Ryan Holiday recommended Kate Bowler in one of his monthly reading list emails, so I picked up No Cure For Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear). I continue to enjoy memoirs and found myself speeding through this one and enjoying it. Bowler reminded me of a mix of Glennon Doyle and Rachel Held Evans. She has an interesting take on the world of self-help and positivity, calling it toxic. Her writing is refreshing and funny and a nice reminder that we all are simply - human.
Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott was recommended by the woman I now work for. Man I wish I had this book 10 years ago. This book offers a framework to help you be a good boss and build strong relationships at work. I also found it a helpful read to understand how someone I work for would make this a part of the culture.
The idea of Radical Candor is to be a good boss, you have to care personally while also challenging directly. The book has great examples and insights into achieving this and stopping many of the common mistakes you see from managers everywhere.
How The Word Is Passed
I've spent the last 4 months either in a reading lull or starting and not finishing several books. I finally picked up How The Word Is Passed by Clint Smith and really liked it. This was another Ryan Holiday recommendation. I learned a lot from this book and was shocked by how much of the history related to slavery and racism I didn't know.
I like how the chapters are separated by historical areas Smith visits. He tells a beautiful story with eye opening historical details, revealing the past and also how these sites operate today.
Forget about all the controversy about CRT, just read this book if you want to learn more about the history of slavery.
Wow I loved The Premonition by Michael Lewis, I couldn't put it down. I was fascinated by the story and how Lewis pieced together the unlikely heroes that were willing to step up to the plate during the pandemic but ultimately were unable to.
This story reveals how those people arrived to the right place at the right time and how current systems, politics and leadership didn't allow them to implement the culmination of their work when needed the most.
I can't wait until this book gets turned into a movie. I learned a lot, got a cool inside view into the world of disease, the key players in keeping the country safe from outbreaks, the inner-workings of the CDC, health departments and various federal agencies. The U.S. was judged to be one of the most prepared countries for a pandemic in 2019. If you're curious as to what happened, definitely read this one.
Man's Search For Meaning
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.
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.
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.
A Promised Land
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.
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