10 Books That Have Made a Difference In My Life

Posted 28 August, 2014 in Features / 0 Comments

10 books memeSo I got tagged in one of those memes a few weeks ago on Facebook. the kind I usually ignore: Post this, this, and this, and tag some other people to do the same.

But I was tagged by one of my book buddies, and we all know I like to talk (read: bumble) about books. And when I started thinking about this, it would be a pretty diverse list. I mostly read romance nowadays, but I still read some deep shit (and doesn’t calling it shit when it’s really amazing just make me sound like such a deep person?) and a lot of books that help me do my job (marketing, public relations, social media, writing).

So I figured, what the hell, let’s do it.

Here we go (listed in no order other than category):

Personal Reads:

A Child Called It by Dave Pelzera child called it by dave pelzer

I read this one so long ago, shortly after it came out in 2010 and I was probably only in middle school. So I don’t remember tons of details – just what it was generally about, and that it tore. me. up. inside. I remember having to fight my parents to be allowed to read it – it was so emotional and I was so sensitive, they weren’t sure I would be able to “handle” it. And they were right, I barely did.


This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games–games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother’s games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an “it.”

Dave’s bed was an old army cot in the basement, and his clothes were torn and raunchy. When his mother allowed him the luxury of food, it was nothing more than spoiled scraps that even the dogs refused to eat. The outside world knew nothing of his living nightmare. He had nothing or no one to turn to, but his dreams kept him alive–dreams of someone taking care of him, loving him and calling him their son.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

the great gatsby ebookSo obviously, I read this one in American Lit in high school, along with the rest of the world. I feel kind of ridiculous including the description, but I like consistency. But ever since my first tap dance to a jazz song, I’ve loved the jazz era. The music, the clothes, the history – I love it all. And Gatsby – what a character! A lot of people find it creepy, the lengths he went to for love. But I feel so bad for him; the lengths he went to for love, and look where it got him.


The exemplary novel of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgeralds’ third book, The Great Gatsby (1925), stands as the supreme achievement of his career. T. S. Eliot read it three times and saw it as the “first step” American fiction had taken since Henry James; H. L. Mencken praised “the charm and beauty of the writing,” as well as Fitzgerald’s sharp social sense; and Thomas Wolfe hailed it as Fitzgerald’s “best work” thus far. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when, The New York Times remarked, “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s that resonates with the power of myth. A novel of lyrical beauty yet brutal realism, of magic, romance, and mysticism, The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

Gossip Girl #1 by Cecily von Ziegesar

Yes, before it was a trashy teen TV show, it was a trashy teen book. This was probably the closest I got to smut before 50 Shades of Grey. Because for a 14-year-old, it was pretty damn scandalous. I remember leaving it in a classroom once and my math teacher, Mr. Fritz, making the mistake of looking through it when he went to move it to the lost & found. He was NOT amused hahahaha.


Welcome to New York City’s Upper East Side, where my friends and I live, go to school, play, and sleep–sometimes with each other.

S is back from boarding school, and if we aren’t careful, she’s going to win over our teachers, wear that dress we couldn’t fit into, steal our boyfriends’ hearts, and basically ruin our lives in a major way. I’ll be watching closely…

You know you love me,
gossip girl

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

fifty shades of grey trilogy

Bet you didn’t see this coming! LOL. Yeah, cliche for a romance blogger to have this on here, but whatevs. It’s another one I feel silly including a description for.

But here’s why it made a difference: it opened me up to a new subgenre of romance, and it was the first ebook I read. I went from reading when I had a chance to stop by a bookstore with enough money in my pocket and a purse big enough for a paperback, to reading every day and everywhere. For awhile, I came home from work and did nothing but read until I went to bed. I read more than 365 books last year!


FIFTY SHADES OF GREY: When college student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly Ana realizes she wants this man, and Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian’s secrets and explores her own desires.

FIFTY SHADES DARKER: Daunted by Christian’s dark secrets and singular tastes, Ana has broken off their relationship to start a new career. But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and while Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Ana is forced to make the most important decision of her life.

FIFTY SHADES FREED: Now, Ana and Christian have it all—love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate. Just when it seems that their strength together will eclipse any obstacle, misfortune, malice, and fate conspire to turn Ana’s deepest fears into reality.

Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

beautiful bastard by christina laurenOh, BB. Oh, Christina Lauren. I love these ladies. Before this, I had read a lot of romantic comedy books, and a lot of contemporary romance. But I’d never read a book that was so funny and so hot at the same time! It was also the first audiobook I listened to, and made me realize that when I’m just doing a boring a walk on the treadmill, I stay on a lot longer with an audiobook coming through my earbuds. 🙂


Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate–and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.

Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative–completely infuriating–creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules–or outright smash them–if it means he can have her. All over the office.

As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win each other.

Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid

neanderthal seeks human by penny reidThis can’t be hard to guess. Penny’s all over this blog. Hell, I’ve posted about her books twice today, haha. I remember borrowing this book from the Kindle Lending Library and going back and buying my own copy halfway through when I knew I would want to read it over and over. It’s romance, and it’s comedy, but it still makes you feel smart! The notion of that! Well, sometimes it makes me feel dumb when I don’t get the joke or reference. 😛


There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn’t know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can’t help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can’t afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can’t refuse.

Professional Books:

Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen

likeable social media by dave kerpenI read this one as a required reading for a class my senior year that helped me decide what I was going to do after graduation. Previously, I was focused on more corporate and traditional public relations, even though I was dabbling in social media. Reading this book changed my way of thinking about how businesses should use social media.

It was also great, connections-wise. I became one of Likeable’s biggest fans, participants in it’s weekly Twitter chat where I met great friends, and one of the chat’s co-hosts put on a conference near me last year and I got to go for free and meet the author, Dave Kerpen, and he’s super awesome (or should I say, Likeable?)


The secret to successful word-of-mouth marketing on the social web is easy: BE LIKEABLE. A friend‘s recommendation is more powerful than any advertisement. In the world of Facebook, Twitter, and beyond, that recommendation can travel farther—and faster—than ever before. Likeable Social Media helps you harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing to transform your business. Listen to your customers and prospects. Deliver value, excitement, and surprise. And most important, learn how to truly engage your customers and help them spread the word.

Youtility by Jay Baer

youtility by jay baer
This is another book that changed the way I think about my job, completely. It taught me that the best way to sell or market to someone is to just help them. It makes them trust you, and they’ll be wanting to hand you their money without you ever having to come out and ask.


The difference between helping and selling is just two letters

If you’re wondering how to make your products seem more exciting online, you’re asking the wrong question. You’re not competing for attention only against other similar products. You’re competing against your customers’ friends and family and viral videos and cute puppies. To win attention these days you must ask a different question: “How can we help?”

Jay Baer’s Youtility offers a new approach that cuts through the clut­ter: marketing that is truly, inherently useful. If you sell something, you make a customer today, but if you genuinely help someone, you create a customer for life.

Drawing from real examples of companies who are practicing Youtility as well as his experience helping more than seven hundred brands improve their marketing strategy, Baer provides a groundbreaking plan for using information and helpfulness to transform the relationship between companies and customers.

Me 2.0 by Dan Schwabel

This book got me into personal branding, and personal branding is why I feel comfortable saying that for a 23-year-old, I’m pretty ahead of the game. I get to do really fun things like speak at conferences, be a guest on podcasts, and teach college students about building their own personal brand. Seriously building my personal brand was the best thing I’ve ever done as a professional.


Me 2.0 shows job seekers and established professionals alike how to leverage the power of online media for personal empowerment and career success. “The business world is changing and what Dan Schawbel has captured in this book is the pulse of the changing branding market.” – Gary Vaynerchuk, best-selling author of Crush It

With record unemployment and a volatile economy, Dan Schawbel’s powerful message about personal branding is essential for anyone seeking to achieve success in today’s difficult job market. Me 2.0 offers a proven plan for creating a strong and effective personal brand. By focusing on the 80 million members of “Generation Y,” Me 2.0 shows job seekers innovative ways to separate themselves from the competition and how to have jobs look for them by creating an impactful personal brand. Me 2.0 demonstrates to job seekers how to leverage the power of online media for personal empowerment and career success. Schawbel outlines his unique four-step process for discovering, creating, communicating, and maintaining a personal brand. Schawbel also gives inside tips on how to use blogs, videos, and social networking to find careers based on both passion and experience.

The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth by Chris Brogan

To be honest, I haven’t finished this one yet. But I’ve heard from Chris himself what it’s about, and even that has helped me in business. But most importantly, this book came out of an awesome encounter. I met Chris right before my first time speaking to a large audience at a conference, and he totally kept me from panicking and calmed me down. Then he signed my book and now I’m afraid to touch it in case I mess it up.


Do you ever wonder where you fit in? Do you sometimes get that feeling that you have something much bigger to offer the universe, but then it fills you with fear and anxiety, so you think maybe I’ll just pay it safe? But what is safe? The factory job? The cubicle job?

Factories all over have been converted to open spaces for startups. Skyscrapers have entire floors open for lease because the “same as everyone else” class of jobs have dried up. Many of us were raised to seek out a job that required us to fit in, to conform, to adapt until we fit the mold.

The Freaks Shall Inherit The Earth is a guide for the kind of person who wouldn’t normally pick up a business book.

The personal business revolution is upon us. Here’s your recipe book for starting your revolutionary business.

Tags: , , ,

Buy the ARC Read and Review Tracker for Book Bloggers

Leave a Reply