Books that make me want to do the thing

by KJ in #AmReading

Reading about cleaning, writing or getting organized is EXACTLY the same as doing it, right?

Ok. Reading about getting organized—or being a better parent, or being more creative, or ridding my life of things that aren’t working, is way easier than actually doing it. And often way more enjoyable, because it comes with the free fantasy that when I put the book down, I will be a better, stronger, more improved me.

I love books that allow me to imagine that, and I will read and re-read them in ways that actually surprise even me. If I tell you I consider The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to be a comfort read, will you ever see me quite the same way again? I can assure you that my house is… not tidy. But I get really excited whenever I manage to throw away something that doesn’t bring joy.

Some all time favorite reads that have left me with, at the very least, life-changing sound bites:

I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their TimeThis one reminded me that a lot of what I think I “have” to do is a choice—and when I think of it as a choice, I feel differently about it.

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) I’m a rebel—the best way to get me to do something is to tell myself that other people think I can’t do it and I do that ALL THE TIME.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have with People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do (A No F*cks Given Guide) I honestly didn’t fully get this one until I got older. I didn’t realize how much what other people think was influencing my life—and even now I have to pay attention and ask myself, am I doing what I want to do or what I think someone else expects? Do they really? Do I care?

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear I don’t care if you hated Eat Pray Love. The famous part about not letting fear even so much as choose the radio station is worth the price of admission.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World I reread this every year to remind myself that the fundamental work takes time and that time has to be protected.

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals Brings them all together, in a sense. I’m at a hockey showcase with my youngest kid today when I probably should have stayed home for deep work. There won’t be many more things like that. They matter too. Choices.

My current reading list along these lines includes The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp and Life in Five Senses: How Exploring the Senses Got Me Out of My Head and Into the World by Gretchen Rubin. It’s too soon to say if any of them will make the re-reading list. But they’re comfort reads in that they assure me that I can change and evolve. But as long as I’m sitting on the sofa with them, I’m not required to actually do it.

That’s it from me this week!

Oh—the being a better parent part. I wrote a book about that myself. Sort of. It was really about being a happier parent, which I think makes me better.

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