Free Book Club / by Mara Zepeda

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I picked up Cheryl Strayed's Tiny Beautiful Things the other day, on Maria Popova's advice. And despite being embarrassingly late to this party, and I was totally hooked.  

This, from the introduction, which speaks so much to the need for Switchboard:

We’re hurtling through time and space and information faster and faster, seeking that network...But at the same time we’re falling away from our families and our neighbors and ourselves. We ego-surf and update our status and brush up on which celebrities are ruining themselves, and how. But the cure won’t stick.

And this from Cheryl, which could easily apply to any endeavor, like starting a business:

We get the work done on the ground level. And the kindest thing I can do for you is to tell you to get your ass on the floor. I know it’s hard...darling. But it’s harder not to. The only way you’ll find out if you “have it in you” is to get to work and see if you do. The only way to override your “limitations, insecurities, jealousies, and ineptitude” is to produce. You have limitations. You are in some ways inept.

I'm going to tell you something unexpected and unnerving about being a CEO: it's a lot like being an advice columnist. And what I mean by that is every day there are dozens of questions waiting for answers. And the answer has to arrive from some deep, honest sense of what is right. And then you do your best to convey that right answer to the question, and cross your fingers you're not completely wrong. The book has visibly influenced my writing style. My sentences are shorter. I'm motivated to be more declarative and honest and brave. 

I was so taken with this book that I went to Powell's and bought a heap to send to friends (and a shout out to Powell's for saying, simply, "thank you for making the choice to buy all of these here.") Then in a late-night crazy person decision I tweeted that I would buy this gem of a book book for anyone I knew personally. All told it was about a $150 investment to sprinkle these books around to the people I love.

Marshall of Little Bird stopped by my desk not long after and we started talking about books (he recommended this one).  I told him of my little experiment and I said, off the cuff, "I should do that every month with a book I love." And so I'm going to try exactly that. Every month I will buy a book I love for anyone who asks me for a copy. We'll see how this goes. That's my offer. And an ask, I suppose, of you.