Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Books I’ve Read Lately #9 - 40 in 2019

This year so far has been AMAZING in terms of books! I have found some absolute favourites already so I can’t wait to tell you all about them. 

Something I recently realised was that most books have one key message – any easy bite sized take away that encapsulates the true meaning of the book. It’s the one concept that is explained over and over using different examples and ways of describing the same key advice.

Because this is the first instalment of this series for my 2019 reading list, I thought I would shake things up a little and this year I will be including details of every book’s main message, key takeaways and sharing how I rate the book.

It’s also incredibly valuable for me to reflect upon each book I read because it not only refreshes my memory or allows the message to seriously sink in but it’s also a great reference point for me to re-visit in the future.

1. Outliers: The Story of Success – Malcolm Gladwell (5/5) 

Main Message: 
Successful people experience a unique set of opportunities from both nature and nurture that support them to victory.

“Wow” is how I will describe this book. The subject matter is so heavy and loaded, there is a new claim on every page. Essentially this book attempts to explain exactly why some people are able to achieve much more than others and sets out to disprove everything you thought you knew about how people become successful. This book definitely changed the way I thought in a lot of ways. It states rationales and then sets about proving these theories with data sets and real-life examples that create eye opening realisations. This is such a full-on book I probably can’t do it justice trying to explain so I will leave some thought-provoking key takeaways below. Just know that you HAVE to read it.

Key Takeaways: 
“It is those who are successful, in other words, who are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities that lead to further success. It’s the rich who get the biggest tax breaks. It’s the best students who get the best teaching and most attention. And it’s the biggest nine- and ten-year-olds who get the most coaching and practice. Success is the result of what sociologists like to call “accumulative advantage.”
“If you work hard enough and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires.”
“It's not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It's whether or not our work fulfills us. Being a teacher is meaningful.”
“Achievement is talent plus preparation”

2. Girl, Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis (4/5) 

Main Message:
You are solely responsible for your happiness, future and dreams so you must fight to become the person you were always supposed to be. I had never heard about this blogger before but the subject matter of the book definitely intrigued me. After having just read ‘I Thought It Was Just Me’ by Brene Brown, this seemed like an interesting continuation of that theme. It encourages to stop believing the lies others tell you who you are because it holds you back from living the life you deserve. Using humour, vulnerability and wisdom, Rachel draws on her life experiences to teach valuable lessons young women need to hear. Having overcome so many struggles in her life, she is able to reflect on these situations and share insight into having resilience, motivation and an unwavering determination to fight for who you are.

Key Takeaways:
“You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.” “Our words have power, but our actions shape our lives.”
“Comparison is the death of joy, and the only person you need to be better than is the one you were yesterday.”
“Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business.” Let me say that again for the people in the cheap seats.”
“Friends, it’s not about the goal or the dream you have. It’s about who you become on your way to that goal.”
“I cannot continue to live as half of myself simply because it’s hard for others to handle all of me.”
“Our society makes plenty of room for complacency or laziness; we’re rarely surrounded by accountability.”

3. This Will Only Hurt a Little - Busy Phillips (4/5) 

Main Message: 
You will inevitably be faced with challenges in life that will try to destroy you but the strength to overcome these is within you.

Equal parts honest and refreshing. This breathtakingly vulnerable book covers a range of topics from; rape, abortion, fraud, betrayal, love, heartbreak, relationship success and failure. You may know Busy from Freaks and Geeks, Dawson’s Creek or more recently Cougar Town. This memoir of sorts breaks down how she got to be where she is today – and it was not an easy path. The more biographies I read, the more certain I become that Hollywood is the most deceiving of facades out there. So often celebrities are glamorised and depicted to have picture-perfect lives of money, fame and fortune but under the surface the story is very different. These celebrities are real people who have experienced death, heartbreak, crimes committed to them and financial difficulties. These heavy topics discussed are balanced are lightened with a healthy dose of humour and delivered casually so to normalise life’s tribulations. I loved this book!

Key Takeaways: 
“I say I’m going to go do something and then I go and do it”
“I wanted this life and I got it. I willed it to be so.”
“There are so many times when it could have gone in a different direction. All I know for sure is this is who I am now”.

4. My Thoughts Exactly - Lily Allen (3.5/5) 

Main Message: 
You can’t judge a book by its cover, although everyone loves to.

A stunning look at the multi-faceted person that is Lily Allen. Having lived a full life all under the microscope of paparazzi, this is Lily’s chance to break down the lies told about her and explain her truth. Her blunt honesty means no sugar coating the things she has been through or her opinions on each scenario. Similar to the Busy Phillips book, this memoir breaks down the misconceptions of fame, money and fortune while highlighting that celebrities are real people, with real problems. Her book shows that the music industry can be a dark, scary, lonely and isolating place that causes financial strain, trust issues and mental anguish.  It's been said that this read should be a pre-requisite for anyone coveting fame. Her candid relaying of her experiences is like a breath of fresh air.

Her book description hints at her main message – that she is a multi-dimensional person that has often been condensed down to fit into a box and be judged.

“I'm strong. I can be tough. I've been broken. I'm opinionated. I'm a people-pleaser. I'm spoilt. I'm needy. I contradict myself. I try to do good. I want to do good. I'm impassioned. I'm observant. Most importantly, I tell the truth. And this is my story”   

So those were my first 4 for 2019 - there were some really strong ones in there and it's clear I found some new favourites that were definitely an enjoyable read.


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