This Is Every Book I Read in 2022 (3rd Annual “One-Book-Per-Week Challenge”)

This Is Every Book I Read in 2022 (3rd Annual “One-Book-Per-Week Challenge”)

In 2020, faced with the pandemic lockdown, I kicked my love for reading into hyperdrive and read one book per week. (These are the 55 books I finished.) Invigorated by all the stories I devoured, I tried reading one book per week again the following year. However, the slow return to “normal life” made it harder to find reading time so I only finished 31 books in 2021, a little more than half the goal.

2022 marked the third year of my annual “One-Book-Per-Week Challenge.” This year I found a better book-life balance and while my tally increased dramatically from last year, I once again missed my quota. That said, I consider it a very successful year of reading. For starters, I finished a respectable 46 books (see full list below). More importantly, my reading list achieved diversity of genre, literary complexity, and focus. Lastly, I found a new favorite author: Sloane Crosley. Sloane is an American writer known for her fiction and non-fiction tongue-in-cheek commentary inspired by/about her life. My first experience reading Sloane’s writing was in “Cult Classic,” The Booze and Book Club‘s pick for July. Upon finishing that book, I purchased her four other books and finished three. It was such a joy finding an author whose writing and voice really resonated with me.

While Sloane’s books were the highlight of my year, I enjoyed most of the books that made their way into my home this year. Other repeat authors from this year’s list include Jennifer Egan, Jean Hanff Korelitz and Paolo Coelho. There were stories about sports, war, relationships, ghosts, sociopathy, and innovation, among others. My favorite memory was reading Paolo Coelho’s “The Pilgrimage,” a memoir about his trek on El Camino de Santiago, while my mom and I completed our pilgrimage along its Portuguese route. Our journey on foot was memorable for a number of reasons and sharing my joy of reading with my mom during this once-in-a-lifetime experience was among them.

My mom and I on the Portuguese Route of El Camino de Santiago in June. We walked 119km from the southern border of Spain to Santiago de Compostela over 5 days.

I look forward to what 2023 will bring between two covers. To inspire your reading this coming year, here is every book I read in 2022 (in order of completion). I marked The Booze and Book Club selections with an asterisk and those I absolutely adored in bold. Did any of these make your reading list? Which books are you most looking forward to reading this coming year?

Continue reading “This Is Every Book I Read in 2022 (3rd Annual “One-Book-Per-Week Challenge”)”

I Tried Reading One Book Per Week in 2021. Here Is How I Did.

I Tried Reading One Book Per Week in 2021. Here Is How I Did.

I read one book per week in 2020. Breezing through books was easy when the pandemic confined me indoors with no social prospects. A book per week was a tougher task once life started returning to normal. Reading time was superseded by dinners with friends, a flurry of travel, and the joys of a new relationship.

While I did not achieve quite as voluminous a reading list in 2021, I still managed to finish 31 tomes (approx. one book per two weeks.) Like last year, I focused on varying my reading selections between fiction and non-fiction and across genres, themes, and topics. One book a month was assigned by “The Booze and Books Club,” which was once again one of the highlights of my annual reading journey. Not only did we continue meeting on a monthly basis, but this year our club also launched its own instagram (@theboozeandbooksclub) and began hosting progressively more elaborate, on-theme gatherings. For example, in August, members brought their dogs to discuss canine-themed “Nightbitch” by Rachel Yoder and in September, we met at family-owned seafood restaurant La Camaronera to discuss “Malibu Rising” by Taylor Jenkins Reed that spotlights the dynamics of a family that owns a seafood restaurant. Oh, and we began incorporating discussions with the authors into our meetings both virtually and when the pandemic (and Miami Book Fair) allowed, in person. Props to Virginia Gil and Gio Gutierrez for all of the hard work they put into running the best book club hands down.

Another milestone moment from this past year was my chat with Barney and Falc of @booksandbeersclub. You can watch the Books and Beers episode on YouTube here. We talked about my career, my George Constanza sweatpants, my numerous Instagram accounts, and all things reading. My favorite part was our animated discussion on our favorite and least favorite books. Both Barney and Falc share my love for the teaching of Dale Carnegie and struggled through “Cien Años de Soledad.” Nothing energizes me like intellectually stimulating discourse with fellow book lovers!

