Spring- A Time to Reboot & Read!

“What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction.”

— Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

“The moment you doubt your ability to fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”

— J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Hello! Happy World Book Day!

I know, I know– it’s been a while <sheepish grin>…..

But I’ve been busy <sideways smile>.

I’ve been busy in Real Time with family occasions and obligations and helping out friends in need. I’ve been busy making a real effort not to multi-task as much, and truly live in the moment; professionally and personally. I’ve been busy trying to pursue purpose, not just profit.

When I haven’t been working in Manhattan wearing my Educator & Autism Specialist hat, I’ve been traveling/speaking/consulting in the USA, wearing my Woman Entrepreneur hat. I’ve been sharing various social communication, ed-tech, digital citizenship, and leadership lessons offline; those gleaned on my own ongoing journey, and those gleaned from the thought leadership of others. Lessons from others found in books and eBooks, newspaper and magazine articles I find via Apple News,  Flipboard for iOS or its Mac alternative, library apps like Hoopla and Zinio, and posts from bloggers and other people I follow on social media sites such as  Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

I’ve dropped in again today, on World Book Day 2017 to spread the message…..READ! <pointed glance>.

This message is also timely because we are about to hit May, AKA Graduation Month. I will be celebrating this milestone for the first time as an Aunt, within my own family….my first nephew will soon graduate from high school!

Take time to read! It’s not only going to make you smarter and more resilient but a better version of yourself! Reading makes you less stressed and stronger! Reading is good for your health, for your brain functioning, for finding inspiration to face adversity and hardship, for getting leadership takeaways, (since we are all leaders in the making), and for your “soft-skills” development! Reading helps you hone all those characteristics which showcase your humanity, empathy, and morality. Those intangible traits which make up your Theory of Mind i.e. psyche and perspective.

As an unconventional authorpreneur and entrepreneur, with a background in English, communications, educational technology, and behavioral pediatric speech-language pathology, I’m an avid, eclectic, and enthusiastic reader! One who truly believes that books are the BEST gift ever! As I’ve written previously:


Books are the only tangible presents which foster both inherent genius and hard-earned talent and fuel our ambition using our minds and hearts/souls. Books contain universal truths that unite us in a way that other tangible gifts (such as gadgets and clothes) can’t. Those gifts increase the divide between the “Haves” and “Have-Nots”, and decrease the balance between humanity and technology, which is becoming more crucial by the day. Furthermore, books are the only tangible gift that help a person reap numerous, long-term, and meaningful, intangible rewards.


It is so easy now to read free  books, and to even read them on your smartphone or tablet when you are on the go! (and who isn’t?). Reading, especially reading whole books “just because” i.e. on a myriad of topics, has reportedly unfortunately declined in the iEra, especially in teens and ironically college students; our workforce of tomorrow. I read somewhere recently that researchers are actually finding that a person’s brain is rewiring itself and changing in the iEra, thanks to our access to digital technology and exposure to overstimulating environments causing “sensory overload”. In the next generation of children entering school, the visual cortex may very well be larger than the auditory cortex!

In the next generation of children entering school, the visual cortex may very well be larger than the auditory cortex! What does that mean for language and literacy development? Yikes! Could it be that reading  may very well become passe, thanks to our growing obsession with Instagram and SnapChat? (two social media channels I’m proud to say I totally ignore).

This is an ongoing, growing concern, despite an increase in free local library access in the USA, an increase in levels of overall national literacy, and a plethora of reading material available online. This includes entire tomes, texts, and highbrow and lowbrow material to peruse in the blogosphere thanks to sites such as Medium and BuzzFeed. This is disquieting to me on so many levels.

This is disquieting to me on so many levels; as an educator, social entrepreneur, and a thinking human being in the twenty-first century. The future of work and our workforce in general hinges on our collective learning of specific skills and on getting a well-rounded education!

The future of work is not just a catch-phrase, but a looming silent revolution, a fluid, radical period of change– all about disruption. It is a time already upon us, where success is being redefined daily, as is the search for meaning and what a growth mindset is all about. Innovation is actually  not a linear process, nor is it a result of  linear thinking i.e. a “silo” mentality.

We live in a time of collective awe and wonder, where anything seems possible. A time of experimentation with trial and error where failure is actually condoned, grit and a “can-do” attitude are lauded publicly, and  emotional intelligencematters more than IQ.

Yet there’s a paradox, an oxymoron, a dichotomy to our existence and attempts to validate our existence. To validate our choices of profession and activities we engage in technologically and educationally when “offline” and behind the curtain of transparency.   The physical, mental, spiritual, and societal journey from “Me” to “We” has become increasingly complicated and inauthentic. Many of us just lived through a polarizing election year and an especially dreary winter, where inertia prevailed together with the cold; the bleak outer landscape influencing our own inner one.

It’s time to reboot. It’s time for the renewal of Spring to remind us that each and every one of us can make a difference; in ourselves and in others. Each and every one of us holds the key to our future, to rebooting and reinventing ourselves and our mission, to thrive, not just survive. It’s time to better balance humanity and technology and actual productivity with the pursuit of busyness. It’s time to rediscover ourselves again and discover new sides to ourselves. It’s time to learn more. It’s time to read more. 

What’s on your reading list? What will help you reboot? Connect the dots and think differently? Grow? Learn a strategy or skill? Get in touch with your inner child? Escape a little to decompress and stir the imagination? Tickle your sense of humor? Touch your heart?

Here’s what’s on my Reading Radar this Spring: 

  1. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant
  2. Double Bind: Women on Ambition by Robin Romm
  3. Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Startup Bubble by Dan Lyons
  4. This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class by Elizabeth Warren
  5. The New Rules of Work: The Modern Playbook for Navigating Your Career by Alexandra Cavoulacos
  6. Creativity Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull
  7. We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio
  8. Dot by Randi Zuckerberg & Joe Berger
  9. Mapping Innovation: A Playbook for Navigating a Disruptive Age by Greg Satell
  10. Machine Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfee & Erik Brynjolfsson

All leaders are readers. All who read learn. All reading results in growth. Go forth and blossom!

Happy Spring!

Happy Reading!







About penina4niceinitiative

Penina Rybak MA/CCC-SLP, TSHH, CEO of Socially Speaking LLC, is the author of "The NICE Reboot: A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur". She is an Autism specialist and educational technology consultant turned social entrepreneur. She is also a pediatric speech therapist and the creator of the Socially Speaking™ Program & iPad App. Her second book, "Autism Intervention in the iEra" was published in 2015. Since 2010, Penina has been a national/international speaker about social communication development, balancing humanity and technology, and best practices re: mobile and social technology. Connect with her on LinkedIn to learn more. You can also find her on Twitter: @PopGoesPenina, Facebook: Socially Speaking LLC, Google+ at The NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship, and Pinterest and YouTube as well.
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