Laughing in the face of Winter : New Personal Development books

If we can’t walk in the sunshine literally, let’s do it mentally and take a walk on the positive side this month! Have a bit of a laugh in the face of winter and explore the concepts of boredom, freedom seeking and embracing amateurism. From seizing the day to wishing away your problems, back around to turning obstacles into triumphs, we have a wide range of hilarious and upbeat books to help get you through those winter blues!

Syndetics book coverYawn : adventures in boredom / Mary Mann.
“The incisive and often hilarious story of one of our most interesting cultural phenomena: boredom. Deftly wrought from interviews, research, and personal experience, Yawn follows Mary Mann’s search through history for the truth about boredom. From fourth-century Christian monks and the first recorded accounts of lethargy, to Thomas Cook and the the birth of tourism, right through to contemporary boredom in couples, prisoners and soldiers. With the sharp wit of Sloane Crosley and the historical acumen of Sarah Vowell, Mann tells the unexpected story of the hunt for a deeper understanding of boredom, in all its absurd, irritating, and inspiring splendor.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWalking on sunshine : 52 small steps to happiness / Rachel Kelly
Walking on Sunshine offers fifty-two tips and tools (one for each week of the year) to increase your happiness year-round and help you manage the mood-altering pressures of everyday life. Some of the strategies relate to particular experiences and events, such as holidays or exams; others are useful at any time. An ideal book to dip into whenever the mood takes you.” (Adapted from Mightyape.co.nz)

Syndetics book coverThe wish : the 99 things we think we want most / Bill Griffin.
“A Few years ago, Bill Griffin launched Crowdwish, a website and app that simply asked people what three things they thought they wanted most. Wishes poured in from all over the world and 99 of the site’s most popular wishes, are reviewed in this book. The result is a snapshot of the hopes, dreams and desires that unite us all, part reflection on a fascinating social experiment, part humorous rumination on the nature of happiness and part instruction manual for life. The Wish is funny, upbeat and genuinely helpful and uniquely the book will be published with 99 different covers, a selection of which can be seen inside the cover.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFreedom seeker : live more, worry less, do what you love / Beth Kempton.
“Are you itching to do something different, but don’t know what or how? Is fear holding you back from living the life you want? Beth Kempton went from being a life-loving, risk-taking adventurer to a grown-up, settled-down mother, wife and business owner, before realizing the life she had built was suffocating her. She set out on a journey to find personal freedom, and along the way encountered many others who were also feeling trapped – by their circumstances, relationships, finances, beliefs, doubts and fears. Freedom Seeker brings together the insights, techniques and wisdom that Beth learned on her journey to freedom and will help you to live more, worry less and find a way to do what you love, every day.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe obstacle is the way : the timeless art of turning trials into triumph / Ryan Holiday
“Throughout history, iconic examples of successful people, who were not exceptionally brilliant, lucky, or gifted, achieved their success by overcoming extreme obstacles following a timeless set of philosophical principles. Now Ryan Holiday unpacks those lessons and reframes them for today’s world, building on the wisdom of the ancient Stoics and a rich trove of examples. He shows us how to turn obstacles into advantages, through controlling our perceptions, swift and energetic action, and true force of will.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMinimalism : live a meaningful life / Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus.
“In their debut book, Joshua & Ryan, authors of the popular website TheMinimalists.com, explore their troubled pasts and descent into depression. After a pair of life-changing events, Joshua & Ryan discovered minimalism, allowing them to eliminate their excess material things so they could focus on life’s most important “things”: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe amateur : the pleasures of doing what you love / Andy Merrifield.
“In a modern world that has been taken over by experts and professionals, Andy Merrifield argues that we have lost our amateur spirit and need to rediscover the radical and liberating pleasure of doing things we love. Work, knowledge, cities and politics — these areas of our lives have fallen into the hands of box tickers, bean counters and rule followers. In response, Merrifield corrals a team of independent thinkers, wayward poets and others who challenge the accepted wisdom, think the unthinkable, seek independence and change the world. The Amateur is a passionate manifesto for the liberated life, one that questions authority and reclaims the non-team player as a radical hero of our times. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCarpe diem : seizing the day in a distracted world / Roman Krznaric
“We’ve all heard the saying “seize the day.” But what does it really mean and how can we use it to jump-start our lives? In the age of distraction, carpe diem is more essential than ever. In this thought-provoking and empowering book, cultural writer Roman Krznaric unpacks the history, philosophy, and modern-day applications of “seizing the day” and delivers a rousing call to action for anyone who wants to improve their lives-or our world. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

