Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “What Would Google Do?” by Jeff Jarvis

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I have a special affection for the book What Would Google Do?: Reverse-Engineering the Fastest Growing Company in the History of the World by Jeff Jarvis. It not only changed how I thought about business and marketing; it is the book that ignited my passion for nonfiction. Here, you’ll find good business strategies, but you’ll find something else, too: a new way of thinking about economics, creativity and society.

Read this book to get your mind blown in the way that the best nonfiction books are capable of doing.

Key Takeaways

We are in a new age of marketing and business, the author writes. The new rules of the new age are as follows:

  • Customers hold the power now–not marketers, managers or CEOs.
  • With social media, customers have the ability to have a major impact on large organizations in an instant. Be aware of the power of the crowd. People have easy access to information and can either support or harm a company based on their experiences.
  • The key to success is no longer just marketing, but having meaningful conversations with customers.
  • Trust and control have an inverse relationship. Trust your customers and let go of control.
  • Listen to your customers. Be honest, transparent, and collaborative. Encourage, enable, and protect innovation. Allow customers to feel like they are a part of the process and able to provide suggestions.
  • Life is always in a beta stage! Embrace changes and improvements.
  • Amazingly, “free” is a now viable business model! Many of the largest online companies (Facebook, Google) started by offering their services for free–and still do. The “tree” business model involves giving away value to expand your market base, then making money through alternative means.
  • The mass market has been replaced by a multiplicity of niche markets.
  • Don’t just be a product; be a platform! Help others build value on your site. Examples of platforms: Home Depot (for contractors) and Continental Airlines (for booking tours).
  • Ownership is no longer the key to success–openness is.
  • Google commodifies everything, especially knowledge. The economy is no longer based on scarcity, but on abundance. Control over products or distribution does not guarantee premium profits.
  • Focus on intangible solutions and rethinking physical products for an online presence.
  • Determine what business you are really in and protect it by offering solutions better than competitors.
  • Blunt honesty is more effective in marketing materials and blogs. When creating marketing materials, always use a natural and human tone.
  • Examples of Google-league marketers include: Facebook, Craigslist, Amazon, Flickr, WordPress and PayPal.

Google Laws:

  • Give control to customers and they will use it.
  • Your worst customer can be your best friend, providing valuable feedback about how to improve.
  • Your best customer is your partner. Incentivize them to spread the word.
  • Links are vital. Get linked to and talked about.
  • Focus on what you do best and link to the rest.
  • Join a network or, ideally, become a platform for others.
  • Think in a distributed manner.
  • Being searchable is essential for visibility.
  • Life and business are transparent.
  • Learn to handle mistakes well.
  • Rethink company structure for an “elegant organization.”
  • Small is the new big in a post-scarcity economy.

About the Author

Jeff Jarvis is a journalist, author, and professor. He is best known for his work as a media critic and commentator on the intersection of technology, media, and society. He is the author of several books, including “What Would Google Do?” and “Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live”. He is a professor at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, where he teaches courses on technology and entrepreneurship.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle

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Oprah loves Eckhart Tolle, and she’s almost never wrong. In her book of short essays, One Thing I Know for Sure, she says A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose is her favorite book of all time. I prefer The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, but both are pretty great.

Read these books for inspiration to try the evidence-based strategy of mindfulness (present moment awareness) for mental health.

Key Takeaways from The Power of Now

  • Realize that possessions, social status, relationships, beliefs, and other ego identifications are not truly who you are. The ego’s needs are endless and lead to a constant state of fear and want. Instead of exploring its manifestations, understand that the mind is not dysfunctional but becomes so when mistaken for self.
  • To end this delusion, focus on the present moment and body awareness to stay rooted in the now.
  • Experiment with closing your eyes and waiting for your next thought, realizing that intense presence frees you from thought. To deepen your connection with your inner body, focus your attention within and let all negativity flow through without reacting.
  • Focus your attention on the feeling inside of you, even if it is painful. Don’t judge or analyze the feeling, simply acknowledge its presence.
  • Be mindful of any defensiveness, as it is likely an attempt to protect an illusory identity or image in your mind.
  • There are many portals to the source, including the now, dreamless sleep, cessation of thinking, surrender, being in touch with the inner body energy field, disidentifying with the mind, and silence. You only need one portal to reach your inner being.
  • Love is not a portal, it is an inner feeling.
  • Space and silence are portals, as you cannot think and be aware of them at the same time.
  • The body is the way to reach your spirit or inner body.
  • Adjust your vision and look closely at what you thought was a stone statue. You might find that there was never a stone statue, but instead it was an angel all along.
  • Illness is not real in the present moment; rather, it is the belief, label, and past/future associations that give it continuity in time and make it seem real. Outside of time, it is nothing.

Key Takeaways from A New Earth

  • Humanity is ready for a major transformation in consciousness (enlightenment). This book discusses how to accelerate this process.
  • Get rid of ego. It’s just not helping. All that anger, defensiveness, arguing, making wrong, being right … all of that can safely go away. The death of your ego is not the death of you. Instead, it’s the start of your real life.
  • When you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as a field of conscious Presence. (I have a couple of friends who consciously follow this advice, and it shows.)

A Few Good Quotes from A New Earth

  • Shift “your attention from the external form of your body to the feeling of aliveness inside it.”
  • “Give up defining yourself—to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you.”
  • “An essential part of the awakening is the recognition of the unawakened you, the ego as it thinks, speaks, and acts as well as the recognition of the collectively conditioned mental processes that perpetrate the unawakened state.
  • The author tells of how he once saw a crazy woman talking to herself on a bus, then realized he was like her. Her constant angry chatter was the same as his constant anxious mental chatter. “If she was mad, then everyone was mad, including myself. There were differences in degree only.”
  • “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.”
  • “There are people who have renounced all possessions but have a bigger ego than some millionaires.” Take away one ego identity, and it will find another.

About the Author

Eckhart Tolle is a spiritual teacher, author and speaker. He was born in Germany in 1948 and later moved to England. Tolle’s teachings focus on helping individuals connect with their inner selves and find peace and happiness in the present moment, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. His books have been translated into over 40 languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Tolle continues to offer teachings and workshops on mindfulness and spirituality to this day.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath

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This book sells itself. Who doesn’t want to break a bad habit or learn how to maintain healthier routines? It’s called Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, and it’s written by brothers Chip and Dan Heath.

Read this book to map out a plan for change, whether personally or professionally.

Key Takeaways

  • Changing a habit or a culture is like forcing an elephant carrying a writer to change direction. One must not only convince the rider (the rational mind) but also the elephant (the emotions). In addition, one must make the path easier to follow. In this book, the writers describe these three main ways to encourage change: direct the rider; motivate the elephant; and shape the path.
  • To direct the rider: find the bright spots; script the critical moves; and point to the destination.
  • To motivate the elephant: find the feeling; shrink the change; and grow your people.
  • To shape the path: tweak the environment; build habits; rally the herd; and keep the switch going.
  • The Happiness Hypothesis study showed that our emotional side is like an dlephant and our rational side is its rider, with the rider holding the reins and seeming to be in control. However, the rider’s control is precarious as it is small compared to the elephant. When the elephant and the rider disagree, the rider always loses.
  • On finding the bright spots: The “bright spots” refers to the positive aspects of a situation or a person. To find the bright spots, one must avoid the “fundamental attribution error”, which is the tendency to attribute a person’s behavior to their inherent qualities instead of the circumstances they are in. This is why shows like “The Dog Whisperer” or “Super Nanny”, which depict the transformation of “bad” dogs or kids, captivate our attention. The fact that these dogs or kids can be reformed in a short intervention amazes us–but the truth is that they were never bad. They had bright spots already, but those spots had to be highlighted.
  • On scripting the critical moves: In Miner County, South Dakota, high school students conducted a survey to revive their dying community. They found that if residents spent just 10% more of their disposable income at home, the local economy would be boosted by $7 million. A year later, the amount of money spent in Miner County had increased by $15.6 million, showing that clarity is important for change to be successful.
  • Another way to script the critical moves is to preload decisions. Preloading a decision refers to making a decision in advance, such as deciding to go to the gym after dropping off the kids, to increase the likelihood of following through with it. This technique involves action triggers, which make the decision easier by reducing the mental effort required to make it later. By preloading the decision, there is less work involved in making it later on.
  • A research study conducted by Peter Golwitzer and Veronica Brandstatter tracked college students who had the opportunity to earn extra credit by writing a paper by December 26th. While most students had the intention of writing the paper, only 33% actually wrote and submitted it. However, for a different group of students in the study, the researchers required them to set action triggers–to note in advance when and where they intended to write the report. The results showed a significant improvement, with a whopping 75% of those students successfully writing the report.
  • On pointing to the destination: Crystal Jones was a teacher for Teach for America in 2003, teaching first grade in Atlanta, Georgia. The school lacked a kindergarten program, so she had to use language that motivated her students. Jones told her students, “By the end of this school year, you will be third graders,” and held a “graduation” ceremony when they reached second and third grade. She referred to her students as “scholars” and, by the end of the year, more than 90% of the kids were reading at or above a third-grade level.
  • For change to be effective, it must be clear and specific. A local media campaign was created to encourage people to switch to 1% milk and it was a success, increasing the market share of low-fat milk from 18% to 35%.
  • On finding the feeling: Robyn Waters, a “Trend Manager” at Target, played a crucial role in transforming the company from being similar to Walmart to the iconic “Tarzhay”. She achieved this by creatively incorporating displays of colorful M&Ms and the latest Apple iMac computers to demonstrate the importance of incorporating color in their offerings.
  • The rider wants to “analyze-think-change” but in reality we “see-feel-change.”
  • Change can be facilitated by visual and emotional cues. For example, a presentation on reducing spending on gloves was made more effective by laying out all the gloves with different prices on a table, rather than using spreadsheets.
  • On shrinking the change: In 2007, Alia Cru and Ellen Langer conducted a study on hotel maids and their exercise habits. The study divided the maids into two groups, with one group being told that they were already meeting the recommended exercise levels, while the other group was informed about the benefits of exercising. After 4 weeks, the results showed that the maids who were told that they were good exercisers lost an average of 1.8 pounds, which is equivalent to almost a half-pound per week, a significant weight loss. However, the other group of maids did not experience any weight loss.
  • On growing your people: Lovelace Hospital Systems in Albuquerque, NM was facing rapid turnover, a common issue in the healthcare industry. To address this, they hired Susan Wood of Appreciative Inquiry, a method of transforming organizations by focusing on their strengths rather than weaknesses. Wood discovered that the nurses who remained at the hospital longer believed in the noble nature of their profession. In response, the hospital created an orientation program that emphasized the admirable qualities of nursing and established mentorship programs to enhance the nurses’ skills and knowledge. Employee satisfaction surveys indicated that these measures were effective, and as a result, turnover decreased by 30% over the following year.
  • On tweaking the environment: In 2000, a study was conducted in a Chicago movie theater where free popcorn and soft drinks were offered to movie-goers. The popcorn was intentionally made to be unappetizing, but even so, the results were surprising. People with larger popcorn buckets ended up eating 53% more popcorn than those with smaller buckets, and most of them were not aware of this fact. The results showed that the environment can play a huge role in affecting behavior.
  • In another study, participants were given chocolates or radishes and then asked to solve puzzles. Those who had only eaten radishes gave up after 8 minutes, while those who had eaten cookies gave up after 19 minutes, showing that self-control is an exhaustible resource.
  • It was also noted that our mind works differently when we are supervised, such as when learning something new, compared to when we are not, such as when driving a car. This is why shopping can be tiring.
  • On rallying the herd: We look for environmental cues and examples of others to know how to act. Therefore, make your change feel like a norm that has already been established. For example: “In the 1980s, Jay Winsten, a public health professor at Harvard, got interested in the idea of a ‘designated driver’..” unknown in the US at that time. “Winsten and his team collaborated with producers, writers and actors from more than 160 prime-time TV programs, sprinkling designated-driver moments naturally into the plots.” Requested just “5 seconds” of dialogue featuring the idea. “In 1991, three years after the campaign launched, nine out of ten people were familiar with the term designated driver.”
  • On keeping the switch going: Punishment rarely works. Instead, change the environment. Take small steps. Praise all steps on right path. You will get there.

About the Author

Chip Heath and Dan Heath are American authors and speakers who specialize in the fields of business and psychology. They are brothers and co-authors of several popular books, including Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. In Switch, the Heath brothers use insights from psychology, sociology, and other disciplines to explain why change is difficult and to offer practical advice for making change easier. The book is widely regarded as a practical and accessible guide to overcoming resistance and making real, lasting change in both personal and organizational contexts. Chip Heath is a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, while Dan Heath is a senior fellow at Duke University’s CASE center. Together, they are known for their ability to make complex concepts accessible and actionable for a general audience.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Fringeology” by Steve Volk

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Ghosts! Telepathy! Magic! Is there a reader on Earth who doesn’t love the idea of a scientific inquiry regarding evidence for the paranormal? When it comes to nonfiction, Fringeology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable – And Couldn’t by Steve Volk is in a class of its own. Where do they even put it on the shelf at Barnes and Noble?

Read this book because, firstly, you know you’re curious and secondly, because it might open your mind.

Key Takeaways

  • Scientists can be dogmatic and irrational in their beliefs, just like anyone else. This is a natural human tendency. The debate should not be between paranormal believers and skeptics but rather what evidence is sufficient to support the paranormal. This perspective is referred to as “possibilianism.” It is the position that all truly open-minded people take to the paranormal.
  • Chapter One focuses on near-death experiences and presents evidence to suggest they are real. There are numerous accounts of these experiences with interesting similarities between them, and skeptics have not provided a satisfactory explanation.
  • Chapter Two focuses on telepathy and presents evidence for this paranormal phenomenon. A small effect has been proven when large enough samples are used; however, the effect is not large enough to serve practical purposes. The author als describes the ongoing debate between skeptics represented by CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) and the Parapsychological Association, whose findings are sometimes dismissed without good reason.
  • Chapter Three explores the concept of consciousness outside of the brain. It provides an overview of quantum physics, which suggests that the smallest units of matter have mind of their own. The author tells the story of Dr. Stuart Hameroff, who wrote about consciousness.
  • Chapter Four discusses the possibility of aliens and UFO sightings, including a convincing sighting in Stevensville, Texas. The author points out that UFOs are certainly real, since they are defined simply as “unidentified flying objects,” but that most sightings have Earth-based explanations.
  • Chapter Five focuses on ghosts and the author’s personal experience living in a haunted house. The reality of ghostly phenomena is debated.
  • Chapter Six explores the Overview Effect, a feeling of unity or oneness with all that is experienced by many astronauts who view the earth from space. Edgar Mitchell, who had this experience, is on a quest to understand the source of the unity he felt.
  • Chapter Seven discusses the positive effects of meditation and meditative prayer, as researched by Dr. Andrew Newberg.
  • Chapter Eight focuses on lucid dreaming and the experience of becoming aware one is dreaming while still dreaming. The findings of notable sleep and dream researcher, Dr. Stephen LaBerge, are explored.
  • Chapter Nine explores Induced After-Death Communication (IADC), a therapeutic technique for overcoming trauma, which involves recalling painful memories and moving the eyes from side to side. The story of Al Botkin, who discovered this therapy, is told. Although anecdotal evidence is promising, no large-scale studies have been conducted.
  • Chapters Ten and Eleven present the author’s conclusions. The author discusses the human desire for certainty, though intellectual curiosity is often a wiser perspective to take.

About the Author

Steve Volk is a journalist and author, best known for his book Fringeology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable–And Couldn’t. The book explores the topic of the paranormal and the boundaries of science and skepticism. Volk is a contributing editor at Philadelphia Magazine and has written for a number of other publications.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki

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Sometimes, you need some fatherly advice about money–from someone else’s father, of course. Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! combines good old-fashioned common sense with professional insights on financial success that apply to a wide range of investors (even–especially–the newbies).

Read this book to fill in your knowledge gaps regarding money and to get inspired to start an investment strategy today.

Key Takeaways

  • The definition of  the word “rich” is “able to live off the interest from one’s investments.” This is your goal.
  • Look where no one else is looking for business opportunities. Don’t follow the crowd; buy when stocks crash rather than selling, as others do.
  • Know the difference between an asset and a liability. An asset puts money into your income column and a liability takes it out. Everything else, including personal property that can’t be easily sold, is neutral. Many people see their home as an asset, but it is not an asset if you aren’t gaining income on it.
  • Pay yourself first, even before paying your bills. Put money into your investments first! You’ll be forced to use your creativity to get the rest taken care of, too.
  • Don’t fear risk. This is what keeps many people from investing in anything high yield and going with mutual funds and others safe investments instead.
  • Money is not real. It’s all just a game. Have fun with it!
  • If you don’t enjoy a certain type of investing, do something else. You’re unlikely to be successful at something you dislike. 
  • Hire people who are smarter than you.
  • Most rich people lose it all at some point but they usually make it back–and then some–because they know what they’re doing.
  • Create a corporation and wrap it around your largest assets.
  • Educate yourself about money. Read advice books and follow it.

About the Author

Robert Kiyosaki is an American author, entrepreneur, and investor. He is best known for his book Rich Dad Poor Dad, which has become a personal finance classic and has been translated into 51 languages. In the book, Kiyosaki shares lessons he learned about money and investing from his “rich dad,” and contrasts them with the financial advice he received from his own father. He has written several other books on personal finance, including Cashflow Quadrant and Retire Young Retire Rich. Kiyosaki is also the founder of the Rich Dad Company, which provides financial education and training.


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Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Ten Percent Happier” by Dan Harris

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Meditation isn’t just for the woo-woo crowd. Written by agnostic journalist Dan Harris, Ten Percent Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story is a well-written memoir about an everyday workaholic who takes up meditation.

Read it to convince your skeptical self to try this evidence-based strategy for improving mental health.

Key Takeaways

  • Studies have shown the transformative effects of meditation, including evidence for the existence of enlightenment.
  • The purpose of meditation is not to feel something, but to simply try and build your meditation muscle, similar to practicing a sport or a musical instrument.
  • Meditation can help you improve your work relationships, as evidenced by the author’s own transformation from being a difficult colleague to being seen as “easy”.
  • To meditate, first choose a focal point for your breath, such as your mouth, chest, or belly. Whenever your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath. You can silently repeat “in-out” to help you focus.
  • After grounding yourself in your breath, practice “noting”–noticing and labeling thoughts or dominant feelings without judgment. This is called “choiceless awareness” and can lead to a real breakthrough in meditation.
  • Don’t worry too much about how you feel while meditating. The goal is to redirect your attention back to your breath whenever it wanders. That’s the whole game.
  • During a long meditation, it’s normal to experience both bliss and misery within the same hour. As you advance in your practice, the ups and downs will become less pronounced.
  • If focusing on your breath doesn’t work for you, try a body scan meditation, a compassion meditation, or a choiceless awareness meditation instead.

About the Author

Dan Harris is an American journalist and author, best known for his book 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story. The book was published in 2014 and describes Harris’ journey from skepticism towards self-help and spirituality to a more balanced and mindful life. In it, he explains how he found inner peace through meditation, and how this practice helped him to be more productive, less stressed, and happier in his personal and professional life. The book was a New York Times bestseller and has been praised for its accessibility and practical approach to mindfulness and meditation. Harris is also a co-anchor of ABC News’ “Nightline” and the co-founder of the 10% Happier movement and app.


