Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
Technically this was on my 2017 reading list but it set the pace for the year that’s why it was hard not to include it. Year of Yes has an Eat Pray Love kind of vibe to it and I guess that’s why I got drawn to it. That and the fact that I find Shonda’s creativity based on Grey’s Anatomy, Private, Practice, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder & The Catch intriguing. So when a person of that caliber writes a book the only logical thing to do is get your hands on it. The book is a memoir about her Year of Yes where she dedicates a whole year to saying yes to the things that she would normally turn down. By doing so it creates bigger and better opportunities for her. At the end of the book she decides to turn her Year of Yes into a Life of Yes.
I decided to create my own version of an Year of Yes and as the year comes to an end I would say it was the best decision ever. Knowing that you have made a commitment leaves no room to back down. Through it I have had new experiences, made hard decisions and mistakes, learnt a whole lot and even this blog came from the whole experience. I would say I picked this book at the right time.
Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
I decided to make the book an annual read since it is one of those books that takes awhile to remember the lessons. Purpose Driven Life is a 40 day devotional which made it a hard read since it requires consistency and I am not a fan of books with that kind of structure. That aside the book takes you through a forty day reflective spiritual journey. In summary we were basically made for the following purposes:
We were planned for God’s pleasure
We were formed for God’s family
We were created to become like Christ,
We were shaped for serving God
We were made for a mission
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
After reading Eat Pray Love, watching her speak and listening to her Podcast Magic Lessons I would like to believe that Elizabeth Gilbert is my Kindred Spirit when it comes to writing. Big Magic gives you a shift in perspective when it comes to creativity. The book makes you appreciate your art be it writing, poetry, music, dance, photography you name it and gives you the urge and to some extent the courage to pursue it.
I have always loved to read and write ever since I was young but since it wasn’t something that was encouraged outside of school I left it at that. I would be right to say that I have been a blocked artist longer than I have practiced my craft. At some point I even used the excuse that my writing skills had been transferred to my brother. But Big Magic unlocked my creative side and I would recommend it to any person struggling with their creativity.
A Candid Handbook For Women Doing Business In Kenya by Patricia Okelo AND J.C. Niala
The book is a first of its kind in Kenya. The layout and content is well thought out and pleasing to the eye. It captures stories of Kenyan female entrepreneurs in different industries from education, fashion, photography just to name a few. They give their experience, lessons and challenges gathered over the years . The advise covers starting , legal issues, accounting, marketing you name it.
The advise on each chapter is in form of short stories which makes it an easy read. The advise is practical and there are worksheets at the end of each chapter to help you plan out the same for your business.
Soar by T.D Jakes
After bumping into one of the best Q&A (How To Build Your Vision From The Ground Up | Q&A With Bishop T.D. Jakes) I have heard so far I just had to get the book. It was fairly new at the time and it was a bit of a hustle to get it. T.D Jakes breaks down his business advise in a way that you have never read before. The book draws lessons from the Wright Brothers which is pretty cool to see how something that happened centuries ago has lessons that can be applied in this day and age.If you have heard T.D Jakes speak his words have the same conviction as his voice and will push you to act.
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
I would describe the Power of Now as a dense book as it took a couple of rereads to fully understand the concept. The book forms a foundation for all of Eckhart Tolle’s books.But to break it down in an easy way it talks about being present and conscious. It opens you up to the whole notion of the ego which is the mind and how we are always trapped in our thoughts and miss out what is in front of us. The book is a guide to assist in being present and not dwell on either the past or the future.
I noticed that I am always in my head and miss a lot of things that are in front of me. I rarely remember details from events that would seem obvious.Lessons from this book have been the hardest to implement.
The Signature of All things by Elizabeth Gilbert
After reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle I felt like I needed something lighter so I settled for fiction. The book revolves around Alma who is a Botanist born in the 1800’s in Philadelphia. The story is split into three phases of her life where she spends her time in Philadelphia learning about plants and the family business. I would equate that to the period between birth and right after school where we spend our life learning in preparation for the “Outside world”. She then moves to Tahiti to seek answers about her dead husband and herself. This is the period in life where we are supposed to take risks and seek new adventures. She then settles with her extended family in Amsterdam and for me this is the period that calls for us to be lights and share what we have learnt. The book also teaches us that there is a lot to learn from nature as that’s the point behind the name of the book. Nature is the signature of our lives and all things and the natural world can explain most aspects of our lives.
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
An New Earth in my opinion is a extension of The Power of Now. It touches on living in the moment and how anything else past or future are just thoughts and illusions. It starts with small things like noticing the bird chirping, feeling the sun on your face, feeling the water as you take a bath, the taste of food I could go on and on. It also talks about the ego (Mind/thoughts) and the Pain Body (emotions) and tips on how not to identify with the two. It is a life changing book that’s worth your time.
A return to Love by Marianne Williamson
The book was supposed to be a one month read but it took 3 months. I kept putting in down when I felt like it told truths that I wasn’t ready to hear. It is a reflection of lessons learnt from a Course in Miracles. It talks about love when it comes to money, relationships & health and how we can be miracle workers through acts of love. At the end of it all what comes out strongly is that LOVE is a powerful force. I would describe it as a healing book.
Lost & Found by Sarah Jakes Roberts
I love the feel of a physical book and that’s why I am not a big fan of eBooks and audio books plus printed versions take me a shorter time to finish and my understanding is even better. Not forgetting highlighting favorite parts. That aside I decided to try out my first audio book and it was like listening to her preach and she has a way of keeping you glued.
Sarah Jakes narrates her story of getting pregnant at 13 years, being in an emotionally draining and abusive marriage all these while being in the limelight as T.D Jakes daughter. The book is an emotional roller coaster that will move you to tears. So you better be prepared as you will be in for a ride. The take home from the book is that when you are faced with adversities you can either give up and give into the situation or EVOLVE.
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
The Four Agreements is a quick read that’s straight to the point and I will just follow the same rules. The Four agreements are simple and clear and if you follow them to the letter your life will be less stressful. The agreements are:
Be Impeccable with your word.
Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make assumptions.
Always do your best.
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
Art is an act of the SOUL and not the INTELLECT. That is my favorite line from the book and the whole book is filled with such tit bits. The Artist’s Way is a 12 week course meant to help you discover or rediscover your creativity. The two basic tools in the book are MORNING PAGES and ARTIST DATES.
The MORNING PAGES are stream of consciousness writing or what would normally be referred to as brain dumping. The morning pages are 3 pages of long hand writing where you get to write your thoughts as the name suggests in the morning. It doesn’t have to be perfect the whole point of it all is to just write. It helps you discover your inner thoughts and improves your consistency.
The ARTIST DATE is meant to help open up your mind. They are SOLO weekly dates doing things that make you happy. In some way they are a form of self care for the artist in you. If you feel stuck as an artist this is definitely the book for you.