Book Review: ‘To Siri, With Love’ by Judith Newman

To Siri With Love by Judith Newman

The book ‘To Siri, With Love’ is about the true story of a pretty ‘strange’ household. How strange? For one, the husband and wife have separate apartments (I don’t mean that they sleep in separate rooms or beds. They each have their own homes) and when their twin boys were conceived, the dude was actually 69 years old (he’s 30 years older than his wife). When the kids were born, the woman’s already 40 and one of the twin boys (Gus) was later found to have autism. It’s neither politically correct nor polite to say “I’m sorry your child is autistic” (‘cos what is there to be sorry about?) or “What were you thinking… having children when both of you aren’t exactly young anymore?” But it’s what I thought of saying to the author (when reading the book) if I do end up meeting her someday. But that would be discounting the fact that the couple took 7 years (and according to her, $70,000) with 5 or 6 miscarriages along the way, before they eventually had their twins.

*HUGE SIGH*

It seems they TOTALLY missed certain signs or else they won’t be surprised that one child (or two) doesn’t turn out entirely ‘normal’ (but let’s not debate what normal means now). The couple live apart as John doesn’t like loud noises,Β gets upset when pillows aren’t arranged properly or when his mug is not in the part of the cabinet that he expects to find it in, and he also cannot leave a room without closing all the drawers. Judith herself doesn’t like to be touched (but sex is fine). Are they somewhere on the spectrum too? It’s anybody’s guess.

I love everything about the book, except for one portion. So here’s what I love… first:

  1. The innocence and genuineness that Gus has. His mother says that “if he becomes, say, a Walmart greeter, when he wishes you a nice day he will mean it with all his heart.” How many times have we heard “Thank you for coming” / “See you again!” from a salesperson who’s actually checking out her manicure or doing something else altogether, instead of looking at you and smiling sincerely?
  2. That technology has probably saved the sanity of parents with autistic kids. Gus chats with Siri for hours at a time, and she (it?) patiently answers all his questions.Β “In a world where the commonly held wisdom is that technology isolates us, it’s worth considering another side of the story.”
  3. Autistic people teach us that there is another way to live / be. Gus “thinks that everyone is his friend… has no idea about sarcasm or competition or envy or ambition.” I think the bit about envy and sarcasm is useful. If we could live without envying others (all you gorgeous people with curated pictures of your lives on Instagram!), wouldn’t we enjoy Life even more?

What I find difficult to accept is that while the author (obviously) thinks it’s fine to make babies with someone in his late-sixties and already has a child from a previous marriage, she wants Gus to either be a homosexual or get a vasectomy so he won’t be able to procreate. Wow. Just wow.

“My lifelong hopes that Gus was gay – what gay man doesn’t adore his mother?”

“I do not want Gus to have children… Gus should not be a parent.”

“I will insist on having medical power of attorney, so that I will be able to make the decision about a vasectomy for him after he turns 18.”

I really don’t know what to say. On one hand, this book presents lots of information about autism (that I didn’t know before) and I am learning a bit more about some of the (strange) things autistic kids might do, such as ignoring me or coming within two inches of my face to talk to me. But it makes me feel like screaming “WHY DID YOU HAVE A KID WITH SOMEONE IN HIS SIXTIES?!” and “WHY ARE YOU STOPPING YOUR OWN KID FROM PROCREATING –Β  YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BUT HE DOESN’T?”

So… this book leaves me very dissatisfied. ‘Cos I can’t do the screaming bit. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

I hope the author changes her mind about “sterilising” her child and hopefully, Gus himself stays positive forever. The odds aren’t very good:Β “A 2015 study in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that people with so-called “high-functioning autism” are about ten times more likely to commit suicide than those in the general population.”

Finally, there’s this funny bit about the author’s plastic surgery, which totally reminds me of someone (I’d better not say who) who got a nosejob and also has an autistic kid with her (old) nose. These two mothers really should meet. πŸ˜€

Like Judith’s pal said to her:

“He’s got your nose – well, your old nose. Why don’t you get him your new nose? Is your plastic surgeon still in business?”

