Five books in five days (1) How We Are

This week, five books that have the potential to profoundly change the way you understand yourself, others, and life.

“You keep saming when you ought to be changing”
Lee Hazlewood, ‘These Boots Are Made for Walkin’

We live our lives by treading beaten paths, hardly aware of how we are held the same by the bodily force of habit, the stories we tell about ourselves, the familiarity of our possessions and houses and workspaces, and the expectations of those near to us.

Vincent Deary’s wonderful book, How We Are, charts this territory with lucidity, clarity, and humour.

“We live in small worlds…” he says, “… and, usually, we prefer to maintain ourselves in the status quo, in comfort and predictable ease. It takes a lot to get us out of that – a compelling call, an overwhelming imperative. Or maybe we were pushed. But sometimes it happens.”

“We are creatures of habit,” he continues, “and we live in worlds small enough for us to come to know their ways and to establish familiar ways within them. Unless we are uneasy, unless something disturbs us from within or without, we tend to work to keep things the way they are.”

The first of a promised trilogy, How We Are charts the many ways in which we keep our lives within familiar constraints, and offers a path for opening and responding to the call of a bigger world.

It is enormously valuable reading for anyone who wants to understand themselves – and others – with increased insight and humanity. And a huge gift for any of us who want to chart a course into our own futures with more depth and responsiveness to life than offered by the slew of technique-oriented, brain-obsessed self-development books that fill the market.

Photo Credit: rachel_titiriga via Compfight cc

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