Posts Tagged ‘self-help’

How To Have A Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioural Science to Transform Your Working Life

I enjoy reading self help books so I’m familiar with a lot of the most popular techniques around today.  This book manages to pack a lot into its pages and I found it entertaining and informative reading. I alternated between reading it and listening to the audio book version read by the author herself. She has a light hearted and conversational style which makes you feel as though she is a friend helping you to turn your life around.

All the usual things such as mindfulness, prioritising, list making, relaxation techniques make their appearance here related to the everyday happenings at work.  The book primarily focusses on situations you might encounter in a working day but the techniques can also be applied to personal and family life as well.

I think when looking for self help books which work for you then you need to find one whose author writes in a way which appeal to you.  Many self help books describe the same techniques but they all do it in different ways and you have to find a way which says something to you as an individual.

This book is well written with plenty of references to research and other self help books as well as a list of suggested further reading.  This is certainly one to try if you are looking for a self help book which addresses working life and the problems you might encounter at work.

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Leap Year: How to make big decisions, be more resilient and change your life for good

This is part memoir, part self help book.  The author knew she needed to change her life but as she does her best to hide from change – like many of us – she has to overcome this fear before she can sort out her problems.  She decides to set herself the task of making changes over the period of a year.  With the help of friends – who are willing to act as guinea pigs – and experts on various aspects of life she works through the various facets of her life that she wants to change.

The book covers all aspects of life – friends, relationships, money, career, health, mind etc.  The author consults a variety of experts with mixed results.  She tries out all the various therapies and self help techniques and chronicles the results with self deprecating humour.  I found the humour a little irritating by the end of the book – but that is a personal reaction and many people will enjoy it.  As well as reading the book I also listened to the audio version – which I did find irritating.  The narrator was good, but this sort of writing does not seem to come over very well when it is spoken.

The main reason I found it irritating is that the author often uses the ‘/’ between words and when you have listened to this being vocalised as ‘slash’ about ten times each half hour it starts to have the effect on the nerves of squeaky chalk. That said the book is good and because it covers a variety of self help techniques it would be a good book to read if you are seeking to make changes in your life but don’t know where to start.  If you’re looking to work on certain aspects of your life you could just read the relevant chapters.

There are plenty of notes on the text and plenty of books mentioned in the text itself which you might want to read to follow up on particular  topics which arouse your interest. Overall this is a useful book for those who want to try and work out which self help technique works for them

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Simple Thinking: How to remove complexity from life and work

It is all too easy to make simple things way too complicated.  I try to make my life simple but I don’t always succeed so I was interested to read this book.  It suggests that we lose that simple curiosity which we all have as children.  Small children don’t stop to consider whether the picture they paint will be perfect – they just paint it and are pleased with the results.  In the same way they are interested in anything.  Children learn at a far greater rate than at any other time in their lives.

This book urges is to reduce everything to its basic components and not to worry about whether what we’re doing will be perfect.  Many of us end up living our lives in a reactive manner instead of a proactive manner.  We are victims of our own lives – not the heroes. Stop running around like a headless chicken and take time out to decide what is important to you and what your aspirations are.

I found this book inspiring and the author’s own  enthusiasm shines out from its pages.  I enjoyed reading about other people who have used simple thinking in their own lives and got several ideas for simplifying my own thinking.  The book is full of inspiring quotations from a wide variety of people and I found myself highlighting several passages for future reference.  If you like self help and personal development books as I do then you may find this book of interest.

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Real Ambition: Quit Dreaming and Create Success Your Way

I have read a couple of these self help books on various subjects produced by Psychologies Magazine and I have found them to be very sensible and down to earth and full of good advice. This is another book in the same mould, this time tackling the problem of ambition. It encourages the reader to look at ambition in a different light and to redefine the word in ways which is meaningful for the individual. Many people think of ambition as meaning as aiming for a high paid and prestigious job, a happy family and a lovely house as well as plenty of luxurious holidays. But that may not be your ambition.

