Monday, December 31, 2012

Books Read in 2012

I read some great books in 2012, including the hilarious Sh*t My Dad Says, Vertical (the sequel to Sideways), two books by Sarah Vowell, the inspiring Start Something That Matters, Factotum by Charles Bukowski, The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker, the elegantly crafted Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, and the brilliantly articulated Drift by Rachel Maddow.

Happy New Year and here's to more great books in 2013.

Full List of Books Read in 2012

Feed by Mira Grant
Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein
The Brand Gap: Expanded Edition by Marty Neumeier
Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
One Day by David Nicholls
In the Plex by Steven Levy
The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni
The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur by Mike Michalowicz
The Blind Side by Michael Lewis
How Full Is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath
Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel
The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton
Unpossible and Other Stories by Daryl Gregory
Uprising by Scott Goodson
Malled by Caitlin Kelly
The Business Model Innovation Factory by Saul Kaplan
Cruising Attitude by Heather Poole
Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell
Me 2.0 by Dan Schawbel
The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell
The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
Standing on the Sun by Christopher Meyer
The Mirage by Matt Ruff
Firefighter's Handbook by Delmar, Cengage, Learning
Why Good People Can't Get Jobs by Peter Cappelli
Drift by Rachel Maddow
Redshirts by John Scalzi
Factotum by Charles Bukowski
Quiet by Susan Cain
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker
Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
Dare, Dream, Do by Whitney L. Johnson
Sideways by Rex Pickett
The Betrayal of the American Dream by Donald L. Barlett, James B. Steele
Vertical by Rex Pickett
The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty by Dan Ariely
iWoz by Steve Wozniak, Gina Smith
Sidestep & Twist by James Gardner
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
Pressure is a Privilege by Billie Jean King
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
How to Be Good by Nick Hornby
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
When It Happens to You by Molly Ringwald
The Long Walk by Brian Castner
About a Boy by Nick Hornby
Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie
Drop Dead Healthy by A. J. Jacobs
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Sunday, December 02, 2012

TEDxBuffaloWomen: Impressions

On Saturday, December 1, 2012, ten women gathered in the auditorium in the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library to tell stories to over a hundred invited guests, mostly prominent women from Buffalo and Western New York. The event was TEDxBuffaloWomen, the first TEDxWomen event to be held in Buffalo and the third TEDx Buffalo event overall.

I've had the amazing, good fortune to attend all three TEDx Buffalo events, and I can confidently say that the inaugural TEDxBuffaloWomen event was as good as any TEDxBuffalo event.

The event was memorable because of the quality and diversity of the speakers. The women who spoke at TEDxBuffaloWomen had quite different stories, perspectives, and delivery styles, yet all were interesting and wove in the event theme of "the space between".

My purpose with this post is to provide brief summaries of all the talks and links to additional information, when available. I know many people in Buffalo were very excited about this event, and I hope this will provide a sense of the talks for those who were unable to attend in person or watch the live stream.


Cecily Rodriguez
Twitter: @cecilyr74

Cecily Rodriguez led off TEDxBuffaloWomen by challenging employers to do more to keep their talented female employees in the pipeline through all stages of their life and career and thus ensure that women are on track to assume leadership positions. Flexible work arrangements and models, Cecily suggested, will go a long way to keeping women in the pipeline. Citing local examples West Herr and Synacor, and national models Sun Microsystems and PNC, Cecily demonstrated that flex is a powerful tool of productivity, especially for women.

Terri Parsell Hilmey

Author, mom, wife, and Junior League Buffalo volunteer, Terri Parsell Hilmey delivered a humorous and affirming talk about the differences and space between single and married life. Directed primarily towards single women who worry that they're not married yet, Terri revealed some of the tradeoffs in married life, including the fact that her hair has "been in a ponytail for nine years" and what most mothers want on Mother's Day is time for themselves. 

Gina Paigen
Twitter: @GPaigen

Gina Paigen brought the TEDxBuffaloWomen audience to its feet (and tears to many eyes) with an intensely honest story about physical and emotional abuse and her path to acceptance and recovery. Beginning with a recounting of physical abuse, Gina told how her abuse led to shame and continual need for validation and bad relationships. Only when she forgave herself for being human, Gina said, was she able to let go of the shame and move on and make better choices.

Peggy Brooks Bertram
Twitter: @peggybertram

You can't help but smile after listening to Peggy Brooks Bertram. Coming up on her 70th birthday, Peggy infused joy and humor to talk about the space between living and dying and aging gracefully into your seventh decade. Live well, Peggy. I know that all of us who heard you speak will live a little better after hearing your wisdom.

Karima Amin


Karima Amin is a natural storyteller and has clearly been telling stories long before there ever was a TED. Sharing some wonderful anecdotes from her parents, Karima talked about self-love and the space between what we think we can do and others think we should do. Two of my favorite lines from Karima's talk were quotes from her parents. From her father: "There are no bad days. Only good days and better days." And her mother, which sums up the talk: "I love me some me!"

Maria Angelova
"What's your dash?" Maria Angelova asked the TEDxBuffaloWomen audience. The meaning of the question was revealed in Maria's story, as she told how as a young girl she fled with her family from Communist Bulgaria. The harrowing experiences drove Maria forward and inspired her to help those who are hurting. The dash, Maria explained, is literally what's on your tombstone -- your purpose and what you did during your life. Maria knows her dash, and her talk will no doubt inspire others to contemplate their own dash.

Renee Martinez
Twitter: @reneemmartinez

Marketer by profession, Renee Martinez took to the TEDxBuffaloWomen stage wearing a superhero cape. The gesture took on greater meaning as Renee presented about the significant space between women and men in the digital world. Essentially, women's innate attributes translate to ease of use and mastery of social media tools, especially emerging platforms like Pinterest and Twitter.

Amy Jo Lauber
Twitter: @Amyjolauber

Amy Jo Lauber probably pulled off the most difficult feat at TEDxBuffaloWomen. She managed not only to combine a discussion about the right and left brain with financial decisions, but make the subject really interesting.

Amber Small
Punctuating her talk with key facts revealing the under-representation of women in Congress (women make up only 20% of seats despite being over 50% of the population) and several video clips demonstrating the media bias against women in politics, Amber Small passionately made the case for women to unite for change and consider running for office in greater numbers to balance the representation.

Tamara McMillan
Twitter: @Empowermee

The original TED is rightfully famous for rousing talks and "ideas worth spreading". Tamara McMillan's energized talk to close out the first TEDxBuffaloWomen was moving, inspiring, and the best of TED. Focusing on the space between "a rock and a hard place," Tamara reminded us all to not be so hasty to judge, and act with charity and compassion.


TEDxBuffaloWomen would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of many committed people. Thank you to the TEDxBuffalo Organizing Committee and members of TEDxBuffalo who volunteered at the event.


TEDxBuffaloWomen website

#TEDxBuffaloWomen Stream on Twitter

TEDxBuffaloWomen Videos