Four Books and a Podcast for a Better 2021


Perhaps I am overstepping by assuming you want 2021 to be better than 2020 was. But really, am I wrong? Is there anyone among us not ready to say a hearty goodbye to last year and hope like heck that everything in the new year takes a turn for the better? In service of thinking positively and setting good intentions, I have found four books and one podcast perfect for setting us all on the path to a hopeful and bright 2021.


Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Yes, this book is by Shonda Rhimes – goddess of Thursday night, famous gazillionaire, and creative genius behind the best shows that ever graced our television sets. But let me tell you, she is the realest of real, down to earth, absolutely relatable, and funny in that honest and insightful way that makes you laugh out loud. This book tells the story of the year she decided to say yes to everything and how, by kicking her own backside out of her comfort zone, she changed her life and herself. It is beautiful and inspiring. It is personal and intimate. It will put you in the perfect frame of mind to kick off 2021 on the right foot.

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

This is a rare treasure of a book. Reading it felt like I just sat at a friend’s table for four hours, drinking coffee and catching up on the last 10 years of their life. The main character, Rosie, is a mom, just like you and me. Her life with kids is crazier than she ever imagined because who can really imagine the chaos of a house filled with kids before you are living in it. Her story is about learning to be the parent your child needs, even if it is different than the one you always imagined you’d be. It’s about the transformative power of love, children, parenting, acceptance, and being open to whatever the universe offers you.

World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

This book is magic. Let me say that again, slower, lest you think I am exaggerating. This. Book. Is. Magic. Aimee captures the physical beauty of the natural world – the strange, surprising, and magnificent creatures most of us will only ever see on TV and paints their portraits clearly in your mind. Oh, but that is not all, my friends. Those vivid pictures she just created in your head connect to the stories she tells about her life, each of which reveals a little slice of humanity that will make you want to break open with joy, sadness, anger, empathy, pain, love, and yes – wonder.

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Giilbert

I know, I know – this book has been around for AGES! But that is what a classic is – a book that remains relevant to many people over many years. Whenever I feel like my psyche needs a reset, this is the book I reach for again and again. Liz Gilbert did a hard reset on her life one year, and this book takes us along for the ride as she travels through Italy, India, and Bali. Perhaps 2021 was our chance to do the same – forced out of our routines and habits, nudged by the universe to slow down and examine our way of life, an opportunity to just be for a bit and decide what our way forward will look like.

Unlocking Us Podcast with Brené Brown

I almost chose one of Brene’s books as my final selection, but I had a hard time deciding which one since every single one worth your time. Besides, even more than her books, I have been enjoying her new podcast so much! Brene’s intelligence and insight come straight to your ears – live, current and relevant, every single week. Just like her books, the podcast combines well-researched science on the human condition combined with meaningful stories and real-life ways to use that knowledge to make life better. Add in a few eye-popping guest interviews like President Barak Obama and author Glennon Doyle, and it is a podcast I can’t wait to drop each week.

How are you making a fresh start to the new year? Do you have music, books, podcasts, or other guideposts lighting your way? I’d love to hear your suggestions.


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