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May Book Review: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

It’s 5 a.m. It’s quiet, and it’s my favorite part of the day.

Introverts love quiet: quiet mornings, quiet afternoons and a contemplative walk, quiet evenings with a great book and an animal (or two), quiet workplaces so they can create. I am an introvert. I’m a lucky introvert because I stumbled upon Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, a book that thoroughly demonstrates that not only is it okay to be introverted, but there are so many advantages to being one. Are you an introvert?  Did you know that you are okay as you are? If not, look no further – read Cain’s book!

Susan Cain in Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, begins by explaining how extroversion became the norm in society (even how extroversion is preferred over introversion) followed by considerable evidence demonstrating how collaboration or “group work” actually kills creativity. Even though most of our workplace is designed for extroverts, evidence shows that working alone cultivates and sustains creative thinking. According to research psychologist Anders Ericcson, it is when we are alone that we can engage in deliberate creativity and practice; it is only then that we can identify knowledge just out of our reach, strive to upgrade our performance, monitor our progress, and improve. Working in a group setting, he advises, is counterproductive because it reinforces current cognitive mechanisms. But, how many of us have the capability of working alone, and why is society set up to value extroversion? Susan Cain discusses these important questions.

Cain discusses how charismatic leadership in our business world is a myth, and that introverts actually fair just as well, if not better, than extroverts in all areas of study and business. One out of every three people is introverted. Research shows that creative individuals became masters in their work by consistently spending time alone immersing themselves in their craft. Who are some of the world’s creative introverts? How about Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, George Orwell, J.K. Rowling, Marcel Proust, Charles Schutz, Steven Spielberg, George Orwell, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Steve Wozniak, Frederic Chopin, W.B. Yeats, and the list goes on. Can you imagine life without this list?

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking also discusses temperament and the biology of introverts and extroverts, nature vs. nurture theories, different cultures in regards to introversion vs. extroversion, how to best communicate with both temperaments, when an introvert might have to act more extroverted and why, and finally, how to cultivate and sustain the introvert in an extroverted world. Cain ascertains that the world needs a better balance between extroversion and introversion. Her book is very well researched and a pleasure to read.

I highly recommend Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. This book is rich with valuable information, and this blog has only reviewed part of it. I recommend this reading to anyone interested in this topic but especially to introverts.  It will help you see that there is nothing wrong with you, that it is okay to be introverted. I also advise this reading to business owners or managers so you can better support your staff with their development and company goals.

A bit about the author, Susan Cain:Susan Cain

Susan Cain is the co-founder of Quiet Revolution and the author of the bestseller Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts in addition to Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking, which has been translated into forty languages and has been on the New York Times bestseller list for almost three years. Susan is also the co-founder of the Quiet Schools Network and the Quiet Leadership Institute. Her writing has appeared in the The New York TimesThe AtlanticThe Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Her record-smashing TED talk has been viewed over 17 million times (which is where I discovered her!). She received Harvard Law School’s Celebration Award for Thought Leadership, the Toastmasters International Golden Gavel Award for Communication and Leadership, and was named one of the world’s top fifty Leadership and Management Experts by Inc. Magazine. She is an honors graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School. Lastly, Ms. Cain prefers listening to talking, reading to socializing, and cozy chats to group settings, like a true introvert.

To learn more about Susan Cain, or to purchase a copy of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, visit QuietRev.com.

I leave you with the Quiet Revolution Manifesto found on Susan Cain’s website, QuietRevolution.com:

  1. There is a word for “people who are in their heads too much”- thinkers.
  2. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.
  3. The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths.
  4. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend-extrovert. There is always time to be quiet later.
  5. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is the key to finding work you love and work that matters.
  6. One genuine relationship is worth a fistful of business cards.
  7. It’s okay to cross the street to avoid making small talk.
  8. “Quiet leadership” is not an oxymoron.
  9. Love is essential; gregariousness is optional.
  10. “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 

 

 

 

 

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April Book Review: The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love by bell hooks

