What I Read in 2023 (Q2)
Be Here Now by Ram Dass. This book changed me. It’s a simple story and guide split into three parts. It begins with Ram’s personal journey, transitions into a series of artistic pronouncements about life and spirituality, and then details lessons and guidance for how to live a spiritual life. The whole book resonated with me in a way that was hard to pin down. There are a lot of concepts and assertions that I would have had trouble connecting with in the past. Some of it is still a bit out there. Overall, though, I really enjoyed it and I’ve referenced it several times in the last couple weeks.
Children of Memory by Adrian Tchaikovsky. As much as I love the series, I’ve had trouble getting into this one. It could be me, but it feels a bit distant from the other two books. I’m planning to get through it, but taking a break for now.
The Stress Prescription by Elissa Epel, PhD. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. There’s a lot of obvious information, but there’s good science and some useful frameworks for thinking about your mental state and how to transition into periods of low-stress and recovery. I misplaced this one while traveling recently, but I plan on picking up another copy for reference.
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. This book wasn’t worth the read for me. I ended up skimming about 70%. There’s a reference section at the back that has some good advice on time management, but other than that there is a lot of filler. I wouldn’t recommend this one if you’ve spent any time thinking about time management, productivity, or work / life balance.
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. This one is another book that has changed me. My history makes it a difficult read, though. The author expertly blends anecdote, science, and approachable psychology to tell a story of how trauma affects our lives and experience. I’m about halfway through. I pick it up every now and then when I’m feeling centered. It’s taught me a lot.