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To The Best Of Our Knowledge
June 22, 2019
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The First Rule of Book Club Is...

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One of the gatherings in my life that has consistently provided great joy – for nine years – is my book club. Part of why it works of course is the people, a group of 12 women who not only read books together, but bring families food during cancer treatments, support each other through funerals and weddings, sick kids and high moments in our careers.

In talking with Priya Parker, the author of “The Art of Gathering” for this week’s show, I understand even better why this group works. Parker says it’s key to have a purpose and rules. We have a purpose – we do really read the book and discuss it. But we also drink wine and have fun (in our bookish way – if someone says Man Booker, you have to drink). And we also have rules. We meet once a month at someone’s house—the host is also the discussion leader. In December, during one long and exuberant meeting, we choose all 11 books for the coming year. Each person brings a few to pitch, and one of our members who is a marketing expert takes notes on our reaction to each book – she can put them in order of our excitement.

At a recent meeting, one member had been with a dying relative all day. She sent us all a message later – “Just wanted to tell you how much it meant to be able to walk into that room and know you were all there.” To be able to talk with these friends about life and books is what living is all about.

May your gatherings be fun and purposeful, too.

--Shannon

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'I Am Because We Are': The African Philosophy of Ubuntu

A Kenyan village
Kenyan literary scholar James Ogude believes ubuntu — a concept in which your sense of self is shaped by your relationships with other people — might serve as a counterweight to the rampant individualism that’s so pervasive in the contemporary world.
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That Completely Pointless Meeting Is Entirely Preventable

boring meeting
Author and speaker Mamie Stewart offers six ways that your meetings could be more productive — and less miserable.
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What Does It Really Mean To Be A Born Again Christian?

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Greg Cootsona was born again on February 8, 1981. And this is his “testimony.”
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The Power of Choice When You're Giving Birth

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If you think of your life as a series of births, what changes? Why does the birth metaphor matter?
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'Happy In My Own Skin': The Transition from Bess To Benn

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How does it work out over time for people who have made the transition to a new gender? Steve Paulson reached out to a transgender man — Benn Marine — to hear his experience.
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