8 Books I Recommend – November 2017

Here are eight books I recommend from what I read in November. Once a month we share our current reading lists at Jennifer’s.

8 Books I Recommend - LisaNotes

Books I Recommend

1. Dream Hoarders
How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It
by Richard V. Reeves


This book might make you uncomfortable like it did me. But maybe that’s why we need it. Reeves lays out a disturbing trend in America of increasing divisions among class lines. (Yes, even more than we thought we already knew.) He also gives a few suggestions about how we might help create a more equitable society instead. It’s definitely worth thinking about.

“When all our neighbors are like us, there is a danger that we end up living in a bubble. Economic sorting at the neighborhood level leads to social sorting in terms of schools, churches, and community groups This means fewer interactions and social ties across social classes. A geography gap can become an empathy gap.”

2. How to Think
A Survival Guide for a World at Odds
by Alan Jacobs


Thinking is hard work. It’s why we don’t often think as much as we need to. This is a fascinating book that explores the obstacles that prevent us from thinking clearly, what thoughts are attractive or repulsive to us, the thinking person’s checklist, and much, much more. Also interesting is the author’s own orientation; he writes as one belonging to two often antagonistic communities—academia and the Christian church. So while this isn’t a Christian book per se, it has important spiritual undertones for those of us who are believers.

“All of us at various times in our lives believe true things for poor reasons, and false things for good reasons, and that whatever we think we know, whether we’re right or wrong, arises from our interactions with other human beings.”

My review here of How to Think

3. The Sacred Enneagram
Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth
by Christopher L. Heuertz


I share more here about this wonderful book. It’s full of wisdom to cut through the clutter about who we each are. Heuertz does more than tell about each of the 9 personality types of the Enneagram. He also goes into specifics about the Harmony Triads, Harmonic Groups, and other subtypes that help you understand yourself more clearly. He also points us toward specific tangible prayer practices that are most helpful for each type (hint: it’s likely one that you struggle with the most).

“Waking up is the first step in the spiritual journey—a courageous alternative to the fantasies we fashion to keep us asleep.”

My review here of The Sacred Enneagram

4. The Four Tendencies
The Indispensable Personality Profiles that Reveal How to Make Your Life Easier (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too)
by Gretchen Rubin


This is a simple but important and brand-new personality framework. The four Tendencies are Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel. Depending on which Tendency you lean toward can affect so many choices and relationships you make in life.

“The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t act.”

My review here of The Four Tendencies

5. Downsizing the Family Home
What to Save, What to Let Go
by Marni Jameson


It’s not organizational help I need; to get rid of stuff, I need emotional help. This book provides a little of both. It’s contains nothing particularly different than other books (although it probably has more practical advice than some), but sometimes one sentence can prompt a lot of change, such as: “You are not your kids’ attic.” I’m currently working on that one (sorry, kids).

“Choose to keep rather than choose to let go. When you are cleaning a closet, rather than moving through the items and deciding what to eliminate, do the reverse. Take everything out, down to the bare walls. Then physically put back the items you choose to keep. That process makes you choose to keep rather than choose to let go and will result in your clinging to fewer things.”

6. What Happened
by Hillary Rodham Clinton


Whether you like Hillary or can’t stand her, her memoir will at least make her real to you. I prefer hearing words directly from a person, not what someone else said they said. So this is our chance to hear many words directly from Hillary (it’s a long book and could have been longer). I enjoyed hearing her backstories and hearing about life on the campaign trail.

“Each of us must try to walk in the shoes of people who don’t see the world the way we do.”

“This loss hurts. But please, please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is always worth it.”

7. The Righteous Mind
Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
by Jonathan Haidt


And if you’re either bothered or else thrilled by seeing Hillary Clinton’s book on this list, you might check out this incredible book. It helps us understand the divide we’ve noticed more than ever this year between us and our friends and family. Granted, this book is dense. But more importantly, hopefully its information can help us draw closer together again.

“A dog’s tail wags to communicate. You can’t make a dog happy by forcibly wagging its tail. And you can’t change people’s mind by utterly refuting their arguments. …If you want to change people’s minds, you’ve got to talk to their elephants.” p 48

8. The Day I Met Walt
by Aleesa St. Julian


This is a children’s book. I met the sweet little author on the actual day she met Walt. The book came later. Her story (and my story with Walt) is here. She wrote and illustrated the book herself. It’s absolutely adorable.

