Book Review: ‘A Double Shot Of Happiness’ by Judy Sharp

A Double Shot Of Happiness by Judy Sharp

I bought this book at Booktique mainly because I wanted to support a local indie bookstore that is in a rather precarious situation as it is located within Citylink Mall and the bookstore has had some trouble paying the rent in the past. I guess their situation can’t be helped since Singaporeans are reading less often now, or perhaps they are reading more ebooks instead. So far, the books I’ve bought at Boutique are pretty good. I managed to read ‘A Double Shot Of Happiness’ over the weekend, and I truly enjoyed it.

I don’t know very much about autism. We really don’t hear very much about autistic children in Singapore, even if there are top bloggers with autistic kids. I can’t help but wonder if there is a place for these boys and girls in this country where there’s discrimination based on the color of your skin, the school you go to or that you graduated from, your PSLE scores (good grief!) and when members of the public are always happy to send you stares and glares if your child behaves inappropriately in public.

This book really gives me a double shot of reality and compassion towards people with autism. More importantly, it provides an insight into the life of the carers, the people who are tasked (by God?) to take care of these special individuals usually for the rest of their lives. I cannot help but be awed by Tim Sharp’s unique brand of humor, which has even amused the likes of Cate Blanchett and Wayne Bennett. In a way, individuals like Tim are blessed – they don’t play ‘mind games’ with people, they love and embrace all, and as Tim would say, they are always happy.

Through this book, I got to know more about what Tim and Judy went through, and definitely learned more about autism:

  1. Autistic children might crave routine and certainty (they might even want their toys lined up a certain way).
  2. Toilet-training is a big issue. Judy writes that Tim was not fully toilet-trained even by age 7.
  3. Because of their sensory overload issues, autistic children get affected by certain sounds which can cause them “physical pain”. Even a mother’s heartbeat can upset a baby with autism.
  4. Children with autism CAN learn to behave better.
  5. It is really tough raising an autistic child. Without good family support and a supportive spouse, Judy actually became clinically depressed.
  6. The mother is the only expert on her child. No other experts really matter.

Tim managed to defy the odds largely because of his mother who loves and believes in him. He was the Australian flag-bearer at the Very Special Arts (VSA) Festival in 2004, his Laser Beak Man character is not just on tshirts and cards (it’s also on TV and on stage!) but it’s also on a cover for one of The Ghost Ballerinas’ CDs. As Judy shares in this TEDx talk, Tim was the first person in the world with autism to have his creation turned into an animation series for TV. Click to watch:

I’m really glad I read the book before watching the TEDx video because there’s only so much that Judy can share on stage. Because of her habit of keeping a diary, she’s able to provide so many details and stories, making this book a most illuminating read. I highly recommend all parents who have autistic children to read this book. Judy’s story will provide you comfort while Tim’s success will offer hope. Of course, Tim’s brand of humor will make you smile, chuckle, and laugh out loud!

~

I bought this book from Booktique at S$33. I highly recommend you get a copy whether you know of someone with autism or not, as it’s such an uplifting read about a mother’s love, a child’s struggles, and how the world can be a wonderful place when we stop putting labels on people and just see them as fellow humans, nothing more and nothing less.:)

Book Review: Going Off Script by Giuliana Rancic

Going Off Script by Giuliana Rancic

This memoir is probably the best one I’ve read so far. No wonder it’s a New York Times bestseller! I picked up this book to read last night, and I’ve given it ‘unputdownable’ status (a word reserved only for the best books). It’s utterly refreshing, absolutely hilarious, and just the right length, I’d say. Didn’t know who Giuliana Rancic was before I read this book, but now I think she’s a really cool human being.

She also ‘liked’ my post on Instagram😀 LOL

Giuliana Rancic book

It’s a mere 263-pages, but this book seems to lay bare all the ups and downs in Giuliana’s life since the time she was “born a celebrity”, how she got up to all sorts of crazy antics in school, how she saw news anchor Barbara Harrison on TV and made journalism her lifelong ambition, how she impressed Johnny Depp and embarrassed herself in front of Leonardo DiCaprio, and how she dated douchebags and rich dudes and eventually married the season one winner of Donald Trump’s reality game show The Apprentice! (And wait till you get to the heart-wrenching bits)

When reading the book, you’ll get the sense that this woman is unstoppable. Life will hit her again and again, and she will rise to meet its challenges. And her sense of humor is amazeballs. I loved the part about how she returned home after an operation (she had scoliosis) and got tormented by the “Terror Toddler”. I laughed so hard! And I was so thankful I was at home, and not out in public where a concerned member of the public would most certainly call the police. Also, because her parents are Italians who are not too fluent in English, there are so many more laughs. You really have to get a copy of this book – it’s a real treat!

At this point, I really do think that Giuliana’s life should be made into a movie. Her life has been quite extraordinary so I think it certainly qualifies as movie material. For one, she can count the late Joan Rivers as her mentor, she had her own reality show ‘Giuliana and Bill’, and there’s her not-too-pleasant experience with artificial insemination and how it led to her cancer diagnosis, that double mastectomy and finally, the birth of her son (Duke) who was conceived via gestational surrogacy.

(I’m still in awe of how she lays her life bare for us to read about, laugh at, and learn from.)

I’m rather envious of her. She’s one of the rare few who KNOW from a young age what they want to be when they grow up, work hard at it, and eventually succeed in the career of their choice. In this book, she calls journalism “the subject that had grabbed me at the age of seven and never let go”. So many of us search, sweat, and succumb (eventually), not finding out what we are meant to be doing on this earth. Lucky her!

And to wrap up, here are some of my favorite lines from this book…

  1. ‘Learning to compromise and not be right all the time is a big lesson for any couple”
  2. “…doctors aren’t gods… they’re human and fallible just like the rest of us”
  3. “…the power of perception and how your attitude toward something can make all the difference in the world”
  4. “You know how you know you’ve lived life to the fullest, and you’ve won? If you can say, I woke up happy most days, and I went to bed happy most nights.”
  5. “I turn forty in triumph. I feel more beautiful than I ever have, gloriously alive in this body that’s been crooked, infertile, cancerous.”

Go get a copy of ‘Going Off Script’. You’ll thank me for it later.:)

Book Review: Raising The Perfectly Imperfect Child by Boris Vujicic

Raising The Perfectly Imperfect Child by Boris Vujicic

I’ve read so many of motivational speaker Nick Vujicic’s books that this book written by his father comes at the right time, to answer some of the burning questions on any reader’s mind. What was Nick really like as a child? How did his parents actually react when they saw him without any limbs after he was born? How did they cope? How did the couple keep the family together, and why did they decide to have two more kids after Nick was born? This book ‘Raising The Perfectly Imperfect Child’ has all the answers and more.:)

I also found that the way this book is presented seems familiar. And I realized why when I finally got to the ‘Acknowledgements’ page at the end, in which Boris states that “Nick loaned me his writing partner, Wes Smith”. So if you’ve enjoyed reading Nick’s books, you’ll love this one too as it’s written in the same style.

More than just being an easy-to-read book, it has pearls of wisdom for couples, whether or not they have disabled children. And it deals with a couple of hard truths. For one, Nick’s parents had considered putting him up for adoption. And I can understand why too. Most parents are anxious to know if the baby is healthy when it’s born. Which parent will be able to accept the fact that the newborn doesn’t have arms nor legs?! Social workers at the hospital would have made it clear to the new parents that putting little Nick up for adoption was an option available to them. And yes, this must have been too painful even for Nick to share, I guess. Thankfully, his grandfather is the sort of person who has no doubts that the child would be welcomed into the family and brought up as one of them.

Also, Nick’s parents quickly came round to the idea that whether disabled or not, Nick was their flesh-and-blood and they would bring him up as best they could, and help him reach his fullest potential.

