I Am A Failure By Akhil Sharma [Book Review]

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Book Review: I Am A Failure by Akhil Sharma | Memior | Autobiography | Nonfiction | RachelPoli.com

I received a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Have you experienced failures in your life? Is your startup business facing a downturn? Is your dream partner telling you she hates you? Don’t despair. Failure encages us all.

Akhil, born with a plastic spoon in India, was specially designed for all failures life can bring. Growing up like everyone, the more he tried for success, the more he failed. Not until when he redefined his stupidity and started listening to his heart, his failures brought forth his keys to freedom and made him discover that ‘Failure encourages us all’.

This book is about his transformation from being a failure to the creator of the award-winning technique ‘The Art of Failure’. It talks about his technique, hidden in the form of an entertaining but true autobiographical story. It is helpful for everyone who wants to become a fearless failure warrior rather than being a usual success hunter.

The narrative is set against the transformation of India – from its analog days to the digital age and bubbling startup economy. One thing which hasn’t changed with time though is the hatred and fear towards failure and how it has been eating up our enormous innovation potential for ages. It is time to accept failure as a part of life – where there is no failure, there is no growth. Learn from your experiences and move on!

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I think the cover goes well with the words inside. It shows the author well put together but in fragments as well. He fails, but there are some successes and failing is part of life and what makes you the person you are today.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I’ll admit this isn’t the typical story I’d pick up on my own if I saw it in the bookstore. Though it intrigued me enough when the author reached out to me. We all fail, so I knew it was definitely going to be something relatable.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

This is a non-fiction memoir piece about the author by the author. He describes his life in detail from the moment he’s born up until now.

Details about his life, events, places, and people, are prominent as he describes his life’s ups and downs.

I found this to be an interesting topic for an autobiography because it’s one we can all relate to. We all fail in life multiple times, from something simple to something much bigger. The question is, how do we overcome it and move on? The author explains how he overcomes failure – how he expects it – and it’s done pretty well.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The writing style is easy to read. The story is written in block text (much like blogging) rather than indented paragraphs right after another.

The tone of the narrator seemed to fit right in with me. It was almost as though he knew he was talking to the reader. We just sat down in a coffee shop one day and he told me his life story. It felt natural and well done.

I’ll admit there were a couple parts here and there that seemed to slow down. Some parts might not have needed as much detail, but it was pretty good all the same.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was certainly an interesting read. It was well written and the context is something everyone can learn from. It’s quick at 160 pages so if it piques your interest, please give it a try.

I Am A Failure by Akhil Sharma gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com 4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“We were scared of death back then and we still are. For us, it’s still the circle of life and not the circle of death, although both are one and the same thing.” -Akhil Sharma, I Am A Failure

Buy the book:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

About Akhil Sharma:

Akhil Sharma, AuthorAkhil Sharma aka ‘The Failure Guy’ is a renowned award losing entrepreneur, inventor and innovator. In his decade long career, ranging from being a mariner, selling credit cards to being a technologist, he is blessed to have failed almost every time. Specially designed for failure, he is using his extensive experience to conduct ‘The Art of Failure’ workshops through which he has helped individuals to keep up the spirit of trying despite failures and coached them how to listen to their hearts and find their real inspiration. These workshops have taught them how to be innovative and creative amidst a failure environment. His lifelong mission is to make the human mind friendly to failure – a concept which stands in stark contrast to the general interest in success.

In 2016, the United Nations and iCongo chose him for the Rex Karmaveer Chakra award and Global fellowship, and he is often called upon to talk about it for free on various platforms in India. He is also a Mentor for Change selected by the Niti Ayog, Indian Government in 2018.

Connect with Akhil:

Website | Twitter | LinkedIn | Goodreads

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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13 Steps To Evil: How To Craft Superbad Villains by Sacha Black [Book Review]

13 Steps To Evil: How To Craft Superbad Villains by Sacha Black | Book Review at RachelPoli.com

Title: 13 Steps To Evil: How To Craft Superbad Villains
Author: Sacha Black
Published: 
May 2017 by Atlas Black Publishing
Genre: Nonfiction, writing craft
How I got the book: I bought a digital copy onto my Kindle

Summary:

Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.

Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?

In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:

• How to develop a villain’s mindset
• A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
• Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
• What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs

Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.

These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I’ve followed Sacha Black on her blog for a long time now. I’ve watched her create this book and I feel like I’ve learned a lot just by reading her posts. Now she’s put all her research, time, and effort, into an ebook.

rp-plot

(There’s no plot, but I don’t have another picture, so I’m going with it.)

In this craft book, the author discusses a range of “bad guys” from the villains to the antagonists (yes, they are different) to anti-heroes. Just like the summary suggests, everything you would want to know about creating villains is in this book.

