Book Review: Joining the Dots by Alex Mathers

Using our creative skills to make money and make an impact – while staying sane – can be hard as heck…

…If you don’t know what you’re doing.

A lot has been done to help creatives and artists find success, but much of it doesn’t apply to people with ‘arty’ skills. It can be hard to understand, and some of it is downright unhelpful.

With over a decade working for himself as an illustrator, writer and coach, Alex Mathers is intimately familiar with how we can hold ourselves back.

The common thread he’s discovered in his approach to success is the need to feel alive.

Every idea in this book addresses this very human need, distilled into a handy A-Z guide.

Though none of us is perfect, the way we think consistently will move us in the right direction.

Whether you’re an artist, a designer or a writer, working for yourself or with a team, the right mindset is the difference between giving up and thriving.

These 26 concepts will help you join the dots, seeing with greater clarity what it takes to be a successful creative.

Success is in your hands.




My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Starting any business can be daunting and Joining the Dots: The A-Z Handbook for Making a Success of Your Creative Skills is a resource that can help you stay focused. It’s presented in an entertaining and thoughtful way, helping the reader to consider the questions that are important to being successful. It also has a place for notes at the end of each chapter which is helpful.

I’ve always tried to emphasize to my boys the importance of making your passion your profession.  Joining the Dots: The A-Z Handbook for Making a Success of Your Creative Skills is designed to help you do just that.

Just for fun, the author has arranged the concepts from A to Z, and there are adorable illustrations throughout (think quirky fruit). Anyone starting their own business to market their creative skills would definitely find Joining the Dots: The A-Z Handbook for Making a Success of Your Creative Skills an excellent resource to go back to again and again.



About the Author

I’m Alex Mathers, a nomadic writer and illustrator, currently based in Bangkok, Thailand.

I started out drawing pictures as a young man, before studying Geography and Real Estate in London. Eventually, realising that these degrees would not help me much, I turned to creating more pictures, writing, and helping others make the most of their creative skills by sharing with them what I’ve learned as a freelance illustrator, through making many mistakes.

I’ve worked with clients like Google, Sony, Mars and the BBC.

I have written several books on attracting clients, creativity, and standing out, and have written for 99u, Design Taxi, Computer Arts, Six Revisions, and Digital Arts.

I have spoken at ICON Conference in Texas, OFFF festival in Barcelona, Behance in Tokyo, Ilustratour in Spain, DXSaigon in Vietnam, and the AOI in London.

My personal site, where I share mostly illustrations and drawings is here.

Book Review: No More Magic Wands by George Finney, JD, CISO

Author: George Finney
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 130
Genre: Business/Leadership/Management/Cybersecurity/Technology


Once upon a time, there was a company that made magic wands, but when they were hacked all the magic in the world couldn’t prevent their data from being stolen. If that company had a chance for a clean start, what would they have done differently? The unlikely hero isn’t a security guy. She’s a business elf who makes it her mission to change the way her company does business from the top down.

Most books on Cybersecurity are written for highly technical professionals, focus on specific compliance regulations, or are intended for reference. No More Magic Wands is different…it takes complex security concepts and puts them into practice in easy to read, relatable stories.

Available on Amazon.


My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

For most of us, the subject of cybersecurity is boring and technical but George Finney has written this book for those of us who aren’t so technical. This isn’t a reference book on cybersecurity. This is a book that anyone can read and understand. It contains stories of a magic world with elves and fairies and a business of magic wands and relates it to the business world. It’s an entertaining way to learn!

At the end of each chapter, there are key points (takeaways) and questions to ponder or discuss. The most important thing to remember is that security is everyone’s job from the top down and it should begin from the startup of the company. To implement and keep security ongoing and up-to-date, communication within and outside the company is vital.

This is a book is directed at management but I think all employees would benefit from reading it and learning how important everyone’s role is in cybersecurity.


About the Author

George Finney, ESQ., has worked in Cybersecurity for over 15 years and is the author of No More Magic Wands: Transformative Cybersecurity Change for Everyone. He is currently the Chief Information Security Officer for Southern Methodist University where he has also taught on the subject of Corporate Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. Mr. Finney is an attorney and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional as well as a Certified Information Security Systems Professional and has spoken on Cybersecurity topics across the country.




The Amazon purchase link in this post is an affiliate link. Purchasing through it helps sustain Bound 4 Escape.

