Book Giveaway: Too Many Books, and Too Many Projects! (Plus I Need Your Help)

The Fall Mastermind program is underway. If you'd like to be considered for the January 2018 cycle, click here to apply.

Books are flying off the shelves and landing on my desk, and for the first time in a long time, I can’t read or write fast enough. I also have WAY too many projects on my plate, and I can’t do them all.

So, I think I need your help.  I have no idea where to start and I realized — a midst the stress and panic of not being able to do it all — why not ask all of you?  I’d love your help and feedback about what to read next, and also, what to do next.

In short: what should I focus my energy on?

In exchange for your help, I happen to have extra copies of three different books in this post — so I can give them away to you! If you want to win a free copy of either The $100 StartUp by Chris Guillebeau, The Work Revolution by Julie Clow, or Whoever Tells The Best Story Wins by Annette Simmons, I’ll be giving them away to three readers (More details below). 

First, the books!

Here’s a list of the books I have in front of me, many of which I’d like to review on this blog.

Ask the readers: Which book should I review first? 

  • The $100 Start Up — by Chris Guillebeau launched May 8th, and Chris is on his multi-city book tour at the moment–join us in San Francisco on May 29th! As Pam Slim wrote in her review, the book “delivers exactly what a new entrepreneur needs: road-tested, effective and exceptionally pragmatic advice for starting a new business on a shoestring.”
  • The Fire Starter Sessions — Danielle LaPorte’s recently released book based on her hit digital series–a brilliant mastermind that gets behind who you are to figure out where your power is.
  • Get Lucky – the precursor to their kickstarter campaign (tagline: “Go Luck Yourself”), Becker and Muller co-authored the book, “Get Lucky: How To Put Planned Serendipity to Work for You and Your Business.” Can’t wait to read it.
  • Imagine: How Creativity Works — by Jonah Lehrer. One of my favorite authors, Lehrer looks at the psychology and strangeness of why we do what we do–and how to embrace our processes to get better at what we do. I’m so excited to read this book!
  • Whoever Tells The Best Story Wins — by Annette Simmons. From the description: “Story telling is a powerful communications tool that is becoming more and more recognized in the business community. These stories are not the usual speech openers or ice breakers, but stories that will influence others to trust the storyteller and shape decisions and actions that are important to both individuals and organizations.”
  • Overconnected: The Promise and Threat of the Internet – by William Davidow. What are the luxuries and pitfalls of the connected age? And, are smartphones and mobile internets making us smarter–or dumber?
  • The Work Revolution – by Julie Clow.  The premise: “The Work Revolution is about changing the way the world sees work. By making simple changes to improve our relationships with work and each other, we can systematically ignite a work revolution everywhere.”

Next, I need some help figuring out my next project.

In figuring out what to do next, I often go on long walks to figure out which step is the right next step, and what sits well in my heart for me. Fortunately or unfortunately, all of the projects below seem intriguing, exciting, and worth chasing. The problem is I can’t chase them all at the same time. (Darn it!). I can only work on one or two side projects at time and stay sane enough with writing and work. Like it or not, I need sleep and rest to remain sane. So I thought I’d pull a quick “ask the audience” and ask for your help in this decision-making process.

Question 2: Which of the projects below sounds the most interesting to you? 

  • Do Something.  The presentation I did over the holidays has over 90,000 views. I’d like to make a physical book out of it, per a few requests. Would you be interested in a hard copy of the notebook as inspiration?
  • Beautiful Email. I have a collection of tagged emails that look at the art of introductions, blind (“cold”) emails, pen pal letters, short targets, and designing user responses. I’m thinking of curating them into a PDF template of communications via email.
  • Email Ninja: A ten-part email template with specific tips for how to get better at email and get what you want from other people!
  • Moving Through Water: Swimming Book. I’m about halfway done with a book about swimming, and I want to finish it this summer. Should I start with this project?
  • Get Writing: 30 Day Writing Prompts (for new bloggers): I have a collection of prompts and ideas for people who want to start their own blog. I’d like to turn this into a 30-day email series to help people start writing their own blogs, with cues, tips & to-dos for each day to get you from zero to blogging.
  • Manipulate the Monkey Brain: Book Proposal. I’m working on a book proposal that looks at the psychology behind how and why we do what we do — and how we can pattern disrupt our own selves to create better habits that break down the barriers to action, helping us re-think and re-wire our own minds.
  • Stories from Cities — Urban Patterns: This is a second book proposal that I’m working on with a colleague. It’s still in flux, but it would look at six major urban environments (cities) across American and tell case study stories of urbanism throughout the American landscape.
  • In and Out of Buildings: Photo Project. I’d like to develop a website that looks at the patterns and shapes of buildings and how people–and things–move in and out of them. This would be a joint project with a few other designers I know.
It’s fully possible that I will do ALL of the projects, above. As you can probably tell, though, I can’t possible do them all right now, as much as I’d like to. So please tell me what you think! Where do you think I should start?

Here’s how you can help: Help me out by voting here: it’s a very short survey asking what book I should review, what project I should do, and of course, which book you’d like to win.

