Tag Archives: books

What I’m Reading, December 2017

One year ago today we were in California for our daughter’s college graduation.

This year is more typical: snow, basketball, busy at the store, getting ready for Christmas. Our out of state college kid is home for Christmas.  That makes mama happy.

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit.

On to this month’s books–

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When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

I’m tempted to go back and re-read this book now that I know the ending.

The plot was slow moving until all the pieces starting falling into place and it made sense.

From goodreads–

“Winner of the 2010 Newbery Medal. Miranda is an ordinary sixth grader, until she starts receiving mysterious messages from somebody who knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late. For ages approx 9-14.”

Buy now from Amazon

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

A Chinese boy and Japanese girl are assigned to kitchen duty at their all white public school.  This is the forties and anti-Japanese sentiment is high.  Their friendship transcends prejudice.

Sweet story that takes an inside look at Asian cultures functioning in the U.S.

I liked it, even though the story was slow moving and a little predictable.

Five stars for being wholesome.  Recommended for all ages.

Buy now from Amazon

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

Echo tells the stories of four different children growing up in four different times and places.

They all have a love for music.

To be perfectly frank, I was underwhelmed by this book. It just left me feeling kind of flat. I could see the common thread woven throughout so it felt predictable.

None of the sequences were long enough to really identify with the characters, so it was more about plot than characters.

It’s a long book, but not necessarily a long read.

Buy now from Amazon

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

A fascinating read.

I don’t agree with everything as I have some different philosophies of life than the author does.

The books focuses on how people sabotage their own success when they hit the upper limit of what they believe they deserve in life.  There might be something to that.

I also think he’s on to something with the zone of incompetence, the zone of competence, the zone of excellence and the zone of genius.

Good mental fodder.

Buy now from Amazon

The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Staner

Michael outlines seven simple questions to use while coaching.

His context is managers coaching their employees, but I think the principles are transferable to other situations.

His emphasis is on listening better, giving less advice and helping people solve their own problems.

Though simple, the questions are profound.  They build on each other and are designed to get to the heart of the matter in a short amount of time.

Insightful.  Actionable.

What are you reading this month?

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Breaking Free From the Poverty Culture: Four True Stories

I started this post thinking I had found four books that painted a realistic picture of the poverty culture.

What I didn’t realize was how much they have in common.

They are all overcomer stories.

They are all about boys who grew up with single mothers.

They outline a path of what it takes to beat the odds.

They are also well-written.

These stories stand out because they are unusual. Most boys in similar circumstances are not able to break the poverty cycle in their lives.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchases goes to support this site.)

Buy now from Amazon

Hillbilly Elegy is masterfully written.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was gratuitous language.  Sometimes language in a dialogue can prove a point, but there’s no good reason for it to be in the narrative.

That being said, I love the social analysis wrapped around a boot-strapping overcomer’s story. J.D. Vance emerged from an impoverished childhood to graduate from Harvard and become a successful lawyer.

Buy now from Amazon

Ben Carson and his brother grew up in a single parent home in Detroit.

Ben credits his mother for the impact on his life that resulted in all of them breaking out of the poverty culture.

She valued education, discipline, the importance of reading and making wise decisions in the use of her resources.

In turn, Ben came to see poverty as a temporary state.  He could see the way out.  He developed a vision for his life.  He eventually attained some of life’s greatest successes as a pediatric neurosurgeon.

Buy now from Amazon

An inspiring story, well told.

“The true story of an 11-year-old panhandler, a busy sales executive, and an unlikely meeting with destiny.” This is another book that makes me philosophical.  The culture of poverty at work again.  And, once again, it’s not so much about the money.  It’s the opportunities, the education, even the relationships that are poor.  And that plays out into material lack.  The whole mindset has to change.  The way you believe about yourself has to change.  The way you believe about your destiny has to change:  are you a victim of your circumstances or do you control your fate? Now that is a good question that I’ve been wrestling with a lot.  Who’s in control of my life, me or God?

Laura Schroff reached out to Maurice in a gesture of friendship and began a relationship that endured three decades.  She nurtured her unexpressed maternal instinct.  He grabbed a lifeline out of a culture of poverty. It’s interesting that one thing he latched onto when he saw a healthy family in action was the idea of everyone sitting down at a dining room table to eat together, to talk and share life.  That was missing in his home.  It just goes to prove that building a culture—even a family culture— has to do with what you value and believe, not about money.

