It’s been a long time since I had a post in my series of posts Audiobooks and Podcasts. So I thought my first post of 2020 would be a recap of some of my favorite audiobook listens in 2019.
I constantly listen to audiobooks, especially on my twice a day dog walks and while crafting. Occasionally I listen to fiction but my favorite genre is non fiction, especially books related to personal growth.
Below I share my favorite listens in 2019 along with a link to the Publishers Weekly or or Amazon.com book review; and a quote from the book that resonated with me.
“Souls have deep connections and unique contracts that span centuries, exist back and forth in time, and bind us in ways we can’t really understand…. These connections are ancient and everlasting, and they already exist in our hearts, even if we’re not always aware of them.”
“Digital Minimalism A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.”
“Unless one is unconcerned by other people’s judgments, has no fear of being disliked by other people, and pays the cost that one might never be recognized, one will never be able to follow through in one’s own way of living. That is to say, one will not be able to be free.”
“Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. It comes from gratitude for what’s good in our lives and from leaning in to the suck. It comes from analyzing how we process grief and from simply accepting that grief. Sometimes we have less control than we think. Other times we have more. I learned that when life pulls you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again.”
I discussed this book in my 2/16/19 post Soup’s On
“When real transformation does occur in someone’s life, it usually happens through evolution, not revolution. Every time we make a choice to confront our fear, our character evolves and we become more courageous. Every time we make a choice to move through pain to pursue a purpose larger than ourselves, our character evolves and we become wiser. Every time we make a choice to move through suffering, our character evolves and we become stronger.”
Have you ever wondered why suddenly you are upset or struggling with something and you do not understand why? Well it could be the “Ghost Children“…
Throughout 2018, nearly non-stop, I’ve been listening to non-fiction audiobooks (with a couple science fiction audiobooks peppered in).
Here is a list of many of the non-fiction audiobooks (all borrowed from my public library) that occupied my ears the past 8+ months:
I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual – Luvvie Ajayi
Awakening Your Ikigai: How the Japanese Wake Up to Joy and Purpose Every Day – Ken Mogi
Eat Fat, Get Thin – Mark Hyman
Living an Examined Life: Wisdom for the Second Half of the Journey – James Holli
Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life – Bill Burnett
You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want – Sarah Knight
The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain – Steven Gundry
The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact – Chip Heath and Dan Heath
The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations – Oprah Winfrey
Nudge: Improve Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness – Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing – Daniel Pink
Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success with the Secrets of the ADHD Brain – Peter Shankman
Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People – Vanessa Van Edwards
This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide – Geneen Roth
Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself – Mark Epstein
Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More – Courtney Carver
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen – Donald Miller
You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth – Jen Sicero
Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice – Brene Brown
Yes Please – Amy Poehler
Fail Until You Don’t – Bobby Bones
The Art of Mingling: Fun and Proven Techniques for Mastering Any Room – Jeanne Martinet
The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron
Between my daily walks (3 – 4+ miles a day), road trips, cross country plane rides, and sewing marathons, I’ve knocked off a lot of audiobooks so far in 2018.
Most of these audiobooks were highly engaging, filled with many useful ideas, tips, and inspirations; however one audiobook really stood out: Geneen Roth’s This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide.
While listening to this audiobook, read by the author, I was introduced to the concept of “Ghost Children“. According to Geneen Roth, “Ghost Children” are the stories we repeatedly tell ourselves based on an unhealed/hurt part of us that believes things such as we’re not good enough, we are unlovable, we are not worthy – because at some point in our life, many times in childhood, we had unmet needsor a hurt which are still seeking to get comfort from.
Geneen Roth has done a lot of work with women who emotionally overeat (she holds workshops and has written books focused on this topic) and she ties the “Ghost Children” concept to why people emotionally overeat to comfort their hurting “Ghost Children” but I clearly saw a connection to other behaviors.
This connection helped me during a difficult time on a recent business trip attending a conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Las Vegas and the “Ghost Children”
I work in the healthcare industry and I attended a healthcare industry software related conference in late July/early August held at the Aria Hotel’s Conference Center in Las Vegas, NV.
The healthcare software company sponsoring the conference was very generous to its attendees to include providing a private Train concert on one of the conference evenings, at the Brooklyn Bowl. I was very excited about this concert as I’ve like the band Train (Drops of Jupiter, Meet Virginia, Calling All Angels) since they first came out with their song Drops of Jupiter in 2001.
Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) accompanied me on the trip to Las Vegas and I confirmed with someone at the conference registration desk that he could also attend the conference. He is also a long time fan of the band Train, so I was excited to share this private concert with him which also included an open bar and food (as I said the sponsoring software conference company was very generous).
So the evening came for the concert and TTQH headed to the tour bus set up for conference attendees to be transported to the Brooklyn Bowl for the concert. While on line to load the bus, we discovered that only conference attendees with conference badges could get on the bus and attend the conference. TTQH was not able to attend with me.
We were in shock and incredibly disappointed as I had verified with the conference registration desk that he could attend, only to find out that the staff at the registration desk very misinformed. I was torn – on one hand I wanted to go to the concert on the other hand I did not want to just leave TTQH behind at the hotel with this sudden dispointment.
TTQH is a very enlightened and well-adjusted person (one of us has to be in the marriage – ha!) and he quickly recovered from the disappointment and strongly insisted that I just attend alone and have a great time.
So I got back in line and then got on the tour bus. The tour bus was filling up quickly and people were filling every available seat. Except in my row. No one sat with me. (This was likely because I had a very sad look on my face as I was so disappointed I could not share the concert experience with TTQH). The last person got on the bus and sat with the last seat available besides the one next to me.
So the entire bus was filled, except for the seat next to me. Before I knew it I was quietly sobbing to myself on the bus ride to the Brooklyn Bowl and did not know why.
But – I remembered the audiobook I had recently finished, This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide , and realized one of my “Ghost Children” had popped up!
When I was around 10 years old my parents had a major disagreement with other parents in the neighborhood and, unknown to me at the time, the other neighborhood parents had told their children not to play with me. For a couple weeks, none of my regular friends in the neighborhood, who I played with everyday after school, would play with me. They all ignored me.
I did not understand why and as you could imagine this was fairly traumatic for a 10 year old who was used to playing with most of the kids on my block for many years. Finally one of the children was kind enough to pull me aside and tell me what happened. It was a very upsetting and frustrating experience as I was being punished for something I did not do and I was now an outsider/outcast from my long-time playmates. It is one of those feelings you never forget and I guess it eventually became one of my “Ghost Children”.
Realizing where my sudden painful feelings were coming from as I sat alone on the bus (no one wanting to sit with me), helped me pull myself together. I decided: “yes I am attending this concert alone, but I am going to have a fun time and find a group of people to hang out with during the concert”. There is so much power in awareness of where an emotion/reaction is coming from – it gives you options on how you react.
And this is exactly what I did. Upon arrival, I asked a group of women if I could hang with them for the evening and eventually ended up in another group and had a wonderful time – a “Ghost Children” free evening!
The Train concert was incredible (I sat close to the stage in an elevated area of the bar to the right of the stage) and got to connect with some wonderful people before the concert and during. I learned some new trivia about some of their songs from another concert attendee: the lead singer, Pat Monahan wrote Drops of Jupiter about the death of his mother (now some of the lyrics I never understood make sense).
Here is a little excerpt from the concert (which was only open to concert attendees) – Train performing Lost and Found (I finally learned how to upload videos to YouTube):
I love the lyrics in this song (excerpt from Google):
My dad said son, one Day we’ll have a drink together You’re young You got to take your time Just trust Let me raise you right, and later We can raise a glass to life, and say
Here’s to the time we have Here’s to the lines we crossed Here’s to the ones we’re waiting on And the ones we lost Here’s to the time we have Thank God for what we got Here’s to the ones we’re waiting on, and the ones we lost
And found, the ones who stick around
Lost and found, the ones who stick around
I feel like writing Geneen Roth, the author of This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide, and thanking her for introducing me to the “Ghost Children” concept. Thanks to what I learned from her book I was able to reset a moment and turn it around.
You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. It’s possible to treat yourself with outrageous kindness beginning today.― Geneen Roth
During the conference I got to attend my first TED Talks/TED Salon and that was a very cool experience.
The TED Talks were focused on the future of health care. It was amazing after years of watching TED Talks online to see how formally TED Talks are filmed. There are hosts that coach the audience on etiquette for the Talk once filming starts.
The six speakers who talks about moving health care forward were amazing and here is a post on the TED Blog I found about the event:
By the way – I’ve finally finished my intense work on the secret art quilt project for a future WCQN show that is not yet announced. I am taking a little break from “creating” and then in the near future I will return to sharing what is on my design wall as I used to do in my What’s on the Design Wall series of posts.
