Facing a work dilemma or simply fancy a new challenge?! Below are some fabulous books (fiction and non-fiction) to give you some food for thought, guidance and inspiration to pursue your dreams. Life is too short. From the haunting extremes people will go to, to earn a living to simple, sound motivational books, the books below cover it all and will make you feel good no matter where in your journey you are!
If you'd prefer a more curated list, that's more tailored to your needs, interests and reading preferences you might find our Personalised Book Prescription helpful. You might also find it helpful to undertake a bibliotherapy session or our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course where you can discuss/explore these issues in more depth.
Temporary (Fiction) by Hilary Leichter
Temporary is a novel by Hilary Leichter that follows the story of a young woman who takes on a series of unusual and absurd temporary jobs, each lasting for only a day. The protagonist, known only as "the temporary," works as a pirate, a chef, a tour guide, a babysitter, and many other strange roles, all while navigating the challenges and uncertainties of modern life. Through her adventures, the temporary grapples with issues such as labor, identity, and the search for meaning and purpose in a world that often seems confusing and chaotic. The book is a whimsical and surreal satire that uses humor and wit to explore deeper themes about the nature of work and existence.
CivilWarLand in Bad Decline: Stories and a Novella (Fiction) by George Saunders
"CivilWarLand in Bad Decline" is a collection of short stories by George Saunders, published in 1996. The stories are set in a near-future dystopian America, where corporate greed, environmental degradation, and social decay have left the country in a state of decline. The stories often feature darkly comic and surreal elements, blending satire and science fiction to create a unique and disturbing vision of the future. The collection includes stories about theme park employees, a man struggling with his addiction to a virtual reality machine, a dystopian America that has descended into cannibalism, and other tales that explore the darker aspects of human nature. Saunders' writing style is distinctive for its use of vernacular language and experimental narrative techniques, making 'CivilWarLand in Bad Decline' a challenging and thought-provoking work of speculative fiction.
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants (Non-fiction) by Malcolm Gladwell
David and Goliath is a book by Malcolm Gladwell that explores the idea that what we perceive as disadvantages may actually be advantages in disguise. Gladwell examines the classic biblical story of David and Goliath, as well as other examples from history and modern times, to argue that individuals and groups with less power, resources, or status can overcome their disadvantages through unconventional strategies, such as using their unique strengths, leveraging flexibility, and redefining their problems. Gladwell's thesis challenges the conventional wisdom about what it takes to win and succeed in life, and offers practical insights for anyone facing difficult challenges.
How to Find Fulfilling Work (The School of Life) (Non-fiction) by Roman Krznaric
In the modern world, we often find ourselves torn between pursuing something that provides financial security and status to pursuing something that’s meaningful and that allows us to apply our natural talents.
The need and aspiration for fulfilling work is one of our era’s greatest conundrums. Integrating ideas and wisdom from sociology, psychology, history and philosophy, Roman Krznaric write a compelling guide to learning how to make fulfilling choices and discovering a working path that allows you to thrive.
The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life (Philosophy) by David Brooks
Perfect for if you’re at crossroads at this point in your life, especially if you're embarking on a second working journey.
Most people follow ‘a two-mountain shaped’ journey. They graduate, embark on a career, hoping to thrive, enjoying both personal and financial success, becoming recognised and finding personal happiness. When they finally arrive at the top of the mountain, they meet dissatisfaction – there is more to life – another mountain that focuses on helping others too, rather than this pursuit of self-centred excellence.
Our commitment to other people and things might be what truly fulfils us – our commitment to a spouse and family, to a community, to a vocation and a philosophy and way of life.
How to pick these out and how to integrate them might be the things that in the end satisfy us the most.
More book prescriptions can be found at Book Therapy.
A big hello and thank you for reading! Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I train mental health professionals, librarians, teachers as well as readers on using bibliotherapy in their own work through our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course. We also curate reading lists/personalised book prescriptions for clients based on their individual needs. This is our signature personalised reading service.
You can also check out Book Therapy’s other free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc). There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation.
In this role, I have had the opportunity to publish a book called The Happiness Mindset, and write various literary essays and pieces for newspapers and magazines. I have undertaken bibliotherapy workshops for The United Nations, various libraries in New York and corporate organisations in the UK and US. My book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice, New York Observer, Sydney Telegraph and various other publications. If you are a parent you might enjoy a podcast I’ve recorded with speech and language therapist Sunita Shah on Raising A Reader & Storyteller. And if you’d like to connect, email me at email@example.com or www.booktherapy.io.
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