Looking for a holiday read?

Books on a picnic blanket on the beachAnyone who knows me well will tell you that I love reading; if I had a catchphrase it would be, “I know a good book on that if you’re interested in exploring it a bit more.” If you’re a bookworm too and you always take a book away with you, you might like to give one of these titles a try. I’ve picked out three books that have helped me personally to get off autopilot, see things differently and develop my resilience. They’re also books I’ve suggested to clients, friends or colleagues.

Mindfulness for busy people, Dr Michael Sinclair and Josie Seydel

I discovered this book on a shelf in a motorway services a few years back when we stopped off on our way to the Lake District. I was feeling particularly tense and tired, and had just made a monumental blooper over email because I was trying to get the children up and out of a hotel room whilst forwarding emails on my work phone… bad news. The subtitle, turning frantic and frazzled into calm and composed, just spoke volumes to me, so I bought it, read it while we were away and I’ve been practising ever since.

Worth considering if… you’ve heard about mindfulness, but you’re not sure exactly what it is or whether it’s for you; you want some practical advice and exercises that you can use straight away.

Mindset, Dr Carol S Dweck

In this book, Carol Dweck shares her research and findings on mindsets, and introduces the idea of fixed and growth mindsets as a way to describe different approaches to failure and challenge. She explains how the mindsets can reveal themselves in sport, business and relationships, and how messages from parents, teachers and coaches can lead to the development of a fixed or growth mindset. She finishes by exploring how reframing dilemmas using a growth mindset can help us to take a more resourceful approach that leaves us more likely to learn and move on.

Worth considering if… you hate to fail and tend to shy away from challenges, and you get a sense that this might be limiting your life and/or career progression; you have, or look after, children and you’re interested in helping them to feel comfortable stretching themselves and taking a healthy perspective on setbacks.

Happy, Derren Brown

Yes, that Derren Brown. I know he’s a celebrity and you might have anticipated a slightly different title based on his stage and TV shows, not to mention that ghost train! However, I was curious (as always), so I asked for this one for Christmas last year. I found it a really interesting exploration of what it means to be happy, with perspectives drawn from across the ages, from Greek philosophy to modern psychology. There’s plenty of detail to get your teeth into and some ways of seeing things that might help smooth out the inevitable bumps in the road that we all face.

Worth considering if… you like to get stuck in to a subject and don’t mind lots of detail; you’d like to live with a bit more ease and you’re looking for a perspective that might help.

These are clearly only my views and these books won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, so remember to check out a wider range of opinions before deciding (all these titles are available on Amazon so there are plenty of comments and alternative opinions). If you do decide to read any of these, I’d love to hear what you thought, and I would also love to hear your recommendation if there’s a title that’s meant a lot to you.

If you’re heading off anywhere this summer, happy holidays; I hope you come back with your energy levels brimming over.

P.S.  My holiday reads this year are likely to be The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor and The Listening Space by Tamsin Hartley.

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