Last year I signed up for a Goodreads reading challenge (more on that in my post here) and since I was quite behind my goal of finishing 20 books that year I was searching for a way to speed up my reading. So I have started listening to audio books while dog walking Dexter. You might call that cheating, I call that proudly time saving.
I have soon learned, that you cannot listen to just any kind of a book while throwing stick for Dexter and picking up poop after him. There are just books more suitable for listening and then there are books that need my full attention. I find non-fiction books the most suitable genre for audio listening.
Today I have finished listening to the tender voice of Chris Guillebeau (uh, I have to always double-check spelling of his name!) on Swedish app, Storytel which also contains books for English speakers. I saw Chris on Marie Forleo show and was so impressed by his authenticity as a person as well as sound advice he gave that I immediately subscribed to his podcast #SideHustleSchool.
In the book, which is very similar in content to the podcast, Chris explains simple steps how to develop a “side hustle”, i.e. additional source of income. He takes you on a journey from side hustle idea creation and assessment to actual implementation. Indeed, this book is not just another “nice-to-know” read, but a serious practical game-plan with many real life examples of people practicing side hustles.
Just to name a few, I was fascinated by story of a guy who benefited from writing recommendations for fish tanks on his personal website. Another smart young man crafted CV’s in his spare time and later scaled up his business by creating CV templates for his customers to attract potential employers. But you do not have to have a brand new unique idea according to Chris. He mentions strategies to boost up also services as simple as giving guitar lessons or dog walking (I should think about that one…)
What I like most about the book however, is that Chris calls for action from the beginning till the very end. So you might ask, “OK Alice, this is all great, but did you actually start any side hustle?” To be honest, no. Not in the sense Chris defines a side hustle, i.e. activity that I could actually monetize. On the other hand, I developed a new hobby, which is writing this blog and thanks to the book Side Hustle I have now many ideas how to bring it forward. So as always stay tuned 😉
In the header of this post I intentionally avoided the actual book title “Search inside yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness” because I find it somehow tacky. Funny enough, the author, Google’s former engineer Chade-Meng Tan, agreed with that at the end of the book himself. Unlike the title, I have found the content of the book very practical and written in a concise manner. Chade crafted this book with its pragmatic approach to meditation for rational people like me. Backed by research, Tan’s message is strong: Commit to mindfulness, at least one breath a day.
More than a month passed from reading this book, I have forgotten all about the studies Chade mentioned, despite calling myself earlier a rational person. What resonated with me however, were all the mindfulness and meditation techniques he described at the end of each chapter. Quite some time I was searching for a complementary source to app Headspace for my own meditation practice on YouTube, Spotify and App Store. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t satisfied mostly with the voice-overs and music. I wouldn’t have thought actually the solution to my problem is simple – use a book instead. Search inside yourself is a great source for daily meditation practice.
My favorite mindfulness exercise from the book is “Just like me” exercise.
Try it for yourself. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and think of a person you like and admire.
Repeat the following mindfully: This person has a body and a mind, just like me. This person wants to be happy, just like me. etc. (I will not copy the whole script from the book here and leave it here for your imagination.) After you have spend few minutes finding all the similarities, think of a person with whom you experience any tension. Repeat the very same words you did before, but thinking of the other person. This person has a body and a mind, just like me. The power of this exercise is that the positive vibes you get at the beginning from thinking about your loved one translate into the second half of the mindfulness session. With practice your attitude towards that difficult person changes.
At the end of this review, I wanted to use one of the quotes I have highlighted on Kindle from this book. However, I have liked better the quote that has been highlighted by the public the most, so I close with that:
Happiness is not something that you pursue; it is something you allow. Happiness is just being.
In 2017, I set myself up for a reading challenge at Goodreads forum along with other friends and users. And I failed. Quite hard. My aim was to read 20 books in 2017 and in the end I finished hardly 10. Why was a I doing so miserable? Better question might be: Why did I want to make a race out of reading? After all, my goal was to read more again and feel the pleasure of “getting lost” in the pages and time while reading. With this challenge reading felt more like a chore and with my ambitious long-term goal I always felt guilty being far away from reaching that magic number of 20.
This year it will be different, I decided. I started again, but small. At the beginning, I gave myself a goal to read ten pages a day. This approach worked quite well early in the year together with all my new year’s resolutions. First book of 2018 I finished on January 14 and I was proud. It was a beautiful novel by Irène Némirovsky about love during time of war. It was a great book to start and afterwards I read many others. March 2018, I no longer hold myself to this strict rule of reading 10 pages a day. I do not have to. Once I pick up a good book I would not put it down so quickly. There are days when I come home after work tired and all I can do is to scroll through my Instagram feed. On another days however I truly experience the pleasures of reading mentioned before and I read more than 50 pages at once.
I set myself a new goal, however. I have noticed my memory is quite short and often I forget what I was reading one month before. Therefore, I want to make a reading diary of all good books I will have finished. I use for this mainly my Goodreads account. What helps me as well is to discuss the books I am reading with my friends and therefore I want to share my notes at this website for them. With my reading drive lately I am in constant search for good reading recommendations. I find good book tips at the website of Tai Lopez, but would also like to get more sources of inspiration. So if you know any, please let me know in the comment section below… and stay tuned for my book reviews! 🙂