What Does A Reading List and The South Carolina Annual Bar Convention Have In Common?

books-in-home-libraryNothing really.  But in my last post I promised to supplement my list of favorite books from 2014, with the remaining 5 of my top 10 list.  Since we’re now 3 weeks into 2015, I guess I’d better get this done.  There are also some exciting things taking place at the South Carolina Bar’s Annual Convention this week in Columbia, and these goings-on are worth sharing as well.  So, I thought I’d try to get as much mileage as I could out of a single post.

The Bar’s Annual Convention kicks off this Thursday in Columbia, and the event will include, for the first time, a host of wellness related activities, including a 3 hour wellness CLE program, a courthouse Fun Run, yoga, workshops on meditation and nutrition and a number of other activities that promote attorney health and well-being. These events are being included this year courtesy of the state bar’s Task Force on Attorney Wellness (Check out all of the offerings here).

Now for the rest of that reading list. Again, I doubt any of you share my obscure interest in so many different and odd topics.  So, I’m not putting this out as a suggested reading list for anyone.  I am, however, hopeful that by my sharing what I’ve been reading, you will do the same and together we can develop our own robust, extracurricular reading lists for the year.

Here are my remaining top 5 from 2014:

The Checklist Manifesto:  How to Get Things Right (Atul Sawande)—This is one of those books that I kept seeing on a lot of different blog posts, so I finally decided I’d read it.  It’s an excellent book and a really interesting look at how the volume and complexity of our knowledge today exceeds our abilities to properly deliver that knowledge, and how that problem can be remedied by the use of that most common of productivity tools—the checklist.

Daring Greatly; How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead (Berne Brown)—I have been a fan of Berne Brown’s for awhile.  She has a couple of excellent Ted Talks, and I think she’s probably at her best in presentations and interviews.  But her books do a good job of expanding her theme that vulnerability is the clearest path to courage and meaningful connection.  She reminds us as business leaders that it’s important to go ahead and have that difficult conversation.  And she reminds us parents that we often do our children more harm than good when we are overly protective in our efforts to shield them from disappointment and hurt.

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel (Rolf Potts)—Admit it.  All of you harbor some fantasy of dumping it all and striking out to see the world.  While that’s not much of an option for most of us, this is a fun book that might nurture that fantasy (or at the very least, allow us to live vicariously).  It’s a book about how to spend a few weeks (or a few years) exploring the world on your own terms, without a profound outlay of cash.  More than that, it’s a book about discovery, priorities, creativity, and the spirit of adventure.  And while few of us will really dump everything and strike out on our own, maybe one day (if we can create enough buzz around this wellness thing and support each other enough in our individual journeys) lawyers might be able to take extended vacations.  This book will keep the dream alive.

Walden (Henry David Thoreau)—Of all of the books I’ve read in my 50 plus years, this is one of the handful to which I come back to every year.  All of you know it.  It is Thoreau’s account of moving into a cabin on Walden Pond and his reflections on the virtues of simplicity and self-sufficiency.  When I one day realize the fantasy of Vagabonding (see above), Walden is the one book I’ll carry with me.  Can anyone say “Alexander Supertramp”?

Heart of Haiku (Jane Hirshfield)—Haiku is a terrific medium for experiencing presence and developing mindfulness.  There are many who write Haiku as a way of slowing down and being present to what the world has to offer, and it has been a part of spiritual practices in a variety of traditions for centuries.  You might not think of yourself as a poetry person, but Haiku is very accessible and a perfect gateway to the nourishing powers of language and awareness. There are several excellent books on Haiku (including The Essential Haiku by Robert Haas).  I discovered this short book (it’s really more of an essay) last year, and I included it on this list because it does such a good job introducing this powerful art form and it’s such an easy read (not to mention, cheap as well—I think you can buy the Kindle version for 99 cents).

OK, there you have it.  The last of my top 10 list.  Let me hear from you.  What were your favorite reads of last year? I still have a few Amazon gift cards to spend.

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