Archive | Books RSS feed for this section

Book Review: But Wait…There’s More!

24 Jan

But Wait...There's More

I was advised to “watch informercials to learn how to market your business,” by my friend who wants me to start making real money. I was more than happy to read a book to expand my knowledge.

However, I really wasn’t prepared for the first book I decided to read, “But Wait…There’s More! Tighten Your Abs, Make Millions, and Learn How the $100 Billion Informercial Industry Sold Us Everything but the Kitchen Sink” by Remy Stern. This is a great book!

The only real expectations I had were: 1) a chronological history of the industry and 2) the strategies and words used to get people to buy obvious crap. What I got was an entertaining, in-depth view of the “pitch” business.  Stern provided more detail than I ever imaged. Did you know that the pitch began at carnivals and street festivals?  Some of the industry pioneers sold things on Chicago’s famous Maxwell Street.

Other interesting facts divulged include:

  1. How it was determined to sell to people at night
  2. The lack of integrity and questionable backgrounds of the people behind many of the products we see. Many of these people have served jail time, lost their professional licenses and make crappy products on purpose
  3. One informercial writer charges $15,000 for a half-hour segment
  4. The network’s roles in the longevity of the industry
  5. How much industry makes annually

What I really enjoyed about the book, though, was the way Stern intertwined information about how the industry works with the people of the industry. Instead of separating historical facts, the people, the networks, etc. by individual chapters, he just made it a well-organized story that was amazingly entertaining and easy to follow.

This book is an accidental blessing and highly recommended. Have you read, “But Wait…There’s More”? What are your thoughts?

Image: usatoday


Let’s Promote Our Books, Write Some Letters and Indulge in our Hobbies

3 Jan

You know I’m overly-scholastic, right? I found out that January is Book Blitz Month, Business & Reference Books Month, Letter Writing Month and Hobby Month.

All of them are self-explanatory except Book Blitz. According to Boston University’s site, “National Book Blitz Month, which was created by a public relations executive to encourage authors to promote their own books, focuses attention on improving the relationships between authors and the media in order to create a best-selling book.”

Following are ways I’m going to honor these observances:

  1. Book Blitz: Promote my ABCs of Blogging: Blogging Basics from A to Z and ABCs of Live Blogging: Quick Tips for Live Blogging Success. I’m going to really work on those media relationships.ABCs of Blogging eBook CoverThe ABCs of Live Blogging e-book
  2. Business and Reference Books Month: I am going to indulge in The Handbook of Executive Communications, edited by John Louis DiGaetani. This book was an accidental blessing that I found at Harold Washington Library.
  3. Letter Writing: I am going to handwrite at least 2 letters this month. (Hopefully the recipients can read it.)
  4. Hobby Month: I have been wanting scrapbook for months, but my business is a priority. This is the perfect opportunity to break out with my paper and scissors while letting my imagination and creativity flow.

Marcie Hill's Scrapbook and Card Projects

Those are my plans for these observances. How will you participate?

Marcie’s Book Review: “How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One”

4 Nov

How to write a sentence - Stanley Fish

No disrespect to Professor Stanley Fish, the author of “How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One,” but this book is too long and too complicated to teach people how to write a sentence.

First of all, a book on how to write a sentence should NOT be 163 pages. That’s even intimidating to a writer like me who love words, sentences and paragraphs.  But, I guess you have to be a highly scholastic student or practitioner of writing to appreciate the content and number of pages. And, you shouldn’t need a dictionary to read about how to write sentences.

Speaking of content, let me share some of the chapter titles with you.

  • The Subordinating Style (Chapter 5) – What does that mean?
  • The Additive Style (Chapter 6) – If I think food, I may get it.
  • The Satiric Style: The Return of Content (Chapter 7) – Are you kidding me????

Oh, the words on the pages get better: “Prepositional phrases”, “past or present participles”, “adverbs”, “nouns” and “adjectives.” Although I know I use those things in my writings and blog posts in any given day, I cannot tell you what the first two terms mean. So, what this means is…I am NOT Smarter than a 5th Grader.

To add insult to injury, check out this statement. They confuse a taxonomy of the parts of a speech with an analysis of a sentence’s logical structure.Riiiightt.

One interesting statement that screamed at me was, “…verbal fluency is the product of hours spent writing about nothing.” This confirms that the more you write, the better you get at speaking. But here’s my concern: Would you make sense??

