Book 450: Sisters In Law – Linda Hirshman

Hirshman, Linda - Sisters In LawFour the fourth installment of our nonfiction book group, we’re learning about the amazing Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor. I thought I knew a lot about the “Notorious RBG,” but I knew nothing; and then add in what I learned about the FWOTSC (First Woman on the Supreme Court) and I’d say this was a pretty good addition to our year of biographies and autobiographies.

As interesting as the book was, I felt like there was so much from both their histories and from their time on the court that was left out of the book. Hirshman seemed to rush the first half of O’Connor’s time on the court and the last part of Ginsburg’s continued time on the court. It was disappointing because there are clearly so many additional amazing cases they had to decide that weren’t as glamorous as LGBT rights, women’s rights or racial equality.

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Book 449: Whose Mind Is It Anyway? – Lisa and Franco Esile

Esile, Lisa and Frank - Whose Mind Is It Anyway?Sometimes you need to be reminded that you don’t know everything and this is one of those instances. It legitimately, is a book telling you not to always believe what you’re mind says, but to take time out and look at it from a different perspective (aka your heart) and to see what else is going on.

This isn’t one of those books I would pick up and buy for myself or even as a gift, but it’s one of those books that everyone would (or really should) read if they stumbled across it. I know if I saw it on a coffee table or in a bathroom (see photo of illustration below), I would flip through it. The publicist for the novel sent over a copy for me to check out* and it was a quick, fun and quirky read. I’m definitely going to have to check out the author’s website to see what other fun things they get up to.

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Book 439: Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight – Alexandra Fuller

Fuller, Alexandra - Don't Let's Go to the Dogs TonightI would never have selected this book to read for a few reasons: it’s nonfiction; it’s a memoir/autobiography; it’s set on the African continent; and it’s not by someone I know anything about. Now I have nothing against any of these things, they’re just not on my usual list of go-to’s for books to read and that’s why I’m glad book group chose auto/biographies and memoirs this year. We’ve already done Fun Home and Girl In A Band, and there are a few interesting ones left on the list, so we’ll see what’s next.

That being said, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. It did take a little longer to read than expected, but adjusting to a new job while trying to read a piece of nonfiction wasn’t exactly the brightest idea, but that’s book group for you. I think it also didn’t help that Fuller’s story telling style would I think be better in person or as a spoken story rather than a written narrative.

It was hard to know what I was expecting from this book. Going in I didn’t know if it would be about the revolutions/civil wars that took place or if it was going to be about post-colonialism. I also had no idea where in the hierarchy of white settlers Fuller’s story would fall. Thankfully, it sort of talks about all of this but through the eyes of a child. Continue reading

Book 435: 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy – Luminita D. Saviuc

Saviuc, Luminita D. - 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be HappyAt some point over the past two years as I’ve read more and more mental/self health, professional/personal development books something must have struck a chord as I feel a lot calmer and more put-together than I have in a long time. I’ve noticed that a lot of these books suggest things I am already doing or have utilized in the past and it’s nice to receive the affirmation. It’s also nice to occasionally be reminded of the things that I need to continue working on in order to maintain the calmness.

When the publicist reached out to me with a copy* of this book I wasn’t sure I would have the time, or the desire to read it. However, I set the book on my to-be-read/determined shelf and it stayed there on top for a little over a month. And then when I was having a really rough week and didn’t want to start another book I picked it up to see what it had to offer.

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Book 422: Smarter Faster Better – Charles Duhigg

Duhigg, Charles - Stronger Faster BetterWhen I requested a copy of this upcoming book (released March 8, 2016) from Random House*, I was really hoping for a repeat of Duhigg’s 2012 The Power of Habit. Unfortunately, there was something missing from this one. I can’t quite figure out what it is, but I think it has to do with the first book being much easier to apply and this one overall being more theoretical.

That being said, this was incredibly readable and had a lot of great case studies that I’ve encountered in numerous settings and other books I’ve read recently about work productivity and managing up. Duhigg’s writing style is incredibly easy to read and he seamlessly ties together disparate examples to elucidate his points. Off the top of my head a few are: the development of Disney’s Frozen, General Electric (I feel like I’m an expert after Badowski’s excellent Managing Up), aviation near-crashes, the writing and staging of West Side Story, Google, Cincinnati school reform, debt collection and many others! Needless to say you will easily find at least one example that you really identify with.

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Book 420: The Generosity Factor – Ken Blanchard & S. Truett Cathy

Blanchard, Ken and S. Truett Cathy - The Generosity FactorYet another book that I can appreciate, but feel went a little heavy-handed with the dependence on religion to explain things. This was thinly veiled parable about Chik-fil-A and it’s founder’s story (they do finally acknowledge this in the afterward, but I wish it were more upfront). I found it on a list of best books to read for fundraisers and thats why I read it.

As with the numerous Mormon authors I’ve read I had some issues with this book because of one of the authors’ standpoints on social issues, or at least their company at one point. S. Truett Cathy, mostly his family, as the founder of Chik-fil-A, has contributed hundreds-of-thousands of dollars to anti-LGBT organizations. I think the problem for me is that they were so vocal about it for such a time period. Is this problematic to me? Yes. Did it stop me from reading the book or from eating at Chik-fil-A? No.

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Book 415: The Power of Forgiveness – Joan Gattuso

Gattuso, Joan - The Power of ForgivenessWhen I received this book from the publisher*, I immediately rejected it out of hand as I usually steer clear of books that have any sort of religious connotation. I am not a religious person and what spirituality I have is more theoretical than anything else, but primarily I have a to each their own mindset.

This being said, I set the book on my to-be-read soon pile and the longer it sat there the more I wondered if I should read it. Why shouldn’t I read something that makes me a little uncomfortable? Why shouldn’t I read something that could, potentially have a positive, affect my personal relationships? And I didn’t really have an answer to either of those questions, so when I was looking for a book to read before heading out one afternoon I grabbed this and started reading it.

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