2019 Reading List: Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi

Do you eat breakfast with your phone in front of you? Have you picked up your phone in the last 20 minutes? Are you addicted to social media or gaming apps? Do you get panicky if you can’t find your phone (or if the battery is less than 20%)?

Chances are, you answered yes to at least one of those questions. Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Creative Self, by Manoush Zomorodi addresses this societal issue.

The book isn’t about cell phones though. Of course, phones are today’s number one source of entertainment and distraction, but the point of this book is that we don’t leave enough time in our day for unstructured thought. We never have to say ‘I’m bored.’ We have the opportunity and ability to jump from one source of media to the next. Facebook to Instagram to Candy Crush to text messaging to email and back again.

When is the last time you actually just – did nothing? I certainly can’t remember. Continue reading

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2019 Reading List: Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown

I remember very distinct moments in my childhood where I was desperate to fit in. When I was younger, most of it seemed to hinge on having the right things or wearing the right clothes. I wore overalls in elementary school because I liked them, but then I got made fun of and never wore them again. I wanted Ugg boots in the worst way because everyone else was wearing them. But I also just wanted to be part of a group. I wanted to feel like I had people around me, who wanted to hang out with me. I wanted a seat at the lunch table. I wanted friends on the swim team. I wanted people to meet up with in homeroom. I just wanted people to like me.

Brené Brown’s book, Braving the Wilderness, takes a deep look at this longing to belong and what it really means. Continue reading

2019 Reading List: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I don’t play video games, I don’t watch many movies, and I don’t know a thing about the 80’s. But I loved this book.

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline (now a movie directed by Steven Spielberg, which I have not yet seen), was a book that didn’t depend on your knowledge of literally anything in the book. Sure, maybe it would have been more relatable had I ever played the game Joust. Maybe it would have been more impactful had I ever seen the movie War Games. Maybe if I knew more of Star Trek than just the name.

But I don’t know those things, and yet, I found this book impossible to put down because the structure of it, the framework, the plot, and the characters were so real. That was the only thing that mattered.

They could have been playing completely made up games, just like the OASIS is made up. They could have been watching movies that never existed. It didn’t matter. Continue reading

2019 Reading List: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

The second book selected for the MarketSpace book club was a novel titled, Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi. My co-worker who put this book on the list couldn’t remember where she’d heard about it, and after reading the synopsis online, the group was a little skeptical. But I told them at the very least we can all attempt to read it and if we don’t like it, we just stop. I’ve done that before.

So I downloaded the library book onto my Kindle, and once I started, I couldn’t stop. I didn’t want to put this book down. The chapters are longer, so that also makes it hard to find a stopping point, but I just didn’t want to.

I will try to make my own summary of the book a little more intriguing than the book jacket. Continue reading

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

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