I meet Kim for lunch. Like, I literally just meet her for the first time as we meet up for lunch. She’s a badass in the field of behavioral health and has accomplished just as much outside of work on the issue of homelessness in Sacramento. We’re told we’d get along, so we blind text each other to coordinate lunch. I’m thinking, she’s really brave or really lonely. (Hoping brave>lonely)
It’s late Summer in Sacramento, which means it’s the blink-of-an-eye when eating outdoors simultaneously looks appealing and is not, actually, the 9th circle of Hell. “I love self-help books too,” Kim picks up where I left off. “Which one have you read recently?”
“There are four…”
They’re the perfect hobby for me because I’m very drawn to words and how they dance. That, and ya girl gets inside her head all of the time. There’s an inward vacuum and outward zoom to reading the right words that must be how Bran feels when he’s Ravening™. In any case, I appreciate that my hobby doesn’t cost a dime nor need to be shown off on Instagram, and yet I feel connected to those who share it — the likes of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and my 12-year-old niece — all three of whom I fiercely admire.
I also love reading because it’s enjoyed alone *whips chin over shoulder and hisses*, but that’s also why I feel particularly vulnerable when I talk about my books.
“There are four…” I widen my eyes to catch any and all visual signals of her wanting out. She immediately grants approval, because she’s a normal, decent person and I’m extremely self-absorbed(!). Eyes softer, smiling earnestly now, I open up.
Here’s my review of the books. Hope you read some! And talk to me about them! (Lonely>brave)
1) Ben Sasse’s The Vanishing American Adult: 4 out of 5 noodles
In this book, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse discusses some traditional, yet surprisingly out-of-the-box practices for parents to employ so their children are just hopefully slightly less stuckupentitledmillenialunaccountablelazyasses. As a read, it can drone in his own recounts, so I recommend this as an audiobook that you listen to along a commute or similar. But definitely consume it. If you’re looking for ideas on living an enriched adult life, or are fascinated by/terrified of millenialism, this is very worthy.
Minus one noodle because Sen. Sasse is a Republican. Plus one noodle because he’s not inane!
2) Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: 5 out of 5 noodles
This cult-classic has become my favorite self-help book, ever (I’m looking at you, How to Win Friends & Influence People). This self-help book makes other self-help books look like they need self-help books.
7 Habits is unique because it doesn’t prescribe behavioral changes (‘have an assertive stance,’ ‘listen more,’ ‘stay at the office longer than everyone else’), but rather discusses with you how to define your victories. Private victories, public victories, and the final habit of “sharpening your saw,” or continued growth. I let this book apply to all aspects of my life and it genuinely makes my work/relationships way more vivid, efficient, and meaningful.
3) Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul: 1 out of 5 noodles
A disappointing book considering the title is what would be graffitied down my metaphorical alley.
This book is just spent reiterating that you are not your actions nor your circumstance, but rather the intention behind your actions and the attitude about your circumstance. It’s repetitive and only stops for flowery metaphors that just tell the same story in a different way. It’s about assessing life in your mind, and not by the external noise. If you enjoyed this paragraph, this book is for you.
4) Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages: Singles Edition: 2-3 out of 5 noodles
This book does the very important job of identifying the different ways people give and wish to receive love. I feel like I’ve learned these types and catered behaviors the hard way already, but to those who feel stuck or keep running into misidentified intentions in any relationship, this book is total cheat codes. Also, everyone should take the the quiz whether or not they read the book.
These are what (my) results look like:
12 Quality Time
7 Words of Affirmation
7 Physical Touch
4 Acts of Service
0 Receiving Gifts
Of course I’ve forced all of my friends to take this quiz, and it surprised me to find that most of my close ones value acts of service way more than I do. I realized that I love giving acts of service, but am not really into receiving them. I tend to like to carry my own load (strong, independent woman disorder); I just want my loved ones to spend quality time with me, and let me into their thoughts. The book/quiz handle personality types quite well in that regard.
So in an effort to dedicate more time on self-improvement than vanity, I unsubscribed from ipsy and Play! (monthly makeup boxes) and subscribed instead to Audible (an audiobook app). I’m basically uglier but wiser — it’s great. I have the first three books I reviewed on Audible, so if you’d like a free audiobook copy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! It won’t make you uglier, I promise.
- The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
- The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer (Hey, go for it. The rest of the internet thinks this book is amazing.)