This includes basic definitions of villains and villainy as well as motivation, character traits, and getting into the mind of the villain and the psychology behind it all.

rp-writing-style

This book is broken up into 14 steps, plus an introduction. Each step seemed to go on in the blink of an eye because I just kept reading and reading.

When I say that, I mean it was highly entertaining. I often found myself thinking I was reading a textbook, but it wasn’t the typical textbook you’d get from college. The author’s way of words was informative but entertaining. It was fun to read about the villains and why they do what they do.

It was educational and I found myself wondering if I should be taking notes, but at the end of each step, there was a quick summary of that section plus questions to think about when you create your villain. It made it so that I could sit back and absorb the information knowing that I can go back for reference and not be flipping through the pages trying to find something particular.

rp-overall

This is a wonderful writing craft book that you don’t want to miss. It’s packed with helpful information on villains and it’s entertaining enough that you’ll learn without realizing it. There is also a workbook that goes along with it that I have yet to get, but will definitely be buying soon.

13 Steps To Evil: How To Craft Superbad Villains by Sacha Black gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“What separates a villain from a hero are the decisions and choices he makes.” –Sacha Black, 13 Steps To Evil: How To Craft Superbad Villains

Buy the book:

Amazon – Textbook | Amazon – Workbook | Barnes & Noble – Textbook | Barnes & Noble – Workbook

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*This post contains affiliate links.

Short Story Sunday 188: Dear Diary, Writing Buddies [NaNoWriMo]

Short Story Sunday 188: Writing Buddies

            It’s no secret that Kris and I have a love for video games, especially since we have a second blog dedicated to gaming. We also love YouTube and there are a lot of gamers we follow and watch on there. They talk about games, new and old, do reviews, top lists, and most of them have Let’s Play channels where they play through a lot of their favorite games.

We’ve been watching these guys for a couple of years now and we love each and every one of them. They’re funny, informative, and pretty cute as well.

Kris and I sometimes send writing memes to each other through Pinterest and Tumblr, mostly because they’re funny, but we try to encourage each other to continue writing at the same time. Regardless, who doesn’t want a hot celebrity smirking at you while encouraging to do what you love the most?

Last year, for NaNoWriMo 2016, I decided to create a couple of writing memes for Kris. She always had a hard time sticking to one idea throughout the month and that often slowed down her word count. She had taken a couple days off from work because she was able to and our dog was having surgery. She was going to use those days to get ahead in her novel word count.

So, I decided to print out some writing memes for Kris. I figured once she left to drive our cousins to school, I would tape one of them up onto the bathroom mirror. I knew she would definitely see it there. But, I figured, why find her favorite celebrity on the Internet when I can just make my own?

I decided to create writing memes using our favorite YouTubers. I came up with three different ideas, which was perfect because she had three days off from work. I would tape one up on the bathroom mirror before leaving for work each more.

That first day, Kris sent me a text while I was work and I nearly burst out laughing once I read what she wrote. She wrote in all caps about how she just “found Jared in our bathroom” and how I was simply awesome. Of course, if you were reading over my shoulder and had no idea what we were talking about, that conversation very well could have been taken out of context completely—and probably not in a very good way.

I had three days off from work the following week due to the election, a professional day for the teachers, and then Veteran’s Day. So, on Kris’s third and final day off from work, we were admiring the three boys, who were now taped up against our closet door.

“You know, I expect a couple of memes from you when I have a few days off from work next week.” I told her.

Kris waved her hand dismissively and said, “I already have them printed out.”

She didn’t end up just giving me three based on my days off, but she gave me four. I made her an extra one because she also had Veteran’s Day off, but I had two different ideas so I ended up giving her two. We felt the need to give each other an even amount of writing memes so Kris made me another one as well.

But both of us kept coming up with more and more ideas for these memes. And, if we’re going to be honest here, there are about 20 or so YouTubers that we want. Part of the reason we kept coming up with new ideas and pictures was because we didn’t want to leave anyone out and we were trying to get a meme for each one of the guys. Then we would of course come up with various ideas for the same YouTuber.

We have issues when it comes to YouTubers. That’s all I’m going to say on that.

Our closet door is currently filled with various pictures of our favorite YouTubers reminding us to keep writing, that we’re great writers, and that we can do it and reach our dreams.

It’s amazing how encouraging Kris and I can be to one another when it comes to YouTube and video games and writing. Of course, we’re always like that to each other, but we had way too much fun with the writing memes. It got a little too far and if anyone comes up into our room and sees our closet door, I’m not exactly sure how we’re going to explain all that.

In fact, it’s hard to believe that I’m explaining it to everyone who follows my blog.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing, though. Kris and I love watching those YouTubers and they inspire us to do what we love each and every day, just like they did and now look where they are. Plus, Kris and I can have a lot of fun and get some good laughs out of it as well.

