I Like this Book for…

Learning to lead when you feel like a follower: “Watership Down” by Richard Adams (2000, 480 pages).

Making marriage better: “Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversation for a Lifetime of Love” by Sue Johnson (2008, 277 pages).

What it is to be male: “The Male Brain: A Breakthrough Understanding of How Men and Boys Think” by Louann Brizendine (2010, 177 pages).

Figuring out feelings: “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” by David Burns (1999, 136 pages).

A marriage break up: “Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends” by Bruce Fisher and Robert Alberti (2006, 290 pages).

Ruminating: “Rituals of Surgery: Taking the World In for Repairs” by Richard Selzer (1974, 193 pages).

What Jesus meant: “The Parables of Grace” by Robert Farrar Capon (1988, 184 pages).

Learning to parent your kids: “Kids are Worth It: Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline” by Barbara Coloroso (1995, 243 pages).

People who are afraid to confront: “Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life, One Conversation at a Time” by Susan Scott (2004, 286 pages).

Of course, there are lots more. Let me know what you like.

Suck the Marrow Out of Life

You may remember this quote from Thoreau read by Robin Williams as the professor in “Dead Poet’s Society.” If there ever was a definition of “self-differentiation” or just vectoring your life, this would be it.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to “glorify God and enjoy him forever.” (from “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau and popularized in “Dead Poet’s Society”)

Strikes me as fresh and real as I grade graduate essays and theses, look forward to seawall walking with my grandson later today, reflect on the revolutions in Egypt (Mubarak just resigned) and Thailand (just beginning their Facebook / Twitter inspired insurrection), that I had better get to doing with my life what I want to do with it.