Nick writes in the foreword to the book that “anyone who grows up without loving and supportive parents has far more to overcome than I did”. And that is so true, isn’t it?

There were certain parts of the book which I found especially moving. I’ll share some of them with you here:

~ A Crisis Of Faith ~

“My wife and I were life-long Christians, yet we had each experienced a crisis of faith when Nick was born.” – Boris Vujicic

If you’re not the religious sort, good for you. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself asking (at some point) why a good God would allow good people to suffer all sorts of trials and tribulations, while bad people seem to prosper and have a good time. It’s a question I’ve asked too many times in the past.

But Christians are able to rely on His strength to get them through the toughest of times. Read this book to find out how Nick’s parents managed to overcome their initial fears and worries, especially since Nick’s mom had a bout of postpartum depression after Nick was born.

~ Reject Labels Placed On Your Children ~

“I encourage all parents to reject labels and to look instead into the hearts of their children.” – Boris Vujicic

I love the blog called That Dad Blog, which celebrates the child who has been, in the blogger’s own words, “blessed with Down Syndrome”. Reading his blogposts will make you want to laugh and cry. It’s so funny and so moving all at the same time. I really like blogs like this one which celebrate life, family time, creativity and relationships.

In the book, Boris also notes that “Penn State researchers found that the rate of suicidal thoughts and attempts among autistic children is twenty-eight times greater than for typical children.”

If your child has autism, you’d really have to pay special attention to him/her. Though he doesn’t have autism, Nick himself has also had dark periods in which he contemplated suicide, and had actually attempted it too.

~ What A Relationship Should Be All About ~

“A relationship should not be based on mere physical attraction or the desire for marital status. Both spouses have to share basic beliefs and values, and they need to have an enduring commitment to sustain them through the inevitable and often unexpected challenges that life brings.” – Boris Vujicic

Amen.

~

I think this book is a gem. Fans of Nick Vujicic will certainly enjoy reading Boris’ account of what happened at Nick’s birth, and how that sometimes-bossy child became the God-fearing, world-conquering motivational speaker that he is now. Parents with disabled children will probably find in this book some comfort, and lots of hope.

Book Review: Kevin Tsai’s Way Of Speaking (蔡康永的说话之道) Part 1.3

Kevin Tsai book

This is the final post regarding my review of Kevin Tsai’s book ‘说话之道’ (Book One). (Read Part 1.0 and Part 1.2). If you have yet to read his book, I highly recommend that you get your hands on a copy soon. I love the illustrations (actually short comic strips) within, and the anecdotes that Kevin shares. Each chapter makes one good point, and each chapter is short (possibly 3 to 4 pages only). Even if you’re not a fan of reading Chinese books, just one chapter a day before you go to bed should not be too difficult.

And no, I have yet to figure out the rationale for using an umbrella as a prop for the book’s cover shoot. Would you have any idea as to why he did that? (>_<)

Anyway, here are the rest of my learning points from Book One…

  1. Be involved and interested in conversation with your elders.
  2. Self-deprecating humor helps break down barriers. Don’t attack someone just to butter someone (else) up.
  3. Choose topics that everyone can participate in.
  4. Exit quietly.
  5. Don’t say “I understand” when you don’t / can’t.
  6. Go for win-win situations when asking for help.
  7. Be ready to apologize when you are in the wrong.
  8. Read between the lines.
  9. Return praise.
  10. Personalize messages.
  11. Look for clues regarding the person’s character.
  12. Learn to care for others.
  13. Make sure they can feel your ‘care’ for them.
  14. Avoid jargon. Have your own speaking style.
  15. Communication: more than words.

