Readings

Below are just a few of the books I’ve read over the years which have inspired me to better myself in a world of chaos. I hope you’ll find some inspiration here as well.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Gail Honeyman

Eleanor is a young woman who struggles with social skills and therefore keeps to herself without any human contact. This well-written book truly captures what it’s like to feel like an outsider in the world with no love or friendship to fill one’s day with meaning and purpose. When we begin to understand some of why Eleanor is why she is, her withdrawal from society makes more sense, as does her inability to rely on another human being for any kind of support. An unlikely acquaintance eventually helps Eleanor to explore the possibilities of life and the love that is available to her if she opens her heart and her mind. Humorous at times, but overwhelmingly relatable and inspiring for many of us who struggle to fit into a populous society.

A Man Called Ove
Fredrik Backman

At the start of this novel, we Meet Ove – a 59-year-old curmudgeon with staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. What we learn throughout the book is that Ove is lost without his wife who recently passed away – struggling to find meaning and purpose in his life without the one who understood him best. It’s a reality so many of us will deal with when our true love is gone. The struggles that come along with trying to navigate life alone after years of normalcy – years of someone being present. It’s truly inspiring for those new and old to the feeling of love.

The Happiest Man on Earth
Eddie Jaku

This is truly a moving and inspirational memoir about the unimaginable horrors Eddie Jaku experienced every day during the Holocaust. He lost family members, friends, his country, and his dignity. But he promised if he ever made it out alive, he would smile every day and share kindness and compassion with all he encountered. Published when Eddie was 100, the stories are heartbreaking and yet hopeful as we all navigate a world still filled with hate and divide. 

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all small stuff
Richard Carlson

This amazing book is something you need to read over and over again, and the lessons it teaches we need to remind ourselves daily. Sadly, just how important the overall theme of this book truly comes after the realization that the wonderfully talented writer, husband, and father passed away suddenly in his mid-40s. What a tragic end to a journey that touched (and continues to touch) so many readers. Myself included. If only we all could adopt so much of what Carlson captures in the pages of this book.

Leadership and Self-Deception
The Arbinger Institute

This wonderful book is for leaders of businesses, households, and just about anyone who desires to lead people effectively. It shows how often we think of people as objects, rather than as people, and the challenges this presents for everyone. Not a textbook, it inspires with a fictitious story, which keeps readers engaged all the way through the end.

A Dog’s Purpose
W. Bruce
Cameron

Don’t let the title fool you – this is an amazing, heartwarming, inspiring book. The book chronicles a dog’s journey through several lives via reincarnation and how he looks for his purpose through each of his lives. The story is true to life in so many ways and provides a detailed and interesting glimpse at what is going on in the minds of our four-legged friends. And while the story is all about a dog finding his purpose, the overarching themes are just as applicable for all of us.

Where Have All The Leaders Gone?
Lee Iacocca

The former head of both Ford and Chrysler, speaks boldly and honestly about the lack of leadership in the world today. Whether in our homes, at our jobs, or within our government, a failure of true leadership has led to the further deterioration of a country that once thrived under those who truly knew what it meant to lead. I only wish that more people who claimed to be “leaders” would stop by their local library and pick this one up for a read.

I’m Proud of You – My Friendship with Fred Rogers
Tim Madigan
 

Author and journalist, Tim Madigan, speaks candidly about the unexpected relationship he formed with everyone’s favorite neighbor. Rogers welcomes him into his personal life and his church – helping him to mend the hurts of his own existence. His writing is truly from the heart and further exposes us all to the person many of us grew up with on television – affirming that he truly was the person we all believed him to be.

The Little Prince
Antoine De Saint-Exupery
 

The resounding theme in this book, originally written as a children’s story, is that “what is essential is invisible to the eyes”. We spend so much of our valuable time worrying about fitting into stereotypes society has created for us, that we often overlook what should be most important in the relationships we foster – what a person is truly like on the inside.

Life’s Journeys According to Mister Rogers
Fred Rogers
 

This collection of Fred Rogers quotes and passages is truly one of my favorite books. His words are poignant and inspiring and often leave me with the hope that someday more people will find meaning in the words he had to say – passing them along to everyone.

Simple Truths
Kent Nerburn
 

Nerburn writes, with great wisdom and clarity, how often we over-complicate our lives. Rather than living simply down to the very core of our being, we often make life a more difficult experience than it truly needs to be. Through subjects such as work, money, giving, love, parenting, and even death, he shows us the simple truths we all need to live our lives to the fullest.

Have a Little Faith
Mitch Albom

From his editorial columns to his books, Mitch Albom has an uncanny way of writing from the deepest level of his heart and soul to inspire his readers. When Albom is asked to deliver a eulogy for a rabbi from his past, he reconnects with himself in this timely, moving, and inspiring book which looks at faith – not just who believes, but why.

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