The Borough Press | 9 June 2022 | 288 pgs
Source: Purchased 

I'd so much fun reading this book; despite it was more of a women's fiction (which revolves around the friendship and "entrepreneurship" between two women) set in a world of luxurious bags and their fake counterparts. 

Ava Wong is married to a successful surgeon and is taking an indefinite career break from her profession as a lawyer to take care of her young son, Henri. What seems like a picture-perfect life is actually a facade as Ava is in fact having difficulties in taking care of Henri (who has some developmental issues) and her husband is working far too much to take notice of her struggles and the family as a whole. 

Enter Winnie Fang, who is Ava’s old college roommate but left Stanford in a shroud of scandal. Ava has lost contact with Winnie, but they met one day and Ava is instantly fascinated by Winnie’s new self and her wealth. Winnie used to be quiet and awkward but now she's exudes confidence and charm and most of all, she's dripping in designer accessories so life must be more than great for her. Either out of boredom or desperation, Ava soon finds herself confiding in Winnie and what's more, the latter seems to know how to make little Henri happy. As they get closer and Winnie needs a favour surrounding her handbags business, Ava couldn't say no and before she knew it, she's wading deeper into Winnie’s shady business (of making and selling counterfeit luxurious handbags) and she has to make the ultimate decision to cut and run or risk it all. 

Luxurious handbags are many women's favourite fashion accessories, so while it was fun reading from that angle, counterfeiting is not and all the more so when these factories are making them and hiring illegal, (and sometimes) underage employees in which these features take up a minor part of the story. And I've to say I learned a lot about the world of counterfeit handbags and their manufacturing after reading this. Also, Ava and Winnie are both intriguing and interesting characters. Their friendship and entrepreneurship are the highlights alongside Ava's coping with cranky little Henri and her life. Overall the prose was light, darkly comic and entertaining; my only complaint was there's not a single quotation marks for dialogues and while they're not hard to distinguish, it isn't my favourite writing style. I'll be curious to find out what's in store for the author's next book. 
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Random House| 1 March 2022 | 352 pgs
Source: Library 

I'm sure everyone has their regrets at some point and in this book, Daniel H. Pink stated that they're universal and are fundamental part of our lives. He also mentioned that if we reckon with our regrets in some fresh and imaginative ways, we can enlist them to make smarter decisions and deepen our sense of meaning and purpose.  

The author conducted the World Regret Survey in which he collected the answers from more than 16,000 people in 105 countries and identifies the four core regrets that most people have - foundation regrets (e.g. "If only I'd done the work") , boldness regrets (e.g. "If only I'd taken that risk"), moral regrets (e.g. "If only I'd done the right thing") and connection regrets (e.g. "If only I'd reached out"). He went on to explore these deep structure regrets and also show the reader a few of each examples through his interviewees' answers alongside his research in other areas such as psychology, neuroscience, economics and biology to challenge widely held assumptions about emotions and behaviour. 

He also explained about counterfactual thinking (our ability to mentally travel through time and to conjure incidents and outcomes that never happened) and also compare the two counterfactuals - "At Leasts" and "If Onlys". Opportunity and obligation also sit at the center of regret though the former has the more prominent seat and why we're more likely to regret what we didn't do than what we did. 

Well, there are more findings and guides from what I've learned as stated above, but I'll end this post with a few quotes from the book which I find useful and something to think about. 

"The four core regrets operate as a photographic negative of the good life. If we know what people regret the most, we can reverse that image to reveal what they value the most."

"Don't dodge emotions. Don't wallow in them either. Confront them. Use them as a catalyst for future behaviour. If thinking is for doing, feeling can help us think."

"Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!" Viktor Frankl, 1946

"When we've completed a difficult and important task - we sometimes slack off and assume our work is done. But it's usually not. Don't just relish the goal you've achieved. Review the steps that got you there. Spend less time celebrating the destination and more time contemplating the journey."
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