Book Review: Women of Color in Tech


Women of Color in Tech by Susanne Tedrick is a groundbreaking book that seeks to empower women of color by providing them with valuable insights into the technology field. Tedrick’s mission is to debunk misconceptions, address barriers, offer practical advice, share inspirational stories, and shed light on the reasons behind the underrepresentation of women of color in tech. Additionally, the book delves into various technology areas like AI, blockchain, and cloud computing in an easily digestible format. It also offers indispensable guidance on finding a tech career, including networking, resume building, and job offer negotiation. This book is essential reading for women of color, those working with them, and anyone eager to grasp the challenges they face while exploring various tech topics.

Why Are There Not More Women of Color in Technology?

“The number of Black women in technical professions declined by 13 percent over a 12-year period.” So, why is this happening? Tedrick believes this decline can be attributed to various factors, including early learning experiences and the lack of diversity and inclusion in tech workplaces. Historically, societal norms have pushed young girls toward gender-normative activities, and expressing interest in more traditionally “male” activities often leads to a lack of support or even shaming. Research shows that a child’s learning experiences and the support they receive directly influence their confidence in pursuing specific careers. When girls with an interest in technology enter college, they encounter additional barriers like the high cost of education, biases from professors, lack of peer and familial support, and a low percentage of those who enter college actually graduating with a 4-year technology degree.

Clearing Up Misconceptions About Working in Tech

Despite the challenges, Tedrick emphasizes why women of color should still pursue tech careers. The tech field is steadily improving, thanks in part to organizations like and Black in AI that provide support. It’s a rapidly growing industry with high earning potential and can be fulfilling for those passionate about technology and innovation. Moreover, women of color in tech can serve as positive role models for young girls of color, helping them envision themselves in various tech roles and dispelling misconceptions about the field.

Tedrick’s book aims to dispel myths and misconceptions that dissuade individuals from pursuing tech careers. For instance, the belief that “all tech careers require a 4-year degree” is debunked, as many positions value professional experience gained through internships, apprenticeships, boot camps, and more. Another critical misconception addressed is the notion that “tech careers exist only at top tech companies.” In reality, tech roles are essential across all industries. Tedrick also discusses the qualities she considers essential for tech careers, emphasizing traits like confidence, perseverance, and patience.

A Wide Variety of Tech Careers

Tedrick provides detailed insights into a wide range of tech career options, from business analysis to web design and consulting. Each career is explored in terms of its responsibilities, required skills, educational prerequisites, typical job roles, titles, and average salaries. After this comprehensive overview, Tedrick offers resources to help individuals identify their strengths, weaknesses, and core work values, assisting them in determining their ideal fit within the tech industry. Additionally, the book explores tech opportunities outside traditional tech companies, such as in the government, education, healthcare, and emerging fields like 3D printing and online banking.

The book covers various emerging technologies like AI, virtual reality, blockchain, and cloud computing in a straightforward and understandable manner. It breaks down complex topics, making them accessible to a broader audience. Tedrick highlights the significance of staying informed about these technologies to remain competitive in the ever-evolving tech industry.

Finding, Landing, and Thriving at Tech Jobs

Tedrick offers invaluable advice on building a professional network, finding mentors, and enhancing one’s skills to secure a tech career. The process begins with a skill gap analysis and explores various educational pathways, including formal education, trade schools, and boot camps. Additionally, the book addresses financing options for these educational pursuits. Tedrick guides readers through crafting a tech-focused resume, optimizing their LinkedIn profiles, and provides essential interview tips.

Even after you have found that dream tech job, Tedrick continues to provide detailed guidance on evaluating job offers, understanding compensation structures, and negotiating effectively. The step-by-step process of how a job offer works is explained, highlighting key points for evaluation and negotiation.

The book acknowledges that workplace challenges may persist even after securing a tech job. Tedrick offers advice on dealing with issues such as imposter syndrome, bias, lack of support, bullying, and tokenism. These are common experiences for people of color, especially those who have achieved career advancements but still feel inadequate or face discrimination.

