read

Review of the Books I Read in 2018

Here is the list of books I read, and am currently reading in 2018. Be sure and let me know which one was your favorite. Got a book you recommend for 2019? Let me know!

This post contains affiliate links

January –

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

read

This is the first book I read this year even though technically, I began reading this book after Christmas of last year. But I wanted to read something that would help me kick off the new year. What better way than to start reading about healthy habits?

I figured this would be the best book to start out with to help me line out my goals for the year. It is so interesting to learn that everything in life is based solely on habits. In this book, Duhigg suggests that every decision we make boils down to three things: cue, routine, and reward.

New habits are created by putting together a cue, a routine, and a reward, and then cultivating a craving that drives the loop.

Not only does cue, routine, and reward work for positive habits but also contributes to negative habits as well. The routine loop implies that there is a cue that craves a specific outcome. Dependent on the routine, the outcome is shaped by the reward.

The thing that I love most about this book is that it completely challenges the way we think about marketing. I was a little surprised when I realized you could completely pursue someone’s shopping patterns simply by strategic marketing. Honestly, day-to-day activities are completely affected by our habits. Marketing plays such a huge role in the way we shop that often times, stores like Target know what we need before we ever write out our shopping lists! Crazy, huh?!

The great thing about this book, though, is that Duhigg explains how you can, in fact, change your habits by simply changing your belief system. You may have to form new routines and change your mindset. However, with a desire to change you can replace old habits with new ones able to conquer even your worst of habits.

February –

Quiet by Susan Cain

read

The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Where do I begin with this one? It may seem like a daunting read because of the length, but this book is too powerful to put down. Admittedly, this book took a bit longer for me to read. Quiet is definitely not a book you can just sit down and read in one sitting. It is full of psychological research and interviews with people who study behavior and personality.

One of the biggest takeaways from this book is that we have got to stop personality shaming people. As Cain points out, we inevitably stunt a child’s growth when we synonymously use the words “quiet” and “shy”. Although these two definitions can correlate, they are not direct representations of each other. A shy person can be the most talkative person in the room just as a quiet person can be the most confident person in the room. As you can see, we cannot simply put people in one of two categories. Introversion and Extroversion are only two perspectives we place on people. But people are so much more than how much they “interact” with others.

Honestly, I can’t go much more into detail because this book is just that good and I want you to fully enjoy it.

Simply put, Quiet is the anthem for introverts everywhere.

March –

How To Hug a Porcupine by Sean K. Smith

read

Ever wonder how to deal with the difficult people at work or when you’re out and about running errands? Maybe you have people in your personal life that are just hard to love. These people are called “porcupines”. Whether its an annoying colleague, a family member who doesn’t know how to deal with anger properly, or a best friend who always seems to be on the defense about something. We all have them in our lives in some way, shape, or form. This book helps face those challenges and teaches us how we can love the porcupines in our lives.

Porcupines attack when they feel threatened, so in order to defelct that defensiveness, try a little kindness instead

There are four parts to this short read; Understanding the true nature and being of a porcupine. Understanding exactly who porcupines are. Learning where porcupines tend to dwell either at home or in the workplace.  And How to discern the porcupine inside all of us.

Going from Quiet to How to Hug a Porcupine was a big transition for me. It is almost necessary to have a short, easy read after taking on so much information, such as this one. Honestly, I think this book would be a great coffee table book to have on hand. Though you could honestly sit down and read this entire book in maybe 30 minutes or less, this book can be as insightful as you want it to be.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

read

So, if there were ever two books that I would highly recommend reading at the beginning of a new year, this would be one of them. (The first book I would recommend is the beginning of this post.) Honestly, I don’t know how you could read The Power of Habits and Essentialism without the other. Both books incorporate the idea of changing your daily activities to reach your end goal results.

The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials – Lin Yutang

This book consists of four parts; Essense, learning what makes an Essentialist. Explore, learning the differences of trivial many and the vital few. Eliminate, learning how to cut out the trivial many. And Execute, learning how to make the vital few almost effortless.

