Clutterfree with Kids Book Review

Author: Joshua Becker
Book Link

I’ll admit, this is the second time I’ve read through this book.

The first time was just before kids and I was curious to see how my perspective changed since having them. I’ll admit, not much has changed (about clutter… everything else… well…)

Becker does a great job at outlining the ideas behind living a clutter-free household. However, if you’re already familiar with the idea, which my wife and I strive to be, there will be a few good nuggets of wisdom in here, but nothing groundbreaking.

It would probably be best to start with the author’s blog where you’ll find a ton of great articles. If the task of reading through it all seems overwhelming and you’re looking at your house going, “I really need to get rid of this stuff,” then make the jump into the book.

Here were a few choice quotes that I gleamed this time around:

“As soon as you start thinking about the end of your life, you begin to live differently in the present.”

“Turn off the television. Go outside. Live life, don’t just watch it.”

“Why would I want what everyone else has when they all want what I already possess?”

“Parenting is 100% parents trying to shape lives and 100% children choosing their own life.”

This book is a good foray into the world of living with less and proving it can be done with families living in the suburbs.

However, consider it more of an introduction manual than an advanced course.

Turning Pro Book Review

Author: Steven Pressfield
Book Link

As someone who reads The War of Art by Pressfield every year, I’ve grown quite attached to his writing.

Turning Pro was another attempt at an evergreen book that calls each of us to our higher selves. It doesn’t take long to read and that is for two reasons:

1. It’s not that long of a book.
2. Once you get started, you don’t want to stop.

Turning Pro is a look at the world between an amateur and a professional. It speaks about how the world looks when we live within our shadow selves and how it looks when we move towards our true calling.

The words amateur and pro are merely his terms for a life before self-revelation and life afterwards.

To be honest, it’s one of the most religious books I’ve read without being a book about religion (although he does speak about religious imagery and dips a bit into the Kabbalah near the end).

I could almost highlight the entire book, but here are a few choice quotes:

“The pain of being human is that we’re all angels imprisoned in vessels of flesh”

“The amateur fears that if he turns pro and lives out his calling, he will have to live up to who he really is and what he is truly capable of.”

“The payoff of living in the past or the future is you never have to do work in the present.”

If you’ve never been introduced to the works of Pressfield, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start. At the very least, you’ll see firsthand some beautiful writing that resonates with every human being.

Luna Book Review

I picked up this science-fiction curiosity out of interest since others who reviewed it stated it was like “The Martian,” another book I thoroughly enjoyed.

This doesn’t quite have the cleverness of “The Martian,” but it stands up in its own right.

The story starts right away with the Earth getting nuked several times over. Who caused it?

No one knows for certain, but once a nuke is in the air, retaliation occurs and it’s game over for humanity. The people who have a front-row seat to the firework show is a crew of military personnel heading to the moon where a space base has been built.

The perspective follows one of the crew members, Max Hardy, who seems to be able to do it all without breaking a sweat. Then again, larger than life characters don’t bother me if I’m just looking for good entertainment.

While the book kept my interest at the beginning, it took a while for me to really get hooked. After that point, I was all-in and reveled at how situations were taken care of and how problems were dealt with. Whited did a great job of never prolonging anything longer than needed and for that, I’m thankful.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree Book Review

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, but picked it up on a whim after reading the first few pages at a bookstore.

First, if you’ve read any articles, blog posts, or books on success principles, there’s no new ground being broken here.

Instead, what Barker offers is a new narrative to deliver the information. Every chapter is loaded with stories, which makes the book a compelling enough read to get through. While the stories appear to be random, he ties them together in a way that fits his points.

At the end of every chapter are the key takeaways and call to action items. You could probably get all the information you need just from those summaries, but then you wouldn’t be quite as entertained.

My favourite section was Barker using Genghis Khan as a positive example of work-life balance and the section on relationships.