Before I share with you the comprehensive list of every book I read in 2022, I want to thank all of you who reached out to discuss books, suggest books, send books (Murph! Wanka! Christine! Reggie! Betsy! Faja!), and in the case of Scott Deitche, share books you authored. For me, reading is as, if not more, thrilling as a team sport than an individual sport. Please take a look at the list below and then reach out in the comments or on social media with your favorite books of 2021 and your most anticipated books for 2022. My very best wishes to you for a happy, healthy and book-filled year to come!

Every Book I Read in 2021 (in order of completion)
I marked the Booze & Books Club picks with an asterisk. I show in bold those I loved.

Continue reading “I Tried Reading One Book Per Week in 2021. Here Is How I Did.”

The Advice on Networking No One Ever Gives You

The Advice on Networking No One Ever Gives You

I only get inspired to write when I get heated about a topic. This month I am extremely passionate about networking—more specifically, how to nurture your network correctly. Because I enjoy sharing advice, I often meet with new grads and young professionals looking for career guidance. I help them review cover letters, offer lessons learned, and when I can, connect them with potential job opportunities.

Lately, I have been shocked by the bad networking habits exhibited by many of the intelligent and highly-capable individuals with whom I have met. Recent experiences in particular made me question whether at their age, I also had poor networking skills. After some reflection, I realized to my horror that I did. I can recall a handful of mentoring opportunities my dad helped me get in my early 20s where I performed less than admirably. There is one meeting in particular with a C-Level executive that makes me cringe.

Everyone preaches that networking is good, that it’s supposed to help you. Few people teach you how. Everyone arms you with advice for making new contacts. Few people teach you how to keep those contacts. Most people promote the notion that networking is about transactions—”I help you, you help me”. Not enough people promote the idea that networking is actually about fostering a lifelong community of contacts that respect, trust, and like you. We are failing students and young professionals by not filling these knowledge gaps.

Most of the good networking habits I have grown to expect I have learned the hard way. By sharing them below, I hope to spare you the trouble. The list is by no means all-encompassing, but it consists of the five networking best practices I value most highly and that I see missed time and time again. I would love to hear how they work for you. More importantly, if you have other networking tips you want to add to the list, we could all benefit from and would be ever grateful if you share them in the comments below.

1. Before requesting a meeting, define why you are reaching out and say so. Do you want to understand what it is like to work in my field? Are you meeting with me because you are hoping I will consider you for a job? Are you looking for general career advice from someone with my particular experience? When you walk out of the room, what will you consider a successful outcome? A well-defined purpose is absolutely critical to any fruitful discussion. Therefore, if you reach out to me with your goal for our discussion, I am more likely to meet with you and better positioned to help you.

2. Come with questions and genuine interest. Since you will have explored the purpose of our meeting in advance, use that to put together a few questions to guide our discussion so you get the information you are looking for. After you ask each question, listen attentively to the answers and take notes, where appropriate. Your nerves may get you from time to time—I know I blacked out a few times from panic mid-discussion during the cringeworthy meeting I mentioned before—but find a way to ground yourself so you can absorb my answers.

3. Follow-up with a “thank you.” Most people, including me, don’t offer their time or advice for a “thank you.” However, we are extremely grateful when we receive one and it tells us you are polite and professional. A hand-written “thank you” note is rare and automatically gets bonus points. Remember, if I connect you with my network, your behavior reflects on me and my hard-earned reputation. A simple “thank you” shows me I can trust your social graces and makes me ten times more likely to recommend you.

4. After our meeting, let me know how things are going. Was my advice useful to you? What worked? What did not work? Do you have any follow-up questions? Of all the advice I have shared, only two people have ever contacted me to let me know the outcome of my suggestions. Their feedback not only made me feel like the time I spent with them was worthwhile, but it also helped me understand how to better help others in the future.

