Crushing It!

Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk

In his 2009 international bestseller Crush It, Gary insisted that a vibrant personal brand was crucial to entrepreneurial success, In Crushing It!, Gary explains why that’s even more true today, offering his unique perspective on what has changed and what principles remain timeless. He also shares stories from other entrepreneurs who have grown wealthier—and not just financially—than they ever imagined possible by following Crush It principles. The secret to their success (and Gary’s) has everything to do with their understanding of the social media platforms, and their willingness to do whatever it took to make these tools work to their utmost potential. That’s what Crushing It! teaches readers to do.

In this lively, practical, and inspiring book, Gary dissects every current major social media platform so that anyone, from a plumber to a professional ice skater, will know exactly how to amplify his or her personal brand on each. He offers both theoretical and tactical advice on how to become the biggest thing on old standbys like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat; podcast platforms like Spotify, Soundcloud, iHeartRadio, and iTunes; and other emerging platforms such as Musical.ly. For those with more experience, Crushing It! illuminates some little-known nuances and provides innovative tips and clever tweaks proven to enhance more common tried-and-true strategies.

Crushing It! is a state-of-the-art guide to building your own path to professional and financial success, but it’s not about getting rich. It’s a blueprint to living life on your own terms.

I REALLY enjoyed this book! I haven’t read much this year so it’s maybe less significant when I say this is my favorite book I’ve read this year, but I’ll say it anyway: this is my favorite book I’ve read this year.

If you’re a business owner, content creator, influencer, or desire to be any of those things, I think Crushing It! is absolutely required reading for 2018.

I didn’t read Crush It! until September of 2016…basically seven years after it came out. While I liked Crush It!, it did feel dated at that point in time. I suspect how I feel reading Crushing It! now is how some people felt who read Crush It! soon after it came out.

The first half of Crushing It! reads like a motivational, personal development/business book. I highlighted so many great nuggets in this section. It’s like listening to one of Gary’s podcast episodes except that it’s laser focused because someone took an editing pen and applied a tight structure to it. The second half drills down into specific platforms and gives ideas on how you can use them and where those platforms are going. So if you want to know how to kill it on Instagram, Gary’s got advice for you. Want to be a podcaster? That’s in here, too.

Crushing It! also includes many case studies of people who were able to put into practice the things Gary wrote about in Crush It! and have been able to really dominate with their brands and companies. One of the things I think that’s really important in the personal development and business space, whether it’s a book, blog, video, or podcast, is to give examples of real people who are doing the things you’re teaching about. It’s easy to assume one person’s success is a fluke, but once you start giving examples of others who have had success, it’s hard to argue it away as, “Well, you’re Gary Vaynerchuk. That would never work for me”.

Aside from this book being pure Gary Vaynerchuk (meaning if you don’t like Gary, don’t read this book), the thing I found most significant about Crushing It! is that whenever I stopped reading, I felt really inspired and motivated. One of the things that most excites me about with my new business (Minute Marketing) is the chance to experiment and try new things to create better and more impactful content. And that’s true not only for Minute Marketing, but for my clients and even this blog! I had some great thoughts while reading this book about both of my brands and I’m looking forward to getting back to being creative and playing around with content.

I wanted to share one quote I really liked from the book with you:

“When you really own it, and you put yourself out there and be you, your vibe is going to attract your tribe, and you’re going to be able to make change in this world.”

So here’s my commitment to you: to be really authentic and unapologetically myself. To be less strategic and more focused on putting out the best of the best. To crushing it in all spaces and places.

Changes Coming to Isle of Books

I started Isle of Books back in December of 2011. I needed a hobby after a break-up and people were always asking me for book reviews so it seemed a natural fit to start a blog of book reviews. I found myself recommending the same books over and over without being really certain if those were the best books I could be recommending or the right ones for that person. Asking someone to recommend you a book on the spot is a lot like (I imagine) asking an octagenarian to name their favorite memory. That question is too big to properly answer without ample time for reflection.

I wanted Isle of Books to be a place where people could come and look for a book to read for an upcoming vacation or during a lengthy recovery from illness or surgery. I intended just to review my absolute favorite books and series. Which worked fine during college when I had so much more time to read and write about books I’d read in the past. But after I graduated and found a big-girl job, I started reading a lot less. And my posts became less and less frequent.

In order to serve my community on Isle of Books, I started reviewing every book I read, not just my favorites. Over time, I added some additional blogs to satisfy the need I felt to create more and more content. Sections like Featured Poems, Writing Project Wednesday, Reading Spaces, conference/author talk reviews, writing advice, and other miscellaneous topics. It was a lot of work, but it worked well for me a time. I thought I was building my platform and cultivating a tribe for the far-off future when I was an author with a book to sell of my own.

Recently, I attend the Superstars Writing Conference in Colorado Springs. Author Jonathan Maberry was one of the speakers. During one of the Q&A sessions, someone asked him about having a blog of book reviews. Of course, my ears perked up. I had a book of book reviews. Wasn’t that good for promoting for my brand as an author and writer? I was engaging with people and goshdarnit I had a platform!

