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You Can Do it: The Merit Badge Handbook For Grownup Girls Paperback – 29 Apr 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; Stk edition (29 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811846350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811846356
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 3.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,434,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Grandcolas was an experienced sales and marketing professional embarking on a writing career when she died on United Flight 93 on 9/11; her husband, family, and publisher rallied together to complete her outstanding debut, which encourages middle-aged women to do the things they have always dreamed of doing. The text-patterned after a Girl Scout manual-is made up of seven "badge" categories (e.g., "Dare," "Create," and "Learn") that are further organized into activities such as learning to skydive and care for one's car and building family rituals or breaking bad habits. Each badge takes readers through the task from start to finish and includes excerpts from professionals in that field. A bibliography of books, magazines, and web sites for further information is included. A pure pleasure to browse, this is the perfect gift for those celebrating 40th birthdays and beyond and will enjoy a high circulation among public library patrons. Highly recommended. "Library Journal" Not long before 9/11, Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas posted a motto on her refrigerator door: "Get busy living or get busy dying." The 38-year-old marketing executive, pregnant with her first child, had recently started work on a book encouraging women to pursue their dreamsno matter how outlandisheven as they struggled with the daily demands of children, marriage and career. Grandcolas came up with a set of "merit badges for grown-ups" and even hung her old Girl Scout sash above her desk as inspiration. Before she could finish, Grandcolas was killed aboard United Flight 93. After her death, Lauren's husband and sisters gathered her notes and met with her agent. This week, Chronicle Books will posthumously release "You Can Do It! The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls." "She truly, truly wanted women to get out there and taste life," says Vaughn Lohec, Lauren's younger sister. "But it's bittersweet that she can't be here to talk about the book herself." "Newsweek""

About the Author

Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas (1963 2001) began You Can Do It! more than a year before her death on September 11 on her way home to the San Francisco Bay Area. Her older sister, Dara, and her younger sister, Vaughn, spokespeople for the book and both you-can-d

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have just discovered this book on amazon. I have read the excerpt. I have ordered the book via

I have started working towards different badges of achievement. This book is fun and inspirational.

I may not want to do most of the activities mentioned in the book, however for me it is a tool to use to attain the badges in respect of the activities/achievements of my choice.

Empowering for women.

This book is a wonderful tribute to a young woman whose life was taken away from her on 11th September 2001.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As they say, MEH. Nowhere near is exciting and fun as I thought it would be. VERY feminist and pushy/aggressive/obnoxious, in my opinion. Also, the choices were very limited and hardly any of them seemed all that interesting to me. Wouldn't bother, had I seen it in a bookstore.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was a book that my gf wanted for a while !

Its a very nice book full of inspiring ideas !!

We are very satisfied :)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars 60 reviews
88 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've been waiting for this one... 29 April 2005
By Hollywood - Published on
Format: Paperback
Okay, I'm a guy here. And I can't tell you how many times I've spoken the phrase this book takes for a title to my incredibly accomplished sweetheart who, despite her successes, is never quite confident enough to chase down her dreams. "You can do it!" I've been saying for years. "Look what you've already done!" So when I came across this book and saw that it was an intelligent, results-oriented, motivational manual (it's more than just another "self-help book"), I decided to let someone else have a go at her. At first she rolled her eyes and said, "Nice try, honey." (I also got a kiss for being a thoughtful, if overly optimistic, boyfriend). But then a week later she sheepishly came over to me, sat in my lap, and spoke the words, "I got my first badge." Well, let me just say that it'll be a while before I'm in the doghouse again. My thanks to all the inspiring women who contributed to this kick-in-the-pants bible. From now on I get to say, "SHE DID IT!"
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With this book, you CAN do it! 21 April 2005
By Linda Painchaud-Steinman - Published on
Format: Paperback
You CAN do the thing you fear! Or the thing you never thought you had time to do. Just use this book as your guide/mentor, and whatever pursuit you've "always wanted to try" becomes possible.