If you have followed my blog for a while you know how much I love nonfiction “self-help” and “self improvement” genre audiobooks. The last couple of months I took a break from nonfiction and listened to several science fiction audiobooks – Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem and The Dark Forest. These were excellent books/stories with excellent audiobook narrators, however I began to crave a little nonfiction audiobook in the mix.
I heard about the commencement speech by Naval Admiral William H. McRaven (retired) in which he shares life lessons from his Navy Seal training, beginning with “make you bed every morning”. When I saw my local library had his book on audiobook I had to reserve it.
I really enjoyed the audiobook (read by the author) and the details of the stories he shared from his Navy Seal training that led him to form his 10 Life Lessons:
10 Life Lessons from Basic SEAL Training
If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.
If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.
If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.
If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.
If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.
If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.
If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.
If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.
If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.
Here is a link to the commencement speech he gave in 2014 at the University of Texas at Austin – University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement Address – Admiral William H. McRaven, in which he addresses these 10 life lessons. In his speech he gives a very abbreviated version of each lesson – in the book he really fleshes out the story behind each lesson in a very engaging manner. At the end of the book he shares the original commencement speech that led to the book but for me it did not compare to the richness and depth of stories in the book providing the background to each of his life lessons.
One of my favorites of his life lessons is: “If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.” You will have to either read the book or watch the commencement speech to find out what he means by “sugar cookie”! I have so much respect for those who can endure Navy Seal training in order to serve our country. It seems impossibly grueling!
We already make our bed each morning, as it just looks better up, made but Admiral McRaven opened my eyes to the true power of making your bed each morning!
I am in love with the author Neil Gaiman. Unabashedly in love.
My love is not in a crazy obsessed “fan girl” sort of way (I have no plans to stalk him at Science Fiction conventions). My love is more a deep awe and respect for him as a writer and his incredible creative mind.
He is my favorite fantasy/science fiction/horror writer. His work transcends genre and I am not sure where he neatly fits. His writing is like HP Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, J.R.R. Tolkien and Douglas Adams were locked in a room together until they created something wonderful.
I have read many of his works, some of my favorites being:
Trigger Warning (2015) – a collection of his short stories
American Gods (2002)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane (2013)
I have also read some of the Sandman series of graphic (illustrated) novels.
Most of Gaiman’s novels, I have listened to on audiobook. I remember several of them (if not all) being narrated by Neil Gaiman himself – my favorite type of audiobook to listen to: where the author reads their own work. Neil Gaiman has a delightful British accent and the timbre of his voice is nearly hypnotic as he shares his tales.
Before I started on a path, a couple years ago, of primarily reading/listening to nonfiction books, I only read or listened to fiction.
My favorite genre of fiction is Science Fiction and I love when it mixes with Fantasy (like a Tolkien or Fairy Tale flavor) or Horror (like an H.P. Lovecraft flavor).
I am currently listening to my first nonfiction book of Neil Gaiman – The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction (2016). It is an excellent collection of his essays and speeches and narrated of course by Neil himself.
Neil Gaiman is a kindred spirit of mine related to his love of public libraries and bookstores. He shares in The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction (2016), wonderful stories of summers in the library as a child. He also pleads and lobbies for the protection/preservation of public libraries in the UK (where it sounds like they are in danger). He discusses how important libraries are in creating and fostering a literate society; and that reading fiction as children develops their creativity.
I am only 5 essays into the book but I am also enjoying the stories behind the development of some of his greatest works to include American Gods (2002). He also discusses his evolution as a writer and the sources of his inspiration.
Neil Gaiman is a huge fan of Ray Bradbury and in the preface/instruction to his book Trigger Warning (2015) he shares how Ray Bradbury inspires him and how he got to meet his childhood hero. I have read several of Ray Bradbury’s novels (including the mandatory Fahrenheit 451 required in my high school) but now I have a longing to return as an adult and an experienced reader to the science fiction classic and revisit them.
Thinking about taking a break from nonfiction, self-improvement books for a while and lose myself in worlds created by brilliant authors.
So what are YOU reading these days and what authors have you fallen hopeless in love with?
Hope your week has gone well. It is nearly the weekend and time for “power crafting” or just relaxing. Thought I would share an update on audiobooks and physical books that I have mentioned in recent posts (all borrowed from my local library).
