In 2017, instead of publishing a book club review in December, I decided to wrap up the year with quick and dirty reviews for each book I read (including the top three books I refer to clients), I’ll be doing it again for 2018. I won't be fully explaining what each book is about — you can click the hyperlinks to find that out for yourself — instead, I'm giving you my biggest takeaways.
Top Referred Books of 2018
These three books came up time and time again with my clients this past year, and I highly recommend reading each of them:
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson - This was probably my top referred book of the year. Mansons “tell it like it is” approach obviously has a mass appeal. He brings a modern voice to self help that isn’t ultra masculine (coughDarren Hardycough) but also not new age glamour either (ahem, Gabrielle Bernstein). When fear has you crippled from moving forward, starting with not giving a f*ck will break down some serious mental barriers.
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan - I was sitting on the tram finishing the last chapter, a 60 something year old woman sat next to me and I found myself restraining to tap her shoulder and ask “have you read this? how are you? what do you think? do you feel like we’ve progressed? do you have daughters? do you work? have you wanted to work?….” This book is life changing. Important. Essential for every living woman. Unless you grew up with a mother who had an egalitarian marriage, a fulfilling career, zero mental health issues, and the ability to communicate all of her thoughts and feelings in a culture context, it’s essential for life.
How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan - Maybe not my most referred, but the one that I’ve probably brought up the most to people. If you want to bring up the topic of psychedelics with someone and not feel like you’re going to come off as a total weirdo, How to Change Your Mind is a great place to start.
And all the other books
I've listed the rest of the books I read in 2018 in order of most liked to least liked (left to right, top to bottom). You're obviously welcome to read through each one, OR you can go to the top of the post, look at the book covers, and ⌘F the titles you're interested in reading my quick thoughts on.
Educated by Tara Westover - It’s not just because I grew up Mormon, went to Brigham Young University (the same years as Westover), and my bff went on study abroad with her that I think this may be the best memoir I’ve ever read. It’s because her story is out of a wild west film and she has suffered and redeemed herself in every way possible, physically, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically and intellectually. And well, maybe it is personal because while jogging my memory to write this paragraph I watched this video and bawled when she sang at the end.
Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi - I realize you may think it’s not appropriate to list a cookbook but this isn’t just any cookbook. Before every recipe Tamimi and Ottolenghi write their personal experience and why it’s included. It’s so intimate it makes you feel like you know them and you know more about Jerusalem culture. I visited Jerusalem in 2010 and it was a powerful experience. While we were there we ate fattoush for breakfast and it was surprisingly refreshing and delicious. It really made me question the American full-carb offering I had my entire life.
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg - I know people have a lot of mixed feelings about Sandberg, but I just have one single feeling, love. Option B navigates her experience and emotions after the death of her partner, Dave Goldberg. She spellsour ability to deal with setbacks is largely determined by three P’s: personalization, pervasiveness, and permanence. My dad passed 2 years ago and a lot of this resonated with me and helped me feel more compassion for those suffering around me.
*White Hot Truth: Clarity for Keeping It by Danielle LaPorte - New age wisdom. Refreshing and fun. She’s like your cool aunt on a hot summer day giving you life advice and telling you stories.
*We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Important.
*Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown - So relevant in sorting through or divisive harmful political climate. Ahem, liberals need to learn here too.
Shamanism : awaken and develop the shamanic force within by Christa Mackinnon - Very woo - but motivated me to finally create a meditation space to wake up to everyday.
*Start with Why by Simon Sinek - Don’t read the book. Just watch the TEDtalk (with 41 million views). He goes on and on about how important it is to have a “why” but doesn’t explain how to actually find one for your company.
*Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman - Boring to me but people love it.
50 capitalism ideas you really need to know by Jonathan Portes - I think capitalism is fascinating, but this book was more of a reference book and hard to cozy up to.
The 1‑Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib - Dib’s assistant emailed me and asked if they could send me a copy. I thought it was okay but nothing revolutionary here.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - It’s fiction, I read half of it and stopped. People who like to read fiction love this book, but I don’t like fiction don’t ask me why I don’t know.
*The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith by Gabrielle Bernstein - New Age Glam to the max. Bernstein’s voice drives me nuts.
12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson - I kept seeing this cover at book stores, and then a young girl I met recently referenced a video in which he “takes down two feminists”. I was so confused by it all. I checked the book out from the library but then read this Vox article. I read the first chapter and because of the context I had, I couldn’t get myself to read the rest of book. Also, this title “dismantles feminism” cracks me up, as if t’s like “dismantles the patriarchy”! I’m still scratching my head.
*I reviewed this book, the hyperlink will take you to my book club post as oppose to Amazon.
What are some of your most recommended books of 2018? I'd love to know which books you have on your must-read list for 2019, I’m currently reading Sapiens!