Season 3 Episode 51: Sarah, Angela & The Art of Reading Books

“For there is no friend like a sister in calm or stormy weather; To cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray, to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen whilst one stands.” Christina Rossetti

Welcome to Tea, Toast and Trivia.

Thank you for listening in.  

I am your host, Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.

It happens to all of us. Some time in our life we come to know that we will never read all the books that are on our “to read” shelves. My sister, Sarah, hosts The Book Dialogue podcast, which records our unscripted discussions on the books we read, which is our way of expanding our reading compacity. Sarah is a voracious reader and I confess that I must run to keep up with her.  

The Book Dialogue podcast has been on a recent hiatus, while Sarah completed her MBA studies.  Good news, Sarah received her MBA with distinction.   And more good news is that The Book Dialogue will be back on schedule in 2022.    But in the meantime, I found an audio file that was long forgotten and never published. Sarah and I discuss Angela Duckworth’s book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, which answers the question: “Why do naturally talented people frequently fail to reach their potential while other far less gifted individuals go on to achieve amazing things?

With Sarah’s permission, I am publishing this conversation on Tea Toast and Trivia. Sarah and I have different perspectives and we are very interested in hearing what you think.  So put the kettle on and add to the conversation on Tea Toast & Trivia.

Thank you for joining Sarah, and me on Tea Toast & Trivia. Books have the awesome power to transform, engage and inspire. Looking forward to seeing you on The Book Dialogue in 2022.

Until next time we meet, dear friends, keep safe, keep reading and be well!

Sarah, Angela & The Art of Reading Books Tea. Toast. & Trivia.

37 Replies to “Season 3 Episode 51: Sarah, Angela & The Art of Reading Books”

  1. I can relate very well to Grit and that very issue of why really talented people fail to reach their potential or simply fail I find perplexing. Matching one’s interests and talents are one matter, but when the interest and the talent fall inline, there should be remarkable outcomes, but that’s not always the case. Fascinating topic and episode.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. A very interesting point, Mary Jo! I have found that the majority of people have an tendency to avoid self-promotion. And then there are some that are shameless in their self-promotion. There must be a balance between the two positions. You have given me something to consider going forward.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree, Tim – this is a very interesting discussion and one that introduces so many variables, especially given the ubiquitous, diverse and ever transforming and changing benchmarks of what is considered success. Success at one point may not be success in a different context. Consider Vincent Van Gogh, who did not achieve success in his lifetime and is now considered a brilliant artist. A particular talent may not be as valued as another, so whoever works diligently in this area of expertise may not achieve the success or recognition as those who are striving in areas that are in vogue. So encouraging memes such as “success is where preparation and opportunity meet” (Bobby Unser) or “I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” (Estée Lauder) are wonderful, but do not give a blueprint. So it seems that we need to recognize success in ourselves first, build out personal benchmarks and then go for it….

      Many thanks for your insightful comments.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Bobby Unser. Our local race car hero. I learned at an early age that you have to respect people for the talents they have and use. Especially the people who use their skills and talents to make everyone else’s life easier. I always thank housekeeping staff at hotels for their service. If it wasn’t for them, I couldn’t enjoy whatever I’m doing. When I was in the hospital for a month in 2016, I made friends with all the housekeeping staff. I learned a lot of interesting things from those people. Everyone has a life story. They enjoyed having someone take an interest in them.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. You have a wonderful way of relating to others, Tim. Everyone does have a life story – and it is an honour to hear them. My mother has a marvelous cleaner that comes in to help her every week. They have become close friends over the years. I am truly grateful for this relationship. Thank you for your heartwarming comments and for your kindness within our community.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Rebecca, you make such an important point about the definition of success is defined. For example, for some college programs, particularly those geared for adults, the definition of a successful education is being granted a diploma. In too many cases, the diploma does not represent achieving an actual education. Over the course of forty years, a successful college education has gone from being a transformational experience in thought and perception to a transactional experience of paying your money and checking requirements off a list. (I apologize for being negative. I believe so passionately in nontraditional education, it pains me to see what it has become.)

        Liked by 2 people

      4. This is NOT negative, Liz. It is a reality that has pervaded our society and can be seen in many disciplines. We need to find benchmarks that feed the soul, that nurture an appreciation for being curious – for being alive and awake to new possibilities. Sarah just introduced me to The Harvard Classics selected by Charles W. Eliot. Eliot argued that the elements of a liberal education could be gained by spending 15 minutes a day reading from a collection of books that could fit on a five-foot shelf. Included in this shelf is Plato, Bacon, Milton, Emerson, Burns, St Augustine, Adam Smith, Dante Alighieri and the list goes on. It would take many days of 15 minutes but what a education that would be. Transformational comes to mind. I have downloaded the collection on Kindle for a mere $2.99 Canadian.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Thank you, Rebecca. As an undergraduate, I read from all the writers you’ve included on the five-foot shelf. Not widely or deeply, but I was introduced to their ideas and why they’re important. (It surprised me to see that!) I think the basic problem right now (at least in the US) is that the demographics don’t support the number of colleges going after paying customers–that, and the skyrocketing costs of a college education have resulted in cheaper alternatives for credit that do a disservice to everyone involved. Higher education just doesn’t know where it wants to land.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. I agree heartily, Liz that universities need to rethink everything they offer, given that we live and will continue to live, to some degree, within a virtual environment. Many are disillusioned by the debt that comes with education and the inability to repay in an evolving workplace. I checked out the price of an average Harvard degree in today’s $$ – $221,071 with aid and $304,794 without aid. https://www.collegefactual.com/colleges/harvard-university/paying-for-college/value-for-your-money/#methodology. Very few can accept that type of financial risk, without certainty of work in their field of expertise. This is an excellent discussion!!

