George R.R. Martin wrote, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads only lives one.” This resonates with me to the core. There is an inherent romance in prose. When you read – and I mean really read – you see the world through a disparate lens, experience people and places that are completely foreign, seize ideas inspired by the written word of another.
Besides being wildly successful and immensely wealthy, what do Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Mark Cuban have in common? They read every day. And no, I’m not talking about that best-selling mystery or the latest romance novel. Don’t get me wrong, I love fun reads as much as anyone – in fact, if you looked through my Amazon purchase history, I would be willing to bet that 90% of the titles are page-turning thrillers. But friends, the times, they are a changin’.
Here, we are going to shine a spotlight on books that inspire, teach, and help us evolve. Have recommendations, reviews, or must-reads of your own to share? Please leave them in the comments or send them via e-mail.
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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
“Big Magic” is all about “living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.” If you want to try something new (like writing a book and blogging about writing a book), this is the perfect read for you. Whether you are inspired to become a lion trainer, climb Everest, learn a new skill, or do just about anything, “Big Magic” will encourage you to unleash the creator within. The New York Times describes “Big Magic” as “a crash course in the mental habits of the highly effective person”. Broken into six sections (Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity), the point is that creativity is inside all of us, it should be expressed, and it is not selfish or crazy or foolish to do so — it is, in fact, the best way to live a satisfying life.
The theme of “Rising Strong” is this: when we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write the ending. Author and Social Scientist Brene Brown encourages the reader to live a brave life. The trick is that living a brave life means we will inevitably stumble and fall. “Rising Strong” is about rising from those falls – over and over and over again. The secret of rising, of perseverance, is to recognize the power of emotion and not be afraid to lean in to discomfort. “Rising Strong” is all about the reckon, the rumble, and the revolution.
Yes, it’s THAT Shonda Rhimes! The Queen of Thursday night is here to explain how coming from a place of yes changed her life. After being told that she never says “yes” to anything, Shonda set out to challenge herself to reset her default response from “no” to “yes” – for an entire year. I love this book because it encourages us to get out of our comfort zone, live our best life, and embrace our inner boss bitch.
What are you reading?