What’s Next?

In conclusion, Tedrick encourages those in the tech field to give back to the community through volunteering and community service, serving as role models or mentors, and supporting initiatives that empower underrepresented individuals in tech. This call to action aims to address the challenges highlighted at the beginning of the book and create a brighter future for women of color in technology.

You may check out Women of Color in Tech by Suzanne Tedrick from the East Baton Rouge Parish Library.

Written by Kathryn Cusimano

Book Review: Career Anchors

Career Development and Career Guidance can be elusive, so “Career Anchors” by Edgar H. Schein caught my attention.  With the Great Resignation, or as LinkedIn called it, the Great Reshuffle, long term employees are looking retrospectively and joining new graduates looking prospectively. 

how have your experiences affected you?

In reviewing our past employment experiences, Mr. Schein recommends we ask “What have I learned about myself?” instead of “judging each experience as good or bad, fun or not, useful or not”.  The author challenges us to determine our skills and competencies (based on personal assessments and others’ feedback), motives (desires), and values (important in our organizations).  Specifically, “what are you good at…there are things we like or don’t like, some of our aspirations are unrealistic; and we develop new ambitions.”

Edgar continues, stating as we gain experience, we gain clarity about our domains until we get a self-concept which is our career anchor.  He claims that although “Talents, motives, and values become intertwined so it may be hard to figure out what your anchor is”, “With accumulation of work experience and feedback come clarification and insight, providing a basis for more rational and empowered career decisions”.

what has become important to you in your career?

The main nugget is (bold for emphasis):
The self-concept begins to function more and more as a guidance system and as an anchor that constrains career choices.  You begin to have a sense of what is “you” and what is “not you.”  This knowledge keeps you on course or in a safe harbor…”pull[ing you] back” or “figuring out what [you] really want to do”…and knowing better what it is that [you] would not give up if forced to make a choice.
The career anchor, as defined here, is that one element in [your] self-concept that [you] will not give up, even in the face of difficult choices.
In this Career Anchor context, Career Development and Career Guidance are intrinsic/inside.  They are no longer shrouded in mystery–an external unknown.
In the end, to move towards self-actualization, one anchors oneself.

identifying your career anchor

The eight career anchors “every person is ‘concerned’ [with] to some degree” are:
  1. Technical/Functional Competence (specialize–paid for skill levels such as education and experience)
  2. General Managerial Competence (cross functional–analytical, interpersonal/intergroup, and emotional competence)
  3. Autonomy/Independence (freedom from other’s norms–contract or part time with portable cafeteria-style benefits)
  4. Security/Stability (job tenure, good retirement–predictable work and pay for loyalty and steady performance)
  5. Entrepreneurial Creativity (highly visible developers, inventors, artists–prove they can create, own, control)
  6. Service/Dedication to a Cause (improve community, nation, world by serving humanity, saving the environment for recognition and support)
  7. Pure Challenge (warrior, conqueror, and competitor winning in constant opportunities for self-tests)
  8. Lifestyle (flexibility–less travel/moving, sabbaticals, paternal/maternal leave, day-care options, flex time, work from home).
I can indeed easily see myself as being somewhat anchored in all these eight career anchors, but my main anchors emerge easily, as do my least favorite.
See Education on page 28 and questions about your First Job on Page 29 to gain greater insight into your influences.  As you get older, you might develop “new ambitions”.  “Lifestyle” might become more important, making the public sector appealing.  “Autonomy/Independence” might also become more necessary.  So yes, growth occurs but some maturing can remain.  The self-assessment on pages 53-56 can show what you could develop.

