Book Review: ‘Yes Please’ by Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler Yes Please

Intriguing title aside, I really do judge books by their covers, and this one is eye-catching in a flashing-neon-light way. :D And its 329 pages make for a really good read.

I don’t know what possessed Amy to write this book while going through a divorce, but I’m glad she did. Her larger-than-life character leaps out at you from between those pages and her irreverent good humor is a welcome breath of fresh air (e.g. she jokes about wanting to tell prolific authors to tie their many books around their ankles and jump into a lake, simply because she finds writing to be such hard work).

She’s so honest, funny, and irresistibly witty that this book might be close to being labelled “unputdownable” (an honor reserved for only the best page-turners).

And why, you might ask, is this book titled ‘Yes Please’? She explains:

It’s called Yes Please because it is the constant struggle and often the right answer. Saying “yes” doesn’t mean I don’t know how to say no, and saying “please” doesn’t mean I am waiting for permission.

Make of it what you will. Or buy this book and read it ;)

And here’s another example of her good humor… if you get the joke:

Yes Please Amy Poehler

I have read (and relished) but have not reviewed Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’ here. Perhaps I should do that as many female authors like to refer to Sheryl’s book.

Also, here’s what Amy thinks her 90-year-old self would say:

Yes Please Amy Poehler

Sound advice, though…

“Relax and let her win. Who cares?” – Well, yes and no. If something is just a petty squabble, then as that hit song goes… let it go. But if there’s something else at stake, then perhaps it demands to be dealt with more severely. Also, I like that bit about “Forgive your parents for what they never gave you” – your parents may have gotten a divorce (like what Amy is getting) and left you insecure and angry, or perhaps they never gave you the good looks, money or privileges that your friends have, but that’s no reason to become a bitter person. ;)

On Saying Sorry: “…this doesn’t mean I am a pushover. It doesn’t mean I am afraid of conflict or don’t know how to stand up for myself. I am getting to a place right in the middle where I feel good about exactly how much I apologize.”

I agree. In fact, on yesterday’s episode of Talking Point on TV, one interviewee shared that it’s nicer to be the one to apologize first, even if you are the victim of cyber-bullying. Stand on higher moral ground, and see if your bully will follow but don’t hold your breath hoping it will happen soon. :D [You can watch Talking Point on Toggle if you’ve missed the episode]


Nuggets of wisdom from people Amy admires:

1) Louis CK: “Divorce is always good news because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce”

2) Gavin de Becker: “no” should be the “end of the discussion, not the beginning of a negotiation”


“The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others.” – Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler Yes Please

Get this hardcover edition at just S$23.32 before GST at your nearest bookstore :)

Nick Vujicic’s ‘Love Without Limits’ – 11 Tips for Relationship & Marital Bliss

Love Without Limits

[ Giveaway at the end of this blogpost! :D ]

I was sent this book for review and I have to admit that I thought it was just another book from a prolific author. But reading ‘Love Without Limits’ has given me valuable insights into making relationships and marriages work. More importantly, this book also offers hope to singles who are pining for a soulmate – “Never give up on love… because God planted that desire in your heart for a purpose” – and I encourage singles to pick up a copy of this book too.

Nick is not just a motivational speaker. He is also an “anti-bullying activist” and I’d love to follow in his footsteps! But one thing at a time, yes? *wink*

You might ask me who this book is for and I’d say “everyone” because Nick also got his wife, Kanae, involved in the writing of this book for both the ‘male’ and ‘female’ perspectives towards dating and marriage. Why is this important?

Just this week, I turned down a TV show opportunity (no need for added publicity) and had dinner with a JC pal I have not met in a long time. At our last meetup, she was deeply in love with a man three years our senior and was taking great pains to integrate herself into their (snobbish) family culture. Fast forward to our meetup, and she’d already broken up with said guy for over a year.