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School in a Book: History of Africa


Ancient History (3000 BCE to 500 CE)

Overview of Africa during ancient times: Ancient Africa was home to various important civilizations and kingdoms, including ancient Egypt, Nubia, Aksum, Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. These civilizations traded with each other and with other regions, such as the Mediterranean and Asia, exchanging goods such as gold, salt, and spices. Ancient Africa was also home to the development of writing systems, advanced agricultural techniques, and complex political systems. The Sahara Desert hindered communication between the northern and southern parts of the continent. Also, due to a lack of mountains, the rainfall was extremely unpredictable in most of Africa. Therefore, most tribes were nomadic and did not have the opportunity for settled towns and civilizations. Still, civilizations eventually began to arise in the coastal areas of Africa. These included advanced architecture, unique pyramids, and a strong trading market with routes to Asia and across Africa.

Ancient Egypt: The first civilization in Africa and one of the greatest civilizations in history. It included: multiple cities, all hugging the Nile River; farming of wheat and barley for beer and bread, flax for linen and more; advanced medicine, astronomy and engineering; a polytheistic religion; pyramids; hieroglyphics and papyrus paper; cattle for transportation; and more. Egypt was briefly conquered by Alexander the Great and the Roman Empire in turn during ancient times.

Egypt’s Upper and Lower Kingdoms: The two Egyptian kingdoms that existed before unification. The Upper Kingdom was located along the southern part of the Nile closer to the mountains, while the Lower Kingdom was located downhill at the northern part of the Nile called the Nile Delta.

Pharaoh: The ruler or king of ancient Egypt after Egyptian unification. The pharaoh eventually became thought of as a living god.

King Narmer/Menes: The ancient Egyptian king who, around 3000 BCE, united Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Narmer was the first Egyptian pharaoh. With his reign, Egypt began moving through three stages: the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom.

Egypt’s Old Kingdom: The period in Egyptian history during which Narmer reigned; pyramids including the Great Pyramid at Giza were built; and the tradition of mummification began.

Egypt’s Middle Kingdom: The period in Egyptian history during which, after a time of decline, Mentuhotep restored Egypt’s greatness and fIne art and literature flourished. Though during this time Egypt invaded Nubia for gold, it remained mostly isolated. 

Egypt’s New Kingdom: The period in Egyptian history during which, after another brief decline, Egypt’s golden age took place. With a more aggressive leadership in power, Egypt took Nubian slaves; engaged in wars with the Hittites and Arameans; became known abroad; conquered Palestine; had a caste system with a wealthy noble class, a scribe/priest class, a merchant class and a peasant farmer class; had legal equality of men and women. 

Amenhotep III: The most well-known New Kingdom pharaoh, who led Egypt at its height of wealth and influence.

Mummification: The process of preserving dead bodies into very long-lasting mummies. It involved a great deal of salt and cloth wrapping. Mummies of pharaohs were often buried in pyramids. Took 70 days.

Pyramids: A special type of massive tomb built for bodies of Egyptian pharaohs as well as a variety of treasures, sacred writings and food meant to accompany them. Pyramids seem symbolic of Egyptian culture as a whole, as their culture was a strict hierarchy with the pharaoh and nobles at the top, the middle class, merchants and soldiers in the middle and the peasants and farmers making up the largest class at the bottom. They also reflected the stability of Egyptian culture, which was based on the predictable flood cycles of the Nile River.

The Great Pyramid at Giza: The greatest of the Egyptian pyramids and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The Great Pyramid at Giza was made up of six million tons of stone, which may have been brought to the location on bamboo sleds.

The Valley of the Kings: A large, once-secret burial site in ancient Egypt that included many buried pyramids that once housed bodies of New Kingdom pharaohs. King Tut’s body was found there in the 1900s in a pyramid stuffed with treasure.

Mentuhotep: The first pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom who reunited Egypt after a time of political instability

Akhenaten: The Egyptian pharaoh most known for trying to change Egypt’s religious system from polytheism to monotheism. After Akhenaten died, his name was removed from monuments and records, his new capital city was abandoned, and the priests of the old gods reintroduced polytheism.

Aten: The god that Akhenaten worshiped

Cleopatra: The last pharaoh of Egypt, most known for her seductive beauty; her relationships with Roman leaders Julius Caesar and Mark Antony; her influence on Roman politics; and her death by suicide

Ra: The ancient Egyptian god of the sun

Osiris: The ancient Egyptian god of the underworld

Isis: The ancient Egyptian god of fertility

King Tutenkahamen/King Tut: A New Kingdom pharaoh whose tomb, mummified remains and accompanying treasure stash were rediscovered in modern times by British archaeologist Howard Carter

The Book of the Dead: A collection of manuscripts and spells from ancient Egypt

The Rosetta Stone: An ancient stone tablet dating from around 200 BCE that features text in hieroglyphics and two other languages and which therefore played a key role in the deciphering of hieroglyphics by modern-day scholars

Nubia: The civilization that was at its peak from about [date] to [date] in the Nile River Valley in northern Africa. It is known for its iron and gold resources; its flourishing trade, especially with Egypt and beyond

Kingdom of Kush: The civilization that grew out of Nubia and was at its peak from about [date] to [date] and that was, like Nubia, known for its iron and gold

Carthage: The powerful city-state in North Africa on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea that, due to its trade with the rest of Africa, threatened both ancient Greece and ancient Rome. Carthage fought the Punic Wars against Greece and fell to Rome for a time. During Roman control, Christianity and other Western ideas spread to Africa.

Phoenicians: The people of Carthage, who were known for their excellent seamanship

Hannibal: The leader of Carthage during ancient Greek and Roman times who is known for fighting the Second Punic War against Greece and crossing the Alps instead of taking the water route to mount a surprise attack on Italy

The Aksum Empire: A wealthy empire located in the Horn of Africa that ruled from about 100 CE to about 1000 CE. It featured great cities; large monoliths; and widespread Christianity. 

The Berbers: The name given to the native people of North Africa (Morocco, Algeria and beyond) by foreigners. They are known for their trade with Carthage; their exploitation (including being taken as slaves) by Carthaginians; and for their camel-riding for purposes of trade

The Pygmies: An indigenous people who have lived in the forests of central Africa for tens of thousands of years and are known for their small physical size; their bartering culture; their forest-based spiritual beliefs; and their simple hunter-gatherer way of life

The Bantu: An indigenous people who have lived in southern and central Africa, particularly the Great Lakes region, from around 2000 BCE to the present and are known for developing powerful states like the Kingdom of Kongo and the Kingdom of Zimbabwe; for trading with the Greeks and Romans during ancient times; for their rich cultural heritage, including music, dance, storytelling, and spiritual beliefs; and more.

The Swahili: An ethnic community who has lived in coastal eastern Africa (Kenya, Uganda and beyond) from around 1000 CE to the present and are known for their mixed Arab, Persian and Bantu ethnicities due to extensive trade with these peoples; their Islamic traditions; their unique language, Swahili, a mix of Bantu and foreign languages; their exports of ivory, slaves and gold; their partial takeover by the Portugese around 1500; and more

The Zulus: A group of native southern Africans and one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. They are known for their advanced militaristic tactics and organization and for frequent fighting with other tribes, especially during colonial times

The Nok: One of the earliest known cultures of Western Africa, which thrived on the Niger River in modern-day Nigeria and beyond from about 500 BCE to about 200 CE. The Nok were known for their pottery and iron tools.

Jenne-jeno: One of the oldest known cities in subsaharan Africa, located in present-day Mali and founded around 300 CE. It was known for linking West Africa to the Mediterranean and the Sahara and for serving as an important archaeological site in modern times to further our understanding of African history

The Middle Ages (500 CE to 1500 CE)

Overview of Africa during the Middle Ages: As during ancient times, during the Middle Ages Africa was made up of as many as 10,000 different nations, tribes and kingdoms with distinct languages and customs and various government structures, including councils, chief-led rule and more. Trade with the Middle East and India, particularly in gold, salt, ivory and slaves, grew rapidly with advances in seagoing technology. Though civil wars were frequent, tribal success was based more on trade than on conquest.

The Arab invasion: An invasion of Egypt by Muslim Arabs in the mid-600s that resulted in Arab control of all of the North African coasts and the spread of Islam in this area

The Kingdom of Ghana: One of the first great empires of western African empire, which was located near modern-day Ghana and beyond and which lasted from about the 500s CE to about the 1200s CE. It was known for serving as the center of the African gold trade due to its advantageous location on the Saharan trade route; its Muslim ruling class, which lived in a town connected to the king’s residence; its divine king, which they called Ghana; and its rural class, which lived in villages; its adoption of Islam; and their taxing of trade through the area as their main source of wealth rather than production.

Kanem-Bornu: The northwestern African state that was located near Lake Chad and that lasted from about the 800s CE to about the 1800s CE. It was known for being one of the largest and longest-lasting states in African history; for its wealth and power; for its control over the trans-Saharan trade routes that linked West Africa to North Africa and the Mediterranean; and for its sophisticated political, administrative, and cultural practices and systems.

Great Zimbabwe: The southern African empire located on the Zimbabwe Plateau that lasted from the 900s CE to the 1400s. It was known for replacing Mapungubwe; for its stone structures built entirely without mortar, including the wall of the Great Enclosure; for its gold; for its luxurious royal court; and for its trade with its contemporary, Kilwa. About 1430 impressive stone buildings were erected at Great Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe means stone building.

The Kingdom of Benin: The western African empire that was located in present-day Nigeria and beyond and that lasted from the 1000s to the 1400s, then became the Benin Empire and lasted till almost 1900 CE. It was known for its extensive forests; its capital, Benin City, that had wide streets, large wooden houses and walls encompassing it; its bronze carvings; its cloth, ivory, metal, palm oil, pepper, brass masks and carvings and pottery; its rich palace; its ruler Oba Eware the Great, who modernized and didn’t enslave prisoners or engage in slave trade, which protected it from European colonization for a time.

The Ethiopian Empire: The eastern African empire located in modern-day Ethiopia and beyond that lasted from the 1100s CE to the 1500s CE. It was known for its adoption of Orthodox Christianity; its emperor; its eleven cross-shaped churches carved out of solid rock; its lack of military expansions; its diplomacy with Europe; and its church of St. George.

The Kingdom of Mapungubwe: The first state in Southern Africa, which lasted from about 1100 CE to about [date] and whose capital was Mapungubwe. It was known for its ivory, copper and gold.

The Mali Empire: The West African empire that began in the 1200s CE; absorbed the remains of the Ghana Empire. It was known for its salt and gold trade; its thriving agriculture including sorghum, millet and rice; its animal husbandry; its gradual conversion to Islam; its governmental system wherein the farma (leaders of villages) paid tribute to the mansa (the ruler); its book trade and culture of learning and literacy.

Mansa Musa: The Mali ruler during the 1300s CE who is known for his pilgrimage to Mecca with 500 slaves, each holding a bar of gold. Mansa Musa gave away so much gold during this trip that gold devalued in Egypt for over a decade. His expedition increased trade in Africa and influenced thinking about Africa across the Middle East and Europe. He was one of the richest people in history.

Timbuktu: A busy trading city in Mali where salt, horses, gold, and slaves were sold

The Kanem Empire: The South African empire that was located in the Chad Basin and beyond, at times including parts of Nigeria and South Sudan and that lasted from the 800s CE to the 1300s CE. It was known for its slave trade; its large cavalry; its adoption of Islam; its frequent pilgimages to Mecca

The Bornu Empire: The South African empire that was located in the Chad Basin and beyond; that lasted from about the 1300s CE to about 1900 CE; and that replaced the Kanem Empire. It was known for the advantagous location of its capital, Bornu; for its modernized military; for its friendly relations with the Ottoman Empire; and for being the first empire south of the Sahara to import firearms.

Early Modern Times (1500 CE to 1900 CE)

The African slave trade: The enslaving and selling of African natives to foreign countries, which occurred in large numbers from the 1500s to the 1800s. Some Africans were captured in raids from their homelands, while others were sold by their own people. Britain and some U.S. states banned the slave trade in the early 1800s, while other U.S. states continued using slaves through the late 1800s.

Colonization: The forceful takeover of a nation by a foreign power. The Portugese began their colonization of Africa in the 1500s, and was quickly followed by several other Western powers (particularly Britain, France, Spain and the Netherlands) until, by the early 1900s, most of Africa had been claimed. Colonizers focused their efforts on resource extraction, including the extraction of natives for slavery. Settlers suffered from African diseases such as yellow fever, sleeping sickness, yaws, leprosy and malaria.

The Middle Passage: The route taken by slave ships through the Atlantic Ocean between Europe, Africa and the Americas

Dutch East India Company: A Netherlands-based trading company that effectively governed colonized lands and managed trade there. For a time, they inhabited the Gold Coast (particularly Ghana) of Africa in order to trade for gold. It founded Cape Town in southern Africa.

The Kingdom of Songhai: The western African empire that that replaced Mali in the 1500s CE; that lasted from the 1400s CE to the 1600s CE; that was built by the Songhai people, who first established a capital in the 800s CE; and that became the largest empire in the history of Africa. It was also known for its Islamic religious traditions; for making Timbuktu a center of Islamic learning; for its strong central government; and for the descriptions of it by Roman historian Leo Africanus

Sunni Ali: The Songhai ruler that, in the 1400s CE, expanded the Kingdom to become the largest in Africa’s history. He captured Timbuktu and took control of the Saharan trade route for gold and salt. He was disliked by some for not being a Muslim.

The Kingdom of Rwanda: The South African empire that was founded around the 1600s CE that was known for its class system including the elite class of Tutsi and its farming class called the Hutu as well as its strict laws and social norms around interaction between these classes.

The Kingdom of Kongo: The African empire that was located in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the lower Congo River and beyond and that lasted from the late 1300s to the late 1800s. It was known for its fertile soil; its good military organization; its artworks, including metalwork, pottery, weaving and musical instruments; its adoption of maize and cassava from the Portugese, which spread across Africa; its strong centralized rule; and its early adoption of Christianity.

The Boers: Dutch settlers of southern Africa, particularly South Africa, during colonial times. The Boers were known for fighting against the British for control of South Africa, retreating further inland in order to retain their settlements there; intimidating African tribes, including the Zulu, with guns and horses; farming; and playing a key role in the establishment and maintenance of Apartheid.

Scramble for Africa: The colonization and partitioning of most of Africa by seven Western European powers in negotiations that took place from the late 1800s through the early 1900s. Negotiations did not include African governmental leaders. Tribal and national boundaries were redrawn arbitrarily, resulting in the breakup of many ethnic groups in Africa. European motives included prestige and natural resources. Areas that were settled by a significant number of Westerners included Algeria (by the French), South Africa (by several nations), Kenya (by the British) and more.

Dr. David Livingstone: A popular British missionary, anti-slavery activist and explorer of the interior of Africa who sought the source of the Nile. He was in turn sought after by by journalist Henry Stanley, who is said to have greeted him when they met in central Africa with “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

The Boer Wars: The wars fought between the British, the Zulus and the Boers in the late 1800s for control of Cape Colony in South Africa

Cecil Rhodes: The British Prime Minister of Cape Colony of South Africa who sought to unite all of Africa under British rule

The Suez Canal: A man-made waterway in Egypt created in the late 1800s that connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, allowing ships to bypass the lengthy and dangerous trip around the African continent and providing a greatly shortened route from the West to India and the Far East. In the late 1800s, Britain took advantage of a financial crisis involving its previous owners (France and Egypt) and bought 50 percent of the shares.

The Modern Era (1900 to the Present)

Overview of Africa in the modern era:

Africa in the 20th century was marked by colonization, independence movements, civil wars, and attempts at economic and political development. At the start of the century, almost all of Africa was under European colonial rule. The continent was divided and controlled by various European powers, with little regard for African cultural and political borders. Throughout the mid-20th century, African countries began to fight for independence from colonial rule. This was a time of intense political struggle, with many leaders, such as Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana, leading the way towards independence. Despite independence, many African countries faced internal conflict and civil wars in the latter part of the 20th century, often due to ethnic or political divisions. This included countries such as Sudan, Somalia, and Rwanda. In the latter part of the 20th century, Africa faced numerous challenges in its attempts to achieve economic and political stability. Issues such as poverty, disease, and corruption have continued to hinder progress, but there have also been notable successes, such as the establishment of democratic systems of government in some countries. The 20th century also saw the growth of Pan-Africanism, a movement aimed at unifying African countries and promoting the interests of African people on a global stage. This has resulted in the establishment of organizations such as the African Union, which aims to promote cooperation and development across the continent.

Africa’s role during World War I: Africa played a significant role in World War I, both as a theater of conflict and as a source of troops and resources for the European powers involved in the war. German colonies in Africa, such as present-day Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi, were occupied by Allied forces during the war. African troops from French and British colonies fought in various theaters of the war, including on the Western Front in Europe and in the Middle East. Africa was also a source of valuable resources, including minerals, rubber, and agricultural products, which were exploited by the European powers to support their war efforts. The war had far-reaching impacts on Africa, including the redrawing of borders and the imposition of harsh economic policies by the European colonial powers, which contributed to further exploitation of the continent.

Africa’s role during World War II: Africa played a crucial role in World War II, both as a theater of conflict and as a source of troops and resources for the Allied powers. Several key battles were fought in North Africa, including the Battle of El Alamein, which was a turning point in the war in the region. Africa was a major source of troops for both the Allied and Axis powers, with hundreds of thousands of African soldiers and laborers serving in various capacities, including in combat. Africa was also a source of valuable resources, including minerals and agricultural products, which were exploited to support the war effort. The war had a profound impact on Africa, including increased anti-colonial sentiment, the emergence of new leaders and political movements, and the acceleration of decolonization.

The decolonization of Africa: The gradual process of African nations regaining independence from colonial powers, which took place primarily during the middle part of the 1900s

African National Congress (ANC): A political party in South Africa founded in the early 1900s whose goal is to bring about a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society and government in that area. As the current ruling party in South Africa, it focuses on issues of social and economic equality, reducing corruption and improving education and healthcare.

Desmond Tutu: A South African Anglican cleric and theologian; an activist against apartheid; and a strong advocate for human rights and equality. He served as the Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996 and was the first black South African to hold the position. Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his role in the anti-apartheid movement. He has continued to speak out on issues of social justice and human rights around the world and remains a respected and influential figure in South Africa and beyond.

Apartheid: Apartheid was a system of racial segregation and discrimination that was implemented in South Africa from 1948 to the early 1990s. Under apartheid, the white minority government of South Africa enforced a series of laws that created separate living areas, schools, and public facilities for black, white, and other racial groups. The laws also restricted the movement and rights of black South Africans, including limiting their political participation. The apartheid system was widely condemned as a violation of human rights and faced widespread opposition, both within South Africa and internationally. The anti-apartheid movement, led by Nelson Mandela and others, eventually succeeded in ending the apartheid system and establishing a multi-racial democracy in South Africa.

