Reading life

Books I Read in May and June

Oops!  The last few weeks have been so busy – I’ve not had much chance to blog at all so this weekend is catch-up time!  I’ve read some diverse and fascinating books over the last couple of months so here’s a quick round-up.

The Biology of Belief – Bruce H. Lipton PhD

What the Cover Says: The Biology of Belief is a groundbreaking work in the field of new biology. Former medical school professor and research scientist Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., presents his experiments, and those of other leading-edge scientists, which examine in great detail the mechanisms by which cells receive and process information. The implications of this research radically change our understanding of life, showing that genes and DNA do not control our biology; instead, DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts. This profoundly hopeful synthesis of the latest and best research in cell biology and quantum physics has been hailed as a major breakthrough, showing that our bodies can be changed as we retrain our thinking.

Why I Picked It Up:  This was recommended by one of the other students on my yoga teacher training course, as we were discussing the importance of language as a yoga teacher.

What I Thought:  I found this totally fascinating!  I’ve read a few books recently about genetics and biology and I’ve been enjoying learning about science as an adult.  Lipton does a great job of explaining some complex cell biology in a way that’s easy to understand and to follow.  This book sits right in my sweet spot of rationalism and “woowoo hippy stuff”!  I believe in the power of what we tell ourselves – the constant narration that happens in our heads – and I am increasingly accept the energetic effects on our minds and bodies.  The arguments Lipton sets out are very powerful; even if you do buy into some of the more spiritual aspects, the discussion of how DNA is controlled is absolutely absorbing.

Little Wins: The Huge Power of Thinking Like a Toddler – Paul Lindley

What the Cover Says:  There are some 400 million people worldwide whose creativity, imagination and determination put the rest of us to shame. They are experts in their field, despite having no experience to speak of. Once, you were one of them too. They are toddlers – and they hold the key to unlocking our creative potential as adults.  In Little Wins: The Huge Power of Thinking Like a Toddler, Ella’s Kitchen founder Paul Lindley reveals the nine characteristics and behaviours that we can all learn from recalling our toddler selves. From attention-grabbing tactics that would humble most marketing experts to the art of thinking divergently, Lindley shows how much we’ve lost in getting old – and how we can get it back. Never mind growing up; it’s time we grew down.

Why I Picked It Up: This was May’s Rebel Book Club read.  I was away in Uganda so missed the meet-up with Paul Lindley.

What I Thought:  This book came at a serendipitous time for me.  I had been thinking a lot about creativity and having fun with my new portfolio career and lifestyle.  One of the key takeaways for me was how ‘failure’ doesn’t exist for toddlers; no-one tells a child learning to walk to give up because they fell over!  I’m trying to embrace that mentality, along with an attitude of experimenting and learning, as I start to set up my own business.  Lindley includes some exercises and other things to do at the end of each chapter to help you get in the mind of a toddler; these were pretty effective although often involved cooing at cute toddler videos on YouTube!

Utopia for Realists – Rutger Bregman

What the Cover Says:   We live in a time of unprecedented upheaval, with questions about the future, society, work, happiness, family and money, and yet no political party of the right or left is providing us with answers. Rutger Bregman, a bestselling Dutch historian, explains that it needn’t be this way.  Bregman shows that we can construct a society with visionary ideas that are, in fact, wholly implementable. Every milestone of civilization – from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy – was once considered a utopian fantasy. New utopian ideas such as universal basic income and a 15-hour work week can become reality in our lifetime.  This guide to a revolutionary yet achievable utopia is supported by multiple studies, lively anecdotes and numerous success stories. From a Canadian city that once completely eradicated poverty, to Richard Nixon’s near implementation of a basic income for millions of Americans, Bregman takes us on a journey through history, beyond the traditional left-right divides, as he introduces ideas whose time has come.

Why I Picked it Up: Another Rebel Book Club read – June’s theme was Alternative Political Manifestos.

What I Thought:  I totally loved this!  I’ve been hearing more and more about ideas like a universal basic income and, in these weird political times, reading about an alternative vision for our society was uplifting.  One of the things I enjoyed most was the idea that our social structures are not set in stone.  Concepts like a 5-day working week or Gross Domestic Product are much newer than I realised (codified as late as the 1930s).  We now accept these as ‘natural’ but there is absolutely no reason why we can’t rewrite these rules.  Humanity has achieved so much and so many people around the world have living standards unimaginable to generations before us.  But there are huge numbers of people who don’t and we shouldn’t rest on our laurels in some of kind of ‘end of history’ mentality.  I completely agree with Bregman that it’s time to redefine the course of society.