5. Do not wait to reach out until you need something. Last but not least, your network should not be a resource you only turn to in a time of need. Like friendships, professional contacts should be fostered continuously. I like to set Google alerts for contacts and companies with whom I have an established relationship so I can stay current on their professional accomplishments and send them a note whenever there are milestones worth celebrating or discussing. My dad also taught me to keep track of birthdays and anniversaries by putting them in my calendar. This is not to discourage you from reaching out when you need advice or a favor. However, that should not be the only time your network hears from you.

I Read One Book Per Week in 2020. This Is Every Book I Finished.

I Read One Book Per Week in 2020. This Is Every Book I Finished.

I have a penchant for making ambitious annual commitments. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, I committed to running one mile per day of the year, or 365 miles per year. However, despite my best efforts, which included regular 10 to 13 mile Saturday morning runs, multiple half marathons and my first marathon in 2018, I came close but never quite made it across the finish line. My competitive spirit was inclined to keep going, but I was forced to take a break from persistent running to recover from an ankle injury.

This year, I made a new and exciting commitment: to read one book per week of the year. I am a voracious reader and was on pace at the end of January so the goal seemed aggressive yet achievable. My focus on reading wavered from month to month. Strangely enough, quarantine and a new work-from-home routine were the biggest help toward reaching my goal by opening up new pockets of reading time previously used for commuting and a social life. Virginia Gil’s invitation to join “The Boozy Book Club,” a charismatic group of Miami readers that pick and discuss a new book each month, was also a godsend for my sanity and maintaining reading momentum.

I reached my goal on December 23 when I finished my 53rd book on week 52 of 53. I finished a 54th and 55th book that same week for good measure after there was some contention about counting a 20-page picture book as book 52. Let no one say this challenge was unmet—it was unequivocally defeated! Below is the comprehensive list of every book I read in 2020, in order, for your peer review and reading pleasure in 2021. (While I loved most books, the ones that were life-changing are shown in bold.)

My reading list for 2020 varied widely in every sense. It constituted both fiction and non-fiction. The books ranged from witty quips, poetry and short stories to novellas and novels. I read stories in 20 pages and others in 800+. What I liked most about this year’s reading journey is that every author forced my already open mind to see the world from a brand new perspective, opening my eyes to real and imagined scenarios beyond the realm of what I thought possible. I learned A LOT from reading each and every one of these books. I hope you too will find a much needed lesson, outlook, or escape in their pages.

Every Book I Read in 2020 (in order of completion)
I marked those I recommend in an asterisk. I show in bold those I loved.

Continue reading “I Read One Book Per Week in 2020. This Is Every Book I Finished.”

Why I finally subscribed to the Miami Herald (and you should too)

Why I finally subscribed to the Miami Herald (and you should too)

After 20 years in South Florida, I finally subscribed to the Miami Herald. I read it all the time. The Herald is my go-to source for scoop on the good, the bad and the ugly of Miami-Dade County. It’s where I keep a pulse on local politics and start researching candidates during election season. It’s where I track what’s good to eat around town and catch up on the events I missed when I decide to stay in for the evening. More importantly, it’s where I get to learn from the perspectives of my neighbors on issues that affect our community.

For years I have relied on the Miami Herald as a primary source of local news and at times, as an outlet through which to share information. When I was at the City of Miami Beach, the Herald and I had a love-hate relationship. Its writers and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye on issues pertaining to my work, but I was appreciative of the conversations they ignited surrounding our environment and our city. Moreover, its national prestige ensured these conversations were amplified. I know because when I google myself, I find articles from a wide range of outlets referencing the handful of times I was quoted in the Miami Herald.

I don’t know why it took me so long to subscribe. Perhaps it was the fact that I did not grow up buying the paper. When I lived in Mexico City, a copy of Reforma was always resting on the dark wood credenza in the vestibule of my grandparents’ house. During our Sunday visits, I would pause on my way in or out to flip haphazardly through its pages, never once questioning how the paper got there. When we arrived to South Florida, I was your run-of-the-mill myopic teenager, too wrapped up in surviving school socially and academically to remember there was a world beyond campus. By the time I picked up another newspaper, there was nothing to pick-up, only links to click through while silently praying I wouldn’t hit a paywall.

Today I finally decided to stop x-ing out of that telltale pop-up and support my local paper. I had been mulling over the decision for a few months and all it took was this article by Carlos Frías announcing the newly revamped Red Fish for me to pull the trigger. For years, like many others, I have been syphoning knowledge for free from the pages of the Miami Herald, knowledge that talented journalists bring us at great personal sacrifice, like sitting patiently for 12+ hours listening to a commission meeting each month. It’s about time I uphold my end of the journalistic bargain as a loyal reader: by paying for the work behind the content.

Although my support is long overdue, the Miami Herald needs it more than ever. They were facing financial setbacks before the pandemic and the economic instability continues to threaten its existence. I don’t kid myself that my measly $12.99-a-month subscription is going to save the Miami Herald, but it’s better than $0 and it highlights how much I appreciate the hard work from the newsroom. Next time you read an article from the Miami Herald stop to consider the value it is bringing your life and the work that happened behind the scenes to make it possible. Is it worth more than $0?

A Decade of Public Service in Five Days

A Decade of Public Service in Five Days

Last week I closed out a nearly decade-long career in public service. Since 2009, I have been working in some fashion for the City of Miami Beach. My first job there was a nine-month internship with the Public Works Department as part of my Master’s program and my last job was holding the dual role of Environmental Manager and Assistant Director in the Environment & Sustainability Department.

I absolutely loved my time with the city and have had a difficult time saying goodbye. I started the process in early March with this short-and-sweet announcement of my departure. Then, due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, my end date was pushed back a month.

The emotional release the post provided had long faded by the time last week rolled around so I decided to say a final goodbye with a series of daily entries on Facebook. The result? A five-day journal summarizing my decade in public service (and Betsy’s dramatically different hairstyles through the years). Take a look!

Day 1 – Monday, April 13
Internship at City of Miami Beach

Today I officially begin my last week working at the City of Miami Beach and I am a glass case of emotion. As a way to help me cope, I will be sharing a daily photo and memory of my last nearly ten years with the city, starting with how it all began.

In 2009, I was finishing my Master’s in Marine Affairs & Policy at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. One to the prerequisites for graduation is to complete an internship. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after graduation, other than follow in the footsteps of Dr. Kenny Broad and Dr. Daniel Suman. My advisor Maria was the one who sent me the internship posting for the City of Miami Beach’s Environmental Division (at the time, a three-person division under Public Works).

I applied and was awarded the internship by absolute happenstance. I spent nine months doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, getting exposure to the inner workings of city government. During that time, I learned how much I love this community for its walkability, its access to nature, and its unique personality. I love it so much that in 2010 I became a Miami Beach resident—I moved into a $700/mo studio on Washington Avenue and 7th Street—and I vowed that if I was ever going to work in public service, it would be for the City of Miami Beach.

(To be continued tomorrow…)

Day 2 – Tuesday, April 14
Earth Day Miami Beach 2013

After I completed my internship with the city in 2010, I had a dwindling childhood savings account and was in desperate need for a job to pay for my new Miami Beach studio. I interviewed for a ton of environmental scientist jobs throughout the county. The most memorable interviews were with DERM and the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves because I was so nervous I visibly sweat through the whole thing.

I finally landed a job in January 2011 at a small, privately-held architecture and engineering firm in Coral Gables. My dad was ecstatic. (He’s a private sector devotee—can you blame him after a long and lustrous career with AT&T?—and thinks Coral Gables is the best city in Miami-Dade.) But less than two years later, I was faced with a touch decision.

In late 2011, the Environmental Manager with whom I had interned left the city, leaving behind a rare vacancy within the Environmental Division. As soon as Betsy was promoted, she began hiring for an Environmental Specialist. I wasn’t ready to leave my almost brand new role, but this was my once-in-a-lifetime chance to fulfill my vow of public service in my new community.

Luckily, I entered the candidate pool with prior experience and a great working relationship with the hiring manager. You already know what happens next.