Nelson Mandela: Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as the country’s first black president from 1994 to 1999. He was born in 1918 and became involved in the African National Congress (ANC) in the 1940s, leading protests and campaigns against the apartheid regime. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years for his political activities before being released in 1990. He continued to lead the ANC in negotiations with the government, which resulted in the end of apartheid and the establishment of a multi-racial democracy in South Africa. Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander

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In a word, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness is stunning. In it, author Michelle Alexander carefully walks the reader through the many legal and law enforcement practices that raise the statistical chances of people of color being incarcerated (most often for minor drug offenses), then, once branded felons, denied civil rights and social services.

Read it to gain a basic understanding of multi-systemic racism in America.

The Summary

African Americans and other people of color are brought into the U.S. criminal justice system at a much higher rate than White people. This mass incarceration can be considered the new Jim Crow–the new system for propagating racism and segregation.

The path to mass incarceration, Alexander writes, includes:

  • Government programs that (handsomely) incentivise local law enforcement agencies to increase drug-related arrests in any way necessary; 
  • Pinpointing poor neighborhoods for random searches and seizures, which should be illegal but through many legal loopholes, now are effectively entirely legal;
  • Using very minor driving offenses as an excuse to search and seize;
  • Inflating penalties for minor drug offenses (such as possession of a small amount of drugs or even being present when drug crimes take place) to frightening (and unconstitutional) levels in order to pressure people to take plea bargains–even people who are entirely innocent of any crime;
  • Removing civil rights, such as the right to vote, from people branded felons;
  • Removing social services, such as child care, food benefits and housing from people branded felons;
  • Allowing places of employment and housing to discriminate based on felon status;
  • and more.

For people of color, the U.S. criminal justice system is a nearly inescapable entrance to a parallel universe in which Constitutional and other rights are systematically removed and thriving is greatly hindered.

About the Author

Michelle Alexander is an American author, lawyer, and legal scholar. She is best known for her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, which was published in 2010. The book critiques the U.S. criminal justice system and argues that mass incarceration functions as a system of racial control, similar to the Jim Crow laws of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Alexander has also written for several prominent publications, including The New York Times, The Nation, and The Colorlines. She is a graduate of Stanford Law School and has taught at a number of universities, including Ohio State University, where she was an associate professor of law.


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School in a Book: Psychology

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Psychology gives, then gives some more. If you haven’t read a good nonfiction book lately, you could do worse than to pick up a popular self-help book or a book on positive psychology. With recent developments in brain scan technology, we’re developing this field quickly, and much of what we learn is quite practical. Even if you don’t suffer from a mood disorder or some other mental health problem, you can find many ways to improve your sense of well-being that have nothing to do with career advancement or material gain. Self-improvement is satisfying, and good habits are self-reinforcing. Never underestimate the power of a good self-help book.


Psychology: The study of human thought, emotions and behavior, including the study of mental disorders; abnormal behaviors; personality differences; developmental stages; and more

Psychotherapy: Mental health counseling, during which a counselor works either one-on-one or in a group setting to help clients explore problems and goals related to mental health

Psychologist: A psychology expert who holds a PhD and might work as in a clinical or research setting

Clinical psychologist: A psychologist who diagnoses and treats mental disorders in a clinical setting

Psychiatrist: A medical doctor who specializes in mental disorders and can prescribe psychotropic medications

Mental health counselor: A licensed counselor with a Master’s degree who diagnoses and treats mental disorders in a clinical setting

Marriage and family therapist: A licensed counselor with a Master’s degree who diagnoses and treats mental disorders in a clinical setting and specializes in couple and family treatment

Life coach: An advisor without an industry-specific license or credential

Psychoanalysis: A method of psychotherapy that seeks to bring unconscious knowledge into conscious knowledge through dream interpretation, Rorschach tests, free association and more. It was developed by Sigmund Freud and rests on the idea that early experiences shape personality.

Sigmund Freud: The founder of psychoanalysis who worked in Austria in the early 1900s and who is most known for his psychosexual theory of development and his theory of the unconscious

Carl Jung: A psychoanalyst who helped develop Freud’s theory of the unconscious while rejecting his sexual focus

Rorschach test: A psychological test that present ambiguous stimuli in the expectation that people will interpret it in ways that reveal their concerns, desires, feelings and possible mental disorders

Free association: A technique for uncovering a person’s subconscious beliefs by having them respond quickly to questions or prompts, without much thought

Freudian slip: An act or spoken thing that is close to the intended, but different, and reflects unconscious beliefs or anxieties

Freud’s theory of the unconscious: Most of what ails us psychologically resides in the unconscious or subconscious and must be coaxed out through various therapies.

Freud’s theory of the id, ego and superego: Freud believed that in our unconscious there is an id, a childlike mind who has little impulse control; a superego, a parent-like mind who tries to direct our behavior rightly; and an ego, the more rational self that balances the other two.

Freud’s theory of psychosexual development: A theory that explains human psychological development through human sexual development. Freud coined the term “anal retentive” to describe people who are too perfectionistic and controlled. He also believed boys become sexually attracted to their mothers, which he called the Oedipus complex, and that all women have “penis envy.”

Freud’s ego defense mechanisms: Denial; displacement (making an unrelated party the object of your anger or blame); intellectualization (to avoid emotion); avoidance; rationalization; projection (placing your own quality or desire onto someone else); regression; repression, sublimation (acting out impulses in a socially acceptable way); reaction formation (taking the opposite stance); suppression.

Behaviorism: A psychological theory that explains human behavior and describes principles of behavioral conditioning, including stimulus and response and negative and positive reinforcements

Ivan Pavlov: A behavioral psychologist who studied conditioned reflexes in the body, such as saliva secretions in dogs after hearing a bell stimulus

B.F. Skinner: The most well-known behaviorial psychologist, who performed experiments on animals that showed how their behavior could be modified through learning

Classical conditioning: A form of behavioral conditioning in which two stimuli become associated in someone’s mind through passive learning, such as Pavlov’s dogs and their dinner bell

Operant conditioning: A form of behavioral conditioning in which two stimuli become associated through active learning, such as monkeys who learn to obtain food by pushing a button

Positive reinforcement: The addition of a stimulus after a behavior is exhibited in order to increase the likelihood of the behavior being repeated

Negative reinforcement: The removal of a stimulus after a behavior is exhibited in order to increase the likelihood of the behavior being repeated. An example occurs when a beeping tone stops in your car after you put on your seatbelt.

Punishment: The addition or removal of a stimulus after a behavior is exhibited in order to decrease the likelihood of the behavior being repeated

Desensitization: A behavioral conditioning technique for weakening a strong, undesirable response (such as anxiety about airplane flying) by repeated exposure to the stimulus (airplane flying)

Extinction: The extinguishing of an unwanted behavior through lack of reinforcement. An example is the ceasing of temper tantrums that occurs after a care giver stops giving into them.

Jean Piaget: A developmental psychologist who created a theory of cognitive development that stated that children progress through the sensorimotor stage, the preoperational stage and the concrete operations stage before they arrive at the formal operations stage, at which they have an abstract and nuanced view of the world

Erik Erikson: A developmental psychologist who created a theory of social development that stated that people progress through the “trust versus mistrust” stage as babies; the “autonomy versus shame and doubt” stage as toddlers; the “initiative versus guilt” stage as preschoolers; the “industry versus inferiority” stage as older children; the “identity versus role confusion” stage as adolescents; the “intimacy versus isolation” stage as young adults; the “generativity versus stagnation” stage as middle adults; and the “integrity versus despair” stage as older adults. The names of these stages reflect the dominant goal of each and the positive and negative results if the goal is achieved or not achieved.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: A pyramid-shaped hierarchy of needs developed by Abraham Maslow, with warmth, rest, food, oxygen and water at the bottom; security and safety one step up; belongingness and love after that; prestige and the feeling of accomplishment after that; and self-actualization (the realization of one’s full potential) at the top

Carl Rogers: A psychologist who helped develop a humanistic, client-centered approach to therapy that includes a strong client-therapist bond; unconditional positive regard for the client; and the favoring of listening over advice giving

John Gottman: A psychologist who developed several important theories regarding interpersonal communication that were based on his observational experiments of couples

Talk therapy: A type of therapy in which clients discuss problems and emotions with a trusted counselor

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): A type of therapy developed by Aaron Beck and others that focuses on changing negative patterns of thoughts and behaviors and includes questioning and reframing unhelpful beliefs

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): A type of therapy developed by Marsha Linehan that teaches emotional regulation skills, communication skills, methods for analyzing opposing points of view and more to address emotional and interpersonal distress

Existential therapy: A type of therapy developed by Viktor Frankl and others that focuses on helping individuals find meaning and purpose, even in the absence of strong religious faith

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): A type of therapy in which a client makes rapid back-and-forth eye movements while their counselor guides recollection of traumatic memories

Attachment theory: The psychological theory that holds that securely attached babies develop better physically and emotionally that those that are not securely attached, and that throughout their lives most people display one of three or four general attachment styles: a secure attachment style; an avoidant attachment style; an anxious attachment style; or (sometimes) a disorganized attachment style. These styles help explain their interpersonal behaviors and needs.

Positive psychology: The field of psychological research that is concerned with the behaviors and life factors that give people a sense of well-being. It was developed by Martin Seligman and others as a response to the traditional emphasis in psychology on abnormal behaviors and mood states.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM): The basic text used by mental health professionals for diagnosis of psychiatric disorders

Types of psychiatric disorders: Mood disorders including depression; anxiety disorders; phobias; substance abuse disorders; psychotic disorders including schizophrenia; sex- and gender-related disorders; eating disorders; sleep disorders; personality disorders; dissociative disorders; and less common disorders

Borderline personality disorder (BPD): A mental health disorder characterized by impulsiveness, emotional extremes, interpersonal conflict and low self-esteem

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD): A mental health disorder characterized by an unusually great need for admiration, a sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others and a sense of entitlement

Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD): A mental health disorder characterized by disregard for others’ feelings, violations of others’ rights, a lack of empathy, a lack of remorse, and possible impulsive and/or criminal behaviors of others.

Sociopath/psychopath: Commonly-used labels for a person with antisocial personality disorder. There is no official distinction between these terms and neither is an official diagnosis.

Compulsion: A repetitive behavior that is used to relieve anxiety

Agoraphobia: The fear of crowds

The theory of multiple intelligences: A psychological theory developed by Howard Gardner that holds that there are eight different types of intelligence: linguistic, logical-mathematical; musical; spacial; bodily-kinesthetic; interpersonal; intrapersonal; and naturalist intelligence. Other theorists proposed different categories of intelligence, while others believe in a single general intelligence factor.

Crystallized intelligence: Mental power that is the result of skills and knowledge collected over time and that tends to increase with age

Fluid intelligence: Mental power that is the result of fast, agile thinking processes, and that tends to decrease with age after the age of thirty

Type A personality: A high-energy personality type characterized by competitiveness, impatience, and an achievement orientation.

Type B personality: A lower-energy personality type characterized by relaxed and easygoing behavior.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: A personality assessment tool designed to measure an individual’s psychological preferences and identify their personality type based on Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types. The MBTI uses a series of questions to identify an individual’s preferences across four dichotomies: extraversion vs. introversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving, resulting in a four-letter code representing the individual’s personality type.

Neuroplasticity: The brain’s ability to change and adapt in response to new experiences, learning, and injury

Catharsis: The release of tension that occurs when repressed thoughts or memories become conscious

Cognitive dissonance: A tension inside someone who has two seemingly conflicting beliefs that they are trying to resolve

Negative sentiment override: A state in which negative thoughts, feelings, and interpretations dominate a person’s perception of their partner or relationship, leading to a pervasive negative bias. This can lead to increased conflict, decreased satisfaction, and decreased intimacy in the relationship.

Confirmation bias: The tendency to accept evidence that supports one’s pre-existing beliefs and to reject evidence that refutes those beliefs.

Fundamental attribution error: The tendency to attribute other people’s behavior to their (flawed) personalities though similar behavior in onesself is often attributed to circumstance.

Learned helplessness: The tendency to give up too easily, often due to a past pattern of failure

Placebo effect: The improvement of a physical or mental condition in people who believe they’ve received a treatment, but have not

Self-concept: The sum of the beliefs and feelings one has about onesself

Self-serving bias: The tendency to attribute one’s successes to internal factors and one’s failures to circumstance

Inferiority complex: A condition in which a person becomes angry or withdrawn because of feelings of insecurity. This concept was identified by Alfred Adler.

Compensation/overcompensation: A striving to rid onesself of feelings of inferiority in one area by striving harder in another

Egocentrism: The tendency to ignore others’ points of view in favor of one’s own

Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience is one of those nonfiction books I hear quoted most–and the love doesn’t seem to be subsiding. Written by one of the founders of the positive psychology movement, psychologist and researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, it makes a single point, and makes it well: if you want to enjoy what you do, seek flow.

Read this book because you want to figure out how to hack work in such a way that makes it feel like play.

Key Takeaways

  • Flow, says the author, is a state of focus during which a person loses self-consciousness and time-consciousness and is deeply engaged in the process at had.
  • Flow isn’t a mysterious condition, though; it comes when three specific, identifiable conditions are met. These are: an appropriate level of challenge; clear goals and feedback, and control/autonomy.
  • Autonomy can be achieved in even small ways, and the difference it makes to work satisfaction can hardly be overstated.
  • Flow can be achieved even during what some consider routine or menial tasks. The book tells the story of a farmer in the Italian Alps who enjoys all her various tasks, from dawn to dusk. When asked which task she enjoys most, she named them all, one by one. The book also features a self-taught welder who mastered every phase of his plant’s operation and, in his spare time, built a backyard garden (with rainbow features!). “It could be said that they work sixteen hours a day, but it could also be said that they never work,” the author writes of these workers.

About the Author

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a Hungarian psychologist and researcher. He is known for his work on the concept of “flow,” a state of complete engagement and enjoyment in an activity. He has written several books and articles on the subject, and his work has had a significant impact on the fields of psychology and positive psychology. Csikszentmihalyi has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to the field of psychology.


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School in a Book: History of Europe


Ancient History (3000 BCE to 500 CE)

The Minoans: The ancient civilization located on the island of Crete near ancient Greece from about 1700 BCE to the 1400s BCE. Its people were known for their written language, Linear A; their palace complex with a large labyrinth that was featured in Greek mythology; their large bureaucracy; their indoor plumbing; their advanced art and architecture; and their wide trading network. Its island location allowed its people to spend more time on cultural achievement and the gathering of wealth and less time on protection. The civilization disappeared for unknown reasons.

The Myceaneans: The ancient civilization located near Greece in the city of Mycenae from about 1600 BCE to about 1100 BCE. Its people were known for their graves filled with gold and silver; for their warlike culture; for their strong kings including Agamemnon; for their monumental palaces; for their written language, Linear B; and for being the setting of Homer’s epic poems.

Homer: The author of the epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey who lived in ancient Greece in the 600s or 700s BCE

The Celts: The civilization located in various parts of Europe from around the 700s BCE to the 400s CE whose people are known for their distinctive language, religious beliefs, and artistic traditions; their bravery in battle; their love of nature; their complex social and political organization; and their successful resistance to Roman takeover. At their peak in the first century CE, they were spread over much of central Europe. They did not have a written language, so knowledge of them is limited to Roman records.

Ancient Greece: The civilization located in modern-day Greece, Asia Minor, Crete and beyond from the 700s BCE to the 400s CE. It was known for the political independence of each of their city-states and their many contributions to political, artistic and scientific thought.

Hellenism: Greek culture, which included the development of democracy, philosophy, science, music, oratory, rationalism, individualism, theater, sports and much more. After spreading to Persia, Egypt and India after Alexander the Great’s campaigns, then to Rome, it became the basis of Western culture.

Ancient Athens: The largest and one of the most prominent ancient Greek city-states, which was known for its focus on education, particularly oration and rhetoric; its invention of the democratic style of government; its art and architecture, which included the Parthenon and the Acropolis; its busy port; and more. Athens was the home of Socrates, Plato and Cicero. The first Olympics was held there.

Cicero: A famous Greek orator, statesman and scholar who wrote about just government in De Republica, oratory in De Oratore and more

Socrates: The Greek philosopher who introduced the Socratic Method of questioning

Plato: The Greek philosopher taught by Socrates, who also recorded Socrates’ teachings

Aristotle: The Greek philosopher taught by Plato

Ancient Sparta: One of the most prominent ancient Greek cities and Athens’ rival, known for its focus on military education; its use of agricultural slaves; its comparatively extensive rights for women; its invention of the phalanx; and more. In one well-known battle against the Persians on a mountain pass, 300 Spartans died rather than retreat.

Phalanx: A military marching formation that was rectangular in shape in which individual soldiers marched forward as one entity

The Macedonian Empire: The short-lived empire extended by Alexander the Great in the 300s that, at its largest, included the kingdom of Macedon in northern Italy, Greece, Egypt, parts of Persia and India. After Alexander’s death, it fragmented.

Alexander the Great: The King of Macedonia who extended the Macedonian Empire during the 300s BCE. He is considered one of the greatest military commanders in history and many stories are told of his hubris (pride), including the story of the Gordian Knot. After losses in India, his soldiers refused to go further and Alexander died on the way home at the age of 32. Alexander failed to organize his colonies or make a plan for succession after his death. It is said that his last words were, “To the strongest.”

The Etruscans: The civilization located in central Italy from the 700s BCE to the 200s BCE prior to and concurrent with the Romans. It was known for its cultural legacies to Rome, including the arch, vaults, and other engineering techniques.

Ancient Rome: The civilization that started and was centered in Italy from the 500s BCE to the 500s CE that grew to dominate Europe. It was known for its expansiveness; its military might; its strong infrastructure including roads and aqueducts; its invention of concrete and the Roman arch that concrete made possible; its calendar; the Roman Catholic Church; and its self-inflicted fall. For its first 500 years, Rome was the Roman Republic, with a Greek-influenced democratic oligarchy. At its largest, it extended to much of western and central Europe, including modern-day Italy, France, Spain, and parts of Germany. The empire faced many challenges including economic decline, political instability, invasions from barbarian tribes, and over-extension of its military. Despite efforts to revive its power, the empire was eventually sacked by the Goths in 410 CE and finally dissolved in 476 CE after the fall of the last Western Roman Emperor, Romulus Augustus, to the Germanic king Odoacer. The fall Roman Empire is widely seen as a turning point in European history, marking the end of classical civilization and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

The Roman Republic: The name of the Roman civilization during its first 500 years when it was a Greek-influenced democratic oligarchy led by patricians (oligarchs)

The Roman Empire: The name of the Roman civilization from the first century till its fall when it was a dictatorship led by emperors. Roman emperors presided over the Roman golden age, capitalizing on their system of strong central rule by taking on massive infrastructure projects and building well-known feats of architecture such as the Roman aqueducts, Roman roads and more.

Julius Caesar: The Roman general and statesman who lived during the first century BCE. He was known for his conquest of Gaul and his invasion of Britain, which expanded the Roman Empire; for his reforms to the Roman Republic, such as the introduction of the Julian calendar, which had a lasting impact on Western civilization; for his murder by his fellow politicians that led to the end of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire; and for being one of the greatest military commanders in history.

Marcus Antonius/Mark Antony: The Roman politician and general who lived during the first century BCE. He was known for being a close ally of Julius Caesar and for playing a key role in the events following Caesar’s death and for his alliance with Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. After Caesar’s assassination, Antony formed an alliance with Octavian and Lepidus known as the Second Triumvirate and together they defeated Caesar’s assassins in the ensuing civil war. Later, he was defeated by Octavian, who became the first Roman emperor.

