Category Archives: The Book Cellar

You Haven’t Seen this Notable Memoir List on Buzzfeed

To me, the appeal of a memoir is the chance to crawl into someone else’s skin and get behind their eyes to know what they are thinking and feeling.

In a way, it’s a mystery.

What would it be like trying to get into college if you’d never gone to school?  What would it be like almost losing your life and clawing your way back to every skill you lost?  What would it be like finding out, at age 54, that the foundation of what you believed about yourself as a person wasn’t true?  What would it be like serving as the First Lady of the United States?

There’s a way to find out.

Read these memoirs.

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

Educated by Tara Westover

Easily the best memoir I’ve read all year.

How do you earn a Phd without attending school till before age 17?

This question drives the book, but there’s so much more: mental illness, brainwashing, belief systems accepted and rejected, family dynamics, isolationism and, mostly, confronting your history honestly without bitterness.

There’s a few heroes I love in this narrative, in addition to Tara herself who confronts her own story with transparency and courage. She dares to travel the road not taken.

Read more.

Hope Heals by Katharine and Jay Wolf

Talk about courage in the face of loss.

At age 26 Katharine suffered a brainstem stroke that almost took her life.  Her husband was at the point of graduating from law school.  Their baby was six months old.

The chronicle of their journey is sobering and inspiring.

How would my faith hold up in those circumstances?  How would I handle a similar challenge?

Hats off to the Wolfs for their courage, faith and transparency.

This book was recommended by a blog reader.  (Thanks, Jennifer!)

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

 Truly a remarkable human drama.

Finding out that her dad was not her biological father was just the beginning for Dani Shapiro.

Though that revelation was startling in itself, more secrets were uncovered.  The shock waves continued.

Dani takes the reader along on this unexpected journey of self-discovery.  The advances of modern science have made the unthinkable possible.

 

Spoken From the Heart by Laura Bush

I love Laura Bush’s humble spirit.  I love her ordinary every-day-ness.  Even though she became First Lady of the United States, she tells of being content with simple pleasures.

One day her friend came to visit her in the White House.  They worked out together and then relaxed in the sitting room, each reading their own book.

Another story in this memoir made a lasting impression.

On page 113, she recounts, “Once, when the girls were two and a half, Bar Bush made a rare stop in Midland.  Jenna and Barbara ran out of the house with their arms held out to greet her, calling ‘Ganny’, the name all Bushes give their grandmothers, and she looked up at me and said with gratitude, ‘Thank you for teaching your girls to know me.’ ”

It’s a heart melting story, but to me it drove home the importance of intentionally bridging the gap with far away family.

It resonated because my nuclear family and the family we raised both have experience with long distance family relationships.  I wrote a post about it.  Closing the gap:  connecting across the miles.

What have you been reading lately? 

 

 

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Why Tara Westover’s Memoir, Educated, is Haunting Me. In a Good Way.

I found myself thinking about this book long after I finished it.  That’s a good sign.

What it’s about:

“Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.”– from Amazon

If you liked Hillbilly Elegy, I think you’d like Educated.

Who it’s not for:

If you’re squeamish about descriptions of physical pain, this book is not for you.

Why I liked it:

There’s a reason I studied psychology in college. Human nature is fascinating.

Why does someone become a mass murder? What does it feel like to be dying of cancer? How do you handle the logistics of an unusually large family?

How do you earn a Phd without attending school till before age 17?

This question drives the book, but there’s so much more: mental illness, brainwashing, belief systems accepted and rejected, family dynamics, isolationism and, mostly, confronting your history honestly without bitterness.

There’s a few heroes I love in this narrative, in addition to Tara herself who confronts her own story with transparency and courage. She dares to travel the road not taken.

Since I’ve read it, it continues to haunt me (in a good way) and intrigue me and fascinate me.

Highly recommended.

   Buy now from Amazon 

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My Reluctant Foray Into Audiobooks

I’m a slow learner.

It’s true.  I often need to hear something over and over, try it over and over, have it nailed into my head repeatedly before it sticks.

It took me a long time before I started checking out ebooks from the library.  That crazy learning curve, ya know?

I needed help setting up an instagram account.

I also needed help installing the app that allowed me to listen to podcasts on my phone (don’t get me started on my phone– I can barely work it).

