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Year in Review: My Reading List for 2013

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I love non-fiction and reading is my passion. Check out some of the books I read for 2013. Love to hear your reading list.

Stillness SpeaksStillness Speaks – Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle understands the spiritual needs of our time. He draws from the essence of all spiritual traditions, expressing these truths in startlingly fresh new ways. The result is a book that is paradoxically both ancient and contemporary, filled with timely and powerful messages. Each chapter is a mosaic of individual entries, concise and complete in themselves, but profoundly transformative when read as a whole.

Junkyard PlanetJunkyard Plant – Adam Minter

When you drop your Diet Coke can or yesterday’s newspaper in the recycling bin, where does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and places that clean up what you don’t want and turn it into something you can’t wait to buy. In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter—veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner—travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, multibillion-dollar industry that’s transforming our economy and environment.

Minter takes us from back-alley Chinese computer recycling operations to high-tech facilities capable of processing a jumbo jet’s worth of recyclable trash every day. Along the way, we meet an unforgettable cast of characters who’ve figured out how to build fortunes from what we throw away: Leonard Fritz, a young boy “grubbing” in Detroit’s city dumps in the 1930s; Johnson Zeng, a former plastics engineer roaming America in search of scrap; and Homer Lai, an unassuming barber turned scrap titan in Qingyuan, China. Junkyard Planet reveals how “going green” usually means making money—and why that’s often the most sustainable choice, even when the recycling methods aren’t pretty.

How To Train An ElephantHow to Train A Wild Elephant – Jan Chozen Bays, M.D.

A growing body of research is showing that mindfulness can reduce stress, improve physical health, and improve one’s overall quality of life. Jan Chozen Bays, MD—physician and Zen teacher—has developed a series of simple practices to help us cultivate mindfulness as we go about our ordinary, daily lives. Exercises include: taking three deep breaths before answering the phone, noticing and adjusting your posture throughout the day, eating mindfully, and leaving no trace of yourself after using the kitchen or bathroom. Each exercise is presented with tips on how to remind yourself and a short life lesson connected with it.

Longest Way HomeThe Longest Way Home – Andrew McCarthy

WITH ABSORBING HONESTY AND AN IRREPRESSIBLE TASTE for adventure, award-winning travel writer and actor Andrew McCarthy takes us on a deeply personal journey played out amid some of the world’s most evocative locales. Unable to commit to his fiancée of nearly four years—and with no clear understanding of what’s holding him back— McCarthy finds himself at a crossroads, plagued by doubts that have clung to him for a lifetime. Though he ventures from the treacherous slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro to an Amazonian riverboat and the dense Costa Rican rain forests, McCarthy’s real journey is one of the spirit. Disarmingly likable, McCarthy isn’t afraid to bare his soul on the page, and what emerges is an intimate memoir of self-discovery and an unforgettable love song to the woman who would be his wife.

Buddha Walks Into A BarThe Buddha Walks into A Bar – Lodro Rinzler

The Buddha Walks into a Bar is a book for those who are spiritual but not religious, who are disillusioned by the state of the world, who are sick of their jobs (and just started last Tuesday), who like drinking beer and having sex and hate being preached at, who are striving to deepen their social interactions beyond the digital realms of Twitter and Facebook. This is Buddhism presented to a generation leaving the safe growth spurts of college and entering a turbulent and uncertain work force.

The Buddha Walks into a Bar is Buddhist teacher Lodro Rinzler’s introduction to Buddhism for anyone who wants to ride the waves of life with mindfulness and compassion. You’ll learn how to use meditation techniques to work with your own mind, how to manage the pervasive “Incredible Hulk Syndrome,” how to relax into your life despite external pressures, and ultimately how you can start to bring light to a dark world.

A Cook's TourA Cook’s Tour – Anthony Bourdain

The only thing “gonzo gastronome” and internationally bestselling author Anthony Bourdain loves as much as cooking is traveling. Inspired by the question, “What would be the perfect meal?,” Tony sets out on a quest for his culinary holy grail, and in the process turns the notion of “perfection” inside out. From California to Cambodia, A Cooks’ Tour chronicles the unpredictable adventures of America’s boldest and bravest chef.

ReviveRevive – Dr. Frank Lipman

Fatigue, unexplained back and joint pain, distractibility, irritability, insomnia, and digestive problems leave many of us running on empty. But these symptoms are not part of the normal aging process; they point to a pervasive syndrome Dr. Frank Lipman calls Spent. In this revolutionary book, “the country’s most prominent holistic M.D. after Andrew Weil” (W ) shares the solution that has helped thousands of his patients replenish their energy and regain their youth. Featuring a nutrition plan of tasty recipes, research-based exercises and stretches, and Daily Beats to nourish body and mind, Revive is a proven day-by-day wellness program that will prepare you for a lifetime of good health.

World Until YesterdayThe World Until Yesterday – Jared Diamond

Most of us take for granted the features of our modern society, from air travel and telecommunications to literacy and obesity. Yet for nearly all of its six million years of existence, human society had none of these things. While the gulf that divides us from our primitive ancestors may seem unbridgeably wide, we can glimpse much of our former lifestyle in those largely traditional societies still or recently in existence. Societies like those of the New Guinea Highlanders remind us that it was only yesterday—in evolutionary time—when everything changed and that we moderns still possess bodies and social practices often better adapted to traditional than to modern conditions.The World Until Yesterday provides a mesmerizing firsthand picture of the human past as it had been for millions of years—a past that has mostly vanished—and considers what the differences between that past and our present mean for our lives today.

This is Jared Diamond’s most personal book to date, as he draws extensively from his decades of field work in the Pacific islands, as well as evidence from Inuit, Amazonian Indians, Kalahari San people, and others. Diamond doesn’t romanticize traditional societies—after all, we are shocked by some of their practices—but he finds that their solutions to universal human problems such as child rearing, elder care, dispute resolution, risk, and physical fitness have much to teach us. Provocative, enlightening, and entertaining, The World Until Yesterday is an essential and fascinating read.

CollapseCollapse – Jared Diamond

In Jared Diamond’s follow-up to the Pulitzer-Prize winning Guns, Germs and Steel, the author explores how climate change, the population explosion and political discord create the conditions for the collapse of civilization

Environmental damage, climate change, globalization, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of societies around the world, but some found solutions and persisted. As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe, and weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Collapse moves from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite our own society’s apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana.

Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide?

Ron BurgundyLet Me Off At The Top – Ron Burgundy

The autobiography every true American has been waiting for: a shockingly candid and raw confessional from a national treasure.
From his humble beginnings in a desolate Iowa coal mining town, his years at Our Lady Queen of Chewbacca High School to his odds-defying climb to the dizzying heights of becoming America’s most trusted and beloved television News Anchor, Ron Burgundy pulls no punches in Let Me Off at the Top!

In his very own words Burgundy reveals his most private thoughts, his triumphs and his disappointments. His life reads like an adventure story complete with knock down fights, beautiful women and double-fisted excitement on every page. He has hunted jackalopes with Bobby Kennedy and Peter Lawford, had more than his share of his amorous exploits, and formed the greatest on-air team in the history of televised news. Along the way, he hobnobbed with people you wish you knew and some you honestly wish you didn’t — celebrities, presidents, presidents’ wives, celebrities’ wives, dogs, and, of course Veronica Corningstone, the love of his life. Walter Cronkite, Barbra Streisand, Katie Couric, the list goes on. Who didn’t Mr. Burgundy, or “Ron” as he is known to his friends, rub elbows with in the course of his colorful and often criminal life?

This may well be the most thrilling book ever written, by a man of great physical, moral and spiritual strength and not surprisingly a great literary talent as well. This book deserves a real shot at a Pulitzer Prize. In fact if it doesn’t win one then we will finally have proof that the Pulitzer is rigged.

Written March 13, 2014 by Nathan

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