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Chasing the Bright Side: Embrace Optimism, Activate Your Purpose, and Write Your Own Story
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Chasing the Bright Side: Embrace Optimism, Activate Your Purpose, and Write Your Own Story

4.87  ·  Rating details ·  139 ratings  ·  119 reviews
One flicker of hope. That’s all it takes to catapult yourself into the life you’ve always imagined.

Success is not born out of skill, school, where we’re from, who we know, or what we scored on the SAT. None of us were born ready. None of us started life knowing how to fly a plane or launch a company or knit a sweater for our dog.

But we are born with something more im
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Thomas Nelson
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May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
From the creator of Headbands of Hope for children with cancer comes this delightful book on optimism. Chasing The Bright Side is more than an ode to bright-sided mantras. Optimism is, in the author’s words, “about understanding that we can’t control all of our experiences, but we can control what they mean to us and the story they write for us.”

Optimism and the stories we write for ourselves are inextricable linked. Optimism is powerful. It can form our beliefs, guide our behaviors
Jenny Kruschke
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is encouraging without being cheesy. Jess writes in a conversational style, sharing her real life experiences in a way that helps us connect with her message and not feel as if we are being lectured to. Jess lets us in on her biggest failures, most embarrassing moments, and major fears. Showing us how optimism can help fuel the fire and keep us going in the worst of times, Jess encourages us not just to dream, but to put those dreams into action and never stop seeing the possibilities ...more
Addie Yoder
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have read a ton of books about women who struggled, built a business, over came hard times and wanted to share their tips and stories. This one is a little special. I went into it expecting the same thing I have read over and over. Don't get me wrong, those stories are all great, but the are pretty similar. Jess put her story in perspective of optimism and the ways that we can control our mindset and perspective and actions in a totally new way. She recognizes the challenges. She doesn't insis ...more
Jillian Totman
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Settled in for a cozy Saturday night with this good book. Jess Ekstrom’s insights on how embracing optimism and activating your purpose can help you write your own story was inspiring. Chapter 8 of Chasing the Bright Side, is by far my favorite.

“We will never be able to walk into a new experience being totally prepared and knowing everything there is to know, so we need to feel tall enough even when we don’t have all the answers.”

The struggle is real. You know how to tread water but you’re sti
Kelli Panique
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you could change the voice in your head to a different voice like you do on an app on your phone, I would highly suggest changing it to Jess Ekstorm's voice. Her positivity is contagious and empowering. Chasing the Bright Side is, of course, about optimism, but not a put-on-the-rose-colored-glasses-and-everything-will-be-okay optimism. This is optimism in the face of struggle, disappointments, and naysayers. It's about trying to figure out life/business/relationships as you go and choosing to ...more
Kat Fitzpatrick
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Chasing the Brightside is optimism made fun.

This book is well-paced and easy to read--the author's storytelling style is so seamless you don't even realize that you're learning lessons along the way. There are many quotes that just stick with you, such as:

"Optimism is the initial seed that has to be planted for any great movement, startup, change or revolution to begin,"

"Just begin where you are," and

"Out of your 70,000 daily thoughts, which ones don't support your story?"

If you're looking

Lesa Wilson
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm a big Jess Eckstrom fan. She has a powerful message of optimism and hope. Chasing the Bright Side is a fun read that takes you on the adventure of Jess' life. It's inspiring. I love how she finds the positive spin on every tough situation she's walked through and is able to articulate the lessons and how one thing led to the other. It's a great read that will uplift you and challenge you to find the bright side in everything.
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I started this book and I was hooked immediately! Jess’ conversational style of writing feels like she’s there with you. She is real and honest and FUNNY, and tells you the things you need to hear in a way that makes you excited to hear them. Highly recommended!
Shannon Leigh
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Personal development books are my JAM, and I can’t wait for this one! I just listened to a sneak preview of the first chapter of the audiobook and I can’t wait to hear/read the rest.
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This lovely, optimistic book really got under my pessimistic skin--and in all the right ways.

As someone who quite literally sees the bad in everything (I’m working on it) a small part of me wants to instantly check out at the mention of bright sides and unyielding optimism. I’d just as soon go back to the next book on my to-read list that undoubtedly involves an unsolved murder.

But, like I said, I’m working on it. And, with Chasing the Bright Side, it was easy to get lost in Jess Ekstrom
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ng, selfhelp, nonfiction
This book covers a lot of the same ground that many positive-thinking self-help books do, but the author has some interesting stories to share. In particular, the relative she called "Uncle Bernie" became infamous when he stole away the wealth of many high-profile victims as well as Jess's family: Bernie Madoff. Her family was forced to rebuild their lives, and Jess took a path that involved working at Disney, getting involved with the Make-A-Wish foundation, and eventually starting her own char ...more
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Chasing the Bright Side details the amazing and comical journey of how CEO and Founder of Headbands of Hope, Jess Eckstrom, achieved her undeniable success and created change--great change. It’s about how realistic optimism, relentless individuality, and big dreams can pave a path where no one dared to traverse.

Jess does a phenomenal job exposing success for what it is: raw, organic, and hard! No perfectly manicured Instagram pictures here! But, in spite of her many trials and encounters with n
Michelle Yee
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kyria Mitchell
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Chasing the Bright Side can certainly become a best friend and companion for anyone looking for a practical toolbox about where and how to start.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of the book.

This book is packed with information for anyone with even the smallest idea and desire to make an impact and inspire change. I’m not saying that these individuals are the only ones who will benefit from this book, because I believe that we can use a little more realistic- optimism in
Robyn Gobbel
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been following Jess Ekstrom since I heard her on a podcast earlier this year. When I saw she was publishing a book, I immediately pre-ordered. This is a delightful, easy read which seems to embody Jess's spirit of hope and optimism. I appreciated that she did not overly emphasize positivity- as a therapist, I actually see this as toxic and leads to people shaming themselves for not always being 'happy.' ALL emotions are important. Jess speaks to this!! But what she really speaks to is optim ...more
Casie Shimansky
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From the founder of Headbands of Hope, Jess Ekstrom's personal journey unfolds in Chasing the Bright Side - this book is loaded with optimism, actionable takeaways, and even a few surprises. I love how she wrote in a conversational tone, and it was like sitting down with Jess herself over a cup of coffee and having her tell me her life's story. It was a FUN, enjoyable, quick read and I didn't feel at all burdened by it - in fact, I never wanted it to end and loved every moment I got to spend fli ...more
Sasha Blake
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book has been a game changer for me. Six years ago I thought I lost everything due to a debilitating illness. Currently I suffer from this chronic illness that has reduced my mobility and stricken me with severe chronic pain. I’m not going to lie, I was having a pity party for one more often than not lately. One day I saw my mentor reading this book and I thought the cover was so pretty. I am a book junkie and it drew me inside the pages. What a beautiful journey reading it has been.

Jess h
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thought I’d be reading a feel-good book from a young woman whose company mission impacted me...I had no idea I would be struck by her tenacity and insights, and encouraged in my journey as a mom.

