They have all written books to share their philosophies on leadership, hospitality and the creative process.
It Worked For Me
by Colin Powell
I don't know how many pages are in Colin Powell's book, “It Worked for Me,” I listened to the audio version, seven hours and forty-one minutes of HIS voice. I love audios, in fact I have become addicted to them. They have added measurably to my reading time. As I put on my make-up in the morning before going to work I can sneak in a few extra chapters. Sometimes I get up earlier to 'get ahead' in my book, on the treadmill, or on an airplane, but wherever I am I can imagine I am “in conversation” with someone EXCEPT they are doing all the talking, and I delightedly am doing all the listening and learning.
Lessons on leadership from life experience, the subject of this book, have always been a subject of interest. Not sure exactly why, but suspect my father being a Colonel could be one of them. Couple that with the fact that I was one of FIVE children, and always charged with those quasi-parental duties, the responsibilities that come with being the oldest. Since that early age, I guess I always wanted to know how I could do it better, was there some trick I needed to learn?
CEO's, managers, army generals, team captains, parents and employers are just a few of the shapes and sizes of leaders. In fact, most people have probably had a chance to be a leader in their life once, if not more.
Colin Powell's book is a lesson in leadership via personal anecdotes and some history lessons with his down to earth sense of humor and total sincerity.
As I reviewed all the bookmarks I made in the General's book I thought to myself...
No, to summarize the points I found of interest might cause someone to cheat and not read the book, thereby depriving them of a very enriching experience. Each of us will take away something different, something that resonates with us, something that is relevant to our own life. There is, however, one line that summed up everything for me about leadership and the character of the author - that is....
"The people in my life made me what I am…."
- Colin Powell
We can't do it alone.
It Worked For Me, By Colin Powell. Harpers. 2012.
But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria
by Julia Reed
Bill Blass's meatloaf, Julia's succotash, and Harriet’s cornbread finished off with bread pudding or then again, maybe rum pecan pie, this is how I started thinking about Julia Reed's book of recipes ...in terms of menus and whole meals, all are food fantasies for sure.
Even prior to my food fantasizing there were the numerous LOLs, in email abbreviation speak.
Julia Reed knows how to entertain, be entertaining, plan the entertaining, do the entertaining expertly, and then tell the story about it in her own eponymous, hysterically funny manner.
Storytelling is a gift and when it comes to ‘eating, drinking and making merry' Julia has a gift for making you want to drop what you are doing and plan a party RIGHT NOW.
This is a book about real food for real people with real appetites who make no apologies for it, THAT is a 'Yankee thing' or perhaps California, too. LOL
Now, I know this sounds obsessive, but get over yourself, I am now going to scan my favorite recipes and put them in the my notebooks, the three ring binder shorthand version of a collection of over several hundred cookbooks, a distillation of my favorites, and the ones that get used time and again.
So as I was saying, how about we try Suzanne Goin's pork shoulder burgers, black-eyed pea salad, Lee Bailey's steamed okra with warm tomato vinaigrette and a blackberry cobbler to send you home with.
Oh, did I forget to mention tomorrow night it's crawfish etouffée and....and....
Hey, who moved my gin rickey?
But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria, By Julia Reed. St. Martin's Press. 2013.
The Diary of a Nose
by Jean-Claude Ellena
"When my mind is free to roam...."
To read the words of one of the world's most magical alchemists is illuminating, moving and enriching. But, as one would expect, the written word is not his primary method of communication, it is something much more elusive, seductive and magical. In his own words, "Smell is a word, perfume is literature."
Jean-Claude Ellena is parfumeur exclusif, that is, 'the nose' for Hermes, where he has created fragrances since 2004. Prior to joining Hermes, Ellena created the inimitably rich, FIRST for Van Cleef & Arpels and the light and breezy THÉ VERT for Bulgari.
I distinctly remember the summer day when I discovered Jean-Claude Ellena.
On a trip to Italy years ago I went to Hermes in Milan to buy a canvas tote that I had my eyes on. NEVER one to pass an enticing fragrance counter, and I mean, NEVER, I sampled Poivre Samarcande because the name excited me. The name, however, turned out to be only an infinitesimal part of the excitement. My head exploded, I was someplace else, it wasn't even daytime in Milan it was an evening in a country I have never been to...but could not wait to go. It was a flash of emotion stirred by indiscernible notes of spiciness, sexiness and strength.
Poivre Samarcande, to this day, is one of the two fragrances I wear that is commented on EVERY TIME I wear it.
This is a true DIARY. Each page is a notation of a thought, an event or a revelation all making their contribution in the illumination of Ellena's creative process and inspirations. Reading about a process is only part of the puzzle, smelling it, being moved by it is the delicious and memorable part you can carry with you everywhere.
A few notes and quotes from a Parfumeur-Philosopher...
'Pleasures, small pleasures: I like the pleasures we pilfer from
Everyday life, they brighten the day."
"I have always felt like a writer of smells"
"Perfumes act as a counterpoint to the transient enslavement exerted by fashion"
"...Creativity sometimes needs a deaf ear."
"I proceed by subtracting, in order to simplify my perfumes."
"A craft is always extending its field of operations, pushing the boundaries ...even further. Inventing means renewing, growing. "
"I believe that the best way to develop creativity is to work alone.... The majority of ideas are the fruit of assiduous, day -to -day work, sometimes meeting people, country walks, idle strolls, things I have read, moments when my mind is free to roam."
One cannot extract tidbits from Diary of a Nose and expect to comprehend his process fully. The end result would have little if no meaning at all for you, which is why I am stopping here.
Discovery is the beauty of it all.
The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur. By Jean-Claude Ellena. Rizzoli ex Libris. 2012.