to put a little something extra into how you tackle the little tasks. Become that person who is known for having that extra spring in their step, regardless of what they are doing. Leave the whining and complaining to someone else.”

In other words, take control of your actions, embrace the tasks you have, and always be bold.

In life, we often wonder why things don’t always go our way. Maybe what we should do when those thoughts enter our minds is to realize that we need to recharge our batteries so that we can tackle the things that are challenging us. Thom Singer’s book is the charger. Read it and your batteries will be charged and you’ll be ready to take on anything that is thrown at you.


Never forget the day the world stopped turning

Where were you on the morning of September 11, 2001?

For my generation, that question is akin to asking my parents where they were when they got the news JFK was shot.

It was a moment during which time stood still. And during those moments, we have time to take it all in.

This is how I remember it:

I was at work, waiting to go to a staff meeting. Our building was located downtown, not far from a Federal building. Teh staff meeting never happened that morning. What did happen was a relentless search for information. I remember hearing the news and trying to log on to CNN, Fox News, MSNBC. None of them would come up. Then I went down to the library and watched with a growing number of other employees the events unfold on live TV.

Then news came that we were to evacuate the building because authorities couldn’t rule out the nearby Federal building as a potential terrorist target.

I drove home listening to the radio in utter disbelief. When I got home, I turned on CNN and sat on the corner of the foot stool watching. Just watching. I called a few people to see if they were okay and to turn on the TV if they could.

In the ensuing days, my community had its annual late summer/fall festival. The gran parade was subdued. There were more people in line ot give blood than were at the craft booths most times. I was one of those people. I wanted to do something.

There are some commentators who say the country on September 10, 2001 was inherently different from the one that rose out of the World Trade Center rubble on September 12, 2001. I don’t know if that’s true.

What I do think is true is that those of us who had never been through a moment like that woke up after the events that morning turned a crystal-clear blue sky into a dust-filled tangle of bent iron, burning flesh, and utter chaos. I think we appreciate the people who put their lives on the line for others more. I think we took a moment to take stock of the things that are really important in life: family, friends, and freedom. I think we understood for the first time in our lives what sacrifice meant and why it is an integral part of the American story.

I also think that what happened is something that should never, ever be forgotten. I will never forget the events of that day and those that immediately followed and how they impacted me. My hope is that you will never forget, too.

Is this newsworthy?

The internet is not a newspaperIn a recent post Heather Whaling on the prTini blog asked “What’s News?
Since I started writing for the local newspaper over a decade ago, this has been a question that I’ve thought quite a bit about. Now, in my position as a nonprofit marketing coordinator, when I have to draft a news release I often have to sort through a barrage of flowery language to get to the core issues that could be considered real news.
Heather’s post intrigued me because she framed her question around the news of the day, or lack of it. Asking why Twitter got more “ink” than Gmail when both had service issues is an interesting way to bring the world of social media into the realm of the news gatekeeper.
I think it would be interesting to inquire of an assignment editor at CNN.com what the thought and decision process was leading up to the posting of the Twitter outage story.  Heather pinpoints the probable response–Twitter is new and exciting. Additionally, an outage effects a lot of people.  But to that point, so does a service outage of Gmail. The “new and exciting” thing is was will get the coverage, though, simply because it is new. You can’t have “News” without “New.”
Heather’s second example is the more interesting one, however. She asks how Sen. Ted Kennedy can posthumously become a bi-partisan mythical hero, when during his life he was the “poster child for ultra-liberal partisanship.”
She argues that his working with senators from the other side of the aisle while alive didn’t merit coverage, but when he died, that was the shining example of his public service career. It just doesn’t make sense.
However, looking at the context of the story, it does.
I think it was important for the news media to highlight the best qualities of Kennedy after he died. When someone of Kennedy’s stature dies, and for the reasons he died (brian cancer) the media can’t play up the controversy surrounding the individual. Instead, the news media has to search for the positive things to say. As the gatekeepers, they feel a responsibility to direct the course of the immediate conversation about how Kennedy will be crafted. They want to be the drivers.
With the growing influence of social media, however, the opportunity for news media gatekeepers to be the drivers on any story of interest’s immediate conversation  is quickly diminishing. That is why it is ever more important for any player in the mediasphere to find the news in a story and get it out there.
In other words, being newsworthy in the age of social media means being direct, interesting, and most importantly engaging.
Photo credit: mfopotos