The Books I Read in April 2022

April was a good reading month. I read four great books, including a few that had been on my shelf for years. I re-read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art and Turning Pro, two great books I read every year. I also read a book from Ryan Holiday’s February 2022 Reading List. Ryan sends out a monthly e-mail with the books he’s read. If you aren’t subscribed, I recommend signing up.

Anyways, here are the books I read in April.

The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson

Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister of the United Kingdom was the day Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. This book takes you through the next twelve months of Churchill’s tenure and how he led through this time in history. Given the situation around him, Churchill demonstrates true leadership. 

I read this book after Ryan Holiday recommended it in his February Reading List. It was a great read. Given the situation in Ukraine, this book takes you back to a similar situation over 80 years ago. Churchill’s first year as prime minister was chaotic, but his story is valuable.

Two good quotes: 

“On ne règne sur les âmes que par le calme,” meaning, “One leads by calm.”

“I never gave them courage. I was able to focus theirs.”

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

The War of Art is about winning the creative battle within. Your creative battle is uniquely yours. It could be writing, education, or setting personal goals. Pressfield argues that creative battles are won internally. He says producing good work isn’t about doing anything special. Instead, it’s about showing up every day. Your work takes care of itself when you sit down and do it.

Pressfield says we all have something inside that the world needs us to share. But it is up to us to share it. But something that makes it difficult is what he calls Resistance. Resistance is what keeps us from doing our work. It is procrastination, excuses, distraction, and anything else that tries to stop us from working.

Two good quotes: 

“We don’t tell ourselves, ‘I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead, we say, ‘I’m going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.”

“Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield

This book is the follow-up to The War of Art. Turning Pro is about deciding to be a professional in your life. We all have the choice to be the best version of ourselves. Pressfield refers to this process as changing from an amateur to a professional. And he says that this process is under our control. To turn pro, we must change our minds. 

Similar to The War of Art, Turning Pro is about our true calling. Many of us run from what we know we should do. This book explains the steps to take to move towards what we’re here for. This is a great book for all leaders, parents, coaches, and anyone with an urge to create.

Two good quotes:

“The sure sign of an amateur is he has a million plans and they all start tomorrow.”

“The professional does not wait for inspiration; he acts in anticipation of it.”

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Natalie’s book has been on my shelf for several years. I’m glad I finally read it. In it, Natalie discusses the path to freeing the writer within yourself. She describes what she calls writing practice. She combines principles from zen meditation into a writing practice that is unique and beneficial.

Once again, this is a book about the process. Writing is an underrated means to improve ourselves. Writing helps us think better and articulate our thoughts more clearly. We can all benefit from improving our writing. This book, through a series of essays, shows us how to do that.

Two good quotes:

“We must continue to open and trust our own voice and process. Ultimately, if the process is good, the end will be good. You will get good writing.”

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: