Reads That Lead To Results

“You poor stupid guy, you never can tell what some people will buy.” –The Lorax

Having read The Lorax twice a day for the last few weeks, I can recite it with my eyes closed. Now, no matter where I am, sections just pop out of my mouth. Luckily, the people on the receiving end are friends or family and not during a work presentation. Although it’s the story my two-year old falls asleep to, it actually DOES contain valuable life lessons. This one’s lesson?

Buyer beware.

Actually, it’s a book review article, but I do want to stress that you read book reviews before you go getting reference materials to learn a new skill. I’m currently in the middle of reading a stack of books that hundreds of Amazon readers have recommended to see if they’re really that good.

The first is actually an entire series of books call The Missing Manuals published by O’Reilly. I’m not sure where I first learned about this set of books, I think it was some random blog. But then I was trying to learn CSS, and it just wouldn’t click. Writing CSS was an arduous task that I just couldn’t seem to wrap my brain around it. Then my husband’s cousin recommended CSS: The Missing Manual, which he was using in class. The book was recommended to him by his professor. After reading the first chapter and a half, suddenly I got it. Now I can sit and write code without thinking until the cows come home! I have since collected a couple of other Missing Manuals which have greatly improved my coding skills.

What makes the books so great? They don’t make your eyes glaze over when you read them. They are actually written the way I think and talk on a regular basis. I read the first couple of paragraphs and kept saying to my husband, “I GET it. This guy writes like I think,” and, “No, honey, I mean I FINALLY. GET. IT.” Previously, my favorite software and coding books were The Bible series which is dry, boring, and usually made me nod off a little. But I liked those because almost everything was there. But they don’t hold a candle to the Missing Manuals. When I’m in the bookstore and I see strangers looking for certain kinds of books, I impose myself upon them and insist that they HAVE to try the Missing Manuals. None of you realize this, but for me to randomly start talking to complete strangers willingly is a huge deal. That’s how good I think these books are.

Also, O’Reilly usually does a buy 2 get 1 free deal if you order through their website.

The other book I’ll be reviewing for you today is one that was recommended to me by a friend and coworker. Using this book, she has gone from selling her homemade product to a few people on Etsy to selling in retail shops, hiring her own employees and has been featured in InStyle magazine, among others. The book I speak of is called Craft, Inc.: Turn Your Creative Hobby Into a Business by Meg Mateo Ilasco. Because my friend Emily is doing so insanely well, I bought it, and now I’m recommending it to you. While I haven’t quite gotten to the heights she has, I’m slowly on my way. It’s an informative, easy to read book that explains the essentials: from the legal paperwork, to forcing yourself to clear time in your schedule, to making sure you’re not underselling yourself.

Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve taken from this book is that I am not charging enough for my product. I love how well written it is. Though it’s not a Pulitzer prize candidate, it has definitely given me the motivation I need. All I have to do is read one page and I’m itching to whip out my blow torch and lose myself in the land of fire and molten silver. (Sadly enough, I always read it right before naptime is over. Blow torch + 2-year old = BAD. IDEA.) If you’re passionate about something you do, teach, or make, this book will help you become as successful as my friend Emily.

I’ll stop at two books today. I’m in the middle of reading some other books that you may or may not have heard of around the office. I’ll let you know what I think of them. Also, don’t forget about your local library. You can borrow as many books as you want—for FREE! And if you don’t like them, you just send them back!

Stephanie is a graphic designer who has managed art departments in the non-profit and corporate worlds. She is currently Work(ing)Awesome(ly) at home with her company Studio Lewis Graphic Design.


  1. Giorgio Sironi on the 20th May

    I read some of the missing manuals but they are not adapt to technical people like me. Good introductions to a subject, but they are too much simpler and you can find the same information easily on the internet.

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