2019 Reading List: How Women Rise by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith

I just finished another career/self-help book called How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job, by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith.

I’d heard about this book through blogs or podcasts or something in the past year, so it’s been on my list for awhile.

It’s about the fact that all of the skills and tactics that make women successful up until the mid-to-upper career level may be the very things that are holding them back as they look to move to the upper management or C-level.

At first, this book didn’t really resonate with me. The introduction was long and odd – the intro seemed to be covering more of Goldsmith’s other book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, than it was intro-ing the actual book I was reading.

I was also very thrown off by the way the book was written in sort of third person and sort of first person. I actually didn’t realize that the “Sally” and “Marshall” that the book kept referring to were the authors until about halfway through, because it felt like they were referring to themselves in the third person, but the the next sentence they’d use the word “We.” I felt like the “we” was writing the book and Sally and Marshall were just hanging out. It was strange.

And then, I felt that I didn’t really agree with the book at all. They were trying to tell me that the skills I take such pride in weren’t good enough skills to have and that they would eventually hinder my ability to get ahead, if they weren’t already. My whole adult life, I’d been focusing on certain workplace skills. I’d been working on being a team player, I’d been showing gratitude to my team members, I’d been getting certifications to position myself as an expert. And they were telling me that at a certain point, that’s all wrong. I didn’t believe them. I almost put the book down. Continue reading

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2019 Reading List: You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

It’s my belief that this book became a bestseller based on title alone. And while that may be probable, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero definitely has merit as an inspiring self-help book.

I picked up this book because 1) that title, duh and 2) it’s been recommended on several blogs that I read. But really though, the title alone is all the affirmation you need.

It was a little less focused on the “badassery” than I expected though. It was a little less edgy than I thought it would be. But it was full of motivational genius.

There wasn’t actually anything new in this book. I felt that I’d heard it all before. Sincero did not tell me anything I didn’t already know. She even alludes to that a few times though. Continue reading

2018 Reading List: Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris

There is never a point at which I feel that I have learned what I need to know to succeed – either at life or in my career. And so I continue to pick up and read books like Tribe of Mentors, by Tim Ferris, eagerly consuming the nuggets of wisdom from as many writers and successful individuals as I can.

Tribe of Mentors was the perfect book, wrapping up the worldly advice from over 130 people who have done something amazing, learned something amazing, built something amazing, or achieved something amazing.

I wrote down my favorite lines and quotes from the book as I read it, so that I could remember them and go back and ruminate as needed. And I have. As Tim Ferris himself says, some of the advice and quotes are what you need in a particular moment and some of them you might not need until later.

I read this book at a time when I was a new leader of a stressed-out team. We were busy and felt like we were failing. I was stressed but still so optimistic that we had the right people in place. And yet I was still also looking for a new job. Looking for an opportunity that would point me in a direction that felt more true to my soul.

So the quotes that stuck with me from this book came from that place. That place of chaos and change and struggle and optimism and hope. Continue reading

2019 Reading List: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

The saga has ended.

980 pages chronicle the battles that almost doom the continent. 980 pages to journey to the place where it all began. 980 pages of torture, deceit, strength, hope and valor.

980 pages had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I am always amazed that no matter how long the book, how detailed the journey, Sarah J. Maas always manages to tell a riveting story and the final installment of her Throne of Glass series, Kingdom of Ash, is no exception. Continue reading

2018 Reading List: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Every day, I look into the big endless depths of my dog’s eyes and I wonder what she’s thinking. I imagine that she’s grateful to have a warm, loving home. I imagine that my parents’ dog is her best friend. I imagine that she gets annoyed when we’re late coming home from work. She can’t articulate these things, but I write the story of her thoughts in my own mind, anthropomorphizing her.

I love books that do the same, in the same, realistic way that I would write it myself.