An absolutely compelling read, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love by bell hooks (she does not capitalize her name) urges us to reclaim feminism for men as the result of patriarchy maintaining its power over their lives. I have to admit that this reading left me in awe. I had not thought of the implications of patriarchy in regards to men this extensively, and I could not stop reading this book! The author addresses the damage patriarchy causes to men – the inability to be in touch with their emotions, to love wholly (themselves and others), and to truly know themselves.  Her writing is courageous and visionary.

bell’s book begins with a chapter defining patriarchy, and she states,” Patriarchy is the single most life-threatening social disease assaulting the male body and spirit in our nation.”  She explains how boys are indoctrinated detrimentally, the role media, society, and women play in harming men, and male sexual relationships and sexual violence.  hooks also examines the roles men play at work and in their relationships with women, other men, and their children. The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love explains how the men’s movement against feminism is critical of women but makes no effort to address the damage patriarchy incurs on men. The book concludes with a denunciation of patriarchy without apology. It suggests how to heal the male spirit, how to love men properly, and how men can reclaim their integrity, wholeness, and authenticity. She also urges feminists to fight for men as victims of patriarchy. In hooks’ words, “We have yet to create a world that asks us to stand by a man when he is seeking healing, when he is seeking recovery, when he is working to be a creator.”

I highly recommend The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love by bell hooks to anyone who is interested in feminist theory, women’s studies, patriarchy, male and female relationships, male violence towards women, gender studies, misogyny or sociology. It is truly intriguing and a well-balance argument.

A bit about the author, bell hooks:

bell hooks

bell hooks is an acclaimed intellectual, feminist theorist, cultural critic, artist, and writer. hooks has authored over three dozen books and has published works that span several genres, including cultural criticism, personal memoirs, poetry collections, and children’s books. She covers gender, race, class, spirituality, teaching, and the significance of media in contemporary culture.

Born Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, bell hooks adopted the pen name of her maternal great-grandmother, a woman known for speaking her mind. hooks received her B.A. from Stanford University, her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz. In addition to The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love, some of her books include Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, Rock My Soul: Black People and Self-Esteem, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope, Where We Stand: Class Matters, and We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity.

To learn more about bell hooks or to purchase The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love, visit her website, bellhooksinstitute.com, or Indiebound and Amazon.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 


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I’m One of the Lucky Ones; Me Too, but…

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I’ve never been raped. I’m one of the lucky ones.

Violence from men towards women is at an alarming, disturbing high. It is extreme because we allow it. We dismiss, trivialize, ignore, and ridicule what happens to women. We laugh when woman talk about it.  We silence their voices. We do not hear their cries, and we don’t care. We traumatize women further. By “we” I mean men especially. I mean society. I mean the select groups of women – women who have bought into the abhorrent misogyny covertly embedded within patriarchy (a subject for another blog).  Bottom line: women are treated like they are expendable commodities. Feminists call this rape culture, and it must end.

I consider myself lucky – lucky that my virginity was not taken at sixteen when I was almost raped in high school by a stranger who should not have been on the track field, lucky that I was not left on the bottom of the Hudson river in New York City when I was almost raped when I was twenty-three; lucky that I was not raped on a date to dinner and a movie in Los Angeles when I was twenty.

I’m the Lucky One

I will tell you why I am so lucky:

Because the hired construction worker, who was a friend of the family, touched my tiny nipples right after I had hit puberty at age eleven. But, I wasn’t raped.

Because my mother fired the gardener when she caught him eyeing me from head to toe several times instead of pruning the roses. I was twelve. She did not tell my father. I wasn’t raped.

Because I was visiting Tijuana, Mexico, with my family one summer, and walking down the street, a stranger touched my butt. I was nine or ten.

Because I lost count how many times men have told me to smile throughout my lifetime, as if I exist just to please them.

Because I lost count of how many times men “accidentally” get too close and their hands end up feeling my ass on a crowded bus, subway or street.

Because the jerk at the bar did not leave me alone after I told him I was not interested (Or, is it “jerks?”)

The many times when I outright lied: “I have a boyfriend.”

