BOOK REVIEW: “The Master Key System”

  • Title: The Master Key System (Amazon) (Goodreads)
  • Author: Charles F. Haanel
  • Publication: Brownstone Books (June 18, 2007)
  • Pages: 136
  • Genre: Self Help, New Age/Metaphysical
  • Format: Paperback
  • Source: Library
  • Rating: 5/5 stars

What would do if you had unlimited abundance? Sure, you would quit your day job and travel around the world, right?

What if I told you all the power is inside you? The Master Key System reveals every person has an unlimited power: thought. In this book, Charles F. Haanel shows you how to harness it for your own benefit.

There are 24 chapters in The Master Key. Each of them is a lesson you practice each week.

UNIVERSAL POWER

According to Haanel, our minds are connected to a universal mind:

“Thought is the connecting link between the Infinite and the finite, between the Universal and the individual.”

Think of the house you live in. Someone had to build it. The architect has summoned the vision for your home from his imagination. This imagination comes from the universal mind.

If we’re connected to the Universe, we’re connected to endless possibilities. Our minds are infinite. We can conjure anything we desire due to our connection to the Universal mind.

Yet, we let doubt, fear, and other bullcrap get in our way. We let our negative thoughts cloud our minds. Thankfully, Haanel reminds us we are powerful imaginers.

MIND DESIGN

“A builder cannot build a structure of any kind until he has first reached the plans from the architect, and the architect must get them from his imagination.”

One of the most beautiful lessons from The Master Key is the gift of imagination. Where would we be without it?

According to Haanel, where we are in life solely depends on our thinking. Think positive, you get positive, think negative, well, you wouldn’t like where you’ll end up.

THE KYBALION CONNECTION

All the topics Haanel discussed in The Master Key have strong connections to The Kybalion by the Three Initiates.  Both speak of common subjects revolving around cause and effect, vibration, and mentalism. It makes me wonder if Haanel were one of the Initiates or affiliated with them in some way.

Look at the similarity between The Kybalion’s laws and The Master Key System’s passages:

LAW OF CAUSE AND EFFECT

Master Key System: “Every thought therefore is a cause and every condition is an effect.”

Kybalion: “Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law.”

VIBRATION

Master Key System: “Vibration is the action of thoughts.”

Kybalion: “Nothing rests, everything moves; everything vibrates.”

 MENTALISM

Master Key System:“Things are created in the mental or spiritual world then appear in the outward act or event.”

Kybalion: “THE ALL IS MIND. The Universe is Mental.”

You see? Interesting, isn’t it?

CONCLUSION

The Master Key System is a thought-provoking, reality-bending tool. Haanel has written a book noting imagination is our greatest asset. This book will change the way how you use your mind.

Note: It takes practice!

Be sure to apply the weekly lessons provided and watch your world shift to new heights.

Have you read The Master Key System?  How did this book help you?

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BOOK REVIEW: “Writing Feature Stories”

Image result for writing feature stories matthew ricketson

  • Title: Writing Feature Stories (Amazon) (Goodreads)
  • Authors: Matthew Ricketson, Caroline Graham
  • Publication: Allen & Unwin, 2nd edition (Jan. 1, 2018)
  • Pages: 384
  • Genre: General Non-Fiction, Writing
  • Format: Paperback
  • Source: Library
  • Rating: 4/5 stars

Congratulations, you landed your first assignment as a journalist!

Oh crap, an interview?! You’re not ready for that!

Have a 2,000-word feature article as well? Where did that assignment come from?!

This situation sounds familiar? If you’ve ever suffered through such chaotic writing and deadline situations, pick up your very own copy of Writing Feature Stories by Matthew Ricketson and Caroline Graham.  You don’t have to be on the journalist’s path to read this book. This is valuable for all writers.

If you’re interested in composing great interview, column, and feature articles, this is for you.

I read this book because I wanted to write more longform articles including listicles. Listicles are all the rage these days especially with sites like Buzzfeed and Listverse.

WRITING LESSONS

In Writing Feature Stories, you’ll learn:

REVIEWS

The more you write reviews, the better. It may seem daunting at first. You’re only revealing your experiences with a product or an event to your readers.

