Category Archives: Recommended Reads

OPEN BOOKS Voted Most Beautiful Bookstore in Chicago

Open Books is a nonprofit social venture that operates an extraordinary bookstore, provides community programs, and mobilizes passionate volunteers to promote literacy in Chicago and beyond.

This is an amazing venture!  And they  host  events at their literacy community center and all over town to spread the word about our mission and meet other book lovers.

It’s been called “the most beautiful bookstore in Chicago,” and it holds more than 50,000 donated books for sale to help support our literacy mission. Come visit!

213 W. Institute Pl.    Chicago, IL 60610

Monday – Saturday     10am – 7pm
Sunday      12noon – 6pm

Join their newsletter and find out about private events!

Stop by and donate – or shop – or volunteer!

Chicago Area Poetry Foundation and Events

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary
organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience.

Celebrating nearly 100 YEARS!!  When Harriet Monroe founded Poetry magazine in 1912, she wrote that her publication was “a modest effort to give to poetry her own place.” Now, nearly one hundred years later, poetry quite literally has that place. Opened to the public in June 2011, the  building houses a public garden, a 30,000-volume library, an exhibition gallery, the Poetry Foundation’s programming offices—including the offices of Poetry magazine—and provides new space for the Foundation’s extensive roster of public programs and events.  –  Their building on Superior is a MUST  SEE.  


Upon receipt of a major gift from philanthropist Ruth Lilly, the Poetry Foundation was established in 2003, evolving from the Modern Poetry Association, which was founded in 1941. The Poetry Foundation is one of the largest literary foundations in the world.

The Poetry Foundation works to raise poetry to a more visible and influential position in American culture. Rather than celebrating the status quo, the Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry. In the long term, the Foundation aspires to alter the perception that poetry is a marginal art, and to make it directly relevant to the American public.

61 West Superior Street    Chicago, IL 60654

Building Hours: 11AM – 4PM

Garden Hours: 9AM – 5PM

Library Hours: See library information for details

What Happened to the Chicago Spire?

I was so excited when  Garrett Kelleher
 had plans to construct a 150-story
condominium high-rise on Lake Michigan.

It was going to be  the tallest skyscraper in North America and also the tallest residential building in the world. 

The  futuristic sleek gleaming structure, called the Chicago Spire , would be a swirling glass and steel tower designed by the renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
It would be the focal point of the Chicago skyline!

I was equally excited when they broke ground and started preparations for the base. Digging hundreds of feet into the ground….

In 2009 rumors swirled and production came to standstill. Things did not look good for the Spire.

TIME OUT Magazine investigates what happened to the Spire in this weeks issue .

“I predicted [the Spire] wouldn’t be built, and I was right,” Donald Trump says. “Only I had the vision and resources to get it done and now my building is the biggest to be built since Sears Tower.”

Part of Kelleher’s misfortune was beyond his control, Trump admits. “I had good timing. I got my financing before the market collapse,” he says, although he, too, is feeling the pain of a weak economy, with one-fourth of Trump Tower’s condominiums still unsold. –  And no retail shops to speak of yet.

Trump also takes a dig at Kelleher’s judgment as a developer. “It’s an impractical building and the location is only so-so,” Trump says. “Who’d want to live there?” –  UM…I think A LOT of people would have loved to have lived there, Donald!

Read the Time Out article .

From Waitress to CEO: The Rise of Carolyn Gable

Carolyn Gable graduated from beautician school in the early 1980s, and then found herself working as a waitress at the revolving restaurant atop the Chicago airport. She liked watching the high-powered businesswomen she’d see come through the door. “They used to come in carrying briefcases and wearing those power suits with big shoulder pads,” Gable recalls. “And I thought, “I can do that.’ ”

Carolyn  didn’t have a college degree or a background in running a business, but as a waitress and mother of seven, she says she developed the skills of a CEO.  Carolyn was on Oprah & Friends radio show today talking about now being the CEO of her $28 million company and her new book, Everything I Know as a CEO I Learned as a Waitress.

“I didn’t have any supporting family or education,” says Gable, who has overcome that and has been recognized for her entrepreneurial savvy — in 2004, she won The Right Award for workplace excellence from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and in 2002, the Ernst & Young Midwest Entrepreneur of the Year award for outstanding customer service. “If I can do it,” she declares, “anyone can.”

Carolyn says waiting tables near Chicago’s busy O’Hare airport was “life school.” “What an education that was,” she says. “How do you teach someone to communicate? How do you teach someone to have a personality and be enthusiastic? You need to have all of those things to be a waitress.”

Carolyn shares ways that waiting tables prepared her to be a CEO:

  • She says waiting tables helped her showcase her values of honesty, initiative and hard work.
  • Carolyn says she is always upfront with her customers in the transportation business just as she was with customers in a restaurant. If something isn’t to the customer on time, she lets them know exactly what’s going on, rather than making excuses.
  • While handling money is part of waiting tables, Carolyn says it was her experience of balancing her personal checkbook that helped her run her company. She says she followed the simple rule of balancing what comes in with what goes out every single day.

At a book signing last night, Carolyn reminded us, “Customers will tell us what they want…..listen to them. Don’t give them what you think they need. We sometimes forget that customer care is # 1.”

   “Expect a Miracle” foundation. The purpose of this Foundation is to offer assistance to the single women and men that are working and trying to do well for their children, but are unable to provide the extracurricular activities that help a child build strong character for the society we live in.


ALLENS NEW AMERICAN CAFE, 217 W. Huron, downtown Chicago.” 

