Tag Archives: 10% Happier

WWW Wednesday, 17-August-2016

17 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


WithoutEndCurrently reading: Unfortunately, I have no new update on In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I was out-of-town for the weekend (again) and couldn’t find the time. I hope to make some more progress soon.
I’m really enjoying In One Person by John Irving. It has all of the classic Irving tropes so far and for some reason, they never get old for me. I have two weeks to finish this for my book club and it’s a bit long so I hope I make it!
I started the audiobook for World Without End by Ken Follett and so far I absolutely love it. Follett is an amazing writer and this one is just as enjoyable as the first. It’s 26 files on my phone and I’m on file three. It’s going to be a long run.

5LL-7.09.F.inddRecently finished:I really enjoyed The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman a lot more than I thought I would. His advice makes sound sense to me and I’ve been trying it out a bit with my husband. I’m still trying to figure out his language by speaking them all and seeing what he responds to.

Three reviews for you all this week! It’s crazy, I know. Last Thursday was 10% Happier by Dan Harris. I enjoyed the book for its memoir qualities but I’m not going to start meditating anytime soon. Three out of Five stars.
The second is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne. No surprise here, I loved it. A full Five out of Five stars and a possible reread at any point in the future.
The third is Peace Breaks Out by John Knowles. This was a solid read that reminded me of A Separate Peace but was enjoyable in its own way. Four out of Five stars.

BoySnowReading Next: I’ve got Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi on my bedside table. I don’t know how soon I’ll be able to pick it up, but I’m looking forward to this one. So many people have said wonderful things.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Book Review: 10% Happier by Dan Harris (3/5)

11 Aug

The title of this book was intriguing. I think we could all stand to be 10% happier. It was nominated for a Goodreads 2014 in nonfiction which is what originally drew my eye. I was on a 20+ person waiting list on Overdrive for the book but got it off Hoopla as soon as I wanted it. (Note: If you have a library card, explore your digital ending options. Some are superior to others, in my opinion.)

10%10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help that Actually Works- A True Story by Dan Harris

Summary from Goodreads:

After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. After learning about research that suggests meditation can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain, Harris took a deep dive into the underreported world of CEOs, scientists, and even marines who are now using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness. 10% Happier takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America’s spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives.

I had never heard of Dan Harris before reading this book. I’m not a big fan of TV news, which is probably the major reason. I had no idea he’d been a figure on NBC for years and I had a little understanding of how that would affect his emotional state and personality. I liked Dan and he was very honest in this book, which read more like a memoir than a self-help book. Dan’s simple answer is meditation. While meditation is usually associated with Buddhist monks and many of those Dan interacts with are Buddhists, I don’t believe that the brand of meditation he subscribes to is in conflict with any person’s belief system. It’s a simple 30-minute exercise of clearing his mind, focusing on his breath and slowing everything down to a pace where his focus remains in the ‘now’ instead of worrying about the past or future. It’s something that might be helpful to me and my constant worrying about things coming up and dwelling on what’s already happened.

Dan portrayed himself in a very real and honest way. He refrained from saying too much about others or passing judgment on as many as he could and still tell his story. I liked that he didn’t go too in-depth about his wife or family and left them out of his story (95% of the time). He kept the focus very strongly on his journey to finding a form of meditation that worked for him.

I thought Dan portrayed the JewBu’s in a very positive way. This was a subculture I knew nothing about and he gave them a great light. I still think it’s odd that so many Jews embraced Buddhism with such fervor and I liked how Dan felt comfortable with this subculture.

It was hard for me to relate to any of the characters too deeply. That’s part of what I love about memoirs. I don’t have to be similar to the person or relate to their story to appreciate what they have to say. I think Dan’s journey is great. I don’t know if I would ever go through the same thing (especially because he says his initial downturn was because of recreational drug use) but it’s interesting to hear about how he recovered and what he found on the other side.

