I'm a massive fan of 'best of' lists, especially when it comes to books, and I figured it would be a nice way to start rounding up the year.
For the first time, I was pretty consistent this year in keeping track of what I was reading, averaging about 4 books a month - but I will admit I finished probably half of them. I'm a big believer in putting a book down when it stops interesting you. There are too many good books out there.
All but one of these are non-fiction, so apologies if that isn't your jam, but if you listen to this podcast you'll likely be interested in most of these topics anyway, so fingers crossed you find at least one book that piques your curiosity.
I'd also love to know what your favourite books were this year, I'm always up for recommendations.
I've been an embarrassingly big fan of Tim Ferriss for many years now, his books and his podcast - and this book kind of combines both. It is basically a reference book Tim created for himself, asking his world-class most expert buddies for advice on some of his most pressing questions. Questions like:
How could I be kinder to myself?
How could I better say “no” to the trivial many to better say “yes” to the critical few?
How could I best reassess my priorities and my purpose in this world?
I love the concept, of seeking council from the best, and if you have the contacts - you might as well use 'em. And if you don't well you can read this book.
I stumbled upon this author at a talk he gave in Brighton last year, and I knew I had to have him on the podcast. Fortunately, despite being a shrinking violet, he said yes. This book is a fascinating and really quite sweet look at what it means to be shy, and as someone who often avoids the subject of shyness because I don't want people to confuse it for introversion, it was an important read for me.
Another hero of mine, Janet Murray is the author of this next book and one I prescribe regularly to any of my clients or just people I meet, anyone who wants to get their work out to the masses via the press and influencers.
I love how detailed yet simple Janet manages to make this topic of PR and how she does acknowledge what it's like to be an introvert when you're trying to reach out to the press.
If you've been listening to this podcast recently (or if you listened to the episode of The Seeker and the Skeptic on the book club we went to), you probably won't be surprised to hear this entry. Some of his ideas are questionable, yes, but there is so much wisdom buried in this book - which is basically a self-help book. But unlike most other self help books I've ever read, there's something about Peterson's words that hit me at a deep level, it kind of shakes your core - at least, it does for me.
Regardless of what you think of the man, I think it's worth giving this book a go, at least to understand what he's actually trying to say.
Another podcast guest, this book comes from Danny Gregory who has been a real inspiration to me. I read this book during the summer while I was feeling particularly uninspired and well, sweaty, and this was a reminder of all the possibilities that creativity holds, and how you can start super small - just putting pen to paper - and what a difference that makes.
Danny takes a lot of his inspiration from this legendary book by Julia Cameron, and I decided to read this for the second time earlier in the year. If you haven't heard of it, it's basically more of a course than a regular book, and Julia walks you through 12 weeks of 'artist recovery' - yes, it's based on the 12 Steps program and has a lot of God talk - but regardless of how you feel about that, it has some real gems that I think I'll be using for the rest of my life.
Increasingly one of my interests has become the use of plants and plant medicine for healing, both physically and mentally - and let's say it, spiritually. You might have caught the Year of Fun episode back in March where I talked about my trip to Peru, and my experience with plant medicine there.
Again, not for everyone - seriously not for everyone - but we are definitely at a turning point in our cultural attitude to these consciousness-altering substances, and I can't but help be excited for the possibilities they have, if used correctly. Michael Pollan is brilliant at explaining the why behind all this renewed attention for psychedelics, the history, the science and everything in between. One for the seekers and the skeptics.
One more podcast guest for you here, and like I mentioned on that show, I've read a hell of a lot of books on productivity and time management - but this was a truly great read. I flew through it, and never once felt patronised or like Jordan was trying to get me to do something unreasonable - this guy walks the talk, and I really clicked with his message. If you're looking to get 2019 off to a momentous start, then this one is definitely worth checking out.
Oh my... this is the one I'm most excited about now because I'm still currently reading it. Since I picked it up, I basically haven't been able to stop thinking about it or how much I just want to be reading it. And it definitely sticks out of this list, because it's entirely based on myth - the Greek myths to be exact. And I've been interested in the Ancient Greeks since I was at school, but always felt frustrated when I tried to dig deeper. For one, there are a LOT of characters to keep track of. Plus, the stories are so nutty that when you read them without some of Stephen Fry's humour, they don't seem to reach modern minds properly.
Fry is the perfect person to retell these tales, in my opinion, and if you have any interest in archetypes, legends, bizarre stories and the etymology of words (which I am very much) I highly recommend this tome.
Awkward... Yes, I am putting my own book on my list of best books I read in 2018 because what kind of a message would I be sending to you otherwise?? Honestly, it took me a while of battling with this - it's been officially in the works since January 2018 but I really have been working on it for a good three years in terms of the ideas and activities in there.
It was only in the very last edits back in November that I started to LIKE this book though - which, if you've ever written or created anything you probably know how that feels. We're our own worst critics. And whilst there'll always be bits I'll want to change and update, I have come to the conclusion that this is the best I could do up to this point, in explaining to others HOW to build a business or freelance career in a way that not only works as a creative introvert, but specifically for YOU - a reference book that allows you to pick and choose what appeals to you, specifically. I don't know many people offering something like that, so I hope it provides a missing piece in the entrepreneurial creative self-help space. And I hope you enjoy it, should you choose to get yourself a copy.
And I'll mention the bonuses I'm offering one more time before the offer runs out on December 31st - basically, if you order the book BEFORE then, you'll get your hands on goodies worth around $700, including access to the League of Creative Introverts (my online community), a companion guide eBook and 6 months of book club calls that will begin in the new year.
Phew - all done. Hope you enjoy any of the books you pick from this list, and again - I'd love to read your recommendations too.
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