anchors and roles

After identifying those who have role expectations of you (called role senders), Schein defines “three important issues around roles–ambiguity, overload, and conflict” (bold for emphasis):
Role Ambiguity:
For some role senders, you will not be sure what they expect from you.  Consider what you might do to clarify their expectations and put those actions on your “to do” list.  For example, you might ask for a meeting to discuss your understanding of your role and invite the role sender to discuss what he or she expects.
Role Overload
The sum of what everyone expects of you will be much more than you can possibly do.  How do you set priorities?  Ask yourself whose expectations are most often responded to and whose are most often ignored?  Do you communicate your own sense of priorities?  For example, you might explicitly communicate to some role senders that you will be late or unable to do what they expect.  If you can think of other ways of coping with overload, put the action steps on your “to do” list.
Role Conflict
You will discover that what some members of the role set expect is in direct conflict with what others expect or what you expect of yourself.  Ask yourself how to resolve those conflicts, whether to deny that they exist, compromise by doing a little for each, confront the role sender?  Think of action steps you can take to reduce role conflicts and put those on your “to do” list.  For example, if two of your peers expect things of you that are in conflict, consider bringing them together to examine what they expect and how that impacts you.
These three role issues definitions are very liberating.  Role ambiguity, overload, and conflict: acknowledging their actual existence is the first step in addressing them. Seeing them written down on a page and typing them might bring them to life for you.

Final thoughts

Overall, one cannot simply focus on what one wants to accomplish, without expecting resistance.  This Career Anchor analysis indeed redefined Career Development and Career Guidance as intrinsic (inside).  May you insightfully also find how your career anchors developed and guided you.
Written by Andre de la Fuente

The Book Review: The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need

finding your path and growing your career. . . .with a comic book!

Many people have faced a lack of clarity about their career path and goals. This uncertainty can happen at any point in your career journey — whether you are just starting out with your first career or considering changing careers after investing years. If you are not sure where to start with determining your next step, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, which is a graphic novel, is a fantastic resource to assist you in your journey and is presented in a very refreshing format.

The premise of The Adventures of Johnny Bunko is summed up into six lessons about work, careers and achieving personal success. Despite being released 14 years ago, it is still a fantastic and appealing delivery of some basic, but essential, career guidance and can serve as a great jumping off point in determining your path. In fact, the very first chapter discusses making plans and the degree to which you should let those plans affect your path.

There is No Plan

Most people make sure that they have a career plan and a list of goals in order to achieve their dream career. However, these plans are never foolproof, and sticking to them too much can blind you to other potential paths and choices. The Adventures of Johnny Bunko does not state that these plans are pointless, but rather it suggests that plans should have flexibility and choices can be valuable to your journey in more ways than one. One way that a choice can be helpful is that it can highlight your strengths and talents, and that is valuable information to obtain in your career journey.

Focus on Strengths Not Weaknesses

It is very common that people end up in jobs that may not suit their strengths but in fact rely on their weaknesses. While weaknesses may be improved through practice and training, it would be much more beneficial to instead work on those tasks that rely on your strengths. The Adventures of Jonny Bunko goes into further detail about how to determine what your strengths are and how to apply those to your career choice. Applying your strengths to your job will give you a sense of satisfaction not just in your career path but in your personal life through helping others.

It is Not About You

It is important for our careers to bring us some sense of happiness and satisfaction; however, we should also remember that doing our jobs help others in some shape or fashion. This is true whether you work a customer- or patron-facing job or in a corporate office. The Adventures of Johnny Bunko discusses how to take your strengths in the job and use them to help people and improve the lives of others. It is essential to remember that in order to improve the lives of others, we need to improve our own skills and talent.

Persistence Trumps Talent

When we think about athletes and musicians and other talented people, we also have to consider the time and effort they have put into their skills. While there may be many talented people in a given field, it is only the truly diligent ones that achieve incredibly high levels of success. So The Adventures of Johnny Bunko makes the point that even if you are working in a job that suits your strengths and talents, you must also work on improving your skills and applying them. A great way to improve your skills is through making excellent mistakes and learning from them.

Make Excellent Mistakes

It is so terrifying making mistakes that most of us try to avoid making any in our careers and our personal lives. Mistakes, however, are essential to improving our knowledge and giving us the opportunity to move forward and on to better things. Mistakes are a part of our lives, and we are always learning from them, so it is important to make mistakes in our careers from time to time. The Adventures of Johnny Bunko details the kinds of mistakes that you can learn from and how to make sure that you make excellent mistakes. Most importantly, mistakes can lead to truly impactful discoveries and make a change somewhere and for someone.

