I like to read in bed. At night, usually. But sometimes in the morning too. I know I’m really into a book when I read a few (usually a few too many) pages first thing in the morning. Sometimes to the detriment of my gym and work routine. Several books have gathered this level of enthusiasm this year, and I’m excited to share them with you.
I was speaking to a friend recently about how she manages stress. We’d previously discussed how important exercise was for her mental health. I asked if she’d been making time for it. Her response was fairly typical. Not lately, she said, not since her sister had become too busy to go with her to the gym.
And that’s when I knew – she’s a classic Obliger.
You are only free when you realise you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great. – Maya Angelou.
For 20 years, Brené Brown profoundly disagreed with this sentiment. Although she admired Angelou, she opposed this quote. Brown had long believed that in many ways she did not belong. “Not belonging” had formed one of the most “painful threads” of her life. As an academic and now research professor in the social work field, Brown has spent the best part of a lifetime pondering topics like vulnerability, shame and belonging. At the time she heard Angelou’s quote, Brown firmly rejected the idea that “belonging nowhere” meant freedom.
Hello little blog!
I’ve been busy finishing my Masters which has left me with little time to write. But I have made time to read which means I have a backlog of things I’ve learnt that I’m eager to write down.
First up, a classic. First published in 1937, and many more times since, this is possibly one of the earliest self-help books to reach pop culture status. It was recommended to me by a friend, whose husband said it had changed his life. It’s surprising it has taken me this long to embrace it. It is, of course, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Though we are more vulnerable than we think, we are stronger than we even know.
Gloria Steinem doesn’t fancy herself as a leader. She doesn’t seek the spotlight of politics or celebrity. She is an organiser. She organises momentum and logistics around movements and campaigns that align with her values. And she has done so from Kennedy to Clinton 2.0.
The life of an organiser is a life on the road.
“Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.”
Viktor Frankl survived three harrowing years in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. A Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Vienna, Frankl’s intellectual curiosity put him in a unique position to observe life and death in prison camp. “Man’s Search for Meaning” is Frankl’s attempt to translate these stories in to lessons about human survival amid pointless suffering.
Not giving a f*ck is in vogue.
“The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck”, “Don’t Give a Damn” – titles like these are appearing at book shops near you. Caring less appears to have overtaken “mindfulness” as the topic du jour in the self help genre.
Two months before the 9/11 attacks, FBI Special Agent Kenneth Williams noticed suspicious activity in Phoenix, Arizona. He spotted several Arab men taking flying lessons in the Phoenix area. The odd thing was, the men did not want to practice take-offs and landings. Special Agent Williams sent a letter to FBI HQ on July 10, 2001 warning about a possible terrorist mission. The leaders at FBI HQ found the contents of the letter to be so unusual that they opted not to act upon it. The letter was to become the famous “Phoenix Memo”.