(To be continued tomorrow…)

Day 3 – Wednesday, April 15
Environmental Division

I started with the city as the Environmental Specialist on October 1, 2012. For nearly three years, Betsy and I were a dynamic duo. We handled all environmental and sustainability programs. We were the liaisons for the Waterfront Protection Committee—it’s how I first met Robert Raven Kraft and Jeff Feldman—and the Sustainability Committee (hi, Luiz Rodrigues!). We managed the Beachwalk and seawall construction projects. We represented the city on the Climate Compact. And, we held and supported hundreds of educational events throughout the community.

Long days in the office were followed by evenings and weekends of volunteer dune restoration events with our friends at the Surfrider Foundation Miami Chapter, organizing presentation and workshops on a range of sustainability topics like “how to build your own rain barrel,” and tabling at city events where we shared information on our programs and gave away our famous “I Recycle Because” bags. After a while, we both started to burn out.

Luckily, in 2014, the Environmental Division began growing organically. Yani was the first to arrive. She was hired to fill our Office Associate position, but quickly took on an expanded role in outreach thanks to her passion and aptitude for sustainability education. She is currently our Senior Sustainability Coordinator and has been organizing virtual Sustainachella workshops on the city’s Facebook Live while we’re stuck at home. (There’s one tomorrow at noon with Coral Morphologic that you won’t want to miss!)

Following a series of events in 2015, Betsy was promoted to Assistant Director and I was promoted to Environmental Manager. Flavia joined our team that March and began handling all our sustainability programs like a boss. Between the four of us, we were not only able to better balance the workload, but also start creating new programs for the first time.

(To be continued tomorrow…)

Day 4 – Thursday, April 16
E&S Team 2018

The Environment & Sustainability Department was created in June 2016 and Betsy was appointed our director by unanimous vote of the City Commission. In one fell swoop (thanks to the support of our elected officials and our community eco-warriors), we tripled into a team of three distinct divisions: Environmental Management under me, Sustainability under Flavia, and Urban Forestry (now under Omar Leon).

Then, while we were getting our footing, Betsy left for a temporary assignment as Mayor Levine’s Chief of Staff. In February 2017, I found myself the acting director (and Environmental Manager) of our brand new department.

There’s a lot I want to say about this period because it was one of the most stressful and most rewarding times in my career with the city. However, it encompasses too much and is too precious a memory to condense in a Facebook update. I will suffice it to say my life changed completely both personally and professionally in 2017.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to my colleagues at the city who had my back throughout 2017 and have had my back since. I work incredibly hard to be worthy of the trust placed in me to lead our E&S team (then as acting director, now as assistant director), but I would not be where I am were it not for your guidance, your support, your mentorship, and most of all, your friendship.

In my first few years, I learned we have high-caliber professionals working for the City of Miami Beach. Over the last few years, I have also learned we have high-caliber humans working for the City of Miami Beach. I am really, really going to miss you all.

(To be continued tomorrow…)

Day 5 – Friday, April 17

Well, as much as I tried to avoid it, my last day is actually here. Alas, it is time for one final update.

When I gave my resignation to come to the city in 2012, a former colleague told me I was making a mistake going into city government and “getting lost in small town bureaucracy.” I’m glad I can look back at the last eight years and know it was anything but.

Yes, my work is based here and it is focused on garnering the greatest local impact, but we’re a small city with a huge international presence. The decisions that we make have far-reaching implications. We are being watched by millions of people across the world, including my counterparts in other cities who often reach out for advice. (In fact, before Susy came to work with us, her team in For Lauderdale was using our dune management plan as a reference for crafting their own.)

During my time here, I learned from and shared our work with engineers, city planners, scientists, journalists, and elected officials who visited us from cities around the world. I led tours of delegations from Boston, Hawaii, Germany, and Japan, among countless others. I presented before the European Union in the United States. Heck, I even gave an interview with The Weather Channel at some point.

Other people probably say this about their communities, but Miami Beach is a really unique place for better or for worse. People on the outside see it. It’s why they send delegations to learn from us and why we make for great news. I have seen it from the inside. It’s why I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for this city over the last decade and why I am having a hard time getting off this ride.

There were a lot of things I loved about my job at the city, but I am personally grateful for the experiences and friendships that the role afforded me over the last few years. (In fact, I met many of you who are reading this because of this job.) As I transition into my new chapter, I am excited to take these experiences and your friendships with me.