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes – I first mentioned this audiobook in my post Embracing the “Yes”. Last week, I finished this wonderful audiobook and I highly recommend it. It is read by the author which makes the book even more wonderful. Shonda Rhimes (writer/producer of shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal) authentically shares her struggles to break from her extreme introversion and embrace life. She shares some exceptional stories, experiences, and life lessons with humor, humility and grace. The audiobook also includes the recording of the incredible commencement speech she gave at her alma mater, Dartmouth College as well as several other highly inspirational speeches. She also delves into some of the autobiographical stories weaved into the plot of her shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. Little did the TV viewers realize she was working on her own personal struggles through the storylines of the TV characters. Only problem with listening to this audiobook while on a walk is I had to stop a let out a belly laugh – her excellent television show writing skills are apparent in her book writing skills!
The Here and Now Habit by Hugh Byrne – this is my first time mentioning this audiobook as I started listening to it after finishing Year of Yes. It is not as exciting and engaging as the audiobook I just finished but so far is has wonderful tips on incorporating mindfulness into your life. More thoughts on the book after I finish it.
The Quilter’s Practical Guide to Color by Becky Goldsmith – I have read several books that explore color and fabric selection for quilters, but I think this one of the best. Using many photo examples, the author discusses the color wheel, color schemes, value and contrast, clarity, texture and scale and other interesting and engaging topics related to quilt design. This book also includes several patterns to test out your color and design skills.
Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe by The Patchwork Place – This book had one pattern that engaged me – Tree Quilt – which was made from scrappy free form tree shapes. The rest of the patterns did not interest me though I recognize and appreciate the efforts by the different pattern designer/bloggers that contributed to the book. What I did enjoy was reading the bio of each designer and the website addresses for their blogs! If I had my choice I would just read and look at other crafter blogs all day.
Photo credit: Amazon.com
Photo credit: Amazon.com
Sassy of Schnauzer Snips asked me to post this “public service announcement” for my human readers:
Always listening to audiobooks and podcasts while going on walks or crafting, I wanted to share some interesting recent listens.
I constantly listen to audiobooks and podcasts and wanted to share my recent favorites.
I am fortunate to have a wonderful public library system and use the free Overdrive app to download audiobooks to my phone. Check out my older posts under the category “Audiobook Recommendations” if you would like to see my previous recommendations. Here are my recent favorites:
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald – I understand why this book has received all sorts of accolades. An introverted female British historian loses her beloved father and deals with her grief through training a Goshawk. The author reads the audiobook (I always love this) and weaves the story of her journey through her grief with the history of falconry, the experience of training a hawk, and the story of T.H. White – a falconer who wrote The Once and Future King and The Sword In the Stone (King Arthur/Camelot stories). It was an amazing listen – engaging, interesting, and profound in its beautiful exploration of loss, grief and recovery.
Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner – this book by the same duo of Economists who wrote Freakanomics was highly entertaining and eye opening. It was read by one of the authors Stephen J. Dubner. It was a “Malcolm Gladwell” type of book blending sociology, economics and psychology. Economics is not as boring as it sounds when discussed by these authors!
Ah, the magic of free podcasts! I usually download them from iTunes; and for some podcasts you can listen for free on various websites such as NPR.org. Here are my current favorite podcasts:
TED Radio Hour – This podcast is more than listening to a TED Talk. Each week an engaging topic is presented and discussed by weaving together snippets from related TED talks and interviews with TED talk presenters, experts, and everyday people’s perspectives. Very engaging podcast that always ends too quickly! I have to thank my friend Michele for turning me onto TED talks years ago. I never tire of watching TED talks or listening to this podcast featuring excerpts.
The Moth Podcast – Incredible podcast featuring live storytelling. When I listen to The Moth Radio Hour while walking, sometimes I stop and pause to reflect, laugh out loud, or wipe away a tear. Powerful and engaging story telling. Thanks to my friend Pam for introducing me many years ago to “The Moth”.
The Minimalists Podcast – I love these guys. My friend in Austria introduced me to their website/blog theminimalists.com and I have been hooked! You may realize from my earlier posts that I am working on scaling back my life and focusing on experiences over things. I am very inspired by these two young thirty something guys who realized at an early age that living a meaningful life with less stuff is one of the keys to happiness. A lot of the stuff they discuss I already know but I enjoy the reinforcement.
In addition to podcasts, I am current listening to TWO audiobooks at once (I put them both on hold from the library and they both became available at the same time for a 21 day lending period):
SuperBetter by Jane McGonigal
Good Gut by Justin Sonnenburg
I am enjoying both of them so far and just alternate my listenings!
After spending last couple years primarily listening to Nonfiction audiobooks, 2015 continues to be an enjoyable year of Fiction audiobooks as I focus my audiobook selections to fictional stories. So far all have been excellent. After listening to Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, I delved into Margaret Atwood’s impressive collection of short stories – Stone Mattress: Nine Tales. The book was narrated by the author herself as well as several other wonderful narrators. Several of the short stories are connected in a masterful way and others stand alone. Many deal with themes about aging and empowerment in the face of loss of youth, while others are just marvelous little fantasy stories. After finishing Stone Mattress, I listened to Rene Denfeld’s mind blowing novel The Enchanted: A Novel that provided a lyrical story about life on death row from the perspective of an incarcerated sociopath with profound mental illness. It does not sound like something appealing to listen to but the narration by Jim Frangione is amazing as is the extremely masterful story.
Now you are thinking: “Wait a minute Tierney, the title of this post is Life is Nonfiction: Part IV!” You are right and the actual purpose of this post is to continue sharing the key insights from the list of my favorite nonfiction audiobooks which I began in the post Life is Nonfiction.
So here we go:
Guillebeau, Chris (2010). The art of nonconformity: Set your own rules, live the life you want, and change the world.New York, NY: Penguin Group.
KEY INSIGHT: To live life on your own terms; and that it is okay to give yourself permission do that! I have always felt like I never quite “fit in” and have always considered myself an outsider. This book reinforced it is okay to be an “outsider” and to walk your own unique path. The more I listen to books like this more I am at peace with being an outsider and walking my own path.
Heath, Chip (2013). Decisive: how to make better choices in life and work.New York, NY: Crown Business.
KEY INSIGHT: This audiobook provided great insights on making better choices personally and professionally. I loved the “WRAP” method of decision making discussed in the book: 1) Widen your choices; 2) Reality test your assumptions; 3) Attain distance before deciding; and 4) Prepare to be wrong.
Heath Chip & Health, Dan (2010). Switch: how to change things when when is hard.New York, NY: Books on Tape.
KEY INSIGHT: Looki at change in an optimistic way and honestly examine obstacles to change.
Huffington, Arianna (2014). Thrive: the third metric to redefining success and creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder.New York, NY: Random House.
KEY INSIGHT: This is one of the best nonfiction audiobooks ever in my opinion. The female narrator has a Greek accent to give you the feel that A. Huffington (of The Huffington Post) herself is reading the book to you. This book inspires one to rethink, or think about for the first time what success really means to you personally and professionally. This audiobook inspires you to examine what is actually important in your life. This audiobook importantly encourages you to take care of yourself in a loving manner and to protect yourself from burnout. This audiobook inspired me to get more sleep, which has been a wonderful thing (and has made our miniature schnauzer Sassy very happy as she loves to go to bed as early as possible if you read her blog on Schnauzer Snips).
Kelly, Matthew (2011). Off balance: getting beyond the work-life balance mouth to personal and professional satisfaction. Ashland, OR: Blackstone Audio.
KEY INSIGHT: That work-life balance is a myth! This audiobook inspired me to look beyond that myth and honestly examine where I want to focus my energies in life.
Kingsolver, Barbara (2007). Animal, vegetable, miracle: a year of food life. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.
KEY INSIGHT: In this wonderful book narrated by the author, Barbara Kingsolver takes the reader along with her family’s one year experiment of growing and raising their own food. She shares all the hurdles and challenges to eat “clean” and local in humorous, educational and poignant ways. After reading Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore’s Dilemma years ago I was already conscious about “where does the food I eat actually come from and how it is processed?” This book helped remind me to make wise choices on what food I bring in my house/place on my table/put in my mouth.
Kornfield, Jack & Siegel, Daniel (2011). Mindfulness and the brain.Louisville, KY: Sounds True.
KEY INSIGHT: Why slowing down and being mindful is so important to your mental health. After listening to this audiobook I began to believe in the power of meditation.
McKeown, Greg (2014). Essentialism: the disciplined pursuit of less. New York: Crown Business.
KEY INSIGHT: I already knew you do not need a lot of stuff or achievements to be happy but this audiobook beautifully reinforced this concept. This audiobook made me think about living my life more simply and carefully deciding where I want to put my time and energy.
I hope you experience some of these excellent nonfiction audiobooks for yourself.