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My 2020 Reads...So Far

In 2020, I made it a goal to read 20 books. Dare I say, I’m a little behind. I could give you a list of excuses why that is, but I will not. No one wants to hear them, and I don’t want to waste my good energy and your attention span listing them here, so I won’t. I will tell you though, I am halfway there (yes, I know it's November), and I want to share with you the titles I’ve read and my thoughts on each one.


BTW, full disclosure before we begin. Since, I’m not that cool, not all my book selections are new and trendy and top sellers either. Don’t expect that because you ain’t gonna find it in this post.


Also, I’ve started far more than 10 books and I’ve finished 10 to date. I don’t think it’s fair to tell you about books I haven’t read cover to cover because I clearly lost interest or didn’t feel it was the right choice at that time, so I’d rather not put my very humble and not-that-positive opinion out there on these works of art. And indeed they are. The ability to write an entire book and publish it and have people read it is a feat of accomplishment and just because that book wasn’t speaking to me doesn’t mean it’s not awesome in its own way.


Finally, I like to read non-fiction, so basically all of my choices are that. I like to read people’s stories. I like to read about how to further develop and improve myself as an individual. I like to learn. And I like to be inspired. If that’s not your cup of tea, to be honest, I’m surprised you’ve even read this far to still be intrigued by this post. But, hey, maybe you’re looking for a change and if that’s the case, welcome aboard, friend. There’s always room for ya.


Before you make a decision on whether or not you’ll read this post because you don’t “have time” to read or you’re just “not really into reading” or Bravo is where you prefer to spend your time rather than reading, let me just say this:


· Saying “I don’t have time” is bullshit. If you want to do it, you will. If you don’t, you won’t. Period.


· If you think you’re not really ‘into reading’, I can empathize to an extent. For a long time, I believed this to be true about me too. That’s because I was opening up a physical book at 10pm while I lie in bed exhausted and could never focus on what I was verbally ingesting because I was asleep by the start of the second page. Now I listen to 90% of my books while I do something else, like exercise or clean my kitchen. Find what works for you. Any by the way, if you passed first grade, you’re into reading.


· If you’re watching Bravo every day instead of doing something that excites you, you probably need a hobby that isn’t savoring in other people’s drama. Just saying.


OK, still with me? Great! No? That’s ok. We probably weren’t meant to be friends. I don’t hate. And not everyone is going to like me. But some, ok a lot of, people do. So that’s cool. And moving on…


Ok here we go, in order of how I read these, not of importance or how much I liked them:


1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert



As open-minded an individual as I am, I kind of resisted reading this at first and was weary about starting my 2020 goal of 20 books with a read I wasn’t that psyched about diving into. I don’t know if it was the title or the fact that I think more of Elizabeth Gilbert as a novelist and not a non-fiction writer, but nonetheless, I took the plunge.


Oh-Em-Gee! What a FANTASTIC read. As a dreamer and goal achiever, I was floored how much of Liz’s stories resonated with me. As a creative person who doesn’t always prioritize her creativity, I very much needed to read this. And as a believer in the universe, despite being the planner I am, I appreciated the respect and admiration Liz dedicates toward this ‘big magic’ itself. If any of these traits describe you, pick up this book and begin, NOW.

2. Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis


Ok, here’s the thing about Rach. I like her. I am genuinely inspired by her. She has four kids and has built an incredible brand and business that fills her cup and her bank account. #goals

On some levels, I don’t always relate to her though. I feel like we grew up quite different. I feel like her target market isn’t exactly me sometimes. And I feel like her energy is a little different than what I typically gravitate towards. Even with these differences though, I give this woman MAD props and would totally die if I ever got the chance to have drinks or coffee or, gasp, a strategy planning session on my own business with her.

Since I really enjoyed her first book, “Girl, Wash Your Face”, I decided to give this one a listen as well. Once again, though, I was a little put off by the title. Can you see a pattern here? I clearly judge a book by its cover and title when I obviously shouldn’t as I’ve been proven wrong two for two now. I thought I didn’t need to hear this message because I don’t apologize for who I am, like ever. So, that’s not area I need work on, right? Well, damn did I get schooled.

