Roz Savage has written 2 books about ocean rowing. I decided to read her account of rowing across the Atlantic since I had just watched a documentary about rowing the Pacific.
I really enjoyed Savage’s account of participating in the Atlantic Rowing Race. I didn’t know this event existed, but my timing was fantastic because I got to follow the end of the 2017 race while reading this book.
It is a journey of self-discovery and reflection. The deepening relationship with her mother was especially touching. I also enjoyed the layout of the book and how she tied the emotions she felt while rowing to different people and events that led her to the middle of the Atlantic.
Rowing across an ocean seems agonizing, and like it or not Savage shares gory details about boils and sores that the documentary I watched glossed over. It’s also very dark in some places which made me wonder why anyone would want to do this to themselves. The challenges she faced toward the end of the race were particularly gut-wrenching. The anticipation of being done mixed with the frustration of yet another obstacle must have made the finish all the sweeter.
The Clouds of Anxiety chapter was my least favorite because it goes into the details of her divorce. Who am I to judge another person’s journey? It is an important part of Savage’s life, so I’m glad that she shared the memories in the book. I also liked that she thanked her ex-husband in the Acknowledgements which made it seem like a happier outcome for all involved.
A short, exciting read that I would recommend to anyone looking to delight in a second-hand adventure.
The Little Book of Common Sense Investing opens with Buffet’s “Gotrocks Family” parable which sets the tone for the entire book. Investing carries inherent risk, but the average investor exacerbates the problem by trying to beat the market. Bogle asserts that index funds let the market work for you.
The facts, figures, and math are easy to follow and lend credibility to the argument rather than bogging it down. I especially like the “Don’t Take My Word For It” sections that show how other top financial minds are interpreting the data and investing.
I’ve always been intimidated by the stock market, and even though I have investments I haven’t felt comfortable with my portfolio decisions. I am not sure if this is my confirmation bias, but I love that this book made me feel comfortable with a set it and forget it strategy.
It’s a fantastic book that will make you feel empowered to start investing. I would highly recommend it to anyone!
Judging this book by it’s cover did not work out so well…
This book reads like a blog, because Brooke is a blogger. Each chapter is a day in the month and has a series of challenges at the end. I read it straight through even though it is intended to be read one day/chapter at a time. Each section isn’t applicable to everyone so you can certainly skip around and focus on the parts that will help you the most.
It is nice to have a lot of helpful advice all in one book with logical categorization. If nothing else I was turned on to Amazon’s Subscribe & Save so that’s a plus. The fact that she gives advice in areas that she admits to not being an expert in (like recommending homeopathy in the name of saving money) made me to give this book a lower grade.
It’s good for anyone just starting their financial journey. However, a lot of the information can be found on her Creative Savings blog.
The were 30 sessions in this pack and it was broken into 3 parts. In the first part we focused visualizing a calm blue sky, in the second part we visualized a bright light filling us, and in the third part we focused on letting our mind be free. I liked the last section because I experienced such a feeling of weightlessness and calm when he would say “let your mind be free and do whatever it wants.” It was more about creating a sense of calm and contentedness rather than trying to counter negative self-talk with positive self-talk. A neutral outlook is really what you are going for. Clayton seems that way naturally and I am trying to emulate him.
Another 30 sessions broken down into 3 parts. The exercises help you to practice focused flow by honing in on different parts of your body throughout the sit. You are supposed to carry the practice throughout the day and it is easy to pick up at random intervals.
Generosity will be my next pack. That will round out the series options, with Relationships since I have done one from Health and Performance.
This book is broken down into 3 parts. Breathe! You Are Alive focuses on mindfulness and awareness in the small acts of life. The idea of smiling through out the day hit home with me, and I have made an effort to smile more to myself.
Transformation and Healing is about the benefits of mindfulness in healing difficult states. And Peace is Every Step is about the connection between inner peace and peace on earth. This book is short and sweet and full of wisdom. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
After our move I discovered there are no Tai Chi classes in our small town. Rather than making a special trip up to the cities just to meet this goal, I decided to find something else that would allow me to practice Tai Chi on a regular basis. BodyWisdom is available thru Xbox Fitness and it tracks your movements with the Kinnect. I think this is a great alternative to an actual class, and as I learn the poses I plan to practice in a more serene area.
As I continue to practice meditation I find setting goals toward it is not in the spirit of the habit. I want to lessen my stress levels and enjoy a more peaceful state, not feel pressure to get it done. That is why I will not be setting an future action items. I plan to just enjoy the serenity that comes with a sit.
I’ll leave you with a one time use code for a free month of access to Headspace for the first person to enter it!
This book has been on my to-read shelf for 2 years and I am glad that taking on this habit has finally motivated me to read it.
Kabat-Zinn’s best selling book is broken down into 3 parts focused on defining meditation, practical applications, and the spirit of the practice. The chapters are short and often accompanied by quotes and passages from other works on meditation.
It seemed like every time I picked up this book, I was able to apply the teachings immediately. I read the chapter Patience when I was experiencing a lot of anger and it helped me to detach from the storm of emotions.
This is also the third source that has touted the benefits of early morning meditation. I have been trying to sit first thing in the morning, but it has not been happening with any consistency. The chapter Early Morning has reaffirmed my intent and I will be waking up 15 minutes earlier everyday to listen to a Headspace guided meditation.
Not every idea or anecdote resonated with me. I am not a big fan of chapters ending with the phrase “Get the idea?” especially when my answer is no. But the topics are so varied and brief that the goal must be to get a better sense of meditation rather than to present a step by step guide.
Wherever You Go, There You Are does an excellent job of making the abstract concept of mindfulness accessible. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning the basic principles of meditation.
William Hart is an assistant teacher to Goenka and he set out to provide an outline of Vipassana as taught in Goenka’s 10-day course. Each chapter is a lesson followed by actual questions and answers from course participants and Goenka and is followed by a parable. The book/course is a progression through the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. Each lesson builds on the last to show you that gaining wisdom, ethical conduct, and concentration will provide enlightenment.
There are some assertions in the book that seem fanciful to me. I don’t buy into the idea that the Buddha understood particle physics from meditation, but I won’t invest the time to research further since their scientific credibility isn’t a huge concern for me. I also found it took me longer than normal to absorb the meaning of certain passages. I am a quick reader, but I kept having to reread sentences and paragraphs before I understood the meaning. That might have to do with the number of Pali terms in the book that were totally foreign to me.
I did get some great insights into suffering, intention, awareness, equanimity, and compassion. Chapter 3: The Immediate Cause included my favorite story, “Seed and Fruit.” The following quote provided a flash of insight about karma and how we are make our own future.
“Our difficulty, our ignorance is that we remain unheedful while planting seeds. We keep planting seeds of neem, but when the time comes for fruit we are suddenly alert, we want sweet mangoes. And we keep crying and praying and hoping for mangoes. This doesn’t work.”
I will also give this book high marks for prompting me to entertain the idea of becoming a vegetarian. I’m not there yet, but I have never really entertained the idea until now.
I would recommend The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation to anyone interested in learning more about Vipassana, the teaching of the Buddha, or looking for some insights into the loftier goals associated with meditation.
When browsing Goodreads shortly after I decided to start this blog I noticed this book on a friend’s to-read shelf. The title alone sparked my interest because it seemed like exactly what I needed to help improve my writing skills.
Creative non-fiction is “true stories, well told.” By focusing on the story and characters you can frame your work by building scenes that embed the non-fiction elements you want your readers to learn about. Storytelling will allow you to engage your audience and help them push through the dry, informational bits. Gutkind calls it the “creative non-fiction dance,” and teaches the reader the basic steps.
There are 18 exercises peppered throughout the book. I am particularly excited to try immersion (exercise #6). “Just watch, listen, take notes… and see what happens.” I am going to a family reunion this weekend and it is the side of my family that I am not very close with. Approaching the event with a writer’s eye has made me less nervous about meeting 28 new family members for the first time.
I don’t know that I will adopt a creative non-fiction style for all of my blog posts, but some might benefit from a more stylized approach, especially the ones that deal with my interactions with other people.
Overall, this book is well structured and insightful. I recommend it to anyone with a great idea for a non-fiction piece who wants to reach a wide audience. I would also suggest it to any fan of Malcolm Gladwell, Rebecca Skloot, Janenette Walls, etc. looking for insight into why their pieces work so well. It’s an entertaining book with excellent tips on becoming a better storyteller.
Pro tip: Test out your brilliant blog ideas before you share them with the world.
So a funny thing happened to me on my way to the Stats page today. My Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life post has garnered 32 views and 21 shares on Facebook. That surpassed all of my expectations, so I was excited to start compiling my list of people for the drawing. I am fairly tech savvy, but I couldn’t figure out how to see the names of the people that shared the post on Facebook. Imagine my horror when I googled “people who shared my wordpress blog,” and found out 30 seconds later that you cannot, in fact, get to that information.
As I skimmed through the forums I realized I’m not the first person to make this assumption, and I probably won’t be the last. Some of the tips said to just pick someone at random without acknowledging the error, but this blog is all about personal growth and learning so I think it’s important to share my failures too.
Apology time for all the people who have already taken the time to share my blog post with their friends. Sorry! I really appreciate your time and effort, and I am sure you are excited for a chance to win the book. I am going to amend my previous post and ask that anyone who has shared it to please leave their name in the comments. This seems like the best way to make sure I can still do a drawing.
If you have a problem with this alternate method of selection, please leave a comment below and you will still be entered into the drawing. 🙂 The winner will be announced on Wednesday.
Hopefully, we’ve all learned something from this. The next time I try to give something, I will be sure to test out my method of award.
“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
― L.M. Montgomery