Category: Recent picks

The pursuit of happiness – Self-help Recent Picks for September

This month we read books that challenge many preconceived ideas about the benefits of meditation, listening to our feelings and the trappings of the pursuit of happiness. Intrigued? Read on.

Syndetics book coverHeadlines, headaches and the human condition : when normal doesn’t work and how to deal with it
“Headlines and headaches often happen without malice and regardless of knowledge or skills. The processes we use have helped us evolve and survive for thousands of years but the less we understand them, the more they seem to let us down in modern day situations. Using everyday language and real world examples, Steve Whiddett takes us behind some very public headlines and some very real everyday headaches. Headlines, Headaches and the Human Condition provides insights into situations and the human condition, which will help you change your own situations. It is a book that we can all use to make situations more manageable and more productive for ourselves, for organisations and for society.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe outside edge : how outsiders can succeed in a world made by insiders.
“Our culture celebrates outsiders while in reality slamming the door in their face. The modern world encourages creativity while shutting-out all but a privileged few from individualistic expression. The Outside Edge is all about learning to harness the unique vantage point you possess in order to give yourself the edge required to succeed. It will show you when to embrace your outsider status and go against convention, and when to play the game, do as the insiders do and make sure you can get progress. Think of The Outside Edge as a manual for positively directing your insecurity, awkwardness and role-confusion towards a meaningful future, shaped and pursued on your own terms.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe Buddha pill : can meditation actually change you?
“In this new book, psychologists Dr. Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm explore the human ambition for personal change and its possible illusions, with a focus on yoga and meditation. They examine the psychological and biological evidence, from early research on Transcendental Meditation to recent brain-imaging studies on mindfulness. Controversially, The Buddha Pill argues that personal change effected by these spiritual practices can vary widely from one individual to another, and that peace and compassion may not always be the end result. Combining insights from decades of scientific research with fascinating accounts from gurus and prisoners, The Buddha Pill weaves together a unique story about the science and the delusions of personal change.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe happiness trap : how to stop struggling and start living
“Russ Harris explains that the way most of us go about trying to find happiness ends up making us miserable, driving the epidemics of stress, anxiety, and depression. This empowering book presents the insights and techniques of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) a revolutionary new psychotherapy based on cutting-edge research in behavioral psychology. By clarifying your values and developing mindfulness (a technique for living fully in the present moment), ACT helps you escape the happiness trap and find true satisfaction in life.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverUpside : the new science of post-traumatic growth
“PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is at the center of national conversation and a widely recognized psychological condition. But an equally valid, though lesser known outcome of trauma is post-traumatic growth. While many survivors suffer long-term emotional damage, over the last several decades psychologists have discovered that with the right circumstances and proper support, survivors can actually emerge from their trauma stronger, more focused, and with a new and clear vision for the future. Comprised of interviews with leading researchers and dozens of trauma survivors, Rendon paints a vivid and comprehensive portrait of this groundbreaking field.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverWhole body intelligence : get out of your head and into your body to achieve greater wisdom, confidence, and success
“Executive coach Steve Sisgold, knows that the body–not the mind–is the most reliable and effective pathway to realizing your innermost desires and achieving success. His unique, body-centric approach will show you how to get out of your head and take charge of every area of your life with increased awareness, clarity, and confidence. Whole Body Intelligence teaches you how to become aware of subtle body sensations–such as gripping the phone or clenching your jaw during a tense conversation–and how to interpret their meanings, linking them to negative thoughts and behaviors that are impeding your success and happiness.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe story of psychology
“Following the successful pattern of The Story of Maths, The Story of Physics , and The Story of Philosophy, The Story of Psychology traces the development of psychology from its origins as a branch of philosophy to the present day, when it is a discipline in its own right, closely allied with neurology and physiology. Topics include the study of the soul; how the mind was perceived in the ancient world; the ghost in the machine; consciousness, semiconsciousness, and altered consciousness; models of madness; ways of dealing with mental illness; how we learn and know.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe superhuman mind : free the genius in your brain
“Berit Brogaard, PhD, and Kristian Marlow, MA, study people with astonishing talents–memory champions, human echolocators, musical virtuosos, math geniuses, and synesthetes who taste colors and hear faces. But as amazing as these abilities are, they are not mysterious. Our brains constantly process a huge amount of information below our awareness, and what these gifted individuals have in common is that through practice, injury, an innate brain disorder, or even more unusual circumstances, they have managed to gain a degree of conscious access to this potent processing power. Delving into the neurological underpinnings of these abilities, the authors even reveal how we can acquire some of them ourselves–from perfect pitch and lightning fast math skills to supercharged creativity.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMindware : tools for smart thinking
“Scientific and philosophical concepts can change the way we solve problems by helping us to think more effectively about our behavior and our world. Surprisingly, despite their utility, many of these tools remain unknown to most of us. In Mindware, psychologist Richard E. Nisbett presents these ideas in clear and accessible detail. In this groundbreaking book, Nisbett shows us how to frame common problems in such a way that scientific and statistical principles can be applied to them. The result is an enlightening and practical guide to the most essential tools of reasoning ever developed-tools that can easily be used to make better professional, business, and personal decisions.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverWorrying : a literary and cultural history
“Francis O’Gorman charts the emergence of our contemporary idea of worry in the Victorian era and its establishment, after the First World War, as a feature of modernity. For some writers between the Wars, worry was the “disease of the age.” Worrying examines the everyday kind of worry – the fearful, non-pathological, and usually hidden questioning about uncertain futures. It shows worry to be a natural companion in a world where we try to live by reason and believe we have the right to choose, finding in the worrier a peculiarly contemporary sufferer whose mental life is not only exceptionally familiar, but also deeply strange. ” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverF*ck feelings : one shrink’s practical advice for managing all life’s impossible problems 
“The only self-help book you’ll ever need, from a psychiatrist and his comedy writer daughter, who will help you put aside your unrealistic wishes, stop trying to change things you can’t change, and do the best with what you can control – the first steps to managing all of life’s impossible problems. Here is the cut-to-the-chase therapy session you’ve been looking for!  In this brilliantly sensible and funny book, a Harvard-educated shrink and his comedy-writing daughter reveal that the real f-words in life are “feelings” and “fairness.”  F*ck Feelings is the last self-help book you will ever need!” (Syndetics)

Understanding & forgiveness – New Self-help books in August

This month’s titles help us explore, recognise and understand our feelings and those of others, for a more harmonious and fulfilled life.  Parents learn to focus on their children’s strength and nurture their emotional health and confidence for a happier childhood and ultimately adulthood.

