Sunday, October 4, 2009

Books From the Universe

Books are for Throwing
Originally uploaded by Andross
Have you ever had a book claim you? I have. In fact, it happens to me all the time. I'll be walking through a bookstore, and a book will fly off the shelf and boink me in the head. I call these "books from the universe" because they clearly want me to read them. Or something does. Granted, there are lots of attractive books on the shelves that look intriguing just by the title and cover art. I've picked up hundreds and bought them because the story looks good, I like the author, or a friend has recommended it.

But I'm talking about books that might be homely or hidden or previously not on your radar screen that somehow come to your attention in the bookstore. You're walking along thinking about finding a mystery or a bodice ripper, and suddenly a kooky little book will distract you. You start flipping through it, and the next thing you know, it's in your bag on the way home with you.

Recently, I had a very clever book come from the universe right through my computer. I was doing some research for my coaching work, and this very persistent book kept aggravating me for attention. It's called Fearless, Creating the Courage to Change the Things You Can, by Steve Chandler.

Now I had never heard of the book or Steve Chandler, but I read the reviews, and they were pretty glowing. By now, having been boinked by a book many, many times, I gave up the ghost and bought the thing without much further ado. Steve is a life coach, so I figured I might learn something from a guy whose published a book. Boy was that an understatement. The universe really knew what it was doing with this one.

I don't want to ruin the book for you if the universe decides to chunk it at you, but suffice it to say, there's some really good stuff in it. Like this amazing idea: fear isn't real. It's just a thought about something from the past that's already gone or something in the future that hasn't happened. And you can analyze a thought, and break it down, and look at it every which way. And darn it, if most of the time that thought doesn't hold water. So the fear kind of evaporates. He has lots of stories to illustrate this, so don't spend too much time trying to debunk it before you read the book. Like my 12-year-old daughter did: "But mom, what if it's a lion." So OK, you can be afraid of a lion (if he's in the same room with you).

He also offers this other great gem which seems so obvious but was a huge revalation to me: you can't be a success unless you are a failure. If you live your life only inside of your safety zone, never trying anything new or allowing yourself to fall on your face, then you don't grow and learn and become successful. You must fail and fail and fail to be a success. Otherwise, you just become Mediocre Man or Woman, as Steve likes to say. Did I mention he is very funny too? The universe has a sense of humor. Thank God.

I don't know if Steve's book will be a universe dropping for you like it has been for me. But there's a lot to be gained from reading it anyway. And he mentions lots of other great books, and great teachers, and has many profound insights. And he seems like a nice guy. That's always a plus.

If you haven't ever been bruised by a book from the universe, I highly recommend it. If it's your first time, I'd suggest you open yourself up to the idea before you walk into the bookstore. Kinda casual. Like, "Ok universe, I'm here for John Grisham, but if you have something you want me to read, I'll take a look." You might be surprised at what falls on your head. It could be life changing!

If you are interested in Steve's books or his work, please visit his web site listed on my links on the right side of this page. Happy reading!

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