{#abookaweek2019} Update: Books 1-6!

So far, I’m super proud of how many books I’ve read this year. I still don’t make as much time as I would like to read at home, but I’m keeping up pretty well reading at school and at night.

We have had a ton of snow this year, so we’ve had lots of snow days, but I’ve filled those up with playing with the kids and cooking and working on The Practical Pen, so reading has taken a backseat on those days.

I was going to do a full post, like I did for Tribe of Mentors, for each book I read, but instead I think I’ll just do quick recaps. I’ll link all the books to Amazon in case you want to check them out for yourself!

#1 Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferriss

“What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt-it is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else” (Ferriss 184).

Hal Boyle

You can check out the full post if you want a full breakdown of the book and what I thought about it, but the quick version is read it. Read it now!

The insights and motivation from people who are wildly successful in their fields was amazing and encouraging.

I have a tendency to see where people are and get a little intimidated. *This is a fairly new quality that I do not like about myself, but it’s where I am right now.*

This book walks through failures, dreams, goals, triumphs, and everything in between.

It is a big book but a super quick read.

#2 Start by Jon Acuff

“Joy is an incredible alarm clock.”

Jon Acuff

I think this quote really sums up the entire book. Acuff touts the power of finding what you love and going for it whether in life or in business, though the majority of the book is focused on how to make your dream into your living. He talks a lot about his personal failures and how he got to where he is today: an author, speaker, and Dave Ramsey employee.

Side note: If you don’t know who Dave Ramsey is, I suggest looking him up before reading the book as he comes up quite a bit. Short story, he’s a financial author, radio host, and speaker that has changed the way my husband and I think about and handle our money.

Starting can be really hard. There’s questions of where to start and how to start. (I’m currently reading Start with Why which also adds the question “why do I start?”). Do people need this thing that I can do? Will they pay for it? How do I find the people that may or may not need the thing that I’m doing?

It’s difficult to overcome the voices that say you’re not good enough or that you don’t have enough experience or that you will fail…and fail…and probably fail some more. But, Acuff addresses all of these issues and then some.

The book is written in a very conversational tone and had me laughing out loud a number of times-especially when he goes on a tangent about piercing the ears of babies.

He includes action steps at the end of the book as a way to help propel you to start whatever it is you want to start whether it’s a project, habit, or job.

I definitely recommend this book no matter what place you’re in at the moment. You may realize there’s something that you’ve been putting off and finally decide to START!

#3 Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

“Thou art God, I am God, all that groks is God.’…Submission to God’s will is not to be a robot, incapable of choice and thus of sin. Submission can include-does include-utter responsibility for the fashion in which I, and each of us, shape the universe. It is ours to turn into a heavenly garden…or to rend and destroy…’With God all things are possible,’ if I may borrow-except the one Impossible. God cannot escape Himself, He cannot abdicate His own total responsibility-He forever must remain submissive to His own will.”

A Stranger in a Strange Land

I don’t even know where to start. A former colleague recommended this book and was very eager to get my take on it. I ended up sending him the most ridiculously long email that was pretty all over the place. Here are some highlights:

  • It struck me as sort of “Cat’s Cradle” meets “A Brave New World”-a being totally new to the “modern” ways is thrust into a situation in which he knows nothing and must negotiate a made up religion.
  • There was a statement being made about gender, but full disclosure, I have no idea what it was. Maybe I’m just a little dense, but at times women were very powerful and others they seemed subordinate. There may not have been a larger message, and it could have just been a reflection of a world where sometimes men hold more power and other times women hold more power. Not sure.
  • The idea of “grokking” was fascinating. The best I could understand its meaning was that it was a word that expressed a full understanding of something. But it’s deeper than a full understanding.
  • The quote above initially seems pretty blasphemous, but the more I thought about it, the more interested I got. The idea that God cannot escape Himself can be applied to humans as well. We are who we are and there’s no way to abdicate our responsibility to ourselves and others, though people try.
  • I also got a 7 Deadly Sins vibe in places, but that’s going into way to much depth for this post!

#4 Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willink

“Don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be. Don’t count on motivation. Count on Discipline. “

Jocko Willink

I loved this book and decided to read it after Stranger in a Strange Land specifically because it was a quick and inspiring read.

Jocko Willink lives a life dedicated to discipline and claims that by being disciplined you will gain a greater amount of freedom, and he makes a good case.

It’s a no nonsense approach to getting what you want out of life by just doing what you need to do.

Get up early.

Eat healthy foods.


Pretty revolutionary, right?

#5 Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking

“So remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up. Unleash your imagination. Shape the future.” 

Stephen Hawking

Space is fascinating. The universe is insane. Stephen Hawking is smart.

After that eloquent musing, how could you not want to read this book?

I’ve read about half of A Brief History of Time, so I’m pretty much an expert on astrophysics. In Brief Answers to the Big Questions which was published after his death in 2018, Stephen Hawking tackles the big questions:

  • Is there a God?
  • How did it all begin?
  • What is inside a black hole?
  • Can we predict the future?
  • Is time travel possible?
  • Will we survive on Earth?
  • Is there other intelligent life in the universe?
  • Should we colonise space?
  • Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?
  • How do we shape the future?

With his trademark wit and intelligence along with relatability, Hawking presents answers as only he can. So good.

#6 When by Daniel Pink

“I will show that timing is really a science–an emerging body of multifaceted, multidisciplinary research that offers fresh insights into the human condition and useful guidance on working smarter and living better.”

Daniel Pink

Another good one! Also, do you notice a tendency towards nonfiction?

When explores “the scientific secrets of perfect timing,” and, in a style reminiscent of Malcolm Gladwell, sifts through a variety of studies and distills the information in a way that is easily understood by even the most un-sciencey among us.

He explains why we have a mid-afternoon crash, the best time to get married, how time of day may have contributed to the sinking of the Lusitania, and the times when we are most satisfied and happiest with our lives.

This is one of those books that when I finish, I’m like “ok. Now what?” It’s cool information to know, but is it supposed to change how I do things?

At the end of each chapter, he gives a Time Hackers Handbook with tips for how to maximize our natural shifts in mood and productivity throughout the day. I haven’t really changed anything as a result, but I thought it was fascinating!

I have a feeling that, as with Gladwell’s books, I’ll be reading everything by Daniel Pink.

Let’s wrap this up!

So, that’s books 1-6. I’m currently reading Start with Why by Simon Sinek and am loving that as well. I’m pretty happy that the first 6 books I’ve chosen have been really good-though I’m still a little on the fence about Stranger in a Strange Land.

My next book is a student recommendation. A group of boys is very into Eragon and keeps hounding me to read it, so I’m going to oblige. But can I admit that I’m not that excited?

I suppose I wasn’t excited to read Harry Potter a gazillion years ago. I thought it was probably over hyped and kept saying, “I’m just not really into fantasy.” I ate those words, and they tasted like Bottie’s Beans.

So, maybe I’ll be obsessed with Eragon in the next update.

Any recommendations???

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