Reading is everything.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
After reading the magnificent book Tiny Beautiful Things, I’ve fallen in love with Cheryl Strayed. Wild is the book she wrote after the death of her mother and the end of her marriage. She walks the Pacific Coast Trail and tries to heal. Her voice is so achingly lovely and eloquent.
When the worse thing that can happen to you does happen, there’s nothing left to fear. The world can’t take anything else from you. There’s comfort in that horrible reality.
I could write several posts with just the bits that stuck with me, but here’s one of the best. She’s describing how it felt to lie down on a bed after taking a shower.
I felt better than I’d ever felt in all of my life, now that the trail had taught me how horrible I could feel.
You can appreciate the highs and the mundane mediums when you know the lows. You can appreciate the comforts we only recently created for humanity when you realize the struggles.
Brave enough by Cheryl Strayed
Not really a book, but rather a collection of quotes. Here are the ones that spoke to me.
When you feel like crap because someone has gotten something you want, you force yourself to remember how very much you have been given. You remember that there is plenty for all of us. You remember that someone else’s success has no bearing on your own. You remember that a wonderful thing has happened to someone else and maybe, if you keep working and if you get lucky, something wonderful may also someday happen to you.
The people who don’t give up are the people who find a way to believe in abundance rather than scarcity. They’ve taken into their hearts the idea that there is enough for all of us, that success will manifest itself in different ways for different people, that keeping the faith is more important than cashing the check.
I’m guilty of being jealous of people. That’s a terrible quality and does nothing except make my world worse.
You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.
There are so many things to be tortured about. So many tortuous things in this life. Don’t let someone who doesn’t love you be one of them.
I’m guilty of pining over someone who doesn’t give a shit about me. What a waste of energy and brain cells.
Cultivate an understanding that life is long, that people both change and remain the same, that every last one of us will need to fuck up and be forgiven, that we’re all just walking and walking and walking and trying to find our way, that all roads lead eventually to the mountaintop.
Something is always at stake. Our integrity. Our serenity. Our relationships. Our communities. Our children. Our ability to bear the weight of the people we hope to be and to forgive the people we are.
I’m guilty of fucking up, of not being the person I want to be. We’re all human. We’re all trying to do the very best we can. Most of us are anyway.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
A novel about some crazy rich Chinese people living in Singapore. The story was interesting enough, exploring the problems of billionaires. When you have a lot of money, how can you ever be sure that people like you because of you or because of what you can do for them? It’s hard to relate to the unwashed masses, much less find love with a commoner. Fluffy, but not bad.
I made a friend in L.A. recently who is quite wealthy and he talked about this, that people are always asking him for things. Not asking for things, insisting on paying your own way, is an easy way to stand out.
Operation Enough by Anita Dhake
This is a self-help book on personal finance. The author’s voice is entertaining, chatty and often downright hilarious. I found the content kind of common sense, but I think I’m just sick of the subject of personal finance. I still highly recommend it! If you only buy one book this year, make it this one.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
The title spoke to me as I’m a big fan of “The Power of” stuff as you can tell from my website and publishing company.
Your habits make up you. That’s the power of habit. After you choose who you want to be and make it instinctual, you become who you want. I don’t think about my spending at all because I’m in the habit of not buying crap I don’t need. That’s why it was easy for me to retire.
There’s a lot of practical advice in here. Predict the obstacles you’ll face and plan for them. Imagine yourself overcoming them. Belief is the most important part. When something becomes habit, you don’t have to waste your precious willpower on it. The stoics believe that willpower is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. But the author thinks willpower is like a muscle. It gets tired as it works, so it’s harder to use the more you use it. I guess both things can be true.