The First Half of 2019: Book List (part 3) Nicole Schlinger

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Welcome to the third installment on my series of super short book reviews! I hope these flash reading lists give you some inspiration to pick up something new and different.

You can catch the first two sets of reviews HERE and HERE.

As we enter the second half of the year, I’m just finishing book #21, roughly 9 books behind average and a full 14 off my personal best. However, a book only “counts” if I read the first page, the last page, and all the pages in between. That means any book that I put down or quit before finishing DOES NOT COUNT!

I’ve come to peace with not finishing certain books, and this year there have been more than usual. In particular, I’ve grown weary of business strategy books. One says stop everything and recruit better people . Another says stop what you are doing and delegate it all to someone else while you travel the world for 6 months. I’m tired of feeling like a fat teenager wondering why I don’t measure up to the supermodels in Vogue magazine. Then I remember that I’m the founder of a multi-million dollar company, and most of the people writing these books are not!

So, let’s get to the next five books that YOU may want on your reading list …

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1. Victoria’s Daughters by Jerrold M. Packard

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m a fan of Victoria on Masterpiece. It’s based on the book Victoria by Daisy Goodwin, and chronicles the life of the young Queen Victoria before she became the self-righteous caricature for which she is known and the era is named.

So this book chronicling the lives and fortunes of Victoria’s daughters struck me as a unique and interesting read. Vicky, Alice, Helena, Louise, and Beatrice all led remarkably different lives. It was particularly interesting to see the difference in the older siblings, who were more influenced by their father, compared to the younger siblings who were young enough at his death to hardly remember him at all.

The writing is a bit dry and academic, but the stories are adventurous, heroic, funny, and tragic. All in all — if like English royalty, pick this one up.

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2. America’s First Daughter: A Novel, by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

This is the untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, Martha. As the authors clearly state, while most of this is fact, there is some fiction woven throughout and liberties are taken to keep the story moving.

Even though you know some of the story from high school social studies, there are still plenty of surprises and suspense.

The book starts with the British coming to ransack Monticello, and the Jeffersons’ narrow escape to the woods. Martha’s mother passes away soon after, and at a very young age, she becomes her father’s lifelong companion and defender. The book chronicles their time in Paris, Virginia, the White House, and back to Monticello where they started.

Unlike your high school social studies, this book does not shy away Thomas Jefferson’s relationship (and children) with Sally Hemings and his stunning unwillingness to take action against slavery when he clearly has the chance to do so.

Despite the faults of her father, Martha Jefferson truly sacrificed her life, fortune, and sacred honor, just as the Founding Fathers are given so much credit for doing.

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3. Park Avenue Summer by Reneé Rosen

I was sold on reading this when I read the review calling it “Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada.”

This is the story of Alice Weiss, who shortly after arriving in New York City, is hired at the secretary for Helen Gurley Brown. At the time, Gurley Brown had just been appointed as Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan magazine. Executives at Hearst wanted nothing more than for her to fail so they could fold the already struggling magazine.

The problem with this book was that while Helen Gurley Brown is very exciting … the fictional Alice Weiss is not. I would say this book is OK. Great premise, but the execution left me a little dry. I was more interested in Helen Gurley Brown than Alice Weiss.

Do yourself a favor and read this book about Helen Gurley Brown instead:

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4. The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West, by David McCullough

David McCullough does a great job of taking what was boring in 11th grade social studies, and making it come to life as a story about real people, facing real challenges.

This is the story of the men and women who first ventured west from the original colonies into what was then known as the Northwest Territory, and today is just known as Ohio.

It started with a Massachusetts preacher named Manasseh Cutler, who against all expectations convinced the Continental Congress in New York to grant settlement rights to Revolutionary War veterans and their families.

The first settlers faced an uncertain future — fires, floods, disease, no roads or bridges, no shelter, and constant threat of conflict with the Native Americans.

But from nothing came the city of Marietta, and eventually the state of Ohio. In large part due to the leadership of Cutler’s son, Ohio entered the union as a free state and slaves frequently escaped to Canada from Virginia, through Ohio.

As a further indictment of public school education, this was the first I’d ever heard of Aaron Burr’s plot to create his own country out of parts of Texas, Mexico, and southwest portions of the Louisiana Territory.

This is not the easiest read on the list, but well worth it.

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5. I Will Teach You to Be Rich, Second Edition: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-Week Program That Works, by ramit sethi

Unlike the business books about which I ranted earlier, this is a book about personal finance. And Ramit Sethi knows what he’s doing when it comes to personal finance.

While a lot more trendy and a whole lot less preachy than Dave Ramsey, Sethi’s concepts are not all that different. Get out of debt quickly, use well-known tax and employer advantages wherever you can, and don’t believe all the bullshit advice you get about investing. Pick a simple investment strategy, stick to it, and don’t let so-called “advisors” rip you off with high fees.

Ramit Sethi also preaches something we see in a lot of the really good personal success literature out there. He believes in picking your priorities and going deep. Decide what you want to spend your money on, and spend it consciously. Don’t just fritter it away living someone else’s life.

Example — This is a guy who has made millions of dollars in the last decade, and he still lives in the same apartment because he doesn’t care what kind of apartment he has. However, he does own cashmere sweatpants and bought his parents first class tickets to India.

If you spend on what matters to you and go cheap on what doesn’t, you’ll get to your rich life a whole lot sooner. Amen, Ramit. Amen.

Next week, we’ll get you entirely caught up on this year’s reading and we’ll take a sneak peak at my summer reading list.

Until next time … @Nicole Schlinger

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Nicole Schlinger is a business owner, book lover, and dog owner.

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