Love the premise of this book: instead of setting accomplishment-oriented goals for yourself, focus on how you want to feel in your life (then, if youLove the premise of this book: instead of setting accomplishment-oriented goals for yourself, focus on how you want to feel in your life (then, if you still want to set goals, you can anchor them to those feelings). I've definitely heard of this concept before, but The Desire Map makes it accessible in a really engaging way. I think it's a great message to focus on what's meaningful for you--what core feelings come together to activate the best version of your self--rather than creating goals oriented to external validation or what you think you're "supposed" to do. The world would probably be a much more awesome place if everyone took this approach, so huge props to Danielle for fronting that revolution!
I loved the whole first half of the book (before the workbook)--Danielle has a really genuine, funny, human voice and brings this idea to life in a way that feels exciting and empowering, even if you cringe a little at people talking about things like "divine femininity" (not really my bag, but I still felt like I could apply her approach to my own, less chocolate,-bangles,-and-Stevie Nicks sensibilities).
Once I got to the workbook, though, I felt like there had already been so much lead-in, so much good food for thought, that I was ready to get to it. The exercises leading up to the actual identification of your "core desired feelings" were a little heavy handed for me (and to be fair, she says to skip whatever you're not feeling)--it felt like the workbook was reaaaaallly trying to stretch the process out to justify itself.
But I did pinpoint some awesome words to describe how I want to feel about my life and myself, and they have stuck with me--they're sort of like custom-made mantras I summon when I'm feeling anxious or disconnected, and easy guiding principles for the decisions I make. And as a word person, I really appreciate having found the right words to bring those "core desired feelings" to life--and I applaud the polished, thoughtful work Danielle has done to help people through that process....more
I am totally obsessed with the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, and this is written by the original creator of the test. There's no quiz contaI am totally obsessed with the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, and this is written by the original creator of the test. There's no quiz contained therein, but you can take short (free) ones in various places online, or find an official testing source and take the real thing. I took the real thing once, many years ago, but the short tests always gives me the same result. I think this one is pretty accurate: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/j... (the Jung Typology Test).
Most people have probably heard of the Myers-Briggs in the context of work. MBA programs love to test their students, and some HR departments test candidates to determine the right "fit" for an organization or role. It's based on the personality theories of Carl Jung, one of the grandfathers of modern psychology, and deals with the different ways in which people take in and process information. And the thing is, the types are scary accurate. I've seen people pick out who's who in a blind list of Myers-Briggs results just by the type descriptions. It's both enlightening (so THAT'S why I'm like that!) and unsettling (how is my personality basically a set of clinically determined characteristics that were identified and written down long before I was born?). But it also feels really important--if we all understood better the differences between each other, after all, we'd avoid a lot of fighting, misunderstandings, and angst. Work would be better about bringing out the best of all types of people, relationships might be less volatile, and communication would be so much easier. It doesn't hurt to dream!
I thought the book was super interesting in terms of talking about how the Myers-Briggs test came about (it was developed as a way to better match women to jobs during WWII, when they first entered the workforce), who Isabel Briggs Myers and her daughter were (surprisingly, they had no psychology training), and how the four-part types are structured. As someone who likes to understand how things work (which is very N of me, natch!), I loved reading about the interplay between the four different parts of a personality type (Introvert/Extrovert, Intuitive/Sensing, Feeling/Thinking, Judging/Perceiving). Each of the four elements means something on its own, but its real meaning for YOU depends on your other three elements and how that element plays out with each of them. The book spends a lot of time describing microcombinations of elements (like NF versus NT, or NF versus SF), which gave me a much deeper understanding of my type and how it differs from other, even pretty similar, types.
Basically, if you're at all interested in Myers-Briggs (or have taken the test), this book is a quick, easy read with a lot of fascinating information about the philosophy and structure behind the system, as well as more extensive detail around each element and type. ...more
Wow--beautifully drawn, vivid characters, stunning language, and a setting so real, you can smell it. I found it a little hard to get into, but once IWow--beautifully drawn, vivid characters, stunning language, and a setting so real, you can smell it. I found it a little hard to get into, but once I did, I was completely engrossed. Then, when I found my way into the last part of the book (which follows the sisters through a span of years in their adulthoods), I kind of fell out of it again. I felt like that section could have been pared down substantially--or even left out altogether. It reminded me of the difference between a movie that ends on a surprising, uncertain note, leaving you to wonder what happened after and whether certain dynamics ever built to something more (which I love), and a movie that goes on to tell you exactly what happened to all the characters and resolves most every plot point (which is what The Poisonwood Bible did). It took a little of the magic out of it for me. I would rather have departed from the Prices at the conclusion of their time in Kilanga and taken their story with me to think about and wonder about beyond the book. I could go on for days about how much I love authors who give their stories over to their readers at just the right moment, rather than holding on and driving the experience through to the very end--but that's another tangent. This book is a magnificent piece of writing, and the characters will stick with you for a long time to come. Definitely recommended....more
I've never read anything like it. Such an incredibly creative concept so well executed when it could have been off-putting and weird. I finished RoomI've never read anything like it. Such an incredibly creative concept so well executed when it could have been off-putting and weird. I finished Room in two days and still can't stop thinking about it....more
I picked up this book after it was passionately recommended to me by an avid reader; I had never heard of Maggie O'Farrell and wasn't quite sure whatI picked up this book after it was passionately recommended to me by an avid reader; I had never heard of Maggie O'Farrell and wasn't quite sure what to expect from the description on the back. Was it a mystery? A love story? An artsy character study?
Actually, it was all three. The book is centered on the story of Alice, a 20-something Londoner who is painted as a quiet, astute observer with a wicked sense of humor and a magnetic presence. The crux is her relationship with John Friedmann, a cerebral but very likable newspaper reporter, and from this center, the story pulses outward into Alice's family history, as far back as her grandmother's girlhood. O'Farrell employs shifting viewpoints in telling her story: sometimes it's told in third-person vignettes of individual characters, and sometimes in the first person of any one of them: Alice's mother, grandmother, John, and Alice herself. The viewpoint changes with varying frequency, and the story it tells is not linear but threaded together in what sometimes seems to be a haphazard fashion but, in the end, isn't at all.
The book opens with the classic main-character-sleepwalking-through-life story: something has happened to Alice, but we don't yet know what it is. She is suspended in the dark depths of sadness, oblivious to the world going on around her. She takes an unplanned trip home to Scotland one day, where she sees something so upsetting in the train station that she turns around and returns straight to London, where she promptly steps in front of a bus and is slammed into a coma. We're never told if it was intentional or not (though the book's other characters generally believe that it was), even during first-person sections from Alice herself. Up to this point, I wavered a bit; the train station scene, when she sees this unknown image that upsets her so much, seemed a bit out of nowhere and overly dramatic, and the beginning premise wasn't all that original. I couldn't yet tell if Alice was going to be an insufferable annoyance or a sympathetic character. What made me stick with it was O'Farrell's gift for imagery--I could see, smell, and feel the things she described in a way that I rarely experience with books.
As the story bore on and the viewpoints started to shift, I was completely drawn in. I know everyone has different criteria for determining what makes an excellent book, and for me, it's the character development. I don't even need much of a plot if the characters are richly drawn; I still miss the characters in most of my favorite books as if they were real people in my life. This was one of those books, and what was most impressive about it was that I didn't see it coming. There weren't many literal, descriptive passages about the characters, and when it came down to it, I didn't really have a "fact sheet" on any of them, even at the end of the book. I got to know these characters in the same way I get to know people in real life: by hearing their stories, watching the way they interact and respond to different settings and situations, and learning about them through one another's perspectives. It felt like O'Farrell created such vivid, multidimensional characters simply by letting them speak through her. They were surprising, complicated, and not always likable, but they were very, very real.
I was particularly intrigued by Alice's mother, Ann, a strangely cold, emotionless personality. I was really impressed with the way O'Farrell avoided making her a totally alienating character--she's not likable, but there's an intense, and intensely sad, humanness just beneath her steely exterior that didn't have to be there--a lesser author would have stopped short.
My willing ride along the unpredictable currents of this book was tempered only by O'Farrell's depiction of her male characters. Maybe I'm just jaded, but I couldn't buy the desperate, obsessive, I-can't-live-without-you throes of love every man in Alice's life seemed to be thrust into within minutes of meeting her. I got that Alice had a bewitching presence about her, but the scenes between her and her suitors--especially those first few meetings with John--were a bit much. I found myself rolling my eyes and thinking, "Give me a break."
But O'Farrell's ability to paint her characters and their relationships with such emotion and depth made After You'd Gone an unforgettable book, and an absolutely beautiful, heartbreaking, perfect ending sealed the deal for me. I highly recommend for those who want an engrossing (and therefore relatively quick) read, or for those who, like me, love to get washed away in nostalgia for their favorite written characters....more