Andrew S · Quick Read! · Religion · Self-Help

How to Be Here | by Rob Bell

How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living

How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living by Rob Bell
(HarperOne, 2016, 210 pages)

Rob Bell made his name as a controversial evangelical pastor. His books Velvet Elvis and Love Wins brought unique perspectives to traditional Christian doctrines, causing quite a bit of backlash in the process. Bell’s career has evolved from pastoring a large church to giving talks about spirituality to developing a television talk show and now a podcast. With How to Be Here he is moving into the role of self-help author (more or less).

The book deals primarily with the issues of creativity and work. Bell builds his ideas about a creative and fulfilling approach to work on the Japanese word ikigai. According to Bell, “Your ikigai is that sense you have when you wake up that this day matters, that there are new experiences to be had, that you have work to do, a contribution to make” (56). This idea is meant to encourage readers to take risks in pursuing creative projects and to inject a sense of meaning in the most mundane jobs.

I’ve kept up with most of what Bell has written over the years, and I appreciate his skill as a communicator. He has the ability to pen succinct and elegant statements about big ideas, like this one on the nature of work:
“All work is ultimately creative work because all of us are taking part in the ongoing creation of the world.” (11)

In talking about the expectations we bring to our work, he distinguishes between “success” and “craft”:
“Success says, What more can I get?
Craft says, Can you believe I get to do this?” (84)

Bell’s writing tends toward a kind of superficial, positive-thinking message. That said, he can also convey significant ideas with clarity and inspiration. How to Be Here is an easy read that may give you a different perspective on your work, your goals, and the motivation behind them. Worth picking up.

Health · Heather D · In the Library · Non-Fiction · Self-Help

The Dementia Caregiver | by Marc E. Agronin

The Dementia Caregiver: A Guide to Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Neurocognitive Disorders by Marc E. Agronin
(Rowman & Littlefield, 2016, 289 pages)

Agronin’s book is recommended for anyone who is looking for a reference guide in helping them to understand what a person with dementia or other neurocognitive disorders is going through. It is filled with resources that will help the caregiver to be better prepared for present and future care of not only the person suffering from brain disorders but also the caregiver themselves. I picked up this book in hopes that it would equip me with tools that would help me to find productive ways to care for my loved one while keeping their best interests in mind, and it did just that. It is filled with reassurance, understanding and compassion that can make anyone see that they are not alone on this difficult journey.

“Becoming a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another neurocognitive disorder can be an unexpected, undesirable, underappreciated–and yet noble role. It is heartbreaking to watch someone lose the very cognitive capacities that once helped to define them as a person. But because of the nature of these disorders, the only way to become an effective caregiver and cope with the role’s many daily challenges is to become well-informed about the disease. With the right information, resources and tips on caregiving and working with professionals, you can become your own expert at both caring for your charge and taking care of yourself.”

Celebrities · Design · Fashion · Food! · Health · Julia P · Non-Fiction · Parenting · Quick Read! · Self-Help

The Honest Life | by Jessica Alba

The Honest Life

The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You by Jessica Alba
(Rodale Books, 2013, 272 pages)

One of my friends referenced this book a while ago so with the start of the new year I decided to look into some healthy lifestyle changes and requested The Honest Life from the library. Normally when it comes to celebrity lifestyle books I approach them with a grain of salt. Alba’s focus is on living “naturally,” so living in a way that’s eco-friendly and getting rid of as many of the toxic chemicals in our daily lives as possible. This means thinking hard about the food, clothing, furniture, cleaning supplies, etc. that you buy.

Alba’s motivation for taking this approach to life came when she got pregnant with her first daughter and started freaking out about wanting to keep her safe and in as “pure” an environment as possible. This eventually led her to start up The Honest Company with a focus on creating eco-friendly products that are high quality and visually appealing. While she definitely references her company a lot in these pages, she also recommends other products and companies so it’s not just one big advertisement for her business (though it does make you curious to check things out).

The book was accessible and there were a lot of really helpful tips I was able to take away. I liked that in addition to food and cleaning products she talked about beauty, parenting tips, fashion, and design. If you want to focus on living an eco-friendly life there are ways to do this in every aspect in your world. I’d recommend this book if you’re interested in this lifestyle choice. Like I mentioned, the book is very readable, helpful recommendations are made, and Alba includes a complete list of references at the end including contact information for all the companies/resources she talked about in the book.

Kelly M · Non-Fiction · Quick Read! · Religion · Self-Help

Taking the Leap | by Pema Chödrön

Taking the Leap

Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears by Pema Chödrön
(Shambhala, 2012, 128 pages)

In Taking the Leap, Chödrön explains the Buddhist concept of shenpa, that tightening feeling you get when you, for example, start to feel angry or feel tempted by an addiction. She uses the analogy of having an itch. The urge to itch is the shenpa, and when you scratch it (i.e., give in to the addiction), you experience temporary relief, but you ultimately develop a painful sore. The Buddhist fix to this is meditation. When you feel the shenpa coming on, you should pause, take three deep breaths, and be present with the uncomfortable feelings. When you first start to practice this, you may still act on the anger, give in to the addiction, etc., but as time goes on, it should become easier to resist these things and move on. The author recommends to start using it in everyday life with the small things (e.g., road rage), and as you learn how it feels to experience and move past the feelings, to use it on the bigger struggles in your life. This was a quick, easy read. You don’t need knowledge of Buddhism for it to make sense. The analogies she uses are very helpful in understanding the material.

In the Library · Julia P · Money · Non-Fiction · Quick Read! · Self-Help

Women & Money | by Suze Orman

Women & MoneyWomen & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny by Suze Orman
(Spiegel & Grau, 2007, 255 pages)

This is the second book I’ve read by Orman and I learned quite a bit from it. Geared specifically toward women Suze starts things off by asking why it seems that so many women are hesitant to take charge of their finances – she looks at why the relationship women have with money is different from that held by men. The goal here is to empower women to want to take control of their finances and have a better understanding of what’s going on with their money. Suze breaks the book down into a 5-month program with expectations that one aspect of your financial life will be tackled each month.

It’s almost shocking how much more informed I feel about finances in general and how I really want to be more involved/learning more. My husband laughed each time I sat down and said “let’s talk about _____” – I didn’t really appreciate how much he knew about certain things and he’s glad I’m excited about being more involved in various financial decisions. I’d certainly recommend this book if you’re a little unsure about different aspects of your financial life and don’t really feel confident that you know what you should be doing to set yourself for a secure financial future. Suze lays things out in a clear and accessible manner – I’m definitely glad I picked this up 🙂