I get a lot of people asking me for book recommendations on mindfulness/happiness/self-help etc… I previously wrote the blog post, “My 11 Favourite Books on Mindfulness, Meditation and Happiness”, which you can read here, but since writing this blog post I have read a ton more so I’m here to share with you my top 10 books that I have read in 2019 which I would highly recommend.
Some of the books listed have been truly life-changing for me and have inspired a lot of the posts I write. All the books are vastly different from one another and cover a range of different topics, so hopefully, everyone will find something in the list to their liking!
(Note: For those who struggle to read due to an illness such as M.E, I have added how many pages each book contains and I have rated all the books on how hard they are to read – from “Easy”, to “Moderate”, to “Hard”. The ones which I have labeled “Easy” are generally the shorter books that are concise and to the point, while those I have labeled “hard” are the longer books with often some science in them. If you do not suffer from ill health or have no problems reading, you can ignore this! This is simply for those who struggle to read so they can know which books are easiest.)
‘The Things You Can Only See When You Slow Down: How to be Calm in a Busy World’ by Haemin Sunim
Who for: People who are interested in mindfulness and Buddhist philosophy.
I loved this book. It is filled with short quotes and reminders, each chapter focusing on different areas of life, including relationships, rest, mindfulness, passion, and life. It is a very positive book, presented in a way which is very easy and simple to read. It’s the kind of book you don’t want to read in one sitting, but something you will pick up now and then when you need it. Each page is filled to the brim with wisdom and insight - a very soothing and truthful read. (Pages – 268. Reading difficulty – Easy.)
2. ‘Inward’ by yung pueblo
Who for: The people wanting to grow, mindfulness lovers, and soulful thinkers.
This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. I re-read parts of it almost every night and cannot get his words out of my head. Some of the pages only contain a few simple words, while others go on for longer, but all of them put together makes this book so gorgeous. This book goes deep under the surface and makes you really think about yourself; reading it is like taking a deep breath. It’s definitely one to read if you’re on a journey towards self-discovery, peace, freedom, and growth. (Pages – 242. Reading difficulty – Easy.)
3. ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ by Matt Haig
Who for: People who struggle with social media and the “online world”.
This book has a lot of food for thought and really makes you question just how much social media and technology are affecting your wellbeing. I got a lot out of this book as I am very ‘pro offline days’ and I am aware of how social media and technology can affect my wellbeing, which is why I spend so long offline as I know being online a lot it’s not good for me. Although I think Matt would agree it’s probably not good for anyone. This book will definitely motivate you to spend more time in the real world and less time on screen. It is a truly wonderful and thought-provoking book and very easy to read and pick up and put down. (Pages – 315. Reading difficulty – Medium.)
4. ‘How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness: A Mindful Guide’ by Toni Bernhard
Who for: Fellow chronic illness suffers and/or carers.
As the author of this book, Toni Bernhard, also suffers from M.E, I felt a deep connection to this book and got a lot out of it. It dealt with all of the complications that come with living with a chronic illness, including how to deal with people’s attitudes and assumptions, as well as how to deal with it yourself as best as you can. Toni Bernhard shares the highs and lows of living with chronic illness and how to deal with it in a mindful, practical and compassionate manner. If you do suffer from a chronic illness, you’ll find this book extremely relatable, and it’ll be a comfort to know you are not alone. (Pages – 352. Reading difficulty – Hard.)
5. ‘Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone’ by Brené Brown
Who for: People who are struggling to fit in, solo travelers, and those wanting to understand more about the connection to those around them as well as themselves.
I thought this book was very apt for this day and age. Stemming from personal experience and her field of expertise, Brené Brown talks about loneliness, this sense of needing to belong and yet also needing to be okay by yourself, how to stick to your beliefs and principles even if it means going at them alone, and how to find and maintain connections. A truly courageous and empowering read, Brené will help give you a boost of self-confidence and reassurance to stay true to who you are, to know who you are is okay, and to also realise the flip side of belonging: separation and dehumanising the opposition. By offering personal stories of her own, she will help you realise how important it is not to do this. Highly recommend. (Pages – 208. Reading difficulty – Medium.)
6. ‘Storyteller: 100 Poem Letters’ by Morgan Harper Nichols
Who for: People who need words of encouragement and hope in times of hardship and struggle.
If you follow Morgan Harper Nichols on Instagram, then you’ll have a very good idea of what this book will entail. Morgan writes letters to people and their stories, offering them comfort, hope, and warmth. This book is a collection of those poem letters she has written. Reading this book is like receiving a huge hug; she reminds you everything is going to be okay. If you need some comfort in your life right now, I couldn’t recommend this book more. (Pages – 106. Reading difficulty – Easy.)
7. ‘Silence: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise’ by Thích Nhất Hạnh
Who for: Mindfulness lovers, people looking for a little less noise and a little more calm in their life.
If you’ve read any of Thích Nhất Hạnh’s books, then you’ll have a general idea of the kind of advice he gives. Stemming from his meditation and mindfulness, he offers powerful and yet extremely simplistic insight into how important it is to be in the moment, to tune in with the breath, to seek out the silence and just be. Although he often doesn’t change in what he is saying or offer different material, there is always something so soothing about reading his words. Even if we already know it and know what we have to do, that doesn’t mean we don’t need to read these lessons often and be reminded of them. If you’re looking for a little less noise in your life, I’d really recommend this book.(Pages – 191. Reading difficulty – Medium.)
8. ‘Mindfulness for Health: A practical guide to relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring wellbeing’ by Vidyamala Burch and Danny Pennman
Who for: Anyone struggling with some type of health problem (pain especially), as well as mindfulness lovers.
As someone who suffers from pain, this book and its explanation of the “double arrow” hit is something that has really stuck with me and helped me when I am in need. It doesn’t in any way undermine a person’s pain or say it will help or ease your pain; it’s about changing your attitude to pain and reducing your suffering as much as possible; not adding any more pain to your already high load. If you are someone who suffers from pain I would really recommend reading this book. It also comes with a CD and meditations which you might find useful. (Pages – 288. Reading difficulty – Hard)
9. ‘Bloom for Yourself’ by April Green
Who for: People who enjoy poetry and are looking for a beautiful, soulful, very simple read.
Read this book on a whim with kindle unlimited, and was completely blown away by its beauty and rawness. I never normally read poetry, but this book seems to be an exception. It is quite short with a lot of white space, but I know it'll be a book I need to keep coming back to. There is a lot of emphasis on self-love and acceptance, as well as emotions I struggle to describe in words and yet April does it effortlessly. There is also a part two to this book, which was also very good and I would recommend - both very soulful reads. (Pages – 176. Reading difficulty – Easy)
10. ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Cannot Stop Talking’ by Susan Cain
Who for: The introverts, the deep thinkers, the people who enjoy silence and solitude.
I fell head over heels in love with this book when I first read it. I never considered myself an introvert before reading this book, and I think that’s because I wasn’t an introvert before falling ill. But since my illness and everything that has happened, I have become someone who always wants to seek out the silence: to be alone by myself, with a good book, someone who hates arguments and to prefer to do everything calmly and quietly. This book was extremely comforting to me to realise all of this was very much okay, and in fact, it was more than okay. Being an introvert has so many advantages, and there are more introverts in this world than we realise, but because the world is so pro-extrovert, we are making too many people who prefer the silence and solitude be made to feel like they don’t belong. I cannot recommend this life-changing book more if you are someone who thinks you are an introvert. (Pages – 325. Reading difficulty – Hard)
I hope you enjoyed this blog post, I already have bought a ton more self-help books to read in 2020 so I will do another top ten at the end of this year!
Metta, E xx