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BOOK REVIEW

I love reading! I'm always reading a book at anytime.  My top book genre would be self-help book, followed by business and lastly, sci-fi novel. The review will consists of some highlights of the book, quotes that are meaningful to me as well as a little bit background about the author.  

"Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination'' -Unknown

THE LOST SYMBOl

by

DAN BROWN

''Great minds are always feared by lesser minds"

 

I’ve been a fan of Dan Brown’s work for a long time now. His one blockbusting novels of all time, The da Vinci Code blew me away, and so does Inferno, The Lost Symbol and Angels & Demons. It is no surprise that his books sparked debate among readers and scholars. This is because he placed is novel on a fine line between fact and fiction, a ‘hybrid reality’.

Just like his other novels, the heroic symbologist Robert Langdon tried to save the world from a revelation that could ruin the world. What amazes me is that this 500-page book is mostly a description of a 10-hour event. Every chapter takes us to different perspectives of the main characters of the same part of the story.

The book started with Langdon being unexpectedly being summoned to deliver a lecture in the U.S Capitol Building by his friend’s ‘assistant’- Peter Solomon, a mason and his mentor. Upon arrival, Langdon realised that there was no lecture and this is where the night takes a bizarre turn. After finding a severed hand, CIA officials arrived and announced that this is a matter of national security. Soon after, Robert received a phone call that revealed that Peter has been kidnapped. Slowly, Robert started to decipher the severed hand and ended up in the basement room of US Capitol building.

 

When you think that a lot is going on,  Katherine- Peter’s sister met Dr Abaddon who claims to have been working with Peter to deal with his psychological distress. Dr Abaddon then invited himself to Katerine’s lab, using Peter’s phone. If you have not connected the dot- Dr Abaddon is indeed the kidnapper, and yes, it’s not his real name. Katherine and Robert eventually brought together to save Peter from this madman who determined to reveal information that could change the world. By extremely good fortune, Katherine and Robert managed to escape from various threats and death.

 

The Lost Symbol is an action-packed thriller and there are plenty of unforeseen twists along the way. What amuses me is that towards the ending, Dan Brown dropped epic ending twist yet again that made my jaw dropped- which I shall not reveal what it is. He never fails to challenge readers with an intelligent story that makes me do a double-take when faced with a twist.

the new rules of marketing and PR

by

David meerman scott

What works in the past does not mean it works now, just like marketing. With the presence of digital marketing, our perception and strategies to promote our brand has to change as well. Learn the best tips and tricks of marketing in digital era from this book!

I have to admit that this is one of my university module’s textbook for Digital Marketing. Just a quick background of me (news flash!): In my 1.5 years of uni, I've tried my best not to purchase those overpriced textbooks that I would only be used for 1 semester. Thus, making my relationship with any kind of textbook a non-existent one. 

 

However, this book is an exception.-and I mean it. It all began when I accompanied my friend to buy this book while I took a quick browse on it. I was instantly compelled to read more because it simply doesn’t sound like the normal boring textbook ranting about theories and ideas. I love how David uses casual, blogging-style language to express his ideas. I am glad that the unit coordinator chose this book as required reading. I would have to say that this is the best textbook I ever read over the past 2.5 years of my university life. Below I would outline the key ideas that David discusses in his book.

 

1. Buyer persona?

As a marketing student, knowing your persona has always been the first crucial step in every marketing planning. Apart from the usual research on knowing their problem or the type of media platforms, he highlighted the importance of timing and language- something that we often underestimated about. Timing refers to the right time to interrupt consumers with our message. To do so, marketers should understand both consumer’s daily life and general habit. As an example, British Airways Safety video that featured iconic people such as Rowan Atkinson's and Gordon Ramsay is released on July- a peak period of travel. The timing here has been carefully selected to reach a larger audience.

 

Next, language is simply talking in our consumers’ language. This means that no more of the company’s jargon and instead, utilising keywords and phrases that consumers’ use. This could be obtained from interviews, surveys and online search terms. Speaking their language not only build trust but touch on their emotion as well.

 

2. Creating free thoughtful content

David mentioned that a website should to help potential consumers’ make a purchase decision and not merely advertising. How can we help them? By solving and answering their problems. An example that I could come up with is creating a website for an office furniture company that runs B2B. As a business seeking for office furniture, they have a different set of concerns to be addressed- budget, delivery time, type of furniture, and so on.

 

The website should be able to satisfy these concerns through various content forms such as a blog, photo, infographic or even downloadable documents: A blog on latest office layout plan, free design quotation, checklist PDF on things to do before renovating your office, and many more.

However, just a piece of my thought here, the idea of sharing free knowledge seemed to be a burden for the company. For businesses, why put time and effort into something that would be free? This is an important issue to address because what they fail to understand is that this information would help them market their business even more and attract consumers. As a consumer, who doesn’t like free information right?

