Every year Tyler makes the same New Year’s Resolution: to read one book per month, totaling twelve at the end of December. And every year I have to remind him that he got this idea from me, to which he yells “YOU DON’T HAVE A MONOPOLY ON READING!”
Fine, we are both avid readers. It’s one of our favorite things to do in our spare time. This year we intend to read even more than last year and refrain from Netflix-binging as much as we can.
We thought it would be fun to share some of our latest favorite books here on Rome by the Hour as a way to keep ourselves accountable to our new goal. We also want to hear what you all are reading and loving right now, too!
In today’s post, we are both sharing three of our most recent favorites. Leave a comment below with yours so we can check those out, too! We need suggestions.
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
After having been forced to watch Dr. Brené Brown’s TED Talk one too many times throughout my professional career (you know how I do with authority), I was a little hesitant when my sister suggested I listen to her appearance on Oprah’s SuperSoul Podcast. Fast forward 60 minutes, and I’m bawling like a baby in traffic on the 85 freeway. I ordered Brown’s book Daring Greatly the second I got home and read it over the holidays. In Daring Greatly, Brené explores shame and vulnerability and the relationship between the two. She talks about how each of us carries shame in some way, shape, or form, and this shame hinders our vulnerability with those who matter most. Her stance centers around the idea that vulnerability is the key to living a wholehearted life–in relationships, work, and parenting. Her research on the topic is really interesting and powerful, and I definitely recommend this book.
“Hilary said vehemently, ‘I couldn’t bear to take the wrong child and then perhaps find my own later on.’…’But you will not.’ said the nun, ‘that is as nearly certain as anything can be. If this child is not yours, then you will never find your son.'”
I found this book at Persephone Books in London. Persephone uncovers and publishes neglected works written by (mostly) 20th century women. Needless to say, I was obsessed with this store and clung to the sales associate, begging her to explain each and every title on the shelves. I finally settled on Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski when she told me it was her all-time favorite. The story details the psychological journey of a man who travels to meet a little boy that might be his son who was lost during WWII five years prior. This book had me up into the dead of night, clutching my mug of tea and tempted to wake Tyler up so I could talk through the ending with someone.
“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all.”
I read this book in one weekend (last weekend, to be exact), and I can’t recommend it enough. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love (which I haven’t yet read), walks through the concept of creativity and tears down the walls that we put up as excuses not to create. She challenges the common misconception that only certain gifted (or wealthy) people are creative. She claims that creativity is an inherent part of being human, regardless of class or access to training. In her cheeky manner, Gilbert encourages readers to lighten up and not to take themselves (or their art) so seriously. This “art,” by the way, can be anything: writing, painting, baking, picking up a childhood figure skating hobby, long walks with your canine, etc. Gilbert defines creativity as the simply “thing” that inspires you most, that “thing” that you love but never make time for. She argues that our lives would be infinitely more fulfilling and interesting if we carved out time to let loose and create, whatever that means for you.
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way. –Marcus Aurelius”
This was my favorite read of the year. It was the second book of Holiday’s that I’ve read, and he is quickly becoming my favorite author. He has an awesome story, finding himself as the director of marketing of American Apparel at the ripe age of 22. The Obstacle is the Way is about the ancient Greek philosophy of Stoicism. The concept of Stoicism is that we are not in control of the world around us, yet we are absolutely in control of how we respond to the world around us. In other words, we shouldn’t get angry or upset when things don’t go our way (remember, we aren’t in control!) and should show resilience and grit amidst adversity. Often what appears as most in our way (the obstacle) is the very solution or reward itself (the way). This depends on your attitude and will. Holiday uses examples of successful people who have exemplified Stoicism which makes it a very easy and interesting read. This book came at a great time in my life (probably could have come even earlier!) and has stretched and sharpened my perspective on challenges big and small in my life. I think about its principles almost every day.
“Ideas are worthless without the execution; execution is pointless without the ideas.”
If you’ve spent much time with me talking about business, entrepreneurship, and marketing, there’s no doubt that I’ve brought up Gary Vaynerchuk. In addition to reading his books, I’m a near-daily listener to his podcast. Dude has been the business professor I never had. He is loud and full of bravado, but he teaches traits like gratitude, patience, and empathy alongside his business strategies. This book is a compilation and organization of his podcast, the “#AskGaryVee Show”. He covers how to day-trade attention through effective marketing and building businesses through social media. I started three separate side hustles last year (including this blog!), and he has been a huge source of inspiration and strategy along the way.
“Success demands singleness of purpose.”
Last year was probably the busiest of my life, as I balanced a full time job and launching three said side hustles–all while trying to be a good husband, son, and friend. I kept hearing this book recommended and figured the premise would be beneficial for this busy time (Although I have a feeling life is going to keep getting busier). Keller discusses his own business and career and how he hit a wall when he was trying to do all of the things in his life with equal priority. He burnt out and realized there was a better way–focusing on the ONE most important thing. This changed everything for him. The question we must ask is, “What’s the ONE thing you can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” He walks through what that looks like in practice and provides clear examples and direction. This book has already made a big impact on how I prioritize. Get stuff done! Read this book!
What are you reading right now?
It’s a pre-weekend pick me up: just a little note with links to the latest blog posts, what I’m reading lately, and products I’m obsessed with. Think of it as a friend dropping off a surprise latte in the morning--you know?