QUIZ – How positive are you?

Do you consider yourself a positive person! Do people stare at you in awe while you exude your positive vibes? Or are you worried that you might not be able to fend off the negativity as it stands? Not to worry! See just how positive your vibrations and thoughts are with this handy quiz!

English: Think positive

English: Think positive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. You are driving down a road when a cop up ahead stops you. He explains to you that the bridge ahead has completely washed out, and ice on the road makes it dangerous to drive, informing you that you should turn back. You:
  • A: Try to explain to the officer that he needs to be more positive about the circumstances and not automatically think bad things will happen.
  • B: Laugh in the cop’s face and keep driving, obviously in control of your universe.
  • C: Immediately put petal to the metal. Negative people, when given the chance, will immediate cause problems for you later on with their vibrations.
2. You’re at your local coffee place. You ask for your usual latte from the barista, who then informs you that they are out of the main ingredient required to make it. Your response is:
  • A. To berate the barista for their lack of optimism about the product.
  • B. Insist that they search for it, and while they do, manifest thoughts about finding the ingredient
  • C. Never come to the coffee place again, because it’s clearly infested with negative people.
3. You’re leading a project to design a new product. Your engineer has taken the time to painstakingly explain that the way you want the product to work would be mathematically and physically impossible. You respond by….
  • A. Painstakingly explaining to the engineer that you know the product will work the way you want it because you manifested it that way.
  • B. Having the engineer referred to HR for “productivity enhancement programs” to correct the negative deviancy.
  • C. Firing the engineer on the spot before he can further contaminate your company with negativity!
4. While at a convenience store, a clearly homeless person asks if you could spare them any food. You know you can get a lot of cheap stuff at the store, so you tell the homeless person:
  • A: A lecture about how to manifest food from positive thinking, as Jesus, a positivity guru did.
  • B: Making the homeless person say 10 self-affirming statements, 10 things they’re grateful for, and promise to purchase your guru’s book for $29.99, which “Changed your life.”
  • C: To fuck off and to have them think about how they exude so much negativity.
5. One of your best friends calls you late at night, telling you that she was just robbed and raped at gunpoint. How do you respond?
  • A: By saying you’re sorry that she manifested the idea of being raped and robbed by someone, and that maybe she should take this as a positive opportunity instead.
  • B: By enrolling her immediately in a positive-manifestation camp…at her expense, of course.
  • C: By immediately slamming the phone shut before she can disrupt your positive vibrations further.
6. Your company is proposing that you and your fellow employees do community service around the city for the betterment of the less fortunate. How do you feel about this?
  • A: “Why should I help anyone less fortunate than me? It’s obviously because they don’t think as positive as I do!”
  • B: “I’m happy to help. I’ll lead classes on how we all need to think more positive!”
  • C: “I’m tending my letter of resignation because this company wants to associate with negativity!”
7. Your doctor informs you that you have a disease which unless you take constant medication will kill you. You tell the doctor…
  • A: You take no meds. Medications are a sign that you don’t believe in manifesting with the universe.
  • B: The above, and you also add that you will also be signing up for daily meditation and focus classes.
  • C: A & B, and add that will only see spiritual healers from here on out.
8. The entire day has just gone south for you. Nothing went right. What do you do when you get home?
  • A: Beat yourself up over the day you manifested.
  • B: Watch a marathon clip of your guru’s videos on accentuating the positive.
  • C: Plop down a shit-ton of money for direct access to your guru: You’re in the negative danger zone!
9. Just exactly how much money have you invested in your guru, or in positive psychology stuff in general?
  • A: $100 or less
  • B: $1,000 or less
  • C: $10,000 or less
  • D: Money is no object
10. One of your friends wishes you luck with something that she wasn’t able to do. You respond with…
  • A: “I know I can. I just have to say that over and over and over and over again.”
  • B: “Don’t worry, I’m reading every book to manifest hope and positive outcomes. You should read some of these!”
  • C: “I know I will, if only for the fact that I am more positive than you are. Being more positive = better experience!”

Negative Perceptions = Negative Reality? BULL.

Ok, I need to say something really quick. For most of you who know me, it’s kind of obvious what I will be saying. For others, and those totally into the “Our thoughts shape our reality” baloney, read on:

Yesterday, I posted a rant on Facebook about something that had happened to me. When I posted this, I got a nugget of a comment asking me if I ever considered that my “negative perceptions create a negative reality?”

