Books to Stretch Your Mind & Heart: The September Brilliant Reading List (#5 Will Shake You)

Looking for books to stretch your mind and tear at your heartstrings?

You’ve come to the right place!

This month’s book recommendations strike at both heart and mind, logic and emotion. If you read them thoughtfully, you’ll be a different person afterward.

Some of September’s selections include:

  • How the Great Creative People of History became masters of their crafts
  • A biography of a little-known man whose life story inspired the writing of a world-changing novel
  • The story of an unspeakable family tragedy and the grieving family’s even more mind-boggling reaction

Let’s get into the book recs!

Mastery by Robert Greene

Mastery by Robert Greene

Robert Greene’s Mastery is no mere paperweight. This book is chock full of well-researched true story of historical and modern masters of their craft, and the principles that helped them to reach the pinnacle of their abilities.

Using illustrations from the lives of a variety of fascinating folks, from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Temple Grandin, Greene lays out his theory for what exactly makes someone a “Master,” and what the major milestones are along the way.

Although I don’t necessarily fully agree with every conclusion Greene draws from the anecdotes he chooses, his level of detail and thoughtfulness is worthy of admiration and emulation. If you are also interested in how people achieve mastery in their fields, definitely read this book.

The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

The author of Start With Why does it again with The Infinite Game. In this business nonfiction book, Sinek shows why the best leaders, entrepreneurs, and creative people always think way beyond their own lifetimes.

The main point is, the games most worth playing are those which are played as an end in themselves, rather than those played to win a certain prize or reach a certain end point. Sinek argues that leaders who have an infinite mindset create more brilliant organizations that last longer and contribute even more to society and the world at large.

Do you have a finite or infinite mindset? Read this book and find out.

Skin in the Game by Nassim Taleb

Skin in the Game by Nassim Taleb

Skin in the Game, is part of Nassim Taleb’s Incerto, a series of dense, mind-crunching books on economics, philosophy, business, psychology, and more.

(Other titles in the series include: Black Swan — arguably Taleb’s most famous book — Antifragile, Fooled by Randomness, and The Bed of Procrustes)

In Skin in the Game, Taleb discusses what the famous phrase means, why it’s required to achieve real, lasting, positive results, and how, unfortunately, people often try to control “games” that they have no “skin” in, and the harmful ripple effects of this kind of hypocrisy.

Like his other books, Taleb shares many, complex ideas drawn from multiple arenas in life, and you most likely won’t understand everything after only one reading. But if you’re looking for a book to challenge the “little gray cells,” this is definitely a great contender.

The Road to Dawn by Jared A. Brock

The Road to Dawn by Jared A. Brock

The Road to Dawn is a painstakingly detailed (and I mean “pain” in more ways than one) biography of an extraordinary man. A man born into slavery before the Civil War, who survived brutal living conditions, escaped with his entire family to Canada, and inspired the book that “Sparked the Civil War.”

Yes, Josiah Henson was a real person whose harrowing life story formed the basis for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In Brock’s book, you can finally learn who Josiah Henson was, why he was so extraordinary, and see what parts of his story made it into the classic book.

Brock follows Henson from birth to death, describing not only his time as a slave and his great escape, but everything that came afterwards, as he tried to set up a school for other escaped slaves and carve out a free life for himself.

Definitely a thought-provoking read. Highly recommended.

Forgiving My Daughter’s Killer by Kate Grosmaire

Forgiving My Daughter’s Killer by Kate Grosmaire

When I first read this book, I couldn’t put it down, reading way past midnight to finish. Forgiving My Daughter’s Killer already promises to be a riveting story, just from the title. But when you read the true story of the Grosmaire’s loss, you’ll be blown away.

When their teen daughter was murdered in cold blood by her boyfriend and almost-fiance, the Grosmaires chose not only to forgive the young man, whom they’d once sheltered in their own home…they also decided to fight for their daughter’s murderer by practicing restorative justice, which seeks to restore and not merely punish convicts for what they’ve done.

A brief summary can’t really explain the enormity of what the Grosmaire’s faced, and the incredible choices they made in unimaginable grief. You’ll have to read this mother’s book yourself to see what I mean.

And that’s the book list for September ~

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