Tagged: barbara ehrenreich Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Jeff Somers 3:00 pm on 2018/07/20 Permalink
    Tags: barbara ehrenreich, betrayal marklund, danielle marchant, david mcraney, , i am so smat s-m-a-t, josh kaufman, lewis dartnell, mark manson, nickel and dimed, pause, prisoners of geography, quiet the rage, r.w. burke, , the first 20 hours: how to learn anything...fast!, the happiness project, , the nordic guide to living 10 years longer, , tim marshal, you are not so smart   

    10 The Best Books to Read This Summer to Become a Better, Smarter, Happier Person 

    Summer usually means a bit more free time, which can be used towards much-needed vacations and other relaxing, rejuvenating activities. We’re all stressed out, and that means it’s easy to fall into the habit of using every spare moment to unplug and turn off your brain.

    Nothing wrong with that, but that can lead to missed opportunities—opportunities to improve yourself. Sitting on a beach, on a plane—anywhere you have the time to read for a while this summer is a chance to apply a patch to your personal operating system and do an upgrade—to make yourself better, smarter, and happier. Mix in just a few of these ten books to your summer reading list and make that time off count.

    Be Better

    The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin
    Sometimes the challenge with books that purport to make you better is simply choosing one—after all, you probably have a limited window in which to read and try some new tricks. Rubin’s book is an ideal starting place because it’s not a specific set of instructions or fad—it’s her story of trying all the instructions and fads. Rubin applies the advice from a variety of self-help books, ranging from the ancient to the modern, and reports on her results. Along the way you’ll get plenty of simple, practical advice—but it’s also a great way to pre-test a few things by sharing in Rubin’s experience. Kick off your Summer of Self-Improvement with an overview of the available approaches.

    Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
    Being a better person begins with empathy, something that often seems to be in short supply. Ehrenreich’s experiment, in which she took on the sorts of low-wage, long-hour jobs that far too often fail to support even modest lifestyles, remains an eye-opening read. We all work hard for what we have, but sometimes the rules aren’t fair—and Ehrenreich plumbs the depths of economic desperation where no matter how hard someone works they keep sliding backwards, the deck stacked against them. Take a moment this summer and contemplate how different your own life could be if you lacked even a few of the advantages you have.

    Quiet the Rage, by R.W. Burke
    We live in contentious times, and half the reason you plan a trip is to get away from your co-workers, relatives, and neighbors with their troubling opinions and confrontational attitudes. These days everyone thinks they have to argue endlessly—but there’s a different approach worth trying. Instead of reacting emotionally to provocations and different opinions—instead of seeking to ‛win’ and thus make other ‛lose,’ perpetuating a cycle of misery, we should seek to control our emotions and try to attain a level of conflict resolution that doesn’t involve turning your life into an endless argument—and coincidentally seeking to punish those who disagree with us. The result might just be a calmer and more effective person.

    Be Smarter

    The Knowledge, by Lewis Dartnell
    This might seem like a strange choice for vacay reading, but this guide to everything you just might need to know if the world ends is more practical than it seems. On the one hand, if the apocalypse is coming it’s not going to care about your vacation schedule. On the other, this book explains not just the systems that support our civilization—technologies we often blindly rely upon—it also explains the fundamentals under those technologies and systems. Reading this book might make you a little better prepared for the end of the world, and in the meantime, it will make you a lot smart about how the world actually works.

    Prisoners of Geography, by Tim Marshall
    Sometimes it’s difficult to understand why there is so much suffering in one area of the world and so much prosperity—and vacationing—in others. It’s easy to assume some not particularly enlightened things about groups of people, but this book lays out how the terrain, climate, and natural borders of a country dictates to a great extent the lives of its people and the fate of its society. This sort of visual thinking might just change your perspective on a lot of different aspects of modern life, especially the crises that never seem to get solved and the political decisions that seem nonsensical at first glance. Using updated maps, Marshall lays it all out for you—making you smarter in the process.

    The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything … Fast!, by Josh Kaufman
    Getting smarter isn’t just the accumulation of facts or even the widening of perspective—it’s also the acquisition of skills. Kaufman presents a system by which you can learn the fundamentals of just about anything with just 20 hours of focused effort—not the 10,000 hours that are often thrown about. While he doesn’t claim this will make you an expert, he does argue that the beginning of learning anything new is always the hardest phase, and the easiest to give up on. Getting though the arduous beginning phase of learning a new skill gives you the foundation to keep going—or to move on to the next thing that you just want a functional knowledge of. As you sit on the beach sipping your drink, ask yourself what you might like to learn if you knew how to get the basics in under a day.

    You Are Not So Smart, by David McRaney
    McRaney’s collection of genius blog posts makes one dismaying argument: you’re not as smart, special, or independent as you think you are—and he has receipts. His analysis of psychological experiments explode the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves, and reading this book can be a painfully eye-opening experience as he correctly guesses what you think about yourself and then grimly lays out the probable truth. Knowing your own limitations and seeing how you’ve been bamboozled in the past is a first step towards a smarter, more aware life, and this summer is your chance to take that step.