Ok, seriously? This is something I VEHEMENTLY disagree with. I am someone who has been told countless times about needing to be “more positive,” often by people who would basically do the equivalent of driving off a cliff without a parachute because we should “always take risks.” Yeah, good luck with that.

What the man was saying is something that’s a core tenet of something called the “Law” of Attraction, that like thoughts attract like realities. I refer to it as the “Law” of Attraction because it’s about as much a universal law as the “Law” of Potato Inference is…which, considering that I just made it up, means it’s not a universal law at all. First off, what he said is on its face absolutely untrue, as there have been many occasions where I expected the worse and everything went great, and times when I thought everything would be awesome and it blew up in my face.

But seriously, let’s take a look at how this line of thinking (Negative thoughts = Negative Reality) is a bullshit line of thinking:

  • If a woman is raped, it’s clearly because she was thinking that she was going to be raped.
  • Your son got killed by a cop for no real reason? You obviously hate cops.
  • Experience racism? It’s only because you manifest the negative feeling of racism.
  • Got beaten because you were gay? You obviously associated being gay with something negative.

The negative perception line of thinking is a direct highway to a blame-the-victim mentality. And that is an extremely bad mentality.

I might add, by the way, that the commenter also contradicted themselves later after I replied, saying “Nothing works out for anyone 100% of the time…” So basically, even if I have positive thoughts all the time, I’d still have a negative reality. Awesome.

I’m going to go on record saying that I used to be a lot more negative than I am now, but apparently in the eyes of some people (Especially the people driving off cliffs), I will never be positive enough, until the day that positivity is literally coming out of every orifice of my body.  And that’s never going to happen. Because that would be disturbing.

iPrivilege and Hyperlapse – How iOS gets preferential treatment

If you’re a photographer of any kind, amateur to pro, you’ve probably heard already that Facebook satellite Instagram recently released an App called Hyperlapse. Hyperlapse is an app that’s designed to help people take time-lapse photos of things like valleys, commutes, and other things.

Now, I’ve done my own Time-Lapsed projects, such as this one…

Which totally got me excited to play with this app! I mean, I’d love to do more driving videography!

……And then I see this:

Hyperlapse from Instagram is available today for iOS devices in Apple’s App Store. It is currently only available for iOS.

SERIOUSLY?

Once again, us Android users are left in the wings while everyone with an iDevice gets to reap the benefits. I’m sure we’ll EVENTUALLY get to play with it, but until that day comes, all us Droid users get to do is sit and watch while everyone and their iPhone time lapses away. iosallapps

And this isn’t the only time I’ve seen this either. Time and time again, apps are often first released to iOS before they even THINK about releasing to Android. Vine, for example, took six months to produce an Android version of its app, while iOS users had been living it up. Hell, it took Instagram 18 months before they finally decided to release an Android version. 18 MONTHS. 

To borrow from some of my progressive friends, Apple has privilege.

Specifically, it has the privilege of being the first market for almost every app there is.

And honestly, it doesn’t even really deserve it. Here’s some of the following reasons:

  1. Android device sales FAR outnumber those of iOS 
  2. There are more entry level Android devices than there are iOS ones (Same source as above)
  3. It’s cheaper to develop for Android than it is to develop for iOS ($25 flat rate for android vs $99 PER YEAR for iOS)
  4. Android code is made with common languages Java and XML, whereas iOS has its own “Swift” language, and before that, Objective C

I think it’s time for a change. I don’t want to advocate that people give Android priority, as that would basically make me hypcritical. However, can we at least start releasing both iOS and Android apps at the same time?  That way, nobody has to be left out of the fun.

But no, of course we can’d do that. Because apparently all the developers are iFanboys or something like that.

Seriously people, learn your damn audience.

Commentary on Robin Williams’s death and mental illness.

English: Robin Williams, U.S. actor, at the 20...

English: Robin Williams, U.S. actor, at the 2008 BBC World Debate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The passing of Robin Williams is indeed a tragic event. What makes it worse is that it was a death that may well have been preventable. While to the best of my knowledge authorities have NOT confirmed suicide as the cause of death, it is well known that Williams suffered from severe depression.

