Last week Jane and her special fella spent some time watching The Elegant Universe on PBS. Brian Greene, the host, introduced the idea of String Theory-- parallel universes and eleven dimensions, as written about in his book, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory .
Well, what, you are asking, does this have to do with Jane's Fit by Five?
Everything. In this little space in time that we occupy...another year comes to a close. We enjoyed Brian Greene's Elegant Universe, were a bit confused by "string theory," yet compelled to consider the thought of alternate universes... places each of us may slip into at any given moment to...change our destiny.
However, since we are stuck in THIS universe...existing within THIS timeframe, on THIS globe called Earth, we will operate from known principles of existence. Which means, we know that many of our readers are already preparing for the New Year. Preparing to influence destiny to the good. Preparing to learn from the mistakes of 2004...Preparing to make 2005 a better year.
With that in mind, string theory notwithstanding, Jane offers her
Five Best: Books and Blogs.
1. Our number one pick for Favorite Business Book of 2004 is Rosa Say's, Managing with Aloha. For a complete review, visit Blogcritics.org. Jane doesn't often find herself reading and then re-reading a book, but this is one book we cannot get enough of. Not only does Rosa use imagery and examples to bring us into her island world, she uses her extensive background in management to prove the sincerity of managing with heart. Check out her blog for more information.
2. Our number two pick for Favorite Business Book of 2004 is Guy Kawasaki's, The Art of the Start. This book gives genuine advice on how to get your life in order, and, how to start a business. We especially like Guy's description of a business plan. Entrepreneurs and established business professionals alike can learn something from this book. Mainly-- go out and start something in 2005. It's your life, take charge of it! (no blog, more's the pity!)
3. Our number three pick for Favorite Business Book of 2004 is Michele Miller's, The Natural Advantages of Women. Jane found this book fascinating. As an audio-book, it's on the cutting edge. As a book on the scientific reasons women have "natural advantages" over men, Michele has done an outstanding job of revealing the brain chemistry behind women's intuition, and more. A great read for business owners, men who want to understand their wives and daughters, and women who want a clearer understanding of why being emotional is not a bad thing. To keep the momentum, Michele also has a blog, which Lip-sticking recommends.
4. Our fourth pick for Favorite Book of 2004 is Andrea Learned's and Lisa Johnson's Don't Think Pink: What Really Makes a Woman Buy--And How To Increase Your Share of This Crucial Market. Think: transparency. Andrea has gone on to develop a great blog, which we read on a regular basis-- and which we think YOU, dear reader, should read, also.
5. Our fifth pick for Favorite Book of 2004 is Nat Yogachandra's Beauty, Bureaucrats and Breaking The Silence. In our signed copy of this powerful book, Nat wrote, "The Earth is but one country and Mankind its citizens." We are completely in tune with his thinking. But, YOU, dear reader, must give this book some thought. Sub-titled, The Status of Women in Asia, Nat's book offers a glimpse into a world beyond the borders of the U.S. A world that is beckoning small businesses. A world in which women count...more than they ever have before.
(since we are limited to the 5 Favorite Books, we cannot include our own, Dickless Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online, but...we encourage you to consider this a good buy-- learning how to build and manage a Female-Friendly Web site-- in addition to learning the secret of What Women Really Want...Online...what's not to like about that?)
This category is much, much harder to scale down to only five. There are dozens, yes, dozens, of great, wonderful, informative, educational blogs out there...and Jane is loathe to select merely five. However, we will attempt to do so.
To all bloggers not included in this list-- understand that Jane is an avid reader, Jane considers your blog educational to the max, but...we are using different criteria to judge the entries for our Top 5. Essentially, these 5 blogs are ones that did more than inform...they touched us in some way. We read and re-read them because they have value beyond the words written in them. Their value is in the effect their writing has on us. It brings us back to the real world, where business is in taking care of customers, in understanding people, not in building a bigger ROI.
1. Our number one pick for Favorite Blog of 2004 is Average Jane. If you would get in front of the women's market...Jane recommends you read Average Jane on a regular basis. And visit her Boutique...Jane covets the Lefty Mug, if anyone is interested. We choose this blog as our #1 pick because Average Jane is about us, women, doing the things women do. She is part of our target market, and should be part of yours, also, dear reader.
2. Our number two pick for Favorite Blog of 2004 is Charley O'Shields' blog, Always Curious. Charley continues to amaze and delight us with his photography, which he shares willingly, openly, and wonderfully. He helps us focus when we're getting cross-eyed, he helps us calm down when we can't get anything right, and he inspires us when we need something out of the ordinary to get our day going.
3. Our number three pick for Favorite Blog of 2004 is Evelyn Rodriguez's blog, Crossroads Dispatches. Jane is not shy to admit that Evelyn's writings are the most-thought provoking writings in her blogroll. Evelyn stretches our vision of the world...forces us to exercise our mind...as she muses on "yin and yang, analytical and intuitive, technical and visceral." Her recent postings on the tragedy in Asia, the tidal wave that drowned so many of our friends and family...(remember, as Nat says, we are all citizens of the Earth), brought the horror to home far more effectively than any news report. We send Evelyn our prayers...both for her and her injuries, and for her friends, those lost and found.
4. Our fourth Favorite Blog of 2004 is Juan Tornoe's Hispanic Trending. We've mentioned this blog several times, of late. It finds its place here, today, because Juan is the only man we know reporting on the Latino market, without bias. Surely there are others. Surely there are women bloggers doing similar reporting. We have not found any, so far. Juan is our go-to guy on what's up with the Latino market, a large, expanding, and powerful group each of you should be marketing to, dear readers. One of the neatest things about Juan is his simplicity. He's a good son, a good friend, and a good writer. He offers his blog as a resource and we can only say-- what's not to like about that?
5. Our number five pick for Favorite Blog of 2004 is Sheilah's World, a simple, straight-forward blog that chats up family life and what makes women tick. This blog is also part of a Women's Blog Ring...which all Lip-sticking readers, especially the FEMALE ones, should investigate. The webring posts this note on blogging:
"Definitions are boundaries, and boundaries are anathema to Webloggers. Moreover, the best Weblogs are always shifting and evolving, always on their way to being something else." - Julia Keller of the Chicago Tribune
We could not agree more. As you break down your boundaries in the coming New Year, we hope you will consider the books and blogs mentioned here. May they inspire you to greater achievement and greater thoughts in 2005, as they have inspired us in 2004.
What's not to like about that?