Gaius Octavius/Octavian/Emperor Augustus: The Roman politician who founded the Roman Empire and became its first emperor. He was known for his political acumen, shown in his ability to convince Rome to move from an oligarchy to a monarchy; for his leadership skills, shown in his ability to bring peace and stability to Rome after decades of civil war; and his cultural, political, and military achievements, including the expansion of the Roman Empire, the establishment of a standing army, and the construction of many monumental buildings. He became known as Augustus after becoming emperor.

Emperor Nero: The Roman emperor who ruled during the first century CE after being adopted by the previous emperor. He is known for his tyrannical rule; for his brutal persecution of Christians; for his extravagance; for allegedly starting the Great Fire of Rome and blaming the Christians; for his madness; for expanding the Roman road system and other infrastructure; and for committing suicide after the Roman Senate declared him a public enemy.

Emperor Diocletian: The Roman emperor who ruled during the late 200s and early 300s CE and was known for restructuring the Roman Empire into four administrative regions, each with its own emperor, which helped stabilize it and extend its longevity; for implementing price controls as well as military and tax reforms; and for persecuting Christians.

Constantine the Great: The Roman Emperor who ruled during the 300s CE and was known for his conversion to Christianity; for establishing Christianity as the dominant religion in the Roman Empire; and for splitting the empire into the Western Roman Empire (where Rome remained the capital) and the Eastern Roman Empire/The Byzantine Empire, with Constantinople (formerly Byzantium) as the capital. Because Rome had been in decline for many years, Constantinople himself moved to Constantinople and headed that half.

The Council of Nicaea: A conference held by Constantine the Great that helped define the doctrine of the Christian Church

The Edict of Milan: A law of Constantine the Great’s that granted tolerance to Christians and other religions in the Roman Empire

The Eastern Roman Empire/The Byzantine Empire: The empire set up by Constantine the Great when he split the Roman empire into two halves. It lasted from the 300s CE to the 1400s CE. It included parts of Greece, Asia Minor and the Balkans. It is known for serving as the continuation of the Roman Empire after the Western Roman Empire fell; for spreading classic Greek and Roman culture; for spreading Christianity; and for influencing Byzantine art and architecture.

Odoacer: The Germanic king who in 476 overthrew the last Western Roman emperor to become king of Italy, an event that marks the end of ancient history and the beginning of the Middle Ages

The Middle Ages (500 CE to 1500 CE)

The Roman Catholic Church: The Christian church that was founded in the 1st century CE and is centered in Rome, Italy. It is known for playing a major role in the development of Western civilization and for being a dominant cultural and political force for over a thousand years, influencing art, architecture, law, education, and morality.

The Pope: The bishop of Rome and the supreme head of the Roman Catholic Church

The Holy Roman Empire: The collection of loosely organized, multi-ethnic territories in central and western Europe that were each ruled by kings or other leaders as well as the mostly powerless emperor of the empire. It lasted from the 900s CE to the 1800s CE. It was known for its first and most famous emperor, Charlemagne, and for its role in the Crusades, the Reformation and the Thirty Years’ War.

Charlemagne: The first Holy Roman Emperor, formerly a king of the Franks, who was crowned in 800 CE. He was known for unifying much of Western Europe by creating the Carolingian Empire; spreading Christianity; promoting education and laying the groundwork for the revival of learning known as the Carolingian Renaissance; and issuing the legal code known as the “Capitularies”.

The Vikings: A seafaring people who lived from the 700s CE to the 1000s CE, primarily from Scandinavia (Norway, Denmark, and Sweden). They were known for their naval raids and conquests, which took them as far as North America, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East; trading, which led to the establishment of settlements, such as the one at Normandy in France; their longships; and their rich and distinctive culture.

Feudalism: The social, economic, and political system that dominated Europe, including France, England, Germany and Italy, from the 800s CE to the 1400s CE. It was characterized by the granting of lands (fiefs) by a lord to vassals in exchange for loyalty, military service, and agricultural production; hierarchical relationships between lords, vassals, and serfs (tenant farmers who worked the land and owed labor and tribute to their lords); dominance of the landed nobility and relative powerlessness of the monarch; a system of justice and administration based on local custom and the authority of lords, rather than central laws.

William the Conqueror: The King of England during the 1000s CE who started as the Duke of Normandy in France. He is best known for claiming the English throne after the death of an English king who had no successors, then defeating his competitor at the Battle of Hastings to become the King of England, thus beginning the Norman Conquest of England. He is also known for bringing to England Norman nobles and administrators who significantly influenced the development of the English language and other aspects of English culture; for attempting to control England by establishing a new system of feudalism that involved a series of castles, fortifications, and lands granted to Norman lords; and for commissioning the Domesday Book, a comprehensive survey of England’s land and resources.

The Norman invasions: The series of military campaigns led by Norman nobles in the 1000s and 1100s CE aimed at conquering and settling new lands in Europe and the Mediterranean. The Norman invasions were characterized by their use of advanced military tactics, including the use of heavy cavalry. The Norman Conquest of England led by William the Conqueror was part of this effort. The Normans also set up the Kingdom of Sicily in southern Italy and Sicily, which became a center of trade and culture. Many Norman knights joined the Crusades.

The bubonic plague/black plague/Black Death/black plague: The pandemic of that swept through Europe, the Middle East, and Asia in the 1300s CE that killed between 75 million and 200 million people, or roughly one third of the world’s population at the time. It was spread through fleas that lived on rats. Death often came within three to five days. The pandemic led to widespread economic disruption, social upheaval, and the death of many skilled workers and intellectuals. The pandemic also helped bring about the end of the feudal system and the rise of a money economy, as well as contributing to the development of new ideas about medicine and the causes of disease.

The Hundred Years War: The series of conflicts fought between England and France in the 1300s and 1400s over control of the French throne. It was initiated by Edward III of England. It was known for the use of new military tactics, such as the widespread use of longbows; for the use of new weapons, such as the cannon; and for contributing to the decline of feudalism.

Joan of Arc: The French army leader who rallied the French to victory in several key battles of the Hundred Years’ War, including the liberation of the city of Orleans. She was known for believing herself to be inspired by God to lead; for being captured by the English and tried for heresy; for being burned at the stake; for being a symbol of French nationalism; and for being canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church in 1920.

Johannes Gutenberg: The inventor of the first movable type and the first printing press for books, which began the printing revolution in the 1400s

The fall of Constantinople: The capture of the Byzantine Empire’s capital city, Constantinople, by the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s, which helped establish the Ottomans as a major power in the region and signified the end of the Middle Ages

Early Modern Times (1500 CE through 1900 CE)

The Renaissance: The cultural and intellectual movement that took place in Europe from the 1300s to the 1600s and was characterized by a renewed interest in classical learning and a revival of the arts and sciences. It was characterized by renewed interest in ancient Greek and Roman culture; a shift away from the religious and feudal norms of the Middle Ages; the production of some of the most innovative and enduring works of Western civilization, including Michelangelo’s David, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and Shakespeare’s plays; and increased exploration, with advances in cartography and navigation that enabled European powers to establish colonies and expand their trade networks across the globe.

The Protestant Reformation: The major religious, political, and cultural movement that took place in Europe in the 1500s as a reaction against the corruption and excesses of the Roman Catholic Church, which led to the formation of new Protestant denominations and considerably reduced Catholic power

Martin Luther: The father of the Protestant Reformation. A German monk and theologian, he is most known for his “Ninety-Five Theses,” the list of criticisms of the Catholic Church’s practices, especially the sale of indulgences, that he nailed to the door of a church in Germany. His ideas quickly spread throughout Europe, challenging the authority of the Church and leading to the formation of Protestant denominations. He is also known for translating the Bible into German, making it accessible to the common people, and for writing numerous treatises and sermons that outlined his views on salvation, faith, and the role of the Church.

King Henry VIII: The king of Great Britain in the 1500s who is known for severing ties with Roman Catholicism after the Pope refused to annul his marriage; establishing the Church of England, with himself as the head of it; and his six wives

The colonial era: The period of time from the 1400s to the mid-1900s when European powers established colonies and empires in various regions of the world, including the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. This period is characterized by European exploration, the establishment of settlements, the exploitation of resources and labor, and the imposition of European cultural, political, and economic systems on the colonized populations.

Vasco da Gama: The Portuguese explorer and navigator who is best known for his role in opening up a sea route from Europe to Asia in the late 1400s. He was the first European to reach India by sea, and his voyage marked the beginning of the European exploration of Asia and the eventual establishment of European colonies in the region.

Ferdinand Magellan: The Portuguese explorer and navigator who is best known for leading the first expedition to circumnavigate the Earth in the early 1500s. After crossing the Atlantic, Magellan reached South America, then sailed across the Pacific to the Phillippines. Though Magellan died there, his expedition continued and some of the crew returned home safely.

Hernán Cortés: The Spanish conquistador who played a key role in the conquest of the Aztec Empire in Mexico in the 1500s. Cortés arrived in Mexico with a force of approximately 600 men and quickly gained the support of several indigenous groups who were hostile to the Aztecs. He marched on the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, with a mixed army of Spanish soldiers and indigenous allies and captured the city. This marked the beginning of the Spanish colonization of Mexico and established Spain as a major world power.

Francisco Pizarro: The Spanish conquistador who is best known for his conquest of the Inca Empire in South America in the 1500s. After arriving in South America, he quickly established a small settlement in what is now Peru. He then led a force of Spanish soldiers and indigenous allies against the Incas, eventually capturing their emperor, Atahualpa, and securing control of the empire.

The Thirty Years’ War: The religious war that took place in Europe during the 1600s, mostly among states belonging to the Holy Roman Empire but also involving France, Sweden, and the Habsburg empire. It occurred due to ambitions of expansion as well as ideological differences between Protestant and Catholic states. It resulted in the deaths of about a third of the population of the Holy Roman Empire. It contributed to the lessened frequency of religious wars in Europe, the decline of the Holy Roman Empire, and the rise of the modern nation-state. The war also marked the beginning of the modern era of warfare, as it was one of the first wars in which mass conscript armies, new military technologies, and tactics were used.

The English Civil War: The English Civil War was a series of conflicts between Parliamentarians (also known as Roundheads–those that sought increased power of the parliament) and Royalists (also known as Cavaliers–those that sought increased power of the monarchy) that took place in England in the 1600s. The Parliamentarians won and overthrew (and killed) King Charles I; however, the power gap was soon filled by Oliver Cromwell and later, the monarchy was restored with the coronation of King Charles II.

King Charles: The king of England who was deposed during the English Civil War

Oliver Cromwell: The English military and political leader who installed himself as the Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland during the English Civil War. Though he called himself a Parliamentarian, during his reign he dissolved the Rump Parliament and established a military dictatorship known as the Protectorate. He is also known for modernizing England’s military and administrative systems. After his death, Cromwell’s body was exhumed and he was posthumously tried and executed for his role in the regicide of Charles I.

The Seven Years War: A global conflict that took place primarily between France and Great Britain during the 1700s, and also involved most of the major powers of Europe as well as their colonies. It was caused by a complex set of political, economic, and territorial disputes and resulted in the British gaining control of large territories in North America that previously belonged to France. It also aided Britain’s rise as a global superpower.

The Enlightenment/The Age of Reason: The cultural, intellectual, and scientific movement that took place in Europe and North America in the late 1600s and 1700s and which was characterized by a focus on reason, individualism, and scientific inquiry and a challenging of traditional authority, particularly in the fields of religion, politics, and science. Prominent figures of the Enlightenment included philosophers such as John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant, as well as scientists like Isaac Newton.

Eli Whitney: The inventor of the cotton gin, who accomplished this in the late 1700s. This machine revolutionized the production of cotton by making it much faster and easier to separate the fibers from the seeds. The cotton gin allowed cotton to be produced on a large scale, which in turn fueled the growth of the textile industry and helped to drive the American economy during the Industrial Revolution.

The French Revolution: The war that took place in France in the late 1700s that resulted in the overthrow of the monarchy and the feudal system and the establishment of democracy in France. It began with the storming of the Bastille and ended with the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. The revolution was caused by a variety of factors, including the financial crisis in France, widespread poverty, and Enlightenment ideas about individual liberty and equality.

The Bastille: The prison located in Paris, France that was attacked and taken by a mob on July 14, 1789, which is now celebrated as Bastille Day in France. The Bastille was eventually torn down, and its stone was used to build the Place de la Bastille, a large square in Paris that remains an important symbol of the Revolution.

Maximilien Robespierre: One of the leaders of the French Revolution and of the post-revolution government, who is best known for establishing the Committee of Public Safety with himself at its head, then starting the Reign of Terror. Eventually, Robespierre himself fell from power and was arrested and executed by the new government.

The Reign of Terror: The period of extreme violence and repression during the French Revolution that was implemented by the Committee of Public Safety, a revolutionary government body established to defend the Revolution from its enemies both foreign and domestic. During this time, thousands of people were arrested and executed without trial on charges of being enemies of the Revolution.

Napoleon Bonaparte: The First Consul of the newly created French Republic, and, following this, the Emperor of the French. He is known for his ruthless and relentless military conquests across Europe; for making France one of the dominant powers in Europe; and for establishing the First French Empire. At its height, his empire included much of Europe, including parts of modern-day France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. However, his empire began to crumble after a series of defeats, and he was eventually exiled to the island of Elba in the early 1800s. He escaped after several years and returned to France, but was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo and exiled to the island of Saint Helena, where he died.

The Napoleonic Wars: The military campaigns of Napoleon Bonaparte

The Battle of Waterloo: The last battle of Napoleon Bonaparte, fought near the town of Waterloo in modern-day Belgium

The Congress of Vienna: The series of diplomatic meetings held in Vienna, Austria in the early 1800s that sought to reestablish peace and stability in Europe after the Napoleonic Wars. It resulted in an enlargement of Russia and Prussia; a consolidation of the approximately 300 states of the Holy Roman Empire into a loose German confederation of about 39 states under the leadership of Prussia and Austria; and other changes. The Congress also created system of international relations based on the principle of legitimacy, which held that monarchs should rule according to laws and customs and that borders should be respected. Finally, the Congress reestablished many of the pre-Napoleonic monarchies, imposing conservative, anti-democratic policies aimed at preventing the spread of revolutionary ideals.

The Crimean War: The conflict that took place primarily in the Crimea area on the Black Sea coast of modern-day Ukraine during the mid-1800s between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, France, Britain and Sardinia. Russia sought to expand, while the other countries sought to check Russian expansion. Russia lost decisively. The Crimean war is known for the introduction of new technologies and tactics, including the use of ironclads, telegraphs, and modern nursing practices and the creation of the Red Cross, which was established to provide humanitarian aid to wounded soldiers.

Nicolaus Copernicus: A Polish astronomer and mathematician who became one of the founders of modern astronomy during the 1500s and who is best known for his theory of the universe that stated that the Earth and the other planets revolved around the Sun, not the Earth as previously thought

Galileo Galilei: An Italian astronomer, physicist, and mathematician who made major contributions to the Scientific Revolution during the 1500s and who is best known for his work using the newly invented telescope to observe the heavens, which led to several groundbreaking discoveries. He was eventually put on trial by the Inquisition for heresy.

The Inquisition: The series of institutions established by the Catholic Church primarily in the late 1100s and 1200s, but also as late as the 1800s in some areas, to combat religious dissent in Europe. It was a judicial body, with the power to investigate, prosecute, and punish individuals suspected of heresy. Its methods were often brutal, and it was known for its use of torture to extract confessions. Those found guilty of heresy were often punished by death, either by burning at the stake or by being hanged and quartered.

The Industrial Revolution: The period of rapid industrialization and modernization that took place in Europe and North America in the 1700s and 1800s. It was characterized by the development of new technologies, especially in manufacturing, farming and transportation, which made consumer goods cheaper; increasing urbanization; economic growth; and the rise of capitalism. Notable inventions of this time included the steam-powered engine and the train; the camera; the steamship; and the telegraph.

The Modern Era (The 1900s through the Present)

World War I: The global conflict that lasted from 1914 to 1918 and involved Europe, the United States, Russia, Japan, Australia and other countries. The causes of the war included nationalism; militarism; imperialism; and entangling alliances, which caused nations to defend their allies, spurring even more conflict. The spark that ignited the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary by a Serbian nationalist. The conflict quickly escalated, as Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire formed the Central Powers and went to war against France, Russia, and the United Kingdom, who formed the Allied Powers. The war was fought on several fronts, including the Western Front in France and Belgium, the Eastern Front in Russia, and the Italian Front. The war is known for its mass casualties (including about 20 million deaths); the introduction of new weapons, such as machine guns, poison gas, and tanks; the horrific experience of trench warfare; and for setting the stage for World War II.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand: The heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian Empire whose assassination led to the outbreak of war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, which then led to the outbreak of World War I

The Treaty of Versailles: The treaty that officially ended World War I. It called for harsh financial and military penalties for Germany and created many new Eastern European countries out of the German, Austrian/Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman Empires.

The Weimar Republic: The German government founded after World War I to replace the monarchy

The League of Nations: The precursor to the United Nations which was promoted by U.S. president Wilson after World War I to prevent further large-scale wars

The Great Depression: A severe worldwide economic depression that lasted from 1929 to 1939. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the century. The depression originated in the United States and quickly spread to other countries, leading to a decline in global trade and economic activity. During the Great Depression, millions of people lost their jobs and many were forced to live in poverty.The causes of the Great Depression are complex and include a combination of factors such as the overproduction of goods, a decrease in consumer spending, a decline in agriculture and the failure of the banking system. It led to increased governmental involvement in the economy.

The Commonwealth: A voluntary political association of sovereign states, most of which were once part of the British Empire, which serves as a platform for cooperation and collaboration on a wide range of issues and promotes the values of democracy, human rights and more. Some of these states are republics, while others are monarchies.

World War II: The global conflict that lasted from 1939 to 1945 and involved the majority of the world’s nations, including all of the great powers, eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. The war began with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin and quickly spread, drawing in many other nations. From there, Hitler overtook many European countries including France, Scandanavia and the Balkans (though Britain successfully resisted). Italy, meanwhile, attempted to take North Africa. Then Hitler invaded the USSR and was unsuccessful. Meanwhile, Japan (who joined in 1940) attacked the British in Southeast Asia and the U.S. at Hawaii. Then Germany declared war on the U.S. The U.S., which had already been supplying aid to the Allies, joined at that time. The war in Europe ended after a decisive victory at Normandy and the rapid advancement of the Allies through Europe that followed. The war in the Pacific ended after the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. The primary causes of the war included aggressive expansionist policies by the Axis powers, particularly Nazi Germany, as well as a failure by the international community to prevent the aggressive actions of these powers. The war resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people, including soldiers and civilians, and caused widespread destruction across Europe, Africa, and Asia.

The Axis Powers: The name for the alliance between Germany, Italy and Japan during World War II

The Allied Powers: The name for the alliance between Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the U.S. during World War II

Adolf Hitler: The Chancellor of Germany and leader of the Nazi party during the 1930s who is known for starting World War II and for implementing the Holocaust. He committed suicide before being captured by the Allies as they closed in on the city. His girlfriend (who he married before their death), Eva Braun, also killed herself at that time.