Reading Now

  • The Gatekeepers
    How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency
    by Chris Whipple
  • Building a StoryBrand
    Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen
    by Donald Miller
  • The Daniel Dilemma
    How to Stand Firm and Love Well in a Culture of Compromise
    by Chris Hodges
  • The Trespasser
    by Tana French
  • Ordering Our Affections: Advent 
    by Dr. Melissa McCrory Hatcher

* * *

What good book have you read lately? Please share in the comments.


My books on Goodreads
Previous reading lists

36 thoughts on “8 Books I Recommend – November 2017

  1. Michele Morin

    I have How to Think in my pile and am really looking forward to it.
    And I haven’t seen that book on the Enneagram, but just reviewed Alice Fryling’s latest — Mirror for the Soul — which I found to be really helpful in slowing down and being o.k. with not immediately nailing my number. She’s a spiritual director and brings that attitude into her treatment of the inventory.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I just came from your blog so I picked up the sample for Mirror for the Soul on my Kindle. 🙂 It is difficult sometimes to nail down our numbers. I’ve gone back and forth between One and Five. I’m still not positive, but the surrounding Triad information puts me more in the Five range than the One, so for now, I’m exploring it that direction. I loved How to Think…I’ll look forward to hearing what you *think* about it.

  2. Joanne Viola

    Lisa, after reading your posts on Walt, I ordered and received already “The Day I Met Walt”. It is the sweetest book. In fact, everyone who sat at my table this weekend was treated to reading your post and seeing the book 🙂 Love your book recommendations! Blessings!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Aw, this makes me so happy to hear, Joanne! I’ll pass this along to Aleesa’s mom; she’ll be excited to know that the book continues to make its way around to other families and friends.

  3. David

    Dear Lisa, That Haidt book looks good. I’ve seen some of his tweets and he seems interesting. I’ve lost track of whether I’m left-wing or right-wing or whether those terms mean anything any more. The Jacobs looks good too! (I’ve just read C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity twice; and I love J.S. Mill’s On Liberty). Thank you for these treats. David

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I found Haidt’s information very thorough as well as interesting. I could use another read through the book a second time to fully grasp it all though. It’s a lot to think about, and I’d like to know it well enough to put it to the test in some of my own relationships that have suffered this year due to political differences. Probably best that you don’t get hung up on whether you’re right or left-wing; don’t try to figure it out. 🙂 I haven’t read On Liberty, but Mere Christianity is a book I try to re-read every decade or so; good stuff! Hope you’re doing well.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad you’ve heard Gretchen on her podcast, too, Candace. I find both her speaking and her writing to hit home with me. Sometimes certain authors just click with us.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Downsizing was a good read, Kym. We had to sell my parents’ home a few years ago, so this was all still fresh on my mind, both things we did well and things we could have done better. I’m thinking now in terms of getting rid of some of my own stuff so my kids won’t have to deal with so much in the future. 🙂

  4. Mary Geisen

    So many good books!! I just read Michele’s review of another enneagram book on her blog so now I’m interested in seeing what the Sacred Enneagram is all about. I also read your review of The Four Tendencies and found that to be intriguing. I imagine the Dream Hoarders is very challenging.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I read Michele’s review, too, and got the sample of that book sent to my Kindle! There is starting to be an avalanche of reading material now on the Enneagram, which I’m thankful for. Yes, The Dream Hoarders was challenging indeed; it gave me a lot to think about….

  5. Barbara H.

    I might need the one about downsizing in a few years. 🙂 My husband would like to work at least ten years more, health permitting and his company maintaining a position and not doing their own downsizing. We’ve already talked about how we will probably need a smaller, less expensive home then and the desire to go through the attic, etc., while we’re still able to so our kids don’t end up having to do that. I do tend to be a “keeper,” but I’ve let go of more and more over the years. The more time passes, it seems the less stuff you really “need.” Plus I found long time ago that if I kept every precious paper my children’s hands have touched, I’ll have boxes of them and never go through them. But if I keep a few special ones, or a representative or two, I will look over them again and reminiscence sometimes.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The older I get, the less stuff I feel I need, too. In theory, I’m typically ready to get rid of the excess, but then I hesitate when it comes time to actually let stuff go. 🙂 But I don’t want my kids to be burdened with decision-making over our “stuff” when the time comes. I know how difficult that was after my own parents died. You’re wise to know that just a few special mementos can be enough to spark memories.

  6. Susan

    I read “Shattered” about Hillary’s campaign and found it interesting. It fascinates me how we (at least I) watch campaigns, feeling like those in charge know what’s up. But many times, behind the scene, there seems to be a lot more chaos than we might suspect. The Rubin book sounds interesting — I remember from reading a bit about that theory in a former book of hers that I tend to be a rule follower. I’d never thought of grouping people that way, but I’ve thought about it often since. Interesting!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I haven’t read Shattered but I’m sure it would be fascinating to me as well. Yes, there is also so much behind-the-scenes stuff that we can’t even imagine if we haven’t been there. And I definitely haven’t been there. 🙂

      I tend to a rule-follower, too. I was laughing at myself this morning leaving Walmart; the woman in front of me was exiting through the “Enter” door and I just couldn’t do that. ha.

  7. Barrie

    You always read such interesting books and so many! I am interested in the Hillary book but know it will be a toughie- I find the pairing with the Righteous Mind an interesting one.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, it was an interesting pairing to read about Hillary’s stuff alongside The Righteous Mind. The psychology and sociology of our country’s divisions have been intriguing to me this year; I wish there were easy answers to fix the divides. But I haven’t discovered any yet.

  8. Sj2b House of Books

    Some great recommends here…will definitely check out Hillary’s ‘What Happened’ & Haidt’s ‘The Righteous Mind’. Been thinking about reading Hillary’s anyway but not heard of the other one.

    Maybe I’ll get lots of time in the new year to read as much as I want.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh, how wonderful it would be if we all could get as much reading time as we want! 🙂 I would love that gift, too. Most of my reading time is late at night or early in the morning and I treasure it.

  9. floyd

    You’re really beginning to dig deep! You’re not just talking about stretching your mind, your doing it. I so appreciate and respect that in you, and all people who try to.

  10. Laura Thomas

    I always love reading your book recommendations, Lisa! I especially like the look of The Sacred Enneagram… my husband and I are hoping to get around to looking into the whole enneagram thing over Christmas! My recent fiction recommendations are The Kitchen House and it’s sequel Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom. Absolutely brilliant! 🙂 Stopping buy from #MomentsofHope

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve tried getting my husband interested in the Enneagram myself. It hasn’t gone too well. ha. Maybe you’ll have better luck than me. Nonetheless, he still listens about it when I share so that’s good enough. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the novels you’re reading. I always appreciate personal recommendations on fiction books!

  11. Jean Wise

    I just love your book lists, Where do you find all of them? and how do you find the time to read all of them? I know I have not gotten to the books I wanted to read this year and already know this will be more a priority in 2018. I created a shelf in my office for the books waiting to be read – more than 30 of them so have a good start. I see you’ve written a post on the enneagram book – going there next to read about that book. I have an older on on spirituality and the enneagram by a Suzanne. Zuercher. will have to get that one back out. thanks for all your ideas.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You know how it is, Jean: one book leads to another leads to another. ha. I jot down titles that authors recommend in the middle of their books, write down titles from podcasts I hear, from blogs I read (like yours!), etc. Being able to get the Kindle samples has really helped me too. It lets me know if the book is worth chasing down or not. Thankfully our library has most of the newer books (not always as soon as they come out, but eventually). I’ve found that NetGalley often has the newest books free for review, if I can catch them in time. They tend to archive them quickly.

  12. Alice Walters

    I am totally convinced that you must have 30 hours a day. Significant reading for me me means full on focus. You’d think an educator would know ways to garner enough to read daily. Thanks for keeping us apprised of diverse and current literature.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ha. I would love to have 30 hours in a day, Alice! 🙂 Unfortunately, some of my extra time for reading comes when I have insomnia in the middle of the night. I’d rather sleep more and read less, but for now, if I wake up and can’t go back to sleep after an hour or so, I pull out a book until I doze back off.

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