Growth, Development & Leadership
Ego is the Enemy
It’s wrecked the careers of promising young geniuses. It’s evaporated great fortunes and run companies into the ground. It’s made adversity unbearable and turned struggle into shame. Every great philosopher has warned against it, in our most lasting stories and countless works of art, in all culture and all ages. Its name? Ego, and it is the enemy – of ambition, of success and of resilience.
In Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday shows us how and why ego is such a powerful internal opponent to be guarded against at all stages of our careers and lives, and that we can only create our best work when we identify, acknowledge and disarm its dangers.
Our View – A must read for anyone with or hoping to have a team. Whilst there are areas of the book you may not agree with it is a valuable resource and gives understanding to complex situations in which we could all make costly mistakes.
The Obstacle is the Way
We are stuck, stymied, frustrated. But it needn’t be this way. There is a formula for success that’s been followed by the icons of history—from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs—a formula that let them turn obstacles into opportunities.
Their success came from timeless philosophical principles laid down by a Roman emperor who struggled to articulate a method for excellence in any and all situations.
This book reveals that formula for the first time—and shows us how we can turn our own adversity into advantage.
Our View – Based on Stoic philosophy (much like the above) this is a great book for all. It gives simple yet intuitive advice which is proven to work. For anyone who seeks challenge; it is worth taking a few hours to get through.
There’s never been a better time to make a few tiny changes that will revolutionise your life.
A revolutionary system to get one per cent better every day.
People think when you want to change your life, you need to think big. But world-renowned habits expert James Clear has discovered another way. He knows that real change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of small decisions – doing two push-ups a day, waking up five minutes early, or holding a single short phone call.
He calls them atomic habits.
Our View – Atomic Habits is a great read for anyone looking to make any kind of change. It gives clear and easy to follow instruction and advice as well as the psychology behind it. Read our – Full review here
Not a Diet Book
James Smith is armed with every tool you’ll ever need to achieve incredible results – from dieting, training and staying in shape to identifying the fads, cons and nonsense that get in the way of genuine lasting progress.
Learn to reset your current mindset and attitude towards your diet and training
James Smith is the world’s fastest-growing online personal trainer. Honest, unapologetic and outspoken, yet erudite, authentic and endlessly passionate about exposing the toxic myths within diet culture, and committed to helping people to reach their goals and make positive change for good. Not a Diet Book is his first book.
Our View – Like marmite, you’ll either love Smith or loathe him. However there is some great advice in the book not just for fitness but for a better and more health mindset. It’s informative whilst still being fun (and at times a little bit rude). – Full review here
I’ve been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me. Recently, I worked up the courage to sit down with those diaries. I found stories I experienced, lessons I learned and forgot, poems, prayers, prescriptions, beliefs about what matters, some great photographs, and a whole bunch of bumper stickers. I found a reliable theme, an approach to living that gave me more satisfaction, at the time, and still: If you know how, and when, to deal with life’s challenges – how to get relative with the inevitable – you can enjoy a state of success I call ‘catching greenlights.’
Our View – I love this book, it’s an easy read and hilarious throughout. McConaughy really is the master of his own destiny and has lived what seems like a fun life. Not just a great actor but a great writer. You delve into his personality and laugh alongside him.
Start with Why
Why are some people and organisations more inventive, pioneering and successful than others? And why are they able to repeat their success again and again?
Because in business it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters why you do it.
Steve Jobs, the Wright brothers and Martin Luther King have one thing in common: they STARTED WITH WHY.
This book is for anyone who wants to inspire others, or to be inspired.
Our View – Sinek is well known for his Ted talks, especially his millennials lecture. However you view him, he describes WHY it is so important to know why you or your business is unique and WHY you do what you do. Breaking it down to simple terms which can be utilised every day.
Zero to One
Peter Thiel with Blake Masters
WHAT VALUABLE COMPANY IS NOBODY BUILDING?
The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them. It’s easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. Every new creation goes from 0 to 1. This book is about how to get there.
‘Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how.’ELON MUSK, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla
Our View – A must have for any budding entrepreneur. Simple yet effective. Explaining areas we should thing about, but sometimes forget. Thiel has an in depth understanding of modern business and technology and this book could be invaluable.
The Fear Bubble
Without fear, there’s no challenge. Without challenge, there’s no growth. Without growth, there’s no life.
Ant Middleton is no stranger to fear: as a point man in the Special Forces, he confronted fear on a daily basis, never knowing what lay behind the next corner, or the next closed door. In prison, he was thrust into the unknown, cut off from friends and family, isolated with thoughts of failure and dread for his future. And at the top of Everest, in desperate, life-threatening conditions, he was forced to face up to his greatest fear, of leaving his wife and children without a husband and father.
