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I'm Now a Book Critic! Here are the 5 Books I Recommended

Dec 01, 2021

Yours truly has become a book critic.

Well, sort of. She—meaning I—is/am now recommending my five favorite books of the month every month on KATU TV in Portland. And I’ll be releasing each of the segments as a podcast episode. Is it because I’m hurting for content? Possibly! But it’s also because I want you to see—and hear—what’s possible when you’re an author.

Yes, sometimes they’ll let you go on TV to recommend other books. So enjoy this mini episode (and especially enjoy hearing me call the Emmy award-winning host by the wrong name).

Here's a breakdown of the books:

No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier

A thorough examination of the creation of the social media platform that has come to take over many people’s lives, this comprehensive page-turner shows how an app created in 2010 came to be purchased by Mark Zuckerberg in less than two years for a billion dollars—and then the power struggles that ensued from there. The author, who’s a reporter for Bloomberg News, where she reports regularly on Facebook, Instagram and the other social media platforms, has earned awards and come to be considered an expert on the whole social media game. The book caused a bit of a sensation when it came out because it delved into Zuckerberg’s obsession with controlling Instagram, despite having assured the creators that they could have independence, just at a time when Facebook’s PR was getting worse and worse. 

If You Lived Here, You’d Be Famous By Now: True Stories From Calabasas by Via Bleidner

Written by a 21-year-old and published by a major publisher, this book is basically the female, modern-day version of Fast Times at Ridgemont High if Fast Times was immersed in Kardashian culture. The author is wise beyond her years, painting a hilarious story that manages to cover adolescence in a way adults will find entertaining and illuminative. The most amazing part about it isn’t its wisdom or humor but the fact that the author is so witty and positive that the plastic culture she describes doesn’t seem tragic…just oddly real. 

Book Wars: The Digital Revolution in Publishing by John B. Thompson

Covering the recent history of an industry that has undergone a more rapid transformation in the past decade than it had in multiple decades before, this is a decidedly intellectual book by a British author that manages to be incredibly approachable and actually something of a page-turner. It’s clear this author has done his research and is particularly compelling while doing a meticulous breakdown of why companies that seemed to be on the cutting edge of capitalizing on the emergence of ebooks failed. (In short: no one could predict where the ebook market was going; people originally thought entrepreneurs would be the big ebook readers; turns out it’s the romance crowd because they love to devour series books and besides, romance books aren’t necessarily ones you’re proud to put on your shelf!)

Traction by Gino Wickman 

This isn’t a new book but it is one of the clearest explanations of how to grow a business that I’ve read in a while. It focuses on six components a business needs to be profitable—Vision, Data, Process, Traction, Issues and People—and gives tips like keeping scorecards for every week, accountability charts for team members, issues lists and process documents. It also stresses the importance of having Rocks—otherwise known as 90-day goals. There are charts, questions to answer, worksheets and examples aplenty. It also emphasizes the importance of creating company core values so that everyone you hire and every decision you make can be weighed by whether or not they fit them. 

My Addiction and Recovery: Just Because You’re Done With Drugs Doesn’t Mean Drugs Are Done with You by Ed Kressy 

Don’t let the kind of basic title or cover of this one fool you. My Addiction and Recovery is one of the most sophisticated, original, gripping recovery memoirs out there. A first-person account of how a man from an upper-middle-class family descended into meth addiction, this is one of the most riveting accounts of addiction I’ve come across. While describing the paranoid delusions he had that he was being tracked by the FBI because he had played a part in 9-11, Kressy introduces himself as a new voice to the Quit Lit movement. His story is one of going to a place that few survive and even fewer document. Even if you think you’ve read and seen it all, I guarantee you’ll find yourself as shocked by Kressy’s story as you are moved by his writing.

To see the segment, click here. Otherwise, just give this a listen.


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