Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Alex Pang was accustomed to working long hours as a senior consultant at a Silicon Valley think tank. Then, while on sabbatical, he made a surprising discovery. Pang found that when he wasn’t under pressure to log 16-hour days, he was actually more productive.
Drawing upon scientific research, Pang’s book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less argues that rest and leisure are essential for ongoing creativity, productivity, and overall well-being. Pang provides real-world examples of successful individuals throughout history who developed routines that enabled them to work more effectively while also taking time to recharge. He explores how activities like exercise, sleep, and meditation can enhance cognitive function and gives actionable advice on how to incorporate leisure activities into daily life.
Rest is a compelling read for anyone who would like to revise their approach to work for greater balance, productivity, and success. It offers a refreshing perspective in a world that often over-values busyness at the expense of well-being.
Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke
In Thinking in Bets, Annie Duke combines her background in psychology with her experience as a professional poker player to examine how we make decisions in a variety of contexts.
Duke argues that, for multiple reasons, humans are not good at assessing risk and probability. Using clear and accessible language, she explains that evolution has primed us to see patterns where they don’t exist and discount evidence that originates outside our “tribe.” She writes about well-documented biases like “resulting,” loss aversion, and binary thinking. Finally, she offers valuable tools for better decision-making, like completing “premortem” exercises to foresee possible failures and “Ulysses contracts” to anticipate future obstacles.
Thinking in Bets effectively demonstrates how embracing uncertainty in a constructive way can lead to better decision-making across all areas of life. Duke asserts that good decisions are not defined by good outcomes, but rather “a great decision is the result of a good process.”
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
Assuming that you can get past the irreverent title, you will find Mark Manson’s book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck to be full of valuable advice. Manson challenges readers to focus on the things that have been proven to provide long-lasting happiness, instead of pursuing socially sanctioned goals that trap them in a cycle of always wanting more.
Among other things, Manson makes the seemingly paradoxical argument that in order to be happy, we must accept pain and discomfort as inevitable parts of the human experience. Manson also challenges many of the traditional self-help tropes, such as positive thinking and self-actualization. Through a combination of personal anecdotes, research, and humor, Manson illustrates his points in a way that feels more like pleasure reading and less like self-help.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a must-read for anyone who wants to turn down the volume on self-doubt and negativity and lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
The Extraordinary Gift of Being Ordinary by Ron Siegel
Expanding on some of the same themes as Mark Manson’s book, but with less profanity, is psychologist Ron Siegel’s latest book, The Extraordinary Gift of Being Ordinary. Siegel argues that modern society’s focus on social comparisons, nurtured in part by various social media outlets, has created a culture of anxiety and dissatisfaction.
Siegel writes with characteristic relatability, using a combination of personal examples and research to make the point that our greatest happiness comes from life’s more simple pleasures: living in the present moment, connecting with others, and cultivating gratitude for what we already have. The book also offers practical tools for combating negative thinking, including downloadable meditations and worksheets.
The Extraordinary Gift of Being Ordinary is recommended for anyone who wishes to break free from self-evaluation and find contentment in everyday joys.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
In Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, psychotherapist and author Lori Gottlieb weaves together her experience as a patient seeking therapy with the stories of several of her clients. Gottlieb offers an honest and often humorous look at the challenges and rewards of therapy, exploring themes such as the role that human connection, self-reflection, and compassion play in psychological healing. Unafraid to share her own vulnerabilities and imperfections, Gottlieb also offers insight into the therapeutic process, from how to find the right therapist to learning to live more authentically.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is a compelling testament to the human capacity for growth and change. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in the field of psychotherapy, as well as anyone who seeks deeper self-awareness.