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Top Reads | 2018

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

First time I'm doing this, and I'm excited. Here are my best reads this year:

I'm judging you | Luvvie Ajayi

Luvvie covers social media, bad manners, and other somewhat trivial topics with insight and wit. Where she really shines, however, is in the section of the book discussing impossible standards of beauty, racism, homophobia, sexism, and other social issues. I'm Judging You is the handbook the world needs. She does a fantastic job at giving an overview of the issues. She's irreverent and funny and ultimately challenging readers to be more thoughtful better people.

Rating: 5 stars

Mistakes I made at work | Jessica Bacal

This was an interesting read for me. It’s refreshing to hear stories about bouncing back from low points, but not all mistakes are created equal. A lot of the women featured equated “mistakes” with “risking potential failure” and they aren’t the same thing. I respect that people have different experiences though, which is what made me keep reading the book. I also noticed that it was especially low on examples of women in STEM fields. My main takeaway from it was that nobody has it all figured it out. Even people at the very top have had failures.

Rating: 4 stars

Outliers | Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell argues that success is tightly married to opportunity and time on task. He states that it takes approximately 10,000 hours to master something and that gives me comfort. It helps me feel better about my many failures at initial attempts to master things (like professional dancing, getting over my awkward fear to network with people I don't know, sewing... to name a few). I kept thinking, "I've just got to put in more hours if I want to do better." It would be remiss of me to mention that my enjoyment of the book was marred by the glaring absence of any well-known female "outliers."

Rating: 4.5 stars

Creative Quest | Questlove

Another genius book where universal concepts are simplified. Anyone who wants to create the unthinkable can understand and improve their own unique craft with this brilliant masterpiece. As a 'new' writer, sometimes it’s hard to stay original. There's so much mature, smart stuff here: especially in a hyperconnected world you cannot stop 'stealing' from others, it's impossible to remember whether an idea you had is novel or whether you saw it on Twitter late at night 1 year ago. That's not a bad thing, but you have to develop from there, you have to curate your inner space. You have to let some things in and purposely leave some things out

Rating: 4 stars

Tuesdays with Morrie | Mitch Albom

When I first read this body of work a few years ago - it broke me.

It was raw, thought-provoking, heartbreaking and real. Such a simple concept of a young man caught up in his busyness and business, competing to be the best in his job until he finds out his old college professor is sick. And so begins a tale of regular meetings between Mitch and his old professor - Morrie. As a memoir, you don't have to agree with everything they discuss, it's just beautiful to hear thoughts from someone facing the end and to be reminded of our own humanity and fleeting lives.

Rating: 5 stars

Managing the Motherload | Rebekah Borucki

I appreciated the author’s honesty and transparency when it comes to managing the motherload.

Her tone and experiences were relatable. Her words will undoubtedly be helpful to mothers of all kinds. I’d definitely recommend this book for the mother struggling to find space for herself; the mindfulness stuff was basic but might be immensely helpful for some stressed-out new mums.

Rating: 4 stars

Prepared | Dianne Tavenner

My takeaways from this book are for mothers to catch themselves when they need to be needed by their children.

  • Mentor, don’t direct

  • Ask the right question

  • Teach principle of consensus (enter the decision grid)

  • Ask why then ask why again

  • Use expose, explore, and pursue to decide how to spend family time (not all activities are created equal)

  • Encourage plan B thinking

Rating: 3 stars

Cheers to 2019 and happy reading next year.


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