So, while I’ve been intrigued with the idea of audiobooks, I’ve procrastinated on checking into them.

Partly fear of the unknown, partly one more thing to figure out, partly an intense love for silence.

But, today I did it.

I borrowed an audiobook from the library.

Credit belongs where credit is due.  I owe a lot to Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs Darcy for paving the way, generating interest and the recommendation for the first audiobook I borrowed.

Check out her post The beginner’s great big guide to audiobooks

The book I’m listening to (recommended by Anne Bogel) is Dolly Parton’s Dream More.  I admire Dolly Parton and I’m a huge fan of her Imagination Library concept.  If you’re not familiar with this project, it’s where she sends books every month to kids age 0 to 5.  It started out in her home county, but it’s grown across her home state, and across the country.

Anyway, hearing the book read by Dolly herself in her one-of-a-kind accent and enthusiasm and even some crooning, is a real treat.

I’m also thinking with graduation right around the corner, this is going to be a good book to have on the shelves to give as a graduation gift.

 So, it looks like, similar to ebooks and podcasts, before long I will be hooked on audiobooks.

I haven’t downloaded the overdrive app.  I’m just listening to this one on the computer.

Probably that’s the next step.

Which means I need to move the pictures on my phone to free up space.

But, I’m glad I took the first step.

Sometimes we’re resistant to dip our toes in, even when we think it will be a good experience.

Do you listen to audiobooks?  Any tips or helpful advice?

Are you interested in starting audiobooks?  Jump in with me!

P.S. Did you miss these posts?

True stories that will inspire you

5 Fascinating Tales About Women Who Made History



 

 

 

 

 

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Against All Odds: True Stories That Will Inspire You

If necessity is the mother of invention, then adversity is the mother of survival.

Do you ever wonder how you would fare in the most adverse circumstances?  Most of us will never know.

But, a few souls demonstrate incredible courage, ingenuity and triumph in the most dire circumstances.

Their stories can bolster our courage in the face of adversity.

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

 

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption

by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken tells the story of Louis Zamperini, Olympic runner and World War II soldier.

The perseverance and resilience Zamperini displayed in the face the multiple titanic challenges is an inspiration.

Knowing his background and family intensifies the story.

The final resolution is satisfying and heart warming.

Aside from the story, the writing is a work of art.

Buy now from Amazon

We Were the Lucky Ones

 by Georgia Hunter

“Inspired by the incredible true story of one Jewish family separated at the start of World War II, determined to survive—and to reunite—We Were the Lucky Ones is a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds.” —Amazon

The Kurcs were from Radom, Poland, but in the course of the war, three generations are spread throughout Europe and beyond, fleeing the Nazi regime.

I am in awe of this story. It is a light in a dark time and highlights the triumph of love, family and the will to survive.

Buy now from Amazon

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

A Christian family in Holland hides Jews from the Nazis during World War II.  Corrie’s incredible story of espionage, imprisonment and forgiveness.

The Ten Boom family takes their faith seriously.  They believe the Jews are God’s Chosen People.  They risk their lives to protect them.

They continue to trust God in spite of horrific circumstances and they see His hand at work.

Buy now from Amazon

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl was a prisoner in a concentration camp in Germany. As a psychiartrist, 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.

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

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

The story of a college rowing team going for the gold hardly seems the stuff of adverse circumstances. But, the pathos of the story draws you in.  Joe Rantz is an almost Dickensonian hero.

Tracing the background of Rantz and others on the champion rowing team puts you in the boat with the rowers and has you cheering with the crowds on the shore.

The up close and behind the scenes glimpses of history are instructive and sobering.  I love the real life lessons of leadership and teamwork.

Buy now from Amazon

 

What are your favorite stories of people beating the odds?

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What I’m Reading January 2019

There is snow on the ground and it feels like winter.

January is the best month for reading, because so many “best of 18” book lists have been published.

I’ve read several newly published books that are worth the hype.

In other news, I started babysitting my 3 month old grand daughter.  Maybe I’ll have to start reviewing board books.

Joining Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit for January.

(Note:  Links included are affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will support this site.)

   Buy now from Amazon

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding unexpected strength when disappointments leave you shattered by Lysa TerKuerst

Everyone has pain.  Everyone needs help dealing with it.  Lysa’s story shows the way.

