(Adapted from www.diyplanner.com) Last month, I was reading an article about Daniel Pink and how he went to Japan to study the art and culture surround...more(Adapted from www.diyplanner.com) Last month, I was reading an article about Daniel Pink and how he went to Japan to study the art and culture surrounding Japanese comics, otherwise known as manga. He was interested in the format's popularity; this was a book format that people of all ages enjoyed reading. He studied the culture and the form to see how it could be applied to other disciplines successfully. The Adventures of Johnny Bunko is the result of that study. This introductory guide on life design and career planning in today's modern workplace uses the manga format to weave a story about a man who learns more about life and work in six easy lessons. It's a fast read, filled with entertaining scenarios, and some short but powerful ideas on how to get ahead in your career.
The book tells the story of Johnny Bunko, "who is a lot like you and me." He's gone to school, graduated, and has a job in a company and department that he's not sure whether or not he wants anymore. While getting food for another late night of work, he has a run-in with a "fairy god-friend", named Diana. His world and workplace are never the same after meeting her. She's a whiz at helping people find their truth and teaches them what it means to live the life they want to have. Through the use of magical chopsticks and some helpful wisdom, Johnny Bunko learns how to transform his life and pursue the career he dreamt of having.
Pink distills Diana's wisdom down into six statements. These statements hold basic truths that anyone who works these days can tap into and relate to:
1. There is no plan. 2. Think strengths, not weaknesses. 3. It's not about you. 4. Persistence trumps talent. 5. Make excellent mistakes. 6. Leave an imprint.
While none of these lessons are mind shattering, (many are spoken time and time again by "the productivity gurus", like Covey and Allen), what makes these principles stick is in the presentation-- story and artwork. Pink's creative plot and Rob Ten Pas's manga artwork work together to illustrate (literally) how individuals can apply each statement into various working aspects of their lives. This format easily allows anyone at a modest reading level to read and understand what each statement means and how they can apply it to their working life. Johnny Bunko fumbles his way through each lesson to learn exactly what he needs to do to get his career to align with his dreams. This book gives readers permission to play the "what-if" game and think about how they can get from where they are to where they want to be in life.
I'm not an expert on critiquing manga art. But I will say that I enjoyed Rob Ten Pas's black-and-white pen line art. The lines are crisp and clean and the comic book format was not hard to follow at all. Each pane flows into one another smoothly. This marriage between written storytelling and comic/movie story-boarding works in the book's favor. In a world where the written word is becoming the "last minute pastime", the manga format helps to draw people back to books. When you read a manga, it's more like you are reading a movie. Many people are visual learners and I think that if more books were written in this style, it would help break down and drive complex ideas (such as life design and career planning) into visual ways that people can just see how to apply these concepts to their own situations.
The Adventures of Johnny Bunko is a great graduation gift for those entering the job force soon. It offers any graduate, from high school to college, the chance to read through, learn, and see how these statements actually do and can apply to their own lives. The first non-fiction book to be written in a comic format, I sure hope it's not the last. Johnny Bunko is highly entertaining and the artwork aids in retaining the information inside the book. While it's not really "the last career guide you will ever need" per se, it IS a good book to keep around and read over and over again when you want to remind yourself of: where you are in life and whether or not your work, values and hobbies align with your ultimate vision of who and what you want to be doing in this world. Visit the book's website to learn more about it and to see an excerpt.(less)
(Adapted from www.diyplanner.com) The ultimate dream for any artist and crafter is to be able to open up a shop where they can sell their creations and...more(Adapted from www.diyplanner.com) The ultimate dream for any artist and crafter is to be able to open up a shop where they can sell their creations and make a living from their passion. Thanks to sites like Ebay and Etsy, crafters can do just this. For those of you who think you might want to eventually swap out your 9-5 job to pursue a business based off your creative designs, then Craft, Inc.: Turn your creative hobby into a business, by Meg Mateo Ilasco, is your guide into getting your business started
Mateo Ilasco uses Craft, Inc. to hit all the major points of starting your own crafty company. Her writing is crisp and tailored perfectly to today's crafting audience. The chapters are loosely organized around topics such as: starting a new business; overview of business topics; making your product identity; marketing (with heavy emphasis on internet and trade show techniques); production and pricing; and how to live beyond the dream. She teaches you how to make business and marketing plans and how to act when you're invited to trade shows. The book also contains many internet resources to help you along the way to turning your crafting hobby into a profitable business.
Craft, Inc. contains a lot of good information over a very broad scope. Mateo Ilasco covers a lot of ground in 160 pages. I'd almost recommend that you read this book twice. Once to see the variety of information in the book and a second time to really understand what to do with the information. There are lots of check lists to make sure that you have what it takes to open shop or successfully attend a trade show. She also includes some very good questions to ask yourself about why you are doing what you are doing with your craft and business. The book includes many positive success-story interviews, illustrating that craft businesses can and do make it in the real world.
I personally loved the final chapter, "Ups, Downs, and Next Steps". While knowing business plans and marketing styles is important, this chapter goes into the specifics of what to do if your design gets plagiarized, or if you burn out quickly, or want to end your business because it's not doing as well as expected. These are important things that happen to new entrepreneurs and usually get glanced over or forgotten from most business-oriented books.
On the flipside, while the book contains a lot of information, the information it does contain tends to be broad and generalized. This is a book that caters to craft-people but it should be read in conjunction with other business books out there. For example, the book talks a lot about marketing and where to go to market your wares. But it doesn't really tell you the specifics of making a great marketing plan that grows with your business over the years. I also would have liked to see more interviews with crafters; especially one or two where turning their hobby into a full-time business didn't live up to their expectations. Adding a touch of realism to all the bright and shiny success stories would ground this cheery, "can do" book back into reality. Craft, Inc. also focuses mostly on US markets and techniques, so I'm not sure how useful this book would be on a global scale; even though Mateo Ilasco does mention outsourcing globally.