Leave an Imprint

When a person reaches a certain age, they look back on their lives, and at that point, how they feel about their choices will affect how they approach the remainder of their lives. So, it can be important for a person to feel that they have made an impact at some point in their life, no matter how small or big. A great way to make a mark is through your career, especially when your career is something where you are able to apply your strengths, help others, and achieve great levels of success. The Adventures of Johnny Bunko will ask you to consider this question: What kind of a mark do you want to make, and how will you make it?

final thoughts

I hope that the message of this book speaks to you, and if you want to know more about each of these lessons and how they can affect your career search and exploration, then please feel free borrow this novel from the Career Center in the Main Library on Goodwood! This book is just one of many fantastic career guidance books we have in our catalog. If you want some additional help in determining your career, we provide career coaching as well. Just call 225-231-3733 to set up an appointment and we would be happy to be a part of your career journey!

Written by Kathryn Cusimano

Book Review: Business Model You

Have you considered changing your career? Are you concerned that your current career might not survive the volatile economic environment? Are you new to the work force and trying to decide what your career should be? Business Model You may have the answers you are looking for and help provide a jumping-off point in determining your career. While this book was published in 2012, the four-step process described is still relevant and may be even more applicable during this time of extreme changes and reassessment of your life and priorities.


Canvas is the concept created by the authors that will assist you in describing and understanding both traditional business models and personal business models. A business model is essentially the plan for how the business will provide services to their customers and receive revenue and profits for those services. This section gives a fantastic overview of the business model and includes the different components:

  • customers
  • value provided
  • channels
  • customer relations
  • revenue
  • key resources
  • key activities
  • key partners
  • costs

Then the book discusses how to apply those same components to our own personal lives, taking into consideration “soft” values such as stress and satisfaction.


During the process of forming your own personal business model, self-reflection is an essential part. These chapters discuss discovering you, considering your passions and focusing on your purpose. There are several exercises done in these two chapters that will hopefully assist you in uncovering all of these aspects of you and determining how to apply that information to the process of determining a career path.


These two chapters focus on the next step after creating your personal business plan based on the information you gleaned during the reflection period. The first chapter encourages you to consider different perspectives and to readjust your perceptions and expectations. The second chapter then asks you to take a different perspective of your personal business plan and determine what aspects are working and which ones are not working.


The next two chapters will help you with putting your created and revised personal business plan into action. The first suggestion is to test your model, most likely with your customer base. This includes talking to them and determining whether your model matches with what they are looking for, and then trying to sell yourself to your customers. If they “buy” your product, then you have succeeded!

Final Thoughts

The final chapter discusses what to do with this newly gained information and skill set you have developed throughout this book outside of planning and enacting your personal business model. This book has fantastic information, examples, and real- life applications that will help anyone develop their actual business plan or their personal business model and determine what career best fits them and their lives.

This book is also a wonderful tool to use in conjunction with a career coaching appointment, which can be scheduled with the Career Center at the Main Library on Goodwood. You can call 225-231-3733 to make an appointment for career coaching or to place a hold on this book. A hold can also be made online at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library website.

Book Review: The Job-Loss Recovery Program Guide

If you’re dealing with job loss, you’ll want to check out The Job-Loss Recovery Program Guide, The Ultimate Visualization System for Landing a Great Job Now, written by Lynn Joseph, PH.D. This book is a quick read and gets straight to the heart of the matter. The premise of the Job-Loss Recovery Program Guide is, if you change your thoughts about the situation, your feelings will also change.


Losing a job is considered a very traumatic life event and like the loss of a loved one, can trigger symptoms of grief. The loss of a job requires coping strategies. One of the big takeaways is to “Take the time to grieve.” “The Job-Loss Recovery Program” will help you improve your coping skills and shift your thoughts from seeing the situation as a challenge rather than a threat.


