Adding Value is a collection of posts where I recommend books, movies, podcasts, or anything that has been adding value to my life lately, and hopefully will add value to yours too.
I first heard of Rob Bell from The Minimalists (whose documentary is featured in a previous Adding Value post). While at a local bookstore in Minneapolis this June, I saw a copy of his book How to Be Here. I recognized the title, as it had been given high accolades from The Minimalists. Rob Bell happened to have been at that bookstore recently while on a book tour, so the copy was signed.
I knew very little about the book, aside from what could be inferred from the subtitle: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living. The thin, 200-something page book didn’t intimidate the non-avid reader in me, so I bought a copy.
The lightweight paperback traveled with me on my five-week trip around Europe this summer, but I didn’t read a single page until three weeks into my trip. Two pages in, while on a bus from Cherkasy to Kiev in Ukraine, I felt the impulse to underline every single sentence. I don’t know how to describe the book other than repeat its subtitle (with one small modification): A [Mind-Blowing] Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living.
Here is one of my favorite lines, which is entirely less powerful out of context, but powerful all the same:
Life is too short to help make a world you don’t want to live in.
In the words of Rob Bell, SO GOOD.
Reading How to Be Here is like reading a book of easily-digestible poetry that is so seemingly simple yet knocks you over the head with a brick.
When I finished the book, I wanted more. Then I discovered The Robcast, Bell’s podcast.
In my current temporary period of post-grad unemployment, I have been in the habit of taking daily walks through the woods while listening to podcasts. I’ve coined them “pod-walks” (feel free to borrow the term). Most days lately I listen to The Robcast and have mini-epiphanies while enjoying the beautiful fall foliage.
If you are going through any sort of conflict, frustration, stress, or confusion in your life right now (or, if you are perfectly content), I urge you to scroll through the episodes and choose a title that resonates with you. If that seems overwhelming, you can start with one of my favorites:
- Episode 168: The One About Boundaries
- Episode 166: Everyone is Your Teacher
- Episodes 159, 160, 161: Pete Rollins – An Introduction to Love (Parts 1, 2, & 3)
- Episode 152: What Is the Double Down?
- Episode 145: The Importance of Boredom
- Episode 136: Susan David on Emotional Agility
- Episode 115: Seasons
There are nuggets of gold in every episode, but the ones above have resonated with me most. If you haven’t given Rob Bell a shot yet, I highly suggest you do. His work has added a lot of value to my life in the past few months, and I hope you can find value from it too.
The two words Bell ends every podcast with are now more present in my life: grace & peace.