What I’m reading and listening to

Sometimes I share a few of these on social media but I wanted to make a list of the most influential pieces of content I’ve come across in recent years.

Please let me know if you find any of this helpful or have other articles, podcasts, or books that you recommend as well.

Mental Health

I really can’t recommend Brené Brown enough… Her work has changed the way I look at vulnerability, previously as a sign of weakness and now as a sign of courage. All of her books, articles, and TedTalks are helpful for getting through any tough situation or for just getting more out of life in general. Below are ones that impacted me the most.

Dare to Lead – Book by Brené Brown

Dare to Lead, takes all the general life lessons from her work and focuses it on leadership.

“The ultimate playbook for developing brave leaders and courageous cultures. Daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100% teachable. It’s learning and practice that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with our whole hearts.”

The Power of Vulnerability – TED Talk by Brené Brown

“Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.”

Listening to Shame – TED Talk by Brené Brown

“Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humor, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.”

Empathy vs Sympathy – Video by Brené Brown

This cute little cartoon is perfect for illustrating the difference between Empathy and Sympathy and how one is better for fostering deep connections with others.

Anatomy of an Epidemic – Book by Robert Whitaker

This book explains the issues with the pharmaceuticals that were developed to help with mental health issues and how short-term they are helpful but long term they usually end up doing more harm than good. It also explains how the drugs were developed with little scientific testing of what they do to brain chemistry and the long-term effects on patients.

This book was helpful for me because I was medicated for ADD (as well as the anxiety and depression that are commonly paired with ADD) from middle school through college and it made me rethink how I was treating my ADD. I came off all medications in Oct 2013. I may go back on some medications at some point in my life. However, I’ve found it very empowering to find other ways to cope as well, including environmental and job changes, cognitive behavioral therapy, and meditation. 

Driven to Distraction – Book by Edward M. Hallowell, John J. Ratey

Smart But Stuck: Emotions in Teens and Adults with ADHD – Book by Thomas E. Brown

Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves, and Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think – book by Tasha Eurich

“In a series of surveys, Eurich found that 95% of people think they’re self-aware, but only 10-15% truly are.” This means you (reading this right now) and I are probably not one of those truly self-aware people. Eurich explains what defines someone as truly self-aware, why so many people aren’t, and how to become more self-aware. Her research is surprising and fascinating. 


The Source Of Creativity – NPR TED radio hour

Creativity is not only for artists or designers. Everyone is creative! This podcast explains where creativity comes from and how you can be more creative in whatever it is you do.

Success and Failure

Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done – Book by Jon Acuff

What’s different about this book is that Jon Acuff talks about the mental and emotional ways we convince ourselves into giving up. Perfection is a double-edged sword. The problem with the “Go big or Go home” mentality is that as soon as we start to get a hint that what we’re working on will turn out to be less than perfect, we give up. And we come up with good reasons to give up. When in reality, pushing past those feelings of “omg this is going to be terrible, I should just stop” is how people grow and get to the good stuff. He talks about many other mental traps and tricks that we do to ourselves and how to get out of them.

As a person who struggles to finish big projects, I found this book very helpful. I often reread through my notes when I’m stuck on a project to help me get through to the end.

Success – NPR TED radio hour

This podcast helped me re-evaluate the way I looked at my personal success and self-worth as a reflection of my level of success. The section about grit gave me a more healthy way to look at failure along with the article below from 99U.

If You’re Not Failing, You’re Not Growing – 99U

Growth mentality. Disconnecting your failures with your self worth and realizing that you need to fail (and learn from that failure) in order to grow into the person you want to be. Each failure is a step closer to success.

Scared Of Failing? Ask Yourself These 6 Fear-Killing Questions – FastCo Design

This article helps me every time I’m paralyzed by fear of failure.

Time and Burnout

I’m one of those always busy, always wanting to be more productive types of people. Being a work-a-holic and burning out were badges of honor. Around 25, my body stopped keeping up and I had to figure out another way to be. These articles and books helped me reframe my mindset on work and how I use my time.

Exhaustion is not a status symbol – The Washington Post

11 ways to avoid burn out – 99U

No Time to Think – NY Times

Make Time – Book by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky

Make Time is not about productivity, life hacks, or time-saving tricks. It’s about creating time for what matters by rethinking the defaults of constant busyness and distraction.


How we end up marrying the wrong people – Article

This article brings up many important points about relationships and marriage that are not everyday knowledge but should be. I plan to revisit every 6 months to a year to make sure I’m still paying attention to those small but crucial details that get lost in the whirlwind of love.

The Five Love Languages – Book by Gary Chapman


Business and Wealth

The E-Myth – Book by Michael Gerber

This book is about entrepreneurial myths. If you want to start a business or already have, READ THIS BOOK. I found it incredibly inspiring, useful, and eye-opening.

Rich Dad Poor Dad – Book by Robert T. Kiyosaki

I can’t recommend this book enough and I’m sure I’m not the first person to mention it.

The 4-Hour Workweek – Book by Tim Ferris

Tim Ferris is sometimes criticized for being out of touch, but what I got the most from this book was how to think outside the box when it comes to designing your life and how to make money that fits your ideal lifestyle. There are hundreds of different ways to make money other than the typical 9 to 5.


If you can’t read all of these articles, books, and podcasts right now but want to later, I suggest…

https://getpocket.com (formerly called “read it later”). It’s a website, chrome extension, and phone app that helps you save all the articles you can’t read at the moment but want to later. It lets you organize them by category tags and star your favorites so you can read them again later. I have a pretty big library of great articles in my pocket that I’ve been building over the years. I use it to help me find good things to read when I have downtime and to find old articles I want to share with people.

 https://www.blinkist.com app for getting the cliff notes of any non-fiction book. Almost all the books I’ve listed here are featured on Blinkist in 20-minute summaries. I use it to decide if I want to fully commit to reading a book, get the gems of a book I don’t have time to read, and to remind me of key points of books I read in the past but forgot the points of.

*PS: I do not get anything for recommending these books, articles, or tools. I wish I did, but I’m not that influential. 🙂 This is just stuff I like.