Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I just finished Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert and I love it. The book is about creative living, regardless of what you’re creating. Whether you’re a writer, painter, photographer, do pottery or anything else this book is inspiring. The book description at The Book Depository says:

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now, this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process – and showing us all just how easy it can be. By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear. Whether you long to write a book, create art, cope with challenges at work, embark on a long-held dream, or simply to make your everyday life more vivid and rewarding, Big Magic will take you on a journey of exploration filled with wonder and unexpected joys.

I love the book, how it’s written as well as Gilbert’s view on how creativity and ideas work. Much of the context is familiar but Gilbert uses storytelling (from her own life as well as others) to emphasize things and make her point. The five main parts in the book – courage, enchantment, permission, persistence and trust – cover all that’s essential.

The key things I got from the book was to rely on my curiosity, to write for myself, to get started (and keep going) because no one else will do my work.

Some quotes from the book

I’m the kind of person that underline text that is important to me. Your mileage might vary, here are some of what I marked.

Creative living: I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.

The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence and trust.

Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them. (I needed that one…)

Bravery means doing something scary. Fearlessness means not even understanding what the word scary means

You are not required to save the world with your creativity. I would prefer that you made your art in order to save yourself rather than to save or relieve us. (I needed this one too…)

Perfectionism stops people from completing their work but even worse, it often stops people from beginning their work.

Curiosity vs passion

Gilbert writes about curiosity versus passion. Instead of chasing a passion (which might be hard to find), follow your curiosity. I love that, curiosity is a powerful tool.

Curiosity only ever asks one simple question: is there anything you’re interested in?

Instead of asking what you would do if you couldn’t fail Gilbert raises a far more interesing question:

What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant?

Sit down and write!

Gilbert wrote “Done is better than good” and Seth Godin often talks about shipping (get things ready and deliver them). Even Buddha seems to share the same view.

An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.
Buddha

Is the book for you?

I suggest you take a look at Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED presentation about creativity, A different way to think about creative genius. If you like the content of that presentation then the book is for you.

Books September 2015

BooksHere’s a list of the books I bought in September and the reasons why I bought them. I include book texts to give a hint of what the books are about. Reviews might (or might not) come later.

A Well Tempered Heart

I bought “A Well Tempered Heart” by Jan-Philipp Sendker because I love his book “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats”.

Julia Win, a successful Manhattan lawyer, is at a crossroads in her life. Despite her wealth and privilege, she is exhausted and unhappy – a lost soul. She returns to Burma, the homeland of her father, where she encounters an anguished mother whose life is shattered when her two sons are called up from their rural village to fight in Burma’s civil war. Both women embark on their own journeys of self-discovery, experiencing heartbreak, horror, love and, ultimately, redemption. This mesmerising novel explores the most inspiring and passionate terrain of all: the human heart.

More than two

I bought “More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory” by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert based on a tip and my own curiosity. Polyamory is having several relationships at the same time. The tip said the book is a lot about relationships, valid whether you have one relationshp at a time or many. I’m also curious about polyamory.

The book includes questions at the end of each chapter which gives you a possibility to work on your own in addition to reading. I am right now at page 35 (of 469) and it’s a really interesting book. The book has a lot to give about what matters in relationships and how to make them work.

From Ancient Greece through the many dynasties of China to current practices of non-monogamy, people have openly engaged in multiple intimate relationships. Not until the late 20th century, however, was a word coined that encapsulated the practice: polyamory.In recent years, as more people have discovered polyamory as a legitimate option for their relationships, Franklin Veaux and his partner Eve Rickert saw a growing need for a comprehensive guide to the lifestyle.This wide-ranging resource explores living polyamorously?the nuances, the options, the myths and the expectations without judgment and with a good dose of humor. The authors share not only their hard-won philosophies about polyamory, but also their hurts and embarrassments. They underscore the importance of engaging in ethical polyamory and guide readers through the thorny issues of jealousy and insecurity, encouraging readers to work conscientiously on both their relationships and themselves.

