Approach

“You don’t owe anyone any explanations.” - Norma Sherman, Mother

Reading

10 ½ Things No Commencement Speaker Ever Said by Charles Wheelan

10 ½ Things No Commencement Speaker Ever Said by Charles Wheelan

How can we possibly talk about WhatMatters?! without giving a nod to that good old institution, the commencement speech. Okay, so they are a bit cliché and filled with platitudes. But wait, we’ll guarantee you that you’ve NEVER heard a speech like writer/economist’s Charles Wheelan’s address to the Dartmouth College Class of 2011. Here’s just a taste:



  • “Help stop the little league arms race”

  • “Read obituaries”

  • “Your parents don’t want what is best for you.”


Lucky for us, Dr. Wheelan chose to publish his remarks in this inspiring and irreverent book. We get the benefit of his wisdom without having had to pay Dartmouth four years of college tuition!


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The Soul of Money By Lynne Twist

The Soul of Money By Lynne Twist

So many among us are hijacked by constant worries of money. According to a recent study in Great Britain’s newspaper, The Guardian, financial angst is the biggest cause of worry for 40% of adults. And, it’s a completely natural thing. Money is the ultimate symbol of safety and security. Add to that its role in impacting self esteem and you’ve got the perfect storm for a mental meltdown!



If you’ve ever let money get in the way of living What Matters?!, you’ll eat this book up with a spoon! In it, recognized global visionary, Lynne Twist, argues “Wealth is no protection from human suffering. In a world that seems to revolve around money, it is vital that we deepen our relationship with our soul, (our most deeply held values, commitments, and ideals) and bring it to bear on our relationship with money.” Say goodbye to notions of scarcity. This book will fundamentally transform your relationship with money: how you think about, earn it, save it, and spend it.

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Loving What Is by Byron Katie

Loving What Is by Byron Katie

“He shouldn’t have died.” “My kids should obey me.” “My boss is an idiot.” “I’m too fat.” If you’ve got stressful thoughts (who doesn’t?), do yourself a favor and read this book. It is by far the number one recommended reading on the WhatMatters?! Reach In reading list. In it, Byron Katie reveals one of the most powerful mind-taming tools available-a simple process she calls “The Work.”



Here’s how “The Work” works. You identify a stressful thought and write it down (Katie believes that all stressful thoughts belong on paper…get them out of your head!). You then work through a series of 4 questions either in writing or in dialogue with a partner: “Is it true?” “Can You absolutely know it to be true?” “How do you react, what happens when you believe that thought?“ “Who would you be without that thought?” Next you “turn the thought around” by identifying an opposite to the original stressful thought. Lastly, find 3 examples that make the “turn around” thought “as true or truer” then the original thought. Miraculously, you’ll find that the emotional mayhem caused by the original thought will have disappeared. Truly amazing!



Take it from Katie. When you argue with reality, you lose. Change your perception of reality. Learn to Love What Is.


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IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER by Erma Bombeck

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER by Erma Bombeck

One of the great inspirations in Paul’s life is his late mother, Norma. Talk about someone who knew and lived WhatMatters?! Proudly displaying her Magna Cum Laude Radcliffe diploma above the washer/dryer, she wanted the world to know that motherhood mattered. Norma was a huge fan of humorist/writer Erma Bombeck, known for her newspaper column and multiple books that described suburban home life from the mid-1960s until the late 1990s. Though they never met, Norma saw she and Erma as kindred spirits.



Both of these great women were taken from us too young by cancer (Norma at age 68, Erma at 69). Upon learning of her diagnosis, Erma penned the attached poem. We post it here in loving memory of Norma Sherman.