Dan Harris Image via ABC website

Dan Harris
Image via ABC website

I really enjoyed Dan’s story about his first retreat. He entered the week with skepticism similar to mine upon hearing the story. I like how he described recognizing his pain and it felt very real to me. It made me think of how I would feel in a similarly unfamiliar circumstance. One of my priests at church told me about a silent retreat they do as seminarians. They can bring a Bible, but any other books are a distraction from the prayer and study that should happen that weekend. This kept popping into my head as Dan told about his time on the retreat.

It was hard to hear about Dan’s addiction and struggles with drugs. It was reassuring knowing that he came out on the other side alright (assuming so as he narrated the audiobook), but it’s still hard to hear how that affected his life.

Harris narrating the audiobook himself was nice. He gave great inflection to his stories and the sarcastic tone he carried for a large part of it. One of his supervisors tells him at one point that he’ll never be an evening news anchor because his voice is too grating and I have to agree. I thought that after seven hours, he was a bit much.

I like the idea of what Dan is selling, but I didn’t 100% buy it. Maybe meditation would make me happier and help me approach life in a healthier manner. Or it could be a chunk of my day I don’t get back. It could be a long learning curve for me to get to a productive part of my study that would be more frustrating than rewarding while I’m going through it. It could be a lot of things. I’m not sure I’ll try it, but it’s nice to know that option is out there.

Writer’s Takeaway: I don’t think I would have read a self-help book on meditation, but I will pick up almost any memoir. I appreciated that Dan didn’t write one of the self-help books he reported on for so long and instead told us about his life and how he found something that worked for him. It was a good format for his message and I really appreciated that.

I liked the book and the story, but I’m not sure it will impact me going forward. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
10% Happier, by Dan Harris | Books in the Park
Dan Harris 10% Happier | Being Here
Book Review: 10% Happier, by Dan Harris | Aloha Dharma

WWW Wednesday, 3-August-2016

3 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


5LL-7.09.F.inddCurrently reading: I read about a chapter of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. My husband is out of town for a few days which might give me some time to read while I’m eating dinner alone. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I make a little progress here.
Peace Breaks Out by John Knowles is a short book and I’m hoping to finish it before this weekend when I head out of town. Then I can take just my ‘next’ book with me and not worry about running out of reading material. Maybe I’ll send another book ahead just in case…
The audiobook I want to listen to next has a hold on it, so in the meantime, I’m going to listen to The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I had a roommate in college who read this and talked to me about how it helped her relationship with her boyfriend and ever since, I’ve been interested in listening to it myself. It’s a shorter audiobook so I hope I can power through it before the other hold comes in.

626F6F78747265616D=7474747474727576707<7473Recently finished: I finished off two! The first was 10% Happier by Dan Harris. This was a cross between a memoir and a self-help book. I liked it, but I wasn’t convinced to start meditating, not just yet. I understand how mindfulness might help a person and I understand there are proven health benefits, but I’m still a skeptic. I struggle to fit in my five minutes a day of prayer! We’ll see how that goes. Review will be up soon.
I don’t know how I could have blanked on this, but another WWW reminded me that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling would be released before this week’s WWW. I’ll post soon about the release party I went to and I’ll add that I finished it about 14 hours after starting it. The book reads really fast because of the formatting and it was one I want to reread soon because speeding through it, I’m sure I missed something.

WithoutEndReading Next: I’ll be taking In One Person by John Irving with me on vacation this weekend. I’m not sure if it’s much of a beach read, but I’m really looking forward to diving into Irving. I love his crazy-twisted books.
The next audiobook I plan to undertake is World Without End by Ken Follett. This will be a long trek and I’m ready to make it because I enjoyed the first book so much. I’ll likely lose the hold and have to come back to it a few times, but I hope it will be worth it in the end.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 27-July-2016

27 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


PeaceBreaksCurrently reading: I don’t think I read a page of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. This is being a lot slower than I wanted it to be because I am enjoying this book. I like that it’s there when I need it, so I’m actually okay with this.
I’m enjoying 10% Happier by Dan Harris so far. I’m not familiar with Harris as a TV personality so it’s teaching me about him as well as his philosophy. This is reading more like a memoir than a self-help book so far and I like that a bit better. I’m a sucker for a good memoir and I’m open to what Harris is going to say. I think we could all do with being 10% happier.
I’ve only just started Peace Breaks Out by John Knowles. I watched the movie for A Separate Peace last week but I’m not sure the plots will overrun at all. The summary makes me think it will be only the setting so I’m excited to see if any characters reappear.

