What are the last 3 books you read?
Let's share a bit about our own personal learning & growth as we move into this new year
Alright folks, we’re already a few weeks into 2023 (how'd that happen so fast!).
But hold up – no need to jump into a bunch of goals and resolutions. To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of “New Years Resolutions” — they have always seemed to set me up for failure or disappointment. I kind of jettisoned the whole idea many years ago, and have felt a lot happier ever since.
At the core of all the pressure to have resolutions is our natural tendency to want to be our best self, and there’s nothing wrong with that. And it makes sense to target the beginning of a new year to make change in our lives. But it’s certainly become a huge marketing push (thanks Capitalism), and it often just adds to our stress and anxiety during this time of the year.
For me, it has been helpful to recognize that we’re actually learning, growing, and striving to be our best selves all the time, whether we set lofty New Year’s resolutions or not. So perhaps the start of this year can be a time when we simply recognize the ways in which we are already learning and evolving, and develop a habit of honoring our growth and development all year long (not just as the calendar flips to a new year).
I thought one simple way to practice this would be to invite you all to share the last 3 books you’ve read (audiobooks and podcasts totally count too!).
Whether they’ve been fluffy fiction reads, scintillating podcasts, or more philosophical deep dives, I’d love to hear what you’ve been spending time flipping through, scrolling through, or listening to — and what are some things you might be learning from them? Add yours in the Comments section below.
The last 3 books I read
OK, so for me, the last 3 things I have read (or listened to) are, in order:
Radical Friendship: Seven Ways to Love Yourself and Find Your People in an Unjust World, by Kate Johnson (I listened to the audiobook).
La Ultima Copa / The Last Cup, hosted by Jasmine Garsd (podcast).
Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times, by Bishop Michael Curry (book).
What are some things I’ve learned from them
Well, for one thing, I genuinely appreciated learning from the stories, knowledge, and lived experiences of such a diverse range of people— a Buddhist teacher, an Argentine journalist & football super fan, and an Episcopalian bishop. They all shared so much about their own lives in vulnerable and powerful ways.
Kate Johnson’s book Radical Friendship—which was such a pleasure to listen to as an audiobook—ended up really teaching me how to be in ‘radical friendship’ with myself; and how we can learn to be in better relationship with ourselves, as well as others. Her writing is grounded in Buddhist teachings and social justice, and each chapter ends with a meditation practice (also great to listen to). I’m sure I will share more about this in future posts, so stay tuned.
Jasmine Garsd’s podcast The Last Cup came out in December as excitement was building for the World Cup. I’ve actually never watched the World Cup before in my entire life, and I know very little about soccer … sorry, football. But our son has been playing soccer for years, so our family chose to really dive into the World Cup this time. So I decided to learn A LOT about soccer … uh, football. Once I heard about this new podcast about the world’s greatest football player, Lionel Messi, it went to the top of my listening list.
I actually ended up listening to every episode with my son as I drove him to and from school each day. We not only learned a lot about Messi, the recent history of Argentine football, and the buildup to the World Cup (which our family watched at ridiculously-early hours), but we also learned about the complexities of belonging and identity—for both Messi himself and the podcast’s host, Garsd, who also grew up in Argentina and fled that country during political upheaval. So much to learn from this rich and poetic podcast about much more than football.
Finally, I have to be honest — I never thought I’d be reading a book that one might find in the “Christian literature” or “Bible studies” section of the bookstore. I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic school for many years, but have left that tradition to my past. However, I decided to pick up a copy of Bishop Michael Curry’s book after I heard him being interviewed about the role of love in our world today.
He has some incredibly wise, and urgent, things to say about love, and I found myself really gravitating to his call for a ‘relationship revival.’ In Love is the Way, Curry writes:
“Many of us live inside bubbles, whether we mean to or not. It’s time to step out and, in listening to each other, to write a new story.”
His words about making a personal commitment to relationships really resonated with the work I’ve been doing to bring more focus to relationships (via my workshops for museums & nonprofits as well as my one-on-one coaching).
As I continue down my own path of learning and growth, I’m recognizing the value of getting outside of our lane (or even our ruts) to open continually open ourselves to new voices and perspectives. I might have a lot to learn from an organizational change consultant, but also just as much to learn from an Episcopalian bishop or a podcast about soccer … er, football.
Now it’s your turn — what are you reading & listening to?
I can’t wait to hear from you, and for us all to learn from each other.
In the Comments section below, I invite you to share what you’ve been reading or listening to recently. And what is something little (or big) that you’ve learned from these books or podcasts?
I am looking forward to another year of learning, growth, and change! Thank you for being a part of the Agents of Change community!
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