Book Reviews: September 2018

Watcha! Welcome to my September book review! Yay! Once again I’ve been busy tackling my Goodreads Book Challenge! I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna make it! So come with me, let’s keep going. x


The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau


Read this book if…
You have a drive to create something of value, though lack the financial confidence to start up! 

Another cool recommendation from the hard working guys at Alux, the luxury and success Youtube channel. This was a pretty easy book to get through only being around 270 pages and quite frankly it was long enough.

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau has one key message throughout the entire book: You CAN change your job and you CAN change your life.

Now I can appreciate books like this can come with a certain amount of controversy; its about people’s money and lives at the end of the day, and I’ve read a few critiques that the book itself was Guillebeau’s own $100 Startup. Though from the well-researched nature of the book I have to disagree with this theory.

But reading the book and really understanding it, whilst reading with a truly opened mind, I’ll add, has really helped put my life into perspective. You don’t need “All the know how” and you don’t need “tons of money to get started”. If you have a passion for something, you feel it can help people in some way and you can utilise your current skills or are planning to learn new skills, then this book will be a pretty good motivator.

The book is rather linear and admittedly does just scrape the surface of successful business management. But for me, and I think is a point many people missed, the book is not about business management or necessarily getting yourself out of debt, though the book does cover these things briefly. A very practical piece of information from the book was this: “Fact based descriptions won’t work as well as emotion based promises.”

The book is more about exploring your inner “NOs,” doing away with most of them and excavating your inner “YESes”. Sure it won’t teach you exactly how to build the next Apple from the money you put aside for that new jacket, but what the book does do is give you inspiration to maybe just consider it, and realise there are opportunities right here and right now should you wish to put the work in.

The book is speckled with impressive little quotes, such as: “What kind of freedom do you want?” A question that sounds simple but is something most people don’t consider asking themselves. Which leads to my favourite quote in the book: “You don’t need permission to pursue a dream.” Or another: “You’re time is limited. So don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs

Just let those quotes sink in a bit. All of a sudden this book becomes less about business management and more about self-acceptance, self-allowance and above all not being afraid of a leap of faith.

The book mainly contains examples of other people’s success and moderate failure stories, and many of which only scrape the surface of that person’s story, which for me and I’m sure others was a little irritating. When I read about success in a linear sense, I’ll put that success down to luck. Though I know this wasn’t the case with most businesses. And it would have been nice to know the real inns and outs of each of the case studies featured in the book. But then again, if I wanted that, I guess the book would either be super long, or I may as well study business management and marketing at university.

The book’s purpose was to inspire inspiration. Which for me did a fantastic job. From the first page I was pumped and ready to get creative, utilising skills I have, and mastering those I’m currently striving for.

If you want a book that’s going to help you make it big with minimum investment, maybe this isn’t for you, though I urge you to read it anyway, especially if you have the drive to say “Enough is enough!” And you make your preparations, hand in your resignation, and use whatever money you have lying around to find your freedom!

The 10X Rule – Grant Cardone


Read this book if…
You feel as though your the type of person who needs a little push to get the motivation for what they want in life. No excuses!

First off, I’ll admit that this book is not for the faint of heart. We all live a hard life, and for those of us (most likely all of us here) who live in a capitalist society, being told to work harder than you already are can be deemed a little insulting.

Throughout the book, Grant Cardone, the author, throws the reader many hard truths about the success of those who input what he calls The 10X Rule in order to achieve super success. Interestingly though, if you’re happy to let the book take over your perception of the world for just a few days, you’ll start to understand where Cardone is coming from with these slightly unbelievable views of life.

*For example, you’ll read things like:
*Failure is down to your lack of desire for something better and your lack to pursue success.
*If you don’t hit your target, don’t lower them, strategically raise your efforts instead.
*The successful who think they’re lucky are actually relating to the hard work they put in.
*Without individual success, there is no success accumulation and society is weakened as a result.
*Most people see success as an option, not an obligation. It is SO an obligation.
*Choosing a path of being unsuccessful is socially unethical to the grander picture.
*When you’re doin too much, you break away from the hypnosis that average is the norm.
*Large goals must be created. Small or mediocre goals are pointless and uninspiring.
*Obsession is vital to committing to your goals. Society has trained us to see obsession as unnatural.
*People use fear as a scapegoat to act. (F)alse (E)vents (A)ppearing (R)eal.

You could argue the book comes across as a little militant. For some this may be true. I however loved the ballsiness of the book. It doesn’t beat around the bush, and to be quite frank, disagreeing with most of the information within it, is almost proving the author “right!”

Cardone focusses heavily on the notion that success is not found, but instead made, and therefor is not a limited resource, which I personally find very insightful and was probably one of my favourite bits of advice within the book.

He likes to emphasise that everyone can be successful, though because of cultural norms we are fed the idea there must always be a wrong person when someone else is right, thus creating the notion there is a shortage of success when there just isn’t. If like me you used to think like this, then The 10 X Rule will be invaluable to your efforts. This is very apparent in his theory of Competition: The moment you think of competition you think of a success shortage and shortage denotes failure. And that competing is just focusing on what others have already done. Instead, dominate!

Another important aspect of the book is to teach you the importance of taking responsibility and knowing how to control a situation. Too many power cuts? Don’t blame the power station, take responsibility and buy a generator. Think of yourself as a victim and you leave no room for creating solutions, only problems. Nothing happens to you. It happens because of you. Take control.

The book however does come with its controversies, where Cardone does his best to disclaim his theories before throwing them at you, like his ideas on degree levels of effort and action, stating how doing anything other than The 10X Rule will place you in the dangerous average middle class position, a place we are all trained to abide by. But Cardone is clever at using this information as motivation to help you excel beyond the norm and get what you want.

The book also teaches you to shift your focus, stating how it takes us more energy retreating from success as it does pursuing it, and how you’ll know your succeeding when the less-action-takers are criticising your efforts. No successful person will tell an action taker they’re doing too much.

I feel I may have summed up quite a lot from this book, but please don’t just take my word for it. Give the book a read, be amazed at how motivated it gets you. Fall in love with the possibility that even you can achieve super success if you input your own version of The 10X Rule.

I for one know this book will be my guiding light should I need that pick-me-up when striving for my goals in life. This book is not for those who just “desire” a better life, this is a book for those who “are willing to stick it out!”


The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith


Read this book if…
You’ve read the previous Novel, though not hugely necessary, but want a novel full of mystery, intelligence and dark surrealism.  

Hello Again Mr Galbraith, aka, Ms Rowling, literary love of my life. With such a mind-blowing introduction to J K Rowling’s new Strike series, there was no way I’d leave the dark detective world she had created in the follow up from The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm. I like my stories dark, but I love it when they’re darker. The Silkworm delivered this fantastically.

Following a short while after the previous novel, Detective Cormoran Strike must investigate the disappearance of a famous author, known for his twisted and strange stories that tend to caricature reality. The author’s latest novel was set to release, only the manuscript is tainted with negative life-ruining portraits’s of the author’s acquaintances. If it were to be published, lives would be ruined.

What I loved so much about The Silkworm, was Galbraith’s (Rowling’s) new take on the twisted world of human capability. The previous novel was shocking, but The Silkworm was outstanding. The novel is far deeper, twisted, complex and detailed, where characters have as much, if not more motivation for their actions.

Like The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm is written in an Omniscient style, something I rarely come across these days in fiction. Perhaps it’s just the style of novel I tend to read, but I’ve noticed Rowling used to toy with this writing style back with the Harry Potter series, something she was often criticised on. With The Silkworm however, the Omnisciency (all-knowing narrator) has been carefully used not to invoke a sense of character-conscious head-hopping. This gives us the reader a great opportunity to get deeper and further into the world in the pages.

Character development between Cormoran and his fellow assistant / detective, Robin continues on, and we get a real sense of their personality as the novel continues, and how the dangers of their work life have such an effect on their character evolution. Enough questions answered to satisfy, though leaving us non-disappointingly wanting more for the next novel!

The Perfume Lover – Denyse Beaulieu


Read this book if…
You’ve an interest in the world of perfume and would love an experts opinion on such a world.

What did I think of The Perfume Lover? Well firstly, this book was a thoughtful birthday gift. When I’m not writing myself, I happen to work in perfumery, so this seemed like a book I would enjoy. Though it is a job, it is indeed a job I have a fascination and respect for, since many of us can agree that perfume is a mystical realm very few can say they don’t enjoy.

With The Perfume Lover, I wasn’t too sure what the book would be about. Yes I read the blurb and read the first few pages, but still I wasn’t sure weather it was fiction, an autobiography or, as it actually is, a standard non-fiction. It is in fact the whimsical account of her journey from first smelling perfume to having her own bespoke perfume made.

I had a very mixed emotion when reading this. Much of it entranced me, having worked in perfume myself I understood much of it, though I wouldn’t be surprised if the type of language and attitude portrayed in the book would confuse those who know nothing of perfume but may have an interest.

But I couldn’t shake the feeling that Denyse Beaulieu came across as a little, dare I say, pretentious? The style of the words and her use of language is exquisite, truly, and you can tell she really knows what she’s talking about: her knowledge on fragrance composition, the artistic methods of noses and perfumers, the underlying notes of certain ingredients and even the power of marketing.

You can tell Beaulieu has a huge respect for the art of perfumery, those that make it, the effort that goes into each and every bottle, and how storytelling is so fundamental to its creation. But the book never seemed to GO anywhere. Yes it was fascinating, yes inspiring, but, as luxury is sometimes perceived, the whole journey seemed fundamentally pointless.

We do get snippets of Beaulieu’s change of character from when she was a child to an adult: how she perceived fragrance then and now, how this and that put her off then captured her heart etcetera, but again, unlike an autobiography, which gives us an insight into a person and what made them who they are (information of value) The Perfume Lover loses this, and becomes a book of “opinion”, rather than a book of “informativeness.”

However, her love of bull fighting and fur wearing aside, (eehrrgg) The Perfume Lover is indeed a beautifully written journey of preserving a life experience into both a tangible and emotional product, in this case, a fragrance, and though such a luxury item does indeed bring little value to one’s life in the bigger picture, the novel does indeed show huge respect and love for something that touches people in a million different ways, and because of that, The Perfume Lover is perfect for anyone who wants to drown themselves in the voluptuous romantic juicy world of scent.


As I mentioned previously, I am so happy to be undertaking the Goodreads Reading Challenge. For anyone interested, all you must do is sign up to Goodreads, search for a bunch of books that take your fancy, and place them onto your “Want to Read shelf.” After that, all you have to do is partake in the Reading Challenge by pledging to read however many books you’re confident you can get through before the end of December.

It’s great fun and by doing so ensures you commit to reading every day. Give it a try and see how far you get. You may surprise yourself!

As always, Id love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or follow me on any of my social medias. I try my best to update regularly on each, and if you like, you can always sign up for my Monthly Newsletter, where I talk in detail about all the things going on in my life, plus any updates on books and projects I’m currently working on.

What books are you currently reading or have recently read? Let me know and let’s start a conversation. 🙂 x

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