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Naked Civics by Nate Garvis

Naked Civics by Nate Garvis

Naked Civics is a thought provoking and dynamic book that focuses on our common good without getting mired down in partisanship. We at What Matters?! believe that author Nate Garvis’ ideas and thoughts need to be part of conversation and brought into the national spotlight of the United States. One of our favorite ideas is his term "angertainment," which highlights that there are individuals and institutions making a fortune fanning the flames of divisiveness. A core philosophy we hold at What Matters?! is that what unites us is greater than what divides us. Garvis nails this point in proclaiming, "Not Left. Not Right. Forward!"

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The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris, M.D.

The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris, M.D.

We at What Matters?! were first introduced to this book through the gifted psychotherapist and coach Robert Haas of Boston, Massachusetts. According to its author, Russ Harris, M.D., research shows that 80 percent of our thoughts have some degree of negative content. This book is among the best we’ve studied that brings PRACTICAL Reach In tools for overcoming anxiety, stress and depression brought on by a busy mind full of these harmful unwanted thoughts.



It is based on the groundbreaking behavioral therapy approach called ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), which consists of three main components: 1) cultivating mindfulness, 2) clarifying values, and 3) taking action. Especially helpful is the section on mindfulness, a technique for living fully in the present moment. If your busy mind hasn’t taken to meditation or yoga you’ll definitely want to try ACT’s approaches to mindfulness. Methods such as Putting Your Thoughts to Music, Thanking Your Mind, and Silly Voices can be learned in a matter of minutes. Who knew that taming your thoughts could actually be fun?

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Tao Te Ching By Lao-tzu, edited by Stephen Mitchell

Tao Te Ching By Lao-tzu, edited by Stephen Mitchell

Lao-tzu was a philosopher and poet of ancient China. He is best known as the reported author of the Tao Te Ching (Book of the Way), considered to be the classic manual on the art of living. It is the most widely translated book in world literature, after the Bible. Unlike the Bible it is quite simple to read. Each chapter is only a page long and takes a couple of minutes to read (even for the slowest readers among us!).



Here’s just a sampling of the jewels you will find: “The more you know, the less you understand.” “When you realize that there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” Pretty thought provoking stuff. WhatMatters?! invites you to have a taste of the Tao each morning with breakfast alongside your daily newspaper. It will certainly help you to Reach In.


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The Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger Institute

The Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger Institute

Do your judgments of others get in the way of your living What Matters?! What if we ourselves are actually causing the problems we think are caused by other people? Radical, huh? Dare to look in the mirror by reading this book…you may never judge another human being (or yourself) again!



The Anatomy of Peace is highly entertaining, easy to read and pretty mind-blowing. It tells the story of a group of parents who have enrolled their children in a wilderness program for troubled youth that is led by two men, one Israeli, the other Palestinian. Taking place over the course of a 2 day orientation, we watch as the parents come to realize how their beliefs and assumptions about their children are actually bringing about the rebellious behavior they want to change. As the parents do their work, you’ll find that you as the reader are right there alongside of them applying the tools and frameworks to your own challenging relationships. By the end of the book you will actually find yourself looking forward to interacting with people who previously pressed your buttons. Seriously, we aren’t kidding.


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Die Broke Stephen M. Pollan

Die Broke Stephen M. Pollan

Die Broke is a revolutionary way to look at life, work, and money. It describes four tenants for living:



  1. Quit Today-we are all free agents. The days of the gold pocket watch and a pension upon retirement are long gone. You have to look out for yourself and plan for the long run.

  2. Pay Cash- credit makes everything you buy way more expensive than you think-especially “sale” items. Use credit only on the big purchases like your house and car.

  3. Don’t Retire-live your life now. Don’t work and save for some big eventual payoff that may not ever come due to health issues or some financial catastrophe-find work you enjoy and do that for a lifetime rather than killing yourself to make money in a job you hate.

  4. Die Broke-if you are fortunate enough to make a lot of money and accumulate wealth, don’t hold onto it until you die with all your heirs rubbing their hands together at the reading of your will. Give what you don’t need away-that way you can get the pleasure of seeing your children and favorite charities enjoy the money.


This book is a great complement to Lynne Twist’s The Soul of Money


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