There will be a wine and appetizer reception, followed by a presentation at 7:15pm. Now people everywhere can learn a new way to enjoy themselves everyday, every way, every season, with DR. Gaziano’s FEEL GOOD HEALTH: THE BODY AND MIND GUIDE FOR KEEPING HEALTHY ALL YEAR ROUND.

Dominic is based here in Chicago and produces a popular television show called HEALTH & LIFESTYLES WEEKLY and has a website for the show, as well as a newly launched blog, which gives weekly health tips! He is  a General Internal Medicine physician in Chicago and BBC World recognized wellness practitioner.


         PAY IT Forward to three other people, who in turn, each pay it forward to three
other people!

This past weekend I re-watched the Kevin Spacey / Helen Hunt / Haley Joel Osment
movie, PAY IT FORWARD. The idea has been around forever. Benjamin Franklin referenced it
in 1784. And Science fiction author
Robert A. Heinlein, used the phrase in 1951. But in 2000, Catherine Ryan Hyde‘s novel Pay It Forward, was adapted into a Warner Brothers film.
And boom! Next thing you know, Oprah is talking about it!

The Pay It Forward Foundation was established in September 2000 by author Catherine Ryan
Hyde and others to educate and inspire students to realize that they can change the world,
and provide them with opportunities to do so. By bringing the author’s vision and related
materials into classrooms internationally, students and their teachers are encouraged to
formulate their own ideas of how they can pay it forward.

The foundation impacts our world in a time when many people, though aware of the need for
social change, are unsure of where and how to begin. The challenges facing today’s youth are daunting. While discussion and planning are positive steps toward belief in social change, only
the manifestation of plans into action proves to the imagination that change is possible, and
that will and motivation can affect social growth. CHANGE THE WORLD!



RIDING THE BLUE TRAIN with Surinder Kumar and Bart Sayle with Melissa Giovagnoli

This a great 2 part interview done by Melissa Giovagnoli of Networlding
with authors Bart Sayle & Surinder Kumar of RIDING THE BLUE TRAIN.

How does a $2 billion company become a $5 billion company in a few years? How do you accelerate business growth and innovation by transforming your people? How do you lead your organization to achieve extraordinary results through inspiration and personal power? All through the power of Breakthrough, the unique program that Bart Sayle and Surinder Kumar has delivered in many companies and to thousands of people to help them achieve dramatic personal, professional and business growth.

A New Book Examines The Work Of The Late Richard Nickel And Commemorates A Lost Chicago



You Have to Be a Little Crazy:
The Truth About Starting and Growing Your Business

This book debunks the myths of business start-ups by telling the truth: You have to be crazy to start a business. Written by serial entrepreneur Barry Moltz, the book delivers irreverent, straight talk about the complex intersection of start-up business, financial health, physical well-being, spiritual wholeness and family life. This perspective is augmented with other personal tales from the entrepreneurial front.

“Actually, you’d have to be crazy NOT to start your own business! The truth is that there’s nothing more satisfying or productive. Barry’s book is a great place to start.”
Seth Godin
Author, Permission Marketing and Purple Cow

I first found Barry by doing a search on Chicago Leadership. He had a great article, –

Entrepreneurship Starts in High School

“Last year, the Governor of Illinois appointed me to be on the Illinois Institute of Entrepreneurship Education. The organization assists teaching entrepreneurship especially at the high school level. For the first time, IIEE will be sponsoring a 3 day conference in May 2007 to educate young business people. I will be sponsoring the “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award.”  –   READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE AT BARRY’s  SITE.


I recently had the opportunity to meet Barry, through Melissa Giovagnoli at Networlding, this past summer when she chose the Ten Best Networkers in the World, Barry was a judge.

” As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be the leader.”

“We all know that strong leaders are essential to business success. We have great ones in the Chicago business and tech community including J.B. Pritzker of New World Ventures, Linda Darragh at the Women’s Business Center and Andy McKenna at Schwarz.

Leadership is about risk taking in your business, but a different kind than we may have heard of before. It is easy for traditional managers to lead by doing everything themselves or ordering other people to do tasks and cleaning up after them.

However, you are a leader at your business when you can successfully let go and trust other members of your team to do the roles that you have defined for them. It is about successfully negotiating with your team the different roles they will take and monitoring how they interact and work with each other.”

Mastering the Rockefeller Habits

                                                                                                                        two world-renowned entrepreneurship organizations, the Young Entrepreneurs’ Organization (YEO) and the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs (ACE)),  Verne is presently founder and CEO of Gazelles, Inc. Gazelles has brought hundreds of businesses to fast-growth profitability. Now he shares entrepreneurial secrets in this must-read business primer. Harnish has discovered John D. Rockefeller’s underlying strategy. Further study uncovered three winning habits:

*Priorities: A few rules remain consistent with a firm’s core values and long-term goal. Others change regularly — what Harnish calls the Top 5 and Top 1 of 5.

*Data: Key metrics should be measured over time (Smart Numbers); short-term metrics provide a tighter focus on an aspect of the business (Critical Numbers).

*Rhythm: A well-organized set of meetings keep everyone aligned and accountable.

In addition to case studies, a bonus chapter co-authored by Rich Russakoff reveals winning tactics to get banks in competition to finance your business venture. MASTERING THE ROCKEFELLER HABITS provides necessary tools for making strategically smart decisions and for keeping everyone aligned and accountable to those decisions.

This book is more than a tool for businesses. Verne Harnish has put together a very useful guide for planning and organizing goals that are specific and measurable. By applying the principles in this book to work in a non-profit organization or even in your home, you will be able to track your progress and keep focus on what really matters. Highly recommended!