I first heard about her book from the popular lifestyle blog, A Beautiful Mess. Those ladies impress me with their creativity and business savvy. If t...moreI first heard about her book from the popular lifestyle blog, A Beautiful Mess. Those ladies impress me with their creativity and business savvy. If they found Martha's book helpful, so could I. For years, I have longed to start my own business. Until reading this book, I hadn't been able to land on something that felt right.
I see now why finding my business idea had eluded me for so long: I hadn't been able to value my own interests properly. Martha never belittles what she does or thinks of it as pointless or frivolous. Rather, she waxes poetic about spreading her "good things" message. She believes wholeheartedly that her work is important. Reading a respected figure never once apologize for her passion allowed me to believe there was value in the interests I had quietly nursed along since childhood. I had wanted to do something important. Her confidence freed me up to see that what I loved was important. Valuing that interest then let me think about it in a new light. And then I had an idea for a business that really excited me. Light-bulb moment.
My favorite part of the book is the beginning, when Martha explains her background. It's encouraging to see how she kept looking for what felt right. She was a child model, then became a stock broker after university. She switched into real estate but quit before she had sold her first house. She then started a catering company, having taught herself to cook from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French cooking. And after seven years of catering parties and events, she had the idea for a comprehensive photo book on entertaining, which is what launched her into the role of domestic guru.
What strikes me about her beginnings are how long she spent running a catering company before she branched out. She pushed herself to learn the catering business completely. Once she felt she had outgrown it, she took that know-how to propel herself into what she saw as a gap in the market.
The rest of the book is helpful, though I didn't necessarily find it revolutionary. (I also have a background in marketing and business.) It's always good to remind yourself of these things though and also to hear about them from someone who's had success.
I warn that Martha writes with a confident-bordering-on-smug tone. I realize Martha Stewart is a polarizing figure for many; I've always felt neutral about her so was able to look past the smugness. Additionally, some examples felt outdated and many glamorized.
The high rating is an especially personal choice. It was an important book... for me. Not everyone is going to find it as revolutionary.
How much you enjoy it will also depend on: - Your tolerance of Martha Stewart's tone - The stage you're at in starting a creatively-minded business - How much you already know about running a business
If you're looking for inspiration and/or practical ideas, definitely read the beginning. The rest is worth a skim... and a deeper read if you're light on business practicalities.(less)
A sweet, thoughtful, and important book. If I had children, I'd read this book with them.
In a matter that feels accessible, Wonder demonstrates how m...moreA sweet, thoughtful, and important book. If I had children, I'd read this book with them.
In a matter that feels accessible, Wonder demonstrates how much we can impact (for good or bad) the lives of those around us.
It takes an especially strong, courageous child to befriend people who are different. I can see children feeling a little more empowered to take that kind of risk after reading this book. (Of course, this lesson holds true even for adults!)
Note: I'm a native English speaker and an intermediate/advanced Spanish speaker. I read this in Spanish and found it perfect for keeping up the flow of the language without being too taxing or complicated. As far as vocabulary and complexity go, Wonder felt more children's than young adult. (less)
The characters were completely unbelievable. Everything about their relationship was unrealistic, including how they got to...moreI just don't get the hype.
The characters were completely unbelievable. Everything about their relationship was unrealistic, including how they got to that godforsaken McMansion in the Midwest. What-the-what? It was so out of character, especially for her.
The entire book hinges on a wild plot twist, which fuels you along despite the wooden characters. But then it ends by resolving absolutely nothing. The characters haven't changed, and their life is a lie. But they weren't realistic to begin with, so I suppose this shouldn't be a surprise.
By the time I got to the end, I felt frustrated I had wasted my time and angry with the lame-o ending.