#BrightonBrain - August 22, 2018

4 Books I Just Finished

After sharing the books I’m currently reading (about to read, just finished, etc) on my stories, a few of y’all asked that I put together a blog post listing them out. So that’s what I’m doing. Y’all know I love to learn and reading is by far one of my absolute favorite ways to absorb new information, challenge myself, and think through the world around me.

Here’s what I’m currently working with. I’m hoping to write a few more dedicated posts on specific books like I did with 4-hour workweek, but we’ll see what happens there. For now, I’ll just list them out and tell you a bit about each.

1. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

I listened to this one on Audiobook while I was at the beach and I remember wanting to write so many things down. But I didn’t have a pen and it was too bright to pull out my phone. I’m not sure if I really think the ENTIRE books is worth reading, but there are some amazing takeaways.

The Power Of Habit

In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg, talks about why we do the things we do by focusing on the habits through which we operate on a personal, organizational and societal level. This book really got me thinking about the things I do on a daily basis and how often I’m operating out of habit. The power of habit is the ability to automate willpower in a way that better helps us reach out goals. He gives lots of real-life illustrations of how the process works as well as application for how you can manage and utilize the power of your own habits.

Duhigg explains that habits are – for lack of better words – somewhat “permanent” because they’re literally encoded into your brain. This is actually good news if you know how to work things to your advantage. The issue is that your brain does not have the ability to differentiate between good habits you’d like to maintain and the bad ones you’d ideally like to drop. He also explains that can’t really get rid of habits, per say, but must instead modify or manipulate them. All this to say, habits are as much a benefit as they are a curse. The key lies in knowing how to manage them to get your desired outcome. I absolutely loved this book and hope to write a summary blog post soon!

“Habits, scientists say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. Left to its own devices, the brain will try to make almost any routine into a habit, because habits allow our minds to ramp down more often. This effort-saving instinct is a huge advantage.”

I’m incredibly fascinated with habits in general – how to form them, break them, and why we do the things we do. I love thinking about the interworking of our brain and then using that knowledge to set myself up for future success and positive change.

Have any of you read this book? I’d really love to dig more into it on the blog if y’all would be interested, but for now I just wanted to introduce you to it since I recently finished it!

2. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Mere Christianity

C.S. Lewis argues for the existence of God, and then proceeds to outline what he believes are the fundamental tenants of Christianity. I didn’t realize this, but it was really neat to learn that the chapters were actually 15-minute talks he did on BBC  radio during World War II.

Honestly, I cannot believe I’ve never actually read this book cover-to-cover. It’s been on my list for years and I finally decided to bite the bullet and read it a few weeks ago. This past spring, I was involved in a program at my church called Alpha where we explored and discussed several of the founding principles of Christianity. Each week someone in my group would bring up one of his quotes and after enough C.S. Lewis brilliance was shared, I decided it was time I read the book for myself.

It was SO good that I finished it in 2 days! But hear me on this, it’s definitely not a light read, but something about the way he approaches the topic was so incredibly fascinating. I loved reading his thought process behind many of the concepts and struggles I myself have around the faith. I think it’s safe to say he sort of approaches Christianity from the viewpoint of a skeptic. As such, I appreciated how he articulated particular concepts and beliefs of the faith.

3. Essentialism by Greg McKeown

I actually read this one back in April and have since reread it twice because it’s just so good. I really liked how this book made me think about what really mattered in life, my work, and even in the little details of how I spend my day and time.

Essentialism

This book has made me want to be so much BETTER & is incredibly inspiring for living a life with less. And not just less stuff! It teaches you how to get the right things done and to be more selective with your time.

I’ve never read “The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up” (close next), but I imagine the concepts discussed in this book are quite similar. Basically, getting rid of the trivial many in order to identify, cultivate and truly enjoy the vital few. In other words, getting rid of the clutter so you can see the stuff that really matters. This concept is really rocking the boat for me and I can tell it’s making a big move, coming at me in a number of directions and impacting multiple areas of my life. I think this book was one of the catalysts that got me started on thinking through these things and ultimately wanting to pursue a more balanced, mindful (and simple!), and less-cluttered life.

Also, this book forced me to grapple with the simple, yet the unsettling truth that nope, I cannot do it all. Literally, it’s not possible to fit it all in. And there’s true value in choosing fewer things, focusing, and then ultimately doing them better. This way, I’ll be making a consecrated effort in one direction instead of several individual efforts that don’t add up to any measurable progress. In both scenarios, you’re exerting effort. Right? But in the former, your efforts are actually leading to progress because you’re putting focused effort into one direction. This concept can apply to all areas of life if you think about it. Basically, it all comes down to being intentional about how we spend our time. Instead of simply being reactive to the environment around us, we’ve got to drown out the noise and be intentional in our efforts to focus on what’s truly important. A lot of this has to do with making daily decisions to choose the important over the urgent.

Writing this blog post is overwhelming me right now because there’s SO MUCH I want to share about this book, but I need to get onto the next. Would you want to hear more about what I loved from this book? Sometimes it’s hard for me to know where to stop…

4. How People Change

I joined a little Wednesday night study that my church was offering over the Summer where we went through this book over the course of 6 weeks. I mentioned it on my stories a few times over the past few months, but I wanted to dedicate a few paragraphs to reviewing it with y’all since it truly has been such an amazing resource for me. This book is incredibly rich and one I’m sure I’ll reference often in the future as it gives so really amazing and practical tips for what it looks like to pursue an abundant, fruitful life IN Jesus.

Paul David Tripp

How People Change

This is one of those books where I want to highlight everything. I wish I had endless hours to sit and read this and then journal through all the things my brain is loving about it. But for now, I wanted to share the wealth and link to it for those of you who might want to look more into it. I’ve talked about Paul David Tripp before – he writes my absolute favorite devotional, New Morning Mercies. He’s brilliant and his writing is right up my ally! 

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