As an avid podcast listener, I have the pleasure of hearing my fair share of author interviews. More often than not, the interviews leave me jumping to my Good Reads account to add the author’s book to my To Be Read list. Unfortunately, many of these titles linger on my list without ever making it to my Kindle or my bookshelf. My desire to make a dent in this list was the impetus for the inclusion of “a book by someone I’ve heard interviewed” as one of the categories for my 2016 Reading Challenge.
I had a plethora of books to choose from when deciding on a book to satisfy this category, but I eventually settled on Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose. I heard the author, Lara Casey, interviewed on The Lively Show more than a year ago, and I was immediately drawn to her passionate faith and enthusiasm for encouraging other women. Lara is a brand expert and editor-in-chief of Southern Weddings magazine, but she has overcome a great deal of hardship on her path to success. In her conversation with Jess, Lara shared her incredible story which includes overcoming an eating disorder, abandoning a Broadway career, surviving a failed first marriage, and working to find balance and healing in her career and current marriage. I couldn’t help but feel inspired by this remarkable woman and was eager to read her advice on finding purpose within my own life.
Make it Happen is equal parts memoir, motivational guide, and reflective workbook. Lara spends much of the book sharing candidly about her personal journey, filling in some of the details that weren’t covered in her interview with Jess Lively. Throughout her life, Lara faced one setback after another, but it was incredible to see how God used these challenging circumstances to guide her path and transform her heart. Given her past, Lara’s current happiness and sense of fulfillment are nothing short of miraculous, and Lara credits God with 100% of her success.
Make it Happen is meant to be more than just one woman’s testimony. In drawing out her story of surrendering fear, squelching perfectionism, and finding purpose, Lara also challenges her audience through thought-provoking questions and introspective journal prompts. Each chapter of the book ends with specific action points as well as links to downloads of motivational prints, worksheets, and videos. And the book’s final section contains a step-by-step tutorial for cultivating purpose. While much of the motivational content was familiar, Lara’s suggestions held more merit when paired with her personal success story, and I appreciated the infusion of faith that is lacking in similar guides to success.
Lara’s writing style is conversational and vulnerable, and her book is filled with one inspiring quote after another. I found myself highlighting something on nearly every page, though a few quotes particularly resonated with me:
“You were created for a purpose. You were created to shine. It’s time to be free. Free of shame. Free of fear. Free to fully live.”
“We fear our lives will be meaningless if we aren’t constantly striving for something bigger and better. Yet when we finally stop chasing those impossible standards and surrender our fears, we become truly productive in what matters. We experience genuine fulfillment: an imperfect yet intentional life, driven by a clear core purpose.”
“When we believe in something more powerful than elusive perfection, we develop the courage to bid our fears farewell. The chase ends, and real life begins.”
Make it Happen left me feeling inspired to continue challenging my perfectionism in order to seek purpose and fulfillment in areas that truly matter. Lara Casey is a prime example of someone who embodies the values-based integrity I am focusing on for myself in 2016, and her book is filled with reminders of how I can be living out my personal values. I am so thankful to have been introduced to Lara’s book through The Lively Show, and this positive interview-to-book experience has me excited to read from even more of the authors I’ve enjoyed hearing interviewed! My Book Rating: 4 stars.
Other Books I Considered for This Category
Here are just a few of the dozens of books I could have read to satisfy the category of “a book by someone I’ve heard interviewed.” Though I chose not to read any of these titles specifically for my reading challenge, I’m sure that many of them will make their way to my nightstand this year.
The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan: This lighthearted romance isn’t a book that would normally catch my attention, but I loved hearing the authors interviewed on The Lively Show, and after learning all about their inspiration and writing process, I’m eager to read their final product.
The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep and Sex Drive; Lose Weight; Feel Focused, Vital, and Energized Naturally with the Gottfried Protocol, by Sara Gottfried: Shawn Stevenson’s interview with Dr. Gottfried marked my introduction to The Model Health Show. Luke had been listening to the podcast for a while and wanted me to hear Dr. Gottfried’s explanation of how we can improve well-being through balancing our hormones. I was immediately intrigued by both the show and the author, and I would definitely like to read more on this subject.
Super Better, by Jane McGonigal: It was Jane McGonigal’s interview with Tim Ferriss that first introduced me to the topic of brain training, and I’m interested to read more about her story of how she used digital games to recover from a concussion.
May B., by Caroline Starr Rose: I learned a lot about the publishing world from Tsh’s interview with Caroline Star Rose on The Simple Show, and I look forward to reading this children’s novel inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin: I’ve heard Gretchen interviewed on a number of podcasts, and am an avid fan of the show she started herself last year. Her most recent book, Better Than Before, was one of my favorite books of 2015, so I have no doubt that I will love this book as well.
The Fringe Hours, by Jessica Turner: I’ve heard Jessica Turner interviewed on numerous podcasts, from the Inspired to Action podcast to the Jillian Michaels Show, and her book on maximizing your time is already sitting on my Kindle, waiting to be read!
Have you been inspired to add a book to your TBR list after hearing an interview with the author? How was your experience? I’m always looking for a good podcast or book recommendation, so send them my way!