In this post, you’ll find a book review of Effortless by Greg McKeown, plus all of the fiction and non-fiction books I read during the Spring of 2021.
You know a book is impactful when you finish reading it and immediately start it again. Such was the case for me, in reading Effortless.
Book Review of Effortless by Greg McKeown
A strong follow up to McKeown’s debut, Essentialism, this book explores practical solutions to help simplify your life and work. With a strong emphasis on eliminating the unnecessary, McKeown helps you to hone in on the most important, resulting in less stress and more success.
Effortless helped keep my sanity during a recent product launch, as it prompted me to keep asking the all-powerful question: “Is this necessary?”
Effortless in work and life
After applying the principle to my work, it spilled into my life, in the best way. In adopting the effortless mindset, I gave myself permission to let go of doing all of the things, so I could excel in the areas that were most important.
Effortless practices what it preaches. It is a quick read filled with actionable advice, personal examples from McKeown, and success stories from his community.
If you tend to overcomplicate, or are easily overwhelmed, this book is a must-read (and re-read).
To preview chapters from the book, check out Greg’s podcast: What’s Essential with Greg McKeown.
Less is more
Is there a book that has helped you to simplify your life? Come and say hi on Instagram to tell me about it.
Here’s the list of everything else I read in the Spring of 2021 (listed in the order I read them):
Delicious!, by Ruth Reichl (Fiction)
It’s nearly impossible to write a review for this book without using cheesy adjectives like “delectable!” and “scrumptious!” because that’s precisely what Delicious! was.
It is a heartwarming tale about a young girl who moves from California to New York City to work at Delicious magazine, which leads to the discovery of old letters written between legendary chef James Beard and a young girl during WWII.
A lot is happening in this story, and it shifts in unexpected places, but it’s wonderfully written. I didn’t love every plot point or character, but the really good ones make up for it.
If you’re into food, history, and New York City, you’ll savor (had to get one more in there) this book.
Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, by Elle Cosimano (Fiction)
A fun, fast-moving story about a struggling author who is mistakenly hired as a contract killer.
The writing was great, and the premise is fantastic, but I probably wasn’t the ideal reader.
The hot-mess protagonist trope is more annoying than amusing to me. The book requires that you suspend a lot of disbelief. But if you don’t overthink it, you’ll find it an enjoyable read.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple (Fiction)
Ingenious, unique, and inspiring. I experienced every emotion while reading this story about a daughter’s quest to find her eccentric mother who disappeared right before their planned family trip to Antarctica.
Where’d you go Bernadette is told through a series of letters, emails, and documents which keep you engaged from beginning to end. The writing is hilarious in the most subtle ways which is my favorite kind of humor.
At the heart, this is the story about a Creative. I know I’m not the only one who wanted to highlight and frame: “People like you must create. If you don’t create, Bernadette, you will become a menace to society.”
If that quote hits you as it did for me, this book is for you!
Summer of ’69, by Elin Hilderbrand (Fiction)
This book has a great premise: a family vacations on Nantucket during the Summer of 1969. One brother is fighting in Vietnam. One sister works in Martha’s Vineyard as The Chappaquiddick incident is unfolding. The youngest sister considers following her crush to Woodstock. The eldest grapples with her first pregnancy while her husband’s focus is on his work; the moon landing.
Despite these exciting storylines, Summer of ‘69 fell flat for me. I didn’t feel a connection with any of the characters. There were happy parts, but the overall narrative was kind of sad.
None of this will prevent me from picking up another Elin Hilderbrand book. They can’t all be favorites!
Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking, by Jon Acuff (Non-fiction)
Another winner from Jon Acuff, who penned one of my all-time favorite personal development books, Finish.
Soundtracks tackles one of my worst personal habits: overthinking. Through stories, studies and examples, Acuff leads you through easy solutions to change thought patterns and establish new habits to help you accomplish more of what is important.
It is one of the least preachy books you’ll find on this topic and if you have a good sense of humor, you’ll appreciate the many jokes and endearing stories that are seamlessly integrated throughout. Not everyone can pull off being fun and helpful at once, but Acuff is a master.
Highly recommend for my fellow over-thinkers. Reading Soundtracks will change your life for the better.
Just Last Night, by Mhairi McFarlane (Fiction)
This book was not what I was expecting, but delightful all the same. In short, it is a story about grief and the ways that relationship dynamics shift in the wake of a tragedy. If you enjoy books about friend groups and/or the enemies-to-lovers trope, Just Last Night is for you.
Despite the heavy subject matter, I greatly enjoyed the writing, which was filled with humor, wit, and many British colloquialisms that were so charming, I didn’t care that I didn’t understand half of them.
While I typically avoid stories centered around tragedy, I’m glad I picked this one up and look forward to reading more of Mhairi McFarlane’s novels!
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