Through my own experiences, and when working with clients, I have discovered that for many of us, some personal study can really assist. For me, this often comes in the form of a book! Whether it be inspiration, motivation, support or just the way it's written, there are times when nothing beats curling up with a book.
I love reading purely for pleasure. The fun of escaping into a gripping story and losing oneself in the characters and plot is one of life’s greatest joys. Therefore, of course there are many fiction works that are fantastic, and unputdownable. However, this is not the forum for me to share all my favourite fiction. Rather, the majority of books I recommend here I have found to be invaluable when making or experiencing changes in our career and lives.
I ONLY share resources I’ve found to be useful and only share books I have actually read, enjoyed and found valuable. Think of me as your well-read friend, suggesting a resource or book you might enjoy.
It's always good to find a new helpful resource or book to read, so I hope by sharing these, you too may discover something new, whether it’s a book you love or a resource that helps you. So grab a cup of your favourite beverage and peruse!
“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” – Mortimer J. Adler
Life and Dreams
Resources that are valuable for their insight and guidance, from a whole-life perspective.
Daily Journal Prompts by Rowena Mabbott are designed to support you to live intentionally and with joy. They are a simple approach for checking in with yourself at both ends of the day, so you can live your life with greater intention, clarity, confidence and joy.
You can download your FREE Daily Journal Prompts here.
Your Dream Life Starts Here by Kristina Karlsson is an immensely practical book, where Kristina, founder of global stationery brand Kikki.K, shares both her and others story about creating your dream life.
I really enjoyed the case studies and workbook style structure - there are activities to be completed in nearly every chapter, to help you dream about and then create your dream life. Whilst the book itself is a quick read, to get the most out of this book, it will require some dedicated time as the practical exercises are numerous and extensive.
I listened to the audiobook version of The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown and loved it. Brene has a practical, no-nonsense style which is very easy to read (or listen to!). I particularly enjoy that her recommendations and suggestions are all based on substantial research and data.
An added bonus, the audiobook is read by Brene herself, which is a treat for those, like me, who enjoy her sense of humour and humanity which are clearly communicated when she is reading her work.
“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller
Books that turned my own career discussions around and inspired a new way of looking at career and work; for both myself and my clients.
In Born for This by Chris Guillebeau, he shares some terrific tips for how to discover what you love, what you are good at and get paid for it. I've referred this book to a number of clients!
Even if you are happy in your career, and not seeking a change, I'd still recommend reading this book simply for the great stories that Chris shares. You never know, it might inspire you to start something new!
One of my more recent reads, Dare to Lead by Brene Brown, is her take on brave work and tough conversations. Combining insights and wisdom from her earlier books, Daring Greatly and Rising Strong, I feel this book is a compulsory read for everyone, but especially those in leadership roles.
In true Brene style, the book is filled with personal stories and case studies, and loads of research to back it up. As with all her books, it’s an easy read but immensely impactful.
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg is a book I often recommend to my coaching clients. With practical advice, as well as alarming statistics about women in the workplace, it’s a must read for all leaders, but especially women.
I listened to this book in the car with my sons. Many times pausing the audio as the content sparked some insightful, meaningful and increasingly outraged conversations, as both boys grappled with the vastly different experiences women have at work and of the world.
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C.S. Lewis
Resources to develop and foster good habits; both as I use and share with clients.
Gretchen Rubin's Better than Before is my go-to book for habit change. My well-thumbed copy sits on my desk, as I refer to it often - for both myself and for work with clients.
The book is full of terrific, well-researched information, as well as personal stories about habit change. Most fun are the 20 various strategies for helping or hindering our own, or others, habit change.
Atomic Habits by James Clear is also about habit change, but approaches it from a slightly different perspective. Whilst there are many overlaps with Better than Before, particularly around the theory of habit change, James and Gretchen use different terminology for similar habit structures.
Atomic Habits provides a four step approach to changing your habits backed up with research and examples. This book also talks about how our habits form part of a system in our lives.
A quick read (or listen), and ideal if you are needing inspiration to start changing your life, one habit at a time.
“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.” – Bill Watterson
I found this book, The Emotional Home by Kathryn L. Robyn and Dawn Ritchie, in the few months after losing our second son. The tagline, ‘How Redesigning Your Home Can Change Your Life’ was what drew my attention. At that time I was very keen to make changes to my life! Being happier in our home was a major challenge when the room set up as a nursery was lying empty.
With this books practical approach, I made changes which helped my sense of wellbeing, and comfort with being at home. I still use this book more than 10 years later, and refer to it on a regular basis.
I read Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin on a summer vacation, and returned home feeling inspired to make the most of our home and it's spaces in order to boost my happiness, and that of the family. Once again, an easy, enjoyable read, full of personal stories which makes it very relatable.
Happier at Home was inspired by her earlier work The Happiness Project.
“Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.” – Napoléon Bonaparte
My children were still very small when I first read The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle. My eldest son was just starting school and the youngest was still a toddler.
This book has helped me so much with parenting my children. With two very different children, I loved the simple and practical tips provided in Carol's book. I especially love that her philosophy and approach supports you and your children to be your true, most authentic self.
As a mother to boys, I found The Making of Men by Dr Arne Rubinstein illuminating and insightful. Dr Arne talks about the need for boys and young men to experience a rite of passage as part of their journey to adulthood and to support them become good men. Written in an easy style and with case studies throughout, this is a quick yet informative read.
I’ve recommended this to ALL my friends, and especially those with sons.
“Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people – people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.” – E.B. White
Grief and Resilience
Books that helped me through the times of grief and with fostering resilience afterwards.
Option B Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant by is an easy read, once you are past the first chapter. A terrific book for everyone to read; whether you are bereaved, grieving, or are close to someone who has lost a loved one. I'd also recommend workplace managers read it, as there are some clear ways suggested that better support can be provided to those who have experienced loss and are grieving.
For those grieving, the biggest comfort is reading about others experiences and knowing we are not alone.
Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales is another book that deals with grief and resilience, but with a focus on the resilience shown by many people in different situations after they have had the worst day of their life.
As an Australian investigative journalist, Leigh shares diverse stories of ordinary days that went horrifyingly wrong, yet the people involved show remarkable resilience.
Definitely have your tissues handy whilst reading or listening, but ultimately this book is uplifting, with it’s overall message about the power of resilience.
An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken was published soon after we lost our second son. My mother kindly bought me a copy, but I wasn't ready to read it. A couple of years later I felt ready, and I am so glad I did read it.
Whilst Elizabeth McCracken's experience had parallels with mine (and I suspect, with any mother who has lost a baby), the beautiful writing helps render her pain into a powerful story. Again, there is much comfort to be found in knowing that as baby loss mothers, we are not alone.
I had so many tears reading this picture book; it's heartfelt and poignant yet perfectly balances sadness and hope. A lovely gift for parents who have experienced the death of their child.
You can read more about Ann-Maree and her story here.
“If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.” – Roald Dahl
Whilst books are always a delight to read and can be a great support when you are making changes in your life, sometimes we need more than a book can provide.
That is where a coach can assist.
As a Career and Life Confidence Coach, I love to help people make the changes they desire, and I’d love to support you too. To learn more about coaching with me, book your complimentary consult today.
Follow me on Instagram as I often share what I am reading or listening to there – fiction and non-fiction alike.