 

3. Posting rules

David’s posting rule: 85% sharing and engaging, 10% publishing original content, 5% what you promote. As much as he emphasised on crafting and disseminating original content, the key ingredient to have is engagement. The web itself is not a one-way interruption, is about 2-ways conversation. There are 2 types of result you could receive; high reach but low yield or low reach but high yield. The former is essential when you are building brand awareness for your brand while the latter is a very targeted campaign. Engagement could be done in many ways, encourage people to contact you through the call-to-action button, answer their queries, engage them in a conversation/ games/ competition and even live video.

 

Similarly, according to Social Media Today on content marketing, the last thing that your consumer wants is more content. Facebook has altered its newsfeed algorithm that requires businesses to have more engaging, interesting and meaningful content to be shown on your newsfeed. In the long term, having positively engaged consumers would turn into loyal fanbase.

This book is the first textbook that I enjoyed reading and I would strongly recommend to anyone-even when you are not learning marketing or have a basic understanding of it.

99 wisdom

by

gobind vashdev

This self-help and personal development book is essential for those who claim that they do not have time to read. Consist of 99 short stories, you will have a chance to read, reflect and gain more meaning of life. A chapter should not take you more than 5 minutes to read, and that's including time for you to reflect on as well!

 

There's no perfect way of describing who Gobind Vashdev is. He is a writer, public speaker, motivator and environmentalist who conducts seminar and workshop in Indonesia. He believes that nature is our best teacher thus in order to make this world a better place, we have to live simply and protect our environment. He practices his belief by not using any product that could ruin the environment.

As what the title says, this book is a compilation of 99 short stories around wisdom. Gobind suggests to not read the book all at once but to constantly read it from time to time, which I did. I read this book when I started being distracted from my studies. I learned to instead checking my social media, I could read some stories, reflect on it and continue my work. So this book is a really great distraction and something to read when you are taking a short break.

He transforms simple things in life, packages it into a story and presents it to us with such deep meaning. One story doesn't take you long to read, even less than 3 minutes. Below are some key lessons that I found the most insightful and refreshing for your soul.

1. No Negative No Positive

There's positive and negative energy within and surround us. If you choose to dwell or pay attention to negative energy around you (for example, reading fear-based news), you are lowering your own energy. Just like how we would not put the trash inside our house, we shouldn't to our mind. We have to select and filter what goes into your memory and body. Trash could easily be taken out of the house, but 'trash' could affect our mind. So stop dwelling, reading, getting into negativity.

2. Move on

Sometimes if we face problems in life, we tend to stop too long thinking about it. Life is like a film roll: keep changing from one scene to another, keep moving on. But what usually happens is that our mind functions as a camera: capturing one moment and stop. People and object come and go, if that doesn't happen to you, you are the one that left. What happened in the past would be precious when you fully accept and learn from it.

3. Plant

When we plant a flower, for example, not only we grow the flower we want, but sometimes an invasive/wild plants as well. Similarly, although we 'plant' good seeds in our life, sometimes we receive and experience bad situation. It is impossible to avoid every negative situation, but what we can do is to reframe it. To change the meaning of something that was detrimental to something beneficial. To change the meaning of those that weigh you down to something that makes you fly higher.

 

As of now, unfortunately, this book is only available in Bahasa Indonesia.

Hide and seek

By

MJ Arlidge

An easy to read book consists of 142 short yet captivating chapters.

 

The story follows Detective Helen Grace who was wrongly accused of a murder. Framed, she was placed in a women' prison in Holloway. Tragically, a series of murder emerged where Helen's neighbour was first found dead in her cell- gory details entails (hurray?).
 
Fearing for her life and being a former detective, Helen jumped headfirst to the case. While the rest of the prisoners usually flocked in a group for their protection, Helen was a solo fighter. She knew that she can't trust anyone in the system. 

Finding clues and details about the murders was a difficult task for Helen. She had to sacrifice, fight and fled from many dangerous situations. As more and more murders took place, patterns emerged. Victims died in an eerily and sadly the same way- I won't spoil and indulge you about the details, but I assure you, it's shocking. 

Racing against time, Helen had plenty of names on her possible-suspect-list, from the Prison Chaplain, fellow prisoners and the guards. 

I bought this book out of curiosity and I'm glad that I did! Enjoyed this page-turner book, I engulfed myself with Arlidge's words and managed to finish it within a week. The chapters are short yet engaging, leaving readers with multiple settings that are woven together at the end. 

It brought me mixed feelings at the end of the book. Taking in from the murderer's point of view, Arlidge offers us a naive simple explanation of why s/he did it: s/he just wants to help those victims. Such a contrast to a typical cold-blooded murderer, the slight twist at the end is how the story hangs. 

Would recommend this for anyone who craves for a crime, chilling story with a few gripping details. First series of M.J Alridge book and more to come!

P.S. Just found out that there's another novel with the same title 'Hide and Seek' by James Patterson. Would be interesting to compare these two!