The latest APDO Newsletter is out, and I was pleased to see my interview with Sarah Gregg highlighted in its regular “Blog Posts You’ll Love” section. You can read the interview itself at https://www.apdo.co.uk/find-your-flow-and-choose-happy-interview-with-sarah-gregg and / or sign up for APDO’s quarterly newsletter by filling in your details at the bottom of most APDO webpages.
This month, my fellow APDO Book Club organiser, Nicola Austin, selected three fiction books with neurodiverse lead characters and asked members to vote for their favourite. Mockingbird won hands down, and led to a lively discussion on Autism, its representation in fiction, and our experiences working with clients living with it.
This week they’ve been having a sprint on dealing with books – including the hardest of all to part with: books with a sentimental association. It was really lovely to meet members of the group in tonight’s Facebook Live.
Jo, of Perfect Order, was kind enough to say this about Tidy Beginnings recently.
Shelina has been running a series on estate management, and so we talked mostly about creating inventories for insurance purposes and for wills. We also tackled the evergreen subjects of ‘What is cataloguing?’ and why it matters.
If you’re interested, you can watch the episode here: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CTB_x1IgT5b
In fact, I couldn’t agree more with Sali Hughes’ pull quote on the cover – “Ideas, solutions, wisdom, kindness, and zero whining.” This Last is really important, because as a working class woman who made it into some of the top board rooms in the retail industry, Portas has had her fair share of fuckwittery and bias to face down, and while she doesn’t pull any punches in sharing it, she always does so with a good lesson and often a killer punchline attached.
I also like the way she acknowledges her ex-husband, life partner and home staff who provided her with the space and time to focus on her work whilst at work. The people who looked after her kids are clearly very important to her, and it’s appropriate in a book that argues for better acknowledgement of the labour exchange in retail that she should demonstrate those principles as an employer of child care, cleaning and household management professionals.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given my own circumstances, my biggest takeaways are that it’s absolutely OK to walk away from work that others see as successful and set up independently; that the workplace really is tough for women (and especially working class women), and that it’s tougher the more old boys’ rooms you have to enter to do business. And, above all else what matters is being true to yourself and your values. Follow your gut instincts. Be kind, but take no s**t. “Work like a woman.”
Is there an irony in my having finished reading this book as a shallow relief from finishing writing my own current book and finalising preparations for a training on rare books cataloguing? Possibly. Possibly not.
Essentially, this is a book about how the author and other people whose work he has read or whom he has interviewed manage their lives to prioritise the tasks that stretch them. As such, it’s a 3-star read for me because he’s achieved what he set out to do, but there’s nothing in either the information he shares or his writing style that I actively love.
I’m really glad that APDO Book Club chose this book as this month’s read, because, I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t have read to the end any other way.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s worthy of its 3 stars, which in my rating means the author has achieved what they set out to do – there’s just nothing in it that I personally loved or found inspiring.
Jen Gale presents us with lots of useful links, and to that extent it’s worthwhile getting hold of a copy. There are also a few nice soundbites that I’ll use on the Tidy Beginnings Instagram at some point in the future. I’m certainly not discouraging anyone from reading this book, which has the solid aim of demystifying green issues and I guess achieves that for the sort of person Jen Gale was herself before she spent eight years reading and blogging on these topics.