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Books I've Read: March 2019

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Books I've Read: March 2019

1. Story Factor, Annette Simmons

I’ve been a little obsessed with learning more about storytelling and narrative lately. This was the first of many books that I’ve cued up to learn how to become a better storyteller. I started down this path to help me with improving the novels that my boyfriend and I have written but I’ve also started to see how it is applicable in so many other arenas as well outside of fiction writing.

People don’t want more information. They are up to their eyeballs in information. They want faith—faith in you, your goals, your success, in the story you tell. It is faith that moves mountains, not facts. Facts do not give birth to faith. Faith needs a story to sustain it—a meaningful story that inspires belief in you and renews hope that your ideas indeed offer what you promise…Story is your path to creating faith….People value their own conclusions more highly than yours. They will only have faith in a story that has become real for them personally. Once people make your story, their story, you have tapped into the powerful force of faith.

Simmons highlights six types of stories for all of us to keep in our influence toolkit:

  1. “Who I Am” stories

  2. “Why I Am Here” stories

  3. “The Vision” story

  4. “Teaching” stories

  5. “Values-in-Action” stories

  6. “I Know What You Are Thinking” stories

2. How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving, david richo

This book was recommended to me by a friend. It got too philosophical and lofty for me at times but I did appreciate some of the passages below in thinking about how to maintain and sustain boundaries of self as well as the relationship. As someone who’s possibly (read: likely) to be too independent in my relationship, this helped clarified places where I need to bend and stretch more.

The five As — attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing — are the results of and conditions for mindfulness.

Attention from others leads to self-respect. Acceptance engenders a sense of bing inherently a good person. Appreciation generates a sense of self-worth. Affection makes us feel lovable. Allowing gives us the freedom to pursue our own deepest needs, values and wishes.



In a committed relationship we finally let go of our ego's formidable insistence on being right, on getting our way, on competing and wining. We may still have argument, but they do not last as long, they end in resolution, they involve less replay of the past. We take the content of the argument as information rather than as grist for the mill of resentment. Instead of demanding that our expectations be met, we seek agreements. Now we fight, but do not stop loving.

3. atomic habits, james clear

So many people have recommended this book to be and I see why. While most of the information was not new to me, I really appreciated his clear (ha!) writing style and graphics as well as the attention to embedding instructional design and assistive resources throughout the book.

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This graphic had me shook not because of the improvement curve but the decline one. As a low key math and science nerd, thinking about all the times where I not only don’t engage in good habits but also make the “just one time” choice does serious damage to my long-term goals.

True behavior change is identity change.
The word identity was originally derived from the Latin words essentitas, which means being, and identidem, which means repeatedly. Your identity is literally your “repeated beingness.”

4. books in progress

  1. Telling True Stories, Edited by Mark Kramer and Wendy Call

  2. Make Your Mark, The Creative’s Guide to Building a Business with Impact, Edited by Jocelyn Glei

  3. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation, Daniel J. Siegel, MD

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books read in 2019

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books read in 2019

Due to a desire to reduce mindless scrolling in my life, I’ve turned to reading more actual books. This has had an accidental effect of reading about a book per week. I’ve decided to make a list of what I’ve read so far with 1-2 key insights or quotes that jumped out at me.

I’m planning to update this every month to keep track of my progress. I’ll reserve longer blogs for some of meatier takeaways that I’ve had for some books.

January

1. Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Resistance never sleeps…the battle must be fought anew everyday.

2. Dan Harris, 10% Happier

When you have one foot in the future and the other in the past, you piss on the present.

3. Amy Morin, 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do

The one thing on her list of things NOT to do that I do most: See vulnerability as a weakness. Here’s four questions to ask yourself she shared to start tiptoeing in the shallow end of the vulnerability pool.

  1. What gets in the way of being vulnerable?

  2. Who are people I can become more vulnerable with?

  3. What’s one small thing I can do to be vulnerable today?

  4. How can I take care of myself when I’m being vulnerable?

4. William Zinsser, On Writing Well

This book is a great technical and emotional resource for someone like me who is just starting to write more in both nonfiction and fiction. I happened to pick up my copy at the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library sale/fundraiser. Aim to simplify everything where possible. Be a keen observer of the people and places around you.

February

5. Greg McKeown, Essentialism

If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.
The ability to choose cannot be take away or even given away—it can only be forgotten.

6. Julia cameron, The artist’s way

Creativity requires faith. Faith requires that we relinquish control. This is frightening, and we resist it. Our resistance to our creativity is a form of self-destruction.
In a sense, no creative act is ever finished…Focused on process, our creative life retains a sense of adventure.

7. Tiffany Dufu, Drop the ball

Serendipity strikes again. I read this book soon after completing Essentialism. These books worked well paired together because Dufu made the advice in Essentialism more personal and relevant for my identity and life. Tiffany Dudu is a black woman who is a well-recognized expert in women’s leadership and diversity and inclusion. However inside of her home, she replicated nearly all of the same gender expectations and roles, leading to the realization that she couldn’t do it all and she shouldn’t have to. Reading her journey of how she navigated and renegotiated the work of the household and parenting was the first time I’ve both seen that this can be done and have a blueprint for how to do it.

8. F*ck Feelings: One Shrink's Practical Advice for Managing All Life's Impossible Problems, Michael Bennett MD and SARAH BENNETT

Honestly I just checked this out from the library because it had f*ck in the title. I was pleasantly surprised to find funny and honest advice, strategies and science focused on how emotions can cause us to play ourselves.

Fear is amazingly good at causing fear; it’s the mind’s best perpetual motion machine.

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