I actually started Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl last year and just got around to finishing it. This book can be found on many must-read lists, and I wanted to be sure to read this one after reading The Choice, which was probably the best book I read last year (and an especially humbling read during the pandemic).
Frankl talks about his time in Nazi concentration camps and his exploration into what truly drives humans, which isn't pleasure, but meaning. Most people will be inspired by reading this book, it certainly stands the test of time.
I read Parenting Without Power Struggles by Susan Stiffelman after I saw it recommended on Janet Lansbury's website (she doesn't know it, but I consider her my parenting mentor). This had some good tips and will be something I go back and reference, I'm glad I read it.
Deep Work by Cal Newport was a quick read and a nice reminder about what type of work will continue to be more and more valuable in the 21st century. The book lays out strategies for achieving deep work, and I was surprised to realize as I was reading how often I don't notice my preference for swapping out deep, thoughtful work with shallow activities.
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It allows you to master complicated information, produce better work and ultimately feel more fulfilled.
I see more and more remote-first companies making a case that deep work and ultimate productivity can be achieved best outside of an office (or especially not in an open office plan). This is a good company read or for anyone who's looking to gain better results and more progress in less time in their life and career.
After reading the book about President Biden, I figured I'd follow it up and learn more about VP Kamala Harris by reading her memoir The Truths We Hold: An American Journey. I also didn't know much about her so this was super informative.
This book came out before the 2020 election, and maybe because of that, much of it felt a little like a stump speech to me. I didn't mind too much though and I enjoyed this quick read.
I picked up Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now by Evan Osnos as I admittedly didn't know much about President Biden and wanted to learn more. I appreciated Osnos' writing style and that he did a pretty good job revealing many sides of Biden. What I liked most about this book was that it helped me understand how Biden got to where he is, I liked having the background. I also now have a better understanding of what Biden will do as President. It was worth the quick read.
I've spent the last 3-4 months reading about 3 books on and off and not finishing any of them. When Barack Obama's book A Promised Land released in November, I grabbed it and finally finished a book to wrap up 2020.
I loved this book and am so glad I took the time to read it (it was long, for me at least). This is the first volume of I think a two-part memoir by the former President. It was a beautifully written account of Obama's journey from his beginning interests in politics through his first term as President.
Obama is reflective and introspective, offering an intimate, 'day-in-the-life' view of the Presidency. His story is accessible, inspiring, funny and informative and is a great historical recount of his time in office and I look forward to reading part two.
I enjoyed An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. I wanted to read another novel this summer and have also been wanting to keep reading Black Lives Matter recommendations or books by black authors. This one was hard to put down, it was well written. There were certain parts of the book I wanted to be different but all in all I was connected to the story and the characters and thought this was an illuminating portrayal not just of relationships but of the effects of wrongful conviction and racism in America.
It was hard not to grab Alex Trebek's memoir The Answer Is... - at the very least I was interested in some behind the scenes look at Jeopardy! I was pleasantly surprised, by the end of the book I felt like I knew Alex and wanted to give him a big hug. He came across so endearing, just a good guy. He didn't "tell all" and he didn't write in beautiful prose, but he warned everyone in the intro that he wasn't going to do either. What came after were some interesting stories and insights, some behind the scenes about the game show industry and Jeopardy! and a closer look at the personality and life of Alex Trebek, a beloved TV personality who (unfortunately) we will see leave us soon. If you've ever enjoyed catching Jeopardy! from time to time, this is worth the read.
I heard a lot of positive chatter about I'm Still Here: Black Dignity In A World Made For Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown and I wasn't disappointed. Brown wrote a beautiful memoir that offers a powerful perspective on race and sheds light on racial injustice and inequality. I went through all the emotions while reading this one, I couldn't put it down, I'm so thankful Brown wrote this.
Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria: And Other Conversations about Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum, was fully revised and updated in 2017. The Prologue alone was worth the price of this book, it was full of insights, history and facts that were pretty eye opening. The book had a lot of great information, it took me some time to get through but I'm glad I read it.
Literacy is a prerequisite for freedom. Read deeply. Read what matters. Build a reading list. Don't take literacy for granted.