We still give each other a writing meme once in a while as new ideas pop up and we discover new YouTubers. I don’t think this joke between the two of us is ever going to end. But then again, I’m not sure I want to let it end.

If anything, it’s a great motivator for all the NaNo sessions to come in the future.

Words: 898

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know what you think in the comments below and we’ll chat!

Short Story Sunday 179: The Writing Portfolio

It was the second day of school for my cousins. One was in her sophomore year of high school and the other had just begun eighth grade. Neither were happy to be going back to school, but when they came home on that first day, they were all smiles. I think they were glad to be back into some sort of routine and it was nice to see all their friends again.

So on that second day, it occured me that we were indeed back into the swing of things. And when I say that, I mean homework.

The three of us were the only ones home and we sat in the living room talking. I asked how their days went. The older of the two said her day was fine, the younger described every minute of her day without missing one detail.

Then I asked about their homework. Being in upper middle school and high school, I assumed they had homework. Even if it was the second day of school.

They both nodded, the older explaining she had no idea what she had to do.

I took out her planner and read out loud what she wrote.

“English,” I said, “bring in writing portfolio.”

“Yeah, what’s that?” she asked.

I blinked at her. How did she not know what a writing portfolio was? Still, I explained it to her that it was like having samples of your writing. It was a folder of her previous work, I assumed essays she had written from her English class last year.

“I don’t have that.” she shrugged.

I didn’t know whether to agree or not. I was sure she had copies saved on the computer, but her teacher didn’t really expect the kids to keep an actual hard copy portfolio from the previous year?

“Well, what did your teacher say?” I asked.

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know…?”

“She might have explained it, but I don’t remember… Or maybe I wasn’t paying attention.”

This didn’t surprise me. I sighed and said, “Well, I guess you can just ask your teacher tomorrow.”

“But it was due today.”

I stared at her. I glanced at my other cousin, who sat in the armchair beside me. She was smirking, clearly enjoying that her sister was going to get a bad grade on the second day of school.

“Wait, it was due today, but you didn’t think to worry about this last night?” I asked.

“Well,” she continued, “my teacher must have said something about it yesterday and I just wasn’t paying attention. I only know about it now because kids were handing in thick folders with papers inside to her today.”

I sighed. “Okay then you’re just going to have to reprint everything you wrote last year and put it all together.”

“I don’t have that.”

“You have your laptop.”

“But I didn’t save anything.”

I cringed at this. How do you not save your homework? How can you write pages upon pages of essays and not bother to save any of it or at least print out an extra copy?

“I mean, the more stuff I save onto the computer the slower the computer will be.” she explained with a smile. A proud smile as though she had thought outside the box and solved the “slow computer” problem. The answer has clearly been right in front of us the whole time… So, stop saving your work onto the computer, everyone!

I had no idea what to say to her.

“Then go to your English teacher from last year and ask him if he has any copies.” I said. I knew that was a long shot, but it was the only thing I could think of to say.

“He already gave it to me.” she replied.

“Then what are we even talking about here…?”

“I think that’s how the other kids had their folders. Our teachers last year gave them to us at the end of the year.”

“Then where’s yours?”

“I asked Daddy to make a fire at the beginning of the summer and I burned all my schoolwork.”

At this, my other cousin burst out laughing. I was completely dumbfounded.

Thankfully, my mom walked through the front door. I stood up and said, “Tag. You’re it.”

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know what you think in the comments below and we’ll chat!

August/September 2017 Writing Contests

Writing contests for August and September 2017

AUGUST 2017

Genre: Flash Fiction/Non-Fiction/Poetry
Theme: N/A
Website: Blue Earth Review
Deadline: August 15, 2017
Entry Fee: $5
Prize: $500

Genre: Non-fiction
Theme: Miracles and More
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: August 31, 2017
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Genre: Non-Fiction
Theme: Stories of Redemption
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: August 31, 2017
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Genre: Fiction
Theme: Very Short (flash)
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: August 31, 2017
Entry Fee: $16
Prize: First – $2,000

Genre: Fiction
Theme: N/A
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: August 31, 2017
Entry Fee:$21
Prize: First – $3,000

September 2017

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: My Crazy Family
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: September 5, 2017
Entry Fee: None
Prize: $200

Genre: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, or Poetry
Theme: None
Website: Still: The Journal
Deadline: September 9, 2017
Entry Fee: $12
Prize: First – $200

Genre: Essay
Theme: None
Website: Literal Latte
Deadline: September 30, 2017
Entry Fee: $10/1 essay or $15/2 essays
Prize: First – $1,000

Please be sure to read through the guidelines for each contest. Information may change.

Do you know any other contests with deadlines coming up? Are you thinking of submitting to any of these contests? Let me know in the comments below! Good luck if you do!

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