Book Review: The Joyful Business Planner by Kate Martin

This business planner is special. It is for small business owners like you. People that need better organization, a clearer path to follow, and a little more joy in their lives.
Your busy schedule doesn’t have time for complicated systems. Expensive software won’t work in your budget. You can’t find things in your office and it’s holding you back from success.
This book will change all of that. It will help you:
Discover the honest ups and downs of your business by analyzing your own data all in one place.
Greatly improve your chances of getting a business loan when presented to your financial advisor.
Finally, keep your business ideas and procedures truly organized and easy to access.
Work towards productive goals when you use the evaluation sections for each month, quarter, and year.
Track the progress of your business in a familiar and trusted paper format – not online.
Train employees about what matters the most in your company.
Inspire yourself to remember why you started your business in the first place.

Available on Amazon.


My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Being a small business owner, I was hoping that this book would give me some ideas. In fact, I was able to print the forms off and we’re going to be working on them over the next couple of weeks. My husband isn’t much for using software so being able to do this on paper will really help.

One thing I really like is the section on the Business Plan. I’ve always felt intimidated by Business Plans but this worksheet is great! There are other sections that are just as helpful for small businesses and I definitely recommend The Joyful Business Planner for any small business owner, especially if you’d like a simple plan on paper to help grow your business.


About the Author

Kate Martin is a Certified Professional Organizer®, secretary for NAPO Austin (the National Association of Professional Organizers), a certified art teacher and proud owner of Organized Joy LLC.

Kate has been featured on Fox 7 Good Day. She writes the OJoy organizing blog and hosts a YouTube Organizing video series. She juggles the demands of being a small business owner, wife, and mom to 2 little boys with lots of help from decorating magazines and dark chocolate.

A native New Yorker, she has moved 10 times in the last 15 years. Many of her decorating and organizing challenges in her own home are documented in her blog and YouTube videos. Take a tour and see what she can do for you!

Book Review: Giving Candy to Strangers by Stan Holden

Giving Candy to StrangersDescription

Too many sales people are focused on the end result, the outcome—the close—and another notch on their gun! But, what if you approached “sales” from a heart-centered standpoint, with curiosity and playfulness, as though the world were your sandbox?

What if you created relationships for no other reason than to help others and make new friends? I know what you are saying, “How can it not be about results when it comes to business?”

The bottom line is important, but if you detach from this burden while you are creating relationships, you will find that the health of your bottomline will improve on its own!


Buy the book:   Amazon    Barnes & Noble    Book Depository    Chapters/Indigo

My Review

I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

Giving Candy to Strangers is all about growing your business by being a people person. Instead of focusing on making a sale, Stan Holden says that making and keeping friends is the most important thing that you can do to make sales.

The author explains how to be more outgoing, keep relationships, and even have a good time while your bottom line improves. Anyone in sales may benefit from reading Giving Candy to Strangers, whether it’s a salesman or a business owner, there’s some good advice along with common sense.


Author’s Bio

Stan HoldenStan Holden, owner of The LooneyBin Creative Studio, has created work for many Fortune 100 companies. As a protégé, he was first published in a national magazine during the 5th grade. A graduate of California University Long Beach, his screenplay, Rebel Without A Claus, has received a “recommend” by Disney and optioned for filming. He resides in Irvine, CA, with his wife, Reneé, and their two teenagers, Sara and William.

Connect with the author:    Website   Twitter   Facebook





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Book Review & Giveaway: America is an Idea and the American Dream is for Everyone by Michael Cyrus Pousti

America is an IdeaAbout the Book

From a co-founder of comes this “Why?” story behind the massive social platform, empowr, that’s been in the making for fifteen years.

Learn exactly what drove the participants (founders, advisors, success coaches and 1,000 employees plus 100,000 alpha test users) in their gigantic moonshot project.

After meticulously discussing the “Why?” the author then delves into how empowr has been designed to exploit the exponential characteristics of the web – via its tightly-integrated democratic, economic and educational platform – to deliver opportunity to people everywhere.

The book reads like a manifesto and a manual. One can’t help but come away with newfound or elevated inspiration to dream big, take on their own moonshot project and make a massive difference on the planet.