I asked her why she did not want to work things out with him and had so quickly said goodbye. After all, he did ask to meet her after she’d initiated the breakup. I felt that he had not hurt her so irreparably that she would stop loving him, i.e. he hadn’t actually done anything ‘wrong’. Her reply was that he had hurt her by allowing her to leave, and that if you really love someone, you will not let that person go so easily. [Which goes against that popular saying of “If you really love someone, let him/her go”, no?]

I told her that it is just the female point of view. That when you say to a man that you want a breakup, he hears it as something like “I hate you and I never want to see you again. Go and die.” when what you actually meant was “Prove to me that you love me and will never want to be apart from me”.

My friend told me that things might have turned out differently if she had spoken with me a year ago. Well, then I hafta start charging for such sessions, ya? :D #kidding


Because of his lack of limbs, Nick does not quite look like the average man. And I mean no offence by saying this. So I’m curious about what Kanae sees in him. And in her own words:

I was hoping to one day find a mature, godly man who would try to work out our disagreements instead of just letting them stew… [and] make me feel like the priority in his life just as he would be the priority in mine… A man who would care for my dreams as much as I cared for his.

Kanae’s advice for relationship and marital bliss is that “You have to be willing to forgive, to put others first, and to work on your own flaws and failings”.

And I have picked out the top 11 tips I gathered from reading this book – you might be drawn to others when you read ‘Love Without Limits’, but here are those which resonated with me…

Nick Vujicic’s 11 Tips for Relationship & Marital Bliss:

1) Accept that maybe the love of your life won’t exactly fit your perception of the perfect person for you / someone not at all like you had imagined.

2) On page 88: Again, I caution you not to get engaged “because it seems the right thing to do” or because “the timing is right.” Marriage is a long-term commitment. You should only step into that commitment if you truly love the person and want to spend your life with her. You should think hard before marrying someone if you can’t forgive, overlook, accept or deal with issues that you may have with that person.

3) Embrace each other’s families and friends as part of the relationship, as long as they bring you closer.

4) Submit to each other in marriage through loving attentiveness and empathy, rather than setting unreasonable or selfish expectations by demanding that your own needs and desires come first and foremost.

5) Talk about the good and the bad of past relationships.

6) Understand and ease your partner’s insecurities and fears so your relationship will grow stronger. True love is reciprocal in that both people want the best for each other. They don’t worry about who gets more or gives more. There is no keeping score. They simply want to be with each other as much as they possibly can, for as long as they possibly can. The secret isn’t to focus on yourself less, it’s to care about your spouse more

7) “Can you imagine your life without this person?”

8) If you don’t grow together, you grow apart. Don’t take each other for granted.

9) Being right isn’t nearly as important as being together. Keep no record of wrongs. Don’t take conflicts personally. Let go of hurtful feelings and focus on making the marriage better, not bitter. Never go to bed angry. You have to be humble enough to ask God for help, especially when you feel your emotions running away with you, old insecurities reigniting, and hurtful words forming on your lips. God can go to your heart and put out those self-destructive fires.

10) Remember that “It doesn’t matter how nice your home is. You could lose the house and all of your earthly possessions in a very short period. What truly matters is the strength of your faith and the loving bonds you share with those who matter most to you”

11) Daily steps to strengthen your bond: (1) Start The Day Together, (2) Keep The Romance Alive, (3) Date Nights, (4) Mini Trips or Vacations, (5) Be A Friend With Benefits, (6) Go Out With Other Couples Who Really Like Each Other, (7) Live, Love and Laugh

I think Nick and Kanae have got it down pat when they describe a blissful relationship or marriage is when “each considers the other a blessing”. Who are the blessings in YOUR life? What will you say to them today? What will you do for them today? How will you make them feel like they are a priority in your life? :)

{ Giveaway }

To win a copy of ‘Love Without Limits’, leave a comment here and tell me which is your favorite out of the 11 tips above :)

It’s that simple!

*Only for residents of Singapore.

*Giveaway ends 25th April 2015, 23:59hrs.

Book Review: ‘The Life Of A Banana’ by PP Wong

The Life Of A Banana by PP Wong

The day I got my hands on this book, I completed reading it before bedtime. Yes, being able to speed-read helps. :D My gut feel about this novel is that it is part-fiction, part-truth because it knows too intimately the traumatic experience that is bullying in schools.

I’ll also give this book extra marks for the conclusion, which many writers fail to nail adequately. This one, however, delivers a punch to the gut as the protagonist (Xing Li) – and the reader – learns the truth about her grandmother’s life.

This book explores various topics: school bullying, racism, deaths of loved ones, euthanasia, among others. They are all really moving, and if you’d like a recommendation for a book to read on a lazy Saturday or Sunday, this would be it.

Some quotable quotes from the book:

1) “Lil sis, time is important. Life is about playing more and working less. People always think Chinese people are working hard but actually they’re smart and they’ve finished the work by lunch break so they can play games on their computer.”

2) “We have to pick our battles – be wise. Sometimes being quiet is wiser than saying a hundred words.”

3) “When life is tough, you have a choice. You have a choice to curl up in a ball and wither away like the crocuses in winter. Or you can fight like the fir trees that grow come snow or rain.”

4) “Mama once said that being strong was a blessing and a curse. When you are strong, people expect so much out of you. They rely on you to be the friend who they can turn to or the colleague who will stand up to the boss at work. You are the person who will have the right word, the one who will give them the strength to carry on. But when your heart is collapsing inside who can you turn to?”


I even came to love how this book helps me understand the Chinese people and their idiosyncrasies a little better. Such as how a Chinese person can be on a Business Class flight yet still do something as odd as stuffing his/her pockets with the free toiletries, or even think about swiping the airplane headphones. Or why they have to TALK SO LOUDLY. :D

I’ll not say more. You simply have to pick up a copy of this book and read about ‘The Llife Of A Banana’. I’m sure you’ll love it. :)

Media Feature of my student, Steven Lek, in Lianhe Zaobao

Remember I wrote about my zaobao feature here and that there will be more zaobao interviews coming up?

Here is today’s feature (or rather, yesterday’s, since I’m blogging past midnight)

Steven Lek Lianhe Zaobao

I’m definitely happy to help secure media features for my best students. If you don’t already know, this is Steven Lek, who blogs at If you want to know more about how to be a high flier at work (Steven used to be a GM for Singapore Airlines), how to lead a happy life post-retirement, and how to up your resilience quotient so you can bravely face dreadful things like retrenchment and early retirement, he’s the guy to look for. :)

Also, Steven is hard at work on his upcoming book ‘Enduring Quotes for a Young Nation’. You can pre-order a copy by writing to him via email. ;)

Now, as for this article you see above, I have kept to my practice of blurring out the article text. I don’t want to get into trouble for copyright infringement. But that photo was taken by Yours Truly, so I’m quite sure I can upload it. Ha!

As for the gist of the article… when translated into English, it basically shares about how Steven started his blog, how he found me on the Internet, attended my workshop and became a Top 10 Finalist at the Singapore Blog Awards in 2014.

Steven also reveals that he loves chatting with young people, sharing his views and ideas, and communicating certain values via his blog.

“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield” is his motto in life. (And if you are his friend, he will ensure you don’t forget this quote. Ha!)

Steven also shares that age is just a number, and that we should not let our age stop us from daring to try new things, continuing to learn, and to make our retirement years fulfilling and exciting.


Watch out for more upcoming media features with my students! :D Also, I’ll be concluding my series of blogging workshops for Q1. Sign up now if you’re keen. I’m doing a spot of traveling and speaking next month so I cannot guarantee there’ll be anymore workshops soon! :D

Click HERE to check out the dates

blogging workshop

Book Review: ‘Naked Ape. Naked Boss – The Man Behind The Singapore Zoo & The World’s First Night Safari’ by Kirpal Singh

Naked Ape Naked Boss

I was at the library yesterday and this is the book which immediately caught my eye. Hello, almost-naked man on the cover? Why is this allowed in NLB? Hahaha.

