Share 4 Somethings in the “How to Know a Person” Edition—April 2024

For the 2024 edition of “Share 4 Somethings,” Jennifer asks us to share each month:

  1. Something loved and/or disliked
  2. Something accomplished
  3. Something improved upon and/or that needs improvement
  4. Something noticed

I also share my previous month’s One Second Everyday video . . .

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Something Loved


I just finished reading a book I now love so much: How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen by David Brooks.

How to Know a Person

The book is about humans (I’m still partial to the topic; it was my One Word for 2023). About relationships between humans. And about learning how to make better connections with other humans.

Brooks is an experienced columnist for the New York Times, so his words flow smoothly and can be read easily. But that doesn’t mean his words or message is simple. He addresses many hard topics and gives us difficult advice.

Here is a snippet of one action step in the book that we can all work on.

“As soon as somebody starts talking about times when they felt excluded, betrayed, or wronged, stop and listen. When somebody is talking to you about pain in their life, even in those cases when you may think their pain is performative or exaggerated, it’s best not to try to yank the conversation back to your frame.

Your first job is to stay within the other person’s standpoint to more fully understand how the world looks to them. Your next job is to encourage them to go into more depth about what they have just said.”

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Something Accomplished


My normal mode of reading is to keep several books going at one time. It’s my favorite approach. I like having options when I sit down to read.

But because How to Know a Person was a library book, with others waiting in line for it, I had to read it within my allotted two weeks. Which meant foregoing other books.

And I did it! I read just one book at a time. This is an accomplishment for me. (Maybe the internet hasn’t totally ruined my attention span yet?)

But I’m not giving you advice to only read one book at a time (I won’t continue it myself). But neither will I give you advice to read several books at once. Do whatever works for you.

Here’s a caution from Brooks about giving advice.

“I told [my depressed friend] he should [do his service project] again, since he has found it so rewarding. I did not realize that it was energy and desire he lacked, not ideas about things to do.

It was only later that I read that when you give a depressed person advice on how they can get better, there’s a good chance all you are doing is telling the person that you just don’t get it.

I learned, very gradually, that a friend’s job in these circumstances is not to cheer the person up. It’s to acknowledge the reality of the situation; it’s to hear, respect, and love them; it’s to show them you haven’t given up on them, you haven’t walked away.

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Something that Needs Improvement


For the past two and a half years, I’ve been wrestling with a deeply painful circumstance in my life. I’ve been learning a lot about myself (and learning I have more to learn), but I’ve been learning more about other people, too.

I’ve had some friends/family members/spouse who have been amazing human companions alongside me on this difficult journey. They didn’t give up on me and walk away. They’re still here, staying beside me through the emotional trauma. And I’ve wanted to capture this phenomena in words.

But I can’t seem to pull it together yet. Maybe it will be a project for this summer.

In How to Know a Person, Brooks calls these helpful people Illuminators because they shine the brightness of their care on people.

“The Illuminator is not just there to see the depths of your pain, she’s there to see your strength, to celebrate with you in your triumphs.”

I’ve had Illuminators shine on me. They’ve helped save my life. Maybe one day I’ll be able to express my thanks for them more clearly.

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Something Noticed


I’ve been sharing lately about my special friend V. She had a bout in the hospital this week with an infection. When I visited her yesterday, I couldn’t get her to wake up and talk. Not even when I played her favorite Elvis songs and Hall & Oates music (although I’m certain her feet moved a bit on the livelier tunes).

But her stillness worried me. The nurse on duty noticed.

So a couple hours after I got back home, the nurse called me. She said that V had woken up in great spirits, talking and cutting up and telling everyone how much she loved Elvis. Maybe she had been more awake than I’d realized.

I was so grateful for the nurse who noticed my concern, and followed up with the phone call.

In How to Know a Person, Brooks quotes Pope Paul VI on witnesses: “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it’s because they are witnesses.”

Then later Brooks says himself:

“People don’t see the world with their eyes; they see it with their entire life.”

I’m thankful for people like that nurse who saw me not with just her eyes, and heard me not with just her ears, but used her whole life experience to understand what I was feeling. And then cared enough to do something about it.

What is something you are loving, accomplishing, improving, or noticing this month? Have you read How to Know a Person?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

I’m linking at these blog parties

38 thoughts on “Share 4 Somethings in the “How to Know a Person” Edition—April 2024

  1. Martha J Orlando

    I rarely read several books at a time. That’s just how I roll! I admire the readers like you, Lisa, who can go between several and still retain meaningful information from them all.
    I have so many books awaiting my eyes already in the house, I’ve had to admonish myself not to order more right now.
    Have a blessed weekend!

  2. Donna Connolly

    Hi, Lisa – Congratulations on reading just one book at a time (at least just this one time). ‘How To Know A Person’ sounds like the perfect book for this mission. I almost always read just one book at a time, while my husband prefers to read multiple books together. I am off to my online library now to see if they have this book in stock. Thank you for the recommendation.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You and your husband are the mirror readers of me and my husband, Donna. 🙂 My husband reads one book at a time as well. I’m glad that there’s no right or wrong, good or bad, way to read!

