I love my office bookshelves. They’re on either side of my desk and the overflow is in leather baskets on the floor–on either side of my desk. This means writing breaks, musing times, and research starts at my desk going online, then extends to taking a book and sitting in my oversized chair in the afternoon, and accumulating piles of books bedside, fireplace side, and on the family room table.

Here’s the chair pile:

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. About 500 pages exploring human decision-making based on what the author calls System 1- automatic, often based on “book cover judgment” and System 2- analytical, slower thinking. It’s filled with new (to me) information to the point of only allowing me to read bits at a time, but it’s entertaining and of the kind of self-help value to which I am addicted. So I keep reading and using my husband as a test study with “What do you think influenced you to decide that? Spur of the moment?” ” Or more musing and weighing information?”

If Ignorance is Bliss, Why Aren’t There More Happy People? by John Lloyd. Nuggets of quotes, their origins and tidbits both serious and humorous about the author. Described on Facebook.

Personal Intelligence by John D. Mayer. As I started reading, this was reminiscent of Emotional Intelligence but with more thoughts and practical tips on using that intelligence to build rapport with people. I like that.

Speak Smart: The Art of Public Speaking The Princeton Review. Always. Always. Always can learn and be reminded of knowing my limits, knowing my audience, and knowing that there’s tons I don’t know.

You Can’t Make this Stuff Up by Lee Gutkind. Loving what I’m learning about creative non-fiction. It seems to blend my ongoing passion for writing memoir with the desire to dive into issues that resonate, like addressing tolerance for others even as they affect my personal narrative like being willing to feel compassion for those who are more than a tad dislikeable.

You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen. The best for last. My brother-in-law gave me this book over forty years ago after the death of my first husband. He said it would help me in decision-making and being independent, at least that’s the takeaway I got. It is a gem and a continued gem through different eras and phases of my life. I’ve used it in bargaining in markets, returning defective items and “sticking to my guns,” buying cars, condos, and buying time when I was not sure of how to negotiate. I have recommended it to friends, clients, peers, younger entrepreneurs just starting out, older women starting over. Who knows what edition it’s at now, but my well-read copy is still a bestseller with me.

Have you read any of these? What do you think?

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships.