Books help me see life differently and offer great insight to the way I want to live my life. I've compiled a list of my favorite books. From life advice to good novels to practical business tips, this is my list of books that you should start reading right now.
In the moment that I'm writing this, there are around 7,260,608,270 people on our planet. That number is constantly changing every single second. Approximately 353,000 babies are born each day around the world. That's approximately 7.3 billion different personalities, dreams, and lifestyles contained on an earth with a radius of 3,959 miles.
I believe in coincidence, as opposed to fate. Fate seems too romantic - kind of like miracles. A sick child getting better isn't a miracle, it's medicine. Coincidence makes sense. It's chance that I met you in a bar and you happen to live in a city that I'm moving to. It's ironic I that went into college as a biochemistry major and graduated with a degree in communication. Things happen as they happen, but not because they are "supposed" to happen that way. I believe things just happen because coincidence says "I think this will be fun."
Well, I used to believe that.
My world growing up in Charleston, West Virginia was pretty average. It's the most miserable city in America and known by some for incest and not recognized as a state by others. (Richmond is not in West Virginia). I had friends who I rode bikes with, I played on the soccer team in high school, and like your average adolescent, I couldn't wait to get the hell out of my hometown the day I got my diploma. I'd like to believe that the events that occurred after my high school graduation were purely chance - the people I met, the places I went, the things I experienced - but it's getting harder and harder to believe that. There must have been a reason. There must have been a purpose.
It would take a spontaneous trip across the globe to come to this realization, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
I attended a medium-sized, southern university in Charleston, South Carolina in hopes of finding the greener grass. Four years later, I am here to say... the grass is brown everywhere. College was exhilerating. I experienced life in a fresh way that even I can barely put into comprehensible sentences. But when you're looking for one pot of gold and you find a thousand pots of silver, it still doesn't seem good enough. I had a deeper longing for the greener grass, where my life would just come together and my dreams and goals would appear in front of me and slap me in the face for not realizing what they were long before that moment.
In search of this epiphany, I found myself boarding a flight at LAX en route to Sydney, Australia. It had been roughly seven hours since I crossed the Cistern and graduated from college but I couldn't wait any longer. I had to know what was out there, to find the greener grass. I had to let coincidence play it's game with me.
There are roughly 7.3 billion people in this world and you'll meet about 0.00000000137% of them in your lifetime. The odds that I would meet Amelia Radel on Flight 3814 with service to Sydney, Australia were one in a million. And that, changed my belief about fate.
If you read this, congratulations - you just read the pitch for my novel. If you have any comments, feedback, or questions - I'd love to chat with you!
I have to take the time to point out that for the first time in four years, I had time to finish a book in a timely manner. My life is amazing for that simple reason and I thought everyone should know that. Now you may continue...
Before reading this book, I liked Amy Poehler. After reading this book, I love Amy Poehler.
In the beginning, she talks about how hard it is to write a book. She's right. Writing is not easy and I resonate with her words. But you don't have to be a writer to like this book - she only complains in the preface, and a little in every chapter (kidding).
Before I get started with this review, I jotted down quotes that really stuck out to me. My gift to you - here you go, just take it. Really, it's for free! (Beware: There are a lot.)
Step one: Read the back of the book. Amy gives you clear instructions for where to read this book. You also learn the commitment you have made by purchasing this book.
I kept my commitment. I read this book in my bed, on the metro, at my cubicle on my lunch break at work. I read this book when I was on cloud nine and when I didn't think I could make it another day. I read this book when I was falling in love and when people were falling out of love with me.
"Yes Please" has changed the way I perceive my own life. It challenged me to be happy, to make the most of every opportunity, and to always look at challenges with a "yes please" kind of attitude. I laughed, I cried, I saw her life come full circle and her dreams come true, and I found the hope to start chasing mine.
The book was refreshingly honest. Amy opens up about life - reminding you that this perfectly perfect human is just that, a human. With a glimpse into the life of a comedian, a woman who makes you laugh until you cry almost every day, you find realness. She doesn't laugh all the time. Sometimes she cries, sometimes she gets scared, sometimes she messes up - and so do I. It could easily serve as a guide to life.
Life can get really hard sometimes. Some days you might burn your tongue on a bagel bite or wake up one hour after your alarm was set. And then you might spill your coffee and forget your wallet, and keys, and everything else at home. I'm not describing today or anything. But Amy Poehler gets that not every day is a good one and helps you look through a different lens to find the beautiful. It's really neat and she should win an award for accomplishing this.
It's the best combination of life experiences: divorce, drugs, kids, comedy, friendship, and dealing with your own demons - it is fascinating.
I didn't want to put it down, ever. I spent the money (and time, my time is much more important to me than my money) to purchase the audio book and listened along while Amy Poehler read her book to me. It was awesome. Seven hours of "Amy Time." It was easily the best seven hours of my life. I strongly recommend listening to this audio book and if you have the time, follow along.
Amy Poehler's life is a true testament that a spontaneous life is the best kind. She lets life run its course and just follows along without thinking too much into what was going to happen next. Through crazy, last-minute decisions and a go-with-the-flow attitude, she became who she is today and she is happy. I want to be like that. It's all I can hope for.
She is sentimental and values her friendships. This was important to me. It reminded me how much I love and value my friends and the pictures I hold onto for dear life through my many moves. People are important and we mustn't forget who has been there all along - even if they aren't physically there every day. We need those people the most, at least I do.
(This is where I have to thank Stephanie Kelly, Harper Kerr, and Kevin Young - and basically anyone I still communicate with from West Virginia - you all keep me sane. There are also a lot of other people on this list, I will dedicate a post to that at a later date.)
My favorite chapter is titled "Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend." It's a must-read for anyone who needs a wake-up call that your job isn't everything and it's not the only thing either! This was a necessary lesson for my 19-year-old, working-woman self.
She reads her last chapter live. What an amazing woman - full of personality, life, and a spunk that we all strive to have. I feel like I think in "Amy Poehler" now, but she reminded me that I don't want to be her - I want to be me!
If I could summarize the lessons I learned from this book (and completely eliminate the need for you to read this post that I spent way too long writing):
- I know nothing. And knowing you know nothing is the best thing to know.
- My demons don't define me.
- Friendships matter - sometimes, they're all that matters.
- Being funny is the only way to save yourself from yourself.
- Put down your damn cell phone and live a little.
- I'm awesome.
The moral of this story is... when someone offers you this book, say "Yes Please!"