In A Shot Of Optimism

Isn’t it wild that in our health-conscious world, we have gotten so gung-ho about reading labels for ingredients and nutritional information, reducing our intake of processed foods and eating fresh fruits and veggies? Yet – how often are we looking at our intellectualdiet?

What are we actually putting into our heads? Is there a chance that we are feeding our brain the equivalent of junk food: mindless computer games, social media scrolling, and bad TV?

I confess to binge watching some pretty mindless shows, until one night last spring when I experienced a problem with my Netflix account. I decided to turn off the television and…read!

Settling into a good novel is one of life’s great pleasures. It helps me disconnect from my business life. I find it doesn’t matter whether I have the actual book or read on my tablet or even listen to an audible. Books take me back to my childhood when my grandmother used to read to me. I credit her with developing an ability to visualize and “see things” in my head.

I found the most stimulating way to read is to have a couple of books going at once, depending on your appetite. This is very similar to being able to choose from lots of different foods. For me, I love to keep up with the Spanish I learned during my years in Latin America, so I make sure to read a novel in Spanish every few months.

One of the hardest things about moving from passive fun (social media scrolling, etc…) to reading, is to know what to read. To that end, I compiled a list of what I’ve loved reading in the past few months that I highly, highly recommend:


A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – About a man who creates a life of happiness and contribution in spite of limitations – and it’s fun.

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver – This is a great listen. An imaginative tale set in Appalachia.

La Casa de los Espiritus by Isabel Allende – Multi-generational story of changing set in Latin America.  Her books are also available in English.

Non Fiction:

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and The Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown – Another thoughtful and timely book with good advice on civility and defending our beliefs all at the same time.

Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson – A genius who lived at the crossroads of science and art fueled by curiosity about the world.

And of course, I highly recommend my own title, written to stimulate and inspire others on their path to greatness: Live Large: The Achiever’s Guide to What’s Next. It’s a great present to yourself (or a friend) if you are at a crossroads.


The New York Times – Global politics, thoughtful editorials and interesting science and art.

Harvard Business Review, Inc., Fast Company – And, I will also dip into Forbes, Bloomberg, Wired, and Conscious Company.


You may not be able to read everything on the list, but you can think of it as a buffet that caters to all your tastes.

I’d love to hear what YOU are reading. Don’t keep it a secret.

Until next Tuesday,




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