Make Time, Make Love, Make Space...Make Change!
Three Inspiring Books for Making Change
When I took an informal poll of sixteen friends about how they rank the importance of more time, less clutter, and a more fulfilling romantic relationship, I was surprised at the outcome. 75% of these friends—men and women, married and unmarried, young and (ahem) older--put more time first, elaborating that they wanted “more time for myself,” “more time for family and friends,” “a better work-life balance.” Less clutter came in second and a more fulfilling romantic relationship came in dead last. What does that say about our over-scheduled, demanding world? These three books propose creative solutions to help us get what we’re craving.
The Minimalist makes fast food fresh
Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express (Simon & Schuster, August 2009) may not provide a better work-life balance, but the popular New York Times columnist certainly gets you out of the kitchen fast with healthy, flavorful food. Spend more time with your friends and family over his Panini with Mushrooms & Fontina. Savor a plate of his Seared Skate with Cumin & Lemon in blissful solitude. The recipes, written in short paragraphs that don’t always include specific measurements, are not for the rigid or the timid. If you like more freedom in a cookbook, you’ll love Bittman’s creative combinations and you’ll be out of the kitchen in no more than twenty minutes.
A life coach helps you clear the decks
The title of Gail Blanke’s Throw Out Fifty Things (Springboard, March 2009) gives you a clear goal before you even open the front cover. As she explains, “The reason for ‘fifty’ is not arbitrary. Once you make it to fifty, a kind of wonderful momentum takes over and before you know it, the ‘throwing out’ thing becomes a habit; an ongoing mindset. And then something really, really good happens: You take control of your life. You start living it, it stops living you.” Seems like you could make more time, too, if you didn’t spend valuable minutes hunting through papers to find the hairdresser’s phone number, or old clothes in your overstuffed closet. Blanke’s advice works for all kinds of negative “clutter” (unsupportive people, fears, and bad habits) that hold you back from enjoying life.
A stand-up comic gets serious about relationships
The fact that a more fulfilling romantic relationship came in third in my informal poll could mean one of two things. All my friends could be supremely satisfied. All of them? Unlikely. Or my friends are frustrated. Step forward, Steve Harvey. His Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man with Denene Millner (Amistad, January 2009) pulls no punches. He comes right out with it: “Men are driven by who they are, what they do, and how much they make.” He’s clear about the three things men need: support, loyalty, and sex. In no uncertain terms, he proves that men aren’t that hard to figure out. Harvey shows us the way to be in control of our love lives and prepare for years of fulfillment ahead.
The lightning-quick and thoughtful responses to my informal poll reassured me that this crazy-busy world hasn’t killed our desire to connect. Do it over a good meal; throw a swap party to exchange trash for treasure; listen with your heart to your partner’s desires. You’ll make this world a happier place.
A note from Beth Goehring: "I am so excited to write about books for CESLIE-The Women's Network™. Reading is not only a lifelong passion, but it's my job. As the editor-in-chief for a group of book clubs that includes Book-of-the-Month Club®, The Literary Guild®, Doubleday Book Club®, Mystery Guild®, and The Good Cook®, I hear the early buzz about what will soon be hot in everything from autobiography to zoology. In any week, my colleagues and I review hundreds of upcoming books to choose those that really deliver, whether it's with fascinating characters, an unforgettable story, a vicarious thrill, a wealth of useful information or compelling inspiration. Hands-down, the best thing about my job is finding that hidden gem, a novel that wasn't lavished with a huge marketing budget, not for lack of charm or quality, but because of a publisher's limited resources. When I can make a match between one of these unsung heroes and a grateful reader, then I've done my job well!"