recent reads

One of my goals entering the new year is to read a new book every month.

I set aside time to read. This is a way I prioritize myself.

I’ve always liked reading.

As a kid I would crush teen romance books.

Now that I’ve matured mentally I’m able to comprehend material heavier than The Fault in Our Stars. I love absorbing knowledge and viewing topics through different lenses.

But wait, let me guess…
“I want to read more but I don’t have the time,”

We’ve all got the same 24 hours.

If you really are driven to do it, you will make the time. It’s simple as that.

The average person has allotments of time throughout the day spent scrolling on their phone. You could read.

I spend a lot of time on public transit. Rather than shuffle through songs until I find one I want to listen to for half the ride, I read.

I made a list of some good stuff I’ve been reading lately for those of you who are interested in expanding your mind. However, while reading these books you must keep an open mind.

These are not your average bedside reads. Well, unless you’re someone like me.

The order of this list is not representative of anything.

MALCOLM GLADWELL IS MY BOY!

During my senior year of high school, I participated in a dual-enrollment program with a local college. During the fall semester, I took Introduction to Sociology.

A reading requirement for the course was Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. This book was my gateway to self-improvement, business-oriented, entrepreneurial reading.

Gladwell’s writing style is easy to read. It’s casual while still maintaining structure.

If you like reading my writing, you’ll probably enjoy his. I take inspiration from his style, as well as a few other authors later mentioned.

OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS
A ‘self-made’ success story is all-encompassing.

In this book, Gladwell explores the background of successful moguls such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Why do some people soar and others fail?

Did you know a Canadian male born in early January is much more likely to become a professional hockey player than a male born during the latter portion of the year?

If not, now you do. For other cool and obscure knowledge, read Outliers.

BLINK: THE POWER OF THINKING WITHOUT THINKING
You’re more equipped than you think you are.

This Gladwell piece dives into “thin-slicing,” better known as a gut feeling.

We have a conscious and subconscious mind both of which are tapped into during the decision making process. What many of us often forget is that our subconscious knows a lot.

More than we realize.

I’m sure you’ve experienced intuitive feelings regarding the character of a person or the elements of a situation that have immediately rubbed you the wrong way. Were you right?

If you’re interested in learning more about how crucial your subconscious is when it comes to quick reactions and decision making I would highly recommend Blink.

TALKING TO STRANGERS:
WHAT WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE PEOPLE WE DON’T KNOW…

I have not finished this one yet. I am about a quarter of the way through and I’ve enjoyed it so far. Admittedly I’m not as hooked on this one as I have been on other Gladwell works. However, I started it during a rather hectic time so I do not have a vivid memory of it. I plan to restart the book sometime in the next few months to look at it with a fresh set of eyes.

13 THINGS MENTALLY STRONG PEOPLE DON’T DO by AMY MORIN
Sometimes seemingly self-explanatory information must be reiterated in order for it to fully resonate with you.

Although I said the order of the books is arbitrary, this book, in particular, I would recommend the most. 😋

I may be biased because this was the first self-improvement genre book I dabbled in. Outliers is categorized as business.

Nonetheless, this book quite literally changed my life. Thank you, Amy Morin. I started reading in February 2019 and did not complete it until late May (??) 2019. Something like that. My copy is beat up.

Of all the reads this one took the longest for me. Oh but it’s less than 300 pages…

Yes, part of it is that I get lazy with reading. But also this book is dense with information!

After reading into one of the concepts I would take a break from the book to work on implementing the change in my life.

Although some of the concepts seem self-explanatory, there is something about reading it that makes it resonate and become applicable to you. Once I began to notice improvements, which sometimes took a while because not everyone is perfect, I would begin to dive into the next chapter.

ESSENTIALISM: THE DISCIPLINED PURSUIT OF LESS by GREG McKEOWN
Figure out what core talents you have. Hone them.

As someone who has always prided themselves on their ability to do many things well this read made me rethink strategies.

I, along with others I have recommended the book to, believe the theory of essentialism would only exist in a flawless society where every individual acted highly selfish. ‘Selfish’ meaning they always prioritize themselves.
But we all know that person who cannot say no. Maybe you are that person.

A truly essentialist society, on a large scale, is off the table. However, there are practices within the theories of Essentialism that when applied externally lead to a positive result.

THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK by MARK MANSON
Focus on what matters to you.

