The HopeFull Institute Book Summaries

The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness

Are you feeling uneasy about children and young people’s use of new digital technologies? Do you worry that social media could be damaging and that Generation Z is losing touch while spending too much time glued to screens?In The Anxious Generation, Social Psychologist and Author Jonathan Haidt undertakes an eye-opening exploration of these issues and what he calls ‘The Great Rewiring’. Haidt noticed a downward shift in the mental health of young people starting around 2010, interestingly enough, around the same time as the widespread introduction of smartphones such as the iPhone. This change, Haidt established, was the time when childhood shifted in the Western world from ‘play-based’ to ‘phone-based’

Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence

Do you have a habit you want to stop? Is habit the right word, or is it really an addiction? In today’s high-octane, stimulation-filled world, the number of addictions has become staggering. The easy availability of anything from prescription drugs to online shopping is making it harder to enjoy everyday life without seeking a hit of dopamine every few minutes. This is why Dopamine Nation is such an important read. Anna Lembke, a professor of Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, uses this book to explain the need for dopamine hits that everyone experiences and, more importantly, how to control it. With engaging anecdotes backed up with science, Dr Lembke tells how her patients overcame their addictions and how you can do the same. As you will discover in Dopamine Nation, there is no easy answer, but there are solutions that you can use to fight your own dopamine addiction.

Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things

Find your hidden potential with New York Times best-selling author Adam Grant. Grant’s book explores what it takes to raise your aspirations and exceed others’ expectations, smashing through fixed beliefs and highlighting the importance of perseverance. Hidden Potential teaches that being great takes more than skill or intelligence. It takes dedication along with social skills that are all too often overlooked. The book also demonstrates that the way you learn, rather than how hard you work is what puts you ahead. Thoroughly researched and full of inspirational tales, Hidden Potential is engaging and informative. Grant breaks down the keys to success in any field, from the sports field to outer space and the classroom to the boardroom. This is a great read for anyone who wants to break through mental barriers and take things to the next level.

The Coming Wave

In his New Times bestseller, Mustafa Suleyman dives into society’s next major technological leap and explains how rapidly developing AI and synthetic biology are set to change the world. His prediction? Along with stunning benefits, these changes will come with unprecedented perils. Suleyman draws from his expertise as co-founder of the AI company DeepMind and as a long-time contributor to coming-wave technology to outline the possible benefits and detriments of the next revolutions in innovation. From AI being able to carry out a significant portion of daily tasks to potentially engineering DNA in anyone’s garage, Suleyman runs through the pros and cons of the next technological revolution and the importance of keeping new tech under control. The Coming Wave is a call to the world; get ready, the wave is coming, and everything is going to change. It’s a must-read for teachers who want to prepare the next generation for what is to come.

Discipline is Destiny

Modern Stoicism expert Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle is the Way returns with another in-depth guide to living your best life. Discipline is Destiny is the second book in Holiday’s series on the stoic virtues of courage, temperance, justice and wisdom. With its focus on temperance, Discipline is Destiny is about self-control and how it can make your life more worthwhile. Full of anecdotes and stories from famously successful people throughout history, Discipline is Destiny is a guide to mastering your emotions, thoughts and actions. After all, you can’t master anything else until you master yourself, and mastering yourself takes self-control. Containing a mix of ancient wisdom and modern science, this book is a highly readable guide to living a temperate and worthwhile life that will bring happiness and satisfaction.

Outsmart Your Brain

Outsmart Your Brain

Wish you had access to clear and concise guidelines for how to learn and study better? Pick up a copy of Professor Dan Willingham’s Outsmart Your Brain. This book provides concrete and accessible advice that is straightforward to put into practice. Any student who is motivated to get excellent results or finds they struggle to study independently will find the tips helpful and effective as they figure out how to side-step the ‘tricks’ our brains use that make learning feel exhausting. While Outsmart Your Brain is mostly focused on university students and their instructors, the guidance is still useful for anyone who wants to get better at absorbing information so they can do better in tests, exams and life.

Man’s Search for Meaning

Since its initial publication in 1945, people have been moved and inspired by Psychiatrist and Holocaust Survivor Victor Frankl’s extraordinary book, Man’s Search for Meaning. As inspiring as it is heartbreaking, Frankl’s matter-of-fact look at life in a Nazi concentration camp through the lens of his own lived experience will stay with you forever. Rightfully considered a 20th-century classic, Man’s Search for Meaning is a look at how finding meaning in your life can be the literal difference between life and death. Even in the most difficult circumstances imaginable, such as being a prisoner at Auschwitz, finding meaning can give you a reason to keep going and to strive to stay alive. Man’s Search for Meaning takes some of the darkest subject matter of modern history and turns it on its head to make it an inspirational tale of hope and strength. It is an essential book that should be on everyone’s to-read list.

