I’ve been a voracious reader since childhood. When I was growing up, my mom increased our enthusiasm for books by buying my brother and me a cassette music tape of choice for each book we finished. Music and books became my dual intertwined passions! To this day, I read every chance I get!
When I reflect on my life over the past 10 years, it’s clear that I never could have anticipated much of what has happened and, even with the benefit of hindsight, it’s sometimes hard to know exactly how I got to where I am. But there are a few key choices and events that very clearly sent me on an entirely new trajectory… such as my decision to move to Arizona, meeting Greg, and a few others. Among these key events are four specific books that, looking back, were life changing. In fact, some of them were so dramatic that I knew my life had changed while I was still reading them!
Here They Are! Two Books that Changed My Life…
The 4-Hour Workweek – This book holds a special place in my heart because it was the first time I began to realize that I didn’t need to work work work with the focus on retiring later, or as the author Tim Ferris says, “deferred living.” Instead, this book opened my mind to the idea bucking tradition (who, me?… shocker) and finding a new way to design my lifestyle that’s more consistent with my core values of family, health, contribution, and living more mindfully in the present instead of always fixating on the future. Now, I have to caution readers that some of Ferris’ stories and techniques rub me the wrong way and are ethically questionable (like lying to your employer, albeit still being very productive while doing it), but I gleaned a lot of helpful tips, and a few brilliant insights that forever changed my life, in profound ways. If you can handle Ferriss’ fun and goofy (if absurdly self-promoting) style, his extraordinary tales certainly do entertain. His energy bounces off the pages and is contagious.
Nurture Shock – I was asked a while back whether or not I read parenting books. My answer: I do, but I’m careful to follow my intuition first. It’s pretty obvious that I’m happily more of the “counter culture” type so I find that, for the most part, there really hasn’t been one single conventional parenting book that I’ve agreed with 100%. What I do is to take the info I like, discard the stuff that doesn’t apply, and weave my own warm comfy parenting blanket with a heavy dose of intuition, mixed with plenty of latitude for learning something new every day.
However, Nurture Shock was different. The whole book was constantly grabbing my attention and shaking up my awareness with the most counter-intuitive research findings you can imagine… stuff that really challenges tradition (which of course is right up my alley). Thought provoking, fascinating, filled with a lot of info that I plan to chew on for years to come (until Kamea goes off to college, basically), and essentially guaranteed to spawn more than one uncomfortable exchange with well-meaning grandparents. (Pro tip: Give every grandparent a copy and stipulate that discussions concerning child rearing may commence upon their submitting a two-page book report, double spaced.)
Of the four books I’ve written about here, Nurture Shock is probably the least life-changing, in the sense of reading a book and making immediate life changes. But: It has definitely changed my views on a few things and set my parenting on a course that was different from how I originally imagined it would be. Nurture Shock offers information that I have both put into practice with Kamea, from when she was just a baby, and also for years to come.
Honorable Mention: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Amazing book showing soon to be mama’s they have the power and strength to give birth.