Gear for Your Mind

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Midlife Thriving

Here is a short list of books I'm reading in 2020 to make my life better! I'd love to hear what has been great for you!

Lifelong Learning

The Great Courses


Varsity Tutors


Getting Things Done

Systems are my jam. Systems—for pretty much everything in my life—are what allowed me to homeschool six kids, run a home tech business, keep the house organized and clean, and still have a life. 24 hours really is a lot of time, if you learn to manage it.

Overall, the Getting Things Done system (created by David Allen and James Fallows) is my #1 ultimate productivity tool hands down. No question. Full stop.

I've used this for years and it's a life- and sanity-saver. The system can be used manually or digitally.

The 5 Second Rule

Caveat: If procrastination is your problem, ultimately…it's your problem. No one can force you to get off your duff and start taking action. No one but you. So no self-help guru is going to fix your problem unless you are willing to do hard things.

Ridiculously simple (yet scientifically sound), The 5 Second Rule can transform your life and your behaviors.

I'm a fairly new follower of Mel Robbins, but her advice is very practical, applicable, and helpful—if you're willing to actually do it!


12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Just call me a huge Jordan Peterson fan. I claim it proudly. He brings rational thought to so many of today's utterly feelings-based policies and practices that it is an enormous breath of fresh air. And, frankly, I wish more women would take a serious turn away from emotions into logic. (Fight me!)

Sure, Peterson is enormous on YouTube—and a regular for me while on the stairmaster—but 12 Rules for Life is the quintessential introduction to Peterson.

I dare you to read this and incorporate his suggestions. You'll be better for it!

Is Lying Sometimes the Right Thing for an Honest Person to Do?

Jordan Peterson‘s (see above) rule #8 is:

Tell the truth—or, at least, don't lie.

Since I was a tiny child I was taught that honesty was the best policy. My parents lived this philosophy through and through. But in real life (at least my real life) I came across all sorts of values conflicts that made always telling the truth not only impossible, but undesirable.

Quinn McKay‘s book Is Lying Sometimes the Right Thing for an Honest Person to Do? will turn your thinking on its head and force you to think through the complexity of truth and falsehood. You will never see it the same way again. It's out of print but still available at a bargain price. It is well worth your time.

All of us, of course, can think of times when telling the truth would get us into trouble or put us in a bad light. We get used to lying to get out of things, particularly if we think no one will be harmed. (“The traffic was just terrible. So sorry I'm late (again).” But that's not what I'm talking about.

I'm referring to the numerous times when we really should lie. An extreme example easily shows this is the case. And then a not-so-extreme example backs it up.

Extreme Example

You're home alone at night and the kids are upstairs asleep. A gang of thugs bangs on your door and demands to know where your children are.

Do you tell the truth or lie?

Not-so-Extreme Example

You are wedding dress shopping with your best friend. She comes out into the room in a dress she loves and asks what you think. Your honest opinion is that she looks hideous in it.

Do you tell the truth or lie?

You have just flown in for your best friend's wedding. She walks out of the bride's room—about to walk down the aisle in the hideous dress—and asked your opinion.

Do you tell the truth or lie?

The value of truth-telling very often conflicts with other values (like loyalty or kindness) and may not always win.

This is probably the book I have recommended more in my life than any other single book. I highly recommend it to you—and everyone.