Never Eat Alone

The old saying is that the secret to success isn’t what you know, it’s who you know. Keith Ferrazzi certainly believes this to be true, and with his book Never Eat Alone (co-authored with Tahl Raz), he outlines how valuable an extensive network is to succeed in business and life. Beyond this, he gives a step-by-step guide as to how to start, grow and maintain relationships that can boost your prospects. In his book, Ferrazzi demonstrates how immensely useful building connections can be. His key point is that everyone you know also knows people and therefore presents more opportunities to expand your network and career.

The Culture Code

Why do some teams succeed while others repeatedly fall flat?
This is the question that Daniel Coyle, the New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code, set out to answer with The Culture Code. Spending his time with some of the most successful teams on the planet, including Pixar, the San Antonio Spurs and the Navy SEALS, Coyle dug deep into what exactly makes a team hum. With in-depth examinations of how different highly successful teams work, Coyle breaks down what it means to collaborate successfully and what sets one group apart from others. Coyle also combines science and practical advice to make The Culture Code a handbook for creating an effective team at a workplace or school. Let Coyle guide you through the ins and outs of working effectively in a group and teach you how to make all your teamwork far more successful and productive. The Culture Code is a must- read for anyone who works in or with a group.

The Laws of Human Nature

From the million-copy bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power comes Robert Greene’s comprehensive book, The Laws of Human Nature, to break down everything you need to know about the way you and other people react in different situations. By analysing the behaviour of dozens of historical figures, Greene outlines his 18 laws of human nature and explains that once you understand them, you can use them to your benefit. If you wish you could understand what is going on in people’s heads and harness this knowledge to improve your work and private life, this is the book for you. The Laws of Human Nature is the ultimate guide to how humans work and the strategies and tactics you can use to improve your relationships and responses.

Deep Work

The concept of deep work is highly neglected in the modern workplace, but according to best-selling author Cal Newport, it is necessary to achieve great things. Deep work is a phrase coined by Newport, and it describes the ability to focus without distraction. In a world where workers are drowned in emails, meetings and other shallow tasks, people are losing the ability to do deep work. This is a problem because it takes deep work to accomplish very difficult tasks at the highest level. The problem affects students as well because they are finding it harder and harder to focus on studying and other important tasks. In Deep Work, Newport explains how professionals and students can reclaim their ability to achieve deep work. Take your output to the next level by embracing the concentration needed for deep work, and the rewards will flow.


An outlier is the sort of high achiever who has become the best in their field. Bill Gates and the Beatles are just two examples best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell uses in this colourful and intriguing book. Outliers is a look behind the curtains at the ultra-successful and how they reach their heights. So, is an outlier born or created? While we tend to believe that genius is born, Gladwell turns the tables on this with a series of observations that make it clear that there is a more complicated story behind every outlier. Told with wit and charm, Outliers is an eye-opening look at genius and how it is formed. It also shows how things need to change if we want everyone to experience the same opportunities to become great. Follow Gladwell through history as he makes it clear that genius and success have predictors that you may never have expected.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… And Others Don’t

After five years of research, Jim Collins, author of the best-seller Built to Last, put his team’s hard work into his insightful book Good to Great. Starting with the question, ‘Can a good company become a great one?’ Collins and his team came up with eight factors that take an organisation from good to great. By examining 11 ‘good to great’ companies, Collins demonstrates exactly what it takes for an organisation to level up. Every one of the 11 companies demonstrated all of the 8 factors discovered by Collins and his team, but what’s interesting is that they can be applied to anyone at any time, whether you are looking to guide others or excel at school. There are so many parallels between business and life, which is why this book is an essential read for all ages. In this summary, I have explained each business lesson and shared how it can be applied to students and teachers.

The Tools By Phil Stutz & Barry Michels

What if you were told there are a set of simple and effective tools that can get you through mental roadblocks like negativity, anxiety, avoidance and lack of willpower? This is exactly what psychotherapists Phil Stutz and Barry Michels offer in their book, The Tools. By applying Stutz and Michels’ tools and finding faith in an all-powerful Source, you can turn your life around. Learn how dissatisfaction with his therapy practice led Michels to discover Stutz’s work and how they fine-tuned a set of practical tools that anyone can use to improve their life. Rich with anecdotes from real patients, Stutz and Michel carefully work through every tool as they explain how it can be applied. Once you have learnt the tools, you can use them anywhere, anytime, in only a matter of seconds.

From Strength to Strength

Are you a ‘striver’? Have you pushed hard all your life to be the best you can be? Have you been successful and achieved so much but feel as though something is missing and as though things are getting harder, not easier? If any of these sound familiar, then From Strength to Strength is worth the read. Arthur C. Brooks, bestselling author and the columnist behind The Atlantic’s “How to Build a Life” series, brings you a highly researched guide to finding fulfilment later in life. He teaches ‘strivers’ how to let go and find happiness when they pass the point of peak performance and start wondering what it’s all about. From Strength to Strength delivers a few harsh realities (including a middle age ‘decline’), but Brooks has the answers for all the issues that arise during a mid-life ‘crisis’. With Brooks as your guide, you can learn how to make the jump into a fulfilling later life.

Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers

Think about the zebra fighting for life on the Serengeti plains. Being chased by lions is pretty stressful. Despite this, though, zebras don’t get stress ulcers. And human beings, despite never being chased by lions (or at least very rarely), do. Why is this? With Why Don’t Zebras Get Ulcers, Robert M. Sapolsky sets out to explain why prolonged stress is so human an issue. More importantly, he explains why prolonged stress is so unhealthy and what you can do to fight it. From biology to culture, Robert M. Sapolsky covers every angle of stress in modern society.

Smarter Faster Better

With his book Smarter Faster Better, New York Times best seller and author of The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg tackles the biggest questions around productivity. By breaking things down into key concepts, Duhigg doses out easily consumable and applicable knowledge to help you become smarter, faster and better. With each chapter focusing on one concept, Duhigg uses compelling real-world anecdotes and scientific examples that share tips for genuine improvements in productivity. As entertaining as it is life-changing, Smarter Faster Better is an eye-opening look at how to succeed in life and in business. Each chapter serves up life advice along with stories to back up Duhigg’s claims. With charm and wit, Duhigg uses Smarter Faster Better to guide you through basic methods that allow you to achieve more each day. Equally useful for home life and study as in the workplace, Smarter Faster Better is a must-read for anyone who is tired of wishing they had more time.

Leaders Eat Last By Simon Sinek

Leadership is not management. Leadership is a responsibility and sacrifice. According to best-selling author Simon Sinek, leadership means eating last. To paraphrase Lieutenant General George J. Flynn, no organisation was ever managed out of a disaster; they were led. Sinek brings thought and perception to his guide to 21st-century leadership. He investigates what makes leaders great and explores how leadership makes a difference to any team.From ancient times to the modern day, Sinek outlines how leaders have done their job. Even more importantly, he backs up his theories on making leadership work with solid science and historical context. Using real-life examples, Sinek makes it clear how important true leadership is and how getting it right can make or break a business. Leaders Eat Last is a lesson in putting other people first and how doing so can change the way your business works.

Words Of Gratitude By Robert A. Emmons And Joanna V. Hill

The test of all happiness,” said G.K. Chesterton, “is gratitude.” Learning to experience gratitude involves your everyday attitude, not your reaction when good things occur. To be grateful, you don’t need to wait until things are perfect or hope for good things to happen. In fact, practising gratitude makes you more receptive to life’s blessings, and these blessings continue as you continue to be thankful.

Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Account Right Now By Jaron Lanier

Have you ever been tempted to delete your social media accounts? You’re not alone and you will by no means be the first to do so.The book Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now is a call to the modern world to step back and look at what social media is doing on an individual and global level.Through a selection of well-reasoned and researched points, Computer Scientist Jaron Lanier explains precisely how social media (in particular the platforms that mine your information) is impacting the world.

Atomic Habits By James Clear

Your habits define your life. Whether they are good, bad or indifferent, habits are part of everyday life. Taking control of them means taking control of your life. With his book Atomic Habits, World Habit Expert James Clear teaches you how to amplify or create good habits and knock down the bad ones. Atoms are the smallest units of matter. They are the building blocks of everything. Like atoms, atomic habits are the building block of your major habits. Change the atoms and the whole structure changes. Change your atomic habits and your life changes. With Atomic Habits, James Clear teaches you to start your habit changing journey with the tiniest changes to your routine and thinking. Once your habits are working for you, you will be amazed at the strides you take in your life. Filled with anecdotes and charm, Atomic Habits is an easy read that will change the way you look at life.

Flow By by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

If you have heard of the concept of flow, it is because of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow burst onto the scene in 1990 and changed the way people looked at life. Now, more than 30 years later, its influence can still be felt and ‘flow’ is the state we all aim for in our life and work. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow is an examination of what makes life worthwhile. Have you ever wondered why some people always seem content despite their hardships? How do people find happiness in the worst situations? How do people survive the most boring and difficult situations? Flow has the answer. This book takes a deep dive into human nature and determines that the ability to achieve a flow state holds the key to fulfilment. It explains that anyone can find their flow and shows you how to get into this rhythm.

Stolen Focus By Johann Hari

Johann Hari has noticed that the struggle to focus is becoming an increasing problem in the world. After recognising his own struggle to stick with a task, he set out to discover why he and the rest of the world are losing the ability to concentrate.The book Stolen Focus outlines the deep-rooted societal and institutional issues that Hari found along the way. Follow this New York Times best-selling author on his journey to reclaim focus and discover what lies at the root of this new epidemic. Hari explores the trouble with digital technology, modern work practices, and 21st-century parenting with an open mind and an even hand. You may be surprised at the answers that are uncovered along the way.

Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown

Do you want to know and understand your emotions? Does a map of your feelings, an atlas of emotions, sound like a helpful tool? Five times #1 New York Times bestseller, Brené Brown thought so. The result is Atlas of the Heart, Brown’s fifth and possibly most insightful book.

