I think the key to a better future is effective and early education about important topics such as environmentalism, equality, etc.

More Books of 2018!

These are the books I’ve read and enjoyed in the second three months of 2018. Some of these books were for my American History course, but they were enjoyable enough to share with you all!

I’ve been in Germany for about a month now. This makes me want to focus on German and not want to read books in English, but it takes me so long to read books in German still. It is getting better though!

These are the books I really enjoyed so far:

Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moodycomingofage

Anne Moody, born Essie Mae Moody, an African-American woman grew up in rural Mississippi in the mid-20th century. Her memoirs cover her life for the first 25 or so years, including her childhood as well as being a student at Tougaloo College. Throughout her time there, she was very active in the Civil Rights Movement.

This is the first time I have read about someone dealing with so much racism from her fellow women and so much sexism from her fellow African-Americans.

I think I had never really thought about how alienating it is to be from more than one marginalized group. I really felt for her. I actually think about Anne Moody a lot these days. I recommend all feminists to read this book.

Malcolm X: Biography by Malcolm X as told by Alex Haley

malcolmThe Autobiography is a narrative based on interviews of Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little. It outlines Malcolm X’s philosophy of black pride, black nationalism, and pan-Africanism. Haley coauthored the autobiography based on a series of in-depth interviews he conducted between 1963 and Malcolm X’s 1965 assassination, but Haley does an incredible job of making it seem as if Malcolm X directly wrote the entire autobiography. It does make me question the accuracy of the content and if I possibly have a skewed view of Malcolm X due to Haley’s possible bias, but I can never know really. Of course, we all have a skewed view of even our own past. Autobiographies and biographies are inherently works of fiction in one way or another, I think.

This book covers the rollercoaster of Malcolm’s life. From his mother’s pregnancy and the death of his father under questionable circumstances all the way through his time as a human rights activist and his eventual assassination. This includes organized crime, prison time, and of course, the Nation of Islam.

I think anyone new to the discussion on human rights should read this book. Of course, as with all books, it is important to think about not only what the words say, but also why they might say what they do.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey


I could say so much about this book, but I already have. You can read what I have to say about and what I have learned from this book here!

All in all, I recommend everyone read these or at least skim this book. Personally, I listened to the audio book, which might actually be the best of all of the options. But either way, I think Covey gives us a good look into how to get to adjust everyday situations to be generally more pleasant! Essentially you only have to:

  1. Be proactive
  2. Begin with the end in mind
  3. Put first things first
  4. Think win-win
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the saw

If you want to know more, you’ll either have to read my post about it or check out the book! I recommend both! 🙂

From the Bottom Up by Chad Pregracke and Jeff Darrow

fromthebottomsupIn my opinion, Chad Pregracke is a true American (world) hero! He is who inspired me to begin plogging, which now might actually be my #1 hobby! I had the honor of meeting him in person and got a signed copy of his book and read it within about 24 hours and have already pushed the book into multiple people’s hands because I found it amazing!

If you think littering is no big deal OR that no one is really doing it anymore, I really recommend reading this book AND going out and picking up trash one Saturday. I believe I take my environmentally-conscious friends for granted and don’t realize the mess that is happening all around the world everyday!

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

malalaWhen the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai spoke out. Malala refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education, leading her to be shot in the head while riding the bus home from school. Just a short time later, she became the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

This book will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world. Also, being able to simply read a book such as this one thanks to an education I did not have to fight for starting to feel like a privilege I never had thought of as a privilege before. As a woman, being able to read and learn is a lot less common than I ever realized. I highly recommend reading this book if you also have never thought of education in this way!

I know I say this every time, but hopefully I will read more books in the next few months so I can update y’all!

Have y’all read any good books recently? Let me know!

Becoming an Effective Person

Recently I read a very popular book about personal growth: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

Just like most books in this genre, the book had nothing new or revolutionary, but I do think Stephen explained it really well and gave some “easy” steps to attain all our goals. Easy to remember, but difficult to follow through with, which is still better than difficult to remember and follow through!

The book discusses a concept I’ve been thinking about pretty often these days. Two people can look at the same thing but see different things. Even when two people think they’re agreeing, they might not be and vice versa.

Check out the Habits below to learn a little more:


  1. Be proactivecirclesStephen talks about the concept of the Circle of Influence and the Circle of Concern. Essentially everything that affects you is in your Circle of Concern, but within that circle is a smaller circle that is full of things you can actually influence: the Circle of Influence. The idea is that reactive people tend to focus on everything of concern instead of taking action in the bubble we actually have an influence on.
  2. Begin with the end in mind
    It is hard to drive to your location if you don’t even know what to type into the GPS. Envision your goals and dreams. He argues that individuals, families and organizations should all have a Mission Statement (essentially the address to type into the GPS that is your life). You can check mine out towards the end of this post. 🙂
  3. Put first things firstquadrants
    A lot of times we tend to put “Important and Urgent” and “Not Important and Urgent” as our top priorities simply because they’re urgent. But as the names suggest, we should focus on “Important and Urgent” and “Important and not Urgent” first. Keep in mind that importance is based on your Mission Statement. Some people might mean they’ll get fired because they don’t think emails or meetings are important, but Stephen argues that if someone who is important to you asks you to do something then the task is proportionally important to you. And if part of your mission statement talks about health or well-being of you or those in your life, keeping your boss happy might keep you on the right path! The main thing I got from this habit was scheduling time for your relationships and personal growth. Once you have those “Important and not Urgent” things scheduled you will be more able to say no to things that would get in the way even if they seem important just because they’re urgent.
  4. Think win-win
    A win-lose or lose-win attitude eventually results in a lose-lose situation every time. Instead, we should push for a solution that allows all parties to win. This is not always possible, which is when we will agree to disagree and not make a deal together. Lose-win and win-lose situations are worse than parting ways for the time being. This concept is not about being a push-over, but it’s also about not stepping on people.
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
    Use empathetic listening to genuinely understand a person, which will likely lead them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This does not mean that the listening can be done just with the end goal of being listened to in mind. Genuinely caring creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving.
  6. Synergize
    Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals that no one could have done alone. This is not about compromise, but instead about working together to accomplish all goals and then some.
  7. Sharpen the Saw
    This last habit touches on self-care and the fact that we cannot infinitely continue Habits 1-6 unless we continually improve and reinvigorate ourselves. This is when we realize how important it is to reevaluate your Mission Statement(s) on a consistent basis, to keep up with your physical health, and stay on top of your mental health.



A concept I greatly enjoyed that Stephen spoke about was the Abundance Mentality. He coined the idea of abundance mentality, a concept in which a person believes there are enough resources and successes to share with others. This is contrasted with what we see often in the professional world: fighting over happiness and success. People seem to think that by making someone else miserable will lead to more happiness coming their way which is much the opposite. Success and happiness are both increased when shared! We strive to be able to celebrate the success of others rather than feel threatened by it.

I wrote my Mission Statement assuming it will stay with me for the rest of my life, but also acknowledging that I am a living, breathing being so my Mission Statement will be a living, breathing document so it may change along the way!

My overall well-being is my first priority; closely following are my connections such as family and friends.

I don’t want to just listen; I want to hear.

I don’t want to heal the people; I want to teach the people how to heal themselves.

I don’t want to just band together to save the Earth; I want to do so much that the Earth will never need saving again.

I want to share so much and so much knowledge that when I leave this Earth I wouldn’t have any more to give if I stayed a second longer.

Do y’all have a mission statement? If so, what’s in it?