The stages and symptoms of a job-loss often feel a little discouraging.
Job loss is an experience that requires a period of grieving. Often the newly jobless feel abandoned and betrayed by their previous company. As in the stages of grieving a death, there is inevitably a stage of anger. The author cautions against turning the anger in on yourself, in the form of blame. The key goal of the program is to help you move through the stages to closure and the first step is to manage stress.

moving on

Through these visualization exercises the Program offers help to overcome stress, grief, and anger to improve attitude, boost confidence to find the new opportunity. This program has been used with many participants who all report feeling much improved and being able to address the job search with new energy.

If you would like in-person help with job loss, recovery and how to find a new role, the Career Center is here to help. Please check out the resources on our website and YouTube channel, or call us at 225-231-3733 to schedule an in-person appointment.

Book Review: Machiavelli for Women

Machiavelli for Women: Defend your Worth,
Grow your Ambition, and Win the Workplace
by Stacey Vanek Smith

“What Machiavelli offered [in The Prince] was an unflinching and rigorous look at how people get into positions of power. And how they hold on to them.” According to veteran journalist Stacey Vanek Smith, this is the essence of Machiavelli’s most famous writing, The Prince. While the original book was written a few centuries ago to advise Renaissance potentates, Vanek Smith translates his thinking and advice to benefit women in 21st-century Corporate America.

Her book sets out to show women in an equally unflinching way how today’s workplace is still designed to keep them out. She applies Machiavelli’s insights, his cunning, and his strategies to show women how to conquer positions of power in the workplace, how to get there, and how to hold on to them. The Prince serves as the guide for this playbook on how to achieve corporate power.

Money, Confidence, Respect, Support, Title

For Vanek Smith, power in the workplace manifests in 5 main aspects: money, confidence, respect, support, and title. She subsequently devotes a chapter to each of those aspects, analyzing exactly what obstacles women are dealing with and how to overcome them. She keeps the tone light, employs examples from successful women, and includes experts on salary negotiation and confidence coaching. The best parts are the realistic, immediately usable strategies and templates which the author includes in her chapters.

One of those practical examples is the amplification strategy in the chapter about Respect. When women speak up in meetings, their ideas are often not given the same attention and respect than if a man said the same thing. Amplification is one strategy to fix this. If there are several women in a meeting, they can amplify what each of them is saying. If one raises an issue or an idea, the other women will speak up and repeat this issue or idea one after the other. This way it sticks in participants’ minds and also cannot be claimed by somebody else later.

A Lady’s Guide to Negotiation

This is easily the best part of the book. While all chapters contain actionable advice, this one is brimming with it. Vanek Smith explains why regular negotiation advice rarely works for women and why it can, in fact, backfire if women use the same techniques men do. She explains that the exact behaviors that are perceived positively and strong in men make women be seen as negative, bitchy or whiny. Whereas it is all about the “I” for men, it has to be all about the “we”, “our team” or “our company” for women. With the help of experts, she manages to give detailed examples and templates of how women can approach negotiation instead. This is easy to understand and immediately usable information!

The book gives examples of common negotiation situations as well as possible pitfalls. Some of those pitfalls are: lowball offers, asking about previous job’s pay, stalling, or threatening to pull the job offer (a.k.a. the nuclear option). More importantly, it presents several options for how to address those pitfalls and turn them around to your advantage. Be prepared, do your homework, and anticipate negotiation detours and traps. In this chapter the book serves as a manual of how to do exactly that. It has pages and pages of “pro tips” and “pitfall alerts”.

final thoughts

You don’t have to be a fan of Machiavelli, or even know about him, to like and profit from this book. If you are a woman who wants to make it in Corporate America (or non-profit organizations or Higher Ed, etc.), you want to read this book. It’s a well-researched easy read with actionable pro tips that will help you succeed in your career.

Written by Anne Nowak

Spotlight: Career Books by Black Authors

In celebration of Black History Month, we’d like to showcase some books from our collection which have African-American authors. These books offer advice from professionals who have the perspective and experience to discuss the job-search and career issues that affect minorities.

