Over the past year, I’ve been on a journey to Less.
The easy part has been shedding the physical belongings.
Owning 2 sets of golf clubs for my 30 handicap… silly.
Keeping every book I’ve ever read… kinda ridiculous.
Housing 7 pairs of retro Air Jordans… probably not necessary.
Hoarding every Sports Illustrated magazine since 1987… beyond rational.
Maintaining dozens of power tools for projects I won’t do… to Craigslist we go.
As you can imagine, many of these were long overdue.
My wife sure thought so.
The more daunting challenge has been shedding low-value activities in my work at Red Angle. Saying YES! to every request for a lunch meeting and promptly answering every email in my Inbox left me with fewer minutes to do things I cared about.
Less time to think.
Less time to read.
Less time to write.
Less time to learn.
Less time to create.
But I didn’t enjoy this book. While it’s always helpful to be reminded of the power of less, there was little original thought here. Half was benign and the other half had been thoroughly covered in his blog.
Do I need a 2000-word reminder on how to “focus on only a few tasks at a time” ?
I need less of that.
Bottom Line: I’d recommend following Babauta’s blog to help you do less. For a great book on improving personal effectiveness by doing less, read Peter Bregman’s 18 Minutes. Here’s the Libro 52 review for that book.
Libro 38/52 :: Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Another thing I could have used less of is Wild by Cheryl Strayed.
This book was juuuuuuust interesting enough. Several times I was moments away from chucking it, but then I’d give Wild the benefit of the doubt. 50 pages later… I was back in the same spot. A bit bored, somewhat annoyed.
Wild is the ran-away-from-my-life-only-to-find-myself archetypal story. It’s an autobiography with an absurd amount of detail considering the multi-year gap between Strayed’s experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (trail extending from Mexico to Canada, running though California, Oregon and Washington) and writing about it.
I wouldn’t have questioned the unusual level of detail if it wasn’t for the preface that screamed, “You probably won’t believe what I’m about to tell you… but it’s true. Really. Honest to Pete. Pinky swear. 110% true. I swear. Ask anyone, they’ll tell you. It’s all true. Super true. Really.”
Then the reader learns the surname Strayed was cherry-picked from a dictionary by the author during the story’s arc.
Isn’t Strayed a bit too perfect for a woman who jumped the rails after her mother died? Cheryl Strayed strays through adultery, abortion, heroin use, and ultimately an ill-prepared, bush-league journey to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.
It’s nice she found herself instead of dying on the trail.
Maybe I should have found it more emotionally engaging, but I didn’t.
Bottom Line: This book made me interested in hiking the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail), but little beyond that. Find something else to read.
Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com). He blew through his 500-word constraint on this post, but it was deliberate.
37. The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
38. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Categories: Libro 52 Challenge