Book Giveaway Bonanza + LAC on Some Very Exciting Shelves…

Calling all book worms! If you love books as much as I do, then get your commenting hats on and get ready to enter to win one of six awesome books!

Before we go there, I have some *super* exciting news to share…

Life After College Lands at Target!!

LAC rockin' the shelves of Target. TARGET!

Some of you may have already heard on Facebook or my Inside Scoop newsletter

Target purchased 15,000 copies of my book!!! They are currently placed in a home decor display for new grads across 1,700 stores in America. We don’t have a nearby Target in NYC, so please send pictures if you spot it out in the wild! The first sighting came from Ryan Knapp (at right).

I’m still pinching myself — I would have never in my wildest dreams imagined this would be happening when the book came out last March. I was nervous about selling 100 copies!  My big dream is for it to be THE must-have book that people buy for recent grads. Added bonus — give them a copy of the roadmap poster too! Thank you everyone for the continued love and support — it means the world to me.

Book Giveaway Bonanza!

Long ago, I set a policy for Life After College that I would not review a book unless the author sent two copies — one for me, and one to give away to one of you! I’ve been collecting a bunch of awesome books and it’s time to send them out to some lucky winners! Read further for instructions on how to enter.

Book #1: The Coolest Start-ups In America by Doreen Bloch

Doreen is a rock-star who I had the good fortune of having a coffee date with during the midst of her book development. Since that time, she’s been covered by more publications than she probably knows what to do with! Homegirl hit a home run, and the best part of all is that she self-published.

Here’s a description of her book:

The Coolest Startups in America is the first mainstream book on entrepreneurship. Be introduced to 72+ of the best, new companies you must to know about, and hear directly from founders, entrepreneur thought-leaders, government officials and more all about the world of startups! www.CoolestStartups.In

And here’s some of Doreen’s awesome coverage if you want to help spread the good word!  

HuffPost Click to Tweet | The NY Times Click to Tweet | Producteev Blog Click to Tweet | Girls in Tech Click to Tweet | Feministing Click to Tweet | Women 2.0 Click to Tweet | Business Unconventional Click to Tweet | FamZoo Blog Click to Tweet | Finovate News Click to Tweet | EXAME Click to Tweet

Book #2: The Start-up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

Ben was one of my earliest “one-off” mentors in my own book journey, back when I was still contemplating whether to self-publish or find an agent in 2009. His advice was incredibly insightful (he did start his own successful company at age 14, after all) and set me on the path of finding a publisher.

Ben’s first book is called My Start-Up Life, and I couldn’t agree more with the premise of this one — that each person should treat their career as their very own company…which now, more than ever, it is!

Book Description: 

The career escalator is jammed at every level. Unemployment rates are sky-high. Creative disruption is shaking every industry. Global competition for jobs is fierce. The employer-employee pact is over and traditional job security is a thing of the past.

Here, LinkedIn cofounder and chairman Reid Hoffman and author Ben Casnocha show how to accelerate your career in today’s competitive world. The key is to manage your career as if it were a start-up business: a living, breathing, growing start-up of you.

 You’re also invited to join Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha for a Live Chat:

You will learn the best practices of some of the most successful start-ups on the planet (like PayPal and LinkedIn), and how these strategies can be applied to your career — no matter your industry or job function. You will learn how to launch career plans amid uncertainty; how to change jobs based on what you learn; how to generate breakout opportunities; how to take intelligent risks; how to develop real relationships and build an effective professional network. Most of all, you will learn how to *think* like an entrepreneur when steering the start-up that is your career.

Book #3: Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life by Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus

Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus are two of the most down-to-earth, inspiring people I’ve met in the last year. Their blog, is a smash success, and their message is one of quiet strength in streamlining down to what really matters in life.

Book Description:

Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life is our finest, most important creation to date. It’s also the best thing we’ve ever written about Minimalism and will likely serve as the cornerstone to our work for years to come. It took us a year to write this book—a year of creating the best material possible and finding ways to relate it back to our lives so you would have practical ways to relate the subject matter to your life.

Do you jump out of bed every morning excited about the day in front of you? Do you live a life defined by deep meaning, endless passion, excellent health, empowering relationships, and constant growth? You can.

Ultimately, the eight chapters and ninety-eight sections inside this book are meant to help you take small actions each day that will radically improve your life over a short period of time.

The chapters move on the the five dimensions that comprise a meaningful life: Health, Relationships, Passions, Growth and Contribution.