Our View – His first book got me reading again, and his second is just as good. Middleton explains how to harness Fear and utlise it to become one of your greatest assets. Giving easy to use instruction, learnt from the personal experience from the extreme experiences he has had.
There are times when life feels like it has you cornered: financial difficulties, relationship issues, work problems, all of the above. Every one of us, at one time or another, will have to face up to the challenges that come our way. And there are two ways of meeting them: negatively, where blame is the answer, where other people are at fault, where you haven’t been treated fairly. Or positively, where you own the situation, learn and grow from it, and become a better person at the end of it.
Letting you into areas of his life he’s never talked about before, in Zero Negativity, Ant will show you how to embrace failure and use it to your advantage, how to see change as the foundation of your future success, how to develop resilience, how to deal with bullies, what it means to be a positive roll model, and how to live a life with no regrets.
Our View – Can you tell we are fans? The third in the Trilogy does not let you down. Discussing how he was ‘naturally’ positive but explaining how there is positivity in every situation. Even failure. An excellent and easy read for those picking up there first or thousandth book.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.
For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.
Our View – Funny and hard hitting, the title pulls you in but once you start reading it’s tough to stop. I read it in a few days giving it an hour a day over each. You will see mixed reviews but honestly it’s a refreshing view on life and the troubles we face. On top of this it’s very honest and open. His e-mails are even better…
Is it here? Facing the gruelling SAS selection process on one leg, with a busted ankle and the finish line nowhere in sight? Or here? Under heavy fire from armed kidnappers while protecting journalists en route to Baghdad. Or is it here? At the bottom of a bottle, with a family in pieces, unable to adapt to a civilian lifestyle, yearning for a warzone?
Ollie has faced break points in his personal life too, surviving a freak childhood attack, run-ins with the law as a teenager rebelling against a broken home, his self-destructive battles with alcohol and drug addiction, and his struggles with anxiety and depression. His final redemption as an entrepreneur and mental health charity ambassador has seen him overcome adversity to build a new and better life.
Our View – Ollie had an interesting upbringing as well as entrance to Adult Hood. What this book sets out to do is explain that at any point in life you can experience something which leads you to a new opportunity or experience. Through a bibliographical manner Ollerton describes how at these points he challenged himself and changed his life and that we can do it as well
Not a Life Coach
James Smith is back to challenge everything you thought you knew about the path to fulfilment and happiness. With hard-hitting home truths and a helping of tough love, be prepared to re-set your outlook, redefine your goals and truly consider: What does SUCCESS truly mean to you?
Now, more than ever, is the time to take back control. Time to stop sleep-walking through your life; to challenge the status quo; and to truly ask yourself if you’re on the right path to success, happiness and fulfilment.
Only you can take the reins of your own life and choose to make a change, but with invaluable experience, a hunger for genuine happiness, and a drive to be the kind of coach he needed when his life was broken, James can give you the tools to do it.
Our View – Another book which breaks down social stereotypes and gives us the basic tools to not only be happy but to change the way in which we think. Looking at societal norms and how they drive us to a degree – and how not to let them effect our mental state.
Everything is F*cked
We live in an interesting time. Materially, everything is the best it’s ever been—we are freer, healthier and wealthier than any people in human history. Yet, somehow everything seems to be irreparably and horribly f*cked—the planet is warming, governments are failing, economies are collapsing, and everyone is perpetually offended on Twitter. At this moment in history, when we have access to technology, education and communication our ancestors couldn’t even dream of, so many of us come back to an overriding feeling of hopelessness.
Our View – Again, Manson adds humour to serious subjects. Post 2020 this is a book which was required. We all need a little bit of hope and the reality is we really needed it in 2020. He breaks down what we need in a simple manner but also call’s out many beliefs and manifestations of th modern age.
Dr Carol Dweck
Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success-but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals-personal and professional.
Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.
Our View – Dweck is incredibly honest in her assessment of the two mindsets but whilst reading you will pick up not only on your won but others mindsets. Important discussions are had throughout the book from teaching to parenting and business to sport. – Full review here
Note on a Nervous Planet
The world is messing with our minds. What if there was something we could do about it?
Looking at sleep, news, social media, addiction, work and play, Matt Haig invites us to feel calmer, happier and to question the habits of the digital age. This book might even change the way you spend your precious time on earth.
