Life-changing nonfiction books you can finish in a day

Successful people purposefully use their mornings to focus on things that are important, but not urgent: things like nurturing your career, nurturing your relationships, and nurturing yourself. Read this guide, keep a time diary for a week as Laura suggests, and reap the benefits. (Read about my experience with making over my mornings here.) Add Audible narration for $2.49.
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“Quotidian” means “ordinary,” or “everyday,” and in this slim volume (88 pages!) Norris affirms the inherent worth of the mundane tasks that consume our everyday–the cooking, the cleaning, the dishes, the diapering. “What is it about repetitive acts that makes us feel that we are wasting our time?” Norris asks. Yet she insists that our daily activities are anything but trivial, and have the power to shape our souls, if we let them. A beautiful book worth reading over and over again.
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I heard Anne Lamott say once that everything she knows about writing also applies to faith, and everything she knows about faith also applies to writing. She wasn't the first writer to make that connection and she certainly won't be the last. Cyzewski explores the interweaving of writing and faith, and specifically prayer in this thought-provoking and genuinely useful little book. The book is written from a Christian perspective (albeit a generously inclusive one), and as the author himself says, "if you're already inclined to both write and pray, you may as well figure out how they can help each other." Indeed.
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A decorating book that's much more than a decorating book. In Myquillyn Smith's first book, she walks the reader through all fourteen (!!!) homes she's lived in as an adult, explaining how she learned to create a beautiful home despite the many limitations. Her mantra is "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful," and she'll fill you with confidence that you, too can create a beautiful, welcoming home that also feels lived-in and loved-on, despite your own lovely limitations. Practical and inspiring.
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A wonderful and moving memoir. Following a catastrophic stroke, Jean-Dominique Bauby spent several weeks in a coma, then wakened to a new reality. The 44-year-old sharp, high-living editor of French Elle was now a victim of "locked-in syndrome": he was mentally alert but unable to move or speak. Through sheer determination and a dose of the miraculous, Bauby learns a new way to communicate: by blinking to "speak," selecting one letter at a time, as someone read aloud a new alphabet rearranged in order of the letters' frequency of use. The diving bell of the title is the sheer weight of his useless body, but the butterfly is the human spirit that flies free.
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I'd heard great things about this little handbook, but I couldn't get over the fact that it looked like a cheesy gift book—not the kind of thing I typically read. I checked it out of the library anyway, and finally opened it out of guilt the day before it was due. I was riveted. This surprisingly readable guide is packed with fascinating insights and practical tips covering diverse fields like sports, music, art, math, and business.
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In 2016, Morrison delivered the Norton lectures at Harvard University about race, human nature, and other-ness. This is the book form of those addresses; because they were first delivered as lectures they are exceptionally easy to read, although the themes themselves are hard. I especially enjoyed Morrison's discussions of her own popular works, like Beloved and Paradise, and her references to authors like Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O'Connor, and William Faulkner. With a foreword by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Publication date: September 18.
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Patchett realized she wanted to be a writer about the same time she learned to ride a tricycle. In this mini-memoir, Patchett sketches a path from childhood all the way to the completion of her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars. Stops along the way include her college years (complete with fabulous teachers), a failed marriage, the Iowa writing program, and a waitressing stint at TGIFriday’s. You’ll come away inspired to sit down at your keyboard and write.
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