Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Book Review: A Place of Yes by Betheny Frankel

A Place of Yes by Betheny Frankel is not necessarily the first book I would grab off the shelf. In fact, I am sure I will lose some man points amongst my friends for openly admitting that I read the book. To be honest I don't really care. Betheny is awesome. She has made some of the "wifey shows" that I am dragged into watching bearable. She is the embodiment of the American dream and she is hilarious. So when my wife downloaded her book on my Kindle and I freed up some bandwidth from my reading queue I gave it a shot. 

There are a few things that drew me to reading her book and those same things are actually what allow me to relate to Betheny. I am referring to her entrepreneurial spirit and her ability/willingness to persevere through adversity. Rising from a challenging childhood and an unfulfilling early adulthood, Betheny was resilient and refused to settle. Traits I admire the older I get. She took some big risks, worked hard, and eventually sold the Skinny Girl margarita company for a reported $200+ million. People often lose sight of those accomplishments amidst her reality TV career but it is those accomplishments that gave her book credibility in my mind.

The book reads like a classic self help book, ten steps and all, which makes her life story and lessons a bit more tangible. But the real value for me wasn't necessarily realized in the ten steps. I found her personal trials and tribulations to be the most interesting and inspiring. I guess I just digest life lessons in story format a lot better than a textbook read. I think I may move on to some biographies in my next round of books as I really like the context that formula provides. 

The book isn't the best I have ever read, and to be honest I am probably not the target market either, but the book had some good lessons and I enjoyed it. If you are interested to read a real rags to riches story and to reinforce some good life lessons then check out her book. Below are some notes and quotes that I captured during my read. 


 Introduction: Who I am, what this book is about, and what you need to know before you begin:
- This book is about stop saying no and start saying yes to your own life
- Life is easier when you settle for less than your dreams, but good enough is not good enough for me
- Each chapter in the book tackles a rule
- 10 rules: Rule 1 Break the Chain, Rule 2 Find Your Truth, Rule 3 Act On It, Rule 4 Everything's Your Business, Rule 5 All Roads Lead To Rome, Rule 6 Go For Yours, Rule 7 Separate From The Pack, Rule 8 Own It, Rule 9 Come Together, and Rule 10 Celebrate
- A place of yes is not just being an optimist its an "it will happen because I will make it happen" kind of attitude
- Its not where you are all the time but its the place you go back to. Your home. The real you.
- Coming from a place of yes is about getting down to business. Its active not passive. Yes gives you something to do. A mission, a purpose, a goal.
- Noise is your inner doubt that holds you back and voice is what is good for you and what is right

Rule 1: Break The Chain:
- "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'" - Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady
- Everyone has noise that stems from childhood
- First step is breaking the link between what your family thinks of you and what you think of yourself. Who you are now doesn't have to be a product of your past.
- You must look back and recognize how your childhood has affected your life
- Don't get hung up on whether or not it was normal. There is no normal.
- Describes a rough childhood and how it impacted her

Rule 2: Find Your Truth:
-  "Accept no one's definition of your life, define yourself." - Harvey Fierstein, actor
- When you make a decision based on fear it never works out
- "We welcome passion, for the mind is briefly let off duty." - Mignon McLaughlin, journalist
- "Just because you made a mistake doesn't mean you are a mistake." - Georgette Mosbacher, cosmetics CEO and author
- "Diamonds are only chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs." Minnie Richard Smith, poet
- Every 9 year old boy wants to pitch for the yankees
- Don't give up on your dreams
- "Waiting, done at really high speeds, will frequently look like something else." - Carrie Fisher, actress and author

Rule 3: Act On It:
- "Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved." - William Jennings Bryan, politician
- Focus on the general direction. You can't know how things are all going to play out but don't let that hold you back.
- Work hard, learn, do your best, and have fun!
- Action breeds confidence and courage
- "A man's errors are his portals of discovery" - James Joyce, novelist

Rule 4: Everything's Your Business:
- Treat everything you choose to do with as much importance as if your career depended on it
- "You make it to heaven, or you make it to hell, by your actions." - George Harrison, musician
- "Decide what you want, and decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work." - H.L. Hunt, entrepreneur and oil tycoon
- "A brand is a living entity and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures." - Michael Eisner, former CEO of the Walt Disney Company
- Don't let the world tell you what is or isn't a good idea
- "There are two types of people: the ones who give you 50 reasons it can't be done...and the ones who just do it." - Hoda Koth, host of the Today Show
- "The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field" - Vince Lombardi, former Green Bay Packers football coach - Awesome quote!
- "The defining factor in success is never resources, it's resourcefulness." - Anthony Robbins, author and motivational speaker

Rule 5: All Roads Lead To Rome:
- "You have got to jump off cliffs, all the time, and build your wings on the way down." - Ray Bradbury, author
- The wrong thing can lead you to what is right
- "Don't make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you." - Maya Angelou, poet and author
- "The restaurant business is trying on a daily basis. You must be committed to facing challenges that seem impossible. But when its the moment of truth I just tell my team "Yes we can make this happen." That's how you separate yourself from the pack." - Bobby Flay, celebrity chef, restauranteur, Iron Chef, and cookbook author 
- "Winning isn't everything, but the will to win is everything." - Vince Lombardi. football coach
- Diamond scam story

Rule 6: Go For Yours:
- "Hell is the place for people who did not live their lives according to the best of what was in them." - Harriet Rubin, author and media consultant
-  "I don't have to be enemies with someone to be competitors with them." - Jackie Joyner Kersee, Olympic gold medalist
- There is a big difference between ambition and desperation
- Be yourself and have no regrets because something better may be right around the corner
- A great idea is worth about a nickel and making it work is hard
- "I've got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end." - Larry Bird, former NBA player
- "Losing is the price we pay for living. It is also the source of much growth and pain."  - Judith Viorst, author
- "Your opponent, in the end, is never really the player on the other side of the net, or the swimmer in the next lane, or the team on the other side of the field, or even the bar you must high jump. Your opponent is yourself, your negative internal voices, your level of determination." 
- She learned that when she really goes for what she wants she wins even when she loses

Rule 7: Separate From The Pack:
- "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." - Coco Chanel, French Fashion designer
- "It takes courage to grow up and be who you really are." - e.e. cummings, poet 
- If you live your life trying to make others happy you will lose touch with what makes you happy
- Its not about being different it is about being yourself
- "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." - Judy Garland, actress
- "Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new." - Brian Tracy, author and business consultant

Rule 8: Own It:
- "Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people." - Spencer Johnson, business author
- "The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end there it is." - Winston Churchill, former prime minister of the UK
- "I believe in me. If I don't nobody else will." - Charles Barkley, former NBA basketball player
- "Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt." - William Shakespeare, playwright
- "True love stories never have endings." - Richard Bach, author

Rule 9: Come Together:
- To come together with others you have to know who you are
- "The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stats in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime." - Babe Ruth, Major League baseball player
- You don't have to understand others you just have to respect that their normal is different than yours
- "I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion." - Mia Hamm - professional soccer player

Rule 10: Celebrate:
- Celebrate what you want to see more of
- Celebrate your life. If you're not happy then what's the point?

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