Buy the book:  Amazon



My Review

I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

There is a lot of information in this book. Not only is it a good resource for people who are getting ready to start a business, but also for those who have been in business for a long time. What’s different about this book, though, is that it also explains the different economies and what has affected them over the years. It states that our government is broken (I think most of us believe that) and ways that could help fix it. I agree with Mike Pousti that poverty and lack of education are two important things that need to be fixed.

The second half of America is an Idea… is about empowr and how it works, as well as the author’s vision of how it could work in the future once there are millions, or billions, of users. He believes that it could ultimately redefine the American Dream using technology and helping educate people along the way. By educating them, they will bring themselves out of poverty. It’s a wonderful idea and a great dream and I hope that his vision works.



Author’s Bio

Michael PoustiMike Pousti is the co-founder of empowr, a partnership between academia and tech entrepreneurs that’s attempting to deliver a democratized social media experience where the company is governed by its citizens.

Mike began his entrepreneurial journey when he founded his first start-up during his senior year as a computer engineering student at UC San Diego (UCSD). Employing 200 people and generating millions of dollars in profits before the age of 22, his company, Higher Educational Resources Corporation, developed the first commercially successful search engine on the Internet, known as the Arpanet.

His next start-up, Productivity Solutions Corporation, was acquired when he was 24 and two years later, Mike started, the world’s leading website for the 18-23 year old demographic.

After the dot-com crash in 2000, was acquired, and less than a week later, Mike started Phase 1 of empowr. empowr’s highly patented suite of technologies generated over $150M U.S. and today, empowr’s proprietary technologies are used by all major social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus and Tumblr.

While Mike remains an integral part in the daily operations of empowr, he recently relinquished his CEO position and handed over control of the company to empowr’s citizens, who formally elected their leader (and new President of empowr) via a web-based election.


Connect with the author:   Website



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Book Review: Startup by Glenn Ogura

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4-8-2014 7-52-40 PMTitle: Startup
Author: Glenn Ogura
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 486
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle

About the Book: 

Set in California’s Silicon Valley, STARTUP follows a young idealist/entrepreneur, Zack Penny, as he strives to achieve his dream of creating a new company that will launch an international revolution in technology through the creation of wallpaper-thin displays that will completely surround a viewer. Zack works for a highly successful company called Display Technik, run by CEO Allen Henley, whose vision is based on a success-at-all-costs philosophy.  Zack sees Henley as a mentor, but Zack’s philosophy favors high morals and values over Henley’s ruthless, end-justifies-the-means model of doing business.

Zack’s dream takes root one morning when he discovers an important paper has been taken from his office. Someone has exposed Zack’s secret plan to break away from Display Technik and start his own company. Henley gives Zack another chance to pledge his loyalty to the firm, but Zack resigns instead, more determined than ever to realize his vision. Soon, the optimistic if naive Zack steps into his new facility with high hopes for success. Henley, however, has already launched a plan to destroy Zack, his company, and Zack’s relationship with Henley’s daughter, Mary Anne.


I received a free copy of this book for an honest review. 

Startup is a business thriller that is full of suspense. It was a little slow in a couple spots but most of the time kept my interest. There were even times that I couldn’t put it down.

The characters are well developed and realistic for the most part. I’m not sure how many people are as naive as Zack but I’m sure they’re out there. I don’t know how many times I found myself shaking my head as I read, or wanting to knock some sense into one of the characters. They sure made things interesting!

This is a very good first novel and anyone who likes suspense will enjoy it. And what an ending! It was not what I expected.

Purchase on Amazon.


About the Author

4-8-2014 7-51-48 PMGlenn Ogura earned a degree in electrical engineering from Queen’s University in Canada. He is currently the executive vice-president for a New Hampshire-based laser micromachining company. Glenn lives with his wife in California.  In addition to his love of writing and talking technology and the study of business ethics, he plays tennis. Startup is his first novel.


Visit his website at

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It’s Spring!

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It’s finally that time of year! The garage sales, yard sales, and church sales are starting up everywhere. Missouri’s biggest annual garage sale is this weekend in Neosho, Mo. I don’t go to it because there are wall to wall people and cars. I find that it’s much better to go to other sales in this area. I stopped at a church sale on the way to work this morning and felt like a kid in a candy shop! I found 34 books to buy. Now I have to get busy putting them online today before I leave. If anyone runs across any good book sales in the Southwest Missouri area, I’d appreciate a heads up.