WingsRecently finished: I rushed through The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd to have it finished by the time my book club met and it was a good read. I liked the historical context and setting a lot and give Kidd a lot of credit for the research she was able to do for the book. I posted my review yesterday so please go check it out!

I also posted a review for The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart last Thursday so please go check that out as well! Please know my rating is for the audiobook and if I’d read it as a coffee table book, I might have rated it differently.

OnePersonReading Next: My next physical book will be In One Person by John Irving. It’s a book club selection and Irving is one of my all-time favorite writers so I’m really excited to read this one. I’ve had the book on my shelf for almost three years and I’m pumped to crack the spine.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 20-July-2016

20 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


10%Currently reading: It was a rough week at work and I didn’t get much of a chance to read. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. We were out-of-town for the weekend and I contemplated taking my eReader with me, but decided against it. Oh well, maybe next week?
I’m really loving The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. The writing is good and I love the evolution of Sarah (the main character) as she figures out her place in life. I hope this one has a happy ending because it seems it could go really really sad.
I was able to start a new audiobook and I picked 10% Happier by Dan Harris. I saw this one win the Goodreads award for nonfiction in 2014 and added it to my TBR then. I’ve been waiting for a chance to read it ever since and now seems like as good a time as any.

Stewart_DB_USA_POB_03_28_13.inddRecently finished: Though I liked it, I don’t recommend The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart as an audiobook. It was too easy to tune out and there’s no plot so it’s hard to become engrossed in it at all. For sure better as a coffee table book.

My review of In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches posted on Thursday. Not a surprise to many of you, but it was not a book for me at all. I explain why in my review but suffice it to say, I won’t be reading any more by this author.
I posted a semi-review of the Jim Kay illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. It was so fun to read alongside Kay’s illustrations. Let me know what you thought of it.

PeaceBreaksReading Next: My plan is still for Peace Breaks Out by John Knowles. I might just pick it up from the library so I’m forced to get to it before another book club selection pops up. It might tempt me to read fast so I can start it! I’ll see about the movie of A Separate Peace as well now that I know there is one.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 13-July-2016

13 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


WingsCurrently reading: I started keeping my ereader at the kitchen table to read a bit of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson during breakfast. I got to read a bit during lunch at work a few days, too. I’m making a bit of progress and still enjoying this one.
While The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart is really interesting, it’s not my favorite audiobook. I talked with a friend of mine on Goodreads about it and he’s reading it like a coffee table book, a bit at a time. I think I’d prefer reading it that way because it’s a lot of information all at once and I wish I could go back and reference some of those cocktail recipes!
I was able to pick up The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd recently. Anything is better than my last physical book but I’m still deciding how I feel about this one. Stay tuned!

DanteRecently finished: I crawled my way through In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches and I’m so glad it’s over. I did not like this book much at all. The modern setting was interesting, but the historical settings of Dante were so dense and hard to read that I struggled with it a lot. I don’t plan to read anything by this author again.

I got my review for Truth & Beauty posted on Monday. It was a really pretty book that I enjoyed. However, reading some of the Grealy family’s reactions to the book are giving me second thoughts. Please check out my review and if you have time to read some of the links at the end, let me know how you feel about them!

PeaceBreaksReading Next: For a physical book, I’d like to finally pick up a copy of Peace Breaks Out by John Knowles. I found out about this sequel when I first started with Goodreads and I’ve been wanting to read it ever since. I was a big fan of A Separate Peace in high school and would love to read more from the author.
For an audiobook, I’ll see about snatching up 10% Happier by Dan Harris. This was a Goodreads Award winner in 2014 that intrigued me and I’ve wanted to read Harris’ advice ever since.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!