We’re coming up to the middle of the year and I thought it was a good time to share what I’ve been reading with you. I’ve selected my top five books, focusing on the category of Self-Help. It would be great to hear what you think of them if you’ve already read them. In fact, I’d love to hear your opinion on self-help books.
I’ve always been skeptical about them myself, but there has to be a reason that someone’s written it? They’ve potentially found a technique or way of doing things that works and they want to share that learning? Either way, over the years, I’ve found myself reading more and more of these and I wanted to give you my view on which ones I think have helped me.
The Kindness Method – Sharoo Izadi
I often find that when I’ve tried to change a habit or break a cycle of poor behaviour, I’ve ended up right back at the beginning probably worse off. The Kindness Method has been a revelation for me – by focusing on the good things about ourselves and looking at what we’ve achieved in our lives rather than continually berating ourselves makes it easier to bring about positive change.
The book is a mix of guided exercises and planning that you as the reader need to complete. I like the interactive nature of the book and it’s useful to have an output and something tangible to refer back to. I’m very self-critical and looking back on some of the mind maps that I had drawn out really helped me to remember that change takes time and that it’s okay to have wobbles as long as you remember to keep moving forward rather than letting a ‘slip up’ turn into a downward spiral of all the things that you think are wrong and bad about you. Most or all of which are not true about you at all.
The Miracle Morning – Hal Elrod
I listened to a podcast with Hal before I read the book. I liked the concept of his six steps and thought that his book would be a good way of solidifying what I had heard. I have to be honest, I don’t think it’s a good book, I don’t think it is well written but I think it’s got a GREAT message and if you use the book as Hal intended, making notes and using it as an aid to develop habits, then I think it’s a worthwhile reference point.
Essentially, the premise of this book is to help you have a productive morning and a start to the day that helps bring out the best in you. The focus is on meditation, visualisation, affirmations, journalling, reading and exercise. For me, it brought together the basics of ‘how’ to be in the moment and focused on personal growth without being preachy and in your face about it. In all fairness, it reads like he’s discovered the greatest thing in the world and he is super excited and just wants to tell you all about it. I kind of like that and think it is worth the read because his passion for helping you achieve your best life is really evident.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
I must have read this book about five times and being honest, for it to resonate and really stick in your mind – I think you have to. I love this book because it encourages you to stop trying to change everything and instead focus on the really important things that actually matter to you. Artiscado is about living your best life, having the most authentic human experience that you can and I think that is why this book resonates so much with me. Yes, having money is great and yes, having nice things is great – but in real terms, you can’t take it with you when you die and if you treat people like crap while you’re on your road to make a tonne of money.. what does it really matter? Overall, your experience is pointless and meaningless.
Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
I am going to level with you… this is not a typical self-help book but I absolutely love it. It’s essentially about finding what you love and getting what you really want out of life. So many of us are in jobs we hate because we have to pay the bills – we go through the motions and we let life pass us by. Before we know it, our youth has passed us by and we’re heading toward the white pearly gates with so much regret. Reading this book made me realise that I was living a life that was expected of me, I was being what others needed me to be and I was not being true to my self. I was lost and angry all the time, continually lashing out and not really understanding why. When you strip life back to the basics and you focus on what brings you joy and allows you to love with all your heart.. that’s when you know that you’re okay.
Seven Habits of Highly Successful People – Stephen Covey
I’ve read this a couple of times now and there are some fantastic lessons in this book. While it is a business focused book, I believe it easily transfers itself into our day to day lives. I have to be honest, I’ve read this book in stages, I’ve listened to podcasts about it and I’ve been to sessions that talk about his books and debate the concepts. I try to take the following into my daily life…these are the ones that really resonate with me.
Sharpen the saw… live a sustainable life that has balance so that you can achieve your best in all you do. If you’re run down, run ragged and unable to think clearly then how do you make the right decisions that support you in the right way. We all need time to self-care and recuperate to ensure that we’re the most effective version of ourselves for us and those that we care about.
Begin with the end in mind… whenever you start something, what’s the end goal and where do you want to get to? I really value that as a piece of advice, otherwise it’s so easy to wander aimlessly. I’m goal oriented but often I’ve done things because it’s what other people think I should be doing to get me to where I think I want to be. When you take time to reflective, you’ll understand what you want to make you happy and live your life the way you want it. Work backwards from that.
Seek first to understand and then be understood.. listen first, learn and then give your opinion. So many of us would rather give our view point than learn about what others think and feel. We think we know what others are thinking but we don’t really know because we’ve not taken the time to listen. This simple sentence acts as a reminder to actually listen to the words of others and not assume we know. More often than not, we don’t.
You may notice that there is a theme to these books. They are all based around living life in the best way for you, they aren’t focused on the material things that you can buy, the car you drive or the number of followers that you have.. they are focused on strong minds, wholesome living and being present in the moment. Something that is often hard to do in this day and age.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these.