Self-Help

Lessons for Life in Small, Tasty Bites

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Small Bites 4.0 by Jim Yarbrough

5 star

5 Stars

Small Bites 19058879Many of life’s lessons are packed into this powerful book. Filled with stories, anecdotes and quotes, Small Bites invites the reader to enjoy – no, savor – the author’s wisdom in “small bites.” Broken into discreet chapters and themes, it offers a series of short stories with lessons learned, acronyms, and structured outlines to help the reader remember salient points, and page breaks to give them time to jot down their own thoughts.

At its heart, this is a management book for life. But it’s more than that. It’s a guide intended to help the discerning reader find an easier path on the road of life. Light on spirituality but heavy on profundity, the book weaves the strands of wisdom from many ancient and modern philosophies into a beautiful tapestry of poetry and prose. Few books quote Gandhi, Michael Josephson, Mark Twain, John Wooden, and others with such eloquence.

I enjoyed the personal stories that the author shared showing his humanity and his quest to rise above the challenges that made him a better person. Not many writers are so willing to share some of the most difficult – and compromising – moments of their lives with an unknown audience, but Yarbrough did. And he did it with class, using his own lessons learned to demonstrate a better way the reader can follow.

The author wrote this book for his three children. It’s a labor of love they can cherish forever. He could have kept this treasure to himself or in the family, but he chose instead to share it with all of us. I appreciate his sincerity and learned at least one take-away in each chapter applicable to my own life. This is the kind of book you don’t read once; you read it over and over again to glean new insights. If I have any quibble about this wonderful book, it is this – I hope that the author’s next book will expound more on his own great quotes.

I give Small Bites five (5) stars and highly recommend it to anyone with an open mind, a willingness to learn, and who enjoys wisdom in small, succinct bites.

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The Copia

An Excellent Analysis of Managing Behaviors That Got Me Hooked

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Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

By Nir Eyal with Ryan Hoover

5 star

5 Stars

Author Nir Eyal synthesized and dispensed some of the best work from his website into this great book on consumer behavior and building products that encourage their usage. Organized into chapters that break down basic human habits and responses in a theoretical way, it offers concrete examples of organizations that are now among the most successful at building habit-forming products. Its Hook Model is an easy-to-understand method for applying complex concepts related to human behavior and responses to business applications. Although focused largely on the technology sector, the ideas the author presents are applicable to any company or individual looking to build something better.

Mr. Eyal’s book itself is a habit-forming product. He leaves the reader with a memorable model that they can use in their own businesses and encourages them to return to his website for more insights. Not many theory books take applicability to the level Mr. Eyal’s does. I appreciated his sincere caution that the Hook Model be used for positive ends and acknowledgement that it can be used to foster addictions.

This relatively short book is a great road map that points the reader in the right direction to build great products but may not go far enough for some. It will also be dated in a year or two when today’s “hot” companies become passé. Nevertheless, his theories on human behavior may well prove timeless.

I give the book five stars and highly recommend it to anyone looking to design better content, goods, or services.

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Basic Beginner’s Guide but Others May Be Better

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Publish Children’s Books by Caterina Christakos

3 star

3 Stars

The title of Caterina Christakos’ short guide sold me on it, but a short read later left me wondering if I should have picked a different book. It’s very short – perhaps ten pages. While packed with information, it does not offer many new tips or suggestions for authors who have already published one or more books. The guide offers some money-saving advice that could prove valuable but is generally available elsewhere. It does not go far enough in giving the reader value for their money by offering more options. In the audio books section, for example, it did not make reference to Audible.com, Amazon’s audio bookseller, or producing an audiobook using Amazon’s ACX. Perhaps this was an oversight or the guide needs to be updated.

Although advertised as a resource for publishing children’s books, the guide is applicable to writers of many genres. This is a plus in that you don’t have to be a children’s writer to get something out of it. On the other hand, a children’s writer may not find Ms. Christakos’ guide useful enough to make it worth buying.

There are other, better reference materials on publishing children’s books, including free options such as newsletters and publishing guides for writers that provide more in-depth information. If you are a beginning author who needs some general information to get started, this might be the book for you if it’s reasonably priced. If not, take a pass and check out other resources.

Publishing Children’s Books is now available at:

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