Book 475: Difficult Conversations – Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen

stone-douglas-bruce-patton-and-sheila-heen-difficult-conversationsNow that it’s been almost a month I figured I might as well catch up on some books. I’ve actually made quite a bit of progress reading this month, given the facts of everything that’s going on and  affects my day-to-day work life (thanks Trump).

This book came to me from my current Human Resources Director when I spoke with her about how not-so-great Miguel Ruiz’s books were. Based on our few previous conversations she was like you should try this one because it’s more of a practical guide and less “worldly wisdom.” And boy was she right!

Even though the two books say basically the same thing, this one was so much easier to identify with and take action points away from it. This could have to do with the fact it was written by a group of Harvard University associated individuals, or it could also have to do with the fact that it was less spiritual and more practical.

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Book 470: The Power of Kindness – Piero Ferrucci

ferrucci-piero-the-power-of-kindnessSimilar to Finding the Blue Sky, I’m not sure whether this one was great because of its own goodness or because of the three bad ones I read before by Miguel Ruiz.

The publisher, TarcherPerigee sent me an unsolicited copy of this book and I’m glad I read it.* They’ve really got either a good editorial team or a great lineage of what to print because they’ve been much more hit than miss, which I know I’ve mentioned previously.

It’s going to be hard not to compare this one to Finding the Blue Sky for two reasons: I read them back-to-back and they’re very similar. I almost wish the two authors worked together on the book because they both would’ve been strengthened by it.

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Book 469: Finding the Blue Sky – Joseph Emet

emet-joseph-finding-the-blue-skyUnlike the last three books by Miguel Ruiz, this book seemed to really make sense to me and didn’t offend me with it’s contradictory stories and lessons.

I didn’t plan to end the year with a bunch of self-help books, but because work took up so much of my time in the last third of the year I’m just now catching up on all the galleys I received.* That’s a sentence I never expected to write.

As someone who is incredibly skeptical of self-help books, religion, psychology, psychotherapy or really anything doing with the mind or the ethereal, I’m not only surprised at how many I’ve read this year, but I’m also surprised at how many I appreciated. I still think there is a time and place for all of the thing above, but I’ve found that when they are well written (which most of TarcherPerigee’s seem to be) they’re worth some time investment, but not too much!

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Book 457: One of These Things First – Steven Gaines

Gaines, Steven - One of These Things FirstI had no idea who Steven Gaines was and after reading this, I don’t have that much more of an idea. I’d love to say I’ve done more research but I haven’t, but I may try to read Philistines at the Hedgerow later this fall as we’re going to a wedding in the Hamptons and it’s about property there.

All of this being said, my thoughts are not a bad thing, especially as I enjoyed his writing, but an observation of my usual lack of background knowledge going in to a book.

The lovely people at Open Road Media reached out to me with a copy of One of These Things First* as I had previously read In Youth Is Pleasure and I can see the similarities in story, style and experience even though they’re set in different countries and quite a bit apart temporally.

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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 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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