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My Bookshelf

I think that it was Neil Gaiman who said: “Read. Read anything. Read the things they say are good for you, and the things they claim are junk. You’ll find what you need to find. Just read.”


This is a small selection of some of my most treasured books. New ones will be added every month to the top of the list:

  • Atlas of the Heart - Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience (Brene Brown_
    Using a map metaphor for the book, Brene provides us with tools to help make sense of our experiences and a vocabulary with which to label the emotions that underlie those experiences. "The idea of ‘no regrets’ doesn’t mean living with courage, it means living without reflection. To live without regret is to believe we have nothing to learn, no amends to make, and no opportunity to be braver with our lives."
  • Untamed - Stop Pleasing, Start Living (Glenon Doyle)
    A deeply personal memoir by the founder of Together Rising, that challenges us to question societal norms and expectations of what it means to be an authentic woman. "I am an extremist. I don’t learn lessons easily, subtly or delicately. I can’t be trusted with loose boundaries. I am a difficult student who is extremely bull-headed. Total immersion is the only medium that can tame me."
  • Emotional Agility - Get unstuck, Embrace change, and Thrive in Work and Life (Susan David, PhD)
    This South African born, award-winning Harvard Medical School psychologist offers us her unique expertise and a clear and concise roadmap for real behavioural change. I couldn’t recommend this book enough. She writes that, "learning to label emotions with a more nuanced vocabulary can be absolutely transformative". She identifies Courage as one of the key elements of the Emotional Pyramid of needs, and writes that "the willingness to accept and learn from our emotions is courageous. Our emotions are signposts that can point us in the direction of what matters, allowing us to take values-aligned action."
  • Range - How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized Word (David Epstein)
    A thought-provoking book that helped me consider the importance of developing Cognitive Flexibility (broadly defined as the mental ability to mix-match ideas, systems, processes, materials and data to create new products or ideas) as a key-critical aspect of problem-solving skills. ​ ‘The question I set-out to explore was how to capture and cultivate the power of breadth, diverse experience, and interdisciplinary exploration, within systems that increasingly demand hyperspecialisation, and would have you decide what you should be before figuring out first who you are’.
  • Enchantment - Reawakening wonder in an exhausted age (Katherine May)
    From the best-selling author of Wintering, this is another gem that comes poking at our inert ability to be fully alive in the world. Timeless and beautifully written. ​ ‘We are a forgetful species, obsessed with the succession of tasks that hover over our days, and negligent of the grand celestial drama unfolding around us. And here I am remembering. ’.
  • The Tao of Pooh (Benjamin Hoff)
    The back cover of my 1982 edition of this beautiful little book reads as follows: "...Winnie-the-Pooh has a certain Way about him, a way of doing things which has made him the world’s most beloved bear, and Pooh’s way, as Benjamin Hoff brilliantly demonstrates, seems strangely close to the ancient Chinese principles of Taoism." Whilst I have always been intrigued by the philosophy of Taoism, this book introduced me to the principle of the "Uncarved Block". As Hoff puts it "The essence of the principle of the Uncarved Block is that things in their original simplicity contain their own natural power, power that is easily spoiled and lost when that simplicity is changed". He maintains that this Taoist principle applies not only to things in their natural beauty and function, but to people as well, and that "Pooh, the Uncarved Block, is able to accomplish what he does because he is simpleminded."
  • The ZEN book series (Antony Osler)
    Stoep Zen - 2008 edition Zen Dust - 2012 edition Mzanzi Zen- 2016 edition ​ Part philosophy, part prose and part poetry, Antony Osler’s writing is like a balm for the unquiet mind. Drawing deeply from what it means to be both South African, and simply human, he shares precious Zen wisdom through stories of ordinary life, and invites us to step forward and be fully present in ours. "As long as I draw breath, may I be a light for those who have lost their way, a home for the forsaken, a backstage pass to the great unknown where all the seats are taken"- STOEP ZEN
  • Wintering - The power of rest and retreat in difficult times (Katherine May)
    ‘For all who have wintered.’ reads the dedication page of this significant book about both, the manifestation of the meteorological winter as the dark and coldest season of the year, as well as the psychological state of ‘wintering’. Well written and researched, it reads in part like a very personal reflection on the ‘grit’ or reserve of courage that it takes to develop the traits needed to withstand the seasons of life that challenge us and seize the opportunity they present for growth. "...I always seem to forget: that life is, by nature, uncontrollable. That we should stop trying to finalise our comfort and security somehow, and instead find a radical acceptance of the endless, unpredictable change that is the very essence of this life."
  • Time to Think - Listening to ignite the Human Mind (Nancy Kline)
    Time to Think is both the title of the book and the name of the international leadership development, and coaching company that specialises in the process called the Thinking Environment, and Nancy is its pioneer. The Thinking Environment is a ‘way of being’ that through certain identified behaviours, allows people to think for themselves with ‘rigour, imagination, courage and grace’. "A thinking environment is natural, but rare. It has been squeezed out of our lives and organizations by inferior ways of treating each other. Organisations, families and relationships can become Thinking Environments again, where good ideas abound, action follows and people flourish."
Image by Fred Russo


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