Big Magic

I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED presentation about creativity, A different way to think about creative genius. That presentation is the main reason I bought “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I hope the book will both deepen and widen my knowledge about creativity as well as serve as an inspiration.

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now, this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process – and showing us all just how easy it can be. By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear. Whether you long to write a book, create art, cope with challenges at work, embark on a long-held dream, or simply to make your everyday life more vivid and rewarding, Big Magic will take you on a journey of exploration filled with wonder and unexpected joys.

Quoted texts about the books are from The Book Depository.

Books and reading

BooksI love books, browsing book stores in real life is a pleasure. Despite that I’m not an avid collector with lots of book on shelves. I’m picky which books I buy, it has to click in some way. My favourite online book store is The Book Depository. They have free shipping to many countries, including mine, which makes it easy to order one book at a time.

I prefer printed books. In non-fiction books I make notes when I find something interesting. It happens in novels as well, when something in the text really strikes a chord. I have many unread printed books, piled in a book shelf and some of them on tables.

There are almost 150 books in my Kindle library, most of them unread. The Kindle books are mostly non-fiction but include some novels. I get interesting books when they are for free or at a really low price.

About ten books are ones that I have in my reading process. I prefer to have several books going instead of focusing on just one. Another thing is that I am an irregular reader. That will change. Blogging about my new books will help me improve my reading habits. My goal is to read daily and to have maximum three books running parallel.

There’s no rush in catching up with my unread books. I want to get better reading habits in order to get wiser, to learn from the books I’ve bought. It often turns out that I learn things from novels too. There always seems to be a reason why I read a specific book.

The Little Prince

I just finished “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It’s a lovely fable and a great story. What especially stuck with me is the secret the fox tells him: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

The prince repeats it later in the book: “The eyes are blind. One must look with the heart.”

A pilot stranded in the desert awakes one morning to see, standing before him, the most extraordinary little fellow. “Please,” asks the stranger, “draw me a sheep.” And the pilot realizes that when life’s events are too difficult to understand, there is no choice but to succumb to their mysteries. He pulls out pencil and paper …Thus begins this wise and enchanting fable that, in teaching the secret of what is really important in life, has changed the world forever for its readers. Often seen as a symbol of childhood innocence, Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s best-selling book The Little Prince is cherished by children and adults alike across the globe.

Quoted text about the book is from The Book Depository.

That elusive book of mine

For a longer time I’ve wanted to write a book. Several people have told me I ought to share what I know. The catch is that what I’ve written so far is purely for my own pleasure and nothing to share. Now things change – for the better. I have a partner in crime, we intend to create the book together. We’re in the same business, helping people change and develop, and we work on our own change and development as well.

There’s no deadline set but we’re intent on keeping a steady pace. Since we’re in the beginning of our book project it’s still more of bouncing topics and ideas than actually writing. The introduction, still a draft, looks like this:

The book is written with a very small audience – ourselves. At the same time, we know that the book is relevant to many more. When we now share the book with others, the goal is that the book will provide both inspiration and insights. We want the book to lead to reflection. Above all, we want to inspire and motivate you the reader to make the changes that you want to do.

The book is based on our own personal and spiritual development, supplemented by experiences of working with clients. It is a sometimes meandering journey between different subjects and problems and joys. We have done our best to avoid lecturing and platitudes. Where relevant, we have tips and tools so that you as readers have the opportunity to gain practical utility of the book.

Drafts and snippets will be posted in my blogs. That means here at Bengt’s Notes as well as at Bengt Wendel (Swedish), GRS Mentor (English), GRS Mentor (Swedish) and at The Mental Leap.

If the stuff that you're writing is not for yourself, it won't work. - Stephen King

Katie in love (review)

It’s funny how we can find great books. I was going from author website to author website one day and ended up at Chloe Thurlow. I started reading her blog and was hooked by her way of writing. That lead me to order Chloe’s latest book “Katie in love” and as you can see in the review below I really love that book.

