(Will be adding much more shortly…)
How to Murder Your Life: Cat Marnell
One of the few memoirs I have read. This book was hard to put down. I didn’t want it to end, and when it did, I was covered in tears. Cat Marnell is heartbreakingly honest in this memoir about her battle with drug addiction and how it affected her career, social life, relationships, etc. I could relate to an abundance of feelings she described in the book, although I never struggled with drug addition. Throughout the book, you continue to cheer for Marnell, hoping she will finally pull herself out of this self-sabotaging rut. Marnell has a self-deprecating sense of humor as she jokes about all the wrong decisions she made throughout her twenties. As someone who also lives in NYC, I was able to paint many of the scenes she talked about in my head with conscious familiarity. The reader visits the dark depths of addiction and the various life-threatening side effects attached to it. The thing I liked most about this book was how Marnell was able to be so transparent with the audience – not avoiding any extreme or disturbing recollections – while also maintaining a humorous/playful voice to make the novel less heavy.
Ego is the Enemy: Ryan Holiday
This book was phenomenal. I remember seeing this book on someone’s Snapchat about a year ago. The title caught my attention right away – short yet powerful. Anyone who is familiar with the teachings of Sigmund Freud can recall his theories about the Id, Ego, an Superego. This book obviously focuses on one part of the human psyche, the Ego, which Holiday argues can grow to be your biggest weakness [if you let it]. Most of us are familiar with people we’ve encountered in life and say that they “have a huge ego” – characterized as being narcissistic, conceited, pompous, etc. Holiday includes some of the most in depth research on a topic I have ever seen, with credible examples of people who we’ve either heard of or are entirely familiar with. This book has some of the most extensive notes I have ever wrote in the the little spaces on the perimeter of the pages. Parts of the book are very scientific and filled with copious amounts of research data and studies, however, it’s not something that too overwhelming to comprehend. This is the kind of book that you want to read over whenever you feel like you’re struggling/hitting a plateau in your career, relationships, etc. It’s a book that I reference in many conversations both in my social life and professional life.
#GIRLBOSS: Sophia Amoruso
I feel like this book is the cult classic reading reference for female entrepreneurs and go-getters. Amoruso is known as the creator of NastyGal, a popular online fashion boutique. This book is important – reading about the bumpy and roller coaster ride of failures and successes upon becoming a business owner, especially a female business owner. Amoruso didn’t grow up rich or entitled. She talks about hitchhiking in California and reaching into dumpsters for breakfast at one point. She saw the gap in the market she was interested in, and realized the importance of responding to customers online (and truly knowing the customer). This is an easy read, and Amoruso has a very humorous tone reminiscing on her past mistakes and screw ups. It’s definitely inspiring and enjoyable, however, Amoruso came off a bit too pompous in many chapters of the book. I can’t lie, I would probably be a bit cocky too if I had an inspiring ‘rags to riches’ story, but since Nasty Gal filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year, I’m a little convinced that maybe Amoruso’s ego finally got the best of her. I still would recommend this book to a friend who is feeling uninspired in their career path, or in need of a motivational read to help kick start their plans.
Born A Crime: Trevor Noah
For the past year and a half or so, Trevor Noah has taken the legendary title as being my top celebrity crush (I saw him in stand up March 2017 and am seeing him again at Radio City January 2018! #FanGirl). Trevor’s primarily known for replacing Jon Stewart on The Daily Show – which was initially not a very positive response from comedy and TDS fans. It seemed to be one of those replacements like when Ashton Kutcher replaced Charlie Sheen for Two and A Half Men – a failure. However, Trevor quickly proved to be one of America’s up and coming comedians (named one of TIME magazine’s “Next Generation Leaders” of 2017) – distinguishing himself as “Trevor Noah” rather than “Jon Stewart’s replacement.” If you’re still not convinced that Trevor has the ability to fill Jon’s shoes, this is where his book comes in.
As stated earlier, I typically don’t read memoirs – IDK, just not my preferred genre. However, if I am particularly interested in someone’s profession or aura, (or just think they are extremely handsome/hilarious/perfect) I’ll Google pretty much everything about them. Trevor conveniently came out with his memoir in late 2016 – and just when I thought I couldn’t be any more creepily obsessed with him, he hit me with this hilariously honest and incredibly eye-opening tear-jerker. Seriously Trevor, why you do this to me? You KNOW that I cry over a freakin’ Jif peanut butter commercial – and then you give me this?! #Dramatic – don’t worry, the book isn’t THAT sad. It’s mostly hilarious and just ultimately shocking. Before reading this book, I was only merely familiar with the heartbreaking reality of living in South Africa under apartheid. Trevor titles his memoir Born A Crime since his actual conception was illegal under South African law. He was born to a white father and black mother. If this type of relationship was discovered by the government, it would result in five years behind bars. Therefore, Trevor’s mom tried to keep him as sheltered as possible, as his cafe-colored skin was confusing and suspicious to others – white or black? People were confused, as segregation/racism was alive and well – almost as alive and well as it seems to be nowadays… #NotThatMuchOfAnExaggeration.
There’s so much going on in this book, it’s hard to characterize it as anything but “eye-opening.” It’s honest, sad, shocking, insightful, and conversational. After reading this book, you will [hopefully] view Trevor as one of the most humbled and cultured celebrities. You will appreciate him more than ever after reading through some of his childhood nightmares, which makes an average American childhood seem like a walk in the park. Lastly, Trevor’s mother is an enormous part of this book. You will gain an enormous amount of respect for this incredible woman as she portrays a new and different interpretation of WonderWoman.
This book has nearly a perfect rating on Amazon – 85% five stars – need I say more?
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k: Mark Manson
If I had to recommend one book out of every book I have read over the past 12-18 months, it would be this one. As the title portrays, this isn’t a typical “self-help” book. Essentially, Manson criticizes all of the self-help and “help-me guides” of the past decade that have been redundantly telling us to just ‘think positive’ and ‘believe you are awesome.’ Manson argues this is all BS. “You are not special. You are not unique.” Our whole lives people [teachers, parents, coworkers] have been telling us these sugar-coated strains of advise that essentially brainwash our minds from seeing the real, cold-hard truth of life: it’s fucking hard. Life is hard. Life is not supposed to be fair or golden or easy. You are going to fail today and probably tomorrow and probably next week. The thing that Manson stresses is that we are often too hung up on ‘giving a fuck’ about such stupid things in life – comparing ourselves to others, finding who to blame, focusing on being more positive, etc. We do not accept failure – instead, we blame external factors and make excuses. Life is never going to be 100% positive, so it’s nonsensical to only be OK with positive outcomes. We need to accept the negative, accept failure, and accept fear. Lastly, Manson closely observes and explains the power of value. One of my favorite quotes from this book is, “Who you attract [or don’t attract] into your life, and who you keep [or don’t keep] in your life boils down to what you value.” He forces you to question what really matters to you in your career, relationships, etc. Most of us our concentrating on the wrong things – moving further away from our goals and desires. Manson teaches us how to ‘start giving a fuck’ on the things that will truly help us succeed in life – emotionally, mentally, and financially.