Friday, January 3, 2020

Good books I read over the last year

I have to be honest. Most of the time I listened to audio books. I have subscriptions to two different services and this has been the greatest impetus to get new books and consume that informative, inspiring or entertaining content.

One of the reasons I choose audio for so much text based content is because of time constraints. When I read a book, that is all I do. What tends to suffer when I am absorbed in a book, especially a ripping narrative, is my sleep. I will continue the habit of a lifetime and read in bed. It's still relaxation, but it's not sleep.

I travel by public transit a little over an hour to my volunteer gig once a week. Every other week, I have an errand to another part of town. Perfect reading moments, right? Alas, I get terrible motion sickness if I try to read in a vehicle or on a train. So it is the perfect time to listen.

I like to listen to something while I'm walking or grocery shopping. Often I hit up podcasts, but buffering can be a problem. So I have a book downloaded, and I can listen happily. At home, I use an audio book as my "reward" for doing some housework. I put my earbuds in, turn on an entertaining book, and clean. It's especially great for the vacuuming.

Here is a selection of the non-fiction titles I read and appreciated this year, in no particular order. I read more than these, but these are the ones I truly enjoyed in the moment or intend to return to for references and ideas.

Wendy Wood - Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes (2019). This book is a conglomeration of the science including a lot of Dr. Wood's own research into the topic, but is written in language accessible to the layman. I have only just finished my first listen, and I will be going through it again to make notes of some actionable practices. Stay tuned on that one.

Ken Robinson - Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative (2011) and Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life (2013). Creativity is a particular interest of mine. Ken Robinson's TED talk on the subject is still one of the most listened to in history.

Simon Sinek - The Infinite Game (2019). This is an interesting take on the concept of fixed and growth mindsets for leaders. I have already recommended this book to others.

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton - The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience (2019)

Michelle Obama - Becoming (2018). Definitely her story, her point of view, not his. Good value too, because it is long and detailed.

Mel Robbins - Work It Out (2019), Kick Ass (2018) and Take Control of Your Life (2019) - Audible Originals. These are recorded coaching sessions with deeply insightful commentary and actionable take-aways. I like this work better than the original Five Second Rule.

David Wallace-Wells - The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming(2019). A depressingly clear run down of the current climate-change science, and some of the predictive models - but with some hope attached. Very useful for anyone writing futurist or sci-fi novels, if nothing else.

Marie Forleo - Everything is Figureoutable (2019). One of the great features of this audio book, is that the sections with the exercises - what she calls an "Insight to Action Challenge" for each chapter - have their own heading - so it is easy to jump to them to participate in the exercises.

Currently reading:

Matt Bird - The Secrets of Story: Innovative Tools for Perfecting Your Fiction and Captivating Readers (2016). This is another book that will I will be taking copious notes from. I'm finding it illuminating.

Amy Schmittauer Landino - Good Morning, Good Life: 5 Simple Habits to Master Your Mornings and Upgrade Your Life (2019). I am already a fan of Amy's first book, Vlog Like a Boss, and I like her reading style in audio. She writes in a friendly, authentic style and shares personal stories from her own life, including sometimes painful learning experiences. Plus it includes actionable exercises and doable steps. I like it so far.

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