*If getting him a vasectomy is on the cards, getting him a nosejob shouldn’t raise too many eyebrows. πŸ˜›

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Book Review: Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

This is one book I love but which also leaves me puzzled. As puzzled as after I read this other book about eating, praying and loving, and how the author discovered her soulmate (this amazing guy) after a traumatic divorce and traveling to various places. Said author later divorces the guy and ends up in a same-sex relationship. This world is so freaking… confusing. And authors and creative types are the worst, I tell you! πŸ˜›

Anyway, in Wildflower, Drew Barrymore shares about how she met Will Kopelman, the proposal, the awesome in-laws, and beautiful kids. The book ends with no sign at all that her marriage would not be a ‘happily ever after’ story. And before you know it, tah-dah they are divorced. Brilliant. Thankfully, the book is not just about the couple (or ex-couple). It shares snippets of Drew’s past, her upbringing, her parents, the adventures she’s been on (like jumping off a cruise ship full of old people!), and also how she came to star in some of my favorite movies ever (like ’50 First Dates’).

What I would have loved for her to share about was her experience of getting into an ‘institution / rehab’ at the age of 13 and staying in there for 1.5 years. That part is missing from the overall story. Though I would understand if she’d just rather not share / recall. What she does reveal, though, are some bits about how she parted ways with her mother when she was 14, and how her dad was simply not playing the role of a dad throughout her life.

Through this book, I got to know a little better this former ‘child star’ who first starred in a dog food commercial at the (impossible) age of 11 months, and then other films including E.T. when she was 7. I was almost moved to tears when she described how she had been tracking the script for what would be the movie ’50 First Dates’ for YEARS before she eventually starred in it with Adam Sandler.

There’s so much more you need to read about in Wildflower. I’m sure you’ll love the book. I bought it yesterday at Times bookstore (50% off at Waterway Point) and am already done reading it today! That’s how good it is!

Here are 5 quotes I’ve picked from the book:

#1: “I am afraid. I’m thirty-five, and I don’t exactly know where my life is heading, and I just don’t even know what I am looking for.” (I’m sure SO MANY of us can relate. I guess this is why we love her and love watching her in the movies she has starred in.)

#2: “…we built relationships with people we admired and respected rather than party with the beautiful people” (Though her parents didn’t do a great job in terms of parenting, her life has been blessed with amazing people who’ve helped teach her, support her and love her.)

#3: “…you can be a warrior and be full of grace and class.”

#4: “You choose the great person in front of you and don’t play the game of Let’s Make a Deal and see what’s behind door number two because we are so conditioned to seeing what else is out there.” (Important advice for people who are single!)

#5: “We all have the capacity to be divine, but that damn ego always lets some people think they are bigger or better than others.”

Book Review: ‘The Choice’ by Dr Edith Eva Eger

The Choice by Edith Eger

This ‘unputdownable’ book gave me (new) insights into the Holocaust that really shook me to my core yet it also provides hope: whatever happens to you, you can find a way to survive and even thrive. In ‘The Choice’, Dr Edith Eva Eger shares about her experience of being sent to Auschwitz at the age of 16. Her parents were killed by the Nazis but she and her sister managed to survive. She later became a psychologist, helping survivors of abuse and soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The book delivers two punches to the gut that I didn’t see coming. Firstly, I guess we’ve all read about torture that happens to prisoners of war, such as water torture during the Japanese Occupation, or how victims had their fingernails pulled out. In ‘The Choice’, the author shares about how a pregnant woman was (surprisingly) not murdered by the SS right away, but was allowed to live till the time she went into labor… then,

“…the pregnant woman who somehow made it to Auschwitz without being killed outright. When she went into labor, the SS tied her legs together. I’ve never seen agony like hers.” (p66)

It’s gone beyond just being cruel; it’s pure evil. And her story appears to be corroborated by other accounts from survivors of the Nazi regime. Just mind-blowing.

And towards the end of the book, the author drops another bombshell: her mother might not have died if the author had told Josef Mengele that this woman is her sister and not her mother, when he had asked. Her mother might have been sent to work with her two daughters (the author and her sister) instead of being gassed.

