The past month, I’ve been consciously trying to create more space for reading — not just blog posts or articles, but full-blown (glorious) books. Here’s what’s been rocking my shelf…
Mastery, by Robert Greene
Mastery in my work is such a big focus for me at the moment — honing my craft, stepping up, doing the work to really take things to the next level. This book explores the theme of mastery in great detail, with heaps of cool case studies and stories to explain the theories. I particularly loved his discussion on earning one’s stripes through an ‘apprenticeship’:
Read it: If you’re keen on exploring your craft and your creative process.
10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works –A True Story, by Dan Harris
Dan Harris is a well-known American newsreader and journalist. After experiencing a panic attack on air (brought on by a lifestyle of intense deadlines and drugs), he decided he needed to do something about it. Cue the beginning of a spiritual journey into the world of meditation, eastern philosophy and self-help. Harris’s take on the world of woo-woo is both hilarious and accurate — I particularly loved his insider impressions of self-help stalwarts like Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra.
Read it: For a breath-of-minty-fresh-air view on the world of self-help, plus practical tips on getting more zen in your life.
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, by Malcolm Gladwell
Does being an underdog give you an advantage in the long run? This is the question that underpins Gladwell’s book. Much like his other books Blink and The Tipping Point (which I also loved), this book uses fascinating case studies and data to illustrate the different theories Gladwell puts forward. He is a brilliant storyteller, and manages to make statistics, research studies and economic data truly interesting… I even got teary reading his account of the Troubles in Ireland.
Read it: To have your mind-hole blown open, and to reframe your perspective on so-called ‘disadvantages’.
Steal like an artist, by Austin Kleon
There are no new ideas, just new ways to express them, remix them, and add your own spin to them. That’s the central tenet behind Kleon’s book. If that sounds disheartening or disillusioned, it shouldn’t — it’s actually empowering. It means that we can feel free to do our creative work from a place of playfulness, authenticity, alignment. It also takes the pressure off, and we all know how bad self-induced expectations can be for the creative process.
Steal like an artist is about seeking inspiration in unlikely places, following your creative shivers, and knowing that whatever your heart wants to say is what you should be writing.
Read it: To get the juices flowing and (gracefully, lovingly) bust through your creative barriers.
The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
“What a slut time is. She screws everybody.”
There’s a reason why half your Facebook friends have read this book: it’s really good.
It will also tear your heart into frayed, bleeding pieces, but you probably guessed that already (a book about two teenagers with cancer is pretty much guaranteed to yank on those soul-strings).
Green’s writing is addictive and insightful — he’s hilarious and touching on the same page. Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s young adult fiction (in fact, if you are, you should check out this article about why we should be reading YA fiction — and why critics should stop bashing it). This book will amuse you, move you, and likely transport you straight back to your teenage years. I’ll definitely be picking up another John Green novel.
Read it: To feel. Hard.
Have you get any awesome books I should add to my reading list?
I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
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