Lysa deals with sensitive issues without belaboring the messy details.

The pain is real, but she focuses on hope, biblical principles and helping the reader apply truths to a range of challenges.

Her story bears testimony that there is hope and faith even in the most excruciating circumstances.  She throws a life ring to her readers even while her own vessel is in upheaval.

  Buy now from Amazon

Everyday Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth and How You Can Too by Chris Hogan

Chris Hogan works with Dave Ramsey.  His area of expertise is preparing for retirement.

Hogan and Ramsey Solutions studied 10,000 millionaires to find out what their lives were like, what their financial strategies were like.

Everyday Millionaires draws stories, stats and inspiration from the lives of  those 10,000 millionaires.

There are recurring themes: wealth building takes a long-term focus, discipline and a conscious decision to live below your means.

What it doesn’t take is  an outrageously large annual incomes.

One caveat:  a long-term focus means 25 years or more.

Turns out the path to becoming a millionaire is fairly simple.  Not easy, not quick.  But fairly simple.

   Buy now from Amazon

Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie Perry Hill

Jackie tells the story of her spiritual journey, which includes leaving a lesbian lifestyle, getting married and becoming a mother.

I love the way she writes about her sexuality as only one piece of the puzzle and how it fits into the larger context of becoming a Christ-follower.

It’s a story more people need to hear.

Did you miss these posts?

9 Stand Out Memoirs That Will Inspire You

5 Fascinating Tales About Women Who Made History

 

 

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9 Stand Out Memoirs That Will Inspire You

A personal history is powerful.

Some people’s stories are well told and they’ve risen above or conquered so much that just hearing their story is inspiring.

Some have broken out of a cycle of generational poverty.  Some have faced mortality with uncommon courage.

Some know how to put beautiful words to the every day human experience.

These are the memoirs I picked.

(Note: the following links are affiliate links.  At no extra charge to you, a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.)

Rising above extreme circumstances:

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

A Christian family in Holland hides Jews from the Nazis during World War II.  Corrie Ten Boom’s incredible story of espionage, imprisonment and forgiveness.

The Ten Boom family takes their faith seriously.  They believe the Jews are God’s Chosen People.  They risk their lives to protect them.

They continue to trust God in spite of horrific circumstances and they see His hand at work.

 Buy now from Amazon

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton

What would it be like to be convicted of a murder you didn’t commit and then spend 30 years on death row?

Amazingly, Anthony Ray Hinton is not an angry, bitter man.

It would be the logical reaction for an extreme injustice.

What’s it like for the men sitting on death row?  How would you feel?  What would you think?  How do you make it every day?

This is an inside look.  Incredibly, a hopeful look.

Overcoming the cycle of poverty

  Buy now from Amazon

Gifted Hands by Ben Carson

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

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

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 graduated from Harvard and become a successful lawyer.

It has some similarities to Ben Carson’s story in Gifted Hands.

I love the positive impact and stability the author’s grandparents brought to his life.

My heart breaks for the young people in this country, especially for the homes that so many grow up in–for the poverty–not of money so much as love, stability, education and faith.

One thing that struck me is that the author wasn’t able to find much help in counseling, but research, learning and understanding about himself and his formative years brought a measure of peace.

Uncommon courage in the face of mortality

  Buy now from Amazon

The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts

Kara’s bravery in the face of her own mortality is inspiring.

It’s hard for young children to lose their mother to cancer.  It feels unjust.  But, Kara’s acceptance of God’s will for her life showed the world what it means to believe that God is good, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

She faced the reality that her marriage wasn’t eternal.

I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling with God’s sovereignty.

 

WhenBreathBecomesAir Buy now from Amazon

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

This memior was written by a man diagnosed with cancer.  That’s the kind of news that changes your perspective in life.

Kalanith writes in a clear, concise style.  What makes the book extraordinary is the author wrestles with the meaning of life even before he’s diagnosed with cancer.  It gives the reader pause in the very best ways.

Here’s my takeaway:  we make plans for our lives based on how long we think we have left to live.  We make different decisions when we think we’re going to live 40 years more or 10 or 1.

Also:  at the end of life, our close relationships are what matter most.  But, running a close second is a life dedicated to meaningful work and making an impact on our world in some way.  I’ve believed for a long time that having meaningful work was a critical element for the human psyche, but I’ve never seen it so clearly before, especially in light of the importance of close relationships at the end of life.