Double Outsiders: How Women of Color Can Succeed in Corporate America
by Jessica Faye Carter, J.D., MBA
“Women of color make up 15 percent of the US population, but only 1.7% of the Fortune 500.” This book discusses the unique challenges that non-Caucasian women face in the corporate world, as well as how to overcome them. Meticulously researched, this book pulls from several sources, including academic research, statistical reports, human resources managers, senior executives, and of course, women of color who have succeeded professionally. The information within is useful both to jobseekers in this situation, and to companies seeking to grow a more diverse workforce.

The Calling: 3 Fundamental Shifts to Stay True, Get Paid, and Do Good
by Rha Goddess
“Every single one of us has a calling. Your calling is that thing that only you can do. And it will always compel you – but it will be up to you to decide whether or not you’re going to answer.” This book’s goal is to enable readers to discover and successfully pursue their calling in life. The book contains exercises to help readers identify their motivations, values, beliefs, and fears, as well as techniques for changing negative mindsets. The author also includes client stories from her work as a life coach, providing examples of how her methodology works.

She Makes More: Inside the Minds of Female Breadwinners
by Dawn DeLavallade, M.D.
As her medical career blossomed and she started out-earning her husband, Dr. DeLavallade began to experience struggles related to being her family’s primary breadwinner.  When she interviewed other women in similar positions, she found common themes of stress, lack of communication, and resentment between these women and their husbands. Those interviews have been compiled into this book, to provide perspective into these problems and ideas for solving them.

The African-American Jobseeker’s Guide to Successful Employment
by Rebecca Enyia
This book is intended as a one-stop shop for the entire job-seeking process, from career goal-setting, through applying and interviewing, to negotiating salary and succeeding in the new job. This thorough compendium includes skills assessments, sample resumes, networking tips for finding job leads, information about employment agencies in each state, and more.

How Exceptional Black Women Lead: Unlocking the Secrets to Phenomenal Success in Career and in Life
by Avis Jones-DeWeever, Ph.D.
“To be a black woman is to exist in a constant state of navigation. In facing the dual challenges of both race and gender in a cultural context that privileges all that you are not, you must learn how to overcome both internal and external challenges.” In addition to statistical data about black female leadership in America, this book presents tips and advice from 70 black women who’ve thrived as leaders and want to share their techniques for success.

The Episodic Career
by Farai Chideya
“We live in a globalized economy where not just jobs but also entire career tracks are created and destroyed in front of our eyes.” In this time of rapid change, author Chideya posits, the traditional stable career has been replaced by episodic careers that have multiple phases. This book aims to assist workers in managing those phases, whether that be through evolving within their field, changing careers, or recovering from job loss. The book includes diagnostic tools to help jobseekers define their career attitudes and goals, profiles of jobseekers who have overcome career upheaval, and data about the changing world of work.

If any of these books caught your eye, you can put them on hold on the East Baton Rouge Parish Library website.

Written by Lynnette Lee

Book Review: 50 Plus! Critical Career Decisions for the Rest of Your Life

“Age is no barrier”, prolific author and successful CEO Robert Dilenschneider writes. He wants this book to be a guide for 50+ seekers, who are either seeking a new job out of necessity or who are seeking new challenges, because they feel unfulfilled.

how to stay relevant in a changing world

There is a stark contrast in yesteryear’s work force and today’s ever changing kaleidoscope of opportunities. The new landscape is that of frequently changing jobs, many times out of necessity. An employee is expected to add immediate and continued value to the organization.

