📚 The Reading Journal #062

Unwinding Anxiety, Manipulation and Hidden Potential

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Franz Kafka, the influential Czech-language writer known for surreal and nightmarish tales like "The Metamorphosis" and "The Trial," left a directive for his close friend Max Brod to burn all of his unpublished works after his death. Thankfully, Brod did not follow these instructions. Instead, he took it upon himself to publish many of Kafka's writings posthumously, and it's because of this decision that much of Kafka's most influential work is available for us to read today. If Brod had followed Kafka's wishes to the letter, the literary world would have been deprived of some of its most profound and thought-provoking works.

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📚️ Staff Pick of the Week

Elon Musk

Elon Musk's childhood in South Africa was marked by brutal bullying and deep emotional scars from his complex relationship with his father. These experiences molded him into a resilient individual with intense determination, often resulting in abrupt mood swings and a penchant for drama. By 2022, despite SpaceX and Tesla's immense successes, Musk acknowledged the need to move beyond his perpetual "crisis mode" mentality. Around this time, he covertly acquired Twitter shares, symbolic of his past traumas on the playground. Writer Isaacson spent two years closely observing Musk, culminating in an insightful narrative that explores whether Musk's inner demons are essential catalysts for groundbreaking innovation.

🎥 Reading Talk's

📈 Rising Quickly - Week of August 28, 2023

Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind

In the midst of an exceptionally anxious era characterized by pandemics and personal challenges, Judson Brewer's book offers a timely remedy. Brewer posits that anxiety, ranging from mild discomfort to severe panic, not only induces stress-related habits but is also situated in a part of the brain impervious to logical reasoning. Consequently, individuals become trapped in vicious cycles of anxiety which they can't reason or will themselves out of. Drawing from over two decades of research and practical experience with diverse groups including Olympic athletes, Dr. Brewer presents an actionable program. Through mapping the brain to identify triggers, employing curiosity as a tool to neutralize them, and harnessing proven mindfulness techniques, readers can break free from debilitating anxiety loops.

🪄Most Talked About Fiction - Week of August 28, 2023

Don’t Forget to Write by Sara Goodman Confino

In 1960, a young woman discovers a freedom she never knew existed in this exhilarating, funny, and emotional novel by the bestselling author of She’s Up to No Good . When Marilyn Kleinman is caught making out with the rabbi’s son in front of the whole congregation, her parents ship her off to her great-aunt Ada for the summer. If anyone can save their daughter’s reputation, it’s Philadelphia’s strict premier matchmaker. Either that or Marilyn can kiss college goodbye. To Marilyn’s surprise, Ada’s not the humorless septuagenarian her mother described. Not with that platinum-blonde hair, Hermès scarf, and Cadillac convertible. She’s sharp, straight-talking, takes her job very seriously, and abides by her own rules…mostly. As the summer unfolds, Ada and Marilyn head for the Jersey shore, where Marilyn helps Ada scope out eligible matches—for anyone but Marilyn, that is. Because if there’s one thing Marilyn’s learned from Ada, it’s that she doesn’t have to settle. With the school year quickly approaching and her father threatening to disinherit her, Marilyn must make her choice for her future: return to the comfortable life she knows, or embrace a risky, unknown path on her own.

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📚️ Most Talked About Non-Fiction - Week of August 28, 2023

Free Your Mind: The New World of Manipulation and How to Resist It

In "Reframe Your Brain," Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert and author of influential self-help books, offers a comprehensive guide to achieving long-lasting happiness through the power of reframing thoughts and perspectives. Leveraging his expertise in hypnosis and persuasion, Adams presents over 160 novel and counterintuitive ways to reframe common perceptions. For instance, instead of focusing on managing your time, he suggests managing your energy; rather than seeing critics as foes, consider them your mascots. These reframing techniques are applicable to a range of life areas including personal well-being, career success, and mental health. The book aims to empower readers to transform their lives by simply altering the way they perceive and interpret situations, arguing that even if a small fraction of these reframes resonate with you, they can dramatically change your life.

🆕 New and Noteworthy

Hidden Potential by Adam Grant

In "Hidden Potential," Adam Grant challenges the conventional admiration for innate talent, arguing that we often underestimate our ability to learn and improve. Through compelling stories and evidence spanning various fields, from education to sports, Grant posits that true growth comes not from innate genius but from the character one develops. Emphasizing the importance of learning effectively over merely working hard, he delves into how to cultivate character skills and motivation to harness our full potential. Rather than focusing on the success habits of superstars, Grant showcases how anyone can achieve greatness. The book underscores that the true indication of one's potential is not the pinnacle one reaches but the journey and growth experienced to arrive there.

✍️ Quote of the Week

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

Aristotle, Metaphysics

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