Book #4: Getting from College to Career – Updated by Lindsey Pollak

Lindsey is another one of my long-time mentors, someone whose career was the exact model of what I only hoped to one day achieve when I started blogging. Rather than seeing me as a competitor, Lindsey has always been gracious, wise, friendly and helpful. Her book is THE manual on finding a job in today’s economy, and it’s a must-have for any of you job-seeking at the moment!

Book description: 

How do you get a job without experience and get experience without a job? It’s the question virtually every college student or recent graduate faces. Now newly revised and updated, Lindsey Pollak’s Getting from College to Career is the definitive guide to building the experience, skills, and confidence you need to succeed in the job search, offering action-oriented tips and strategies ranging from the simple to the expert. Learn how to:

  • Get the best tools for career prep and job hunting
  • E-mail like a professional
  • Go global
  • Practice the eight essentials of internship achievement
  • Perform five minutes of stand-up
  • Overprepare for interviews
  • Persist without being a pest

Getting from College to Career gives you the essential information and guidance you need to get your foot in the door of the real world. Don’t start your first job search without it!

Book #5: The Zen of Social Media Marketing (2012 Edition) by Shama Hyder Kabani

Shama is a published and social media powerhouse — her work has been a huge success among small business owners and entrepreneurs, and I’m excited to include the lastest edition of her book in this givewaway!

Book Description:

Social media is a crucial tool for success in business today. People are already talking about your business using social media, whether you’re using it or not. By becoming part of the conversation, you can start connecting directly to your customers, as well as finding new ones, easily and inexpensively spreading the word about your products or services.

But social media marketing isn’t like traditional marketing—and treating it that way only leads to frustration. Let Shama Hyder Kabani, social media expert and president of web marketing firm The Marketing Zen Group, teach you the “zen” of social media marketing: how to access all the benefits of social media marketing without the stress!

Book #6: Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur by Ryan Blair

I don’t know this guy, but I’d like to! His story sounds amazing and his book has caught my eye many times while browsing my local bookstore. Whoever wins this one can be in a book club with me, as I haven’t read it yet!

Book Description:

Ryan Blair knows about building a business from the ground up. Like many entrepreneurs he had no formal business education. But he had great survival instincts, tenacity, and above all, a “nothing to lose” mindset.

Blair’s middle-class childhood came to an abrupt end when his abusive father succumbed to drug addiction and abandoned the family. Blair and his mother moved to a dangerous neighborhood, and soon he was in and out of juvenile detention, joining a gang just to survive.

Then his mother fell in love with a successful entrepreneur who took Ryan under his wing. With his mentor’s help, Blair turned himself into a wildly successful businessman. He started his first company, 24/7 Tech, at the age of 21, and since then has started and sold several companies for hundreds of millions of dollars.

How to Enter

  1. Answer the following question in the comments: which of these books resonates most with you, and why?
  2. If you win: What is your second choice book? (I figure the answer to question 1 will be your first choice) Also, do you prefer a paper copy or Kindle? (Gotta ask these days!)
  3. Enter by Friday, March 30 — I will choose the winners via

B*tches in Bookshops

Finally…(could this blog post BE any longer?!) I leave you with a hilarious video about books, sent by the one and only Sarah Peck:

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Marta March 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm

You’re in Target! 😀 Congratulations on making your dreams a reality (and then surpassing them!).

And of course, I’d love to win a book from you, so these are my answers:
1. The second book, “The Start-up of You” really made an impression on me. It’s a cool idea to turn it around and instead of thinking of a start-up as a possible career choice, start thinking of our own career as a start-up! And it reminded me of your metaphor of phone apps somehow.
But most importantly, I think it can be really useful to me as I try to figure out where to go, in which direction I should take my career. Or maybe I should say: my company! 😉
2. “The Start-up of You” is my frist choice, but “The Zen of Social Media Marketing” also seems interesting and relevant to my life and my career path(s). I think I’d learn a lot and maybe that would be the additional kick to the butt that I need!
Also, no matter the book, I prefer paper copy.

I hope you ship internationally. But if not,  that’s all right. I’d wish good luck to other commenters. :)


meg soro March 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I’ll be looking in my local Target for these! 

1. I think the one I’m most interested in would be Getting From College to Career. For me, that’s my biggest hurdle. I’m a designer, so the “rules” might be different. But I’m frightened of the future, because I know it will be competitive, especially in my field. Anything that could give me any kind of understanding or edge above is awesome. Plus, I’m a junior, so I only have a little time left until I get into the “real world”

2. Getting From College to Career is my first choice, but the Start Up of You is my second. As a designer, I feel they would both help me get into a proper mindset and allow me to learn something. 

I would prefer paper backs, because when I’m done, they can go to my younger brother and my best friend, both of whom are about to start their college experiences!


