Reading Corner

Here I am sharing with you books that inspire, give you insight into challenges, show you another way of doing things, and give you a pathway to make life easier.

I'm giving you my honest opinion and haven't been paid to do reviews, but if you click on a link and order through Book Depository, I may receive a small financial compensation that helps me to run my business.

I hope you love reading these as much as I did!

The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape

So I'm a believer in the Maya Angelou quote "When you know better, you do better." 

I've been through a few stages with money in my life from feeling a sense of lack growing up, having casual jobs where money comes but goes again, having a saving routine that allowed me to travel to Europe, living on as little as possible while I was on a working holiday in London so I could do as much travel as I could, feeling pretty flush when I worked in corporate services in Melbourne, and back to tightening the strings as a mother and business owner. I've been wondering if there's anything I could be doing better, and I've been noticing friends and people in business groups talk about this book and I decided to take the plunge and buy it. 

I was worried that the tagline "the only money guide you'll ever need" was a savvy marketing pitch with little substance, but The Barefoot Investor is a brilliant guide for personal money management. You learn: 

  • how to set up your money,
  • how to take steps with your other half with regular date nights, 
  • what to look for to get deals for banking, insurance, and superannuation that will benefit you, 
  • what to aim for with how you are spending your money, 
  • how to get out of debt and live within your means, 
  • how to set up your finances to give your family stability and make sure they are provided for, and 
  • how to reassure yourself that you have money for your retirement. 

It's a great read (I know, surprise!), it's based on the Australian market so it's all relevant, and it covers the key issues so it's less intimidating to take action for anyone who doesn't know about money (which is a lot of us!). I know I have learned a lot and have joined a Facebook group (Shared experiences reading the Barefoot Investor book) to be on the journey with others.

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

I know some of you have your own businesses, or have a side hustle, or are thinking about it, and you'll be interested in this. 

This is a book for business money management, and includes a section near the end on how to implement what it recommends for your business for your personal life too. The steps complement The Barefoot Investor, which is comforting.

This is a book I wish I had before starting my business, but if you're in business and struggling with money, it's not too late to make changes. Thankfully it's not a dry accounting book or pie in the sky strategy book. I found the personal stories very relatable, and it makes you want to gather your numbers to figure out your position. I won't get too into detail, I'll just say it really focuses on the business serving you, rather than you serving the business. 

It trains you to figure out which activities are profitable and concentrate more on those to make your business healthy.I will note that the terminology is American, but an Australian audience can still understand how it applies here. I'll be totally honest and say I borrowed this book from my local library, but I think this one is worth having your own copy as a guide as your business changes stages and grows. Definitely one to check out!

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

'Eat Pray Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert is a book that I'd been meaning to read for a while. I knew that it had been made into a movie with Julia Roberts, and have been semi keeping an eye out for it to appear on Netflix. I love her book 'Big Magic' and she is warm, generous, and thought-provoking on her Facebook page which I took as a good sign for 'Eat Pray Love'.

Elizabeth Gilbert throws open her inner thoughts and feelings to her audience and welcomes you in :-) She writes endearingly and theatrically and I imagine she'd be fabulous at telling stories at parties and you'd leave wanting to be friends with her. The title of the book gives her main purpose of what she devotes herself to in Italy, India, and Indonesia in the year following an awful divorce. 

She gives great insight into the places and culture, and historical context while telling her stories. I totally understand why people would be inclined to follow her path after having such vivid and profound experiences. I know well how travel changes you from my own travels in my 20s that helped me to believe in myself. As a travel book, you would want to get the same things out of the places for this to be the most helpful to you, but either way, it is a book that will stay with you, and impress you with the author's shining light and her courage. Inspirational!

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I borrowed "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed based on Elizabeth Gilbert's recommendation and wow, it is raw! It is darker and more grounded than Elizabeth Gilbert's writing style, and covers Cheryl's hike on the Pacific Crest Trail along the west coast of America and how she came to be there. Just when you think she's been through a lot, she reveals even more hardship. 

