How These 5 Books Changed Me

How these 5 books changed me

Some books won’t let us go. They challenge our thinking. They make us turn around and do differently.

“Worldview Changers” is the category for week 4 of Nonfiction November. Join Rebekah at She Seeks Nonfiction to see more worldview changing books.

Week 4 Nonfiction November

5 Worldview-Changing Books

Here are fives books I read this year that changed me.

1. Self-Compassion
The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
by Kristin Neff

• A new thought it made me think:

Our culture has incorrectly focused too much on self-esteem. That focus made us fall into the traps of self-righteousness, prejudice, narcissism, self-absorption, etc. A healthier mindset is to focus on self-compassion.

• A quote I like:

“We can recognize that weakness and imperfection are part of the shared human experience. We can feel more connected to our fellow life travelers who are just as flawed and vulnerable as we are. At the same time, we can let go of the need to feel better than others.”

• An action it motivated me to take:

When you’re having difficult feelings, try one (or all) of these three things:

  1. Give yourself kindness and care.
  2. Remind yourself that pain is part of the shared human experience.
  3. Hold your thoughts and emotions in mindfulness awareness.

2. Do the Work!
An Antiracist Activity Book
by Kate Schatz and W. Kamau Bell

• A new thought it made me think:

Racism is prejudice plus power. Instead of defining racism as a person who hates a person of a different race, Bell says racism is when one group has the power to carry out systematic discrimination by (a) the institutional policies and practices of the society, and (b) by shaping the cultural beliefs and values that support those racist policies and practices.

• A quote I like:

“You might call these things ‘microaggressions,’ but honestly? Can we just drop the ‘micro’? That makes it sound almost cute. Death by a thousand papercuts is still pretty aggressive. A microaggression is just racism that didn’t get me killed.”

• An action it motivated me to take:

Put my privilege to good use in multiple ways, including using my voice among white people to speak out against white supremacy, to listen and believe Black people when they share their experiences, to support Black-owned businesses when possible, and to continue reading books by BIPOC authors.

3. The Sleep Solution
Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It
by W. Chris Winter

• A new thought it made me think:

Even if I don’t actually sleep all night, resting even without sleeping is still good for me. I don’t have to be asleep to still feel relaxed and comfortable, taking a needed break from the stresses of the day.

• A quote I like:

“For many people who struggle with their sleep, you can almost think of their nightly angst as a mini-PTSD episode….Don’t make your sleep disturbances a defining characteristic in your life. The hour or two it takes you to fall asleep is not that big of a deal. Believe this. Free yourself.”

• An action it motivated me to take:

Put my phone further away from me during the night so I won’t be tempted to listen to podcasts when I can’t sleep. Stop looking at the clock when I do wake up in the middle of the night. Accept that it’s ok if I’m awake part of the night.

4. Immortal Diamond
The Search for Our True Self
by Richard Rohr

• A new thought it made me think:

Dying before we die is an important practice. As some roles are stripped away, I’m more aware that who I am in God remains. I am still complete. The goodness of God fills all the gaps of the universe, without discrimination or preference.

• A quote I like:

“Remember that resurrection is not woundedness denied, forgotten, or even totally healed. It is always woundedness transformed. You still carry your scars forever, as both message and trophy. They still ‘hurt’ in a way, which keeps you mindful and humble, but they no longer allow you to hurt other people. Pain transformed is no longer pain transmitted.”

• An action it motivated me to take:

Watch and participate as God—through love—fills in the gaps. Know that after each little death, resurrection will follow.

5. The Power of Regret
How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward
by Daniel H. Pink

• A new thought it made me think:

Being aware of my regrets brings benefits. Ultimately it can strengthen my sense of meaning and connectedness, if used properly.

• A quote I like:

“When relationships come apart, whether by intent or inattention, what stands in the way of bringing them back together are feelings of awkwardness. …Yet those concerns are almost always misplaced. But more often—much more often, in fact—we overestimate how awkward we’ll feel and underestimate how much others will welcome our overtures.
So, this simple problem has an even simpler solution. Shove aside the awkwardness.”

• An action it motivated me to take:

Ask myself which I’ll regret more: inaction or action (we typically regret inactions more than actions). Use my thinking to prompt my doing in the direction of my deepest values.

What book has changed you this year? Share in the comments.

23 thoughts on “How These 5 Books Changed Me

  1. Joanne Viola

    Lisa, this is such a great way to evaluate books – a new thought, a quote, and an action. In thinking about these three things, we will better let the book have its full impact and change us.

  2. Martha J Orlando

    I hate to admit it, but this is the first year in a long time that I haven’t kept a list of the books I’ve read; I won’t make the same mistake in 2023!
    Anyway, nothing stands out from what I have read as changing my perceptions about my life. I do like the method you’ve employed here, Lisa, to help you get more out of what you have read.

  3. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Lisa, I agree with Joanne! This is a succinct way of summarizing a book, and I love the intentions at the end. I really love the quote you highlighted from the first book. Often, because we are taught that we need more self-esteem, we don’t want to admit our weaknesses or mistakes or failures. But it is these very things that cause us to lean on Christ and to show compassion for others. We realize we are not higher and mightier than they. And I love this verse from Scripture, 2 Cor 1:3-4: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. ” This truth also helps us to make better sense of suffering.

    Please keep sharing your book recommendations. I’m compiling a list for you as well!

    And for your readers: Evangelical pastor and theologian Russell Moore writes a newsletter which ends with a reader’s “If I were alone on a desert island, these are the books I’d want with me” (or something like that)!!! I find many of these recommendations to be excellent as well.

    Keep reading. Keep reporting. We are soooo grateful for your persistence, passion, *and* compassion!
    Happy Thanksgiving. I’m so thankful to call you friend.

  4. Molly

    What a beautiful and well organized post! I just love all the books you highlighted and how they impacted you. I added both The Sleep Solution and The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself to my TBR.

  5. Lisa Blair

    I like this book review format: like, quote, action. This is a powerful takeaway, Lisa, “Pain transformed is no longer pain transmitted. Watch and participate as God—through love—fills in the gaps.” When we are wounded, we often turn and wound others, but when we are healed by God, we often turn to show love and compassion to others which hopefully brings healing to their heart.

  6. Linda Stoll

    Lisa, I love those 3 steps you’re taking as you evaluate. I’m guessing my reading life would be richer if I followed your lead on this. Sometimes I’m relieved when a book is done. Other times I just want to sit quietly and hold the closed volume in my lap.

    Praying for you this week and sending love your way.

  7. David

    Dear Lisa

    Great list! I can certainly see myself reading 3, 4, & 5.

    That regret book has been on my TBR pile since February! It was one of the FT’s Business Books Of The Month for Feb, and it’s now on their “Best books of 2022: Business” list. They are in good company if you like it too 😉

    Your point from the sleep book is good advice which I am trying out: I can still rest even if I can’t sleep.

    I have read 22 books so far this year! You probably read that many on the way home from the library but I am surprised and impressed. Most affected probably by a biography of Nietzsche called “I am Dynamite!”. The story of his descent into madness was very moving, almost a lesson in sympathy, and I find my attitude to people has changed accordingly.

  8. Lory @ Entering the Enchanted Castle

    I need to read the sleep book! I just read “Breath” which made me think about the way I breathe (I’m going to try taping my mouth shut while I sleep to see if that helps – I suspect breathing through my mouth is disruptive).

    Thanks for sharing these, you always have such thoughtful choices and reasons for your selection. I’m rereading Falling Upward by Richard Rohr now — he always has such gems.

  9. CurlyGeek

    I appreciate the way you’ve described each of these books! The Sleep Solution sounds particularly interesting, I’ve benefitted from some of those strategies myself. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Jean Wise

    Great list. I know, I know I shouldn’t pick up that darn phone in the middle of t he night but amazingly this has been such a bad habit to break. You have inspired me to try again! Great list o f books and I love your format under each title.

  11. susan wardzinski

    i stumble on your page searching enneagram example of types and what a wonderful review of these books, now I want to add a couple!
    love your site!!

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