A penny for your thoughts!?

Chevy Chase LibraryStaff Picks

A penny for your thoughts!?

Here's a list of books that challenge us to think twice about our thinking. Distractions and unhealthy messages abound so much so, its easy to engage in self-deprecating thought patterns.These books challenge us to find our grounding and to be present with our thoughts as we engage with life.

Adult titles: 
The four agreements: a practical guide to personal freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
This book is full of wisdom and practical insight. The author, Don Miguel Ruiz uses ancient Toltec wisdom to illustrate four universal principles: “be impeccable with your word”, “don’t take anything personally”, “don’t make assumptions”, and “always do your best". With relatable and simplistic language these universal principles (aka, the four agreements) are noted as being powerful affirmations/tools able to transform one's outlook by yielding personal freedom and lasting change.


The subtle art of not giving a f*ck by Mark Manson
Mark Manson, NY Times and international best selling author of The subtle art of not giving a f*ck challenges us to let go of the idea of perfection in order to grow. While this book is full of sarcasm and inappropriate language, it is also full of humor, encouragement, and insight pertaining to an array of topics. Manson uses bold, colorful, and direct language, often referencing personal experiences and historic occurrences to give the reader a visual of what growth and overcoming look like. Two overarching themes expounded upon throughout the book are: "growth generates happiness" and "happiness comes from caring about something greater than yourself". Manson challenges us to recognize the imperfections of life, along with our fears and apprehensions, and resolve to push through even when life hurts. (The sound recording for this book is read by Wayne Roger).

Welcoming the unwelcome: Wholehearted living in a brokenhearted world by Pema Chodron
Pema Chodron, a Buddhist teacher, author, and nun, challenges us to live a meaningful life by way of being in tune with our heart and mind. A school of thought affectionately known as "Bodhichitta" is expounded on throughout this book. Chodron outlines the importance of addressing groundless emotions like fear, anger and pain in order to practice open awareness and to be present enough to connect with and serve others. One question addressed within this book is: how do we intentionally wake up (from feeling anxious, self-concerned, etc.) in order to benefit others?"

Children's title: 
Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o, Illustrated by Vashti Harrison

Lupita Nyong'o, Academy Award winning actress, and author of Sulwe, challenges young people to celebrate the beauty of diversity. The main character, Sulwe is discouraged by her skin tone and wishes she can change her appearance. The story unfolds as Nyong'o reminds us that no matter the color, shade, or hue of our skin, we are all beautiful beings. Sulwe is creatively written and illustrated, it's encouraging, and it gives readers a new perspective around identity and self-acceptance.

Young Adult titles: 
Stop, breathe, chill: meditations for a less stressful, more awesome life by Beth Stebner

This YA book written by Beth Stebner outlines mindfulness exercises in a clear and relatable way. Furthermore, this book offers readers nuggets of wisdom to live by, mantras to incorporate during meditations, and ultimately inspiration towards becoming more self-aware. Though this book was primarily written for a teenage audience, its principles can be applied across age groups as a solution to a wide range of conflicts and challenges.

The 7 habits of highly effective teens: the ultimate teenage success guide by Sean Covey 
Sean Covey, international best selling author of The 7 habits of highly effective teens, is noted as gathering inspiration to write his book from his Dad Stephen R. Covey author of The 7 habits of highly effective people. Covey's self-help book reaches out to teenage readers, outlining 7 habits that yield success, namely: "Be proactive", "Begin with the end in mind", "put first things first", "think win-win",  "seek first to understand, then to be understood",  "Synergize" and "Sharpen the saw". This book reiterates the message: "we become what we repeatedly do". With activities and retalable examples, this book offers guiding principles to help readers take steps towards growth and success. Interestingly, the author book discusses bad habits in comparison to good habits, giving readers well-rounded examples that serve to strengthen perspective. This book covers an array of topics: self-advocacy, healthy thinking paradigms, finding your niche, and being a change agent, to name a few.