My review of Katie in love

Katie meets Tom at a New Year’s Eve party. Their first meeting leads to much more, life changes for both of them. The book tells the story of their romance and gives glimpses into Katie´s past. At first glance Katie and Tom have nothing in common, during the book they find a shared passion not only for each other. It’s a great story about how love makes unexpected people connect and dare to ride on the current love creates, even when the future is unknown.

Chloe Thurlow is marvelous with words. Sometimes she paints detailed pictures, you really feel as if you’re there (a fly on the wall). At other times she paints in broader strokes to carry the story forward. I love the way the book is written.

To me the hallmark of a really great book is that it awakens something in me, that it makes me think and feel. Katie in love did that.

Don’t let the label erotic scare you off, it’s a great romantic novel including some erotic scenes.

Katie in Love at The Book Depository.

Katie In Love at Amazon.com.

Katie in Love at Amazon UK.

Truth, fiction, lies, wonder and a blue whale.

I subscribe to information from TED, a great source for presentations that inspire, teach, entertain and make you think. Some days ago I got a link to “Mac Barnett: Why a good book is a secret door” and I watched it today. It’s for kids of all ages. Mac talks about truth, fiction, lies, wonder and a blue whale. There’s even a Venn diagram…

Video:

Watch the video below or at TED: Mac Barnett: Why a good book is a secret door.

The fifth agreement

I like The Four Agreements, they are great. Now I have started reading “The fifth agreement” by Miguel and Jose Ruiz. That’s a different story, I feel a resistance towards the book and switch between a decision to finish the book (as a learning experience) and stop reading it.

The fifth agreement is “Be skeptical but learn to listen” and I agree with that. It, to me, goes really well with the concept in Your teacup is full (Empty your cup). To listen with an open mind is terrific.

I think my problem with the book “The fifth agreement” is due to that there’s a clash between the fifth agreement and the tone of the book. The authors have all the answers, no room for being skeptic there.

Thrive and success

I have considered the book “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life” by Arianna Huffington for a while but couldn’t make up my mind. Seth Godin posted a short review, “What does success look like now?”, over at hugdug. The text below is part of that.

Most people use the word more in association with success.

More money, more power, more friends, more fame.

It’s easy to see how we end up with more, because in a scarcity-based industrial economy, that’s how capitalists and those trained to work in the system win.

Arianna Huffington, a tireless, generous, wise soul is asking us to take a few hours to think deeply about whether more of the usual stuff is all there is.

What about: More meaning. More sleep. More connection… What about making a difference to yourself and the people around you?

The bold text is my edit, that sentence motivated me to order the book.

The Rosie Project

While waiting at the station in Malmö I browsed the PocketShop store. I often do that, browse a book store without intent to buy anything. Books matter to me and give me a lot. I noticed “The Rosie Project” book and picked it up. It’s marketed as fun and entertaining. A quick look inside supported that, I bought the book as a fun read. Little did I know that the book would mean a lot more to me.

Love isn’t an exact science – but no one told Dan Tillman. A handsome thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don’s never had a second date. So he derives The Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie – the world’s most incompatible woman – throwing Don’s safe, ordered life into chaos. Just what is this unsettling, alien emotion he’s feeling?

Don, the main character, is a control freak (in my eyes). He lives a very strictly planned life, routines are king. Don has for instance a weekly dinner plan that’s repeated each and every week. He has many logical reasons for that. Don also is socially awkward, he’s lousy at picking up cues and goes through life sometimes acting more like a robot.

When I discussed the book with a friend I realized what made the book itch. Don is an exaggerated version of how I’ve been (and sometimes still am). The book mirrored some of my own experiences in life. My friend suggested that I should read the book with that in mind. This turned the book into a personal development book for me.

The book shows me, again, the power of stories. Lessons included in a story are much easier to grasp than a more fact based approach.

What I took with me from the book

It’s OK to be wired differently.

Too much thinking complicates things and life.

Life works better when we drop the excessive parts of our planning.

What brightens our lives is often the unexpected events, people we meet because we open up.

When great things happen – trust your guts and enjoy them!

The Rosie Project

The Book Depository: The Rosie Project

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