I remember reading a review about it, possibly in The Straits Times, so I quickly went to borrow this book and I’m already done reading it! :D

Because the cover photo was so arresting, I didn’t even notice that it’s not an autobiography. It’s about the man behind the zoo – Bernard Harrison – but written mainly by his friend, Kirpal Singh.

There are lots of interesting nuggets of information in this book, and it’ll make you see the Zoo and its management (hur hur) in a new light.

One of the first few notes I made while reading the book is about Bernard’s distinction between ‘love’ and ‘respect’. Ask him where his love of animals comes from, and he’ll tell you he has been taught to respect all animals and human beings. He explains that ‘love’ is restricted to only a select few, and it narrows your worldview and eliminates many from your attention. Respect, on the other hand, is all-encompassing, keeps you curious, aware, appreciative and willing to explore.

But, of course, he has a greater respect for animals than humans “because animals don’t lie or cheat or deceive”.

The book has its humorous aspects too, such as on pages 138 and 139 in which Bernard shares about why (the late) Ah Meng didn’t like him very much, and how he would not be photographed with her unless her keepers were close by.

Also, under that chastity-protecting leaf (as shown on the book’s cover) are balls, indeed. On pages 179 and 180, Bernard gives his account of how he thinks the man who replaced Dr Kwa as Executive Chairman of WRS is a money-grubbing fella (my words!) who priced tickets and other services (like F&B) within the zoo out of reach of average households. :D

Bernard also thinks that 90% of zoos should be shut down because they do not treat animals with respect. And he happily names those zoos that he thinks treat animals well.

I think this book, while confusing at the start (it suddenly mentions the name of Bernard’s third wife without any introduction before that, and I am left wondering who this lady is), succeeds in shedding light on this enigmatic figure – half-Tarzan, half-visionary – who now lives in Bali while his wife dreams of starting a handbag museum in Penang.

Some notable quotes:

1) On pg 191: “Always value every single person you get to meet in life. You never know if anyone right now will later become someone you would need help from in the future.”

2) His son, Sean, has this to say about him: “My dad has the gift of being absolutely present during a given time.” (I’d have to say that many parents don’t have this gift)

3) On Creativity (pg 214) “Creativity is not for the weak of heart, nor for those who constantly worry what others might think of them or their work.”

All in all, I think this book offers a good read. Definitely not a stuffy biography. :)

Book Review plus Giveaway: Arianna Huffington’s ‘Thrive’

Arianna Huffington THRIVE

*Update* The winner of this giveaway is Nancy Wee! (Email sent)

I knew this would be a good read even before I got my hands on the book! After all, the author is none other than Arianna Huffington of Huffington Post fame. I have to say that this book does not disappoint, and I foresee myself reading it again and again.

This book really ‘speaks’ to me because it seems to know intimately some of the challenges I face. For instance, Arianna shares about how we need to redefine ‘Success’. Society dictates that you are successful when you have two things: Money and Power. However, these things are not what people remember you for when they attend your funeral wake, and not what goes into eulogies either!

Were you kind? Were you happy? Were you genuine? Were you a good friend? Were you a good daughter? Were you a joy to have around?

THESE are the things that go into eulogies. So why do we spend our lives chasing after Money and Power, when they ultimately do not matter?

Most of the time, I don’t care about these things. People tell me that I should be less happy now since I don’t earn the 6-figure income that I used to earn in a job before I turned to full-time blogging. I give these people a knowing smile while thinking that ho-ho, they know nothing about the 7-figure Happiness I enjoy now.

Also, I don’t feel the need to own a big house. The bf thinks we should apply for a 5-room flat, or a 4-room flat, at least. Because we are both NUS graduates and people would EXPECT us to be able to afford bigger flats even if it’s just the two of us living in it.

I usually look at him like he has gone insane when he says these things.

Give me a 3-room flat any time.