If you want to be creative and don’t really care about having that much money as long as you have enough to live then the conventional definition of ambition may seem alien to you. Ambition should be what you want to achieve, not what society or your friends say you should want to achieve. The book is divided into three sections – What Does Ambition Mean to You?; What’s Stopping You From Achieving Your Ambitions?; How Can You Achieve Your Ambitions?

The book includes some questionnaires to encourage you to question yourself, case studies to inspire you and plenty of advice from experts in the field. There are also plenty of references for the information given in the text so that you can find more to read on specific aspects of the subject which appeal to you. If you want straightforward, inspiring and sensible self help books then you can’t beat this series.

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Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

I found this book intriguing and  heart warming.  Most people have heard about the mind body link and how your thoughts can affect your body and your health but this book takes the logical next step and explains how your body posture can affect your thoughts and feelings and how confident you feel within yourself.

If you stand in the winner’s position – as illustrated on the cover of the book – then you make yourself take up more room and increase your physical presence.  This position is universal in all cultures across the world and indicates triumph and pleasure in the victory.  If you stand in this position for a couple of minutes before confronting a difficult situation you will be more relaxed and more yourself when it comes to the situation itself. There are many other changes you can make to your posture and behaviour to increase your personal power and presence.

This book isn’t about power over others – it’s about personal power.  Power isn’t a zero sum equation and accessing your personal power doesn’t take away the power of others it just makes you more capable of dealing with testing situations and encounters.  The book talks about the latest research into body language and relates many heart warming case histories to illustrate the effects of changing your body language.

The book doesn’t advocate major changes to your life which will take a lot of effort and commitment to achieve.  It involves small changes to posture to improve your mood and your productivity.  Just a few minutes can make a huge difference. The book is written in an easy conversational style – much like your best friend sitting down and telling you about something new she has discovered.

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Motivate Yourself: Get the Life You Want, Find Purpose and Achieve Fulfilment

This has to be one of the best books I’ve read about motivation.  It starts off looking at your values and explaining that living in accordance with your values is the most important way of ensuring you can motivate yourself to achieve what you want in life.  If you are always working against your core values than you are going to find it very difficult to be happy and motivated.

I particularly liked the middle section of the book in which the author describes the voices in your head which motivate you and which originally come from your parents.  These are described as RATs and they are illustrated by little cartoon pictures of  rats in various situations.  These are often called drivers in self help books – things such as always having to be perfect or a people pleaser.  I find the idea of RATs brings these voices/drivers to life for me and that’s what self help books are all about – bringing things to life so that you can change them.

The third section of the book explains ways of motivating you and designing the life you want which I shall be going back and re-reading and putting some of the suggestions into practice.  There are lots of case studies and lots of exercises to do which will help you understand how best to motivate yourself.  This book repays careful study and it is worthwhile answering the questions and doing the exercises.

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Product Details

This is a small book full of lots of useful advice to help you sort out your life. If you feel overwhelmed by all the things you have to fit into your day both at home and at work then you could find useful tips here to simplify your life. Busyness seems to be the new black these days and it just isn’t fashionable to say that you are not busy. But are we busy just for the sake of it? Do we clutter up our lives with lots of easy tasks so that we can say we’re busy to avoid doing the things which really matter to us?

The book touches on subjects such as mindfulness – being here in the present – not thinking about what you have to do next while you’re doing the current task. The 80/20 rules is also covered briefly – where 80% of the reward comes from 20% of the tasks. There are many hints and tips for overcoming procrastination and getting your to do list into order as well.

I found this an interesting book and it really does encourage you to think about how you spend your time and how you can change your life so that you spend more time doing what matters to you. I liked the case studies of people who have changed their lives round so that they get more pleasure out of what they do and how they managed to get off what felt like a treadmill which was going faster and faster. I think the only criticism I would make of this book is that it doesn’t include a further reading list though there are plenty of other books and authors mentioned in the text.

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