There’s nothing in the book that’s focused on parenting. I’m pretty sure Jess Ekstrom wasn’t thinking about how a working mom with tweens could use her book to think differently about parenting. I do hope she comes back to this book someday if she’s a mom and reads it with fresh eyes and a new perspec
Samantha Leahon
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jess Ekstrom is the founder of Headbands of Hope (HOH), an organization that aims to make a difference in the lives of children battling cancer. In doing this, one headband is donated to a child with cancer for every headband that’s sold through the organization. I began volunteering as a Headband Hero with HOH one year ago, and have been following Jess ever since.
Inspired from the start, I was excited to hear she was releasing a book. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint – I was hooked as so
Maggie Kane
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ya'll, order this book TODAY. I am not kidding you, hands down the best book I've read in a long long long time. I not only cried and laughed the whole entire way through but it was more than that. I felt I knew Jess throughout the book. It was similar to having a conversation with her and boy is that the coolest thing. You don't see this in many authors. Jess has a way of relating to people (all people, seriously) in her words which is extremely rare. I felt how genuine, authentic, and raw she ...more
Beth Collier
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Chasing the Bright Side is a fun book of life lessons told by Jess Ekstrom. The stories of her own life are relatable in every way- especially if you are a child of the 90s who appreciates subtle sarcasm. Jess' stories of ambition and overcoming obstacles highlights the power of positivity and resilience. Each chapter concludes with real-life lessons learned without the over-Disney-fication of many other books with similar themes (although she actually does give a nod to her own Disney experienc ...more
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is not a self help book. This is not a book that will walk you step by step on how to become happy with a new life. In fact, this book will force you to look at your life directly in the face and understand that there is good in all of it. That’s the point of this book. Optimism. Something Jess, the author, explains we all have as children and then learn to give up as we grow older. But we don’t have to!
Jess writes in an honest and funny fashion that makes you feel like you’re sitting at a
Linda Mitchell
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love the whole fresh vibe of this book. Jess really draws you in with her backstory having Bernie Madoff as an uncle and yet retaining her optimism. In this story we find you can lose it all, but if you still have you and the ones you love, that's everything. We learn to replace limiting beliefs with optimism. I also took Improv to begin speaking, so I love where Jess talks about getting rid of our buts and excuses and saying yes and..... which is more expansive. Creating the but or the no kee ...more
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“We can’t always control our experiences but we can always write our stories.” Jess Ekstrom, founder of Headbands of Hope, writes about optimism. I saw Jess speak at an event for my son’s Student Leadership Program and I found myself dialed in to every word she spoke. Jess is honest, funny, determined, smart and spunky. And this book tells her incredible story of creating her own company while still in college and all the bumps (and there were some crazy, heart wrenching ones) along the way. Jes ...more
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is hilarious and full of optimism. Whether you're considering starting your own business, contemplating a major milestone in your life, overcoming something difficult, or just needing a shot of positivity this is the book for you. It will give you the extra bit of confidence, the extra bit of good vibes you need to push through and just do it!

Jess is hilarious and reading this book feels like sitting down and talking to a friend. She's young, but has navigated the business
Kate LaCroix
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is hands down one of my favorite books of all time. I finished it this morning, and enjoyed tons of laughter, a-ha like insights, and a few tears. Jess truly brings you into her experiences in a way that you can relate to - I had several moments of “I hear ya girl”, as I devoured the pages. The Take it or Leave it sections at the end of each chapter really help us to reflect on our own lives, and inspire us to take action. I will be gifting this book to tons of friends... and I feel it is t ...more
Randi Gruver
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is like a breath of fresh air, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows - you know, like real life! Jess is like the best friend you never knew you were missing! She doesn't just give you her best of the best high points and wins. She actually shares her journey. The time it took, the work, the dedication, the lows, the lower lows, and lower yet. The glimmers and even when those shiny things got her off course and how she grounded herself again. I cried, I smiled, I laughed out loud, I w ...more
Tristin Gleason
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! If you are trying to accomplish something and need a pick me up- just grab this and read a bit! You will feel like you can concur the world! One of my favorite quotes is "Sometimes the main difference between the people who make it and the ones who don't is just the courage to begin where you are." With optimism, you can begin!

Jess shares her personal stories and vulnerability to help others relate and get perspective around their own mission. She is funny and endea
Savannah Fen
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book at what felt like just the right time! Throughout each chapter you feel the energy Jess put into this book. At moments I would be laughing on one page and crying on the next. Her story is motivational and encouraging. It was a great reminder of some of the things I take for granted everyday. I felt inspired by this story and motivated to bring change to a few things within my own life! I encourage you to read this book if you are going through any life changes: new job, breakup, ...more
Melody Parry
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jess Ekstrom nails her debut book, Chasing the Bright Side. In Chasing the Bright Side, Jess shares her inspirational story - from Chicken Soup to the Soul, to multiple challenges, to creating Headbands of Hope (at age 19) - you can't help but cheer her on every step of the way!

Jess inspires us to be better, to embrace optimism, and chase after BIG DREAMS. Her book is funny, encouraging, and realistic.

As a reader and entrepreneur, I'm excited to start chasing down my/the dreams that have been
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Jess is the founder and CEO of Headbands of Hope, a company she started as a junior in college in 2012. For every headband sold, a headband is given to a child with cancer. The company has been featured on the TODAY Show, Vanity Fair, Seventeen, Good Morning America and more. But more importantly, they've donated over half a million headbands to every children's hospital in the United States and 1 ...more