Everything was not idyllic in Laura and Maurice’s relationship for the next thirty years.  This is real life and when is life always smooth sailing?

  

Buy now from Amazon

Note: Heads up for language.

I didn’t really understand apartheid until I read this book.

Seeing how it played out in people’s lives is sobering.

Trevor Noah has a white father and a black mother.  In South Africa, it was illegal for his father and mother to procreate.  His very existance was against the law, hence the title, Born a Crime.

It’s mind-blowing to think about the world and the life that Trevor Noah was born into. It’s a cautionary tale, especially for those who have a vote in their government’s laws and leaders.

I liked Noah’s personal and relatable writing style as well as the occasional political commentary.

**********

Four boys growing up in poverty with single mothers. What did it take for them to break free?
Self-awareness? A caring adult? Purpose in life? A belief that things could be different?

I see four common factors.

  1. The involvement of a caring adult. In some cases it was their mother, sometimes it was someone else.

2.   The importance of staying in school and finishing.

3.  The belief that things could be different.

4.  A vision for their lives.

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What I’m Reading, November 2017

On the home front, looking at the carnage of two rotten trees in our front yard makes me philosophical about loss.

I think it’s good to remember, to try to make sense of loss, to let yourself feel the sadness.

I also think it’s helpful to focus on what’s left, not necessarily on what’s gone.

Linking up on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

On to the books–

 Buy now from Amazon

The Secret of Story: Innovative Tools for Perfecting Your Fiction and Captivating Readers by Matt Bird

I am fascinated by story.  I believe with every fiber that story is one of the most powerful teaching tools, and probably the most underutilized.

I found Matt Bird’s observations to be insightful and helpful.  His field of expertise is TV and film, but I think a lot of the principles he’s discovered are universally applicable.

Here’s a few gems:

“You must write for an audience, not just yourself.”

“Audiences don’t really care about stories;  they care about characters.”

“Your story is not about your hero’s life; it’s about your hero’s problem.”

Good stuff.

 

 Buy now from Amazon

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

Five stars for being a wholesome, well-written YA.

It’s interesting to stop and think about what it’s like to be blind from birth. How impossible it is to picture anything. What it means for your social interactions.

Add the fact that you’re sixteen years old and transferring from a blind school to a public school.

This is an engaging, feel good story. Satisfying.

 Buy now from Amazon

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Viktor was a prisoner in a concentration camp in Germany. But, he was also a psychartrist. So, he analyzed the fellow prisoners, the ones who had given up hope and died and the ones who had the will to live.

He concluded that everyone needs to find their own reason for being on the planet: their life’s work. He had a book he was working on before he was imprisoned and he was also married.

Focusing his thoughts on finishing his book and seeing his wife again sustained him during the horrific experience of the concentration camp.

  Buy now from Amazon

Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

The main premise of this book is that traditional PR, marketing and advertising with it’s big budgets and campaigns are no longer necessary for success.

Ryan Holiday should know. That was his field.
But today the playing field is leveled with desktop publishing, everyone as a photographer and social media taking your message viral.

I believe in some ways it’s easier than ever to get your message out. In other ways, you have more competition because everyone has access to what used to be only available to a few.

The challenge now is to stand out and be noticed in an avalanche of everyone promoting their message.

What are you reading this month?

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3 Things I Learned, Winter 2017

 

Winter has been screwy this year.

Three years ago, the view from my kitchen window looked like Winter.

This year, not so much.

It’s been a great season for learning new things, though.  I love learning!

  1. Routine can be an idol

“Don’t make an idol of routine” has been echoing in my head since I read it in Jesus Calling a couple of days ago.  Boy, has that been a problem lately.

Today we had a breakfast meeting.  That throws all my morning routines into chaos, unless I am able to get up earlier than normal and get them all in.  Today I wasn’t able to.  So, I skipped most of them.

Even though habits help me so much, I  have a problem being consistent.  I fall off the bandwagon over and over and over.  Right now, I’m not exercising.  I’m hit and miss doing my 3 minute mail purge every morning, even though those two things are good for me.

We haven’t had family night for the past three weeks.  This sends me into a tail spin.  I didn’t realize how much I depended on having one relaxing night every week.

  Buy now from Amazon

So, have I made an idol of routine?  Even when I’m not good at keeping up with habits that are good for me?  When I’m trying to accept and deal with unforeseen circumstances? Or unavoidable scheduling issues that prevent me from following through on routines?  I don’t know.  It’s hard to let go.  It’s also hard to push myself to be consistent.  So, I don’t really know where I stand on this.  But, I do know it’s a struggle for me and one that causes me stress.

Also, just like money can be an idol, whether you have it or not, routine can be an idol whether you have it or not.  Brand new thought for me.

2. Writing 500 words a day is good for my emotional health

Last Fall, I took on the challenge to write 500 words a day.  This method of writing intersperses all my random thoughts, pre-writing and self-talk along with some deeper, more profound thoughts. You have to sort through the fluff to get to the nuggets.

Focused writing is good for blog posts.  But, getting down all the random thoughts is good for my emotional health.

Another thing I learned was the importance of separating  my writing (drafting) time from my blogging (editing, formatting, pictures and promoting) time.  I need time for both every day.

Even more of a breakdown than that.  Journaling is a different activity than drafting blog posts, though they do tend to overlap and influence each other.

Also, brainstorming is a completely different activity. I need time for that, too, but it’s not necessarily something I need every day.  It could happen once a week.

3. The definition of grit

Grit= passion + perseverance

This definition comes from Angela Duckworth’s book Grit: the Power of Passion and Perseverence .

I checked this book out as an ebook from the library.  I was maybe a third of the way through when the book came due and disappeared from my Kindle.  But, the definition of grit stay with me.

The author proposes that grit is a better predictor of success than IQ.  I see her point.  I need to check it out again and finish the book.

There’s scads of things I’m learning right now, but I’m having a harder than usual time synthesizing and articulating them.

So, I’ll leave it there for now.

Linking up with Emily Freeman and other bloggers sharing what we’ve learned.

What have you learned? 

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

 

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My Favorite Best of 16 Book Lists

Last year, I loved doing a round up of the best of lists because it gave me such great picks for my To Be Read list.  So, I’m doing another round up this year, purely for selfish reasons.

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

Interestingly, Deep Work by Cal Newport hit three of these lists.  I’d have to agree. It is one of the best books of the year.

Read my full review here.

 Buy now from Amazon

 

I’m a big fan of Michael Hyatt’s work.  From this list I’ve read Deep Work and The Four Disciplines.  I’d really like to read Mindset and Revenge of the Analog, especially in light of the bookstore.  Sleep Smarter doesn’t seem as intriguing, since sleep usually isn’t a problem for me.

Michael Hyatt’s Top 5 Business Books from 2016

The Best Business Books I Read in 2016

Crystal Paine’s Top Eight Books of 2016 

I loved Finding Spiritual Whitespace, Only read parts of Present over Perfect.   Johnny Tremain and Unbroken have been long time favorites.  Might try Carry On, Mr Bowditch, Good News for Weary WomenThe Happiness Dare and Presence.

 

My Favorite Books of 2016

Unbroken is one of my all-time favorites.  Boys in the Boat was one my top books of the year, as well.  The others look good.  I’ll have to check them out. I did not like The Girl on the Train.  I found the lives of the characters to be too depressing.

Sarah is a middle school English teacher, so I take her recommendations for YA books seriously. I read The One and Only Ivan on her recommendation. I haven’t read any of these, but I will be checking them out.

My Favorite Young Adult Books of 2016

 

Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs. Darcy

I liked Everyone Brave is Forgiven, didn’t love Before We Visit the Goddess, am about to start One in  Million Boy.   The Course of Love sounds intriguing and I’d like to give it a whirl.

Deep Work is a great book.  I haven’t read Untangled–not sure if I will since my only daughter is 22.  You’ll Grow Out of It sounds interesting.

800ceoread’s book awards shortlist for 2016

The only book I’ve read on this list is Deep Work.  It’s interesting to me that this book hit three best of 16 lists.  Quite the endorsement. Their number one book of the year is about gender equality. I probably won’t read that one.

Victoria of SnailPaceTransformations

I haven’t read any of the fiction on Victoria’s list, so I definitely need to make note of those.  On her non-fiction list, I’ve only read Hands Free Mama (which was a good read).

This is making me think I need to get a little more organized about my reading list.  Many books that I’ve been interested in don’t get read because the library doesn’t have them.

Once again, loads of great books and the reason I love the “best of” lists so much.

Elena at Beautiful Hope has a massive list (36 titles!)  Scads of great ones.  I think maybe Elena has the most similar reading tastes to me of anyone I’ve bumped into in the blogosphere.

Many books on her list I’ve already read and enjoyed. Some I will add to my list.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi is one of her top picks.  Qureshi gave the commencement address at my daughter’s graduation in December.  I wanted to read it before then, but it didn’t happen.  I will get to it, eventually.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

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What I’m Reading, October 2016

fallleaves

The weather in Indiana has been unseasonably warm for October.  Not that I’m complaining.  Cold weather is not my thing.  Soccer season has wrapped up.  Camping is over for the year.  I’m working fewer hours now at the bookstore, which is good for my sanity and good for my reading life.

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

4disciplinesof-execution   Buy now from Amazon

The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling

I liked the emphasis on trying to move forward in the midst of the whirlwind.  This resonates with me.  There’s so much daily pressure.  Lots of details that must be tended to every day and some that fall through the cracks.  To move forward, you have to resist all that pressure and focus on the things that move you forward.  Those are your priorities.  Even when there’s so much else to do.

The book deals with how to achieve your “wildly important goals” through lag measures and lead measures.  It took me awhile to understand the main concepts, but I they were helpful once I understood.

To be honest, I didn’t make it to the end of the book, but I will revisit it.

 

undoingofsaintsilvanus Buy now from Amazon

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore

I wasn’t expecting a novel by Beth Moore to start out with a dead body.  But, it works.  She calls this project “novel” in every sense of the word, because it is her debut into fiction.

The story centers around Jillian Slater, and the dead body belongs to her father.  From the front dust cover  “She hadn’t seen her or her grandmother, the ice queen— in almost twenty years.  Jillian walks into a web of spiritual and personal danger borne out of her family’s broken history, and despite Adella’s wiliest efforts, only God himself can orchestrate the undoing of all that is going on at Saint Silvanus.”

I had to push myself to finish because the story started to slog in the middle.  Although Jillian as a main character lacked some emotional development, there was a strong plot and the story was redemptive.  I didn’t expect any less.

rulesofcivilty  Buy now from Amazon

The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

I loved the setting of this novel, one that was unfamiliar to me—New York in the thirties and forties.  There’s something about New York that captures the imagination. When I visited as a child, two things made an impression on me: the streets were dirty and the unusual dress and hair styles of the Hasidic Jews. Still, the allure of New York transcends reality.

Katy Kontent is a working girl, but she runs in circles with the wealthy of New York.  But, life doesn’t go as planned and people aren’t always who you believe they are.

The novel is well-written and compelling.  The morality leaves much to be desired.  I can’t quite identify the intrigue is in this novel.  It certainly includes unexpected twists.  It’s a tribute to the complexity of human nature, and especially human love and romance.

elizabethismissing  Buy now from Amazon

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Loved the unique premise of this book. It’s told from the viewpoint of an older woman whose wandering, forgetful mind is sliding into dementia.  It flashes back to her childhood. The greater portion of the book focuses on the events of Elizabeth’s early years.  It’s interesting as she’s losing her grip on remembering details, she still remembers the feeling of loss.

To me, that rings true.  The human psyche is a wonderful and marvelous thing.  It never ceases to amaze me.

The pain of dementia is offset by the complexity and sweetness of family relationships.

thehidingplace  Buy now from Amazon

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

The Ten Booms built a secret room in their house to hide Jews during the Hitler’s occupation of Holland. They were discovered and arrested by the Germans.

I didn’t see it in the past, but the real hero of the story is Casper Ten Boom, Corrie’s father.  He taught his children the truth.  He led his family to believe the Word of God and live it out in practical, every day life.  They did what was in their power to combat evil.

This book has impacted me for decades.  I remember going through hard times and thinking “If Corrie Ten Boom can survive, I can survive.”

tellyourtime  Buy now from Amazon

Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews

Such a great book!  I learned so much on her blog and through her e-book.  I’m kind of excited about e-books now that I know some of the inside story.

I think there dollar, 50 page e-books are the way to go.  It breaks down a lot of the barriers people have about buying books and reading books— too much money, too much time.

Amy calls it her unique selling proposition to sell a short book on time management.  (Maybe someone should sell a cheap book on money management?  Of course, you can find lots of free stuff on the internet.)

I learned from her blog why she turned down a traditional book publisher.  The book publisher wanted it 7 times longer, to justify the cost of printing and selling the book.

Of course, that defeated her purpose.  Which goes to prove a lot of books are “stuffed with fluff” (to quote Pooh) in order to make them long enough to print as a traditional book.

Tell Your Time is concise and practical.  She implements and tweaks principles from two of my favorite books, Margin by Richard Swenson and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stepehen Covey.

thekeeperofthebees  Buy it now from Amazon

The Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton Porter

Gene Stratton Porter is one of my all time favorite authors.  A guest on the Read Aloud Revival called this her favorite Porter book. I liked it well enough, but don’t think it’s better than Girl of the Limberlost or Freckles.

She does a good job with plot, keeping you guessing while you’re turning pages.  Five stars for wholesomeness.  If anything, this one erred on the side of preachy.  It’s so interesting to see what things have changed in the last 100 years, and which have not.  Baby care certainly has.

The Bee Keeper centers on a wounded soldier who has escaped a government hospital and throws his fate to God.  There’s some things that could be considered coincidence in the story, and some that’s predictable, but overall, satisfying.  Stranger things have happened in real life and God does work in mysterious ways.

 

 

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10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy Bestsellers

10reasonsbestsellers

  1. You can check them out from the a library instead.
  2. Your taste in books is individual.  Just because the masses like it, doesn’t mean you will.  The masses can be deceived.readcool
  3. Bestsellers aren’t necessarily the best books.  They might be well marketed.  They might have been released during  a “dead spot” with no significant competition.
  4. New authors need your support more than established authors.
  5. Get book recommendations from someone you trust, rather than a bestsellers list. (Modern Mrs. Darcy, Read Aloud Revival)                                                AnneBogel
  6. Read what your friends are reading.  They’re your friends for a reason– you have common interests and values.
  7. Check out Amazon and Goodreads reviews to find favorites in your favorite genre and books similar to your favorites.
  8. Take a good look at the people endorsing the book.  If you trust them, you can buy with more confidence.girlreading
  9. Best selling hardback books will eventually come out in paperback and sometimes, more economically, in mass market paperback.  If you are patient and vigilant, you might be able to catch the e-book on sale.
  10. Some bestsellers you will love.  Some are well written and sell lots of copies for good reasons.  Just be choosy.
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What I’m Reading April 2016

WIRApril2016

We’ve had snow here several times this month and it just feels wrong to be cold in April.

Some great reads and re-reads this month (plus a few that were abandoned and didn’t make the list).

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit for April.

 

livingforward Buy now from Amazon

Living Forward by Michael Hyatt

I think if I would have read Living Forward 25 years ago before I discovered Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, it would have revolutionized my life.  Reading it now feels like a good reminder.

This book is for you if:  you’re struggling with clarity, purpose, your life is out of balance or you’re flailing in some area of life.

This book is not for you if:  you have a good handle on life’s direction, setting goals and you’re making progress in areas you want to improve and grow.

That being said, I’m still a huge Michael Hyatt fan.  I listen to his podcast regularly and I highly recommend his book, Platform.

Natureofthe Beast Buy now from Amazon

The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny

The Nature of the Beast is the 10th book in Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series and I read it first.  Let me first say, I love an honorable hero.

As intriguing as James Bond movies are with all the fun spy gadgets and suspenseful plot lines,  I don’t like James Bond because he’s a playboy.

On the other hand, Jack Ryan is just as brave, clever and cunning, but he’s a great family man.  He has a solid, loving marriage and reads Dr. Suess to his kids.  Can’t rate much higher than that for me.

That being said, I love Inspector Gamache’s honorable character. I love the values he stands for.  I truly believe we shape cultural norms with fiction.  For all the talk of being politically correct these days, I believe Judeo-Christian values can co-exist with great art and I applaud anyone who can do both.

I also love the way Louise Penny has human nature nailed.  The intricacies, the complexities and the subtlties.  It’s all there.

StillLife Buy now from Amazon

Still Life by Louise Penny

Still Life by Louise Penny is the first Inspector Gamache novel and I read it after the tenth.

Still Life had everything that I loved about The Nature of the Beast except for one thing.

There was a small story thread in the book that bothered me.  Since I’m still wrestling with how to address it, I’ll leave it alone for now. There’s still a lot to love.  I’ll be looking for more in the series.

