Choosing books that reflect strengths like Intellection and Learner are hard. Isn’t any book in which you learn something counted as a book that reflects Learner? The following books are ones that were pivotal to learning something that changed the way we work as a family. They were read as a response to something or an interest in something that then shaped my thinking in bigger ways.
Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein
We are in the midst of the dichotomy of tutus-in-the-mud culture. Bea loves playing princess. She is also known as the biggest risk taker in the cul-de-sac on her bike. We have girly girls who have scrapes and bruises from their wild adventures. I think raising girls right now is pretty cool – they can truly be anything. Even though I love this stage, moms of boys definitely make me insecure about my girls. I get comments about how much easier boys are or how much more fun playing trucks is to playing princess. This book helped me embrace my girls. Orenstein gave facts and well-researched information about raising girls in this era and it took away a lot of the unknown scariness for me.
You Learn By Living by Eleanor Roosevelt
This series of essays is filled with advice about parenting, being a good human, and living in a world that is dependent on each other. Roosevelt certainly comes from a background and lifestyle that I’ll never experience, but her advice is practical and timeless. I learned a lot and was reminded that some of the most important things we can do as parents is listen and expose our kids to a bigger story.
A Place of My Own by Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan is known for his books about the food industry – which I love. But this one is about his experience building his own writing house from the foundation up. I learned so much about the practical work of constructing a building. And, since it’s Pollan, I learn about the American history of architecture. Why certain styles have remained popular and where our national aesthetic originates. This was a subject which I knew nothing about and hardly applies at all to my daily life, other than the fact that I live in a house. Perhaps that’s why I loved it so much – I learned something completely new.
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
I enjoy Gladwell’s approach to teaching psychology through storytelling. His style is easy to read and engaging. This is probably my favorite of his recent books, as it applies to a lot of our current conversations. School choice, class size, racial discrimination. Gladwell covers it all, and uncovers come common misconceptions. This book has helped us reframe some of our decisions about what we look for in schools and how we approach other big-little problems.
Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey
I read this when businesses were being demonized. Written by the founder of Whole Foods, it is definitely biased toward capitalism and business. But, Mackey also talks about a new way of doing business – a way that is not solely about the bottom line. It’s a dream about combining environmentalism, social justice, and the reality that we live in a capitalistic society. I’m not sure how much is true. I’ve certainly felt like Whole Foods is big business, however I learned a lot about how businesses are run and the decision making behind a lot of choices.
What are some of your favorite books that you’ve learned something totally new or different? How do you choose books that help you learn?
This post is Day 16 of the Write 31 Day Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the StrengthsFinder test. You can find the entire series over at Live Your Strengths page.