Self-Help

Everything that Remains

Everything that Remains

Summary:

Twenty-something, suit-clad, and upwardly mobile, Joshua Fields Millburn thought he had everything anyone could ever want. Until he didn't anymore.

Blindsided by the loss of his mother and his marriage in the same month, Millburn started questioning every aspect of the life he had built for himself. Then, he accidentally discovered a lifestyle known as minimalism...and everything started to change.

In the pursuit of looking for something more substantial than compulsory consumption and the broken American Dream, Millburn jettisoned most of his material possessions and walked away from his six-figure career.

“Everything That Remains” is the touching, surprising story of what happened when one young man decided to let go of everything and begin living more deliberately. Heartrending, uplifting, and deeply personal, this engrossing memoir is peppered with insightful (and often hilarious) interruptions by Ryan Nicodemus, Millburn's best friend of twenty years.  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

While this book was good, if you’re familiar with “The Minimalists” and have read many of their essays online you’ll find that this book is repetitive content.  If you’re new to the minimalism and are not so sure about it, this will be a fantastic book to introduce you to the concepts.

I had read much of the web content followed by “Minimalism: Life a Meaningful Life” and found it much more helpful in my life because I was looking for ways to apply minimalist concepts.  I can’t say that I dislike this book, because when I read the essays online this was revolutionary to me, but having recently gone back I found myself and skipping ahead since I had remembered the content.  That being said, I am probably going to send this book to people in my life that are confused or have questions about the concepts!

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Anyone interested in minimalism or learning how to do more with less.

Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions

Our Iceburg is Melting

Summary:

This charming story about a penguin colony in Antarctica illustrates key truths about how deal with the issue of change: handle the challenge well and you can prosper greatly; handle it poorly and you put yourself at risk. The penguins are living happily on their iceberg as they have done for many years. Then one curious penguin discovers a potentially devastating problem threatening their home - and pretty much no one listens to him. The characters in this fable are like people we recognise, even ourselves. Their story is one of resistance to change and heroic action, confusion and insight, seemingly intractable obstacles and the most clever tactics for dealing with those obstacles. It is a story that is occuring in different forms around us today - but the penguins handle change a great deal better than most of us.

Based on John Kotter's pioneering work on how to make smart change happen faster and better, the lessons you can learn from this short and easy-to-read book will serve you well in your job, in your family, and in your community. And these lessons are becoming ever more important as the world around us changes faster and faster.  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

For being a short read, I found this book tedious and felt like I was taking some idiot-proof training.  Frankly, while I understand the principles and good-intentions, the information presented in the fable is self-evident to anyone who has worked in the corporate world already.  Since it was highly recommended to me by a colleague I was a bit surprised.

Though there may be some pragmatic recommendations in the book, I’ll be shocked if I see anyone who uses them as a practical skill.  All that being said, if this book helps folks break down how to work with their colleagues during transformational change: power to them.

Rating: 2 stars!

Who should read it? Folks new to business who are looking for some background on corporate change, but otherwise I’d give it a skip

The Pilgrimage

The Pilgrimage

Summary:

“The Pilgrimage” recounts the spectacular trials of Paulo Coelho and his mysterious mentor, Petrus, as they journey across Spain in search of a miraculous sword.

“The Pilgrimage” paved the way to Paulo Coelho's international bestselling novel “The Alchemist”. In many ways, these two volumes are companions—to truly comprehend one, you must read the other.

Step inside this captivating account of Paulo Coelho's pilgrimage along the road to Santiago. This fascinating parable explores the need to find one's own path. In the end, we discover that the extraordinary is always found in the ordinary and simple ways of everyday people. Part adventure story, part guide to self-discovery, this compelling tale delivers the perfect combination of enchantment and insight. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

I have a fascination with the pilgrimage to Santiage and visited Santiago de Compostela when I had the chance partially because of this book.  I really enjoyed reading the journey and the evolution of Paulo during it even if the mysticism was a bit too much for me.  Paulo has a flair for the magical realism even when talking about real life and I’m not sure I “buy” all of it.  That being said, I completely understand other of his experiences so it’s hard for me to judge.

I think this is a book that will the reader will have some things you relate to and some that you will have to skip.  The Tradition is never fully explained and I found myself resisting that at times.  That being said, it wasn’t a bad read and added interest to everyday life.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Folks with an open imagination and interested to hear about the Camino de Santiago.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Essentialism

Summary:

Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin?
 
Do you simultaneously feel overworked and underutilized?
 
Are you often busy but not productive?
 
Do you feel like your time is constantly being hijacked by other people’s agendas?
 
If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist.
 
The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.  It is not a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.  

By forcing us to apply a more selective criteria for what is Essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers us to reclaim control of our own choices about where to spend our precious time and energy – instead of giving others the implicit permission to choose for us.

Essentialism is not one more thing – it’s a whole new way of doing everything. A must-read for any leader, manager, or individual who wants to learn who to do less, but better, in every area of their lives, Essentialism is a movement whose time has come. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This book was very interesting.  I have read things by the Minimalists previously, but that is more geared for life generally whereas this book is a little more focused on the business applications.  Even if you don’t think that you’re going to go towards the full Essentialist approach, I think this is a book that will help anyone hone in a little more towards what they’d really like to pursue, what they can get better about and what’s the most important.

This book was useful because it was not only focused on the theoretical, but also what applications can be immediately used in your life.  I listened to the book, which made for some very thoughtful walks, but I think this is one I need to also get in paperback! This will certainly be one that I’d like to be able to take notes and update my thoughts as I reference the book in the future.

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Anyone looking to be more efficient in their work-life and making sure you get the absolutely most out of your time.