Monday, 5 February 2018

Books that changed my life

I want to begin this post by telling you what I look for in a good self-help book.  There have been many books that I've started and decided, usually after giving it a really good go, that they aren't for me.  I don't like books that ask me to believe in things that are illogical.  I don't like books that attempt to inspire me.  I allow a certain amount of airy-fairy nonsense into my life as long as it is self-aware nonsense.  I think one can certainly be too rigid in their beliefs because facts can change when more evidence is gathered.  But there's a line.  Here are three books that I really enjoyed, that helped me see the world differently and didn't cross that line.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

This is a very matter-of-fact, Stoic book all about priorities.  It's a truly wonderful read that almost feels like a conversation with Mark Manson.  Every page is an eye-opener and its lessons are truly engrained in me now.  No nonsense.  Nothing flowery or dreamy.  Just important information and points that really make you reevaluate.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I have read a few books about minimalism but I have chosen Marie Kondo's The Life Changing of Tidying Up to represent this genre (despite not really being amount minimalism at all).  This is because I think a lot of minimalism's lessons come from changes in your own life and, although it's interesting to read the lessons other people have learned, this practical approach can lead to a minimalist lifestyle and is an important step towards the benefits that minimalism brings: being able to sort our your priorities, being mindful in your space, respecting your belongings etc.  It's also a thoroughly enjoyable read; the passion Marie Kondo has for improving people's live through small details is a very kaizen approach.  Which leads me onto...

One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way

This book is quickly becoming one of my favourites but I am still reading it so felt it should come last on this list.  Kaizen is the approach and understanding that the small details in life can make big changes and should not be undervalued.  This is what inspired my Three Things, Three Minutes series.  Robert Maurer is a very learned man who has provided a few things that I dismissed as airy-fairy nonsense with scientific grounding (and what led me to putting a dream board at the front of my planner).  This book has changed my approach to understanding time and allows me to truly appreciate every part of my day; not just the big things or how it feels when I finish a project.  Every part of every thing matters and it's such an amazing feeling to fully realise this.

Please let me know if you have read or intend to read any of these books.  Or if you have any you recommend!  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Carmen x



  1. Thank you thank you thank you Carmen. I finally give the Life-changing magic of tidying-up a go and yes it is one of the best. In the beginning I thought I have seen enough people decluttering using her method and thought I knew what it is about. But really only from her own words then I truly experience what it is about. I have managed to get rid of two boots - one is too small and one is too big that I hung on to for over 7 years because one is super nice and one is the usual black boots 'every girl should have'.
    And the book that got me into minimalism is Goodbye Things.
    My favourite self-help books is by Krishnamurti though.

    1. Wait, I forgot to mention another book that impacted me is Working Identity by Herminia Ibarra. I quit my job in the bank after I read this book two years ago and now every day I feel so good.

    2. Ahhhh, I am so glad!! That's amazing. Thank you so much for the recommendations; I'm going to Berlin this week (a surprise trip from Charles!) so I will get them on my Kindle and read them while away :)
      Thank you!

  2. Hi Carmen !
    I've read the first two books and must say they're really good.
    I put the third one on my list (to buy and read).

    As a lover of stoicism (if I understand well what you said/wrote), you must know a book I read last year and really loved and if not, I really recommend it : "A Guide to the Good Life" by William B Irvine.

    Also "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz have changed the way I see some things, some behavior.
    "thinking, fast and slow" by Daniel Kahneman is really interesting (at least the first part of the book for me) to understand how our brain works and how it makes us act a certain way, so by knowing that, we can be more self-aware and prevent some undesirable behaviors.

    1. oh, I forgot, I listened to your song "Rib Cage" on Deezer, it's really great, I got it in my head now^^

      Marine Katze

    2. Hi Marine! It's a book I've heard of but have never read. I'm going to Berlin this week for a couple of nights so I will get all your recommendations to read on the plane! It's very exciting because I don't usually interact with people who have the same tastes as me so I can't wait to get into them. Thank you so much :) And I'm so glad you like Rib Cage, thank you! I'm in the middle recording the EP now so there should be new stuff out towards the end of this year! Thanks again for your comments :)

    3. Hi Carmen!
      well I hope you'll enjoy your trip to Berlin, that's nice surprise you've got from Charles :)
      Amazing news about your music, I'm looking forward to hear it !!!

      Hope you'll like the recommendations I made and find interesting things in those books. Happy reading ! (I don't know if you use this expression in english, in french we say "bonne lecture" meaning "enjoy your reading").

      Marine Katze

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