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Books for Wellbeing

How about this for a nice start to the year? I was asked last year by a friend to pull together a list of books that I would recommend reading. These are the books that have most positively impacted my life.

Physical Health

We generally underestimate the importance and impact of physical health on our overall wellbeing. And, as they say, a person who is healthy wants a thousand things, a sick person just the one.

  • Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity
    • Peter Attia
    • Probably the best single summary of the state of the art of thinking about physical health”
    • Amazon | Goodreads 4.42
  • Why we Sleep
  • The Barbell Prescription
    • Jonathan Sullivan, Andy Baker
    • Motivating and fun guide to strength training as we get older”
    • Amazon | Goodreads 4.37


Ideas change beliefs, beliefs affect how we think, feel and behave. To the contrary, however, reason can’t get us out of something that reason didn’t get us into in the first place. So, go figure.

  • A Guide to the Good Life
    • William B Irvine
    • A none-to-egregious introduction to Stoic philosophy”
    • Amazon | Goodreads 4.19
  • The Consolations of Philosophy
    • Alain de Botton
    • A wonderful author and a great introduction to his works”
    • Amazon | Goodreads 4.01
  • Midlife: A Philosophical Guide
  • Flow
    • Mihály Csíkszentmihályi
    • The original, and probably still the best work on positive psychology”
    • Amazon | Goodreads 4.10

Theory and Ideas

Works sitting somewhere between philosophy and psychology. Probably.

  • The Happiness Hypothesis
    • Jonathan Haidt
    • Haidt’s a great thinker, this book is also great, you’ll just have to wince through the now-discredited psychology that underpins some of it”
    • Amazon | Goodreads 4.10
  • A Theory of Human Motivation
    • Abraham Maslow
    • The original work has stood the test of time. Short, accessible and insightful”
    • Amazon | Goodreads 4.17


More practical guidance.

  • Change Your Thinking with CBT
    • Dr Sarah Edelman
    • Excellent and accessible guide to CBT. An excellent introduction to the ideas and practice”
    • Amazon | Goodreads 4.18
  • The Happiness Trap

Changing Behaviour

We are, after all, not what we think, but what we do.

  • Better than Before
    • Gretchen Rubin
    • A good synthesis of ideas, though it might be a bit to far on the pop-py end of pop-psychology for some”
    • Amazon | Goodreads 3.82
  • Atomic Habits
    • James Clear
    • You’ll need to wade through some nonsense, but a generally good read”
    • Amazon | Goodreads 4.36
  • Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart


  • Man’s Search for Meaning
  • The Old Man and the Sea
  • Endurance