Books that made me Better in 2019 – Part 1

Today’s blog post is a bit different. It’s also a podcast episode out today. This blog just touches briefly on 5 books I read this year that had (and continue to have) a positive impact on me. And I’ll briefly outline why. The podcast episode goes a little deeper as I read an extract from each of the books. I hope you’ll enjoy both/either.


Last year, one of the most listened to podcasts was the 2018 book review episode. Many of you connected in to say they purchased one or more of the books recommended and took something from them. For an impromptu episode, that was great to hear.


This year, I thought it would be good to do it again. This time with some planning and tracking over the year as I read. I’ve narrowed the list to 10 books. 5 in this post & podcast and 5 more on Monday.


Many of the books directly influenced content shared this year. And in some cases, I was lucky enough to have the authors as guests on the podcast.


All of the books will be linked to here or on my site. S


Here are the first five. Enjoy!


  1. Mindful Walking – Hugh O’Donovan (link to it HERE)


One of the first books I read in 2019 and interviewed Hugh shortly after reading it. His writing style is great and it’s full of stories and practical examples of how to meditate or be more mindful. A Great introduction to mindfulness and how you can practice it.


For me, it’s always useful to keep reading deeper into this subject and reinforce the value of practicing. And you can do this while walking.


I read an example of a mindfulness practice you can do from the book on the podcast. You can hear that here.


  1. Recreate Your Career Story – Mary Butler (link to it HERE)


Mary is an ex-work colleague and friend so when I hear she was releasing a book, I was eager to read it. It didn’t disappoint.


If you’re keen to do some work on yourself, ask yourself some tough questions, figure out your purpose and gain more clarity on where you would like to go, personally and professionally, this book will help.


It’s well written and you can great sense of Mary’s personality coming through too


In the podcast, I read a piece from the book around making the most of your time.


  1. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Noah Harari (link to it HERE)


I discovered Yuval last year after his book, Sapiens, was recommended by a guest on the podcast. That book dives deep into the history of humankind and it a brilliant book.


This one, as the title suggests, dives into 21 different areas that are important for us to understand in the 21stcentury. Topics like Liberalism, Globalization, Nationalism, and Work are covered and explained. It really helped me understand these concepts that bit better.


The piece I read about on the podcast though is more in the meditation and mindfulness space. Something Yuval only discovered in his twenties, but he cites as a huge turning point in his life. Making him a lot better as a result.


  1. Awareness – Anthony De Mello (link to this HERE)


This is one I actually re-read in and dipped into on occasion in 2019. It’s a guide to spiritual life and was recommended to me a few years back. It certainly will make you think and, as the title hints, brings your awareness into focus on many every day subjects.


These days you might hear more about the stoic philosophies and having read a bit on these, I can see some similarities with this. But a more modern view.


The piece I read on the podcast is about having ‘negative feelings towards others’.



  1. The Paradox of Choice – Barry Schwartz


Finally, for this part, I’ll end with this exceptional book. I didn’t stack rank my top ten for the year, however if I did, this one would be in the top 3.


The Paradox of Choice came out in 2004 and had this on my shelf for a while and only got around to reading it this September. I was hooked instantly. It’s one of those reads that gives you so much to think about and makes so much sense. It gave many names/labels/definitions to feelings I experienced before, during and after making decisions. Anticipated regret, buyer’s remorse, maximizers, and satisficers to mention just a few.


Half-way through reading it, I thought it would be worth reaching out to Barry to see if he would be a guest on the podcast. When he agreed, I was equally shocked and delighted. Maybe he didn’t over think the decision and just said yes. Keeping decisions simple is a good recommendation as he would say himself.


You can listen to the episode here and you can buy the book here.


In today’s episode, I read from the chapter on regret felt before and after making decisions.


So that’s it for today’s post. 5 books that you might enjoy.

The second part of this comes out on Monday when the remaining 5 will be shared and another podcast with readings from these also will be released.


Till tomorrow,


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