An American Girl in Washington

Book Learnin’

Posted in Book Learnin' by AGinDC on 15 June 2011

Courtesy of Harper Collins

The wifi has been out in my apartment for a few days now and though I thought I was going to die, I actually decided to just go ahead and use the time do catch up on a little reading.  Lately I’ve been spending my nights either planning a party or planning a business or doing both at the same time.  Meanwhile, my book list has been growing like mad and I haven’t wanted to stop long enough to whittle it down.  So, I finally ordered a bunch of the books on my Amazon list and got started.  Of course, by the time the books got here and I actually had a night in, I didn’t get started until last night, so I still have a lot of reading to do.

Since my fiction reading has lately been relegated to my book club selections (This month: The Hunger Games trilogy.  It was actually really, really good.  I highly recommend all three), these books all had to do with business, branding, finance, balls, and Richard Branson.   To get this course at AG University started with a bang, last night, I read Kelly Cutrone’s two books: If You Have to Cry, Go Outside and Normal Gets You Nowhere.  Yes, two in one night.  A) because my friend cancelled dinner so I had a good five hours to kill and B) it’s Kelly Cutrone, not Tolstoy.  I wanted to read Cutrone’s books for a few reasons:  1) She’s a tough as nails female entrepreneur with an extremely successful business; 2) She knows who she is and has worked hard on perfecting her brand, which is something I respect and hope to emulate; 3) I see a lot of myself in her honesty-at-all-costs attitude, and even if I have learned to curb it a little and got a lot of lessons in diplomacy in law school, I like her style and know that what she can get away with in New York can be done in a more subtle and diplomatic way in DC; 4) She’s certifiably insane, and I love that.

Her first book, If You Have to Cry, was really good.  Lots of great advice about having the courage to pursue your dreams and not someone else’s.  I actually wish I had read this book about four years ago.  I spent a lot of my life trying desperately to be the perfect girl that I thought everyone else wanted me to be.  Cutrone has a moment when she says that everything she got in trouble for in school is exactly what makes her a lot of money today.  I know exactly how she feels.  I was a 3L in law school before I found out that everything that everyone has always been trying to make me change about myself are exactly the traits that are the most special and that will help me make my way.  People always made fun of me or chastised or criticized me and for a long time I felt trapped and conflicted and uncomfortable in my own skin because I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just be like everybody else.  It wasn’t until I took a Myers-Briggs test and read Strengths Finder 2.0 in law school that I realized that those qualities are my greatest strengths and that I need to nourish the things I love about myself instead of trying to hide them.  So, anyways, the book gave me a lot of validation in that area, and I was glad that someone finally wrote it down so that other girls don’t have to wait until they’re 26 to like who they are.

The book was really written for college-aged girls and she included some really smart advice, such as: how not to get an internship, how to get fired from your internship, how you really aren’t too good for the menial task that’s been assigned to you, how Facebook can ruin your life, etc.  The book was also a little vulgar (she drops the F-bomb a lot) and includes an entire section on starting your own religion that may be a little too lefty for even the leftiest of lefties, but that’s all part of the Cutrone package.  She’s definitely a modern day Bohemian.  Overall though, a good read, and definitely worth the hour and a half it will take you to skim through it while watching a movie and eating Chinese food.

Sadly, Normal Gets You Nowhere was not as good.  However, to her credit, Cutrone does warn you in the very first paragraph that she didn’t want to write this book, her publishers made her.  And you can tell.  I’m still not entirely sure what the book is about.  She starts with a weird rant about how she doesn’t like the ninth commandment because she actually does want to covet her neighbors possessions- or something.  Then she talks a lot about sex, but only in the most vulgar terms (compared to the last book, this one is F-bombpalooza), and then there’s a bunch of other random and useless stuff.  Lots of talk about the Goddess.  I don’t know.  I think she was just trying to be as offensive as possible so the publishers would leave her alone and let her get back to her real life, but I’m sure that if you tried you could find a nugget or two of wisdom between the pages.  But check it out at the library.

The wifi is coming back on tonight but my goal is to incorporate more than just Metro reading into my daily routine.  Some weeks I devour books and some weeks I get through 50 pages in a week.  I need to even it out more, my Amazon list is getting unmanageable.

Go! Read! Outside! Enjoy the weather while it lasts!



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