While I love Mark Manson’s writing style and delivery, I do not completely agree with all his ides. That being said, the man can argue his point well.

The overall theme of the book is to not give a f*ck about anything more than you have to.

Essentially figuring out what aligns with your personal values and goals then pursuing that life.

Sounds lovely! However, not always practical.

If you’re able to get a bit creative in applying the concepts, there are some really valuable lessons to take away from this read! If you’re into sarcasm, cringe humor and a blunt delivery, check out Manson’s blog or other published works!

Next on the reading list is The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel Levitin. I started it Tuesday and I’m enjoying it so far.

Baby is thicc.

After that in the queue is Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses by Joe Pulizzi.

Let me know if you guys read, or have read, any of the books I mentioned in the comments below! What are you reading next??

Talk to y’all soon,
Alex

“…and then you die”

It seems as though you have been lucky enough to have come across my blog! Welcome. 😇☺️

As those of you who follow me on Instagram may know, recently I have been making the effort to read more books. One of the three books I am in the process of reading is The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. Get the book. It’s great.

I have been hearing about this book and how awesome it is for a little over a year now. But I’m one of those people who when so many people are hyping something up I’m like, “Nah I’m good.” Then I get onto the trend late and bother my friends about it months after the craze has died down. (Shoutout to my friends. I love you peeps!!) So I finally picked up the book a few weeks ago and damn it, I have not been able to stop thinking about it! Manson and I seem to view life in the same sick and twisted way, which causes me to love the book even more obviously.

One of the main concepts which has stuck with me is the inevitability of death. Manson’s final chapter is titled, “…And Then You Die”. It discusses the tragic death of one of his childhood best friends which put him face-to-face with the reality of death. Fitting title.

Death is a fact of life which we cannot escape, yet it remains such a taboo subject when it involves us personally. Why? Because humans are naturally conditioned to be averted to things they are not able to fully understand.

The question of what happens after death is one which perplexes each individual at least once in life, no doubt. I don’t just mean what happens after in the sense of heaven or hell, reincarnation or vast nothingness — I mean the question of how will the world continue without you in it. What is your legacy? What, if anything, are you leaving behind to be remembered by? Manson divulges further into this idea of how an individual’s personality will outlive their physical self throughout the chapter. He makes a point that THIS is the aspect of death people tend to struggle with. If you really think about it, it is pretty damn daunting.

I believe most people would argue that if you’re lucky, you won’t have to experience the intense hardships of life, such as death, until you’re older and presumably more emotionally equipped to cope. I strongly disagree. Why is it a debate if a kid is going to be present at a wake / viewing / funeral? Sheltering a child from the world and its harsh truths is going to do nothing but prolong the inevitable… The strongest people I know are the ones who have experienced rough shit, processed it, grew from it and kept living despite it.

“People no longer realize it’s okay for things to suck sometimes.”

– Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

It is too damn true. We live in a world where everyone is supposed to do amazing things, be wonderful people, cure cancer, all that jazz. However, if we don’t fulfill these roles imposed upon us then we feel as though we have failed. Generally speaking.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been reading Co-Star Astrology daily for the past five or six months, and when I say this thing is scary relevant to my life, it is….

A few weeks ago, Co-Star’s message had mentioned the importance of “crying when you’re happy”. When I initially read it I’m thinking, “Why would I want to cry?” However, after processing it I’ve come to understand this to mean that even in times when you’re elated with happiness, you still have to understand and feel sadness. Being able to empathize with pain, or tragedy, helps you to appreciate life. You are forced to recognize your own mortality, whether you’re ready or not. And while this can be terrifying, once you’re face-to-face with the fear of death your perspective on life shifts.

Manson recounts his visit to the Cape of Good Hope on the coast of Cape Peninsula in South Africa. He talks about how he walked past the areas he wasn’t supposed to, going against his every instinct and sat on the edge of the cliff. Dangling his feet 820 feet above sea level.

Manson says in that moment he has never felt more alive.

I had a similar experience at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. I’m sitting on the edge of the cliff. My feet dangling 702 feet, so not as high but still damn intimidating. And as I’m sitting there I can’t help but peer over the edge, looking down into the abyss of murky fog. I can see nothing below. My heart was racing, my palms sweating and everything else that physically goes along with being incredibly panicked. But I wasn’t scared.

I understood Manson — I felt alive. More so than ever. ☺️

Thanks for reading!

Talk to y’all soon,
Alex