Syndetics book coverIf you feel too much : thoughts on things found and lost and hoped for
“In 2006 Jamie Tworkowski wrote a story called “To Write Love on Her Arms” about helping a friend through her struggle with drug addiction, depression, and self-injury. The piece was so hauntingly beautiful that it quickly went viral, giving birth to a non-profit organization of the same name. Nine years later, To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is an internationally-recognized leader in suicide prevention and a source of hope, encouragement, and resources for people worldwide. If You Feel Too Much is a celebration of hope, wonder, and what it means to be human. From personal stories of struggling on days most people celebrate to offering words of strength and encouragement in moments of loss, the essays in this book invite readers to believe that it’s okay to admit to pain and it’s okay to ask for help.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe tell : the little clues that reveal big truths about who we are
“In The Tell, psychologist Matthew Hertenstein reveals that our intuition is surprisingly good at using small clues to make big predictions, and shows how we can make better decisions by homing in on the right details. Just as expert poker players use their opponents’ tells to see through their bluffs, Hertenstein shows that we can likewise train ourselves to read physical cues to significantly increase our predictive acumen. By looking for certain clues, we can accurately call everything from election results to the likelihood of marital success, IQ scores to sexual orientation. Moreover, by understanding how people read our body language, we can adjust our own behavior so as to ace our next job interview or tip the dating scales in our favor.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhat’s your story? : true experiences from complete strangers
“In 2009, Brandon Doman, who has always been curious about the people with whom we share our world, sat at a local coffeehouse and decided to ask passersby a simple question: “What’s your story?” Providing only paper and pens, Doman created an exploratory space that instantly intrigued people to share their stories anonymously. Now, more than 10,000 stories later, the Strangers Project has become a momentous movement, engaging strangers of all ages and backgrounds to reflect, rejoice, heal, and connect through words. Published here for the first time, What’s Your Story? showcases a selection of two hundred stories from the Strangers Project.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnger management for dummies
“Anger is a completely normal, healthy human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems at work, in personal relationships, and in the overall quality of life. Anger Management For Dummies provides trusted and authoritative information on anger management methods, skills, and exercises that will help you or a loved one identify sources of anger and release them healthily. With the tools, tips, and strategies provided in this hands-on guide, you’ll find everything you need to overcome anger and live a happier, more productive life.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverI am smart : a guide to recognizing and developing your child’s natural strengths
A leading educator and psychologist, Dr. Markova noticed in her decades of work that parents tend to focus on correcting their children’s weaknesses. But in this groundbreaking book based on the world-renowned SmartWired program, Dawna demonstrates a more effective strategy that centers on building a child’s strengths. This approach not only helps children discover their passion and purpose in life but also instills in them a strong sense of self-worth — which in turn makes them highly motivated to learn. This book helps recognize and utilize all the ways a child is naturally brilliant.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverRaising happiness : 10 simple steps for more joyful kids and happier parents
“Drawing on what hard science says about the factors that breed happiness in childhood and beyond, here are 10 simple principles for fostering the skills and habits that will set the stage for optimism, emotional health, and confidence for kids. Drawing on what psychology, sociology, and neuroscience have proven about confidence, gratefulness, and optimism, and using her own chaotic and often hilarious real-world adventures as a mom to demonstrate do’s and don’ts in action, Carter covers the day-to-day pressure points of parenting—how best to discipline, get kids to school and activities on time, and get dinner on the table—as well as the more elusive issues of helping children build healthy friendships and develop emotional intelligence.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverMindfulness & the journey of bereavement : restoring hope after a death
“The emotional responses to death are unpredictable and individual, with denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance all natural stages of the grief cycle. Mindfulness & The Journey of Bereavement explores the universal, life-changing journey of grief and offers insight into how we can understand our feelings, nourish our needs, and face the future positively, with hope. Bereavement volunteer Peter Bridgewater shares therapeutic tools into how the practice of mindfulness can develop a conscious awareness of life and death. With frank personal and professional anecdotes, he helps us to navigate the trauma of loss with clarity and wisdom.” (from

Syndetics book coverThe forgiveness project : stories for a vengeful age
The Forgiveness Project grew out of a conviction that people’s perspectives only shift when they are able to hear the stories of others. In ten years it has become a high impact and influential charity that has wide application and a universal draw on people. Using real stories of victims and perpetrators, the charity sets out to explore concepts of forgiveness and conflict resolution in order to humanise the ‘other’, foster resilient relationships and help to dissolve tension.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverReconnecting with the heart : making sense of our feelings
Reconnecting with the Heart offers a new theoretical and practical approach to understanding and managing feelings. We categorise feelings as either negative or positive, which means that we censor the expression of some while insisting on others. Learning to understand the whole range of emotions helps us learn when and how to communicate them effectively. Feelings are not only mental events, but occur in our bodies as well. Once we stop blaming others, we can learn how to communicate clearly, even in the most difficult situations. Specific suggestions and exercises enable the reader to use this as a workbook for individual and personal exploration.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRethinking narcissism : the bad– and surprising good– about feeling special
“Narcissism, argues Dr. Malkin, is essentially a spectrum of self-importance–and everyone falls somewhere on the scale between utter selflessness and total arrogance. When we casually invoke the term “narcissist,” most of us are referring to the outer edge of the spectrum, which can shade into dangerous psychopathy. But there are also those who live at the lower end of the spectrum–dubbed “echoists”. Dr. Malkin uses vivid stories of people from all walks of life to teach concrete strategies for spotting–and coping with–excessive narcissism. He explains why embracing some degree of narcissism is essential to maintaining a healthy sense of self-worth. The Narcissism Test not only guides readers through the process of measuring their narcissism, but also offers step-by-step advice to prevent unhealthy narcissism and to nurture healthy narcissism.” (adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverOn emotional intelligence.
“In his defining work on emotional intelligence, bestselling author Daniel Goleman found that it is twice as important as other competencies in determining outstanding leadership. If you read nothing else on emotional intelligence, read these 10 articles by experts in the field. We’ve combed through hundreds of articles in the Harvard Business Review archive and selected the most important ones to help you boost your emotional skills–and your professional success.”  (Syndetics summary)

Finding balance, calm and understanding in a hectic world – New Self-help books in July

This month’s selection delves into the workings of co-dependent relationships and offers tools to free yourself from them, cultivating intimacy, yet separateness, creativity and inner peace.
We also examine the role of death in life and the devastating effect of twin bereavement and loss and how to deal with it.