Take a journey through human emotions as Brown maps out your feelings and explains how they relate to each other. As Brown says, naming your emotions gives you power over them. By the end of the book, you will have a deeper understanding of yourself and your emotions.

Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman

Almost a decade after its release, Daniel Goleman’s Focus remains one of the authoritative texts on focus, attention and their effects. Focus is an in-depth dive into the tools we can use to navigate an increasingly distraction-filled world. Goleman brought decades of experience as a psychologist and journalist to write his 2013 bestseller, and it shows.Using a highly readable blend of scientific research, colourful case studies and practical techniques, this book will open your mind to new ways of focusing. You will learn that focus is a multifaceted beast and that wandering attention can actually be as valuable as laser focus. More than a lesson in paying attention, Goleman explores how and when to harness attention and when to let it slip.

DARE TO LEAD by Brené Brown

Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.
To produce this game-changing publication, Researcher, Author and Speaker Brené Brown conducted in-depth interviews with leaders and change-makers. She asked them all what it really takes to be a great leader. As the book explains, leading is not about being the boss, pointing out people’s failures or being an untouchable figure within your school or organisation. A ‘Daring Leader’ has an in-depth understanding of people’s fears and instincts when it comes to a team environment. They choose courage over comfort, are actively curious and embrace vulnerability to set an example and bring out the best in others. Dare to Lead explains how to break down your own leadership style and understand why you and the people around you behave in certain ways. It also shares strategies for managing difficult conversations and situations. This book is ideal for anyone who wants to improve the way they communicate, build a braver, more daring culture within their organisation and feel more confident in their approach to leadership.

Legacy: What the All Blacks can teach us about the business of life by James Kerr

One of the world’s most successful teams comes from one of the world’s smallest and most remote countries. The All Blacks, New Zealand’s national rugby union team, has a 77 per cent winning record in test match rugby, and is the only international men’s side to have secured more wins than losses against every opponent. Since their international debut in 1903, they have played test matches against 19 nations, of which 12 have never won a game against them. What makes this team so great? It has nothing to do with luck. Their reputation as champions hasn’t come about through physical strength or agility alone. In the book Legacy, James Kerr uncovers the strategies and lessons behind the success of the legendary All Blacks. Every lesson can be applied to every team, be it on the field, in the office or in the classroom. This book shares the importance of humility, working as a team, staying authentic and making sacrifices to achieve your goals. It describes how players on the world-stage stay in the ‘blue zone’ when the pressure is on and reiterates that true champions are forged in the practice ring, not on the field. Throughout the chapters, this inspiring book shares the steps to make a mark in any industry and leave a Legacy of your own. Take a look at the following summary for the key lessons contained in the publication.

Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain

In every class, in every team and in every office, there is a ‘quiet one’. Usually regarded as shy and unsociable, this person is reluctant to speak out in group discussions and dreads giving presentations. After work or school, they are home alone with a book instead of seeking the company of others. If they do attend a social function, you are more likely to see them in a deep discussion with just one person instead of in the midst of a lively group. The book ‘Quiet, The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’, lifts the lid on the hidden superpowers of the people we now recognise as introverts. While society has shifted over the last 100 years to celebrate confident, outspoken extroverts, it is often inward-gazing types who we can look to for big ideas and innovative solutions to our collective problems.

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

The Obstacle is the Way is the ultimate guide to success in life and whatever you set out to do. More than a self-help book full of buzz words and empty platitudes, The Obstacle is the Way draws lessons from the ancient philosophy of stoicism. As the famous stoic Marcus Aurelius wrote, “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” The Obstacle is the Way teaches perseverance and resilience as the way to endure pain and adversity. Its message has never been more relevant.Taking inspiration from history, this book will help you escape the rut or frustration of our modern times. As entertaining as it is inspirational, The Obstacle is the Way will help you turn your problems into advantages.

The Infinite Game: How Great Businesses Achieve Long Lasting Success By Simon Sinek

Which game are you playing? New York Times best-selling author Simon Sinek makes sense of life and business by breaking it down to the games we are all playing. Finite games like soccer or chess have set rules and players and a definite end. But infinite games like business, politics, or indeed life itself, have no fixed rule and no end. You can win a finite game but the infinite game is the one you play for life. With this as his framework, Sinek, author of Start With Why, Leaders Eat Last and Together is Better, teaches how to grow an organisation and a life with staying power. By embracing ethical values and understanding long-term thinking, your organisation will not only grow but thrive. Believe it or not, a world where workers love their jobs and companies thrive despite hardships is achievable. Simon Sinek’s passionate and instructive book can teach you and your team how to embrace every challenge by playing the Infinite Game. Directed at business owners, it is also helpful for leaders and professionals who want to take the best approach to supporting the organisation they work for.

