Blackface is a celebration of African Americans’ success in politics, art, and culture and how they can build their own success in their businesses. Why was this an important book for you to write?
It was important to write because we want to see more Black faces building big personal brands and positioning themselves as leaders. We want them to feel empowered and equipped while also letting the world know that we are equally capable of leading.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?
Personal development, leadership tips, and personal branding advice is for everyone, no matter the race, so the hardest thing was not what we wrote about, but the fact that we had to specifically write to blacks due to the lack of representation and systemic issues that prevent us from having access to tools and resources
What is one piece of advice someone gave you that changed your life?
“What you think about self is more important than what anyone else thinks. Make sure your internal dialogue is positive.”
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?
Having a black face should not exclude an individual. Black faces can lead well, build well, and serve well.
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Blackface, by Pamela D. Smith, is a celebration of African American’s success in politics, art, and culture. For the longest time, black faces have been associated with mockery, misery, pity, and everything negative. Pamela D. Smith, however, brings positivity to the words and gets readers to revisit the misrepresentation of the term. Smith is not trying to forget history but she wants readers to use these experiences to become a leader. The Author shares painful memories of African Americans, the impact slavery has had for generations, race dynamics, the struggles Black people have gone through, and how African Americans rose up, and are shining.
Smith has written a powerful and inspiring book sharing her experiences as an African American woman and asks the reader what they would do if they were in her situation. Many of the situations the author describes are some that many readers don’t face that often so this was an eye-opening read for me. I also admired that the author debunks the stereotypes given to African Americans, some of which I wasn’t even aware of.
The author writes in a conversational tone that is not out to point fingers but instead to educate us. I feel this book can be relatable to people of different races, not just African Americans. Smith inspires and provides tips on how to be a leader for yourself and how to be the best version of yourself no matter what you face in the world.
The author is honest and open with the reader and she does not hold back about what African Americans have gone through and still go through today. The author’s vulnerability is inspiring and a remarkable feature of her writing.
Every chapter in Blackface has a lesson that will benefit the reader. My biggest lessons were on how to brand and package yourself for more visibility. By creating an exemplary brand with your name, you will be able to skillfully sell whatever product or service you have, impact lives, sub-consciously mentor future leaders, and live a fulfilling life. Apart from the wise teachings, I also loved the quotable texts in various chapters. One of my favorite quotes from Blackface is ‘To become internally self-aware, we must be open-minded’. This quote is powerful and helped me change my perspective.
Blackface: An African American guide to building a personal brand, developing as a leader, and serving with excellency is an insightful look into how African Americans can grow in their professional lives. It gives a realistic look into the struggles and roadblocks that People of Color face.
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Jotham S. Stein not only has brilliant advice on how to be at the top of your game in business and the corporate world, but he also gives insight into how ruthless capitalism can be. Negotiate Like A CEO is a helpful guide for building confidence as you go about your entrepreneurial or employment activities. With the author’s experience, he provides advice to help readers understand what to ask for at work, beat your competitors, the power of your signature, be bold, and understand the art of negotiation.
Stein’s writing style is direct and easy to follow. His advice for business leaders such as executives, founders of organizations, entrepreneurs, and company decision-makers is realistic and blunt. In addition, the author gives a step-by-step breakdown when introducing a new topic to ensure comprehension.
The author uses personal stories to share his ideas and present his concepts. By writing about his encounters, challenges, and wins, Stein connects with his readers on a basic level, showing he has been where they are before. I appreciate the author for addressing people employed by organizations and those who are self-employed. The author balanced the guidance he has for the two groups flawlessly.
In addition to the in-depth discussions on negotiating, Stein includes a section in the book where he tells stories of entrepreneurs and executives. What I loved most about this part was how moving the stories felt. They were told with honesty and without sugar coating the experiences. The conversations were interesting and captivating to follow along with. Each story ended with a lesson for readers to take away with them.
Negotiate Like A CEO: How to Get Ahead with Lessons Learned From Top Entrepreneurs and Executives is an educational book that will give readers a realistic view of what it takes to get ahead in business. With an introduction to new entrepreneurship concepts and learning how executives get to rise to positions of power, readers will come out with more knowledge of how the business world works.
