Top books for a better life

By Ellen Arnison, Student Blog

18 May 2017

It’s the time of year when many people are thinking about a good book to read on a relaxing holiday. Here are our recommendations to make your summer holidays and study downtime an enjoyable learning experience.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

In case you haven’t heard of him, Elon Musk is to PayPal and Tesla what Steve Jobs is to Apple.

This book covers his tumultuous beginnings in South Africa and follows his journey to massive success in the USA and around the world.

Author and journalist Ashlee Vance compares Musk to industrial innovators such as Edison, Ford and Hughes.

Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less by S.J. Scott

Many of us aspire to live a better life but reckon we don’t have the time to make the necessary changes.

SJ Scott suggests making a routine from a series of small habits that add up to a huge improvement.

According to him, it’s easy to stack your habits and follow a checklist to live the life you want.


Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Buying this book could be your best reading decision yet, as it aims to help you make rational and wise decisions for the rest of your life.

It contains four basic rules to help us overcome our natural tendency to make poor choices both at home and at work.

The Heaths have created a set of practical tools that will help you make rational decisions.

power of habit

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Duhigg says that habit is at the root of everything we do, good or bad.

However, the good news is that with a little understanding, it’s possible to create and build new habits to replace unhelpful ones.

Duhigg investigates the neuroscience of habit and brings a new and useful understanding to human nature.

millionaire next door

The Millionaire Next Door by Dr Thomas J. Stanley and Dr William D. Danko

This book dissects the lives of millionaires to see what similarities they have and if there’s anything you can learn from them.

The authors discovered that there are two kinds of people, those who accumulate wealth and the rest of us.

You can spot the properly wealthy not by their flash cars and big houses, but by the fact that, among other things, they are frugal and live within their means.


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising by Marie Kondo

If clutter is starting to take over your life, this is the radical intervention in book form.

Marie Kondo instructs us to get rid of everything from our homes that doesn’t spark joy. Furthermore, she has very clear instructions on how to do this.

The KonMari Method, with its category-by-category system, leads to lasting results and a calm, motivated mindset.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

We have two ways of thinking – a fast intuitive one and a slower more logical methodology. 

Kahneman explores the different systems and sheds light on which works best for what situation.

The knowledge in this book will inform your decision-making for the rest of your life.

Emotional intelligence

Working With Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

The secret ingredient for success is emotional intelligence, and the capacity for self-awareness of one's own emotions and that of others, according to author Daniel Goleman.

This book, following on from his first, monikered Emotional Intelligence, teaches you how to learn the skills of emotional intelligence that will take your career forward.

7 habits

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

This is the daddy of self-help books, starting life in 1989 and continuing its popularity until the present day.

Covey’s seven habits can get to the heart of everything you do, and, more importantly, everything you want to do.

Follow his rules and you can live with “fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity”.


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