  3. Ashley Rowland | HISsparrowBlog

    I’m so thankful for the illuminators in my life! What an interesting term. I hadn’t really thought about reading more than one book at a time, and initially I thought “I am definitely a one-book girl,” but I guess I do have more than one book going at a time. I read one fiction at a time, but I also have a nonfiction going, as well as several books I’m reading on proofreading/copyediting and writing. Who knew?

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, that’s how I do it too, Ashley! I read only one novel at a time, but I keep several nonfiction books because they’re usually so different.

  4. Lynn Severance

    Lisa, I have one other friend besides you who reads (or listens to) multiple books at a time. She has catalogued every book she has read for ? years. I do best reading one book at a time (or perhaps a lighter book for traveling back and forth which is now an hour each way) for certain appointments.

    I’ve Brooks’ book in my queue and appreciate your review.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I like to have a lighter book going as well. Especially for those middle-of-the-night wakeups when I can’t get back to sleep. I need to avoid heavier books when I’m supposed to be sleeping. 🙂 Hope you’re doing well, Lynn!

      1. Lynn Severance

        Thank you, Lisa. My “Sole Sisters’ book has been through a pilot study with 4 other women here and we had a grand time. It caused me to tweak a few areas in the text (not the content). Self publication will happen after I have had (and healed) from a hip replacement surgery. It seemed best in that sequence, esp. as it has taken two years to find the right surgeon to do what will be a complicated surgery but one he is up to. And we know God can do complicated! No date set yet – waiting on a call from his nurse.

  5. Jean Wise

    love when you shared these. How kind of that nurse. doesn’t take much to be kind in this world, does it? Also one book at a time…. wow, I’m impressed. not sure I could do that.

  6. Christie Hawkes

    Thanks for sharing your 4 somethings with us, Lisa. This month I have been loving the flowers that are blossoming all around me. I worked on improving my range of motion in my “frozen shoulder” and it’s working! Here’s to a marvelous May for both of us!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad that you’re improving your shoulder movements, Christie! My husband had shoulder surgery a couple years back, and I remember how difficult it was to force that motion, but also how critical it was. Glad you’re self-disciplined enough to do it.

  7. Joanne Tracey

    As one who is a multi-book reader, I applaud your strength to stick to just one, but now give you permission to go back to normal lol. It’s how you roll and I’m with you on that. The power of music is amazing, isn’t it? But the power of listening with more than your ears is even more so. Thanks for linking up with us.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      lol. I appreciate your encouragement to return to multi-book reading, Joanne! It is definitely how I roll and my periodic forays into one-book-only times is for emergency use only. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I hope you’re able to find a copy of this book; I can’t recommend it highly enough. I put it on hold at my library quite awhile back and had to be patient for my turn, but it was worth it!

  8. Jennifer

    V is blessed to have a good friend like you….and what a blessing to have those folks, including friends, who not only stick with us but are willing to come alongside even in the hard and most difficult places! And how nice to have a nurse call and give you an update…that was really thoughtful!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Jennifer. I wish my friend V was doing better, but she’s not. 🙁 But yes, I am so grateful for the types of friends that stick close by us through thick and thin! Those are the kind I want to hold on to forever.

  9. Steph@Crazylittlelovebirds

    Lisa, I have to admit that I am also someone who jumps between books. My husband finds it amusing that I never focus on just one book at a time, but that’s just who I am! The book you mentioned sounds fascinating, and I might have to place a hold request for it at my local library. Currently, I am exploring four books. Thank you for sharing your post at The Crazy Little Lovebirds link party #35.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You are my type of reader if you’re currently exploring four books, Steph! It’s just more interesting to be able to swap back and forth, yes? 🙂 I had put “How to Know a Person” on hold at my library months ago before it finally reached me. But it was worth the wait!

  10. Cindy Davis

    I always have several books going at a time. Usually a fiction book in physical form, an audiobook, and several nonfiction books. I can’t remember the last time I only had one book going. Have a great week!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      We read the same way, Cindy. 🙂 I typically read only one fiction book at a time but mixed in with several nonfictions and an audiobook here and there. Often times my audiobook is the same as one of the books I’m reading so I can choose whether to listen or read, depending on what else I’m doing.

  11. Michele Morin

    I’m SO glad you read this book. It was a stand out for me as well, and it really merits a reread at some point.
    I usually have several books running at once, but my biggest complaint about my reading life is that I read too FAST. I want to slow down and savor more.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I remembered you recommending this book as well, Michele! Now I understand why. 🙂

      I have to remind myself to slow down when I read, too. Granted, some books are only scan-worthy anyway, and I don’t mind zipping through those, but other books do need to be savored at a slower pace.

  12. Paula

    I read one book at a time. I get reading anxiety if I try to read more than one at a time. I don’t know I think it’s an expectation thing for me, like oh no what if I don’t finish said book or books this month. Lol.
    Visiting today from Share 4 Somethings

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I can understand how reading multiple books could cause anxiety, Paula. I get that way when I have several books from the library at one time because I know they’ll all come due and what if I haven’t finished them yet? (Even though our library had stopped charging overdue fines, I still don’t want to be late! ha). But if they’re just my own books or books to review, it alleviates that pressure for me.

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