Reading life

Books I Read in March

Spring has definitely sprung in London.  We are a quarter of the way through the year already.  Reading hasn’t really been a priority for me in 2017; I’ve been getting ready for my new freelance portfolio career which officially kicks off tomorrow (well, I finished work on Friday so starting on a Saturday didn’t feel quite right!).  With pressure in my day job continuing right until the end, I haven’t often been in the mood to read.  So one-and-a-half books, well one finished, one in progress and one attempted and quickly abandoned!

Reinvent Yourself – James Altucher

What the covers says: I’ve reinvented my career, my interests, my life, many times over the past twenty years. This is the book I wish I had at the beginning of that long and often volatile journey. I found when I outsourced my self-esteem to only one outcome, disaster resulted. Reinvention was the key to ensuring that the outcomes in life were positive ones. And now the entire world: technology, governments, the shifting landscapes of opportunity and success, are all turning upside down, forcing us to reinvent as individuals and as a culture. ,Along my own journey I have read and encountered dozens of other successful leaders, artists, entrepreneurs, and mentors who I have learned the art of reinvention from. The journey has been intense. The obstacles were hard fought. And the adventures that led to me now finally sharing it all in this book has been both painful and exhilarating. I describe specific techniques, share stories, tell the stories of others, and give the ultimate guide to not only how but why it is critical for people to master the skills of reinvention. What I’ve learned: change is the only constant. Companies decay, technologies disappear, governments change, relationships change and opportunity is a shifting landscape. Reading the stories and learning the critical skills taught in Reinvent Yourself is how I found my own way through the chaos of change and onto the path of new opportunity and success. Again, this is the book I wish I had in my hands twenty years ago although I am glad that I am writing it now.

Why I read it: This month’s Rebel read, following some serious hustling by Ben, Ben and Albert to get us some facetime with James at the meet-up at the end of the month.

What I thought: I have to say, I did not particularly enjoy this book.  I mean, it’s full of great advice that James distils down into punchy “10 things I learned from…”.  He draws inspiration from Star Wars to Eminem to Tim Ferriss.  I found the one-sentence paragraphs jarring; there was no narrative, no story to hook the advice on.  Coming so quickly after Time Ferriss’ Tools of Titans, my poor little brain just couldn’t absorb so many life hacks.  That said, there were a couple of nuggets I jotted down.  James talks a lot about helping others.  Asking how can I help someone today or who did I help today seem like great ways to generate meaning in life

Don’t look to find the end of the road when you are still at the very first step…. Don’t try to find the end of the road.  You can’t see it in the fog.  But you can see the next step and you do know that if you take that next step eventually you will get to the end of the road

These quotes, and the idea that it takes five years to be truly successful at something, helped me get some perspective on my own transition to a portfolio career.  I don’t have to have all the answers now and I don’t to achieve everything RIGHT NOW.  It will take time and will reveal itself step-by-step.  I just need to keep focusing on the step right in front of me.

Light is the New Black – Rebecca Campbell

What the cover says: Light Is the New Black is a guidebook for a new breed of women who are here to be bright lights in the world – modern-day lightworkers, who agreed to be here at this time in history. In order to thrive in this new age, everything we do must be an authentic expression of who we truly are. Light Is the New Black will guide you back home to the callings of your soul, so you can light up the world with your presence.  Rebecca Campbell had her first awakening when she was a teenager, but without anyone to guide her, she ignored her soul’s callings and dimmed her light in order to fit in. Then, just before her 30th birthday, the life she had so consciously created began to crumble around her. It was as if the Universe turned off all the lights, so she had no choice but to rediscover her own. In this book, Rebecca shares her own journey, alongside practical tools to help you reconnect with the core of your being, and channelled messages from the Universe. Once you rediscover what you already know at soul level, you can offer the world something that only you can give.

Why I read it: I cannot remember where I read about this book – I have a habit of adding books to my Amazon basket as soon as I hear about them so I don’t forget, then do a mass order of 5-10 books in one go, which means I always forget where I heard about them in the first place!

What I thought: This is the book that I started and abandoned on day two.  I don’t normally quit books so quickly but this was not for me.  I am into all sorts of whoo-whoo hippy s**t (as some of my friends charmingly call it) but this was too far out there for me – I think it was the talk of ‘light workers’ that did it.  Oh well, I tried, maybe I’ll try again sometime.

Moranifesto – Caitlin Moran

What the cover says: “I’ve lived through ten iOS upgrades on my Mac – and that’s just something I use to muck about on Twitter. Surely capitalism is due an upgrade or two?”  When Caitlin Moran sat down to choose her favourite pieces for her new book she realised that they all seemed to join up. Turns out, it’s the same old problems and the same old ass-hats.  Then she thought of the word ‘Moranifesto’, and she knew what she had to do…This is Caitlin’s engaging and amusing rallying call for our times. Combining the best of her recent columns with lots of new writing unique to this book, Caitlin deals with topics as pressing and diverse as 1980s swearing, benefits, boarding schools, and why the internet is like a drunken toddler.  And whilst never afraid to address the big issues of the day – such as Benedict Cumberbatch and duffel coats – Caitlin also makes a passionate effort to understand our 21st century society and presents us with her ‘Moranifesto’ for making the world a better place.  The polite revolution starts here! Pleas.

Why I read it: I got a free copy!  Well, free in that I paid to see Caitlin in live conversation with Hugo Rifkind and so The Times gave me a copy.  I love Caitlin’s column and How to Be a Woman, and have loved seeing her live before so of course I went along with some similarly feminist friends for a rather enjoyable night.

What I thought: I’m actually still reading this (I only started a few days ago) and I’m really enjoying it.  It’s a not a book that’s going to change my life but it’s funny and witty and full of irreverent political observations.  Definitely one to read!

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