The secret is to put it into practice : Self Help picks for May

Every month when we see all these amazing titles we may be tempted to think, “Wow, if only I could read all these books, my life would be so much better!”. But the task seems impossible and we give up before we start. What if instead, we chose only one of these books, every month, but actually took on one of the messages and actively put it into practice? This would actually change our lives, incrementally, for the better.

Syndetics book coverHappiness : a philosopher’s guide “A best seller in Europe, Lenoir’s book is an eminently readable and fantastic treatise on happiness. Drawing from subjects as diverse as psychology, sociology, history, biology, and neuroscience, Lenoir, a professor at France’s L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, constructs an intriguing philosophical dialog about what happiness is and whether it is possible to be happy. The author weaves in and out among sources from both Western philosophical and religious traditions and Eastern religions, in order to focus on the subject and not on the philosopher or scientist. He doesn’t present a definitive conclusion; rather, like most philosophers the questions he raises are answered to a degree that can be applied generally, leaving readers to discover their own solutions. Yet the author does provide an overview of six philosophies (Stoicism, Buddhism, Taoism, Michel de Montaigne’s philosophy, Hinduism, and Spinozism) to exemplify ways to counteract the pessimistic modernist take on the possibility of the attainment of happiness (and therefore, wisdom) in contemporary society.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe world beyond your head : on becoming an individual in an age of distraction “IN this book, the author takes a unique look at attention, positing that it is a commodity. He sets out to establish that in a world of increasingly pervasive distractions, individualism can only be attained through focus. Crawford uses examples of skilled labor and craftsmanship to explain how people can gain back some of their lost autonomy (a word he works over quite thoroughly) through concentration. He explains his theories well, with strong writing and citations, and the resulting argument is fresh and extremely enlightening. What is most satisfying is that technology is not blamed for the modern deluge of distractions-it is discussed as the cumulative effect of a number of influences found within Western culture. ” (Sundetics)

Syndetics book coverBetter than before : mastering the habits of our everyday lives “Bestseller Rubin (The Happiness Project) returns with this fun and informative self-help tome on the ways we unthinkingly shape our lives with habits. As she shows, habits affect our lives in both positive and negative ways. By acquiring positive habits and eliminating negative ones, we can increase our overall happiness. “How we schedule our days is how we spend our lives,” Rubin asserts. The subtitle calls to mind Julia Child’s cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking, suggesting a goal similar to Child’s: to collect all the available information on the subject and break it down into components for readers to apply to their own lives. Writing that “we can build our habits only on the foundation of our own nature,” Rubin goes on to identify four tendencies, or personality types, in relation to habit-formation: upholder, questioner, obliger, and rebel.” (Syndetics)

