All posts filed under: books

Book Notes: The Gifts of Imperfection

After much prodding by my friend Val to read this book, I finally got down to it. She recommended it so much that she almost shoved it into my bag until I promised that I would head to the nearest Kinokuniya to get a copy for myself and text her when I did. And I did. It’s not a difficult read, the language is simple and peppered with lots of personal stories, but it was still hard because at so many points I put it down and went, “Oh shit, that’s me.” She titled her book as “The Gifts of Imperfection – A Guide To a Wholehearted Life” and how to “Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are”. I was skeptical. I can’t tell you how hard that is to do, particularly in a collective Asian society. Sometimes the expectations of family, friends, teachers and coworkers drown out your own voice. So much so that we turn to addiction, be it gambling, alcoholism, more bags, bigger houses, …

Book Notes: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying

Marie Kondo is a polarizing figure. Like many, I binge-watched her series on Netflix and soon found myself folding shirts so that they could stand by themselves and wondered if the ripped pair of shorts I couldn’t bear to throw were still ‘sparking joy’ by collecting dust in my wardrobe. (Later on, I realised the real reason. I was hoping I would one day fit into them again). Her sweet Japanese demeanour, unusual way of ‘greeting houses’ by kneeling down to show gratitude and ‘waking up books’ by knocking them gently has left some skeptical about her ‘KonMarie’ method. It’s quite funny to see her American clients flash quizzical looks when she first asks them to thank their houses before they start tidying. My husband rolled his eyes a little too. I skipped some of these ‘unnecessary’ steps. But after watching her interview with Stephen Colbert, her response to why people love her philosophy convinced me to read her book! Stephen: “Why do Americans love your philosophy and your cleaning up so much?” Marie: “Of course we all have problems tidying up our homes, but …

Book Notes: The ones who walked away from Omelas

A short story about a utopian city whose happiness depends on the suffering of a single child locked in a closet alone. Author wrote to deliberately reflect reality. We are all playing the game of life, living by the rules of a capitalist society. Can you accept the happiness of your life if you knew that your ‘happiness’ came at the expense of those who suffer? In the story, the young ones often are enraged and disgusted, but they learn to accept and even rationalise the suffering of that one child for the happiness of their own. At times some of these children do not weep or go home in rage, but simply leave Omelas. To where? Perhaps that place they are are walking to does not exist, but they seem to know where they are going. Or are we all the ones locked in the closet, too stupid to know what life could be like outside of these walls? Her closing words are sad, yet truthful: “Omelas already exists: no need to build it …

Book Notes: Switch, the best book on change I’ve read so far

I’ve been feeling like i’m stuck in a rut and decided to read this book “Switch”. I like how it makes Daniel Kahneman’s analogies of Systems 1 & 2 more relatable and specific to the topic of Change. Highly recommended! There are so many great chapters that I found myself screen-shooting so many pages of the book so I can keep a copy with me even when it’s overdue. The Heath brothers describe the necessary conditions for successful change to happen. Book Notes: There are basically 3 basic factors at play for change to happen successfully. A clear-headed Rider (your brain), a willing Elephant (your emotions) and a well-laid Path (your situation.) RIDER The Rider is basically your brain. While it’s very useful for analyzing multiple options and situations, having too many options usually results leaving your brain in analysis paralysis. In situations where change is needed, too much analysis will doom the effect. Your Rider tends to focus on problems instead of solutions and will spin its wheels until you are given clear direction. That’s why to make progress …

Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice

Welcome to November. My plans to have read more this year have gone severely awry. But one of the things that have disappointed me the most is that I’ve failed to read more. I’ve been making it a point to read more fiction instead of the regular self-help books. I just finished Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. In my head I kept picturing the voices as they were in the movie, but I realised that there were so many details left out from the wonderful book because of time. Jane Austen had such a clear, critical perspective of life in her days. In Mr. Darcy’s pride, you recognize that money can’t buy everything, particularly, Elizabeth’s respect at the start of the book. It’s only towards the end, when he started acting out of love to help her that they grew fond of each other and won her heart. For Elizabeth, her prejudice against him made her blind to the wrongs that Darcy had had to endure with Mr. Wickham, and in the end it was her own sister that …