Monday, January 31, 2011

Life Beyond Measure by Sidney Poitier

Even more than I love the title, I love the inspiration for this book! Life Beyond Measure is a series of letters written by Sidney Poitier to his great granddaughter. He wrote this book so that she would know him, from his own perspective. As a result, we get to learn about the first African American to win the Academy Award for best actor.

I found myself smiling and giggling through the earlier chapters of this book as Poitier writes of his childhood on Cat Island in the Bahamas. He writes about days spent playing with his reflection in the clear blue Atlantic Ocean, the first time he ever tasted anything cold (there was no electricity on the island), and the first time he saw himself  in a mirror– he was 10 ½ year old! To this day, he has never seen an image of himself as a young child.

At 15, Poitier’s father sent him to Miami to live with this brother. He wasn’t there long before realizing that his brother could not afford to support him. At 16, Poitier moved to New York where he first truly learned the definition of winter and spent many nights sleeping on the street.

Having dropped out of school to work at age 12, Poitier was barely able to read. While living in New York, a co-worker at a restaurant where Poitier washed dishes spent evenings teaching him how to read. This random act of kindness changed the entire life trajectory of the man we now know as Sidney Poitier.

This book covers Poitier’s former addictions, the two loves of his life (his first wife, and his current wife), his decision to become an actor, moments of truth, near death experiences, racism, shyness, fear, awkwardness in relationships, money matters; basically, this book covers it all!

In the latter chapters, Poitier names several people that he admires along with the reasons why. I really enjoyed this chapter because I’m attempting to read more autobiographies. The list contains more people than I will name but included are Thurgood Marshall, Paul Robeson, Jackie Robinson, and Nelson Mandela.

I don’t normally read acknowledgements, but ironically this section had the biggest impact on me. Poitier urges people of his generation to write the stories of their lives for those that follow behind them.  “We are losing our histories”, he writes  “….and many of us are the last witnesses to the oral and familial accounts of how we got here.”

That made me think. What if my great grandparents had written a book for me? How much wiser would I be? How much more clarity would I have? Would I have more self awareness?

And then I asked myself, what am I leaving for the generations that will follow mine? What about you?

Also on Reading Has Purpose: The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier

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GIVEAWAY WINNER of Take the Risk

The winner of Take the Risk by Ben Carson is NOTORIOUS SPINKS!

Send your mailing address to and we'd love to know what you think about the book!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Difference: How Anyone Can Prosper in Even the Toughest Times by Jean Chatzyk

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This book is devoted to teaching people how to uncover their talents and develop the skills it takes to have financial comfort and long lasting wealth. I initially read it back in 2009. Since I will be making major financial decisions this year, I decided to read it again. 

The Difference: How Anyone Can Prosper in Even the Toughest Times was written based on the results of a survey given to over 5000 people. Results of relevant portions of the survey are placed in every chapter to support its claims. However, I was more impressed with the content itself.

Chatzyk identifies the differences between four different groups of people: wealthy, financially comfortable, paychecks to paychecks, and further-in-debtors.  She lists the characteristics and habits of people in each of these groups. The reader is able to determine into which category they fall and learn the steps to get to the category above it.

Early in the book, two traps are identified that may prevent you from moving one category to the next. The “What the Hell Effect?” kicks in when you feel like you’ve been saving but the results aren’t apparent. So you just go ahead and buy what you want. The “I Deserve It” effect kicks in when you do see the results of your savings so you purchase something for yourself as a reward. 

I suffer from the "I Deserve It" complex. I feel like I deserve everything! In either of the scenarios above, short term compromises have out-ruled long term rewards. Having acknowledged this, the subheading for the 2011 goals I've written for myself now reads, "Short term compromises WILL NOT out-rule long the end result."

Something I paused to do as soon as I read it was differentiate between performance goals and outcome goals. An outcome goal may be to pay off your student loan by the end of the year. The performance goal would be to pay $500 per month on the balance, or whatever steps you need to take to get there. When we only focus on the outcome, we can easily overlook the daily activities we have to perform.

This book has an excellent layout. Each chapter begins with an interview of an individual that has become wealthy or financially comfortable due to one of the several characteristics or habits that are identified and taught in the book. Useful exercises are also included at the end of every chapter.

To learn more about the author and how to make money make sense, visit

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

GIVEAWAY!!!! Take the Risk by Ben Carson, MD

I rarely, actually, I never give away books that I've purchased for myself. But for whatever reason, I'm compelled to give this book away. That means someone out there needs it. If you don't know about the phenomenal Ben Carson, here's your chance to find out!

Rules for Entry

Subscribe to RHP via e-mail or RSS feed or Google Friend Connect or "like"our FB page
Comment telling us how you decide whether or not to take the risk!

I will announce one random winner on Mon, Jan 31. The winner will need to send your mailing address to: 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Take the Risk by Ben Carson, MD

Purchase on Amazon

I was excited to read another book by Ben Carson after reading Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. The book got off to an exciting start and from the beginning Take the Risk closely resembled Gifted Hands. I was somewhat surprised and disappointed to find that a lot of the content was redundant.

I quickly realized that my assumption of what this book would be was inaccurate. I expected a guide on risk analysis; instead this book was a step by step analysis of the risks Carson has taken in his life.    

Analyzing risk isn’t addressed in depth until Chapter 9 where Carson identifies four questions that should be asked to analyze risk in any situation. He promises that by using this method, it’s impossible to make the incorrect decision.  

One point to remember when determining if a risk is worth taking is to assess the good and the bad. Many times, after thinking about the worst thing that can happen we are too terrified to compare that to the best thing that can happen - which may make the risk totally worth it.

The chapter entitled Faith Is a Risk is awkwardly placed in this book. It is used to highlight Carson’s religious beliefs to which he continually refers throughout the following chapters. He even uses his risk analysis questions to justify the reasons we all should believe in God.

If you’re a Carson supporter or someone who wants to learn about him, this book is for you.  However, if you’ve read Gifted Hands I would not recommend Take the Risk. You’re covered by reading one or the other. The biggest difference between the two books is that Take the Risk includes more information on Carson’s life and career in more recent times as well as the rationale behind the decisions that have made him one of the world’s most prominent pediatric neurosurgeons.

If you weren’t convinced before, I think anyone would be convinced after reading this book that Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Jr. is a real stand-up guy.

What was the biggest risk you’ve taken that’s worked in your favor?

Carson is founder of two nonprofit organizations: Angels of the O.R. which brings life saving neurosurgery to those who need it and the Carson Scholars Fund to award students with college scholarships. If you will be making charitable contributions this month, please check out the links.

Event: Nonfiction Reading Challenge

I’ve signed up for a 4th reading challenge! The challenge started on Jan 1st and ends on Dec 31, 2011.

Nonfiction Challenge

The object of the challenge? To read nonfiction books!

This one will be smooth sailing! Nonfiction is what we do here at Reading Has Purpose!

Challenge Levels
The Nonfiction Amateur: 1-3 nonfiction books.
The Nonfiction Buff: 4-6 nonfiction books
The Nonfiction Expert: 7+ nonfiction books

Click on the links below to see other challenges I’m participating in:

Ready to join me!? 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Love At Last Sight by Kerry and Chris Shook

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Love At Last Sight: 30 days to grow and deepen your closest relationships was written to make you rethink many of the things you thought were true about relationships. This book is designed as 30 day program to help you reconnect with the people who really matter.

For each week of four weeks, a different concept is introduced. The book is should be read one chapter a day. Anyone that doesn’t want to take this approach will not fully benefit from the information the book contains.

Week 1: The Art of Being All There is one that many of us should spend more than one week on.  Anyone that really knows me can tell you that there is something that gets under my skin: fidgeting with your phone while in my presence – it makes my blood pressure rise! In week one, we get to understand the messages communicated when we’re not present in the moment. And although the actions are subtle, the message is loud and clear!

Week 2: The Art of Acting Intentionally walks us through shifting the focus from ourselves to the person we’re reaching out to. The authors discuss how to be there for someone even its uncomfortable for us. They teach us how to address conflict head on. We also get to address an interesting question, why would we expect a perfect relationship between two imperfect people?

Week 3: The Art of Risking Awkwardness discusses opening up and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. We’re also taught to let go of assumptions. When you think you know someone, what they will say or what they will do, just pretend you don’t and ask. Get to know people again, after all we do change. I know I certainly have.

Week 4: The Art of Letting Go is an obvious choice for building relationships.  What’s not so obvious is how we accomplish this. The authors make a point that I think everyone should hear, “…when you forgive someone, it doesn’t mean you should put yourself right back in a situation where they will likely hurt you again.” Many times, we have people in our lives who want us to forgive them and they don’t understand that this means we are also allowed to move on.

There are a few concepts that I’m still hesitant to subscribe to.  The authors delivered on their promise to introduce ideas that contradict what I thought I knew. Before completely changing my views, I will do more research. Time will tell if this book really helps me to grow and deepen my closest relationships.

To learn more about this book and get the mobile app for the Love at Last Sight challenge, follow the link:

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Events: Off the Shelf Reading Challenge

I will be participating in a 3rd reading challenge! The challenge started on Jan 1st and ends on Dec 31, 2011.

Off the Shelf Reading Challenge

This challenge is to read those books you own copies of but have never got around to reading.

I have 31 books on my shelf that I have not read. Think I can get through all of them in 2011?

Challenge Levels
Tempted–  Choose 5 books to read
Trying – Choose 15 books to read
Making A Dint – Choose 30 books to read
On A Roll – Choose 50 books to read
Flying Off – Choose 75 books to read

See the other challenges I’m participating in by clicking here. It’s not too late to join me! I’ve yet to read any books that qualify for the challenges I’m participating for the year.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 To Sum it All Up..........

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the hanging on of an uncompleted task”. I read that some time ago and it’s never been truer for me than it was today.

After mulling over this post for a couple of weeks, I finally sat down and wrote it in less than an hour.

Since I wagered the success of this blog on the statement Reading Has Purpose, I figured that I owed it to you all to share the purpose my reading had in 2010.

To be fair, I’ve restricted my lessons to the books I’ve reflected upon here at Reading Has Purpose so you can revisit them and decide if it may be worth your time to read any of them for yourself.

 So here goes:

  • Voted “Most Creative” taught me how to spend time with myself which ultimately leads to the rediscovery of all the things we wanted to do but have never done. 
  •  The Only Way is Up  made me realize that people travel across the globe to access the opportunities in America. There’s no reason that as an American, I shouldn’t be living the American dream. 
  •  Chazown allowed me to realize where my motivation comes from and that's something everyone should know!
  •  The Last Lecture – The author himself said it best, “It’s not about how to achieve your dreams, it’s about how to lead your life.”

And I can’t end this post without sharing my favorite comment posted here on Reading Has Purpose by Anonymous, “You learn what is priceless to you by outcomes of the decisions made." Loved it when you posted it and I love it now!
What did you learn from your reading in 2010? Are there any books in particular that you’d like me to review in 2011? 

Events: Reading Challenges and Reading Has Purpose

This year I will participant in two reading challenges. The challenges started on Jan 1st and end on Dec 31, 2011. Are you game!?

Persons of Color (POC) Reading Challenge

The challenge is to read books by Persons of Color. I'm aiming for Level 4!

Level 1: Read 1-3 POC books
Level 2. Read 4-6 POC books
Level 3. Read 7-9 POC books
Level 4. Read 10-15 POC books
Level 5. Read 16-25 POC books


Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

The goal is to outdo yourself by reading more books in 2011 than you did in 2010. Simple enough!
Getting my heart rate up – Read 1–5 more books
Out of breath – Read 6–10 more books
Breaking a sweat – Read 11–15 more books
I’m on fire! – Read 16+ more books


When I started this blog on July 26. 2010, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t even know what I was doing!  But I’m glad you decided to join me as I figured it out.

Our fan page reached 50 followers right before the end of the year!!!  And we’ve gained 2 more followers since then. I want to interact with everyone there, anyone have any ideas on how I should make that happen?

I hope to create more dialogue in 2011. So if you have questions, ask! If you have thoughts, share! I don’t mind if you send your comments to me at, but if you’re not bashful, the facebook comments and blog post comments have been left active for you to use!

Your comments create perspective and I read and respond to all of them! Be sure to share the links you like with other people that might like them. The more input we get the more interesting the conversation becomes. But if you’re not one for talking, at least let me know what you’re reading!

I want to thank each of you and I’ll have more giveaways for you all this year!