In short, no.

It’s not my job to review books. I don’t get paid for it. I do it as a hobby. And making a hobby of criticizing others writers isn’t nice and isn’t very tribe-like. Those of you who know me in real life know I’m a nice person (or at least I think I am!) so it hurt my heart when someone brought it to my attention that what I was doing was not nice at all.

Now, this isn’t the end of Isle of Books so please don’t hear it that way! This moment just marks a shift, a pivot to nobler pursuits. There will still be book reviews! But I’m going back to my roots and only reviewing books I absolutely love. Those books I would enthusiastically champion to those who had ears to hear. If books were free, everyone would be getting it as a Christmas present. Those types of books. And there will still be Featured Poems and Reading Spaces and Writing Project Wednesdays (when I feel like writing them) and reviews of conferences and author talks and news about my publications. I hope more of my own fiction will find its way here. I also hope to do some author/literary people interviews if I can find anyone who’s willing. And in the near future (maybe this year!) I will have logged 1,000 books read on Goodreads. I’ve already planned a celebratory post that will include my personal list of the best books I read out of that 1,000 – you know you want to stick around for that! And I hope there will be more personal posts, too. In recent years I’ve been letting more of my life and personality creep into this blog and I want to do more of that. Despite being a blogger for over six years, I never talked all that much about myself.

I don’t regret the years I spent writing book reviews. I received opportunities I never would have had without it. I connected with so many readers near and far. I became a better reader because I knew I would be writing a review later. And I hope I became a better writer, at least in the non-fiction space, from all the practice. To date, there have been 730 posts on Isle of Books!

Soon, you won’t find all 730 posts on this site anymore. I’m working on going through and unpublishing any post I feel doesn’t fit my new standards for Isle of Books. You may find references to books on my social media that now have dead links. If you’re a new reader who never saw the original post, you’re free to think what you want about why that post is no longer up. But I think we’re all allowed to grow as human beings and backtrack on our earlier decisions. And I hope you’ll understand that having to manually go through 730 posts to unpublish the ones I don’t want up anymore is enough of a time investment. If you’re an author of one of those books that no longer has a published review, you can rest easy knowing the words are now locked away in my archives and will not see the light of day again.

If you’re only here for the book reviews and want to now take your eyeballs elsewhere, I appreciate you visiting my corner of the internet and hope you enjoyed your stay. To all the readers of Isle of Books, whether you’re brand-new or have been with me since the beginning, thank you. Thank you for the time you’ve been spent reading my words and considering my ideas and laughing (hopefully) at my lame jokes. Thank you for being here and letting me pursue this hobby for the past six years.

But if you’ve actually read to the end of this post, I hope you’ll stick around with me a little bit longer. I’m excited for the future and hope you’ll be along for the ride!

-Shannon

 

2017 in Review

2017 IN REVIEW:

I think I echo the sentiments of many when I say this year just hurtled by. Seriously, I think 2017 was in a race to see how quickly it could get to 2018. Which is maybe just as well. 2017 was the kind of year that (continuing the trainwreck of 2016) made you really wonder about the fate of humanity and whether any of us are going to be around much longer.

On that jolly note, here’s what I read this year 😉

Oh, and 2018, I have big plans for you. Be ready.

HOW MANY BOOKS READ IN 2017?

–67 books

FICTION/NON-FICTION?

–  42  Fiction /    25 Non-Fiction

MALE/FEMALE AUTHORS?

–    24  Male /   28 Female

OLDEST BOOK READ?

The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck (1942)

NEWEST BOOK READ?

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas (September 2017)

LONGEST BOOK READ?

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J Maas – 693 pages

SHORTEST BOOK READ?

Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson – 63 pages

ANY IN TRANSLATION?

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman – originally published in Swedish

BEST BOOK READ IN 2017?

If 2016 was the year of the good book, 2017 was a year of books that were pretty evenly divided between really good or didn’t like it. I’m having trouble picking my best book of 2017, but I think Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, and A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman can share this title.

MOST DISAPPOINTING BOOK IN 2017?

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah….I wanted SO much more from this book. It really did not live up to my expectations in most ways.

Also Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I really expected to love this one and I didn’t even like it enough to want to continue the series. So sad.

MOST BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN BOOK IN 2017?

Toss-up between Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, and Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart.

MOST SURPRISING (IN A GOOD WAY!) BOOK OF 2017?

Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton. I had zero expectations for this book to be any good…but I loved it!

Also Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas. Up to this point in the series, the books were addicting, but I also cringed multiple times when reading them. This was the moment the series turned a corner for me and now I’m kind of obsessed.

MOST THRILLING, UNPUTDOWNABLE BOOK IN 2017?

I read a lot of thrillers this year, so I have many entries:

The Obsidian Chamber by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

-All the Sarah J. Maas books I read: Crown of Midnight, The Assassin’s Blade, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, Empire of Storms, Tower of Dawn

BOOK THAT HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON ME IN 2017?

Both of the writing craft books I read this year really helped me out: Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson and Creating Character Arcs by K.M. Weiland

BOOK THAT HAD A SCENE IN IT THAT HAD ME REELING?

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. Broke my heart in so many ways.

King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard. Same deal.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. Samesies.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I may have been really disappointed by this book, but I still cried at the end.

BOOK I MOST ANTICIPATED IN 2017?

-King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

MOST MEMORABLE CHARACTER IN 2017?

-Count Alexander Rostov in A Gentleman in Moscow

-Basically every character in A Man Called Ove

HOW MANY RE-READS IN 2017?

None

BOOK I READ IN 2017 I’D BE MOST LIKELY TO REREAD IN 2018?

Creating Character Arcs by K.M. Weiland

BOOK I RECOMMENDED TO PEOPLE MOST IN 2017?

Red RisingNews of the World, A Man Called Ove, Exit West, Something Missing

FAVORITE NEW AUTHORS I DISCOVERED IN 2017?

Amor Towles, Elsa Hart, Fredrik Backman, Catherine Knutsson

MOST BOOKS READ BY ONE AUTHOR THIS YEAR?

6 novels by Sarah J. Maas

FAVORITE COVER OF A BOOK I READ IN 2017?

FAVORITE PASSAGE/QUOTE FROM A BOOK I READ IN 2017?

“Maybe life is just carrying news. Surviving to carry the news. Maybe we have just one message, and it is delivered to us when we are born and we are never sure what it says; it may have nothing to do with us personally but it must be carried by hand through a life, all the way, and at the end handed over, sealed.” – News of the World by Paulette Jiles

“To love is to enter into the inevitability of one day not being able to protect what is most valuable to you.” – Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

“We are all migrants through time.” –Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

“He had said that our lives are steered by uncertainties, many of which are disruptive or even daunting; but that if we persevere and remain generous of heart, we may be granted a moment of lucidity—a moment in which all that has happened to us suddenly comes into focus as a necessary course of events, even as we find ourselves on the threshold of the life we had been meant to lead all along.” – A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

DID I COMPLETE ANY READING CHALLENGES OR GOALS IN 2017?

Yes! I read 67 books. I believe my original goal was 50 books and I kept bumping it up.

BOOK I CAN’T BELIEVE I WAITED UNTIL 2017 TO FINALLY READ?

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman…both had been recommended to me many times by people whose opinions I trusted. I loved them both (as expected)!

The Books I’m Most Excited to Buy in 2018

Okay so the book situation at my house is a little out of control. I say a little, because really, I do have it under control. It’s not a hoarders situation, there’s just twenty, maybe thirty, okay, fifty, books that don’t fit on any of my bookshelves. But it’s fine. I’ve totally got this.

So while I’m once again technically on a book-buying moratorium (moment of silence here, please), there are a few books I’m irrationally excited to purchase in 2018. Therefore, I will be buying them despite the ban on adding to my collection. Because I just can’t not read them!

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

VICTORY COMES AT A PRICE.

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all . . . starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolish everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power . . . for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

They call him father, liberator, warlord, Slave King, Reaper. But he feels a boy as he falls toward the war-torn planet, his armor red, his army vast, his heart heavy. It is the tenth year of war and the thirty-third of his life.
 
A decade ago Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk all he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?
                  
And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever: 
                  
A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp, and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined.
                  
An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy—or pay with his life.
                  
And Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the Sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.

Red Rising was the story of the end of one universe. Iron Gold is the story of the creation of a new one. Witness the beginning of a stunning new saga of tragedy and triumph from masterly New York Times bestselling author Pierce Brown.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. 

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. 

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

What begins as a manhunt for the missing daughter of a wealthy tech billionaire becomes something altogether different when the young woman’s body is discovered in an abandoned warehouse in Kew Gardens, Queens, the head nowhere to be found. It appears there may be two killers on the loose–one responsible for the young woman’s death, another responsible for the mutilation. A pair of such dastardly killers requires a team of equally talented investigators. Luckily, both Vincent D’Agosta and Special Agent Pendergast are back in town.

D’Agosta hopes that working a case back on his home turf for the first time in years will reinvigorate the FBI Special Agent and give him an opportunity to flex his investigative might. But neither is prepared to face a killer–or killers–as diabolical as this. It will take all of Pendergast and D’Agosta’s intelligence and strength simply to match wits–let alone stay alive.

 

The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin

Just putting it out there that GRRM is going to pull a Beyonce and just drop the next Game of Thrones book at our feet in 2018 with no warning.

Throne of Glass #7 by Sarah J. Maas

The conclusion to the Throne of Glass series, the title, cover, and description haven’t been revealed yet. This book is slated for release in Fall 2018.

Which book are you most excited to buy (and read!) in 2018? Tell me in the comments below!

Reading Spaces: Holiday Homes

The holidays are here! My house has been decorated since the day after Thanksgiving and I am loving the extra sparkles, pillows, and twinkle lights that have temporary taken over my living room. It makes my reading space feel extra cozy! In this week’s Reading Spaces, I’m sharing some of my favorite festive ideas!

All images via Houzz

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