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Tina Ilstrup

Here’s a Novel Idea: Read for Inspiration

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Working in a creative environment, inspiration comes in many forms. It could be from the color of a notebook or the pattern of a tie. Perhaps from a commercial or a conversation. Have you ever found inspiration from a great novel?

I thought I’d share a list of 100 books to read before you die so you can find your own inspiration this summer. Could the Complete Works of Shakespeare be the spark for your next campaign? I’m not sure I’ll be diving into that one this summer, but perhaps Harry Potter’s inquisitive nature will remind me to dig deeper to find the answer. (I’m a sucker for young adult novel series.)

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1301199-100-books-you-must-read-before-you-die

THREE NOVEL QUESTIONS FOR YOU:

  1. How many of these books have you read?
  2. Which one are you putting at the top of your summer list?
  3. How many of these books have you picked up and never finished? (There are a few heavy ones on this list!)

 

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Caroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On the Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery (In French)
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Lasers, Juice and a Briefcase of Money

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When I picked up the phone, my client almost burst out of it with excitement as they shared with me their new, brilliant idea! I was thrilled they had picked me to help and as my gears started grinding, I began to envision an implementation plan that looked sort of like this:

atob

Then reality set in. As we started working through the implementation process of this great idea, the path to implementation looked more like this:

atobb

Sound familiar? This happens to the best ideas. Implementation buzz-kills, such as a budget, compliance and time can get in the way. The good news is, there is hope.  I have three ideas to support the implementation of your next great idea and they include: juice, lasers and a briefcase.  That’s right.

  1. Sharks with laser beams.  Every good idea can get even better, right? Maybe not. Identify your challenge and goal in the beginning and keep a laser-sharp focus on your plan. Each decision you make should support the goal.  Do not waiver. If the idea doesn’t support your original plan, set it aside. You may have just come up with another great idea!
  2. Soak up the creative juice. I know your idea is really awesome and you can’t wait to share it. Give it the time it deserves and let the awesomeness marinate. During that time, you can gain the internal support you need and think through issues that may arise as you move forward.
  3. Deal…or no deal briefcase.  Without the restraints of a budget, I’ve seen ideas transform from awesome to mind-blowing-ly amazing. It can also create a big buzz-kill when the reality of budget parameters stomp out the mind-blowing-ly amazing idea that now doesn’t fit into your budget, leaving clients deflated. I don’t like to see clients deflated. Make sure you know how much money is in the briefcase before you make your plan.

Before you run full speed ahead with your next great idea, make sure your idea is supported with lasers, juice and the right briefcase. Those three things, along with your new idea may be the ticket to your next promotion!

Celebrate the Power of Positivity

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At first, I heard it. The footsteps of a co-worker buzzing by me at the pace of an Olympic-style racewalker, steam almost visibly pouring out their ears. Then I made eye contact and saw the frazzled look in their eyes. At that moment, I could relate – I knew a project was not going in their favor. There are the days I wish I had a “do-over” button.

Keeping a positive outlook at work is important, especially during busy times.  Research shows that employees with a positive mind-set have improved performance, productivity, creativity and engagement*.

I follow @LIVEpositivity on Twitter and Dailypositivequotes.com on Facebook to give me perspective. Just a few minutes each day reading these tweets and posts can make me laugh and inspire me, as well as remind me that my glass is half full.

As d.trio concludes the July word of the month, “Celebrate,” I challenge you to become a positive influence for yourself and your office.  Find simple things to celebrate and bring a little more positivity into your life. And then share your positivity with others. It’s contagious and can influence and change for the better.

Where will you find inspiration to make you smile tomorrow?

*http://hbr.org/2012/01/positive-intelligence/ar/1

-Tina Ilstrup is a senior account executive at d.trio marketing group

5 Simple Communication Tips

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Simple communication advice I can share with you – these tips have helped me become a better communicator around the office, to my co-workers and my clients:

  1. Open your ears. So you have a great idea? Everyone else does too. Share your idea and open your ears. Your “great idea” could evolve and come to life. Someone could help make your next great idea become phenomenal.
  2. Just stop. Using the word “just,” that is. The word minimizes the amount of work involved with your request. Instead of asking my designer to “just change the color to something brighter,” I now skip the “just” and ask her to “change the color to something brighter.” She can decide how easy or difficult it is, and let me know.
  3. No more buts about it. Any sentence becomes more positive by replacing the word “but” with the word “and.” For example: “I like your idea, but…“ sounds like I’m about to slam the brakes on an idea. Instead, I say “I like your idea, and…” because it sounds like I am enhancing the idea. It’s a great way of disagreeing without being disagreeable!
  4. Compliment-a-day rule. A “great shirt” or “did you get a haircut?” can go a long way. It shows that you notice the little things, and in our business, little things can make a big impact. I’ve never heard a complaint about someone that is too complimentary.
  5. Clear as a bell. Whether I’m face-to-face, email, voicemail or text, I try to say what I mean, clearly…and quickly. Ever find yourself explaining a problem before you ask for something? Switch that around – I’ve found it’s best to ask for what I want first, then get into the details.

Social Media Saved Me From the Back to School Madness

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It used to be a simple list: #2 pencils, Crayola markers and a pencil box. Now, the list continues, with more and more supplies that schools used to purchase. Dry erase markers, Kleenex, and anti biotic wipes? As a parent, I’m afraid to look at school supply receipts; did you know the average spend for school supplies with K-12 students is now $688? Yikes.

Last year I made a promise to never again wait until the last minute to shop for back to school supplies. The 2011 nightmare started with one naïve mother of a 1st grader who had a crazy idea that school shopping would be fun. The story ended with frustration…plus, a blue “Friday Folder” instead of black one and off-brand markers instead of the requested 12-pack of Crayolas.

Fast forward to early summer, 2012. Social media saved me from back to school insanity. The discount stores and my friends started posting on Facebook that school supplies already hit the store shelves. Not wanting to be the last minute shopper this year, I decided it would be a great task for my husband and kids to do together! He came home sweating, surprised by the cost…and all of the supplies crossed off the list.

Back to school online purchases this year included a backpack and a pair of running pants. I’m not alone — a whopping 39.6% of back to school purchases are made online now, up dramatically from 10.9% in 2003.

I have a few online lessons for next year though. The backpack purchase was last minute – it had to be a one-strap backpack with neon colors. The outrageous shipping almost doubled the price. As for the running pants, I thought they came with a jacket. Oops. Online purchases are not without a few hiccups, right?

Did I buy enough new clothes for my child? Are 12 glue sticks going to last him the year? Will he think his backpack is still “cool” in April? And speaking of cool, will he be warm enough without a matching jacket to his running pants?

School has started, and my son made it through his first day. The back to school madness is over and, thanks to social media, was much less painful this year. Hello, holiday season. I trust social media will also let me know when I should start my present shopping!

P.S. Do you know of a school or teacher that could use $100 worth of art supplies? d.trio loves to support the arts, including budding artists. We are giving $100 in art supplies this month! Tell us about a worthy school or teacher on our Facebook page, facebook.com/dtrio or use hashtag #dtriolovesart on Twitter this month, and they could win $100 in supplies!

Sources:
http://blog.nrf.com/2012/07/26/bts-trends-2012/