EDITING

Editing can be your worst enemy or your best friend. You’d want it to be the latter. Sometimes with editing, you’ll have to add more relevant information to your article. This is a task impatient writers will have to get used to.

You’d want your readers to receive much value from your article as much as possible. Take your time, and edit with much information you see fit.

KEEPING AN IDEAS FILE

An ideas file, whether it be on your computer or a basic notebook, is an excellent way to stay out of writer’s block. I write 10-20 ideas a day in the mornings.

Find potential article ideas through Google News, Pinterest, your favorite sites related to your interests, and more. The amount of ideas is infinite!

CONCLUSION

Writing Feature Stories is a helpful book for writers. I appreciate the example feature stories, and infographics added. Overall, this book has a worthy spot in any writer’s bookshelf.

Have you read this book before? Comment below your favorite writing book!

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(Book pic: Amazon)

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BOOK REVIEW: “The Hermetica”

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WHAT IS THE HERMETICA?

Image result for hermes trismegistus

The Hermetica is a spark-notes version of the massive Corpus Hermeticum, a collection of ancient texts on divine wisdom, alchemy, and magic. Hermes Trismegistus, meaning “Thrice Great,” is the author. He’s more mythical than real, a combination of the gods Hermes and Thoth.

According to authors Peter Gandy and Timothy Freke, Hermeticism has inspired many notable figures including William Shakespeare, John Dee, and Plato. Pythagoras studied its teachings in Egypt for 22 years.

Gandy and Freke hinted former Catholic priest Giordano Bruno was executed not only for his scientific beliefs but his Hermetic associations.

Hermeticism had its rise and fall in history. It gained popularity during Egypt’s Ptolemaic era only to be taken underground during the Dark Ages. Once again, it became a trend during the Italian Renaissance amongst many scholars, artists, writers, and philosophers. Eventually, the Roman Catholic church attempted to snuff it out like a light.

What’s the big deal? Was it a serious threat to the Church?

Once you read The Hermetica, you’ll understand this book reminds readers of their inherited infinite power.

LAW OF ATTRACTION CONNECTIONS

Image result for hermeticism

What I loved about The Hermetica is its relations to the law of attraction.

For those who don’t know, the law of attraction is the belief your thoughts create your reality. More than likely, you have heard Oprah raving about it with The Secret. I read the book a while back. How did it influence me to read The Hermetica?

In The Secret movie, a man buries a curious set of green tablets, referring to Thoth’s Emerald Tablets. This introduced me to The Kybalion which later brought to requesting The Hermetica as a Christmas gift.

Perhaps the Church didn’t want people to know they might have the same powers as God (or Atum as referred in The Hermetica).

According to The Hermetica, thoughts come first before anything else. We can create anything from our thoughts. Since we are part of God, we have the same powers of him, but on a smaller scale.

“The human mind is an image of the Supreme Mind. Through the power of the imagination, it can roam the universe and be, like God, in all things and places.”

CONCLUSION

Image result for corpus hermeticum

I’m inspired to read the entire Corpus Hermeticum after reading The Hermetica. I must find more information on Giodarno Bruno’s connection with Hermeticism. Frances Yates’ Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition seems like a good start.

If you like ancient esoteric wisdom, and you don’t feel like reading big books like The Corpus Hermeticism yet, check out The Hermetica.

Comment below if you read The Hermetica. What do you think of it? Any related recommendations?

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(PIC SOURCES: Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia)

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: “Exquisite Corpse” by Penelope Bagieu

Image result for exquisite corpse penelope bagieu

  • Title: Exquisite Corpse (Amazon) (Goodreads)
  • Author: Pénélope Bagieu
  • Publication: First Second (May 5, 2015)
  • Pages: 128
  • Genre: Romance, Graphic Novels/Comics
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Source: Library
  • Rating: 2/5 stars

Exquisite Corpse rubbed me off the wrong way. The story is meant to be a romantic comedy, but I found it mildly frustrating. The lead character is a lazy protagonist. She didn’t do much to get her happy ending and the way she got it was, well, I’ll try not to spoil it.

