January 2021-Reading

 


One Bullet Away by Nathaniel Fick

Overview

This book tells the story of Nathaniel Fick, a Marine officer. Fick was on tour in the middle east when 9/11 happened. Because his platoon was the nearest and already active, they were one of the first people to set foot in Afghanistan once the war started. This is a gripping, first hand, account of the war and Fick’s view on leadership, the military and peace.

I’m not generally a fan of military books. But I enjoyed this one! It zeroed in and gave me texture and story instead of just stats and overwhelming ideas that make me numb.

What We Can Learn

I loved the honesty of this book. Never before have I read an account of someone so frustrated with the military leadership. Fick broke down all the frustrations of being a man on the ground while others behind the lines make calls that didn’t make sense. It made me think about how I lead and the importance of sharing the reason behind my choices. 

Rating

I likely won’t read the book a second time, but I’m glad I read it. It helped me understand the war in Afghanistan in a way I hadn’t before. 

 

Finding Quiet by Jamie Grace

Overview

Finding Quiet is part autobiography and part self-help. Musician Jamie Grace breaks down her struggles with Tourettes and how she’s learned to be herself. Tourettes is a medical disorder that causes people to have either what may appear to be a nervous twitch or even say things involuntarily. Understandably, this causes a lot of anxiety and made her try to hide this part of herself.   

What We Can Learn

Story is a powerful learning device. We can learn from Jamie’s story and journey as she learned to stop hiding her Tourettes and be herself. It’s a journey we’re all on (at least I am) and knowing others’ stories helps normalize the struggle to be authentic.

Rating

While I enjoyed the book and learned some from it, I found the demonstration and message a touch shallow. I’m sure that for Jamie, it was raw, and vulnerable, but it didn’t resonate with where I am at on my journey. 

Synapse by Steven James

Overview

Wow! This is a fictional story of a girl in an advanced futuristic society who receives a robot as a gift. This robot is extremely advanced and lifelike. Upon unboxing her new “friend” the girl is prompted to calibrate the robot by setting its ability to think and feel pain.

This book explores the relationship between pain and learning in a powerful way. The main character is trying not to feel after a deep personal loss, her robot friend wants to feel and understand why connection demands vulnerability. We can’t have vulnerability without pain. Growth never comes without some struggle. And trying to avoid these doesn’t work.

What We Can Learn

This is a deeply intellectual book disguised as a sci-fi thriller. What does it mean to be human? What value do memories and experiences have? How does our ability to feel impact our lives? You will learn what you want about life, if you allow yourself to ponder and be inspired.

Rating

If you want to sit down and think about what it means to be human, how we experience pain, what role intelligent thought has in our lives and other mind-blowing philosophical questions, read this book! 

Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson

Overview

This book explores the steps needed to have productive and hard conversations. It’s mainly applicable for the professional environment.

What We Can Learn

We can learn how to approach difficult conversations and create a productive dialogue.

Rating

While I am glad I read it and took some away, the fact that I remember very little from the book is very telling. I much prefer Brene Brown’s work. 

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