I loved the Happiness Project, but I have realized that Rubin is a little regimented for my tastes (and this is who she is and I celebrate that). So iI loved the Happiness Project, but I have realized that Rubin is a little regimented for my tastes (and this is who she is and I celebrate that). So in many ways, I actually loved Better Than Before more than The Happiness Project because while it introduced a new theory (the 4 Tendencies), it didn't require a yearlong plan for happiness. It was more an approach for how to change habits. My friend Sarah turned me on to it when she asked me what my Tendency is, or how I respond to expectations. I'd never thought about it that way before. So I took Rubin's quiz, and when I found out I was an Obliger, it all made a lot more sense (I meet outer expectations, but not inner expectations, which is often why I fail to keep my own habits and resolutions). The tendencies didn't just apply to habits but also how I interact with others (and how I interact, for sure, with my Questioner [or is he a Rebel? he needs to take the quiz] husband). It just brought a lot more things to the light.
Also, I loved how she talked about habits and identity, and how significant identity is to habit formation. When someone in her book said, about eating a low-carb diet, that she didn't want to be a FUSSY eater, or that person at the party who has to bring their own food, I completely identified with that. Rubin responded she doesn't mind being the fussy one. I can't even relate! My obliger-ness dictates that I just want things to be easier, and to go with the flow, which makes creating good habits tricky (because change is not easy, and requires discipline!) I never want to be the fussy one, but I guess I'll have to get just a little bit fussier, especially regarding diet.
Overall, she gave some great ideas about how to counteract your tendency to keep your habits (I need to have external accountability!) and she gave lots of examples for how to do that in different scenarios. It resonated with me, and that's definitely because I'm in the time of my life where I'm going through a lot of change, and want to go through a lot more in order to have, as Rubin's daughter so eloquently put it, "everyday life in Utopia." The changes we make are changes we ultimately believe are good for us and our lives, so establishing habits to make them a regular part of our life is just good practice. ...more
I think Brene Brown's message of using vulnerability and bravery as a way to live your life is incredibly powerful, and we live in a society where beiI think Brene Brown's message of using vulnerability and bravery as a way to live your life is incredibly powerful, and we live in a society where being brave and being vulnerable (and also being self-aware) are not how we normally interact with each other. It's a lot easier to react in anger or fear than the struggle with why you feel that way and how to process through it. Brown's process - The Reckoning, The Rumble, and The Revolution - is a simple path to understanding WHY you're having feelings about a situation (you're angry, insecure, frustrated, irritated, stressed), how you can process them more effectively by "rumbling" with them, how NOT to pass your crap onto other people but instead figure out your own junk through writing/journaling a "shitty first draft" of why you have these feelings, and then understand that all events that happen to you are through the lens of story--the story you tell yourself when you don't know all the facts that may or may not be correct (spoiler alert - it's probably not correct).
I think one of Brown's most powerful tools is that she has NO problem telling stories about herself or her family where she comes off, frankly, looking like a jerk. Which is refreshing, because we all have those times. She shares her vulnerabilities with her reader, and that makes her stories and research really come alive. She shares how she can be petty, or unpleasant, or fearful, or judgmental, and how that looks with family or strangers or students. Then she explains how she rumbled with these feelings (and some of them are pretty entrenched in her psyche) and came out a little better on the other side. She's brave, and we can be brave by digging deeper into our stories, unless we want to repeat these stories forever (and most of our stories aren't that great to begin with!)
I loved the Gifts of Imperfection, was a little whelmed by Daring Greatly, but I really enjoyed this book (and I listened to it on audiobook, and that was a welcome change). I think Brown is a really important voice in how we interact with each other, and her research is invaluable for changing the tenor of our interpersonal conversations. I'm so glad I found her....more
I honestly don't feel very qualified to comments on this book, but I'm glad I read it. Coates daily experience is so completely foreign to me that I sI honestly don't feel very qualified to comments on this book, but I'm glad I read it. Coates daily experience is so completely foreign to me that I simply cannot relate to it. I don't dispute it, I respect his point of view, but it's just so different from my experience. So because of that, I really appreciated the opportunity to hear his words in a letter to his son about his experiences and his point of view. And his words are valid, because they are honest, and they are his. I might disagree with him about how we got here, but that doesn't really matter. He speaks from a place of great pain, frustration, fear for his son (and for a time, for himself), and I think a deep but justified cynicism about our racial future. His language is poetic and powerful (although his cadence got a little repetitive for me). I think he has valuable perspectives that contribute to our conversation on race, especially on how the culture values so little "black bodies" and the harm we accept people doing to black people. And I hadn't thought about it that way before. I recognize my privilege to a certain extent, but I do not appreciate how much I don't have to THINK about my privilege in a way that Coates has thought about it, as a youth growing up in Baltimore and now a grown man with a son of his own. And so it is important to remember that when I'm understanding how I interact with people (especially as I have just moved to Baltimore myself, which is a very different culture than Charlotte), and how i can respond to situations in ways that are more empathetic and understanding.
What's most interesting to me is how my reading this book coincided with reading Brene Brown's Rising Strong, which is about reckoning and rumbling with strong feelings. Her book was not just about how you can use it personally, but how you can use it at work and in your community. This applies to social justice issues just like any interpersonal issue. Just one more tool in my toolbox to increase my awareness and empathy of other people's experiences, and how we all tell ourselves stories, and how those stories affect our interactions with others. I think Coates would appreciate Brown's attempts to start a conversation about social issues that can allow for more honesty, empathy, sensitivity, understanding, and vulnerability, and I think Coates contributed to that as well with this book....more
It was ok. That's about as much enthusiasm as I can generate for the story. Brennert does a great job in describing setting, and Moloka'i is obviouslyIt was ok. That's about as much enthusiasm as I can generate for the story. Brennert does a great job in describing setting, and Moloka'i is obviously beautiful (and he has an obvious fondness for the place), but his characters are all flat to me. There's nothing particularly memorable about them. I didn't feel any sense of dramatic tension. Bad things happen to folks, but I didn't really FEEL it. I mean, poor little Rachel has leprosy, for goodness sake! And yes, it was sad that she was taken away from her family and moved to a remote island, but I never felt her emotions very clearly. I re-read my review for Honolulu, and I had the same problem with it. It just wasn't very deep. So--it was fine...but I'm going to stop reading Brennert. I've got better, more memorable things to read....more