Now, about winning those free books. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Answer the survey before Thursday, May 17th at Midnight Pacific Standard Time. Tell me what book you think I should review and which project I should start.
  2. Tell me which book you would most like to win (and leave a note in the comments about why!).
  3. I’ll pick 3 winners at random on Friday, May 18th and send your books your way.

Thank you!


The Fall Mastermind program is underway. If you'd like to be considered for the January 2018 cycle, click here to apply.

14 Responses to Book Giveaway: Too Many Books, and Too Many Projects! (Plus I Need Your Help)

  1. Tamsin says:

    Voted! ;)

    It was a close-run thing between Chris’s $100 Start-up and Danielle’s Fire-Starter Sessions, but Danielle’s book just pipped the post for me! I’m excited to read your reviews of both of them though, and the creativity and the story-telling books look really interesting too!

    I have just finished reading The Talent Code, which was really interesting, and now I’m reading Drive – which is very thought-provoking so far! I do positive reinforcement training with my pony, so I’m interested to see how the arguments in Drive apply to that!

    Thank you also for a great website, and another great post! I try and check in daily, as I find your website encouraging and inspiring in equal measure!


    PS – I think the future project that I’m most interested in is the “monkey brain” one – I’ve learnt new techniques for manipulating my brain by trial and error over the years, so I’m always interested in anything more along those lines! But they all sound really exciting! And probably you should just go for the one you can’t stop thinking about! ;)

  2. Brandi says:

    $100 Startup was terrific, I am on my second read and am gleaning even more nuggets. Whoever telling the best story sounds interesting, I hadn’t heard of it before today. In regards to your project pick what you are most excited about because I have found those projects sell the best.

  3. carolina says:

    I want to win the $100 Start Up Because I think Chris is Awesome :o) And I really enjoyed his last book!

  4. Janae says:

    I keep seeing Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer on the shelves at my local bookstore and have wanted to pick it up for a while now. It’d be great to get your views on it!

    I’d like to win The $100 Start Up as I’m planning for a new business venture!

  5. I’d really like to read Whoever Tells The Best Story Wins – by Annette Simmons. I think storytelling connects people and gives meaning to our lives, our work, and our experiences. Thanks for the opportunity :)

  6. Sarah says:

    I just added Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins to my Amazon cart, that sounds like a fascinating read and I think the Beautiful Email project sounds like it could be beneficial to many (myself included). I’d be very interested to receive The $100 Start Up, as someone who is currently trying to do the midnight hustle and start my own business on a shoe-string budget while working a full-time job. Everything you’re working on sounds so interesting though!

  7. Brian says:

    $100 Startup sounds great.. especially b/c I’m starting to map out my own plan for breaking out on my own and starting something up. Would love to win it here, but will probably buy it on my own if not.
    As for the project to do next or the book to review, I’d echo earlier thoughts on going with your gut — which will make your fire burn brightest? Enthusiasm is contagious.. and the energy with which you approach something tends to makes its way onto the page (or into the video, or…).

  8. Natalie C. says:

    I would love a copy of The Work Revolution! I think it is high-time we re-evaluated the work life culture and adapted it for the Age of Technology and Innovation.

  9. Michael says:

    Hi Sarah,
    First time poster, long time reader.
    I think reviewing The Fire Starter Sessions would be really interesting. Considering it’s almost congruent with the psychology aspect of your blog, you could perhaps gain a deeper insight and share it from your perspective.

    I don’t like being Captain Obvious but wouldn’t the Moving through Water project be the one to start first? My reasoning is this: You’re half way done and you’re passionate about swimming. I’d continue with that and map out the next project which I would like to see and that’s Do Something. From what I’ve read on your blog so far, this would be the next natural choice of projects to complete.

    I won’t include my choice of book because I can’t justify entering having only posted once on your site. I don’t think it’s fair to the regulars contributors, but that’s just me. My 2cents from Edmonton, Canada. What’s the exchange rate on that anyway? :)
    Good Luck with the review and the projects!

  10. christian says:

    The most exciting thing is you have a chunk of substantial projects on your desk, each one worth its weight in gold for its potential. It seems the most creative people are always adding to their project lists and, though you still have details to flesh out about each one, they all appear worthy of exploration. That is living. That is life.
    I am reading Danielle LaPorte’s Firestarter Sessions (love her take on life) and I follow Chris Guillebeau’s blog and books closely. In fact, all three of you are Jedi Masters of the Life Without Limits School in my view. Your writing rocks. And so does your message. Thank you. Be well.

  11. Ralph says:

    I voted. Left comments there. There are some great books there and you have some awesome project ideas. Good luck with your survey and i hope it yeilds the results you are looking for.

  12. […] quick update for everyone who voted on the last post: First, an overwhelming thank you of gratitude, because I don’t know what I did to deserve all of […]

  13. Élan says:

    I voted–your projects sound awesome! I especially liked the Beautiful Email and the 30 days of writing prompts.

    I’d love to win a copy of The Work Revolution. I’m feeling so lost in terms of what I want my work life to be. I’d love to get Julie Chow’s take on it.

  14. Matt says:

    While I know I am too late to win one of the books. The next project you should complete is your swimming book. For sure. Sign me up for one of the first copies.