As always, Rach delivers in reaching you with her honest and vulnerable stories, her practical tips and tricks, and her ridiculously encouraging cheer. Even if you don’t think you need to stop apologizing, there’s probably some part of your life you do. Sorry, not sorry. See what I did there?

3. Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo



Part the clouds and the heavens. This woman has been my mentor since 2018 and she has no clue who I am. She is the push and origin to the clarity I needed to start Mama Work It. I love her wit. I admire her kindness. I relate to her background (hello, Jersey Marie?!). And I parallel with her multipassionate (not scatterbrain) self who perseveres and makes shit happen.

Just to further paint the picture of how much I love this woman, I went to her book launch in San Francisco at 36 weeks pregnant after working at the office all day and fell asleep in the long Uber ride on the way home. I mean, I could have been kidnapped or gone into labor just because I wanted to see my idol live. I also wore a leopard print dress since I thought Jersey Marie would like it, but I never got the chance to show it off to her since I had to dash for the restroom as soon as Marie called it a night (pregnancy problems).

Unlike my last two reviews, this title captivated me and I knew it would prove just that. This lady reminds me day in and day out it CAN be done. And she’s living proof of that.

4. When Less Becomes More: Making Space for Slow, Simple, and Good by Emily Ley



I read this one after I saw a fellow inspiring mamapreneur had enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure Emily Ley was really for me. I mean she seems more multicolor patterned Vera Bradley, and I’m more plain black Marc Jacobs or Prada. She lives in a small town in Florida and I would probably go crazy if I lived in Florida, or a small town. I mean, no sweaters? Humidity all the time? Everyone knows your name? No. Me. Gusta.

We did, of course, have lots in common though. We are both twin moms. We are both Type A. And we are both ambitious creators. This held my attention.

I had a bit of a hard time truly grasping some of the messaging because I felt like Emily would say she was full on one way (super stressed and busy) and then had magically converted full on the other way (really mindful and calm). I felt like she put down the busy way of life a lot and while I can appreciate so many of her tips on slowing down, the reality is for many women, and moms especially, that busyness is just part of life. And, it doesn't need to be an extreme this or that. It can be busy mornings and slow afternoons. It can be busy Saturdays and slow Sundays.

In our house, we've leaned into both the busy and the slow here and, while I think there's always room for improvement, I'm ok with the pendulum swinging both ways. No shame in my busy and slow game.

5. Open Book: A Memoir by Jessica Simpson


Fair warning: if you don’t mind that “I Wanna Love You Forever” will remain in your head for the duration of this book and probably a week or so to follow, do not pick this up.

Oh my, where do I begin? I love that I got to learn so much about Jessica Simpson’s roots and humble beginnings. I appreciate hearing that she is a real person, who has managed self-doubt, self-sabotage, and-most importantly-inspiring recovery. I relish in the fact that I was reliving high school and college while hearing all the dirt about her relationship with Nick Lachey and kisses I never knew about with Justin Timberlake (sorry for that spoiler).

This was a fun, although sometimes not so lighthearted as life can be, read. I wasn’t her biggest fan before, but I feel like I got to know her on a much more personal level after listening to her read her stories aloud to me.

6. What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam



I listened to this during one workout and it was just what I needed after a very long Jessica Simpson memoir. I wanted less of a reading investment, but still something that would inspire and drive me toward self improvement. This totally delivered.


This book is quick, direct, and full of real-life examples, as Laura is a researcher and a writer. It helped me focus more closely on my morning routine and stick to it. One important thing I took away, exercising in the morning is basically the common denominator nearly every single successful person does, and now something I do too. As I’ve said before, you’ll always have time for the things you put first. And, as I’ve learned this year, your health should be your top priority because when you don’t feel your best, you can’t deliver your best.


7. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer


If you want to appear like a crazy person laughing out loud by yourself while you walk or run past your neighbors, you should listen to this book.

