Books to Reset over the Holidays

The holidays feel like a big reset button to me. Perhaps it’s because January 1st moves closer, or the Holiday break from work and school are just a natural pause that gives us time to think about things we are normally too busy to give time for. Whatever the case, a great way of refocusing your efforts on what actually matters to you is reading books that challenge you and hang a big question mark on how you live and what you want out of life.

Here’s a few recommends that have helped me this past year:

Solve For Happy

“You are not your thoughts”

‘If you were, would you be able to observe your thoughts, or have moments where you stop thinking?’ (paraphrasing)

As soon as I read this line, I realized how impactful Solve for Happy would be. Mo Gawdat, former chief business officer at X (Google X), dives deep into what happiness actually means, and the actions (you know I love anything with practical application) we can take to live and enjoy happiness.

Resources:

Talks at Google: Mo Gawdat "Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy"

Solve for Happy Website

Link to Book on Amazon

Almost Everything

“There is so much going on that flattens us, that is huge, scary, or simply appalling. We’re doomed, stunned, exhausted, and overcaffeinated. And yet, outside my window, yellow roses bloom, and little kids horse around, making joyous racket.”

2018 has been a tough year. Tough in general, but also tough for me personally. To say I’ve been on a rollercoaster (mentally, emotionally, physically, financially etc) is an understatement.

Anne Lamott is a treasure. The way she writes and thinks about the world has me howling with laughter on one page, and on the verge of tears on another. Almost Everything is a book about hope, and lessons that Anne has learned along the way.

If you are looking for some encouragement, a little hope, or a shake out of despair / discouragement, pick it up.

After reading this and Bird by Bird, I immediately impulse bought the rest of her (bestselling) books. Anne also has a fantastic TED talk by the way.

Also check out Live Your Truth by Kamal Ravikant. Another one of my favorites.

Resources:

TED: Twelve Truths I Learned from Life and Writing

Link to Almost Everything on Amazon

It doesn’t have to be crazy at work.

“Anxiety isn’t a prerequisite for progress.”

“Oftentimes it’s not breaking out, but diving in, digging deeper, staying in your rabbit hole that brings the biggest gains. Depth, not breath, is where mastery is often found.”

“If you don’t own the vast majority of your time, it’s impossible to be calm. You’ll always be stressed out, feeling robbed of the ability to actually do your job.”

If you’ve caught yourself saying or thinking “work is crazy” “I’m super busy” or finding yourself being too tired to do anything on the weekends because of work (or STILL working and checking email on the weekend) you are not alone. It seems like nowadays, if your work week isn’t stuffed to the brim with TODOs, you’re not working hard enough. It doesn’t have to be crazy at work is a case against crazy, and why you don’t need to ‘busy’ to do great work.

Jason Fried and DHH are two of my favorite thinkers. Ever. If there was ever a company I would love to work for, it would be Basecamp. This book makes me want to cry it’s so good. It doesn’t have to be crazy at work is a primer on how to build a calm company. While I was reading it, I was often reminded of Tim Ferriss’s question he asks himself, “what if I did the opposite?” This book is a ‘what if I did the opposite’ of what everyone else is doing with work to be ‘productive’ and make a profit. If you feel like work is controlling your entire life, this is a must read.

Honorable Mentions:

Leonardo Da Vinci —Walter Isaacson

Elon Musk — Ashlee Vance

On the Shortness of Life — Seneca

Making Art a Practice — Cat Bennett

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living — Dale Carnegie

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Josh Waggoner