The Munich Agreement: The treaty signed in Munich, Germany in 1938 between the leaders of Nazi Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy. The agreement allowed Nazi Germany to annex the Sudetenland, a region in western Czechoslovakia with a large German-speaking population, in exchange for a guarantee of peace. The Munich Agreement is widely seen as having paved the way for the Nazi occupation of the rest of Czechoslovakia and the eventual outbreak of World War II. It is often criticized for appeasement and a failure to stand up to aggression.

Winston Churchill: The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II, who is known for successfully fighting off Germany during the Battle of Britain; for forging an alliance with the United States and Soviet Union to defeat the Axis powers; for his inspiring speeches; for not negotiating with Hitler; and for being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The Lend-lease Act: A U.S. law passed in 1941 that called for financial and material aid (including weapons, food and raw materials) to be provided to the Allies by the U.S. during World War II, even though the U.S. had not yet officially entered the war

The Normandy Landing/D-day: The military operation during World War II in which Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, France in 1944, recaptured France from Germany and started the push through Europe that ended the war

Victory in Europe Day/V-E Day: The May 8 holiday that marks the end of World War II in Europe when the Allies accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany

The Holocaust: The systematic genocide of eleven million people, including six million Jews, by Germany between 1933 and 1945. The victims, including Jews, disabled individuals, political prisoners, homosexuals, and others, were sent to concentration camps, where they were subjected to forced labor, medical experiments, and mass extermination through gas chambers. The Nazis called this effort the Final Solution.

The United Nations/UN: The international organization founded after World War II to promote peace, security, and cooperation among nations. It has 193 member states and its headquarters is located in New York City. The UN’s main objectives are to maintain international peace; engage in diplomacy; and promote human rights. The World Health Organization and UNICEF are part of the UN.

The Marshall Plan: A U.S.-led plan offering subsidies to help rebuild Western Europe after World War II

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization/NATO: The political and military alliance of thirty North American and European countries that was established in 1949 with the goal of providing collective defense against potential threats and promoting stability in the North Atlantic region

The Warsaw Pact: The agreement between the Soviet Union and many communist Eastern European countries that was made after Word War II to ally against the U.S. and against the spread of democracy

The Iron Curtain: A term used to describe the division of Europe into the Western, democratic countries and the Soviet-controlled communist countries, where political freedom was limited. The countries behind the Iron Curtain were known as the Eastern Bloc, and included countries such as the Soviet Union, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Romania. The fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 marked the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the reunification of Europe, as Communist governments in Eastern Europe fell and countries in the region transitioned to multiparty democracies.

The Suez Crisis: The conflict over control of the Suez Canal Zone in the 1950s between Egypt (where the canal is located) and Israel, Britain and France, who captured it from Egypt. The crisis brought widespread international condemnation and the intervention of the United Nations, which eventually forced Israel, Britain and France to withdraw from Egypt. It damaged the reputation of France and Britain and helped establish the U.S. and the Soviet Union as the two superpowers of the Cold War.

The European Union (EU): The political and economic union of 27 European countries that was founded after World War II to promote peace, stability and economic growth in Europe. It operates through a number of institutions, including the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the European Council. The EU has a common market, which allows for the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people within its member states. The EU has also established a common currency, the euro.

The euro: The currency used by 19 of the 27 countries of the European Union (EU), whose introduction in 1999 was a major step in the integration of European economies and was designed to facilitate trade and investment, promote economic stability, and reduce transaction costs

The Covid-19 pandemic: The flu variant that killed two million people globally and caused local and national governments to require large-scale quarantines

Brexit: The separation of the UK from the EU that occurred in 2020

Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach

woman holding her head
Photo by Kat Smith on

Don’t worry: it’s not another book on spirituality, even though it might sound like it. Instead, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach is a primer on being a human being with feelings.

Read it to find out an exciting (but not new) way of accepting the ups and downs of life.

The Summary

  • Radical acceptance is the practice of accepting what is–even the bad stuff. Every aspect of your current experience is healthy, Brach writes. Radical acceptance is also the practice of unconditionally accepting yourself. 
  • Most of us have an internal story about our own acceptability and enoughness. We are not good enough, perfect enough, etc. At heart, we believe that something is fundamentally wrong with us–something that we need to fix.
  • Only when we first accept ourselves, can we change what we prefer to change.
  • To combat this, accept every emotional experience that comes. Doing so–saying “yes” to our experiences–doesn’t cause us to become apathetic. Instead, self-acceptance allows us to grow at a relaxed but consistent pace.
  • Human nature finds apathy and stagnation uncomfortable, disagreeble–almost impossible. We consistently desire to grow and improve, especially when we feel good about ourselves. 
  • One way to learn radical acceptance is to practice pauses. Pause, notice, sit with and accept whatever you are experiencing in the moment. Do this when emotionally flooded, and also make a habit of pausing throughout your day.
  • Offer unconditional friendliness to your pain, suffering, insecurities and all other feelings. Invite the feelings to tea, so to speak. 
  • Name these insecure and painful thoughts as a way of noticing them. 
  • Instead of resisting everything, agree with everything. Silently whisper, “yes” to it all. It will feel mechanical and insincere at first, but in time, it will feel more natural. 
  • Don’t blame yourself and criticize yourself for your pain, illogic, insecurities and other negativity. Simply notice and accept.

About the Author

Tara Brach is a psychologist, author, and teacher of mindfulness and Buddhist meditation. She is the founder and senior teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C. and a guiding teacher at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California. Tara is known for her work in the field of mindfulness and emotional healing, and has written several books, including the popular Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha.


Can’t quite get to all the nonfiction and self-help books that interest you? Read Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday here.

School in a Book: History of the Middle East


Ancient History (3000 BCE to 500 CE)

Sumer: The collection of cities in ancient Mesopotamia that arose around 4000 BCE and that made up the first known human civilization. Sumer was built along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and was centered around its main city, Sumer. It was not a unified empire. Sumerian cities featured ziggurats; the use of cuneiform; scribes; accountants and much more. The people of Sumer are called Sumerians and spoke Sumerian.

Ziggurat: Pyramid-like center of worship that featured stepped sides

The Akkadian Empire: The ancient Mesopotamian empire that was at its peak from about 2500 to about 2300 BCE that united Akkadian and Sumerian people under one rule; that is sometimes considered to be the world’s first empire; and that likely encompassed most of Mesopotamia

Sargon of Akkad: The Sumerian ruler who united northern and southern Mesopotamia into the Akkadian Empire in the 2300s BCE and was also known as Sargon the Great.

The Assyrian Empire: The ancient Mesopotamian empire that lasted from about 2100 BCE to about 600 BCE; that dominated northern Mesopotamia in the valley of the Upper Tigris River; that was named after its capital and ongoing prominent city Assur; that co-existed with its southern rival, the Babylonian Empire, with each empire enjoying periods of dominance; and that eventually fell to the Babylonians. The Assyrian Empire was known for its military-minded warrior kings; its polytheistic religion, which included worship of nature and object deification; its siege warfare techniques; its well-organized infrastructure that included roads and aqueducts; and its effective governance over conquered lands. Under some particularly harsh rulers, Assyrians burned and wrecked the towns they captured and murdered many inhabitants in order to instill fear.

Ashurbanipal: The last great ruler of the Assyrian Empire, who ruled in the 600s BCE. He is known for building the great library at Ninevah after ordering historical and scientific works to be written down; creating impressive palace gardens featuring plants from all over the world; and for conquering Babylon for a time.

The Babylonian Empire: The ancient Mesopotamian empire that ruled from about 1900 BCE to about 500 BCE; that dominated southern Mesopotamia; that was named after one of its prominent cities, Babylon; and that co-existed with its northern rival, the Assyrian Empire, with each empire enjoying periods of dominance. The Babylonian Empire is known for its code of law; the invention of a math system using base 60 for time and degrees of a circle; its stable, efficient rule and its well-disciplined armies.

Hammurabi: The ruler who, in the 1700s BCE, first unified and led Babylonia, and who is also known for creating a fair and historically influential justice system for the Babylonian Empire

The Code of Hammurabi: The set of laws created by Hammurabi and the longest, most complete legal text of the ancient world. The laws are appreciated for their fairness; their widespread historical influence; and their effectiveness in strengthening the Babylonian Empire and encouraging internal peace. The Code famously includes the phrase “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” which is quoted in the Old Testament.

Nebuchadnezzar: A king of Babylon during the 500s BCE who is known for regaining Babylonian independence from Assyria, starting a period of their history known as Babylon Revived; for extending Babylonian territory significantly; for capturing Jerusalem and forcing the Jews to live in Babylon as prisoners; for creating the Hanging Gardens of Babylon; for building the tower of Babel; for extending trade networks; for using other successful strategies for making Babylon a beautiful world capital and marketplace; and for, later in his life, going mad

The Hittites: The ancient Mespotamian people who inhabited a collection of city-states in what is now modern-day Turkey from around 1600 BCE to the 1100s BCE. They were known for being the first people to smelt iron; for their warlike culture; for their invention of the chariot; for their boulder sculptures; for their 1000 gods; and for introducing the horse to the Middle East.

The Phoenicians: The ancient Mesopotamian civilization who inhabited a collection of city-states on the east end of the Mediterranean Sea from approximately 1550 to 300 BCE, when the Persians, and later the Greeks, conquered Tyre. They were known for creating the first known alphabet; for the greatness of their art; for being the greatest seafarer of ancient times; for their purple dye, which they made from snails; for their invention of glass blowing; for their peacefulness; for their colonies, including Carthage in Egypt; for their active role in aiding the rise of Greece and Rome; for the trade with India and China; and for their prosperity.

The Hebrews/Jews: The ancient Mesopotamian people who settled Palestine around 1900 BCE; who migrated from Ur, in Mesopotamia; and whose story is told in the Old Testament. They fled to Egypt during a famine, became enslaved there, then escaped back to Palestine. There, they fought the Palestinians, whom they called the Philistines, for territory. As part of the effort, they conquered Jericho. The Jews are known for their monotheism; their individualism; their strong cultural identity and resistance to assimilation, which kept them united in spite of multiple exiles and separations; and for their idea that negative occurrences result from sin, not from the whim of a god (personal responsibility).

Moses: The Hebrew leader and prophet who lived in the 1200s BCE and that is a central figure in the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He is known for leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt; receiving the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai; and receiving the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible

Abraham: The Hebrew leader and prophet who lived around 2000 BCE and that is a central figure in the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He is known for being the father of Isaac and Jacob and the grandfather of the twelve tribes of Israel and therefore is considered the father of the Jewish people. He was also the recipient of God’s covenant with the Jewish people.

The Twelve Tribes of Israel: The twelve ancestral tribes of the Jewish people, all of whom descended from Jacob. Each tribe had its own territory and played a specific role in the social and religious life of ancient Israel. The tribes were often united under the leadership of judges, kings, and other leaders, and served as the basis of the ancient kingdom of Israel.

King Saul: The first king of Israel who ruled during the 1000s BCE. He was chosen by God to be king after the people of Israel demanded a king to rule over them like the other nations. Saul is also known for starting out as a successful and popular leader, then later disobeying God and falling from grace and his persecution of David.

King David: The second second king of Israel, who ruled in the late 900s BCE. He was from the tribe of Judah and is best known for his military victories; his justice, faith and mercy; establishing Jerusalem as the political and religious capital of Israel; his musicianship; and his authorship of the biblical psalms.

King Solomon: The third third king of Israel, who ruled during the 900s BCE. He was the son of King David and Bathsheba and is known for his wisdom, wealth, and building projects (including the construction of the First Temple in Jerusalem and his palace.

The Ark of the Covenant: The container that held the stone manuscript with Moses’ Ten Commandments and the sheepskin manuscript of the Torah. It was held in the temple at Jerusalem for many years, then lost during a battle with the Palestinians.

The Babylonian captivity: The period during which many Hebrews were enslaved by the Assyrians and Chaldeans in Babylon in the late 500s BCE. This happened in part because after Solomon’s death, Israel and Judah split and were weakened.

The Old Testament: The group of historical and instructional religious texts written by various Hebrew authors, likely from about 1500 BCE to about 400 BCE, that makes up the first part of the Bible. (The second part is the New Testament.) Some of the stories take place during the Hebrews’ time and some are based on ancient oral traditions. The Old Testament is thought to be fairly historically reliable.

The Torah: The first five books of the Old Testament that forms the basis of Jewish law and tradition. The Torah was originally written on sheepskin and kept in the Arc of the Covenant. Earlier Old Testament laws were based on the Ten Commandments, but many more were added as the Jews mixed with other cultures. Of primary importance to the Hebrews was retaining their form of monotheism, their purity and their separateness.

The diaspora: The scattering of the Jewish people from their homeland of Israel to other parts of the world. It started during the Babylonian captivity. Over the centuries, Jews have migrated to many other countries, forming vibrant communities and preserving their cultural and religious heritage despite being far from their original homeland. Note that in recent years, the term diaspora has been used to describe the dispersal of other groups of people as well, including African Americans, Irish, and Armenian communities.

Jerusalem: The city in Israel that was established around 3000 BCE, then became the capital in about 1000 BCE under King Solomon. It is known for its significance to three major religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam; for being the site of the Temple Mount, the location of the First and Second Temples and the Al-Aqsa Mosque; for being the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the most important Christian sites in the world; for its capture and attempted recapture during the Crusades; and more. Both Muslims and Christians held this city and area as their rightful historical religious site of worship, which has inspired a great deal of conflict throughout history.

Myceneans: The ancient Greek civilization that dominated Greece and the Aegean region from 1600 to 1100 BCE and were known for their advanced bronze-age culture; their extensive trade networks; and their military prowess

Seljuk Turks: The Turkic civilization located in modern-day Iran and beyond that lasted from about the 1000s CE to the 1200s CE and was known for their military prowess and for influencing the cultural and political development of the Islamic world

Greek dark ages: A period of decline and instability in Ancient Greece from the end of the Mycenaean civilization in the 1100s BCE to the 700s BCE, which was characterized by a loss of political unity, economic regression, and cultural obscurity. It ended when Athens, Sparta and other Greek city-states rose to prominence.

Homer: An ancient Greek poet who is widely regarded as the greatest epic poet of Western literature, and is best known for his two epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, which recount the events of the Trojan War and the adventures of Odysseus, respectively

The Persian Empire: An ancient Mesopotamian empire that existed in modern-day Iran, Afghanistan and beyond from the 500s BCE to the 300s BCE and was known for its vast size; its military prowess; its and cultural diversity; its contributions to art and literature; and their use of an imperial road system, a postal system, and a centralized bureaucracy; and his peaceful incorporation of other conquered territories

Cyrus the Great: The founder of the Persian Empire, who ruled from 550 BCE to 530 BCE, and is known for his military conquests; political acumen; religious tolerance (he freed the Jews out of captivity in Babylon); and for creating the Cyrus Cylinder

The Cyrus Cylinder: An ancient clay artifact that was written in Babylonian cuneiform in the 500s BCE and discovered in the 1800s CE and is considered the world’s first written declaration of human rights. It describes Cyrus the Great’s policy of religious tolerance and the restoration of temples and the release of captive peoples.

King Darius: A leader of the Persian Empire during the time of ancient Greece known for being an excellent military general; for his belief in Zoroastrianism, which later influenced Christianity; for building roads connecting all parts of the Persian Empire; for introducing a standard coinage; and for controlling the Western end of the Silk Road. Eventually, Darius and the Persians were conquered by the Greeks.

Arabs: An ethnic group originating in the Middle East that is known for speaking the Arabic language

Muhammad: The founder of Islam who was born in Mecca in the 600s BCE and who is known for receiving revelations from Allah (God) through the angel Gabriel, which were recorded in the Quran; for being the final prophet in a long line of prophets that includes Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus; and for capturing Mecca (after teaching in exile in Medina for a time) and becoming its ruler

Muslims: Followers of Islam

Sunis and Shiites: The two largest branches of Islam, with the primary difference being that Sunnis believe that the first four caliphs were the rightful successors to Muhammad, while Shiites believe that the first caliph, Ali, was Muhammad’s chosen successor and that the imams that followed were divinely inspired

The Middle Ages (500 CE to 1500 CE)

The Abbassid Dynasty: The dynasty that led the Islamic Empire from about 800 CE to about 1300 CE, bringing a golden age to the area. It featured political unity, long-term stability, a flourishing capital at Baghdad, advances in chemistry and astronomy, the invention of algebra, and more. The court in Baghdad was the setting for much of the literary classic The Thousand and One Nights.

The Mongol invasion: The successful overthrow of the Abbasids and Turks by Mongols in the 1200s. Their power in the are did not last, however.

The Crusades: A series of religious wars fought between Christians and Muslims from around 1100 CE to the 1200s CE. The primary goal of the Crusades was to recapture the Holy Land, particularly Jerusalem, which was under Muslim control, and to defend Christian pilgrims who made the journey to the region. There were several Crusades over a period of two centuries, involving many of the most powerful states and armies of Europe at the time. The Roman Catholic Pope initially called for the attacks. The Crusades were unsuccessful, ill-conceived and disastrous for all involved.

Early Modern Times (1500 CE to 1900 CE)

Safavid Empire: The empire that ruled Persia and beyond from the early 1500s to the 1700s. It was known for successfully resisting Ottoman takeover; for being one of the greatest Iranian empires; for establishing Islam as the official religion of the empire; for modernizing the area; and for increasing the area’s economic power and global status by increasing governmental efficiency, architectural innovations and fine arts

The Ottoman Empire: The empire that followed the Abbasid dynasty in Persia, lasting from the 1200s to the 1600s. It was known for its flourishing trade with the West; uniting the whole region under one ruler for the first time since the Abbasid Empire; trade route control; the retaking of Constantinople from the Byzantine empire; and more.

Suleymon the Magnificent: The most successful Sultan of the Ottoman Empire who reigned in the 1500s and is known for expanding the Empire to its greatest size and power, conquering much of Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East; for his patronage of the arts; for building many impressive structures, including the Suleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul; and for his legal and administrative reforms, which helped modernize the Ottoman state

The Modern Era (1900 to the Present)

Overview of the history of the Middle East in the Modern Era: During the 1900s, significant political, social, and economic change occurred. The Ottoman Empire fell after World War I. The discovery of large oil reserves in the Middle East in the early 1900s led to the development of the petroleum industry and the increasing involvement of foreign oil companies in the region. The Middle East, it turned out, possessed the world’s largest easily untapped reserves of crude oil, the most important commodity in the 20th century. The kings and emirs of these oil states became immensely wealthy exporting petroleum to the west, allowing them to consolidate their hold on power and giving them a stake in preserving western hegemony over the region. The decline of European colonial empires and the rise of nationalism in the Middle East continued during the latter half of the 20th century, leading to the independence of numerous countries, including Egypt, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.

The role of the Middle East in World War I: The Middle East played a significant role in World War I as a major theater of conflict and a source of critical resources such as oil. The Ottoman Empire, which controlled much of the region, sided with the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) and fought against the Allied Powers (Britain, France, and Russia). The British and French, in particular, sought to secure control of the oil-rich areas of the Middle East, leading to the Sykes-Picot Agreement and the eventual division of the region into colonial mandates. The Arab Revolt, led by Sharif Hussein of Mecca, also played a key role in the war, as it helped undermine Ottoman control and opened the way for Allied gains in the region. The war ultimately resulted in the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the redrawing of the map of the Middle East. The end of World War I saw the decline of European colonial empires and the rise of nationalist movements in the Middle East, as people sought independence from colonial rule and greater control over their own affairs.

