I say reading but I actually mean “listening” to audiobooks.
Indistractible by Nir Eyal
I listened to this on Audible @audible_uk as I went about my tasks. It is great to listen to in the author’s voice. The main message is: figure out what you want to do, schedule that, and don’t be distracted.
What you want to do can include a wide range of tasks and Nir Eyal drives home the point that when you are doing these tasks, don’t let other triggers and thoughts distract you from them. Sounds simple? If only doing it was as easy. Nir offers some very doable suggestions and advice on how to go about being less distracted. He offers a well laid out discussion of different triggers of distraction – from your own mind to the world around you. He has some handy tips on how to address them before they happen at times offering a cultural context (not very in-depth though). I have actually implemented some of this in my work and find them helpful though I do have a long way to go.
There is nothing earth shatteringly “new” in this book but it has the kind of reminders we all seek at some point. Reading it will give you the chance to reflect on how you prioritise your life, how and why you get distracted, and how to refocus on what matters. Since the fundamentals of what he writes are probably known to you already, it is the refreshing of your memory and the act of reflecting on your situation as you read that would make the book worth your time. As a bonus the book is short and easy to read and I think reading it was worth my time.
Letter to my Daughter by Maya Angelou
I listened to Dr. Maya Angelou narrate “Letter to my Daughter” in her brilliant motherly voice. Voice is so powerful and to listen to an author narrate their own writing especially non-fiction is something I really appreciate. This is a collection of essays, wisdom, stories, call it what you will but it is writing borne of a life-time of reflection shared so simply and hence beautifully. It has all the intimacy of a conversation. This is a book as much for daughters as sons. I said this of Adichie’s “Dear Ijeawele” too because I think it follows quite naturally that lessons for the daughters must be known by the sons too. Angelou narrates seemingly simple snippets with the most profound epiphanies and sometimes it is you as a reader who has to interpret and make of it what you will and what it means for you. Some of my favourite bits (this was not easy to choose) were parts where she talks of fighting to win where it matters, simplicity being the epitome of sophistication, finding friends in strangers – but my favourite takeaway was about courage being the biggest virtue because one needs it to practise any other virtue – be in kindness, beauty, wit, mercy and I think it made most sense to me given where I was at the time of listening to this book. The events are not necessarily in a chronological order but it did not taken away anything from the experience because they stand alone. This is my first experience with her writing, it is simple and spoke to me so I really hope to read more of her works.