This is one of the most intriguing memoirs I’ve ever read. If you want to find out more about the person whom people callΒ “the Anne Frank who didn’t die”, and how she survivedΒ Auschwitz (being one of the 70 survivors out of the 15,000 or so people from her hometown), this is one book you need to go get a copy of.

One quote from the book which particularly resonates with me is this…

“each of us has an Adolf Hitler and a Corrie ten Boom within us. We have the capacity to hate and the capacity to love. Which one we reach for – our inner Hitler or inner ten Boom – is up to us.” *Corrie ten Boom had helped many Jews escape during the Holocaust.

Books Box Sale: How Many Books Can You Pack Into Each Box? ;)

Books Box Sale

If you don’t already know, the annual Books Box Sale is back again (4 – 13 August) and it’s a real book buffet. Just get a box for $50 and you can take as many books as you want (*as long as they fit into the box, and the box can be sealed flat, i.e. no bulges). I went for the media preview session yesterday and came home with 2 full boxes of books! In the picture you see above, that’s one box of books I packed myself. There’s a trick to it, which I’ll share with you in a bit. And yes, I paid for it! πŸ˜› In one box, I managed to pack 33 books, and in another, 39 books. So each book costs less than $1.50! (@_@) What was more shocking was the selection of books available. Some of these titles I’ve actually paid FULL PRICE for in bookstores (usually over $20 each) and they are available at the Books Box Sale! What?! Like the book ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes‘ I reviewed two days ago. Ridiculous, isn’t it? I think I’ll adjust the amount I spend on books every year by saving up the money I usually spend on buying unhealthy stuff like bubble tea and during the next Books Box Sale, return home with four boxes of books! πŸ˜€ I really need a new bookcase!

*Tip for packing: First arrange the books you’ve selected according to height, then place them into the box as I’ve shown you above. Do not stack them up! Smaller books can be used to fill the tiny spaces remaining and really thin ones can be placed flat on top just before you seal the box. πŸ˜€

Available in both hardcover and paperback at the Sale:

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes Hardcover

*sniff sniff* You can get it at less than $1.50 when I’d already paid over $20. 😦

There’s Belinda Lee’s award-winning book too – Larger Than Life

Larger Than Life

I’ve reviewed ‘Larger Than Life’ as well, if you remember. Oh gosh. Just buying two titles at regular bookstores is the equivalent of getting an entire box of books at the Books Box Sale. Grrr.

what color is your parachute

And here’s another book that I already own, having paid full price for it:

The Leader The Teacher And You

There is one very Singaporean word that fully encapsulates how I feel about this: Sian.

There are books for just about everyone. Many of Richard Branson’s books are available, and there will be some from female authors you love as well:

Female authors

I spent over two hours at the preview and my neck was aching by the end of it, from looking down at all the titles. There are so many! There’s everything from kids books to cooking, literature to pets, history to business. And lots of fiction books too.

I found Signed Copies:

Kampong Spirit

Books I didn’t even know existed, written by people I know:

Game Of Thoughts

That’s Magic Babe Ning!

And lots of coloring books, even the famous (and expensive) ones from Johanna Basford:

coloring books

*If you bought them at full price previously… well well well… you can pack dozens of them into a $50 box now.

And there are FREE books for students too! Read T&Cs:

Books Box Sale students

And lots of kids and toddler-friendly books. Here are just a few:

Kid toddler books

Enough said! You have to head down to the Books Box Sale. Make sure you follow the organisers on Facebook so you can be alerted to things like flash sales, crowd situation updates, new stocks, etc:Β https://www.facebook.com/sgbookdeals/

It’s quite easy to get to the Books Box Sale by public transport. I took the train to Bishan MRT station, and crossed the overhead bridge to get to the bus stop opposite the MRT station. From there, I took bus 55 and alighted at the third stop. And the Pansing building is just across the road. πŸ™‚ You can either take the stairs or the lift to get to the Sale at level 3. If possible, bring sufficient cash ($100 should be enough) and a trolley so you can pull it around while browsing and also for transporting your books home! πŸ™‚

Happy Shopping & Reading! πŸ™‚

‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’ by Caitlin Doughty

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Some books are ‘unputdownable’ which means you read them cover to cover in probably just one sitting. That usually means they’re pretty good reads. And I’ve only just discovered another type of book which you have to ‘put down’ and come up for air every so often before you dive back into reading again. Caitlin Doughty’s ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’ is a book I didn’t know I’ve been avoiding my entire life. It involves a topic that I, and the rest of society (probably), try to avoid discussing or even thinking about – death. But there’s so much to learn from this woman who went to work in a crematorium at the age of 23.