Syndetics book coverHow to predict the unpredictable : the art of outsmarting almost everyone
“We are hard-wired to believe that the world is more predictable than it is. We chase ‘winning streaks’ that are often just illusions, and we are all too predictable exactly when we try hardest not to be. In the 1970s, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky coined the phrase ‘representativeness’ to describe the psychology of this behaviour. Poundstone makes these techniques fun, easy, and profitable for everyone, in the everyday situations that matter. You’ll learn how to tackle multiple choice tests, what internet passwords to avoid, how to up your odds of winning the office Premier League sweepstakes, and the best ways to invest your money.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe joy of missing out : finding balance in a wired world
“Over the past few decades, the world has embraced “progress” and we’re living with the resultant clicking, beeping, anxiety-inducing frenzy. But a creative backlash is gathering steam, helping us cope with the avalanche of data that threatens to overwhelm us daily through our computers, tablets and smartphones. The Joy of Missing Out considers the technologically focused life, with its impacts on our children, relationships, communities, health, work and more, and suggests opportunities for those of us longing to cultivate a richer on- and off-line existence. This book is a must-read for anyone wishing to rediscover quietness of mind, and seeking a sense of peace amidst the cacophony of the modern world.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverCalm : calm the mind, change the world
“Join the Calm revolution. Modern life is hectic and relentless. There has never been a more important time to rediscover your pause button. Calm is the book that will show you how to take back a little bit of peace, space and all-important calm. It is a practical and pleasurable guide to twenty-first century mindfulness. Regular meditation is medically proven to be good for you.  Calm is about simple, achievable habits that work with the demands of your busy life instead of pretending those demands don’t exist. Calm does not require specialist training: it uses abilities that every single one of us is born with, like creativity, spontaneity and simply noticing the world around you. Calm demystifies mindfulness and shows you the many simple ways to be mindful while carrying on with your life.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe upside of stress : why stress is good for you, and how to get good at it
“The author of The Willpower Instinct delivers a controversial and groundbreaking new book that overturns long-held beliefs about stress. More than forty-four percent of Americans admit to losing sleep over stress. And while most of us do everything we can to reduce it, Stanford psychologist and bestselling author Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., delivers a startling message: Stress isn’t bad. In The Upside of Stress, McGonigal highlights new research indicating that stress can, in fact, make us stronger, smarter, and happier–if we learn how to embrace it. McGonigal combines science, stories, and exercises into an engaging and practical book that is both entertaining and life-changing. McGonigal’s TED talk on the subject has already received more than 7 million views.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverNo one understands you and what to do about it
“Have you ever felt you’re not getting through to the person you’re talking to, or not coming across the way you intend? You’re not alone. That’s the bad news. But there is something we can do about it. Heidi Grant Halvorson, social psychologist and bestselling author, explains why we’re often misunderstood and how we can fix that. Most of us assume that other people see us as we see ourselves, and that they see us as we truly are.  You can learn to clarify the message you’re sending once you understand the lenses that shape perception. Once you understand the science of perception, you’ll communicate more clearly, send the messages you intend to send, and improve your personal relationships.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe worm at the core : on the role of death in life
“Drawing from innovative experiments conducted around the globe, Solomon, Greenberg, and Pyszczynski show conclusively that the fear of death and the desire to transcend it inspire us to buy expensive cars, crave fame, put our health at risk, and disguise our animal nature. The fear of death can also prompt judges to dole out harsher punishments, make children react negatively to people different from themselves, and inflame intolerance and violence. But The Worm at the Core  offers a compelling new paradigm for understanding the choices we make in life–and a pathway toward divesting ourselves of the cultural and personal illusions that keep us from accepting the end that awaits us all.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverInvisible chains : overcoming coercive control in your intimate relationship
“When a man showers all of his attention on a woman, it can feel incredibly romantic, and can blind her to hints of a darker side. But what happens when that attentiveness starts to feel like domination? For certain men, the desire to control leads to jealousy, possessiveness, micromanaging–even physical violence. Understanding what this destructive pattern looks like and why it occurs is the first step toward repairing or ending a relationship that has become toxic. Readers get vital tools for determining if they are in danger and if their partner can change and for getting their freedom back.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLessons of lifelong intimacy : building a stronger marriage without losing yourself–the 9 principles of a balanced and happy relationship
“Michael Gurian offers a groundbreaking plan for couples seeking to build a healthy relationship, work through past hurts, and create greater intimacy. Recent university studies show that the most frequent reason relationships dissolve is not abuse, alcoholism, money, or even infidelity, but rather a lack of emotional fulfillment. Most books on love and marriage focus on teaching communication and conflict skills, but neglect to help couples with the “other half” of intimacy–separateness. In this practical yet personal guide to love, Gurian details the benefits of creating a lifelong balance of closeness and separateness. Rich with examples and case studies, this book presents strategies for communication and conflict that build more emotional balance, while showing how intimate separateness can be the key to lifelong happiness.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverRainbow way : cultivating creativity in the midst of motherhood
“Visioned as the guide and mentor that most creative women yearn for, but never find in their daily lives, The Rainbow Way explores the depths of the creative urge, from psychological, biological, spiritual and cultural perspectives. This positive, nurturing and practical book will help to empower you to unlock your creative potential within the constraints of your demanding life as a mother.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe lone twin : understanding twin bereavement and loss
“People are fascinated with twins – intrigued by their closeness with each other. But what happens when twins are separated, especially by death? Twin mortality is high, but it is not uncommon for a lone twin’s loss, at any age, to go unmarked. They need extra help and support to take them through the loss of their ‘other half.’ Working as an Attachment therapist, Joan Woodward uses John Bowlby’s theories as her conceptual base for her research. In this book, she suggests that the highly significant attachment that twins make with each other may begin, for many, before birth. This is an important and rare book for many professionals – counselors, psychotherapists, social workers, psychologists, and teachers – who come into contact with bereaved twins and yet have little understanding of the dynamics of twinship and of twin loss.” (Syndetics)

Rejection, Fear & Anger – How to turn negatives into positives – June Self-Help

In this month’s selection, we discover insight from scientists, researchers but also real-life accounts showing us how we can truly maximize our potential. With an appreciation of our entire psychological toolkit, we enable ourselves to climb the highest mountains and handle the deepest valleys.

Syndetics book coverRejection proof : how I beat fear and became invincible through 100 days of rejection
“Jia Jiang came to the United States with the dream of being the next Bill Gates. But despite early success in the corporate world, his first attempt to pursue his entrepreneurial dream ended in rejection. He realized he needed to find a way to cope with being told no without letting it destroy him. Thus was born his “100 days of rejection” experiment, during which he willfully sought rejection on a daily basis. Jia learned that even the most preposterous wish may be granted if you ask in the right way, and shares the secret of successful asking, how to pick targets, and how to tell when an initial no can be converted into something positive. Filled with great stories and valuable insight, Rejection Proof is a fun and thoughtful examination of how to overcome fear and dare to live more boldly.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSanctuary : the discovery of wonder
“An engaging and moving book full of spiritual insight, wisdom, and warmth, this book is the result of a decade of exploration and contemplation of the concept of sanctuary. It is written in a way that happily combines reason and imagination, poetry and critical thinking, knowledge and originality. Sanctuary cuts across genres: at once a spiritual memoir; a collection of personal journal entries and brief discourses; and a window into the views of influential writers, thinkers and poets, and of the author’s friends and acquaintances.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverResilience : hard-won wisdom for living a better life
“Two years ago, Eric Greitens unexpectedly heard from a former SEAL comrade, a brother-in-arms he hadn’t seen in a decade. Zach Walker had been one of the toughest of the tough. But ever since he returned home from war, he’d been struggling. Without a sense of purpose, plagued by PTSD, and masking his pain with heavy drinking, he needed help. Zach and Eric started writing and talking nearly every day, and Eric set down his thoughts on what it takes to build resilience in our lives. Eric’s letters–drawing on both his own experience and wisdom from ancient and modern thinkers–are now gathered and edited into a timeless handbook. They explain how we can build purpose, confront the pain in our lives, practice compassion, develop our vocations, find a mentor, create happiness, follow a role model, think about the story of our lives, and much more.” (Syndetics summary)

fear cureThe fear cure : cultivating courage as medicine for the body, mind, and soul
“Not many people in the medical world are talking about how being afraid can make us sick-but the truth is that fear, left untreated, becomes a serious risk factor for conditions from heart disease to diabetes to cancer. Now Lissa Rankin, M.D., explains why we need to heal ourselves from the fear that puts our health at risk and robs our lives of joy-and shows us how fear can ultimately cure us by opening our eyes to all that needs healing in our lives. Drawing on peer-reviewed studies and powerful true stories, The Fear Cure presents a breakthrough understanding of fear’s effects and charts a path back to wellness and wholeness on every level. Using exercises from a wide range of mind-body practices and spiritual traditions, Dr. Rankin teaches us how to map out our own courage-cultivating journey, write personalized Prescription for Courage, and step into a more authentic life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA curious mind : the secret to a bigger life
“For decades, film and TV producer Brian Grazer has scheduled a weekly “curiosity conversation” with an accomplished stranger. From scientists to spies, and adventurers to business leaders, Grazer has met with anyone willing to answer his questions for a few hours. These informal discussions sparked the creative inspiration behind many of Grazer’s movies and TV shows, including Splash , 24 , A Beautiful Mind , Apollo 13 , Arrested Development , 8 Mile , J. Edgar , Empire , and many others. A Curious Mind is a brilliantly entertaining, fascinating, and inspiring homage to the power of inquisitiveness and the ways in which it deepens and improves us.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIncognito : the secret lives of the brain
” In this sparkling and provocative new book, the renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman navigates the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate surprising mysteries. Taking in brain damage, plane spotting, dating, drugs, beauty, infidelity, synesthesia, criminal law, artificial intelligence, and visual illusions, Incognito is a thrilling subsurface exploration of the mind and all its contradictions.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe secret letters of the monk who sold his Ferrari
” Jonathan Landry is a man in trouble. After a bizarre encounter with his lost relative Julian Mantle–a former high-powered courtroom lawyer who suddenly vanished into the Himalayas–Jonathan is compelled to travel across the planet to collect the life-saving letters that carry the extraordinary secrets that Julian discovered. The remarkable journey of The Secret Letters of the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari reveals astounding insights on reclaiming your personal power, being true to yourself and fearlessly living your dreams.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI want to be calm : how to de-stress
“With the stress and strains of modern life, it is increasingly difficult to be the peaceful and serene spirit that we all wish to be. In I Want to Be Calm, Harriet Griffey explores the issues we may face in our day-to-day lives that make us feel stressed, anxious, depressed or overwhelmed, and shares practical advice on how to overcome them. Covering topics such as the worry cycle, managing emotions and mindful meditation, Harriet shows how to implement easy but effective approaches to find calm. She looks at how we can practice mindfulness at home and work, how to pursue better relationships and making mindful decisions like choosing peace and living in the moment, plus more.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGirl in the dark
“Anna Lyndsey was living a normal life. She enjoyed her job, she was ambitious, she was falling in love. Then the unthinkable happened. It began with a burning sensation on her face when she was exposed to computer screens and fluorescent lighting. Then the burning spread and the problematic light sources proliferated. Now her extreme sensitivity to light in all forms means she must spend much of her life in total darkness. During the best times, she can venture cautiously outside at dusk and dawn, avoiding high-strength streetlamps. During the worst, she must spend months in a darkened room, listening to audiobooks, inventing word-games and fighting to keep despair at bay. Told with great beauty, humour and honesty, Girl in the Dark is the astonishing and uplifting account of Anna’s descent into the depths of her extraordinary illness.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLife loves you : 7 spiritual practices to heal your life.
“The authors of Life Loves You look at what “Life loves YOU” really means–that life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you. But the authors don’t expect readers to take their word for it. In fact, they outline seven practical and straightforward experiments that will help readers experience the loving universe for themselves. These experiments include: Looking in the Mirror, Affirming Your Life, Following Your Joy, Forgiving the Past, Being Grateful Now, Learning to Receive, Healing the Future.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe upside of your dark side : why being your whole self–not just your “good” self–drives success and fulfillment
“In The Upside of Your Dark Side, two pioneering researchers in the field of psychology show that while mindfulness, kindness, and positivity can take us far, they cannot take us all the way. Sometimes, they can even hold us back. Emotions such as anger, anxiety, guilt, and sadness might feel uncomfortable, but it turns out that they are also incredibly useful. In the same vein, we can become wiser and more effective when we harness the darker parts of our personality in certain situations. The key lies in what the authors call “emotional, social, and mental agility,” the ability to access our full range of emotions and behavior-not just the “good” ones-in order to respond most effectively to whatever situation we might encounter. The Upside of Your Dark Side is a refreshing reality check that shows us how we can truly maximize our potential.” (Syndetics)

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)

Mindfulness, grief and self-love – New Self-Help books in April

Lessons from this month’s selection include:

How to find your true self behind the performance of relationships,
How to integrate mindfulness in your life, at work and at home,
How to be more tolerant and accepting of yourself,
How to deal with grief when your parents pass away.