To be honest, I picked up The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, at the library because I thought it was a book about greyhounds (which should be written, by the way). Instead, the “racing” was referring to car racing. But the book itself was still written from the perspective of the family dog. And it was perfect. Continue reading

2019 Reading List: American Sniper by Chris Kyle

This is the second time I’ve read American Sniper, by Chris Kyle. If you know me at all, you’ll know that’s highly unusual for me – I don’t read books twice because there are way too many other books in the world that I haven’t read yet.

In this case, this book was chosen as the book for my book club at my new place of work. I started the book club here when I started my new job at the end of November, and I was thrilled that a few people said they wanted to read with me.

If it were any other book, I might not have picked it up again. I might have said, Oh, I’ve read that, so I’ll just wait till you all are done and talk about it later. But this was American Sniper. I remember loving this book the first time I read it. I remember feeling like my eyes were opened to this whole new perspective on war and combat and service – things I’d never truly considered before.

Many people have seen this movie, but I never have. I would love to, just haven’t gotten around to it yet. But now that I’ve read the book twice, I can say that it was definitely a different experience each time. Continue reading

2018 Reading List: Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, edited by Roxane Gay

I went to the library to get the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I wanted to get into the Christmas spirit, to remember gratitude and appreciation, and to relive childhood memories of decorating the tree with this black and white film playing in the background.

I found the movie, but I also ended up checking out this book, titled Not That Bad: Dispatches for Rape Culture, edited by Roxane Gay.

Perhaps I was compelled to pick it up since I’d just done a self-defense workshop a few days before. Perhaps I’ve been feeling frustrated with reports of sexism and sexual abuse that seem to permeate the news. Whatever the reason, I opened this book, which was featured prominently on a stand near the library entrance, and I read the first few pages.

I wasn’t sure how to write this “book review” or if I should even write it at all. I was worried about whether my opinions would come across too strongly for this smattering of book review readers I have here. I was worried that the word “rape” might scare people off or worse, instigate a fight, a defense, a discussion.

But the more I thought about it, I realized that that’s exactly what we need, to change this rape culture. We cannot be afraid of the word “rape.” We can’t be afraid to talk about it, or voice our opinions. I hope we all have the same opinions. That rape is wrong, that no means no, that silence means no, that drunk girls aren’t asking for it.

I wrote a little essay of sorts in my journal after I finished this book, so I’ll write it for you here. Because whatever my thoughts are, those might be the thoughts of someone else too. And they just might be the thoughts that someone needs to hear. Continue reading

2018 Reading List: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Do you believe in love at first sight? How about falling in love in one day?

In The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon, Natasha and Daniel experience the romance of a lifetime – in the course of less than 24 hours.

Daniel is a poet and a dreamer. He thinks the world is beautiful and rich and often unexplainable. He believes in the power of love and the ability for the universe to bring people together. His older brother has made his life difficult. He is a Korean American, and his parents want him to go to college at Yale next year. He has an interview with an admissions counselor today.

Natasha believes in science and facts. She is 17 years old and wants to go to college to be a data scientist. To her, there is a reason for everything and there is always an explanation. Her best friend is currently touring colleges and she just got cheated on by her boyfriend. Her life seems pretty normal for a teenager, but there’s one problem. She’s an undocumented immigrant from Jamaica, and her family is being deported today. Continue reading

2018 Reading List: Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead

I feel strongly that women are meant to have a bigger role in our communities, education systems, government, and businesses. I love reading books about strong women. I love hearing about powerful women who create change. I know that the world will be better off when women no longer see and hear the internal and external arguments about whether and how they can succeed.

I believe all of this 100% and yet, I am still yearning to figure out how to create an impact of my own. I still have a strong desire to learn what it is that holds women back, and more importantly, how to communicate that to others.  Continue reading

2018 Reading List: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware, was much more of typical murder mystery than my last murder mystery. This book was very much a “there’s a murder, I saw it, we have to find out who did it, oh it’s not who we think” type of mystery.

I enjoyed reading this book a lot. Murder mysteries hook me, keep me reading, and fly by quickly. This was no exception.  Continue reading