It’s not often I get the time to read a book from cover to cover, but over summer I took the time to revisit four of my all-time favourites.
They’re the books I go to when I need a bit of perspective, or some centering – personally and professionally. And who didn’t after 2020?
Funnily enough, they’re all non-fiction. And if you’re keen, I’m sure our local bookstore would happily order them in.
Fear: Essential wisdom for getting through the storm
By Thich Nhat Hanh
This one has been on my bedside table for a long time now. Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist Zen Master who has written a tonne of books. He’s also a poet, scholar and peace activist, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr. He’s also the founder of Plum Village, who run global mindfulness retreats. Fear offers great insights for dealing with uncertain times. Given that nothing creates uncertainty like a global pandemic, it felt like a very timely moment to revisit this one.
Surfing and Health
By Dorian Paskowitz
I’m a mad keen surfer, and try and head out most mornings to Bronte. Surfing and Health is a pretty unique take on the sport and the culture or lifestyle around it. It was written by a US doctor, Dorian Paskowitz, who was born in 1921. He and his wife raised 9 kids while chasing the surf and living out of a campervan for 25 years. Could that be the longest surf trip ever? Doc’s nomadic lifestyle is credited with making him one of the modern surf culture’s pioneers. It’s interesting to see how his alternative philosophy on life and surfing is still relevant today.
The Happiest Man on Earth
By Eddie Jaku
Released last year, this is a fascinating and uplifting memoir from Holocaust survivor, Eddie Jaku. Asides from being a truly remarkable story of resilience against all odds, it’s also about the life choices we make. There are so many lessons in this one. Like embracing love, choosing happiness, and finding time for the simple things. Check out Eddie Jaku’s amazing TEDxSydney talk at the age of 99.
The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
By Marcus Aurelius
OK, so maybe I listened to this one as an audiobook, but it’s still a book, right? Rumour has it that some pretty big names like Bill Clinton read this one annually. Originally written as a kind of journal, rather than as a book for anyone to read, it’s remarkable to me that insights from a leader hundreds and hundreds of years ago are still completely relevant today. It’s a great one if you’re feeling challenged. Mind over matter, the importance of character, thinking things through, and the shortness of life are all great lessons.
So, which books have changed your life? What are your favourite reads?