Books to Help You Make 2018 the Best Year Yet
By Rhonna Hargett, Adult Services Manager
Oprah Winfrey said, “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” Even if you aren’t a resolution-maker, the beginning of the year is still an excellent opportunity to evaluate how things are going and to determine if changes need to be made. There were some excellent books published in 2017 that can provide a good start for a life reset.
With all of the technology tools at our fingertips, it can be difficult to learn how to utilize those tools without letting them take over our lives. In “Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self,” popular radio host Manoush Zomorodi led her listeners through an experiment to help with this. Zomorodi provides a week-long series of challenges to help readers unplug from their devices, freeing their minds for problem-solving and creativity. The thing I appreciated most about this book is that she isn’t a tech snob. She recognizes that Americans have busy lives and technology can be useful in making our lives easier and keeping us connected to loved ones. She shares her own experiences with being overly attached to her smartphone and gives practical solutions to give our minds space to perform their best work.
If you’ve avoided the self-help genre because you just don’t have time, “The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo is the book for you. Kondo manages to cover the main points of her decluttering philosophy in a concise and entertaining way. Manga are comics that were developed in Japan, and the format turns out to be an effective medium for sharing her ideas along with a likable story about a young woman trying to create some order in her apartment. Not all of her ideas will work for everyone, but most are common sense advice that will get you started on the journey to a much tidier home.
Sheryl Sandberg is probably best known for her 2013 New York Times bestseller “Lean In.” After the wild of success of her book, her life took a tragic turn when her husband died suddenly at the age of 48. For “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy,” she partnered with Wharton professor of psychology Adam Grant to share the wisdom she’s gained about how to make it through the times in life that seem impossible and how to best help loved ones facing tragedy. A combination of an openly heartbreaking recounting of her personal experience and researched advice from Grant combine to create a compelling book to provide hope for those recovering from trauma or misfortune.
In “Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do,” Yale psychology professor John Bargh combines research and anecdotes to reveal how much of what we do is determined without our own awareness. The decisions we make can be influenced by everything from our cultural past to what beverage our supervisor is drinking. Bargh believes that the more we are aware of these unconscious influences, the more we can use them to make better decisions and change our behavior.
Admiral William McRaven addressed the 2014 graduating class of the University of Texas in Austin with ten life lessons that he had learned over his career as a Navy SEAL. Afterwards, he was asked about the speech repeatedly, which inspired him to flesh it out into the book “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life . . . and Maybe the World.” Most of us will never go through the trials that Navy SEALs experience in their training (and I’m really okay with that), but we can benefit from the way that this intense challenge forces individuals to quickly distill life down to the essentials in order to make it through. In just a little over 100 pages, he’s able to teach not just about how to be tougher in the face of challenges, but also about how to be a better person.
Sometimes a book is just the nudge needed to set our lives on the right course. Check out our “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise” newsletter at MHKlibrary.org for more titles to help you get started.