Want to know the best books in life, the Universe and everything?
If you want to get your read on, choosing your next literary adventure can be a minefield of wasted time and false starts.
Which is where this little page might come in handy.
I’ll break down suggestions by topic and category, generally listing at least one shiny gem in each section.
Sometimes, more detailed pages will be available under each topic, providing further options within that subject area.
Just click on the links to dive down the inky rabbit hole.
Three reasons really:
1. Reducing book indecision
Whenever I’m hunting around for a good book to read next, I spend a frustratingly large amount of time trying to decide what to buy. If I could reduce the book search time, I’d magically have more time to read more of the darned things. After all, life is short and the more reading time I can squeeze out of this life lemon, the better. Hopefully, with this curated list, you too will benefit from being able to choose a title that tickles your fancy.
This section is good for personal pleasure but also presents. Pretty much my go-to gist these days is a book. They’re perfect, showing the recipient that you’ve put thought into what they’ll like while providing possibly weeks of enjoyment in what could easily amount to a life-changing experience for the price a few cups of coffee. I don’t know of other gifts which can achieve so much. But, the key is finding the best book that resonates with that special person. No mean feat.
3. Separating the wheat from the chaff
Thirdly, this recommended list hopefully helps you reduce the duds. I used to battle on bravely with books I didn’t like, but now increasingly I set them down if they don’t hit home. With so many amazing books out there to read, of which we’ll depressingly only be able to read a fraction of in our short existence, it’s essential to improve our book selection ability off the bat. So hopefully this humble list of best books and mini-reviews helps.
Best books in every genre
Onto the juice then:
When I Say No, I Feel Guilty: How to Cope – Using the Skills of Systematic Assertive Therapy (Manuel J. Smith)
When the mutton chop sideburns were bushy and platforms shoes made for dancing, this old classic on assertiveness training was written. Although a bit dated now, lots of advice may still apply to your situation.
The Confidence Gap: From Fear to Freedom (Russ Harris)
Rather than fluffy self-help, the Confidence Gap approaches its topic from a science-based perspective, using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), helping you realise why you’d rather curl up in a little ball than embrace opportunities.
Improving decision making
Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work (Chip & Dan Heath)
We’re hugely irrational little creatures, full of biases and irrationality. Unfortunately, this impacts our decision making in a major way. Luckily, this little book helps remedy that.
On executive coaching
The Psychology of Executive Coaching (Bruce Peltier )
If you want to know how to inspire, educate and motivate in a business setting, this weighty tome might be for you. Covering the essentials of executive coaching, it’s perfect if you’re the leader of an organisation or a practitioner seeking to improve your performance with clients.
On executive presence
On mental models
Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger
Check out this awesome read on the way we interpret the world, including heuristics we can use to improve our analysis of events and consequent decision-making. In a world growing ever more complex, breaking information down effectively is becoming a valuable skill.
Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work (Mark Williams & Danny Penman)
Hands down one of the best books around on mindfulness. Mainly because of its simple explanations and practical guidance, including an eight-week course centred on cognitive therapy and rigorously tested on patient groups.
I Am That (Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj)
If you’re interested in furthering your spiritual practice, this is a must-read. One of the classics of nonduality, this text opens a whole new world into self-enquiry and the nature of existence, and the feeling of separateness.
On increasing productivity
Getting Things Done (David Allen)
Arguably the bible of the productivity movement, Getting Things Done provides a practical framework for becoming an efficiency ninja. Bid farewell to those uncompleted to-do lists and half-finished projects.