This year, I started the #12BooksIn12Months challenge to make myself read more. I used to be a complete bookworm, always with my head stuck in a book and eager to collect as many as possible. I’m a bit of a book hoarder as the attic in my house back in Ireland is close to caving in with the weight of all the books.
While at university, reading has definitely fallen to the wayside and I convinced myself that I no longer had time to read. Well, if you read last week’s post all about finding the time to do everything, you’ll know that I no longer make that excuse.
We’ve just began the fourth month of the year and I’m already halfway through my #12BooksIn12Months challenge. I read on my commute to and from work, when I get into bed a little early or when I’m traveling on airplanes and trains (which is quite often). I’ve mainly been reading self-help and motivational books rather than my usual love of fiction and have been really enjoying it.
So I thought I’d share the books that I read and tell you my thoughts on them. Or you can also follow along as and when I finish them on my Instagram stories (you can find all of these on the highlights reel). And I’m hoping to keep up this little book club for a while, reading as many motivational/inspirational books that I can get my hands on, so welcome to Chapter One.
1. Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis
I’ve always strayed from using the word ‘feminist’ as it’s often associated with fierce women that hate men or just spat on by Piers Morgan. However, after reading this book by Scarlett Curtis, I’m no longer afraid to call myself a feminist and talk about feminist issues.
Being a feminist isn’t about hating men and trying to take the ‘Man’ out of everything – no, we don’t care that Manchester starts with ‘Man’ or that there’s even ‘Man’ in ‘Woman’ – we have more important things to worry about. Feminists are concerned with gender pay gaps, female education around the world, how many women sit at the top table and equal rights for women and girls everywhere.
If, like me, you’re not too clued up on what it means to be a feminist or you want to read about issues affecting girls around the world and what you can do to help, I would recommend reading this book. It’s enlightened me to a lot of problems that I was unaware of and made me want to help make a change.
2. Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht
You might know Aliza Licht by her alias, DKNY PR Girl. Aliza was the creator behind the famous Twitter handle that over time, acquired hundreds of thousands of followers, acting as an anonymous ‘PR Girl’ working behind the scenes at all the glitzy events and dishing out gossip, rumours and back stage antics. Think of it as the first ever Gossip Girl.
This book is great for anyone that is just starting out in their career, especially in PR or Fashion. It’s full of great tips for CVs, interviews, internships and asking for promotions.
It reminded me a lot about my time during placement year as it seems every assistant that works in Fashion or Beauty PR has the same nightmares about the ‘PR Cupboard’. It also showed that PR isn’t a 9-5 job and that you should expect to be running all over town, around the office and be prepared to get your hands dirty. It made me miss my PR job but also made me feel excited about getting back into it and gave a lot of tips on how to leave an impression wherever you go.
3. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
I must confess, I wasn’t too fussed on this one. It’s a worldwide renowned book (one of the best-selling books of all time) that a lot of people recommend, but for me it just wasn’t applicable to my current situation. The book was originally written in 1936 and a lot of the examples in the book date back to that time.
I suppose there are general tips on how to communicate with people better, like listen more than you talk, show genuine interest in what the person has to say and show what you can do for someone rather than demand something. However, the book is full of examples and short stories that mainly applied to businessmen (feminist hat is on) and took place in factories.
There wasn’t much that was relevant to today’s society in the digital age or dealing with millennials, so for me it was pretty outdated. As a read, it was ok and it did contain useful tips but it just wasn’t very relevant to the modern day.
4. How to Be an Overnight Success by Maria Hatzistefanis
A book quite similar to Leave Your Mark, How to Be an Overnight Success tells the story of Maria Hatzistefanis who after being fired from her job in finance, went on to create a million dollar beauty company.
The book shows that an ‘Overnight Success’ often comes from years of hard work, but all it takes is one celebrity or influencer to take your business to overnight fame. And I must confess, that back in 2014 when I was infatuated by the celebrity world on social media, I bought three Nip+Fab products from Superdrug because Kylie Jenner said she loved the brand. I remember it clear as day.
Ever since, I’ve been using the Nip+Fab products in my daily skincare routine and owe the clearance of my acne scars to one of their best-selling creams (that I now can’t find anywhere). I had no idea when I started this book that Maria was behind the brand as I only knew her from Rodial – the more luxury skincare brand that she also founded.
Reading this book as a customer, made me feel a lot more connected to the book and even a part of the journey. Along the journey that Maria has taken, she gives advice, talks about lessons learned and speaks a lot about knowing her own brand and knowing herself what was right for every aspect of it. I definitely recommend!
5. The Art and Craft of PR by Sandra Stahl
I was gifted this book last year by LID Publishing and read it as soon as I received it. But I thought I would re-read again as it included some information on Influencer Marketing that could come in useful for my dissertation.
This is a great book for anyone in PR and talks about the history and future of what’s to come. I especially loved the ending of the book which featured a lot of industry professionals giving their advice to PR professionals just starting out or about to start out in the PR world.
I would advise anyone that is studying PR or just graduated to read this book for an insight into PR, great advice from esteemed professionals and examples that you can learn from. It’s very easy to read and I’m hoping to read a lot more PR books that aren’t textbooks or required reading for my course so that I can broaden my horizons a little. Recommendations welcome!
Hopefully I’ll be writing Chapter Two of the book club in the next few months as once I finish university I’ll be back to reading in my spare time and finally get round to listening to more podcasts too!