I don’t want a maid or any other person cleaning up after me in MY house. And I don’t want to spend all of my time cleaning a huge house either. I don’t need that much space, though admittedly I have many shoes, bags and books. (I’ll learn to live with less) I want a house just big enough for us, and requires very little time to clean and tidy up, so we can have more time for movies, date nights, traveling, hanging out with friends, blogging, enjoying life, etc.


If you judge me based on my choice of residence, instead of how I am as a person and as a friend, then just let me say that I don’t want to have anything to do with you. Because you evidently don’t know a thing about me. :)

Secondly, this book also shares about how society encourages people to work themselves to the bone. If you are busy, if you are working long hours, if you’re working overtime, if you are constantly on the phone and ‘closing deals’, people seem to think that’s a good thing. I guess this is because being busy implies that you are earning more money and striving to get more power – the two things that society values.

However, who cares about whether you have fed your soul? Who cares whether you are getting enough sleep or not? Who cares whether you are battling the effects of stress, depression or burnout? The truth is that no one cares. BUT, you had better start caring for yourself!

Like this book has mentioned, very few people are supportive of those who lead the 4-hour work week lifestyles. They look down on these people as being lazy buggers, good-for-nothing losers, or worse. In fact, most people don’t think that being a blogger is a profession. I have had everyone from teachers to advertisers question me on whether my full-time job is indeed ‘Blogging’ and whether that’s even a “real job” (their words, not mine).

No, it’s not a real job. It’s just a great job. And if you cannot appreciate it, thank goodness I can. :D

So, if you would like to know more about these weirdos like me, and about how to redefine Success on your own terms, and how to really THRIVE instead of just being good at what you are doing, then read this book. You will never regret it.

I’ve made a few notes of the tips which have leaped out at me:

Arianna Huffington THRIVE

Here are 5 of my favorites:

1) Work in 90-minute sprints

2) Train your mind to be still (so I did the drawing of a stick figure fishing with no bait on the fishing hook)

3) A ‘red light’ at the traffic junction is a reminder to you to BREATHE and enjoy the moment

4) Do the 10-finger gratitude exercise


Go ahead and grab a copy of this book wherever books are sold near you. It costs just S$27.99 before tax. Or take part in my giveaway…


To WIN a copy of this amazing book, leave a comment here and tell me what your profession is, and why you want to read this book. :D

Book Review and Giveaway: The Reputation Economy by Michael Fertik

The Reputation Economy by Michael Fertik

*Update* The winner of this giveaway is Jeremy Fong! (Email sent)

This is one book I believe most people cannot afford to not read. Your digital reputation is going to have a huge impact on your life, if it doesn’t already exert such an influence. “It determines whether your bank will lend you money to buy a house or a car, whether a landlord will accept you as a tenant, which employers will hire you and how much they will pay you. It can even affect your marriage prospects.”

In fact, it is possible to access tonnes of information about you – your buying habits, your finances, your professional and personal networks and even your physical whereabouts.

Even if you stop using credit cards and pay for everything with cash, don’t own a social media account on any platform, and don’t allow anyone to ‘tag’ you when checking in to any venue, you can’t stop people from writing about you (even with a protection order, heh heh) or upload a picture with you in it (face recognition technology, anyone?)

This book offers a treasure trove of information, including which keywords to put into your LinkedIn profile so you come up tops in search results, how to curate your on- and offline activity to reduce premiums calculated by insurers, lenders and investors, tricks to get express or VIP treatment at banks and hotels, etc.

In fact, the author leads by example. On the back cover, there is “Advance Praise” for the book. It seems that many best-selling authors and famous people are happy to endorse this book. The power of having a good reputation, it seems. ;)

The Reputation Economy by Michael Fertik

Some Of The Highlights:

1) Insurance Companies use social media platforms like Facebook to investigate claims. On page 55: “a Californian woman was convicted of workers’ compensation fraud after she typed more than two hundred posts (not terribly clever) to Facebook after claiming that a wrist injury prevented her from typing at work.”

