20, 04, 2016

Review: Be You & Live Civil by Karen Civil


If you guys can remember, one of my goals for the year was to read a new book every month. Then some crazy ambition came over me and that turned into a new book a week. I mean, I really love to read so how hard can it be. I figured between the books I’m reading for work, the stacks of books I have on my nightstand and all of the books I want to read, doing a book a week should be no problem. Well, I was wrong. It’s a problem!

Even though I haven’t managed to crank out a book a week like I intended, I have gotten a few books under my belt. And today I’m sharing my thoughts on one of them. I’m giving you the full breakdown of Be You & Live Civil by Karen Civil. I’ll try my best to avoid spoilers, but I can’t make any promises.

Before I dive in, here’s some background. I’ve followed Karen Civil ever since I saw the interview she did on the Breakfast Club in 2014. She is a successful black women in an industry that I want to be in. A lot of the things she’s done, career wise, are things that I look forward to doing in the future.  I really respect her.

In this book, Karen (because we’re friends in my head) shares intimate moments of her life how, through these experiences, she was able to unlock her potential and reach the success she has today.

I’m always attracted to people who have the courage to share their story honestly. There’s something beautiful about transparency.  It comforts others by letting them know that they are not alone or abnormal for their experiences. Most importantly, it shows that those same experiences can be overcome. So, based on all of those things, I was really excited to read this book.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!


  1. Short and easy read. This was a huge con for me (I’ll explain below), but it may be a pro for others. The book is 70 pages from cover to cover with pretty large, spaced out print and . For those who don’t like reading or don’t have much time to do it, this would be a good choice.
  2. She gets personal. As I said earlier, I appreciate it when people really open up and Karen did just that. She candidly shared moments of her life that I’m sure were hard to pen.  She went into detail about moments of depression, death, doubt and fear. It felt like that moment at camp where everyone passes an object, says something heartfelt about their life, cries and everyone is instantly closer. I mean that in the best way possible. Through her honesty, me and Karen had a girl chat moment. It was encouraging to know that we share similar life experiences, which brings me to my next point.
  3. She’s relatable (at least to me she is). And that’s the great part about it. I didn’t feel like I was hearing the story of a success that could not be duplicated. If she can succeed, I can succeed because I can relate to her life. Like me, she’s the daughter or immigrant parents, raised in New York and more. On a general level, she’s had break-ups, failures and fears that any woman can relate to.
  4.  She’s encouraging. Before each chapter she shares “tweetables” that really get you thinking about your life. She also ends each chapter with affirmations, tips and motivational words to help you succeed and overcome difficult situations. Capitalizing on this momentum, she includes a notes section where you can plan for your life and dreams using some of the tips she suggested.


  1. Too short. I say this again, the book is 70 pages from cover to cover. I read it in 45 minutes. That’s a no-go for me. When I received my book in the mail, I, low-key, felt bamboozled. It looked way bigger in the picture. Now, I know this could have been avoided by reading the description on Amazon. But I didn’t. Therefore, I was unpleasantly surprised. Again, completely my fault. From the back cover description, I expected a memoir and full blown self-help guide. However, the book is actually a collection of moments of her life and what she learned.
  2. Needed more detail. The book promises to discuss “how she was able to unlock her potential, and live her purpose” and “illustrate her 4 step journey.” Because of the lack in details, I wasn’t able to fully capture the “how” of it all. The 4 steps were the 4 chapters of the book, but there was no concrete definition or outline; it was more of an overview. Think two to three minute Facebook video versus TED talk. She gave good information and insights, just didn’t have (or take) the time to expound.

Girl, I can’t believe she said that!

“Instead of finding solace in her words, I chucked the cordless phone against the wall and swallowed close to ten pills…I wanted to be rescued from life and everything about it but God saw fit to force me to deal with reality and face the issues that led me to suicide, and I woke up the next day.

This was one of the realest moments in the book and I’m glad she shared it.

Overall rating

One a scale of  “I can’t believe I wasted my money” (0) to “I’m joining your mailing list so I can pre-order the next book” (10), I’d give the book a 6. In other words, it was cool.  I left feeling inspired and learned a little more about her journey to success.


Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts!

2 responses to “Review: Be You & Live Civil by Karen Civil”

  1. Danyelle says:

    I may check it out, but like you, I find super short books leave me wanting more! Thanks for an awesome review! #BLM

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