Book 4 – Nancy Drew and Salvador Dali

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Title: Not a Girl Detective: A Cece Caruso Mystery

Date Completed: 9/27/09

Author(s): Susan Kandel

Copyright: 2005, Harper Collins

# pages: 294

Genre: Fiction/Mystery

 This is the first Cece Caruso mystery that I’ve read, although it is not the first book in the series.  I found this book when I was scanning the bookshelf looking for something interesting.  This book stood out, and I usually follow my gut on these things.  The first book in the series, I Dreamed I married Perry Mason was not available, so I went with this one.

 This is a book that brings Nancy Drew and Salvador Dali together in a single story.  The main character is Cece Caruso – a biographer who is writing a book about the author of the Nancy Drew series.  In the end, she finds out that the more interesting tale is about the model who portrayed Nancy Drew on the covers of the book.  So, a model who’s picture is famous as Nancy Drew and Salvador Dahi.  I’ll let you make the connection. 

 Obviously, with mysteries, I can’t give much detail, or I’ll ruin the book for those who want to read it.  Suffice it to say it was a good book, and a quick read – perfect for those times when you want something to read, but not something that makes you think too much.  I liked it enough that I will read another Cece Caruso Mystery just to see what else she can get herself into.


Book 3 – Marketing to Moms

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Title: Trillion-Dollar Moms: Marketing to a New Generation of Mothers

Date Completed: 9/24/09

Author(s): Maria T. Bailey and Bonnie W. Ulman

Copyright: 2005, Dearborn Trade Publishing

# pages: 219

Genre: Business/Marketing

 This book is about two things that I have zero experience with: being a mom, and marketing.  However, I thought the premise of the book was interesting.  It starts out by identifying the fact that marketing to moms is different than marketing to women.  Moms and women are two distinctly different marketing categories.  Although this seems obvious now (maybe because I read the book), I had never really thought of it that way before.  For example, if you are marketing Ziplock bags to women, the focus of the ad campaign may be on the ability to package snacks containing carrots or walnuts for throwing in your purse as you are headed out the door.  If you are marketing Ziplock bags to moms, the focus of the campaign is on packaging cereal snacks to throw in the diaper bag.  Same basic use of the product – but two different audiences.  Subtle, but apparently very important for marketing.

 The book also describes the key attributes of the different generations of moms – Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Gen Y moms.  For me, one of the most interesting tid-bits of information that I took away from the book is that moms tend to behave based on the age of their children rather than their generation.  So, for example, a Baby Boomer mom (born 1946-1964) of a toddler will display the traits of a Gen Xer (1965-1976) with a toddler rather than another Baby Boomer mom who has teenagers.

 I will not be able to recap all of the marketing information I learned.  However, one of the key themes is that marketing is no longer about print, tv, or radio advertising.  You can no longer run a successful marketing campaign without multi-media.  You need to look as if you aren’t marketing.  You need to solve a problem.  This is why you’ve noticed a proliferation of advertising campaigns that seem to just be part of your everyday life.  A really good example is the Food & Family magazine that Kraft sends out each month.  I’ve been getting this magazine for years, and although it is nothing more than one big advertisement for Kraft products, I’ve never felt as if it was intrusive marketing.  Why?  Because it gives me great ideas for recipes. 

 Overall, this was a difficult book for me to get through.  Not because it was difficult to read or anything like that.  It is back to the fact that I am neither a mom or a marketer.  So, as with anything in life, if you aren’t passionate about it, it takes longer than it otherwise needs to.  But, I’m still glad I read it.  You never know when the information might come in handy.

Where do I get my books?

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I’m a library geek. I know my library card number by heart. I was going to the library before the economy got bad and everybody jumped on the library book-wagon.   So, I get a lot of them from the library.

I also have a Sony Reader (the not-so-flashy cousin of the Amazon Kindle).   I download books to the reader on a fairly regular basis. However, I’m pretty cheap, so I usually wait for a sale.