To stay relevant, Dilenschneider recommends:

  • Develop a five-year (or ten-year) plan.
  • Be technologically able to utilize a computer, phone, tablet, social media, email and texting.
  • Intentionally bridge the age gap. Where applicable assist the younger person by sharing your knowledge and experiences in a casual and informal manner, if receptive.
  • Recognize the younger generation’s need for instant gratification. Young people are often in a hurry.
  • Listen. And listen without judgment. Never betray confidences.
  • Keep up with the latest media, ideology, movies and social movements. If you have been out of the game, get back into it.
  • Determine a focus or specific direction. Set goals and maintain a constant resolve.
  • Take action, then celebrate small and large accomplishments. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

what to do if you’re being let go

If you see proverbial “hand writing on the wall” that change is imminent, you should, according to Dilenschneider:

  • Be honest at all times.
  • Know your own motives. Try to understand those of other people. And be suspicious.
  • Be respectful. Control your anger.
  • Be aware and protect yourself.
  • Contact supportive friends, family and colleagues, and seek advice from a therapist or job counselor.
  • Always keep your resume updated!
  • Take inventory of your strengths and recognize your weaknesses.

general job-seeking tips:

  • Have a plan A and a plan B.
  • If you lose your job, don’t get bitter, get busy. Rather than accepting defeat, you may launch out and start your own company, or become an independent contractor or consultant.
  • If you have a job but are dissatisfied, you should be developing options.
  • Don’t quit your present job unless you have to. It is easier to get a job if you already have one.
  • Pay attention to changes in your relationship with your supervisor or subordinates and respond in a proactive manner. This may include changing departments or changing companies.
  • Utilize the people in your network. Get them to assist in your job search – ask for their advice and strategize with them
  • When interviewing/networking, make the interviewer feel good about you and great about himself.

communication and interpersonal relations

Since Dilenschneider spent his entire career in communications and public relations, no book of his would be complete without some advice on the topic.

Develop your message: write down 3 major points you want to make. Put together two examples for each point. If you interact with the public, PR should be important to you. Take control of your own message. Building a network in the right way means being willing to go beyond yourself. Follow up. Respond to e-mails. Return your phone calls. Write thank-you notes. Reciprocate and do it quickly. Finally, remember: everyone judges a book by its cover, so make sure you make an excellent first impression as a professional.

This book may be placed on hold through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library website.

Written by Cynthia Payton

Book Review: Overcoming Underearning

​In the opening parable of Barbara Stanny’s Overcoming Underearning, the fairy godmother says, “When you learn to face what makes you fearful, it need never control you again.”  I cannot think of a more liberating opening.

the voice of experience

Stanny states, “if you don’t deal with your money, your money will deal with you…often in ways you’d never expect.”  She experienced this maxim first hand when her husband lost “a substantial portion of [her] inheritance”. She blatantly says that “staying stupid was not an option”, but when confronted by her financial counselor about being an underearner, she insisted she was not. She ignored her financial counselor’s advice until she “research[ed] financially savvy women” and interviewed “154 high-earners, several of whom were writers” she discovered to be “supremely confident.” She shattered her mental block holding her back, that people who make a lot of money are “cold, aloof, designer-dressed snobs.”  Her pivotal confession was that “they didn’t let self-doubt stop them” like she did.  Then Stanny miraculously earned six figures.  “Without even realizing it, I had seamlessly incorporated their strategies into my life, which I’ll share with you throughout this book.”

planning the life you want

The purpose of this book is to help you achieve financial independence. This process begins with one simple question:  What do you want? Stanny asks, if you had only six months to live:

  • “What would you be doing?”
  • “Where would you be living?”
  • “Who would you be with?”
  • “What would you change?  What would you add?  What would you eliminate?”

Based on your answers to these questions, you can formulate plans for how to change your life. “Make your plans as fantastic as you like, because twenty-five years from now they will seem mediocre.  You will wonder why you didn’t make them 50 times as great.”

the psychology of underearning

Stanny explains, “The problem we’re dealing with isn’t really about money at all.  Money is simply a metaphor.  In fact, the problem isn’t even about overcoming underearning.  Underearning is merely a symptom.  Lasting change never occurs by treating the symptom.  My belief is that you’ve kept yourself an underearner for a reason. Bottom line:  Underearning is a condition of low self-esteem.  Inside every underearner lies some degree of hopelessness or helplessness brought on by a perceived lack of self-worth or absence of self-love.” Stanny follows this insight with a Self Esteem Inventory designed to help readers identify their self-esteem roadblocks.

