8 Books to start off the new year

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8 books to read over the Christmas break and get you ready for a new year

The school holidays are almost here, and it is time to load up my Kindle so I can be ready for a couple of weeks of putting my feet up with a warm tea and enjoying a good book. When looking back at the non-fiction books I’ve read (or re-read) this year, what jumped out at was that a lot of my favourites are the perfect books to read with the fresh start of a new year on the horizon.

So if you are in search of a new book to travel with over the holidays, or a new book to just snuggle under a blanket with, here are 8 non-fiction books to consider this holiday break. 

Books on living a happier life

1. Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin 


The 12 months of happiness experiments that author Gretchen Rubin completed 10 years ago is an ideal companion to the beginning of a new year. As I re-read this book at the close of 2018, I am reminded how important it is to “be Kristin” and it is often the actual process of growth that makes me happier, not the destination. Other books to consider from Gretchen: Happier at Home and The Four Tendencies

Buy it: Book Depository

2. 10% Happier by Dan Harris


Dan Harris argues that “meditating can essentially rewire your brain”, making him 10% happier. His story begins with a panic attack on US TV to a week long silent meditation retreat is a fascinating story that sold me on the idea of meditation as an essential life skill. (Although I must admit a regular practice still alludes me despite knowing how beneficial it will be). For 2019 I’ve downloaded the goal tracker from Goal Expert Elise (free with her newsletter) with the hope it will help me to keep on track. 

Buy it: Book Depository

3. The Artist’s Way - Julia Cameron


I once asked Josh from the Minimalist’s how he avoids writer's block - his answer was not what I had hoped for. He doesn’t believe in writer's block and that if you have it, you don’t have a good writing habit. While I don’t believe his explanation entirely, I have certainly experienced writer's block when the ideas just won’t flow like I wish they would, but the idea of a habitual daily writing routine has certainly helped me to become a better writer in 2018. My true inspiration? The Artist’s Way.

Although I have yet to entirely complete all the tasks presented in the book - the premise of a daily writing habit has become ingrained. I underlined so many snippets of inspiration in just the first few chapters and really need to now print them out big and hang them in my office -  “Much fear of our own creativity is fear of the unknown”  and “Do not let your self-doubt turn into self-sabotage”. 

Buy it: Book Depository

Make you think 

4. Gift from the Sea by - Anne Morrow Lindbergh


Suprisingly even back in 1955 there was also a yearning for a simplistic life and the serenity it brings. “One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.” For those living in the northern hemisphere “Gift from the Sea” may also make you yearn for the warmth of summer, but it is a great book for quiet contemplation and has a mood of coziness that actually suits the darker days of the year. 

Buy it: Book Depository

5. Tell me more: Stories about the 12 hardest things i’m learning to say by Kelly Corrigan 


You can’t help but reflect on your own life when reading Kelly’s memoir on losing both her Father and her good friend. Her honest and real approach to dealing with grief is like sitting across the table with a friend drinking a cup of coffee. It reminded me just how important our relationships are - and to appreciate them before it is too late.  

Buy it: Book Depository

For the Ambitious

6. Tribe of Mentors - Tim Ferris


I devoured this book and really recommend it if you are looking for some words of wisdom to start 2019 . Tim Ferris (of the 4 hour work week fame) asks the same questions of successful people from around the world. Answers like “Often, all that stand between you and what you want is a better set of questions” and “What would this look like if it were easy” are easy reframing tips I picked up and use almost daily. 

Buy it: Book Depository

For living in the now

7. Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle 


“Realise deeply that the present moment is all you have.”  It’s a strange concept to get your head around, but is the core of Tolle's philosophy. If you are thinking about the past, you are doing so in the now, same as if you are thinking of the future, you are doing so in the now. So why do we find it difficult to be present? The master of mindfulness Eckhart Tolle’s book the Power of Now is a book to make you think, help with your worry, your stress and that incessant urge to dwell on the past or worry about the future. 

Buy it: Book Depository

8. First, We Make the Beast Beautiful - Sarah Wilson

Usually preaching a low sugar lifestyle, author Sarah Wilson changed directions in 2018 and released a book on her battle with anxiety. My biggest take away? To realise that successful people also have their own internal battles, but it’s learning to manage those personal battles that enable us to thrive. Also a good reminder for my decision fatigue is the concept that “there is never a perfect decision. They become perfect when we make them”.

Buy it: Book Depository

What book would you add to the list?

8 books for a new year