I also enjoyed Kalanitrh’s stories of his experiences in medical school.  Interesting to see the behind the scenes snapshots of a surgeon in training.

Beautiful words to express the human experience

bluelikejazz  Buy from Amazon

Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

Blue Like Jazz is reminiscent of an Anne Lamott memoir.  They’re both off the charts in honesty, transparency and authenticity.  We identify with those inner insecurities that we can’t even admit to ourselves, much less to others, committing them to black and white and hurling them to the world.

I’ve read Donald Miller’s memoir several times. I have also read Scary Close, which is somewhat of a sequel, but it doesn’t have the same punch as Blue Like Jazz.  Growing up fatherless is an underlying theme of Blue Like Jazz.  By the time Scary Close was written, Miller has resolved many of his emotional issues and experienced a lot of healing.  So, it’s not driven by the same pain.

I believe writing in itself is therapeutic.  As is sharing your story.  I heard Miller recently talk about the desire people have to be heard and seen and known.  He’s been there, done that and now has no more need to be seen and heard and known.  He’s heading a successful company now called StoryBrand that helps businesses tell their story .

Giftfromsea  Buy now from Amazon

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

One of my all-time favorites that I re-visit periodically.  Written sixty years ago, this book is truly timeless.

Listen: “What a circus act we women perform everyday of our lives.” Really?  1955?

“how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life, how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center: how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel”

I love her reflections.

In a class by itself

 

Buy now from Amazon

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi

This is the raw, treacherous journey that Nabeel Qureshi took to find faith in Jesus. The sacrifices he made. The intellectual and emotional and relational barriers that kept him from finding faith in Jesus. And the story of overcoming those barriers.

Why do we need to know Nabeel’s story?

Because no man is an island. His pain is our pain. His victory is our victory. His story is our story.

There are millions of devout Muslims on the planet. If we understand Nabeel’s story, we come closer to understanding them.

There exists a great chasm of beliefs between us, but we share the same humanity. Our desires and dreams are common to the human experience.

To understand the Muslim mindset opens the door to greater compassion, to a better chance of building bridges to individuals who are seeking.

Statistics are one thing.

One person’s story is something else altogether. What difference can one person’s story make?

I can be inspired by their story. I can travel the road with them and return to my own life and take the courage with me. This is the power of story.

We are faced with the same choices Nabeel Qureshi faced.  Are we going to accept what we were taught growing up? Or are we going to search for something else?

We have no say about the situation we were born into. But the time comes when we accept or reject the life we were given. Do we perpetuate the values, attitudes and beliefs we were given or turn from it to something else?

These are the questions that individuals from every devout family faces. These are the issues that we wrestle with. These are the answers that we must find. This is the peace that we must come to.

It might be a life long journey. It might takes years to find that peace. Our foundational beliefs might be shaken to the core.

But, we must search. We must know if the values, attitudes and beliefs that we were handed without our knowledge or consent are truly ours. Every person must choose.

And that is why Nabeel’s journey is everyone’s. Coming of age has nothing on coming to faith.

We need to struggle deeply with these critical issues. We need to come to peace.

Irregardless of the belief system we choose, the struggle is universal. It’s the dragon we all must fight.

What memoirs would you add to this list?

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5 Fascinating Tales about Women who Made History

Women are cast in the starring roles in many chapters of history.

But, not all those stories have been told or been widely acknowledged.  It’s time to change that.

These are the stories of women who left their mark on history.  Some have been fictionalized, some haven’t.  But all highlight the fascinating contributions of incredible women.

 Buy now from Amazon

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Fascinating novelized account of the country’s first female sheriff.

Three sisters living alone in the country manage to get on the wrong side of some shady characters.  Tell how they defend themselves, throw in some family secrets and end up with the a female sheriff.  Well played.

Stewart writes in an engaging style that kept me flipping pages.

I was glad to see the author follows the sisters’ story in another book.

Buy now from Amazon

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

Based of the life of the first female lawyer in India.

Not only does this fictional account weave a riveting tale, it highlights the culture and customs of 1920’s India.

Limited educational opportunities, arranged marriages, gender segregation and inequalities.  These were real obstacles.

