This post evolved from a discussion I had on Monday as part of the Cole Collective. I love recommending books to people, but I always like to explain why I think they’re a great fit for someone…or even when they shouldn’t check something out!

The books below aren’t technically business books. But they have, indirectly, helped me grow my business.

They’ve all given me a fresh perspective on my mind, body, and/or gut. They’ve given me new perspectives, retrained my brain, and encouraged me to treat myself with more kindness so that I’m happier and healthier.

All the links included in this post are affiliate links, so I’ll make a small commission if you buy through my link but it won’t cost you any extra 🙂

How to do the Work – Dr Nicole LePera

This one I’m reading at the moment, but I absolutely love her Instagram, which is @theholisticpsychologist. As a chronic illness and childhood trauma survivor, she understands what it’s like and shares a lot of her personal journey.

In the book, she combines the theory from a lot of the books mentioned below, so it works good as an introduction or conclusion to the mind/body connection. It’s also got activities to help you, y’know, do the work.

Get it on Apple Books

The Art of Rest – Claudia Hammond

Up until I read this book over the Christmas break, I saw literally everything I did as work.

That’s not a hyperbole.

Everything was something that had to be ticked off a list; something that had to be achieved; part of a goal I was working towards. I couldn’t just do it because I wanted to. 

This book made me realise how exhausting that is and how it’s ok to just slow down and take a break even if that’s only a 40-second micro break. 

Since reading this, I’ve been a lot kinder to myself.

I’ve drawn boundaries about not working on the weekends and I pay more attention to what I actually want to do as a form of rest rather than autopiloting it and not feeling fulfilled or rested.

Get it on Apple Books

The Body Keeps the Score – Bessel van der Kolk 

This one is fairly heavy-duty at times; I had to read it slowly because it hit a lot of nerves.

But if you feel you struggle mentally or physically but don’t know why, it’s worth checking out.

It looks at how, when we don’t fully process—or we suppress—our past, it can lead to long-term health issues like my old friends fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (among others).

Get it on Apple Books

Black Box Thinking – Matthew Syed

I was brought up to have a very fixed mindset and taught that you had to always be right and dig your heels in if someone challenged you. I knew it wasn’t how I wanted to live my life, but until this book I didn’t know how to change that.

It’s got lots of interviews in with sportspeople and entrepreneurs on developing a growth mindset.

Get it on Apple Books

Bounce – Matthew Syed 

Even though this one’s about sports psychology, I found it really interesting from a business perspective because a lot of the tips and research about growing your skills/mindset is just as relevant for us as it is for sports.

Get it on Apple Books

Chatter – Ethan Kross

We all have an internal monologue even if we don’t actually articulate it. Sometimes it’s an emotion that we feel rather than a narrative we think. This book is all about how to deal with that inner negativity. 

There’s also a good section on how to deal with other people who might be bringing you down, like people who come to you for advice but don’t necessarily want to hear it.

Get it on Apple Books

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? – Dr Julie Smith

This is another one where the author has a really good Instagram/TikTok. (Her handle is Dr Julie.)

She breaks down a lot of basic psychology on how simple things like eating healthier food, or drinking enough water, or the people around us, can affect our mental state.

There are also lots of activities in here including one at the end about values that sticks out to me.

Get it on Apple Books

Spark! – Dr John J. Ratey and Eric Hagerman 

This book really fascinated me because it’s all about how exercise helps us mentally.

We all know the physical health benefits of exercise, but many of us don’t realise that it can also help us to concentrate better, it can fight off dementia (even once it’s begun to develop), and it can ward off conditions like depression.

Each chapter is divided into different health conditions and how exercise can benefit it, so you could always get it from the library and just read the chapter that’s relevant to you if you wanted to. But I would recommend reading the whole thing because it’s truly eye-opening and helped me feel way more motivated to move.

Get it on Apple Books

Age Proof – Professor Rose Anne Kenny

This is another one that’s kind of an overview but still very much in depth.

I read this because a lot of chronic health issues run in my family and I really don’t want them to impact me.

The author talks about how different things like our community, what type of exercise we do, and the foods we eat, can help or hinder us or when it comes to our biological age. It’s all backed up by the latest science, too.

Get it on Apple Books

What books have changed your life?

I’d love to know what books changed your life and why. Let me know in the comments or drop me a message on LinkedIn.