Sometimes I think Amy is a little too raunchy for me in her comedy specials, but I knew this book wouldn’t be an entire comedy special. And, as any other success story tells, there are always struggles along the way. Either Amy chooses only the funny ones to share or just presents them in a hysterical way in this book. Ok, it’s probably the latter because being in an abusive relationship is not funny at all, although when you hear the story about how she ended up with a gang trying to escape her psycho boyfriend you will understand what I mean.

As a fellow Long Islander, I was totally engaged by all the references to hometown spots and personas. If you’re from Long Island or have even spent five minutes there (no, not the Hamptons), you will probably connect with Amy’s kid stories. If you’re not, you’ll probably still find them humorous, although you won’t fully ‘get it’. Sorry. You’re just not from Strong Island, bro.

8. Get Out of Your Own Way: A Skeptic’s Guide to Growth and Fulfillment by Dave Hollis



Ok, I will admit, a big part of me decided to read this because as you may or may not know, power couple Rachel and Dave Hollis announced earlier this year they were getting a divorce, and I was so intrigued to learn more about Dave (since I already know Rach) that I had to read this.


I mentioned earlier, I don’t exactly feel like Rachel Hollis’ target audience sometimes. I honestly think if you had to niche down who her exact customer is, it’s a Rodan & Fields selling mom of three from the Bible belt-all of which I am not. When I started reading Dave’s book though, it felt a little more relatable because he worked for so long in Corporate America and referenced a lot of things from his career life, not just his home life. If you’re a corporate working mom, you’ll understand what I mean.


I thought this book was good. I did think it was a little bit of a plea to hold onto Rachel (lots of stories about how he fucked up in their relationship and how amazing she is). He also copied her format in “Girl, Wash Your Face” with chapter titles and closings, which is fine, but also not that original. I don’t hate though. Rachel became a NY Times bestselling author from that book. I mean, if you’re going to take anything from it, why not the format? Seems simple enough.


I like both Dave and Rach. I like this book. And I think it’s worth a read if you’re a Rachel Hollis fan, and especially if you’re a working woman in the corporate space.


9. Enough: The Simple Path to Everything You Want – A Field Guide for Perpetually Exhausted Entrepreneurs by Elizabeth Lyons



Elizabeth Lyons, if you’re reading this, I think you may be my spirit animal.


This book has been so inspiring, relatable, and entertaining all at once. First off, I think Liz and I speak the same language. I.e. we both write like we talk, drop F-bombs in our prose, and keep it real AF. Consequently, listening to Liz’s book was like talking to a friend, except it’s just her talking and me listening intently, which would probably never happen in real life because I’d be interrupting every 30 seconds.


When Liz described herself and wrote about how people described her, it sounded familiar in a lot of ways. Well, not every way. I don’t live in Arizona. I don’t know how to make leather jewelry nor do I have an interest in it. And I think Liz is way less of a Type A planner than me from what she says. Yet still, this book spoke to me on a lot of levels. If you feel like you’re an “ideas” person, but sometimes (ok, often) don’t have the wherewithal to accomplish the end result, this book may be for you. And, let me just re-define what end result is here. The end result isn’t just ‘getting the job done’. The end result is what you dream the end result to be. For example, I didn’t dream of just writing and publishing my book, Time Momagement. I dreamed of writing my book, publishing it, selling A LOT of copies, becoming a NY Times best-selling author, appearing on TV to promote it, giving an incredible Ted Talk that covered important topics from it and would be one of the highest viewed on YouTube, and my brand being a household name in the working mom market. I’m not entirely there yet. Liz has made that clear to me and where I need to focus efforts to hone in and do the work. In a nutshell, if you’re not flying first class to your destination of choice after this whole pandemic is over, you probably haven’t hit the end result you’re hoping for either…YET.

10. Ok, I guess I’ve only fully completed nine, but I’m ok with that.


Done is better than perfect. Now, onto the next…

PS-If you want to know where I listen to my audio books for only $8.99/month and get your first 60 days free, check out Scribd.

Copyright © 2020 Mama Work It.  All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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