Because I’ve lost count of how many men from all over this world EXPECTED me to pay attention to them no matter what I was doing.

Because of the cruel and grotesque comments from men on my social media because I was standing up for myself or standing up for oppression (of any sort).

Because I lost count of the whistles, howls, obscene comments and gestures uttered as I walked down the street minding my own business.

Because of the two high school boys behind me who yelled, “Let’s get her!” when as a middle-schooler, I was walking my bike home up the steep hill (I dropped my bike and started running towards home like a bat out of hell; they then yelled, “We were kidding – it’s okay!” Fuck them.).

Because at cross country practice in high school when I was running with my teammates, an overweight man drives by and yells, “Go on a diet!” (NONE of us were fat, not that THAT should matter).

Because my ex-husband expected sex whenever he wanted it. Didn’t matter how I felt.

Because of the nonstop, intrusive chat messages sent on social media AFTER you tell men you are not looking for a relationship, a hookup, a boyfriend, a husband, or to even shoot the breeze.

Because women are called cunts, bitches, sluts, whores, you name it, and “just a woman” (as I was once told by a man from Iran).

Because of the many times I was thankful to be out with a boyfriend because I knew other men would then leave me alone.

Because I was sexually harassed by a male boss at a former job.

Because of the many times I was expected to play stupid so I did not embarrass (or anger) a man.

Because I was followed to the bathroom at an outdoor concert by a stoned, long-haired, sixties-freak hippie who would not leave me alone.

Because everything I mentioned above happens everywhere.

Because I can go on for pages and pages for myself and for every women. I am the lucky one.

Rape. Date rape. Spousal rape. Partner rape. Gang rape. Serial Rape. Friend rape. College-campus rape. Child rape. Prison rape.  Transgender rape. Rape just because. (Did I miss any? By the way, I know men get raped, but guess what? Most rapists are MEN).

Rape culture.

I have never been raped. I am one of the lucky ones.

Me, Too, but…

But, I have gained so much by what I experienced! I have learned to forgive, to release it, to NOT give it any more power. I am no longer a victim. You read that correctly: I AM NO LONGER A VICTIM.

But, I have learned to accept myself as I am, with or without makeup, with or without sexy clothes, with or without high heels and perfect hair.

But, I have learned that I don’t need to smile if I don’t want to.

But, I have learned it is okay to tell the truth: “Thank you, but I am not interested.”

But, I have discovered it is okay to not respond; it doesn’t mean I am a bitch or a cunt.

But, I have discovered I don’t have to have the perfect body for a man to love me.

But, I have learned it is okay to walk away. It’s okay to be me. It’s okay to be emotional. It’s okay to be smart.

But, I have learned that I am a human being first, then a woman. I breathe. I am a human being!

But, I have learned I don’t exist for MAN. I live for ME.

I have found my voice.

I am.

#metoo

I’m one of the lucky ones

I am one of the lucky ones who will spend the rest of her breathing days empowering a new paradigm where women are treated like human beings, like human beings, like human beings, like human beings…

I am one of the lucky ones who will spend the rest of her breathing days standing up for equal rights for women.

I am one of the lucky ones who will teach the younger generations of women that they are just as deserving in every aspect of their lives as men.

I am one of the lucky ones who will help to end the abuse and misogyny of women worldwide.

I am the lucky one who thanks the world over that there are men out there who treat me like a human being and not like a woman. Because they are the real men.

I am a survivor.

I’m one of the lucky ones.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com


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March Book Review: Lying by Sam Harris

As a young, impressionable girl in elementary Catholic school in sunny California in the 1970’s, I learned to lie. Yes, you read that correctly: I learned to lie.

Every week, I was required to attend confession, where I was to tell a priest what my sins were for the week. As a very shy youth, I hated confession because I did not like having to tell a stranger what I did wrong. One time, I could not think of a single sin to disclose, so I lied and told the priest I had lied to my mother when I actually had not. I believe I did this to avoid embarrassment (as silly as it was). Ridiculous it was, but confessing our sins was a weekly, unavoidable occurrence, and I felt I had to say something, so I lied. This blog, however, is not about my adventures as a Catholic school girl. My point is that telling a lie, like Sam Harris succinctly explains in Lying, can sometime be arduous. I should have told the priest I could not think of a sin instead of lying to him, and we all might agree that lying is wrong, but is it wrong in all circumstances? Read Lying to find out!