2) If you are flagged for having a concern about fitness or health (this could affect your insurance premiums, job or dating prospects), take steps to reverse this. The author’s cheeky suggestion is to strap a Fitbit to a dog and make your Fitbit profile public – it’ll make people think you are “the fittest person in your town”, OR “start posting photos of your coworkers’ salads on Instagram while you chow down on french fries”. :D [page 39]

3) Hang out with the right crowd (pg 59) as you will be judged based on the company you keep too! (@_@)

4) [pg 95] “…your professional reputation can mean the difference between whether you are offered a million-dollar signing bonus or a meager starting salary (or not offered the job at all).”

It reminds me of the AIA S$50 angpow saga that I blogged about here. I’d mentioned, and tagged, Ho Lee Yen (AIA’s Chief Marketing Officer). If you do a Google search with her name, my blogpost appears on Page 1 of the results. Unfortunately, she may not have realized this, as she doesn’t seem to want to take any action to rectify the glaring mistake in sending out those AIA letters. I have already alerted MAS and will definitely be following up on this issue.

The book even provides the key to resolving this, on pg 195: “Reconcile with anyone who is publicly complaining about you.”

5) Be a responsible guest everywhere: [p145-146] “prospective guests who enjoy good digital reputations on Airbnb will likely soon enjoy lower prices, diminished or disappeared down payments and deposits, and other privileges… Get blacklisted from Airbnb, and other services may follow as well.”

The Reputation Economy by Michael Fertik

And chapter 9 is a particular must-read. I love that line on pg 179 – “nothing motivates bloggers more than legal threats to shut them down”. Remember the obnoxious legal letters I received for my Data Register blogpost? ;)

I’ve ‘collected’ so many nuggets of wisdom from this book, therefore I highly recommend it. Go get a copy from your nearest bookstore! It costs just S$30.79 before GST – and what is 30 bucks when the things you learn from this book could help lead to a 6-figure starting salary?!

Whatever you do, online or offline, be sure to “carefully curate the reputation you have”. :)

~ Giveaway ~

WIN a copy of ‘The Reputation Economy’ by leaving me a comment on this blogpost and telling me why you want to read this book. :)


Also, read my earlier book reviews here:

1) Leading Women by Nancy D. O’reilly *giveaway*

2) Playing Big by Tara Mohr *giveaway*

Book Review: Public Relations 247 by Andrew Chow

Andrew Chow and Grace Tan

I had lunch today with a great pal of mine – fellow author, social media strategist, PR expert, and all-round great guy, Andrew Chow. This book review is inherently biased because I’m featured in the book (pages 186 and 187 to be exact) and I have already bought 5 copies at the book launch of ‘Public Relations 247′ even before reading the book! :D Yup, if I’m featured in this book, it has to be pretty awesome. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what else is in the book, and especially, the key takeaways I got from it…

(My feature on pages 186-7)

Andrew Chow Public Relations 247

This book wows right from the start, with a foreword by award-winning radio presenter, Bharati Jagdish from 938LIVE. Because Andrew is such a gem of a friend, it is not surprising that Bharati went out of her way to give great nuggets of wisdom even in crafting a foreword for a book. I got to know what she thinks about news pitches that reach her email inbox and how she selects newsmakers to feature on her program. In short, you have to buy this book.

Here are a couple of other things I have learnt from Andrew and from ‘Public Relations 247′:

1) Be A Giver: Andrew shares in the book that he has accumulated “close to 300 interviews, mentions, and features” about himself and his business and has “helped over 100 business associates appear in the press”. I have been on the receiving end of Andrew’s generosity, and I do hope to be able to help add to his tally of interviews and features soon. :D

2) Difference between the terms “publicity” and “public relations”: They tend to be used interchangeably so you’ll have to read this book to find out what the crucial differences are!