Often we confuse being busy with productivity. As McKeown explains throughout the book, we tend to do a lot of fluff work for nothing. Inevitably, we tend to take on too many tasks and say “yes” to any and all opportunities that come our way. Life often gets away from us where we’re left drinking copious amounts of caffeine just to keep up with the “daily grind”. But, this doesn’t have to be the end all, be all. When we learn to discern what the true essentials are in our daily lives, we will then be able to live our fullest and best lives.

May –

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

read

If you have ever struggled with the big F-word, stop what you’re doing and go get this book. Elizabeth Gilbert flips the script on everything we ever thought about Fear. This book shows us that we can live beyond the dreaded F-word to start living our creative lives.

Here’s how I learned to deal with my fear: I made a decision a long time ago that if I want creativity in my life- and I do- then I will have to make space for fear, too.

We can never truly escape fear, no matter how hard we try. Fear will always be a backseat driver to all of our creative and innovative endeavors. But, we don’t have to be afraid of being paralyzed by fear. We can simply learn to navigate around it.

What I love most about this book is the fact that ideas are all floating around us, just waiting for someone to grab ahold of them and run. This may sound too hippy and out there, but when you begin to realize you can use fear to your advantage, Big Magic happens. Now, you may not believe in “magic”. I get it. But we can all agree that something amazing happens when we stop allowing our fears to control us. Our creativity is sacred so we must start doing something about it.

July –

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

read

Okay, so out of all of the books I read this year, this one takes the cake.

Our society makes plenty of room for complacency or laziness; we’re rarely surrounded by accountability.

This woman, y’all, is a powerhouse. I mean, read that last sentence again. Accountability is something we all desperately need but rarely ever receive by sitting idly by. Not only is this a great book about finding yourself and making your dreams happen, Girl, Wash Your Face is also published by a Christian author! Not only is Rachel Hollis a successful businesswoman, an advocate for strong women, self-published author, and devout wife and mother, she is also a Christian who believes that we all have a God-given purpose.

Though, I have seen a lot of people in the Christian circle give this book so much flak for not being “grounded in scripture”. No, this book isn’t filled with scriptures on every page. But, this book is full of spiritual truth bombs. When we get up and choose to show up every day, we are essentially utilizing our God-given callings for something so much greater.

If you are looking for a book that encourages you to go out and strive for your full potential, this book is for you. Stop what you are doing and buy a copy now. While you’re at it, go ahead and follow Rachel Hollis on Instagram for even more accountability.

October –

Tribes by Seth Godin

read

Leaders lead when they take positions, when they connect with their tribes, and when they help the tribe connect to itself.

The world needs leaders. The world needs you.

So many times we neglect those who share our vision because we are so focused on the number game. Think about it, how many times do we wish we had a larger following online? If you are looking at your numbers, go ahead and evaluate the following you already have. Start with that.

This is exactly what this book is about. Leaders will not focus on their numbers, they will focus on their tribe. The culture that leaders cultivate speaks volumes when it comes to their tribe. If you have a vision and a talent for connection, people will follow you. This book is great if you want to change the status quo and cultivate a strong following.

*My only beef with this book is that there are no chapters, there are only bold sections. For me, it is hard to find a stopping point in this book because each idea flows freely to the next. But, I guess you can always finish a section and put it down at your own pace.

*Bonus

November/December

My current read(s):

No Excuses by Brian Tracy

read

Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

read

I recently just started these two books. But I knew I wasn’t going to be able to finish them in time for this blog post to come out. I wanted to start No Excuses to help me get back into gear for the New Year. I started this book to jumpstart writing out my goals and thinking about new challenges to come. However, I have a taken a lot of notes and I am only on chapter 3.

I also started Wherever You Go, There You Are because I have been fascinated by the art of mindfulness. I recently had an awareness experience in the middle of Wal-Mart the other day where I realized that I was alive in that very moment. You can also hear this experience on mine and my husband’s podcast, The Reckless Pursuit.

So what books should I read for 2019? Don’t forget to let me know which book is your favorite! 

Elaine

 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: