Books Matter: Amy Sassatelli

March is National Reading Month, a whole month designated to encouraging Americans – and by extension Wacoans – to read! The Act Locally Waco blog is beating the drum for National Reading Month by hosting a blog series throughout the month of March, called “Books Matter.” Every day throughout March we will be sharing a post about a Waco resident and a book that matters to him/her.  Thank you to students from the Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media and professor Amber Adamson for help with this fun project.  To read all the blog posts so far, click here.

By Megan Messer

For some people, reading books is a way to escape reality. For others, it’s a way of life. Amy Sassatelli, library assistant for Waco-McLennan County Library, reads about 100 books each year. Her favorite is a nonfiction book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

“It’s one of my main books. When people want recommendations I recommend this one. It’s one most people come back to me and say, ‘That was such a good book,’” Sassatelli said. “I like it because it’s more than it sounds. It sounds like the power of habits and you would think it would be just that, but it’s about so much more than just habits.”

Sassatelli said Duhigg’s book, which made the New York Times bestseller list in 2012, helps readers understand how their habits affect their work life and personal life.

“Humans are weird and complex creatures, and this book explains how we tend to make things more complicated in our minds than they really need to be,” Sassatelli said. “For example, making our beds. If you don’t do anything else, make your bed when you get out of it in the morning, and incrementally all of the little everyday things will sprout from there.”

The book touches on a variety of tasks people do in everyday life, and how different habits form out of the smaller things people do every day, even if they aren’t thinking about it.

 “It kind of explains why your brain does certain things and why it makes those connections. It makes one tiny thing affect your life in so many different ways,” Sassatelli said. “So, learning small changes that you can make to make your life better, why would you not do that?”

Even though she said she does not normally re-read books, Sassatelli has returned to The Power of Habit many times to give advice to her husband, sister-in-law and colleagues at work.

“I read a lot, so I definitely put thought into this book as one of my favorites,” Sassatelli said. “I think the good thing about this book is it makes you think that even if you better yourself in a small way, your brain still expects a reward of some type. If you read this book, you’ll pick up on things like that that will really surprise you.”