“To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is to meet an old one.”
– Chinese saying
Nonfiction November 2022 is here! Every Monday I’ll be sharing extra book recommendations and reading tips. Week 1 is here:
But first, let’s finish October.
Here are 8 books I recommend from what I finished reading this month.
1. Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers
Prayers for Ordinary Radicals
by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
The older I get, the more I understand this truth: my most helpful prayer for others may be asking God to help me help them, in whatever ways I can. God is already on the job doing God’s part. It’s me that needs the push to join in. Shane explains this well through a variety of situations.
“A love for our own relatives or the people of our own country is not a bad thing. But our love does not stop at the border. We now have a family that includes by transcends biology and geography. We have family in Iraq, Peru, Afghanistan and Sudan. We have family members who are starving and homeless, dying of AIDS and living in the midst of war. This is the new family of our Father.”
2. 100% Right 50% of the Time
How to Prevent Fallacies in Decision Making
by Yossi Yassour
Ugh. I once would have disagreed with this statement below. But now? I wonder if Yossi Yassour may be on to something:
“We fool ourselves into thinking that we choose a logical path and examine the pros and cons when in reality, we decide according to emotion and then justify our choices with logical explanations.”
Maybe we really are emotional beings who think, instead of thinking beings who feel? Quite an interesting book with lots of real life examples.
3. Nonviolent Communication
A Language of Life
by Marshall B. Rosenberg
This book explains how to talk in clear and simple ways to be better understood and to better understand others (even though it still requires self-discipline and thus is hard; sigh). It’s full of great sample conversations. If we could be this compassionate, direct, and gentle, we’d eliminate so many problems. One of the bottom lines for me: Be more aware of the NEEDS (both my own and others’ needs) underneath our words.
“When people hear anything that sounds like criticism, they tend to invest their energy in self-defense or counterattack. If we wish for a compassionate response from others, it is self-defeating to express our needs by interpreting or diagnosing their behavior. Instead, the more directly we can connect our feelings to our own needs, the easier it is for others to respond to us compassionately.”
4. Talking to Crazy
How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life
by Mark Goulston
Some of this is common sense, yet we still may not do it in the heat of a conversation. So we need yet more reminders and coaching. I skimmed some parts of this book. Other parts I took lots of notes.
“The best antidote to woulda, coulda, shoulda but didn’t is ask, listen, and listen some more.”
5. Radical Compassion
Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN
by Tara Brach
Sometimes we’re least compassionate to ourselves, when we may need compassion the most. Tara Brach teaches the RAIN practice: Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture. Her words often made me stop and think.
“The deepest transformations in our lives come down to something very simple: We learn to respond, not react, to what is going on inside us.”
6. The Art of Loving
by Erich Fromm
This book was originally published in 1956. I read this book in my twenties. It impacted me greatly then, so I reread it this year. Fromm reminded me once again that love is less about the person we choose to love or who loves us, and more about our choice to be a loving person.
“Most people see the problem of love primarily as that of being loved, rather than that of loving, of one’s capacity to love.”
7. Immortal Diamond
The Search for Our True Self
by Richard Rohr
Do we live more from our ego (the False Self) or from our True Self (our authentic self in God)? In his classic way, Richard Rohr goes deep in explaining how to live a resurrected life with Jesus, finding that immortal diamond in ourselves. I participated in an online course with this book and learned a lot (and learned there is much more to learn).
“The True Self is not the perfect self. It merely participates in the One who is.”
8. How We Live Is How We Die
by Pema Chödrön
I didn’t understand everything in this book from my first reading, but what I did get was powerful. For example, I know impermanence is real, but I still fight against it. With Chödrön’s guidance, I’m at least moving in the right direction to accepting it.
“When we examine our experience closely, we will find that we are always in transition. During every moment of our lives, something is ending and something else is beginning.”
- The Body Keeps the Score
Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
by Bessel van der Kolk
- Do I Make Myself Clear?
Why Writing Well Matters
by Harold Evans
- Words That Work
It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear
by Frank Luntz
- Necessary Lies
by Diane Chamberlain
- Sing You Home
by Jodi Picoult
What good book are YOU reading this month? Please share in the comments.
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- When You Doubt Your Memories