She has this incredible combination of intense love for her mother, independence, grief buried under the day-to-day, and willingness to be herself whether light, dark, or human. So brave. I enjoyed her sense of travel camaraderie with other hikers at supply stops in towns and it reminded me of the feeling of connection with other travellers on Contiki tours I went on in Europe. 

Her story makes me wonder what would happen if more people struggling with loss and disconnection would have a sabbatical in nature to get back to basics, let their feelings out, and give themselves space to heal? From this, I have so much respect for Cheryl Strayed's vulnerability, courage, and grit. It's an amazing story! I'll be keeping an eye out for the movie that Reese Witherspoon has made about it.

The Biology of Belief by Dr Bruce H. Lipton

Stay with me, because it's hard to be brief about this book. Let me say from the outset, this is a challenging book. It's challenging because it contains what are probably unfamiliar terms and concepts about biology to most people (it reads like an engaging university text book with helpful metaphors and drawings), and if you've experienced any of the conditions he raises during the course of the book, you may have some strong feelings emerge. 

That said, I wanted to read it as a number of influential women in the business world refer to it, and it has shed light on their work. And oh yes, this book will BLOWYOURMIND. If you can get through the biological groundwork and history of the medical profession, you will so be rewarded. He offers incredible insights into how the environment affects cells, which is directly relevant to what I do with decluttering and organising. It will also be of particular interest if you are in the health industry or in aged care regarding cholesterol,

  • how emotions work in the body,
  • how beliefs impact on us,
  • how social isolation affects us,
  • one way to combat ageing; and
  • how feeling safe is crucial to our development.
This is a book you will want to share with other people and use as a reference. Big wow factor.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin last year and haven’t shared with you my impressions of the book yet.

I chose this book because I’d heard good things, that it wasn’t specifically a book about organising (the how to style can be a bit dry or off-putting when you’ve already had a busy day), and that the focus was making changes with happiness and fun as the end result, not to feel virtuous because you have matching containers. As a mum, I appreciate the focus on having more fun as I often think motherhood teaches you to put yourself last, but which ultimately doesn’t support your own self-care and happiness.  Would Gretchen Rubin’s story offer some insights on how to balance that?

The book is structured as a year-long experiment in trying common theories of what contributes to happiness. Gretchen, being a lawyer, has researched this extremely well. She has some rules of engagement for the project to support her decision-making, and does an end-of-the-month check-in to see what difference her theory of the month has made. She acknowledges she’s in a privileged position in terms of income and family support, and her anxiety over whether she has the right to look for greater happiness in her life pops up in the book a few times. She has some great analysis over common problems with self-improvement, marriage and relationships, and dealing with stuff (both at home and shopping), and definitely this would give readers some insight into their own feelings or situation. 

I read this around the same time as “Eat Pray Love” and was struck by how comfortable Elizabeth Gilbert was with her feelings vs Gretchen Rubin, who writes about paying out on people around her because of her need for control, so you may notice that too. Personally I think you’d need to be really clear on why you’re doing a Happiness Project to maintain the focus that Gretchen brings to her story, as some people would need more than one month to reinforce the new habits. 

It’s certainly worth reading if you’re feeling that your happiness is in a rut or has slipped and you’re not sure why as you’ll be empowered to take steps to change things in your own life.

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

I've been getting into Victoria on Netflix lately and loving it. So far it's just season 1, and starts when Queen Victoria has just inherited the throne in 1837. It's fascinating to watch an 18 year old come into her power and I have some top lessons to share, without spoiling it for you (I hate that!).

  1. Know your role
  2. If your environment won't let you be you, change your environment
  3. Surround yourself with supportive people, but make sure you have people who will tell you the truth
  4. Look for the win-win
  5. Be yourself

This is also available in book form.


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