Xmas, for me, is about books! It’s the one time of the year when I allow myself the space and time to read 24/7. This month I offer a heavy hitter on consciousness, a book on change (ready for 2022), psychedelics, psychology of money and a novel to whisk you away.
1/ Anil Seth – Being You: A New Science of Consciousness
I put off reading this for a while because I figured it would be a difficult read. It isn’t easy, but it’s much more accessible than I thought. And, wow, is it mind-blowing? Curiosity about consciousness was one of the reasons I took up yoga in the first place. What constitutes “you”? Is there a soul? What is the nature of reality? Anil Seth leads a team of researchers from different backgrounds and has come up with extremely plausible answers to seemingly impossible questions. This book is challenging long after you read it and fundamentally changes everything.
2/ Morgan Housel – The Psychology of Money
This is a short, brilliant book. If, like me, you could do with improving your approach to your finances, then you could do much worse than read this. The author argues that money is more about psychology than maths. Figure out what you want, assess your risk tolerance and motivation, understand where you traditionally go wrong. The book is peppered with great stories of people who have made a fortune and, sometimes, lost it.
3/ Katy Milkman – How to Change
A timely book with the New Year approaching. If you’re wanting to get a bit more serious this year about your resolutions then this book is a must. Katy Milkman covers the things that tend to trip us up when we try to change, and it’s not just about laziness! I loved this book – pair it with James Clear’s Atomic Habits and you’ll be unstoppable!
4/ Michael Pollan – How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics
In 2019 I went to the Hay Literary Festival and, with some time to kill, went to hear Michael Pollan talk. Turned out he was the most interesting speaker I saw that day. Psychedelics are fascinating and some of the current research into their effects on mental health conditions is astounding. This is an engaging book on an up and coming subject.
5/ Erin Morgenstern – The Night Circus
I’m trying to read more fiction and to help that endeavour along will include a novel a month. If you haven’t read this already then you must. If you like your novels to transport you then you’ll love this. I read it in 24 hours and felt like I’d been absorbed into another realm. Beautifully written and quite extraordinary.