Check out what I’ve been reading lately. I’ve been soaking up summer with my family, so it’s an abbreviated Off the Shelf this month. I’ll be back to three books in September — promise.
If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?
The premise of this book is simple yet fascinating: Could the same traits that drive your career success also be keeping you from being happier?
Raghunathan breaks down the science of happiness before getting into how to achieve happiness and/or be happier, and he includes exercises in each chapter to do so. I found this book both engaging and compelling — because it makes perfect sense! As a business owner, I like control. In “real life,” trying to control everything is a recipe for disaster. As a business owner, I like to be in charge. In “real life,” I have a partnership. But this book teaches readers that we can take those qualities that are positive in our business life and use them to build a happy and fulfilling life.
Rather than “chasing” happiness, it makes more sense to do those things that we like and that we’re good at. Those things make us happy. Again, this is not rocket science, but If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? is a great read for any entrepreneur.
My book club read this memoir a few months ago and I really enjoyed it. In 1957, when Homer “Sonny” Hickam was 14 years old, he and a couple buddies decided to build rockets after seeing Sputnik. Homer saw them as a way out of Coalwood, a dying, West Virginia, mining town where boys, frankly, were expected to work in those mines. His father, superintendent of the mine, was a 100-percent company man. The town relied upon the mine for its vitality in a way that’s difficult to wrap our heads around today. (As an aside, one of my nephews visited my husband and me this summer and we took him on a coal mining tour in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. He was (and we were) amazed by what that life must have been like for miners: dark, dusty, cold, dangerous.) Sonny’s mother and his science teacher encouraged him to pursue rocket building. His father, like most of the town, was much more interested in the high school boys’ football team. Eventually people start to become interested and the boys earn the nickname “Rocket Boys” throughout Coalwood. More and more people become interested in what the Rocket Boys are doing. Throughout the memoir, it’s clear what small-town life was like, in Coalwood and in towns like it throughout the country. Spoiler alert: Sonny does get out of Coalwood. He went on to become an engineer at NASA.
What have you been reading this summer? Anything to share? I’m always looking for recommendations.