A2Z of Image Management by Swati Mathur: Book Review

Book Title: A2Z of Image Management
Author: Swati Mathur
Format: Ebook

A2Z of Image Management is a guide to understanding the impact physical appearance has on others and in garnering opportunities. It takes you through the subconscious signals your appearance and clothes give out and the way to manage these.

Before I started with the book I had the vague idea that ‘Clothes maketh a man’ but which clothes, what to wear when and how to have a wardrobe that serves my identity rather than it being the other way round was all unclear in my mind. I was guilty of thinking ‘appearance just happens’ but how wrong was I.

The blurb tells you that positive first impressions are important and perfectly doable. Presenting the right and authentic image is the way to personal and professional success. The table of contents lays out what to expect from the book beginning from everyday dressing to the zenith of fashion curve.

About the Author

Swati is a certified Image consultant, a trainer, employability and job coach, EQ coach and a Life coach. She believes in life-long learning and empowering the future generation with soft skills which are most critical in improving the probability of success.

Book Review

First up, the author explains what is image management and how can you create a brand by managing your appearance. This neatly lays out the premise of the book. It goes on to talk why clothes are a wearable art and how working on the styles, forms, texture, colour and accessories, you can express your authentic self leading to greater confidence and self-esteem.

As you read on, you learn to evaluate not only your body shape (with enough variations from the ideal, which is absolutely fine) but also the garment shape, the tints, tones and shades and elements of design. Swati reiterates that people ‘don’t have figure problems, but fitting problems’ which can easily be solved.

There’s a discussion on classic fits and pieces and trendy items and what should be the mix in a person’s wardrobe. There’s adequate talk about planning your wardrobe based on your needs which should be in harmony with your lifestyle and personal style.

How should we choose what to buy? What fits are good for a particular body type? Do accessories need to be chosen with regard to one’s face shape? You get the answers to these and more in the book. In addition, there are wardrobe strategies and skills needed for smart shopping that would be very helpful to the reader.

I was very struck by the fact that it is crucial to have a balance between similarity and variety to be able to create a brand.

Another thing I must point out is that this book is for both men and women. Usually, only women are perceived to take care of their appearance, clothes and makeup but image management is applicable to men as well.

The book is a good balance of presenting new concepts and information as well as making it practical enough for the reader to understand and apply. There are enough images to aid the flow and bring clarity.

The chapters are quite detailed, it is enjoyable to be learning something new and the penny drops when Swati puts forth examples of what is being explained.

Verdict

A2Z of Image Management goes beyond self-help genre to introduce the concept of managing your appearance along with practical guidelines on creating the desired impact.

The book has been published as part of #BlogchatterEBook Carnival and is available for free download for a limited time.

Dare to Dream by Huma Masood: Book Review

Title: Dare to Dream

Author: Huma Masood

Genre: Self help, Inspirational, Motivational

Dare to Dream is a concise handbook that guides you through the big and small decisions to an effective and fulfilling life. The book helps you chart out your vision and goals and gives tips on managing the stumbling blocks that you encounter along the way.

Review

Dare to Dream is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on where we want to go and what we want to achieve in life. To clarify our understanding of our aspirations and our future self, the author advocates the creation of a Vision Board.

The second part focuses on the action we need to take to move towards our desired self and the life of our dreams. It talks about the importance of right attitude as a preparation to reach for our dreams. It moves on to talking about simple changes a person can make that can cultivate growth, bringing about a compound change in lives.

There are quite a few parts in the book that resonated with me. There is a detailed discussion on the importance of a Vision Board and the instructions on how to go about creating one.

The section on Procrastination and the real reasons we procrastinate is very useful.

The book lays out very clearly how to uncomplicate and simplify our living. It involves decluttering not just the physical but our mental space as well.

I liked the portion on Positive ways to say no and how it is useful to an individual.

The section on Simple changes that cultivate growth is very useful, considering that it is very doable for anyone.

There are many parts in the book that each reader would relate to, depending on her need.

It is a rather wide sweeping book, covering a lot of unconventional material. There are tips on finances, on taking care of health, the importance of routines and habits and of getting a clear vision for your future. It is a mix of little tips and large changes backed with commonsense and a sound understanding of the principles of leading an effective life.

What works well

Examples bring clarity and interest to the subject. Also, the book is peppered with personal anecdotes which brings relatability to the content.

There are some real gems of advice in the book. I found myself highlighting text in the book that I wanted to return to.

About the Author

Huma Masood is a full-time stock market trader. She graduated from AMU and then did MBA in Finance / Marketing. She spent many years in Kuwait, where she completed her school education and worked in top MR consulting firms, before finally
settling in India.

Verdict

Dare to Dream is a handbook to being a better version of you. Work on the tips to be more focussed in getting what you want in life.

Download the book from here.

