Tuesday, May 22, 2007

You've Got to Read This Book!

Books have the power to change your life.

This is the premise of You’ve Got to Read This Book! by Jack Canfield (author of the Chicken Soup series) and Gay Hendricks (author of Conscious Loving). The right book coming into your life at the right time is transformative. We’ve all read books which provided an “ah-ha” moment, or we’ve read a book that had us so excited we rushed to a friend to tell them about it.

Canfield and Hendricks spoke with 55 people and asked them to tell their stories of a book that changed their lives. The interviewees range from Kenny Loggins to Debbie Macomber, and from Dave Barry to John Gray. The stories are as inspirational to readers as to the storytellers themselves. These stories allow us to stop and think about those books we’ve read which caused us to pause, reflect, and change course, or realize we were on the right track. The special book is as individual as we are, but learning why and how a book changed another person’s life encourages us to look at even light reading with a deeper respect.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Overcome resistance to living the life you love

If you have a passion in your life -- writing, painting, music, sculpting, dancing, acting -- and if this passion is the reason you believe you're alive, then check out The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

One of Pressfield's premises is that we're all MEANT for something, we're each here for some reason, to create something in the world (Eternity is in love with the productions of time) and if we don't live for and through this, then we're wasting our time. He blasts away even the most stubborn and alluring resistances - the excuses we tell ourselves for not doing the work.

This book can rev you up -- it's short (165 pages)and powerful. I breezed through the book in a few hours and felt energized. Pressfield puts art-making in perspective, puts procastination in perspective, and delivers in a direct, conversational tone -- as one human who is trying to live a life that means something to another. I've read a lot of "how to" books and most don't live up to their hype. This one deals with how to overcome the obstacles of ambition and how (and why) to discipline yourself. As much as a cliche as it may sound, it will make a difference in how you look at what you do. Give it to anyone else you know who wants to write, paint, act, dance, compose, and wants to follow their dream.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Train your mind, change your brain, by Sharon Begley

Train your mind, change your brain: how a new science reveals our extraordinary potential to transform ourselves, by Sharon Begley (2007).
I purchased and downloaded this to listen while I quilted, and ended up quilting for longer than I had planned because I wanted to hear about the next study discussed, and the next...The framework for this book about neuropolasticity (it turns out our brains CAN re-map themselves in adulthood) is the Dalai Lama's acute interest in science, and an annual conference he holds at his home in India. As I am also a reader of the Dalai Lama's work that aspect had some interest for me, but it is neuroplasticity that is the focus of this book by science journalist Sharon Begley and that is fascinating me. She describes the years of research and studies that reveal the brain's capacity to change and adapt--if one cortex of the brain is underused for its usual purpose, then it may take on additional "tasks" normally done in a different cortex. The implications for education are enormous, as are the potentials for medical and health therapies. Thoughts and mental processes can change the brain--changing your mind can change your brain.

I also then, had to seek out "The brain that changes itself" by Norman Doidge, and "The mind and the brain, neuroplasticity and the power of mental force, " by Jeffrey Schwartz.