Monday, October 6, 2014

September 28: 5 Books

94. Aha! 10 Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit and Find Your Great Ideas by Jordan Ayan

 This is a GREAT book! Chock-full of various tips and activities to get the creative juices flowing, it features many practical suggestions to take your life and career from here and now to something more, something you may have vaguely imagined, but which with the help of this book, you might be able to clarify and begin to approach. I am not being paid by the author or publisher to say this, but this book is a re-read and as such, I am very familiar with what it contains.

My copies has many dogears, including:

  • the idea journal (something I already do, though I am looking forward to revisiting all 70 or 80 + journals I have written since 1998 to cull major creative and money-making ideas
  • setting up an ideal workspace
  • using travel to break through mental and career blocks
  • activities in the same spirit as Julia Cameron's Artist's Way's Artist Dates, such as museum visits, etc.
  • a focused discussion on the role of intuition in taking creative ideas and turning them into actual real-life projects
  • a final section on creative visualization, presented in a much less hokey way than Shakti Gawain, which I read many years ago. Less new agey crystal bullshit and, in its place, a much more practical 21st century "get down to business" approach. I like it!

95. Language by Edward Sapir

In all of Linguistics as a discipline (in which I want to pursue graduate studies for a Masters and eventual PhD, as mentioned previously in this blog), there are several books which have served as "foundation documents," upon which all further study was based. This title from 1921 is one such book. I have the 1949 reprint.

THE Structuralist work on Language, Sapir's book is full of important stuff; of that, there is no doubt. For me, highlights include
  • chapter 7 on Language Drift, and in particular page 167's brilliant answer, once and for all, to the ridiculous insistence of grammarians regarding the use in "proper" English of "This is HE." All grammar nazis should be REQUIRED to read this one page over and over again and then SHUT UP regarding all debates over the use of I and Me, He or She and Him or Her in this and related English language sentences!
  • chapter 10's discussion of Language, Race and Culture, ESPECIALLY Sapir's distinction between culture and language on page 218, and his insistence on why the two are not necessarily intertwined to the degree that we might think today
  • his concluding statement for the entire book on page 231 regarding language and artistic creativity in any one cultural context

96. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead by Brene Brown

I read this book at the uber-enthusiastic suggestion of my very close friend Twyla, whom I might have mention in this blog; I don't remember...

This was a very quick read for me, probably because most of the book did not in the end resonate with my own personal life journey right now. I had great hopes that it would, based on various quotes and reviews that Twyla shared with me during a recent phone conversation. Disappointingly, for me, that was not the case. However, there was definitely good stuff in this book, and I will mention a couple things that DID resonate with my own life:
  • Beyond the title's suggestion regarding the importance of allowing oneself to be vulnerable in life and career interactions, the ideas of CONNECTION AND ENGAGEMENT IN THE MOMENT of whatever one is doing were the biggest take-aways for me during my reading experience. For example, at the end of a romantic breakup I experienced in June, my then ex- refused to really engage in the emotions of what was going on at the time. She literally removed herself from the situation by making a conscious decision to put up a wall and not feel anything after she decided to break up with me, and as such, the breakup process for me was like trying to communicate my emotions to a wall, to something inanimate instead of a real live, breathing human being. I should have seen warning signs based on a partial unwillingness to engage in "heavy emotions" earlier in the relationship. Contrast this to a later breakup I experienced with another woman at the end of the summer, who was completely engaged and connected to me emotionally during the ending of our 1-month dating relationship. Communication with this second woman, though painful, was much more authentic and memorable in the end, though I knew her for a much shorter period of time and had shared far less with her than the first woman. All because of different levels of connection, engagement, and vulnerability. Interesting stuff.
  • page 102's discussion regarding the difference between the way "most guys" are and the way ASSHOLE GUYS are. It was great to see this in writing. Every woman attempting to date in an urban environment today (New York City, for example) should be required to read this story and realize that not every guy out there is an asshole!

97. I Don't Know What I Want, But I Know It's Not This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work by Julie Jansen

This book is a re-read. I think I picked up my first copy at The Strand. This copy was found on the street the same day I read it. No joke. I love my neighborhood. Since it directly pertains to my personal life journey right now, it seemed a super-appropriate addition to the current Challenge.

There are many writing exercises in this book that I dispensed with, first because I write regularly in my journal and many of the exercises would not have helped me to clarify what I need to work on clarifying in my life right now. Secondly, I needed to finish reading this book for my Challenge, so I did dogear many pages with the intention of perhaps coming back and revisiting the writing exercises at a later date, if I feel that they might help me down the road.

For me, highlights of this book included:
  • composing a vision statement (a writing exercise that I will definitely return to -- most likely in my journal as opposed to in the limited space provided in the book)
  • page 175's Checklist of 26 Things to Do When Starting a Business
  • page 199's Ten Keys to Success (nothing new here, but a nice distillation of conventional wisdom, and it is helpful to see this stuff in writing over and over again!)
  • recommendations for other books to read as I clarify my life direction (I love when this happens, though if this current Reading Challenge has taught me anything, it would be that after a certain point, most books begin to repeat what other books have already said, and the reader needs to just stop reading AND START DOING -- start acting on the changes that the reader wants to make in his or her life...!)

98. Iron John: A Book About Men by Robert Bly

I dug this book out of a bin in my basement last week when I remembered it and realized that it would be completely appropriate as one of the final entries in this Reading Challenge. My copy was purchased somewhere in England during the summer or fall of 1993, when I was studying several broads at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and traveling around England, Scotland and Wales on a Britrail pass.

If you are into Joseph Campbell / pop folklore and mythology books delving into the resonance of these ancient, mainly Eurocentric, stories and modern Western society, this is a great book to get. Particularly if you are A MAN, the intended readership for this particular title. Yes, I imagine women interested in the field, or interested in understanding a particularly deep-thinking and deep-feeling romantic partner, might get a lot out of this book, but you are not the intended audience for this work. Sorry, sister.

First and foremost, this is a book by A MAN, written FOR MEN. Hence the subtitle of the book...

Really, though, the subtitle should be "A Book for Men Who Want to Take the Time to Psychologically Explore Their Souls and Connect to a Universal Masculine Energy That Is Sorely Lacking in Today's World." In my experience, most men do not think THIS deeply about their lives, and so I imagine that most men would not even remotely be interested in this book if they were to know what it is about prior to reading.

Still, I am a VERY deep thinking man, and for me, this is good shit. I will leave it at that, because I have one more day of reviews to write and very little time to do that.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you leave me a spam comment, it will immediately be removed. I will never EVER leave your comment in place on my blog. It will be permanently deleted in minutes.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.