Jeffrey Trull March 22, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Awesome news on getting into Target! That’s a lot of copies.

I was most pulled in by Minimalism. I’m really trying to pare down what I won as I get ready for my next move. I really like the idea of minimalism and how it can really improve your life by living with less in so many ways.

First: Coolest Startups in America
Second: Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life

I prefer Kindle :)


Laura Bond March 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm

1. I heard about Ryan Blair’s book “How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur” about a month ago and have been dying to read it ever since. I’m interested in reading and getting inspired from something that’s not your typical success story. 

2. The Start-up of You and Minimalism: Living a Meaningful Life sound interesting too. And while I love technology, I love that new book smell more. I want a paper version please.


Sneha March 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Congrats on getting the book sold to Target ( one of my fave stores for their advertising skills).!

1) The book that sounds most unique to me is “Nothing to lose , everything to gain” because it serves as a quick reminder for us when we are goal setting/afraid to take that first step towards goals.
2) “Nothing to lose , everything to gain” and “The startup of you” are my two choices for books, if I win the drawing. I’ve seen the second book in B&N several times and it’s on my to-do reads. As always I prefer holding and reading any actual book, so I would prefer paperback.

Wishing you continued success JB!



Natalie Costa March 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm


Holy cow! I am in the middle of reading your book now, and can’t wait to sweep supermarkets worldwide.

The book on this list that resonates the most with me is definitely Lindsey Pollak’s Getting from College to Career. I love reading her blog, and truly find her message inspiring. I would sincerely enjoy reading her book more in depth to self-analyze and apply her advice.

My second choice would be Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain. It is inspiring stories like these that give me motivation to push past all of the bullshit. Each day is a small triumph toward a better future, and with stories like Ryan Blair’s, I feel hopeful.

I prefer paper for sure. duh. 



Mayra Urteaga March 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Hi Jenny I am rather shy and don’t really comment in any blogs I read, but I saw the opportunity to get a copy of the book “Minimalism: Living a Meaningful Life” and decided to give it a try because I think I am in the perfect spot where it can impact my life. I’ve been out of college and working for two years now and feel like there’s something missing in my life, I don’t “jump out of bed every morning excited about the day in front” of me, so I want to know how I can achieve it.
My second option would be “Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain.” It has a very grabbing and interesting title. I would prefer to get a paper copy, there’s just no way a kindle can replace the feeling of a book in your hands, turning every page you read and seeing how far the book divider moves every time I read gives me a feeling of accomplishment.  
Congrats for your success with your book! And thanks for the opportunity to get one of these books.


Mark Valentine March 22, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Awesome post.  Congrats!

Reading Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain would be my first choice because I love the stories where people don’t listen to the norm and refuse to accept their current situation.

Second would be
Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life  It drives my wife crazy but this is how I would like to live.  The fewer distractions the better.

I read almost everything on the Kindle now!

Congrats again on the Target deal.  We will watch out for the display!


Maddie March 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I like the idea of “The Start-Up of You”, mainly because last year I decided to ditch my job in personal finance to pursue my passion of health and wellness. It’s great that I’ve discovered my passion, but now I need to take that enthusiasm and create something that I can make a living off of. I think this book could give me some ideas and spark some creativity as well. 

I also would enjoy reading “The Zen of Social Media Marketing” because no matter where my career takes me, I feel it’s going to be crucial that I understand the nuances of the new style of marketing. 

While Kindles are great, I don’t own one… I’m old school and still have a bookshelf :)

Congrats on being promoted in Target! However, it surely doesn’t come as a shock to me that your book ended up there, you deserved it!


Amanda @ Click. The Good News March 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Congrats- that is so freaking cool!  The meaningful life book looks really interesting to me, although the minimal part scares me 😉

Otherwise, I could use the Zen of social marketing as I’m launching  a new website this fall about yoga, photography & self-love.


Laura March 22, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Hi Jenny!  I’m a manager at a Target in NC, and I did a double-take when I saw your book on our shelf!  I bought your book when it first came out a year ago for my little sister, and I’m excited to promote it to my guests shopping for their college-aged friends.  Keep up the great work (I’ve been following your blog faithfully as well!) :)


Alyssa March 22, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Congrats on your Target deal! I would buy it there, but I just bought LAC on Amazon. I would love “Getting from College to Career” since I’m graduating with my Master’s in Mass Comm and Journalism this semester (spread the word to anyone looking for a social media specialist in the Bay Area)! But my second choice would be “The Start-Up of You.” Only print books for me, please, as I’m a traditionalist. Again, congrats! Can’t wait for your book to show up on my door-step!