Then, the last option is to buy a book from a retailer. I’ll do this occasionally if it is something I have to have and can’t wait for it to be available through one of the two options above. Think Harry Potter book 7. Yes, I was there at midnight.

Book 2 – Launching

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Title: Ladies Who Launch – How to Live Your Dreams and Love Your Life, Embracing Entrepreneurship and Creativity as a Lifestyle

Date Completed: 9/13/09

Author(s): Vicotia Colligan & Beth Schoenfeldt

Copyright: 2007, St. Martin’s Press

# pages: 218

Genre: Business/Entrepreneurship

 This book is a companion to the Ladies Who Launch website.  It essentially lays out the mission and vision of the site in book form.  I’d almost consider the book to be a marketing piece for the site.  Having said that, I do thing that the book can stand on its own if you never visit the site.

 The book outlines steps that should be taken whenever you are trying to launch a new effort in your life.  Most of the book is focused on launching a business, however, the authors constantly remind you that these steps can be used for anything.  You want to accomplish in your life – launching a new social life, a weight low program, or a charity (see how I’ve tied this into my current project – clever, I know). 

 The most unique feature of the book is the discussion about how women approach ‘launching’ differently than men.  I laughed all through this section because it described my husband and I to a tee.  Women are generally much more creative than men in their approach.  They approach things in a non-linear fashion, and they move toward their end goal without always knowing how they will get there. 

 Men come up with an idea, put together a business plan, figure out each step that will be needed to get from point A to point B, and then they start to make their move.  This linear approach is not creative and usually puts a woman in a position of losing her enthusiasm for her idea.

 I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had an idea for a business (admittedly some were a little out there) which I’ve gotten very excited about.  I bring it up with my husband and he starts down the ‘business case’ list.  What kind of margin would you have?  Will that be more or less per hour than you currently make?  What kind of operating expenses have you factored in?  You’ll need to incorporate at least another 25% for marketing expenses.  By the end of the questions – I’ve lost all interest in the project because it’s not fun anymore.  This book helped me realize that my husband can’t help asking me these questions any more than I can help coming up with all the different ideas.

 One of the other great things I learned is that women don’t have to finish something to be fulfilled.  For those of you how know me, you’ll know that this is me!  I feel validated in knowing that I’m not the only person out there who can be satisfied even though I didn’t complete what I started.  For instance, I can think of a great business idea and spend a lot of time researching it.  Then, I will think of something new and I’m on to the next thing.  This doesn’t bother me at all – I had fun doing the research so why spend any time feeling bad about what I did?  I don’t need to take the project any further to be happy about it. 

 The second half of the book covers the steps that the authors feel you should follow to successfully launch your project.  It includes discussions about the step and then follows up with exercises that you can complete to help you move toward your goal. 

 If I had to summarize their approach in 20 words or less, it would be:  figure out what you want, take a small step toward accomplishing it, celebrate your progress, repeat.

IRS – First Lesson

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Ok…in only minutes, I’ve learned my first lesson…it is 501(c)(3) that classifies a charitable organization. Not a 503(1c). See, reading makes you smarter!

IRS Research

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My goal for this weekend is to research the information about setting up a charity. So, I expect to spend a lot of time on the IRS site understanding what I need to do to become a 503(1c) classified charity.

The Statistics – Income levels of children play a key role in whether or not they have books

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According to a recent study conducted by the University of Michigan, 67% of low income families do not own books for their children. Where middle-income neighborhoods have an average of 13 books per child, there is only one book per 300 in low-income neighborhoods. Even more stunning is the fact that 80% of pre-school and after-school programs serving low income families do not have books to provide to their children.


“Access to books and educational material is the single biggest barrier to literacy development in the United States and beyond. If we can solve the problem of access, we will be well on the road to realizing educational parity – a goal which has eluded this country for generations.”
Susan B. Neuman, Ph.D. University of Michigan, Ctr. for Improvement of Early Reading Achievement

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