Small Great Things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult

Recent research reflects that people who read live an average of two years longer than those who don't. Many people have the ability to read but fail to take advantage of the profound life enrichment that is to be found in reading.

Further, one of the ways we contribute to our growth in both knowledge and wisdom is by reading. I've come to believe that psychological growth is the primary purpose we have on this planet.

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One of the books I have recently read I want to recommend highly to you.

It is Jodi Picoult's newest book, "Small Great Things." A reading of this book with an open mind and heart will change the way you see other people, no matter who they are.

We live in a world where there are divisions of all sorts affecting the human community - race, religion, economic, political, etc. Often, perhaps more often than we want to admit, we feel helpless about making any changes in "the way things are." This book will, I believe, change your mind about that.

The title is taken from a speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr. It means that though we may not all be able to do "great things" we can do great things in small ways and these ways make a difference.

This is one of the most compelling and best books I've read in ages. Please read it.

A Practice to Tame the Mind

Not long ago I was privileged to spend some time with Michael Learner, founder of Commonweal. He said that there were five traditions that shaped his thought: Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Sufism and Yoga.

Yoga is not only a physical practice but a mental, or meditative one as well.

Shortly after hearing Michael Learner say this, someone at one of my talks gifted me with a book that I would recommend to you. It is "The Unteathered Soul" by Michael Singer. It is an explanation about how what the folks in AA call "stinking thinking" can wreck our lives. Singer offers an clear and practice guide to becoming skilled at noticing one's thoughts and in the process find liberation from them.

I recommend the book, I think you would find it valuable.

Embracing Things that Cannot Be Changed.

In my work as a counselor and spiritual director, it is my belief that this analogy holds:

I'm like a piano teacher. People who consult with me do so because they want to learn to play the piano or learn to play it better. Just attending the piano lesson is not enough. One must practice.

Consequently, I am personally always reading books that might contribute to my emotional, relational and spiritual growth. Two of the books I consistently recommend are:

"The Five Things We Cannot Change: And the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them" by David Richo.

This is a wonderfully helpful book. Richo brings his insights as both a Jungian psychologist and a Buddhist practitioner to an understanding of "how life works."


The other is a book by Cindy Wigglesworth. It is "SQ21: The Twenty-One Sills of Spiritual Intelligence."

In this book you will find specific and practical steps to take and things you can do to grow in experiencing and enhancing not only your personal life but also all of your relationships. I'm sure you know people who are incredibly bright in some area or aspect of their lives but who also seem to have the relational skill of lint. Sometimes, I suppose we can all fall into this category. Here is a book that can help with this.

My promise to you is that if you read, digest and live the teachings found in these two books, your life will improve in every way.