Many of my friends (and myself included) have suffered from depression at some point. And a few of us have even contemplated suicide at some point in our lives. Depression is not something you just “push through.” It is not something you just “gotta get over” or as my mom would have put it “something you just buck up and deal with.” It is as much a disease as the flu and cancer are, and should be treated as such.

The stigma that mental disease is stupid or crap or just something you have to “Happy yourself” over needs to go away. Perhaps if it never existed, Robin Williams would still be with us today.

* If you are suffering from depression, there is help for you. Talk with your friends. If your friends can’t help, then family. If family won’t help, then find someone who will. It could be a therapist, a priest, rabbi, or hell, a bartender. Just SOMEONE who will listen.
* If you know someone with depression, do everything you can to help them. You’d help them if they fell or got hurt physically, right?
* If you or someone you know has expressed an intention to kill themselves, TELL SOMEONE, or call the police.

Requiescant In Pace, Robin Williams. Nunc tandem ad pacem.

How to get stuck between a rock career and a hard place career.

Career advice

Career advice (Photo credit: quinn.anya)

Ok, I know I’ve been…lagging a bit in writing something on this post. But I’ve had good reason. Several, probably.

The thing is that I was kind of forced into a career change.

See, in September of 2012, my mom passed away. At the time, I was still struggling to find work in copyright and social media.

It’s true what they say. You really don’t know what it means to lose a parent until it actually happens to you. My mom’s death was probably the worst thing to happen to me. Even worse than grad school. Still, Mom’s death caused me to reach out to a lot of people. I’ve been learning a lot more about social interaction (I still consider it mostly bizarre and stupid)

After discussing this with a family friend, we agreed that my attempts at getting work were probably going to flounder on account of the many many many many many bloody social media marketers out there, along with the idea that writing should be something that should be on par with third-world shoemaking.

“If I were you, I’d look into another career.” “What about being a paralegal?” my Aunt said.

I never thought I’d be going into the legal industry. I figured if I did, it would be as an attorney, because gosh darn, I’m smart enough, I’m good enough, and people hate me. But I’m not passionate enough to accept that finding a job as a lawyer would be even worse than finding one in social media, not to mention including the epic Mt. Everest size-debt I’d incur as a result.

Deciding I had nothing to lose, I applied to the Paralegal Studies program at California State University Los Angeles. Got in easily.

Going back to school to mean meant finally accepting that the years I was a Communication Studies major were a mistake (Which they were.) I had no business being in Comm and I was too stupid to realize the warning signs until it was too late. Training as a paralegal, which I NEVER thought I would consider in my life, is my way of trying to rebuild that.

Over the course of the year, I learned to be an effective assistant to lawyers. Originally, I felt kind of low about it considering that I’d never be more than an assistant…but then I learned to think of it less like a slave and more like a commander to the captain of the ship.

For the years itself, it’s mostly been pretty good. I’ve had plenty of new experiences, and I’ve even found a niche in the legal profession to call my very own. I’m going to try to use public transportation more often, (if only for trips into DTLA,) and I think I have a bright technology future, one path or another.

I no longer consider this a professional blog. This is a personal one. I’ll still post opinions and commentary, but I don’t really want to write about How-tos and social medias and that sort of stuff. I still like it, but I think I’m going to stop  writing about it on a regular basis.

So yeah. I guess I’m back.

 

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Is my birthday (November 23rd) cool?

Yesterday was my birthday. I’m 29 years old today. However, something I’ve been thinking about for the majority of my life is this: Is my birthday cool?

Is my birthday considered something cool, as in, are cool people born on my birthday? (Aside from myself, obviously) Did any events of historical significance occur on my birthday? Did something generally amazing happen today?

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake (Photo credit: Will Clayton)

Today, on my 29th birthday, we’re going to get to the bottom of this.

First, let’s take a look at some of the people who were born on my birthday. A non-exhaustive list is as follows:
Billy The Kid: Infamous Wild West villain. Cool.
Salli Richardson – Wow…she was amazing on Eureka. I’d say it was cool.
Boris Karloff: He played Frankenstein’s creation. Very cool.
Miley Cyrus: She likes to get naked on wrecking balls. Not so cool.
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi: She likes to get naked and wreck men’s balls. Also not cool.