And I’m moving on to Book Two.😀 There’s just so much to learn from this man that I’m glad he found the motivation to write book two. He had previously shared (on TV) that he was most reluctant to write book one. He probably thought no one would want to buy his books. (Hurhur) But the illustrator (likely a friend) had told him that the money he would receive for the artwork was money he needed to pay for his studies abroad. And so, that ‘pushed’ Kevin to quickly get the manuscript done so his friend’s plans would not have to be shelved indefinitely. All’s well that ends well, I guess.:)

Book Review: Kevin Tsai’s Way Of Speaking (蔡康永的说话之道) Part 1.2

Kevin Tsai book

Perhaps you’ve read my earlier post about Kevin Tsai’s popular book ‘说话之道’, or perhaps you haven’t but that’s fine. Reading Chinese books is not exactly a hobby of mine so good luck to the Government in wanting to promote literature in our mother tongue languages when many in this country don’t even like reading to begin with. LOL!

This book is really good though, and I think there should be an English translation, if there isn’t such a version already.

Anyway, here are more of the learning points from Book One…

  1. Remove the ‘sharp edge’ in your questions.
  2. Ask questions that will elicit a variety of responses from your audience.
  3. Avoid the (many) landmines: finances, illness(es), relationships, kids’ grades, politics, sports, hated celebs, religion, vegetarians vs meat eaters, etc.
  4. Numbers are more memorable if you link them to events. DO NOT ask about how much a person makes when you’ve only just met him/her!
  5. Pauses are important. Let your voice be a mental massage for others, not a verbal lashing.
  6. Insert a ‘hook’ in your conversation so people follow.
  7. Don’t wait too long before revealing the ‘climax’ in your story.
  8. Avoid canned jokes. Good jokes should prompt conversation after.
  9. Ask questions which prompt the speaker to continue.
  10. Be outstanding without sabotaging yourself.
  11. Don’t be in a hurry to answer. Keep quiet if you’ve heard that joke before.
  12. Be the first to state your name.
  13. Give praise that is desired.
  14. Don’t answer your own question, and don’t set traps for people to fall into.
  15. When on stage, make a good point every 15 minutes.

I’m not done with the book yet. Yes, it’s frustrating because I usually do speed-reading for books written in English. Gah! So I’ll have to update this blog again later. But don’t hold your breath. It’ll take a while.😀

Book Review: Smarter Faster Better – The Secrets of Being Productive – by Charles Duhigg

Smarter Faster Better Charles Duhigg

The title of this book ‘Smarter Faster Better’ seems to be a slogan that one of our ministers in Singapore will be fond of (hehe). This book has a great layout which makes it easier and faster to read – the font size is pretty big, and one quarter of the book actually contains the appendix / notes (which I didn’t read). But this 266-page book is still full of interesting anecdotes, insightful analyses and illuminating ideas.:)

I love the author’s definition of productivity on pages 4 and 5: “Productivity, put simply, is the name we give our attempts to figure out the best uses of our energy, intellect, and time as we try to seize the most meaningful rewards with the least wasted effort.”

I’d highly recommend you purchase a copy of this book and read those interesting anecdotes. It’ll certainly help you think about Productivity differently. The notes that follow are little summaries for myself. They won’t necessarily make any sense to you if you haven’t already read the book, so go buy a copy, ok?😀

  1. Motivation: Can be learned. We prefer choice and control. Link something hard to a choice you care about.
  2. Teams: Manage the how of teams, not the who. Give everyone an equal voice, encourage social sensitivity among teammates.
  3. Focus: Especially important in this age of automation. Create mental models. Visualization. Force yourself to think.
  4. Goal setting: Commit to stretch goals. Pair stretch goals and SMART goals.
  5. Managing others: Take pride in your work. Commitment culture in companies is best. Empower staff.
  6. Decision making: Get trained in how to think “probabilistically”. Accurate forecasting requires exposing ourselves to as many successes and disappointments as possible”.
  7. Innovation: Take proven, conventional ideas from other settings and combine them in new ways. Use our lives as raw material, our emotions as creative material. Don’t get overly attached to your creation. Critique what we’ve already done.
  8. Absorbing data: Increase your understanding of data. Use a new word in a sentence, write it down. Use the scientific method to isolate and test variables. Framing is important. Write > type.