3) Definition of Media Terms: On pages 38 and 39 is a list of “media terms” which I didn’t even know about till I read this book. Yes, I have been interviewed on radio multiple times, appeared on TV, and been featured in print media quite a few times, but I’ve never been told what “On background”, “Not for distribution” (it’s not what you think it is), “Deep background”, among other terms, mean! *gasp*

4) How to ‘Identify A Reporter’s Interview Style’ on pages 40-42: Please beware of the “I’m your buddy”, “Please help me!”, “Provocative” and “Rumour Starter” types! There are a total of 11 styles listed in this book. If you foresee yourself having to interact with reporters in the near future, or would like to engage them, please do yourself a favor and get a copy of this book. In the past, I relied on Andrew’s tips (delivered verbally) to get through some of my interviews. Now, I have this book! :D I even made sure to get 5 copies so I could share them with my closest and dearest friends.

Yes, that’s 5 copies we are holding, actually:

Andrew Chow and Grace Tan

So far, I’ve given out 3 copies – to my pals Jimmy Chua and Steven Lek, and one of my interviewer friends. One more copy to go. That lucky friend will receive a copy by the end of this month!

Here’s what Jimmy had to say about the book:

“As an F&B entrepreneur, I find this book useful for business owners as it provides many case studies and ‘scenarios’ to prepare ourselves for. It is a good read and great prep for events such as meeting members of the media!”

5) Tips for TV interviews in chapter 11. Literally everything you need to know, from the color of your clothing to your posture and tone of voice!

And guess what, there are even tips on blogging in this book, some of which I didn’t even cover in my book ‘Blogging For A Living’. How cool, right? We just keep learning from each other. :D

And I’ve also found that my favorite quote from this book is:

Online comments can be both positive and negative – we cannot control what others say about our posts. The crux is to manage the heat calmly and manage the love humbly.


To find out more about this book ‘Public Relations 247′, head over to this Facebook page:

Book Review plus Giveaway: ‘Leading Women’ by Nancy D. O’Reilly

Leading Women Nancy D. O'Reilly

*Update: The winner of this giveaway is May Li! (Email sent)

This book ‘Leading Women’ begins with a bold statement on page 3 of the introduction. The author (or shall I say, compiler) acknowledges Sheryl Sandberg’s book, ‘Lean In’ as a bestseller – “sold more than 150,000 copies in its first week” – but goes on to say that “Although Sheryl’s book is inspiring, it offers few specific tools. That is where this book comes in.”

Let’s just say it was a jaw-dropping moment for me. And if you don’t already know, Sheryl Sandberg is COO of Facebook.

Leading Women

The author, Nancy D. O’Reilly, compiled 19 essays from other “influential women” and calls this her book – ‘Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life’.

And this book ends before you expect it to, as pages 195 to 254 have just the profiles of the contributing writers, additional resources and an index. That’s 23% of the book allocated to things which the average reader will not be interested in reading – at least, I wasn’t.

And about that bold claim by the author that this book will work where Sheryl Sandberg’s has (apparently) failed? I DID derive quite a few nuggets of wisdom from this book, so I cannot say that gutsy author has over-promised and under-delivered.

It’s kind of like the National Achievers Congress (NAC) in Singapore; the speakers give you just-enough information for you to want to find out more, but… you’ll wish they’d just given you what you wanted. For instance, on page 65 of this book, bestselling author Marci Shimoff writes about the 14 ‘keys’ for experiencing Unconditional Love she has discovered in the course of her research for her book ‘ Love For No Reason’ but only shares 3 of them in this book; a pretty-obvious hint to go buy her book. :D


[image credit:]

Still, if you get just ONE nugget of wisdom from a book, it is already a good book. If the book is life-changing, it’s a great book. This particular book is a good book. And here are 6 of the key takeaways I’ve gotten from reading it:

1) [From Lois Phillips: pg 29 to 34] Four empowering strategies to increase your self-confidence when speaking before an audience:

  • Flaunt Your Track Record – let them “leave with your elevator speech at the tip of their tongue”. Also, “take control by preparing and providing the moderator with a Speaker Introduction cheat sheet” and if there is a printed program, “provide a written list of specific successes that reinforce your expertise, and e-mail it to the person preparing it.”
  • Share the Stage – “extend your reach by adding layers of voices to your presentation by including respected colleagues or experts, board members, or partners.”
  • Learn from Outspoken Women Who Can Take the Heat – examples are Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. “Take a stand, hold your ground, and never apologize for who you are and what you believe.”
  • Connect with Your Audience – include your personal narratives.