Do you know how dead bodies are embalmed? Which part of your corpse gets sliced, what gets removed, what gets drained and what is injected into your system?

Did you know that metal pieces or even superglue (as a safety measure) is used to ensure the mouth of the dead person stays shut? And the spiked contraption to keep the eyelids in place, to complete that peaceful look of being ‘at rest’ in the casket?

And if, unfortunately, you have a baby or a child that has died, do you see to it personally that your child gets cremated or would you choose the ‘online’ option of keying in your credit card details and have someone else pick up your baby/child from the hospital and get it cremated out of your sight?

All too often, people don’t want to think about such things. After all, when you kick the bucket, someone else will have to make a decision on your behalf and it’s very likely you’ll either be buried or cremated. After reading this book, I’m pretty sure I don’t want any of that embalming done. And I’m probably going to pop the question to family members and friends, and find out if they have any ‘last wishes’ as to what they want done with their corpse.

While death is certain for everyone, most of us seem uneasy about planning how we want to ‘return to the earth’. I suppose some people would classify this as a taboo topic and be so superstitious as to think that thinking about death would mean the Grim Reaper’s going to come knocking on your door soon. These same people would probably think buying insurance would hasten the occurrence of an accident or bringing an umbrella when you go out would mean it’d rain that day.

I think it’s good to have certain plans in place because if a death happens suddenly, the deceased person’s loved ones would be overcome by grief and loss. They might look for an undertaker via a Google search or ask someone for a recommendation. And all too often, they might be ripped off. Like everything else in Singapore, funerals don’t come cheap, especially if you meet funeral directors who are master salespeople.

If a funeral director posed me this question:

“Wouldn’t you want a premium Batesville casket for so-and-so? Former U.S. Presidents and celebrities like Ronald Reagan and Michael Jackson had Batesville caskets! Look… it has blah blah blah… and would totally demonstrate your love for so-and-so and it even comes with a special drawer for your keepsakes blah blah blah”

… I might find it tough to say “nope, just the regular casket will do. Yup, the cheapest one. Thanks. The rest are overpriced. Any other hidden costs?”

It would be so much better if everyone had already made their wishes known, so no grieving family member needs to fall prey to hard selling, right? No need to purchase costly add-ons unless finances allow and a “show” needs to be put on for the other people coming to the funeral.

I like how Caitlin Doughty also busts some myths with this book. For instance, you don’t have to be afraid of dead bodies and that you might catch some disease from a corpse. You won’t. According to Caitlin, the bacteria involved in decomposition is different from the bacteria that causes disease. And you are more likely to become ill from being in an airplane than sitting next to a corpse. So, if you’re up for it, why not help clean and clothe the body of a loved one?

And the book is also full of interesting bits of wisdom, such as…

“When you know that death is coming for you, the thought inspires you to be ambitious, to apologise to old enemies, call your grandparents, work less, travel more, learn Russian, take up knitting. Fall in love.”

 

If you haven’t read this book, go purchase or borrow a copy. It’s probably one of the most life-changing (or rather, death-changing) books on the planet.

~

Caitlin has also done a couple of TED talks, and here are the videos for your viewing pleasure:

Great idea: composting instead of cremating the dead πŸ™‚

And the BuzzFeed video which drew a comment about ‘what if people draw dicks on the dead guy’s face’:

Book Review: Sherlock Sam’s Orange Shorts

Sherlock Sam's Orange Shorts

I think it’s perfectly fine for adults to enjoy cartoons and indulge in reading children’s books as these forms of entertainment (and also, education) were created by adults anyway and I do think they help in encouraging creativity. It’s only in books like this one that you can stop the ‘enemy’ by throwing chicken wings at it, for instance. πŸ˜€ And I think the authors do include a few Singapore-related details that may go over the heads of the young ones, but which the adults reading the books would be able to pick out.