The bottom line is that Craft, Inc. is a good, solid book to introduce basic business principles to crafters who think they want to open shop and sell their items. It gives you a complete view of the business process from creation to ending your business gracefully. Like most craft books on the market, this one has a nice graphic design and color scheme that seems to cater to woman crafters over men. But don't let that fool you as Mateo Ilasco does illustrate that the book works for anyone. (less)
This book, a gift from my friend Taylor, surprised me a bit. Its about balancing your inner self through a series of compassionate exercises. The book...moreThis book, a gift from my friend Taylor, surprised me a bit. Its about balancing your inner self through a series of compassionate exercises. The book talks about buddhicitta, a way of awakening yourself by walking a middle path. It shows you how to sit with yourself and accept all the things that make you an individual-- the good and the bad. Just sitting around is something I don't do often and I know I need to face up to what I am rather than just being a human doing. I know I've picked up some good ideas for things I can do and be more aware of and know that another two or three readings of this book is in order. Overall, an interesting read and a good one for those who want to delve deeper into their own being. (less)
Another book borrowed from the library, this one helps people try and deepen their understanding of comics. McCloud goes thru a bit of comic history a...moreAnother book borrowed from the library, this one helps people try and deepen their understanding of comics. McCloud goes thru a bit of comic history and then describes several techniques to how to really understand what is going on in the comic format. The book was interesting and also follows a comic book format but I found that the style was a bit hard to read in some places and didn't keep my attention as best as it should have. (less)
I'm drawn into books that help better myself. I borrowed this book from the library after being recommended it by amazon. Mary Anne Radmacher is an ar...moreI'm drawn into books that help better myself. I borrowed this book from the library after being recommended it by amazon. Mary Anne Radmacher is an artist and a wordsmith whose book reflects upon several tenants on how to live one's life. She says this book is a commonplace book... a book of reflections over life events, teachings and thoughts. It's mapped over one of her more famous poems (her work can be seen everywhere. She's also a Oregon Coast artist) and includes many quotable passages as well as exercises. (less)
As a fiction writer, I'm charged with creating characters that my audience will enjoy. Ballon's book takes writers thru the process of creating well-r...moreAs a fiction writer, I'm charged with creating characters that my audience will enjoy. Ballon's book takes writers thru the process of creating well-rounded characters using various psychological techniques. She describes lots of ways to make quirky, real characters by allowing yourself to examine them as they interact the real world. This books has lots of exercises and does get into how to make villians (shadow characters) as well. It was a good read and I'll be using many techniques in my own stories to make my characters more real. (less)
I'm in a constant state of de-cluttering my home, it seems. I frequently check out various home simplification and de-cluttering books. This was one t...moreI'm in a constant state of de-cluttering my home, it seems. I frequently check out various home simplification and de-cluttering books. This was one that amazon recommended to me and I borrowed it from the library. Instead of just going with the various de-cluttering tips and tricks and whatnot, this book describes how to scale things down and really have only the things you love with you. What I liked about this book were the stories they included about themselves or others who are on the path to decluttering. As a result of this book, I have finally shaped up my closet after a few years of getting rid of things. I'm also learning which knick-knacks I want to get rid of and what things I do want to keep in my house. (less)
Lately I've been reading a lot of books on Tao and Buddhism and when I heard about this book (which combines my love for tarot in with the eastern sid...moreLately I've been reading a lot of books on Tao and Buddhism and when I heard about this book (which combines my love for tarot in with the eastern side of things), I knew I had to get it. It's an interesting blending of eastern and western thought patterns. It follows the Tao Te Ching rather than the traditional structure of the cards themselves and tries to tie the tarot in with this ancient book of tao. Slightly different than what I expected... this book gives in-depth interpretations on how one would read tarot cards with a eastern mind (it also includes the more traditional western meanings as well). I'm hoping to attempt to incorporate some of these ideas into my own readings.(less)
Given to me by my mother-in-law, I was a bit hesitant. It's urban fantasy (which I love) with some romance thrown in. Thinking it'd end up some being...moreGiven to me by my mother-in-law, I was a bit hesitant. It's urban fantasy (which I love) with some romance thrown in. Thinking it'd end up some being steamier than it was, I can honestly say I was a bit surprised. It's a love story, with magickal workings thrown in. The characters are well rounded and quirky, the plot kept me on my toes (even if I found it a bit slow to begin with), and totally engrossing (started it yesterday and finished in under a day). Some good quotes in this one that I'll be transcribing. (less)
I've just started a new writing group with a friend and we've had our first meeting the last week of July. We're a small group, 6-8 people who have va...moreI've just started a new writing group with a friend and we've had our first meeting the last week of July. We're a small group, 6-8 people who have varied interests and goals. So I got this book to help me get a bit of focus on what types of groups are out there and how we should approach our own group. I have the feeling that ours is going to be a mix of the types Reeves spoke of, with a sprinkle and dash of our craziness and silliness. :) All in all a good book that gave me much to think on. (less)
This book gives suggestions and exercises for women who want to dig deeper and uncover what their soul purpose is. For many of us, we lose our way and...moreThis book gives suggestions and exercises for women who want to dig deeper and uncover what their soul purpose is. For many of us, we lose our way and Anderson believes that it only takes one weekend to examine what is going on to change it and become something new. I loved reading the mini-retreat stories from others and what they uncovered about themselves in this book. It was also engaging enough to keep reading during my past weekend getaway camping with friends. (less)