I can read your mind: you HATE reading a book.
Sure, you'll read a Buzzfeed article if it's got enough pretty pictures [I'm equally guilty], but words like 'reading' and 'library' are things you haven't thought of since the time you first watched the movie 'Matilda' or 'Pagemaster.'
Yet, what if I told you these 3 books would completely transform your life?
Let's backtrack. 2016 has been a year of new beginnings for me. This coming autumn I will start APPLYING TO MEDICAL RESIDENCY PROGRAMS (i.e. I'm having mini-mental breakdowns [Netflix binging] and so much espresso I haven't left a urinal in days).
Turns out I'm just like everyone else: sometimes, no matter how much I do, I just don't feel good enough.
That said, reading these three books in 2016 turned that feeling on its head, and I promise you, I ain't lookin' back. Let's take a look:
Book 1. 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up' by Marie Kondo
I have never cleaned anything in my life. Ever. My locker in seventh grade had a moldy turkey sandwich that had rotted through nearly 500 sheets of paper before I found it. 100% truth, no BS.
Therefore, if I have an organized studio apartment today, you should be paying attention.
In 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,' Marie Kondo explains that most Americans are used to 'cleaning.' We move a few things around, wipe a few things off, but don't ever address the underlying problem. There's no 'tidiness.' The objects we have in our home are rarely things we love and they almost never have a set home within the space. They're random, piecemeal, and more than that, they're information, memory, and emotional baggage we see and interact with everyday.
She thinks we can do better. We can TIDY. And to tidy means to love.
Her method involves taking every item in your home and asking yourself whether you love it or not. If you love it, and I mean LOVE it, you keep it. If you feel 'eh' or hate it, toss it. No excuses. [here's an illustrated version of her method I found online]. No 'my mom bought it for me for Christmas' BS. You know, I didn't think I owned that much in such a tiny space, but I easily threw out FIFTEEN garbage bags or boxes worth of old books, clothes, random college paraphernalia, worthless gifts/knick-knacks... And at the end of it all, when I looked around my near empty apartment, I suddenly realized I had space, both physically and emotionally, to add new things to my life. The things I truly wanted. The things that would help me form the kind of life I always wanted.
The truth is, tidiness is a metaphor for life. If you keep items you don't love in your home, you probably keep that job you don't like. Or that relationship that doesn't support you. Or those friends who really only care about themselves.
Tidying your home means identifying who you WANT to be, who you ARE, and the things that make you HAPPY.
There isn't a single thing I've done this year that has made as large an impact as this.
Book 2. 'You Are a Badass' by Jen Sincero
The love in my heart for this book is... Well, let's just say I may or may not have made out with the front cover.
GET OVER IT.
In 'You Are a Badass,' Jen Sincero more-or-less has a manic episode for 256 pgs. [but seriously], gets you way too excited about life, and thrusts you out into the universe to do the one thing humans do best - be a badass. Yeah, the overall book has some New-Age language I don't enjoy, stuff about vibrations and energy and Oneness, but the fact that I'm willing to promote this, despite all that, says a lot.
It truly made me realize how exceptional I really am. And how much each of us has to offer.
I think there's something in it that I have wanted to express to so many patients, especially those who only have a few years left. I always want to shake them and say 'THIS IS IT! START LIVING! NOW! TWO YEARS IS SOOOOO MUCH TIME! GO ON AN ADVENTURE! IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO START LIVING THE ONE LIFE YOU'VE EVER GOTTEN!' Far too often though, behavior doesn't change at the end. Just as it never changes for most of us in the present.
But you can do better. Starting with this book.
Plus, when it contains chapters titled 'Your Brain is Your Bitch' and 'Fear is for Suckers,' you're at least sure to get a few laughs in.
Rated R for occasional swear words. And the fact you might just make out with it.
Book 3. 'The Miracle Morning' by Hal Elrod
This is one of those books that makes the future physician in me cringe. The language is even more New-Agey than Sincero's book, stacked onto suburban optimism, stacked on self-help mantras that make all of us roll our eyes. But like all good doctors, I can accept at times that the ends justifies the means. And the ends are... well...
Ten years. Ten years I've been unable to drag myself out of bed in the morning. Ten years I've slogged through hitting the snooze button every eight minutes (because that's how it's set up) for nearly an hour and a half before dragging my lazy butt onto the floor, clawing my way like a creature from 'The Exorcist' down to my kitchen, before falling asleep once again at the foot of my fridge.
This book changed all that.
It gave me a routine. It gave me a purpose. It gave me a plan to tackle the everyday. To maximize the morning. To help optimize my life. If nothing else, it simply made me optimistic that the morning COULD be something for me. It took that mental block out of the picture, and I can say I'm a better man for it.
If my mother saw me waking up at 4:30am now, she'd be... well... probably just pissed I didn't do the same in high school.
I tried to be [slightly] helpful and include links to all the books above (you can either click the title or a picture of the book itself).
Disclaimer: Buying the books through MY links above - or any other product on Amazon through the same link - gives me a small commission which I use to pay for this domain, my e-mail subscription service, and the other tools I pay for out-of-pocket to bring you meaningful, amazing content, day after day after day. I want you to KNOW THAT. I honestly would never, ever recommend books I didn't think would make a huge, transformative difference in your life, starting today.
You should know that I've texted each of these titles to at least thirty of my friends. And that I own a copy of all three which I've lent out at least five or six times. This year. Since I bought them. Two months ago.
Consider not waiting until 2017 to make a major change in your life.
Even if in your heart of hearts, you hate the idea of reading a book.
Internal medicine resident at NYU in New York City with an interest in heme / oncology (cancer care).