Syndetics book coverScary close : dropping the act and finding true intimacy
“In a conversational tone, Miller discloses thoughts about intimacy and how to find it: taking off the masks worn to hide the true self. The personality we show to the world often is that of a performer, created to hide who we are while trying to win approval and get attention, he says. Miller’s contemplations come as the result of courting his wife, Betsy, who changed his thinking when it came to relationships with women. Short chapters tackle topics that range from personal memories and experiences to practical advice about factors that affect people as they develop relationships.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book cover Mindful work : how meditation is changing business from the inside out 
“Big business often seems the reserve of ruthless money-grubbers desperately looking for a way to make their next buck. But a quiet revolution is reshaping the corporate world, as the world’s most dynamic entrepreneurs and businesspeople are starting to change how a successful business is run. A new breed of mindful managers are using meditation, yoga and other Zen techniques to focus on feeling good while making money – and using the money to do good too. Materialism is out and mindfulness is in. Featuring insights from high-level managers at Fortune 500 companies through to Google employees and the Dalai Lama himself, Mindful Work is an inspirational guide to mindfulness based in the realities of running a successful business.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sweet spot : how to find your groove at home and work 
“In The Sweet Spot, Carter shares what she calls “the sweet spot equation,” a combination of strategies and practices for attaining happiness without giving up success, and for achieving success without compromising happiness. Using a simple formula, The Sweet Spot shows us how to take a brief recess, an inoculation against “The Overwhelm” and the key to converting stress into productive and creative energy institute daily micro-habits that free you up to focus on and enjoy more important things unplug from seemingly time-saving gadgets that can sap our strength, and use technology more strategically prioritize our relationships, making use of the hard science that points out how healthy connections help us thrive.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverTame your inner critic : find peace & contentment to live your life on purpose
“This book takes you on a journey of self-discovery, exploring the energy of your thoughts and turning the negative into positive. Discover how to use your innate intuitive abilities to heal these energies and discard judgments and criticisms that have built up over the years. Find your true north – your own internal wisdom that is connected to the divine and gives you guidance. With specialised exercises and meditations, this book shows you how to banish negativity, improve your relationships and realise new ways to share your gifts with the world around you.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverI [heart] me : the science of self-love
“In this transformational book bestselling author David Hamilton fuses science with self-help to offer simple yet powerful strategies for learning to love yourself. Throughout I Heart Me, you will learn that loving yourself means more than feeling good about yourself or being kind to yourself – it’s about being self-confident, being able to express yourself without fear, being unconcerned about whether you’re liked, and living your own life – not someone else’s idea of what your life should be. With the most up-to-date research and findings on the subject of self-love, this book offers simple ways to achieve significant breakthroughs in your own journey to self-acceptance.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverBeyond willpower : the secret principle to achieving success in life, love, and happiness
“Based on more than twenty-five years of clinical experience, and rooted in science, ancient wisdom and proven therapeutic techniques, this programme will help you remove any personal obstacles so that you can achieve health, wealth, and relationship success beyond your dreams.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverEmpower yourself : daily affirmations to reclaim your power!
Following the overwhelming response to Treasure Yourself, Miranda continues to explore similar themes in her latest title, providing insight on what she believes it means for young, modern women to be empowered in all areas of life and how this can be achieved. For Miranda, one of the most powerful tools to facilitate change, both in her own life, and in the lives of others, is the use of positive affirmations. Here, she has written over 250 personal affirmations that can be used to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle, harmonious relationships, fulfilling career and happiness.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHealing the adult child’s grieving heart : 100 practical ideas after your parent dies
“Offering heartfelt and simple advice, this book provides realistic suggestions and relief for an adult child whose parent has died. Practical advice is presented in a one-topic-per-page format that does not overwhelm with psychological language, but provides small, immediate ways to understand and reconcile grief. The common challenges that face grieving adult children, such as helping the surviving parent, resolving sibling conflicts, and legal and financial issues, are addressed clearly and concisely.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMidlife orphan : facing life’s changes now that your parents are gone
“The word “orphan” usually calls to mind the image of a child. But even self-sufficient adults can feel the pain of “orphanhood” when their parents are suddenly gone. Complicating the natural mourning process is the fact that this loss often occurs in our thirties, forties, or fifties — as we are raising our own children, watching them leave the nest, and facing other adjustments in our lives, from our jobs to our marriages to our health.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe big little book of resilience : how to bounce back from adversity and lead a fulfilling life
“Most of us set out quietly hoping for, and secretly expecting to live a happy, successful and healthy life. But life doesn’t always go to plan.The Big Little Book of Resilience is about developing flexibility, acceptance and self-compassion when those plans go awry. In this beautifully illustrated book, Matthew Johnstone guides the reader to an understanding of how resilience plays a key role in wellbeing. He offers an accessible roadmap to developing and maintaining resilience and how it can help you overcome and learn from difficult life events.” (Syndetics)

February Self help – Overcoming obstacles to achieve success

Success is a very subjective concept and can take many forms. What is success for one person might not be for the next. Is financial wealth a real success if your heart is not content? Can you reach fulfillment without money? What are your goals in life? Professional success, academic or sporting achievement, a happy romantic relationship, having a lot of friends or having only a few very close ones, fighting for a worthy cause? Does change make you anxious or do your thrive for novelty and adventures? Everyone will have a different answer to these questions. Whatever your life’s quest, this month’s selection should give you some useful insight on the way to a content life.

