Loneliness is a state of mind

But I wasn’t lonely. Loneliness, I think, has very little to do with location. It’s a state of mind. In the center of every big, bustling city are some of the loneliest people in the world. I’ve never felt that way in space. If anything, because our whole planet was on display just outside the window, I felt even more aware of and connected to the seven billion other people who call it home.

– by Chris Hadfield, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth. Kindle Edition. pg. 218, loc. 2825-2827. Accessed: 3/7/2016

astronaut-chris-hadfield-earth-photo

Photo of Earth from space from the International Space Station during the Expedition 34 mission taken by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. The January 2013 photo shows Newfoundland and Labrador from orbit. Credit: Chris Hadfield/Canadian Space Agency via @Cmdr_Hadfield

 

 

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Reading matter(s) of the month: February, 2016

book list february 2016

There goes the second month of 2016, 09 weeks have passed, and I am happy with my reading habits. I did finish some unfinished books from last year, so that resulted in a high number of books read. But, I also added new books to my never ending “to-read” pile…

The “To-Read” pile of February, 2016:

In February I added a total of 09 books to my “to-read” pile. They are:

  1. The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy  by Chris Bailey => I’ve been wanting to improve my focus because I still get distracted by little things, specially social media
  2. Yoga Anatomy, Second Edition  by Leslie Kaminoff, Amy Matthews => This book is an illustrated guide to Yoga and it seems there’s no digital edition available. It’s more like a “someday/maybe” book for me right now.
  3. The More of Less: Find the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker => that’s a new book from Joshua that will come out this month. I hope it will inspire my minimalism project.
  4. What To Say When You Talk To Your Self  by Shad Helmstetter => this seems an interesting read to address the voices in my head.
  5. Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body  by Jo Marchant =>I read an article about this book this month and her research investigates the influence of our minds over our bodies: a topic I want to explore.
  6. Everything That Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists  by Joshua Fields Millburn, Ryan Nicodemus =>a book from The Minimalists on why to become a minimalist. Their podcast is awesome!
  7. enough  by Patrick Rhone =>another book into the “minimalist” theme: I think it was a recommendation I heard on The Minimalists podcast.
  8. How to Be Alive: No Impact Man’s Guide to a High Impact Life by Colin Beavan => a book on the theme of zero waste living: another topic I want to explore more.
  9. Zero World by Jason M. Hough => the only fiction book on this list, it’s a sci-fi thriller recommended by Felicia Day that I saw on Goodreads. I think it’s worth a try!

The “Read” list of February, 2016:

This month I wanted to read and/or finish some books that have been on my pile for way too long. I think I did a great job, I am happy with this list!

read books of february 2016

  1. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury => a classic that was on my Kindle waiting to be read. Enjoyable.
  2. The Freedom Handbook: An Incomplete Guide to a More Complete Life  by Jeff Hirz =>a very short book that was also forgotten on my Kindle.
  3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (25th Anniversary Edition) by Stephen R. Covey =>I started reading this book last year and put it down many, many times… I wanted to read it because almost everybody that is into productivity cites this book. I wasn’t impressed, really.
  4. Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness: One-Minute Tips for Decluttering and Refreshing Your Home and Your Life by Donna Smallin =>I love reading about organization and decluttering tips and this was a fast read on the subject.
  5. Delicacy: A Novel by David Foenkinos =>I finished a French book! Yay! I read this in its original version: achievement unlocked 🙂

The “I started reading but haven’t finished yet” pile of February, 2016:

  1. The Pillars of the World (Tir Alainn, #1)  by Anne Bishop => This book in the pick of the month of the Vaginal Fantasy book club, on Goodreads (it’s a book club for romance genre books with strong female lead characters). It sounds interesting!
  2. L’île mystérieuse by Jules Verne => I chose this book as my French reading practice this month, but I am already regretting it. It’s a very long book, and the pace is too slow for my taste, although I love Julio Verne. Maybe I’ll leave it and change to another one…just saying…

And, since March has already started, a quick update: I started reading “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” by canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. I’m just loving it!

 

Reading matter(s) of the month: January, 2016

I will start a monthly series of posts with a review of my “reading matters” of the month. It is just a way of celebrating my achievements, sharing books recommendations and (maybe) helping others make their “to-read” piles even bigger (I’m sorry!).

to-read pile 2016-02-03

The “To-Read” pile of January, 2016:

So, since last month marked the beginning of a new year, I actually did a huge list of all the books I want to read in 2016 focused on personal development. For 2016 I have the goal of changing my habits, improving my GTD system and read more non-fiction books, including biographies (which I rarely read). The list contains books I have already added years ago, so this month I am going to share a (huge) list that contains not only the books I added in January, but also older ones, in no particular order:
  1. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande => GTD related because it talks about checklist. I think it can be very useful to my GTD system.
  2. The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life by Thomas M. Sterner => I think I saw a recommendation of this book on a Lifehacker post. It’s always good to know how to focus.
  3. Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondō => last year I read her first book and made huge changes in life. This the second one: I am looking forward to reading it (it was illustrations!!)
  4. Elon Musk: Inventing the Future by Ashlee Vance => a must read biography (or so I’ve been told) because I am huge fan of Elon Musk.
  5. The Mindful Geek: Secular Meditation for Smart Skeptics by Michael Taft => Part of my quest to dive deeper into meditation.
  6. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi => I am really curious to know about “THE FLOW” and how to get there.
  7. The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption by Clay A. Johnson => I think it might contain some valuable information on how to deal with lots of information.
  8. The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin => another one about how to deal with too much information.
  9. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem => the first of the Book Club about Feminism created by Emma Watson called “Our Shared Shelf” (check it out on Goodreads). I will be a little behind the schedule, because this was their January pick.
  10. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell => I am always interested on the success of the non-conventional.
  11. The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor by Mark Schatzker => I want to know what’s inside processed food (and be scared!)
  12. Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal by Nick Bilton => I want to know how the 140 character revolution started.
  13. Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis => a little bit of optimist is always good!
  14. Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss => Another one o get a little scared about the food industry.
  15. The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson => this book has been on my list for a long time now!
  16. Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy and the New Science of Desire by Martin Lindstrom => Consumption or Consumerism?
  17. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield => I am a huge fan of Chris Hadfield!
  18. Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing “Hoax” (Wiley Bad Science Series) by Philip Plait => I love Philip Plait blogs and videos (his series Crash Course Astronomy was amazing!)
  19. Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium by Carl Sagan => one of my favorite authors!
  20. Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet by Katie Hafner by Matthew Lyon => I want to know how the internet came to be.
  21. The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow => a friend of mine recommend me this almost a decade ago. I think it’s time for me to read it!
  22. 168 Hours: You Have More Time than You Think by Laura Vanderkam => I love to read about time management and productivity and this one seems nice.
  23. Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet by Andrew Blum => I bought this book 3 years ago because I wanted to know how is the internet, physically speaking, literally.
  24. Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris => I am curious to know what this man has been talking about.

The “Read” list of January, 2016:

This month I finished reading two books. One of them has completely changed the way I think about my routines and life goals. The other was just fun and a bit silly:
  1. The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod => the first book of 2016 about personal development and I can say that it was an intense reading. Because of this book I totally embraced the morning person inside me.
  2. Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1) by Grace Draven => this goes into my “guilty pleasure fiction” pile. I didn’t enjoy it so much maybe because it had a young-adult feel.

The “I started reading but haven’t finished yet” pile of January, 2016:

  1. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain => I am loving this book! I consider myself an introvert and this book resonates deeply with me! And also the title of the book is fantastic!
  2. L’île mystérieuse by Jules Verne => it’s from a classic French author and it’s part of my “French Learning” project. It is a long book, so I’ll probably take a few more months to finish it.
And that’s it! I am actually now a little bit scared of my “To-read” pile but (hopefully) I’ll be able to tackle it until the end of 2016.
I will probably continue adding more books to my “to-read” pile but I’ll try to leave the new ones on a “someday/maybe” list because the ones I listed above are truly the books I’ve been wanting to read for a while so they have priority!
I also have an endless list of fiction books to read, but I haven’t decided yet which are my favorite ones because I started this year focusing more on non-fiction.
And, as I’ve been doing since 2012, I joined the Goodreads Reading Challenge with a goal of reading a total of 45 books in 2016 🙂
If you want to see a glimpse of all the books I read in 2015 click here.
What about you? Do you plan on reading more fiction or non-fiction this year? Do you also have an endless pile of books to read?

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less [Book Review]

 

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Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

By Greg McKeown

Kindle Edition, 274 pages

Publication Date: April 15, 2014

Read from October 30 to 31, 2015

My Rating: 4/4 stars

 

This book was a fast read for me. The good thing is that it made me feel less anxious and less stressed. It reminded me that I have the power to choose what I want to do with my time and my life. And that I don’t need to let others dictate/influence my schedule and my to-do list. Because as Greg McKeown advises us in the book:

“Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.”

― Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

It has taught me that the most important question to ask is: “What is really essential to me?”. The rest can simply be thrown away. But that’s no simple task because we usually hang on to a pletora of things without knowing which of them are truly essential. He has a nice definition o the term Essentialism:

“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”
― Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Now, reading the book made me wonder: is there a conflit between “Essentialism” and “Minimalism”? After reading it and remembering other authors, I think there isn’t any conflit because the path of the essentialist is very similar, identical even, to one of the minimalist, and as the famous minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus wrote in their blog: “Call it whatever you want: no matter which –ism you prefer, the only thing that matters is that it helps you live with intention.”

And the author discusses the “consumerism” that has dominated our society:

“What if society stopped telling us to buy more stuff and instead allowed us to create more space to breathe and think? What if society encouraged us to reject what has been accurately described as doing things we detest, to buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like?”― Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Also, the author emphasized the importance of keeping a journal. It helps us put things in perspective and after a while we can revisit the entries to figure out the bigger picture and understand worries and figure out the essential purpose of our lives. And to make it a habit, it doesn’t need to be long or complicated, you just have to write down whatever and how much you feel like in the moment.

Overall it was a good read that matched my personal psychological needs at the moment (Personally, I was going through some troubled week in my life).
I was reminded of the importance of saying “No” to almost everything that pops up in our lives, and there’s nothing to feel guilty about, because:

“The overwhelming reality is: we live in a world where almost everything is worthless and a very few things are exceptionally valuable. As John Maxwell has written, “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.”
― Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

It was inspiring and made me think over my current approach to life. I definitely want to start walking towards an essentialist path.