Pages: 294 | ASIN : B09TG125BQ
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EPIC Begins With 1 Step Forward: How To Plan, Achieve, and Enjoy The Journey does not read like any average inspirational book. Author Zander Sprague uses relatable experiences to convey his message. This informative book will enable you to accomplish all your goals in the timeframe you want. The author shares moments in his life that gave him life-changing lessons. Sprague will make you rethink some of the decisions you have made over the years and get you to turn over a new leaf.
What I love most about this helpful book is that the author took the effort to explain how each solution he provides works. As a reader, you feel the presence of the author as he guides you on the right path. He provides many examples, obtained through research and personal experience, to explain why the steps are laid out the way they are.
Zander Sprague’s language is simple and easy to follow. Each chapter is broken down in a way that readers will be able to easily comprehend the information and can reflect on the topic. The author uses humor in parts to convey his message. The author shares his wisdom to help you remove the barriers that are stopping you from enjoying life.
The chapters on planning and achieving your dream were among the best for me. In these chapters, the author provides readers with a step-by-step guide detailing how they can achieve what they previously presumed to be impossible. He makes everything appear doable and straightforward, if one has a strategy. The overarching feeling of this inspirational book is positivity. I also enjoyed reading about ‘epic choices’ and capitalizing on one’s strengths.
EPIC Begins With 1 Step Forward: How To Plan, Achieve, and Enjoy The Journey is a comprehensive manual for hacking the most challenging things in life. This thought-provoking book will guide readers on their personal transformation journey.
Pages: 129 | ASIN : B09KZNJFBD
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Simple Preaching Prep provides clear guidance designed to help new preachers succeed. Why was this an important book for you to write?
There are two primary reasons Simple Preaching Prep was an important book for me to write.
The first reason is because of what I feel God has called me to do. For many years I have felt that my purpose is not only to preach and teach but to train up other preachers and teachers of God’s Word. For most of my life, I assumed as though that would play out in me being in a classroom setting. While that may still happen, in 2021 I began sensing a strong urge to write down the process I had developed, and make it widely available.
The second reason is because of the need I see for the American church. Fewer individuals are going into seminaries and Bible colleges with the intention of serving in ministry, all while churches of every size and type struggle to find someone to serve in their congregation. There are a lot of underlying issues that feed into each of those realities, but I wanted to create something that I felt could help alleviate some of the pressure that exists. That is why I wrote a book designed to help lay leaders and students in the task of preaching.
What is a common obstacle you find new preachers face and how can they overcome it?
If someone is brand new to preaching I find the most common obstacles determining what they are going to say and how they are going to say it. A weekly twenty-five-minute sermon equates to a weekly term paper for most. Where do you start when you have no idea what you are going to talk about? Then, how do you put all that information together in a way that actually connects with your audience? These issues are part of why I developed a model for sermon preparation. In Simple Preaching Prep, I want to help those new preachers gather their information and put it together as a coherent message.
What is one piece of advice someone gave you that had the largest impact on your preaching?
One piece of advice I received was from all the way back at age 16 when I had only preached once or twice before. Our associate minister, Scott, encouraged me to preach with the personality God had given me. He encouraged me not to try and emulate anyone else, or try to be anyone else. But instead, allow my personality to come through in how I communicated.
This is why, as I state in the book, I believe a great definition of preaching comes from nineteenth-century preacher Phillipps Brooks who defined preaching as, “Communicating Truth through personality.” The Truth of God’s Word will remain, but every preacher should utilize their own personality to communicate that truth.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am just now releasing Simple Preaching Prep and am not actively working on another book at this time. However, I am developing a variety of ideas for other potential follow-up books including:
- A more business-specific version of Simple Preaching Prep
- A book of “next steps” to move beyond the simple model I present and further develop one’s preaching ability
- A book focused on finding and developing one’s preaching style and voice, using their God-given personality
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In his book Simple Preaching Prep: A guide to finish your first sermon and flourish beyond, Mark Messmore addresses special ways one can preach to ensure that the message they are trying to convey hits home. Mark Messmore writes about the different methodologies you can use and how you can deliver your message with ease. Readers will realize that by going through and reading the simple preaching prep model that the author has demonstrated in the book, they will become an even better preacher than they were before. The prep model involves interviewing the text, narrowing the focus, stating the main idea, including supporting material, delivering the message, and evaluating the result.
I like this book because the content inside is not only great for preachers, but it also works for public speakers in general. Mark Messmore talks about being a great speaker, how to build your oratory skills and how to address different audiences. He gives a step by step guide for people that have never preached, and encourages both new and established preachers. I like how engaging the author is and how pleasant he sounds. Mark Messmore conveys his message in a welcoming and warm manner. As a reader, you feel at ease reading his book and getting to understand what it takes to be the best preacher or speaker.
What makes reading Simple Preaching Prep: A guide to finish your first sermon and flourish beyond pleasurable and interesting is the bible stories that the author uses as examples. Mark Messmore adds bible scriptures and discusses at length some bible stories. He also includes light moments when expounding on the topics and stories, something that encourages one to keep reading. I loved the biblical references in the book. By reading Mark Messmore’s book, one gets a better insight of the bible and God. The author does a fantastic job of simplifying complex ideas so that reader has a better, more comprehensive, understanding of the material.
One of the many lessons I learned in the book includes how to be in sync with your audience and how to capture their full attention. When talking about various audiences, the author is engaging and cordial. Once you read this book, you will reduce your social anxiety by a good fraction and you will gain confidence and be ready to offer your first sermon. This is an effective guidebook for Christian leaders that provides pragmatic advice to help make you a better preacher.
Pages: 83 | ASIN: B09LSNVBCM
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Making Christian Decisions in an Age of Deception is an informative book that will help you make shrewd choices as a believer. The author talks about Christianity in the past versus Christianity today, the different denominations Christians subscribe to and how modern times have impacted the way of life of Christians among other things. Reading Loyst Streeter’s work was a pleasant experience as the author is objective, factual and engaging. Every chapter in the book has something distinct for the reader.
The chapter on conservative Christianity versus liberal Christianity was one of my favorites in the book. Loyst Streeter breaks down the topics systematically, defining each realm and getting the reader to understand the similarities and differences. I enjoyed this chapter especially because the author got me questioning which side I was on. I love that Loyst Streeter makes his readers reflect on their faith and the path that they choose to follow. This book is like a fountain of knowledge for those that feel lost. Every every topic is explained in detail and helps the reader fully understand Christianity and why believers should choose to be righteous.
One thing you will love about the author is his ability to help the reader follow his work with ease. Loyst Streeter does not complicate statements. I enjoyed this book because the author is friendly and understands his audience. By the end of the reading, the reader is filled with prudence and gets a clear picture of how to approach issues from a Christian perspective. There is nothing as good as being content with the choice one makes especially if they affect not just the individual, but also the people around them. Loyst Streeter’s book will help you make informed choices.
Making Christian Decisions in an Age of Deception is an enlightening an easy read that will help you make critical decisions in contemporary society and provide you with the intellectual tools needed to face increasingly complex and global issues.
Pages: 100 | ASIN: B08J5Y9ZP8
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At first I thought David Knapp’s book was going to be a self-help book on grieving. A literary pat on the back, but I was pleasantly surprised to find so much more in this valuable resource. I Didn’t Know What to Say: Being a Better Friend to Those Who Experience Loss provides actionable advice, beyond sagely wisdom, as it applies to the loss of a loved one. It’s a literal how-to on loss and grief. And not just for people that have lost a loved one. What do you say to a friend that lost someone, or a casual acquaintance, or a stranger? Before this book, I certainly didn’t know what to say. David Knapp has given me, and readers, the skills we need to deal with loss and know what to say.
David Knapp shares his heartbreaking story in order for us to understand his point of view, his experience, but also that loss is something we all deal with, or will have to deal with. By narrating his experiences with grief, the reader is able to relate with David Knapp on a personal level. The style David Knapp uses to share his most intimate experience, his wording, the phrases he uses and warm tone in his book are some of the features that make the author excellent in his art. When David talks about a particular experience in his life, he is articulate, and makes the reader feel like they are part of the story. I Didn’t Know What to Say will help you understand the agony of the person experiencing loss, give you the tool to help them through difficult situations and make them comfortable to express themselves.
This is a book for anyone that knows someone who is experiencing loss; this could be a friendship, a professional relationship or someone much closer. The author gives you the right words to use. He guides the reader on what to say, how to say it, and when to say it, so as not to appear insensitive. By reading this book, you are able to go through bereavement in a better way and talk to mourners in a more humane manner. This is a critical book for anyone to read now as well, as surely we’ll experience loss at some point in our lives. It’s important to learn the skills now so that we are ready, and in that way, David Knapp’s book is essential reading.
Pages: 237 | ASIN: B0112SC9AC
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