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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

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  728 ratings  ·  293 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 importan
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Thomas Nelson
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Average rating 4.49  · 
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 ·  728 ratings  ·  293 reviews

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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 and change o
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I loved listening to this audio. I didn't know who the author was or anything about her business before picking this up. I'm not sure how this ended up in my audio library, but I'm so glad it did. What a complete breath of fresh air this author is. I am already planning on listening to this again on my next day off.

I enjoyed her humor and her way with words. She is so positive and that is a message everyone needs to hear. I also liked the way she walked to her own beat and how completely fine sh
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
Anneke Alnatour
Feb 09, 2020 rated it did not like it
Sooo, I am a picky self help/motivational book reader. Or better said: I love Brene Brown, who does some real break through work.

I did not really hate this one, unlike Rachel Hollis' work, but once again, there wasn't really anything new in this either. I was actually going to give it a full 2 stars, until I came across her example of helping a homeless person by doing shopping for him, and being annoyed with the fact that he preferred wheat bread. WHEAT bread, as she writes.

And why the heck not
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: selfhelp, ng, 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
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
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’s worl
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
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. ...more
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!
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Memoirs of a successful millennial. Braggadocio and bravado overtake the depressing nature of her storytelling. Twenty percent helpful and inspiring. Eighty percent entitlement describing college as “low lying fruit”.
Guinevere Mare
Mar 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Listened to the audiobook and it was good in a motivational podcast kind of way. Not ground-breaking but solid enough advice to stay positive and go after your dreams and believe in yourself and you can do it!
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.
Emily Mitch
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this quick read! I read a little bit over breakfast each day, and it served as a quick confidence boost every morning. Funny without being overly cheesy, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the self-help genre, stories about female authors/entrepreneurs, or anyone who has an idea they want to pursue but need a little encouragement to get started!
Mary Agbovi
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed this with the WHIT book club
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Humans.
Shelves: my-favorites
I adored every word, every second, every page of this book. I read it while listening to the audio so I could highlight things, and I ended up giving up on the highlighting, or I would just highlight the whole book. Jess Ekstrom is so sincere, funny, transparent, vulnerable, and vibrant, and it shows through every word.

It's honestly hard to encompass what all this book is in a review. It's definitely not your "toxic positivity" guidebook, and it's not a woo-woo "the universe needs you" kind of d
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I entered a Goodreads giveaway for this book and one day it appeared on my doorstep. What a gift! I’m not starting a business or any kind of movement, but there was so much good advice from Jess in this book that I really took to heart. I now even have my own Helga, which means I have already changed the way my inner voice talks to me. She’s a thoughtful writer who doesn’t talk down to her readers. She actually made me laugh a few times and I found myself smiling all through the reading. My cup ...more
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
Janice Starr
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed Jess Ekstrom’s book. She does a fabulous job in making you want to turn the page and read more. Her suggestions and thoughts on how to “rethink” some of the things you might be doing. It very self-reflecting. She make you have either more appreciation for what you have, or try harder to get what you want (mostly intrinsic). Her book did not disappoint. Her cause is amazing and how it all started. My admiration for her and what she does for others will hopefully be contagious to ...more
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was such a fun read and at the same time inspirational.
Jess is super girl-next-door, relatable and hilarious.
And she gives so many real-life stories that you don't really have any excuses anymore to not go out there and do the thing, whatever it might be for you!

Thanks, Jess, for sharing your story & inspiring us to do the same!

Brittany Guerin
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Obsessed with this book! Jess is real, raw, and funny. It's nice to read a book where the author is so honest and humble, while being an incredibly successful entrepreneur. 5 stars! ...more
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Must Read!
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's up to you to write your story and no one else’s.

I discovered Jess Ekstrom via another creative person I follow on IG who told us how fresh and fab Jess Ekstrom’s book was. I was one of the lucky ones who got to view her Brighter Side Conference and learned more about her passion, work and story. Then a few weeks later I received her book. I devoured the first 7 chapters in one night! It was so intriguing not only reading how her company, Headbands for Hope, got started when she was in colle
More reviews and book-ish content @ Club Book Mobile on FB, Club Book Mobile on IG & Andrea RBK

On the Bright Side by Jess Ekstrom was a read I picked up after a co-worker was telling me about an upcoming conference she was going to attend. I happened to see the book on the new releases section of the library (back when I could still visit), and I decided to check it out. The author is the founder of Headbands of Hope, a company that donates a headband to pediatric cancer patients for each headba
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In a word? WOW! Truthfully, I'm not sure that the words have been invented to describe the power contained in this book. I first read "Chasing the Bright Side" in February of 2020. I'm not too proud to tell you that I gave Jess Ekstrom a standing ovation on more than one occasion as I read through the book, and I may or may not have audibly clapped a few times, too. Yes, it's that good.

And then, quarantine began. I'm not kidding when I tell you that I bought this book for all of my closest frien
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You should know I am not a natural optimist and overly optimistic people annoy me. I received a copy of this book as a birthday gift from a friend. I had no idea who Jess Ekstrom was. Between the bright cover and the descriptions on the cover flaps of the content and of Jess I thought "This woman is going to be perky. I don't really do perky, and I don't tend to take life or business advice from everything-in-the-world-is-amazing, you-can-do-it-all, perky people." I started the book anyway becau ...more
Anne Hoffman
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“Hi, I’m Jess. I’m a rowdy sports fan disguised as a polite Southern girl…” How can you not be immediately drawn into a book with this introduction? Jess Ekstrom is the founder of Headbands of Hope and a nationally acclaimed speaker. In her first book Chasing the Bright Side, her self-deprecating humor, stories of authentic struggle, and empowering voice of experience encourages us to get out of our own way, dream, and work hard to achieve our purpose. I simultaneously couldn’t wait to finish th ...more
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's been awhile since I've read a new book on optimism and purpose. I have a few favorites that I reread and check through when I need some inspiration. This new voice was a great one to find for this moment.
The book is written like a good speech. Since she is now growing in that direction to encourage more women to speak, it also fit well for that purpose.
There are not an incredibly new number of successful traits that she discusses. How she circles back in making choices, in looking at fe
Apr 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I must admit I often get annoyed at Instagram ads. Especially the ones that don’t apply to me like make up products and plants (I kill succulents). That said I did click on the one from author just extra for a writing workshop. It was free and I thought why not? The workshop was great and while I didn’t sign up for her actual course which cost a little under $1000 I did get the book from the library and it helped turn my attitude and life around in a short period of time. How? Simple message of ...more
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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

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“Passion is the original 5-Hour ENERGY shot. So toss it back and let it do its job.” 0 likes
“Optimism is this rooted belief that there’s something good on the other side. It’s about the voice in our heads that gives us the green light to chase our dreams. It’s 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. (I’ll give you the tools to help you do just that.) The stories we write from our experiences help us decide: •​If we’re going to start the business—or not.” 0 likes
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