A day in your life – October Health

Understanding our biological legacy is an endlessly fascinating pursuit which we can indulge in this month with a few titles that explore our bodily functions, the history of diseases such as tuberculosis and cancer or our reproductive evolution, and our biological adaptation to an  increasinlgy toxic world. The search for tension release cures and techniques also receive some due attention.

syndetics-lcA day in your life
“Have you ever wondered why it takes so long to get out of bed in the morning? And why you always wake up bursting for a pee? Why that small blackhead has erupted into a hideous red spot overnight? And why stepping into a hot shower gives you goose bumps? Following an average family and their daily routine, Dr Hilary Jones takes you on a bold and captivating journey through the human body, answering these questions and hundreds more. From how our bodies function to why they react in certain ways, Dr Hilary tackles the questions that matter and examines what makes us tick. Fascinating and highly entertaining, A Day in Your Life reveals the incredible nature of the human body.” (Syndetics summary)

syndetics-lcOvercome Depression
“At any time, one in twenty people suffers from severe, clinical depression. If you or someone close to you may be one of them, this is book will be your perfect companion through your depression. No book can claim to ‘cure’ depression, which is a serious illness for which people should seek medical help. What this book does is demystify the illness, help remind you that you’re not alone, provide moving case studies of people who have been in similar situations, and talk you through some practical things you can do to alleviate the effects of depression. It also explains the key treatments, including medication, cognitive behavioural therapy, and alternative therapies.” (Syndetics summary)

syndetics-lcBackache, Stress & Tension
“Back pain, stiff neck, and tension headaches are increasingly common ailments that usually affect those who experience too much stress or too little exercise. Featuring new full-color photos this classic text on back pain returns! Dr. Kraus, a world renowned specialist and private doctor to President John F. Kennedy, explains the causes of back pain and what you can do to prevent and alleviate it. Featuring a new foreword by Robert H. Boyle, Backache, Stress, and Tension is the essential handbook for everyone in today’s overworked, overstressed world. 75 color illustrations.” (from amazon.com)

syndetics-lcSpitting blood
“Few diseases have been more inextricably linked with our past than tuberculosis. Through the medieval period to the modern day, Helen Bynum explores the history and devlopmetn of TB throughout the world, touching on the various discoveries that have emerged about the disease. Although concerns about TB faded away for a while, the disease is now back with a vengeance. Bynum describes the emerging picture from WHO of the difficulties in managing new drug-resistant forms. The story of the disease, it seems, is far from over.” (Adapted from book cover)

syndetics-lcNutrition
“High protein, low-calorie, or no-fat? Atkins, Mediterranean, or Paleo? Pursuing a healthy diet can be exhausting, the advice confusing and contradictory. And with headlines endlessly shouting about shocking obesity rates, killer food allergies and super foods that cure cancer, it’s no wonder we feel overwhelmed. Cutting through the information overload, Sarah Brewer covers all the main debates and brings us back to the facts. From the mechanics of digestion and methods of healthy weight loss to the chemistry of key nutrients and their influence on common medical conditions, this is essentiel reading for anyone interested in making informed decisions about their diet.” (From book cover)

syndetics-lcBack in balance
“Helping you to discover how your posture and movements may be having detrimental effect on your health, this guide offers simple but effective ways of reducing muscular tension and stress on the bones and joints – and making your life pain free.” (From book cover)

syndetics-lcMindfulness – a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world
“Based on cognitive therapy principles, Mindfulness reveals a set of simple yet powerful practices that you can incorporate into daily life to help break the cycle of anxiety, stress, unhappiness and exhaustion. It helps promote a genuine joie de vivre; the kind of happiness that gets into your bones and allows you to meet the worst that life throws at you with new courage.” (adapted from book cover)

syndetics-lcThe Cancer chronicles – Unlocking medicine’s deepest mystery
“When the woman he loved was diagnosed with a metastatic cancer, science writer George Johnson embarked on a journey to learn everything he could about the disease and the people who dedicate their lives to understanding and combating it. What he discovered is a revolution under way – an explosion of new ideas about what cancer really is and where it comes from. In a provocative and intellectually vibrant exploration, he takes us on an adventure through the history and recent advances of cancer research that will challenge everything you thought you knew about the disease.” (Book cover)

syndetics-lcHow we do it
“Despite our seemingly endless fascination with sex and parenting, the origins of our reproductive lives remain a mystery. Why are a quarter of a billion sperm cells needed to fertilize one egg? Are women really fertile for only a few days each month? How long should women breast-feed? In [this book], primatologist Robert Martin draws on forty years of research to locate the origins of everything from sex cells to baby care, and to reveal what’s really natural when it comes to making and raising babies. He acknowledges that although it’s not realistic to reproduce like our ancestors did, there are surprising consequences to behavior we take for granted, such as bottle feeding, cesarean sections, and in vitro fertilization.” (from Amazon.com)

