You may remember I set a goal at the beginning of the year to read three books a month, and I’m proud to share that this is my second month reading four! I reviewed the books I read in January last month, and I can’t believe it’s already time to share my February finds. I actually really enjoyed all four of the books I read in February.
You’ve probably noticed that I tend to lean towards nonfiction books that encourage and motivate me to always keep growing in different areas of my life. It’s funny, but I always find that whatever books I pick up for the month tend to have a sort of similar tone or topic. For example, this month, I noticed a couple of my books revolved around community and “finding your people.” This was totally unintentional (one of these books I’ve had for a while), but I think I subconsciously enjoy finding a “theme” for the month.
So, without further adieu, here’s my (very informal) review of each book in February. I’m always looking to add books to my collection, so if there are any you’re currently loving, let me know in the comments!
Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
Dare to Lead
Let’s be honest, Brené can do no wrong. Truthfully though, this book was really good and offered a lot of helpful insight into what it takes to be a leader with definitive values. Although not all of it was applicable to where I am in life, I took away a lot of helpful nuggets.
I actually started this book back in December, put it down, and then picked it back up this month to finish it. I’m a big Brené Brown fan, but I do find that if I read too much of her writing at one time, I can start to feel overwhelmed. But giving myself some time to digest the first part of this book before starting the second half was perfect for me.
In a lot of ways, this book wasn’t really relatable to my life. Brené talks a lot about leading organizations and what it looks like to be a leader of a big group, but I did really resonate with what she said about how you have to define your values if you want to define what kind of leader you hope to be. She then shares a long list of values and has you choose three that define you. That exercise was really helpful for me.
Another topic she touches on that I really liked is that you don’t have to have all the right answers to be a leader — it’s more about staying curious and asking the right questions. I know personally, I tend to think I need to have all the answers or know everything before I start a project. For example, when I started my hair care line, Agenda, I found myself paralyzed with fear that I didn’t know enough about hair care. It kept me from moving forward with certain parts of the project. But I realized eventually that I could learn through the process and rely on the experts who DO know a lot about the topic to educate me.
Find Your People by Jennie Allen
Find Your People
Oh gosh, this book. SO GOOD. I find myself in a season of life where I’m developing new relationships for myself and for my family but still want to hold onto those who aren’t in the same season as me. Jennie does a great job encouraging the reader on how to do this and the best way to find your people.
Y’all might know that I’m basically obsessed with Jennie Allen, so I’ll read anything she writes, but this book really stood out to me for a number of reasons. First, it’s super applicable to the season of life I’m in. As a new mom who’s been back in Dallas for only a year and is just emerging from the first year of my baby’s life, I’m rediscovering what it looks like to find my people.
Don’t get me wrong, I love and cherish all of the friendships in my life, but I think it’s important to connect and be in community with others in your stage of life too. I find myself looking for families that we can befriend as a family unit instead of bringing more individual relationships into my life. As always, Jennie does a really great job sharing her own journey through this time and encouraging the reader at the same time. She also reminds us that finding your people involves intentionality and prayer, which I love.
There were several times this book brought me to tears and left me feeling challenged. I will absolutely keep this near and dear to me as I figure out what this next season looks like.
Don’t Mom Alone by Heather MacFadyen
Don’t Mom Alone was actually given to me by the author, Heather MacFadyen (thanks, Heather!). It sat on my shelf for a while until one night when I couldn’t sleep, I picked it up and started to read. I’m so impressed by this book and Heather’s writing style! It seriously felt just like talking to a friend, which I think is really great for a book like this.
I really like how Heather shares her own vulnerable mom moments and shows how we can rely on God and the community he gives us to feel supported and connected with our children. Y’all, I had no idea how hard being a mom was until I became one, and I don’t know how I’d have survived the first year without a strong support system. I feel like I’m still on the hunt for other moms in the phase of life I’m in (hence me reading Find Your People), but it really is so important.
One thing I enjoyed a lot about this book is that she brings in advice and insight from her mentors or people she looks up to. It was nice to hear what they had to say, and I found myself looking up their body of works too to see what they’ve written or if they have a podcast.
Heather also does a great job of turning everyday life moments into lessons. It helped the book stick with me when I could remember a story from her life that she shared instead of just the nuggets of wisdom alone. Like I said, I really liked Heather’s style of writing. This makes me want to listen to her podcast (she has incredible guests) too!
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
Although this book was a bit drier than I’m used to reading, it offered some really great insight into our addiction to smartphones and everything digital. As someone who is striving to be more intentional with my time, I found a lot of the research Cal provides helpful to understand why I want to reach for my phone so often and how to choose a more focused life.
My time management coach Anna Kornick recommended this book to me and it’s given me a lot of great insights into how to minimize screen time and focus more on all things non-digital. In this book, Cal talks a lot about human psychology and how it’s hard for us to control ourselves when we have this tiny dopamine distributor in our hands. Honestly, it reminded me a lot of one of those documentaries about the addiction we have to smart devices.
I will admit, it took me a while to get through this book. While there was a lot of good research, Cal’s writing style is a bit drier than I’m used to reading. I found it was helpful for me to switch back and forth between listening to the audiobook and reading the physical version.
Digital Minimalism definitely gave me a better understanding of why it’s so hard to put down our dang phones. Even when I’m being super intentional with my time (another one of my 2022 goals), I find myself with the urge to check my text messages or email. At the end of the day, technology isn’t necessarily bad, but as Cal says, it’s important to use it to support our goals and values rather than letting it control us.
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