LET’S START FROM THE BEGINNING

You’re introduced to Zoe’s not-so-wonderful life in Paris. She’s stuck in a dead-end job as a spokesmodel. Occasionally, creepy men would ask for her picture and cop a feel.

After work, Zoe returns to her apartment to her no-good boyfriend. He doesn’t do much but watches TV all day and badmouths her.

via Mental Floss

 

This is not Zoe’s dream life. She wants a better life with a boyfriend who’s glad to listen to all her problems and surprise her in the mornings with breakfasts in bed.

The problem: you don’t exactly see Zoe’s character transformation. All she does is cries and complains.

HERE COMES THOMAS

A glimmer of light shines upon Zoe’s crumbling love life when she meets Thomas Rocher, a writer. Thomas doesn’t like going out. He rather stays in his home and write all day.

If he wants something to eat, it’s delivered to him.

Zoe gets tired of staying indoors with Thomas. She wants to go out during the day together like all normal couples do in the famous city of love.

Things take a sharp turn when Zoe meets Thomas’ editor and ex-wife Agathe. What she reveals about Thomas changes Zoe’s mind forever.

THE BIG SECRET

You’re probably dying to know what Zoe figured out about her perfect boyfriend writer. All I have to say is she takes his greatest secret and ruthlessly uses it against him in the end.

Out of thin air, Zoe becomes a renowned writer. Where did this come from? How did she get into this spot? You don’t ever see her writing. Zoe says herself she has never been into a bookstore!

You don’t see Zoe’s character arc, her trials and tribulations, none of that! If you read Exquisite Corpse, you’ll see how it worked out, but still be puzzled.

I felt sorry for Thomas, then again, he wasn’t much a better character himself. Thomas didn’t see Zoe as a new love interest, but a temporary muse. He has been in a writer’s stint until Zoe came into his life.

Nothing matters more to Thomas than his writing and his book reviews. It doesn’t matter if anybody close to him feels left out in the process. You’ll know why Agathe left him.

CONCLUSION

Exquisite Corpse’s good to read once. The book doesn’t stop me from reading Pénélope Bagieu’s works. I loved Brazen, and I’m looking forward to reading California Dreamin.

I wish Zoe was more of an active character. It’s okay to complain at first, but please, do something about it! I truly wanted to see Zoe succeed.

 Exquisite Corpse left me going, “WTF?”

Have you read Exquisite Corpse? Comment below your thoughts.

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My April 2018 Book Haul

Can I read up to book #100 by the end of this spring?

If you’re new to this blog, I’ve set up a Goodreads challenge reading 333 books this year. I’ve read 51 books (including comics & manga) so far.

How many books you’ve read so far this year? How about this April? Here’s my book haul for April 2018.

ADULT FICTION

1. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (3/5 stars) (review)

Image result for the woman in cabin 10 goodreads

A travel journalist’ cruise assignment goes wrong after she witnesses a murder. A Woman in Cabin 10 is a decent thriller. I wish the journalist would stop drinking though.

For readers into:

  • Cruise murder mysteries
  • Ruth Ware
  • Thrillers

ADULT NON-FICTION

1. How to Write and Sell for Fun and Profit by Robert W. Bly (3.5/5 stars) (review)

Image result for how to write and sell simple information for fun and profit

How to Write for and Sell offers expert advice for freelance writers to produce their writings on various platforms (DVDs, seminars, e-books, etc.) and grow their income out of it.

Another book I read by the same author: The Secrets of a Freelance Writer.

Key points:

  • Freelance writing is not exclusively for magazine, newspaper, and online publications.
  • Always do twice the research expected.
  •  Educate your readers.

For readers into:

  • Freelance Writing
  • Having a full-time writing career
  • Writing

2. The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel (4.5/5 stars)

The Master Key System

Do you know you have an infinite power within you? In The Master Key System, Charles F. Haanel reveals the keys to harnessing the awesome power of your mind and changing your reality. Nothing like The Matrix, but a similar concept.

