This is the view from my kitchen window, looking at the barn Pete and the kids built. The picture was taken in January three years ago. Now the barn is red. At the moment, we have no snow.
This wasn’t a good month for reading. But, my daughter graduated from college, we had a good family Christmas and the bookstore’s doing better than last year. So, who can complain?
Linking up again with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit.
What I’m Reading, plus What I Gave for Christmas:
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
Newport first builds the case for the importance of deep work, then he expounds on practical steps to accomplish it. Simply put, what is needed is focus and discipline.
I agree with Newport’s main premise: we are doing worse work because we’re distracted. I see it all the time in the low quality of books that are published and the huge vacuums that exist in many genres for high quality work.
Newport is a college professor. Publishing in scholarly journals is the deep work he needs to accomplish. I think the principles apply to all writers, and probably all knowledge workers in general.
I think the most profound books are ones that are simple common sense: ones that people agree with and see the wisdom of, but didn’t take the time to articulate themselves. It seems so simple. So obvious. And, yet, it wasn’t done before. I would put The Purpose Driven Life in that category as well as Deep Work.
It is the path of least resistance to fritter away our time. When we are careful about every working minute and rest well away from work, we accomplish so much more.
I was intrigued by the end of the day ritual. For sure, it is the lingering worries of work that sap your peace and relaxation when you’re away from work. Learning to wrap things up at the end of the day and be at peace with where you’re leaving them is critical for resting well.
His chapter, “Quit Social Media” is a little misleading, because he doesn’t really advocate that you quit social media. Some would argue that if you want to write, you have to leverage social media. But, the irony is that social media is keeping you from doing your best work, because you become a consumer instead of a producer.
The instant gratification is a problem, as well. The instant distraction, the problem of never being bored. If you’re never bored, then you never think. You don’t create to fill the hole of that boredom. You don’t wonder, daydream, imagine. That vacuum is filled.
What I Gave For Christmas
I gave The Dangerous Book for Boys to my nephew, a fifth grader. I’ve been in love with this book for several years, just waiting for one of my nephews to get old enough to appreciate it.
It looks like it’s an old-fashioned book, but it’s a fairly recent publication. It’s got a little bit of everything that boys love. Stories of extra-ordinary people. Morse code, stars, tying knots, fishing, building a tree house and famous battles. All the things that interest males and curiosities that are usually thrown over for video games, computers and all things screens. Little snippets and pieces of scads of interesting things.
I gave a niece and a nephew Press Here. Every page has instructions to the child that result in changes on the next page. I love it because it taps into the imagination of a little person. Just like Harold and the Purple Crayon. Just like Frindle.
I gave some of my nieces (I have a lot of nieces) the Inspire Bible. It’s a New Living Translation Bible with artwork in the margins to color. Some pages have blank margins to create your own artwork.
I gave the paperback edition, but there’s several different cover options as well as a large print edition.
What are you reading this month?