If only life came with a manual… We are all stuck in it together, figuring things out as we go along. Luckily there are some people out there who are willing to grapple with some of the usiuig life questions we all have.
And 2017 produced a few very insightful books – from handling your finances and making career choices, to navigating relationships. We’ve collected the best ones for you to choose from.
#10 The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking
The little Danish word has created a worldwide buzz. Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga), is a Scandinavia word meaning “togetherness and well-being, a sense of comfort”. The Danes have been at the top of the annual World Happiness Report since its inception in 2013. They are always in the top five and was nominated as the world’s happiest people three times.
So, what’s their secret? Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, delves into the various factors that create the high life satisfaction in Denmark. He’s been given the title of the world’s happiest man, so his writing reflects his personal life philosophy.
#9 Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness
Ever wondered if there’s a formula for success? Stulberg, a health and human performance writer, combined strengths with Magness, a performance scientist and Olympic coach. Together they have dissected success, approaching it from a scientific angle.
If you want to up your game, sidestep burnout and thrive in life – follow the new scientific success methods. The dynamic team explores principles that are universal and can be applied to various aspects of professional life. The book combines scientific research with real life stories from the lives of top performers from across the world.
#8 Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening by Manal al-Sharif
We all enjoy a great motivational story, and sometimes one person’s story has the power to transform the world. Manal al-Sharif decided in 2011 to go for a little drive, and to post her trip online. The twist in the tale? She lives in Saudi, where it’s against the law for a woman to drive.
By broadcasting her daring law-breaking stunt, she encouraged other women to follow in her footsteps and revolt against unnecessary suppression. In this memoir she gives outsiders a look into her life. She recalls how education and determination gave her the power to stand up for herself, and in effect all silenced Saudi women.
#7 Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss has nicknamed himself a “human guinea pig”. He has interviewed more than 200 experts from a variety of industries, gathering habits that lead to a successful life. On his podcast show he asks big questions about daily life such as “how do you start your day?” and “what’s your favourite inspirational book?”.
The creator of the other popular self-help book “The 4 Hour Workweek” is passionate about delving into the inner workings of success. This New York Times Bestseller will tell you the daily habit secrets of celebrities, military commanders, scientists, world class athletes, and other inspirational icons.
#6 Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio is described as the “Steve Jobs of Investing”, with a great rags to riches story. He started out as a middle class Long Islander and climbed the corporate ladder to now being on the Time’s “100 Most Influential Individual in The World” list.
He started his investment company in his apartment. Now it is one of the most successful businesses in his industry. In this book he explains the beliefs and rules that helped him to firstly survive and thereafter thrive in the business world.
#5 Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by William H. McRaven
United States Admiral William H. McRaven delivered one of the most famous graduation speeches on May the 17th, 2014. It now has over 10 million views on YouTube. Addressing the students of the University of Texas-Austin, McRaven highlighted ten principles that changed his life during his Navy Seal training.
He believes that there are certain personal qualities that are crucial for success in life including compassion, honour, courage, and determination. In this book he elaborates on these principles by colouring them in with stories from his military career and personal life.
#4 The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Meaningful life experiences influence our well-being in a profound way. Many people believe that happiness is linked to material wealth and professional success. But there is now increasing scientific research proof that indicates memorable moments are more powerful.
There is a lot of merit in gathering life-affirming experiences. This book will show you how to create your own extraordinary moments, to consistently transform your daily life into a more happiness-filled experience.
#3 The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis
In the 1970’s Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, two Israeli psychologists, changed the way the world looked at human decision-making. Their ground-breaking studies exposed the problematic impact that cognitive biases have on our abilities to make wise choices.
The dynamic duo paved the way for behavioural economics, influenced the medicine world to rely more on evidence-based research, and challenged many industries to start depending more on big data and algorithms. Lewis investigates the unlikely friendship of these two men, and sheds light on the workings of the unreliable cognitive mechanisms affecting the decision-making process.
#2 A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival by Melissa Fleming
Hearing stories of people conquering circumstances that seem unconquerable, always warms the heart. But this remarkable tale will also motivate you to look deep into your own heart and assess your worldview.
Melissa Fleming is the chief spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She shares the amazing journey of Doaa Al Zamel, a Syrian refugee. Doaa was only 19 years old when she was stranded at sea for four days with two baby girls, 6 and 9 months old. The September 2014 Mediterranean shipwreck claimed almost 500 lives.
#1 Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Sometimes life doesn’t work out the way we planned, throwing us an unexpected and unwanted curveball. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), experienced this when her husband passed away unexpectedly while exercising.
With the help of world famous psychologist, Adam Grant, Sheryl managed to overcome this tragedy. His evidence-based advice offered her a way to constructively deal with the aftermath of the unfortunate life circumstances she had to face. In this book you will hear more about her story and how she resurfaced on the other side, ready to face the world again. Learn how to rediscover joy, even when you think it’s not possible.