Syndetics book coverThe millionaire mystique : how working women become wealthy– and how you can, too!
“Business psychologist Jude Miller Burke looks at today’s self-made female millionaires and how they successfully manage career and family life. What can struggling women learn from them? Miller Burke backs up her findings using results from a ground breaking study of millionaire women. In this book will you’ll learn: the surprising number of millionaire women who were successful in their careers in spite of difficult, even abusive childhoods; why starting “at the bottom” isn’t a disadvantage and how you can build on your childhood and early career circumstances, whatever they are; what personality factors wealthy working women have in common and how to foster them for yourself; how to develop the two most critical traits for overcoming obstacles to success. Jude Miller Burke is a business psychologist, executive coach, and a millionaire.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverRewire your anxious brain : how to use the neuroscience of fear to end anxiety, panic, & worry
“Do you ever wonder what is happening inside your brain when you feel anxious, panicked, and worried? In Rewire Your Anxious Brain, psychologist Catherine Pittman and author Elizabeth Karle offer a unique, evidence-based solution to overcoming anxiety based in cutting-edge neuroscience and research. In the book, you will learn how the amygdala and cortex (both important parts of the brain) are essential players in the neuropsychology of anxiety. The amygdala acts as a primal response, and oftentimes, when this part of the brain processes fear, you may not even understand why you are afraid. By comparison, the cortex is the centre of “worry.” The author offers specific examples of how to manage fear by tapping into both of these pathways in the brain. As you read, you’ll gain a greater understanding how anxiety is created in the brain, and as a result, you will feel empowered and motivated to overcome it.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverManaging for change : how to make your future brighter, today
“The world around us is constantly changing – and at a faster and faster rate. These changes have an impact on our lives at many different levels. It’s possible that the things we are doing now will not work in the future. So how do we alter our current trajectory? And to where should we set our new course? And if change is inevitable, why not plan for it? And why not go one step further – and actually manage for it? Letting change happen to us is no guarantee of a happy and successful life. Reaching that goal for now and tomorrow means constantly assessing the future and developing skills in predicting and managing the forces of change. Managing for Change is your guide to doing just that.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHow the body knows its mind : the surprising power of the physical environment to influence how you think and feel 
“Though the brain is the organ most commonly associated with thinking, psychologist Beilock (Choke) makes a fairly fresh case about the rest of the body’s contribution to the process. The book begins with the premise that the body’s interaction with its physical surroundings affects cognition, and Beilock goes on to show how the body can be used to manipulate everyday perceptions. She builds her argument with a variety of anecdotes and cultural references. Often these examples flip conventional wisdom to highlight the influence of our body on thought. For example, she connects the correlation between musical ability and IQ to finger dexterity. Beilock offers an unconventional perspective that will stimulate the mind.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverYou can be happy : 101 ways to smile
Imagine you have been told that this is the last day of your life and you have twelve hours to live .. ..are you really going to worry about the report you haven’t finished for work, the negative comment you received from a friend a year ago or how you will manage Christmas at your place this year? Probably not! This book will help you to place all life issues into perspective, recognise your strengths, become more assertive and in doing so increase significantly your happiness level for the rest of your life. This book provides useful strategies for you to focus on breaking through the roadblocks to smile and step back onto the happiness path. Smiling is contagious. People around you will be smiling too.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverImproving your memory : how to remember what you’re starting to forget
This book provides readers with tools for understanding and improving memory, including sixteen helpful exercises. Simple techniques like writing information down, creating a catch word or phrase, altering something in your environment, and reviewing details in advance can put you actively in charge of retrieving information more easily. As in previous editions, Improving Your Memory reinforces memory techniques through real-life examples. This accessible handbook also discusses how memory works; how it changes with age, stress, illness, and depression; and why people remember what they do. Many readers will see immediate improvement in their memory after reading the book.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe energies of love : using energy medicine to keep your relationship thriving
“A relationship begins with the meeting of two unique energies. This union of energies determines the way you communicate, fight, love, and want to be loved. Donna Eden and David Feinstein draw on the real-life experiences of couples who have attended their popular ‘Energies of Love’ workshops, as well as their own experience as husband and wife, to show how an understanding of your energy system and that of your partner can help you build a more harmonious and loving bond. We all have different ways of making sense of the world around us, but when faced with conflict, especially with those we care most about, we tend to revert to one of four ‘Energetic Stress Styles’. The Energies of Love is filled with tools to help you diffuse arguments and energy exercises to increase your overall sense of joy and wellbeing.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMindfulness : 25 ways to live in the moment through art
“In this internationally best-selling book, French psychiatrist Andre guides the reader through the practice of mindfulness to art itself. Using color photographs of classic and modern works, the author shows readers how to quiet the outer world and intensify their presence in the moment, neither trying to escape it or change it. Andre responds to each art piece in terms of feelings and sensory perceptions, helping readers to visualize themselves inside the canvas, smelling, hearing, and really seeing the scene. A fascinating book!” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverImagine this : creating the work you love 
“Life coach and poet Clair (Rattlebone) advocates the New Age mission of self-realization with this succinct, easy-to-follow workbook. A survivor of domestic abuse, Clair earned two advanced degrees; after a long career as a medical technologist, she became an English professor at George Washington University and an award-winning writer. Setting the example for how self-realization improved her life, she outlines the journey to empowerment that worked for her in nine steps: for example, the first step toward “pursuing a greater sense of wakefulness” is simply to keep a journal. For those who may be floundering, she advises looking for inspiration in “places that hold your idea of beauty” or simply chilling by watching “wall paper dry”.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverIt’s not about the shark : how to solve unsolvable problems / David Niven, PhD.
“”We limit what we think is possible based on the boundaries the problems set for us,” Niven asserts. “We stare at our problems and cannot see anything else.” Niven uses Steven Spielberg as an example, explaining how the malfunctioning mechanical shark built for Jaws forced the director to suggest, rather than show, his story’s antagonist for most of the movie. According to the book, focusing on a problem can make it harder to find an answer; conversely, looking away from a problem often makes it easier to find a solution. While it’s natural to be scared of failing, particularly when trying new things, Niven advises readers to “fail with joy,” and relish the freedom to explore new alternatives that present themselves with failure. This fresh, enthusiastic approach to problem-solving will encourage readers to open themselves up to opportunity and make for a valuable addition to anyone’s self-help shelf.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe motivation manifesto : 9 declarations to claim your personal power
“Burchard reveals that the main motive of humankind is the pursuit of greater Personal Freedom. We desire the grand liberties of choice–time freedom, emotional freedom, social freedom, financial freedom, spiritual freedom. Only two enemies stand in our way: an external enemy, defined as the social oppression of who we are by the mediocre masses, and an internal enemy, a sort of self-oppression caused by our own doubt and fear. The march to Personal Freedom, Burchard argues, can be won only by declaring our intent and independence, stepping into our personal power, and battling through self-doubt and the distractions of the day until full victory is won.” (Syndetics)


January Self-Help – A life worth living

A New Year selection to inspire you to make the most of life by guiding you to a truer, better self and helping you pinpoint what really matters to you, prioritise and learn to say NO. Wisdom in several cases comes from people approaching death and reflecting back on their own lives.