Thank you for giving me the honor to serve you.

The Hardest Goodbye: The End to My Era in the City of Miami Beach

The Hardest Goodbye: The End to My Era in the City of Miami Beach

“In the end, we seek meaning,” Daniel Pink reminds us in “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.” Pink’s book entered into my life by happenstance, around the same time two once-in-a-lifetime work opportunities unexpectedly fell onto my lap. As I was mulling over the possibility of leaving my career at the city for one of the new professional options before me, I looked to the book for guidance. It didn’t really do anything except give me a great opening line and a couple good quotes for this post.

Nevertheless, an end is upon me. At the end of this month I am closing a nearly decade-long chapter with the City of Miami Beach to return to the private sector. I am, as Pink describes, experiencing “one of the most complex emotions humans experience: poignancy, a mix of happiness and sadness.” Right now, the balance is tilted heavily toward sadness. Just ask my team who watched me explain my departure through tears and sobs yesterday. Can you blame me? It’s hard to say goodbye when you’ve got it as good as I’ve had—a job that feels like a calling, a team that feels like a family. (People say that, but I mean it. You need only count how much time I willingly spend at the office and how many of my co-workers I spend time with outside of work.)

And this is the part where I seek meaning. I needn’t look very far, my time at the city has seen me through so much. Professionally, I skyrocketed from an entry-level environmental scientist to an acting director all in my 20s. Working at the city has given me a lifetime of work experience in hyper-speed that prepared me to take on my new role. Thank you to my colleagues and mentors that trusted me and opened doors along the way. I brought the raw talent, you chiseled it like Michelangelo. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with you, to learn from you, and pour our collective passion into this beautiful community I call home.

There is so much more I want to say about my Miami Beach chapter, but all the words I type and then erase don’t feel worthy. Instead, I will leave you with an apropos quote from my spirit animal Leslie Knope, who as she was closing her chapter as Assistant Director of the Pawnee Parks and Rec Department wisely said:

“Sometimes you have to make the hardest climb to see the most beautiful sunrise. I read that once on an old lady’s decorative pillow. But it is really how I feel today. I’ve climbed a very weird and rocky mountain, and it was a pain in the ass, and my legs are tired, and I’m starving, but the sun is rising over the sea of love and waffles and possibility. So I’m just gonna relax and take a deep breath and enjoy this view for as long as I possibly can.”

Three Common Job Interview Mistakes To Avoid

Three Common Job Interview Mistakes To Avoid

Are you preparing for an interview? Following the advice in this post can be the difference between landing your dream opportunity or walking away empty-handed.

Over the last four years, I have filled over 30 entry-level through senior management positions and I have watched qualified person after qualified person bomb their interview. As an interviewer, it is so frustrating to watch top candidates be their own worst enemy. It is even more frustrating to be in the “hot seat” and struggle to communicate why you’re the right person for the job.

Regardless of skill, intelligence, education or experience, we’re all susceptible to the pitfalls of nerves and lack of proper preparation. (Trust me—despite knowing all the right things to do, I am still prone to terrible interviews from time to time.) Do yourself a favor. Learn from the mistakes of others and avoid these three common job interview mistakes:

Interview Mistake 1—Not using your resume to communicate how great you are.
Not only is your resume your ticket to the job interview, it is also the first impression you give the selection panel. Captivate them by giving detailed descriptions of how past jobs have prepared you for this one and support each with facts and figures. For example, last year I submitted more than 40 permit applications, allowing 12 public infrastructure projects to begin construction on schedule. Doesn’t that approach communicate my value as a prospective employee better than just saying I prepare permit applications?

Interview Mistake 2—Giving vague or unnecessarily long answers.
Nothing is more frustrating to an interviewer than hearing the same generic response over and over and over (and over and over and over) again. Not only do specific answers set you apart from other candidates, but they’re also the best way for the panel to get to know you. Where applicable, use stories to support your answer, but keep them concise and to the point. You don’t want to eat up your entire interview time on one question.

Bonus tip: If you notice yourself rambling, close out your thought immediately and allow the interview to move on to the next question. Don’t try to fix your answer. I can tell you from experience on both sides of the table that it usually makes things worse.

Interview Mistake 3—Not preparing for those tricky questions.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?” “Describe a time you had a conflict with a supervisor and how you resolved it.” Tricky questions like these are a fact of interviews so come prepared to answer them. If a question catches you off-guard, like several did in my most recent interview, try pretending like you’re having a conversation with a friend and answer accordingly (albeit professionally). It helps calm the nerves and drive out solid, truthful answers. Just be careful not to overshare.

Interviewing is an iterative process that only gets better the more you do it. Over time, you learn to describe yourself and your talents more eloquently, as well as expand your inventory of potential questions to anticipate. Still, there will be good interview days and bad interview days. (You need only look at my very sweaty, very ramble-y Miami Fellows interview from last month for evidence.) Hopefully recognizing these typical job interview blunders and how you can avoid them improves your odds of achieving your professional dreams.

Have you ever made any of these job interview mistakes? Have you borne witness to others that we can learn from? Please share your stories and advice below!

Six Books You Need To Read This Spring

Six Books You Need To Read This Spring

I live ravenously and sometimes – when I look outwardly for self-fulfillment in travel or new and exciting experiences – a little haphazardly. The one activity that never fails to ground me and nourishes me internally is reading. During Winter, I took a mental vacation with a little help from fiction reads. I devoured everything from detective novels (shoutout to Faja for giving me “Two Kinds of Truth” by Michael Connelly) to dystopian tomes and finally discovered what all the buzz behind “The Handmaid’s Tale” is about.

Now that Spring has sprung, I am ready to get back to business in the realm of non-fiction so I knocked on Diana’s door after a three month hiatus to revive the Crossing Borders Book Club. Our approach this quarter is more casual: there is no commitment to ready any of the books in any timeframe or order nor is there any plan to meet up to talk about them. We simply want to share what we are reading with you in case you are in need of some inspiration.

We each contributed three books for a total of six books you need to read this Spring. I have grouped them based on who recommended them so you can reach out to us individually if you want to share your thoughts or chat about a specific book. I’m currently glued to “Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator.” If any of you read it, I’m dying to talk through it.

Diana’s List:

My List:

Three Books You Need To Read This Fall

Three Books You Need To Read This Fall

Welcome to the first thing I’ve managed to write in months. It’s not that I haven’t been honing my writing—it’s that I have been doing so by reading ravenously. After all, the wise William Faulkner once said, “Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it.” And one does not not listen to William Faulkner.

The Summer reading list of the “Crossing Borders Book Club” in July and your recommendations gave me a wide range of reading options to work through. That said, this past quarter I had a tough time with non-fiction. How did you fare?

On my end, I started with “The Power of One” and abandoned it after a few chapters in search of a book with more storytelling, more anecdotes. I landed next at “When Breath Becomes Air,” a memoir that I finished in less than a week and followed up with “The Age of Innocence” and “Bright Lights, Big City”. (I know. I plummeted out of our book club list and into a black hole of fiction, but the mind wants what the mind wants.)

For our Fall book club reading list, I’m renewing my vows to non-fiction and I’m hoping you’ll keep me honest. I have listed two of the three titles below—Diana’s top pick and my top pick:

  1. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. This is Diana’s selection. I’m excited to read this because The Birkman Method recently outed me as an introvert.
  2. The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — And How to Make The Most of Them Now by Dr. Meg Jay. This was my selection, passed on from my friend Stan who is in his twenties and raves about this book. Sadly I am no longer in my twenties, but he assures me Dr. Jay’s advice is still worthwhile.

We want your help picking the third book. Please send us your recommendations for the third book in the comments below or post them on the book club Facebook page. We’ll be keeping a running list until the day of our in-person meeting (date TBD, but we’re aiming for a weekend in the next two weeks) at which time we’ll vote on one.

P.S. We’re really excited to meet you and hear your thoughts on the books we read this past quarter! From my brief conversations with Diana, her experience over the last three months and her perspective on the books is completely different than mine so you know it’s going to make for great conversation!