I also want to give a special shout out. At long last, I discovered that there is a famous person born on my own birthday in 1984, making her the same age as me. Her name is Amruta Khanvilkar, a Bollywood actress in India. I haven’t seen her work, so jury is out on whether or not it’s cool.

Next, we look at some historical events that happened on my birthday.

534 BC – Thespis of Icaria becomes the first recorded actor to portray a character onstage. COOL.
1584 – English parliament expels Jesuits (NOT COOL.)
1906 – Joseph Smith, leader of the Mormon Church, convicted of polygamy (HAHAHAHA)
1924 – Edwin Hubble’s scientific discovery that Andromeda, previously believed to be a nebula within our galaxy, is actually another galaxy, and that the Milky Way is only one of many such galaxies in the universe, was first published in a newspaper. ALSO COOL.
1936 – Life magazine is reborn as a photo magazine and enjoys instant success. VERY COOL.
1939 “Wearing distinctive armband, “”Judenstern”” (Jewish star) becomes obligatory for all Jews in Central Poland.” NOT COOL
1960 – Tinseltown dedicated its Walk of Fame at Hollywood Blvd & Vine St (Totally cool…I mean, I try to avoid the place like the plague but hey, it’s the shrine of awesome for Celebrities.)
1963 – “Doctor Who” the long-running British sci-fi series debuts in England (VERY FUCKING COOL!!!! And apparently 11/23 is a sacred day among the Whovians.)
1963 – JFK’s body lay in repose in East Room of White House. (Not cool.)
1980 – 4,800 die in series of earthquakes that devastated southern Italy. (*Not very cool either.)
2004 – World of Warcraft was created, which is still the most popular MMO to date. (Awesomely cool)
2011 – Arab Spring: After 11 months of protests in Yemen, The Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh Signs a deal to transfer power to the vice president, in exchange for legal immunity. (Totally cool….I think.)
2013 – Pop Band One Direction declares day “Global 1D Day.” (WTFBBQ?!?!?! SO NOT COOL)

A few people also died on my birthday, such as the following:

1990 – Roald Dahl (Ouch. But honestly, he wrote James and The Giant Peach, so this is a neutral.)
2012 – Larry Hagman, American actor and director (b. 1931)

FUN FACT: November 23rd is the earliest day that Black Friday can fall on. I myself was born on Black Friday.

At the end of it all, I can now safely conclude that my birthday….is actually pretty cool. Sure there’s some bad parts, but some really cool people were born today (aside from myself, of course) and cool things happened too.

 

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The Citibank iPad App CANNOT deposit checks

 

CitiBank Logo

CitiBank Logo (Photo credit: bruceg1001)

So I started messing around with Citibank’s check depositing system. You know the feature: Photograph your check, front and back, then send it off, and Citibank (usually) treats it as if you had come to the branch to deposit, or deposited through an ATM.

I use this all the time on my Android phone, but not on my iPad. I decided a few days ago to try on the Citibank iPad App, except that I couldn’t. No matter what I did, I couldn’t find a way to do so.

I eventually learned that you can’t…but not before I went on a wild goose chase with an incompetent Citbank Online CSR who insisted I was wrong and that the app could deposit checks.

I have the transcript of what happened underneath. Save for a few extra lines where I argued with the CSR some more, it’s all accurate. If you don’t want to read the transcript, here’s what happened in a nutshell:

  • Got a CSR named “Ashley” on Citibank’s website
  • Asked “Ashley” if I could deposit checks with the iPad app.
  • “Ashley” said I could, and gave instructions on how to. (Which were unfollowable because she was thinking about the wrong app.)
  • I informed her I could not see said apps.
  • She told me to call Level 2 support.
  • I then point out all the reviews that say that the app can’t take checks. She says they’re wrong (She’s wrong.)
  • She tells me “Mobile Check Deposit is a free service available on your Citi Mobile app for iPhone, iPad touch and Android devices.” …Take a look at that and tell me what’s wrong with that picture.
  • I eventually give up, Call level 2 support who confirms my suspicions that the app can’t deposit checks and that “Ashley” was totally wrong.

I hope you read this, Citibank. You (And ESPECIALLY) “Ashley” owe me an apology for the time I wasted.

I posted this so everyone knows that your app can’t take checks. Should you change this and add the feature, I will update this post accordingly.

If you need an iOS check cashing option for Citibank, get the iPhone version. That version DOES allow you to deposit checks.

Chat with Incompetent CSR Rep

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My 10 year journey with WordPress

10 years ago, shortly after my High School graduation, I felt the blogging bug bite me. Now at that point in time, I had a Ujournal, which was basically some other company’s attempt at the LiveJournal software. But I wanted more. I wanted something I could control.

And I wanted something with RSS capabilities. LiveJournal couldn’t accomodate it at the time, neither could most other engines.

Then I discovered a friend of mine running something called b2. The moment I figured out what it was, I fell in love with it. It was slick, it looked professional, and best of all, it had RSS ability. I had to have it.

Later, that program would be changed and take on another name: WordPress.

English: The logo of the blogging software Wor...

Unfortunately, my broke student self was unable to afford decent web hosting, and while free options existed, few of them offered  the requirements to handle WordPress, mainly PHP and MySQL. But I relented, and I eventually ended up finagling free hosting from the Lycos UK version, which offered PHP and MySQL, unlike its US version.

I was familiar with web-based programs, having installed PHPBB several times beforehand, but now I had WordPress, and I found it easy to install as well.

Sadly, I ended up leaving my WordPress install behind, as school had taken over my life. But I continued to desire it, and in 2006, I learned about WordPress.com and immediately signed up. It felt like I had reunited with an old friend, and I immediately took a liking to it.  At that time, I had finally decided to no longer represent myself with pseudonyms and use my real name, so it had my name in the blog as well….my first online site I could truly claim. But I wanted more.

In 2007, as a graduation present to myself, I purchased JTDabbagian.com. I also got web hosting, and with that, my first true self-hosted WordPress installation. Time had changed since the last time I had used it though…Plugins and themes that often took countless hours to install could now be uploaded immediately through FTP and activated. I immediately became obsessed with my installation, constantly updating, tweaking and modifying it. It was heaven.

Then grad school came. I had to neglect my blog and the community I loved for papers, presentations and other stupid things I regret. Seriously, never go to grad school.

In 2009, I had to allow my hosting to expire because I couldn’t pay for it. Losing my WordPress site felt like another blast to my heart in a year filled with blasts to my heart.

But I persevered, and in 2010 restarted another WordPress.com account, after a brief stint with Tumblr. Time passed, and I was able to afford hosting once again in 2011. Shout out to Hostnine. I’ve had minimal problems with them over the last 2 years, and my installation has shined on.

Today, I champion the cause of WordPress. Just last Saturday, I led a group class on how to use it. Next month, I plan to start a paid course. I feel like WordPress is the quickest way to get any small business on the web, and the best way for any blogger to get started. All of my sites run WordPress, and I’m even in talks with developing a website for a campus newspaper that runs WordPress.

I have used almost every blogging engine under the sun: LiveJournal, Blogger, Nucleus, MovableType, Vox and a few others to name a few. But every time, I found myself longing for WordPress. Even now, as RSS is considered a dying technology, I still consider it to be the greatest blogging engine ever developed.

Today marks WordPress’s 10-year-anniversary, and I want to celebrate. Because of all the web-based technologies I can think of, WordPress is one of, if not my top favorite of the bunch.

I know I haven’t been there for all of WordPress’s turning points, but I’m grateful for the software, and I’m grateful to Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little for this little Cafelog spinoff. Here’s hoping for another great 10 years, WordPress!

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Why you need yourname@yourdomain.com as an email address

email

email (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

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You’d think that an email address with one’s own domain would be website management 101, but so many people don’t do it that it’s terrifying.

Just last week, I saw a plumber with an advertisement for his site on his truck, but it invited people to contact him at his Gmail account on there as well! I’ve met many a “Social Media Consultant” that asks people to email them at their Hotmail account (and a few that only have a Facebook page, but that’s another post), and (GASP) I’ve even still seen the occasional @Aol.com email being dished out!

Even if you don’t have a business, you should still have your own domain and email! If you’re looking for a job, it says many things about you if you have your own email address, even if you don’t have a site.

You need a professional email address

It’s basic professionalism to not have an email like cutegal4u@aohell.com or goodwithguns@pmail.net, but people don’t seem to realize that a professional name linked with a regular email provider isn’t good enough anymore. I mean really, who still uses Hotmail? Nobody, that’s who.

And it’s not like it’s expensive, either. Most hosting management utilities such as cPanel allow you to create email addresses for your domains from within the program, and all you need to do is pick the name and enter a password.

Don’t want a new account, yet still want an email from your domain? You can make it an email forwarder! Any email this address receives is instead sent to another email address. So if you’re to set in Gmail to leave, you can simply have yourname@yourdomain.com forward all of your email to that Gmail account, and let Google’s labels and spamchecks keep on flowing.

You really don’t have an excuse, so get started now!

Reviewing like a rock star – Mack Collier’s Think Like a Rockstar

Rockstar
Many of my readers may know Mack Collier as the host of #blogchat, one of, if not the biggest Twitter Chat in the social network. However, Mack has recently written and published a book about his experiences in brand management and social media marketing.

In Think Like a Rock Star, Mack Collier offers a bridge between the world of rock stars and fans, and the world of business and customers. He argues that businesses and brands shouldn’t focus so much on getting new customers, but rather focusing on making current customers fans of the brand. In doing so, Mack states that these customers will become fans, or brand advocates, telling others to purchase products and services from the brand. Mack offers several strategies for turning these customers into loyal fans.

Bear in mind that Mack uses the term “Rock Star” loosely. Many of the people he provides as examples are not musicians or performers of the rock genre. For the purposes of this review, I will be using this loose interpretation as well.

Mack gives out several examples of what rock stars have done for their fans, such as when Jewel offered a free concert for people who were subscribed to her fan club’s email list, so long as they chose the venue and organized the concert. He also points out examples such as Lady GaGa’s references to her Little Monsters, or who could be considered her greatest fans.

What I like

One concern I had for this book going into is was concerning the actual customer base of the business. Specifically, what happens if you’re a business that does not have a strong customer base, such as a brand new business, or a business that isn’t doing very well. Thankfully, Mack has indeed offered advice to those businesses. Without spoiling his advice, I’ve learned that there’s more than one way to reach out to people in a niche to make them loyal brand advocates, even if they have never heard of your brand.

The example stories are also really interesting. You hear how Dell created ways for its customers to check back with the company, and offered rewards to its brand ambassadors such as 30 minutes with Michael Dell. We also hear about Maker’s Mark, a kind of bourbon that was relatively unknown until it recruited brand ambassadors to spread its bourbon across the country. Mack then explains how brands can take these ideas and put them to use themselves.

What could be improved

One thing to take into consideration is audience. Who are you writing for? Are you writing for a businessperson interested in social media? Or an experienced consultant looking for another way to manage a project? Could I use this book as an argument to a superior to start a branding campaign?  These are things I’d like to see clarified, as I’m not quite sure who Mack intended this book for, someone starting out in social media, or an experienced consultant? Or maybe the CEO of a company.   (Although it is clear that the book was written for the fans of the brand.)

Bear in mind that marketing people may need to make a case to give its customers/fans the trust required to perform many of the things Mack says they can do. I’d like to see a section with a case for giving trust to the customers to form customer panels, as it may take a lot of convincing for executives to allow it to happen.

If I were Mack, I’d get started on a workbook to complement Think Like a Rock Star. This can help brands figure out things like customer advisory boards faster, and help put pen to paper when it comes to a plan. That way, when the brand has questions, they can simply refer to the content they filled out.

The bottom line

Think Like a Rock Star earns my recommendation for businesses that already have a decent amount of customers. If you need that one little push to make your brand a household name, this is the book for you. In terms of expertise, this is not a beginner’s social media book; you may wish to pursue another book to teach you the basics of social media.

And if you don’t trust your customers, or you’re not willing to consider it, don’t pick this book up at all. Also, give serious thought as to how your customers view you, because chances are they don’t trust you either.

Think Like a Rockstar gets four stars out of 5.

Disclaimer

The writer of this post received a copy of Think Like a Rock Star for free in exchange for writing a review on Amazon.com as well as promotion on his social networks. This review on his own site is of his free volition. Furthermore, no request for bias was given, either directly or informally; this review and any other concerning the book is the 100% true opinion of the author. Also, affiliate links are present in this review.