But the next sentence would really mess you up if  you really wanted to write sentences: “Nonsense sentences – sentences that display a logical arrangement of components, but are without a discernible message – may be the best material.” Not only will you NOT know how to write sentences,  you will sound illogical just like my prior statement did –  even if your words are arranged in a logical manner.

It is not until you reach Chapter 4 that you find out what a good sentence is and how to write one. That is…if you can make it through the first three chapters of big words and long explanations. Yes, that was ONLY three chapters.

Anyhoo, I am going to end here. I was really excited about this book until I saw the number of pages. And the content? Forget it. “How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One” will be gracing the shelves of my local library tomorrow. If Mr. Fisher wrote anything about how to read a sentence, I missed it because of my efforts to understand how to write one.

This book has inspired me on two levels. One, when I write my writing book, I promise it will be 100 pages or less. And two, I will use simple, every day words that aspiring writers, novice writers and more experienced writers can relate to and understand without a dictionary.

If you have read “How to Write A Sentence” and can explain it in laymen terms and simple words, I would love to hear from you.

If You Find This Book, Buy it For Me…I’ll Pay You Back

10 Sep

I found this awesome book at Harold Washington Library and would like to own it, but I don’t want to pay the $25 asking price of Amazon. Therefore, if you see it at a thrift store or used book store, pick it up for me. But don’t pay more than $5 for it. I’ll pay you back.  Thanks!

Let's Get Serious About Teaching Children to Write - Jerral Hicks


Be Careful What You Wish For…Even with Books

4 Sep

I absolutely love books. There were two books in particular I really wanted: The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith and The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill.

So, I got what I wanted. And boy… did I get it.

How about The Wealth of Nations has over 1,200 pages and The Law of Success has over 600?! Nation has small print and NO pictures; Success is bigger in size and print, but I’m not sure about pictures.

The mere thought of reading these books is overwhelming. I know I will be so much smarter and enlightened after reading them, but geez!

I  just wanted to share my mild state of shock and to remind you to be careful what you wish for…even with books.

Have you ever desired a book and was shocked by the number of pages? Share your story.

Marcie’s Top 10 “Must Read” Black History Books

30 Aug

I absolutely love reading Black history books. I feel like an Educated Negro even though I have not read half the books that have been written. Anyway, allow me to share some of the more popular Black history books. I have only read half of these books, but I can’t wait to get to the rest.  If you just have to read one book on this list, read The Mis-Education of the Negro. I promise you, this will be the best education from a book you can get. I love Carter G.!

Enjoy the list.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  1. The Mis-Education of the Negro – Carter G. Woodson
  2. Brainwashed – Tom Burrell
  3. When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America – Paula Giddings
  4. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
  5. The Soul of Black Folks – W.E.B. DuBois
  6. Anything by Frederick Douglass
  7. An Autobiography of Black Chicago – Dempsey Travis
  8. Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City – St. Clair Drake and Horace R. Clayton
  9. Manchild in the Promise Land – Claude Brown
  10. The Spook who Sat by the Door – Sam Greenlee

What are some of your favorite Black history books?

Marcie Recommends: Believe You Can: The Power of a Positive Attitude

26 Aug

Believe You Can by John Mason

Believe You Can: The Power of a Positive Attitude by John Mason is an easy-to-read book of positive words and affirmations. I saw this book in Walgreens on Tuesday. After flipping through a few pages that really made me feel good, I knew I just had to have it. I purchased it on Wednesday, and I pick it up every chance I get.

It is a book of small topical chapters, with the first one encouraging you to be yourself.  But, check out some of the other quotes that really jumped out at me.

“You can succeed at almost anything for which you have limitless enthusiasm. The world belongs to the enthusiastic.”  Even if you don’t have the talent to do what you want to do, your enthusiasm will keep you going and attract the people you need to make it happen.

“Every problem introduces a person to himself.”

“To finish first you must first finish.” Just know that starting is the biggest challenge.

“Persistent people begin their success where most others quit.”

“Most people’s ‘life regrets’ come from failing to act when they have an opportunity.”

Here’s the best one I read today was by Edward H. Richards:

“A wise old owl sat on an oak;

The more he saw the less he spoke;

The less he spoke the more he heard;

Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?”

Don’t walk out to get this book. Run! It will bless your spirit!

Do you have any books you’d like to recommend that will help move people forward in life and purpose?