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Reading Roundup // March 2016

March 29, 2016
AUTHOR: Emilie
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Reading Time: 7 minutes

I crushed it this month. Remember how I set a goal of 20 books for the year. In March, I read five. How crazy is that?! Look at this beautiful progress bar! Any suggestions on what my stretch goal should be?

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Emilie has
read 10 books toward
her goal of 20 books.

This month, I think what really made a huge difference was that I made a point of reading first thing every morning… or just about every morning. According to my Momentum App, I read 23 of the 28 days so far this month. I’ve only been reading for 20ish minutes each morning, but it’s been nice to start my days with learning (my favorite activity!) every day.

Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family by Anne Marie Slaughter

Book Review- Unfinished Business Women Men Work Family by Anne-Marie Slaughter

I was lucky enough to get the chance to see Anne-Marie Slaughter (AMS) speak a couple of times as an undergrad at Princeton. I remember when “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” came out and it was like the world hiccuped. I re-read this piece in its entirety about twice a year because I never want to lose sight of the struggles of women in different stages of their personal and professional lives.

Now, AMS is much more liberal than I, but I’ve still found great value in her works. Unfinished Business was no exception. Besides for being exceptionally well-written, Unfinished Business is also exceptionally well thought-out. AMS clearly targets all genders in her writing, as she provides a historical context for existing social structures around the societal view of care before making policy proposals. I won’t get too into the nitty-gritty of her proposals, but I do have to say: they make a lot of sense.

Earlier this month, I shared that I am beginning to have an internal struggle about my career and my relationship. I felt like addressing the implications of care issues on military-spouse communities would have been a logical extension of the book. Nonetheless, it got dropped and disappointedly so. AMS talks about the importance of looking at things from perspectives outside our own, but overlooked a struggling community of working men and women- and in many cases, moms and dads.

Overall, it was a great read and I would strongly recommend!

Four stars

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

Book Review- Zero to One by Peter Thiel

This is the first business-y book I’ve read in a long time, and it came at the recommendation of my wonderful roommate Lauren.

I don’t usually take notes on books. I mean, I’ll scribble a comment on the margins if I feel compelled, but not really when it’s super casual reading like I’ve been doing. And I almost never write in a notebook with notes, but I kept scribbling things in Evernote the whole time. You can read them here. Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

The startup uniform encapsulates a simple but essential principle: everyone at your company should be different in the same way- a tribe of like-minded people fiercely devoted to the company’s mission.

Overall, this was a super easy read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I learned a ton and I only wish I had read it sooner! A must read for everyone!

Four stars

How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It by Mark Cuban

Book Review- How to Win at the Sport of Business by Mark Cuban

In case you didn’t know, I love Mark Cuban. No, I mean, I love Mark Cuban. Some people crush on Leonardo DiCaprio and Idris Elba, but I’m crushing on Mark Cuban’s business mind. I love his commitment to supporting female-founded companies. I also really enjoy his personality on Shark Tank. When I saw an tweet by Robert Herjavec promoting his new book You Don’t Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success, I immediately asked myself if my favorite shark had written a book, knowing I had to read it right away!

This one is a quickie and it’s not really a book. I’m sorry to disappoint, but this is really just a collection of Cuban’s blog posts.

I only started following Cuban’s blog since I got into start-ups, but there was lots about his background that I had no idea. I particularly loved hearing about how he first got into technology. I won’t spoil it for you, but I was amazing and it gave me the kick I really needed to feel motivated to keep learning. Last Friday, I even took a class on Relational Databases and SQL. Learning is amazing and can open so many doors for you!

Four stars

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

Book Review- Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

Do you remember when this book came out? I do! I bought it right away! And I’m just getting around to reading it now, ugh.

The first half of the book was exactly what I thought it was going to be- the tale of a “traditional” Chinese mother who drives her children up a wall. I knew only a handful of kids with parents like that growing up, but I heard a lot of horror stories in college. My favorite quote:

What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it.

As the book progresses, though, we learn of the struggles that implementing that system in today’s world for Chua and her family. While Chua shares her growth, the book is chock full of anecdotes that bring a smile across your face.

In honesty, I found myself agreeing with Chua a lot. I have an older cousin Michelle who was very food at Karate, but somewhere along the way she just stopped participating. She complains all the time that she wishes her mother hadn’t let her. Chua, was on the other extreme of the spectrum, never letting her kids decide anything. I think her frankness has the potential to really begin an amazing conversation about the approach to parenting in the United States.

I’m far from being a parent, but I loooooved this book.

Five stars

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Book Review- Get Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Do you remember that I’ve been trying to finish GSAW for months? It was on my goals in September and again in October. When I didn’t finish it again in November, I decided to table it. When I finished Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, though, I realized I was on a reading roll and thought it might be nice to finally get this one. I’m really glad I did.

It wasn’t that long ago that GSAW was all over the news (okay, six months?). People were really divided, but I thought it was a really enjoyable read.

Scout, referred to more often as Jean Louise, comes back to Maycomb after living in NYC. Her new, adult perspective leads to a new understanding of her home town and the people in it, including Atticus. I really sympathized with Jean Louise. I feel like when I left home to go to college I climbed out of a whole. Every time I go back, I feel like I’m re-visiting a home where I no longer feel comfortable and no longer feels like home. I moved on to bigger and better and the folks at home settled for their lives as they were.

Maybe I over-identified with Jean Louise, but especially after visiting where I grew up earlier this month, I’ve been thinking about it a lot, so perfect timing to pick this up.

Four stars

Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Reading Challenge, 7 of 12

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