syndetics-lcEvolution in a toxic world
“With BPA in baby bottles, mercury in fish, and lead in computer monitors, the world has become a toxic place. But as Emily Monosson demonstrates in her groundbreaking new book, it has always been toxic. When oxygen first developed in Earth’s atmosphere, it threatened the very existence of life: now we literally can’t live without it. According to Monosson, examining how life adapted to such early threats can teach us a great deal about today’s (and tomorrow’s) most dangerous contaminants. While the study of evolution has advanced many other sciences, from conservation biology to medicine, the field of toxicology has yet to embrace this critical approach.
In Evolution in a Toxic World, Monosson seeks to change that. She traces the development of life’s defense systems—the mechanisms that transform, excrete, and stow away potentially harmful chemicals—from more than three billion years ago to today. Beginning with our earliest ancestors’ response to ultraviolet radiation, Monosson explores the evolution of chemical defenses such as antioxidants, metal binding proteins, detoxification, and cell death.” (From amazon.com)

New personal development (self-help) books for February

This month we feature books to help you bounce back from life’s speed bumps, use affirmations, control stress and learn how to observe the myriad of thoughts that can hold us back.  And with Valentines Day over for another year, we’ve also included a straight-talking guide to that most wonderful and, at times perplexing, aspect of love.

Syndetics book coverNo matter what! : 9 steps to living the life you want / Lisa Nichols.
“From bestselling author and motivational speaker Lisa Nichols comes a unique and powerful inspirational program that will both move you and empower you to realize your dreams. Millions are trying to live by The Secret’s Law of Attraction, but the truth is it won’t work unless you flex your all-important “bounce-back” muscles, which give you the ability to successfully navigate life’s speed bumps. In this powerful guide Lisa introduces her dynamic plan, shares her own remarkable story, and prescribes specific exercises and action steps to inspire readers to learn from their past and move toward a courageous future.”  (based on Global Books in Print description)

Syndetics book coverExperience your good now! : learning to use affirmations / Louise L. Hay.
“In this delightful book, Louise L. Hay discusses the power and importance of affirmations and shows you how to apply them right now! Louise explains that when you state an affirmation, you’re really saying to your subconscious mind: ‘I am taking responsibility. I am aware that there is something I can do to change.’ Within these pages, Louise discusses specific topics and concerns (health, fearful emotions, addictions, prosperity issues, love and intimacy, and more) and presents exercises that show you how to make beneficial changes to virtually every area of your life.” (from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNo more silly love songs : a realist’s guide to romance / Anouchka Grose.
“A love song may sum up your romantic dilemma, but does it really offer any practical help? This straight-talking, sympathetic book sifts through the combined wisdom of philosophers and poets, scientists and shrinks to bring you some serious solutions to the conundrums of love.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverControl stress : stop worrying and feel good now! / Paul McKenna ; edited by Michael Neill.
“Would you like to be able to relax and keep your edge? Would you like to feel in control of your life? Would you like to take the pressure off and feel good? Then this amazing new book and hypnosis CD is for you! Based on over twenty years of research, this book contains cutting edge psychological techniques that will automatically create feelings of calm alertness for you to access whenever you choose. You will learn how to transform your life from a place of peace, freedom from worry and inner strength. The book also comes with a hypnosis CD that will help you to re-programme your mind to control stress, build up your inner strength and bring more joy, power and happiness to everything you do. The book and CD work together as a complete breakthrough system – the totally natural way to improve your overall quality of life.”  (Global Books in Print)

Syndetics book coverLeave your mind behind : the everyday practice of finding stillness amid rushing thoughts / Matthew McKay and Catharine Sutker.
“We typically have little control over our thoughts, but we often invest them with a lot of authority-even when they contradict what our experiences tell us to be true. But often we take thoughts like “I’ll never get a better job”, “I’m boring”, or “No one loves me” literally and let them trick us into avoiding the lives we really want to live. This book offers a collection of light-hearted practices readers can use to learn to observe their thoughts without getting caught up in them.  These activities don’t seek to stop or control problematic thinking. Instead, they work to show readers how to observe thoughts without judgment and learn to live with the confounding and marvellous word-making, story-telling machine that is the human mind.”  (from Syndetics summary)

The previous personal development “recent pick” can be found here