2017 and “The Untethered Soul”

Personal Note

 

It has been a long time since I have written in the blog. 2017 was a year of stepping back (and personal change) for me. I continue to focus most of my time on my growing family. I have also returned to teaching part-time at the university (NJIT). Interestingly, the course I’m teaching this semester is not a traditional chemical engineering course — it’s actually a “Career Planning” course for chemical engineers!

 

In terms of my website and my books, I’ve been teaching myself to code (very slowly!). I’ve also spent a lot of time planning out my next books and blog topics. While I had started to plan out one book earlier this year, it was feeling very forced; I decided it was time to take a break and “sharpen the saw” as Stephen Covey would say.

 

During my break, I had time to reflect on the tagline for this site and I have decided to call it “Think Inside the Box” based on the free ebook I wrote a few years ago. That ebook, and the concept of “thinking inside the box” explains the overall optimize approach and therefore is quite applicable to the spirit of the site.

 

Some additional changes you may notice is that I cleaned up the site (deleted old articles/announcements) and changed email providers. I also added a “Lisa Recommends” page; personal finance is a hobby of mine, so I will keep this page updated in terms of how I “optimize my finances” using various services.

 

In terms of content going forward, I am keeping in mind the special review I received from author John Schwartz a few years ago. He had entitled his review for my book Optimize for Victory with Stick to her website with good current advice.” Therefore, I will resume writing in the blog in an effort to create value for you:

 

Going forward, I will continue to write occasional posts reflecting on how we can optimize our lives in various ways. Further, as I come across helpful resources, I will blog about those as well. For instance, I read a lot (either on my Kindle or via Audible). Some of the books I read may be helpful for my readers, and therefore I will break some of the titles down for you so you can decide if you’d like to read them, too.

 

Thank you for reading my blog and now on to a recent book I read.

 

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the_untethered_soul_book

 

Title: The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

 

Author: Michael A. Singer

 

Formats: Kindle, Paperback, Audible, Hardcover, MP3 CD (I listened in Audible)

 

Reviews: 4.7/5 Stars (Amazon)

 

Why I Recommend: Many people struggle with perspective and self-awareness. This book is written in a  way that you can unravel and understand your current awareness and consequently raise your level of self-awareness while improving your perspective. In the past, I have written about the concept of taking the “aerial view” to gain perspective. I’ve also mentioned how critical self-awareness is in self-improvement. If you struggle in these areas, this book may help.

 

Warnings: For open-minded individuals. It’s not prescriptive or religious; however, the concepts come from various places/sources to increase your level of “consciousness.”

 

Structure of the Book: The book is divided into 5 parts:

 

Part 1: Awakening Consciousness

  • Helps you recognize “the voice in your head” and relate it to your “inner roommate.”
  • First step to stepping back and viewing yourself differently.

Part 2: Empowering Energy

  • Introduces the concept of being “closed off” and how you can start opening up.
  • Discusses how your energy and how you feel is related to how “closed off” you are.

 

Part 3: Freeing Yourself

  • Discusses “letting go” and how to do that.

 

Part 4: Going Beyond

  • Challenges you to surrender and live freely as a way of life.

 

Part 5: Living Life

  • Brings up death and rounds out your perspective as the book is wrapped up.

 

Closing Comments: Overall, a good book to broaden your perspective, especially if you are plagued with negative, habitual thoughts. Further, if you have trouble “letting go” I would recommend reading it. I recall someone once asked me how to let go, and this book might help if you struggle with that.

 

Want to get this book for free? You can get two free books when you start a free trial with Audible.

Why I Started an Online Business

 

**Note 5/5/2016– This is a side project that I work on to help authors, outside of my Optimize work!**

 

In the interest of being transparent with you, I would like to share that I started an online business recently. Following the publication of my book, I realized that I hardly knew anything about social media, how to be an “authorpreneur” or even how to get my book marketed (though I read countless books on the topics,  it didn’t feel like enough).

 

Initially, I started to take note of what I could observe. After noticing some spikes in sales after my book ran on a few bookpromo sites, I got more interested in how those sites could help my exposure. Further, I became particularly inspired when my book was rejected from a few bookpromo sites! I thought “Wow, I worked really hard on my book. If my book is getting rejected, what is happening to other new authors who are in the same boat?”

 

I began to study book promotion sites/book marketing even more deeply and realized there were three main problems with a few of the big promo sites:

 

1. Some sites ask for very exorbitant prices to list your book ($75 – $400!)

2. Some sites reject your book based on number of reviews, which is a “Catch-22.” If you are a new author and don’t have a following yet, how are you supposed to get reviews if your book can’t be listed?

3. Some sites are very “picky.” If they don’t believe they will make enough in affiliate commissions, they won’t bother featuring your book (if their business model is mostly based on commissions).

 

Then I thought, “I should start my own site…maybe I could help others who are in the same boat as well!”

 

So, to the surprise of some people,  I set out on my journey to create a site called: BookWerm.com!  Note that I also had two friends who passed away (friends who adored books); part of pursuing this project included the idea that I could honor those friends in a way, too, since they loved to share information on great new books/authors.

 

Building this site consisted of several main phases:

 

1. Learning how to build a website (this was another reason I was interested in this business; to become adept at hosting websites)

2. Learning how to build a Twitter following

3. Collecting email subscribers for the business

4. Establishing relationships with authors and featuring their books

5. Getting over my own fears and doubts, as well as negative comments by other people. Many people said “You have a Ph.D. in chemical engineering…what are you doing?” But I felt strongly about the need. There is a surge of new authors that need help, and this can be my way of helping them. Also, challenging myself this way helps me grow and expands my skillset in the online area (something I did not have before).

 

Initially I assumed my business model would be similar to others, where the primary focus is email subscribers. Though I gain more subscribers everyday, where my business really took off was my twitter following (as of this minute I have over 13,500 twitter followers! @TheBookWerm) Therefore, I realized I should focus on where I have been successful. I list a featured book on the website and email; however, the strength of my business is in the “book tweeting” area (tweeting people’s books or products has become very popular lately if you have a good following!)

 

At first it felt scary to take on something new. But after experimenting with the website design, daily email, and tweet format, I am happy with where it is. It is now taking off a bit and I have found that I have a new focus: I am more interested in helping other authors with high-quality ebooks get more exposure!

 

So if you are an author or reader, feel free to check out the site! I am currently giving away a $100 Amazon gift card. You can enter the giveaway by registering here: BookWerm (no purchase necessary).

 

In terms of other things — there are other areas I am exploring right now in the area of writing/teaching. On that topic — I was wondering if any of you have anything in particular that you are struggling with? For instance — some people struggle things like: feeling overwhelmed, time management, job change, interviews, mindset, habits, focus, discipline, etc. Getting your feedback would help me concentrate my efforts in the right area! Feel free to comment below or send me an email through the contact form!