realReal : living a balanced life   This visually stunning, thought-provoking book is about looking around with awareness, noticing life’s quiet details and knowing that the honesty of time changes everything – from a human face, a family home, or a fragile sampler book of antique lace. Real is about the agelessness of integrity; appreciating the imperfect; beauty and our involvement in creating it; acceptance; ancient crafts and craftsmanship; and letting everything age with grace. Illustrated with photographs taken by the author in 27 countries, Real affirms that we are more alike than we sometimes admit – we all have a desire for warmth and love – and that there is dignity in simple things.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverCaptivology : the science of capturing people’s attention
“The former editor of Mashable and cofounder of DominateFund examines the psychological phenomena that captivate our attention–and how we can leverage them to draw and retain attention for our ideas, work, companies, and more. Whether you’re an artist or a salesperson, a teacher or an engineer, a marketer or a parent, putting the spotlight on your ideas, insights, projects and products requires a deep understanding of the science of attention. Ben Parr explains how and why the mind pays attention to some events or people–and not others–and presents seven captivation triggers–techniques guaranteed to help you capture and retain the attention of friends, colleagues, customers, fans, and even strangers.Parr combines the latest research on attention with interviews with more than fifty scientists and visionaries–Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, film director Steven Soderbergh, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, magician Jon Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author Susan Cain, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, founder of Reddit Alexis Ohanian, and more–who have successfully brought their ideas, projects, companies, and products to the forefront of cultural consciousness. The result is an insightful and practical book that will change how you assign jobs to your kids or staff, craft a multi-million dollar ad campaign, deliver your next presentation, attract users to your product, or convince the world to support your cause”. (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe art of creative thinking
“THE ART OF CREATIVE THINKING reveals how we can transform our businesses, our society and ourselves through a deeper understanding of human creativity. Rod Judkins, a lecturer in creativity at the world-famous St Martin’s College of Art, will examine the behaviour of successful creative thinkers and explain how all of us can learn from them to improve our lives. Judkins will draw on an extraordinary range of reference points, from the Dada Manifesto to Andy Warhol’s studio, via Steve Jobs, Nobel Prize winning economists and many others, and distil a lifetime’s expertise into 90 succinct chapters. Along the way he shares the story of most successful class in educational history (in which every single student won a Nobel prize); shows why graphic nudity during public speaking can be both a curse and surprisingly persuasive; and reveals why, in the twenty-first century, it’s technically illegal to be as good as good as Michelangelo.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverImprove your memory every day
“Memory is like a muscle: you either use it or lose it. Consider this definitive guide a personal trainer for the brain, one with a huge assortment of entertaining and fast-acting memory-strengthening techniques. Use them to draw upon daily, when trying to find lost keys, recall anniversaries, or study for exams. Test your sharpness with fun instant assessments. Try intriguing short- and long-term memory tasks, such as remembering a series of long words and recalling landmarks on a map. Follow a monthlong plan of “do it in a day” exercises. In addition to invaluable “Tips and Tricks” boxes, there’s advice on boosting concentration, using mnemonics, and other forms of mental association.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHighly intuitive people : 7 right-brain traits to change the lives of intuitive-sensitive people
“Do you struggle with small talk and prefer deep conversation? Are you extremely sensitive to other people’s moods? Do people describe you as highly perceptive? Are you exhausted after being in busy places? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, you may be a Highly Intuitive Person: someone who is especially sensitive to the energy of others. Highly Intuitive People, also known as Intuitive-Sensitives, are a refined group of sensitive people who are said to make up 15-20 per cent of the population. They experience their world through the deeper senses, generally have a calm persona, care deeply for other people, are very perceptive and are often described as extremely wise and ‘knowing’. This book will help you to understand your talents and how to unleash them in an empowering way for deep self-development. The techniques in this book have already helped thousands of Intuitive-Sensitives to discover and develop their incredible gifts. This is a must-read for those who are driven to understand the deeper meaning and purpose of their life.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHow to be creative : rediscover your inner creativity and live the life you truly want
For many of us, creativity is something that belongs to other people actors, writers, musicians, artists it is not something we would describe ourselves as having. However, creativity is innate in everyone and a key part of our personality. As children, we are in touch with our natural creativity. We learn by engaging all of our senses and we know the value of curiosity and fun. As we get older this creative and intuitive self is stifled and locked away as we become burdened with responsibilities at work and home. In ‘How to Be Creative’ Liz Dean shows you simple ways to bring creativity back into your life. She starts by looking at the biggest obstacle to creativity: making time. Liz shows you how spending just ten minutes a day on a creative project is enough time to spark new ideas and tap into your creative power.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSo you’ve been publicly shamed
“For the past three years, Jon Ronson has been immersing himself in the world of modern-day public shaming–meeting famous shamees, shamers, and bystanders who have been impacted. This is the perfect time for a modern-day Scarlet Letter–a radically empathetic book about public shaming, and about shaming as a form of social control. It has become such a big part of our lives it has begun to feel weird and empty when there isn’t anyone to be furious about. Whole careers are being ruined by one mistake. A transgression is revealed. Our collective outrage at it has the force of a hurricane. Then we all quickly forget about it and move on to the next one, and it doesn’t cross our minds to wonder if the shamed person is okay or in ruins. What’s it doing to them? What’s it doing to us?” (Syndetics)