The role of the Middle East in World War II: The Middle East played a crucial role in World War II as a major source of oil and as a crossroads for military operations in North Africa and the Mediterranean. The British and the Allies sought to secure control of the oil-rich regions of the Middle East, which led to the establishment of military bases and the deployment of troops in the region. The German and Italian forces also attempted to gain control of the area, leading to a series of battles in North Africa, including the Battle of El Alamein, which was a turning point in the war. The Middle East was also a critical theater of espionage and diplomacy, as the Allies and the Axis powers competed for the support of local leaders and sought to influence the outcome of the war. The region also saw the emergence of Arab nationalism, as well as the growth of Jewish immigration to Palestine, which would lead to the creation of the state of Israel after the war. The Middle East played a vital role in the outcome of World War II and helped shape the political and economic landscape of the region for decades to come.

OPEC: A global organization founded in 1960 consisting of 14 member countries, mostly located in the Middle East, with the goal of coordinating the petroleum policies of its member countries and securing fair and stable prices for petroleum producers

State of Israel: The Jewish state founded in 1948, partly to unite displaced Jews after the Holocaust and return their historical homeland. This resulted in frequent civil war between the Jews and Palestinians in the area.

Suez Crisis: A political and military conflict that took place in 1956 between Egypt and the UK, France, and Israel. The crisis was triggered by the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, which threatened the strategic and economic interests of the UK and France, as well as Israel’s access to the Red Sea. Israel, in collaboration with Britain and France, launched a military operation to seize the canal, leading to international condemnation and intervention by the United Nations. The crisis resulted in the withdrawal of Israeli, British, and French forces from the Canal Zone, the establishment of the UN Emergency Force to maintain stability, and the strengthening of Nasser’s position as a leader in the Arab world. The Suez Crisis marked a turning point in the Cold War and had far-reaching consequences for the relationships between the Western powers and the Arab world, as well as for the balance of power in the Middle East.

Saddam Hussein: The president and dictator of Iraq during the 1970s, 80s ad 90s who was known for his aggressive foreign policies

The Oil Embargo: In 1973, the Arab oil-producing countries, including several members of OPEC, embargoed oil exports to countries that supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War, causing a significant increase in oil prices and economic disruption.

The Iranian Revolution: In 1979, the Islamic Revolution in Iran overthrew the Shah and established an Islamic republic, leading to a new era of political and religious extremism in the region.

Iran-Iraq war: The long, drawn-out war between Iran and Iraq after Saddam Hussein invaded Iran over river access. With help, Iran won and retained their river control.

The Gulf War: The war against Iraq in the 1990s by a international military coalition, including the U.S. The war was a response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, which resulted in the devastation of Kuwait including the burning of their oil fields.

Osama bin Laden: Osama bin Laden was the founder and leader of Al-Qaeda, a Sunni Islamist militant group responsible for several high-profile attacks against the United States, including the September 11th attacks in 2001. Born in Saudi Arabia in 1957, bin Laden became involved in the Afghan resistance against Soviet occupation in the 1980s and later founded Al-Qaeda with the goal of driving Western influence and military presence from Muslim countries and establishing a global Islamic caliphate. Under bin Laden’s leadership, Al-Qaeda carried out several major attacks, including the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the September 11th attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people. In response to the attacks, the US launched a military campaign in Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban, who had provided safe haven to Al-Qaeda, and began a global manhunt for bin Laden. On May 2nd, 2011, bin Laden was killed in a US military raid on his compound in Pakistan.

Al-Qaida: A Sunni Islamist militant group founded by Osama bin Laden in 1988. Its stated goal is to drive Western military forces from Muslim countries and establish a global Islamic caliphate. Al-Qaeda is known for several high-profile attacks, including the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, and the September 11th attacks in 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people. These attacks led to the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the eventual killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces in Pakistan in 2011. Despite the death of bin Laden and the disruption of Al-Qaeda’s central leadership, the group continues to carry out attacks in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, often through its affiliated organizations. Al-Qaeda remains one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist organizations and continues to pose a significant threat to US interests and allies in the region.

Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” and Others by John Gottman

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Dear kids,

It’s been many, many years since John Gottman started bossing around the world of marriage counseling, and guess what? He’s still bossing it. As far as I can tell, no one’s ideas or research have influenced couples counseling practices more than those of this psychologist and researcher from way back.

There are some drawbacks to reading Gottman, though. To me, Gottman’s many books are highly repetitive in nature and lack a sophisticated edit. Clearly, Gottman is a researcher first and a writer second, but that’s okay. That’s why we have book summaries.

The Takeaways

  • Four bad communication habits are responsible for much of the world’s communication-related distress: criticism, contempt, stonewalling/withdrawal; and defensiveness. Anger and arguments are not likely to become a serious problem in a relationship if they are not accompanied by one of these behaviors. (That’s good news!)
  • Criticism is a form of complaint that points to a person’s attributes as the source of a problem rather than pointing to their behavior. Replace a person-focused criticism with a problem-focused complaint, Gottman recommends. Note that “I” statements are usually complaints and “you” statements are usually attacks/criticisms (though not always).
  • Use a “soft startup” to a disagreement by beginning with a complaint rather than a criticism.
  • Contempt is the worst of what Gottman calls the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In his research he found that the presence of this habit is most predictive of divorce. Replace mean-spirited contempt or condescension such as eye-rolling with compliments and nonverbal signs of respect.
  • Stonewalling sometimes occurs due to emotional flooding–a physical and psychological response to emotional stress. To effectively handle emotional flooding, take a break, then return to the discussion once your emotions have stabilized.
  • Defensiveness is one of the most common, if not the most common, communication difficulty. When someone is defensive, they are more likely to interpret others’ comments and actions as threats and respond with resistance, anger, or aggression. This type of response can escalate conflicts, create barriers to effective communication, and damage relationships. Additionally, being defensive often leads to a lack of self-awareness and a failure to see one’s own role in conflicts. This can prevent individuals from learning and growing and can result in repeated patterns of negative behavior. Replace defensiveness by discussing one topic at a time, not responding to personal attacks, and listening with open-mindedness and assumptions of good intention.
  • “Negative sentiment override” occurs when one or both partners assume the worst of the other person (negative intentions, etc.). This is another problem to avoid whenever possible, as it causes defensiveness.
  • There are three types of communication styles: conflict-avoiding, validating, and volatile. Conflict-avoiders argue infrequently and opt to agree to disagree while focusing on the positive aspects of a situation. Validators prioritize compromise and approach conflicts calmly and objectively. They are known for their kindness but may lack honesty and independence. Volatile couples are prone to frequent and passionate arguments, but also enjoy making up in similar fashion. They are candid and honest, but prone to being easily upset.
  • When both partners the same style, any style can be healthy.
  • Gottman believes that one of the most effective ways to improve marriages is to simply increase positive affect and decrease negative affect in both verbal and nonverbal ways. Even small gestures like looking up from your phone, smiling and physically turning toward your partner can make a significant difference.
  • For a relationship to be healthy, the ratio of positive to negative interactions should be at least 5:1. If negative interactions outweigh positive ones, the relationship is likely in trouble.
  • The failure to acknowledge repair attempts is the central predictor of divorce. As much as possible, turn toward your partner instead of turning away.
  • Recognize that some issues may be unsolvable at present, as 69% of conflicts often go unresolved.
  • Focus on creating a sense of understanding and connection by showing interest in each other’s lives and sharing personal dreams, with a commitment to supporting one another.
  • Establish a shared sense of meaning and purpose.
  • Whenever possible, de-escalate arguments through agreement and validation.
  • Practice good listening skills by doing the “speaker-listener exercise.” This involves one person (the speaker) expressing their thoughts and feelings about a specific issue, while the other person (the listener) focuses on understanding and validating the speaker’s perspective. The listener summarizes and reflects back what they have heard, avoiding interruptions and making the speaker feel heard and understood. The exercise is repeated with the roles reversed, allowing both partners to have a turn at speaking and listening. The goal of the exercise is to build trust, increase understanding, and reduce conflict.
  • Acknowledge the goal of the conversation: is it to be heard, or is it to solve a problem? Don’t rush to problem solve for or with your partner unless they ask you to.

Gottman Book Selections

Gottman’s most well-known books include:

  1. “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”: This book provides a framework for building a strong and healthy marriage, based on Gottman’s research on what makes relationships successful.
  2. “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail”: This book provides a scientific analysis of what makes marriages work and what causes them to fail.
  3. “And Baby Makes Three”: This book provides advice on how to maintain a strong relationship after having a baby and how to navigate the challenges of parenthood as a couple.
  4. “The Mathematics of Marriage”: This book offers a data-driven approach to improving relationships, and provides practical tools and techniques for building a stronger and more fulfilling partnership.

About the Author

John Gottman is a renowned American psychologist and relationship expert. He is a professor emeritus in psychology at the University of Washington and the co-founder of The Gottman Institute, which provides workshops and resources for couples and mental health professionals. Gottman is the author of numerous books on relationships and his research has been featured in many media outlets.


Can’t quite get to all the nonfiction and self-help books that interest you? Read Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday here.

Naked House Interview: “A Minimalist Mindset Has Not Deprived Me of Anything I Wanted”

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Bernadette Joy Cruz is a money media expert. She speaks and teaches about debt repayment and other financial issues and writes Crush Your Money Goals. Here is the interview we did for my book, The Naked House: Five Principles for a Minimalist Home.

Mollie: Tell me about your experience with minimalism.

Bernadette Joy: I’ve been in the process of decluttering and reorganizing my home as part of my journey to become debt-free. My husband and I paid off $300,000 of debt, including debt from student loans and two mortgages, in three years. Adopting a minimalist mindset was a big part of our change.

At first, I decided to declutter just to find things to sell in order to help pay off our debt. I sold a lot of unneeded housewares, clothing, furniture, etc. At the first garage sale we made over $400 in four hours and that encouraged me to want to get rid of more stuff because we weren’t using any of it and it felt like free money!

Mollie: Tell me more about your debt repayment experience. How did you manage this feat? What did you give up?

Bernadette Joy: We started in January 2016 with about $70,000 in student loans and the rest in mortgages. It started because I felt overwhelmed with how much debt we accumulated in less than a two years because essentially, I cared more about what other people thought about us than about our own well-being. People will like me more if they think I’m smart and have a nice house, right? I started learning everything I could about money and debt through podcasts and YouTube. My husband and I started implementing everything I learned like budgeting and making extra money through side hustles. The biggest things we had to give up were time (we worked a lot during that time period), investing for the first 7 months (we stopped while we paid off the student loans and then resumed at 15% of our total income, more than what we were investing before) and large expenses like travel. All of this was temporary and since we’ve become debt free we’ve resumed all the conveniences and fun including going to see my favorite K-Pop band live in concert, buying a car in cash and going to Italy!

Mollie: What are your most prized beliefs regarding the minimalist lifestyle—the ideas you most want to spread?

Bernadette Joy: Minimalism is not just about stuff. It’s about minimizing anything that causes you stress, including stress at work, stress in relationships and stress in your mind. I’ve worked on automating or outsourcing a lot of things that used to cause me stress (for example, I now have a regular cleaning service that helps me keep tidy instead of agonizing over not doing it myself). I also believe that you don’t have to adopt a poor or no-fun lifestyle that I think people confuse with minimalism. I minimize material things like clothing and unnecessary house stuff to make room and finances available for things like going to concerts and on vacations.

Mollie: Can you share a few specific tips for organizing and simplifying?

Bernadette Joy: Find things you aren’t using and sell them! Garage sales worked great for me in the area I’m in, but I also sold a lot of housewares on Facebook. It’s a great way to encourage you if you’re like me and feel guilty about what you spent; at least you make some money back and use the money towards something you really want.

Work on one room at a time only. Don’t move onto the next room until you complete the previous. Start where you spend the most of your time because you will get the most benefit out of it. I started in my kitchen and in my bedroom. I immediately felt relief getting rid of so many kitchen items that were just cluttering up our space.

I’m a big fan of the minimalist challenge: get rid of one thing on the first day, two things on the second day, etc. for a month. I have committed to it at least once a year, sometimes multiple times a year. I like crossing things off my list and challenges in general and it really got me motivated to keep it up for a month!

Donate where you can instead of throwing stuff out. If I can’t find local charities, I just post things for free on Facebook or Craigslist. Everything I’ve put out, someone has picked up, so at least I know (or hope) they are being reused!

Mollie: Any final thoughts on minimalism?

Bernadette Joy: For me, a minimalist mindset has not deprived me of anything I wanted. In fact, it’s created more room for things I absolutely love in life and focused more on experiences than accumulating stuff. It’s also always a work-in-progress. One might come to my house and not think it’s minimalist because we own more than a few dishes or towels. But I can confidently say everything I own right now is on purpose and has a purpose, and that is peace of mind that I’m so grateful for.

A place for everything and everything in its place. Get The Naked House: Five Principles for a Minimalist Home.

41 Self-Help Success Stories

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Sometimes, inner strength feels like a moving target: you have it, then you don’t, then you do again. Here, stories from people who, more often than not, have it figured out, sharing their absolute best techniques and advice.

Depression and Anxiety Success Stories

Frederick Zappone: “I Learned to Allow My Feelings”

Gary Leigh: “I Got Rid of the Voices in My Head”

Ingrid Vasquez: “Healing Begins with Therapy”

Katie Harp: “Forgiveness First. Then Positivity”

Guy Hoffman: “Art Heals the Body, Mind and Soul”

Mandy: “Dancing Helped Me Overcome Depression”

Terri Lynn: “I Chose Happiness”

Jenion: “I Decided That Today, I Would Not Be Anxious”

Alexander Svitych: “My Days Are Smooth and Calm”

Meditation and Mindfulness Success Stories

Matt Kahn: “I Don’t Try to Love What I Don’t Love; Instead, I Witness My Feelings and Beliefs”

Matt Kahn: “Everything Is Here to Help You”

Mary Lou Stevens: “I’ve Stopped Fighting. It Was Useless, Anyway”

Mary Lou Stevens: “The More I Observe My Thoughts, The More I Realize How Funny They Are”

Subhan Schenker: “Enlightenment Is a Quantum Leap”

Subhan Schenker: “Do Not Make Happiness a Goal”

Carrie Coe Phillips: “Buddhism Goes to the Root of the Problem”

Carrie Coe Phillips: “Meditation Gives Me Clarity”

Carrie Coe Phillips: “Make Friends With Your Depression”

Evan Griffith: “Wherever I Go, Meditation Goes With Me”

Evan Griffith: “How Do You Know Which Opportunities to Pursue?”

Anthony Amrhein: “For Three Weeks, I Was Enlightened”

Anonymous: “If What You’re Doing Isn’t Working, Try Something Else”

Leta Hamilton: “If I Don’t Love It, I Love That I Don’t Love It”

Leta Hamilton: “I Realized That Suffering Is My Friend”

Leta Hamilton: “I Love Myself More Than I Ever Thought Possible”

Leta Hamilton: “When Peace Is Taken Care of, Everything Else Falls Into Place”

Leta Hamilton: “I Am Deeply at Peace”

Leta Hamilton: “Meditation Gives Me a Feeling of Vastness”

Leta Hamilton: “Loving God Gives Me Joy”

Leta Hamilton: “Desire Is Missing”

Leta Hamilton: “None of It Scares Me. I Have So Much Fun”

Leta Hamilton: “There Is No Real Meditation”

Law of Attraction Success Stories

150 Law of Attraction Success Stories (series)

Evan Griffith: “My Inner Self Is a Four-Year-Old”

Angelo Limon: “I Have a Family and a Future”

Hannah Goss: “Everything Fell into Place”

Sal: “My Relationship With My Father Is Healing”

Sarah Joyce Bryant: “Affirmations Are Helping My Son Cope With Asperger’s”

Jack Canfield: “The Power of Belief”

Greg Kuhn: “It Is Good”

Steve Pavlina: “I Went from Convicted Felon to Respected Author”

Travis Thomas: “After Doing the Byron Katie Method, My Boss Started Listening to Me”

Naked House Interview: “Nothing Good Comes Out of Chaos”

assorted stationery scattered in wooden drawer
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Ben Soreff is a professional home organizer at House to Home Organizing. Read more about his company at Here is the interview we did for my book, The Naked House: Five Principles for a Minimalist Home.

Mollie: What was the most cluttered home you worked in like? How did the process of organizing affect your client?

Ben: We have seen everything from estates to apartments, but the only clutter difference is the volume. In some cases, no room is being used for its intended purpose: the cars can’t go in the garage, the home office isn’t being used for work, the dining room isn’t hosting anyone. When you add to that situation not being able to find what you are looking for and having to do multiple purchases, this puts a lot of stress on relationships between family members. The children feel they can’t have friends over and the adults don’t entertain. This creates a feeling of being trapped.

Organizing takes time. Busy people usually just start putting everything in the attic or basement. After that they hide everything in bins and drawers, but eventually those areas fill up, too. This isn’t organization. Being organized is different from being neat or tidy.

Mollie: What circumstances led to your passion for simple living?

Ben: Growing up as a child of a difficult divorce, having control became pretty important to me. People have anxiety when they are not in control and in life there is a lot we cannot control; however, we can control our physical space. My belief is that nothing good comes out of chaos and being a minimalist and having organized systems allows me to be more productive. I see this with my own children: when their room is a mess they simply don’t play in it, but when the floor is clear they actually build things, use their toys and imagination.

Also, as a child I always liked jigsaw puzzles. There’s something about putting a giant mess together into something complete that calms the mind.

When I was young the desire for stuff seemed pretty cool but getting married and having children focuses you on experiences. A kid is excited by the new toy but she is also just as excited by the box it came in, and after a few hours it just goes on the pile with the other unused toys. The older you get you realize that happiness comes from within, that buying stuff doesn’t solve your problems or actually make you happy. Having experiences with friends and family leads to great memories and at the end of the day, all we have are our memories.

Mollie: What are the common mistakes your clients make when it comes to managing their home environment?

Ben: For a lot of people, the act of shopping or the thrill of getting a bargain is the real juice and getting the thing is more important than the actual thing. Also, in our clients’ homes we see items unused and crammed into closets and after reviewing we discover they are gifts the receiver didn’t want, doesn’t like and doesn’t know what to do with.

Most people give gifts to make themselves, not the person getting it, feel better. If someone took the time to give something wanted it would be experiences or consumables; a night of free babysitting is worth more than two hundred items from the Christmas Tree Shops or the Dollar Store.

Mollie: Any additional tips for simplifying the home?

Ben: If you’re a parent, you are the gatekeeper. When your kids are a certain age, they may get up to thirty or forty gifts for their birthdays and holidays. You know how your children play and what they like and steering people to give swimming lessons or tickets to the movies will save everyone in the end.

Another suggestions to cutting down on accumulating because of retail therapy is to pay cash for it. If you really want it, take the time to get cash out. You can also print the page out from Ebay or Amazon and wait a week. If you really still want it, then get it. My economics professor used to say, “More is preferred to less,” but the stress of clutter hurts relationships and your free time and creates anxiety.

Mollie: One final thought?

Ben: Good things aren’t cheap and cheap things aren’t good. Well-made items that you can depend on are more important than quantity.

A place for everything and everything in its place. Get The Naked House: Five Principles for a Minimalist Home.

School in a Book: Mathematics Skills

close up photo of yellow tape measure
Photo by Marta Longas on


How to add and subtract large numbers without using a calculator or writing instruments: Break the numbers into ones, tens and hundreds. For example, 72 + 83 becomes 70 + 80, then 2 + 3, then 150 + 5.

How to round numbers up or down: The two main rules that apply when rounding numbers to the nearest ones, fives, tens, hundreds, etc. are: 1. Round the number up if it is past the halfway point and down if it is less than the halfway point; and 2. Round numbers that are at the halfway point up, not down. For example, 56 rounded to the nearest multiple of 10 is 60, and 55 is also 60.

  • Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing
  • Memorizing the times tables up to 12
  • Recognizing common shapes
  • Solving basic story problems
  • Using a calculator
  • Using a ruler and drawing compass
  • Calculating map distances
  • Deciphering information on line graphs, bar graphs, circle graphs, tables and Venn diagrams
  • Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions, decimals and positive and negative numbers


  • Using algebraic symbols
  • Solving for variables
  • Solving and graphing inequalities
  • Calculating ratios, rates, percentages and proportions (as when finding taxes, discounts, markups, gratuities, commissions, simple interest, the percent rate of change, exponential growth and more)
  • Finding prime numbers and square roots
  • Solving quadratic equations
  • Working with radicals
  • Comparing functions


Formula for calculating the area of squares and rectangles: Multiply height by width: hxw. Note that some areas can be divided into multiple squares and rectangles and the results can be added together to find the total area.

Formula for calculating square footage: Use the same formula as for finding the area of a square, using feet as the measurement: hxw

Formula for calculating the area of a triangle: Multiple the height by the width, then divide by two: (h x w)/2

Formula for calculating diameter: Multiply the radius by two: d = 2r

Formula for calculating perimeter: Add length and width, then multiply this by two: 2(l + w)

Formula for calculating the volume of a cube or rectangle-based shape: Multiply width, length and height: l x w x h

Formula for calculating the volume of a sphere: Cube the radius, then use this formula: 4/3 × π × R3

Formula for calculating the volume of a prism or cylinder: Find the area of the end shape, then multiply by its depth

Formula for calculating the volume of a cone or pyramid: Calculate the volume of the base as if the base were a square, then divide by 3.

  • Calculating scale
  • Measuring angles
  • Calculating arc length
  • Graphing lines and slopes
  • Working with coordinate planes
  • Proving simple geometric theorems
  • Making geometric constructions based on a given set of numbers
  • Working with the Pythagorean theorem
  • Solving linear equations
  • Working with functions

Naked House Interview: “Take a Hard Look at Your Calendar”

writings in a planner
Photo by Bich Tran on

Kelly Rupiper is Content Director at Upparent, a recommendation-sharing website for parents. She is also the mother of two elementary school-aged kids. See Here is the interview we did for my book, The Naked House: Five Principles for a Minimalist Home.

Mollie: Have you ever significantly reorganized and decluttered your home? What led to the decision and what did you change?

Kelly: Parenthood brings with it a lot of stuff. When my kids were a newborn and a toddler, we moved from a small condo into a larger home and it felt like the floodgates for accumulating toys, clothes, and gear were opened. It was easy to add more and more stuff now that we had the room, and though I don’t think we had gone overboard by common standards, eventually I started feeling like we were spending too much time putting away toys, sorting through piles of clothes, and generally cleaning up. The effort that we were putting into taking care of all of these things was more than the happiness we were getting out of having them. This was around the time that people started talking more about a minimalist lifestyle, and the idea of letting go of the clutter seemed freeing to me. I spent the better part of a year combing through our home and putting together donations, selling items on Facebook, and handing things down to family members. A few years later we embarked on a cross-country move, and this was a great opportunity to think critically about what really needed to come with us and pare down some more.

Mollie: What are your most prized beliefs regarding minimalist lifestyle—the ideas you most want to spread?

Kelly: A minimalist lifestyle isn’t just about owning as little as possible or going without. It’s about limiting yourself to the things that are important, special, and useful to you, and getting to enjoy these things every day because you’re not weighed down by needing to weed through and maintain all of the fluff.

It’s also not just about physical belongings. Think about taking a more minimal approach to the way you schedule your family’s time and attention, too. Take a hard look at all of the after-school activities and obligations on your calendar, and think about how it would feel to spend less time driving around and more time at home as a family.

Mollie: Tell me more about the benefits of minimizing one’s schedule.

Kelly: Aside from keeping more money in the bank and enjoying more family time together, I have found that minimizing the number of activities that kids have on their plates helps to keep them from getting burned out. My kids tend to get overwhelmed when the schedule gets to the point where we’re running from one activity to the next, and lessening their load means they can actually look forward to the things they’ve signed up for.

Mollie: Why do you think people have a hard time being at home with no planned activity?

Kelly: There’s an instinct to feel like we have to entertain our kids, and the choruses of “I’m bored!” don’t help. But when kids aren’t overwhelmed by a playroom stuffed with endless choices and instead have a small collection of toys that inspire open-ended play, it’s pretty amazing to see how well they can entertain themselves and each other without parental intervention.

Mollie: How can people learn to embrace unplanned family time?

Kelly: Simple, low-key family traditions can be a great way to give some structure to your family time without introducing outside obligations. My family does a weekly Friday night family movie night and we rotate the person who gets to pick what we watch. The kids look forward to it all week. We are also reading the Harry Potter series together, and we sit down to read a chapter most evenings after the kids are showered and ready for bed. Introducing fun (and often free!) activities like these gives the family something easy to do together that they look forward to and creates memories that you’ll be able to enjoy for years.

Mollie: Can you share a few specific tips for simplifying a home?

Kelly: Do what you can to keep excess things from coming into your house in the first place. Getting your family on board with this will make it much easier. It’s hard to deny well-meaning relatives who love to buy gifts for your kids, so give them ideas that mesh well with minimalism: a museum membership, a kids cooking class, or one larger-ticket holiday gift (like a basketball hoop or a streaming service membership) for the whole family to enjoy together. My kids will often choose a special family experience like an amusement park trip or theater tickets instead of a large birthday party with friends and gifts.

Mollie: Any final thoughts?

Kelly: Minimalism isn’t just about clearing out your house. It’s about changing your mindset, so you’re better-equipped to maintain your new way of life moving forward. Once you discover and embrace how freeing it is to be living without the clutter in your house and on your calendar, it’s easier to be able to say “no” to the pressure we all feel to take on more.

A place for everything and everything in its place. Get The Naked House: Five Principles for a Minimalist Home.

Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: A Self-improvement Self-education

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Make no mistake: Self-help reading isn’t just self-help books. Nonfiction of all kinds contributes to a person’s physical, intellectual, emotional, financial, spiritual, and relational well-being. For this reason, I’ve made use of my obsession with all kinds of nonfiction (and love of note-taking) to compile a comprehensive-as-possible recommended reading list for people looking to achieve their own feats of great strength. This list includes books on business, finance, psychology, sociology, history, spirituality and more. For each book listed, I provide a brief content summary, then offer practical takeaways from a self-help lens.

Does your next feat of great strength require research–more than you have time to do? Subscribe to the right for a comprehensive self-improvement self-education, featuring summaries and tips from over 400 works of psychology, sociology, biography, history, anthropology, spirituality, science, memoir, economics, self-help and more.


Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha, Tara Brach

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality, Brian Greene

What Would Google Do?: Reverse-Engineering the Fastest Growing Company in the History of the World, Jeff Jarvis

Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!, Robert Kiyosaki

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, John Gottman

For Better: How the Surprising Science of Happy Couples Can Help Your Marriage Succeed, Tara Parker-Pope

The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages: The Little Things That Make a Big Difference, Shaunti Feldhahn

Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship, Stan Tatkin

Fringeology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable – And Couldn’t, Steve Volk

Ten Percent Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story, Dan Harris

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Eckhart Tolle



Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment, Martin Seligman
Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, Martin Seligman
Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, Martin Seligman
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcom Gladwell
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, Brene Brown
I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t): Telling the Truth about Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power, Brene Brown
Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, Dan Ariely
The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home, Dan Ariely
Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution., Brene Brown
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, Chip and Dan Heath
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Jordan B. Peterson
This is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike, Augusten Burroughs
When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life, David Burns
The Feeling Good Handbook: The New Mood Therapy, David Burns
The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence, Gavin de Becker
The Noonday Demon: An Atlas Of Depression, Andrew Solomon
Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why, Laurence Gonzales
The Hilarious World of Depression, John Moe
Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression–And the Unexpected Solutions, Hari Johann
Blissology: The Art and Science of Happiness, Andy Baggott
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, Joe Dispenza
Change Your Brain, Change Your Life: The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Lack of Focus, Anger, and Memory Problems, Daniel Amen
Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice: A Revolutionary Program to Counter Negative Thoughts and Live Free from Imagined Limitations, Robert Firestone
Depression: How It Happens and How It’s Healed, John Medina
Depression Is Contagious: How the Most Common Mood Disorder Is Spreading Around the World and How to Stop It, Michael Yapko
Dibs: In Search of Self: Personality Development in Play Therapy, Virginia Axline
Don’t Shoot the Dog: The Art of Teaching and Training, Karen Pryor
Dressing Your Truth: Discover your Personal Beauty Profile, Carol Tuttle
Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, Daniel Goleman
Engineering Happiness: A New Approach for Building a Joyful Life, Manel Baucells and Rakesh Sarin
Exploring Happiness, Sissela Bok
Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Personalized Recovery Program for Living with Uncertainty, Jonathan Grayson
Happiness: Lessons from a New Science, Richard Layard
Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile, Daniel Nettle
Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener
Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain: Applying the Exciting New Science of Brain Synchrony for Creativity, Peace and Presence, Patt Lind-Kyle
How We Decide, Jonah Lehrer
Irrationally Yours: On Missing Socks, Pickup Lines, and Other Existential Puzzles, Dan Ariely
Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resistence and Finding Joy, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Positivity, Barbara Fredrickson
Self-compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, Kristin Neff
Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, Bessel van der Kolk
The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good, David Linden
The Consuming Instinct: What Juicy Burgers, Ferraris, Pornography and Gift Giving Reveal About Human Nature, Gad Saad
The Dangerous Passion: Why Jealousy Is as Necessary as Love or Sex, David Buss
The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now, Meg Jay
The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self, Alice Miller
The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, Shawn Achor
The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything, Neil Pasricha
The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives, Shankar Vedantarn
The How of the Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, Sonja Lyubomirsky
The Inner Game of Work: Focus, Learning, Pleasure, and Mobility in the Workplace, W. Timothy Gallway
The Magic of Thinking Big, David Joseph Schwartz
The Mindful Brain: The Neurobiology of Well-Being, Daniel Siegel
The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to Performance and Personal Renewal, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change, Charles Duhigg
The Power of Negative Thinking: An Unconventional Approach to Achieving Positive Results, Bob Knight and Bob Hammel
The Power of Positive Thinking: A Practical Guide to Mastering the Problems of Everyday Living, Norman Vincent Peale
The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse, Gregg Easterbrook
The Science of Happiness: How Our Brains Make Us Happy-and What We Can Do to Get Happier, Stefan Klein and Stephen Lehmann
The Great Eight: How to Be Happy (Even When You Have Every Reason to Be Miserable), Scott Hamilton
The Smart But Scattered Guide to Success: How to Use Your Brain’s Executive Skills to Keep Up, Stay Calm, and Get Organized at Work and at Home, Peg Dawson and Richard Guare
The Underachiever’s Manifesto: The Guide to Accomplishing Little and Feeling Great, Ray Bennett
Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill
Tinker Dabble Doodle Try Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind, Srinivasan S. Pillay 
Unchain Your Brain: 10 Steps to Breaking the Addictions That Steal Your Life, Daniel Amen and David Smith
What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite, David DiSalvo
Why We Feel: The Science of Human Emotion, Victor Johnston
You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself, David McRaney
You Need Help!: A Step-by-Step Plan to Convince a Loved One to Get Counseling, Mark Komrad and Rosalynn Carter
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed, Lori Gottlieb
Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life, Christie Tate


David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, Malcom Gladwell
What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures, Malcom Gladwell
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, Andrew Solomon
A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals About Human Desire, Sai Goddam and Ogi Ogas
Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, Barbara Ehrenreich
Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Lives of Adolescent Girls, Mary Pipher
The Disappearance of Childhood, Neil Postman
The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation, Matt Ridley
The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, Barry Schwartz
The Plug-In Drug: Television, Computers and Family Life, Marie Winn
The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins
The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry, Lance Dodes and Zachary Dodes
The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies Are Harming Our Young Men, Christina Hoff Summers
White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, Tim Wise
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, Neil Postman
The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race In America, Shelby Steele
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, Eric Schlosser


Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Atul Gawande
Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe, Robert Lanza and Bob Berman
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Mary Roach
Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, Mary Roach
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, Mary Roach
Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery, Scott Kelly
Genome: The Autobiography of A Species in 23 Chapters, Matt Ridley
Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe, Mike Massimino
The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think, Jennifer Ackerman
The Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements, Sam Kean
The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality, Brian Greene
The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of A Citizen Scientist, Richard Feynman
The Particle at the Edge of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World, Sean Carroll
The Rise of the Robots
The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size, Tor Norretranders
Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers
Lucid Dreaming: A Concise Guide to Awakening in Your Dreams and in Your Life, Stephen LaBerge
A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming: Mastering the Art of Oneironautics, Dylan Tuccillo, Jared Zeizel and Thomas Peisel


1776, David McCullough
Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography, Peter Green
An American Childhood, Annie Dillard
A Short History of Financial Euphoria, John Kenneth Galbraith
Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon, Steve Sheinkin
Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, Stephen E. Ambrose
Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier, Katie Hafner
Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence, Bryan Burrough
Don’t Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned, Kenneth Davis
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansong
How the Web Was Won: How Bill Gates and His Internet Idealists Transformed the Microsoft Empire, Paul Andrews
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs, Albert Speer
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, James W. Loewen
Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention, May to September 1787, Catherine Drinker Bower
Mythology, Edith Hamilton
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, Isabel Wilkerson
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, Michael Pollan
The Fasting Girl: A True Victorian Medical Mystery, Michelle Stacy
The Hundred Year Diet: America’s Voracious Appetite for Losing Weight, Susan Yager
The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times, Susan Wise Bauer
The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 2: The Middle Ages, Susan Wise Bauer
The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 3: Early Modern Times, Susan Wise Bauer
The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 4: The Modern Age, Susan Wise Bauer


Einstein Never Used Flash Cards: How Our Children Really Learn–And Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek
Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Howard Gardner
Free-Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything, Laura Grace Weldon
How Children Fail, John Holt
Instead of Education: Ways to Help People Do Things Better, John Holt
In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child’s Multiple Intelligences, Thomas Armstrong
Learning All the Time: How Small Children Begin to Read, Write, Count, and Investigate the World, Without Being Taught, John Holt
No Contest: The Case Against Competition, Alfie Kohn
Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes, Alfie Kohn
Seven Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences, Thomas Armstrong
Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-class Performers From Everybody Else, Geoffrey Colvin
The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence, Josh Waitzkin
The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing, Alfie Kohn
The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould
The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had, Susan Wise Bauer
The Well-trained Mind: A Guide to a Classical Education at Home, Susan Wise Bauer
What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Kindergarten Education, E.D. Hirsch
What Your First Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good First-Grade Education, E.D. Hirsch
What Your Second Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Second-Grade Education, E.D. Hirsch
What Your Third Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Third-Grade Education, E.D. Hirsch
What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Fourth-Grade Education, E.D. Hirsch
What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Fifth-Grade Education, E.D. Hirsch
What Your Sixth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Sixth-Grade Education, E.D. Hirsch

Economics and Business

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, Tony Hsieh
Discover Your Inner Economist, Tyler Cowen
Life After the 30-Second Spot: Energize Your Brand with a Bold Mix of Alternatives to Traditional Advertising, Joseph Jaffe
Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination, Hugh MacLeod
Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists, Joel Best
More Damned Lies and Statistics: How Numbers Confuse Public Issues, Joel Best
Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcom Gladwell
Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers, Seth Godin
The Big Red Fez: How to Make Any Website Better, Seth Godin
The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), Seth Godin
The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, Chris Anderson
What Would Google Do?: Reverse-Engineering the Fastest Growing Company in the History of the World, Jeff Jarvis
Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg
Get Slightly Famous: Become a Celebrity in Your Field and Attract More Business with Less Effort, Steven Van Yoder
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, Jim Collins
Grapevine: The New Art of Word-of-Mouth Marketing, Dave Balter and John Butman
Hug Your Customers: The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results, Jack Mitchell
Management of the Absurd: Paradoxes in Leadership, Richard Evans Farson
Mindsharing: The Art of Crowdsourcing Everything, Lior Zore
Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, Keith Ferrazzi
Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job, Jon Acuff
The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre and Every Business Is a Stage, Joseph Pine and James Gilmore
The Four-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, Timothy Ferriss
The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary, Mark Sanborn
The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success, Carmine Gallo
The One-Minute Manager, Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential–in Business and in Life, Leo Babauta
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, Stephen R. Covey
The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business, Tara Hunt
Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter, How Today’s Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves, Adam Penenberg
What Color Is your Parachute?: A Practical Manual for Job-hunters and Career-changers, Richard Nelson Bolles
The Freedom Formula: How to Put Soul in Your Business and Money in Your Bank, Christine Kloser


Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love, Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself, Melody Beattie
Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life, Emily Nagoski
Couples, Gender, and Power: Creating Change in Intimate Relationships, Carmen Knudson-Martin and ‎Anne Rankin Mahoney
His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage, Willard F. Harley, Jr.
How to Break Your Addiction to a Person: When–and Why–Love Doesn’t Work, Howard Halpern
Love Is Never Enough: How Couples Can Overcome Misunderstanding, Aaron Beck
Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, Sue Johnson
Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships, Sue Johnson
Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, Lori Gottlieb
Mating in Captivity: Sex, Lies and Domestic Bliss, Esther Perell
Neale Donald Walsch on Relationships, Neale Donald Walsch
Nonviolent Communication: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values, Marshall Rosenberg
Not “Just Friends”: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity, Sheila Glass
The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, & Other Adventures, Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton
The Impossibility of Sex: Stories of the Intimate Relationship between Therapist and Client, Susie Orbach
The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships, John Gottman and Joan DeClaire
The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement for Couples, John Gottman
Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage: America’s Love Lab Experts Share Their Strategies for Strengthening Your Relationship, John Gottman
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert, John Gottman and Nan Silver
Why Marriages Succeed or Fail and How You Can Make Yours Last, John Gottman
Treating Out of Control Sexual Behavior: Rethinking Sex Addiciton, Douglas Braun-Harvey
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus: The Definitive Guide to Relationships, John Gray
Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice: Hormonal Balance, the Key to Life, Love and Energy, John Gray


Attachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child, Katie Allison Granju and Betsy Kennedy
Between Parents and Child, Haim G. Ginott
Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five, John Medina
How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen: From Toddlers to Teenagers; Connecting with Your Children at Every Age, H. Norman Wright
If I Have to Tell You One More Time …: The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding, or Yelling, Amy McCready
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, Richard Louv
Liberated Parents, Liberated Children: Your Guide to a Happier Family, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too, Adele Faber andd Elaine Mazlish
Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right, Jamie Glowacki
Parenting with Dignity: Getting Beyond Crisis Management–A Five-Point Plan for Raising Responsible, Independent Kids, Mac Bledsoe
Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility, Foster Cline and Jim Fay
Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting, John Gottman and Joan DeClaire
The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby From Birth to Age Two, Barry Sears
The Case for Make-Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World, Susan Linn
The Trouble with Perfect: How Parents Can Avoid the Overachievement Trap and Still Raise Successful Children, Elisabeth Guthrie and Kathy Matthews
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason, Alfie Kohn
Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being A Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think, Bryan Douglas Caplan
The Child Whisperer: The Ultimate Handbook for Raising Happy, Successful and Cooperative Children, Carol Tuttle


Loving What Is: How Four Questions Can Change Your Life, Byron Katie
A Mind at Home with Itself: How Asking Four Questions Can Free Your Mind, Open Your Heart, and Turn Your World Around, Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell
Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book One, Neale Donald Walsch
Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book Two, Neale Donald Walsch
Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book Three, Neale Donald Walsch
Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing, Anita Moorjani
Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness, Jon Kabat-Zinn
I Need Your Love–Is That True?: How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval, and Appreciation and Start Finding Them Instead, Byron Katie
Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, Sharon Salzberg
Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives, Brian Weiss
Meditation Without Gurus: A Guide to the Heart of Practice, Clark Strand
Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, Thich Nhat Hanh
Living Buddha, Living Christ, Thich Nhat Hanh
Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity, Bruce Bawer
The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery, Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz
The Quantum Doctor: A Quantum Physicist Explains the Healing Power of Integrative Medicine, Amit Goswami
The Search For Grace: A Documented Case of Murder and Reincarnation, Bruce Goldberg
The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity, William Young
Whatever Arises, Love That: A Love Revolution That Begins with You, Matt Kahn
Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life, Jon Kabat-Zinn
You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter, Joe Dispenza
How God Changes your Brain: Breakthrough Findings From A Leading Neuroscientist, Andrew Newberg
Life After Life: The Investigation of a Phenomenon–Survival of Bodily Death, Raymond A. Moody, Jr.
Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d, Candace Pert
Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel, Candace Pert
Science and the Near-Death Experience: How Consciousness Survives Death, Chris Carter
Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms, David Kessler
The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving Kindness, Pema Chodron
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, Pema Chodron

Food & Nutrition

The Food Therapist: Break Bad Habits, Eat with Intention, and Indulge Without Worry, Shira Lenhewski
Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food, Jan Chozen Bays
Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, Brian Wansink
Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop, Cynthia Bulik
Eat Fat Get Thin: Why the Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health, Mark Hyman
Fasting and Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor’s Proram for Conquering Disease, Joel Fuhrman
How to Make Almost Any Diet Work, Anne Katherine
Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach, Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch
Neanderthin: A Cave Man’s Guide to Nutrition, Ray Audette and Tony Gilchrist
Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss–and the Myths and Realities of Dieting, Gina Kolata
The Diet Cure: The 8-Step Program to Rebalance Your Body and End Food Cravings, Weight Gain and Mood Swings-Naturally, Julia Ross
Love Hunger: Breaking Free from Food Addiction, Frank Minirth, Paul Meier, Robert Hemfelt and Sharon Sweed and Don Hawkins
The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet, Robb Wolf
The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability, Liere Keith
Trick and Treat: How “Healthy Eating” Is Making Us Ill, Barry Groves
Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything, Geneen Roth
When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair: 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), Geneen Roth
Breaking Free from Emotional Eating, Geneen Roth
Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, Michael Pollan
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, Michael Pollan
Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It, Gary Taubes
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease, Gary Taubes

Writing and Creativity

Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity, Hugh MacLeod
Aspects of the Novel, E.M. Forster
A Whack On the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative, Roger von Oech
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott
Don’t Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, Steve Krug
Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction, Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd
Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads, Luke Sullivan
Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go, Leslie Edgerton
How Fiction Works, James Wood
How to Be Funny: The One and Only Practical Guide for Every Occasion, Situation, and Disaster (No Kidding), Jon Macks
Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore, Elizabeth Lyon
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Steven King
Plot and Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish, James Scott Bell
Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, Blake Snyder
Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter’s Guide to Every Story Ever Told, Blake Snyder
Sick in the Head: Conversations about Life and Comedy, Judd Apatow
Spunk and Bite: A Writer’s Guide to Punchier, More Engaging Language and Style, Arthur Plotnik
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Lester Kaufman and Jane Straus
The Elements of Style, William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White
The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose, and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great, Donald Maass
The Non-Designer’s Design Book, Robin Williams
The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master, Martha Alderson
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battle, Steven Pressfield
The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Commercial Freelancer in Six Months or Less, Peter Bowerman
The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, Christopher Vogler
Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers, Mary Cole
Writing the Breakout Novel: Insider Advice for Taking Your Fiction to the Next Level, Donald Maas
Your Life Is A Book: How to Craft and Publish Your Memoir, Brenda Peterson and Sarah Jane Freymann


When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi
Educated: A Memoir, Tara Westover
Go Ask Alice, Anonymous
A Stolen Life: A Memoir, Jaycee Dugard
A House in the Sky, Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett
Into the Wild, John Krakauer
Untamed, Glennon Doyle
Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis
The Cross and the Switchblade, David Wilkerson
A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken
A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis

Classic Nonfiction

The Holy Bible
The writings of Buddha (500s–300s BCE)
The Analects, Confucius (500s BCE)
Tao Te Ching, Lao Tze (500s BCE)
The Art of War, Sun Tzu (500s BCE)
The Magna Carta (1200s)
The Declaration of Independence (1700s)
The Constitution of the United States (1700s)
The Bill of Rights (1700s)
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Olaudah Equiano (1700s)
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Thomas de Quincey (1800s)
The Gettysburg Address (1800s)
Narrative of Sojourner Truth, Sojourner Truth (1800s)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1800s)
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs (1800s)
Walden, Henry David Thoreau (1800s)
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Frederick Douglass (1800s)
The Souls of Black Folks, W. E. B. DuBois (1900s)
Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, James Weldon Johnson (1900s)
I Have a Dream, Martin Luther King, Jr. (1900s)
The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank (1900s)
The Story of My Life, Helen Keller (1900s)
Roots, Alex Haley (1900s)
Autobiography of Malcom X, Malcom X (1900s)
The Jungle, Upton Sinclair (1900s)
Black Boy, Richard Wright (1900s)
Native Son, Richard Wright (1900s)
Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin (1900s)
The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom (1900s)
A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking (1900s)
The Meaning of It All, Richard Feynman (1900s)

Advanced Classic Nonfiction

The Histories, Herodotus (400s BCE)
The Republic, Plato (400s BCE)
History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides (400s BCE)
Rhetoric, Aristotle (300s BCE)
Apology, Plato (300s BCE)
Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle (300s BCE)
On the Nature of Things, Lucretius (60s BCE)
De Republica, Cicero (50s BCE)
The Early History of Rome, Livy (20s BCE)
Wars of the Jews, Josephus (70s CE)
Annals, Tacitus (100s CE)
The Twelve Caesars, Suetonius (100s CE)
Anabasis of Alexander, Arrian (100s CE)
Meditations, Marcus Aurelius (100s CE)
Lives of Noble Greeks and Romans, Plutarch (100s CE)
Enchiridion, Epictetus (100s CE)
The Confessions, Saint Augustine (300s)
The City of God, St. Augustine (400s)
The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius (500s)
The Quran (600s)
The Ecclesiastical History, Adam Bede (700s)
The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, Peter and Heolise Abelard (1100s)
Summa Theologiae, Thomas Aquinas (1200s)
The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis (1400s)
In Praise of Folly, Erasmus (1500s)
The Education of a Christian Prince, Erasmus (1500s)
The Freedom of a Christian, Martin Luther (1500s)
Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin (1500s)
History of the Reformation, John Knox (1500s)
The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila, Teresa of Avila (1500s)
The Interior Castle, St. Teresa of Avila (1500s)
Dark Night of the Soul, St. John of the Cross (1500s)
The Defense of Poesy, Sir Philip Sidney (1500s)
Novum Organum, Frances Bacon (1600s)
The Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes (1600s)
Meditations on First Philosophy, Rene Descartes (1600s)
Discourse on Method, Rene Descartes (1600s)
Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke (1600s)
The Second Treatise of Government, John Locke (1600s)
The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Samuel Pepys (1600s)
Wonders of the Invisible World, Cotton Mather (1600s)
An Essay on Criticism, Alexander Pope (1700s)
An Essay on Man, Alexander Pope (1700s)
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin (1700s)
The Rights of Man, Thomas Paine (1700s)
Common Sense, Thomas Paine (1700s)
On Liberty, John Stuart Mill (1800s)
The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1700s)
The Journal of John Woolman, John Woolman (1700s)
The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith (1700s)
A Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant (1700s)
On American Taxation, Edmund Burke (1700s)
Life of Johnson, James Boswell (1700s)
The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton (1700s)
Memoir, Correspondence and Misc., Thomas Jefferson (1800s)
The Memoirs of Victor Hugo, Victor Hugo (1800s)
Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville (1800s)
A Child’s History of England, Charles Dickens (1800s)
For Self-Examination, Soren Kierkegaard (1800s)
On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection, Charles Darwin (1800s)
The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams (1800s)
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Frederich Nietzsche (1800s)
Beyond Good and Evil, Frederich Nietzsche (1800s)
An Autobiography, Annie Besant (1800s)
Notes on Nursing, Florence Nightingale (1800s)
Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler (1900s)
Civilization and Its Discontents, Sigmund Freud (1900s)
The Ego and the Id, Sigmund Freud (1900s)
The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud (1900s)

Other Recommended Books

703: How I Lost More Than a Quarter Ton and Gained a Life, Nancy Makin
A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka: A Memoir, Lev Golinkin
A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan About Living, Loving, and Waking Up, Linda Leaming
Aku-Aku: The Secret of Easter Island, Thor Heyerdahl
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, Elizabeth McCracken
Angry Fat Girls/Eating Ice Cream with My Dog, Frances Kuffel
A Queer and Pleasant Danger, Kate Bornstein
As a Man Thinketh: Classic Wisdom for Proper Thought, Strong Character, and Right Actions, James Allen
Running with Scissors: A Memoir, Augusten Burroughs
Dry: A Memoir, Augusten Burroughs
Lust and Wonder, Augusten Burroughs
A Wolf at the Table, Augusten Burroughs
Toil and Trouble: A Memoir, Augusten Burroughs
Autobiography of A Face, Lucy Grealy
A Way of Being, Carl Rogers
A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman, Joan Anderson
Basic Counseling Techniques: A Beginning Therapist’s Toolkit, Wayne Perry
Becoming Myself: A Psychiatrist’s Memoir, Irvin Yalom
Beyond Order, Jordan B. Peterson
Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America, Daniel Flynn
Bossypants, Tina Fey
Boy Erased, Garrard Conley
Chelsea Handler
Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
Committed, Elizabeth Gilbert
Cult Child, Vennie Kocsis
Cult Insanity: A Memoir of Polygamy, Prophets, and Blood Atonement
Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, William Styron
David Sedaris
Devotion: A Memoir, Dani Shapiro
Disaster Preparedness, Heather Harrilesky
Dying: A Memoir, Cory Taylor
Eating the Dinosaur, Chuck Klosterman
Escape from Babel: Toward a Unifying Language for Psychotherapy Practice, Scott Miller, Barry Duncan and Mark Hubble
Excavation: A Memoir, Wendy Ortiz
Fall to Pieces: A Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Mental Illness, Mary Forsberg Weiland
Fargo Rock City, Chuck Klosterman
Favorite Wife: Escape From Polygamy, Susan Schmidt
Fifty Acres and a Poodle: A Story of Love, Livestock, and Finding Myself on a Farm, Jeanne Marie Laskas
Five Men Who Broke My Heart: A Memoir, Susan Shapiro
Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir, Jennifer McGaha
Found: A Memoir, Jennifer Lauck
Full: How I Learned to Satisfy My Insatiable Hunger and Feed My Soul, Kimber Simpkins
Girl in a Band: A Memoir, Kim Gordon
Girl in the Woods: A Memoir, Aspen Matis
Girl Walks Out of A Bar: A Memoir, Lisa Smith
Give Me Everything You Have, James Lesdun
God Hunger, Desiree Ayres
Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith, Anne Lamott
Growing Up Amish: A Memoir
Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, Anne Lamott
Hidden Valley Road, Robert Kolker
Holy Hunger: A Memoir of Desire, Margaret Bulitt-Jonas
How I Gave Up My Low-Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds-And How You Can, Too!, Dana Carpender
How Starbucks Saved My Life, Michael Gill
How To Stay Married: The Adventures of a Woman Who Learnt to Travel Light in Life, Love and Relationships, Mary-Lou Stephens
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, Roxanne Gay
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir, Carrie Brownstein
Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh
In Memory of Bread: A Memoir, Paul Graham
In Small Doses, Marc Pollard
In Therapy: The Unfolding Story, Susie Orbach
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Gabor Matt
Into the Magic Shop, James Doyt
It Was Me All Along: A Memoir, Andie Mitchell
Jennifer, Gwyneth and Me, Rachel Bersche
Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins, Kathy Griffin
Killing Yourself to Live, Chuck Klosterman
Klostermann II, Chuck Klostermann
Lab Girl, Hope Jahren
Learning to Eat Along the Way: A Memoir, Margaret Bendet
Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
Letters to a Young Therapist, Mary Pipher
Lights On, Rats Out: A Memoir, Cree LeFavour
Lit, Mary Karr
Locked Up for Eating Too Much, Debbie Danowski
Lost and Found, Geneen Roth
Love in a Time of Homeschooling, Laura Brodie
Love Warrior: A Memoir, Glennon Doyle
Lucky Man: A Memoir, Michael J. Fox
Madness: A Bipolar Life, Marya Hornbacher
Manic, Terri Cheney
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home, Rhoda Janzen
Mental: Lithium, Love, and Losing My Mind, Jaime Lowe
MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend, Rachel Bertsche
My Glory Was I Had Such Friends, Amy Silverstein
My Two Moms, Zach Wahls
Nightmare in Wichita: The Hunt for the BTK Strangler, Robert Beattie
Obsessed, Allison Britz
Official Book Club Selection, Kathy Griffin
On Becoming a Better Therapist: Evidence-based Practice One Client at a Time, Barry Duncan
On Becoming a Person, Carl Rogers
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year, Anne Lamott
Orange Is the New Black: My Year in A Women’s Prison, Piper Kerman
Ordinary Light: A Memoir, Tracy K. Smith
Out of Orange: A Memoir, Cleary Wolters
Pajama School: Stories From the Life of a Homeschool Graduate, Natalie Wicham
Passage, Connie Willis
Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint
Plan B, Anne Lamott
Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir, Wednesday Martin
Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Afterlife, Eben Alexander
Proudly Serving My Corporate Masters, Adam Bau
Purge: Rehab Diaries, Nicole Johns
Red, Hot and Holy: A Heretic’s Love Story
Same Kind of Different as Me, Ron Hall
Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream, Adam Shepard
Seasons of a Mother’s Heart, Sally Clarkson
Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, Chuck Klostermann
Sex, Drugs and Meditation: How One Woman Changed Her Life, Saved Her Job and Found a Husband by Mary-Lou Stephens
Sex Object: A Memoir, Jessica Valenti
Sin Bravely: A Memoir of Spiritual Disobedience, Maggie Rowe
Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life, Jason Hanson
Stephen Fry in America: Fifty States and the Man Who Set Out to See Them All, Stephen Fry
Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair, Anne Lamott
Straight Pepper Diet: A Memoir, Joseph W. Naus
The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do, Jeff Goins
The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee, Sarah Silverman
The Boston Strangler, Gerold Frank
The Chicken Chronicles, Alice Walker
The Child Bride, Cathy Glass
The Chronology of Water, Lidia Yuknavitch
The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success, Darren Hardy
The Craggy Hole in My Heart and the Cat Who Fixed It, Geneen Roth
The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life, Wendy Shanker
The Gift of Therapy, Irvin Yalom
The Good Eater, Ron Saxen
The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin
The Janus Point, Julian Barbour
The Making of a Therapist, Louis Cozolino
The Man with the Candy, Jack Olsen
The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance: A Memoir, Elna Baker
The Night of the Grizzlies, Jack Olsen
The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain, Bill Bryson
The Rules Do Not Apply, Ariel Levy
The Secrets of Exceptional Counselors, Jeffrey A. Kottler
The Seven Good Years: A Memoir, Etgar Keret
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, Elisabeth Tova Bailey
The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy, Ann Rule
The Two Kinds of Decay, Sarah Manguso
The Wishing Year: A House, a Man, My Soul: A Memoir of Fulfilled Desire, Noelle Oxenhandler
The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
The Year of No Clutter, Eve M. Schaub
They Left Us Everything: A Memoir, Plum Johnson
This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression, Daphne Merkin
Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, Anne Lamott
Triumph: Life After the Cult–A Survivor’s Lessons
Two of a Kind: The Hillside Stranglers, Darcy O’Brien
Vow: A Memoir of Marriage (and Other Affairs), Wendy Plum
Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress, Debra Ginsberg
What Therapists Don’t Talk About and Why, Pope, Sonne & Greene
When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi
Why I Left the Amish: A Memoir, Saloma Miller Furlong
Wild, Cheryl Strayed
Year of No Sugar: A Memoir, Eve O. Schaub
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir, Sherman Alexie
Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Paul Theroux
I Pledge Allegiance…: The True Story of the Walkers: An American Spy Family, Howard Blum
Is Paris Burning?, Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre
Jay J. Armes, Investigator, Jay J. Armes and Fredrick Nolan
Riding the Iron Rooster, Paul Theroux
The Bridge at Chappaquiddick, Jack Olsen
The Devil’s Triangle, Richard Winer
The War Magician, David Fisher
Treblinka, Jean-Francois Steiner
Twelve Great Philosophers, Wayne Pomerleau
The Year of Living Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling, Quinn Cummings
The Unschooling Handbook, Mary Griffith
Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling, John Holt
Un-Jobbing: The Adult Liberation Handbook, Michael Fogler
Unschooling Rules, Clark Aldrich
Getting Things Done: The ABCs of Time Management, Edwin Bliss
The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence
The Top Ten Things Dead People Want to Tell YOU, Mike Dooley
Triumph Over Disease By Fasting and Natural Diet, Dr. Jack Goldstein
The Fit for Life Solution, Harvey Diamond
The Great Cholesterol Con, Dr. Malcolm Kendrick
Quick Fasting, Nathaniel Hawthorne Bronner, Jr.
Mastering Leptin, Byron J. Richards
Fit for Life; Not Fat for Life, Harvey Diamond
Natural Hygiene, Herbert Shelton
The End of Overeating, David A. Kessler
The Fasting Cure, Upton Sinclair
Why Weight?, Geneen Roth
The Philosophy of Fasting; A Message for Sufferers and Sinners, Edward Earle Purinton
Autobiography of A Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda