REVIEW: 10% Happier by Dan Harris

It was no surprise that I really liked the audiobook version of Dan Harris's 10% Happier. It focused on some of my favorite themes: mindfulness, habit formation, and not being an a-hole. Plus it was read by the author who is a newscaster, and naturally has a great speaking voice. I recommend it to anyone who wants to do the hard work of not expecting to solve all of your problems, but learning how to handle them better.

Here's a part I loved that's not on the dust jacket. The title 10% Happier seems to be Dan Harris's way of explaining how he uses meditation in two words. Picture yourself at a family reunion telling an opinionated relative that you've started meditation. "What do you want to do that for? Are you going to grow your armpit hair? Why do you want to be weird?" your relative might ask. "I do it because it makes me 10% happier." you could reply. It's is complete brilliance to come up with a two word explanation of something that is important to you that others may judge, and I am going to brainstorm ways to copy it right away.

If you want more books on habits and not being an a-hole I suggest:

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REVIEW: Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen

If I were the type to make New Year's Resolutions, which I'm not, one of them might be to get better at reacting to feedback. I have a tendency to ignore feedback that might be helpful (performance reviews at work), and to focus too heavily on unhelpful feedback (you are letting a daycare center raise your kids.)

I'm really glad I got around to reading Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen before my next performance review. This book goes in-depth on the types of feedback you may receive, how to use it, and when to set boundaries. There were actionable items on almost every page. I got my copy from the library, but will most likely buy my own to keep so I can highlight on a re-read. While this book focuses on receiving feedback, it also made me more aware of the ways in which I'm giving feedback.

If you're the New Year's Resolution type, may I also suggest:

If you're giving an evaluation at work, or writing your self-review I recommend the following:

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REVIEW: Mistakes I Made At Work

Mistakes can be so isolating. When you make one, it kind of feels like you're the only one to have ever screwed up so badly in all the history of the world. But, of course, you're not. We should all talk about our mistakes more. You go first.

Luckily Mistakes I Made At Work by Jessica Bacal has stepped in to fill the void. This book isn't 100% great. Some of the stories read as if the author is trying to say that her mistake was working with people that just aren't as awesome as her. But there are other stories, like the one by the ER doctor, that really help to reflect on when I'm up at 3 am going over again how I could have forgot to add a decimal point in the Excel sheet I was working on. Or whatever. That's just a totally made up example.

More books that get me through the day at work:

Note: Links to are affiliate links. I was given a copy of Mistakes I Made At Work as part of the Library Thing Early Reviewers program, but all opinions are mine.

REVIEW: The Secrets of Happy Families (For Real)

Tis the season for family disharmony. Before you get divorced/abandon your home and kids/vow never to celebrate another holiday with your in-laws again, try implementing some of the tips from The Secrets of Happy Families from Bruce Feiler.

I was skeptical at first, but I followed some of Feiler's tips on a recent family vacation. No joke, it was the best one we ever had. Why? Because instead of all sitting around trying to fulfill everyone's vision of a perfect vacation we banded together to dig a huge hole in the sand, and to rescue a rubber chicken from a tree. That sentence would make sense if you had read this book. Well, maybe not, but it worked, and I would have never instigated this kind of nonsense if it weren't for this wonderful, wonderful book.

If your family is already perfect, try this book:

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