Book Review: Elon Musk – How The Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Is Shaping Our Future

Elon Musk book

Before reading this book, I had no idea who Elon Musk is. Apparently he is very, very famous. If you know who Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are, you’d have to know Elon. But to borrow a line from Rui En, that is, if Elon asked me “Do you know who I am?”, I’d definitely say I have no clue.😀 But I’m already a fan of one of his companies, even though I didn’t know he’s a co-founder! Haha!

Long story short, he’s actually a co-founder of PayPal, among other companies. He has a net worth of approximately USD13.5 billion. And what is probably his most radical idea is the one about having a human colony on the planet Mars. Like, seriously, men are from Mars? He has had two wives. He had six sons with his first wife; his very first child died not long after being born. As for the second wife, they got married, then divorced, then got married again, and yes, got divorced again. Simply put, Elon Musk is not your average guy.

After reading this book, anyone who had wanted to compare Elon with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates will have other ideas, because Elon is clearly in a league of his own.

Here’s how he is very different from most of us:

  1. He was likely born a genius. He could concentrate intensely on a single task, had a “compulsion to read” and had a photographic memory. (However, he was also bullied relentlessly in school.)
  2. He has a maniacal work ethic. He thinks that if there’s a way of getting nutrients without sitting down for a meal, he’d take it, so he would not have to waste any time that he could otherwise use on work. He even pees quickly.
  3. He doesn’t necessarily believe in crafting a career out of your passion. Even though he has a huge interest in video games, he wanted to pursue a career in an area he could have a “big impact”, i.e. something that would change the world. He challenges us to think about ‘What industry can you disrupt?’
  4. While most people struggle to build up one successful business, he’s had many successes. Among them are Zip2, PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity.
  5. He turns conventional wisdom on its head. In 2014, Tesla announced that it would open-source all its patents. The company was essentially encouraging more competition.
  6. He believes in lowering costs by making everything in-house if possible. Yes, that includes even building rockets themselves!
  7. He’s been through a lot. Besides bullying in school, there’s also his tough upbringing, a coup in one of his companies, he nearly died from malaria, his first son’s sudden death at ten weeks old, his first wife’s blog which became a PR nightmare for him, and how his companies had once been on the brink of bankruptcy and he had to sell prized possessions to generate cash.
  8. He’d rather die than fail. He told one venture capitalist: “My mentality is that of a samurai. I would rather commit seppuku than fail.”
  9. He’s an unusual boss. He would play video games with employees and trash them at it.
  10. He eliminates obstacles. If you’re his employee and if your glasses keep getting in the way of your work, he’ll pay for your Lasik treatment.
  11. He redefines “micro-management”. You are in real danger of losing your job, when your boss takes over for a week or two just to see if you are as indispensable to the company as you say, and then you realize he can do your job better than you can.
  12. He’s REALLY hands-on. He interviews just about everyone, from the janitors to the technicians. I wonder if he has just 24 hours a day, like the rest of us.
  13. He uses more of his brain. Co-workers marvel at “his abilities to absorb incredible quantities of information with near-flawless recall.”
  14. He comes up with jaw-dropping ideas, e.g. reuseable rockets, electric cars that can be recharged for free (and even having robots replace battery packs, and autopilot functions for your car).

~

To me, it seems like Elon Musk has led the lives of multiple men, not just one. The way he manages large companies at the same time is just incredible. Without discounting Steve Jobs’ awesome creations, I’d have to say that Elon’s mission is just mind-blowing. And based on what he’s doing, I do think we have a very real chance of exploring other planets even before we are done with exploring Earth. And with global warming and its horrendous effects, I have to admit that yes, Earth might one day not be conducive for human life. And we’ll have no choice but to check out other planets if we want to survive.

I highly recommend that you check out this book by Ashlee Vance. He must have done so much work to put together this 382-page book about Elon Musk, especially since the latter had refused to cooperate at the start. LOL. Before I read the book, I knew nothing about Elon. Now, I’m in awe.😀

Book Review: Kevin Tsai’s Way Of Speaking (蔡康永的说话之道)

Kevin Tsai book

I’ve enjoyed Kevin Tsai’s and Dee Hsu’s hosting of 康熙來了(Kang Xi Lai Le) – too bad the show has ended after more than a decade on television. As Dee has frequently referred to Kevin’s book, I decided to locate a copy and attempt to read all those traditional Chinese characters. If you know of the existence of a version in simplified Mandarin or better yet, a translated version in English, please let me know. My speed-reading skills have been severely hampered by the way the book is presented – just like Chinese comics, back to front, and read from right to left, the exact opposite of what I’m used to.

In this post, I’ll share some of the learning points I’ve acquired from (slowly) reading his book. I’m reading slowly not by choice, obviously. Haha! Do note that some phrases and thoughts just lose much of their original intended meaning when translated into English. Take the title of the book, for instance, <蔡康永的说话之道>, which can only loosely and inaccurately be translated into ‘Kevin Tsai’s Way Of Speaking’ (which I found on Amazon.com).

Also, how does one explain what Kevin meant by “说话之道” versus “说话之術”, which he claims has very different connotations? In any case, I’ll do my best here. Apologies in advance if my interpretations of his work fall short. Mandarin’s not exactly my strong suit but I do love the language – it’s actually quite beautiful.:)

By the way, this (speaking skills) book has made Kevin one of the richest Chinese writers, and according to the website china.org.cn, helped him earn over US$700,000 in royalty income. Can you say “WOW”?😀 Not that he needs the money, obviously, because the talkshow already pays very well, and Kevin is from a rich (elite) family. I respect him a fair bit because he’s not just learned, but he’s also courageous. He has come out of the closet years ago and said he is gay. I think more gay people should follow in his footsteps. If you want society to accept who you are, and the lifestyle you lead, and not discriminate against gay people, then you’ll have to OWN this fact (that you are gay), and just proudly state it as a matter of fact and show you have nothing to hide. Step out and say “I’m gay. So?” and you’ll find that people (even the critics) will have to just start minding their own business.

And I might be wrong, but I think that Kevin’s sexuality allows him the freedom of understanding both ‘worlds’ – the male worldview, and the more feminine / emotional / sensitive ‘world’ that is usually associated with women. Thus, he seems to always know what are the right things to say. For instance, when a woman asks a man whether she is looking fatter these days, the man might have to pause and wonder if she’s asking him a trick question, what her response might be if he’s honest with her, and what he’ll have to say in order to get away with lying. For someone like Kevin, the answer is almost always very prompt and a straightforward denial “Of course not. You’re so slim! Why would you even ask that question?!” and the woman ends up feeling really happy. Yes, we’re superficial like that. Most of us just want to hear only the good things.😀

Here are some learning points from the book (It’s Book One. There’s a Book Two out as well)…

  1. Consider what the listener wants to hear, not what you wish to say.
  2. You are what you say.
  3. Dee Hsu: “There’s a fine line between being yourself and being rude. Give genuine praise, not unwelcome criticism”.
  4. Pass on praise from other people, instead of trying too hard yourself.
  5. Your words define you. For instance, would you rather be seen as a naggy housewife or a kawaii girlfriend?
  6. Likeability is more important than looks. For instance, what would you do if you are invited to a gathering with friends and dinner involves Japanese food which you do not enjoy? Remember: the reason for your friends’ existence is not to serve you.
  7. Music is better than forced conversation, and it also changes the mood.
  8. Know how to “lose” and hand unnecessary victories to others. It is better to lose an argument than to be hated for winning one. Don’t force an apology or admittance of defeat from someone. Maintain love between the couple; don’t make a fuss over winning or losing an argument.
  9. See people as equals.
  10. Maintain eye contact in moderation.
  11. Don’t obsess over the meal; have a good conversation.
  12. Get unstuck; change the topic.
  13. Concrete questions lead to effortless answers. Be specific in your questioning. Ask about a topic that you have something interesting to share about too.
  14. People want to find others who understand them.
  15. Everyone wants to talk about themselves. Be a good listener. See if you can avoid using “I” and “me” in your conversation. Indulge your friends – let them say all that they want to.