Susan Cooper March 22, 2012 at 4:16 pm

That so cool!!! I will have to go and look today. What that says to me is if you keeping working on your dream, anything is possible.

Here you go: The Zen Of Social Media Marketing, because it is an area I struggle with on so many levels. My reader (type) of choice is Kindle. My second choice of book would be “Minimalism: Living A Meaningful Life. That is something I work at everyday, some with better success then others. :)


Gordon March 22, 2012 at 5:26 pm

“The Start-up you” is by far my first choice.  I have no control over anybody but me. I am responsible for my thoughts, actions and mindsets. If I am not working on myself I cannot love the other people or see their happiness like they way should be able to obtain it.

The  “Coolest start-ups” is my second choice. I get inspired by listening to stories of ordinary people making an extraordinary impact. It makes me believe that truly anybody can change the world if given the opportunity and the resources. 


Danielle March 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm

I’m inspired by Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain – what a
great story, I’d love to read more about Ryan! My second choice is The Coolest
Start-ups in America, and I’d prefer a Kindle copy.


theliterarylollipop March 22, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Woohoo! I love books. Congrats to you.

As fabulous as all those books sound, I am on a personal mission/challenge to not buy a single book throughout all of 2012, nor am I allowed to accept free books. My intention is to get through what I have. But these sound great. I’ll definitely put them on my “To Read” list.


Megan Cassidy March 22, 2012 at 6:56 pm

“The Start Up of You” resonates with me the most. I love the idea that all of us, even those with 9-to-5s, have complete control over our career if we introduce ourselves to the right people, learn what we’re interested in and enjoy the opportunities presented to us.

If I win, 2nd choice is Minimalism: Leading a Meaningful Life. I prefer paper copies. As the hilarious video points out, I carry spines.


Dan Meyers March 23, 2012 at 1:03 am

Jenny – this is so awesome, congrats!!  I’ll check it out next time I’m in Target!


Laurel March 23, 2012 at 3:24 am

I am very intrigued by Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life because, over the past four years of college, I’ve seen how the most important thing will always be the people in your life. No matter what apartment you live in or how much stuff you have, surrounding yourself with kind people is worth the most, so I’m trying not to get too sentimental about “stuff” as I prepare to leave college. Possessions are temporary. I’d really like to read Minimalism in order to see what the authors have to see about goals, values, and other intangibles. I’d also like to read their advice for creating routines, so that I can live a more consistent life! My second choice book would be Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain.


sarah kathleen peck March 23, 2012 at 4:23 am

LOVE! Haha thanks for the shout-out at the end. :) I LOVE BOOKS. Can you send them all to me? And I’ll try to buy a copy of yours in every Target store I walk into. Jenny Blake, Target fame! Get out!! 

For the books, my picks would be 1, 2, or 6. Very interested in the last story (Nothing to Lose) by Ryan Blair, and I’d geek out over a Google Template Book Club with you. #NERD #ALERT. Tied for first place would be “The Start Up Of You” and then, second place might be “Coolest Startups.” 

Yeah, I actually want them all…


Kelly March 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm

1. Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life resonates most with me. I’m trying to implement minimalism in my life and I’m getting there slowly, but reading about other people who practice that kind of lifestyle is always encouraging! 
2. The Zen of Social Media marketing. My fiance is currently working on producing internet-based products and I think this book would be a huge help to him. 
I prefer paper copies please. 

Congrats on Target! That’s huge. 


Adam Britten March 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Congrats again on Target. My answers:
1 – Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain.  It seems like a very personal story, and I relate to business/marketing/self-help books that are more focused on a person than a process. Plus, as a graduate student, I feel like I have such an opportunity to take risks without really losing too much, so I want to read how others have done it. (Plus, I’d love to chat with you as we read the book “together!”)
2 – “The Start-Up Of You” – I’ve never considered myself as a startup, so this would be an interesting read.

Kindle copy :)


Diane March 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Woo hoo!  I’ll have to pick up a copy of LAC for my brother on my next Target run :)
1. The Start Up of You really resonates with where I’m at in my career development.  My family was/is super traditional and I had a lot of ideas ingrained early on that haven’t matched with my career development.  I’ve been slowly realizing that changing my mindset to be more dynamic/flexible is key in not just getting on a more suitable path, but keeping momentum long term.
2. Second choice would be Getting From College to Career – Updated, which looks like a great read, too.  Kindle editions are great for me :)


Julie March 25, 2012 at 12:55 am

Awesome giveaway!!!  All of these books sound AWESOME!  *Crossing my fingers that I win*… below are my answers.

1.  The book about Minimalism definitely resonated with me the most.  I am the typical Type-A personality and constantly am trying to fill my life with SOMETHING.  I hate sitting on the couch.  I want to always feel productive.  But, that is not sustainable nor healthy.  I end up not feeling “fulfilled.”  The five dimensions discussed in this book would be really helpful for me.
2. My second choice would be Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain.  I love reading inspiring stories about people who have overcome obstacles in their life and become successful.  It’s always a reminder to be humble, and that a.) your life isn’t that bad and b.) you can do anything you put your mind to. 
3. Paper copy please :-)


Shannon March 25, 2012 at 1:05 am

Thanks for the giveaway Jenny! And a HUGE congrats on the Target successes!

First choice for a book would be The Coolest Start-Ups in America – great to learn more about businesses and get inspired by great stories. The Minimalist book would be my second choice.


Tracy Schwartz March 25, 2012 at 2:26 am

Congrats on Target. Did you check out the Target in Harlem on E. 117th Street? I am headed up there tomorrow and will take a picture if I see it!
I have to say for the longest time I wasn’t into reading, however after college that changed and now I love to read each night before bed (calming)
1) Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain- A book based on something totally different sounds so interesting. I have heard great things about the book and would love to read it!
2) : Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life – being out of college now for a few years, and in working to make ends meet, I feel as if something is missing and this book comes at the perfect time.

Love you blog as always!


Financial Samurai March 25, 2012 at 3:57 am

Congrats on the Target sale!  That’s HUGE!  Imagine if they keep on coming, that is so exciting!

I like the Start-up of You since I’m looking to do my own start-up full time.

Second book to resonate probably is on Minimalism.  I’ve donated about 24 bags worth of stuff in 2011, and plan to keep going!

I like paper copy.  Thx!



Matthew March 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I’m going to have to stop by Target when I next head to the gym (they’re right next door to each other) and check out the book shelves! Congrats!

Let’s see… I’m definitely wanting #6, “Nothing To Lose, Everything To Gain”. I not only love underdog stories but definitely learn best from stories so I feel that this would be the most motivational.
Second choice? #2, “The Start-up of You”. That idea really resonates with me, that we have to be in charge of ourselves. That would help me stay focused as I try to do just that.


Alliecat March 25, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Wow, congrats!!

I think the book Getting from College to Career would resonate the most with me. I need as much advice as possible! I’m graduating this May and it would be nice to get other literary perspectives on that transition. :) I have a general sense of where I’ll be in 6 months, but a little fine tuning would be nice. However, I also think that Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain sounds very interesting. The fact that your life can have a 180 degree change is inspiring. I’d prefer paper copy for either choice. :) Thanks. 


Georgina Heredia March 26, 2012 at 4:17 am

Congratulations! My answers:
1:  Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life by Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan NicodemusBecause the book description seems like something I need to hear right now. It resonates with me because I’m sick and tired of doing everything except what I really want to do. And I don’t want to die like this.2.  The Zen of Social Media Marketing (2012 Edition) by Shama Hyder Kabani I would like the Kindle version. (.epub, right?)Cheers!


Jess Green March 26, 2012 at 8:14 pm

1. Minimalism: Living a Meaningful Life would be a perfect read right now as my husband and I get to basically start over in a new city with new jobs.

2. Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain also sounds so interesting!

I would prefer paperback, haven’t jumped on the Kindle bandwagon just yet :) I’m going to go look for your book at Target this weekend!


Daniella March 29, 2012 at 2:30 am

The book that resonates with me would be Getting from College to Career because I am still in college and will be making the transition into the workplace soon.  My second choice would be the Zen of Social Media Marketing.  I prefer the paper copy.


Tamara Epps March 30, 2012 at 7:12 pm

All these books sound amazing and I will definitely be looking into all of them (but would of course rather win them as I can’t actually afford them right now!).

My first choice would have to be ‘The Start-up of You’ as I feel that both me and my boyfriend would gain so much from reading this.  We recently finished university and both of us feel almost as if we are in a holding pattern, but we can’t work out how to break out of it, and I believe this book would make such a difference in our way of thinking.

My second choice would be ‘Getting from College to Career’ as I think my boyfriend needs this book.  Since he finished university he has lost all his passion for pretty much everything and I think a large part of that is that he hasn’t found a career (he is working part-time at a pub) so I would love to win this book for him as I think he needs a little push to get him motivated and excited again.

I have a kindle but have to say I’d prefer a paper copy simply because I find that with these kind of books, it sinks in a lot more if I have something tangible to open and glance through as well as to skip to certain sections in.


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