“Take Notes on a Nervous Planet twice daily, with or without food. The book is crammed with wisdom, insight, love and wit” (Stephen Fry)
Our View – Haig is entertaining whilst approaching what can be a tabboo subject. Anxiety and Panic is a around us everyday and I would advise anyone who has suffered to read this. It approaches it carefully, yet is entertaining and light hearted. Easy to read in a single day.
Reasons to Stay Alive
Aged 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.
A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.
“I wrote this book because the oldest clichés remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we haven’t been able to see it . . . Words, just sometimes, really can set you free.”
Our View – Another entertaining whilst though provoking book by Haig who has a knack of making serious subjects easier on the eye. Going through his own experiences with a fine tooth comb enables the reader to understand their own thoughts and feelings. A must read which is easy to pick up.
The Chimp Paradox
Prof. Steve Peters
The Chimp Paradox is an incredibly powerful mind management model that can help you become a happy, confident, healthier and more successful person. Prof Steve Peters explains the struggle that takes place within your mind and then shows how to apply this understanding to every area of your life so you can:
– Recognise how your mind is working
– Understand and manage your emotions and thoughts
– Manage yourself and become the person you would like to be
Our View – What a book. This could be life altering for some. It gives an understanding of why you react and act the way you do and puts into place basics which you can use to stop yourself reacting emotionally. By reading this you will understand your brain a little better. It does take some time to get into, but trust me, it is worth it.
Maybe you Should Talk to Someone
One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose office she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but.
As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients’ lives — a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can’t stop hooking up with the wrong guys — she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell.
Our View – An entertaining view on Therapy and how it can change your own perception of life. It opens your eyes to the drama and pains people go through whilst being entertaining and funny in parts. Emotionally engaging and great fun to read. By the end you’ll be looking for your own Lori.
Mans Search for Meaning
A prominent Viennese psychiatrist before the war, Viktor Frankl was uniquely able to observe the way that both he and others in Auschwitz coped (or didn’t) with the experience. He noticed that it was the men who comforted others and who gave away their last piece of bread who survived the longest – and who offered proof that everything can be taken away from us except the ability to choose our attitude in any given set of circumstances. The sort of person the concentration camp prisoner became was the result of an inner decision and not of camp influences alone. Frankl came to believe man’s deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. This outstanding work offers us all a way to transcend suffering and find significance in the art of living.
Our View – An amazing story about how one man found his meaning in the worst of scenarios. One of the go to books for many psychologists and changed the way we think about life and what it ‘means’. This book gives a very clear view on how to look for the best in every situation. It is difficult to describe how truly important the story and following interpretations are.
The Tao of Pooh and the Ti of Piglet
‘It’s hard to be brave,’ said Piglet, sniffing slightly, ‘when you’re only a Very Small Animal.’
Winnie-the-Pooh is ‘The Bear for all Ages’, and now he’s more fun than ever before. Join in The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet! Pooh’s Way of doing things seems strangely close to the ancient principle of Taoist philosophy, while Piglet exhibits the very important principle in Taoism of the Te, meaning Virtue of the Small. The author’s explanations of Taoism and Te through Pooh and Piglet show that this is not an ancient and remote philosophy but something that you can use, here and now.
An utterly unique book which makes complex concepts accessible with a little help from Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood. Pooh may be a Bear of Very Little Brain but there are lessons to be learned from his approach to life. Beautifully illustrated by E H Shepard.
Our View – Having visited the hundred acre wood and the pooh sticks bridge this was a must read. The reviews I had read made me want to read this even more and it’s amazing how a book of over 30 is even more relevant today. By utilising by both Pooh and Piglet Hoff gives us the ability to understand Taoism.
History & Sociology
Yuval Noah Harari
What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us Sapiens? Yuval Noah Harari challenges everything we know about being human in the perfect read for these unprecedented times.
Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it: us.
In this bold and provocative book, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here and where we’re going.
‘I would recommend Sapiens to anyone who’s interested in the history and future of our species’ Bill Gates
Our View – Sapiens explains how we came to be as we are today. Explaining why we natrually do some of what we do. 70,000 years plus is difficult to fit into a book but it is completed succintly and it’s easy to loose a few hours here.
Yuval Noah Harari
Sapiens showed us where we came from. In uncertain times, Homo Deus shows us where we’re going.
Yuval Noah Harari envisions a near future in which we face a new set of challenges. Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century and beyond – from overcoming death to creating artificial life.
It asks the fundamental questions: how can we protect this fragile world from our own destructive power? And what does our future hold?
Our View – If you have read Orwell or are watching/reading Brave New World by Huxley then this is a must. It opens your eyes to where we are ‘possibly’ goin and what our next steps are. Entertaining whilst slightly scary how so many have envisaged what we have now…