How to Live: A User’s Guide – Peter Johns

What the Covers Says:  What do you give your daughter for her eighteenth birthday? After considering dresses, pets and parties, this father gave his daughter what would almost certainly have been close to the bottom of her wish list. He wrote a book for her. In many ways Meg is an ordinary girl, but in one way she is different from most others: at the age of nine she was diagnosed with cancer. This took the form of a tumour that, by the time of her diagnosis, already filled most of her chest cavity. Later, despite months of chemotherapy, a second tumour started to grow. Normally this development is fatal and her parents were told as much. Only a bone marrow transplant and long sessions of full body irradiation saved her life, a result that her doctors had initially thought to be so improbable that there was an initial resistance into even making the attempt. The title of this book, ‘How to Live’, therefore has a subsidiary meaning. It was written for someone who was once not expected to live, but who turned into a normal teenager full of bombast, anxiety, humour and stress. Her father, Peter Johns, based the book on his own imperfect – though eventually successful – life and what he has learnt from it. It is a book that was written for Meg, but it is also a book for everyone.

Why I Picked It Up: This has been on my Amazon list for a while.  When I hear about books that sound interesting, I add them to my Amazon basket where they stay for weeks until I do a bulk order of reading material so I often forget where I originally heard about them!

What I Thought:  First thought: this is a tiny book.  It really is and will probably take you less than an hour to read it.  And it’s a lovely, sweet book.  I was moved by the backstory and you can feel the tenderness in the pages.  It’s everything you wished you knew at 18 but never actually learn until much, much later in life!  There are so many little lessons, it’s almost impossible to pull out any highlights – they are all so important, although I was pleased to see “don’t be late” in there (as someone who is relentlessly early).  Reading this will make you smile from your soul and will cost you the grand total of £1.29* and an hour of your time – totally worth it!

She Means Business – Carrie Green

What the Covers Says:  There has never been a better time to say yes! With a computer and an Internet connection you can get your ideas, messages and business out there like never before and create so much success. In this book, Carrie Green shows you how.  Carrie started her first online business at the age of 20 – she knows what it’s like to be an ambitious and creative woman with big dreams and huge determination…but she also knows the challenges of starting and running a business, including the fears, overwhelm, confusion and blocks that entrepreneurs face. Based on her personal, tried-and-tested experience, she offers valuable guidance and powerful exercises to help you:

· Get clear on your business vision
· Move past the fears and doubts that can get in the way
· Understand your audience, so you can truly connect with them
· Create your brand and build a tribe of raving fans, subscribers and customers
· Manage your time, maintain focus and keep going in the right direction
· Condition yourself for success…and so much more!

If you’re a creative and ambitious female entrepreneur, or are contemplating the entrepreneurial path, this book will provide the honest, realistic and practical tools you need to follow your heart and bring your vision to life.

Why I Picked It Up:  My Facebook feed is full of adverts for female entrepreneurs and life coaches – those algorithms really work!  I’ve been following Carrie a little online and saw the book was on offer from Amazon so thought “why not”.

What I Thought:  I found this interesting – I mean, it didn’t change my life but it is part of a shift in my attitude to being an entrepreneur, which is a word I have really shied away from.  The early chapters focus on letting yourself dream big and dealing with things like doubt; Green touches on the power of visualisation and manifesting so very much in line with some of my “woowoo hippy stuff” thinking at the moment.  I read the later chapters a bit more quickly as they focus on some of the mechanics of setting up a business so I can see myself dipping back into this further down the line.  Green has a few free resources that go alongside the book on her website that I’m enjoying working through.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small payment for any products you purchase.
* Price correct at the time of writing

2 thoughts on “Books I Read in May and June”

  1. Hi Vix
    Meg here it has taken me ages to reply to your Ugandan marathon mission. It arrived when I was not managing everything and getting away on holiday but I have now made an anonymous donation and watched your marathon video – goodness knows how you had the energy to speak to camera whilst running. Also looked at your books read. I have just finished Wolfgang Streeck “How will capitalism end” It does not have answers but it helped me to understand the key political and economic themes of each post war decade and how we are where we are now. Meg


    1. I’m not sure how I had energy either! I found the videos helped keep me going through out the run.

      I’ve added Streeck’s book to my Amazon list. I’ve got a stack of about 6 books by my bed to read first 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s