In this particular title, ‘Sherlock Sam’s Orange Shorts’, which has 10 short stories within, my favorite is ‘Wen Di and the Art of Colour-Fu In the Middle Kingdom’. I think the idea of wielding magic (colorful magic!) by saying the names of the colors in Mandarin is such a cool idea. And like so many Singaporean kids, Wen Di has trouble with her Mandarin and so cannot pass an entrance exam, but keeping her cool and being brave helped her save the villagers, her parents, and even the examiners from a nasty ‘void demon’. So, all’s well that ends well. I think it’s a great story that many kids will be able to relate to, as Mandarin is not a subject that many speak at home or do well in at school. Once kids can relate to this heroine, they are so much more likely to be able to appreciate the lessons within the story, such as how a little bit of creative thinking and keeping cool in a dangerous situation can help you get out of a tight spot.

Also, if you’re wondering, A.J. Low (the ‘author’ of this series) actually refers to a husband-and-wife writing team – 1 angmoh, 1 local. Hence the stories have fantastical elements yet include a few Singaporean details. I do look forward to reading and enjoying more of the titles in this series. πŸ™‚ If you have a kid in primary school, or if you’d like to read a children’s book once in a while, this book would be a good choice.

17A Keong Saik Road: Tea Session With Author Charmaine Leung

17A Keong Saik Road

For those who have memories of Keong Saik Road in the 70s and 80s, this book will be a most welcome read as it takes you down memory lane and allows you a glimpse into the life of a young girl whose mother managed a brothel at 17A Keong Saik Road back then. For those, like me, who were born in the 80s or later, this book is a revelation: who knew that Keong Saik was a red light district, or that some Ma Jie had female lovers? It’s definitely an eye-opening read and a very easy one (you’ll complete the book in 1 or 2 sittings). I get the sense, though, that as it reveals, it also attempts to hide. And it’s puzzling for me as I think there is no shame at all in being the daughter of a brothel operator (or even being the operator herself). So I went to the tea session with the author, hoping to get some answers. But it was in what was not said, that I had my questions answered.

Tea with Charmaine Leung

Thanks to Ethos Books for arranging the session (Pic credit: Ethos Books – IG)

A couple who were the last to show up asked Charmaine which estate her mom is living in now. Charmaine’s answer was that yes, her mom stays in Singapore. (But we already knew / suspected that) The dude pressed on, and mentioned a certain estate to which Charmaine was evidently taken aback and queried him on how he knew. I do not think he’s from the CID or anything like that. It’s just that people get more inquisitive as they get older. And a straightforward answer will usually shut these people up. The more evasive you are, the more they want to dig deeper.

So I’m guessing the topic of her mother is unwelcome. I HAD wanted to know what her mom really thought about Charmaine’s publishing of this book, as she did not want people to know she managed a brothel back when Charmaine was still in school. Has she gotten over that hurdle herself? That managing a brothel was supposedly shameful?

Charmaine herself seemed a little less open compared to some of the other authors I’ve met before, including her friend Magic Babe Ning whom I have interviewed in the past. In her book, Ning was very open to sharing about her female partners in the past (including the scuffle and whatnot) but stopped short at revealing her current partner’s name and what he/she does. Ning is a joy to meet in person as she radiates happiness and warmth. Charmaine’s a little more guarded, making me feel self-conscious and probably needing to check if I happen to have two daggers with me which are putting her on edge.

Charmaine did reveal that writing this book took about 3 years as she also had her job to work on, and after meeting several publishers, she picked Ethos Books. None of us were kaypohΒ or brave enough to ask her about her love life. I did have a question as she had mentioned in her book that there was no permanent male figure in her life. But I suppose that isn’t a good question, even for another time. So I asked why she picked this particular publisher. Lame question, I know.

What I did learn from this session is that there are still some brothels functioning at Keong Saik Road (numbers 6 and 8; on the upper levels, I believe). Also, that Kok Sen supposedly has good zi char, and that when you send out your wish to the Universe, it replies in marvelous ways. This book’s first print run has already sold out. And Lonely Planet has just named Keong Saik Road as #4 on its list of Best Places To Visit In Asia 2017. So I’m guessing the next couple of print runs will sell out as well!

‘Let’s Give It Up For Gimme Lao’ by Sebastian Sim

Let's Give It Up For Gimme Lao

This book didn’t quite attract me with its cover (the color choice is attention-grabbing but can hardly be considered attractive) but I bought it anyway since it was a finalist in the 2015 Epigram Books Fiction Prize. Halfway through the book, I was amazed that a book of this quality was not the winner, and only a finalist. Towards the end, I was getting a bit tired of the (perhaps) ‘gay agenda’.

I like how the author, Sebastian Sim, drew on his own experiences working as an insurance salesman and a prison officer in a maximum security prison (among other occupations) for this book. For instance, Mary Lao in the book is a shrewd insurance saleswoman who becomes wildly successful in the industry. She reminds me of Dr Mary Chen Ming Li, a legend in Singapore’s insurance industry, and also TV host Quan Yifeng’s great aunt.

This book has a lot of references to people and events in Singapore, from the anti-gay ‘Pastor Kong’ (wow) to Pink Dot and a politician with a gay son { I wonder who πŸ˜‰ } and who also has an affair with a nurse since said politician is a doctor! πŸ˜› Also, there’s the bit about the SARS episode and how the doctor-politician ended up claiming the credit for things he didn’t do.

Overall, I’d say this book is worth a second read. I’ll certainly come back to it again once I’m done reading a few other books.

~

You can get a copy at Times bookstore for just $26.64. πŸ™‚

Robin Sharma’s Fans Share The Best Lesson Life Has Taught Them

Robin Sharma Best Life Lessons

On Tuesday, Robin Sharma asked his Facebook fans to share (via a comment) the best lesson that Life has taught them. The author of the international bestseller ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ (and many other titles) received an overwhelming number of replies, and he also took the time to comment on some of those which resonated with him and which he was curious about. I’ve picked a few that stood out for me among the top comments on that post, and am listing them here with minimal editing (just for length and clarity)…

#1: Everything happens for a purpose and that purpose is to change you. To change you the way Nature wants you. So it’s better to learn the lessons ASAP instead of crying and complaining. And, of course, not running away from the events as well.

#2: The good news: Nothing lasts forever. The bad news: Nothing lasts forever.

#3: Put yourself first – don’t live your life to please others. Also, starting over is okay, if you’re not happy because you’re in the wrong direction.

#4: My peace of mind is the biggest wealth that I possess. I can’t let people have control over me and my thoughts.

#5: Be your own biggest believer, fan and advocate.

#6: Everything that happens to you, happens with a reason. So you could learn, experience something new. So, no matter how the situation looks like, be certain that it is good for you. If it isn’t, it means the journey isn’t over yet.

#7: I am a Cancer survivor. Last year, things did not look good for me at all. I had stage 3 cancer which spread through my lymph system. 2 major surgeries and a LOT of chemotherapy later I am still here smiling and loving every second of life. The biggest lesson I learnt from this entire experience: A positive attitude and making the best out of the worst situation can get you through ANYTHING. Life is so precious, so beautiful and at times it is really scary but a very positive mindset beats anything life throws at you.

#8: ‘This too shall pass’ is life’s greatest lesson. Stop expecting that people will behave according to what you wish them to. And it’s good to focus on your own happiness and make it a priority.

#9: I have been bitten by more than 2000 honey bees. I think no one will believe but that happened to me. Doctors always say that I survived only because of my will power to live. So this inspires me every time. If you decide on something from your inner soul, you can do anything, you can achieve anything that you want. That is the lesson of my life from myself.

#10: Never have a habit of judging people. Because, one day you will feel like killing them, because of what they did. But very soon, they do something great to you. And you got to feel bad for thinking bad about them. So just listen to the beauty of life. Never judge, never ever react.

#11: Always count your blessings. I have a transparent piggy bank where I put in coins whenever something good happens to me. If I’m really happy on a particular day, I’ll deposit more money! Everyday, I see that piggy bank filling up and think how blessed I am! It’s a great feeling. When it’s full, give it away to a charity of your choice! See your life change!

