What I’ve been reading…

January 11, 2016

I asked my family and others gathered for Thanksgiving for book recommendations before I left form Malawi this year. And, I’ve read all of them! I don’t usually devour books, but with no electricity, my Kindle Paperwhite has been great (and holds a charge almost forever).

Thank you for your great suggestions. I’ve enjoyed them all.

On the Shortness of Life: Life is Long if You Know How to Use it by Seneca: The title gives the main point of the book away. But there are many other wonderful passages in this book. One of my favorites on tranquility:…just as even a calm sea will show some ripples, especially when it has subsided following a storm…[have] confidence in your self and the belief that you are on the right path…The Greeks call this steady firmness of mind “euthymia”, but I call it tranquility…We are, therefore, seeking a mind that can follow a smooth and steady course, well disposed to itself, happily regarding its own condition and with no interruption to this pleasure, but remaining in a state of peace with no ups and downs: that will be tranquility.

Flatlands: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott: I’m not a fantasy or science fiction fan, but this book about another world with two dimensions grabbed my attention and held it! I was immediately caught up in the flat world, as well as the possibilities of worlds in many other dimensions.

Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick: This is a must-read for our times. I gained an amazing perspective on ISIS by understanding its emergence and the conditions in which it thrives.

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert: This book debunks all your preconceptions about happiness, but doesn’t give you many alternative ways to think about the concept of happiness….I think he needs to write a sequel. I loved the social science emphasis of the topics he addresses!

Shantaram by Gregory Roberts: This book was hilarious, tragic and riveting. I won’t spoil it for others, but I wish I’d read the authors biography before I read the book! A great story based on some of his experiences in Bombay. The book has amazing, unforgettable characters – each with endless possibilities.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport: I’m already a Cal Newprot fan from his Study Hacks blog. I read this older book of his in preparation for his newest release on Deep Work. The author makes a case against just aimlessly following your passion. He’s a proponent of deliberate practice (uncomfortable, hard work that stretches your brain – accompanied by feedback from others) that helps you gather career capital. He also talks about putting yourself in the adjacent possible – on the cutting edge by using your career capital. I’m looking forward to his book and webinar on Deep Work.

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown: A favorite author of mine (I’d recommend Daring Greatly). She’s a brilliant researcher in the areas of shame, fear, and vulnerability. I love the word “couraging” that she uses. The courage, connections and compassion discussed in this book and inspire me to look for ways to live with a whole heart.

 

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