Navigating that world and winning is a real feat.

Buy now from Amazon

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy

Thousands of women worked on breaking codes during WWII. The government began by recruiting and training at women’s colleges, sending secret letters to students in the fall of their senior year.

Then they started recruiting teachers.

The work took special skills, and they didn’t always know what they were.

Intercepting and understanding enemy communication proved to be the critical strategy for the allies to win the war.

Thousands of American women working secretly to break enemy codes turned the tide.

This is the untold story of those women.

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

A Christian family in Holland hides Jews from the Nazis during World War II.  Corrie Ten Boom’s incredible story of espionage, imprisonment and forgiveness.

The Ten Boom family takes their faith seriously.  They believe the Jews are God’s Chosen People.  They risk their lives to protect them.

They continue to trust God in spite of horrific circumstances and they see His hand at work.

Buy now from Amazon

 I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

“Rosetta doesn’t want her new husband, Jeremiah, to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they’ll be able to afford their own farm someday. When Jeremiah leaves, Rosetta decides her true place is by his side, no matter what that means, and follows him into war.

Rich with historical details and inspired by the many women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is a courageous adventure, a woman’s search for meaning and individuality, and a poignant story of enduring love.”– from Amazon

I liked learning about a piece of little known history during the Civil War. It’s hard to even imagine life in those circumstances.

Well written fictionalized account highlighting the stories of real women who fought in the Civil War disguised as men.

*****************

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5 Break Through Books for Today’s Creatives

I heard a podcast guest say she doesn’t like to read business books for her job, because there’s so many new business books and so few new ideas.

So, when authors do come up with new ideas, we need to celebrate, clap and cheer.

These are break through books.

These are the books that are going to help today’s creative.  Because we are more distracted than ever before.  But, it’s easier than ever before to reach our audience and build our tribe and find our patrons and make a living.

Creatives face unique problems:  creating a life where they can do their work well, finding the people that appreciate their work, making a living from what they create.  It’s all a challenge, even today.

These are the pioneers who are showing the way.

(Note: “Buy now” links are affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will support this site.)

  Buy now from Amazon

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

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 haven’t be able 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.

   Buy now from Amazon

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt

I’ve followed Michael Hyatt’s blog for a while and find his advice practical and succinct.  I even self-hosted this blog on his recommendation and with his affiliate link.  Even though the book was nothing more than a collection of blog posts, some of which I’d already read, I found the information helpful. Especially interesting to me were the collection of short chapters about using Twitter: a new world for me.  All his writing rings true, down to the necessity of building a platform and the step by step on how to do it.

Building a platform online changes so fast, that some of the information in this book is dated, but the basic premise remains the same:  you can build an audience or a tribe or a following by leveraging the incredible resources on the internet today.

  Buy now from Amazon

The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

I’ve been wanting to read The  One Thing FOREVER. I think I’ve been on my library’s waitlist for over a year.

Now I know what all the rave reviews are about.  This is a GREAT book!

It addresses the problem of distracted focus and the importance of lasering in on your most important work in order to achieve excellence.

A huge light bulb moment for me reading The One Thing was the idea of chaos derailing you and distracting you from your one thing.

Chapter 17, The Four Thieves of Productivity hit me hard.

The Four Thieves are:

1. Inability to Say “No”
2. Fear of Chaos
3. Poor Health Habits
4. Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals.

Wow. These were so good and right on the money.

“The One Thing explains the success habit to overcome the six lies that block our success, beat the seven thieves that steal time, and leverage the laws of purpose, priority, and productivity.” –from Goodreads

   Buy now from Amazon

Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age by Jeff Goins

This book is a game changer.

It challenges long held beliefs and deconstructs myths.

Real Artists Don’t Starve doesn’t just refer to painters and sculptors, but writers, poets, and creatives of all types.

The twelve principles that emerged from Jeff studying creatives are supported by success stories from today and throughout history.

I love lots of them, but my favorite is about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and the literary group they belonged to, the Inklings.  They shaped each other’s art.  It debunks the myth of the lone genius and highlights the need to work in collaboration.

This message is important for young people who have been told to put their dreams on hold in favor of a steady income.

It’s also important for older people who have not pursued their dreams believing in the inability of artists to make a living.