#12: God never takes something away without replacing it with something better; it’s always done in our best interests. Defeat only exists if we allow it to. Patience, a positive attitude, hard work and perseverance is key!

~

There are over 1,300 responses so if you’d like to read a few more, head over to this FB post.

Personal Branding 247: The Only Book I’ve Bought 10 Copies Of

Andrew Chow author

I own copies of all 3 of Andrew Chow’s books. Personal Branding 247 is the newest one πŸ™‚

The author would probably have given me a complimentary copy, ‘cos I wrote him a decent endorsement of his book (he liked it enough to put it on the cover). And even though Andrew Chow had sent me the manuscript of Personal Branding 247, meaning I already have the soft copy of the book, I knew from the first read that I had to buy this book for some people I care about. It’s just that good! So I bought 10 copies during the book launch, and have personally gifted 3 copies (thus far) by hand to some of my pals. πŸ™‚

Personal Branding 247 recipients

I’ve recently fallen in love with picture collages. πŸ˜€ So the first copy went to C while we were having a calorie-intensive yet delicious meal at Patbingsoo at Plaza Singapura, the second copy to T, an ASEAN youth leader from Thailand, while we dined at the kawaii Pompompurin cafe at Orchard Central, and the third one to J at his kiddo’s 1st birthday party – the food from Neo Garden catering was really good (I love curry chicken at buffets, seriously) πŸ˜€

I hope you guys enjoy reading Personal Branding as much as I did!

~

I recently came across a website with folks offering coaching regarding Personal Branding for a cool $8,000. That caused me to laugh out loud. Who are those people, ah? All one really needs is to purchase Andrew Chow’s book, and maybe buy him a coffee thereafter and there’d likely be little difference in terms of value received. I was frankly very shocked at how much Andrew shared in Personal Branding 247. Some of those pieces of advice were things I thought he’d only share with FRIENDS, not people who buy a $25 book. Because Andrew does personal coaching himself, I was wondering why he’d share so much in a book instead of leaving it for a class or course.

I guess I don’t know my friend very well. πŸ˜€ And if you have attended one of his classes, you’ll be wondering if you’re getting a Masters degree after the course, because the content is so solid and possibly even overwhelming in terms of scope and depth.

I know that he’s a very giving person. Some people are Go-Getters, while others are Go-Givers. Andrew definitely is in the second camp. Instead of thinking how he can get more and more for himself, he’s always giving to others. I still have so much to learn from him.

While he’s happy to meet folks for coffee, I give people a hard time when they try to ask me out for coffee. I need to know exactly what the agenda is first. Wedding? Insurance? MLM? πŸ˜€ If I don’t get a satisfactory response, no deal.

I’m especially skeptical towards authors these days. Because there are lots of people teaching others how they can publish a book quickly and easily (even Andrew Chow does that), there are some authors I have met and didn’t quite like:

#1: Guy who published a book about marketing, and gave me MANY copies of the book. He wanted me to help give them out to the millionaires, CEOs, business people I was interviewing for my blog (back then). And what would I receive in return for carrying those books around, and handing them out for him as his unpaid marketing person? Erm… the OPPORTUNITY to give out free books (read: gifts) to my interviewees. How lovely! Thanks. πŸ˜› I gave them out to the guy at the prawning place I went to, some of my blog coaching students, and other random folks. πŸ˜€

#2: Guy who published a book about millennials, who met me supposedly to discuss an interview. But he suddenly whipped out copies of his new book from his backpack and wanted me to take them with me. I wasn’t even carrying a backpack or large bag or anything like that. So I had to carry them in my arms for the rest of the day? Well, no thanks. Not even a decent paper or plastic bag for me to carry those books? The book seemed like a good read (I only read half of it) but I questioned how much of it was truth, because he had showed up pretty late for our appointment. And I’m not impressed by people who show up late. What sort of personal branding is that?

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If you want to read books which will make a difference in your life, written by authors who walk the talk and have a wealth of experience to share, then you might want to start with books authored by Andrew Chow. I wouldn’t recommend any other “Personal Branding expert” (or team, or consultant). After all, his is the only book I’ve ever bought 10 copies of.