Whatever it is you've been longing to do, you'll probably find it in this big, encouraging book, which breaks down goals into small, easily achievable steps.

Recommended for girls/women of any age who want to finally get on with DOING the things they've been waiting to try.

Reviewer: Linda Painchaud-Steinman, Park Edge Books

Side Note: The author of this book was a victim of September 11. She was on flight 93. The details are in the book's poignant introduction (written by her sisters).
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing gift book - so much fun! 11 April 2005
By Suzanne Wright - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have given this book as a gift a few times and it is an all-time favorite present! I plan to give it again and again to all my friends. So many of us say "I would love to try (blank)" and this book gives you the guidance and inspiration to actually do it! It also gave me ideas to try things I had not considered before. What great fun!
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every woman needs a copy of this! 8 April 2005
By CMS - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book rocks. Who wouldn't want a copy of a book that basically encourages you and guides you to do all of those things you've been wanting to do, but felt like you couldn't for one reason or another. I was inspired to sign up for a cooking class with some of my co-workers because I felt like I kept making the same old thing over and over again...we took a class on how to make a four course Vietnamese dinner! It was so much fun and so inspiring to actaully check one of those things off of my I-wish-I-could list. And the best part is, there's a seemingly endless amount of options in the book--so many cool things to do and to learn. It's the perfect kind of book to get a bunch of friends together and do something you've always wanted to do, but never thought you would or could!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DO IT! 29 Mar. 2006
By Ashley Davis - Published on
Format: Paperback
Imagine This... There was a woman who was always interested in learning new things. She regularly hiked, biked, kayaked, took classes in cooking, gardening, SCUBA diving, and wine appreciation. According to her friends, she "made things happen." As if that wasn't enough, she decided to write a book that would boost women's self-esteem by helping them reach their own goals and realize their own dreams. A grown-up Girl Scout herself who proudly displayed her badge-laden sashes in her office, she based her book on the concept of learn a new skill, get a badge. I was never a girl scout myself, but as I get older the more I appreciate that concept. I imagine that Lauren Catuzzi Grancolas was the kind of woman who made life fun for the people she knew. She was tragically aboard the doomed Flight 93 on 9/11. Adopting her spirit, her two sisters, one an at-home Mom of three, finished compiling this book in her honor.

You Can Do It is one of those books that is fun to have on your shelf. It is part self-help book and part how-to guide. It presents 60 skills for grown-up girls to master. The badge activites range from life skills like negotiating & financial planning to hobbies like camping and flower arranging to extreme things like flying an airplane or becoming a stand-up comedian. Each skill begins with an "Imagine This..." section that takes you to a time at some point in the future when you have already mastered the skill.

For example, in the Speak Up chapter "Imagine This... Fellow parents nominate you to introduce an important issue to the PTA... Gone are the days when you'd feel sick with anxiety, make excuses, and keep your mouth shut - only to berate yourself later." Then it outlines the Payoffs of mastering that skill ("Fear of public speaking can keep us from pursuing life's possibilities: meeting fascinating people, pursuing promising careers, degrees, and promotions,;and sharing our ideas, talents, and expertise. Don't let your gifts go to waste!") and the Badge Steps you must complete (1. Face your fears. 2. Know your Purpose. 3. Draft your speech. 4. Practice speechifying. 5. Be kind to yourself. 6. Rise and shine.)

There is a mentor, a female who is an expert in that skill, for each section and she offers advice, encouragement, and a list of helpful books, websites, supplies needed, and other references. In the public speaking section, the mentor is a woman named Janet E. Esposito who is the president of a company called In the Spotlight which helps people overcome stage fright. The section also offers a "Beyond the Badge" section for overachievers - in this example it tells you how to get involved in the Toastmaster's Club or get media training.

This book is not the end-all guide for any of the skills presented, but it is a fun jumping off place. It is full of encouragement and inspiration. And I would challenge anyone to flip through this book and not stop and read at least one section and think "You know? I always wanted to try that..."
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