What books inspire you?
Every August I recommend some books that I have found interesting or inspiring. Here are a few of the books that have caught my attention in the last 12 months.
Gift from the sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh – I wrote about this book in a recent Inspire but, for those who missed it, I thought I would mention it again. I read it twice (it is a very thin book), as it is so profound and inspiring. Anne wrote it in 1955 as a journal never meaning for it to be published but the more she spoke to people about her ideas, the more they wanted to read it, so it was published and it is still in print. It was written during a two week break from her family of five and work commitments, when she rented a small cottage on an island off the coast of Florida.
As I wrote in May, the book chronicles her thoughts on modern life in 1950s America. However, it resonates with many modern day difficulties, especially as the complexity of the 1950s ‘modern life' that she talks about has increased perhaps a hundredfold in the 21st Century. Here is the last paragraph of the book … you will need to read the rest of the book to gain the inspiration to be able to work side by side with others to solve the world, or even our own, problems….
‘Much of this exploration and new awareness is uncomfortable and painful for both men and women. Growth in awareness has always been painful. (one need only remember one's own adolescence or watch one's adolescent children). But it does lead to greater independence and, eventually, cooperation in action. For the enormous problems that face the world today, in both private and the public sphere, cannot be solved by women – or by men – alone. They can only be surmounted by men and women side by side.'
What I would have liked to have known at 18 by Daniel Gregory & Marty Wilson – What would you tell your 18 year old self, what words of wisdom have you gleaned in the intervening years that you would like to pass onto others. I liked this book, not only for the inspiration that came from the individuals from around the world and from all walks of life who answered the question, but I was also fascinated by the photos of the 18 year old selves and the fact that, depending on the era, 18 year olds look so very different.
‘You'd be surprised at how tough you are. You don't realise what you can get through if you have to.' Andrew Hampson, 40, ran marathons and triathlons until at 22, a rugby injury confined him to a wheelchair for life.
Having read the book, I then pondered on what I would say to my 18 year old self, and then thought, what would my 60 year old self say to me as a 46 year old? You might like to try this as an exercise. Choose whatever timescale is suitable for you.
I have been in email contact with one of the authors to find out how to get hold of copies in the UK, as it is not currently available here, which is a shame. Do visit their website by clicking here where you can download e-cards from the book, find some back stories and buy the book from their e-store. Also they are looking for input on ‘What I wish I knew about leadership', so if you would like to contribute to that book then get in touch with them via their website.
The monk who gave up his Ferrari by Robin Sharma – I was in two minds as to whether to recommend this book, although many people rate it highly and some organisations have used its principles. Here is why I would recommend it: it is a good starting point for many people who are just beginning on the road of self development, (and for people like myself who need reminding) to learn about some of the essentials in life in terms of mastering your mind and realising your dreams.
However, there are two things that irritated me about the book. Firstly, I found that it was poorly written, the story appears to be constructed purely to thread together the points the author wants to put across. This is unlike similar books I've read, which are well crafted stories and a joy to read. I also don't know of any sages who have such a complicated set of techniques and ideas for reaching the highest state of life. Most aim for simplicity in order to do this, so again it lacked credibility. Yes, I know it was just a story but it needs to have some credibility!
But the points are worthwhile learning or reminding yourself about and checking that you are putting them into practice in your life – hence it made it onto this list!
‘Enlightened thinkers know that their thoughts form their world and the quality of one's life comes down to the richness of one's thoughts. If you want to live a more peaceful, meaningful life, you must think more peaceful, more meaningful thoughts.'
‘You will never be able to hit a target that you cannot see.'
If you have read this, what are your views on it?
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers by Sean Covey. If you liked Sean's father's book, ‘The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People' and you have children then this is a great book. He has taken the same principles and applied it to teenagers. He draws on his own experiences as a teenager growing up with Stephen Covey as a father (!) and other teenagers' stories. It is very accessible and easy to read. If you have a teenager, my advice would be to read it yourself first of all and put the principles into practice in your own life, before giving it to your teenager. Then you can model the behaviours and support them in changing.
Franklin Covey is starting to run programmes in UK schools based on this book, which can only be a positive move.
Do you need coaching or training support to assist you in putting ideas into action? We provide consultancy advice, training and coaching. For more information or to discuss anything in confidence please call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email by clicking here. For more information about Grovelands visit our website by clicking here.