Reading Material: Packing Light

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Packing Light, came as a recommendation by a good friend of mine, and a good recommendation it was. The title says it all “Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage” but just to clarify the plot line, this book is a journal of a 50 state road trip between 2 friends, and the lessons learnt.Overall it was an enjoyable read and I finished it within a weeks time. It was hard for me to put it down because the protagonist, which is the author Allison Vesterfelt, is such a relatable person. I was empathetic to her joys and struggles and I could really relate because we were both struggling with the tension between finding God’s path for us or doing what’s easy and safe.

My biggest takeaway was that the idea of “packing light” can be applied to every aspect of our lives. As we get older, we tend to accumulate baggage – whether it is in the form of student loans, car payments, past relationships, technology we can’t afford and many others – and this baggage holds us back from living our life to the fullest. This baggage holds us back from taking those leaps of faith that God is calling us to take so that He can show us what a wholly satisfying way of living life is. It’s like me saying that I don’t want to go on missions because I won’t know what to do with our furniture. Am I really going to let a dresser and bed stop me from going on missions?

I can’t think of any negatives about this book so I encourage you to pick it up and let me know your thoughts! Disclaimer though, the book is sort of geared towards a Christian audience as the author herself is and the book is her journal. So be prepared for references to bible verses and parables, and if you have questions, there’s always the internet to look up stuff or shoot me a message and let’s chat!

Thanks as always for stopping by and have a great weekend!

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Reading Material: Quiet

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I started reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain last year but never got around to finishing it and had to return it to the library. To solve that problem, I just bought it off Amazon!

Overall, I think this is a fascinating read and it isn’t just for those that consider themselves introverts. Considering that 30-50% of the population is considered an introvert (quoting the book), you will either be working with one, friends with one, or have a child that is one. Cain aimed to clarify the definition of being introverted (not the same as shy!) and emphasize that there is an introvert-extrovert spectrum and it’s not all black and white. Having done the brief questionnaire, I found out that I’m an ambivert, meaning that I’m a bit of both extrovert and introvert, or I just like to say that I’m an introvert with extroverted tendencies. Cain also presents multiple scientific studies that demonstrate the difference in behaviours and reactions between introverts and extroverts, as well as providing strategies to cope if you’re an introvert in our very extroverted world.

One of my biggest takeaways from this book is that it’s not always good to be extroverted. Having gone through 4 years of business school at Sauder and even through high school, I had it ingrained in me that being introverted was bad/wrong/troublesome and ideally one wanted to be extroverted. But we have to treat it as we would treat working with different cultures, it’s not wrong, but simply different. This is also an important point to remember if you’re an extrovert with an introverted child. Nothing is “wrong” with your child, they’re just different from you and don’t fit into the ideal of our current culture. For a successful and functioning society, both introverts and extroverts are required.

Another point I found interesting was our shift in Western culture. In the book, Cain describes it as a change from a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality. Simply put, once upon a time, “the ideal self was serious, disciplined and honorable“, but nowadays we are “captivated by people who [are] bold and entertaining“. It’s like comparing Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy with Dale Carnegie.

One of the downsides of the book is it contains a lot of psychology studies and some medical terms that not everyone would be familiar with (brain regions and neurotransmitters). But if you’re a psychology buff like I am, you’ll find it intriguing. But even then I was forcing myself to read through certain chapters because some got quite academic. Solution: just power through to get to the good parts!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great day! Also, let me know if you have any reading suggestions 🙂

Reading Material: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

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Kelvin talked me into reading this one, being that I’m an HR graduate and aspiring HR consultant. I tried to avoid it for a while by saying I was reading The Help, but I finished that book too soon and decided to give in. It’s not that Kelvin gives bad recommendations, we just differ in our preference of reading genres. But I’ve been trying to make it a point to read some more non fiction for learning purposes, and for sure was this some learning material.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team doesn’t read like a typical business help book. It doesn’t tell you how the author, a successful entrepreneur or whatever successful position they may hold, got to where they are now and how they believe that if others followed in their path, they’d get to the same point. This one read as a story, and helps us as the reader to identify the five dysfunctions that are crippling an otherwise potentially successful team.

The book tells a story of an unconventional Silicon Valley CEO, Kathryn, who is placed in a company with the best talent, most resources, and best technology, yet seems to be falling behind in market share and growth. Everyone on the executive team is baffled and slightly in denial to the problem and it isn’t until Kathryn decides to shake things up a little to get to the core of the problem: The executive team is a highly dysfunctional team. In her off-site meetings (weekend retreats), she works with the team to tackle the five dysfunctions and works to change behavioural problems.

This book is a great read for anyone that works in a team. Whether it is an executive team, middle management, or just a group project in university, everyone can get some insightful takeaways.

As always, thanks for stopping by and happy reading! If you have any book recommendations, fiction or non-fiction, please leave them in the comments below as I love discovering new fascinating reads!