Friday, December 28, 2018

"Men, Women, & Worthiness" by Brene Brown

I listened to this book as an audio book CD.  It is all about what shame is, how shame affects men and women differently, and what to do to when feeling shameful.  Guilt is feeling bad about an action / behavior, whilst shame is feeling bad as a person.  Think "I did something bad" versus "I am bad".  Women tend to feel shame around their looks, while men tend to feel shame around their career.  For what to do during bouts of shame, I was surprised that there was no secret formula for getting over it or avoiding it in the first place.  Rather, Brown encourages readers to feel empathy for themselves and others.  Readers need to go thru the emotion and out to the other side.  A big takeaway for me is that holding onto shame does no good.  How does it help oneself to feel like an awful person and wallow in misery?  It doesn't!  Humans are emotional, and it's normal to feel bad from time to time.  The important thing is to move past those emotions, empathize, and get back to a happy normal.  You are a great person that can improve.  There is nowhere to go but up.

Monday, December 24, 2018

"The Confidence Code" by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman

I "read" this book as an audio CD.  It was reasonable at six CDs and read quite well.  This book is all about confidence but focuses on female confidence.  Various studies are discussed surrounding why women don't ask for raises, why women think they are not good at math, and how male confidence compares to female confidence.  The authors go into genetic studies and tackle the extremely tough question of whether or not confidence is nature or nurture.  I'll let the reader listen and decide what they think.  The overall theme of this book is that women can get confidence...if they work hard and do the necessary steps to get there.  This is so well researched and more than just a feel good self help book.  Listeners will feel better about getting confident, understanding the data behind why they do what they do. 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

"The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin

I listened to this book in audiobook CD format at home on my free time.  It was nice to relax or do laundry or pay bills while having positive messages being read to me.  I learned about the author's quest to have a happier year just for the sake of happiness.  The project was not spurred out of some great sadness like depression, divorce, medical issues, etc.  The author talked about really simple changes that anyone can make.  These included sleeping more, eating better, exercising, making time for friends, not dwelling on negative thoughts, being kind, being grateful, and more.  There was an interesting part of the book focused on marital relationships, especially about effective communication versus nagging.  This audiobook CD was a bit on the longer site, a whopping 9 CDs as opposed to the 4-6 that I am used to.  Overall, this is a fun book that will encourage readers to begin their own happiness journeys.  To happiness!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

"Pretty Happy" by Kate Hudson

I listened to this as an audio-book CD while driving to and from work.  It is all about Kate Hudson's tips for being healthy and staying healthy.  There is an emphasis on diet, exercise, nutrition, meditation, self care, and gratefulness.  It was refreshing to know that move stars don't just wake up looking perfect but that they too have to work hard, eat right, and drag their butts to the gym just like everybody else.  There was some Indian influence with ideas on how other cultures stay healthy; chakras were explained.  While the majority of this book was uplifting and informative, some parts were just way outside of my comfort zone.  That included the parts of the book where cleanses / fasts were discussed, as well as when pole dancing was cited as a form of exercise.  Other than that, I'd say the book was pretty mainstream.

"When Do I Love You?" illustrated by Marta Cabrol

This colorful little storybook is sure to win over hearts of all ages.  It follows the tale of little child animals and their caregivers.  From cats to dogs to beats to goats to ducks to lizards and more, readers will see how animals are loved.  This, of course, is a metaphor for how human parents / guardians love their human children.  There are little rhymes that are adorably cute.  Each animal example takes up two pages, left and right.  The full-color illustrations are sweet yet amusing.  Readers will see bears at the amusement park, raccoons in balloons, goats on boats, and more.  There are no religious undertones to this book, and it truly is a book that will reach people of all backgrounds.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

"How to Love Yourself" by Louise L. Hay

I listened to this audiobook on my way to and from work.  It was very relaxing and felt like I was being encouraged by a grandmother.  Hay encourages listeners to go easy on themselves while not becoming complacent.  She offers various meditations and even encourages others to look themselves in the mirror every day saying "I love you".  Hay discusses how only those with low self esteem do drugs and how people with high self esteem take care of their bodies.  The speaker talks with an air of no judgement but also pushes the audience to be the best they can be.  This audio CD is on the shorter side and can be completed in one hour.

"Mastery" by Robert Greene

This book is all about teaching readers thru example how to be a master.  A master is someone who has successfully advanced in a skill to become a working professional that others admire and seek out.  Biographies of masters throughout the ages are given.  I liked how the examples were people of all ages, ethnicities, genders, geographic locations, and so on.  To not emphasize academic careers over others, there were even athletes and non-conventional professions thrown in.  There is a very helpful chapter on emotional intelligence urging readers to not let their emotions or interpersonal politics get in the way of their success.  While this book has a lot to offer, the one downside I found was that it was repetitive and at times very boring.  I got two thirds of the way through the book and had to put it down because I realized I have 100 pages to go and was reading the same paragraph from five chapters ago.  Greene makes a lot of excellent points, but I think this book would be better if it was more concise.  I got the impression the author was trying to fill pages and meet a word count at times instead of trying to get the information across in the most efficient way.

Monday, December 10, 2018

"Self Esteem: Your Fundamental Power" by Caroline Myss

I got this audiobook from the library and listened to all four CDs as I drove to and from work.  Caroline discusses the importance of self esteem, how to get self esteem, and what life looks like both with and without self esteem.  The audiobook reads like listening live at a talk show (the reader feels like they are in a studio audience).  Myss describes how those with low self esteem sabotage themselves and live in fear.  She also puts emphasis on practical baby steps.  Myss is emphatic about how she does not think one can meditate their way to healthy self esteem.  Topics like career, finances, health, and relationships are addressed.  Particularly interesting were the sections on how those in one's life may react negatively to healthy self esteem.  When someone finally gets healthy self esteem in their life, those with low self esteem or controlling personalities will not be happy.  Myss talked about the importance of exercise on self esteem--not to lose weight or get fit but to know that I'm tired and don't want to go to the gym, but I went anyway because I said I would and I deserve to put my health first.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

"Love Does for Kid" by Bob Goff and Lindsey Goff Viducich

This cute little full-color hardcover book is excellent for kids of all ages.  It tells the story of the Goff family.  From learning compassion to making friends to inviting world leaders over for dinner, this book has it all.  There are many references to Jesus and Christian undertones.  However, the central message of the book is to be kind and forgiving in life--to embody love to all people.  I enjoyed the stories of backyard adventures, candy store negotiations, freeing slaves in India, building schools in Uganda, and getting others presents on your own birthday.  The print is fairly large, which is nice, and the illustrations are cleverly arranged to flow with the short stories.  Each story is about 4 pages and easy to read before bedtime or after homework.  I think this book will inspire many young readers to be kind to others and make a different in the global community. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

"Uninvited" by Lysa TerKeurst

I listened to this audio book while driving to and from work.  The basic premise is that people must find their worth and value in God, not other people.  When someone casts a glance your way, doesn't invite you to a party, doesn't give you that job you want, and so on, you need to look on the bright side.  Don't imagine all these scenarios in your head where you are unworthy or worthless or everyone hates you.  Believe people have good intentions, center yourself on your spirituality, and get moving in life.  The author is very vulnerable in this book, sharing her lessons learned from romantic relationships, friendships, and social outings.  The book has many Christian undertones and references biblical figures, including Jesus.  I really liked how honest Lysa was with the idea of self talk.  She'd retell stories of things that happened to her, what she thought, and how she analyzed those thoughts.  No matter how sad one may be in the moment, berating oneself mentally does nothing to improve the situation.  This was an interesting read, and it appears the audience was geared a little more towards women.  Remember readers that when you are uninvited, you are still valuable.  Pass it on!