I am fairly bursting with excitement. I have been participating in NonFiction November since 2018. NonFiction November feels fairly explanatory but I can’t quite articulate how much the other bloggers have altered my own nonfiction reading habits. The first year, I just dipped my toes in the nonfiction reading pool. In 2019 I did better and, this year, nonfiction is something I am always reading. Bonus, that means I have so much to talk about!
WEEK ONE PROMPT: A LOOK BACK
Week 1: (November 2-6) – Your Year in Nonfiction (Leann @ Shelf Aware): Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?
MY NONFICTION READING FOR 2020
MY FAVORITE NONFICTION READ OF 2020
The societies we live in are increasingly making our minds ill, making it feel as though the way we live is engineered to make us unhappy. When Matt Haig developed panic disorder, anxiety, and depression as an adult, it took him a long time to work out the ways the external world could impact his mental health in both positive and negative ways. Notes on a Nervous Planet collects his observations, taking a look at how the various social, commercial and technological “advancements” that have created the world we now live in can actually hinder our happiness. Haig examines everything from broader phenomena like inequality, social media, and the news; to things closer to our daily lives, like how we sleep, how we exercise, and even the distinction we draw between our minds and our bodies. from Goodreads.
I listened to this book as an audiobook I borrowed from my library and had to purchase a copy. Matt Haig’s compilation of how our modern world is designed to stress us out resonated so deeply with me, especially now in 2020. He gave concrete tips on how he attempts to control the world’s intrusion into his life and how other people managed their worlds as well. I truly feel that this book should be required reading before anyone uses a smartphone or social media. This book had an enormous positive impact on how I used my phone and interacted on the internet and truly, I believe, saved me from an unchecked downward spiral this year.
THE NONFICTION SUBJECT I WAS MOST DRAWN TO IN 2020
In 2020 I could not get enough of codes, especially female code breakers. I watched documentaries, movies, and television shows featuring code breakers and snapped up every book I could find on the subject. It started with Bletchley Circle. From there I picked up Code Girls. Liza Mundy’s depth of research on the subject of American female codebreakers is awe inspiring. The best thing about Code Girls is it is a fantastic general book that laid the basis for me to do more digging into each individual woman.
For instance, The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone highlights the life and work of Elizebeth Friedman. Elizebeth, and her husband William, were America’s first, and foremost, experts on codes. While Elizebeth was integral to America’s security for forty years it was her husband who gathered all the accolades. The lack of fame was fine for Elizebeth who preferred to quietly work, raise her children, and be instrumental in bringing down countless threats against the safety and security of America.
I also read Chester Nez’s book Code Talker. Chester Nez’s book helped me understand a little more of the rich history of the Navajo people and their heroic efforts in creating and using a code based on their language. I loved this book almost as much as I hated the movie.
These three books are the Code Breakers and female spy stories that remain on my TBR shelf.
THE NONFICTION BOOK I RECOMMEND THE MOST THIS YEAR
A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed.
Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, on track to be one of the biggest flops in company history. Suddenly, one of them detects a nearly imperceptible pattern—and with a slight shift in advertising, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year.
An untested CEO takes over one of the largest companies in America. His first order of business is attacking a single pattern among his employees—how they approach worker safety—and soon the firm, Alcoa, becomes the top performer in the Dow Jones.
What do all these people have in common? They achieved success by focusing on the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives.
They succeeded by transforming habits.
In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.
Along the way we learn why some people and companies struggle to change, despite years of trying, while others seem to remake themselves overnight. We visit laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. We go inside Procter & Gamble, Target superstores, Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, NFL locker rooms, and the nation’s largest hospitals and see how implementing so-called keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death.
At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work.
Habits aren’t destiny. As Charles Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives. from Goodreads.
I am decently obsessed with habits and my go-to recommendation has been Atomic Habits by James Clear. But, for the people that haven’t already seen the light as to how habits can radically change your life, Power of Habits has become this year’s go-to recommendation. I love the idea of habits – that you work to build them or break them and then your habit takes over and the work is done.
MY GOALS FOR NONFICTION NOVEMBER 2020
My goal is always the same for NonFiction November – I cannot wait to see what everyone else has been reading!
Tell me, please! How’s your NonFiction reading going this year?