Syndetics book coverYour year for change : 52 reflections for regret-free living
“Having spent several years listening to, and then writing about the regrets of dying people, Bronnie Ware understands the importance of acknowledging death and finding the courage to live a happy and authentic life in the meantime. In this tender yet influential collection, Bronnie Ware shares 52 inspiring stories, woven among observations from her daily life, strengthening you with the values needed for regret-free living. Bronnie’s ability to open your eyes to new perspectives will also open your heart to new strengths and dreams. “Your Year for Change” is a gentle and powerful book that will leave you determined to embrace your life, forgive your past, honor your heart, and create a regret-free future of happiness and wonder.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverDesign your life
“Design plays an essential role in our daily lives. You don’t have to be a designer to design your life. But it doesn’t hurt to have some professional help. It took designer Vince Frost more than 25 years as a professional to appreciate the power of the design process as a means for improving his life. ‘If my design process brings value to me, perhaps it can bring value to others. Or, more radically, bring others to recognise their own value.’ This book will not solve your problems but it will inspire you to work better at living better.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverWhy mindfulness is better than chocolate : your guide to inner peace, enhanced focus and deep happiness
“Mindfulness practice can help you reduce stress, improve performance, manage pain and increase wellbeing. These are the reasons why elite athletes, performing artists and business leaders are taking up the practice, and why it is being introduced into the world’s most successful companies, banks, business schools – even the US Army…David Michie introduces mindfulness practice and offers innovative solutions to common obstacles. Drawing on ancient Buddhist teachings and contemporary science, he also takes us beyond ‘mindfulness lite,’ offering lucid instructions on how to experience the pristine nature of one’s own consciousness directly. It will make chocolate taste better too!” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPlaying big : find your voice, your vision and make things happen
“The groundbreaking book that gives every woman the practical skills they need to begin playing big. Five years ago, Tara Mohr began to see a pattern in her work as an expert in leadership: women with tremendous talent, ideas and ambition were not recognising their own brilliance. They felt that they were “playing small” in their lives and careers and wanted to “play bigger” but didn’t know how. And so, Tara devised a step-by-step programme for playing big from inside out: this book is the result. It provides real, practical tools to help women trust their instincts; identify and pursue their callings; become their own mentor; and take bold actions to make their ideas a reality.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverOvercoming anxiety for dummies
“This book explains the difference between normal everyday anxiety and anxiety that requires attention and treatment. It also includes updated information on treatment and getting help, including organisations in Australia and New Zealand that assist people with anxiety. Packed with practical strategies for feeling better, this handy guide is perfect for anyone who wants to treat their minor anxiety on their own or find out whether they need professional assistance.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMindfulness @ work : reduce stress, live in the moment, and be happier and more productive at work
“Work-related stress is an all-too-common part of modern life. The rise of digital media means that many people never really switch off from work and the culture of presenteeism causes us to spend more time at work than never before. Many workers spend a lot of time either ruminating on previous problems or worrying about work-related issues. By applying the principles of mindfulness to our working lives, we can become aware of our habitual negative thoughts and behaviours and learn to recognise and manage the warning signs of stress.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverNegotiating success : tips and tools for building rapport and dissolving conflict while still getting what you want
“How to execute win-win negotiations every time, in business and in life Negotiating Success provides expert guidance on how to improve strategies and outcomes in negotiating anything in professional and personal life. With a constant focus on the mind, body, and spirit of the professional negotiator, this easy-to-read text brings a holistic approach to the skills needed for ethical negotiations. The result is a better understanding of how to negotiate successfully for mutual benefit by all parties. Offers tips and tools, such as how to use positive psychology to unite your team, emotional intelligence for successful negotiation, and how to minimize conflict.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe mind makeover : the answers to becoming the best you yet
“What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? If you’ve ever doubted yourself, allowed other people’s negativity to stop you from doing what you want, or assumed that any success you’ve had in the past was just a case of ‘pure luck’, then you need The Mind Makeover. For many years Sharron Lowe has been the go-to coach for global luxury brands. She has coached thousands of people, helping them to make positive changes in how they think, feel and what they believe is possible.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe four things that matter most : a book about living
“The very same words that allow a life to end peacefully can help readers lead tranquil, meaningful lives. In his work palliative care physician Ira Byock has witnessed the incredible power of four simple sentences: “Please forgive me,” “I forgive you,” “Thank you,” and “I love you.” With considerable empathy and wisdom, he introduces and draws conclusions from his patients’ stories. In doing so, Byock also potently demonstrates how readers can use the four sentences to help fill their “instinctive impulse to give and receive love” and heal rifts.”  (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe power of no : because one little word can bring health, abundance, and happiness
“James and Claudia Altucher have answered tens of thousands of questions in their writings, retreats, talks, and online seminars. The questions cover the entire spectrum of life. Invariably, they look to one little word as the solution: No. No is not only a solution; it is a path for people to heal and bring abundance and happiness into their lives. Every time you say yes to something you don’t want to do you can experience a spate of negative outcomes: resenting people, doing poor quality work, having less energy for the things you actually love, making less money, and so on. With the power of no we can refocus our energies toward living an abundant, healthy, and wealthy life.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe priority list : a teacher’s final quest to discover life’s greatest lessons
“In fall 2006, high school teacher Menasche, then age 34, was diagnosed with an aggressive and deadly type of brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme. Despite these challenges, in November 2012 he embarked on a journey-or Vision Quest, as he calls it-to recover his past by reconnecting with former students. A successful technique he used with students, the “priority list,” was useful in ranking the importance of different values and provided an effective tool for identify one’s own motivations. By reconsidering his priorities, letting others care for him, and giving in to the “beautiful turmoil” of his illness, Menasche has been able to accept the break-up of his marriage and retirement from his job while reaping surprising rewards from his quest. Like Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture, this memoir is a rousing testimony to the ways in which, in the face of death, living fully in the present moment becomes possible.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHow Adam Smith can change your life : an unexpected guide to human nature and happiness
“How the insights of an 18th century economist can help us live better in the 21st century Adam Smith became famous for The Wealth of Nations, but the Scottish economist also cared deeply about our moral choices and behavior–the subjects of his other brilliant book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). Now, economist Russ Roberts shows why Smith’s neglected work might be the greatest self-help book you’ve never read. Roberts offers an accessible and thought-provoking view of human behavior through the lenses of behavioral economics and philosophy.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe art of belonging
“The Art of Belonging advances the argument put forward in Mackay’s bestselling The Good Life: a ‘good life’ is not lived in isolation or in the pursuit of independent goals; a good life is lived at the heart of a thriving community, among people we trust, and within an environment of mutual respect. The Art of Belonging is the book that will reignite the conversation about how we want to live; it will provide the framework for those who argue for a particular vision of community, one that sustains, protects and nurtures the many, and not just the few.” (Syndetics)

November self-help books

This month’s books seem to agree on one thing – it is all in our mind! But there are many ways of interpreting and understanding what we are thinking, how we are feeling and why (sometimes looking at our genetic make-up for clues on our modern psyche), how we decide what to focus on, whether positive psychology is what we need or if it is OK to dwell on negative thoughts.

Syndetics book coverThink like a freak : how to think smarter about almost everything 
“The Freakonomics books have come to stand for something: challenging conventional wisdom; using data rather than emotion to answer questions; and learning to unravel the world’s secret codes. Now Levitt and Dubner have gathered up what they have learned and turned it into a readable and practical toolkit for thinking differently – thinking, that is, like a Freak. Whether you are interested in the best way to improve your odds in penalty kicks, or in major global reforms, here is a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems. ” (

Syndetics book coverNothing changes until you do : a guide to self-compassion and getting out of your own way
“After three years of living his dream as a professional baseball pitcher, Mike Robbins had an arm injury that benched him for good, and when this happened, he had to figure out who he was without the identity of “baseball player”. He quickly realized that the self-criticism and self-doubt he was feeling are epidemic in our culture. In these 40 inspiring stories, Mike shows you how to get out of your own way and make peace with yourself. With humour, authenticity and ease, you’ll learn to have more compassion, more acceptance and more love for yourself – thus giving you access to more for the people (and everything else) in your life.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSnakes, sunrises, and Shakespeare : how evolution shapes our loves and fears
“Our breath catches and we jump in fear at the sight of a snake. We pause and marvel at the sublime beauty of a sunrise. These reactions are no accident; in fact, many of our human responses to nature are steeped in our deep evolutionary past — we fear snakes because of the danger of venom or constriction, and we welcome the assurances of the sunrise as the predatory dangers of the dark night disappear. Many of our aesthetic preferences are the lingering result of natural selection. By applying biological perspectives ranging from Darwin to current neuroscience, Snakes, Sunrises, and Shakespeare transforms how we view our experience of the natural world and how we relate to each other.” (