        Liked by 2 people

      7. Not to mention an 18-21 year old even knowing what their profession is actually going to be! The research studies I’ve read indicate that the majority of adults end up not working in a field related to their college major, and they change fields multiple times throughout their careers.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. That is my findings as well, Liz. I believe that we will see some interesting things evolve within the field of education. The Covid19 disruption escalated technological advances in connecting within a global world.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Good post, Rebecca… Sorry for short changing this worthy subject of too many missed books and assumed rewarding literature, but I am now at the point where I can no longer keep up to doing justice to so many potentially deserving great books. Happy reading, dear friend!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh Jean-Jacques – I know exactly what you mean. Time is limited, books unlimited, so I am very careful what books I choose. I enjoy my conversations with Sarah. We come from two different perspectives so it makes for a fun dialogue. Plus, I will never catch up with her reading schedule. YIKES!!! Many hugs and all the very best of the special season to you an Marianne!

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Jean-Jacques, I’m just coming to the realization that I will not live long enought to read all of the great books I want to read. But I will be reading War and Peace next year!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I am beyond thrilled that you will be reading War and Peace next year. Together we will share the beauty of Leo Tolstoy in 2022!! What a grand adventure that will be!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’m really looking forward to it! I just realized today that I need to decide on the translation and load it on my Kindle. (I’ll admit that I’m already wondering what we’ll be reading in 2023.)

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Delightful, informative conversation as always! After listening to both your and Sarah’s perspectives on Grit, I tend to consider “obstacles” not directly related to our goals as an integral part of reaching our goal. Serendipity and the other word you used which I now forget, require a different sort of grit. Love, as you put it so succinctly. Many times life chooses our goals for us, e.g. family and all which that entails. To succeed at relationships is a goal in itself! Angela Duckworth’s experience of completing one difficult task reminded me of telling a some of my children they needed to do at least one unpleasant task each day. Homework didn’t count. There are spiritual goals which require tending much as a garden with a variety of necessary tasks. That final goal rests heavy on my heart. I’m very excited Sarah is returning to The Book Dialogue in 2022. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree wholeheartedly, Mary Jo. To succeed at relationships is a goal in itself, one that keeps us seeking a greater understanding of ourselves in relation to others. Biases and stereotyping must be shoved aside, but even recognizing them is a journey in itself. These past two years have been a time of reflection for me – how to connect in new ways, with myself first and then others. And yes!!! Spiritual goals do require tending. As Fyodor Dostoyevsky one wrote, “The darker the night, the brighter the stars, The deeper the grief, the closer is God!”

      Liked by 3 people

  4. First of all, I would like to say that I really like the photo of the two of you. I listened several times to the conversation and could relate to the term “risk”, a term full of meaning. There were very important important references made to its meaning! I can relate to the term ‘ because I grew up in Nebraska during the depression of the 1930s, hot summer time, very little rain, work done by horses and primitive machinery. Tractors and modern machinery came a decade later. “Risk” in those days had special meaning. Planting the farm land or even a family garden meant taking the “risk’ of not enough rain to bring the seeds to grow into maturity. ‘Risk’ in this conversation may have a little different meaning, however it is worthwhile and very worthy of further discussion! !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You have the best comments, Frances! You reminded me of one of my favourite quotes by Helen Keller: “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

      It appears that humanity has always lived in difficult and complex times. Risk is part of our journey and how we accept or mitigate the risk in the challenges and disruptions that come our way, will become our story. I agree “it is worthwhile and very worthy of further discussion!”

      Liked by 2 people

  5. A VERY thought-provoking conversation, and I greatly enjoyed the sibling banter. 🙂 It is indeed important to keep trying and to keep learning — and the result can be a specific goal achieved or an unexpected, satisfying detour. Also, congratulations to Sarah on her MBA!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love those detours, Dave – because it leads us to amazing places. It is like following Misty’s lead. We never know where the adventure will take us. I am proud of Sarah and I am looking forward to reading in 2022. We have very different perspectives so it should be quite interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, what a pleasure it is to listen to you two, especially on the …Grit! First off, congratulations Sarah for the MBA and great to hear that The Book Dialogue will be back soon! Sometimes I feel that goals themselves can be an obstacle to a process especially a creative process. I do know this though, for an artist, there are no downfalls, flops, impediments that will hold her/him back from creating. Now whether an artist is good at promoting themselves… well… most of the times, no! 😉
    That photo of you two is precious! Hugs to both!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks for listening in Marina and for add depth to this conversation. Sarah and I have been discussing books ever since I can remember. She reads about five books for every one that I read. I am able to read more books viewed through her thoughts. I have read books by Sir Ken Robinson who wrote: “Creativity is as important as literacy.” He believed that creativity must be nurtured, and young children must be supported and allowed to explore and experience. Your father was brilliant in how he encouraged your creativity. Your last thought will be something I will think about in the coming days – the ability to promote our creativity, especially within the context of an overflowing and complex web of social media.

      Liked by 2 people

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