READ THIS! {Without Their Permission}

November's READ THIS! selection was Alexis Ohanian's Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed...

Amazon describes Ohanian's memoir as, "As Alexis Ohanian learned when he helped to co-found the immensely popular, the internet is the most powerful and democratic tool for disseminating information in human history. And when that power is harnessed to create new communities, technologies, businesses or charities, the results can be absolutely stunning. In this book, Alexis will share his ideas, tips and even his own doodles about harnessing the power of the web for good, and along the way, he will share his philosophy with young entrepreneurs all over the globe. At 29, Ohanian has come to personify the dorm-room tech entrepreneur, changing the world without asking permission. Within a couple of years of graduating from the University of Virginia, Ohanian did just that, selling reddit for millions of dollars. He's gone on to start many other companies, like hipmunk and breadpig, all while representing Y Combinator and investing in over sixty other tech startups. WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION is his personal guidebook as to how other aspiring entrepreneurs can follow in his footsteps."

I typically prefer fiction, although there are definitely a few memoirs among my top favorite reads. Unfortunately, Ohanian just didn't grab me with this book. Split into three parts, it felt as though most sections were rather unconnected to the others. I loved the first section, focused on the founding of reddit and Ohanian's work with website creation. Ohanian told his story in part one and that pulled me in, generating interest to keep reading. The second part of the book is focused on how to be an entrepreneur, and while I do think in many ways his advice applies to anyone trying to market something - be it themselves or a product - I'm not actively trying to start my own business and it felt more "self-help" than "memoir" at that point. 

By the time I reached part three, I was really just hoping to make it through the rest of the book without putting it down. The third part is focused on Ohanian's work against SOPA and PIPA. While I can debate politics with the best of them - and absolutely love doing so - it felt completely disconnected from the other parts of the book. I think that Ohanian realized he'd have a large audience and decided to devote time to promoting one of his political ideals. It wasn't necessarily a poor place for him to do so - afterall, it is his book, but it didn't seem to really connect to any other part of the book and I think it took away from his overall message. 

Overall, I enjoyed Ohanian's story, and I took a bit about marketing away from this book, but I wasn't overwhelmed by it. Did you read along with me this month? Did Without Their Permission make it onto your favorites list? What did you love or hate about it? I'd love to hear from you!

December's READ THIS! selection is another work of fiction - RJ Palacio's Wonder!

Amazon describes this story as, "August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. 'Wonder is the best kids' book of the year,' said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out."

I have heard incredible things about Wonder and I am so excited to dive into this book this month! I hope you'll read along with me and check back at the end of the month for my review of Wonder - and my final 2013 book review! Happy December!



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