I’ve been reading a lot of self help books lately. And this isn’t because I feel like I need to work a lot on myself, cause I don’t (cause I’m perfect… just kidding). I just find it really interesting to learn about a bunch of different tactics and ways to change up your life “for the better.” I especially enjoy reading about habits because developing a good habit or changing a bad habit is one of the hardest things to do.
After reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, I was excited to pick up Habit Changers by M. J. Ryan. What caught my eye was the way this book was written. Instead of chapters after chapters, this book is grouped together by topics such as acceptance, change, conflict, relationship, and more. Under each topic, there are a couple of mantras that Ryan has given to her clients to use. On the left side is the mantra, and on the right side, she explains a little about the line and a short story about when she’s used it.
When people ask me what kind of books I usually read, I tell them self help books. I don’t necessarily think I need “help” in certain areas of my life, but I do think people should always be open to seeing different ways to improve their habits, mentality, and life in general. When I came across Anuschka Rees’ The Curated Closet, I was interested in seeing how I could improve my closet.
I’m sure a lot of people have sat in front of their closets and thought, “Man, I have nothing to wear.” It happens to me all the time… even when my closet is fully stocked with clothes! Rees knows this happens frequently, so she wrote this book to help readers overcome this problem. She breaks down this book into four sections: the basics, personal style, building your dream wardrobe, and shopping.
When I read Starr’s review on Rob Schmitz’s Street of Eternal Happiness, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Not only did she have a glowing review, I was also kind of curious about China (in general). Back in July when my siblings and I were talking about our Asia trip, I found out that China has strict rules when it comes to practicing religion. Worship must take place within registered places of worship with organizations that the government recognizes. Underground churches are not permitted to conduct any type of religious services, and they may face persecution by the state.
Maybe it’s because I’m too used to all the ~freedom~ we have here in America, but this really surprised me! So when Rob mentions the religious issue in one of the many stories he’s collected from his time spent in Shanghai, I was glad I got to learn even more.
Rob, an American journalist, lived on the Street of Eternal Happiness with his family for years. During this time, he was able to eat at snack carts, visit local businesses, and chat with all of his neighbors. All of these people had their own unique story – an aspiring entrepreneur selling accordions and selling sandwiches, an owner of a flower shop that’s obsessed with marrying her sons off to girls in her hometown, and an elderly woman who falls victim to many ponzi schemes.
Paul Graham’s book caught my eye because of the clever title, In Memory of Bread. When Paul suddenly found out he had celiac disease, he had to give up bread, pastas, beer, and more. He documents his (and his wife’s) journey in navigating life without baking bread, brewing beer, and ordering whatever his heart desires at restaurants.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about celiac disease or gluten sensitivity until two years ago when I started working in San Francisco. Some of my coworkers were sensitive to gluten, while others just ate gluten free meals for personal reasons. I was confused about the latter – why would you willingly give up bread, pastas, rice, pizzas, and more?
For some reason, I have been really interested in a lot of self help (self improvement?) books lately. It could be because some of these topics are really interesting or just because I believe people should always try to be better! When I saw The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington, I was very intrigued. First, Arianna Huffington is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post. That’s a big deal! And second, I love sleep, but like almost everyone, I never get enough.
This book is split into two parts – the first part giving the cold hard facts about how our society is in a sleep crisis. More than 40 percent of Americans get less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep a night. People are so used to the mentality that the less sleep you get, the more productive you are or the more busy you look. But studies after studies have started to show that getting adequate rest is actually better – for the quality of your work and for health reasons. Although Arianna includes a lot of studies and interesting numbers/facts, the first part of the book was very dry. I was telling Starr how I had a hard time getting through it because it got pretty boring. Starr responds, “Maybe that’s what Ariana Huffington wanted to happen.” Makes sense!