2) [From Claire Damken Brown: pg 39 to 44] How to manage interruptions, exercise the art of the brief response and to prevent idea theft.

I agree with the finding on pg 40: “Men interrupt women more than women interrupt men” (when speaking in a group comprising men and women).

A woman can say “Just a second”, “I’m not quite done yet”, “I’ll be with you in a moment”, “One minute while I finish”, “I’ll continue now without interruptions”, “Hold that thought”, etc.

(Want to find out more about managing interruptions or preventing idea theft? Buy the book, or try to win a copy in the giveaway below *wink*) 


3) From Marci Shimoff [pg 66] Practice Self-Compassion

Throughout the day, ask yourself, “What’s the most loving thing I can do for myself right now?” or “What’s the most loving way I can be with myself right now?”

Marci Shimoff

[Marci Shimoff – image credit:]


4) From Marcia Reynolds (pg 101) Ask yourself:

What is my highest potential? I might be good at what I am doing, but am I doing my best work with the skills, gifts, and talents I possess?


5) From Janet Rose Wojtalik: Seven Keys to Unlocking Female Leadership

If you have a daughter, I highly recommend that you read this chapter!

The seven keys include: Branding, Independence, Thinking, Learning, Authentic Beauty, Education and Awareness.


6) From Aurea McGarry (pg 191)

(When crises happen) I do not give any thought or any time to “What if I can’t? What if I fail?” I only give my attention to “I have to try.” I always pray before I speak, “Give me the words to speak today that the people need to hear, even if it changes just one life.”

~ Giveaway ~

Leading Women

This book ‘Leading Women’ is available in bookstores for S$24.25 before GST. To win a copy, leave a comment on this blogpost and tell me why you want to win/read this book! :D

More Lianhe Zaobao Interviews Coming Up! :D

Steven Lek

Want to make a guess about what those interviews are about? ;)

In this picture above is my 67 year old student, Steven Lek from In celebration of SG50, his new book ‘Enduring Quotes For A Young Nation’ will be published soon! To pre-order and get an autographed copy at a special price of S$12, simply email him at now.

I’m very pleased he took my suggestion of this title for his book. I’m really ‘paying it forward’ in a way. I’ve had the good fortune of having friends who helped name this blog of mine, and also my book ‘Blogging For A Living’. Really nice to help someone out this way too.

Today’s been pretty fruitful! Interviews for Lianhe Zaobao were conducted with my personal trainer, Cain Ng, and my (top) students Steven Lek and Simon Chan.

Here’s Cain, the bak kwa fanatic:

Cain Ng

Want to know how to have a great physique like that despite pigging out on all those sinful Chinese New Year goodies? Get a copy of Lianhe Zaobao when Cain’s interview is out. I’ll make the announcement on my facebook page so watch out for it.

*If you can’t wait to get some fitness tips, or to get into shape quickly, head over to Quantum Fitness’ facebook page ( and leave a private message for Cain.

I presented our sweet interviewer with a copy of Andrew Chow’s new book, ‘Public Relations 247′ aka ‘PR247′ :D (Steven & Simon in the background)

PR247 Andrew Chow

What is Public Relations all about?

For me, it’s about linking people I care about. My pal, Jimmy, linked me up with this journalist (I’ll not name her here so she doesn’t get ‘stalked’) and because I think she’s pretty awesome, I’m linking her up with my students and also my trainer. She gets wonderful people to feature, interesting stories to share with her readers, and I also get free ice cream from my students! :D

*Kidding about that last point