It’s time for a paradigm shift and Jeff Goins is leading the way

  Buy now from Amazon

Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz

If Jeff Goins makes the argument that creatives should be getting paid for their work, Mike Michalowicz teaches the best way to handle that business income.

What an incredible book.

It tackles the default method of operating a small business:  pay all expenses first and take profit last.

Michalowicz argues that you when you operate that way, expenses will take all your income.  If you plan to take profit first, and also make a plan to compensate the owners, set aside money for taxes and operate on what’s left, your business becomes much healthier.

Expansions are realistic.  You don’t face cash flow problems.

I think it’s a great way to go.

**************

And there you have it:  five break through books for today’s creatives.  How to do the work, how to get paid for it and how to manage the money once it starts flowing.

What books would you recommend for today’s creative? 

P.S. Did you see these book lists?

5 Can’t Miss Books for Introverts

Love Stories You Can Feel Good Recommending

Awesome Middle Grade Novels Adults Will Love

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When you juggle glass balls and rubber balls

Life is a juggling act.  The trick is figuring out which balls are glass and which ones are rubber.  

Identifying our top priorities is critical to life success.

To use a parallel metaphor, the classic illustration of putting the big rocks in first has to do with a jar. If you fill your jar with pebbles and sand first, you won’t be able to fit the big rocks in. If you put the big rocks in first, then the pebbles and sand and water will fill in all the cracks and you accomplish more with your life than when you’re just chasing all the little things and ignoring the most important priorities.

Putting in the big rocks means choosing to prioritize the glass balls. Making everything else fit into the smaller cracks.

So, if you’re going to avoid overwhelm, you’re going to have to assign your priorities and make peace with them. That means if you slip up on something else, you extend grace to yourself. You keep your focus where it needs to be. On the most important things.

Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Amy Lynn Andrews in Tell Your Time talk about organizing your life around roles.

This is one way to identify which of your balls are glass and which are rubber. In general, your relationships, especially family, are going to be glass. Work is generally rubber, meaning if you drop a ball at work, or something slips through the cracks, it will bounce back. You can make apologies, clean up the messes and keep going.

Prioritizing your important tasks helps you fight the urge to always be a tyrant to the urgent. Even prioritizing your relationships isn’t enough, though. As well as quality time, you also have to be doing the right things with your important relationships.

So many people get stuck in life. They keep going in circles making the same mistakes over and over again.

It takes some down time to identify priorities.  It takes some quiet reflection and some hard mental work.  Who can do that when you’re overwhelmed?  But, it still needs to happen.  Fight for it.  It’s totally worth it.

 

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Love stories you can feel good recommending

Sometimes you just need a good love story.  Sometimes you need to give or pick a good love story for someone else.  Here’s ten that you can feel good about recommending.

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit.

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Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freeman

“A moving love story set in the Canadian wilderness, Mrs. Mike is a classic tale that has enchanted millions of readers worldwide. It brings the fierce, stunning landscape of the Great North to life—and tenderly evokes the love that blossoms between Sergeant Mike Flannigan and beautiful young Katherine Mary O’Fallon.”  — Goodreads

One of my all time favorites. All the feels.

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Christy by Catherine Marshall

“The train taking nineteen-year-old teacher Christy Huddleston from her home in Asheville, North Carolina, might as well be transporting her to another world. The Smoky Mountain community of Cutter Gap feels suspended in time, trapped by poverty, superstitions, and century-old traditions.

But as Christy struggles to find acceptance in her new home, some see her — and her one-room school — as a threat to their way of life. Her faith is challenged and her heart is torn between two strong men with conflicting views about how to care for the families of the Cove.”  –Goodreads

Catherine Marshall takes her mother’s own incredible story and tells it superbly.

 

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Pride and Predjudice by Jane Austen

“‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.’ Thus memorably begins Jane Austen‘s Pride and Prejudice, one of the world’s most popular novels. Pride and Prejudice–Austen’s own ‘darling child’–tells the story of fiercely independent Elizabeth Bennett, one of five sisters who must marry rich, as she confounds the arrogant, wealthy Mr. Darcy. What ensues is one of the most delightful and engrossingly readable courtships known to literature, written by a precocious Austen when she was just twenty-one years old.”–Goodreads

Rightly hailed as one of the greatest love stories of all time.

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Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay

“Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain.

After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.