    Be Happier

    The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson
    Let’s start here: most self-help books stroke your ego more than they actually improve things. By telling you that you’re special and have the special je ne sais quoi to change your life and be amazing, they’re just flattering you. Manson argues—forcibly and with a lot of sharp wit—that it’s better to be plainly honest about your own limitations and seek to adjust how you approach life instead of assuming that life should be adjusted to suit your needs. Bracing and sometimes alarming, this book is a dash of cold water to the face that so, so many of us need—and you will be happier for having read it, because the best way to start changing your life for the better is to start seeing it with clear eyes.

    The Nordic Guide to Living 10 Years Longer, by Bertil Marklund
    Marklund, a doctor and professor in Sweden, offers up a refreshingly simple guide to living longer. It’s funny, but if you offered people a pill that would give them an extra decade of life they’d take it, but offer some simple suggestions and suddenly they lose interest. Don’t be that person. Marklund draws on his years of experience along with scientific data to present ten pretty simple, reasonable suggestions, from getting more sleep to getting more exercise, all based on the Swedish lifestyle. This may sound overly simplistic, but the fact is most of us get caught up in remarkably complex exercise and diet regimens rather than simply doing the basics in just the right amount. Read this book while you nap in the sun and return to your life determined to get those extra ten years.

    Pause, by Danielle Marchant
    You’re on vacation and yet you’ve prepared a reading list and consulted this post to fine-tune it. You may not be doing vacations correctly, and Marchant wants you to pause and think about that. Americans work too hard and take too little vacation, and many of us are at risk of burning out without realizing, constantly and exhaustingly driving hard every moment. Marchand, who suffered a bit of a breakdown after years of sustained stress in a high-powered job, argues that everything in your life would be improved by learning how to take a step back at crucial moments when our guts are screaming to move and instead pause and think. A thoughtful moment not only calms nerves and lowers stress, it allows us to choose our moves carefully instead of constantly reacting in a jittery dance of anxiety and sleep-deprivation. This is an ideally thoughtful book to read while you’re (hopefully) far away from your Slack and Facebook feeds (you didn’t pack your work phone…right?).

    What books have helped you become better and smarter?

    The post 10 The Best Books to Read This Summer to Become a Better, Smarter, Happier Person appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Diana Biller 6:30 pm on 2016/05/12 Permalink
    Tags: barbara ehrenreich, , michael lewis, reader-in-chief, sarah vowell, ,   

    6 Books the Presidential Candidates Really Need to Read 

    Election years are, perhaps, not our most dignified as a nation. Maybe once the candidates have tired themselves out with all the fighting, whining, and yelling, they’d like to take a load off with a nice book. Here are six we think they could really stand to read.

    Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines, by Richard A. Muller
    Written by a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, Physics for Future Presidents covers a multitude of scientific topics that any future president must understand. From biological terrorism, to nuclear waste, to climate change and what we can do about it, Muller pushes the reader to understand the science and context behind some of today’s most inflammatory subjects. Smart, accessible, and even amusing, Physics for Future Presidents is a good starting place for our presidential candidates—and for anyone who wants to understand our world a little better.

    The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, by Michael Lewis
    Since those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, let’s keep the 2008 financial crisis fresh in our minds for a little longer. The world of finance, with its derivatives and bonds and money markets, can seem as foreign and arcane as a magical universe from a fantasy novel, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Lewis (Moneyball) cuts through the confusion to paint a clear picture of the crash, the bond and real estate derivative markets that led to it, and the players who bet big on it.

    Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, by Sarah Vowell
    Vowell’s cheeky, humorous style brings the Marquis de Lafayette to vivid life in this enjoyable, irreverent account of his service as a teenaged major general during the American Revolution, his friendship with George Washington, and his return to the States as an old man in 1824, when three quarters of the population of New York City came out to meet him. This book is a particularly good choice for presidential candidates (or anyone) suffering from a surfeit of election-related nonsense, because it reminds the reader that elections have always been nasty and Americans have always been quarrelsome, but there’s always a glimmer of hope for a somewhat united future.

    Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich
    One major theme of this election is the feeling that people are working hard and still only barely getting by (or not at all). Written fifteen years ago, Nickel and Dimed still paints a harsh, clear picture of what it’s like to be poor and working in America. Ehrenreich spent several months undercover for the project, leaving her middle class income behind to live on whatever she could make in entry-level positions—an almost impossible feat that she documents in pragmatic, accessible, and biting prose.

    Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Written from a father to his son, Coates’s latest is a deeply moving and profoundly important book about race, violence, and the United States of America, both past and present. Short, beautifully written, and accessible, yet enormously challenging, Between the World and Me debuted to rave reviews and created an immediate sensation (Toni Morrison called it “required reading” and John Greene said it was the book he was most grateful for in 2015). An important book for anyone wanting to make decisions about the future of our country.

    The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
    One of those books that continually ends up on “dystopian books that correctly predicted the year 2016” lists, The Handmaid’s Tale is the harrowing and too familiar story of a near-future world in which women are subjugated and defined by their fertility. Inspired by trends Atwood noticed at the time of writing in 1985, the book remains chillingly possible, and it’s about to take a larger stage once more—Hulu recently announced that an adaptation starring Elisabeth Moss. A good what-not-to-do primer for any politician.

     
c
compose new post
j
next post/next comment
k
previous post/previous comment
r
reply
e
edit
o
show/hide comments
t
go to top
l
go to login
h
show/hide help
esc
cancel