Me + books have always been a thing. In the past, you could find about four or five books stacked haphazardly on my nightstand at any given time, bookmarks and dog-eared pages tracking my progress through each one.
But over the past couple of years, constant transitions and the general business of life has made it difficult to slow down and focus while looking at page. That changed this summer, when in the midst of getting married and starting a business, I realized that I still have a lot to learn. One book at a time, like tracing my finger along a road map, I started to find my way back to my long beloved habit of reading.
Here a few titles that grew my mind, broadened my horizons and encouraged me along the way this summer:
- Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari
Raise your hand if you love analyzing and talking about relationships. Both my hands are raised, and if yours are too, then this book is for you. A combo of light comedic banter and heavy sociological analysis, Ansari hits on it on every major aspect of dating in the digital age. And, he takes his study worldwide to bring a global perspective to the table. Whether you agree or disagree with his conclusions, I guarantee it’ll be a fascinating ride.
2. The Meaning of Marriage, Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller
Okay, I’ll admit it. I tried to avoid this one for a while because: another marriage book. Aren’t they all pretty much the same? Well, turns out they’re not. Keller lured me in with the candor and transparency of a pastor that you would also like to be your friend. The additional perspectives offered by his wife Kathy served to make both them and their marriage refreshingly human. Single, dating, married, swiping right, whatever your status -just read it.
3. Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh
I was skeptical when my husband recommended I read this book, written by the founder and CEO of Zappos, you know, the website that sells shoes. I didn’t really think there was a void in life that needed to filled with knowledge about shoe sales. But what I didn’t realize is that this book is about so much more. Zappos’ singular focus on spectacular customer service, with the goal of actually delivering happiness to masses, is inspiring as it is challenging. Their premise is applicable to any job or organization that touches people in any way, so basically all of us every day. You’ll blaze through the audio book version of this, and you’ll have no regrets. Promise.
4. Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell
There is a lot more to Gladwell than his stellar afro. He’s actually really smart too. This book may lead you to blame your parents for conceiving you in the wrong month, but it will also make you feel deeply satisfied with your decision to attend an average college, because it’s basically just as good as Harvard. Gladwell brings an eye-opening perspective to concept of success and the perceived path for getting there. I guarantee you’ll start over-analyzing the opportunities you were given in childhood, but you’ll also realize that hard work is always a good bet, even when the deck is stacked against you.
5. Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson
This is a gut-wrenching, enlightening, emotional, important read. Stevenson’s experiences on death row will bring new meaning to the shared experience of being human, and the priceless value of life – every life. You’ll be angry, you’ll be sad, and you’ll realize that injustice is real – even in the justice system. And hopefully, by the end, you’ll recognize that every person has a story that goes deeper than you realize, and we all need a lot of grace and a little mercy along the way.