As Sam’s true identity begins to reveal itself through her letters, her heart begins to soften to those around her—a damaged teenager and fellow inhabitant of Grace House, her classmates at Medill, and, most powerfully, successful novelist Alex Powell. But just as Sam finally begins to trust, she learns that Alex has secrets of his own—secrets that, for better or for worse, make it impossible for Sam to hide behind either her characters or her letters.”  — Goodreads

I enjoyed the Austen references in this book that enhanced the story.

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Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster

“When Jerusha Abbott, an eighteen-year-old girl living in an orphan asylum, was told that a mysterious millionaire had agreed to pay for her education, it was like a dream come true. For the first time in her life, she had someone she could pretend was “family.” But everything was not perfect, for he chose to remain anonymous and asked that she only write him concerning her progress in school. Who was this mysterious gentleman and would Jerusha ever meet him?”  –Goodreads

A long time favorite of mine that stands up to re-reading.

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These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

“A moving, exciting, and heartfelt American saga inspired by the author’s own family memoirs, these words belong to Sarah Prine, a woman of spirit and fire who forges a full and remarkable existence in a harsh, unfamiliar frontier. Scrupulously recording her steps down the path Providence has set her upon–from child to determined young adult to loving mother–she shares the turbulent events, both joyous and tragic, that molded her and recalls the enduring love with cavalry officer Captain Jack Elliot that gave her strength and purpose.

Rich in authentic everyday details and alive with truly unforgettable characters, These Is My Words brilliantly brings a vanished world to breathtaking life again.”–Goodreads

Unpredictable.  Well-written.

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Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

“Hannah Coulter is Wendell Berry’s seventh novel and his first to employ the voice of a woman character in its telling. Hannah, the now-elderly narrator, recounts the love she has for the land and for her community. She remembers each of her two husbands, and all places and community connections threatened by twentieth-century technologies. At risk is the whole culture of family farming, hope redeemed when her wayward and once lost grandson, Virgil, returns to his rural home place to work the farm.”–Amazon

Less of a love story, more of a life story the narrative spans decades to get a panoramic view of Hannah’s life.

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Papa’s Wife by Thyra Ferre Bjorn

“This novel follows the lives of a conservative, Swedish minister, Pontus Franzon, and his pretty young wife, Maria, through their years in a parsonage in Lapland, their eight children, and their journey to a new life in America.”– Goodreads

You can’t help but love the Franzon family. This is one I like to re-read.  I enjoy it every time.  Maybe because it’s based on the author’s own history, you are drawn in and feel like one of the family.

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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

“Grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. The four March sisters couldn’t be more different. But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support the family, they have to rely on one another. Whether they’re putting on a play, forming a secret society, or celebrating Christmas, there’s one thing they can’t help wondering: Will Father return home safely?”–Amazon

The heart-warming story of Little Women is a classic for a reason.  The March sisters will find a place in your heart.

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Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown

“Sharon Garlough Brown tells the moving story of four strangers as they embark together on a journey of spiritual formation: Hannah, a pastor who doesn’t realize how exhausted she is. Meg, a widow and recent empty-nester who is haunted by her past. Mara, a woman who has experienced a lifetime of rejection and is now trying to navigate a difficult marriage. Charissa, a hard-working graduate student who wants to get things right. You’re invited to join these four women as they reluctantly arrive at a retreat center and find themselves drawn out of their separate stories of isolation and struggle and into a collective journey of spiritual practice, mutual support and personal revelation. Along the way, readers will be taken into a new understanding of key spiritual practices and find tangible support for the deeper life with God.” –Goodreads

I found these characters to be well-rounded and relatable.  I also liked an inside look at spiritual disciplines outside of my experience.

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These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Laura is teaching school, and it’s terrifying! Most of the students are taller than she is, and she must sleep away from home for the first time. Laura is miserable, but the money is needed to keep Mary in a college for the blind.

And every Friday—no matter what the weather—Almanzo Wilder arrives to take Laura home to her family for the weekend. Laura and Almanzo are courting, and even though she’s not yet sixteen, she knows that this is a time for new beginnings.”– Amazon

One the lesser known books in the Little House series, Almanzo and Laura’s love story is heart-warming.

Have you seen Awesome Middle Grade Novels Adults Will Love ?  Check it out here.

 

 

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