Stanny now counteracts the voices in our heads that tell us we cannot be anything.  “Those voices may never shut up.  Mine haven’t.”  She talks about how she has learned to ignore them.  “So should you.  Just because you hear voices in your head doesn’t mean you have to listen to them.” Defiantly she encourages us to “Start replacing the voices with different, more positive statements, a personal mantra or affirmation.”

Section Two:  Taking the Steps

The second portion of the book outlines the steps you can take to begin changing your financial state and achieving success. This begins with a five-part plan, each step of which contains detailed plans and exercises:

  • Step 1:  Tell the Truth-The Defining Truth:  No one is doing this to me.  I am doing this to myself.  Therefore, I have the ability to change it.
  • Step 2:  Make a Decision-profit motive.  THE GRAND CONUNDRUM:  You get what you really want, not what you ask for.
  • Step 3:  Stretch:  Your biggest barrier is fear.  And it’s usually that which we’re most afraid to let go of that is the very thing we need to release.
  • Step 4:  Create Community-who are your true believers, confidants, way showers, messengers, and naysayers?
  • Step 5:  Respect and Appreciate Money-The Big Must for Overcoming Underearning: Stop Debting Now!

This book can be placed on hold from the East Baton Rouge Parish Library website.

Written by Andre de la Fuente

Book Review: Stillness Is the Key

Maybe the pandemic forced you to rethink your life or career. Maybe you had arrived at the point of change regardless. But how to let go of the old and focus on and strategize about the new? According to Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key.

distracted and distressed

This book echoes similar sentiments to those of a popular Rascal Flatts’ song: “Sunday was a day of rest, Now, it’s one more day for progress.”  The author states that we “are pulled in countless directions by competing priorities and beliefs.  In those battles, in that war, stillness is the river and the railroad junction through which so much depends.  It is the key…”  Holiday gives several obstacles that present us with so many distractions.  For instance: “We are afraid of the silence.  We are afraid of looking stupid.  We are afraid of missing out. We are afraid of being the bad guy who says, “Nope, not interested.”  The author adds a quote from John Cage: “If the mind is disciplined, the heart turns quickly from fear to love.”

finding peace through stillness

Holiday divides the book into three domains: The Mind, Spirit, and Body. The head, the heart and the flesh.  It is in these three areas the author encourages us to focus and develop methods for stillness.  The author references a wide range of the world’s greatest thinkers to show us what stillness is and how we can achieve it.  The objective is to reduce the disturbances that make stillness impossible. To be at peace within ourselves, and to establish a lasting inner and outer peace.

It is critical that the mind domain is mastered in order to find success in stillness.  That will involve managing the amount and type of information you allow in and to properly appreciate being present in the moment. Protect yourself and your mind by managing your thoughts.  Invest time and mental energy to find truth and solution to problems you face.

tips and techniques

One effective method for stillness is to journal.  Journaling allows you to transfer some of the thoughts that are floating around in your head to another medium and to clarify your thoughts. Seeking wise counsel is another proven method for gaining stillness along with receiving constructive criticism.  Cultivating a flexible attitude will allow you to grow and experience situations in a whole new light.

Holiday gives a laundry list of goals one must meet in order to find stillness, some of which include…

  • Developing a strong moral compass,
  • Steering clear of envy and jealousy and harmful desires, and
  • Coming to terms with the painful wounds of childhood.

The author instructs us to take responsibility for our own emotions and impulses.  To strengthen our bodies as the physical vessel of our minds and spirit by developing a routine and investing in ourselves through personal hobbies.  Holiday states that “when the body is busy with the familiar, the mind can relax.  The monotony becomes muscle memory.”

Holiday insists that we “Get out from under all your stuff.  Get rid of it.  Give away what you don’t need.  Declutter.

In the midst of stillness, you can find peace. And with peace of mind you can better find your new career or life’s purpose.

This book can be placed on hold from the East Baton Rouge Parish Library website.

Written by Cynthia Payton