Business, Memoir/Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Psychology, Sociology, STEM

The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

In my new audiobook app, Libro.fm, as a bookseller I get advanced listening copies which is AMAZING! As I will pretty much only listen to nonfiction, I was sorting through my stockpiled titles one night before bed and came across The Moment of Lift which seemed like a good fit for the mood I was in.

Synopsis

From the Dust Jacket:
For the last twenty years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. Throughout this journey, one thing has become increasingly clear to her: If you want to lift a society up, you need to stop keeping women down.

In this moving and compelling book, Melinda shares lessons she’s learned from the inspiring people she’s met during her work and travels around the world. As she writes the introduction, “That is why I had to write this book – to share the stories of people who have given focus and urgency to my life. I want all of us to see ways we can life women up where we live.”

Melinda provides an unforgettable narrative backed by startling data as she presents the issues that most need our attention – from child marriage to lack of access to contraceptives to gender inequity in the workplace. And, for the first time, she writes about her personal life and the road to equality in her own marriage. Throughout, she shows how there has never been more opportunity to change the world – and ourselves.

Writing with emotion, candor, and grace, she introduces us to remarkable women and shows the power of connecting with one another. When we lift others up, they lift us up, too.

Review

I’m embarrassed to admit that before listening to The Moment of Lift, all I really knew about Melinda Gates was that she’s Bill’s wife. I did at least know that she had her own techie chops and is a woman of great importance in terms of charitable contributions and the running of the Gates Foundation. But I didn’t know who she was, didn’t know what her life was like, knew only what I read about her in business and philanthropy headlines. And my curiosity to know more about one of the world’s richest women inspired me to listen to The Moment of Lift.

Each time I go to type the title here, I want to type “Life” instead of “Lift,” which is kind of fitting because Melinda’s book is really about women around the world and how they’re choosing, or being forced, to live their lives. The Moment of Lift refers to the moment when a woman’s life changes in a way that finds her rising above a difficult situation or circumstance to make her way in the world with a greater sense of confidence, independence, or means. In a world dominated by patriarchical societies, women have spent millennia being secondary citizens, if citizens at all, and Melinda’s ultimate goal is to see all women reach their full potential of contributing to our global society.

But in order for that to happen, things need to change. Ultimately, through sharing her own experiences, and those of the women she’s met around the world, Melinda’s ultimate goal is to raise awareness of the continued struggle for women’s rights while also providing stories of how things are, actually, improving (despite certain headlines’ seeming evidence of the contrary). It’s the perfect book for anyone who’s felt bogged down by negativity but still wants to work towards changing the world and making it a better place, from the bedroom to the classroom to the boardroom.

Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

Available for purchase with free international shipping through Book Depository.

Business, Memoir/Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Psychology

#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

#Girlboss has been sitting on my staff pick shelf at the bookstore for ages now. It’s not often I recommend a book that I haven’t read, and if I do, I generally admit that I haven’t actually read it. #Girlboss is an exception. I rarely, if ever, can tell you that I will definitely like a book before reading it, but I knew that I had to read #Girlboss when I was ready to – when I was considering what the next phase of my life might look like.

Synopsis

Sophia Amoruso spent her teens hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and scrounging in dumpsters for leftover bagels. By age twenty-two she had dropped out of school, and was broke, directionless, and checking IDs in the lobby of an art school – a job sh’d taken for the health insurance. It was in that lobby that Sophia decided to start selling vintage clothes on eBay.

Flash forward ten years to today, and she’s the founder and executive chairman of Nasty Gal, a $250-million-plus fashion retailer with more than four hundred employees. Sophia was never a typical CEO, or a typical anything, and she’s written #Girlboss for other girls like her: outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to succcess, even when that path is windy as all hell and lined with naysayers.

#Girlboss proves that being successful isn’t about where you went to college or how popular you were in high school. It’s about trusting your instincts and following your gut; knowing which rules to follow and which to break; when to button up and when to let your freak flag fly.

Review

One of these days, I’m going to go back to teaching full time. I don’t think I’ll ever really leave the bookstore, or the book world, but unfortunately, short of opening my own bookstore (which I’m not completely ruling out), there is very little opportunity for growth, or new challenges. And my brain gets bored and stale if I don’t have new things to with it.

While most bookstores would shelve #Girlboss in business, it is really for anyone looking for a life/career change, not just for people looking to start their own business as Sophia did. What I really appreciate about #Girlboss is the fact that Sophia offers advice without sugar coating any of it. It is practical and useful – when she talks about everyday magic and putting positive thoughts out into the universe, she delves deeper than You Are a Badass and The Secret. While those two books focus just on happy thoughts, Sophia presents practical ways to follow through on those positive thoughts.

One thing that did concern me, prior to reading, was whether or not I would think differently of Sophia’s advice knowing that she left Nasty Gal and the lawsuits and bankruptcy that plagued the company over the last few years. The good news – I did not. Sophia never claims to be an expert, quite the opposite in fact, and approaches #Girlboss with an attitude of “this worked for me, it might work for you” which I greatly appreciated. And if you’ve seen the Netflix show of the same name, well, it’s an interesting television choice – turn a business book into a narrative show – but it’s not half bad.

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Edition: Paperback • $16.00 • 9781591847939 • 256 pages • first published May 2014, this edition published September 2015 by Portfolio • average Goodreads rating 3.7 out of 5 stars • read in April 2018

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