I’m not done with the book yet. So I’ll update this blog again later. It’s so much easier to blog in English than to read a book in Chinese. Muahaha!:)

*p/s: I’m not sure why Kevin uses an umbrella as a prop for his book cover shoot. Perhaps the answer will be revealed later in the book.😉

Booktique: That Citylink Mall Bookstore You May Have Visited Before

Booktique

Recently, I shared a Facebook post regarding a bookstore owner’s plea for help to survive the “trying times” of “dismal” sales figures. I don’t really know if it was the wise thing to do – asking for help via Facebook – but I admire Anthony’s guts for doing it. His FB post got some 197 shares, and hopefully, did bring his bookstore more customers. I’ve actually visited his bookstore before (‘cos I love walking into bookstores and checking them out) but didn’t buy anything on my previous visits. I popped by the store yesterday during lunch hour. It was rather quiet, museum-like. And since I was there to show my support, I browsed through most of the titles, and eventually bought two books: Judy Sharp’s ‘A Double Shot of Happiness’ (S$33) and ‘Teach A Life, For Life’ by Eileen Chai (S$24).

Booktique Citylink Mall

I managed to complete reading Eileen’s book on the train ride home. LOL. Speed-reading rocks!😀 And I also sent her a message to tell her I loved reading her book. I do think S$24 for her full-color book makes it quite a steal. And I marvel at how this GENIUS (she deserves the title) can be so good at so many things: gymnastics, springboard diving, athletics, violin, etc. (She has represented Singapore in the Southeast Asian Games!) And oh, she has a degree in Microbiology from NUS, and is now a violin teacher and performer. How did that even happen?! It would be a real treat to meet her in person and interview her.😀😀

The other book is about “Tim Sharp’s extraordinary journey from being diagnosed with autism to becoming an internationally renowned artist”. I’ve not read it yet, but I will soon.:)

Here are a couple of other books I found very interesting. Ok, they have really cool book covers. And yes, I totally judge books by their covers. Especially since they come all lovingly wrapped up in plastic at Booktique and I cannot read the contents till I’ve bought the books:

‘The Doll Scene’ has an AMAZINGLY eye-catching cover:

Booktique The Doll Scene

‘The Red Riding Hood Lah’ will amuse speakers of Singlish, for sure:

Booktique The Red Riding Hood Lah

By the way, I LOVE that Boutique supports local authors. As a local author, you get your books placed in prominent position, with supporting newspaper features, etc.

I do hope Booktique survives the quiet months and that sales will pick up soon. My personal gut feel is that the space in the bookstore could be ‘maximized’ (is that the right word to use, I wonder) further. I’m not sure about this (as I didn’t actually count them all), but it seemed to me that there were probably less than 200 titles in the store when I visited yesterday. I’d probably have bought more if there was more to choose from.

One question that came to mind yesterday was what I’d do if I was running a bookstore like Booktique:

  1. This idea isn’t mine; I read about it online – Have a book subscription service. For a fee of e.g. S$50 a month, subscribers receive a specially curated selection of perhaps, three(?) books that Anthony picks out for them based on their preferences. I would sign up for this, seeing as how I’ve already spent S$57 on two books. And subscribers can either pick up the package at the store (free) or get it delivered (at extra charge).
  2. Have a membership card to encourage repeat buying. I like going back to stores like Popular, Times and Kinokuniya when I have their membership cards. So if I see a book I want to buy in another store, I’ll wait for member-only 20% off days at Kinokuniya, for instance. Yesterday’s purchase at Booktique was an out-of-the-norm one for me.😀
  3. Increase the time every walk-in potential customer spends in the store. For instance, I’d have a little coffee corner with an espresso machine and some tables and chairs for customers to get a coffee (ka-ching!) and browse through some titles. My rationale is that the more time they spend in the store, the more likely they are to buy something, or to buy more. [If you spill coffee on the book, you buy it! :P]
  4. Figure out what the people who go to Citylink Mall actually want. This is something I’ve learnt from Andrew who manages the Red House at Upper Thomson coffeeshop. If there is a group of executives who just want a chill-out place where they can read a book in peace during their lunch hour, I’ll probably have a corner with some beanbags or recliners where they can read the books bought from my store.

