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  • Kelli

Book Report: Survivor Stories, Getting Over Yourself & How to Have Influence

Typically, I read non-fiction in winter, which means I have a great batch of recommendations for you today. I read seven books so far this year, here is a short review of each:

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved by Kate Bowler. Kate, a professor at Duke Divinity School is diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. She writes a funny, honest, clear view of faith and facing her mortality. Throughout the book, she uses her teaching and doctoral background in the Prosperity Gospel to look at the questions we all face when we suffer. Rating: 9/10. Highly recommend this book.

The Preacher's Wife by Kate Bowler. By the same author as the book above, this book is Kate's more research driven book into "celebrity" women in evangelicalism. I loved this history of Bible teachers, megachurch pastor's wives and other women in the Christian spotlight. Rating: 8/10. If you're interested in women in ministry and leadership, you would enjoy this history.

What Is A Girl Worth? by Rachael Denhollander

Rachael was the "first woman to speak publicly against former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, one of the most prolific sexual abusers in recorded history." Although difficult to read and I'm sure difficult for her to tell, the book is important, informational and helpful to know how we can approach justice for those who are weaker, or have had their voices silenced. Rating: 8/10 (My only editorial comment is that the dialogue was not written especially well, which slowed down a few of the descriptions.)

Know My Name by

Chanel Miller. Chanel was known only as "Emily Doe" when her trial against Brock Turner was in the news and public eye a few years ago. Brock was a up and coming swimmer at Stanford - you may remember the judge only handed down a sentence of six months for the assault and infamously bemoaned the fact that this would tarnish Brock's chances to move forward in life (ignoring any repercussions for his victim). What makes this memoir stand out is Chanel's ability to be honest about what she was thinking and facing as she went through the trial. Because of her vulnerable writing, you start to see how confusing the system is, and why so many sex assault cases are never brought to trial. I found this memoir to be challenging, informative and helped me learn about the process and what it might be like to go through it while struggling to recover from the pain from the assault. Rating: 9/10. (Again, from an editorial point of view, I felt the last chapter could have been left out as it dragged out the story a bit. Otherwise, this memoir is on my top five list of memoirs!)

Because I read two books of survivors of sexual assault and abuse this month, I will also add that I recommend the podcast called Chasing Cosby. This podcast interviews some of the many women who say they were drugged, abused and raped by Bill Cosby. Again, although it was difficult to listen to, I felt it was better for me to be informed and aware of what the story actually was rather than to ignore it. Not easy to listen to, but so thankful for the bravery for these women in telling their story.


And wrapping up the month, I read another interesting combo of books that led to me getting a good helping of conviction and a kick in the pants to GET MOVING and GET OVER MYSELF:

Sick of Me by Whitney Capps. Sure, we're all a mess. But don't make excuses for yourself and get stuck there!

What does sanctification look like? Get after it. Grow in the Lord. Good reminders of a topic I was aware of, but this book helped remind me and motivate me to take it to GOD and continue to seek HIM as I want to grow in holiness. Rating: 8/10

How to Lead When You're Not in Charge by Clay Scroggins. My boss has a stack of these in his office. I asked why he hadn't given me one, had he given up on me? So I 100% feel like me asking this shows I am an interested, invested employee, wanting to do my best and not be complacent, right? ha.

But really: Good book. I love this genre of books and entertain myself by not necessarily applying the principles to business, but rather to my life (as a mother, wife, person, worker, SELF). Scroggins doesn't introduce any new concepts, but does package them in an easy to digest, compact way. I love his idea of all of us having influence, and in order to have influence you have to take responsibility for your own self, know your identity (oh, let's get into that topic!) and not be complacent (LOOK for ways to have influence). While I would rate this book highly, I did start to feel the parts about how you should "love" your boss and get to know them, their personality, etc. sounded slightly manipulative. I don't believe you manipulate the system/person so you can move "up" or gain more influence so someday you can be a "leader". Tons of us get to be followers - but still have influence, work on that! I believe you should seek to do your best and if someone notices - cool! If not: It's okay. Keep going. (As unto the Lord and all...) Bonus points if you actually get to work for someone you respect. (And can beg books off of.) Fun fact: Clay attended the seminary I attended, so I felt attached to the professors he mentions and the statue on the grounds he talks about, etc. Rating: 7/10. Recommend! (My favorite business books: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, How to Fail At Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.)


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