HandsFreeLIfe Buy now from Amazon

Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distractions, Living Better and Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford

I appreciate the author’s insights, love her writing and I’m taking her philosophy of life to heart.  One problem that makes it hard for me to relate to her is her age and stage of life.

I turn 49 next month.  I’ve been married 28 years. My oldest is 24 and my youngest is 16.  So, what she’s dealing with in her life is a totally different scenario from mine.

I read a lot from authors in their twenties and thirties.  Honestly, they have a lot to offer.  But, occasionally, it’s nice to hear from someone who’s done some miles.  Not that every mature person is wise.  Some people have been around the block but didn’t learn anything on the trip. But, I do appreciate reflections from thoughtful, observant people with years of life experience.

Partly stimulated by these thoughts and since I’m turning 49 next month I’m working on a series posts:  advice to my 19-year-old self, advice to my 29-year-old self and advice to my 39-year-old self. Stay tuned.

PenderwicksGardam Buy now from Amazon

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall

There’s no good reason that I am reading children’s literature at this point in my life.   My youngest is sixteen and we don’t have any grandchildren (yet). In spite of that, I can’t get enough of the Penderwicks.  The second book in the series is satisfyingly predictable.

PenderwicksPoint Buy now from Amazon

The Penderwicks at Point Moquette by Jeanne Birdsall

Usually “predictable” is not what you want in fiction, but predictable doesn’t ruin a Penderwick story. Still timeless.  Still engaging, quirky characters that are relatable.

Re-Reading:

BoysintheBoat Buy now from Amazon

Boys in the Boat

I’m reading this aloud to my 16-year-old son, and appreciating it even more the second time.  As inspiring as Joe Rantz is as a hero, the interwoven history of our country and Europe  at the time these events unfold gives the backdrop that accentuates the drama.

Penderwicks Buy now from Amazon

The Penderwicks

I’m reading the first book in the series to the teens in my carpool.  We’re all loving it.  I’m so glad I bought the kindle version when it was on sale for a couple of dollars a few weeks ago.

I haven’t joined the adult coloring book craze yet. But have you seen the new journaling Bibles?  Some of them are gorgeous.

What are you reading this month?

(Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a small percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

rowingteamcapsize

Have you ever wondered why some teams can accomplish incredible feats and others can’t accomplish anything?  What if there were a way to diagnose the problems and solve them?  Now there is.

Five Dysfunctions is a leadership fable.  It is a page-turning quick read fiction, for the very reason a good movie is:  it’s full of conflict.

“The characters in this book ring true, are completely recognizable, and fully-realized. The book itself is well-written, and, I believe, ranks with the best of the genre.” –Jack Covert, co-author with Todd Sattersten of 100 Best Business Books of All Time

Five Dysfunctions identifies the major obstacles that keep a group from functioning as a team.  There are repeatable patterns that keep a team from reaching it’s goals.  By identifying these patterns and working to change them, the team can move forward and accomplish it’s goals.

What are the Five Dysfunctions?

Absence of Trust.

Fear of conflict.

Lack of commitment.

Avoidance of accountability.

Inattention to Results.

Lencioni is spot on in his analysis and his resolution.  This book is life-changing.

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Daring Greatly

DaringJump

(Language Warning)

Brené Brown is the poster child for courage.

She gathers data.  She tells stories.  She uncovers the uncomfortable secrets of whole-hearted living.  And she believes in her own research.  Even when it’s not what she wants to find.

Vulnerability, she discovered, was a critical element to whole-hearted living.  So she became vulnerable.

Her first TED talk went viral, when she talked about her breakdown/ spiritual awakening.    She was so transparent that she had a “vulnerability hangover” for 3 days afterwards.

In contrast to those who tote their own personal experience or anecdotal evidence, Brown’s writing carries the weight of her research behind it.  Much like “Good to Great”, the numbers are impossible to ignore.

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Brené emphasizes the critical element of human connection, the torture of psychological isolation, and the shame that prevents us from connecting.

Dealing with negative emotions is part of the puzzle.  Actually feeling them, instead of letting them fester and numbing them with addictions.

It all rings true.  Even the uncomfortable parts.  Especially the uncomfortable parts.

The transformation in Brené’s  life as a result of believing the research is as fascinating as the research itself.

Highly recommended.

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