Hopefully, when I next visit Citylink Mall (which may be in a few months’ time), Booktique will still be there, and will be thriving. I do encourage everyone reading this to pop by Booktique and show them some love.:)

I did also visit another store at Citylink Mall yesterday. It was selling handicrafts and other knick-knacks for charity. I bought these two greeting cards (at S$1 each) as they are oh-so-cute!😀

Cat Greeting Cards

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Booktique is located at Citylink Mall #01-17A, 1 Raffles Link.

https://www.facebook.com/WriterBooktique

Ladies, Meet Randi Zuckerberg This Weekend At MBS! :D

Women of Wealth And Abundance

I’m very excited about meeting Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, this weekend at Marina Bay Sands!😀 I’ve been told that Randi has a net worth of $100 million (like… WOW?!) and she’s the former Director of Marketing at Facebook. Most of the seats have been snapped up already (‘cos tickets are FREE!) so hurry and register here if you want to grab one of the last few seats available: http://wowalive.com/grace-gift

But wait… WHAT IF you already have other plans for this weekend?! 

Well, it’s the first time this event is being organized, and if you miss it, I really have no idea when the next run will be. So if you like the lineup of speakers, and believe that you will learn something of value that will change your life for the better, then do whatever it takes to be there this weekend at MBS.:) Here’s what you can expect from the speakers…

A Sneak Peak At The Speakers’ & Topics:

Randi Zuckerberg – “Finding the Balance, how to be a three-dimensional woman in today’s digital age”
Former head of Marketing at Facebook and sister of Mark Zuckerberg (CEO & Founder of Facebook). Randi is an entrepreneur, best selling author, investor, public speaker, and media personality, passionate advocate for women in entrepreneurship and leadership. Net worth over $100 Million.

Yassmin Abdel-Magedi – “Making a Difference, Being the Change”
Top TED Talk speaker, best selling author, mechanical engineer, social advocate.

Brenda Tan – “Regain Your Power”
Best selling author, event host, women’s relationship coach, entrepreneur.

Alexi Panos – “Woman’s Secret To Happiness”
Author, TV presenter (HGTV, MTV), actress, philanthropist… the “IT” girl in the personal development world.

Emma Tiebens – “Relationships = Success”
Author, relational marketing branding expert, network to success, entrepreneur.

Linda Hollander – “Fund Your Cause, Charity or Passion Project”
Author, passion project funding and sponsorship acquisition expert.

Lynn Rose – “Speak From the Heart & Reach Your Goals”
Author, founder of the WOW Factor for speaking & communicating,
connecting to your authentic self.

Suria Mohd – “Positive Parenting – Pays Big Dividends”
Author, positive parenting speaker, women’s empowerment trainer.

There are many fringe activities (lucky draws, fashion show, yoga session, etc) so I know this weekend is going to be pretty exciting! But what I’m looking forward to THE MOST is getting to hear from all these amazing women. Lots of love to the organizers for putting this event together, and OH MY GOODNESS for bringing Randi Zuckerberg here to meet us all. It’s incredible!😀

Ladies, do whatever it takes (I know you can do it) to make sure you secure a seat at this event. It’s free for you to attend, and there’s so much value the speakers will be bringing to us. I’ll see you there!:)

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12 – 13 Mar 2016
9am – 6pm
Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre, Level 4, Roselle Grand Ballroom

-> http://wowalive.com/grace-gift <-