Category: Books

January 12 2016

New Book Captures Fairy Tale-Like Scenes From the Brothers Grimm

Though it may be hard to believe, these fairy tale-like scenes actually exist! Over the course of a year, photographer Kilian Schönberger traversed 45,000 miles throughout the Germany countryside to find places inspired by old fairy tales like those collected by the Brothers Grimm. The German storytellers made popular such classic stories as Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. They didn’t actually write the fairy tales, the stories existed long before the two men existed. They were a part of rich oral tradition that was passed down from generation to generation. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm made it their mission to save the stories from extinction by publishing them as part of a collection titled Nursery and Household Tales, or what is now referred to as Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

Schönberger has now collected his dream-like photos in a new coffee table book called Sagenhaftes Deutschland (Fabulous Germany). As he states, “This book sums up what started as the ‘Brothers Grimm’s Homeland’ project over a year ago. Printed on paper the photos become even more related to the old fairy tales. It’s like a visual stroll through the images we had on our mind while listening to these old stories during our childhood.”

Here we encounter breathtaking scenes of green moss covered rocks, sinuous trees, and grand castles peeping over layers of dense fog. While viewing these photos, one can’t help but be transported back to our own childhood and all the wonder we felt when we listened to or watched folk or fairy tale stories.

You can now buy the 240 page book over on Amazon.










December 11 2015

Fixed vs. Growth Mindset in Parenting

I just finished reading this book called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck and I can’t say enough good things about it. The book explains that we either approach life with a fixed or growth mindset. In the fixed mindset, our abilities and talents are carved in stone, we only have a certain amount of intelligence. In the growth mindset, our intelligence is cultivated through effort. Everyone has the ability to change and grow through their own experience. In the fixed mindset we believe we can learn new things but we can’t change our overall intelligence whereas in the growth mindset we can always substantially change how intelligent we are.

Let’s talk about this. How many of us have had self-defeating thoughts that we aren’t smart enough to take on a challenge? In the fixed mindset we start doubting our abilities but in the growth mindset we get excited about learning something new.

Now let’s apply this to parenting. My son Parker is three-years-old and he gets told he’s smart all the time. (Yes, I’ve even said it.) I know from basic parenting books that we’re not suppose to say “You’re smart!,” we’re suppose to say, “Wow, good job for trying so hard.” But why? What is so wrong about praising a kid’s intelligence? Well, it makes children doubt themselves when they face something hard or when something goes wrong. The minute they hit a speed bump, their confidence and motivation tumble. This leads kids to want to take on less challenging tasks, so that they can appear smart and perfect.

“If parents want to give their children a gift, the best they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning.”

So what can we say? We’re suppose to praise their efforts and strategies they used. “You really studied for your test and your improvement shows it. You read the material over several times, you outlined it, and you tested yourself on it. It really worked!” There’s also, “I like the way you tried all kinds of strategies on that math problem until you finally got it. You thought of a lot of different ways to do it and found the one that worked!” I like, “That homework was so long and involved. I really admire the way you concentrated and finished it.” Finally, when things aren’t going quite right there’s “Everyone learns in a different way. Let’s keep trying to find the way that works for you.”

I hope I can instill, in my kids, a love of learning.

The photo above, by Kilian Schonberger, reminds me of the beautiful twists and turns of life.

December 2 2015

Our New Book – For Love: 25 Heartwarming Celebrations of Humanity

Over the last seven years, my partner (and brother) Eugene and I have had the privilege of both curating and writing about touching stories of ordinary people performing extraordinary acts in the name of love. From parents to children, husbands to wives and even pet owners to pets, we came across profound stories that were both visually stunning and deeply meaningful. I’m excited to announce that we’ve now captured our top 25 photo stories for a new book, which has been published by Chronicle. It is now available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Indie Bound. The official release date is March 15, 2016.

From Batkid saving the city of San Francisco to a husband that wore a pink tutu all over the country to bring a smile to his cancer-stricken wife, these heartwarming photographs will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you believe in the power of love.

Below is just an example of some of the stories you’ll find in the book. Within its pages, you’ll find more personal essays (than what you’ll find in the links) because we’ve added original quotes from each photographer. If you’re a fan of My Modern Met, and all the amazing photo stories we’ve featured over the years, you’ll definitely want to buy this book for you or your friends.

Couple Married 61 Years Ago Takes “Up” Inspired Anniversary Photos

Batkid Saves the City of San Francisco

Husband Wears Pink Tutu to Support Wife Diagnosed with Cancer

Adorable Girl Loves Animals Like Her Own Siblings

Mother Takes Adorable Portraits of Her 10-Month-Old Baby and Their Rescue Dog

November 19 2015

Book Review: Year of Yes

There’s a new book out by Shonda Rhimes, otherwise known as executive producer and creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. It’s called Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person. Though you’d be hard pressed to guess it, Shonda is a classic introvert. Two years ago, on Thanksgiving in 2013, Shonda’s sister called her out by saying, “You never say yes to anything.” It was at that moment that Shonda would embrace an epic challenge: for one year, she would say yes to everything that scared her.

The book is a fun read, especially for introverts like myself who would rather snuggle up in bed with a good book than attend a party. (As I was reading the book, I felt like, the whole time, I was cheering her on.) Despite having three hit shows and three kids, Shonda found the time to say yes to attending social events, giving a commencement speech and appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live. The chapter I enjoyed the most is called Yes to All Play and No Work, which talks about how Shonda still found time for her kids, despite it all.

I am not a naturally optimistic person. I’m too in my own head to be a constant source of cheer. I have to work at happy. Dark and twisty is where my brain likes to settle. So I can use some reminders of what is good and optimistic and glass-half-full about this world. And nothing does that for me like the faces and souls of my tiny humans.

Beautiful quote about how playing with her kids makes her so happy.

So, what are you going to say yes to this year? Could you say “yes” to your kids more when they ask you if you want to play? Are you missing out on opportunities to really live a fulfilling life because you’re just too shy? I’m going to start saying yes more to things that scare me. If this is my last post, come look for me. I may have just jumped off a cliff!

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