Emotional Agility Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life By Susan David

With Emotional Agility, business consultant and psychologist Dr Susan David has created a game-changing guide for anyone who wants to live their best life. If you’re ‘emotionally rigid’, you’re blind to new experiences and possibilities. You’ll find yourself stuck on the same path, even though it has made you unhappy for years. In her book, Dr David explains how to embrace emotional agility and make your feelings work for you instead of against you. This book is full of thoroughly researched detail as well as amusing anecdotes as it explains how you can live your best life. Emotional Agility is a journey through yourself and an invaluable lesson on how to make that self better.

The Art of Thinking Clearly By Rolf Dobelli

With The Art of Thinking Clearly, novelist and entrepreneur Rolf Dobelli gives you the rundown on how to always make the right decisions. We all make little mistakes in the way we think every day. With Dobelli’s advice, you can learn how to spot what he describes as “cognitive errors” and start thinking more clearly. The Art of Thinking Clearly is an eye-opening look at human psychology and reasoning. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to avoid those cognitive errors and make better choices in all aspects of their lives. Whether it’s investing too much time in a pointless endeavour, continuing with an action you knew was bad for you or paying too much for something, you are making simple errors in your day-to-day thinking. In easy to digest, bite-sized chunks, Dobelli outlines 99 different types of errors and how to combat them. With advice that relates back to everyday life, Dobelli’s 99 short chapters are readable and engaging. The Art of Thinking Clearly includes thorough research and is incredibly helpful if you want to improve your way of thinking or simply learn more about the incredible human mind.

Brain Rules By John Medina

The brain is one of the most complex organs in the human body. In his book Brain Rules, Molecular Biologist Dr John Medina shares some of the most fascinating facts that rule our behaviour and the way we learn. While every person’s brain is wired differently and we all process information in individual ways, there are a number of factors which have an impact on our mental capability and performance. Things like sleep, stress and even music have a powerful effect on our brain’s ability to understand and store information. In Brain Rules, Dr Medina breaks down 12 important elements that influence the way we work, communicate and learn. The insights in this book are especially enlightening for teachers and students. As a teacher himself, Dr Medina shares how his research has shown him ways to make lessons more engaging and memorable. He has also included some of the secrets to retain more information when you’re studying.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

Why are some people so full of ideas and capable of presenting concepts that change the world? This question is explored in Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, the #1 New York Times bestseller by Adam Grant. While it is mostly focused on entrepreneurs, this book includes learnings that are applicable to teachers and parents. It talks about rules vs values, the importance of being open to ideas from anywhere and why feedback should be encouraged from even the most junior people at a workplace or school campus. This publication highlights the powerful changes that take place when people challenge the status quo and look for new ways of doing things. It explains why some people are more original thinkers, and delves into how someone with a new idea can champion it and get help to bring their vision to life. You’ll find this book intriguing if you’re interested in the incredible potential of a new idea and you want to nurture originality in the people who look up to you.

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life by Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post, built an empire but doesn’t hesitate to confess that she lost a little of herself along the way. With her book Thrive, Huffington outlines how she got her life back on track. By focusing on what she refers to as the ‘Third Metric’, she teaches how we can all live more fulfilling lives. In striving for success, people all too often work on the first two metrics of money and power. The problem is that living only for these two traditional metrics is like sitting on a two-legged stool. Without the essential third metric, ‘thriving’, you will always be unsteady and close to collapse. Thrive is your essential guide to achieving this third metric by nurturing its four pillars, well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving. Meticulously researched and filled with personal anecdotes and fascinating stories, Arianna Huffington’s book is your ultimate guide to beating the rat race and truly thriving as a human being.

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything by B.J. Fogg

Forget about the big sweeping gestures when it comes to creating the life you really want. Social Scientist BJ Fogg teaches that it all starts small; tiny even. This is great news for students or anyone who already has a busy schedule and can’t face the overwhelming idea of making massive changes, even though they are unhappy with their current habits. The culmination of decades of research and the coaching of thousands of people, Tiny Habits is the key to improving your life for the long term. Fogg writes that by making tiny changes on the road to making big ones, you can utilise behaviour science to reset your brain. Throughout the chapters, he explains how starting tiny helps to form habits through feeling good rather than feeling bad. Start with what’s easy, then move on to incrementally bigger challenges and you will be far more likely to succeed. Along with starting small, BJ Fogg also teaches how to utilise the three key factors in human behaviour; prompts, ability and motivation. Told with good humour and charm, Tiny Habits is the ultimate guide to creating good habits and designing your life.

How Children Succeed by Paul Tough

In his book How Children Succeed, journalist Paul Tough breaks down long-established beliefs and introduces new concepts to help children get ahead in life. Paul writes that standardised testing doesn’t always serve our children well, and the poverty gap is leaving much of today’s youth in the dust. Meanwhile, if you can’t teach IQ, how do you help children of all skill levels to thrive? The answer, according to Tough, starts at home and continues through to the education system. But rather than the three R’s, it is developing good character that young people need to learn more about. Exhaustively researched and bridging the political gap between right and left, How Children Succeed is an eye-opening look at why the older generation is failing the young and how we can fix it. Whether you agree with Tough’s arguments or not, the book is a must-read for any modern parent, teacher, or caring adult.

The Power of Showing Up: How parental presence shapes who our kids become and how their brains get wired By: Tina Payne Bryson, Daniel J. Siegel

If you’re a parent or involved with children on a daily basis, you’ll know that raising children is one of the greatest challenges anyone can face. However, with their book, The Power of Showing Up, Tina Payne Bryson and Daniel J. Siegel remind you that the most important thing you can do is very simple; just show up. With charm and care, Bryson and Siegel explain how to show up physically and emotionally for children and the difference it can make in their lives. Using impeccable research and clear anecdotes, the book’s authors explain that children need the ‘four S’s’ to grow into happy and functioning adults. The Power of Showing Up teaches not only why these S’s are so important but how you can implement them on a day to day basis. Never patronising nor judgmental, The Power of Showing Up is a must for all parents, teachers and childcare workers.

Think Again: The Power of Knowing what you don’t know By: Adam Grant

Considering the casual ease with which we change things like our homes, wardrobes and phones, why is it so hard to update our views and opinions? It is too easy to let your ways of thinking stagnate and to let comfort overcome logic. With Think Again, Adam Grant teaches us that rethinking is as important as thinking. Rethinking is a skill that can take you a step beyond the competition. And not only that, it is a skill that can be taught.Through insightful anecdotes and thorough research, much of it his own, academic and best-selling writer Grant lays out how you can learn to rethink just as well as you think. He shows that what you don’t know is just as important as what you do know. Think Again is an essential read for anyone who is looking to expand their way of thinking and to get a step up in our ever-changing world.

The Path to Purpose: How Young People Find Their Calling in Life By: William Damon

With The Path to Purpose, Parent’s Choice Award winner William Damon lays out why having purpose is so vital to the growth of our young people. Drawing heavily on the results of a groundbreaking study into the subject, Damon breaks down the issues that today’s youth struggle with the most. Many of today’s youth lack motivation and forward momentum. Even many of those who appear to be succeeding don’t really understand where they are heading. Direction is nothing without purpose but today’s youth are struggling to understand why they should succeed past the most superficial of reasons. Damon brilliantly and engagingly breaks down what these issues mean to today’s young people and how we might go about remedying them. With evident care for young people and their futures, Damon’s The Path to Purpose is an essential roadmap to guiding the young people in your life to a more fulfilling future.

The Empathy Effect: Seven Neuroscience-Based Keys for Transforming the Way We Live, Love, Work, and Connect Across Differences By Helen Riess

As the world’s understanding of the importance of empathy grows and deepens, it becomes more apparent just how important this attribute is. Leading empathy researcher Dr Helen Riess breaks down what empathy is, why it is vital, and how it can be taught in her fascinating book The Empathy EffectNot only a deep dive into empathy, this is also a book about empathy in the digital age. Human connection has undergone a substantial shift in the past few decades and Dr Reiss does not neglect to recognise its shifting nature and the effect of the internet and social media on the way we relate to others. Engaging and insightful, The Empathy Effect is the ultimate guide to compassion in the modern age. With her E.M.P.A.T.H.Y.® method Dr Reiss also breaks down the key aspects of empathy and how you can apply them in all facets of life. The Empathy Effect is essential reading for any parent, employer, or team member looking for a way to relate better to others.

The Distracted Mind – Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World By Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen

Ever wondered why it is so hard to stay away from your devices? The human brain has evolved to seek information whenever possible. While this evolutionary trend helped us to avoid predators in the distant past, in the modern age it leads to distraction and interruption. Now that we have all the information in the world in the palms of our hands, it’s no wonder we are device addicts. And although you may think you can multitask by checking Facebook while watching TV or texting and driving, in fact what you are doing is ‘task shifting’. The Distracted Mind explains why we are so drawn to multitasking and why it is no good for us. Starting with a thorough breakdown of how the human brain works and why it struggles to handle the overwhelming waves of information in the modern world, The Distracted Mind wraps up with essential advice on how to handle it all. The ultimate guide to getting along in the modern world, The Distracted Mind is as much a guide book as it is educational. It’s a must read for anyone who feels like they are lost in the digital age.

The Geography of Genius: A search for the world’s most creative places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley By Eric Weiner

Did you ever wonder what makes a genius? Best selling travel writer Eric Weiner did, so he wrote a book on the subject. Dismissing the old adage of the lone genius, Weiner embraced the geographical theory of genius creation and set out on an epic journey to discover how it works. His book invites you to travel along as he explores hot spots of historical genius from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley. Weiner’s account of his journey is an entertaining romp through ‘genius’, past and present. With frequent and insightful scholarly references and colourful conversations with experts, Weiner breaks down the environmental and geographical elements that created geniuses from Socrates to Beethoven and beyond. Weiner’s self-proclaimed ‘colossal fools’ experiment is a thought-provoking journey into genius and how it is formed. It may be far more treasure map than recipe book but The Geography of Genius is the perfect first step to understanding genius and discovering it in yourself and those around you.

Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett

Marc Brackett is on a mission. As Founding Director of the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence, he has seen how low mental wellbeing is in children and adults alike and has set out to do all he can to help. With his book Permission to Feel, Brackett packs years of experience in the field as well as a true passion for helping people into a readable guide to improve mental wellbeing. His simple but startlingly effective RULER method shows readers how to understand your emotions and to have them work for you rather than against you. By Recognising, Understanding, Labelling, Expressing and Regulating emotions, you will be on the road to a healthier emotional life and greater wellbeing at school, work, and home. And by helping your kids to learn the RULER system, you are setting them up for future success and happiness. Rigorously researched and rich with personal anecdotes and relatable stories, Permission to Feel is as readable as it is educational.

How to Think More Effectively by The School of Life.

Put aside old ways of thinking. Gain the confidence to trust your own mind and find your own genius. From The School of Life, a global organisation dedicated to teaching life skills, comes How to Think More Effectively. A series of short essays, this book is designed to get you ‘thinking about thinking’… and thinking better. Easily digestible and with practical exercises at the end of each chapter, How to Think More Effectively is perhaps the most practical guide to thinking you will ever find. With the central thesis that the human mind is an incredible tool that all too often goes underused, How to Think More effectively systematically lays out the different ‘forms of thinking’ and explains how you can do them better. With examples from some of history’s greatest minds and artists, the book clearly lays out how your own mind is there to be used, if only you understand how to use it. How to Think More Effectively is a must-read for anyone who wants to expand their way of thinking and break new horizons.

The Burnout Fix by Dr Jacinta M Jiménez

If you have ever felt exhausted in a way that can’t be explained, The Burnout Fix may give you some answers. Filled with evidence-based strategies to fight the common issue of burnout, Dr Jacinta M. Jiménez’s book is a toolkit for the modern worker or student. It’s the remedy to the ‘always hustling’, ‘always connected’ modern world.With carefully researched strategies and relatable examples, Jiménez presents her PULSE strategy; a simple and effective way to tackle burnout and live a more fulfilled life. Jiménez brings years of experience in psychological motivation to help you to discover your personal pulse and give you a guide to a less burnt-out life. A must-read for anyone struggling through today’s high-pressure world, The Burnout Fix is a practical and engaging guide to finding your better you. As an individual or a team leader, Jiménez explains how to deal with and prevent burnout for a more efficient and happy existence.

The Power to Change by Campbell MacPherson

Change has perhaps never been as rapid and pervasive a force as it has been in the 21st century. Change is inevitable and unending, and the only way to survive and thrive in the modern world is to embrace it. Campbell MacPherson, self-titled Change Catalyst, understands this better than anyone. MacPherson brings his skills as a much sought after keynote speaker to his book The Power of Change, to help you become your own change catalyst. Be it good or bad, all change is challenging. With colourful anecdotes and real-world examples, MacPherson lays out the steps to embrace change and advance your life. Don’t just cope with the changing world around you. Use The Power of Change to learn how to celebrate constant evolution and make it work for you. This book is a must-read for anyone wanting to get ahead in this new century of rapid change.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

When Angela Duckworth’s book hit the shelves in 2016, the concept of ‘grit’ took the world by storm. More than a self-help book, Grit is the work of years of work and research by an award-winning psychologist. Angela Duckworth has committed her life, and more than her fair share of her own grit, to discovering how people succeed. In Grit, Duckworth shares her discoveries and outlines how you can become a grittier person. Duckworth has found that determination, perseverance, and resilience are key to almost all high-level success, more so than talent. With colourful stories of ‘grit paragons’ to outline how grit can lead to success, Grit is as readable as it is inspirational. If you are striving for the best but never quite seem to make it, this is the book that will inspire you to reach the next level.

The Alter Ego Effect: How the World’s Top Performers Use Secret Identities to Win in Sports, Business and Life By Todd Herman

What if the person you always wished you could be was there inside you all along? This is a concept Canadian Performance Coach Todd Herman shares in his in-depth book The Alter Ego Effect. In the book, Herman explains how he has helped countless athletes, professionals and performers to tap into their hidden ‘alter ego’ and achieve what they previously thought impossible. It’s a theory that can be applied by anyone, in any high-pressure situation. What would you achieve if you knew you could be calm, confident, fierce or fearless? How would you feel about performing in front of an audience, racing out onto the sports field or tackling a difficult school exam? The Alter Ego effect shows readers how to overcome the self-doubt, negativity, and insecurity that hold you back so you are ultimately empowered to become your best self all the time. This read is ideal for any professional and is also very powerful for students who are learning to step into their self-confidence.