I also read: Mental Chemistry by Charles F. Haanel (review)

Key points:

  • Thought is the creation of all form.
  • The mind is infinite.
  • Hone your mind with concentration and the universe will lead you to your desires.

For readers into:

  • Mentalism
  • New Thought
  • New Thought writers

3. Mind Mapping for Dummies by Florian Rustler (3/5 stars)

Mind-mapping is an organization tool used to outline your ideas into connecting thought bubbles and branches. This planning method has helped me with a couple of writing projects.  Check out Google for examples.

Key point:

  • Humans take in visual information easier than most forms.

For readers into:

  • “For Dummies” books
  • Mind organization
  • Mind-mapping

COMICS/GRAPHIC NOVELS

1. Brazen by Penelope Bagieu (4/5 stars)

Image result for brazen by penelope bagieu

Penelope Bagieu creates a remarkable graphic novel about historical women barely mentioned in mainstream history. Famous figures include Nelly Bly, Katia Krafft, Betty Davis, and Agnodice.

For readers into:

  • Biographic graphic novels
  • Comics/Graphic novels
  • Women’s History

2. Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll (4/5 stars)

Speak: The Graphic Novel

I remember being furious reading the original novel Speak as a teen. The story’s fantastic, but the narrator’s day-to-day conflict was frustrating. High school can be tough. Remaining silent about sexual assault only adds salt to the wound.

For readers into:

  • Comics/graphic novels
  • YA books
  • YA graphic novels

3. Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag (3/5 stars)

Image result for witch boy

Witch Boy takes a magical spin on gender roles and how ridiculous they can be.

Males are shapeshifters. Females are spellcasters. Aster is supposed to follow the shapeshifter’s path, but he’s more interested in spells healing broken bones and scrying.

When an ancient evil loom rears its ugly head and threatens his family, Aster puts his witchcraft to the test despite his family’s warnings.

For readers into:

  • Comics/graphic novels
  • Fantasy comics
  • Witches in comics

Comment below your April 2018 Book Haul. Feel free to a post a link to your blog post if you’ve made one. 😉

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BOOK REVIEW: “How to Write & Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit”

Image result for how to write and sell simple information for fun and profit

  • Title: How to Write and Sell Information for Fun and Profit (Amazon) (Goodreads)
  • Author: Robert W. Bly
  • Publication: Quill Driver Books (Sept. 1, 2010)
  • Pages: 252
  • Format: Paperback
  • Source: Library
  • Rating:5/5 stars

Are you new to freelance writing? Want to know how you can make money doing it? How to Write & Sell Simple Information gives you a jumpstart in this writing field.

For all experienced freelance writers looking for new ways to sell their writings, this is the book for you. Not only author Robert Bly offers you writing advice; he lets you know it’s okay to spread your word through different platforms: e-books, websites, newsletters, audiobooks, etc.

Bly has been freelance writing for over 30 years. He has published printed books, hosted teleseminars, speeches, and occasionally held classes about writing.

Writing was one thing for Bly, but it didn’t stop him from diving into new areas. Doing so made him more money.

If you’re not set to go all out as Bly has done as a freelance writer, here are some lessons you’ll read in his book:

  • Choosing a niche
  • The research processes
  • How a specialist writer is better than a generalist

CHOOSING A NICHE

A niche is a subject of interest a writer chooses like health, entertainment, and technology.

What interests you? What experiences do you have? These questions will lead you to the niches you’ll write. It’s best not to have too many niches, or you’ll overwhelm yourself. Best to keep at three maximum.

After you’ve chosen your niches, search for publications looking for writers in your area.

One trick I discovered through Google is typing your niche and the keyword “write for us”: “Niche” + “write for us.”

Here are the results I’ve picked up entering “video games” as a niche:

Another one for “paranormal”:

NOTE: the narrower your niche, the more money you might make. If you’re an expert in 3D printing, archery, or building tiny homes, someone will pay you for it.

THE RESEARCH PROCESS

Bly notes many writers produce weak articles due to lack of information. The best a writer can do is gather as much information they can, organize the content, and filter out what’s best for their article.

The index card method and mind-mapping are two ways a writer can use to outline their research info.

Image result for index cards

With index cards, you write a topic on each index card related to your article. Once you’ve written all the info, you can reorganize the cards in any way you see fit before you start your first draft.

Mind maps take a core subject and break it down the sub-topics bubbles like this:

Image result for mind maps

Either method you use you will help you with the writing project. Bly mentions cutting out unwanted information may be necessary. You want your readers to get the exact information they want for their unsolved problems.

SPECIALIST OVER GENERALIST

Sure, knowing many subjects in many areas can be convenient, but it’s overload when it comes to freelance writing. Do you want to do massive amounts of research every time you approach a new subject you know little? Welcome to the generalist’s life.

Being a specialist is easy. If you’re a fitness trainer writing about 5k training preparation, you can write an article about it in a heartbeat. Meanwhile, an IT specialist writing about the top ballet schools and the latest fashion trends (unless they’re a stylish IT specialist) will have more research to do.

Write articles on topics you know first before stepping into topics of the unknown.

CONCLUSION

How to Write & Sell Simple Information is a great book for new and experienced freelance writers. You’ll learn how to write for multiple platforms, how to organize research, and selecting niches.

You can read the whole book if you want or select certain chapters depending where you are in the writer’s journey.

Bly’s goal is to expand your approach to the freelance writing world. It’s not all about writing for magazines and online publications.

If you decide to read Bly’s book, I recommended his book The Secrets of a Freelance Writer as well. He shows you how you can make at least $100,000 a year.

Who said writers were starving?

Have you read this book? Any freelance writing books you’d recommend?

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(GIF SOURCES: GIPHY)

(PIC SOURCES: Wikimedia Commons, Flickr)

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: “The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware

Image result for the woman in cabin 10 goodreads

*WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS*

Travel journalist Laura “Lo” Blacklock takes an opportunity of a lifetime to write a feature story abroad the luxurious Aurora cruise. One night onboard, she witnesses a passenger’s body dumped into the ocean.

Does anybody believe Laura? Not with her history.

Laura’s a frequent drinker and prone to panic attacks.  Shortly before the cruise, she endured a frightening home invasion.

The “I’m Not Crazy” lady trope reminds me of Rachel Watson from The Girl on the Train. Seems like “don’t believe the drunk chick with issues” is a trending theme in thriller/suspense novels now.

I picked up The Woman in Cabin 10 since I was in cruise vacation mode. No immediate plans for a cruise yet, but it’s fun to think about it. Not to say I want to solve a murder mystery while I’m on it.

MURDER, MAYHEM, & NO WI-FI

Author Ruth Ware starts The Woman in Cabin 10 with a promising beginning. You follow Laura through her scary home invasion, boarding the Aurora, and meeting the eccentric super-rich onboard.  The book eventually goes into repeated cycles of Laura’s attempts to solve the murder, drinking, and claustrophobic despair.

You’ll start to wonder if the case will ever be solved or remain trapped in Laura’s dark void of inner conflict.

Finally, the book’s last act picks up, but it leaves you forgetting about 90% of the characters. You aren’t sure if they were truly supportive characters or Ware needed simple pawns to push the story forward.

A major problem I had with the book is the wi-fi issue. Laura had no access to the internet at all on the Aurora.

What year is this? This is not the Titanic!

Apparently, the Aurora owner Richard Bullmer blocked the cruise’s internet access. Shady as all get out, but okay. I wouldn’t be on that cruise.

The big reveal is a definite twist. The murder victim is a prominent guest of the Aurora. How and why it happened will surprise you. I warn you. It’s something out of an overdramatic Lifetime movie.

CONCLUSION

Now, it sounds like didn’t enjoy The Woman in Cabin 10. Truly, I did. It’s a cruise mystery after all. This novel is good as what it is. It isn’t a mystery masterpiece, but it does keep you turning the pages while you’re chilling at the beach or trapped in a long road trip.

Have you read The Woman in Cabin 10? Do you know of any mysteries set on a cruise (I want to read more)?

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(Book pic source: Goodreads)

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