I thought I’d wrap the final day of the year with a blog on my favorite books of the last twelve months. I’ve read a lot of great books this year – fiction, non-fiction, and business, but three of them stand out as great reads that I’m truly grateful for reading. None of them are “business” books, but they all evolved my perspective on work and life. I will read every one of these books again, when the time is right.
I wasn’t around when my book club selected this book, so when I started reading it on a plane, I didn’t even know it was non-fiction, since my book club rarely reads non-fiction. When I realized it was a memoir of Frankl’s time in four different Nazi death camps, I braced myself for a very depressing read. By the time I landed, I was surprised to find I actually felt lighter and happier, with a new perspective on “meaning”. I called my father, a retired philosophy professor to see what he knew about this book. He laughed and said he used it in one of his courses for forty years. I was not ready for that in college or even graduate school. But a few years after forty, after getting married and having kids and wondering about the meaning of life, this book hit the spot. Honestly, I’m not sure what I got exactly other than a sense of peace, but I will definitely read it again next time I’m feeling a little lost.
Over the summer, I read Dan Harris’ story about discovering meditation. I have since nicknamed this book: “how meditation can help you be a bad-ass”. I have attempted meditation for years, but have always left all my resolutions at the yoga retreat, since it never seemed to fit into my action packed life. For me, this book and the Headspace app on my phone have finally gotten me into a somewhat regular meditation practice that has helped me be “10% Happier”. I found Harris’ writing to be extremely engaging, weaving his personal story and his pursuit of a meditation practice into interesting commentary on contemporary religious movements. It was a joy to read, probably my favorite of all the books I read this year.
I just finished this Christmas gift yesterday. The critics say this is a great book to read if you have teenagers; I am so grateful I read it now before my kids get one day older. It is well-written and backed by engaging stories and shocking statistics. Building on what I have already embraced from Love and Logic, Lythcott-Haims convinced me to get comfortable with being uncomfortable letting my kids fail at the little things, that way they slowly become ready for bigger and bigger challenges. I could clearly connect how what I was doing today would impact my children’s abilities to function as adult, not only to be “successful” in work and life, but also just to feel purpose and be happy. I am so grateful for this book. Hopefully my father will forgive me for the mess I’ve been letting my kids make running the hand mixer on the brownies and painting with marbles in the workshop.