The summer I turned fourteen was spent reading books in preparation for boarding school; which I was due to start that autumn. The suggested reading list was intense – Grapes of Wrath, Night, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Lord of the Flies were at the top of the list. Not exactly beach-worthy paperbacks. Forget the beach, I spent most of that summer in the shade, with a serious-titled work of fiction and a cold Pepsi. Flirty socializing became an even more awkward endeavor (imagine adolescent frivolous chats about the mall, tennis camp and Duran Duran peppered with communist considerations stemming from Animal Farm) so much so that my only summer crush was on Holden Caulfield. Since then, summer has always been synonymous with reading and deep pondering. Aside from my back issues of Vogue, it’s unlikely you’ll catch me under a beach umbrella with chick lit. If you share my love for productive pleasure reading, consider our suggested summer reading list and I’ll see you at an outdoor cafe, under a shady tree in the park or on an air-conditioned commute out of town with your nose buried in a good book.
There are few writers who can draft witty prose on falling in and out of love, working 9-5, the anxiety of being bourgeois and Proust without sounding utterly pretentious if not completely uninteresting. Alain de Botton is entertaining, swoon-fully philosophical and quite possibly one of the most brilliant and relevant contemporary writers around. While I compulsively collect his books like Prada shoes (gently used off Ebay), if I had to choose a favorite as a summer read, it would have to be…. Ok, well I can’t pick just one. My top picks: “The Architecture of Happiness“ (philosophy and psychology of architecture and the indelible connection between our identities and our locations), “On Love” (his debut novel of the serendipity, elation, conflicting and Marxists aspects of romantic relationships) and “The Art of Travel” (considerations of the pleasures of anticipation; the allure of the exotic, and the value of noticing everything from a seascape in Barbados to the takeoffs at Heathrow).
According to “The Concise Art of Seduction 24 Laws of Persuasion”, by Robert Greene, the luxury of getting your way lies in how well you wield your personal and creative power. Greene’s broader sense of seduction (to lead, guide, direct, influence another individual or individuals to willingly go along with your wishes, whether benevolent or not) is explored in a masterfully designed essential guide for persuasion. His 24 laws are clearly and cleverly outlined and supported with literary, historical and anthropological examples of observing the principles and techniques. Like Botton, Greene has a passion for the complexities of relationships and the establishment of power within those relationships. His books (and these are my faves too), The 48 Laws of Power, The 50th Law of Power (co-written with Curtis Jackson/50 Cent, yes that 50 Cent) and The 23 Strategies of War, are modern and uniquely pro-peace guidelines for navigating team-building, collaboration, change-management and a happy home. Kumbaya.
What could be more luxurious than the 4-hour work week? Sitting on a remote island with a bevy of uber-efficient virtual assistants handling all of your business and personal life management needs. Young, visionary, and boyishly cute Timothy Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek – Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich” is a savant at demystifying societal values about work customs, earning a living and living like a king. His detailed guide to effectively minimizing your work load and maximizing the quality of your life is easy to follow, motivational and real. This book is a perfect compliment to LSP homeschooling approaches - smart, creative, strategic maximization of time and energy. After re-reading his book months ago, I obtained two virtual assistants and broke my email addiction – leaving me more time to spend with my daughter and family, design programs that really spoke to my mission and set a firmer a foundation for living a more authentic life. And well, chill. There are no gimmicks here. Just a book, a plan, a will and a way.
Other books on my list: The Year of Yes (Shonda Rhimes), The Audacity of Hope (Barack Obama),
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