Mike Shukis

May 2022 Books


Each month, I share the books I finish that month. Sometimes, my reading lines up and I share several books. May was one of those months. It was a good reading month. I take reading seriously because it's important.

Here are the books I read in May:

Quiet by Susan Cain

This is one of the best books I’ve read. Susan shows that introverts have made many great contributions to society.This book challenges common assumptions in a world valuing extrovert qualities. People value being outgoing, gregarious, and outspoken. These qualities are often forced on people and celebrated, ignoring individual differences. Society’s focus is now on getting ahead at the office. It’s about what other people think instead of what you think.

This book should be required reading for leaders. It’s an eye-opening book that shows a different side of many people.

Two good quotes:

The Forever Dog by Rodney Habib and Dr. Karen Shaw Becker

I don’t read brand new books, but I made an exception for this one. We have a two-year-old golden retriever, and I think it’s important to take care of her. If you’re trying to do the same, read this book. Our dogs are completely reliant on us—their owners—to take care of them. I was shocked to learn about the common ingredients in kibble, the foods you can feed dogs, and the amount of exercise they need. Read this book if you have a dog.

Two good quotes:

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

This was hard for me to follow at times. I get lost when I read fiction. I prefer non-fiction, but I'm reading more fiction to better follow stories and learn the important lessons. I still think about this book weeks after finishing it. That's a good sign.

Huxley creates the World State, a society that manufactures people and conditions them to live as consumers. The society does not believe in pain or suffering. Death, relationships, and aging don’t exist. Instant gratification is valued, so people are given what they want when they want. John, one of the book's main characters, doesn't like this way; he thinks it’s dehumanizing. He wants to experience passion and suffering. John believes that pain and difficulty are necessary to live a good life.

Two good quotes:

Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel

This is about Eugen’s journey to understand Zen Buddhism through archery. He spent six years with a famous archery master learning the craft. This was an interesting way of looking at any sport or practice. It’s about preparation and your approach. It talks about teaching and development from the master’s perspective. The relationship between student and teacher, and coach and athlete is important. This book shares his experience and path to mastery, along with pieces of advice on leadership and coaching.

Two good quotes:

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

This book is about Haruki’s training for the New York City Marathon. It shares his thoughts on the relationship between running and writing. Haruki writes novels, and he talks about his need to build endurance to write. Running helps him do that physically and mentally. Writing novels requires commitment and effort. He doesn’t go out for easy ten-minute jogs; he runs thirty to fifty miles a week, preparing his mind and body to work. And he runs every day.

Two good quotes:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I bought this book at McKay’s Bookstore in Nashville, TN. It’s an incredible store. The books were so cheap I had to ask someone if the price was real. I’m not from Nashville, obviously. It was $2.50 for a used copy, and it was well worth it. I either didn’t read Gatsby in high school or didn’t pay any attention. Probably the latter.

This is a classic for a reason. Fitzgerald discusses Jay Gatsby and his desire to re-unite with his former lover, Daisy Buchanon. Gatsby throws parties with hundreds of guests in an attempt to win Daisy back. He does anything possible to impress her. Fitzgerald shows that the American dream of happiness and individualism has turned into a pursuit of wealth.

Two good quotes:

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