Now I can see why Sincero’s books are bestsellers. She’s so inspiring and motivating that after reading this book I was even more energized to work on attaining my goals.
I wasn’t interested in Sincero’s books at first. I’ve read some self-help books, but they aren’t what I often gravitate to unless the subject is art/creativity. But I needed something to listen to at work while doing dull tasks, so I decided to give You Are a Badass a try since it was available on my library’s Overdrive app.
I was so hooked, I almost completed the book in a day, and as soon as I was done, I went out and bought a physical copy of this book and You Are a Badass at Making Money.
Nonfiction – self-help
You Are a Badass is a hilarious self-help book about building faith in what you want to achieve to manifest your goals. Sincero uses her experiences to show us that it’s possible to attain whatever we put our minds to. If there’s something we really want to achieve and wholeheartedly believe we can achieve it and work toward doing so, then we will get it. (Goodreads)
I’ve been interested in reading one of Strayed’s books, namely Wild, since I first listened to a podcast episode featuring her on Longreads. The episode was inspiring and I thought her memoir would be also.
Though I bought Wild last year, I have yet to crack it open. However, at the start of this year, I decided to download Tiny Beautiful Things on my library’s Overdrive because it was available; but the electronic format made me sleepy.
I borrowed the book from the library and was so taken by it, that I found myself placing dots on almost every page (it’s my way of highlighting library books without being intrusive). Eventually, I decided to just get my own copy so I can highlight every damn thing.
Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you can’t pay the bills—and it can be great: you’ve had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugar—the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir Wild—is the person thousands turn to for advice.
Tiny Beautiful Things brings the best of Dear Sugar in one place and includes never-before-published columns and a new introduction by Steve Almond. Rich with humor, insight, compassion—and absolute honesty—this book is a balm for everything life throws our way. (Goodreads)
I read that quote earlier this year and it made me feel as if I’m lacking in some way. Often I spend my weekends doing nothing except stare at white walls, trying to invent creative ways to rouse myself to do something from my lengthy to-do list, much of which consists of ways to increase my knowledge of art and literature or improve my writing. Excellence, then, would not come my way soon if I continue in this way. So my interest was piqued when I saw an ARC giveaway for Gretchen Rubin’s recently published Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. I immediately sent a request, wondering if I would enjoy the book or cast it aside as a major bore. After all, how could a book on habits be entertaining?
I doubt entertainment is anyone’s foremost reason for reading this book, and it wasn’t mine, but I worried if I’d be able to stick with it to the end. I didn’t have much to maintain an interest in the book other than a drive to change my bad habits and my friends’ expressed enjoyment of Rubin’s bestseller The Happiness Project. I’ve never read anything by her prior to this book. Despite these meagre sources to drum up interest, I immediately began reading soon after receiving the book and barely put it down.
At the heart of Better than Before is a quest for self-knowledge. That’s what latched my attention. Rubin reasons that we must first know ourselves — our wants, needs, and drives — before we can change. With that, she begins her book by stating that we’re driven by expectations. There are two types, she states, outer (deadlines and company goals) and inner (personal goals). We tackle these expectations in various ways but Rubin lists four ways we tend to approach them. She presents them as groups: upholders, who respond well to both outer and inner expectations; questioners, who resist outer expectations but meet inner expectations; obligers, who meet outer expectations but resist inner expectations; and rebels, who resist both types of expectations. Rubin confesses that she’s an upholder, which becomes more apparent the more I read. Likewise, I became convinced that I’m a rebel by the end of the book.
Have you seen Ken Robinson‘s 2006 TED Talk? If not, you should check it out. It’s hilarious and insightful too. I bumped into it by chance. I was browsing TED.com since I’m addicted to its videos. I think I told myself at that time that I was seeking inspiration or some such excuse for why I was procrastinating. Though Robinson’s talk was mostly a call for reform to the school systems to include more artistic programs and allow students the ability to explore their varied interests, he also spoke about passions, which he calls the Element. I perked up at the mention of this (I’m always interested in passions) and decided to check out his book The Element, which he mentioned in his talk.
It’s a thoughtful read. It will leave you wondering why you didn’t do as some of the people in the book did and just say to hell with everything and do what you really love. Well, that’s what I wondered when I read it. According to Robinson, the Element is something that a person has a passion for and is really good at. It can be something that is artistic like painting or dancing, or it can be something that is analytic like science or business. A person’s Element can be anything and a person can have more than one Element.
If like me you love to read books on writing in order to motivate yourself to write or if like me you like to read books on writing to get ideas of what and how to write or if like me you like to read books on writing just for the hell of it, then this little book is one you should pick up.
I have many journals (mainly because the attractive covers lure me into buying them so I’m almost always starting afresh in a new book) and usually I just write in them whenever I feel like and write about whatever I feel like at the moment. Most times I think I treat them like a diary – writing about all the things I did in a particular day. Other times I think I treat them as they ought to – writing about what I’ve observed on a particular day. My idea of a journal is a book where a person documents her observations of people, places, things, and ideas.
According to Jacobs, a journal is a place where all these things are documented and much more. To prove this to us, she opens with excerpts of journal entries, showing us how writers have used the journal in their daily lives. She also talks about whether or not there is a difference between a journal and a diary. Like any writing book, Jacobs also covers when to write, how often to write, and what to write. Basically, that’s all up to the writer. You decide when, how, or what.
Last year was horrible. I was a recent graduate with no job prospects and no idea of where I wanted to go in life. Marriage and family was far from my mind and I was suffering from a freshly broken heart. I was at a loss and I was hurt. I felt alone in the world, as if no one could understand my feelings of despair, loneliness, and pain. On top of all that were my surmountable student loans.
Despite such heavy feelings, I worked through them, built myself up, found joy in what I had, got a job, and tried to convince myself (still trying to convince myself) that one day I will pay off my student loans. I am currently a responsible young adult who is steadfastly focused on a career in the book publishing industry. Marriage and family are still far from my mind. Next to career, my other concern is to make sure to have fun and enjoy the hell outta my twenties (haven’t been doing that due to lack of time but I’m getting there).
I began to second guess all of this the day I began reading Meg Jay’s The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now. Apparently, some things I’ve gotten right while others I need to get started on.