Look Up!

What harm could come from having your head down looking at that important e-mail or interesting text. This may give you pause – and inspiration.

Too Busy? Or Just Right

Wall Steet Journal

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Sue Shellenbarger takes on the familiar topic of work-life balance – but with a new twist. She begins with what likely sounds familiar to most of us:

A friend you admire just asked you to head a fundraiser. You have a full-time job, and this sounds like a lot of work. But look at her: a working mom who is active in the school PTA, just ran her first marathon, does Suzuki violin with her daughter and even carries on an active social life. Why can’t you do as much as she can? And just how do you tell when you have taken on enough?
The sweet spot is different for everyone. Unfortunately, most people don’t know when they have reached their limits and need to stop saying yes to new activities. Many take their cues from others, such as a boss who never says no to new demands or a colleague who juggles career, family and board duties.

Read more of this Wall Street Journal article here.

How Should We Live?

Wall Steet Journal

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Lowry reviews Roman Krznaric’s new book, How Should We Live? Her entire review is enriching and well-worth reading in its entirety, but briefly here is some of what she has to say:

Once living was not an art, merely a question of survival. That was before the dawning, in the affluent West, of the era of choice. Today we are dazzled by an unprecedented range of possibilities in almost every sphere of our lives, assailed from every side by messages about what we should buy, wear, eat and look like, and how we should spend our time.

Mr. Krznaric’s appealingly provocative book contends that contemporary culture trains us not just to think but to see, feel and desire and that we must strive consciously to “deprogram” ourselves if we are to live more authentic and satisfying lives. In a series of essays drawing on thinkers from the ancient Greeks to Gandhi, “How Should We Live?” considers such topics as love, family and empathy; work, time and money. What distinguishes this book from other self-help manuals is that Mr. Krznaric’s approach is rooted in a historical appreciation of how our modern muddle came about and what we might do to sort it out.

Read the full article here at the Wall Street Journal.

Outside of Ourselves


In a recent article in the New York Times, Akhil Sharma, author of the novel, Family Life, talked about the vexing challenges any writer faces, but offered insights all of us can use to navigate life’s treacherous highways. For Sharma, it’s all about getting outside yourself and actually praying for other people.

After leading into her story about massive writers block and then moving on to a story about how her brother almost drowned, she says this:

So, sitting on the bench by the river that day, I remembered having read in Reader’s Digest — a periodical my family has undue reverence for — that when you are feeling bad, one way to make yourself feel better is to pray for others.

I began to pray for the people who were passing by. I prayed for the nanny pushing a stroller. I prayed for the young woman jogging by in spandex. I prayed for the little boy pedaling his bicycle. I prayed that each of them got the same things that I wanted for myself: that they have good health, peace of mind, financial security. By focusing on others and their needs, my own problems seemed less unique and, somehow, less pressing.

Read the full article in the New York Times here.

More Early Praise for Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes

Out of the Ashes

Now just a month away from publication, the first book in the re-booted Tom Clancy Op-Center series, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes has garnered additional praise from early reviews. Here is what Booklist has to say:

Issue: May 1, 2014

Out of the Ashes

Couch, Dick (Author) and Galdorisi, George (Author)
May 2014. 400 p. St. Martin’s/Griffin, paperback, $15.99. (9781250026835). St. Martin’s/Griffin, e-book, (9781250026828).
Tom Clancy’s Op-Center books (12 in all) were popular, but the series ended after the last one was published in 2005. Now, almost 10 years later, St. Martin’s has resurrected Op-Center with this offering from coauthors Couch and Galdorisi. A series of terrorist attacks at NFL stadiums during games causes havoc, and the president’s response does little to restore confidence. He realizes the time has come to reestablish the Op-Center, a group known for its unmatched SWAT, computer, and infiltration skills. The recruitment process takes up the beginning third of the novel and proves surprisingly compelling. Once the team is up and running, the operation to strike back at the terrorists begins. Couch and Galdorisi are veteran military-thriller authors, and they show their talents here. Op-Center fans will be pleased to have the series back and will look forward to more installments in the future.

Jeff Ayers

Enriching Your Life: Mindfulness Meditation


Call it enrichment, self-actualization, reaching your full potential or anything else. As we blast through our busy lives in search of that “something” we often don’t pause to look inward and take a moment to ask ourselves why we are doing what we are doing.

The current Mindfulness Meditation movement, championed by visionaries such as Google’s Chade-Meng Tan whose book, Search Inside Yourself has garnered stellar reviews, is catching fire where people’s lives are on fast-forward on steroids – Silicon Valley.

His book is fabulous – and highly recommended – but you can dip your toe in the water to experience what Mindfulness Meditation is all about with this excellent New York Times article.