Byron's Babbles

These 5 Made Me A Better Person In 2021

Every year at this time I do a few blog posts about my top books of the year. To me I would rather hear an individual person’s picks rather than see top picks done by voting. I want to hear what someone learned from reading a book. Or, what inspired them about reading a book. That being said, feel free to reply to this post, about my top fiction author picks for 2021, with your top fiction picks. I am excited about this post because this is the first year I have read enough fiction books to have picks. I have to say I have grown immensely from reading so many fiction books this year. I wrote about the impact the fiction genre is having on me in Adding Fiction To The Reading Diet. I also have learned The Power Of Fictional Lives can have on us. In fact, I might goes as far to say I have grown more from reading fiction this year than non-fiction. So, because of all the fiction I’ve read, I get to do a “Top 5 In 2021.” I am going to cheat a little and do it by authors instead of books. That way I can include more books. I also am doing it by authors because the five incredible authors wrote multiple books that I absolutely loved this year. And, by the way, I blogged multiple times about all the books mentioned here. So, search the book titles in my blog and find out what I have learned and been inspired by from these books. Here we go – my Top 5 Fiction Authors in 2021:

#1. Amor Towles

#2. Patti Callahan Henry – I am not really sure what to say here except that I love Patti’s writing. She is an amazing writer. Between her and Amor Towles I have overnight become a big fan of historical fiction.

#3. Matt Haig – Matt’s work is amazing. He is the reason I am now hooked on fiction. I also read The Comfort Book by Matt this year and it may just end up on my top 5 of non-fiction.

#4. Maggie Shipstead – Maggie has two other books I want to read in 2022: Seating Arrangements & Astonish Me. As I read this book I found myself googling to make sure this was not a true story. I love Maggie’s work.

#5. Suzy Vitello – Amazing, Amazing, Amazing! I want to read more from Suzy in 2022.

See why I needed to go by author and not by books. I want to close by saying a big THANK YOU as we close out 2021 to Amor, Patti, Matt, Maggie, and Suzy for being part of making a me a better person in 2021. Can’t wait to read more from you in 2022. And my big wish for 2022 is to meet each one of you in person in 2022. Happy New Year!


The Power Of Fictional Lives

Posted in Educational Leadership, Fiction, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on August 8, 2021

I came in late last night from playing farmer, my favorite thing, and while dinner was being warmed up I noticed that The Good Doctor (Season 4 Episode 17) was on television. This was not a show I had ever watched before, some people we had over said it was a great show. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. A line in the show jumped out at me after one of the characters in the show realized that an inspiring story that had really helped her rally and succeed in high was a fictional story and not about a real person. The person who told her this said, “Fictional lives can save real lives.” This, then begged the question of whether fictional characters can change our lives. We spend a lot of time of our lives immersed in novels, movies, plays, TV series or any other form of fiction.

Many psychologists believe that fictional characters can and do influence us in real life. As I sit here and think about it, I am reminded of the leadership lesson I do involving super heroes as the through line. I also thought about the deep thought and introspection that fictional characters have enacted in myself while reading those great novels over the past year or two. The experience of gaining access to the interiority of the characters’ minds can broaden our perspective and enable our being more accepting of diversity. Because we can learn everything everything about the fictional character (something we can never do with a real person), we become so engrossed with the characters that our own personalities, thinking, and actions get affected.

Here’s the deal: the imagining that takes place when we are reading a novel or watching our favorite show creates understanding. We can learn so much through vicarious experiences that we would never have otherwise known. I believe this is why so many of my blog posts are inspired by television shows (like this one) or lines in novels. Imagination thrives off of imagination. This imagination can help us notice things we wouldn’t otherwise notice.