Lying by Sam Harris is a short summary of the lies people tell and how they can and do negatively affect us on personal and societal level. Harris explains the two different types of lies: acts of commission and acts of omission, the differences between the two and how they affect us and the people we hurt with these lies. Sam discusses white lies, giving false impressions, false praise, keeping secrets, extreme lies, living a life of lies, when corporations or governments lie and more. In his short book, he also includes an interview with his former professor from Stanford University, Dr. Ronald A. Howard, in which he discusses very thought-provoking, difficult questions regarding the act of lying. Harris sees lying as a refusal to cooperate with others and finds the act very detrimental to the health of the individual and our society at large. I agree with him.

I found Sam Harris’s Lying, very stimulating, and I recommend it to anyone who is a student of philosophy or ethics. A personal reflection or an introspective discussion with friends will ensue after this read!

A bit about the author, Sam Harris:

Sam Harris is an author, lecturer and neuroscientist with a degree in philosophy and a Ph.D. in neuroscience. He is the author of five New York Times bestsellers. His other books include The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, Waking Up, and Islam and the Future of Tolerance (with Maajid Nawaz). The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His writing and public lectures cover a wide range of topics including neuroscience, moral philosophy, religion, meditation practice, human violence, and rationality. Harris’s work has been published in more than 20 languages and has been discussed in The New York Times, Time, Scientific American, Nature, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and many other journals. Mr. Harris is also cofounder of Project Reason, a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values.

To learn more about Sam Harris, or to purchase Lying, visit his website: SamHarris.org.

 

 


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February Book Review: Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

What humble words mumbled by one of my all-time, favorite geniuses, Albert Einstein. I highly doubt anyone on this planet thinks that Einstein was “no special talent;” however, Einstein viewed himself as a kid in a sandbox when he daydreamed about the universe and its intricate details and workings. Work was play. Thinking, figuring and wondering was his unabashed enjoyment. He worked alone and frequently relied on his intuition. Einstein was the ultimate example of tapping into the creative intelligence. His curiosity and unwavering drive for answers would eventually lead him to become one of the greatest minds of all time. Oh, the lessons we can learn from him!As a lifelong, passionate fan of Albert Einstein, I knew a bit about him, but after reading Walter Isaacson’s biography, Einstein: His Life and Universe, I saw the genius from a different perspective. The book is a detailed summary of all aspects of Einstein’s life. Isaacson not only chronologically explains Einstein’s work in regard to his theory of special relativity, quantum physics, his involvement in the creation of the atomic bomb, but he also tells a compelling story about the geniuses’ personal life and his anti-war activism during WWI (and more!). Professor Einstein, known as the Father of Cosmology, believed in a universal intelligence and wanted a one-world government for ultimate peace on Earth. As a self-absorbed scientist so immersed in his work, he would sometimes spend months ignoring his family. His first wife, a physicist and intellectual colleague, found herself having to compete with him in a male-dominated profession and would eventually become resentful, depressed and physically ill. A bitter divorce ensued and Albert Einstein remarried. Isaacson brings to life the humanity behind the genius.

I recommend Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson to anyone who is curious about the man behind the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics. It was a pleasure to read this book and to learn more about this incredible man.

A bit about the author, Walter Isaacson:

Walter Isaacson is an American writer and journalist. He is the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C. He has been the chairman and CEO of Cable News Network (CNN) and the Managing Editor of Time Magazine. In addition to writing Einstein: His Life and Universe, Isaacson has written biographies of Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin and Henry Kissinger. In 2012, he was selected as one of the Time 100, the magazine’s list of the most influential people in the world. Mr. Isaacson has honorary degrees from Tufts University, Cooper Union, William & Mary, Franklin University Switzerland, University of New Orleans, University of South Carolina, City University of New York , Pomona College, Lehigh University, Duke University, and Colorado Mountain College and has received numerous awards throughout his lifetime.

To purchase Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson, visit Amazon.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 

 


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A Short Tribute to Louise Hay

What do you say about a woman whose books saved your life? There are no words but a heart full of gratitude and awe.

There are few people who cross our paths and truly inspire us so profoundly that we are never the same again. These people are sometimes one in a million, and when they appear in our lives, we never forget them.  For me, one of those people was Louise Hay, who passed away in her sleep at the age of ninety yesterday, August 30, 2017.

Interestingly, yesterday morning I was writing a book review on one of Louise’s many life-changing books, You Can Heal Your Life. After publishing the blog, I immediately discovered she had passed away at the same time that I was writing about her. I almost fell off my chair!

This morning, I decided to plant a special rose bush in my backyard in memory of Louise, who loved to spend time in her jaw-dropping garden in San Diego, California. It is how I choose to mourn the loss of such a beautiful person and my way of remembering her.20170831_095852

So, Louise, if you can hear me somehow (I hope you can, but no one really knows),

This rose bush I planted today is for you. It is a reminder every time I see it grow and flourish with gorgeous roses in my garden of how you saved my life with your wisdom, your kindness, your gentleness and your inspiring words. Thank you for writing your books! You have helped millions improve their lives. To say that the world is a better place because you were part of it is such an understatement. Thank you, Louise Hay, for having the courage to rise above what happened to you, to become an inspirational teacher, a friend to so many and a leader for all people. Please know that I have named my rose bush “Louise” to remind me of you and your inner beauty, strength, growth, courage and gentleness.  Love you always. Rest in peace, wise soul.

To learn about Louise Hay and how she changed the world, visit HayHouse.com.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 


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January Book Review: You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

In her ninety years young, Louise Hay has transformed millions of lives with her simple message: “What you think and what you believe is what will come true for you. Your thoughts create your life.”

She is absolutely correct!

You Can Heal Your Life by powerhouse teacher and lecturer, Louise Hay, is a profound eye-opener and one of my favorite books of all-time because it is a life changer!  Louise explains thoroughly how every thought that we think in the present creates our future.  She discusses how guilt, criticism and resentment are very damaging patterns that cause a state of disease in our bodies and how releasing these patterns will heal us.  She tells the story of her fight with cancer and how she healed herself without conventional medicine (including chemotherapy or radiation) but instead used alternative healing methods, incorporated new beliefs and released anger and resentment from a horrific childhood.

Although I do not agree with some of Louise Hay’s conclusions, I do believe without a doubt that we are what we think, or in other words, what we think in the present does create our future. I have lived it: Having been ignorant of how the mind works in the past, I created a difficult life; however, when I worked to eliminate the untrue beliefs and thoughts I had for years and replaced them with the truth, I created and lived a beautiful life.  Having recently read You Can Heal Your Life and after incorporating Louise’s suggestions, I have seen positive changes in myself and in my life, once again! The most important lesson that Louise teaches is how to accept and love ourselves wholly.

I highly recommend You Can Heal Your Life by pioneer Louise Hay for anyone who is struggling with understanding why your life never improves or for anyone interested in holistic health,  metaphysics, or living an authentic, beautiful life. Her suggestions do work and they will change your life!

A bit about the author, Louise Hay:

Louise Hay is an internationally renowned lecturer, metaphysical teacher and best-selling author of many books, including Heal Your Body from A to Z and Empowering Women. Her books have been translated into twenty nine languages in thirty five countries throughout the world. Since the beginning of her career as a Science of Mind minister in 1981, she has assisted millions of people in discovering the full potential of their own creative power to heal and transform. Louise Hay is also the founder of Hay House Inc., a self-publishing company that distributes books, audios and videos that contribute to personal healing and the healing of our planet.

To learn more about Louise Hay or to purchase You Can Heal Your Life, visit her websites, LouiseHay.com and HealYourLife.com.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com