Insta Gita by Nupur Maskara: Book Review

Title: Insta Gita

Author: Nupur Maskara

Genre: Self help, Poetry, Religion, Theology

Insta Gita is a transcreation of the Bhagavad Gita, a poetic version of the verses in the scripture with the author’s added poetry, giving reactions from Arjuna’s perspective.

Review

The Bhagvad Gita has 700 verses in Sanskrit. While this Hindu scripture has acceptance across religions in India and is referred to as a guide to living right and with purpose, the original requires an in depth study.

Nupur’s Insta Gita distills the essence of the 18 chapters of the Gita in easy English language verses, summarising the important points, followed by author’s own little poems which are presented as reactions from Arjuna’s viewpoint.

The Gita is set as dialogue between the Pandava Prince, Arjuna and his charioteer, God Incarnate Lord Krishna as they stand in the battle field, ready to fight Arjuna’s extended family, the Kauravas.

At the moment of the commencement of the battle, Arjuna is beset with doubts. It is then that Krishna speaks to him of his duty, also elaborating upon many other philosophical concepts. This philosophical treatise becomes the text of the Gita.

For the layperson, it is difficult to wrap around one’s head around the philosophy that is propounded in this ancient text. And it is here that Insta Gita comes to the rescue of a reader like me, who has never read the original scripture but only come across a few of the learnings.

The book is divided into 18 chapters, each chapter talking of one part of the philosophy. The text captures the essence of the original and keeps it relatable and interesting.

The chapter names are not cryptic at all. I particularly liked the chapter names, God Zilla and Living La Vida Calma. In fact, the entire book is a friendly exposition of the deeper principles. I also found the usage of words like FYI, methinks, The Three Musketeers, K for Krishna as little steps that demystify the text and make it feel accessible.

The highlighted text in each chapter makes it easier to assimilate the important points in each chapter.

As a pointer to the practical usage of this knowledge in a person’s daily life, Nupur ends each chapter with a little poem of hers. She addresses Lord Krishna as K., which immediately makes the reader feel that the verses are accessible to anyone. She speaks from Arjuna’s perspective, of how he tries to use this philosophy in his life, training his body and mind.

Arjuna pauses midway
Between war and peace
His mind splits in two
Whichever way I choose
I know I’ll rue
But first to mine own self
I must be true

What works well

The format and the design of the book is very attractive. The heavy, prohibitive Sanskrit verses are transcreated in a form that is easy to follow.

The coloured pages, the summarising of the salient points and the little endearing images give the book a very contemporary feel.

The book ends with a colourful, easy to understand infographic on the Bhagavad Gita and how to use it in everyday life.

About the Author

Nupur Maskara likes writing short stuff that packs a punch. Expectedly, she began her career in advertising and is now in content writing. Her friends have branded her frequent blonde moments as Nupurisms. Read more of her work at her blog.

Verdict

Insta Gita packs a punch of wisdom in these bite sized verses that summarise the Gita’s main teachings.

Read it as a refresher and an immediate reference text.

Get the Kindle edition from Amazon.

Break Free the Leader Within by Ravish Mani: Book Review

Title: Break Free the Leader Within

Author: Ravish Mani

Genre: Self Help, Inspirational

Medium: Audiobook

Break Free the Leader Within is a clear and accessible approach to the qualities of leadership.

Review

The book uses the true incident of Shweta Singh, a Mumbai mother and her experiences while trying to address the needs of her left handed child. Wanting to procure pencil sharpeners that her child could use with ease, she got an early and responsible response from the leading stationery manufacturer of India, Hindustan Pencils Ltd.

The book talks about the qualities of effective leadership in the light of this incident, making it an easy and relatable listening experience.

The most important takeaway for me from this book is that everyone can be a leader and in any space and capability. Leaders are characterised by the way they think differently from others, from their intent, from being clear about their why and by being selfless and visionaries.

What works Well

The quality of the audio is very good. The voice is clear, pleasing and the narration seamless. At no point did I have to strain to hear what was being said, except at the beginning when the Indian names were pronounced with a definite anglicised accent. However, after a couple of mentions, I was good to go.

Also, this is a short audio book. In less than 20 minutes, you get a strong idea of the qualities of leaders and how they do things that separate them from the crowd. It’s a thought provoking book that you can listen to while on a walk or driving.

Listening to this audiobook was a wonderful start to my day. This is the first audiobook I have listened to (don’t look at me; I know I live under a rock) and the quality and the experience would definitely encourage me to go in for this medium to upgrade my knowledge. Personally, I am sold on the sheer convenience and the usefulness of audiobooks.

Verdict

Break Free the Leader Within has good, useful content and is a pleasing auditory experience.

Highly recommended.

About the Author

Ravish Mani is well-known in the blogosphere for his philosophical personality. His writings are inspirational and food for thought. He can be contacted through his website.

The Audiobook is available for download at the Blogchatter website.