In "Hardwiring Happiness," Rick Hanson, Ph.D. provides an easy and actionable "recipe" for giving positive experiences greater weight to enable an ongoing sense of peace and contentment. I'd learned of Dr. Hanson's books based on my interest in meditation and his articles about the benefits of using meditation in his psychology practice. I chose to listen to this book when I realized I'd become so focused on worries about loved ones' health issues that I wasn't appreciating happy events as much as I would normally.
Dr. Hanson's approach focuses on identifying (or creating) positive experiences and then extending and reinforcing the good feelings those experiences evoke. Wait, isn't this just taking the time to smell the roses? Absolutely, but it's all too easy to overlook stopping to savor positive experiences when one is feeling especially busy or preoccupied with day to day concerns... and not taking the time to savor positive experiences actually reduces one's ability to cope with stresses as they arise. I listened to the audio version in order to benefit from the guided meditations included within, and also picked up the kindle ebook as a handy reference. The author narrated the audio version and I found listening to his observations helpful in reinforcing the concepts he shared.
I recommend "Hardwiring Happiness" to anyone who feels they aren't appreciating life's gifts as much as they'd like, and wants to take effective steps to more fully savor the good.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for a candid review
The 40 Hour Work Year offers interesting, actionable ways to work more effectively and efficiently. It's directed towards entrepreneurs, so folks with corporate jobs *may* be more limited in their ability to apply the book's recommendations. That said, I'm a firm believer that everyone should "think like an entrepreneur" and thus can learn from the concepts in this book. More than that, I found this to be an inspiring read... it offered fresh perspective for thinking about one's work and strategic approach.
I recommend The 40 Hour Work Year for anyone currently in the work force, or preparing to join the work force. Retirees may also find the concepts helpful if involved in volunteer efforts.
Full disclosure: I meditate, so reading this book was a bit like preaching to the choir. Nonetheless, it's an interesting read -- Russell Simmons is a hip-hop mogul who's become a prominent advocate for meditation. In Success Through Stillness, he describes his life prior to taking up meditation and the beneficial effects he's experienced since then. He specifically mentions how meditating enables him to experience greater equanimity, maintaining a mental calmness rather than being subject to emotional extremes. He also provides tips near the end of the book about how to meditate, which would be useful for beginning meditators. Recommended, especially for those interested in meditation.
I confess, I'd read one of Russell Brand's earlier books and abandoned it due to its repetitive focus on sex and drugs... so I didn't have high hopes for this book.
Well, I'm happy to say I was wrong. In Revolution, Brand shares his perspective about the deepening equality gap and other current societal issues -- it is a fascinating book. Despite Brand's somewhat goofy public persona, he's actually a very bright guy who articulates what so many feel / experience in a way that's engaging and accessible. I found Brand's narration style to be very compelling -- he's fired up and after listening to Revolution, you will be too. Unlike his prior books which were more autobiographical, Brand looks at the world around him in Revolution and ponders how we can all improve society and the world we live in. This is an interesting listen and I highly recommend it.
I used to journal every day as a way to savor the good and to transform the not so good. I picked up the audible.com version of Writing Down Your Soul to help remind me of the value of journaling, and found it very effective. There are some elements of the book that didn't resonate for me but like other reviewers, I recommend ignoring the elements that don't work for you and mining the gems that are useful. About halfway through the book, the author provides a long list of questions one can ask him/herself to trigger writing during a journaling session -- this list of questions is comprehensive and worth the price of the book alone.
Disclosure: I received this audiobook from the author in return for a candid review.
Beatrix Rose is a former covert British agent on a mission. And although it's a personal mission, she pursues it with single-minded professionalism. I normally tend to avoid spy novels with female leads because they're all too often the spy version of a "Bond girl" but Beatrix Rose is different. She's smart and level-headed, the kind of person who lives down the block or whose child goes to school with yours. There is an element to her circumstance that creates additional urgency for her to complete her mission, and it ratchets up the story's suspense level. This is an interesting, compelling story and Mark Deakins' narration is pitch perfect -- not too dramatic nor too flat. He really brought the story to life for me.
When the sequel to Blood Moon Rising is released, I'll be picking up a copy to catch up on Beatrix's next adventure. Highly recommend Blood Moon Rising to spy thriller and suspense fans.
A classic in the same vein as "Go the F--- to Sleep." Oh, how I love these audiobooks! As I listened to "You have to F---ing Eat," I couldn't help but picture Bryan Cranston as Heidelberg trying to get a small child to eat. That, in itself, made me chuckle... a great listen!
Suspenseful story with enough plot twists to keep most mystery fans interested. I listened to the audible version of this novel and found the narration to be well done.
Isaacson's THE INNOVATORS is a series of inspiring stories about technologists and their innovations. The stories are woven together to give the book a cohesive flow and it reads like a novel. For technology fans, some of the stories won't be new... but the way the stories are told and juxtaposed with other innovators' achievements makes this book unique. These are geeks' stories told lovingly by someone who clearly respects them and what they've done. I listened to the audible.com version of this book and found the narration well-done. I highly recommend this book to those interested in technology or innovation.
Oh, I loved this audiobook... a great combination of interesting (and sometimes strange) science facts and xkcd-flavored humor. My only complaint: It ended too soon. Highly recommended.
Until I listened to "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running," Stephen King's "On Writing" was my favorite nonfiction memoir-like book by a novelist. Both books are a rare treat, peeling back the veil on the novelist's mind to reveal something of their daily life and motivation for writing. While a significant portion of Murakami's book is indeed focused on running and his thoughts during his runs (which are usually quite philosophical), he also shares experiences from his stay in Cambridge MA, his earlier career as a tavern owner, his search for a swim coach, and how he runs in order to do his "day job" more effectively. I found this book absolutely fascinating and like King's "On Writing," it gave me a greater appreciation for Murakami as a writer. Highly recommended.
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