Review: The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s about focus. Focus on the most important thing that will take you to the next most important thing. If we’re capable of directing our attention to the important questions and important actions that we need to do, then we can accomplish a lot. It is also about unlocking your purpose and how that purpose is the foundation of success.

There’s nothing revolutionary in this book, but it is put together in such a way that it makes you think about your own focus. “What is the one thing that you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” This is a good question and a valid one to ask repeatedly. Too much time is wasted doing things that are unnecessary and will not make things easier or more efficient.

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Review: Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian

Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian
Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It started well and I was very interested in it, but ultimately I decided to stop reading Running the Books. It takes a lot for me to stop reading a book and decide that I will not go back to it. I read just about everything. Anyhow, a few reasons why I stopped:
1. Although the adventures were interesting, they were repetitive. I felt as if I was reading the same things over and over again.
2. Chapter 1 lasted 120 pages, which means that I barely scratched the surface of chapter 2 by the time I reached page 138.
3. I put the book down months ago with plans to return to it. I returned to it, but could only read it for a few more days. It was a sign that I really needed to stop reading the book. So, I stopped yesterday.

The characterizations were good.

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Review: Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life

Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life
Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life by Thomas Moore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Art teaches us to respect imagination as something far beyond human creation and intention. To live our ordinary life artfully is to have this sensibility about the things of daily life, to live more intuitively and to be willing to surrender a measure of our rationality and control in return for the gifts of soul” (p.300).

“The brain is depressed to find itself described as a computer and the heart surely doesn’t enjoy being treated as a pump. There isn’t much opportunity to exercise the spleen these days, and the liver is no longer the seat of passion. All these noble, richly poetic organs, teeming with meaning and power, have been made into functions” (p.165).

In Care of the Soul, Thomas Moore draws from mythology, religion, spirituality, psychology and art to provide a guide to living a daily life that is concerned about the soul and allowing that soul to be. In today’s fast-paced world, people tend to forget about how to care for their souls. As Moore puts it, “The soul has no room in which to present itself if we continually fill all the gaps with bogus activities” (p.122). People also tend to forget the beauty and art of daily life. Living today and caring today is very important to understanding life and spirit. “Soul doesn’t pour into life automatically. It requires our skill and attention” (p.xvii). We should provide that attention daily.

An understanding of Greek and Roman mythology will come in handy as Moore uses myth to explain ideas and concepts. He does a good job of describing the myth so that you understand the connection, but if you’ve read the classics , it will be a plus. There are amazing ideas throughout the book that if cultivated would certainly care for your soul.

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Review: The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need
The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need by Daniel H. Pink

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need” might be right. Here are the six lessons:
1. There is no plan
2. Think strengths, not weaknesses
3. It’s not about you
4. Persistence trumps talent
5. Make excellent mistakes
6. Leave an imprint

It is a quick manga read with lots of fun! We all think about where we are right now in our careers and where we want to go next. This is a good way to think about it.

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The Best American Essays 2012

Brooks, D., & Atwan, R. (2012). The best American essays 2012. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

I was travelling a few months ago and one thing I tend to do when I travel is buy books.  Since, I was taking a break after finishing my doctorate in information science (job hunting), I thought it was a good time to start reading other stuff (fiction, non-doctorate literature, general how-to guides to daily living, non-fiction, teen novels, real estate manuals, etc.), I picked up The Best American Short Stories 2012.  I was ready to dive in to some fiction, remind  myself why I have two degrees in English literature and how much I enjoyed it all.  I started it, but it didn’t capture my attention right away (I’m going to go back soon enough).  I haven’t read short stories in a while and I was seeing the results.  I read a few stories but put the book aside.  Back to reading journal articles.
On my next airport expedition, I picked up The Best American Essays 2012.  I was in search of some change in my reading habits and a desire to learn new things.  It fits with my growing interest in documentation, particularly of documenting daily life, reflection and lived experiences.  Documentary films are fast becoming my favorite genre.  Keeping a record of life and living was a new hobby.  Reading about people’s reflection on life and living is exactly what essays provide.  I was ready to dive in and find out how others are living in this changing world. Continue reading

Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do

Studs Terkel | 1974 | New York: New Press

I worked in a bank.  You know, it’s just paper.  It’s not real.  Nine to five and it’s shit.  You’re lookin’ at numbers. But I can look back and say, “I helped put out a fire.  I helped save somebody.”  It shows something I did on this earth. (Tom Patrick, Fireman, p.589)

Working is an oral history done in the mid-1970s.  People talk about their working lives and what it means to them.  There are nine books that cover a variety of themes pertaining to the work that people are doing ranging from working the land to finding a calling.

It’s not a book to rush through, but rather to take a slow journey, giving each story its due.  As an oral history, you’re pulled into the person’s words and point of view of life, you take your time and you listen, even if that listening is reading.  Some are short, a page or less, and some are long, five or more pages.  The working life is painted by the worker and the feeling of the work is present in the words and phrases on the page.  I took my time reading.  I didn’t read too much at once.  I read and digested what I learned about a world of work.  As I read, I saw that today’s work is not that different from work over thirty years ago in America.  Many of the jobs in the book still exists.  Some of the jobs have certainly disappeared or have dramatically changed with the times.  For example, the switchboard operators are no more.  One can argue that a variation of this job still exist in the person that connects you when you make a collect call, but that is a major shift in job.  I imagine that the jobs that still exist might still have the same/similar stories from its workers.  It would be great to have a new 21st century version of this book.  I would very much enjoy doing an oral history of today’s workers.

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