What We're Reading to Exercise Our Brains

If eating right and going to the gym counts as physical fitness, and meditating or doing daily gratitude practices improve your soul, then reading and continuing your education by taking in new information is basically exercise for your brain. Right?

Aside from the fact that reading offers great entertainment, promotes deep thinking, and has the ability to take you anywhere in the world with the turn of a page, there are also scientific reasons that reading is amazing for your health. Reading can improve your memory, relieve stress, improve brain function, increase your attention span (A survey of Canadian media consumption by Microsoft concluded that the average attention span had fallen to eight seconds, down from 12 in the year 2000. We now have a shorter attention span than goldfish, the study found), AND help you live longer!

But today's post isn't all about the benefits of bibliotherapy (it's a thing). Today we're telling you about 5 books we're reading and how they're helping us be better business women, boss babes, moms, wives, and humans.


Present Over Perfect  by Shauna Niequist

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

WE'RE FINDING BEAUTY AND ATTEMPTING TO LIVE A RICH LIFE AMONGST THE CHAOS thanks to the book Present Over Perfect by bestselling author Shauna Niequist. It's her guide for how to live a rich, engaged, and loving life in the midst of what often feels terribly messy and imperfect - and every summary of the book ever written will back this up.

Honestly? This book is like one long Dr.'s note excusing you from all the crap in life. It's a hand pulling you free from the constant pressure to perform faster, push harder, and produce more, all while maintaining an exhausting image of perfection. And this quote sums it up the best:

“The world will tell you how to live, if you let it. Don’t let it. Take up your space. Raise your voice. Sing your song. This is your chance to make or remake a life that thrills you.”

That's right, sing your song. You do you, boo. Read Present Over Perfect and design the life you want to live.

2. PIVOT

PIVOT   by Jenny Blake

PIVOT by Jenny Blake

As women, I think we often feel like we need to completely start over when we make a decision. But the truth is, changing your mind is not synonymous with a do-over. It's all about pivoting.

Let's face it: as moms and/or entrepreneurs, we sometimes reach the end of our rope. In some cases, that looks like boredom, in others it looks like burnout, or maybe that means having hit a plateau and being ready for something different, or more. Jenny, a former training and career development specialist at Google who now runs her own company as a career and business consultant and speaker, shows you how to take small, smart steps towards your next thing.

And before you write this off as a book strictly for career girls, we think that her pivot method can and should be applied to every major decision we make. 

3. BIG MAGIC: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear  by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

It's no secret that we believe that we, and you too, are magical unicorns. Why? Because even if we don't paint or do photography, or employ ourselves doing some other profession considered 'creative', we are creators. We create things are home and in our businesses every single day.

In Big Magic, Elizabeth "shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives."

And is absolutely filled with quotable quotes that will transform your thinking, help you have courage, and make you feel like the magical unicorn you are.

Playing Big   by Tara Mohr

Playing Big by Tara Mohr

Ok. That this book looks like a Jack Weyland book waiting to resurrect every teen heartache moment we ever had in the 80's and 90's is not lost on us. But TRUST us, this book is worth cracking open.

Playing Big is a book aimed towards the ambitious girl who doesn't know how to direct that passion or who has the desire to do and be more but is struggling with imposter syndrome (you know, where you're afraid that someone will stand up and shout, "FAKE!" the moment you step onto any public platform in a major way). 

Mohr's Inner Critic 101 Training and toolkit of 15 ways to quiet fears are worth the cover price alone. Collectively, the many lists, steps and journal prompts fill the void left by other manifestos that tell women what to do without explaining the mechanics of how to do it. For every grand declaration ('One of the most important mental shifts a woman can make to support her playing big is to start thinking of criticism as part and parcel of doing important work'), Mohr offers multiple tips and tools to make it concrete. 

If you have big dreams but have been waiting for the blueprint, here it is. Playing Big will be how people start to describe what you do.

5. READY PLAYER ONE

Ready Player One   by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

At the risk of you, our dearest Tayla-ites (we need to come up with a better name for you), thinking we're big nerds, we are recommending some of the freshest YA lit since Harry Potter.

Ready Player One (a book before a major motion picture) is a love story...about everything 80's and 90's pop culture. For us kids who grew up in the Steve Jobs and Bill Gates era of the computer revolution and the transition of smart everything, this book reminded us how important to fight for what you love, play with passion, and the importance of disconnecting every once in a while and not forgetting to live in the real world.

After 4 non-fiction books, we had to throw a total escape book into the mix. You might feel like this doesn't fit the theme of this post but honestly? These recommendations are about discovering all of the best parts of YOU! And we believe that embracing escapism and allowing yourself to disconnect is a talent. 

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So there you have it - the 5 books we're reading right now that give us permission to live life without the demands or pressures of the outside world, how to take small steps toward big decisions, how to tackle what you most love and face down what you most fear, the tactical steps you need to take to rid yourself of imposter syndrome, and lastly, a book that takes you out of your reality and transports you to another.

Bottom line? Feed your brain. Big brains are beautiful. 

XOXO TAYLA

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