The Athletic Brain: How Neuroscience is Revolutionising Sport and Can Help You Perform Better By: Amit Katwala

We all know that top-level athletes can perform feats that seem extraordinary to everyone else but is it their body or their brain that does the bulk of the work? It turns out that the brain plays a huge part in any athlete’s success. And not necessarily because this organ is different to start with… but because sport can actually change the way your brain works.Along with changing your physical appearance and strength, sports can reshape your brain. After thousands of hours of practice, athletes have advanced skills in spatial awareness and reactivity… and they’re able to respond and react in ways that don’t seem human. In The Athletic Brain, Amit Katawala explains how this takes place and more importantly, how you can create your own ‘shortcuts’ to improve your athletic performance. A must-read for aspiring sportspeople or anyone with an interest in how our brains work, The Athletic Brain is an investigation into the power of the mind and its ability to change.

How Bad Do You Want It?: Mastering the Psychology of Mind over Muscle BY: Matt Fitzgerald

Do you have what it takes? Can go the extra mile, push through the pain and surge ahead of the competition? Perhaps it comes down to how badly you want it. With the meticulously researched How Bad Do You Want it?, Matt Fitzgerald explains that you do have what it takes… because what it takes isn’t physical, it’s in the mind. Not everyone can be a record-breaking triathlete. However, by learning what sets these athletes apart, you can take your own performance to the next level. Using leading edge sports science research and fascinating case studies, Fitzgerald breaks down how top tier athletes hone their ‘mind muscles’ to become the best. Endlessly engaging, How Bad Do You Want It? is a must read for anyone who wants to push themselves to the next level to reach whatever their aspirations might be. Endurance athlete or not, this book teaches that you can go further and faster, it’s just a matter of mental toughness and answering the question; How bad do you want it?

Developing The Leader Within You 2.0 By John C Maxwell

Title and seniority do not make leaders. Neither does birthright. True leaders know that when opportunity comes, it is too late to prepare. They develop the leaders within themselves so they can step up when the moment is right. First released in 1993, John C. Maxwell’s book Developing the Leader Within You transformed the way leaders see themselves. The lessons shared can be applied to anyone in any leadership position, from business executives to student councillors. In his revised edition, Maxwell builds on his foundational messages for how to become a good leader, explaining how influence, character, service and vision can be used as a roadmap to influence others. Perhaps the most relevant point is Maxwell’s conviction that leaders must first work on themselves. He disrupts the traditional idea of a leader having all the answers, and instead asks readers to acknowledge the true goal of any leader who leaves a lasting legacy — to serve others.

You Are Awesome Find your confidence to be brilliant at (almost) anything by Matthew Syed

Positive and empowering, this guide from mindset writer Matthew Syed is written to help children and teens overcome personal and emotional obstacles, reach their goals and become positive, productive adults. So many kids judge themselves on the things they are not good at. And because they believe they can’t do things, they don’t try. You Are Awesome teaches young teens and upper primary children what many fail to realise; that natural talent is not the secret to success. Instead, it is hard work, determination, conviction and a refusal to believe the words “I can’t…”. Straightforward, helpful and inspiring, this book shows students not to give up when things go wrong but to embrace their mistakes and keep on trying. As a teacher or youth leader, you can use the messages in You Are Awesome to help the young people you work with to feel positive about their potential, take action and achieve more.


Being a teenager is tough. You are supposed to fit in, excel at school, make your parents proud, and so on, but something is not right. There’s too much to do and not enough time. Your life feels out of your control, and your parents aren’t actually helping. You feel stressed out or depressed. Sean Covey wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers to help you deal with your life. You’ll learn that all happy teenagers have a set of habits in common. They are not super smart or talented. Their secret weapon is just a set of habits – and you can build those habits too. If you want to change the world around you, begin with yourself. Build your self-confidence and character, then work on your relationships. To make it easier for you, we’ve picked the most useful ideas and action steps from this book, so you can start improving your life right away.


Have you ever wondered why some people are so successful, and others are not? The truth is, they are not born that way. It took them some time and effort to develop habits and skills that made them effective. Those habits and skills reflect some universal principles. They don’t depend on our circumstances. Even better, they can help us achieve so many different things, like good grades, great friendships, money, respect, happiness. But how do you discover those principles? Here’s great news—you don’t have to figure them out all by yourself. Jack Canfield did an awesome job collecting the 20 essential principles for you. His book, The Success Principles, is a kind of a roadmap – or a recipe – that you can follow with confidence. To make it even easier for you to follow this roadmap, we took his 20 principles and distilled them even further. We all have different goals, and your situation might be unique. Luckily, there is a recipe for success that works for everyone. No matter what’s going on in your life right now, as long as you live by these principles, they will take you exactly where you want to be. Before you begin, remember two things. Firstly, the challenges you are facing at the moment are not going to affect your future as much as you think – but the way you react to them will influence it tremendously. Secondly, no one can use these principles for you. It is completely up to you. Are you ready to commit to success?

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