Saturday, February 02, 2013

3 books - Quitter, Emotional Equations & a novel

The Quitter – by Jon Acuff.

I read the first chapter of this book and thought I’d give it up.  But, then chapter 2 got me hooked.
Much of the insight is similar to stuff I routinely read (as I read the same blogs and same books that Jon reads – Michael Hyatt, Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell)  And while I don’t read Dave Ramsey’s stuff, I was raised with the same financial and stewardship ethic in my childhood home, so I get it.

Given what I have read elsewhere – there was not much new for me in this book – but I will definitely be sharing this book with young people that I work with – pre-college and those at University.  The premise of the book is about lining up your dreams with your life – working your ideal job – not a “nowhere” job that leaves you unfulfilled.  In some ways, nothing new here compared to many other resources – but the stories are witty – and the questions that Acuff asks for persons to think about – are excellent.  Even the simple issue of filling in the following blanks, “I’m a . . . but I want to be a . . . .” 

Acuff operates from the perspective of faith, and asks good questions.  I’ll have my kids read this – and I’m telling my wife to look over it too!  That says a lot from me.  The book does not offer so much in the way of “how to” pursue your dream – as much as it offers the questions needed to help consider your dream.  But, all good stuff.  Tons of reviews on to get perspective from others.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.

I found this on the new books shelf and the book-jacket’s description caught my eye

Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.

Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then, as happens in the very best works of fiction, Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. And thus begins the unlikely pilgrimage at the heart of Rachel Joyce’s remarkable debut. Harold Fry is determined to walk six hundred miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live. . . .
I had time while taking care of a few “manual labor” projects to audio-read the book.  I enjoyed it.  I felt like I missed a few things, so I got the hardback and re-read several sections.  I wish I would have read the book instead of audio-reading it. I’m not sure why, just a sense that I have. I won’t offer much in the way of comment here, except the note that I enjoyed the story. It was not compelling in profound ways, but the characters were “human” in many profound ways, trying to find themselves and discern life – or at least, Harold was. I liked the notion that the story was a “pilgrimage” – a kind of religious trip – even though it was no a traditional pilgrimage, for Harold his journey across England became a spiritual thing.  Enjoyable novel.

Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success by Chip Conley

The publisher’s statement about this book is an apt summary:  
“Using brilliantly simple math that illuminates universal emotional truths, Emotional Equations crystallizes some of life’s toughest challenges into manageable facets that readers can see clearly—and bits they can control. . . . When Conley, dynamic author of the bestselling Peak, suffered a series of tragedies, he began using what he came to call “Emotional Equations” (like Joy = Love – Fear) to help him focus on the variables in life that he could deal with, rather than ruminating on the unchangeable constants he couldn’t, like the bad economy, death, and taxes. . . .”
Despite lots of reading and much study over the years, I’d never read before about Plutchik’s  Wheels of Emotions.  (Page 19) The author talks about “emotional GPS” – which I found interesting as I’ve used the idea of the need to have a “relational GPS” in other frameworks of counsel I’ve provided to people.  Where the author talks about the need to get off the “hedonic treadmill” – he expresses ideas I’ve shared for years in the need to lower expectations toward a more fulfilling life.  Not because expectations are bad, but because realistic expectations that can be attained are, in their ability to be realized, fulfilling. 

Nothing “new” for me in the book – given much other reading – and there was much good in this book!  The simplicity of his equations, are, in fact, over-simplified – and yet, they allow a person to think about the simple portions/parts that make up life.  It is not simply true that Joy equal Love minus Fear . . . but there is a portion of truth embedded in this – and the other equations that Conley cites.  Each equation has an insight in them – worth considering. 

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