Syndetics book coverThe complete A to Z dictionary of dreams : be your own dream expert
“Why do you dream about missing a train or teeth falling out? How did you wake up thinking of a tiger at your door? When you dream you unconciously reveal who you are, what you need and what you truly believe. In this book, bestselling dream psychologist Ian Wallace explains the true meaning of over 12,000 dream symbols – newly defined for the 21st century – and teaches you how to become your own dream expert. A dream is just a dream until you put it into action. Understand yours and change the reality of your waking life.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverMindfulness at work for dummies
“Learn to: master your mind by making time for mindfulness in your daily routine; use mindfulness to improve your resilience and wellbeing; improve team performance through mindfulness practice.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverWhen happiness is not enough : balancing pleasure and achievement in your life
“Everybody wants to be happy. But do we really know what happiness is and how it contributes to fulfilling life? In considering these questions, psychologist Chris Skellett proposes that “In order to live a truly fulfilling life, we need to strike a balance between Pleasure and Achievement”. This simple truth, known as the the Pleasure/Achievement Principle, lies at the heart of this entertaining, yet thought-provoking book.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverConstructive wallowing : how to beat bad feelings by letting yourself have them
“If you’ve ever ignored difficult feelings, Gilbertson has written a counterintuitive self-help book that offers constructive advice for boosting self-compassion. She begins with an easy premise: letting yourself experience both positive and negative emotions allows your body to have a healthy balance, which helps you to make informed, rounded decisions. Although it’s a simple premise, it’s certainly not easy to change ingrained habits. Luckily, Gilbertson has foreseen this and included many summaries, examples, and exercises throughout to help the reader cope with anticipated struggles. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBe brilliant every day : use the power of positive psychology to make an impact on life
“The authors of the bestselling The Art of Being Brilliant are here to show us how to get motivated, get positive and get happy, and, most importantly, how to be all three consistently. Every single day. Using a solid understanding of positive psychology, but with clear visual illustrations, simple explanations and a bit of funny stuff, Be Brilliant Everyday shows us how to foster some serious positivity and mental agility and transform our lives. The book is crammed with practical tips to help us ditch those down days and flourish every single day.” (Syndetics)

Internal declutter – October self-development

Finding the essential and rejecting the surperflous in search of a more present, meaningful existence, balancing pleasure and purpose are some of the key concepts explored and discussed in this month’s selection to achieve greater happiness, fulfilment and ultimately health.

Syndetics book coverEssentialism : the disciplined pursuit of less
“McKeown began his mission for a less overcommitted life after he left his wife and hours-old baby in the hospital for an ultimately unproductive client meeting. Punctuated with zippy, thoughtful one-liners, this guide to doing “less but better” offers strategies for determining what is truly necessary, and shedding what is not. Instead of attempting to achieve everything, readers need to figure out how to do the “right thing the right way at the right time.” According to the author, the first step is un-committing: resisting the urge to join clubs, take on hobbies, and maintain unsatisfying friendships. Readers can stop making casual commitments, and can get over their fear of missing out.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverCompelling people : the hidden qualities that make us influential
“When people look at us, what are they seeing? Most of us don’t realize what signals we’re sending, or how, and on what, people are judging us. Neffinger and Kohut, communications strategists and presentation coaches who met writing speeches and editing articles for Harvard faculty, posit that initial character judgments are based on two traits: strength and warmth. As they write, ‘We live most fully when we cultivate both in our lives, when we balance a high degree of individual capability with an unflagging regard for the needs and interests of others’.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book cover“Taming the drunken monkey : the path to mindfulness, meditation, and increased concentration
“In today’s busy world, the mind can often behave like a drunken monkey – stressed, scattered, and out of control. Instead of falling victim to frustration and anxiety, learn to be calm, focused, and free of unwanted thoughts with this easy-to-use guide to mindfulness.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHappiness by design : finding pleasure and purpose in everyday life
“Pretty much all the advice about happiness we have heard revolves around one basic assumption: that we can think ourselves happier. But in this book, behavior and happiness expert Paul Dolan reveals that the key to being happy does not lie in changing how we think–it’s changing what we do. This book combines the latest insights from economics and psychology to illustrate that in order to be happy we must behave happy. Our happiness is experiences of both pleasure and purpose over time and it depends on what we actually pay attention to. Dolan reveals what we can do to find our unique optimal balance of pleasure and purpose, offering practical advice on how to organize our lives in happiness-promoting ways and fresh insights into how we feel.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPsychology : 50 ideas you really need to know
“Packed with the latest research, case studies and the arguments of key thinkers, 50 Psychology Ideas You Really Need to Know is the perfect introduction to psychological theory. Professor Adrian Furham offers concise and accessible essays explaining the central ideas of psychology as well as provising the reader with a rich vocabulary to explain and describe behaviour.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverUnthink
“How to think more successfully, by understanding how our unconscious mind works–and therefore how to lower your grocery bill, get someone to like you, and how best to give good news. Your life is dominated by your unconscious mind: by thoughts you’re unaware of and movements you don’t realize you are making. Words, colors, mannerisms, and other cues you don’t realize are affecting you, change what you think. This book explores the unconscious decisions we make, and… shows us how we can understand ourselves and others better, by having a greater understanding of the way that the unconscious mind has an impact of the way we live our lives.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSuccess, your way : do what you’re meant to do
“Wharton business school professor, G. Richard Shell, teaches you how to define your success personally. But where is the map to help you discover that dream? In Success, Your Way, the author challenges you to set aside ideas of success as defined by society, family, and the media. Shell helps you probe your past, imagine your future, and measure your strengths. By identifying your unique passions and capabilities you will focus more on what gives meaning and excitement to your life. Get ready for the journey of a lifetime – one that will help you reevaluate your future and achieve success on your own terms.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPowers of two : finding the essence of innovation in creative pairs
“All of us have experienced creative connection, and glimpsed its power. Yet, for centuries, the myth of the lone genius has obscured the critical story of the power of collaboration. In Powers of Two, Shenk argues that creative pairs are the exemplars for innovation. Using scientific and psychological insights, he uncovers new truths about epic duos – and sheds new light on the genesis of some of the greatest creative work in history. He reveals hidden partnerships among people known only for their individual work (like C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien), and even ‘adversarial collaborations’ among those who are out to beat each other. This revelatory and lyrical book will make us see creative exchange as the central terrain of our psyches.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverLove objects : emotion, design and material culture
“How are love and emotion embodied in material form? Love Objects explores the emotional potency of things, addressing how objects can function as fetishes, symbols and representations, active participants in and mediators of our relationships, as well as tokens of affection, symbols of virility, triggers of nostalgia, replacements for lost loved ones, and symbols of lost places and times. Addressing both designed ‘things with attitude’ and the ‘wild things’ of material culture, Love Objects explores a wide range of objects, from 19th-century American portraits displaying men’s passionate friendships to the devotional and political meanings of religious statues in 1920s Ireland.” (Syndetics summary)

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