Some choice quotes:

“We always think we need more: more help, more motivation, more energy. But in our current world the answer is often the exact
opposite: we need less. Fewer distractions, fewer goals, fewer responsibilities. Is that so we can watch more TV? No. We need less of
those things so we can go all in on our priorities.”

You wouldn’t say “I got my dream job. Whew, now I can stop working,” but people frequently do something akin to this with relationships because “it was meant to be.”

If you’re a motivational junkie who wants another hit, or someone who is just never satisfied with their level of success, the book is worth the read.

Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son Book Review

This book was definitely written for a male audience, in case the title wasn’t an indicator, and you can find it for free just about anywhere.

Aside from the examples given and the language used, you would be hard pressed to figure out this was written in the 1900s. Some of the advice given in this book were true gems and stark reminders that some wisdom is timeless.

Here were a few choice highlights of mine:

“I want to say right here that the easiest way in the world to make enemies is to hire friends.”

“And when a fellow whines that he’s being held down, the truth is, as a general thing, that his boss can’t hold him up.”

“It isn’t what a man knows, but what he thinks he knows that he brags about. Big talk means little knowledge.”

“Education will broaden a narrow mind, but there’s no known cure for a big head.”

Reading it felt like listening to my dad’s lessons to me growing up. While young, I only listened to them in passing and considered his advice from a bygone era. As I aged, I realize how valuable many of those lessons were and relevant to my own life.

That’s what reading the letters felt like most of the time. A dad telling his son, “You think you know what you’re talking about, but you don’t.” Sometimes this isn’t true, but for the most part, it takes most men until their middle ages before they figure out their dad was right.

Oh – if only youth wasn’t wasted on the young!

The book is worth a gander into if you’re willing to pull it apart for your personal use.

Goodbye, Things Book Review

Here we have a look into the world of minimalism from our friends in Japan.

Generally, whenever there’s a book on minimalism, it’s laid out in a three part formula:

1. Person’s life before minimalism
2. Benefits of minimalism
3. Person’s life after minimalism

Somewhere in there is usually some advice on how to take the steps in your own life to cut down on the number of items that you own.

While this book does favour that formula, Sasaki goes deeper into how all aspects of your life are affected when you begin to pair down your possessions. I appreciated his approach as it gave me less anxiety about getting rid of my own stuff that’s just been taking up space.

To copy what he’s doing, however, is not for everyone and he freely admits it. The author, being 35, single and having very few friends, can attempt a few lifestyle choices without repercussion.

Still, there’s a sense of wisdom that can be learned from this book. Not necessarily about minimalism, although that is the springboard, but about happiness in life. For that reason, it kept me engaged until the last page.

What is the Bible?… Book Review

Yes, I know — another book review in such a short amount of time.

I’m posting them as I read and it just so happened I devoured the last few books on my list. The next one will take me a little more time.

Moving on.

This is a book written by Rob Bell, who I feel does an amazing job at delivering the message of religion in a soothing way towards those who are antagonistic towards it. For some great examples, check out his Nooma series.

While his videos and speaking is soothing and reflective, you’ll need to be patient with his writing. He likes to use a lot. Of. One. Word. Sentences.

Sometimes.
On.
Every.
Other.
Line.

Picking up this new release from him, I thought it was going to be along a similar vein as The Bible Tells Me So — also a great read and it’s a direct response to people who go to great lengths to protect and defend the Bible.

Instead, Rob goes into a much broader view with how the many different books are put together. While at the beginning, it can seem like he’s going all over the place, but what you eventually find is he’s been climbing up a mountain with you to show you a 10,000 foot view.

Let me say, the view is spectacular.

I found myself putting down this book several times just to reflect on many of his ideas. Even if it doesn’t inspire you to ever want to read the Bible in your own life, you’ll have a better appreciation for it.

If you take the Bible literally: this is word-for-word, in English, the inerrant Word of God, written by his Holy Hand and is not subject to scrutiny… you will hate this book. You will really hate this book.

The only down point for me was the last section of the book where he attempts to answer common questions people ask. He does a decent job framing the argument, and why the question might not be a valid one to start with, but then leaves it.

For someone with any curiosity, this might not be a bad place to start.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Book Review

First, this is a book of science.

Don’t let the title of the book fool you. Yes, it is a quick read, but if you don’t know the terms, you will need to take your time getting through it. Neil deGrasse Tyson throws a lot at you all at once, so be prepared.

Personally, I love the hell out of physics and astronomy, so this was a no-brainer to put on my shelf. That and being a huge fan of Tyson, I was already going into this book ready to love it.

Each chapter is a quick overview of what we know today about the nature of astrophysics, which, if you like to think big thoughts about the universe, is a total geek fest.

I can’t say for certain whether this book will be enough to convince people to take an interest in the sciences. It appears to attract the people already into it, hence why I picked it up.

However, if you’re willing to show some interest in what we’ve learned as a species over the past five hundred years about the cosmos, it’s worth the read.

Red Rising Book Review

This book was recommended to me by a few students and a colleague.

They promised me it would be amazing and I would love it. Since it takes little to no effort to twist my arm to read something, I put it on hold at the library and waited for my turn.

They were right; I loved it.

(Side note: I love a lot of books, for different reasons, and don’t tend to finish books that can’t keep my interest. Sometimes I’ll get into a book early and will trudge through even if I find it dragging on in hopes it will pick up again. If it doesn’t… I get pretty upset…)

The story follows Darrow, a young man who is among the “Red” color class of society. Red is the lowest caste and they serve the upper castes with the promise of a grand vision for all of society. However, after Darrow’s wife dies, he stumbles upon a secret and an opportunity.

That’s my best summary without giving any spoilers. It’s very easy to spoil any part of this book if you’re not too careful, so I’ll leave it vague.

There was enough to hook me at the beginning, but it really got going for me a third of the way through the book. Then I realized why — the writing style at the beginning was choppy and annoying, but changed as the character changed. I found that to be brilliant.

There’s a war game that dominates most of this book, which focuses on human psychology and the cunning required to not only survive, but thrive. While many characters are introduced, a little too many at once for my liking, you grow attached to Darrow.

You want to see him change. You want to see what he will do next. You want to see him win.
What really stood out, however, was how much this book reminded me of Ender’s Game. I don’t say that lightly because Ender’s Game is still one of my top five books of all time.

It got me turning pages until the end. What more could you ask for in a book?

Book Review: Senlin Ascends

This year I made a goal to read 52 books. One book a week seemed about right for me right now.

While I expected to complete most of this challenge during the summer when I had a more time available, I’m already finished. Yes, I’ll continue to be reading throughout the year, but I wanted to take a minute to talk about book 52.

Senlin Ascends, by Josiah Bancroft, popped up in my Bookbub digest not too long ago. Being a sucker for anything with religious connotation, and intriguing plot lines, I picked it up. It was sitting idle on my Kindle until it was next on my “to-read” list.

Quick Summary: Thomas Senlin, the mild-mannered headmaster of a small village school, is drawn to the Tower of Babel by scientific curiosity and the grandiose promises of a guidebook. When he gets there, he loses his wife and must ascend the tower in search of her.

Holy crap – this book is amazing.

If there are any people out there who think indie publishing is nothing but amateurs who can’t hack it, this book will change your mind. The writing is beautiful, the world is imaginative and you will be desperate to find out how it all ends.

The Tower of Babel is an immense structure with each layer holding its own kingdom and its own self-contained world. To journey through the tower is to be put in contact with the best and worst of humanity and to struggle with what it means to be human. The mysteries stacked on top of each other in this book will keep you turning the pages until you get to the end and cry because there’s a part two.

It’s already on my kindle.

**Note: There are no affiliate links in this review, nor did the author ask me to write this.**