Must read book

Now read this: The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker

If you only read one book this year, read The Gift of Fear – And other survival signals that protect us from violence by Gavin De Becker. 

The opening scene grabs you by the throat and tells the story of a violent attack in progress and then twists the narrative in such a way to confirm the author’s authority on the subject of fear.

To me, fear is a negative thing. Violent crime happens all the time. Shouldn’t I be afraid of that?

According to the author, no. And yes.

This book takes a close look at what fear is and how recognizing fear can be life-changing.

As I listened to the audiobook, I found myself rewinding over and over because I didn’t want to miss a single bit of insight he had to offer about the gift of fear.

Here are some of those insights (noted from the audiobook :

“Trusting intuition is the exact opposite of living in fear.”

“Unwarranted fear has assumed a power over us…It need not be this way.”

“Understanding how fear works can dramatically improve our lives.”

“Real fear is not paralyzing. It is energizing.”

“Worry, anxiety or panic, concern are not fear.”

“Worry is the fear we manufacture.”

“When worrying, ask yourself, ‘How does this serve me?’”

“What you imagine, like what you fear, is not happening.”

“Though the world is a dangerous place, it is also a safe place.”

Intuition vs. fear

I believe in the power of intuition, but always thought of it as a internal compass for making life decisions and choosing life paths in a big picture way.

But the author doesn’t touch on intuition in that context. His take on intuition takes more of a practical, in the moment, small picture way. 

That feeling you get when you walk into a room and something doesn’t feel right, for instance. You don’t know what it is and can’t explain it, but you don’t feel comfortable there. Something tells you to leave.

Do you listen? Or do you deny the feeling and rationalize that you sound like a crazy person because it’s fine. And you come up with a handful of reasons you are right to suppress that feeling. 

The author analyzes how victims of violence saved themselves by listening to their intuition.

As I listened to the book I thought of exact instances in my life when I did the latter and realized that I had failed to see that “feeling” as my intuition, failed to recognize its power. 

I recommend this book for everyone, especially people who tend to worry or fear things that could happen, but aren’t actually happening. 

So, tune into your intuition, listen to it, and act accordingly.

The Gift of Fear is a quick read. I listened to the approximately 3-hour long audiobook (abridged) on Libby.

To learn more about Libby, read Want to read more books? Maybe Libby can help on the blog.

End of Your Life Book Club

Book recommendation: End of Your Life Book Club

This is a book recommendation for The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. (I listened to the audiobook version read by Jeff Harding.) 

Last December, I was looking for something good to read and found this title on my running list of books someone has recommended, either somone I know or some other source, like a magazine or newspaper.

I didn’t remember what the book was about or who had recommended it, but the audiobook was available on Libby so I decided to check it out.

A 2-person book club?

The book is the story is of a mother and son, both readers, who start their 2-person book club when the mother is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. They will spend many hours in conversation as he accompanies her to doctor appointments and chemo treatments and agree to read the same book so they can talk about it.

Judging from the title alone, it seems like the story would be gloomy and sad, but I didn’t find it so at all. 

Here are a few things I loved about it:

I love that the core of the book is conversations between a mother, Mary Ann Schwalbe, and her son, Will Schwalbe, the author of the book.

Through the long hours of chemo treatments with his mom he gets to know her like he never had before. He learns about her younger years and life choices, and what shaped her into the woman who became his mother. 

Through these conversation the reader learns about this extraordinary, smart, humble, and compassionate woman. She believed she had a responsibility to help people if she could. And even though she knew she couldn’t do everything, she knew she could do something. And so she did. Alot, including working with refugee families in Afghanistan and work tirelessly to build a library there. 

And, oh yes, books

As you might have guessed, The End of Your Life Book Club is about books, how reading can change your life. It’s about how stories relate the shared human experience. 

I’m grateful for the opportunity to sit in on this 2-person club. And I’m grateful for a chance to meet someone like Mary Ann Schwalbe. Her legacy lives on through this story.

If you’re looking for a good read, I recommend it. 

End of Your Life Book Club is available in audiobook, ebook, and print. I encourage you to look for it at your local library and Libby.

For more information about the Libby app, read Want to read more books? Maybe Libby can help.