Living life, Reading life

January's Reading List

Love Warrior – Glennon Doyle Melton

What the Cover Says: Just when Glennon Doyle Melton was beginning to feel she had it all figured out – three happy children, a doting spouse, and a writing career so successful that her first book catapulted to the top of the New York Times bestseller list – her husband revealed his infidelity and she was forced to realize that nothing was as it seemed. A recovering alcoholic and bulimic, rock bottom was a familiar place to Glennon. In the midst of crisis, she knew to hold on to what she discovered in recovery: that her deepest pain has always held within it an invitation to a richer life. Love Warrior is the story of one marriage, but it is also the story of the healing that is possible for any of us when we refuse to settle for good enough and begin to face pain and love head-on.
This astonishing memoir reveals how internalizing our culture’s standards of masculinity and femininity can make it impossible for men and women to ever really know one another – and it captures the beauty that unfolds when one couple commits to unlearning everything they’ve been taught so that they can finally, after thirteen years of marriage, fall in love. Love Warrior is a gorgeous and inspiring tale of how we are born to be warriors: strong, powerful, and brave; able to confront the pain and claim the love that exists for us all. This chronicle of a beautiful, brutal journey speaks to anyone who yearns for deeper, truer relationships and a more abundant, authentic life.

Why I Picked It Up: This one has been on my reading shelf for a little while – I have to confess that the title put me off a little – so exactly where I heard about this is a little hazy.  I think it was through Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic podcast – I’m pretty sure both Liz and Brene Brown spoke very highly of Glennon.  The promise of discussion of cultural standards of masculinity and femiminity was enough to pursuade me to look past my judgements about what a love warrior might be and give this a go.

What I Thought:  And I am so glad I read this book.  It’s heartbreaking at times – thanks to the blurb on the back (it’s actually called ‘blurb’ – I checked!), you know that her husband was having an affair and so the first half of the book is waiting for the other shoe to drop!  It’s the second half that really got to me – reading about Glennon discovering herself, her true self and not the self imposed by society and culture, is truly inspiring.  Through therapy, yoga and meditation, Glennon learns to love herself, to accept herself and to reunite her mind and body.  What’s really beautiful is that she realises her husband is going through the same journey, that they have been speaking different languages throughout their lives – slowly, they learn to understand the other and to fall in love with themselves and each other.

Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss

This book felt quite overwhelming at times – there are just so many different tips and tools, it’s hard to know where to start.  The book is divided into sections on healthy, wealthy and wise  Tim’s focus in health and fitness doesn’t quite match with mine, although I loved the Mindful Training 101.  Overall, I preferred these round-up, non-profile pieces, as they are more focused and I found it easier to identify things I wanted to do more/less of.  That said, this is a great book to dip in and out of and just read a couple of pages whenever you have a spare moment.  What really struck me by the end was actually how similar all these top tips and tools are when you break them down.  It gave me hope and inspiration as well as some concrete actions to get closer to my dreams.

Key Takeaways:

  • Tim’s Morning Rituals (page 143) – remarkably similar to my morning routine so I’m clearly onto something!  Seeing what Tim’s morning journal looks like (pp225-227) also inspired me to journal more.
  • Coach Summer – The Single Decision (page 160) “The secret is to show up, do the work, and go home…learn to enjoy and appreciate the process”
  • Chris Sacca (p169) “be your unapologetically weird self.”
  • Derek Sivers (p188) “You can do everything you want to do.  You just need foresight and patience.” (there was so much that resonated with me in this section from Derek that I downloaded his original interview to get some more)
  • Tim’s 8-step process for maximising efficacy (p200) is a great way for overcoming procrastination.  My favourite line, though, comes right at the end “Don’t overestimate the world and underestimate yourself.  You are better than you think.  And you are not alone.”  ‘Successful’ people struggle too!
  • Tony Robbins on ‘priming’ (pp212-213) – the importance of being in the right frame of mind before attempting anything
  • “There are no real rules, so make rules that work for you” – Tim commenting on Seth Godin’s approach to quantifying everything (p241)
  • “Perfectionism is the ENEMY of the idea muscle…it’s your brain trying to protect you from harm” – James Altucher (p247)
  • “Creativity is an infinite resource.  The more you spend, the more you have.” Chase Jarvis, paraphrasing Maya Angelou (p281).  If this resonates with you, you might want to read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic.
  • Dan Carlin’s response to being asked for advice to his 25- or 30-year-old self on p286is basically not to give his younger self advice because he wouldn’t be where he is now without doing the things he did then.  A great perspective and reminder to be grateful for your journey, exactly how it went.
  • “Don’t try and find time.  Schedule time” – Noah Kagan (p327).  Book time for anything you think is important.
  • “Are you doing what you’re uniquely capable of, what you feel placed here on earth to do?  Can you be replaced?” – Tim as part of his chapter on how to say no (pp385-6).  I love the idea of finding the things where you aren’t interchangeable.  Later in the this chapter (p396), Tim’s guide on having a breakdown or a breakthrough is a great way to make the obstacle the way (Marcus Aurelius and Ryan Holiday).
  • “Don’t believe everything you think” – BJ Miller’s answer to what would you put on a billboard (p401)
  • “Discipline equals freedom” – Jocko Willink’s billboard slogan (p413).  Like Tim’s analysis, I am a great fan of habit and routine to provide structure to your day and to reduce the number of decisions you have make every day.  Willpower and decision-making are finite resources and you should keep them for the things that really matter.
  • Caroline Paul on encouraging girls (pp461-2).  She comments on the way girls are often raised, unintentionally, in a paradigm of fear, that they are fragile and need help and protection.  Tim’s response – that courage is a skill that take practice, that you have to develop – just hits the nail on the head, whatever your gender.  Tim’s fear-setting exercise (pp463-9) is a great place to start.
  • “Happiness is wanting what you have” – Bryan Callen (p483)
  • “Life is too short to be busy” – Tim Ferriss, Lazy: A Manifesto (pp489-494)
  • If you need to get unstuck, do the smallest thing possible – Rick Rubin (p505)
  • Check out the writing prompts by Cheryl Strayed on p516 if you’re looking for some inspiration to kick-start your writing
  • The most important thing to be is you, not your inner actor – Andrew Zimmern (p541).  This really reminded me of Glennon Doyle Melton’s coping strategy of sending her ‘representative’ out into the world to protect herself.
  • “…I would ask people to dig deeper.  We can make the world a better place.  We can ask more of ourselves.  We can do more for others.  I think that our life is a journey…Dig deep on your journey and the world will benefit from it” – Rainn Wilson (p545)
  • You only ever have three options in life: change it, accept it, or leave it – Naval Ravikant (p548)
  • The Jar of Awesome (pp570-1) – another version of gratitude journaling.  You put a note in every day of something awesome that happened – I didn’t die today totally counts if you can’t think of anything else – to give yourself a record for the dark days when nothing feels awesome.


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