Review: Educated

Educated Book Review - Tara WestoverTitle: Educated
Author: Tara Westover
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Genre: Nonfiction | Memoir | Autobiography
Synopsis from HarperCollins

Review: Educated is not an easy book for me to review.  I devoured and took pause to absorb what I listened to with lots of wincing, wondering in my head ‘did that REALLY happen?’, and heart palpitations over graphic scenes. This sounds like a horror novel but it’s Westover’s true life story about growing up in a strict Mormon home ruled by abuse, mental illness, deprivation and neglect.

A paranoid father goes to the farthest extremes to protect his family from Illuminati takeover. Tucked away in rural Idaho, Westover and her siblings didn’t grow up riding bikes or going to the swimming pool with friends.  A dangerous junkyard was their playground, borrowed textbooks and stolen moments studying their education and medical attention administered based on ‘a feeling’ and homemade tinctures to heal the most severe of injuries – this was their norm and it differs greatly from the upbringing I had.

Westover details her account of trailblazing a new and unfamiliar life leaving behind her extremist family and their beliefs to attend BYU and later Harvard and Cambridge earning a Ph.D.  After a gut-wrenching upbringing I so, so admired how Westover took her deprivation and created educational opportunities having never set foot in a classroom – utterly amazing!

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Review: Shoe Dog

Shoe Dog - Phil KnightTitle: Shoe Dog
Author: Phil Knight
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Genre: Nonfiction | Memoir | Autobiography
Synopsis from Scribner

Review: I’m not a fan of memoirs, for no particular reason they just aren’t my thing, but SHOE DOG has been earning praises (and landed itself on Bill Gates top 5 books in 2016) since its release and I wanted to know what all the praise is about.

Before listening to this book if you asked me who Phil Knight is my honest answer would be ‘I don’t know’.  He co-founded a $30B business selling a shoe brand across the globe yet I couldn’t connect his name to Nike nor did I know anything about him personally or professionally – he grew up in Portland, Oregon, earned an MBA from Stanford and worked as an accountant with PwC or that he started Blue Ribbon Sports (before officially naming the company Nike) on $50 from his dad, the ‘swoosh’ logo was a $35 graphic design idea by a student and the company was on the precipice of failure for more than a decade.  Like so many entrepreneurs who are the well known confident type, Knight is a stark contrast – shy, reserved and quirky, he hugs himself when stressed and snaps rubber bands on his wrist.  His outward modesty and quirks make him such a likeable and admirable guy.

There’s no step-by-step guide to business riches here, Knight gives us insight into the numerous struggles he faced making Nike a global success – begging the banks for money repeatedly, years of debt and no cash flow, business deals, lawsuits and athlete endorsements.  You don’t have to be a business buff to get this story because it’s an honest account of Knight’s highs, lows and insecurities.

This is an excellent book for anyone and would make a really good Father’s Day gift.